Isuzu Trek Owners Infoletter #17
Trek Water System modifications and Firewall bolts fix
Lonnie Wilson (Lonwill310 at wmconnect.com) has some neat ideas, He says: I
want to tell you about three little things I did lately on the Trek:
ADDENDUM -- Firewall bolts fix
Re: The firewall bolt fix. All of the bolts on the vertical line on
Lost Alternator Bolt
Editor Dale (daldr at aol.com) sez:: Our ever faithful ’94 I-Trek waited until we were less than 30 miles from home from our annual 3000+ mile trip to our Baja winter home to lose the bottom bolt in the bracket that holds the alternator/vacuum pump in place. The result was a serious loosening of the belts with accompanying squealing of the belts but the belts still turned the alternator enough that neither the alternator nor vacuum light came on. We drove the 30 miles home successfully but the chassis batteries were significantly depleted when we got there. A phone call obtained a new (used) bolt, sleeve and nut from FMI in Portland for $10 plus shipping (new parts not available in state without a several day wait) and a local shop put the new bolt in. I decided not to tackle it myself as it was in a really hard place to get to. FMI estimated 2 hours to install. The local shop did it in 1.2 hours so the Trek and I were both happy. It would be a good idea to check that bolt/nut for tightness and if at all loose, apply some Loc-Tite or get a self locking nut.
On that same subject, do you have a plan B for when you lose a vacuum pump? The I-Trek vacuum pump piggy-backs on the alternator. With vacuum loss, the brake assist is lost along with use of the cruise control and ability to change heater/airconditioner settings (anything else?). So, if you are off to Canada or Mexico or other hinterlands, what is your plan? Mine is to take the auxiliary vacuum pump that supplies vacuum to the toad brakes and plumb it into the Trek system (probably a two hour job) to get me back to civilization. I’d like to hear your plan. Send it to me and I’ll put it in the next Infoletter.
Hugh McCusker (mcquic at ev1.net) fixed his. Hers is how: Minature fractures on the roof surface on either side of the AC unit was causing the problem. It looked like someone had a pen knife and stabbed the two areas. Product called elastomeric by Kool Seal was rolled on and did the job. Used about four gallons and did the entire roof. No more leaks! Since then, We had a half dozen hard all day rains and we were high and dry.
Strange symptoms lead to alternator
Al Readdy (areaddy at escapees.com) says: My engine warning lights were flashing on and off at start up, idle and speed of 5-10 mph. I could also hear the relay in the fuse compartment clicking at the same time. Revving the engine would fix the flashing. When I was ordering filters, fan belts and hoses at FMI (10% discount to Trek owners), I asked what would cause this. The answer was that a failing alternator , loose connection or faulty relay (the blue? one) would be the most likely cause. When I had my friendly local mechanic replace the fan belts and hoses, I asked him to also check the alternator and for loose connections. He informed me that I had a bad oil leak where the vacuum pump attaches to the back of the alternator and the oil had gotten into the alternator and made it un-repairable. A rebuilt alternator and new gaskets fixed the problem with no problem in the month since the repair. (The '93 Trek has ~96k miles on it.)
Door Hinge wear
Editor: Someone said that we must have heard about most all the little problems we have with our treks in the Infoletter by now. I don’t think so. Our rigs are getting older and will continue to develop new ‘idiosyncrasies’. So, we can learn from those who have the most “well used” Isuzu Treks, like Ken Harmon (kencathyha at aol.com) who has over 150,000 miles on his Trek now, after a fine adventure through mainland Mexico this past winter. Ken shares with us:
Over time I noticed the entry door was getting hard to open and
close. I adjusted the striker plate several times but eventually ran
out of vertical adjustment. On closer inspection I found the aluminum
door hinges had significant wear, allowing the door to settle lower in the
frame. I initially inserted “E” clips found at the local
Ken also commented: Looking around under the front of my coach
one day I noticed two unused horns mounted on the front cross member of the
frame. They look like the old 4" diameter VW beetle “beep-beep”
horns and sounded about the same when I tested them with a jumper
wire. I added the horns to the horn circuit by wiring them into the power
lead at the air horn motor. Now I have the “tweetie bird” air
horn sound plus a unique base note that makes the overall horn system
Editor: I’ve got them on my Trek, too!
Commentary: On ‘Power Boosting’ the Isuzu Engine
Over the years, Ken Harmon has been a respected Trek engineer/mechanic who has made many contributions to the Isuzu Trek Infoletter. Regarding the commentary in Infoletter #16 about Power Boosting the Trek Engine, he has this to say:
Reading info letter #16, I sure agree with the comments on “power boosting”on
the Isuzu engine.
Editor: Well, the “sooner or later” I mentioned in the last Infoletter on this same subject is NOW! I just got back from my Trek’s annual inspection at FMI. FMI has a Trek in with a destroyed engine....cracked precombustion chambers...propane infusion was installed . Owner is looking at a new engine! FMI has told the owner that if they install the engine they won't reinstall the propane infusion and if the owner has it installed it will void the warranty on the new engine. Owner bought the ’93 Trek with propane infusion already installed.
If you can’t shut the engine off – an interesting electrical problem
We all know how dependable our Isuzu diesel engines are but Bob Ohki (ohkirj at yahoo.com) just couldn’t get his ’94 Trek engine to quit. Here is why: Bob writes:
We were going down the freeway like nothing was wrong. We turned off for lunch. We parked and couldn't turn the engine off with the key switch. We knew something was not normal! We were more than 50 miles from home, so we decided to take the back way and not go on the freeway, because the transmission would not shift higher than 3rd gear, and would not start from 1st gear either. I think it did reverse, though. The other malfunction was the steps would not come back in. So we drove in 3rd and got home.
At home the engine wouldn't stop. I stopped it by pinching the rubber fuel line with a clamp near the tank to starve the engine and it stopped in a little while. There is no manual shut off valve to be found. I tried to start it, but the starter would not turn. There were no ISUZU places nearby , so I called TOM'S TRUCK CENTER in Santa Ana, CA , phone 1-800-238-9308, where they claim they have the largest ISUZU new as well as the largest used parts inventory in the USA. They told me there is a pair of FUSEABLE LINKS underneath the left side of the chassis by the starter in the C channel frame area which I found. I pulled them out and found one of them burned out so now I carry extra fuses.
Now I looked everywhere for what caused the fuse to burn. I found a wire near the step control unit that was charred pretty good. After rewire repair I started the engine hoping it would start and it did.
Preventative Maintenance costs less and is more convenient
(Editor) Perhaps because of a long career flying airplanes, I am a great believer in preventative maintenance. I am not particularly good at finding things unless they are edible or already broken so once a year I take our Trek to a facility that is good at finding things that need maintenance (after all, that’s how they make their money, so they are motivated). Here in Oregon, its FMI. Besides the normal oil, oil filter and fuel filter change, here is what they found this year:
My Trek has 79,000 miles on it and I am confident now that it is ready for the annual trip south this coming winter. I am in the process of troubleshooting my cruise control which has always worked fine until this month. More on that when I am smarter!
Information Sources for On the Road
The following I-Trek owners have volunteered to provide local knowledge. You may email them if you wish. If you know an area well, we’d like you to volunteer to be a local knowledge source for the rest of us Isuzu Trekees.
New England – Jeanne Provost (memepro at juno.com)
Coast of Maine - Carl Johnson (kettlesing at pngusa.net)
Alaska and the Inside passage ferry from Bellingham, Wash to Haines and Skagway, AK. I did the trip just last summer. (lindadahle at bdumail.com
Montreal, Canada : Richard Miller [richard.miller at videotron.ca]
Colorado Rockies - Denver-Colorado Springs denoo1 at slb.com or jdenoo at earthlink.net
Baja Peninsula – Dale DeRemer (daldr at aol.com)
Mainland Mexico – Ken Harmon (kencathyha at aol.com)