Letter 24
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Isuzu Trek Infoletter #24

April 20, 2009

 Trek chassis air conditioning system.

To Gerald- (hhopkins at bakercounty.org)

I see you are from Oregon and since the Isuzu chassis Safari used for the Treks came from FMI (Fleet Maintenance Inc, (800)927-8750 or (503)286-2800) in Portland, OR, I think that is where I would start. I do not know who installed the ACME air conditioning system - Isuzu, FMI or Safari - but FMI knows a lot about the Treks. Carrier & Sons in Eugene, OR, is also very experienced with the Safari coaches.

ACME may have air conditioner parts or know where to get them. They supplied the cruise control for the Trek as well. I have had better luck working with the Goshen, IN, office but they also have an office in Kansas City. The phone numbers I have are from the cruise control write-up in I-Trek Infoletter #14. ACME in Goshen, IN: (800)552-2263 or (574)534-1516. ACME in Kansas City, MO: (800)422-6322 or (913)371-5373.

Hope you find a solution to your problem and you can do a write up for the I-Trek Infoletter.

--Ken

Long-term storage

Dale DeRemer (drdder at gmail.com) wrote in response to an email from Joann and John (j.figueras at verison.net) requesting information on long-term storage. Dales’s responses are in caps:

We're planning to leave the RV in Deming, NM, for about 9 months, and I'd like your advice about how to prepare it for storage. It will be under a solid roof, open on one side. We have about 2K miles since an oil change, but I think I read that oil should be new for storage. Does that mean engine never started--i.e., changed on site?
NO, THE OIL CAN BE CHANGED THEN DRIVEN TO THE STORAGE SITE. TIME IS A BIGGER FACTOR IN MY OPINION.
Up on blocks? If so, on the axles?
YES, PREFERABLY. THAT IS TOO LONG TO LEAVE IT UP ON THE LEVELERS.
Since we have a disconnect switch on the Trek, is that enough, or should I also disconnect a battery lead?
I BELIEVE THE DISCONNECT SWITCH ONLY APPLIES TO THE HOUSE BATTERIES. IF IT WERE ME, I WOULD DISCONNECT A LEAD ON BOTH BATTERY SETS. IF POSSIBLE, HAVE SOMEONE RECHARGE THE BATTERIES EVERY MONTH OR SO.(I wish we could get some sun on the solar panels for the batteries, but can't have everything)
Cover tires, even tho it's under cover?
PROBABLY NOT NECESSARY UNLESS THE SUN WILL GET IN ONTO THEM.
Anything else you can think of will be appreciated.
IF YOU HAVE A COVER, I WOULD USE IT, JUST TO KEEP THE DUST OUTSIDE.
Thanks, Joann & John
I AM ALSO GOING TO SEND THIS TO KEN HARMON. KEN, FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THIS LIST AND/OR DISAGREE WITH ME ON ANY ITEM.

Ken Harmon comments: Blocking up the coach is best if it will be setting for 9 months. If the tires must set on concrete or dirt, plastic cutting boards (from Harbor Freight or WalMart) under the tires are a good choice. As far as the engine is concerned, my experience has been with
aircraft engines but nine months is a long time for any engine to set. The problem could be loss of lubrication on the cam followers and 40wt oil could help. When it comes out of storage
the ideal thing would be to pull the injector nozzles, spin the engine up with the starter until oil pressure is established, and then reinstall the injectors and start the engine (this will take some work).

A cover can do a good job of protecting the coach from sun but it can cause other problems. In dusty and windy areas like Deming (and Albuqeurque where I live) dust can get under the cover
and abrade the paint. I tried holding the cover with rope; it came loose over time and let the cover flap against the coach and wear on the paint. Bungees and rope worked better to keep the cover
tight but it still wore on the paint. I had to check and adjust the bungees and rope frequently during windy conditions. I finally gave up and stopped using the cover in our high winds
and dust storms. Hope this helps--Ken

Additional information from Dale about running the engine while in storage:

My Trek sat for 6 months while we were in Baja and I ran it on about the first day of every month for about 15 minutes which was enough time for the temp gauge to get well up off the peg. I don't know how long it takes for the alternator to recover the power used to start--maybe Ken can comment on that. (Don’t know how long it will take but I think you will need 1,000 to 1,200 rpm for full alternator output, -Ken) Don't forget to tell your friend about the throttle advance control. That was the only time I ever used that control, bringing rpms above idle for the run time, and tell your friend about the battery crossover switch in case it is needed to facilitate start. If you are going to do this, don't disconnect the batteries and don't shut off the house battery switch on the stairs, or better yet, have your friend turn that switch on when entering and off when leaving.

Water damage, coach modifications and fuel filter leak

Keith and Jody Redfern (kjredfern at att.net) write:

Some of this is original info from my remodeling our Trek in the past two years. First of all, we own a Trek that does not have the electric bed and has a rear bedroom. After purchasing the vehicle (used), we discovered that the rear floor under the bed had severe water damage. Our water tank and pump are stored under the bed. We had to install a new floor, rebuild the bed and now have installed water alarms under the bathroom sink where the water heater is, and under the bed. They are battery-powered and if you set them up on top of a piece of contact paper (non-conductive), the moment water gets on that paper the alarm will go off, saving the nightmare of having to repair the floors and other damage.

We also have been able to install a ladder on the back of our motor home, on the right-hand side, without any problems. We used large pop rivets to anchor the ladder to the body of the vehicle, in combination with screws to anchor it to the roof. It has worked out well.

We replaced the television above the driver's seat with a small safe. We were able to anchor it to the aluminum framing which supports the roof and the front windshield area, enabling us to secure our valuables when leaving the motor home. In place of the TV, we bought a 6" LCD portable TV that operates on 12 volts. We wired it to the back-up camera, mounted it to the left of the dashboard and wired it in. It operates very well without that huge overhead TV. We then bought an LCD flat screen TV with a DVD player which is digital and will not need any converter for our antenna. It can receive cable also. We store the TV when traveling in between our bedding. Total weight of the TV is about eight pounds, making it much more versatile for playing in various locations.

We also removed all carpeting except in the driver area (for sound deadening) and installed a

3/16" underlay floor. We used a large piece of vinyl flooring under the water tank and vinyl tile throughout the rest of the coach. Where there was a danger of water leaks, I created a dam to capture the water on the floor so that water would set off the alarm and not flow to the rest of the motor home.

Originally, we had a dining room table with two regular chairs and two folding chairs stored under the couch. We removed the table and chairs (which we use in our house as spares) and designed a dinette that converts into a bed, giving us storage under the seats for bedding, the TV, etc., when traveling. We designed the dinette to be able to accommodate a 6'4" person by hinging the back of the forward seat and having it fold down at the level of the bed. We support the fold-down with a portable leg against one of the front steps, forward of the dinette. We made an auxiliary cushion which is added when the fold-down is used. We purchased a new couch that also converts into a bed as the original did. We can now accommodate 4 sleeping adults, and we just completed a 3-week, 4400-mile trip with 4 adults. We realize that most Trekkers do not have this design of vehicle, but if it helps someone who does we are happy to share info with them.

During our 4400-mile trip, we had an incident that could have been the end of our motor home, and I wish to share with our fellow Trekkers our experience. We were at a state campsite on the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park (VA), miles away from any commercial help, when we made the discovery that a Napa canister fuel filter located on the right side of the engine had developed a crack and a leak in the metal canister. For about an hour previous to this, we had been smelling raw diesel fuel. We had stopped and looked under the vehicle in the front but never opened the engine hatch. We couldn't explain it, so we went on to our destination. When we got to the campground store to purchase something, we noticed that diesel fuel was leaking out onto the ground from under the engine. We removed the engine cover and could see fuel all over the engine--everything was soaked with diesel fuel. Our solution to this was to use a back-up filter that we had brought, and also use some of the fuel in a 2-gal. fuel can that I carry for emergencies. Using the oil filter wrench that we brought, we removed the filter, drained the fuel from that filter into the new filter, and added enough fuel from the 2 gal. can to fill the filter to the brim. Then we carefully installed the filter and tightened it. This avoided having to re-prime the fuel system. All of this was done from the inside of the vehicle from the top. We restarted the engine and everything went well from there on. We ran the vehicle to allow the fuel to vaporize and we were very, very blessed that we had not had an enormous fire that would have caused enormous damage!

Lastly, in replacing our windshield wiper blades, we had no luck in finding the mounting bolts for the wiper arm to the blades. In place of those, I purchased stainless steel cotter pins of the right diameter, put them in, opened them on one side and spread them. That will enable us to change wiper blades in the future with virtually no tools and with a generic part.

This is the major part of our renovation and/or problems we have experienced that we feel may be of some help to fellow Trekkers in a future newsletter. Sincerely, Keith and Jody Redfern

Thanks for the information; sounds like a close call with the fuel leak. I had a fire on my previous RV and now I carry three (3) fire extinguishers in my Trek - two inside and one outside. --Ken

Fiberglass roof maintenance

Len Nicholas (nicholas146 at sbc) writes:

Many of us that have older Trek motor homes have a ceiling that has many spots all over it. The reason for this is that over the years the Filon material has lost it protective coating that it had when the Trek left the factory. Thus the roof is porous. This condition is a very easy repair and is recommended by the Crane people that make this material. The repair is a simple straight forward job and entails first cleaning the roof & repairing any severe holes that you may have. Holes are easily fixed using epoxy & fiberglass mat. You may even duplicate the rough finish by using crumpled plastic to stipple the body filler before it hardens if you wish. Next lightly sand the roof to give the paint coating a good bond. I gave my roof three coats of single-part polyurethane (recommended by Crane) Brightside by Interlux. I used a roller. This is a marine finish designed for tough applications and runs about $35.00 a quart. I used three quarts. If you require more information on these details go to www.cranecomposites.com . --Len Nicholas

Thanks, Len - it’s good to get additional options on how to take care of our roofs.

Cruise control information

Ken Harmon (IsuzuTrek at aol.com)

Visiting with Isuzu Trek owners and looking at their Treks, I have seen a few cases where other than the original Acme cruise controls have been installed. I think the information below is a partial quote from a letter or email I received almost ten years ago while I was doing some troubleshooting on the cruise control. Sorry, I lost track of who sent it to me.

“One inherent problem with the Acme installation was because the TPS

(Throttle Position Sensor) on the Isuzu chassis is located at the throttle

peddle rather than on the fuel pump. This condition required a cable system

from the vacuum servo to be routed and connected directly to the throttle

peddle in the cabin. Although difficult and clumsy, the TPS MUST be used in

the process to avoid major transmission damage.

“According to Acme and our own experience, the 3-5 MPH drop in speed after

cruise control application is normal and is as good as it gets. There is a

sensitivity set screw on the servo that has some limited control over this

issue. However, we DO NOT recommend that untrained personnel be allowed to

make any adjustments as permanent damage to the servo can result.

“When going downhill with the cruise control engaged, it would be impossible

for the exhaust brake to ever work unless the cruise system allowed the

throttle peddle to be released completely to an idle position. The reason

for this condition is because the exhaust brake is deactivated by a

micro switch at the throttle peddle any time the throttle is in any position

other than idle.”