It has been a while since I have worked on Retro, but most of my distracting tasks have been finished and I am getting back to the bus. Since I have not really driven Retro much since I got him home, I thought I should take him for a drive before putting him in drydock for a while. I need to pull the radiator and get it rodded out, and with the front of the engine compartment open I think I will be doing lots of little jobs on the front of the engine
1. Re-work the electric radiator fans to get more coverage of the radiator - maybe add 2 more fans.,
2. Work on the wiring for the alternator / regulator - Retro's ammeter jumps all over the place when I am driving. I think the load and alternator output should be relatively smooth.
3. Re-work the wiring for the various gauge sensors - maybe add a few more things to be measured. The trans temp gauge does not work for example, and it seems kind of important.
4. Evaluate the possibility of an engine driven air-conditioning system.
5. Evaluate the possibility of a swing out radiator.
Anyway, I figure Retro will not be drivable for at least two months. I wanted to get him moving and let all the fluids circulate and heat up etc. So, I disconnected the power cables and secured all the loose gear inside Retro and opened the gates.
Retro started up easily and we eased down the driveway. I took him around the block and then parked in front of the neighbors house while I closed the gates and garage. Retro has no real parking brake, only a Mico brake-lock, so it is not trivial to park him on a sloping street. I always put chocks on the wheels, even with the Mico activated.
Gates and doors secured, we got back underway. I had filled the wastewater tank (retro has only one) and thought I would head out to Tracy, Ca. and hit I5 south. There is a rest-stop with a dump station a mile or so south of the merge onto I5 S. I made it almost a mile before Retro started grumbling. He was acting fuel-starved. I was operating on the rear fuel tank, and the gauge said I had half a tank of gas. I had also put some gas in the front tank, but only perhaps 4-5 gallons or so to test the generator. I was on a twisty turny bit of 2 lane road when the motor quit, but there was a driveway into a school facility 50 yards ahead of me and no on-coming traffic, so I managed to coast into the driveway (which is a gravel wide spot in the road with the driveway perhaps 100 feet off the road) and stop and think a bit. I played with the fuel pump selector switch a bit and then tried the starter and sure enough, he started up. I turned him around and headed back toward town quickly deciding that I could empty the tanks at the RV park at the local fairgrounds, or maybe just go home.
Retro was cooperating so I passed by the cross street back to home and headed toward the fairgrounds - I really wanted to empty the tank before starting a big work session. After a few miles, Retro started getting balky again, eventually stalling out on a 2 lane 35mph surface street. Fortunately, it was an easy spot for cars to go safely around me, and with the emergency flashers on, there were no close calls. I decided to switch to the front tank, which the gauge said was empty, but I figured 5 gallons out of 55 probably does not move the needle. I switched the fuel selector, and the fuel pump switch and Retro started right up. I circled a block and went back to Safeway and got in line for some gas. I put about 25 gallons in the front tank, and 30 in the rear. I switched back to the rear tank (which I trusted more because it was the one that got me from Los Angeles back up to the S.F. Bay area) . I then proceeded to the fairgrounds to use the dump station there and discovered that the fancy Thetford swing and extend sewer hose thing had a broken hose in it. I discovered this by inspection rather than flooding the area, and I got an extension hose from the storage bay and rigged it into place - I had to move to a different area to get close enough to the dump pipe, but managed to get it emptied without making a mess. I will have to replace the dump valve, but that is a chore for a different day :)
When I got in to leave the fairgrounds, Retro was again acting fuel starved. I switched back to the forward tank and went home. I will add an inspection and re-work of the fuel system to the list of chores for this work cycle.
I hope to be working on Retro more regularly, though I do have some competition for weeknights - My two welding classes ( 2 nights of actual welding and one of book-learning ) started last week, and the classes run from 6:30 - 9:30 ish, so no work on the coach those nights. (not that I am much of a night worker anyway, I am more of a night-comfy-chair-holder-downer given a choice).
Till next time....