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Old 08-19-2015, 01:48 PM   #1
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1978 Argosy 24
Kenmore , Washington
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'78 Argosy starting problems

We have had our Argosy, affectionately nicknamed Gus, since 1999 with very few problems until a few years ago when we ending up driving it without oil and blew the engine. Had the engine replaced and have not been able to go anywhere successfully since. We live near Seattle and have not been able to make it through the stop and go traffic in Portland. After being stuck there and finding this forum I thought we had solved our running problem with very interesting talk about putting a heat shield around the starter and changing the wiring to #10 from battery to starter. We lurched home but it is not fixed and the repair place, Evergreen R V, has no idea or interest in helping us stay on the road. An electric outfit won't see us because of space issues and we are at a loss on what to do next. Person there said if it were his, he'd replace the module and pickup and make sure a ground stop was in the coil. ??? Does anyone have any ideas? Distributor? We'd love to be back on the road again.

Sunruh47
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Old 08-19-2015, 02:02 PM   #2
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OK, what exactly happens? When you turn the key, does the engine start? If not, what noise(s) does it make?
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:20 PM   #3
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Morrill , Nebraska
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#10 wire from the battery to the starter sounds awfully small. Unless you are talking about the wire from the starter battery terminal to the ignition.
What are the symptoms?


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Old 08-19-2015, 04:09 PM   #4
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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Definitely more information needed as to exactly what the symptoms are.

There are a lot of us here that have experienced all sorts of issues and worked through them so with luck we'll be able to help you out.

Brad
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Old 08-20-2015, 04:54 AM   #5
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1978 28' Argosy 28
Austin , Texas
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Sunruh47, all the above info is true. More specifics would really help. Do you have trouble starting it, or are you having trouble once its driving? Are you having trouble restarting after the engine is hot? There could be quite a few things at play and its hard to nail anything down without some more specifics. As said above, there are some great people on this forum that should be able to help!
My '78 Argosy had a hot start problem. I had considered the heat shield and gear reduction starter as this is a common Chevy problem. Before going that route I traced all my starter wires and discovered they were frayed badly at the selonoid. After replacing them my hot start problem went away. (believe I used 4 gauge wire) Just wasn't getting enough juice to the starter once it was hot. I haven't had any troubles since, and I run my motorhome in 100 plus degree temps here in Texas.
If you're having trouble while its running its something else entirely. Bucking under load could be arcing spark plug wires or your distributor cap and rotor may need changing. Those are both simple and relatively inexpensive items to address. Once those have been checked you can move on to other things if the problem persists. But, this is all guesswork without some more details. Lets get you back on the road!

Ben
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Old 08-20-2015, 01:30 PM   #6
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Need a lot more info. Are there two issues, or just one??

I assume the no-start problem is intermittent. I also assume the motor cuts out "intermittently" as well.

Evergreen RV is good at what they do - and I trust them for that. But they only do RV's. "Drivability" (under the hood diagnoses) is a banned topic and is thus foreign to them.

BTW - Replacing HEI (high energy ignition) parts willie-nillie will not cure your problem.

Your problem will require diagnosis by a qualified drivability tech. IMHO, it sounds like an old school Chevy problem related to a "fusable link" or connector - probably damaged or not properly tightened during the engine swap.

Since you're near Evergreen RV, Tom's B & M is just up the street in nearby Lynnwood - on the same site as Twin Cedars RV Park; across the street from Seaview Buick. I take my Suburban there when I need to. I trust what they do.

Tom
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Old 08-20-2015, 05:56 PM   #7
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1978 Argosy 24
Kenmore , Washington
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Forum members, I am so happily surprised at the quick, cogent feedback I got from my request. Husband is happily plotting taking our RV, Gus, to Tom's B&M per TomKirk's advice. They spoke a great deal about the problem and it sounded like they had narrowed it to electrical because it only occurred when hot. I was eavesdropping so don't know if that's correct. I was wrong about our having made any changes to wiring. All we have done to get home from Portland was install a new battery and posts. Sounds like we were lucky not to hit heavy traffic coming home. We will bring a copy of this forum to show Tom's B&M. Ben, your advice about the rotor and distributor is also on the list of 'to do's '. Thanks for the help and we'll keep you posted.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:12 PM   #8
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1978 Argosy 24
Kenmore , Washington
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So, Here we are over a year later and haven't really had a chance until last week to take the RV out after visiting Tom's B&M per TomKirk's helpful info. We did this after I posted in June of last year and the result was that a fan was put in in front of the radiator with a switch on the dashboard. We had only been back to Evergreen RV to have winterizing done. And then undone. (?) Just before heading out on family trip to Lake Wenatchee we gave Gus a thorough cleaning at local car wash and following day went to get propane less than 5 miles away. Stalled out three times in less than 5 miles and decided not to put the family thru being towed anywhere again. Evergreen RV does not have any solutions other than to suggest another place (Shoreline Family Auto) to look at it. The new engine included a new electric fuel pump and we are running out of ideas. They felt that the intermittent problem might surface for them since it is happening so often Any suggestions will be truly appreciated.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:10 PM   #9
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1978 Argosy 24
Kenmore , Washington
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TomKirk, Got your help last year with '78 Argosy starting problems and am having trouble with stalling and posted on the same site hoping to get some help. I did it with Post Quick Reply and have no idea if that means anybody but me would actually see it. Our intermittent problems seem to have gotten worse, in that stalling happens more frequently. We took your advice on going to Tom's B&M but this is something different.
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Old 08-17-2016, 05:48 AM   #10
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1975 20' Argosy 20
Chestfield , Kent
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Sunrah47, we need more information before we can help. You had a new engine installed - what engine and what carb/TBI? During the last year has it sat (unused) with regular fuel in the system?

As previously shared there is no point going to regular RV dealer for mechanical issues (the RV dealer handles RV systems), you need a regular truck shop to help.
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Old 08-17-2016, 06:25 AM   #11
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1977 24' Argosy 24
SW Florida , Florida
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My thoughts are possibly the carburetor. I have not read through every post and apologize if that has been suggested. We had a heck of a time finding one but finally did through AutoZone. Our engine is a 454 Chevy on a P30 Chevy chassis, and we finally got an AutoZone person (a woman!) who said they have a MOTORHOME carburetor as opposed to a regular truck or van carburetor, which we had tried. She special-ordered it, and we returned the truck/van one we had purchased. Voila - no more starting or idling problems. Of course, the carb has to be adjusted from time to time.

The fuel pump can also be part of the problem as well as the diaphragm on the fuel pump. We put in new plugs, wiring, distributor cap, fuel pump, battery, yada yada. I will stop here.

Welcome to the madhouse.
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Old 08-17-2016, 08:50 PM   #12
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1977 28' Argosy 28
dexter , New York
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How a about both fuel filters one in carb fuel line and one on mine pass. side wheel well on frame screw on cup with paper element inside .at what point does it stall hot ,slowing ,starting off , the accelerator pump could of dried out a test can be as simple as a couple drops of oil on the rod so it can run down and swell the pump it will show you if you have a change in the problem .
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Old 08-18-2016, 05:39 AM   #13
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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Need answers to the following questions:

When it does does it sputter to a stop as if it's running out of gas or does it just all of a sudden does the engine just seem to turn off as if you turned the ignition switch to the off position?

Once it stops running can you get it to start again immediately or does it just crank and crank and not catch or does it crank at all?

If it cranks and cranks then how long before it actually will start again?

Here's a list of some of the things I've experienced with the P30 chassis motorhomes that I've owned.

1) Battery terminals - if you have the clamp and stud type that use cables with eyelets I've experienced a problem with the studs making intermittent contact internally within the clamp.

(clamp and stud)
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2) Rubber gas lines - the steel gas lines run along the chassis frame rail from the fuel pump mounted on the engine all the way back to the gas tank. The suction line coming out of the top of the gas tank has a section of rubber hose that runs from the top of the gas tank down to the frame rail. If the rubber hose has cracks (due to age) the fuel pump will not be able to deliver fuel properly or at all to the engine.


3) Ignition switch had an intermittent problem making connections internally. Replaced the ignition switch and problem was solved. This same problem could apply to any of the electrical components, i.e. ignition coil, distributor components, etc. in the ignition system.


4) Poor or loose ground wire. Same symptoms as number 3.


5) Something in the gas tank that gets sucked into the suction line and eventually falls free allowing gas to flow again.


Bottom line is we need more information as to the symptoms to be able to help effectively.

Brad
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Old 08-25-2016, 08:14 PM   #14
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1978 Argosy 24
Kenmore , Washington
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Red face possible solution to our starting problem

Just wanted to say how great it was for so many of you to offer help. We had an appointment with Shoreline Family Auto and were not able to drive around with them to duplicate the intermittent problem.
We left the RV there and got a call yesterday that they may have solved it. The new fuel pump was not getting fuel and the filter was clogged with a flaked piece of what the station felt was something from the gas tank interior. They felt that the sediment has been sucked up and clogged the pump and filter and that is why it was stalling. Now we are putting in a different kind of fuel pump and a different fuel filter and not yet dropping the tank. I don't know if the tanks is hard to replace or if it can be refurbished. They seemed to think this would temporarily solve our problem.
We have not yet picked it up and I was hoping someone might have an idea if this seems reasonable or not.
Thanks for all the help we have been getting trying to get back on the road.
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