OK....so I was not completely out of the woods yet. We left for FL two Saturdays ago and everything seemed to be fine. Just about two hours into this eighteen hour trip the engine cut out. I pulled over to the emergency lane and the %$^% wire broke off that darn relay again (mounted on the alternator bracket). So I fixed it (again) and we were off.
We got into the hills between Nashville and Chattanooga. At first everything seemed OK but then she began to hesitate at the top of hills. This progressed to the point where we decided to park for the night and continue the trip in daylight rather than chance a late night breakdown lane adventure (new house rule after the PA breakdowns).
On Sunday we continued to Atlanta but she was hesitating badly even on level ground. The feeling was different than before. The only way I can describe the difference is to say that this felt like it lost power whereas before (in PA) it felt like it was always under powered but would gain power intermittently on hills. Same result however - not enough power.
This time it really felt like fuel starvation. Prior to this trip I had replaced the the entire ignition, rebuilt the carb and fixed the choke heater. It had to be fuel delivery - right? I was set to meet up with 59toaster in Atlanta and we ended up taking an auto parts tour of Atlanta to find all three fuel filters I needed. (See 59toaster rocks
). I installed all three filters and viola - power again - but for how long?
I should also point out that my mileage was still terrible on the trip down.
We made it to FL, had a great week and headed for home on Saturday morning. We made it about 150 miles on the FL turnpike and the tach started jumping up to 7000 rpm and the voltmeter would bottom out. The dash lights would dim and she would sputter all at the same time. I pulled into a rest area and she stalled. I figured "That %$^& wire". But nothing was wrong there. At this point she would not even turn over. I threw a test light on the relay and no power. Hmmmm. So I started taking off wire looms and tracing power...about an hour later I found the problem. The 12V
feed side of this relay (which also feeds the ignition side) runs down the front of engine, along the oil pan and connects to the starter relay. Well....this and one of the battery cables were touching the number eight header primary and burned to a crisp. The 12V
feed has broken completely and I saw lot of arching evidence on the header itself. So two more hours on my back and I was able to rig up a new wire, taped everything with two rolls of electrical tape, loomed it up out of the way of the header and everything worked the entire way home.
I have to say at this point that the FL travel plazas are excellent and had enough food and shopping to keep my wife and our three kids [relatively] happy for three hours while Dad worked on the RV again. More like malls in the median than the rest stops I grew up with. I highly recommend breaking down in one
Interestingly, I saw a significant improvement in pulling power on hills and I think my mileage got better as well. (Not exactly sure n the mileage as I ran her into Louisville pretty empty so I can drop the fuel tank for a cleaning and sealing - but I got another 75 - 100 miles before hitting half full on the gauge than on the way down)
This one was my fault. I replaced the started on a cold night in a parking lot when the engine still had factory manifolds on it. I put the headers on right before the PA/CT trip. I did not go back and check the wiring to make sure it was clear of the headers. I'm pretty sure I've been burning that wire and grounding it to the header since then.
So this weekend's projects now include replacing all of those wires properly with 8 gauge wire, building a box to remount the %$^& switch and if I get ambitious - drop the tank and take it up to the dealership for a cleaning and inspection.