3/1/14 - Nothing like a 1000 mile drive to get to know your new rig.
My buddy SebasSF and I flew into Grand Junction, CO to check out the 290 I'd been eyeing for months. She was definitely rough around the edges, but mechanically everything looked pretty good. We got a great price from the PO ($8700) and headed off to a local truck shop to have some work done before starting back to SF:
6 New Dynatrac ST-990s + 1 Spare
2 Front Koni FSDs
Full Chassis Inspection
2 Front Lower Ball Joints
2 Front Sway Bushings
New Oil Cooler Lines
Fixed Transmission Pan Leak
Drove 500 miles the first day on I-70W out of Grand Junction SW to Las Vegas to avoid a winter storm. The rig ran great, plenty of power up steep grades and only slowed down a bit on Salina Summit, UT (7,923 ft). The fuel gauge did seem to give pretty ballpark guesstimates on what was in the tank (bouncing +/- 1/3 tank ). Mileage could have been better at about 5-6 MPGs but figured I’d sort that out once we get home.
Late afternoon we noticed the fan was staying engaged on downgrades. Decide fan clutch had probably gone out – decided to look for a replacement unit on the way home.
Arrived at The HardRock Hotel in Las Vegas at about 12:30AM. Parked in the valet section next to Bugattis and Ferraris while security figured out where to park us. Ended up in a locked lot next to a 50’ Prevost – made the 29’ look pretty small and manageable. Ended up staying up way to late, drinking too much, and winning big at blackjack.
Hit the road at 10AM (thanks SebasSF) and drove to Barstow, CA. Fan was engaged about 90% of the time - but otherwise everything ran great.
Stopped at a Napa in Barstow and bought replacement fan clutch (Hayden 2929). Old clutch was an exact match for new clutch and looked like a fairly new replacement. Installed new clutch in about 45 minutes while grabbing lunch at InNOut. Fan initially ran much less, which made the drive a lot more enjoyable/quiet, but unfortunately it didn’t last. About 2 hours later we saw the same problems as earlier clutch – fan was now engaged almost continuously. Online research showed that this was a common complaint with import fan clutches – possibly due to manufacturers lowering the clutch engagement temperature below GM recommended specs. Begin looking for AC Delco fan clutch with proper specs – plan to switch out once we get the rig home.
Noticed the engine was loping at bit at idle – figured it’s probably a vacuum line leak. Decided to replace all vacuum lines once we’re in SF. Also parking brake didn't seem to be engaging and could hear a slight rasping sound from rear right of rig while moving at low speed. Parking brake not engaged/dragging?
Average MPG was still around the 6MPG mark – vacuum leak and brake issues probably not doing us any favors?
Arrived in San Francisco around 11PM and parked the rig outside a friend’s house. Planning to do a few repairs and then get the rig into storage.
I had been doing some minor repairs before putting the 290 into the storage lot. Yesterday I put all new belts on. As I was tensioning everything I noticed a small green wire that had pulled loose from a bundle of wires running across the top of the engine. I accidently tapped it against the block as I was tying it back in and got a nice big spark. I traced the wire back to a wire nut where it tied in with a heavier gauge pink/faded red wire leading back to the part shown in the attached photo.
Today when I went to drive the rig into storage my batteries were dead. I jumped it and got the engine started, but noticed that the voltage gauge was reading low (10-11V) where it had previously been pegged to 13-14v continuously. The engine was running but seemed rough. I idled out of the parking lot, but when I gave the engine gas, it sputtered and eventually died completely.
Good Sam towed me to a spot near my house (definitely worth the $$) but tomorrow I'll need to get the problem sorted out and hopefully get the rig off the street and into storage.
Figured I had probably fried my alternator yesterday - so decided to replace it with an AC Delco (no more cheapo parts for me). Found a great AC Delco distributor in South San Francisco that supplies most of the parts shops in the Bay Area (City Auto Supply). Grabbed a new CS130 and an oversized 950 CCA starter battery from a BMW.
Turns out the PO had gotten creative with the electrical system in this rig. The old alternator was an underrated 85A unit and when I pulled out the battery drawer I found two batteries, a starter and a deep cycle, wired in parallel. The rig has a 85W solar panel - thinking he didn't want to spring for a dual-bank solar controller?
I undid his creative electrical work and restored the system to the OEM dual bank setup. Stuck the output from the solar system on to just the coach bank for now - and will look at getting a dual bank controller later.
Installed the new CS130 in about an hour. The rig fired right up - ran it for a couple hours to charge the chassis battery. Drove over to American Storage in Bayview, parked it, and called it a day.
Poking around the doghouse today thinking of all the things I need to do to get this thing registered and smogged. Pulled off the aircleaner expecting to find a quadrajet, and found an Edelbrock 1406 instead. Crap.
Did a bunch of research on the CA ARB site and it looks like the only legal, non-OEM replacement carb for a 1988 P30 7.4L is an Edelbrock 1906. These are discontinued and I found no traces of 1906s for sale anytime recently on eBay.
After a bunch of research here and over on the forum at Cliff's Performance it looks like the original CA-legal quadrajet is a 17085212. Not seeing many of those for sale recently either. Will have to keep on looking.
...After a bunch of research here and over on the forum at Cliff's Performance it looks like the original CA-legal quadrajet is a 17085212. Not seeing many of those for sale recently either. Will have to keep on looking.
I'll see if I can find the carb that I took of my Argosy and check it's numbers. If it's a match I'll let you know.
Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
Well, definitely lucked out today. Managed to track down a brand new, still-in-the-box Rochester Quadrajet 17085212. They stopped making these in 1985 so I was amazed to have found a new one. The PO had it sitting in the corner of his shop for a decade or so.
Talking to the Cliff guys about what's needed to get it modernized (replace rubber components, etc) and looking forward to getting it on my rig/ready for smog.
great to hear about another enthusiastic Classic MOho owner.. I suggest while you are working on everything that you might heat wrap the wiring that passes by the manifolds. This seems to have been an issue with a lot of these units and it certainly was when I had mine. I ended up with a billet aluminum starter and all the wires wrapped in heat proof covering.
Anyway best of luck with that cool machine, hope you enjoy it.
My original doghouse cover was in pretty sad shape - the only insulation was a loose piece of yellowed fiberglass mat that had to be removed my hand every time the cover was taken off. Pretty sure it provided no noise damping whatsoever and was getting tired of my right foot getting hot on long drives.
Pulled everything off, cleaned and stripped the inside of the cover, and applied two layers of Dynamat:
Added probably 10-20 lbs of mass to the cover (sucker is heavy...) but the reduction in transmitted sound and heat is pretty amazing. Most of the high/mid frequency sound from the engine is now damped out - highly recommended.
Hi Marshallsf Congrats on your new MH you will have fun times! Where did you order your new carb? also it seems above the driver you have a storage cabinet I have asked AS for a drawing as my 88 325 does not have this could you possibly take a picture? Thanks Jonathan [49er fan for decades!!]
Finally fixed a problem where I had full 110V power on both the front/rear circuits when on shore power, but no front 110V power when on the genny. My Onan 6.5k has two 30A circuit breakers mounted on the unit. From reading here it sounds like those breakers can be a bit flakey. Multimeter showed both were passing 110V to the coach though - so my problem was somewhere else.
Next link in the chain on my 290 LE was two transfer switches mounted in a compartment below the rear wardrobe. The top transfer switch apparently feeds my front 110V circuit and passes through a rotary switch above my range to select between front AC, microwave, blender, and AC plugs. The bottom transfer switch feeds my rear circuit which I think just goes directly to the rear AC unit.
The bottom transfer switch was clicking over about 20 seconds after starting the genny, but the top was inactive. Replaced the top switch with a $98 Elkhart LPT30 30A Transfer Switch (Amazon.com: Elkhart LPT30 30A Transfer Switch: Automotive). Took about 45min to do the swap, fired up the genny, and 110V front power clicked on perfectly.
The Elkhart LPT30 was an almost exact match for the original 1988 Todd Engineering unit it replaced. Most of the other switches I looked at were in cheap, oversized plastic cases. The Elkhart case was 6"x6" and all metal with good construction - highly recommended.
Hey Jonathan - the Quadrajet carb came from an auto shop near Boston. It had apparently been sitting around for ages in the back of the shop and I just lucked out finding it on Craigslist. If you're looking for a replacement Quad I'd recommend posting a wanted ad over on the forum at Cliff's High Performance (link). They're super knowledgable and a some of the guys have rebuildable cores for sale. I think all the late 80's 7.4L 4BBL engines used the same 17085212 or 17085004 model quadrajet.
I've uploaded a photo that shows the front driver's area cabinets but it's not the best pic. Let me know if you'd like some close-up shots, measurements, or anything else and I'll grab them for you next time I'm out there.
Hi Marshall, good write up of your trip and subsequent repairs.
I'm heading north to Santa Cruse today along the coast from Cambria.
My 345 is having charging issues and I think a new Alt is in order.
Also need to find a new fan clutch, so I would like the address of the AC Delco dealer you found in the S F area as I may be coming thru the area around the first of next week.
I'll P M you my contact info.
Thanks Seabas, for the kind offer. We are in Point Reyes and heading north.
May come back thru S F on our way back south in a few days.
P M me your contact info and I'll call ahead to see if a hook up can happen easily.
Is the one you have an A C Delco? The one now on my coach's is just over one year old and already acting up. Funny it seems to be working better the more use it gets. Kind of like our brains a bit.
Great write up picked up some good tech tips . I have done a rehab on cooling system , exhaust system all but exhaust manifolds , shocks , steering stabilizer . I took the alternator to a shop and had it rebuild . A/C delco is not what they use to be . . . can we say made in China . Next big thing might be carb , intake manifold and headers replacement . To tell the truth replace 454 with 496 or a 502 maybe 530 strokerrrrrr . Name her the Dragon Wagon LOL
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