Okay, you’ve had enough time. I really didn’t expect you would guess the answer to my dilemma. How could anyone expect that the ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT could be the problem? And yet, that’s exactly what I figured that it had to be, and when I made the change, …….EUREKA!
The fuel filter that is prescribed for these vehicles, and what you will be sold when you go to Auto Zone, or any other parts supplier, has a gas RETURN LINE as part of its make-up. That’s just WRONG!!!! When your engine calls for more power (going up hills, e.g.), the throttle is opened up to run more fuel. With this filter in place, the extra fuel is side-tracked into the return line, and the carburetor is starved for what it wants to keep up with the demand. The engine runs “lean”, and begins to heat up. Everything is out-of-whack, just because there isn’t any way that the engine can get enough juice to do its thing!
When I took the OEM filter out and replaced it with the ‘straight-through’ filter supplied with the electric fuel pump, the engine couldn’t find enough hills to prove that it had been rudely blamed and abused. All the power was restored, and I am greatly relieved that I won’t be stranded for THIS reason again. Who knows what the next challenge will be? Today, with fuel injectors working in conjunction with the computer, and no carburetors to be drained of their fuel requirements, as with the problem now solved, there is one less thing to worry about.
That is an advantage to operating a more up-to-date vehicle, I must admit!
I have always owned older vehicles. The last new car I bought was in 1968. I have never been one to change cars, or RVs simply because they have some age on them. It doesn’t make any sense, unless you are trading up, or have changing needs. Check out those ’50s cars still running in Havana!
It has been easier for me, since I do all my own repairs and maintenance. I had early training in automotive repair, and learned as a teenager that the treatment you give the vehicle directly corresponds to the time it will spend in the repair shop.
Jack-rabbit starts and stops, excessive speed, and strain on the engine in adverse conditions spell an early demise! Frequent oil and filter changes, with Slick 50 or Greased Lightning additive do help.
I have converted a number of buses to motorhomes, and in the last 20 years I have converted vans to Class C motorhomes. I had a ’76 Dodge B250 1/2 ton Ram van that I converted to my plan, and ran it for over ten years with only routine maintenance, and not many serious problems. There were a few, but that will be another posting. This is about analyzing the problem that I experienced on that old ’76, and on a newer (old to most of you,I know) 1986 Dodge 3/4 ton that I converted in 1992- through the present day.
Here’s the situation: You are driving on back roads with plenty of hills; typical New England territory. As you start up a medium gradient rise, the engine begins to stumble. If you keep giving it the gas it will die before reaching the top, so you let up a little so that you just make it up and over the top, where the engine recovers its power, and you head for the next uprise.
On one of the cross-country trips in the current Dodge, I had the same problem on Interstate 10 in west Texas, nearing El Paso, then again in southern New Mexico. It happened whenever I went up a long upgrade as I headed into Tucson. Again, as I drove north from Phoenix, through Casa Grande, toward Needles, California. It seemed like classic fuel starvation. I changed the fuel filter and fuel pump two times. I did complete tune-ups; checked the timing and anything else that could have created these occurences. I even tore down the carburetors for cleaning. Whatever I could think of…..but when I got to that next hill, same problem. Ambient temperature seemed to play a part, too. In cold weather I had next to no trouble! But when the engine was hot, it could be predicted.
On one road trip to the south I became so addled that I stopped twice at repair shops where knowing mechanics looked at the log I kept of the situations and conditions, but no one had a fresh idea. It had happened less frequently with my older Dodge that had the 360 cc engine, but was becoming serious with the newer Dodge that has the 318 cc (5.2 liter) lean-burn engine.
CAN YOU GUESS WHAT THE PROBLEM COULD HAVE BEEN??
I was at wit’s end, broken-down on the road, 200 miles from my intended destination, having installed a new ELECTRIC fuel pump and a new OEM FUEL FILTER with no improvement, when the solution came to me after all my ruminations over the years. EUREKA!
(answer in the next posting under Repairs)
On my way to Florida in November I noticed differential oil leaking out of my axle on the right rear of the RV. A bearing failure for sure! I added more oil and hoped for the best, but it continued to come out past the oil seal, and at Myrtle Beach I knew it wasn’t going to make Orlando. I had to go to get my Saturn (Don’t have a tow hitch on this RV) in Kissimmee,FL and return to do the work on the axle.
I put the RV in a storage facility in Port Royal, South Carolina (Parris Island is here), and was lucky enough to find just the right spot, and just the right PEOPLE who manage the site. Working on the vehicle was not to be a problem…..but the bearing was to be a (Port) Royal pain!! I found that a repair bearing had been installed by the last mechanic.
That means that the bearing and oil seal are made into a single unit, instead of a bearing with a separate seal. This is done when there is wear on the axle shaft, and it is necessary for the bearing to come into contact with a better spot on the axle. Odd, because it didn’t have that many miles on it.
Do you think that that thing would come out normally? Guess again. I tried blind-hole pullers with slide hammers after soaking the area in penetrating oil and “blaster”, but all to no avail. I have done this job on a similar dodge rear end (years ago) and couldn’t believe the trouble I was having. Finally, I decided that it would have to be CUT out. I took my Dremel to it, with about 20 cut-off blades before I got the wrecked bearing and race to come free. Then the oil seal part seemed welded to the axle tube.
It wasn’t going to just “pull” out, either. I kept cutting and grinding until there was nothing left.
Inspecting the axle, I could see that the real problem with the leak HAD BEEN because of excessive wear. I could not put this axle back into the differential! With the car as a life-saver, I perused the salvage yards of Charleston and environs. I could remove an axle from one rear end; if I did the job it would be $75. If their personnel did it: $100.
No- brainer. One yard that was recommended to me was on James Island, near Folly Beach, just south of Charleston. Jack, lets call him, didn’t have the right axle, but said he could get one from his contact in Leland, North Carolina. With the shipping and SC tax, the cost would be $134.38. Jack claimed that was THEIR price, he couldn’t go lower and he would only get 10% as the broker! I ordered the axle from him, gave him a non-refundable deposit, and went off to await his call.
In the meantime I continued to search for the axle on line. I came across a site called
Everdrive, which had the right part….FREE shipping, NO tax, inspected to be “true”, and guaranteed for 3 years with two day delivery! I was sick. (These little losses seem to cut me DEEP! ) This would have cost $109. total!
Now, to answer the cynic’s prayer, is the rest of the story. When I went to James Island to pick up the axle, it seemed like a good one….little wear on the shaft, and generally acceptable. I felt better about paying more, and giving Jack his 10% profit.
Then, on the way back to the RV in Port Royal, I noticed that the INVOICE was still in its envelope on the carton. I opened it and revealed the bill to Jack…..$75. ….. with NO shipping charge, and
NO tax (consumer to pay at the end-sale). His 10%……actually was SIXTY PERCENT! OUCH!