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Old 12-30-2021, 11:03 AM   #1
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Fuel Issue

Im out on another trip/adventure in the Silver Slug! And this time the MH seems to be living up to its name. I drove for almost 6 hours yesterday and the further I got the more difficult it was to go up hills! It was clearly a fuel delivery issue as pushing on the gas pedal would cause the engine to hesitate and lose power. One hill was so steep we were going 30mph when we crossed it.


At this point Im planning to replace fuel filters followed by pumps (I have an aux pump back by the tank). Not sure what else the trouble might be, but I figured it wouldnt hurt to ask here.


thanks,
Aaron
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Old 12-30-2021, 12:12 PM   #2
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If the fuel filters don't do it check the pick up screen on the fuel pump. I had a similar experience on an older tow vehicle and the filter change did the trick. Mechanic who saved me said they see it all the time on vehicles that don't get driven much, then do a lot when traveling and it stirs up any "stuff" on the bottom of the tanks. Good luck.
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Old 12-30-2021, 12:32 PM   #3
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Let's keep guessing....check the exhaust, do it sound rite, do it hiss a fit, the cat converter, or just a plain old muffler may be coming apart and choking things up a bit.

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Old 12-31-2021, 06:44 AM   #4
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Will check the screen.


Good point on the exhaust. Although for most of the drive I had turned on my aux fuel pump. At one point I had decided it wasnt helping and turned it off. The slug immediately started lugging so I turned it back on. Ill still check for something fishy there though.


thanks,
Aaron
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Old 12-31-2021, 08:22 AM   #5
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The slug is getting to an age that the tank starts to rust and debris blocks the filters. Expect to drop the tank and inspect if you see any debris in the lines.
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Old 12-31-2021, 10:24 AM   #6
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Don't rule out an ignition issuel. Your HEI distributor is a nice piece of engineering and it contains most of your ignition system. But, it's probably original. We had very similar symptoms from a failing ignition coil.
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Old 12-31-2021, 11:49 AM   #7
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Also check the fuel tank evaporative emission system. They can be somewhat complicated but should not allow too much vacuum in the tank; it will act like a poorly performing fuel pump. I had a mid 80's vehicle with an intermittent problem that a couple of shops (including a dealer) could not diagnose. I finally caught it on a back road when the car died - no fuel in the carb. I uncapped the gas tank and a big whoosh of air went in. Car ran fine with a loose cap on the tank.

Good luck,

Whit nash
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Old 01-03-2022, 06:15 AM   #8
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Well, the mystery will remain.


I pulled the fuel filters and they breathed just fine. I had a local mechanic drop by and he suggested taking it for a spin to let him see the symptom first hand. And of course it ran fine.


I also made it home without issue yesterday. 5+ hours and the only issue is the run-on when I try and shut it off.


thanks,
Aaron
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Old 01-03-2022, 06:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airdelroy View Post
Well, the mystery will remain.


I pulled the fuel filters and they breathed just fine. I had a local mechanic drop by and he suggested taking it for a spin to let him see the symptom first hand. And of course it ran fine.


I also made it home without issue yesterday. 5+ hours and the only issue is the run-on when I try and shut it off.


thanks,
Aaron
Is this an HEI distributor engine?
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Old 01-03-2022, 07:31 AM   #10
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First bet is your cat is plugged. Second distributor issue. Sometimes worn plug wires will cause this issue but itís usually a plugged catalytic converter.
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Old 01-03-2022, 07:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Is this an HEI distributor engine?
Reason I asked, I had an 85 Chevy van. I had the exact same symptoms as you, but eventually resulted in very intermittent stalling. I SWORE it felt like fuel. It was rust on the reluctor wheel down on the bottom of the distributor. No missing, just low power sometimes, like starving for fuel.

Take a flashlight , remove the cap and look way down deep, below the flyweight plate and if it is coated with fur, replace distributor.
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Old 01-04-2022, 08:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
First bet is your cat is plugged. Second distributor issue. Sometimes worn plug wires will cause this issue but itís usually a plugged catalytic converter.
No catalytic converters on the motorhomes.....
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Old 01-04-2022, 04:16 PM   #13
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Yep, not until 1991, then it was a cat behind the muffler.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-14-2022, 06:46 AM   #14
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interesting...

I have been having intermittent stalling on mine for a year or so with no one being able to figure it out.

I was led down the path of fuel problems, but as my (very experienced) father-in-law used to say... 95% of fuel problems are electric The fuel filter when we got her (the one mid rig) was on back to front...(yeesh), but have not dropped the tank yet... apparently a screen or filter in there as well.

The idea that rust' in the distributor would cause failure makes sense - just have to figure out how to replace it (if needed) without screwing up the timing.

Since replacing the old and cracked spark plug leads, plugs and running 2.5 bottles of Seafoam though her, she fires up without pushing the gas peddle... first crank.. every time. I really hope it's the distributor (84 454) - a relatively cheap repair.

Thanks -
Pete

Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Reason I asked, I had an 85 Chevy van. I had the exact same symptoms as you, but eventually resulted in very intermittent stalling. I SWORE it felt like fuel. It was rust on the reluctor wheel down on the bottom of the distributor. No missing, just low power sometimes, like starving for fuel.

Take a flashlight , remove the cap and look way down deep, below the flyweight plate and if it is coated with fur, replace distributor.
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:03 AM   #15
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When the summit distributor weighs fell apart, I installed this HEI Fast distributor. Has been trouble free so far. I'm sure the price has gone up quite a bit, but don't go cheap, not worth it!Click image for larger version

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Old 01-15-2022, 03:42 PM   #16
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FINALLY got out there and pulled the distributor. It IS an HEI distributor, but nothing looked suspicious with the cap off. I didnt take the rotor off though. It cant hurt to just replace it though.


The above is not currently in stock.


Jegs seem like a decent replacement?
https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/40042/10002/-1


Ill probably replace sparkers and wires at the same time. What is the recommended plug at this point?




thanks,
Aaron
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Old 01-15-2022, 04:02 PM   #17
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Rockauto.com
Distributor - Cardone 841845 $96.79 no core charge NEW unit, in stock



I replaced mine last October with this unit from RockAuto. Works well. Same part # is used in your '89.


I use regular plugs, whatever I can get. I don't waste money on RACE CAR plugs for an engine that doesn't turn over 4000 RPMs and is expected to burn oil.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Airdelroy View Post
FINALLY got out there and pulled the distributor. It IS an HEI distributor, but nothing looked suspicious with the cap off. I didnt take the rotor off though. It cant hurt to just replace it though.


The above is not currently in stock.


Jegs seem like a decent replacement?
https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/40042/10002/-1


Ill probably replace sparkers and wires at the same time. What is the recommended plug at this point?




thanks,
Aaron
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Old 01-18-2022, 05:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
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....I use regular plugs, whatever I can get. I don't waste money on RACE CAR plugs for an engine that doesn't turn over 4000 RPMs and is expected to burn oil.
Built in Mosquito control feature comes with coach at no additional charge
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Old 01-22-2022, 01:18 PM   #19
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Distributor arrived in the last couple days. Ill get that installed tomorrow and see if I run into the issue again.


Just need to plan another trip now to test it!
Aaron
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Old 01-23-2022, 06:18 PM   #20
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Moving forward as well

Well, Im moving in the same direction.

After multiple (3) doses of Seafoam and getting better compression each time, I then replaced the spark plugs and leads. Progressively sounding at the end of that process.

After reading the notes here I also decided to change out the distributor. I brought it without looking too closely at the old one but after pulling it out noticed a reasonable amount of surface oxidation under the rotor and further down on the shaft. Hopefully the images show that. I'd be interested to hear if it's a similar level of 'fluff or fur' as noted by others.

Anyway the good news was the 1. she started right up (as in I didn't screw up the timing in the process) and 2. both my wife and son immediately said she sounded a LOT smoother running. I also did but thought I might have been wanting improvement so bad I might have been imagining it

So far so good. just need to order new air bags before a trial run. Hopefully there's plenty of Information in the forums to guide that process.

Cheers all -
Pete


Quote:
Originally Posted by Airdelroy View Post
FINALLY got out there and pulled the distributor. It IS an HEI distributor, but nothing looked suspicious with the cap off. I didnt take the rotor off though. It cant hurt to just replace it though.
Ill probably replace sparkers and wires at the same time. What is the recommended plug at this point?



thanks,
Aaron
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