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Nice drive to Reno, Nevada yesterday.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Reno, Nevada.

Where are they going next? South, towards Death Valley National Park.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A little frustrated...

We got on the road yesterday morning to try to make it to Aberdeen, Washington... a distance of about 75 miles (120 kms). With Sherman not running properly, we honestly didn't know if we would make it. But the alternative was to call roadside assistance. We figured that if we drove, the worst case scenario would be that we have to call roadside assistance anyhow.

So off we went.

He fires up fine, and runs well cold. And at highway speeds, seems to run not bad, with the occasional spit and sputter.



Scenery along the way.

Going through one small town, we had to slow down to 45 mph (70 km/h), and I thought he was going to die on us. But then things cleared up and for the next while he seemed to be running normally.

It's very intermittent.

Then, pulling into Hoquiam (right beside Aberdeen), he was sputtering again. We were now close enough that if I had to I could ride my bike into town to get parts. So I was looking for somewhere suitable to park. We ended up pulling into a big level parking lot of a flooring store. And just as we did so, Sherman's engine died and we coasted into a parking spot.

We went in and explained our problem to the flooring store, and they said we could stay there as long as we needed to.

The closest auto parts store was a Napa store about a mile (1.6 kms) away. We set off walking, but didn't bring the camera.

They had the parts in stock that I wanted. I bought a new ignition coil, a new ignition control module, and a new distributor stator pickup. Total cost $141 USD ($190 CAD).

Just as we got back to Sherman, it started raining.

View from where we were parked at the flooring store.

Back at Sherman, I played mechanic for a couple of hours. Of course nothing is as easy as it should be. For example, the coil is mounted on a bracket. But the new coil doesn't come with the bracket, you have to re-use the old one. But the old bracket is riveted to the coil and so I had to drill out the rivets without damaging the bracket. The new one comes with new bolts to use instead of rivets.

At least I can work where it's warm and dry!

I got the coil and the ignition control module done, but the stator pickup is a more difficult job. You actually have to remove the distributor and dismantle it and then time the engine... so I have not changed that for now.

I turned the key... and he instantly fired right up! Idling smooth as a bell!

We let him warm up for 10 minutes or so, and with everything looking good we started to exit the parking lot.

As we got to the exit... he promptly sputtered and died!

I managed to get him fired up again, and we limped the short distance to the Home Depot. It's a little quieter here than the flooring store, and we have free wifi. :-)

Just a little frustrated.

The problem is that lots of different things can cause the symptoms Sherman is exhibiting. And, while I know a fair bit about automotive mechanical stuff... I am not a mechanic! And, I have limited tools and diagnostic equipment.

And, I'm getting tired of throwing parts at a problem without knowing for sure what's causing the problem. So today, I'm going to finish changing the spark plug wires, seeing as I have them anyhow. And I'm going to check the spark plugs (which have 20,000 miles on them), but I honestly don't think that's the problem.

And then, I'm going to call a mobile mechanic guy here in Aberdeen. Sometimes, you just need to call a professional.

Yesterday's drive, 74 miles (118 kms).

Not the greatest sleep at the Home Depot. It rained really hard at one point during the night and there was some kind of machine running for an hour or so at some point. But, that's what you get when you overnight at a big box store. At least it's better than the Walmart would have been.

Pouring rain on and off all day today. Temperature about 14C (57F).

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Nice price drop on the green color of the Clam Quick Set Pop Up Gazebo Shelter.

And in Canada...



24 comments:

  1. Crossing my fingers all gets repaired. It is frustrating with not knowing exactly what is wrong with a vehicle. I know nothing of cars engines and other components so you are one up on me in at least diagnosing what could be wrong. But I have a feeling you may have bought defective gas (poor gas). It just seems odd Sherman would act up one day when it was operating just fine the day before. Hoping all goes well with Sherman.

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    1. P.S. or something is getting moisture when it should be dry....with all that rain and fog.

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    2. Things will get repaired it is just a matter of when! It is frustrating but we are working on it, and yes there are so many things that it could be and diagnosing it can be and issue. Sherman, didn't just start acting up, he did this before when we arrived into Hope back in September as well, so we really don't think that it is "bad" fuel but it is possible that it might be related to a moisture problem because it was a wet day that day as well.

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  2. Geraldine reminded me - this is EXACTLY to a T what happened 1st time went to Mexico. ANd I like you, changed same parts & more.....ONLY to find out was ECM! Limped to PV to repair shop; was told could fix problem! BC of trouble diagnosing this - still unsure - Mex gentleman, proudly pulled his ECM off his truck & put into ours (matched) .....ran perfect! Camped in nice enclosed fort like repair shop/owner's house. ECM rebuilt PERFECTLY! COst $50 vs $500 US! Good Luck...some things really hard to diagnose; hit & miss! This MAN knew - you met him, owner of RV park in LaCruz - sent us there be his truck did SAME thing! We had limped the last few hours to LaCruz, originally!

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    1. Holy crap, ECM rebuilt and it works perfectly? That's not a mechanic, that's a miracle worker. Speaking as a former mechanic.

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    2. Yep, the mechanics in Mexico are miracle workers, Criegh. You would be surprised at what they can do, especially if they don't have or can't get the parts. They hate throwing things out.

      Glad you got your issue resolved Pat, hopefully we will get ours solved soon as well. We have definitely been looking at all our options and I think if what Kevin did yesterday doesn't work, we will be looking for a mechanic rather that just throwing more money into what "might" be the problem.

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  3. You have kept your repair costs down a lot over time by doing most jobs yourself but like you say, sometimes you have to call in the pros!

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    1. Yes, we really have and all things considered other than regular normal maintenance and replacing tires we really haven't spent that much on Sherman over the years. It seems that this year is our catch up year for repairs! ;-)

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  4. Let's see, I will weigh in and say coil and/or the rest of the spark plug wires youy are putting on. Good idea to toss in new plugs at the same time. They're cheap and if you got 20,000 miles on the old ones, why not?

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    1. We already changed the coil and that didn't make a difference. We will see how today goes, now that Kevin as swapped out the spark plugs and the rest of the wires. Our fingers are crossed but Kevin isn't all that hopeful.

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  5. Vapor lock?? Rain!! Thats we moved from that side of the mountains!Hope all gets fixed!

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    1. We have definitely thought about the moisture causing the problem, so Kevin put in a fuel treatment additive to help correct that problem, if that might have been the issue. It is also possible that the moisture could be affecting something else as well. It is really hard to diagnose these things. If we are still having problems today then we will get a mechanic to have a look.

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  6. I believe your motor has a Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF). When it gets dirty, the motor will run like crap. It is very easy to clean. It should be located in the intake air just after the air filter. Any decent auto parts store should have a spray can of cleaner made just for MAF cleaning. Should only take about 15 minutes to take it out and spray it clean. If it is VERY dirty, you can take a Q tip and VERY GENTLY clean the 3 (or 4) sensing wires on the MAF. With a little bit of luck, this might be the problem. Good Luck, we are rooting for you.
    Chris

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    Replies
    1. Sherman does not have a MAF sensor, however he does have a MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor that does something like the same thing.

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  7. Replies
    1. We don't think so because it isn't happening all the time but who knows! Kevin changed out a few more things yesterday and put in a fuel additive that is supposed to help if there is moisture in the fuel tank and if these things don't work then we will look for a mechanic. :-(

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  8. We did the MAF sensor on a trip to the south of our state when we had the Pathfinder. Found the part on Ebay and it did the trick. I know Sherman doesn't have one but it was pretty much the same thing. We made it home before the part did.

    It can be frustrating and it creates lots of uncertainty. Hang in there.

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    1. Thanks Chris, we are hanging in there but the thread is getting thinner! ;-)

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  9. I know you probably checked a lot . But if you have a spark plug tester put that between the coil and the distributor started it up. And try to bring your RPM down as low as possible almost just before stall
    You may be able to see and abnormality in the flash sequence
    You could do the same thing to each individual spark plug (directly from the spark plug)
    I'm sure you checked the distributor cap for hair line cracks and ruled that out
    Is your engine equipped with a cam or crank sensor they usually make it runner ruff but not skip ?
    If you suspect any moisture CRC spray is good for that type a problem
    The last thing I would look at is (possible loose wire chafed wire for poor ground )trace the wires from the distributor and sensors as far back as you can go to the ignition switch. my reasoning is. when you're sitting at idle it runs fine nothing is moving on the vehicle. when you start to move it's Acts up
    Do you have any vacuum hoses they run to the distributor ?

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    1. I changed the plugs today and finished installing the extreme temperature wires. And, I replaced the distributor cap and rotor the other day.

      No, there is no crank or camshaft position sensor on this engine. That didn't start until the 96 model year and Sherman is a 1995.

      There are no vacuum hoses to the distributor. Only to the MAP sensor... which may very well be bad. But, I'm done guessing.

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  10. Sorry to hear of your problems. Do you think it might have been precipitated by your travels this summer up the Yukon? I was about a week behind you guys for most of the summer and now that I've been home for a month and a half I have found so much that has broken or worn on my trailer that it's just unbelievable. It was a great trip but very hard on my equipment.

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    1. That trip was DEFINITELY hard on Sherman! I agree with your statement "It was a great trip but very hard on my equipment."

      He has a lot more squeaks and rattles than he ever did before, and we're certain it's related to that trip up to the Arctic Ocean. Again... were glad we did it, but it was rough going!

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  11. Sometimes it is better to just pay the money and have this issues diagnosed and repaired, good luck.

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    1. Well, if what Kevin did to Sherman yesterday doesn't work then we will get a mechanic. If nothing else, Sherman just got a really good tune-up done in the process.

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