Sunday, July 15, 2018

Final Prep for the Nevada Trip.

Packing Up.

The last couple of days I have been shopping and loading the van.
I think I have most of the groceries put away. Today I will do the last minute shopping, then I will be ready to go tomorrow.

Okay, there isn’t really much more to add so I’ll talk to you later.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Getting Ready for the Nevada Trip.

The New Distributor.

As you may remember I ordered a new distributor for the van.
When it arrived the distributor cap was broken.
I contacted the company and after sending them some pictures they informed me that they would be shipping me a new distributor and I would not have to return the old one.
The guys at KMJ Performance were great to work with and were very helpful.

In order to get a jump on things, I am going to install the base for the distributer that was damaged so when the new one gets here I can just install the cap. If the new one doesn’t arrive in time I can use the cap and wires that I already have. If there is a problem
with the distributer, it will be in the base as everything else has been swapped out.

Getting Ready for the Nevada Trip.

The last couple of days I have been reconfiguring the van for single occupancy.  That means I removed one of the bunks.
That makes a lot more room in the van.

Excuse the mess, it is a work in progress.


The Windshield Wiper.

When we were on the Continental Divide trip the windshield wipers didn’t work. I had to hold the switch on with one hand while I drove with the hand.
Yesterday, I started checking it out. The switch is in a hard spot to get to.
I reached under the dash and found the plug on the switch. I tried to remove it but it was very tight. I wiggled the plug and pulled on it but it wouldn’t come off.
I decided to see if the switch would work so I turned on the ignition and tried it. The wipers swept across the windshield and back. I tried both speeds and it seems to be working now.
It must have been a bad connection between the plug and the switch and moving the plug fixed it.

The Right Tail Light.

When I was at Bob’s we noticed that the right tail/brake light was not working.
Upon closer inspection we determined that the lead contacts on the bulb were warn out.

Yesterday I pulled the lens off the light and removed the bulb.
I added a little solder to the contacts on the base of the bulb and replaced it.
The light now works just fine.

Engine Temperature Sender.

I also replaced the engine temperature sender as part of looking for the high speed miss problem.
I am down to shot gunning the problem as I don’t know what else to do at this point.

Okay, I guess that’s all for now.

Wednesday 7/11

Installing the Distributor.

The installation of the distributer went as well as usual.

I pulled the number one spark plug and removed the distributor cap. I turned the engine over with the key. Bumping it until the piston came up to top dead center on the compression stroke.

I checked the timing mark and saw that it was just slightly off so I manually turned the engine about 1/2 inch to line the mark up with the zero.

Now I was ready to pull out the old distributor.


Now I just have to remember this picture when I put the new one in.

It took a couple of tries to get the new distributor to line up with the oil pump and #1 plug wire at the same time.
I had to turn the oil pump gear about 1/4 inch to the right before everything lined up and the distributer dropped into place.
I snugged it down, replaced the spark plug, put the cap on the distributor, hooked the plug wire to the plug and tried starting the engine .
It turned over a few times and started. I could tell it was way advanced by the way it was running so I turned the distributor in the retard direction about 1/4 turn before it ran smooth.
I turned the engine off and hooked up the timing light. I started the engine again and let it warm up for a while. Once it was warmed up, I checked the timing with the timing light. I had to turn the distributer back and forth a few times before I could get the timing marks to line up. Finally I got the timing set at the speck for the 292 engine  6° advanced.

A Test Ride.

I wanted to go to Harbor Freight for a couple items so I figured that would be a good test drive as it is across town.
The van ran good all the way over there but it was all on the surface streets so on the way home I got on the freeway for a few exits. It ran pretty good on the way home. I had a couple of chances to accelerate and it seemed to be okay.
I have been here before so I will wait until I am on the highway trying to pass someone to say whether it is fixed or not.

The Fan.

The van doesn’t have AC. What it dose have, is two fans mounted on the dash. One blows on the passenger and one blows on the driver. It ain’t much but it is better than nothing.

The passenger fan lost a blade the other day and I haven’t been able to use the drivers fan as they are both on the same switch.
Today I removed the passenger fan; now I can use the drivers fan.
I’ll replace the passenger fan at a later date.


The XM radio.

When we were on the Continental Divide trip I took the XM radio but we had trouble with it.
I hooked it all up today with one change; instead of running the antenna out the front of the van, I ran the wire out the passenger side door and put the magnetic antenna on the roof.
I plugged the XM into power and turned on the radio.  They came on but no sound came out. 
While I was working on the XM I found that the auxiliary battery was not holding a charge and the voltage was very low. Fortunately I have a couple of deep cycle batteries that we use for the fridge at the cabin. I had to buy a new one last year so I put that one in the van. 
Once I had the battery replaced I turned on the XM and the radio and it all worked just fine.
Cool, now I can listen to old time radio shows at night.


Packing for the Trip.

I started packing the cloths for the trip. I think I will have enough that I won’t have to do any laundry along the way.

I have been going through my lists to make sure I take everything I need.

I’ll start loading the van tomorrow after I lube the drive shaft. Hopefully that will be the last mechanicing I will have to do beside putting the belly pan on. That’s always the last thing I do.

Okay, I think that’s enough for today.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Van Work and Planning a Trip.

Van Work.

The last time I drove the van, was after swapping the chip in the ECM.  It ran worse than it did with the original chip. I didn’t want to work on it any more and I needed a break so I went to the cabin for a while.

On Saturday I decided to get back to work on the van.
I replaced the chip with the original one and I fixed the right brake light.

Bob’s Place.

I needed to test drive the van so on Sunday I took a ride over to Bob’s. I also wanted to discuss a trip we are planning to take to NE Nevada. The van ran better.

We spent some time checking out what he has done with his chicken yard.
The peeps are growing nicely and all look healthy and active.

Nevada Trip

We discussed our up coming trip to Nevada and decided to leave next Monday 7/16.
The van still has its original problem but it made the whole Continental Divide trip like this so I guess it will make this trip too.

I will be spending the week getting things ready to go.

Okay,  TTFN.

Friday, July 6, 2018

4th of July Week at the Cabin.

Wednesday, 6/27.


I got to the cabin around 11:30.
The first thing I did was to hook up the battery for the fridge.
The battery‘s are connected to a power panel that I made several years ago.


The fridge was plugged into this panel but the connection was shaky and wasn’t working.
I ended up eliminating the plug and splicing into the power wires that go to the panel. The panel still is in the system to monitor the battery’s and the outlets can still be used.
Now I shouldn’t have anymore problems of that sort.

Moving In.

Once the fridge was up and running I began unloading the jeep.
It didn’t take long to get moved in.
Once I was moved in it was time for lunch.

Goofing Off.

I spent the rest of the day; reading, relaxing and just enjoying the passage of time.

No Gas For the Stove.

Around 5:30, I was getting a bit hungry so I started making some thing for dinner. Some diced Spam and Eggs would be nice and easy.
I diced up the spam and whipped up the eggs; when I went to light the stove there was no gas.
Oh, of course. I forgot to turn the gas on.
Went to check the gas and it was on. Okay I need another gas cylinder.
There is one on the shower and one on the fridge and I don’t want to use ether one of them.

I remember that there were a couple of 5 gallon gas bottles over at the Dining Hall.
I brought one of the bottles over to the cabin and hooked it up. When I turned the valve on there was a hissing sound and the smell of Propane. There was a leak somewhere. I shut the valve immediately.
I needed a bubble tester to see where the leak was so I drilled a small hole in the lid of an old drink bottle, put a little dish soap and some water in it and voila a leak tester is made.
I returned to the tank and turned on the valve. I squirted around all the connections and didn’t find any leaks. Then I started wetting down the hose from the tank to the stove and found that some Rodent had bitten a couple holes in the hose.
This means I will have to take a ride to town to get a new hose.
I decided to let it wait until tomorrow morning and use the barbeque to cook dinner.
I just put the skillet on the grill. It took a bit longer than normal to get the skillet hot but once it was hot it cooked just fine.

Here, I’m heating water for breakfast.


Thursday. 6/28

Removing the Hose.

After breakfast, it didn’t take long to pull out the stove and remove the hose from that end.


Next I removed the hose from the regulator.
I took the hose with me and headed for Boonville in the hope that the hardware store might have something that would work. If not then, I will have to go clear to Ukiah about another 45 minute drive.

I walked into the Hardware store and asked if they had anything like the hose I had.
The guy behind the counter looked at a display on the wall and said “Yep, we have a five footer right here. We spent some time discussing the fittings as I wasn’t sure if the ones on their hose would fit or not.
I ended up buying a bushing that it turned out wasn’t necessary.

Hooking up the Stove

When I got back to the cabin it took about 20 minutes to get everything hooked up, leak tested and the stove moved back in place.

Once the stove was back in place, I fine tuned the burners a little.

Take a Hike.

After around 2:00, I decided to hike the trail. I walked up the hill from the cabin where the trail starts.

Bob and I had planted a group of Plumb and Prune trees in a clump on the hillside here.

As I walked past the trees I noticed that one of the Prune trees had Prunes growing on it.

There are three Prune’s on the tree; one on each side of the picture and one, slightly deformed Prune, at the top of the picture.


These are the first of the Prune trees to have fruit on them. The Plumbs still haven’t fruited.

Tree on the Trail.

After inspecting the fruit trees, I continued up the trail.
I had a rake with me so I did a trail little clean up as I went along.

This spot was a bit more than I can clean with a rake.


This job will take a chain saw to clear completely.
I ended up breaking off enough branches to get through for now.


It took about an hour to walk the whole trail, stopping now and then to rake a short section.

When I got back to the cabin I was a bit pooped. I sat in my chair and dosed for a while.

Friday, 6/30


Around 12:00, Patti and Dina arrived.
We got Patti moved in and Dina set up her tent.
We had lunch and were sitting outside in the shade when Matt and
Mike drove up.
We sat around and visited for a while, when Josie showed up.
Josie set up her camp.
The rest of the afternoon we shade hopped and visited until supper time, when we all went to our camps to get something to eat.

After supper we sat round the cabin visiting until bed time.

That was our Friday.

Saturday. 6/30

Start Dining Hall Repair.

Some of the perimeter logs on the dining hall were rotting out. The problem was that I used a couple of fir trees for the top logs and they don’t don’t do well on the ground.

This is one of the rotted logs.


I had Matt and Mike cut down a small redwood and cut it into 20+ foot lengths and drag them to the dining hall. They laid the redwood logs near where they will be installed.


Escape to the Creek.

By noon, the outside air temp was reaching 100 degrees so the ladies headed for the creek.
Once Matt and Mike got the the logs in place, we also went to the creek.

By the time we got down there Dina and Josie had made a nice dam which makes the swimming hole a bit larger.


Here we are hanging out at the creek.


Water Pictures.

Patti enjoys taking pictures through the water.



We got back to the cabin around 5:00. The temperature was still in the high 90’s so we sat outside in the shade until the mosquitoes drove us indoors.

Sunday, 7/1

Day at the Creek.

Around 10:00 Matt and Mike headed for home.

I did a little work on the dining hall.

After lunch Patti, Dina, Josie and I went to the creek. We forgot to take a camera with us so no pictures. We stayed at the creek until around 5:00 when it seemed cool enough to go up to the cabin.
We hung out outside until the mosquitoes got to aggressive. Then we took refuge in the cabin.

Monday, 7/2

Hanging Out.

We spent the day just hanging out around the cabin.
Josie went home around 1:00.

I did a little work on the dining hall but it got to hot to work on it.

Toilet Problem.

Dina used the toilet and said that it didn’t sound like the tank was filling. Patti used the toilet and said that it would not flush.

I checked it out and found that the inlet valve was clogged with what looked like earth worm parts.
I cleaned it out and it now works fine, except that the flapper valve is not sealing properly.
I have a new valve but I forgot to bring it up.
I also have a filter for the water system but it is at home also. It will have to wait until the next trip.
I want to also put a “Y” strainer on the water system at the input to the tanks as I think that is where the worms are getting into the system.

Okay tat’s it for today.

Tuesday 7/3.

The Dining Hall.

I worked on the dining hall a little this morning. The back side is ready to put the log in place.


I started removing the rotten log on the far side of the hall.


There is a 12” spike that I am having trouble getting out of the log on the side of the dining hall.


Joanne and Dave Arrive.

Around 2:45 Joanne and Dave showed up. We visited for a while, then they moved into their lodge.
By the time they were settled, the day had warmed up a lot so we shade hopped for the rest of the day.

In the evening we played cards; Joanne won.

Wednesday, 7/4.

Happy Birthday America!

Dining Hall Repair.

Dave and I worked on getting the log’s in place around the back and left side of the dining hall.

Removing the Spike.

The first thing I had to was get that big spike out.
I decided to use my Farm Jack and a chain to pull the spike out of the log.

Unfortunately this is the only picture  and it was taken after the spike was removed.


What I did.

The chain has a hook on one end. The space in the hook was just right to fit the spike so I slid the hook around the spike right at the top.


Then I wrapped the chain over the lip on the Farm Jack, put a different spike through the links of the chain to hold it in place and jacked the spike out of the log.
It was hard to get out.

Installing the New Logs.

Once again there are only a few pictures of this operation and those are of the finished project.

We decided to put the back log in first.


Then we cleaned out all the debris from the removal of the left side log.
We cut a notch in the end of the log for the left side and set the log in place.
There was a large gap under the front of the log so we needed to find a small tree to fill the gap.

I knew of a small redwood that was growing out of a group up by the main water barrels.
It was a runt and would never amount to anything so we cut it off and drug it back to camp with the jeep.

A Nat. Geo. Moment.

When we returned with the tree the ladies were very excited.

After we left to get the tree, they were sitting in the shade talking when a Gray squirrel ran down the hill and jumped onto a fir tree and scurried up it.
Right behind the Squirrel was a Red Fox who also jumped onto the tree.
About that time one of the women made an exclamatory noise. The fox stopped in its tracks, looked over at the ladies, jumped off the tree and ran back up the hill. Of course it all happened so fast that no pictures were taken.

Continuing the Log Replacement. 

Dave and I cut the new tree to length and worked it under the top log.
After we were finished with the logs, we dug a drainage ditch under the eaves to try and keep water from running toward the dining hall.


Okay, that job is done.

We spent the rest of the day visiting.

In the evening after supper we played cards. Patti won.

Thursday, 7/5.

Packing up to Go Home.

Once we got up and had breakfast, Patti and Dina slowly began gathering their stuff. Once it was all stacked around Patti’s car I loaded it all in the back of the car.

They left around noon. Joanne, Dave and I are staying one more night.

Lots of Air Traffic.

While Joanne, Dave and I were shade hopping in the afternoon we heard several aircraft flying over head. There were helicopters as well as fixed wing aircraft. We eventually got a view of one and it turned out to be a fire retardant bomber. We speculated as to what it might mean; was it just a lot of tourist flights or was it DEA choppers looking for illegal pot farms or is it some kind of rescue operation.


Around 5:00 I went into the cabin and turned on the radio to listen to the local station and see if I could get some information.

As it turned out there was a wild fire along highway 128 between Peachland Road (the road we are on) and Boonville. The radio said it was being hit hard with air craft and ground crews and they expected to have it under control by dark. No problem,

We spent the rest of the evening visiting until around 10:00.

Friday, 7/6

Going Home.

We all spent the morning packing to go home and were ready to by noon.

Driving by the Fire.

As I drove down the hill I kept an eye out for signs of the fire.
About 2/3 of the way to the highway I saw the first signs. A
red stain of fire retardant on the trees and the hill side across the canyon.


A little farther down the hill there was more evidence.


I got a fuzzy picture of a fire fighter working on the steep hillside.


Fire engines staged by these barns near the highway.

IMGP3183 Here is the hill that burned.


Parts Arrive.

I got home around 1:30.
I was happy to see that the distributer I had ordered had arrived.
I opened the box to check it out and found that the distributer cap had been broken in shipment.


Now I will have to send this one back and wait for a replacement.

Okay that pretty well wraps up the last nine days.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Van Gets Worse.


I ordered a new Distributer and wires on Friday.
The plug wires arrived on Sunday the Distributer won’t get here until between the 6/28 and 7/3.

Going to Bob’s.

Bob has the chip from the Engine Control Module for his old six cylinder engine.
I decided that it would be a good test, to swap the chips and see if it makes any difference so I drove over to Bob’s .


When I got to Bob’s, he was working on roosts for his chickens.


We sat around for a while in the chicken run and watched the peeps playing in the tall grass.


Bob dug up some worms and gave them to the peeps.


It was fun to watch them. One of the chicks would get a worm…


and the rest would chase it around trying to steal it.


After a playing chase the worm for a while, I guess they worked up an apatite because a bunch of them attacked the feeder.

IMGP3133Fresh Fruit.

After a while we wandered around Bob’s place picking and eating plums and some raspberries.

Chip Swap.

Okay it is time to swap out the chip in the ECM. It only took a few minutes to remove the ECM and swap the chips.

Test Drive.

Once that was done I took the van for a test drive.
I pulled out of Bob’s place and punched it. The van took off with out any hesitation.

I had to drive the rest of the way to town at 35 mph (The speed limit).  Once I got on River Road I drove east through some small communities.
Once I got past the last town and on a stretch of open road near the Korbel Winery I punched it.
The van took off like I thought it should. I was very happy as I thought we had finally found the problem with the van.
I pulled off the road so I could turn around. I had to wait for a string of cars to go by before I could take off. 

There was a clear spot between cars so I punched it to get on the road. The engine almost quit. It stuttered and missed and jumped until I backed off the throttle so it wouldn’t quit.
I shifted into second and eased the throttle on. The engine stuttered and missed but slowly accelerated.
I made it without getting run over but it was a close thing.

Back at Bob’s

We discussed the problem but didn’t come up with anymore Ideas.
I will just have to wait until after I change the distributer and see if that does anything good.

Heading Home.

After a bit I headed for home. The engine seemed to run pretty good until I had to take a detour  around Forestville.
By the time I got back to Guerneville Road, the van was running real rough.
When I got to the stop sign at Guerneville Road, the van had a hard time getting going again.
Eventually I was able to coax it onto the highway but it wouldn’t accelerate. It was even backfiring.
I had to pull off the road to keep from getting run over. 
Once I stopped, I raced the engine a couple times and it seemed to clear up.
I took off carefully and was able to get up to highway speed.
It acted up a little occasionally, especially after siting at a long stop light but I got home ok.

Going to the Cabin.

I am planning on going to the cabin tomorrow (Wednesday) but I don’t think I am going to trust the van to the go up there.
I guess I’ll take the jeep.  

I’ll worry about the van when I get back after the fourth of July.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Starting Problem Solved But Not the Miss.

Starting Problem.

In yesterdays post I mentioned that the engine was hard to start and I couldn’t set the timing correctly.
This actually happened on Thursday.

Friday morning as I was walking through the shop and happened to notice one of the rotors sitting on a workbench. I picked it up and realized that the rotor that was in the van presently was the wrong one.
The one in the van, is for the old style flat cap.


The one that is supposed to be on there is for the tall cap.


The rotors are different; the one for the flat cap looks like this.


The tall cap rotor looks like this.


After seeing the difference, I am surprised that the engine ran at all with the wrong rotor.

I swapped out the rotors and turned the key and the engine started right up. I fine tuned the timing and shutdown the engine to tighten the distributer.

A Test Drive.

It was time to see how the van runs on the road.
I drove over to Highway 12 and headed up the on ramp. I put my foot in it and accelerated up the on ramp and onto the freeway.
It was a little sluggish but there was no miss.
Once on the freeway I stormed along at highway speed and punching it every now and then to  see if it would miss but it ran pretty good.
I got to Stony Point Road a drive of about 3 miles and exited the freeway. I crossed over the freeway and took the on ramp going back the way I came.
The van was in first gear and I punched it.
It started to accelerate but once the rpm’s got over 2500 rpm it started missing. I shifted to second and put my foot down. It started accelerating but once the R’s came up it began to miss and cut out. I went to 3rd and pushed the accelerator down slowly staying under 2500 rpm and it ran like it was too rich but after a half mile or so it cleared and ran just fine all the way back home.

I still have no idea what is going on here.
The only thing that hasn’t been swapped out as far as the ignition system is the distributer base. The only thing on the base that could be a problem is the centrifugal advance.
The distributer that I got from Bob has a sticky advance so I don’t want to use that.

I have decided that the best thing to do is to purchase a complete new distributer and new wires.
I really hate shot-gunning a repair like this. I prefer to find the cause and fix it but that hasn’t worked on this system so far.

I ordered a new distributer and new wires from Amazon.
It is supposed to be here on Sunday.
I didn’t know that they would deliver on Sunday.

Well, that’s it for now.
We’ll see if the parts come on Sunday.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Still Working on the Van.

Setting the Timing.

The first thing that I did this morning was to set the timing on the distributer.

I brought #1 piston to top dead center on the compression stroke.
The timing mark was lined up with the 0 on the engine.
I checked the rotor and it was pointing to the #1 cylinder plug wire.
Everything looks right. 

I tried to start the engine.
It wouldn’t start until I advanced the distributer a lot.
Once it started I had to retard the spark until it ran smoother.


I am not sure how it happened but some how I got my hand to close to the fan and it hit my finger.
The fan sliced the side of my ring finger on my right hand from the tip to the first knuckle.
It hurt like hell.
I shut down the engine and went in so Patti could wrap a couple band aids around it.

IMGP3117I decided to take the rest of the day off. To think about what is going on and see if I can come up with a working ignition system.

As much blood sacrifice as I have made on this job, you would think it would work perfect.

Okay, that’s all for today.