The Ferrigno Family's 1975 GMC Glenbrook

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pvfjr

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This thread will start out like a trip report, but should turn into more of a build thread eventually. Many of you probably followed our progress on Facebook, but I wanted to document the full experience so far--and before I start forgetting more detail.
 

pvfjr

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Saturday, September 21 2019: Purchase Day
This is when all the trouble started. My wife and I had a nice, albeit rare, night out sans children (ages 2 & 4). We got to go to a benefit dinner for Project Living Hope (shameless plug: plhope.org ; they do great things in Haiti) run by some good friends of ours. We got to ride a motorcycle together for the first time in 4 years, had a nice night with great food, came home late to a quiet house, and she left to give the babysitter a ride home. This is when I got on Instagram to kill some time and discovered the fateful posting:

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This was the first time I'd seen IAA make an Instagram post, but I follow #gmcmotorhome, and luckily they tagged it as such. I spotted the Alcoas, and the awning and figured someone took good care of it at some point. I logged in to check it out on IAA, and saw dual rooftop AC units, a quad-bag suspension, more window awnings, etc. I was sold, but had to wait for the wife to come home to discuss things. She was an easy sell. We could have waited until it went to auction on Tuesday, but I didn't think it would last (especially if it got discovered on the Facebook Marketplace group) so we clicked the big red button for instant gratification. Then we opened up Google Maps to see it was well over 1200 miles from home!

I had hopes that it "ran and drove" when it was in an accident. It stands to reason, right? The listing said the keys were missing, so they were unable to test anything. Buying it sight-unseen was certainly a gamble, and I knew for certain the trip home would prove to be an adventure.
 

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pvfjr

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Sunday, September 22 2019: Plan and Pack

Between church in the morning and our first evening of this year's life group, we had a few hours to pack and plan for the adventure. I packed up what seemed like half of my shop and had everything bagged or in crates. I've been orchestrating and starring in my own unfilmed episodes of Roadkill since I was 17, so I prepared for every scenario I could think of.

The wife bought plane tickets for herself and our kids so they could join me in Phoenix on Wednesday evening. After our group met, I put the kids to bed while my wife drove a couple hours round-trip to trade our Subaru Baja for something more tow-dolly appropriate: her sister's Corolla.

The best-laid plan at this point: I would drive down there, get the GMC running, install some temporary lights, rent a tow dolly, and pick them up from the airport. We figured if we pulled the Corolla behind the GMC, we could take shifts driving and get home faster. We should be home by Friday, and I should have just enough time to drive another 4 hours and join my dad for deer camp (starting at dawn on Saturday). The auction photos revealed a 2" receiver in the rear, so pulling a Corolla should be easy, right?
 
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pvfjr

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Monday, September 23 2019: Work, Load Up, Headout

0730:
Headed to work. I was already scheduled to be out of the office the following week, and now I was needing to head out nearly a week early for almost two full weeks of time off. I had too many irons in the fire, and had to get some things in order before I could depart. I also had to grab my laptop, as my annual "self evaluation" was due by the weekend (don't get me started on those things). I figured I could work on the eval when it was the wife's turn to drive.

1700: Changed the oil in the sister-in-law's Corolla, since they weren't sure when it was last done. Of course, it takes a weird oil and a weird filter, so a trip to the store was necessary at some point.

Pro tip: when an oil filter is too tiny for all your filter wrenches and you're feeling desire, a short length of old timing belt coiled inside helps immensely, and adds some good grip to the wrench.
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I then got the car all loaded up, and prepared to head out.

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1900: I had to swing by the in-law's place in Harrisburg to grab something out of my car (something they could get in trouble for if they didn't know it was there...whoops). It wasn't exactly on my way, and cost me some time. Already, the itinerary is slipping.

1930: It just dawned on me that I don't have my deer tag yet, and I can't purchase one after the season starts. It's 30 minutes before Bi-Mart closes, so I had to stop in and get a license/tag at the last possible minute. After that, it was southbound on I5 to Eugene, then on to HWY 58 to Oakridge. My fuel range in the Corolla suggests Oakridge will make a good fuel stop.

2200: I finally arrived in Oakridge after stopping for refreshement and saying hello to a friend. There were 25 miles of range left on the car, and the Oakridge Mobile station (the only one open this time of night) was out of gas. He said the tanker was 2 hours away, and that was at 1700. Basically, I was out of luck. I didn't have enough gas to make it to the next station down the road, and my cell phone didn't have coverage. I drove to a friend's house hoping he'd have gas, and that he'd be awake. Luckily, both of those things were true. I got 5 gallons from him, which should get me to the Pilot on HWY 97 in Chemult.

2330: Chemult was torn up due to construction, and the Pilot was inaccessible. The Corolla range calculator was still providing a generous number from those 5 gallons, so I pressed on. Eventually, I made it all the way to Klamath Falls where I finally fueled up. At this point I branched off from HWY 97 and headed down HWY 39 toward Reno.
 
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pvfjr

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Tuesday, September 24 2019: Conquer Nevada, Feel Tired

0300:
Somewhere along the way I crossed the border into California and HWY 39 became HWY 139. By 0300 I was in Modoc country, and getting tired. I walked Bruno (the 95 pound husky tagging along) and settled in for a nap in the driver's seat.

0600: I awoke to 36 degrees. I wasn't quite dressed for that, so I figured it was time to hit the road and fire up the heater.

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0800: I made it to Honey Lake, where there is a very nice rest area--next level. I had encountered tons of construction through the night on 39 and 139, and now HWY 395 was offering more of the same. I'm not making great time, but not for lack of trying.

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1130: I crossed into Nevada at some point, and made it to Reno. I spent some time trying to find a way to activate an older phone I have with a prepaid Verizon MVNO provider of some sort, but had little luck. T-Mobile was certainly letting me down. I decided to just press on, and accept not having a working phone for most of the drive. Perhaps coming back on this route wouldn't be the right choice...

1700: I was passing through Beatty at this point. I cut over to HWY 95 after going through Reno. Things were a little more mountainous, and it really wasn't a bad drive. All this Nevada desert was less boring than I expected.

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I kept heading south, passed through Las Vegas, then Kingman and continued down HWY 93. Joshua trees abounded, and I was closing in on Phoenix.
 
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pvfjr

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Wednesday, September 25 2019: Acquire the RV, Begin Preparations, Pick Up the Family

0000:
I stopped for a break and had to snap a pic of a Joshua tree before continuing south.

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0200: I walked the dog, then settled in for another car-nap somewhere on the outskirts of Phoenix where I figured I wouldn't attract too much attention.

0600: I awoke and figured it was time to start fighting the Phoenix traffic. I headed toward IAA so I could be at the door when they opened.

0800: I ended up 5th in line when the doors opened, and was served fairly quickly. Normally they just use a forklift to pull your vehicle out of their yard, and dump it in the parking lot where it becomes your problem. The motorhome, however, was stored in their "special yard", and informed me they don't have the proper equipment to move it. I was relieved, as it meant they probably hadn't handled it improperly, and it was likely dropped off by a qualified towing service. They assigned me an escort named Jack who would supervise me while in the special yard. I hoped to get it running quickly so I could get out of their hair.

0900: Once in the special yard, I knew I'd have to address the no-keys situation, and likely have to jump-start it. Before breaking the ignition cylinder, I thought I'd look around for some keys. That took all of 30 seconds, as there was a set stuffed in the couch right next to the door! How fortunate! Also, I discovered a set of current plates, which helped alleviate my concerns about multi-state trip permits and whatnot. I really didn't want to get pulled over on this trip.

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The newly discovered keys allowed confirmation of the expected dead battery. Jack and I worked at jump starting the thing, and it cranked slowly. The fuel filter was bone dry, and I knew from previous experience with old Chevies that the mechanical pumps are reluctant to prime with a long feed line and slow revolutions. I decided to just go buy a new battery, starting fluid, gas can, gas, and all the various oils/fluids.

1100: Equipped with the new supplies, I replaced the battery, gave it a shot of starting fluid, and she fired instantly. It ran as long as the starting fluid lasted, and was done. At least it sounded mechanically sound. The fuel filter was still dry. I asked Jack how often these things get siphoned in their yard, he said never. My skepticism won out, and I rapped my knuckles on an empty sounding tank. So I put 5 gallons in it and nothing leaked out. I started cranking again, still nothing.

At this point, I figured at least the steering wheel is unlocked, so I asked Jack if he'd rather sit there and watch me struggle all day, or have someone tug this thing out of their yard. Frame accessibility was poor in its current parking position, so it would behoove me to drag it elsewhere anyway. They eventually obliged after some waiting. I aired up the rear left tire with my portable 12V compressor, and we dragged it to a new resting place near their exterior fence. I deployed the south side awnings to make the 97 degree, high-humidity conditions a little more bearable inside. I was happy to see they functioned.

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Getting it out and exposed, I surveyed the damage more closely and determined it was all cosmetic, much to my satisfaction. I may have a rather loose definition of cosmetic, but either way, it meant our plans weren't dead in the water quite yet.

My skepticism concerning the fuel delivery system grew, so I refilled the 5 gallon gas can, and ran down to a parts store to get a universal electric pump--they had a Holley on hand so I bought it. I also got 25' of rubber hose, and 50' of wire just in case things got interesting. I also picked up a new manually operated transfer pump, since the one I had at home was junk, and this one was rated for fuel.

1230: The first order of business was popping the fuel line off the carb and see if the manual transfer pump could successfully draw from the fuel tank. It did! This left me wondering why the mechanical fuel pump wasn't doing its job, so I started following the fuel line away from the carb to locate said pump. I failed. The line reached the location I expected a pump to be located, made a left turn, crossed the crossmember, then started following the frame rail to the rear. I surmised it must have been upgraded with an electric unit at some point. I was able to crawl around and locate the electric pump, and it was not receiving power. So I traced the power wire, watched it change colors a couple times, go through three series fuses and a switch, then connect to the tail light circuit (constant batter power). Obviously this is NOT how I would do things, but with the flip of an oddly placed and unlabeled switch, it worked well enough for now! Finally we have fuel! I reconnected things, started it, and rejoiced to hear it idle. I ran the transmission through reverse and drive and achieved the expected results. Then I noticed a couple picture messages from the wife--they were departing PDX and on their way. I had so much left to do!
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1400: The next order of business was to make the coach street legal, then rent a tow dolly. I headed off to Lowe's to buy some 1x2s, since I needed a place to mount the lights I'd brought. I also bought a 24"x24" piece of 1/2" plywood, though I wouldn't know why until later. Something told me I'd need it. Bruno greatly appreciated the chance to enjoy the AC, and I'll be honest, I took my time in there. Pro tip: buy your lumber in Oregon, not Arizona--the price discrepancy was astounding.

Slightly rejuvenated, I went to work making what my coworkers have deemed the wooden exoskeleton. I eyeballed a few compound miters with the reciprocating saw and was happy enough with the results. The passenger side headlight retaining ring was broken, and the aging tape didn't appear trustworthy, so I fixed that up with some zip ties as well.

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Good as new, you could hardly tell she'd been wrecked! :LOL:

1600: With the business day winding to a close, I figured I'd better make this thing inspection worthy for the U-Haul folks. I went to the rear to assess the setup, and discovered the 2" receiver was homemade, and not suitable for towing a vehicle that belongs to someone else. That threw a huge wrench in our plans. It looked like the wife and I would BOTH have to drive home all the way from Phoenix now. No trading off, and no chance for me to work on my self-evaluation for work. :( I continued improving the roadworthiness of the coach with little things here and there, and hoped the thunderstorms would hold off until I was done.
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1900: I was half done wiring up the lights, but it was time to pick up the family from the airport. I picked them up and brought them to the RV. She wasn't thrilled about the generator location:

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As much as I didn't want to pay for hotels every single night of this trip, I knew we'd be kicking and bumping into the darned thing, and likely soiling/snagging clothing along the way. We commiserated about not being able to tow the Corolla home, discussed plans, then went to Whataburger since it carries fond memories for her (we don't have those in Oregon). I originally still had aspirations of making it to Las Vegas, but she convinced me to join them for dinner. It was enjoyable until a torrential downpour with lightning chased us out of the outdoor sitting area.

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2130: Back at the RV, I set about finishing the lights. It was nice to have a flashlight holder and a go-fer for a little bit. If anyone doesn't know about the battery powered Ryobi soldering station, I highly recommend it (seriously, I recommend it as an electrical engineer). It's probably the most handy addition to the shop this year.

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It was getting late, and I was still doing the finishing touches and had a gas station in my future, so the wife found a hotel for herself and the kids 6 miles away and departed in the Corolla. I finished up, and checked out all the lights. We were good to go.

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2300: I headed for the gas station 3 miles away where someone asked me how long I'd owned the coach, which turned into the first of many conversations about it. I then proceeded to the back of the hotel parking lot. It was 6 miles in total, and it was FAR from inspiring.
  • The throttle was the worst I've felt. Heavy, unresponsive, unpredictable
  • The steering was the worst I've felt. Constantly fighting itself, and willing to go any direction but straight. My input had slop as well, so I had to modulate fighting it in opposite directions.
  • The engine pinged like crazy under throttle, and didn't want to go over 35 mph.
This was all rather discouraging. I snuck up to the hotel room for a midnight shower, then returned to the RV for some research/reading and eventually some sleep. Hot, humid, beaten.
 

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pvfjr

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Thursday, September 26 2019: Discouragement, Self Doubt, Sticker Shock, Perseverance, Goodbye Arizona

0630:
I woke up and did some cleaning and organizing. I discovered storage areas beneath the front seats, and had some good reference materials in there. I haven't taken much time to look them over, but I considered it a good find.
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We found out that the hotel actually would have allowed our husky at no extra charge, so I actually could have enjoyed sleeping indoors in a real bed with AC. Good to know, I guess. The intermittent torrential downpours persisted. I watched the kids and started shopping online for RV shipping options, since going 1250 miles with this unruly beast seemed imprudent, and I was feeling a bit downtrodden. I was also thinking about deer camp, and how bad I would feel if I stood-up my dad for several days in a row while he's expecting me. Shipping it home sounded like the easiest course of action at this point. The wife returned from a market with food, and we talked a lot about the options, and continued seeking out quotes.

1000: I'd received several quotes at this point, ranging from $2500 to $9k. I spent some time on the phone with a friend in the towing business, and he confirmed the reasonable nature of the lower quotes. Something within me always rejects the notion of taking the easy way out, however, so I headed back out to the RV to start tinkering and made some discoveries:
  • The throttle cable was kinked beyond belief, and the bends were getting stuck in the cable sheath creating lots of friction
  • There was a good 3/4" of slack in the throttle cable due to the throttle bracket mounting. It's a spreadbore bracket slapped on a square bore carb with a single bolt. Lets just say, it ain't right.
  • The throttle return spring was way overstretched to compensate for the extra friction
    • The spring was hooked onto a short stud standing proud from the intake manifold, with no securement
    • I looked at the spring wrong, and it popped right off. Yikes.
  • There was a pedal return spring munched and misaligned above the pedal. It caused an inconsistent pedal return position.
  • There were no less than 5 open vacuum ports or hoses causing leaks.
  • The idle mixture adjustment was abysmal. Luckily, there is a permanent vacuum gauge installed in the coach for easy tuning.
  • The timing tab on the motor was not secure, and flopped all about. I retarded the timing just a bit by ear.
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By this time the hotel checkout had come and gone, and the family was at an indoor playground somewhere waiting for me to head northbound. The wife made a valiant effort to keep spirits high, but the travel was beginning to wear on the children.

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I fired up the RV and went for a test drive. It felt MUCH better, but the rear tire needed air again. I stopped and refilled it, and headed north. I was going to head towards a gracious community member's house so I could ship the coach (that was the early morning plan), but I decided to just keep on going.

1400: I made it to Carefree, Az. Short drive, big victory. I now felt like I could drive a significant distance, and knew we'd have to drive well into the night, and was hoping we could make it to Las Vegas and only be a day behind the original schedule. The previous night revealed the aftermarket gauges didn't light up. The tach wasn't wired properly, so I fixed that. The original gauges for temp, oil, etc had been abandoned so long, that the aftermarket replacements had since burned out. I sent a pic of the bulbs to the wife, and she found the right ones on her way to me.
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She also picked up a locking gas cap since the original was missing (sure, they never get siphoned in the yard...), and gave me some food. I got some soap and a spray bottle from the Home Depot I was parked at and started spraying down the rear tire (I had a plug kit on hand just in case). It turned out to be the valve stem leaking, where it passed through the rim. I loosened and tightened the nut a few times and got it to seat a little better; it seemed like the leak had stopped. Back on the road!

1700: We passed through Wickenburg and stopped for gas. No new issues to report! I was informed this thing looked pretty good going down the road, at least from behind, anyway.

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2100: About 80 miles outside Las Vegas, the engine starved for fuel and died. The freeway was so loud, I coudn't hear whether the fuel pump was running or not. After some troubleshooting, I determined the fuel line could still draw fuel, so the pump must not have power. I went back there with the multimeter and verified the results. I then had to locate all the inline fuses, and traced it back to the fuse box. I had to remove the glove box, and found where the wire originated at an auxiliary power spade in the fuse panel. That connection ended up being on the tail light circuit, and the associated fuse was blown. I stole a fuse from the heater fan to replace it and we were back in business!

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Meanwhile the wife had a side project. In tracing the wires, I had noticed the engine battery was making a break for it and was wedged precariously between the two pieces of angle iron that are supposed to support the non-existant battery tray. I asked her to use that random piece of plywood I had bought to cut a new temporary platform for the battery. She did a great job sizing it up and cutting it out. We put a few screws into it, then ratchet strapped the battery to it nice and tight.

2130: After driving 1000 feet down the freeway, it died again. The taillight fuse was blown once more. I was wondering if the new fuel pump I installed drew more current than the old one, so I put a slightly higher amperage fuse in from another circuit. No more dash lights or heater fan, but once more we were on our way with a reallocated fuse.

2150: I went about 500 feet this time. Blown again. Since I was blowing 30A fuses at this point, I knew my multimeter was useless. I had an analog 2" charge/discharge ammeter for automotive uses, so I hooked it up with alligator clips. It showed 50A! I turned off the fuel pump, and checked again--still 50A. Huh, it wasn't the fuel pump after all, and I needed to check out the tail light circuit. I then had a hunch: if the trailer wiring is as bad as the homemade trailer hitch receiver, I bet there's trouble there. There was. I cut off 6 feet of frayed mayhem out of the bumper area and taped off the stubs. Now we were back in business for real. Back on the road! Eventually we stopped at a Pilot for fuel, and I was able to buy enough fuses to reclaim all my other lost functions.

2230: I heard a bad noise from behind the passenger front wheel area. I was paranoid about the battery, and wondering if it had just fallen out. Nope, but the ratchet strap was toast! I think the free end got loose somehow, and got tangled with the CV axle, which promptly mangled and ripped up the poor thing. The battery slid around a bit, but was still on its platform. We surrounded it with a perimeter of screws into the plywood standing proud so it couldn't slide anymore, and added a couple bungees to hold it down (no more loose ends). It was turning into a long night, and the kids were getting restless and tired, but we were getting very close to the hotel where my wife had a reservation for her and the kids. Onward!
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2345: Finally, we made it to the Las Vegas hotel. $52 short-notice on Priceline goes a long ways here--note to self. The kids went down to bed, and I went back out to the RV.

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pvfjr

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Friday, September 27 2019: Redneck Alignment, Fuel Issues, Failed Itineraries, More Perseverance

0020:
Once again, it was time to walk the dog, tinker with some things, do some reading/research. The days were starting to feel routine.

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There were plenty of sirens in Las Vegas, and Bruno felt obliged to interact a bit.

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0200: Heading to bed, and pondering what I might do about the steering in the morning. A long day of fighting to keep it between the lines had made me weary.
0620: The Las Vegas parking lot wasn't very quiet, so I figured that was enough of an attempt at sleeping. The first order of business today was a makeshift alignment job in the casino parking lot while the family slept. This ended up taking me much longer than expected. I started off just looking at the wheels from behind. They both looked like they were turned inward, so I suspected it was severely toed-in.

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I grabbed my straightest 1x2 scraps that were long enough to extend past the tires, and zip tied them to the rims in the best fashion I could manage. I knew I'd probably have maybe 1/8" to 1/4" of error with these poor methods, but I was curious what it would reveal. So I measured the distance behind the tires, and subtracted the distance at the front of the tires. Then I thought I screwed up, because the number was too big. So, I measured everything again, and got the same results. THREE INCHES! This explains the poor shape the tires were in when I picked it up in Phoenix:

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The tires were even worse when I made it to Vegas, but I didn't get a pic.
So I loosened the tie rod adjusters and gave it a go. There was a lot of trial and error, and I did the same thing on each side since the coach seemed fairly centered to start with. I rolled the coach back and forth several times between each adjustment and measurement to relieve any stress on the tires and linkages.

Meanwhile, the kids got to enjoy some 8 AM outdoor swimming. This isn't something you do in Oregon, even in the summer.
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1100: I was satisfied with my results and finished with brunch, and after a lot of strange looks and a couple conversations with passers-by in the casino parking lot, it was time to head out. We decided not to back-track through Nevada the way I came down, and figured it would be more prudent to stay closer to civilization--despite adding a full dollar to each gallon of gas. So, we headed toward Bakersfield.

1200: It felt good to get out of town, and the coach was driving MUCH better. It still pinged a bit on hills, but was fine at cruising speed or at full throttle (though it sounded a bit noisy). It was time for gas though, so we stopped in Jean, NV at the world's largest Chevron. I of course had to patronize the numerically highest pump available.

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Moving on to Bakersfield, things went pretty smoothly. I even got to see my first solar steam turbine and mirror arrays. They lit up the California haze like I'd never seen.

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Somewhere along the way, going about 70 mph, the engine cover suddenly decided arise from its slumber and relocate itself somewhere rearward. The thing looked like a half done project from the previous owner, and merely sat in place. It was VERY windy through the Mojave desert, and that seemed to push it over the edge. All sorts of tools and things perched precipitously on the edge of the abyss, and my cell phone charger fell victim to the engine fan. From here forth, I stacked heavy tool bags on top of the engine cover while in motion.

1745: We stopped for dinner at the IHOP just off Buck Owens Ave in Bakersfield--it seemed appropriate. After dinner, the wife went to the Dollar Tree to get me a new charger/cord while I messed with the ignition timing. I just couldn't seem to get it quite right, and couldn't use a timing light to help. After discussing all our options, we decided to shoot for somewhere past Fresno before stopping. We had about 14 hours left, and that was too much to save for tomorrow.

2020: We headed up 99 toward Sacremento via Fresno.

2150: We'd made it to Pixley, and the coach suddenly starved for fuel--or something like that. I had been letting the gauge reading dwindle and trying to make up time. It was at it's lowest position yet, 3/8 of a tank, so I figured I ran it out of gas. We took the next exit with the Corolla, got 5 gallons, backtracked what seemed like 10 miles to get back on the freeway, then filled it up with 5 gallons. It fired right up, and we took that next exit again to fill the coach at the gas station.

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2245: We left the gas station and got back on the road. Another few miles, and it seemed like it ran out of gas again just south of Tipton. Since that wasn't possible, I figured it never actually ran out of gas in Pixley in the first place. The fuel filter was full, and the pump was running. I let the rig cool off for twenty minutes. It restarted, sounded like it was loaded up pretty good, so I revved it up and cleared it out. I pulled back onto the freeway, drove another couple miles, and it died again. I was starting to suspect it was flooding out, but why now? If the float levels were incorrect, I should've seen this before. We repeated this process once more, with the same result. It was nearing midnight, and it was clear we weren't making it hours past Fresno tonight. The wife reserved a hotel and headed out with the kids. My goal was to make it to the rest area just south of Tulare, a couple miles at a time. I finally limped in there, and tried to do some cursory diagnostics.

Back in the corners of the carb, just outside the secondary bores, there was fuel pooled up. I didn't consider this part of the fuel bowls, and found it a bit strange.

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Some time in the past, someone has done some serious troubleshooting. There was a recently remanufactured Rochester Quadrajet in the cabinet with a tiny trace of dirt on the outside from a handful of miles. Then there was this new Edelbrock Performer with very few miles as well. That means 3 carburetors in the last year or so have been used on this thing. And, someone saw fit to add a rather thick thermal spacer to the spreadbore adapter. I guessed they've been chasing a yet-unidentified fuel delivery issue and had been throwing parts at it.

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I did some more reading/research, walked the dog, and went to bed again around 0200. Definitely a well established routine at this point.
 
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pvfjr

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Saturday, September 28 2019: Stop For Nothing

0630:
I should have been sitting in a deer stand in the Oregon Cascades, but instead I was waking up in a rest area in Southern California. The best laid plans...
The best I could do was to keep trying. Since cooling off seemed to help this fuel issue, I wondered if I could make it the remaining 7 miles to the parts stores in Tulare from a cold start. I did a little troubleshooting first, tinkered a bit, and decided I really wanted to know what the fuel pressure was. So I headed for Tulare, and as luck would have it, it started barely acting up as I pulled into the parking lot of O'Reilly's.

0730: I picked up a coil to have on hand, a fuel pressure gauge, and some various fittings. I got the gauge installed, and flipped on the fuel pump switch. Expecting 3-5 psi for typical carburetion, I was quite surprised to see the reading on the guage!

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Yikes. It turns out that the pressure got even higher when the engine was running. So why was it related to temperature, you may ask? I finally figured that out as well. Since this pump didn't seem to be regulating itself, the pressure it made was voltage dependent. Another interesting tidbit: the alternator voltage was around 15.5V cold, but would creep up to about 16V when fully warmed up, and seemed to be even worse at night when the headlights made it do some work. That extra voltage and resulting fuel pressure was the straw that broke the Edelbrock's back.

0930: After waiting for the coil to come in, O'Reilly's didn't have a regulator that would even accept that kind of pressure, so I went to Autozone.

1100: No luck. I decided to swap whatever fuel pump was in there with the Holley I had on hand. That brought me down to around 4 psi--much more reasonable. I began to suspect this was the true reason for the 2 new carburetors, the ignition system tampering, and the phenolic spacer. All that time the fuel pressure was just way too high.

1200: With the new fuel pump installed, I decided to see if I could make it to Fresno to catch up with the family. They ended up at an urgent care facility in what seemed like a 3rd world country thanks to the People's Republic of California (seriously, stay away from Railroad Ave in Fresno). One of the kids had a heat rash (grown up soft in temperate Oregon, I guess), no big deal. Life on the road was getting harder to cope with for the kids, so they were taking things a little slower.

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I was feeling restless, and really wanted to make good time from that point forward, so we made sure to divide up all the gear appropriately and part ways. The wife and kids were going to go to Wildlife Safari near Roseburg on the way home, and I was high-tailing it for deer camp.

1330: I really wanted to get out of CA, and the drive to Fresno had gone reasonably well. At this point it was full speed ahead.

2230: I'm happy to say I made it to Weed and stopped for some fuel/food. No breakdowns occurred during that stretch, but it really bogged down on the hills. It seemed pretty slow in the Shasta area, but I managed to press onward. I didn't recall it being so slow in the hills between Phoenix/Las Vegas, but I had been messing with the timing and wondered if that was related. Either way, I wasn't stopping, and didn't mind slowing down to 29 mph for short stretches if I had to. Besides, there was no traffic.

2315: Back on the road with a full belly and fuel tank. I ended up having to put on a sleeping bag while I drove. It was getting quite cold in Weed and starting to ice up, and I had much more serious mountain passes to contend with.
 
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pvfjr

Active member
Oct 4, 2019
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Aumsville OR
Sunday, September 29 2019: Sweet Relief

0200:
I passed through Klamath Falls with snow coming down. Once over 5000 feet, it was building up in the road. I kept moving and didn't stop until I got to Chemult. Once there, I took my favorite (on account of being a science geek) picture of the trip.

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The motorhome had been scraping ice crystals right out of the air. They would melt on the warm hubs, get thrown outward, and refreeze on the plastic lug nut covers since they provided a thermal barrier to the warm hub and rim. These are the first centrifugal icicles I've had the opportunity to create.

The rest of the motorhome suffered from ice build-up as well. I was getting quite tired of having no heat, with excessive unsolicited airflow on my knees and feet (I had packed for Phoenix, not near-record unseasonably cold High-Cascade conditions).

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A ways down the road in Crescent Lake, they had grown even longer. I then had to pass over Willamette Pass on Hwy 58 (the highest point of the entire trip) before descending down into my hometown of Oakridge. The motorhome was hating the hills more than ever. It bogged down to 20 mph, and seemed to run best at 10-15% throttle. Something wasn't right about this carb...

Eventually, the sun began to rise. I passed through the Willamette Valley. The carburetor seemed much more responsive down in the valley. Even at 1000 feet, the performance declined. It seems that perhaps it is jetted far too rich, or maybe it's my fault for fixing all those vacuum leaks.

0700: I made it home! Time for a 3 hour nap.

1000: Time to start packing for deer camp. I was slinging gear left and right, and forgetting/omitting things just as often. As long as I had my rifle and my tag, things would be alright.

1300: I had to go to work to complete my self evaluation. It was tough to take the time, since I was long overdue in deer camp, but it had to be done.

1600: It was time to start driving 4 hours back in the direction I had come from. It seemed rather inefficient, and I was kicking myself for not planning and packing to allow for taking the motorhome straight to deer camp instead of coming home first. Oh well, the next time I buy an antiquated and wrecked RV from Phoenix, I'll be sure to bring my rifle and hunting clothes. Lesson learned.

1700: Swung through Harrisburg again to swap cars, and pick up my trusty Baja.

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1830: Went grocery shopping for the week of deer camp.

2100: Arrived in deer camp just in time (before everyone went to bed). Here I learned that all three members of said deer camp had tagged out already. I missed a lot of action. All the meat was already hanging. No matter. Notice the lack of sleep in the schedule for this trip? And the 25 straight hours the day before? I was ready for bed, and nothing more. It would be hard to avoid dozing off in the deer stand the next morning.

Monday, September 30th 2019
0500:
Up and at'em. I hunted all day, and saw no legal bucks. The slower pace and adequate rest was welcome.

Tuesday, October 1st 2019
0530:
My disorganization faded, and better preparations allowed some extra sleep. Back to the hunting.

0720: All the efforts to rush back to deer camp payed off. I scored the biggest blacktail I've ever had, despite only being a 3x3. He had individual tines measuring over a foot, and scored a 129.5. He also had fat stores like I've never seen on a deer. He had been eating pretty well all summer. Thus concluded my final adventure of the year, and I could go back to work feeling accomplished.

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gmc260

Member
Oct 3, 2019
151
5
18
hi pvfjr, I see you have reserved spots for specific dates, makes it interesting. at the time of this writing, youre at Sept 24

that coach appears to have some valuable equipment easily worth more than the advertised price IMO, but..

Wow, sure seems quite an adventure into the great unknown though, hope it all works out best for y'all. (subscribed!)
 

pvfjr

Active member
Oct 4, 2019
219
49
28
36
Aumsville OR
hi pvfjr, I see you have reserved spots for specific dates, makes it interesting. at the time of this writing, youre at Sept 24

that coach appears to have some valuable equipment easily worth more than the advertised price IMO, but..

Wow, sure seems quite an adventure into the great unknown though, hope it all works out best for y'all. (subscribed!)
Thanks for reading! We'll be getting to the interesting parts very soon. A lot of it was documented on Facebook where it'll surely get lost (even I have trouble finding it now), but there was a fair amount of community participation that helped keep me motivated. You're right, there are a lot of upgrades on this coach, and we are excited to own it. It needs a lot of work, but it's mostly what I consider small things (aside from the front clip and the windshields, those are pretty big items). The previous owner(s) did do a lot of things incorrectly or sloppily, so there will be a lot of redos before I consider it safe/reliable. More to follow, probably tonight.
 

pvfjr

Active member
Oct 4, 2019
219
49
28
36
Aumsville OR
I remember following along on FB. Glad you decided to repost the adventure with more details. For some reason, your pictures quit showing up in the last couple posts.
Thanks for the heads up. I think it should be better now. It seems that dragging photos over from Google Photos only works some of the time, but not always.
 

gmc260

Member
Oct 3, 2019
151
5
18
0700: I made it home!
Dadgum! seems like that coach stress tested you (and yours) more than y'all tested it! I guess we'll call that a tie FTW!

glad all survived. Dang!

how do you like those BFG TAs on there? still have tred left? I have them on a truck and they are great but wouldnt consider them for the coach. and the PO could probably have bought a winch for not much more than that set. lol
 

pvfjr

Active member
Oct 4, 2019
219
49
28
36
Aumsville OR
Dadgum! seems like that coach stress tested you (and yours) more than y'all tested it! I guess we'll call that a tie FTW!

glad all survived. Dang!

how do you like those BFG TAs on there? still have tred left? I have them on a truck and they are great but wouldnt consider them for the coach. and the PO could probably have bought a winch for not much more than that set. lol
Right you are, that was a grueling trip overall.

The front tires are pretty chewed up due to the alignment. I'll rotate them to the back and make sure everything is squared away before I form my final opinion, but I had no complaints. They're E rated, never heated up, and seemed reasonably smooth/quiet. I'll be buying two more to match the good four, since they're practically new. After that, we'll see--should be years down the road though. I probably would've bought something more conventional, but I'm keeping an open mind.
 

pvfjr

Active member
Oct 4, 2019
219
49
28
36
Aumsville OR
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The next Sunday, our pastor requested we bring the motorhome for our evening small-group. The wife and kids got to go for their first ride, and there was much enthusiasm.
 

Russell

New member
Oct 9, 2019
18
3
3
Great perseverance Paul! Can't wait to see what is in store for this coach.
The kids look ready for some fun camping trips in the "new" coach.
Hopefully Mom is too :)
 

pvfjr

Active member
Oct 4, 2019
219
49
28
36
Aumsville OR
Great perseverance Paul! Can't wait to see what is in store for this coach.
The kids look ready for some fun camping trips in the "new" coach.
Hopefully Mom is too :)
Thanks. I think we'll be putting it to use in the spring. We can stay in-state until I have greater confidence in the mechanical systems. I don't plan on tearing it all the way down, but rather, upgrading it as we use it. As soon as I get a new nose on it she'll be good enough to start using.

It has been a bit confusing, since our current RV is a 1993 Thor. So the new motorhome is old, and vice versa.