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Old 09-11-2004, 01:36 PM   #29
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Two things else. This unit has auto-levelers, when I tried to use them, the front passenger side was pouring fluid every time I hit the extend/retract switch, and the auto level function doesnt's seem to work either. Plus, a couple of the jacks bottom leg sections don't retract all the way up, or they eventually begin to dangle down.
Where do I get parts and proper service to get the levelers working correctly. I asked the Inland Truck Center folks to do it last winter which they claim to have done, but either they didn't do it right or they didn't test them when they finished.

This MH also has a compressed air outlet w/NPT Quick Release fitting in the padded luggage compartment. I saw in the docs that, when new, it included an air hose. Does anyone have any advice on using an impact wrench for removing the wheel lug nuts? How many psi, how many cfm can the MH tank deliver to power the wrench? How much wrench does a guy need? A 1/2 or 3/4 snap-on drive? How many pounds of torque does it have to deliver or how many rpm should it be rated at? Reason I ask is I had a low tire the other day and thought I could drive it to a filling station for a fill. WRONG! The bead rolled right off the rim. I was lucky to have a WalMart near by and asked them to check for a puncture and/or reseat the bead. As fate would have it, he didn't have a 1.25" socket (so they said) to dismount the wheel, but fortunately, he had enough air available to get the bead reseated and the tire filled to pressure. It was on the tag axel. How much pressure should I be running in all these tires? I've had a lot of opinions and don't know who to trust.

I noticed some small hairline cracks along the sidewalls of the steering tires, which have very good tread and are reportedly near new, I've been told that's normal and they pose no safety risk, however a guy at a truckstop said they should be replaced.

Who is right? Does he just want to sell some tires? Is it sun damage or what? I've seen the same on car tires. Why do truck drives thump their tires with a ballpeen hammer? What are they listening for? Should these tires be kept covered away from possible sun damage? In off season should the MH be lifted up off the suspension for extended storage to take the load off the tires and/or chassis? I've been told both!?

Thanks again.

Alan Kegel
Omaha
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Old 09-12-2004, 11:03 PM   #30
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Alan,

I will try to answer as many of your questions as possible.

Quote:
Two: To get the 3 way Dometic refrigerator back into full operation I figured it would merely be a matter of connecting a 110v three prong extension cord from the exterior MH outlet to the refrigerators three prong plug-in connector. WRONG! Turn the power switch on and the light stays off! Absolutely no power from what appears to be a 110v cord. I know the MH outlet is hot because we have a string of lights attached to it... and they work! Did NOT try its gas operation, which wouldn't work anyway because there was no 12v spark to ignite it (same issue as with the water heater, which fired immediately after the 12v coach batteries were charged and back online) Is there some issue with the functionality of the refrigerator that I'm unaware of?
The refer is controlled by the 12 V board. No 12 V no work. Does not matter if you have 110VAC.

Quote:
Also I found a small multivolt power supply inside the refrigerator's exterior access hatch, it was disconnected but had once been securely taped to a grey extension cord that now has the refrigerator power cord attached, it in turn is plugged into the outlet up on the coachs inside wall above the hatch door. I couldn't see much up there (or whether it was a single or double 120v outlet) and don't know why the extension cord was used or what the 6/9/12v converter was/is hooked to or where it leads.

I would surmise that the 12 volt converter was a way to address the issue you just experienced. The power converter would be used to power the refer off the 110 volt outlet. It is a dual outlet fixture in the wall.

Quote:
I noticed some small hairline cracks along the sidewalls of the steering tires, which have very good tread and are reportedly near new, I've been told that's normal and they pose no safety risk, however a guy at a truckstop said they should be replaced.
Cracks are bad! Check the dates on the tires. They should have a DOT code, do a search here to see how to decode them. 3-5 yrs is the average lifespan on a tire. I have a 3 year plan I am currently applying. 2 tires every year over three years, but I don't have a tag axle.

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Why do truck drives thump their tires with a ballpeen hammer? What are they listening for? Should these tires be kept covered away from possible sun damage?
The truckers have learned the proper "pitch" for the thump. If they don't sound right they know they need air. It is a much faster way to check 18 tires than to get an air gauge out. Protecting the tires while in storage WILL prolong the life of the tire. The UV is their top enemy along with improper inflation.

Proper inflation values are listed in the owners manual. Each coach is different based on the chassis design and the length, so saying to run them at the same pressure I do would be incorrect.
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Old 09-13-2004, 12:31 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89_370LE
We have recently acquired a 1989 Airstream 370LE that is in extremely good condition and has very low mileage. It has a Ford 460 V8 w/Holley carb and California Smog Pump on a Gillig bus chassis with front/rear disc brakes, driven by a 3 speed automatic transmission.
Hi,

You have a couple of issues here. I hope you don't mind if I make a few suggestions.

Poor fuel economy / smog;

Your year 460 has a 4 degree camshaft retard from the factory, as did all 460's after approximately 1975. The quickest way to regain lost power and increase mileage would be to replace the timing chain and gear set with a new 'replacement', not 'original equipment' timing set. A stock replacement would have the 4 degree retard built into the timing gear. Replace the timing gear set with a 'double roller' or high quality 'link set from a performance aftermarket company like Cloyes or Edelbrock. Their cam gears do not have the retard in the cam gear. This change will wake up any late model 460, plus it's a good idea to change the chain and gears out anyway.

As mentioned, a good set of headers like Hedman or Thorley would be a definite boost to performance. Regardless, a good dual exhaust sytem, either with the original manifolds or headers would do almost as much. I would recommend a 2 1/2 exhaust pipe from the headers or manifolds, using a good pair of performance mufflers (get a larger case muffler, as they can handle the needs of a big block better than the smaller 'turbo style mufflers), mount the mufflers as far back as you can get them, preferably in front of the rear axle, and then use a pair of 2 1/4 in tailpipes exiting behind the rear tires or out the back of the vehicle.

Cooling;

The Water Wetter mentioned is a great idea. It's manufactured by Redline and is part number RL50189. You would use one bottle for your system. The most efficient would be to run distilled water, the bottle of Water wetter, and about 1 quart of antifreeze. The antifreeze will act as the water pump lubricant for seals and such, as straight water does not have these properties.

I would suggest replacing your thermostat with a 180 degree 'high flow' thermostat from either Robert Shaw or Stant. A bigger improvement, and an important one based on your description of heating problems and when they occur, would be to replace your factory clutch fan setup with a 5-6 bladed stainless steel flex fan in the same dimension as your factory fan. You will need a 2" fan spacer to go with the fan to insure the new fan sits in the same spot as the old fan in relation to the fan shroud. Make sure you get a stainless steel flex fan, as the plastic, aluminum and others do not have the blade surface area or pitch of the SS ones. With this combo, you will not need an auxillary electric fan. I would not recomend an electric fan, except as a last resort because they tend to add more electrical problems than needed, even if using a fan relay (a must with elec fan) and if you have to rely on the electric fan, and it fails, so does your cooling fix. If you need additional cooling, which I doubt as it should run pretty close to 180-190 degrees with this combo, you can replace your existing water pump with a high volume, high flow, low-cavitation pump from Edelbrock.

Fuel issues;

STOP, don't drive your truck with it's current carburetor, unless you bring hot dogs and buns, because it's very shortly going to burn your vehicle to the ground. You can probably rebuild, or have rebuilt your current carb, or you could simply replace it, but you must do something. Without seeing it, it's hard to tell if you have a blown power valve and/ or stuck needle and seats, or if the carb has a fatal main body failure, but neither bodes well. Hot engines and raw gas are not a good combo. Holley makes a new replacement for your carb, in either a square flange or spreadbore style, depending on what you have. Edelbrock makes an even nicer carb, but it is for a non-smog vehicle, and would require some minor adjustments to tailor it to your vehicle. The Holley replacment would require no such adjustments.

I hope this helps,
John-Boy
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Old 09-13-2004, 11:50 AM   #32
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Thanks John-Boy.

I appreciate your suggestions and they make sense, especially in the long term with routine maintenance and replacement expected. I'm scheduled into a local shop for the carb rebuild in a couple weeks; discovered that part, if not most, of my hard starting may be attributed to the fact that the choke plate does not want to close all the way, a problem on cold starts. Starts like a champ when warm.

As it is, I have to remove the air cleaner cover, give it a hefty shot of scout water, push the plate closed, remount the cover, and turn the switch, at which time, lately, it usually fires right up with a bit of coaxing of the peddle. Sometimes from a dead stop it wants to die when the peddle is depressed, but I've concluded that it must be the accelerator pump (?) as some have pointed out because it only happens on a light peddle, if you give it a generous tap it is less likely to stall.

I spoke with the service guy I've scheduled it with, and he said they can do most anything one could want with the smog stuff, remove it, disconnect it, whatever. Is there any point in doing any of that? Will I see some improvement of some sort? Or would it be best to leave it until such time I replace the cam gear/chain, if even then?

When we roll it out next spring I'll take care of the thermostat/radiator treatment and plan to change out the fan when the water pump is replaced, and hope it's not one of those episodes you end-up doing somewhere out in the boonies, broke down at 95° with coolant running everywhere and no body that knows diddly about mohos.

Does that sound overtly pessimistic? Only reason being, is I do get a whiff of coolant every once in a while and the occassional low coolant light. I've recently topped-off the coolant and the light stay off for about 500 miles but it came on again the other day when I moved it to storage and I haven't checked it yet.

Do any of you guys have thoughts on synthetic oil, oil additives, or tranny fluids?

Thanks again. If anything else comes to mind please advise.
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Old 09-13-2004, 12:44 PM   #33
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89_370LE,
You should also check to see if your heater hoses T off from the heater box and run under the coach into an aux heater (under your couch) and then back to your water heater. These lines are very long and seem to be frequently passed over by PO's as a normal replacement item (out of sight...) They pass through the floor and tend to fail at this point. Not sure if this feature is the same on the 370 but it is on most 345's

Mine failed on the road. It was getting dark, hot out, we wehre in the middle of nowhere and had just dumped steaming coolant all over the inside of the coach. Not pretty.

I too had smelled slight "whiffs" of coolant prior to this breakdown.
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Old 09-13-2004, 02:10 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89_370LE
........When we roll it out next spring I'll take care of the thermostat/radiator treatment and plan to change out the fan when the water pump is replaced, and hope it's not one of those episodes you end-up doing somewhere out in the boonies......
Make sure you replace all of the belts with new if you are going to replace the water pump....don't know if the 460 Ford has a clutch type of cooling fan or not, but I would replace most everything related to the cooling system that wears or deteriorates "while you're in there". At least one end of the major coolant hoses will have to be removed for the pump - when there are undone would be a good time to replace them and the "topside" hoses also.

"thenewkid64" posted some sound advice on tires - make sure you carry a good gauge and check all of the pressures often - tires have a very finite life due to age - and do some really expensive damage when they throw a tread. Losing the seal on the tag tire should be a warning call to you. Something HAD to be “out of kilter” for that to happen. You might want to pull into a tire shop of the brand you are currently running and have them interpret the birth code on the DOT number if you are having trouble finding it. One thing to remember is that the pressure in the tires to carry a given weight COULD vary from one tire manufacturer (or tire type) to another. It's important to get a weight on each of your individual tires with the unit loaded in "usual cruise condition"....i.e. full fuel, normal water, loaded with clothes, kids, pets, and adult beverages. There is no reason to run an extremely high pressure on a tire that is not highly loaded (such as the tag axel)......but it is very important to match the pressure to the tire and rim capacities. You can get an individual weight on each tire at a public scale for no more than 20 bucks - probably less than 15.

The tires manufactured today could easily exceed the rating (both pressure and total load) of your aluminum rims. Also, be careful in how much weight you take off of the rear suspension with the rear hydraulic lift system. On the 345 the rear end tends to sag a bit (manifesting, for one, a binding entrance door) if too much weight is transferred from the suspension to the hydraulic system (a foot or two IN FRONT OF the rear tires) in an attempt to level when parking on an extreme slope. The rear hydraulics will not “level” from side to side, and will not “happily” raise more than a couple of inches – the fronts do a bit better. For long term storage/suspension weight removal I would recommend frame type jack stands with a rating of AT LEAST 6 tons each.

Please follow the advice posted here by 62 Overlander, krowsea, swebster, and thenewkid64. If you don’t think you have the capabilities of doing it yourself, it is much better to find a shop you trust close to home and have it taken care of rather than experiencing a failure 500 miles from home.

A lot of information is contained in the manual supplied with the motor home. If you can't find it in the manual, most often a search of the Forums will reveal similar questions and solutions.

Good Luck.
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Old 09-16-2004, 07:16 PM   #35
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Auto Fill

Regarding Steven's earlier response:

My system is, no doubt, identical to yours—fresh water fill and the like, with the tank, pump and filter all under the bed. I was told by the previous owner that when connected to city water, if one depresses the Auto Fill switch on the Control Panel, the rig will take care of itself and shut off automatically when the tank is full.

I'd swear the Owner's Manual confirms that, maybe not.

When pressurized on city water the city water provides water to every faucet in the rig, including the toilet and its spray nozzle, but as soon as I hit the Auto Fill button it was all diverted to the gray water tank which really makes no sense that I can figure out unless someone got a couple fittings criss-crossed when it was built or when the new water pump was installed a few weeks ago.

Beats me, but why else would there be an Auto Fill switch? I'll check the manual again. In the mean time I'll continue using the port on the back of the coach, which is no big deal anyway.

One related annoyance though; when on a grade with a full tank, fresh water flows back out of the filler port and pours to the ground. Something seems wrong about that. Am I missing a gasket or o-ring on that white screw-on tank cap? Thanks.
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Old 09-17-2004, 08:38 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89_370LE
.......when on a grade with a full tank, fresh water flows back out of the filler port and pours to the ground. ......Am I missing a gasket or o-ring on that white screw-on tank cap? ...
On the '87 the Potable Water Tank has a "vent" line that terminates about 1/2" below and to the right of the "white screw-on cap" (all inside the little access door). There is no shut off for the vent line, so water would leak out of there anyway as long as any water in the tank is above the level of the vent or fill line (BTW, my water fill "white screw-on cap" does not have an internal gasket).

I assume your "excess water" is being discharged on the outside of the skin, and not internally. When redoing the interior of the '87 I found the "vent line" to not be fastened to the proper connection to direct any over flow to the outside. -- In other words, the vent line was too short to connect to the fitting, and was discharging to the inside of the coach. I redirected the vent line to discharge with the drain lines at the rear of the coach (in the area of the water pump), with a filter, check, and "bug guard" to prevent blockage and "nasties" from entering the water tank. Never connect a hose directly to the fill line - much more water will go in than can be relieved from the vent line. The pressure from the excess water going in will surely burst the water tank or pull a hose from a clamped fitting if connected directly to city water. If you are finding that the water is NOT appearing on the outside of the skin in the water fill hatch area, I would recommend to pull the inspection plates for the water pump and tank as soon as possible and inspect for loose or broken hoses. If you fold the mattress back (assuming you have a queen mattress) the pump and top of the water tank is accessed by removing the small panel to the rear curb side of the bed and the curb side panel of the mattress pedastle.



I do not have an "auto fill" on the '87, but I understand that it takes quite a while for the "auto fill" to fill the fresh water tank. I would imagine that originally there was a small orifice installed somewhere in the "auto fill" system (possibly integral to the valve/solenoid?). I was also told (not verified) that the solenoid valve was supposed to shut off when water got up to the "full" sensor on the tank. The highest sensor on my fresh water tank is about 3" from the top, so the water level would never get "absolutely" full (to overflowing) when filling the tank with the "auto fill".

For what it is worth, I never carry more than 1/4 tank of fresh water. Just enough to ensure a good water supply to the water heater and enough to flush the commode, wash up, and do a bit of kitchen cleaning when on a road trip. Water has been available at every campsite we have stopped at, and at 8.3 lbs per gallon, 60 gallons of water would weigh almost 500 lbs. There is no reason to put that much extra load on the already maxxed out suspension and drive train if you don't have too.
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Old 09-17-2004, 08:51 AM   #37
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Well I do not have an auto fill button on my control panel. I became intimate with te plumbing back there when I replaced my water pump and realized that there is no valve or connection from the city water to the tank other than the house plumbing (there is a check valve on the city water connection).

If the manual states that the auto fill is intended to fill the fresh water tank under the bed from the city water connection and it's not then I would bet there is a PO plumbing issue you will need to figure out. The fact that it fills your grey water tank is confusing as this tank should only be fed from the drain side of your fixtures. So you really need to find out where this is coming from as you may have a direct connection between the city water fill and your plumbing and you grey water tank - not good.

On the spilling....mine alsways spills out for a little while after I fill it up. The inlet is a little higher than the top of the tank and enters the tank about 1/2 below the tanks top edge. I think the water pressure allow me to overfill the tank somewhat. Once it has drained off then I screw on the cap and it does not leak again.
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Old 09-17-2004, 03:55 PM   #38
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Same here, regarding the vent for the fresh water tank.
If I overfill a bit, it will drain some water out of the tank from that little hole right next to the clear water filling cap.

Francois.
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