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I finally removed the black water tank and repaired a crack. The drain lines were way too short so I extended them and added three new grommets. I repaired the crack by using a special hot iron I picked up on Ebay. It came with everything you needed to hot weld cracks shut, including stainless steel mesh and two types of plastic sticks for melting onto the cracks. I got a piece of diamond plate and cut it a bit larger than the tank, then added a piece of rubber foam to keep the tank from being scratched. Bolting the whole thing up, I guided the lines into their respective grommets until the top of the tank was flush with its ceiling. Nice and tight now. I then installed new drain valves and tied them from the tank using a rubber elbow and clamps. Nice and tight and leak free, finally.
I hit the exhaust system next. I decided and after much research that the original exhaust manifolds were the best choice for my application. The old hedders were all cracked and really rusty so they had to go. I added a steel flex tube to the passenger side exhaust and connected it to the existing exhaust pipe and muffler. Installed new exhaust hangers everywhere, as the exhaust was being held up by chicken wire and straps. The exhaust is nice and tight now. Same for the drivers side exhaust, good as new and super quiet.
I performed an audit of the engine compartment to see what was still working and what was missing. The EVAP system was a mess.
The purpose of the EVAP system is to capture fuel vapors from the fuel tank and carb bowl that would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere. The vapors are captured in the Vapor Canister and are absorbed by charcoal pellets until released into the carb while the engine is running during certain conditions.
Assuming that the canister has a purge valve and a Carb Bowl valve, connections of the canister are as follows:
Fuel Tank Vent Line- Connects to the fuel tank and brings vapors to the canister.
Carb Bowl Vent Line- Connects to the carb bowl vent on the carburetor and brings vapors to the canister. You can plug this line if your carb does not have a carb bowl vent.
Carb Bowl Vent Valve N/O- Connects to the PCV vacuum line and closes when vacuum is produced as the engine starts. You can plug this line if your carb does not have a carb bowl vent.
Purge Vent Line- Is Tee'd into the PCV vacuum line and is the PRIMARY WAY fuel vapors are sent to the engine for burning.
Purge Valve N/C- Connects to the Ported Vacuum Line on the carb and is what opens the purge valve which vents vapors into the PCV line. It connects to the EGR/Purge TVS Valve first so no purge happens until the engine warms and the throttle opens.
Some setups have a secondary canister tied to the primary canister for extra capacity. My setup has this extra canister.
A hose runs from the Ported Vacuum Port of the Carburetor to the EGR/Purge TVS Thermostatic Valve. This valve is located on the front of the intake manifold next to the coolant bypass hose. Next, a line coming from the Thermostatic valve attaches the Purge Valve and EGR Valve. Next, the Purge Vent Line, as well as the Carb Bowl Vent Valve attach to the PCV hose tee. The air supply line, if so equipped, connects to the second canister or to the filter housing above the carb. This line provides a source of air supply to the canister for when the canister vents its vapors into the engine. If no air supply line exists, then an air supply plug or flap is located on the canister, generally located on top of the canister.
The Ported Vacuum Line is also attached to port 2 on the 4 port EFE/Distr TVS Thermostatic Valve, then port 1 runs to the timing advance of the Distributor. The two top ports may be left open or plugged if there is no EFE valve on your engine.
When the engine starts, a vacuum is applied to the Carb Bowl Vent Valve by way of the PCV line, closing the carb bowl vent. After the engine warms, the EGR/Purge TVS opens, vacuum signal is allowed to pass to the Purge Valve and EGR Valve allowing it to open whenever the throttle is opened beyond it's idle position. Venting starts and continues until the throttle plate closes and the engine is at idle. At this point, no more venting is allowed and the EGR valve closes until the throttle is once again opened. The carb bowl vent valve remains closed until the engine is shut off, losing vacuum and opening the valve. Remember that the EVAP system is variable and is subject to the ever changing vacuum the engine produces.
The Ported Vacuum Advance of the Distributor also loses its vacuum so there is no advance and goes to 4 degrees BTDC or whatever the timing was set for.
If your system is old like mine was, it's a good idea to replace the canister, the EGR Valve, both thermostatic valves and all associated hoses. The canister filter will break down and allow debris to enter the carburetor and clog things up so remember to replace the canister.
If the Carb Bowl Vent Valve gets stuck open, then the Carb Bowl will be at a negative pressure and not allow fuel to pass into the jets, causing a rough running engine or the engine to shut off.
If the Purge Vent Valve doesn't open, then the EVAP system will not function. Eventually the canister gets saturated with vapors and you may start smelling gas fumes.
If the EGR Thermostatic valve doesn't open, then the EVAP system and the EGR will both be rendered inoperative.
Its a good idea to invest in a hand operated vacuum pump for testing your vacuum system.
If your Emissions hose wiring diagram is in place, by all means follow the hose wiring diagram for that vehicle.
If your system has been hacked to pieces like mine was, then you may not have all the emission components in place. I could not even find the Emissions hose wiring diagram for my RV, and the EVAP hoses were just laying on top of the engine, disconnected. The Thermostatic valves were not connected to anything and the vacuum advance and EGR were disconnected. Hedders were installed and one of the air pumps had been removed. The other air pump was there but had no hoses running from it.
I started by testing what was left. First I tested both Thermostatic valves. With the engine running, I connected my hand vacuum pump to the EGR/Purge TVS Thermostatic valve and applied a vacuum to one of the two ports. As the engine warmed, the Thermostatic valve opened and I lost vacuum on my hand vacuum pump. The valve was good.
Next I tested the four port EFE/Distr TVS Thermostatic valve. The two top ports are normally open to each other and are used for the Early Fuel Evaporation EFE valve that closes the right exhaust and forces all exhaust to travel thru the exhaust bypass of the intake manifold and out the left exhaust manifold and is use is to aid in the rapid heating of the intake and engine. The two ports close as the engine warms and disables the EFE valve. There is a Check Valve between the Manifold Vacuum Line and the EFE/Distr TVS Thermostatic valve.
The two bottom ports act differently. Port 1 is open to atmosphere and port 2 is closed and won't pass vacuum until the engine warms which opens port 1 and 2 to each other and closes it's atmosphere vent. Its use is for the Distributor Vacuum Advance and includes the Distributor Delay Valve and some piping. The valve worked perfectly.
I tested the EGR valve and it opens and closes its port. It looks original so I will replace it but I may not hook it up.
Next I tested the canister and found the Purge Valve leaking and unable to hold vacuum. No problem since I was going to replace it anyway. So I will be investing in a new canister ($50) and some new hoses, hooking it all up following my instructions and Voalla, the EVAP system will be back up and running again, and no smelly gas fumes.
If your air pump system is missing and you live in a state that test vehicles for emissions, your vehicle will not pass. Luckily most of these parts are readily available, allowing you to bring your vehicle back into compliance.
Parts are available online, just do a search on the part number if known. You can also go to gmpartsgiant.com and do a search. Also check Ebay, Amazon and RockAuto.
What I'm really going to do is eliminate the EGR valve, set the timing to 10 degrees before top dead center and run the vacuum advance line directly from the distributor to the un-ported vacuum source of the carburetor. This is because at idle, the air/fuel mixture is very lean and it takes extra time to burn that lean mixture, hence the 10" BTDC. Plus add in high manifold vacuum to the advance and you end up with 25" BTDC, plenty of time to burn that lean mixture and keep the engine cool. At high throttle loads, the vacuum advance is not as effective and just the Distributor weights and springs adjust the timing based on RPM.
I also ordered an oil separator for the PCV line to keep oil from entering the intake manifold and fouling up the intake valves. Anything you can do to keep dirty exhaust soot and oil out of the intake is a hell of a good thing for the motor. You only want to introduce clean fuel and air into your motor so the intake can stay nice and clean.
You should experiment with the timing to see what works best for your engine. Try a higher timing until you hear the engine start to ping and bring it back a bit till the pinging stops and you should be all set. check the timing again at high RPM, 3000 or better until the advance stops and that will be your total timing.
The idea behind setting the timing to 4 degrees BTDC was to lower emissions by using air pumps to inject fresh air into the exhaust manifold to complete burning of the un-burned fuel thereby lowering the emissions. It worked but was a stop gap until the Catalytic Converter was introduced and used to do the same thing. The 454 is a good engine and capable of 500 HP with the right combination of timing and carb tuning. By removing all the emissions junk, the engine gains huge performance and runs better and cooler.
This is all a moot point if you live in a state that tests for emissions. Just bring the system back to operation and forgetaboutit.
Make sure your starter has the shield installed to protect it from all that heat. That goes for hedder owners too. My new starter didn't last too long because of the heat. I also wrapped all electrical lines from the starter with insulating wrap. My distributor advance was also getting stuck so I replaced it with a new one and set the timing.
Adjusting your carburetor:
If your carburetor has fuel mixture screws then adjust them like this: After insuring the timing is correct and the engine RPM is set around 700, find the two adjusting screws at the front of the carb. Adjust the first screw in until the engine RPM starts to drop, then back it off half a turn. Do the same to the other screw. This creates a lean idle mixture. For a rich mixture, adjust the first screw out until the engine RPM drops then turn it back in half a turn. Do the same to the other screw.
You'll still need the EVAC system operating though, to capture unburned fuel vapors. That is its only function and will not have a detrimental effect on engine performance.
Next came the valve lifters. I first set top center on the number piston and disconnected the battery. I removed the distributor and the carburetor next. Out came the remaining air pump and I disconnected the fan and clutch from the water pump. Belts were removed and the A/C pump and Alternator were removed. Next came all the supporting brackets holding the various removed parts. The water pump is behind those brackets so they have to come off. There was one more belt around the main drive shaft pulley and hydraulic pump and I’m catching hell trying to remove it with it being so low. I’ll try and loosen the hydraulic pump bolts from under the RV and remove the belt that way.
So a new shorter serpentine belt will have to be ordered because the old belt went around the now removed air pump. I found the number for the correct belt here on the forum so I will order one and try it. (Gates K060514)
Poking around the engine compartment, I found another temperature transmitter connected to the upper radiator hose. The hose was cut in half and a brass coupling with a side threaded port was added. Two wires come out of it, one is a ground and the red wire goes up behind the dash and I’m assuming goes to the dash temperature gauge. The gauge always reads high so I suspect the sensor is bad. I”m also assuming that power is applied to one side of the temperature gauge and the other side runs down to the sensor and based on temperature, resistance is either added or taken away to ground, affecting the pointer on the gauge.
I attacked the radiator next, not that I wanted to but that I had to. It was leaking so it had to go. First I removed the electric fan for the engine oil cooler then disconnected the oil cooler and removed it. Next came the transmission oil cooler, removing it’s fan and pushing the cooler to the right and out of the way. I removed the filler neck and then started work on removing the A/C condenser, removing every bolt and screw I could find until the sucker was loose, undoing two hoses, I manhandled the fan section until it came out followed by the condenser, finally exposing the radiator. It was an ugly site indeed. The radiator had been repaired with epoxy and also the filler neck had epoxy that was flaking off. There are four bolts that hold the upper part of the cradle. Two bolts on the right side of the RV are easy to get to. The left side bolts require you to get under the vehicle and with the tire turned to the left, I crawled under and sat with my back against the tire to get to those two bolts. Anyway I lifted the radiator up with two big screwdrivers and slid the bottom out of its cradle and down and away, turned it to one side and out the front it came, easy peasy.
I’m looking at aluminum radiators as a replacement and I hear they can be up to 35 percent more efficient so I think I’ll go that route and without the A/C condenser, the engine should run nice and cool. I’m thinking about re-installing the condenser cooling fans as an extra measure of protection. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.
So there it was in all its glory, the dreaded Harmonic Balancer. I might as well pull it and the timing cover to inspect the chain. I’m glad I did as the chain was loose and had that funky nylon sprocket. Anyway out came the sprockets and chain. I had set Top Dead Center on the number one cylinder so the two dots on the sprockets were at 12 o’clock. You can bring both dots together and cylinder six will be at top dead center.
Well I need a new tool to install the bottom sprocket as it is a pressed fit. I kinda knew that when I had to use a puller to remove the old sprocket. So I’m looking on Ebay and online and those tools are not cheap, costing 60 dollars for a kit and another 40 dollars for the socket. Maybe I’ll go to Advance or NAPA to see if I can borrow one.
Anyway the hardest part of this job is scraping the old gasket off. What a pain in the ass. And I have to scrape the old gasket off the two water pump mating surfaces as well. Don’t let the gasket scrapings get into the oil pan so use a rag to cover any openings.
If you’re going to be working anywhere around the engine, and if your RV is old like most of our RV’s on here are, it is a good idea to just go for it and change out everything attached to the engine. I don’t know about you guys, but I hate getting stuck on the highway because of a dumb old belt or a stupid radiator hose and having to deal with an unscrupulous repair shop. It’s just a nightmare for me. Yes I can be anal sometimes, that’s why I’m replacing everything, timing chain and sprockets, radiator, alternator, water pump, fan clutch, hydro pump and hoses, fuel pump, hoses and belts, thermostat, and getting rid of the A/C compressor and condenser. And don’t forget about the engine itself. I’m replacing all valve lifters and have already replaced the distributor. I removed the remaining air pump, replaced the old hedders with exhaust manifolds, set the timing to 10 degrees BTDC, removed the EGR and blanked off the ports and tuned the carb.
And it never ends:
I want to change out the differential fluid and am eyeing the drive shaft to bring it up to speed. And while I’m at it, the emergency brake will be scrutinized. The rear A/C is all rusted out and needs replacement. I need four more tires replaced as the old ones are 17 years old. The Tag Axle breaks will have to be looked at as the right brake cylinder won’t bleed. I’ve already looked at the system and have added new fluid and bled the left side. Lucky for me the brake modulator is still working but am looking for a suitable replacement. I hear a tiny shaft seal leaks and can suck brake fluid into the intake manifold. So far the vacuum line is dry.
Money is the big thing holding me back, or lack of money that is. That Florida trip is getting further and further away. I may have to take short trips to test the systems and break them in before my confidence builds enough and we just go.
I received the aluminum radiator, it was a fine piece of molded and welded metal, I just stared at it for hours, measuring and dry fitting it. Knowing that I had to have it modified a little, I started calling around the few remaining radiator shops. One had it’s phone disconnected and the other shop didn’t know how to weld aluminum. I was going to have the filler neck cut and welded shut and mount the filler nipple in front just like the original one to make it easy to fill. So now I went to plan “B” cutting a square on the top cradle above where the filler neck was. Using my Dremel tool with a cutting wheel attached, I quickly cut out a square hole. Perfect. The filler neck passed right thru and the cap can be easily removed. I’m so excited cause that radiator will work perfectly with that 454. I almost went electric fans on the sucker but was unsure about the air currents around the exhaust manifolds so I went with the original engine driven fan but with a new fan clutch. I’m reinstalling the A/C electric fans as a backup.
My thoughts on oil coolers is that some are installed incorrectly with the connections pointing down. With the exception of Tube and Fin Coolers, the lines should be pointing up. Well how do you get the air out of them? Most will be air bound causing a drop in efficiency. If the lines are pointing up, all entrapped air is allowed to escape so the entire coil is utilized for cooling. My oil cooler lines were facing down but will be reinstall with the lines facing up.
I was fortunate enough to find that the Galley Oil Plugs had holes already drilled out so the timing chain will have plenty of lubrication.
The installation of the chain and sprocket is pretty straightforward but you will need a sprocket and harmonic balancer installation tool to press the crank sprocket and press the harmonic balancer back into place. Once the sprocket is in place, the cam sprocket and chain can be installed but you will have to move the cam slightly in order to get the chain to mate with both sprockets and the cam. The chain will be very tight and there’s little wiggle room. It took me 4 or 5 tries before the cam sprocket finally fell into place on the cam. I added thread locker to all three bolts and tightened them down to 23 foot pounds.
Now time for the shiney chrome timing chain cover. After ruining two seals because I was trying to install them backwards, I ordered another timing gear seal kit from RockAuto. It was cheap enough, around 11 dollars including shipping.
And while I wait for the seal:
Time to install the fuel pump- hesitant at first because of all the fuel that was going to leak out, after disconnecting two hoses and a metal fuel line, not much came out. I unbolted the sucker and out it came. Removed that plug holding the push rod and it just slid right out, just like everyone said it would. Wiped it clean, lathered it all up with elbow grease and slit it back in. It held long enough for me to install the new fuel pump and new hoses and clamps. Of course having the radiator out makes it so much easier to work on the front of the engine. That’s why, replace everything!
I’m eye balling that EVAP canister too. It’s right there and easy to replace. One of the valves has come apart revealing a spring and orange bellows. 50 dollars at RockAuto plus vacuum hoses.
But first I’m really thinking about replacing the cam, as I heard that you have to replace the cam as well as the lifters as one whole unit. Something about the cam and lifters mating to each other and that you never install new lifters without replacing the cam too, and vice versa, you don’t replace the cam without replacing the lifters too.
So now the chain and cam sprocket will have to be removed, valve covers removed, intake manifold removed, rocker arms loosened and valve lifters removed in order to slide the cam out. But it won’t slide out until you remove the fuel pump and push rod as that push rod occupies the very first lobe on the cam. The cam is just sitting there so a few long bolts attached to the cam and wiggle it and pull it out, easy. The cam and lifter kit are less than $80.00 dollars from RockAuto. I think I’ll go for it. The cam and lifter kit is the ENGINETECH ECK774. I might as well replace the push rods and rocker arms too since I’m going to already be in there. I’ll need some Engine Break-In Oil and have settled on Driven Break-In Oil. Ordered 8 quarts from Summit and some incidentals like intake manifold gaskets, gasket sealer, new bolts and washers and other stuff.
I just hope it’s not rod knock, but I’ll only find out after replacing the cam and lifters, and putting everything back together again. If it is, I give up and will throw a crate engine in there. I’m not sure how I will accomplish that being I’m only a back yard mechanic and do not have the proper lifting equipment.
Well I cleaned and painted the old intake manifold so I could make a judgment call on weather I should replace it with a new and expensive aluminum Edelbrock intake manifold, and after that paint job, the original intake manifold looks beautiful. It’s gonna be a tough call indeed. There’s nothing wrong with it and has lasted 33 years and looks and acts the same. But it is quite heavy, weighing in at 85 pounds. It’s gonna be a bitch mounting it back in and could use a chain fall to make the install easier.
I’ve been reading about those aluminum intake manifolds melting so I have doubt. I was planning on sealing the exhaust cross over anyway just to lower the heat going thru it. Who ever thought it was a good idea to pipe hot exhaust thru the tunnels in the intake manifold must have been nuts. There are better ways to warm up the engine fast, like the water thermostat. With the water just circulating around the engine jacket, the engine warms up pretty fast. No wonder the 454 was so under rated. With all that anti-pollution junk malfunctioning, it’s a miracle the engine ran at all.
So I got the new cam installed and installed the new HD timing chain and sprockets, installed all new valve lifters and Pre-Loaded them all, the engine is now sitting at 10 degrees before top dead center on the number 1 cylinder in its compression stroke. Installed the chrome timing chain cover which was a bitch to install because of the guide pins and the rubber gasket at the bottom. Installed the Harmonic Balancer and torqued the new bolt and washer to 85 foot pounds. I remounted the new fuel pump.
So I can mount that beautiful red iron intake manifold right now and be done with it and it’ll probably run just fine. I just need the gaskets with the exhaust cross overs plugged. I want that dirty exhaust gas gone as soon as possible, not winding its way thru the engine again and causing it to over heat. Same for the EGR valve which I removed and capped.
I ordered the gaskets today from RockAuto and should arrive in a few days. In the mean time, for the coolant bypass, I installed the 1/2” NPT X 3/4” hose barb brass fittings to both the intake manifold and water pump. I brought the manifold into the motor home and laid it in a box. I dry fitted the water pump loosely with its bolts and fit tested the belts. Two belts will run from the crank pulley to the hydro pump (7410) and the serpentine belt surrounding the crank pulley, water pump and alternator. That red water pump looks real nice, so does the intake manifold.
Damn 3/8 cap screws are 12 point and I don’t have a socket so I ordered a 12 point SAE set and should be here next week. In the mean time, a little exploring is in order. I hate exploring cause I find more problems. This time I’m looking at the wiring, in particular, the alternator wiring. It looks butchered to say the least. I had been having charging issues when I turned on the running light. The voltage would drop to 12, like the alternator wasn’t charging sufficiently. I was going to order a new 140 amp sucker in the CS130 configuration but decided to check the wiring first. The first thing I noticed was that the (L) white wire was cut. This wire is supposed to go to the Charge Indicator Light or have a 85 ohm resistor inline or both. This is a very important wire as it excites the internal regulator. The other two red wires were correct. The (F) Field wire went back to the fuse box and powered when starting and ON. The other red (S) Sense wire went to the primary battery or in my case, terminal 1 on the battery isolator. You can get rid of the (F) wire but not the (L) wire. The charging wire or B+ was put together in pieces and was all taped up and looked ugly. I removed it and ripped off all the tape. The wire looked ok but the lugs were dirty and were missing their shrink tubing, hence all the electrical tape. Looking around in the various looms for that elusive white wire, I may just have to run that wire way back to the Charge Indicator Light. Either way, I’m replacing that suspect alternator.
I ordered the 140 amp alternator and continued with the electrical troubleshooting. I had an idea of connecting the white wire to the isolator’s turn-on lug. That lug is powered when the ignition is on so it’ll be perfect. I just ordered the 85 ohm 5 watt resister that will be installed inline with the white alternator wire. And I ordered the transmission cooler, a Derale 13614 and hoses and all sorts of AN fittings. It should be a nice install.
There’s a spider web of wires up front that needed to be tide up or otherwise removed. There are wires hanging all over the place, some original equipment, and some owner added. I’ve got connectors and relays and funny looking plugs with nowhere to plug themselves into. And with the air conditioning removed, these wires and switches and relays can be removed. So I started pulling out wires and switches and relays like a mad man pulling out his hair. It’s amazing how much better it looks now. The remaining wires are being put into looms, existing and added, to give the place a nice look. OK, nothing will work but it will look nice.
So there’s this switch on the steering column that controls the A/C fans and cooler fans all at once. The switch is not well secured and bare wires are just inches from shorting out. I swear to GOD, this poor Barth has been butchered to pieces. I’ve been finding crap like this all over the MH. Anyway I added relays to all the cooling fans up front to lessen the load on that one manual switch and added a new modern fuse block to power those fans. It looks real nice and safe. So now I’m gonna automate the fans so that each fan runs independently and as needed using fan controllers.
The chassis battery was draining down due to a parasitic drain somewhere. My meter was showing 160MW drain across the battery. Disconnecting fuses one by one from under the dash, I found one fuse that when pulled, a clicking sound was heard somewhere under the sofa. It was a dumb old relay that stayed powered all the time that powered the TV sets, front and back, whenever they were DC powered. I disabled the relay and solved the parasitic drain issue and no more dead battery.
Time to work on the EVAP system. I removed the EVAP canister and checked all its hoses. Mine has the additional canister hooked to it so any canister I get needs to have that extra fitting on it. I expected fumes to start coming out of the line coming from the fuel tank but I smelled nothing. I was suspect and put my lips to the hose and couldn’t get anything out of it. So I’m suspecting a clogged line somewhere or somebody cut and plugged the line. Go figure. I tried tracing that line back to the fuel tank to no avail. I really would like to get this all fixed as the fuel tank goes into a deep vacuum while I’m driving the MH and my fear is that the tank might collapse.
10-19-2019 to 10-21-2019
I installed the intake manifold using the exhaust bypass cover plates gaskets and Permatex Black RTV for the ends. It went in nicely and all bolts were torqued to 25 foot-pounds. I mounted the water pump and connected the bypass to the manifold and installed the new thermostat and water neck with the 1/2-14 opening for the temperature sensor. Not sure if I’ll have a sufficient ground for the temperature sensor to work properly so I may run a ground wire to it with an alligator clip. I soldered in the 85 ohm resister to the L wire of the alternator and ran it to the ACC/ON of the ignition and tidy up wires inside looms. I cleaned the top radiator cradle to get it ready for black painting and to drill and extend the mounting slots since the new radiator is an inch or so shorter than the original radiator. The upper fan shroud bolts to this upper cradle and with it getting mounted lower, I’m not sure if the bolt holes will align. I may have to add some strapping or metal to bring it up to the fan shroud mounting holes. I’m sure I’ll figure something out.
The Alternator came in today and I quickly installed it but have issues with the connector. The instructions say to connect the “L” terminal to a 300-500 ohm resistor and if so desired, an indicator light. The “F” terminal is not used and the “S” terminal is connected directly to the +Battery. I had installed an 85 ohm resistor as was recommended online but these instructions say otherwise. I’ll have to order the correct resistor and change it out.
In the meantime, I washed and installed the fan shroud and mounted the fan to the water pump then installed the serpentine belt around the crank shaft, water pump and alternator. On someone's recommendation, I ordered the serpentine belt which wound up almost being too tight unless I removed the adjusting bolt and slid the alternator in some more. I got it and tightened the belt nice and tight.
I ordered a new heater control valve and installed it with new hose near the heater core.
Happy Anniversary, 13 years married but 16 years together.
Today I finally installed the shiny new aluminum radiator which was sitting in my computer room for several months. It fit like a glove. I painted and mounted the upper cradle with four grommets holding the radiator tight and steady. Next came the cooling fans for the A/C. I said I was going to reuse them as a backup or in stop and go traffic. I finished installing all radiator hoses and heater hoses and proceeded to fill the radiator with coolant. Not an easy task since the filler neck is now straight up and I spilled a bunch on the carpet, dumb-ass. Went and got three feet of heater hose and that made filling much easier and from the outside. I added a gallon of pure antifreeze and a gallon of distilled water for now just to check for leaks. I still have to mount a coolant temperature sensor to the thermostat housing neck so I didn’t want to fill the system completely.
I did some research on the Alternator and re-read the instructions that came with it and I think I’m using all three wires off the connector incorrectly. So lets review here- There’s a PLFS marked connector. The P is not used and the L brown wire is supposed to have a resistor inline. I wired it that way but landed the wire at the isolator turn-on stud since the wire going to it comes from an ignition source. The F wire was tied to the brown wire that disappeared inside a wire loom. And the S wire went to the + terminal on the chassis battery. I think I should eliminate the F wire and tie the L wire to the brown wire that disappears inside the wire loom. I think this brown wire goes back to the computer with a resistor inline already or to illuminate the “Check Engine Light”. Anyway I ordered a new plug and am starting over, using only the L wire and the S wire and eliminating the F wire. Did you get that?
10-24-2019 to 10-27-2019
I mounted the coolant temperature sensor to the thermostat neck and landed the wire from a temperature sensor on the right side of the motor to this new temperature sensor. The temperature gauge had been reading super high so I’m thinking the sensor was defective or of the wrong temperature range. Anyway I tested both sensors and this is what I got: The right side sensor had a reading of 10.5K ohms and my new sensor had a reading of 450 ohms. That’s quite a big difference. I will see what the temperature gauge does when the engine is hot. Another temperature sensor was mounted to the top radiator hose via a brass Tee along with a new gauge that was mounted to the steering column that is obviously aftermarket. I might re-install that sensor in the same place just to compare both readings and use a temperature gun to take readings of the hose and compare all three readings.
Anyway I worked on installing the oil coolers and did some plumbing. I need more hose and several more of those AN fittings and two inline temperature sensors for their respective fans. I’ll tie them to the relays I had previously installed. It should end up being a nice automated temperature control for the oil coolers.
I just found out about the dreaded proportioning valve for the brake system. Seems to be a critical and integral part of the system. When working correctly, the pressure differential valve remains centered and the brake light is off. if pressure were lost to either front or back brakes, the pressure differential valve would slide to one side or the other, sealing that low pressure line and tripping the switch within and causing the brake light to illuminate. There’s a plug you screw into where the switch normally goes to hold the valve in the center while bleeding the brakes. It can and will foul up and not work correctly and should be replaced. My valve was disconnected electrically which gives me concern that it too is stuck. You will lose braking in either the front or rear brakes depending on which way the valve slid to. It was easy to replace when the radiator was out. Man it was right there. Now I have to get at it from under the RV, terrific. At least I can test the switch to see if its tripped. I had cleaned the connectors and just plugged it in.
I’m almost done putting everything together, just waiting on a few more parts like the oil pump primer tool, stupid thing I ordered it from China by mistake and it’s taken a month to get here, and the Derale 35026 Inline Thermostat for the motor oil cooler. I wonder which line is the supply and which is the return. Can’t tell until I get the oil pump primer in and pump up the line so I can mount the thermostat to the line-in of the cooler, then I can put in the two short oil cooler lines and I’ll be done.
It’s getting really cold out and the RV is out of Propane but it has provisions to attach an external Propane tank. The shut-off valve is leaking around its stem so I’ll have to replace it. Gonna get a few tanks filled and get a few gallons of anti-freeze to winterize the water lines. The RV has three furnaces and it gets nice and toasty when they are all running. I rebuilt them all a few years back including oiling of the motor bushings. They run nice and quiet now.
The coolers are all done and the fans and inline thermostats are all connected. I connected the battery and tested all cooling fans- works perfectly. Radiator is full and now it’s time to start the engine. I used the oil pump prelube tool to prelube the engine and made my first attempt to start the engine. It turned over but would not start. I had moved a wire from a temperature transmitter on the right side of the engine to a new transmitter on the thermostat water neck so I moved the wire back and the engine started right up. I proceeded with the break-in procedure of running the engine at 2000-2500 RPM for thirty minutes but had to stop the engine when I discovered fuel leaking out the carb. The floats must have gotten gummed up while sitting for several months so I’ll have to somehow free them up. Edelbrock recommends tapping around the area where the floats are located to free them up and also pinching the fuel line and letting the carb run out of fuel and seeing if that works before tearing the carb apart. I may just spray Berryman's Chemtool carb cleaner into the fuel inlet and letting it soak in the bowl a while to see if that frees the floats.
It got cold out so I stopped all work for the winter. See you in the spring.
I finally started working on the Propane system. I ordered a new shutoff valve, new PRV, auxiliary hose, fittings and paint. Sanded the tank down and painted it nice and white. It looks brand new. Replaced the shutoff valve and plumed in the new PRV, with fittings and hose to bypass the main tank for use with an external tank. I must say that the whole propane system is a thing of beauty to look at.
Holy crap what do we do now? We're all stuck in our houses for now but I may try to start the engine again and get it timed before I break it in.
So many projects, so little money.
I guess I can tackle the drive shaft next, take it down and replace the three U-Joints and center support bearing. And while I'm at it, I'll pull the brake drum and service the emergency brake. And while I'm in there, I'll replace the leaking rear transmission seal.
But I did order and received the new EVAP canister so I'll install that first and get the EVAP system up and running again, less the Carb Bowl Vent since the Edelbrock doesn't have a Carb Bowl Vent connection. I'll just plug the two lines for that part of the EVAP system and connect the rest of the lines like normal.
Tag Axle and Brakes:
It's time to tackle the Tag Axle Brakes. I suspected the synchronizing valve was bad as it would not hold vacuum when I tested it so I removed it and shipped it out to some guy in Florida who rebuilds them at a cost of $350. Here's the address and web site: PBDT REMAN SHOP, 7708 PONTIAC DRIVE, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA 32506. http://www.powerbrake-drivetrain.com/
He also rebuilds the Brake Booster and Master Cylinder at a cost of $500. He's got a ton of stuff on his web site so go check it out.
Be warned that everything under the coach is a rusty mess and whatever you touch and try to take apart will probably break. It was no exception with detaching the brake line. The brake line was very rusty and I broke a fitting trying to disconnect the line from the synchronizing valve. Obviously these parts will have to be replaced. I ordered new 1/2” vacuum hoses, brass check valve and barbed fittings to replace the steel rusty ones. Everything is gonna look beautiful.
I tested the Brake Booster and Master Cylinder and all seemed to be working fine and holding a vacuum but will have that rebuilt at the next round of repairs. And don't forget to replace the Brake Hoses. There are two in front and one each on both axles.
If you're going to buy a motor home, get one without the Tag Axle. It's just too much of a hassle trying to get that system up and running properly again.
So today I went to set the timing on the engine and the starter wouldn't engage. Come to find out I had too many spacers installed so the gears were too far apart to mesh themselves with each other. I removed the spacers and everything is hunky dory. I did install the starter heat shield while I was in there so no more heat soak.
So I slowly dialed in the timing until I got at 10 degrees before top dead center. I connected the vacuum advance to an un-ported connection on the carb, the engine was purring like a kitten and running cool too.
I'm close to taking her out for a spin but want to change out the drive tires as they are 17 yer old Good Year tires. I already had a blowout while driving my mother-in-law's RV with 18 year old tires. A very scary situation.
I also bled the Synchronizing valve so I should have good Tag Axle brakes now. I'm still going to start pulling wheels and checking drum and disc brakes.
I broke the engine in too, well half broken in. I ran the engine at 2500 RPM for 15 minutes and will run it again tomorrow for 15 minutes. That should do the trick.
They said I should drive the RV 500 miles then do an oil change. I'm gonna stick with 30 weight oil with the added zinc formula as required for these older 454 engines.
I did it again, I touched something and it broke. I decided to change out all the rubber hydraulic brake hoses so I placed an order with Rockauto for all the hoses. Naturally I was gonna start from back to front so I attacked the tag axle hose first. As luck would have it, the original hose end was welded in place instead of using the silly clip to hold it in place where it connected to the steel brake line going back to the master cylinder. Holy crap, who does work like this? So using my Dremel tool I grounded out the weld and removed the hose and after much cussing and having to buy new brake lines, I smashed everything together. I must say it looks pretty nice down there.
Wow. You've been busy!
As you have seen from my past posts, I can relate to all you said. I had an 87 Regal 33 tag axle. Liked the coach but there was always something. Sounds like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.
This is a realistic example of what it takes to keep a 30+ yr old coach running and reliable. Like you I always replaced whatever I could early rather on the side of the road somewhere. Brakes should be first, they are always scary. Once you get things right it will be very nice.
I ran about 12 degrees BTDC with vac line direct to distributor. Ran well that way. (Ran even better when I put in the fuel injected 400 hp HO engine!)
I always liked how the coach rode and drove. Good luck with your projects!
"98" Monarch 37
Spartan MM, 6 spd Allison
Cummins 8.3 300 hp
What fun you are having, that unit will run like a champ very soon!!!
We seem to have had a lot of similar problems, sometimes we solved them the same way, other times not!!
25 Ft Glassnose, 2792, 1982
Plain Jane Interior
Picture by Kevin
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