Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cleaning up the 454... the after-effect of a crank, no-start issue

So after having such a great set of fast starts on the rig she decides to toss me a crank/no-start issue. Yippee! I had replaced most of the distributor parts last year to clear up any question of start up. Now it seems that I should have done more after 1 year and 900 miles?

My #2 son and I spent an entire weekend working on this issue, removing all the top end parts to get to the carb and other smog components that may have caused issues. We did find a cracked vacuum line that we replaced  to the delight of the engine start.  We also decided that after the RV furnace project that any part that was not looking in tip-top shape should be cleaned and redone to bring it back to the condition is was in during the delivery from the factory.

 All of these pics are from the project where I cleaned off as much of the engine as I could, rust treated the metal and then repainted the engine to prevent any further rust to build up. I still cannot believe how many vacuum lines there are and pumps, belts and all such nonsense to get an engine to run. At the end of the day, I replaced half of the spark plug wires on the right side and in the process shown what else could be upgraded and repaired to improve the operation of the motorhome.

Best Regards,

Working Towards Spring.... Clean up and fixin' stuff....

I am so glad to have the Allegro's furnace rebuilt, installed and WORKING. My #2 son and I managed to blow out all the ducts and re-install them on the furnace unit. If you ever visit me on a very cold night --- go right to the bathroom. This is by FAR the warmest room in the RV. The rest of the RV heats up just fine but when you open the door to the potty room you are welcomed with a warm rush of air that rivals Swedish Saunas.... ok, not that bad but it is much warmer than the rest of the rig.

Along with this final install furnace work we decided that the press-board trim installed on the ceiling was needing replacement. Forget that this trim was double the size it was because it absorbed water and swelled up. We went to Lowe's and bought 1x2 oak trim strips to install. I had to countersink the screw holes nearly 1/2 way into the wood to get them to mount the right way but we got it dun!!
Along with the furnace and trim fixes we tackled the surface rust on the stove hood and surround by grinding all the rust off, treating with converter, and repainting the bits to seal them up for future use. The Allegro is lookin' pretty good this year! We also installed a shadow box display cabinet (look at the first photo) next to the door to store our trinkets for each camping years' worth of memories!! Then it goes into a scrapbook for the kids.

Happy Camping All in 2018!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

All systems normal (not always "go")....

This may not be a picture heavy post but one that links you to a couple of videos I've managed to cobble together on the Suburban furnace project I finally tackled. This RV had a furnace but I never even attempted to fire it up for fear that it would, well, catch on fire. With years of disuse and who-knows-what collecting in the burner, fan unit and other areas it was best to leave it be until I could tackle it this weekend. Glad to say that the result for now is a working furnace that can get the interior up to nearly 90F on a 32F day!! I still have to blow out the flex ducts but the complicated portion of getting the unit out, repaired, cleaned and installed is done.

Check out the two YouTube video links on here for how it was done. It was a collection of short video bits put together over this past weekend so I hope it makes sense and you get some benefit from it. I don't have professional video production on my channel.

I could not believe that even with just filming the critical bits I still wound up with a 22 minute video! The second part is about 14 minutes.

Have fun watching and remember all this fun is free. I  put this up here for fellow Vintage RV'ers looking to keep the older rigs running and it's worth it just getting the looks from folks as you pull into the campground! 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Getting others into the Vintage Club!

This post shows a few photos of an old Winnie RV that one of my fellow Good Old RV's members is considering. He's from Quebec and looking for a fairly specific model Winnebago. Well, I found one in the back roads of Yates County for him and we shall see if this is a workable situation for him. He wanted a "fixer-upper" and he will get one with this RV.

Below are a few pics of the '78 Chieftan that I went to see this past Monday. Not bad for a yard relic and you can tell this has not been abused other than not being kept in a barn.

Most normal people would drive right by this beast without even a second glance but when you get hooked on that retro RV vibe it's hard not to have a sense of nostalgia (my oldest quickly referenced Disney's Witch Mountain from the '70's) and for the younger crowd maybe there is a feeling of things being much simpler back then. Yes, they were in many ways for technology but in a lot of other ways not so much. 

Getting back to the weeks-old CL ad and waiting to hear a reply to the question, "is this still around?" took a couple of days but in the end I got to at least take a tour of what is a basically an RV time capsule. Everything is original in this rig, the cushions, appliances, even down to the Code of Ethics laying on the back couch is there.   The  visit started with me traveling down from work in Penn Yan to the RV site in the south part of the county. Sam, the son of the owner, shows up and we talk a bit and he starts walking through the snow to get into the RV. Unlocked, we get in and I gotta say the fear you have of an old RV is that the "stench" will get you right away. Other than the smell of old shag, plastic and just sitting around that was it. Good sign. No pets, no BAD PETS..... 
As I mentioned, everything was as it was when is parents decided that this was not a priority and left it on their property until such time they could hop back in and travel. Inspection sticker on the windshield is dated 1994. I think, "hmm, not that long ago" and then I do the math... 24 years ago. One year before I got married (crap! that long?) This rig is a great example of what Winnebago was offering for 1978. You could clean this up and have a pretty good vintage RV.

Now the question remains: the drivetrain. The engine is the 440 V8 with the 727 3 speed Tourqueflight transmission. Not a bad combo for the year. The engine has a 4 bbl carb (looks like a Carter). and all the bits look like they have not be abused at all.

 This was found on the back couch and I've uploaded a PDF version of this for use by anyone interested in putting it up in their RV or giving out copies. Good stuff. Wish more would read this and follow what is just simple and plain advice.

With this trip if a vintage RV can get some new life on the road then that's terrific! Too many of these rigs were sold and owners dreamed of all the road trips only to have life, family and jobs rob them of getting out there and experiencing what is not always an 'incident free' vacation. Hey, sometimes it is the bumps in the road that build character!!!

Have a great time planning, fixing and dreaming of that next trip and remember that it's not the destination but the way you got there that really counts.....
The Vintage RV'er.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Spring should be coming.... preparing for 2018 camping season!

Lot's to do as all RV folks will tell you! Some of the projects I am posting up here and on the YouTube channel are: (gosh! A colon, so you know he's serious!!)

1) troubleshooting of the Dometic RM2800 fridge along with the freebie Dometic Americana unit with recall/ LP issues;
2) Troubleshooting on the coach battery setup and wiring;
3) troubleshooting on the rough start up and initial running on the 454;
4) troubleshooting on the RV furnace....

There seems to be a common thread with all of these....

In any case there is always something to work on and if there wasn't you'd wonder what the heck you missed! The one that has me worried the most is the electrical one with the coach battery. It's like running water going somewhere and I don't know where! I dread trying to trace wires through, under and all over to figure out what is going on.

The furnace really looks like a clean out and get it started issue since little furry friends packed the "squirrel cage" fan area full of clippings. Ironic that it's called that... The engine issue looks like a tune-up one but the extra carbon blasted out of the right side has me wondering if I need to start pulling plugs on that side to find out which cylinder is not working so well. It also feels like it's missing on one during start up. The videos I am working on... oh! I forgot my other project! The Onan genset rehash. The wiring and such on the Onan has been cobbed together for years now. Finally tired of seeing it like this. Hoping to have a donor genset soon to get this one up and running right and original.
Cracked starter solenoid that i bought a year or so ago, starter and run relays NOA, fuses cobbed from the auto shop. Time to get serious! All wires are white which helps soooo much to trace stuff to where it needs to be.... more later. Always!

UPdate: Issue #2 is a bad WalMart battery! Only testing at 6 volts so no wonder it couldn't charge right. I had an older charger on it and my new one along with my tester shows 6 volts and a fault in the battery. Guess I'm taking that one back.