Ruth, with our friend Andrei at the Orheiul Vechi Historical Complex at Trebujeni, Moldova. Photo taken December 2, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Whenever I work under the motorhome, I think of my grandmother...

So yesterday I changed the fan clutch on our motorhome.

I had read a few stories online of other people who have done them, and it was described as a "knuckle busting operation". It's really quite simple on most vehicles because you can access the area. On a motorhome...it's not so simple.

Many brands of motorhomes were built on the Chevrolet P30 chassis. But each brand is built a little differently. So to change the fan clutch is pretty much the same on each one, but each one might have different levels of ease of access. I had a look underneath, but there is a big frame crossmember in the way. The only way to get access that way is to unbolt the frame crossmember and loosen the brake lines off of it. Then remove the bottom portion of the fan shroud. Looks like a major operation.

So I went in from the top.

The engine is under the "doghouse".

I had to remove the breather, and then I could reach my hands in towards the radiator.

It was hard to get at. I had changed the main serpentine belt about five years ago, and the alternator another time...so I know how tight the working space is. But the fan clutch is the furthest in.

I reached in with the camera. The fan clutch is that silver thing with the fins on it. You can see one of the bolts that holds the fan blade to the clutch.

There are only eight, half inch bolts holding it all together. Four that hold the blade to the clutch, and four that hold that assembly to the front of the waterpump and pulley. But you can't get at any of them with a ratchet and socket, so you have no choice but to use a 1/2" box end wrench.

So, picture that I am crouched (pretty much lying) on top of the engine, reaching in with one hand on the wrench, and the other hand trying to hold the fan blade from spinning. Of course there's no room to get enough leverage on anything to get the bolts to loosen.

I ended up welding an extension on to the wrench to get more leverage. And then I stuck a pipe in through the alternator bracket and up against the fan blade and worked on the four bolts holding the fan to the clutch. Slowly one at a time, they broke loose. Very hard on the hands, the back, the knees, and the back of your legs. Had to take a break after each one.

I left one bolt in loose holding the blade to the clutch, then worked on the four holding the assembly to the pulley. Gladly, these turned out to be nuts on studs so that I didn't have to loosen the belts on the pulley. They came loose fairly easily, however I pulled the wire off the coil and used the starter to crank the engine over just enough to bring each nut to the top so I had easier access.

Then, carefully brought the clutch out, leaving the fan blade behind.

I compared the old with the new to make sure it was the right one. Some are sold with reverse flow, and they have an arrow on the front indicating the flow direction.

And then I reversed the procedure to put it all back together.

I had planned on tightening up the power steering belt while I had it all apart, but my hands and legs were too sore. That will have to wait for another day. I don't think it's going to cause us a problem, it just squeals for a few seconds sometimes when I start it up on a cold morning because it's not tight enough.

Then, I tested the fan clutch. I let it warm up completely, and slowly drove Sherman up the entrance hill to the park. This was enough to warm it up and sure enough near the top of the hill I heard the fan clutch engage. The problem with the old one was that it was stuck in the engaged position.

Boy, I'm glad that's done!

These are tough jobs sometimes, but I get a lot of satisfaction doing it myself. Plus, I'm a lot cheaper than a mechanic!

Now, why do I think of my grandmother when I work under the motorhome?

This old quilt has been around a long time!

It used to belong to my grandmother. I can't remember how we ended up with it. But it was in pretty rough shape, and rather than throw it out I decided it would make for a good ground sheet when I need to do something underneath the motorhome. So, whenever I get out that quilt and crawl under there, I think of my grandmother!

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27 comments:

  1. Way to go Kevin! I had a feeling this was not got to be an easy job. I had even thought you might have had to remove motor mounts to move the motor!

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    1. Nope not an easy job but it did go a little better than Kevin figured. His muscles are still sore even today.

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  2. Oy! Certainly beyond my skill set at this point in the game. I've done a few things, including complete engine swap outs, but I wouldn't tackle that one for love nor money. Nicely done. Now break out the liniment.

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    1. The task itself isn't a hard one if it was on a car but definitely not so easy on a motorhome. He could have used some liniment or at least a hot tub after that!

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  3. Another job well done, they sure don't make these rv's easy to work on thats for sure.

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  4. Oh wow....owning your grandmother's motorhome. What a treat.

    Great job, Kevin. Not too many people would have even attempted the job.

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    1. No, the quilt used to belong to my grandmother...not the motorhome...lol.

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    2. Marsha is soooooo blond at times....JEESH! (Paul)

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    3. Oh for Pete Sake...glad you two got a good laugh at my expense. lol Paul just thinks it is a hoot I thought the MH was your grandma's. Good grief I hate getting old!

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    4. No worries Marsha, I think we have all done something similar in our lifetime, I know that I certainly have. :-)

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  5. I am impressed:) I doubt I would try that except if was stuck somewhere. Great way to keep your Grandmother in your thoughts.

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    1. It certainly helps when you have the tools at hand and a place to work on it, plus lots of determination. That quilt has been used a lot of the years, first by the children, then by Whiskey and now with the motorhome, it's nice having memories of her every time we see that quilt.

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  6. I bet grandma would be proud to know you still use the quilt no matter what use it has. Good job on the fan clutch! I gotta hand it to you.

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  7. My husband is an aircraft mechanic & can relate to those hard to reach places. And the words that go along with those hard to reach places! It must feel good to have that job behind you and be about ready to take off. It seems like yesterday you arrived at the park. Times sure flies anymore.

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    1. Yep, I bet he can relate and no doubt, Kevin would have uttered a few of those words as he was working on this!

      Wow, we can't believe how fast the summer flew by! Looking forward to getting out on the road again.

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  8. Nice---just think of the hundreds of dollars you saved by doing the job yourself!

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    1. He may be sore from that but yes, he is smiling knowing that he saved a bunch of money doing it himself. That and the fact that he knows it was done right!

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  9. Prime example why shops charge extra to work on Motorhomes. Nice job.

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    1. Yes, they deserve that "danger" pay! Image having to work on engines like that every single day of the week, not a job Kevin would want, that is for sure.

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  10. Loved the way you remember your Grandmother and that you shared this with us

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  11. Good job Kevin. I like seeing repair posts.

    I have a similar blanket for working on. I can't remember where it came from, my wife just says I've always had it.

    intothetransporter.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Dale! We think that by doing the repair posts it may help another RVer sometime down the road. Even though it may not be on the same type of rig, the process will be similar and it would give someone an idea on whether they would want to tackle the job themselves or not.

      Nice to hear that you have a similar blanket as well.

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