Juno is not quite here yet...but getting so close. Today's stretch is from Memphis to Knoxville. Seems short, I know, to then just make it over to Asheville, but the cold temps are creating havoc with what Reins Auto in Hays, KS told us is probably an accelerator pump that needs to be replaced.

Before we left Denver we found a shop that specialized in carbs and they did a good bit of tune-up work - replaced (or added - they seemed to say it was missing) an electric choke and lots of fine tuning including vacuum hoses. She was running great until the first night in Hays when she started stalling from a stop - hesitating through intersections.

This place took us in the next morning (awesome guys - highly recommend) and they eliminated the more feared stuff (ie transmission)and pointed us back to the carb. Even took Rick in to look under the hood. They adjusted something so that he could get more gas going from a dead stop, cleaned a pvc (or pcv) valve, replaced the air filter and while there was still some hesitation ...there was sort of a mutual consensus it probably wouldn't get worse - that the plunger in the pump is probably offset just a little. The other option was waiting for a kit to be ordered to replace it and at that time we still had hopes of outrunning Helena.

But, of course, we didn't outrun the storm. Rick got stuck in Carthage MO for a few nights (I tried to take him south below it) but that wasn't happening. For that stretch she seemed to be running well (some careful feathering when applying the gas from a stop) and then again the next leg, until last night, again, facing bitter cold coming into Memphis after dark. He turned her around in a parking lot to get to hotel, got her out on road and then she died. Pulled her on to shoulder and then she wouldn't crank. Almost had to call Good Sam - but after sitting for five minutes he got her turned over. Hard start this morning but she seems to be running with just the usual hesitation...but with the frigid temperatures we waited til almost noon to get her warmed up, and and plan to put her to bed in Knoxville before the temps get too low again. That pass through the gorge is too tricky imho, at night in such bitter temps with her having this little hiccup going on.

So far all the mechanics (both shade tree and professional) have given us thumbs up on the engine, feel she's strong, but all comes back the carb replacement that the previous owner did - like maybe it wasn't done completely, or it came with some faulty parts like the pump. I don't know what brand the carb is yet - just that it's after market and is high performance/ better than what would have been in there. That seemed to be part of the problem according to the place in Denver - that other pieces of the engine weren't calibrated to now work with a higher performance carb. I'll post here once she's here. I have to give my BF lots of kudos - been miserably cold coming over and with a sticky issue creating some anxiety. Also hands up to just the nice people you meet - mechanics that get you in right away, don't rip you off and the very nice person that saw his license plate fall off and catch up with him to hand it back, and the people that let him know brake lights were out, etc.

There's something about traveling that reminds you how nice people are most of the time. I forget that a lot when all I do is go to the same places, see the same people, never need help because well, everything is all set in a house. On the road, there is more of the America I was brought up believing in...well, that's just my thoughts.

Wish us luck. Once she's here I'll update again and get some more pics up. Need to start a to do list. First thing - get a mechanic that knows there way around carburetors, get that pump replaced and see where we are. Hope everyone is staying warm and safe!

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Comment by Dawn Michelle on January 10, 2017 at 11:18am

Yes Russ, that does help!  It gives me encouragement with a little time, attention and money we'll get her purring like a kitten and that this isn't completely par for the course.  Yes, the BF is about the same place where your DW was.  Wow.  But you kept the faith?!  

I guess it does go back to circumstance - because we've literally only had two issues - and for a trip halfway across country that isn't too bad.  I'm still a believer :-)

Comment by Russ Johnson on January 9, 2017 at 10:35pm

Well Dawn, for what it is worth here is our story. Took the MMP (Mobile Money Pit) on a couple of short runs to check things out before we headed from Arkansas to Montana. We broke down twice on the way out and 4 times on the way back. Fortunately there was only 1 repeated failure. That was because the starter went belly up and the guy who replaced it did not put the heat shield back in place. The new starter was cooked because it is located right next to the header. So we understand your trepidation. It was several trips later that DW finally quit worrying about what was going to break next and could enjoy the trip. So hang in there, the problems will sort themselves out and you will have smooth sailing. But it is a good idea to pack spare parts with you. Happy camping.

Comment by Dawn Michelle on January 9, 2017 at 8:08pm

And, Pat - yes! I agree, and actually that's what I'm hoping for - good or bad, those experiences and people you'll never forget. I just saw your comment and while I'm a little disheartened it's not about the adventures ahead, just that Rick had to be on his own dealing with these particular adventures. It doesn't feel like the auspicious start we were hoping for, but overall none of this has been major - just a tad expensive, a little scary at times and definitely inconvenient!

Comment by Dawn Michelle on January 9, 2017 at 7:53pm

Well, the owner of the mobile service did give us a discount off the hours which was appreciated. He said that it was the wobbly pulley (bad bearings) that was the issue in the first place. He didn't see how the mechanic yesterday could have missed it. And, honestly I think we've had that problem for a couple of months - it would squeal when it started but then of course it didn't when it was in at a mechanic's so they just figured it was a slipping belt due to the cold. That definitely speaks to your advice, but also insist on running down small warnings before they become bigger ones.

Thanks for the encouragement Lakota!!! It really makes all the difference to know that we aren't alone in our experience and I expect like most things in life trouble comes in herds. Still not home free since we have that stall on acceleration but only five hours from home and one mountain range to go over. Sunny warmer day tomorrow.  We may have dampened optimism, but hope burns eternal!

Comment by Lakota Wolf on January 9, 2017 at 6:50pm

Wow, Dawn,,, Sounds like if it wasnt for bad luck you wouldnt have any luck at all on this venture. I know exactly how you feel,, it seems like it couldnt get any worse and Wham!! it does, On a good note, it sounds like your taking this minor set back with good spirits, frustrating as it might be.

Its usually a hindsight 20/20 on keeping spare parts,, hoses and belts etc,, and even more so when you dont have the old ones as spares. Like being stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

With belts on a motorhome,, I have passed on to others to change them every couple years,,, more so if the RV is sitting more then driven,, dry rot loves an idle engine, And when your on the road, every Tom,Dick and Harry will say they know RV's and engines, and some will take advantage of a bad situation, thinking they can make a few bucks and send you down the road,, never to be seen again.. But I believe in Karma,, Keep your head high and spirits high,,, it will get better,,, be safe and hope the rest of the journey is problem free.

Comment by Dawn Michelle on January 9, 2017 at 6:13pm

Have to rescind my review of Mann's - 60 miles down the road and the belts were off again. Held hostage by a mobile service for all day (being charged for hour) trying to get it fixed again while they located new belts and bearings for a wobbly pulley. Long and frustrating. They said the work wasn't done right and belts were old...but then they are charging us $100 per hour and so far 4 hours of that was just finding parts :-) So yes, this is the nightmare come true. Stuck in the middle of of someplace you don't know, don't know who you can trust and feeling like tomorrow another hour down the road this will break, too! Tell me that bad luck had to run out some time and good luck catch up?

Comment by Dawn Michelle on January 9, 2017 at 8:30am

Thanks for that comment Rich!  Over the rest of the trip he's become a little more comfortable with getting her moving, and it does seem getting a carb fine tuned is always a bit of a hunt even in the best of circumstances.  I've been driving newer cars for so long, just the slightest thing off is "major".  Remembering how old engines had their quirks is part and parcel for keeping one humming is a good reminder and reassuring.

An hour after I posted this Rick ended up stranded on the side of the interstate - fan belt came off and overheated.  This time our hats off to Good Sam and Mann's Towing in Jackson MS.  

They worked until almost eight on a Sunday night to get him back on the road.  The repair didn't take that long but it took them three hours to run down the right belts - drove all over looking for them.  And offered to let him plugin and camp overnight if needed.  And they didn't break the wallet at the end of the night.  Like Hays, I was amazed (I've never gotten of a garage for less than $300 - so to get out at or below a $100 is unbelievable to me, especially in an emergency situation where we're basically at their mercy.

Lesson 1: keep a few parts like that on you in case it is a holiday or late on a weekend.

Lesson 2: if you hear a belt squealing (it would intermittently on startup) go ahead and just get it replaced/tightened even if the mechanic couldn't duplicate it the day they were working on it.

And hopefully in time we'll learn enough to make that repair ourselves.  

Everyone, cross your fingers for us that Juno is going to make it home today!  

Comment by Rich Thomas on January 9, 2017 at 12:21am

My old q jet has that little dead zone right off idle too, It's not a problem until it is; by that i mean if I remember and feather the throttle, it's all good but, if I forget it can be a problem like in stop and go traffic at an intersection. The thing runs very well every where else so i'm inclined to leave it alone.good luck with your rig.

Comment by Pat Daly on January 8, 2017 at 9:41pm

Dawn, some of our best experiences were the result of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. One of our most memorable was spending the evening in the back of a wrecking/junk yard in the Florida panhandle with 3 guys with no teeth passing a pint of whiskey around the fire built in a dually rim and their junkyard dog. Pulled the carb off another 454 Chevy P30 in the morning, messed around a bit and we were on our way.  it's a challenge but the people you meet in good old rvs are priceless.

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