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Old 01-30-2004, 05:02 PM   #1
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How to Scare a FlyingJ Tanker Driver to Death

So I'm on this trip from H$%^ and I'm filling up late at night at the Evansville, IN FlyingJ. I had just fixed my rear air (twice) and was thinking a lot about my front air. I has assumed that since my front air lines were T'd into a single line that ran rearward that someone at some point had added them into the main air system. But I had been reading all of these air system posts lately about how these are manual fill and was having my doubts about my setup.

So with about 20 minutes of fuel-fill time to kill I started tracing the line. Turns out it runs up to the dash into an aftermarket gauge and then into dash-mounted schrader valve. I assume this was so you could fill the bags from the comfort of the driver's seat????

Anyway...OK so I've never filled them. Hey, there's an air hose. This should be easy...

Meanwhile, across from the RV fill/dump/service station there was a FlyingJ tanker driver dumping about 12,000 gallons of gasoline into the fuel farm. I used to drive a JET-A and AvGas truck years ago so I know that you get a little jumpy when you're around that much raw fuel. We politely waved at each other just as I started adding air to the front left bag.

Ten seconds into the fill and BOOM! I mean the loudest damn thing I've ever heard. Blew up the bag and nearly killed the FlyingJ driver from heart failure.

Anyway - what do you think of these replacements from JCWhitney - Trash or Treasure?

P30 Airbag Kit
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Old 01-30-2004, 06:00 PM   #2
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Steven:

Gotta ask.

What do you think the pressure was when you launched the bag?
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Old 01-30-2004, 06:07 PM   #3
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There is a similar set on a 1974 Scout at my shop now. The owner says they have been in there since the mid 80's or so. If they last as long on your MH, you should be okay. But they only lift 1000 pounds? Or do they give an additional 1000 pounds lift?

I can relate to your Flying J driver. I was charging the air conditioner on a van Thursday, when one of my co-workers tossed a lit M80 under it. I was inside a metal building, and inside the van, at the time. The hospital says that in time and with enough therapy he will be able to walk again...
Terry
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Old 01-30-2004, 06:09 PM   #4
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Steven,

I have to say I think you may have done yourself in on this one! I use a 120 Volt 120PSI Sears compressor and it takes less than 10 seconds to fill my bags from 10 LBS to 55 LBS. The volume is soooo small. Max pressure is supposed to be 90 PSI, so to make it go BANG you had to have a weak one or over 100 PSI in it.

My understanding on the aftermarket bags is that the Airlifts come with a lifetime warranty. Others do not. This is also one of the fixes that anyone who has done swears they will pay to have done next time. Take that for what it is worth. If only one is bad, you could just order a single replacement from Airlift.
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Old 01-30-2004, 06:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by argosy20
I was charging the air conditioner on a van Thursday, when one of my co-workers tossed a lit M80 under it. I was inside a metal building, and inside the van, at the time. The hospital says that in time and with enough therapy he will be able to walk again...
Terry
Would this be the same genius that lowered the jack instead of raising it, and left you holding the tranny???? If it was I am surprised you let him live
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Old 01-30-2004, 06:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by thenewkid64


Would this be the same genius that lowered the jack instead of raising it, and left you holding the tranny???? If it was I am surprised you let him live
That is him. Umm... without trying to sound racist, or making fun of people from other countries, I feel I should tell you he is Polish, from Poland. Has lived here six years. May live to see his seventh, but at the rate he is going...
Maybe he thinks we are promoted by assassination, or he was just peeved that I ordered him to install my transmission by himself, or else polish everyone's trailer at the rally.
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Old 01-30-2004, 07:59 PM   #7
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I have no idea what the pressure was when I started. The dash gauge has read "0" since - well always. But it's hard to believe given the 10 seconds of fill and the sound it made when it blew that it wasn't inflated at some level.

Despite this failure I did not notice any difference in ride quality on the return leg. So who knows what the deal was.

Brett - I am not looking forward to this project at all as I've been reading posts all day about it. But it'll be a warm day in Kentucky before I get under there again so this one will wait a while.

I left off the other quality moments on this trip like changing a destroyed starter in 10 degree weather at 10:00pm in the parking lot, replacing (recently purchase but incorrect) check valve on the rear air system and the brown smoke coming from the generator. All is well now but this was definately Murphy's trip not mine.

The blown bag was the last straw of this lousy trip. But the look on the FlyingJ driver's face made me laugh for a good 30 miles afterwards.
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Old 01-30-2004, 08:12 PM   #8
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Rivet Woo Woo !!!

Steven:

You da man!!

First starter change out in the parking lot...hmmmmm

Listen to someone who has been there and done that. Bite the bullet and buy a "racing duty" starter from Summit or Martrand.

Expensive, but worth it - mount the solenoid "down", away from the manifold.

I assume you have a 110 voltmeter plugged into the coach?
I would be concerned about the Genny smoke. Especially if you were getting high or low voltage.

I feel your pain.

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Old 01-30-2004, 09:32 PM   #9
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do that starter on gravel with rain. been there done that but wasnt cold. had my front air bags replaced at camping world in boling green kentucky. after taking a look just decided i wasnt doing that one.
i wont fill up next to one of those tankers. i will wait. too many accidents with those guys. that is why he almost died on you. lots of static electricity when it is cold.
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Old 01-30-2004, 09:39 PM   #10
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Al - you're sooo right. I noticed that he didn't ground his rig. We were nuts about grounding our little 2,000 gallon fuel trucks before hooking up to a plane. At least once a year we'd hear about some poor guy that got burned because a static charge ignited the fuel vapors between the nozzle and the wing.

Dennis - I bought the "lifetime warrantee" starter from AutoZone ($55). Didn't really have a choice as they were the only guys open and I needed to get on the road. What exactly where they thinking running the exhaust RIGHT THERE? I give it a year before it goes. That old 454 starts up on the first crank now.

I knew the old one was on its way out but was in denial. Here's the blow by blow of departure day - mostly because I think it’s funny [now]:

12:00 - announce to staff I'm leaving at 3:00 to get to our customer in St. Louis - I still need to pack, get LP and about 20 - 30 gallons of water on board.

2:40 - Customer in PA has a failed process and I'm the only one who knows how it works.

4:15 – Customer is fixed. Remind my assistant that we need to train someone else on this process.

4:20 – Announce “now I'm leaving - no really”.

5:30 - Walk out the door.

5:40 - Batteries on, walk around check, start the RV, no air pressure. What? I just replaced the valve. Co-worker comes out to check on me. Do you hear that noise? What noise? Sounds like air leaking.

6:00 - Pull [newly installed] "check valve" and realize when I said "check valve" at Grainger he thought "relief valve" Oops. Curse myself for not checking getting this up to pressure sooner as I think it opened at about 80 psi.

6:10 - Start calling truck places. Three no’s; got a yes at number four.

6:20 - Drive across town show up at GMC trucks - oops not in stock, he begins calling around.

6:30 - Drive another five minutes to the other place that does have one in stock. Purchase new Bendix check valve for $17.50 (Happy again)

6:40 - Since I'm near my house now, I stop in, pack, eat a "standing dinner" kiss the kids and wife - I'll get water along the way.

7:40 - Back at the office. Figure I'll get the valve installed and be out of here by 8:00 I'l be fine.

8:00 - OK, we have air. Leave the key on to build up pressure while I go in and map the route and check for a FlyingJ along the way for LP and water.

8:20 - Get in ready to go - won't start - drained coach battery. Work the frozen locker open where I keep the jumper cables and have jumped the house batteries into the coach battery. (I've been working the battery all week with my air pressure woes)

8:30 - Engine cranks then stops then cranks then SNAP - WHIIRRRRRR. Ooops, Back under the AS.

8:35- Find a piece of the starter gear. Back into the office and start calling and searching online for starters.

8:40 - The guy at AutoZone say's they are open until ten and he has one in stock.

9:20 - Arrive at AutZone with the old starter - basically I shattered the gear off. BTW - AutoZone is about 1 mile from the store where I got the Bendix - just for fun I think

9:30 Back at the RV. Pull the flywheel cover, recover the missing piece of the starter, check the flywheel for damage (I was lucky), install the new starter, bolt everything back up.

10:05 - Start the AS. Breathe

10:15 - Pull out for St. Louis.

Does this always happen when you absolutely need to leave and be somewhere? Seems like these old gals "know" and try to mess with you. But - as I put her back in her spot today I still looked back on my way into the office. She may be old and tired with a lot of broken gizmos...but...well ya know.

You already heard the bag story and the smoke from the generator is of enough concern that it's worthy a seperate post.
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:01 PM   #11
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Steven, GM makes a heat shield for your starter, if you don't have one. It Consists of a bent piece of sheet metal, a clip to hold it to the solenoid, and some kind of metallic insulating material. If you don't have one, I will try to find you a GM part number on Monday. An alternative would be to go to the nearest boneyard and see if there is one kicking around in the dirt.
As for the brown smoke, if you have a diesel generator, which you probably don't, brown smoke is an indicator of water in the fuel, never a good thing, but truly bad in a diesel.
If it isn't a diesel, sounds like some insulation inside the generator burning, as in a short. Even worse.
If it wasn't for the problems, you would never know how good the good trips are.
Terry
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:57 AM   #12
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Next "Starting Circuit" Issue

Steven:

After the third starter change out on mine, one of the Forum members reminded me that the problem might be in the Park/Neutral permit start switch. I don't think I have a problem with this, but I DO have a problem with the "start" function of the key switch.

This has been progressively getting worse, to the point that I have had to get under the coach and "hot wire" the starter solenoid (SO much easier to do since installing the "racing" starter). I choose not to replace the switch, since everything will be changed out at the panel redo.

Just food for thought the next time you get the "turn the key, no click, no start, aw sh@#" blues.

BTW, the '87 came with a switch controlled solenoid to jump the coach batteries to the chassis battery for starting.

The momentary switch is located in the roof (top) of the glove box, close to the fuse box. The solenoid is located on the back (chassis side) of the battery box (drawer). I had to replace both the momentary switch and the solenoid on mine. Switch is standard off the shelf, and the solenoid is a Ford type starter solenoid.

I'd be surprised if your unit is not similarly equipped.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:57 AM   #13
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Dennis,

Are you planning on having a 3 position ignition switch with a push button start function like some of the old trucks and newer sports cars?

Just more fuel to add to the panel redo
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Old 01-31-2004, 07:32 PM   #14
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my autozone starter lasted until the solenoid burnt through. They said the warranty didn't cover it-- I was not surprised , The small hi torque starter I put on also has a thermal wrap from thermal-tec...cost as I recall was 10 or 15 bucks. I also wrapped all nearby wiring with stuff from the same company.
The starter head rotated down away from the manifold helped also.
I hopefully have fixed my last starter on the fly...laid in the lane by the dump station prior to installing this one in my driveway.
Got my 135 amp alternator from the same folks.
www.4alterstart.com
while we are mentioning heat-- I got a set of new Accel extreme heat plug wires off ebay for 35 bucks...80 at Jeg's.
The directions say to remove the plug heat shields if aluminum.Not sure why anybody think this applies to our older 454?
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