Isuzu Trek Owners Infoletter -#9, May, 2002
Jim Goedde (jimgoedde (at) msn.com)
transmission suddenly would not shift up until the engine was overreving. After
4 hours in the shop someone suggested disconnecting the chassis battery for ten
minutes. This resets the transmission control module to the default settings.
We've not had a problem since.
(Dale: we had a similar
experience many thousands of miles ago. We were able to reset the tranny control
by pulling over to the side of the road, shutting off the engine for a few
minutes, then restarting. After which, the transmission acted normally. You
might try this first, then go to Jim’s fix if the problem persists.)
Changing a Flat
(Dale) Most of us have emergency road service/cell phones
and don’t worry about fixing a flat. But, sometimes we go to Mexico or the
boondocks of Canada or Alaska. I finally worried about it enough that I bought
a spare tire (no rim). Now I worry about whether someone can get those big,
tough lug nuts off, in the middle of nowhere! A few years ago, someone
suggested some sort of device that provided a mechanical advantage for this
task. Please write me with your tire changing experiences and ideas for a
solution to this problem.
writes, recommending a product called Phenoseal: An excellent product for
sealing roof seams, which I have used for years, is Phenoseal. It comes in
'Almond' color which is a perfect match to the roof color on our '94 Trek 2840.
This is a commercial grade sealant and made for outdoor use. It is available in
caulking gun tubes. It is made by a
Massachusetts company and carried by, or is available by special order from, any
Ace Hardware store.
Russ Smith adds: According to the Safari parts department
the product they use on the roof for caulking is "Parlastic". I found it at
Thehotdeal.com. The proper color Parlastic is called "off white" it's an exact
match for the roof color. (Dale: it is interesting to note that the factory
recommends, for its newer models, that the roof be recaulked annually, according
to one contributor to ‘safarifriends’.)
Tad Arnold (fqo63 (at) hotmail.com
), with a new Trek (as they say in the Caribbean, “New Brand, second hand”)
queries: I am looking for a factory service manual for our '94 Isuzu
Chassis/engine/transmission. If you have a place for such requests, please
(Dale: my first thought would be to try the parts
department or Gordy Morris at FMI in Portland…a great source of everything
involving Isuzu trucks/Treks. 800-927-8750. Any other good sources??)
Under difficult driving conditions of steep grades, high
winds and rain we averaged around 11.5 to 12 mpg. at an indicated 62 mph.
without a toad. After reading e-mails from some of the other Trek owners that
sound like it may be just a tad less than some owners.
(Dale: Russ, like all fields of endeavor, there are some
Trek owners who fib a little or go constantly downhill with a tailwind. Based on
our experience, what you describe sounds normal. We have gotten 11-14 not
towing and 9.8-12 mpg towing. Long time averages are 12.2/10.1. We are towing
Russ continues: Some of the modifications we have done to our Trek include:
We have just completed repairs to the electrical system following a near
lightning strike in Zion National Park. Our original converter and inverter
were replaced, and extensive damage to the 110 volt wiring and outlets required
repair. Fortunately the repairs were picked up by our Camping World insurance.
During repairs we were able to sort out and remove 110 wiring changes made by a
former owner that were a real rats nest. We now have a modern Heart Freedom 20
inverter with remote that also allows for periodic battery balancing. I was
able to purchase the inverter directly from Heart for $950.00 which is a big
discount. If you need an inverter I suggest you call Bob in sales at
800-446-6180 and check his prices.
Our Trek had coach batteries here there and every where. We had two 12 volt
marine deep cycle batteries under the entry stair and four 6 volt batteries in a
forward storage compartment. Besides combining battery types, they were wired
as three separate battery banks with cable running every where. After sorting
out a wiring diagram for the existing battery set up, a new larger battery tray
was built to fit under the stair to hold four 6 volts. Does any one need two new
12 volt marine deep cycle batteries. They are almost new and were replaced after
the lightning strike by the insurance.
The battery tray was built from some of the1& 1 /2" perforated angle iron from
the local Home Depot. The base and sides were cut from 3/8 poly cutting boards
that should last forever. The box has sides that should cut down on water spray
from the tires and slow down corrosion of the battery terminals. The bottom of
the battery tray is at about the same level as the bottom of the stair in its
raised position. This gives about 8" between the top of the batteries and the
underside of the stair so maintenance is much improved. I can now see to fill
the cells! When this was done some new cables and cable ends were also
The thought of not being able to raise the bed when dry camping out in the
middle of nowhere fills me with dread! I am building a very simple lifting
device that we can toss under the sofa in case when not required. The former
owner of our unit related that he had to raise the bed after the set screws
became loose and the gears drifted off the track. He was able to unscrew the
set screws and manually raise the bed with a helper. Not a pleasant experience.
The tool I am making uses a automotive scissors jack to raise a 2x4 inside a
plywood sleeve. After extending the jack a pin retains the 2x4, the jack is
compressed and a short length of 2x4 is inserted and the process repeated. In
its compressed state it is about 32" long and will raise the bed to it's full
height. If you would like photos I'll send them. Costs under $20.00.
ENGINE NOISE AND HEAT
Perhaps newer Treks are not noisy and the floors are not hot, but ours made for
hot feet and difficult conversation. We now have a quiet and cool cabin. One
of the RV magazines had an article on a very efficient insulation developed for
RV's. The product is called "The insulator" by Bonded Logic. It requires two
rolls of 3/8" x 4'x6' insulation part number 12-04006-SG, a large roll of
aluminum high temperature tape # 90-3030-1 and a can of "sticky Stuff" spray
adhesive # 90-4000-1. You can order it at 800-528-8219. About $60.00. I put a
layer on the engine side of the hatch and covered all of the floor with a
including the top of the hatch. Rather than remove the existing carpet the
insulation was installed over the top of the carpet with a few dry wall screws
and small decorative washers.
(Dale: from what I hear, the ‘92s were noisier than the ‘94s, so this sounds
like an excellent fix.)
NEW CAB AND LIVING AREA CARPET.
It just happens that two 5x7 rubber backed throw rugs were the perfect
solution. The cab area carpet was cut fit the space and the rear edge drapes
over the 8" step behind the front seat. This surface is retained by a maple
board stained to batch the cabinets. This is held in place by four decorative
fasteners screwed into anchor nuts in the riser surface. Carpet between the
seats and the side walls are separate pieces retained by screws and decorative
washers. It's very attractive and hides the hatch. To remove the hatch, just
remove the trim board and roll up the carpet.
The living area carpet was a perfect fit. Placed length wise the aft edge lines
up with the aft edge of the stair. The carpet was cut at the stair allowing the
corner of the carpet to cover the first riser and tread. There was enough
carpet scraps from the cab area to cover the balance of the stair. The carpet
is wide enough to extend about 4" under the removable panel under the sofa.
This was a good solution, it was much easier than actually replacing the carpet,
and very inexpensive. When these wear we will just replace them. The interior
looks larger as carpet now extends back in front of the fridge.
As a way to improve mileage I spent a good deal of time trying to find a K&N air
filter for the Isuzu diesel. No such filter is currently made for this
application although K&N modified some Isuzu filters in the past and they were
I was able to find a universal K&N filter which I modified slightly to fit the
Trek. The model # is RU-32-60. This unit has a rubber base rather than the
metal base of the original. It also required that I drill a hole to accept the
mounting bolt. It was also necessary to fabricate a 1/2" thick plastic disk
(from a kitchen cutting board) to support the base. This filter is about 1/2"
less diameter and about an inch or so shorter than the original filter. I paid
$59.99 for this unit which is good or the life time of the Trek.
The Isuzu air cleaner canister appears to be a very restrictive design as the
filter element fits tightly into an inner can, leaving only about 4" of the
filter exposed to the full flow of the air. The base of the filter is also
contained in a tight fitting can about 2 1/2" high. I suppose this design
allows for the collection of water in the base of the filter. As most of our
driving is in the southwest water isn't much of a problem for us. This lower can
was trimmed about 1" to expose more filter to the air flow. The slightly
smaller diameter of this filter allows for better air flow around the inner
We haven't had a chance to see what this does for mileage. I'll let you know.
Russ later wrote: the K&N air filter worked out well. The mileage has increased
by 1 to 2 MPG and our hill climbing ability has improved as well. Although it
is difficult to quantify, it seems that we are topping some of the long grades
in our area about 5 MPH faster then we have in the past.
Thanks to comments by others in the Trek infoletter I checked ours and found
that the drivers side had additional bolts installed at one time but all the
bolts on the passenger side have fallen out. Always something huh?
The Isuzu Trek front and rear brakes have inspection
ports that provide an easy way to determine pad and shoe condition. It's not
necessary to remove wheels or drums for the inspection. The rear brakes are
designed to be self adjusting, however it's common for this function to falter.
As the rear brakes go out of adjustment the braking effort is shifted to the
front and the pedal gets increasingly soft. We just had ours manually adjusted
and have a much firmer pedal.
On Line Fuel Pricing
How nice it would be to be able to plan your
route with some input on fuel prices. The following are some of the sites we
Thanks for the informative newsletter!
Russ & Carol Smith
Joan & Ed James (loobyj (at) webtv) wrote: You may remember
that we were having repairs done on our Electric-Magic bed at Carriers in Eugene
last April, as you were. Now our Quasar micro/convection oven is
malfunctioning. So far we haven't found anyone that can fix it so we're looking
for a replacement. Ours is a 1993 Trek & so far we have had no luck finding a
unit small enough for the space provided. Safari doesn't use those small
Is it possible that someone on your Trek e-mailing list may have had a similar
problem and could give us some clues OR is there a place where one could pick up
a used one perhaps from a wrecked unit someplace? Thanks for your help.
Per Robert Willis
willis1 (at) adelphia.net, to take the covers off the armrests for cleaning,
first detach the armrest from the chair in order to remove the cover. Push in on
the armrest very hard and rotate it down. It should go down past the normal
position then pull out.
Generator Problem and
Ken Harmon (kencathyha (at) aol.com)
TRANSFER SWITCH PROBLEM
My first indication of
a problem with the electrical system was when I started the generator to get
110V power online. After the 10 second warmup delay the power did not come on. I
turned the generator off and restarted it and the power came online. This
happened 2 or 3 times during this trip.
On the next pre-trip
check-out of the generator it would start and run normal through the warm up
cycle, 10-12 seconds, and then the engine would suddenly stop. My initial
troubleshooting of the engine did not disclose any problems. I did notice on
some of the test runs the circuit breaker inside the generator housing would
trip. Further testing showed the generator would start and run normal if the
breaker was turned off at the generator.
The next item in the
110V circuit is the transfer switch. The switch is in a box (4.75x4x6") attached
to the back of the 110v circuit breaker/12v fuse box located below the bathroom
sink. The 12v fuse board and some additional wires must be moved aside to get to
the screws to remove the transfer switch.
My switch box had some
smoke damage inside and a fried diode and capacitor. I called Monaco (Safari)
parts and they could not identify the part. They told me they did not have a
parts book for the ‘94 Trek and did not know who the vendor was. I located the
MagnaTek web site and called them. The transfer switch products have been
transferred to Paralax Power Component, 102 North Main, Goodland, IN. 47948, ph.
(219) 297-3111. Chuck in tech support group identified the part as "Transfer
Switch, 30 amp, Part No. ATS". I was referred to BR Wholesale in Los Angles, Ph.
(800) 900 2468 for retail purchase. Price is about $75 plus shipping.
Paralax Power makes a
replacement terminal strip with the diodes and capacitor installed. It can be
installed and soldered to existing wires to save money. I elected to replace the
whole box. I understand the same transfer switch and circuit breaker box is used
in boats and may be available at boat supply stores. There are later model
MagnaTek ATS30 transfer switches available but they would require custom
mounting and wiring.
Exhaust System Modification
Jim Goedde (jimgoedde
I recently had the exhaust system on my
94 Trek modified (cost about $650). As you all know the original system runs
from left to right and back to exit on the left. Every bend and every inch of
pipe causes additional back pressure on the engine. The approximately 2.5 inch
diameter pipe is also restricting flow.
The Power Shop in Enumclaw, WA built my new system using various components from
Gail Banks Engineering. Starting at the exhaust brake outlet the pipe diameter
is increased to 3 inches for a 44 percent increase in cross sectional area. The
muffler is installed on the drivers side with a 3 inch tail pipe exiting in the
This modification has resulted in a noticeable improvement in acceleration.
Unfortunately, I did not try a 0-60 MPH test prior to the change. Hill climbing
has also improved as noted below. The engine sounds like it is running freer at
cruising speed. I now have to be more careful because it wants to cruise faster
than my self set limit of 60 MPH. As for exhaust sound I notice very little if
Some examples of hills I frequently travel:
Before modification: After
6-7% grade 40 MPH in 3rd gear 45 MPH in 3rd gear
I-5 Southcenter hill 55 in overdrive 59 in overdrive
Swauk pass 35 in 2nd gear 43 in 3rd gear
As advised by The Power Shop the next change I am considering is a Banks ram air
intake with a 4 inch tube to the air filter.
Anyone interested may contact The Power Shop at www.thepowershop.com or myself
Bed Problems Again
Larry Moon (moon288
I have a 1992 isuzu 24 foot
with the bed over the dash and steering wheel. The bed was down when the motor
went out. I used a large pair of pliers to turn the shaft to move the bed up.
This worked fine.
I read the April trek talk and found out the price of the bed motor is now
$325.00. In March 2002 I paid $554.93 plus shipping. When I ordered the motor
Safari parts said I could not rebuild it and I would have to order a new one. I
called Safari customer service and asked for a refund
of the difference. I was told that I could not get a refund but I did get a big
runaround. The next time I need a part I will go to the manufacture to get it.
Jim Goedde also writes: The
jack pad and springs is another story. When requesting an estimate to
fix/replace the jack, one service tech wanted to replace the complete jack
assembly saying you don't know if jack could be bent (I don't think so). The
other tech offered to get a new pad and springs for a lot less money. I called
the HWH company because I felt that I could install a new pad and springs
myself. The gentleman at HWH took my address and said they would send the parts
by UPS if that would be fast enough. I asked if he wanted my credit card
number. What a surprise! He said this one would be on HWH. The parts arrived
in a couple of days with a statement saying I owe $0.00. Am I a believer in HWH?
You bet I am. Will I advise RV owners to buy HWH? You bet I will.
Transfer Switch Problem
Ken Harmon (kencathyha
wrote up his problem very well: My first indication of a problem with the
electrical system was when I started the generator to get 110V power online.
After the 10 second warmup delay the power did not come on. I turned the
generator off and restarted it and the power came online. This happened 2 or 3
times during this trip.
On the next pre-trip check-out of the generator it would start and run normal
through the warm up cycle, 10-12 seconds, and then the engine would suddenly
stop. My initial troubleshooting of the engine did not disclose any problems. I
did notice on some of the test runs the circuit breaker inside the generator
housing would trip. Further testing showed the generator would start and run
normal if the breaker was turned off at the generator.
The next item in the 110V circuit is the transfer switch. The switch is in a box
(4.75x4x6") attached to the back of the 110v circuit breaker/12v fuse box
located below the bathroom sink. The 12v fuse board and some additional wires
must be moved aside to get to the screws to remove the transfer switch.
My switch box had some smoke damage inside and a fried diode and capacitor. I
called Monaco (Safari) parts and they could not identify the part. They told me
they did not have a parts book for the '94 Trek and did not know who the vendor
was. I located the MagnaTek web site and called them. The transfer switch
products have been transferred to Paralax Power Component, 102 North Main,
Goodland, IN. 47948, ph. (219) 297-3111. Chuck in tech support group identified
the part as "Transfer Switch, 30 amp, Part No. ATS". I was referred to BR
Wholesale in Los Angles, Ph. (800) 900 2468 for retail purchase. Price is about
$75 plus shipping.
Paralax Power makes a replacement terminal strip with the diodes and capacitor
installed. It can be installed and soldered to existing wires to save money. I
elected to replace the whole box. I understand the same transfer switch and
circuit breaker box is used in boats and may be available at boat supply stores.
There are later model MagnaTek ATS30 transfer switches available but they would
require custom mounting and wiring.
That’s all for now, folks.
Happy Trekkin’ everyone!