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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.

Monday, October 29, 2018

More mechanic work on a rainy day

We spent the day parked at the Home Depot. Not exactly where we like to spend our free time! But, it would have to do while we try to figure out these mechanical problems.

It rained most of the morning, just like they said it would. But then, it cleared up a bit, which was not in the forecast. When it did that, I seized the opportunity to go for a walk to the auto parts store... again!

I pulled one of the spark plugs, and it didn't look great. Pretty carbon covered which says to me that it's been running too rich. And, if I'm going to install the rest of the new plug wires, I might as well change the plugs at the same time... as some of you suggested.

So I left Ruth with Sherman, and set off walking up to the O'Reilly Auto Parts store.

But when I got there, it wasn't there!

They had moved.

I knew that the Napa store was less than a mile further, so I just continued on.

Would you believe, they didn't have any spark plugs in stock that would fit Sherman. I was unimpressed. But, I did buy a fuel filter. Sherman has an inline fuel filter that mounts on the inside of the frame rail near the fuel tank... and to my knowledge, it's never been changed. Couldn't believe they actually had that in stock, and not any spark plugs.

I asked about O'Reilly's and it turns out they moved. Back in the direction I had come from.

So I went there, and bought the spark plugs. AC Delco Platinum. These are the ones I had before the current NGK plugs. I think I liked the AC Delco ones better.

Then, I walked back to Sherman. I ended up doing 4 miles (6.5 kms)! Just lucky that it didn't rain on me!

I went to work changing the plugs. Got the passenger side done and took a lunch break. Not the easiest to get at, but I remembered that from last time.

Finally got the other side done as well, (with minimal knuckle damage!) and went into Home Depot and bought some Seafoam Motor Treatment that comes highly recommended. I poured it in the tank. Not that I'm expecting any miracles, but for $10 or so it won't hurt.

I had a quick look underneath at the fuel filter and it doesn't look like a super easy job. Depends on how easy the fittings loosen up. I think I might pay someone to do that job. Doesn't look like fun having gasoline drip down on me while I try to loosen the fittings. Sounds like a good job for a young guy!

I never did fire him up again, because by this time it was almost 4:00pm. That was enough for that day, and besides which it was happy hour and backgammon time. Ruth went into the Home Depot to check that we were okay to be parked up here another night, and the manager confirmed that it was fine.

So today, we will fire him up, and with fingers crossed we will go put some fuel in the tank because he's almost empty. Again, I'm not expecting any miracles from the things I did yesterday. I think there is likely still something wrong But, I'm giving up on doing any more guessing and I'm going to find a mechanic.

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30 comments:

  1. Do you have a code reader? Basic functional ones are quite cheap these days. I have seen cracked vacuum lines wreak havoc on motors, as well as a bad MAP sensor, assuming you are FI. Best of luck!

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    1. No, I don't have one and I should get one. I've checked the vacuum lines running to the MAP sensor and they seem fine. Have thought the MAP sensor might be the problem... among all the other possibilities!

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  2. Well if nothing else you will have a lot of new parts for Sherman

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, Sherman was in need of a tune-up anyways. Just wish we could find the problem.

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  3. Well crap - I guess it's better to figure out now instead of in Mexico (although their mechanics are cheaper)

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    1. Well yes and no! You are right mechanics are much cheaper there but it may not have been so easy to find the parts that we need, plus we would hold up the rest of the group.

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  4. Gasoline running down your arms into your armpits while dust filters into your eyes is no fun. But that fuel filter shouldn't be as bad as you fear. The line doesn't have any pressure when the engine is off and doesn't dribble too badly when the filter is removed (speaking from experience). Buy two, they're cheap.

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  5. Sounds like no so fun day. Hopefully you will see an improvement in Sherman's performance with the changes you made so far. Enjoy your evening at Home Depot! Hopefully a better day tomorrow.

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    1. No not a fun day, actually it's been a few days now. Hopefully we will get this all sorted out soon and we can get back on the road and doing what we love to do, exploring!

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  6. You might consider a tank of Mid Grade or Higher to clean out any bad fuel between the filter and the Carb.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    Replies
    1. The fuel and fuel line are not the problem, so there really is no point in adding anything to the fuel.

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  7. Had a low speed engine stumble that I ran Seafoam, it improved things, but not perfect. Started running some Chevron Techron concentrate fuel treatment (cheap at Walmart) and it cured the stumble. On the advice of a friend who is a master mechanic he said to also run some Lucas Fuel treatment which also lubes the upper cylinders and fuel pump. I buy the Lucas by the gallon(way cheaper) and use the old Techron bottles to fill tank. So now I add some Lucas every few tanks and some Techron every 4 or so. My MPG went up substantially as well. My Tacoma truck MPG is now, with the 4l V6, as high as 27 mpg per US gallon. Way over the 21mpg sticker estimates.

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    1. Unfortunately this is more than a minor stumble.

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    2. Kevin, Seafoam good gas stabilizer. Drilling rigs depend on it! Kept gas good in toy home while stored. Forgot (uhhh!) add seafoam to 96 Winnebago P30. Found BAD gas (water) BEFORE ran engine. Any EZ way remove gas, w/o dropping tank? Gen pump won't remove final 1/4 tank gas. IF must drop tank, will change sending unit, etc. Feel your frustration Buddy! Boat stumbles, on open water; NEVER while docked! Hope you find TRAINED mechanic, get things sorted ez on wallet! Lack locally trained mechanics here, more problems for rv owner. Dropping gas tank, big DIY project for 1 person.

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    3. Yes, we seemed to have found a good mechanic and we are slowly working through all the options, pretty much carrying on where Kevin left off. At least they have the right tools for the job.

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  8. Troubleshooting can be a long tedious process sometimes. Changing parts one at a time is the only way to do it as that way you know which part failed. Good luck!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, a very frustrating and tedious job! We have now eliminated several possibilities, there's not many options left so hopefully we can get this sorted out today with any luck.

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  9. If your inline fuel filter has never been changed, that may well be the cause of the stumbling and the engine not running smooth. However, the sudden stalling of the engine still sounds like a fuel pump. That engine fuel pressure is significant and when the pump stops pumping fuel, the engine stops! If you can find a shop to test your fuel pump output, under load, that may be prudent to have it done. Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Turns out it is not a fuel problem at all.

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  10. Wow, can't believe you never changed the inline fuel filter - should be done annually or at the least every other year...

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    1. Not necessarily - EFI systems run under enormous pressure. My Toyota Tacoma doesn't even list it as a maintenance item.
      Absolutely think an oscilloscope is needed here... it sounds like ignition problems happening under load. Maybe carbon tracks on distributor cap, or marginal plug wires, or marginal coil.

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    2. It ends up that the problem wasn't related to any of these parts but they got changed anyhow and the fuel filter really did need to be changed, it was well overdue.

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  11. Kevin double check that your new spark plug wires are correct for the firing order of that engine. Its easy to cross wires that are close firing and end up with your kind of issue. Also a good auto shop (read good mechanic) with a scope can analyze engine problems down to valve problems, timing belt/chain issues and Lean or rich carb issues....ad infinitum.
    You have done great work so far Kevin. Maybe you'll get lucky with fuel filter swap.

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    Replies
    1. Firing order is definitely correct. Changing the fuel filter did nothing to fix the problem... although it certainly needed to be changed!

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  12. Techron and a couple others are the only fuel system cleaners with detergents that can survive in the combustion chamber, so I'm told.

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    1. Could be. I think that these types of additives are like vitamin pills... they work if you believe that they do.

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    2. My Toyota owner's manual recommends Top Tier gasolines - those have more detergent. Fuel injector orifices are tiny things that can get plugged.

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    3. PEA (Poly-ether amine) is the detergent I am thinking of - Gumout has one product with it, Techron contains it.

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