...Well, I have to say I'm feeling a little discouraged. Our shakedown trip went wonderfully, and I really couldn't believe that after all my plumbing work there were no leaks. Everything worked, the drive over the mountain went well, we had a lovely time at an underrated campground....that is until it was time to come home.
The first issue occurred when I was starting to pack up outside. This is the first time we used the tanks as this campground was electric/water only. I don't have any sort of sensors but I know from living in the Bounder you can tell - black tanks sound different when they are full and they flush, and usually gray backs up in the lowest point and you can smell it (in ours it was the shower pan).
Mom finished a last bit of dishes (we tried to conserve with water knowing I have small tanks) and all of a sudden I hear water just gushing down onto the ground. All dry under the cabinet, but closer inspection under the carriage with a flashlight showed it just gushing out on all sides of the tank where it is (glued?) up to the bottom of the under carriage.
So, obviously we had filled it to capacity and rather than backing up, it was pushing out of ... a gasket? a cracked seal?
At the same time I noticed the definite odor of the black tank in the bay. I'd noticed this before when I got it but drop ins solved the issue so didn't pursue. But I'm wondering if black might have same issue - some sort of lost seal where the bottom of the tank meets the top, but fortunately didn't get full. So we only polluted with our gray.
The second issue was the awning - we had the awning down the whole time (slanted somewhat as advised) - so Tues night, Wednesday and Thursday and then took it back up this morning. We almost couldn't get it closed. It's like the rails have shifted and the inner rails almost didn't want to close back in.
Then, I decided to check tire pressure - I didn't check on way out as they were supposed to have been inflated at the last mechanics (no). Way under inflated per the first mechanic. Tried to inflate them myself but couldn't manage to get the heads on the outer duallies. Found a tire place and lovely guys at Tire Barn fixed me up - 65 on my rear duallies and 70 on the front.
Yay, we can breathe, um, no.
No, on the way back across the mountain the engine started hesitating and stumbling. I almost didn't make it over the last hill despite taking it down to second - it's not transmission. I don't know, maybe something as simple as a vacuum hose coming off. But it got worse and worse, doing it taking off from stoplights and I was a hot mess on the last hill up our road.
The RV fixit place is willing to move heaven and earth to get me in on Monday to look at my tanks but now I have to probably get it to mechanic. UNLESS I pop the hood this weekend and just happen to see some hose obviously flopping around!!! LOL.
This did not really help my confidence to get on the road to Denver. I'm really questioning myself...!!!!! Getting on the road with an older vehicle despite four mechanics now telling me how clean and great the engine is - ROFLOL. It was the sheer responsibility of having my mom, my dog and an unhappy cat underway that has me really thinking I'm crazy.
Any encouragement welcomed. It doesn't sound as bad as Russ's shakedown at least!
Just to update this thread - I MADE IT TO DENVER!! White knuckle the whole time as the issue continued to reoccur, kept getting mechanics to look at it, and then the next day - an hour down the road would start up again. Well, okay, sometimes and hour down the road, sometimes 15 minutes, sometimes three. I can't tell you whether altitude or heat played a variable because each day was different and I couldn't pin it down.
First day a few minor hesitations on Cumberland Gap. Maybe two hours into driving. So slight and so stubborn was I that I ignored them. Fine going on into Lexington KY that evening.
Next day, however, was New Baden Ill - got pretty a bad as I limped off the exit. Mechanic there replaced the fuel filter and checked the vacuum.
Pushed through to Blue Springs MO - got bad as I got there - but I'm starting to feel like it's fine when it's cold, but kicks in when it's warm, 3 hours in.
Next day just before I got to Hayes KS it started hesitating again. Had used mechanics there so first thing the next day was on their doorstep. They swore it was vapor lock - knew all about this model/year etc. Couldn't get a heat shield in but after taking off air filter saw the fuel line was resting on the water pump and really felt sure that was my issue. So reshaped it and wrapped it.
Didn't get an hour down the road the next day and it was just horrible - every rise and then some that were on the straight away. Didn't quite stop but would lose acceleration. First stopped in Burlington CO. The mechanic I was recommended to assured me it was vapor lock and there was no cure. Put a quart of ATF in and off I went. Didn't make a difference and finally stopped in Limon as it was so bad.
I called my mechanic who doesn't believe in vapor lock, listened to the symptoms and suggested that maybe it was a cracked fuel line - wouldn't show a drip but would suck air.
Underneath I saw definite leaking from fuel pump so took it over to truck stop mechanic (where I got both mechanics arguing if vapor lock is real or not and lickety split they replaced the pump). It immediately drove and sounded better (and I did get better gas mileage from there) but the problem continued to reoccur (just not so badly) so I made it on in to Denver where I now have serious post traumatic engine stress disorder!!! I feel like no one has the answer and I keep getting opposite opinions and paying for stuff that I don't need (well I do agree I needed a new fuel pump).
What next? I'm thinking look at fuel lines (last ones said they did it but...), just doublecheck spark plugs, distributor and all wires for s&g, consider heat shield?, and also the catalytic converter? Something about the internal honey comb degrading?
I just don't think it's the carb -
loses power on hills in a repetitive on and off again fashion - sometimes better if I keep acceleration firm
still doesn't like to start after sitting ten minutes - have to act like it's flooded
when warm on idle I get the feeling it wants to idle so low cut out (in rush hour yesterday I would keep one foot on break, and one on gas so I could give it just a little bit of gas while stopped)
the latter two don't necessarily have to do with the first - just mentioning.
Hi Dawn glad you made it. Mine did the very same thing every time I would hit an incline it would spit and sputter then go a little and do it again.Turned out mine has a fuel pump at the gas tank ( to help get enough fuel to the engine fuel pump) po put a 20gph pump there not enough the pump is supposed to be at least 70gph don't even know if yours has one but heck worth a try. Good Luck
Hey, i'll take anything!! Interesting...
Thanks for the well wishes...
Hi Dawn, My suggestion is to check any rubber section of the fuel system. I posted a piece a long time ago about buying a vehicle for half price because if would stall out and not be able to restart for several minutes The problem was a too long piece of rubber fuel hose on top of the gas tank that would collapse when vacuum from the fuel pump acted on it. You may have a similar problem.
I agree that rubber fuel lines need to be checked thoroughly - my mechanic thought maybe a hairline crack from tank to pump - he didn't think it would leak, but could suck hair in when under load and your collapsing issue sounds similar doesn't it?
I found SOMEBODY - oh man, Denver is a miserable place to find a mechanic - no one will work on the older engines or have the ability to work on a motorhome because they don't have the lifts. But found these guys: http://www.bestautomotorhome.com/ - he listened to issue and he's going to start by going back to the fuel pump repair. Also I think he can also do the test on the catalytic converter/exhaust - and of course check the fuel lines. And this time rather than leave I'll do some serious test driving before I head out again.
A century ago (well maybe half that) I was in a graduating aircraft mechanics class at Chanute AFB in Illinois. Four of us were headed to New England, and pooled our money so one guy could get a car and we could drive there rather than take a bus. Early into the trip we had problems with the fuel line and were able to use a lift at a garage. We needed to drop the fuel tank to fix the problem, but the garage didn't have a permit that allowed that. Our solution was a 25' length of copper tube connected to the fuel pump, a block of wood to hold up the rear drivers side of the hood, the tubing snaked down the side of the car and suspended from the door handles then into the tank filler neck! We had to remember not to try to exit out of the drivers side and I, being a smoker had to sit on the passenger side. Where there is a will, there is a way. We're all pulling for you, hang in there, you'll get it.
Hahah!!! What a great and fabulous story - now where can i fit an aircraft mechanic in my cabinets to pull out when I need one :-)
Thanks for the encouragement - the whole vapor lock thing and "there isn't a cure" really had me ready to sell her thinking I'm making the biggest mistake of my life, but talking to various mechanics now (who don't believe in it), I'm thinking this HAS to be something that can be fixed. She's been on the road for 30 years and got over from Denver to NC (although granted it was cold that week). After the fuel pump was replaced she did drive better - the surging on inclines not so bad, and the engine got hotter than it had (half way up on the gauge rather than at 3-4 clicks) so I'm really of a mind to throw out the vapor lock theory for this situation.
I just wish I was at home!!!! It's frightening to be out on the road and trying to find a good mechanic and then pay out the nose for camping in the meantime. Ah well . So far though meshes with how long I wanted to stay in this area so not crying too much now that I found someone willing to look at her. My optimism is back to yellowish green!!!
HI Dawn, that sounds like a dirty fuel filter to me. Partially stopped up. It will run fine at lower RPM's, but dog out when you rev it. A New filter would be my first guess and an easy (cheap) fix. Good Luck. Kirk
More good comments. I backed her around the yard this weekend and rev'd her up, popped the hood and wiggled some hoses - nothing seemed amiss, and then this morning since my mechanic was digging out from under mud (compliments of Nate), I went ahead and took her on to the shop for the tank fix first. Not a single stumble/surge. So whatever is going on seems to mostly happen only under heavy acceleration. The exception to that was pulling away from the stoplight on the straightaway after getting back in town.
Sounds like the check will include spark plugs and wires, distributor, vacuum hoses and how the choke is working. And of course the fuel filter. Course now I figure with my luck the mechanic won't be able to "duplicate the problem" (facepalm)! If I have it back this weekend and mechanic hasn't seen it I may dig in a little deeper...
In the meantime since this weekend was a bust weather wise I pulled off the screen door, sos'd the frame (only scratched it a little, but looks much better) and we put new screening in.
I'll report back here when I know more about either of my fixes - let you know how it plays out :-)
glad to hear you had some luck on the carb. It's always a "ghost in the machine" thing with me on electrical stuff. still sorting out the fridge and why the generator remote panel "works" and sometimes sort of works. Just make sure the cat is AEC certified. They can get just about anywhere in the engine compartment....
No word on the mechanical issues yet, but the tank issue was a cracked pipe (above and coming into the tank). That's why it would stream down around all sides. Apparently they were able to fix it without dropping it so only a couple of hours of labor plus materials. Could have been worse!
Driving around it is fine until I push it up a hill or accelerate too hard so fingers crossed it is one of the simpler solutions that has been suggested.
Three words. SPARK. PLUG. WIRE.
Well four. LOOSE.
Mechanic found it. I had halfheartedly jostled the front ones figuring I had no idea what I was doing so didn't do a thorough check (okay I also can't reach the back ones without climbing into the engine). One of my first goals in Denver is to open up the hood with someone that knows engines and do some basic things like take out a spark plug and gap it, take off the distributor cap, etc. More than just checking the fluids and air filter.