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Stressful road trip.....or, the second run turns to **** (Long read)

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Desert Rat, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Looks like I may have jumped the gun and started wheeling the project a tad too soon. This last week I got the hankering to take the boys out wheeling in Nevada. I just got done installing the new steering stabilizer and the rig seemed to be running fine. I bolted in the back seat, loaded up all the gear, and off we went. Up through Jamestown, Sonora, and into Twain Harte for some breakfast. Ate up at the Sportsman and off we went. Things are going swimmingly despite not having the floor Line-X'ed yet which means it got hotter than hell, and no stereo. The boys have their iPods going so that is good and I am concentrating on monitoring the rig and its performance.

    Sure enough, as soon as we hit the Dardanelles, the truck starts cutting out. It seems to be fuel related. Pretty soon it is lurching and then cuts out completely. No, not on the flat part, not on the straight away, but on a sharp steep turn. I can't get it started and I'm sure somebody is going to come around the corner and wack us. Sure enough a car was coming but they were going slow enough to stop. I was able to back down a bit and onto the side of the road. I crawl under and check out one of the fuel line filters I have. It is full of crap again. Now, some of you might remember that a while back I found that I had reversed my fuel return line with my vapor canister line and it seems that a bit of charcoal and other filter crap ended up in my tank. I had drained it, but apparently not enough. Anticipating a potential future problem, I brought a couple of backup VW style filters.

    I break out the toolbox and do a roadside filter swap. I also noticed that there was air bubbles flowing into the filter and wasn't sure if I was seeing the gas boiling causing vapor lock, or if I had something blocking the line. We let it cool off for a bit and then get ready to head on out. A bright note was that an RV with 3 twenty something girls from Germany pulled up and asked if they could help. I'm thinking that if I was 10 yrs. younger and by myself, I could certainly have used some "help". However, I chatted them up a bit and sent them on their way. Off we go again and sure enough, it starts cutting out about 10 min. later. I am feathering the throttle like crazy and am able to nurse it to the summit. After this, it is almost all down hill. We manage to make it into Bridgeport and I drop into the Napa store to pick up some more filters. We gas up and head on out of Bridgeport into Nevada. Up 338 we go towards Wellington. I decide that the first night will be at a place called "Dead Coon Beach". Lest any of you politically correct types starts whipping yourself into a frenzy, I'm talking dead racoon.... The rig is running rough, but we get out into the area. I decide to take a shorter, but very steep and very rough, trail into the canyon. This will also give me a chance to throw it into 4WD which I had not yet tested with the new doubler and triple stick setup. I throw it into 4 Low and up we go. About half way up, I hear a clunk but nothing seems to be failing so I continue on. Upon reaching the top I check the front and find that my steering stabilizer has come loose on the end where three clamps courtesy of ORD have slipped down the tie rod and the plate is slightly bent. I push it back into place and we make it down to the East Walker River without further incident. Another bright note was that on the way down the steep trail, I threw it into double low to test out the doubler. Wow, talk about serious low range. I could practically sit stil at a 45 degree angle without the truck even moving even at idle.

    I work on the stabilizer when we get there and get it bolted back into place. the rest of the day was some jackrabbit hunting, then dinner, then bed. Come morning we head on out of the canyon and back to 338 towards Wellington/Yerington. Sure enough the rig is running crappy again and I can't get my foot into it at all without it stuttering. Prior to Wellington we get offroad and head to one of my favorite places to hunt jackrabbits. Although the boys have been shooting before, this is their first small game fun hunt. After some additional training, we spend a few hours thinning the local long eared herd. After hunting I decide to swap in another fuel filter. This time though the filter doesn't look clogged. I swap it anyway. We head on out with the intention of going to another camp spot just outside of Bodie that the kids like. The rig is cutting in and out so much I decide that continued wheeling just isn't in the cards. The cutouts are more prominent now and I'm sure it is a fuel problem, but just what is going on is the issue.

    The boys really don't want to cut the trip short and since the East Walker was running so fast and deep, no swimming had taken place. So, I knuckled under and started heading for Reno. I figured a night in a hotel would be better than calling it quits early. Stopped in Carson City to buy some more filters, this time larger Fram ones. I pulled into a parking lot and did another filter swap. By now my right arm has a permanent gas smell as no matter how careful I was, I always ended up with some gas running down my hand. The truck runs OK for a while but won't go much over 65 before it starts stuttering. We get to Carson City and I see a skateboard shop so I pull in to let the boys check it out. I chat up the owner and tell him we are Reno bound. He tells me that I better have reservations because it is Hot August Nights and everything is sold out for miles. That threw a monkey wrench in the plans. I start making phone calls and he isn't kidding. I finally call down to Carson Valley Inn in Minden and they have one room left. I take it and we head back south.

    The rig is still running like crap but we make it there. It was nice though to get in some swimming, have a good dinner, and a good nights rest. I get up early and while the boys are still sleeping, swap in another fuel filter. I'm getting pretty good at this and the gas dribbles have gotten easier to avoid. After breakfast it is time to head home. I know Sonora Pass is steep and windy and I'm thinking maybe one of the other passes would be better. I've been on them all at one time or another. I choose Ebbett's Pass (Hwy 88) and off we go. What a booger eatin' moron I am. 88 is far longer, far steeper, and far narrower than Sonora Pass. We make 3 stops on the way up as the rig just can't go for more than a few miles without losing gas to the carb. The first stop I check the new filter and see that there are major bubbles flowing into the see through filter. I'm figuring it has got to be vapor lock. Maybe the gas lines are too close to the muffler. Maybe the two exhaust pipes that go by the tank are boiling the gas in the tank. I fill up a Gatorade bottle with cold water and hose down the gas lines. We wait about 30 min. and off we go. 4 times more we lurch to a stop, throw water on the lines, and wait. Finally I just give up and find that if I feather the throttle, keep my speed slow, and put up with the surging and dieing, I can crawl along. It takes us hours but we finally make the summit. Then we are giddy with excitement that we are going down hill. The truck would run fine when light on the gas and headed down wards.

    The happiness was short lived as we kept running into more hills but I had gotten pretty good and milking the throttle and ignoring the yelling, cussing, and bird flipping of any car that came up behind us. I arrive in Murphy and pull into one of those self serve car wash spray bays. Another bright note, there is a total blonde hottie cleaning her Pathfinder in Daisy Duke shorts and tank top. The boys and I just had to stop and stare for a few minutes. But I get to spraying and I figure I will cool down the whole back end and see if that helps. I put it on rinse and hose down the entire rig, especially the gas tank area. I'm figuring if it is a heat issue, this will buy me some good running. My hopes are dashed as I head out and 5 min. later it is sputtering again. I decide to cut over on Hwy 49 towards Sonora. We are doing OK when all of a sudden we run into a slow down. About 4 cars ahead of us an RV has pulled over and smoke is coming out of it. Within 5 min. we watched as the occupants suddenly bail out and the RV goes fully engulfed. We are talking a raging inferno. The CDF to their credit were on scene within minutes with a chopper and tanker plane circling overhead. Firefighters got there unbelievably quick and they started putting out the fire. However, we sat there for about 45 min. waiting for the whole incident to clear. Once on the road again, I am able to nurse the rig down through Sonora and into Oakdale. We stop at the A&W for some refreshments.

    After that, we limp all the way home. By the time I got home, every muscle in my body was so tense I thought I would have a whole body cramp. I didn't let on to the boys how much stress the whole trip was, but I had to lay down for about two hours just to slowly unwind. Of course self-medicating was a necessity.....:whistle: In retrospect, I think a few more trips with my wheeling buddy would've been in order prior to taking out the most valuable thing I have. The boys were clueless as to how irritated I was, but I just hate the idea of putting them in any danger. I'll have to post up a few technical questions over in the Garage but I'm figuring I can eventually solve all the problems given enough time. Sorry, no pics. A certain person who I love very much, but who can be forgetful at times left the digital camera at a girlfriends house. This would have been a good trip to take pics of me with steam fuming out of my ears.........
     
  2. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    Well, if it was a Crown Vic, I could tell you from vast amounts of experience it was the fuel pump...............................:D :D :D

    Been through some of that country you went through, it's an awesome drive, too bad you were having issues with the rig........................
     
  3. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Yep, my favorite wheeling grounds. I can't wait to get the cage done, the Line-X in, the new seats and Tuffy console in, and a new stereo in. Then we fix the fuel problem and I think life will be good.
     
  4. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Sounds brutally frustrating... :doah:

    Rene
     
  5. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I vote bad fuel pump or improperly vented tank.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2006
  6. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Brand new fuel pump. Locking gas cap is a joke and doesn't seal but I suspect the main culprit is a bunch of crap in the tank clogging up the intake. However, I will be doing a double fix. I will completely seal off the gas lines with heat shields, and then remove the tank and have it thoroughly cleaned. If that doesn't work, I'm not sure where I'll go next.
     
  7. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    You, Sir, are a star! To give the kids a great outing, when your full of worries! :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:
     
  8. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I have seen many new parts that were bad out of the box or gave trouble very shortly afterwards. You can test for pressure and also flow rate.
     
  9. kyser_soze

    kyser_soze 1/2 ton status

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    fuel pump or collapsing fuel line, my guess. Hmmm daisy dukes.
     
  10. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Air bubbles.....I immediately thought of a hole in the fuel line or pickup line..........
     
  11. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    times two.
    Had a hose clamp work loose (musta, I'd have tightened them all, right?:doah: ) on the Dune Buggy. Was very similar to your experience.

    How old is all of the fuel hose? Any cracks in the outside? Any of it unusually soft feeling?

    The cool downs could be fixing the symptom, or it could be buying time for an obstruction to bleed off.

    Filter at the carb? What does it look like?

    It's a bit extreme, but my friend & old boss Ken (now raising Alpacas just down the rd from you in North Fork) had a BBC 2wd Sub with a similar problem. I put a Holley blue pump on it, coupled with a 6 psi blow-off valve at the regulator, which was ~10" from the carb. Used the Vega oil pressure switch to control the fuel pump. Blow-off valve returned fuel thru the stock return line. That kept the fuel moving thru the lines so it would not boil nearly as easily.
    In retrospec the fancy AN blow-off valve wasn't needed, a simple Holley jet in the return line would have been enough.
     
  12. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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