Saturday, July 22, 2017

Leaving Coeur d’Alene , Visiting Eve and Bill, Camping in the Woods.

Leaving Coeur d’Alene Casino.

We got up early and met Shirley and Bill for breakfast at 8:00.


After breakfast, Bill drove me to Rockland so I could pick up the MAP sensor that I ordered.
The Napa Store had my part so in short order we were back at the casino.

The Van Lives.

It was about 30 seconds work to install the sensor, and another 5 minutes to bolt the pipe hanger up. Once that was done, I fired the van up. It seems to run good. I am holding my breath as I won’t really know how well it is running until its out on the highway but it’s alive.

Shirley and Bill stopped by the van as they were leaving to say good bye with promises to meet this fall in Quartzsite.

I drove the van to a spot closer to the entrance to the casino and went in to get Patti and our stuff. We loaded up and in short order we were ready to head north again.

A visit with Eve and Bill.


We gassed up at the casino gas station and got on 95 heading north.
About 25 miles north of Coeur d’Alene is Farragut State Park where Bill and Eve are volunteering this summer.
We stopped at the entrance to the park and asked, where to find them. The guy at the entrance  gave us directions to their place.
Fortunately we were able to contact Eve and she met us at their place. It was lunch time so Bill showed up a few minutes later. We visited with them while Bill ate his lunch. After Bill was done with lunch Bob and I went with Bill to the maintenance shop where he is working.
Bob needed to use an air compressor to blow out some stuff from the radiator fins on his van.
I was impressed with the nice shop Bill has to work in. All the tools any man could need.

Bob blew out the radiator in a short time and we were ready to continue our trip.

The Wrong Road

Several years ago my niece Joanne and husband Dave went with us on a trip to Idaho. It was spring time and we wandered around the state for about a week. One of the roads we tried to travel was one that went across the mountains south Lake Pend Oreille.

While we were at E&B’s we discussed the route and they said that we could get on the road by following 45 to Bayview.
We took off heading for Bayview.

When we got there we found out that that wasn’t the road we wanted.
I asked a guy at the local watering hole where the road we wanted was. He told me that we had to go back toward Coeur d’Alene and take Bunco Road east.
We back tracked to 95 and turned south.  After a while we found the Bunco Rd. turnoff and took it heading east.

Lunch in the shade.

We drove up Bunco Road for quite a ways and eventually found a place with a little shade to stop for lunch.


While we were there Patti was playing with the Macro setting on her camera and got this nice shot.


and this one.



After lunch we continued trying to get through the mountains.


We made several wrong turns and had to back track several times but there were some nice views along the way.


You can see the road we are on snaking down into the valley below.


We came to a couple spots with views of the lake.


A good camp spot

Late in the afternoon we were trying to find the correct road when we came down a steep hill along a power line cut.  The road ended at a perfect camp spot. We decided this would be our spot tonight so we pulled back in the trees and camped.


After supper I had to crawl under the van and tighten the exhaust flange bolts again. I put some blue goop on the threads this time. I hope it helps.

Noise in the Woods.

While we were sitting around later in the evening we heard what sounded like an Elk whistling.
Bob thought that it sounded like a human trying to mimic an Elk. As it turned out it was an Elk and we saw several across the canyon from us not far away.

Can you can see two Elk in this picture?


I tried to get some close ups but most are not real clear. I should have let Patti take the pictures as she is better at it.


These Elk spooked and vanished into the woods.

Later we heard some crashing in the woods on our side of the canyon and saw two other Elk skirting out camp inside the tree line

Odds and Ends

There is a nice stream running in the canyon below us.


We also noticed this large nest on the power line tower.


Okay that was our travels on Friday 7/21. We hope to make Eureka, Montana today.  I think we will have to hustle.

The van is running good but now the muffler is falling apart. Eventually I will have to get it replaced.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Coeur d’Alene Casino, 7/20

Bob Arrives.

I was siting in the hotel room around 11:00, reading a book, waiting for Bob to show up.

The house phone rang. It was Bill saying that Bob was here and was waiting at my van.

A Short Discussion.

We sat down at Bob’s van and we talked over the symptoms my van was exhibiting.
After talking it over for a short time we decided that we had  plan of attack.

Loose Exhaust Pipe.

First Bob wanted to do a good inspection of the TBI installation and van’s engine in general.
While he was under the van he noticed that the exhaust pipe was very loose at the manifold.
I crawled under the van and tightened the nuts. One of the nuts had worked it’s way almost to the end of the bolt. The interesting thing is that I tightened that nut up before we left home because it was almost off the bolt. I will have to get another nut so I can double nut it.

I tightened the nut as much as I could  but the tail pipe was still wobbly. We decided that it needed another hanger.

Bob theorized that the loose exhaust was causing the O2 sensor to give a false reading.

We started the van and it still had the check engine light.

The Map Sensor.

Bob’s van has the same MAP sensor so the next thing we did was to swap sensors.
When we started the engine with Bob’s sensor on it, the check engine light was out and the engine ran smooth.
I knew that damn sensor was bad.

The Napa store.

I got directions from Bill, how to get to the Napa Store in Rockland.
Then off Bob and I went in my van with Bob’s MAP sensor installed.
The van ran smooth and had good power.
We got to the Napa store and showed the guy behind the counter the part and gave him as much information as we had including a part number that was in the TBI manual. He looked on the computer and couldn’t find the part.
Eventually he pulled out one of his older parts book. In this older book he came up with a picture of the part and a part number that worked.
He checked the computer and said there was one sensor in Spokane.
I asked if he would order the part and he did.
It is supposed to be at his store after 8:00 tomorrow morning.

I also bought a tailpipe hanger to fix the wobbly tailpipe.

Back at the Casino.

We headed back to the casino. The van was running so good I was almost giddy. I just hope it lasts.

When we got back to the casino, Bob had to fix something to eat.
I left him and told him that he could use our shower and Wi-Fi.
I went back to our room and hung out until Bob showed up.
After BS’ing for a short time I headed to the casino to find Patti and some lunch.
I found Patti at the video Blackjack table and we went in search of Shirley and Bill. After a short search we found them.
We asked them if the were ready to eat some lunch and they were so we went to a small snack bar where we could get sandwiches, etc.
After lunch we realized that it was already 4:00. We decided that, that would have to be our supper.

After eating, I went with Patti back to the Blackjack table where she played for just a short time. We went back to our room where I took a short nap.

Tail Pipe

After my nap, I went to the van to try and install the Pipe hanger.

I needed to borrow a bolt from Bob to connect the hanger to the cross frame. We found a nut and bolt in his bag of nuts and bolts.
Unfortunately the bolt was metric and I don’t have any metric tools with me. Some of the threads on the bolt were bad so I wasn’t able to tighten it up all the way.
I’ll pick a nut and bolt for that up tomorrow when I get the sensor

While I was working to get the hanger installed, I noticed that the Muffler was rotating around the tail pipe so I will need to get a new muffler at some point. It should be okay for a while with the new hanger holding things up.

Back at the Room.

Bob and I went back to the room and sat around shooting the breeze until he eventually headed back to his van.

After he left, I started this post so I guess that pretty much brings us up to the minute.

Coeur d’Alene Casino, 7/19

Checking the Van

After lunch Bill and I went out to the van so I could try some things. Of course I didn’t learn anything specific but I did find out that the power connection was apparently ok. If it wasn’t the engine will not start.

Looking for Some Parts.

Bob suggested that I get some twist lock wire nut’s in case we have to fix a bad connection.
Bill and I went driving around and went to two towns. One had a Napa store but they didn’t have any wire nut’s. I asked if there was a hardware store around and the guy in the store told us that in the next town was a hardware store.
Okay off we go then.

We drove to the next town which was only about 5 miles away. We drove through town a couple of times and saw no hardware store.
Eventually I told bill to pull in at a small grocery store where I went in to ask where the hardware store was.

“Hardware store”? The man said. “Why, we haven’t had a hardware store here for several years.”

I thanked the guy and got back in Bills car.
“Lets go home, we are getting nowhere here.” I said.
We went back to the Casino.

Troubleshooting the Van

I went back to the room and hung out for a while.
I spent my time reading the manual.
After a while I figured that I kind of knew what to do to trouble shoot the problem.
I went to the van and started working my way through the procedure. After some initial steps the manual says to jumper pin B&C on the cable to the MAP sensor. The only problem it that there are no markings on the plug to tell which one is A, B, or C.
I ran the test twice. I figured that the center connector was “B”. I jumped from the center to one side and got an error code that said that the MAP sensor was bad.
From the center to the other side gave me a error code that said that the computer was bad. There were other tests but not knowing which connectors are which I don’t know what to do.
So of course I still have no idea what is really wrong.

Bob Called.

Around 7:30 pm  Bob called. He was in La Grand, Oregon and said that he would probably get here late tonight 7/19 or some time tomorrow 7/20.
Probably tomorrow.

Okay that is the update for today.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Coeur d’Alene Casino 7/18

Leaving Plymouth.

We hung around the camp in Plymouth until around 12:30. We didn’t want to get to the Coeur d’Alene Casino too early as we were planning to spend the next three night’s in the van in the casino parking lot.

When we left the park in Plymouth the check engine light was on steady. I decided to ignore it and see how it ran. It ran okay. It went up and down hills with no problem. It cruised with no decelerating and accelerating. I was even able to pass on the freeway.
The down side to this is that the fuel consumption almost doubled. It went from 10 mpg to 6.5 mpg. Not good.
This morning I looked at the error code’s The old code 45 is still there and there is a code 34 which is a MAP related code. I don’t know why the fuel consumption is so bad. I was thinking that the computer stopped trying to control the fuel flow and is just dumping fuel into the throttle body.

As we drove north on I-82 we went through some of my least favorite country. It is pretty desolate out here.


Eventually you get to where the miles and miles of grain fields start.


We drove along for miles and miles with not much else to look at. Eventually we came to the Pasco/ Kennewick area.
At Covington we took highway 26 east. At Colfax we took 272/6 to US 95 where we turned north and drove to the Coeur d’Alene Casino.

As we got closer to Idaho, the land began to turn green and there were trees. A nice relief for the eyes.


There was a lot of road work so we spent a lot of time sitting in the van in the sun.


Finally at the Casino.

It took us about 5 hours to get to the casino. By then we were hot and exhausted. A couple of hours before we got here we decided that if they had any rooms available we were going to get a room for the next couple of days. The prospect of AC and showers is a strong motivator.
We were fortunate as we were able to get a room for the whole 3 nights.

Tuesday Morning 7/19.

Shirley and Bill showed up around 11:30.
We went with them so they could get some lunch. While we were at the restaurant I got a call from Bob.

He is heading our way and should be here tonight or tomorrow morning. Hopefully between us we can figure out this TBI problem and we can continue the trip.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday 7/18 ride from Redmond, OR to Plymouth, WA.

Leaving Redmond Oregon.

Around 9:30 we said good bye to Samantha and headed north on 97.


Following the Columbia River.

We followed 97 to Biggs, OR where we got onto I-84 heading east along the Columbia River.
The first dam we came to was the John Day Dam.

We also saw some barges on the river.



After about 5 hours of travel we came to Umatilla, OR  just across the river from Plymouth. Plymouth has no services so we stopped in Umatilla for gas.

Plymouth RV park.

One of the reasons we like to stop here is that the RV park has the only available shade for about 100 miles in all directions and it is always hot when we are here.


With the motor home it isn’t a problem because it has AC. The van doesn't.

The Van.

The van ran crappy the whole trip. It accelerates ok but now it won’t cruse.  It will go along nicely for a while then it will start to shudder and loose speed. As you slowly depress the accelerator it slows down even more; then it will burst forward and accelerate.
Most of the time it is either decelerating or accelerating.
Then sometimes it will smooth out and run pretty good for a few minutes.
The check engine light comes on for short periods of time. When the check engine light comes on the engine tends to smooth out and run almost good.
From what I can determine the error codes point to either the MAP sensor or the computer as the problem. I hate to do it but I think that I am going to just buy a MAP sensor to see if it fixes the problem. They are over $100 so I am hesitant without knowing that the old one is actually bad. I have no means to test the sensor at this point.

I have decided that if we can’t fix the problem by the 24th of July, that is the day we are to start the actual Continental Divide trip,
I am going to pullout and probably tow the van home.

Now I am wishing that I would have left the carburetor system in the van. It may have been smelly (boiling gas in the carb when stopped) but it ran great.

Okay, that’s it for now.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Work on the Van. Pizza and Cards.

Work on the Van.

Yesterday I worked on the van for a couple hours in the morning.
There were some error codes but they were intermittent so they didn’t come back. They will come back though.
I still don’t have a clue what is going on.
I did notice that a couple of times coming down the highway when the check engine light was on, the van actually ran a little better. WTF?

Pizza and Cards.

Around 4:30 we went over to Sue and Mike’s for Pizza and cards.
We played Shanghai Rummy again. The game is starting to make some kind of sense. I actually won last night’s game. Miracles will never cease.

While we were there we took some pictures.

Samantha, Sue and Mike.


Samantha and us.


Thanks Sue and Mike for your hospitality.

Today 7/17/17

We will leave Redmond, OR today around 10:00. Our next destination is Plymouth, Washington. We plan to spend the night there and then continue on to the Coeur d’Alene Casino.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The 2nd leg of our trip to Eureka, Montana.

Leaving Kathi and Bob’s.

We got up early and around 8:30 we said good by to Kathy, Bob and their grandson, Lucas.
We had a very nice visit; Thanks Kathi and Bob.

Heading North

We drove north from Glendale, OR to The 7 Feathers Casino where we stopped to gas up.
From there we continued north to Roseburg, OR where we turned east on Hwy.138.
The highway follows the Umpqua River and is a nice scenic ride.


The Van.

The van is running a little better than it was when we got here but still isn’t running right. There are still hesitations and stumbles when accelerating but it has enough power to climb over the mountains between I-5 and Hwy. 97. I guess that will have to do until we get to Redmond OR.  I will see what I can do for it when we get there.

Arrive in Redmond, OR.

We made it to Samantha’s place by around 2PM.
Samantha is our granddaughter and lives in Redmond so we plan to spend a couple days here.
We visited with Samantha and I took a little nap.

The heat and the stress of the drive (with the van not running so good) wiped me out.

Sue and Mike.

Sue and Mike are Samantha’s other grandparents and live here in Redmond. Patti and Sue talked on the phone and it was decided that we should meet them at a restaurant called Madeline’s.

Supper at Madeline’s

Patti, Samantha and I got in the van and drove to the restaurant. Sue and Mike were there already.
I wasn’t very impressed with Madeline’s; we were there for an hour before we got our food. I wasn’t very hungry so Patti and I shared some fish and chips.
3 small pieces of what looked like frozen Fish Sticks that were over cooked.
It was supposed to be Halibut.
I don’t know if it was or not, but if it was, it was the worst piece of Halibut that I have ever eaten.
I don’t know about the other meals, although Samantha’s steak looked okay.
I am afraid that Madeline’s won’t get my endorsement.

Cards at Sue and Mikes.

After supper we went to Sue and Mike’s to play cards.
They introduced us to a game they call ‘Shanghai Rummy’.


It is an interesting game that takes a lot of planning and thought.
I Lost!
We left Sue and Mike’s around 10:00 and went back to Samantha’s.

Today: Sunday.

Today I am going to see if I can figure out what’s going on with the TBI. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Day 0ne. Santa Rosa to Smith River.

The Van.

After I installed the Harmonic Balancer. I reset the timing to about 6° advanced, as the book said.
I didn’t have a chance to test it out before we left on our trip.

Heading Out.

We left Santa Rosa around 11:00. Our plan was to drive north on Highway 101 to the town of Fortuna where we were to stop for the night at the Bear River Casino.

As we drove up the freeway I knew something was wrong with the engine. It was back to its old hesitation problem. I just continued to drive, nursing it up the hills. It wasn’t as bad as it had been but it still had trouble keeping up on the hills.


We stopped in Laytonville and had lunch at Boomers Saloon.

Bear River Casino.


Around 4PM we pulled into the Bear River Casino parking lot. We arrived earlier than we expected.
After parking we went into the casino and used their rest rooms.

Back at the van I decided to take a short nap until about 5:30.
When I woke up from my nap I took another walk to the casino rest room. When I got back to the van there was a car parked on each side of us. Each car had a Lap weasel type dog in it and they were both barking at full speed and full volume.

Behind us was a car that’s alarm had been honking for about half an hour.

“Let’s get out of here” I said.

Continuing north.

We decided to try and find a campground further north but every one we came to was full.

We drove through Eureka, CA. and Crescent City and turned east on Hwy 199 toward Grants Pass, OR.

We thought we might find a campground along there.
All the campgrounds were full but I remembered a place where I camped off the highway when I drove to Alaska. It was a river access area.
We tried a couple of side roads and eventually found a spot where we could get off the road and spend the night near the river.


We spent a nice quiet night and were on the road early the next morning.

Day Two.

Smith River to Glendale, OR.

The van’s still running bad but it is still running.

We stopped in Cave Junction for breakfast.

A Detour.

As we were getting near Grants Pass we decided that instead of going through Grants Pass we would take a detour through Merlin, Galice and Wolf Creek.

It was a nice scenic drive along the Rogue River


where we crossed this bridge.


Bob and Kathy.

We got to Bob and Kathi’s around noon. It was nice to see them again.
We visited for a while and they suggested we get some lunch.
We went with them to a local café and had lunch.

On the way home we stopped at a neighbors house to borrow a timing light.

Adjusting the Timing.

When we got back home I set out to adjust the timing on the van.
I ended up setting the timing at about 10° BTDC.

Buffett at Seven Feathers.

We decided to go to The Seven Feathers Casino for their Seafood Buffet.
Seven Feathers is 25 miles north of Glendale and there are a couple of steep grades going and coming. I wanted to drive the van there so I could check it out.
The van ran much better this time, going up the hill with little problem although it still trembles a bit. I will see if I can adjust the timing a bit more and see if I can clear that tremble.

The buffet was good and we left the casino ahead and full.

Back at Kathy and Bobs.

We visited and watched television until bed time.

Day three.

Kathy and Bobs.

I got up early and got my shower and breakfast. After breakfast I went out to the van and tried to improve its performance. I would move the timing mark a bit and drive up the road and it would stumble. It took many tries but eventually it appears that I have the timing adjusted as close as I will get.

Around 10:45 to we drove with Kathy and Bob to Grants Pass so Kathy could go to the doctors.

Becky and Dennis

This evening we are going the Valley of the Rogue State Park to visit with Becky and Dennis, who are hosting there.
Around 3:45 we headed down I-5 to the Valley of the Rogue State Park to visit Becky and Dennis.
We visited with them at their spot in the park for a while then we went to a very good Mexican restaurant for supper.


After supper and a lot more visiting inside the restaurant, we said our goodbye's to Becky and Dennis and headed back to Kathy and Bob’s.

Around 10:00 we said goodnight to Kathy and Bob and went to bed.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Off We Go Then.

A Quote from J.R.R Tolkien's "Lord of the Ring’s”.

““Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.””

Where We Are Going.

Okay this is a short description of our trip on The Continental Divide.

From here ( Santa Rosa) we are going to make our way to Eureka, Montana.
It will take us about a week to get there. We will be visiting relatives along the way. We will travel through Northern California, Oregon, Washington , Idaho and Montana Just to get to the start of our trip.

Once we get to Eureka, MT we will meet up with Cheryl and Dennis and Bob.
From there, we will drive north about 5 miles to the Canadian border where on July 24, 2017 we will officially start the trip down Continental Divide to Mexico. The ride will take us through Montana, some of Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico to the border with Mexico at Antelope Wells, New Mexico.
We are expecting it to take us around 3 to 4 weeks to complete this trip, Maybe more as we will still have to get home from New Mexico.

It should be an awesome trip so travel along with us on this blog.
We will see this beautiful country of ours together.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Prepping for the Continental Divide Trip.

Installing New Lighter Socket.

First thing Monday morning, I installed a second cigarette lighter socket so there would be a place to plug the GPS in and another place for the XM radio.
That only took about 20 minutes.

Taking Care of Business.

Once Patti got it going this morning we went to the bank so she could get some cash for the trip. After that we went to see our financial advisor to take care of a few things.

Grocery Shopping.

After leaving Joel’s, we went to the Walmart Neighborhood Market and did our grocery shopping.
We were able to get almost everything there. We will still need to stop on the way out tomorrow for a couple of last minute items.

Loading the Van.

When we got home, we continued loading stuff in the van.
We put all the non perishable stuff on the racks. All the paper products and canned food will go a large wooden box that doubles as a step and can be left out side at night.

Loading the van is kind of like putting together a Chinese puzzle; everything has to fit just right, so it takes a while.

Ready to Go.

Okay it looks like we are pretty much ready to leave tomorrow.
We don’t intend to get on the road until after lunch as we are only going as far as Fortuna, CA. where we will spend the night. It is about 5 hours drive from home.

Okay that’s it for now.
I’ll try and post as often as possible but there will some gaps as we will be in the mountains for a lot of the trip. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Van is Ready! I think.

Finishing up the Van.

This morning I filled the radiator in the van and started it up.
It ran fine , no horrible noises, no leaks, no smoke.
I shut it down and then gave the van a grease job.
I drove the van to the gas station to top off the tank and take a little test ride. While I was there I checked the oil (my driveway is too slanted to get an accurate oil check) . Everything seems to be fine, I think it’s ready to go.

Getting ready for the Great Divide.

Later in the day I started collecting stuff to put in the van for our trip on the Continental Divide. The biggest issue will be storage but we won’t need to much stuff as we will not be totally isolated on this trip.  We will leave here Wednesday 7/12 and are supposed to meet the other travelers in Eureka,  Montana to start the actual Divide trip on July 24th.

There is still a lot to do but the afternoons have been too hot to do much.


Today we start serious packing. This will probably continue right up to the time we leave.

This trip should be quite an adventure so read about it right here and at “Bob’s Eyes”

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Install the Harmonic Balancer on the Van Engine.

Pick Up Parts.

Around 8:30 Friday morning I drove to the parts place and picked up the new Harmonic Balancer for the van.

Get Started

I got started working on installing the Balancer as soon as I got home. It is supposed to be hot this afternoon so I want to get this done early.

Install the Seal.

The first thing to do is to install the front oil seal. First I spread some RTV around the outside edge of the seal. Then I used a large socket to push the seal in with. 

Here is the socket and the seal waiting to be installed


The seal went in with no problems.


Time to Install the Balancer.

I put some grease on the inside and outside of the hole and seal surface of the balancer.
The Balancer fits over the end of the crankshaft and has a key to keep it from turning.
To push the Balancer on there is a threaded hole in the end of the crankshaft where you insert a 7/16-20 bolt with a big thick washer and as you tighten the bolt it press’s the Balancer onto the shaft.
I had a devil of a time getting the Balancer to go all the way on. I ended up using my longest breaker bar on a socket to tighten it up. I even broke one of the bolts I was using.

You can see the end of the bolt in this picture. Fortunately the bolt came out easily.


I found another bolt and continued to press the Balancer on.
Eventually I got it as far as it would go. The grooves on the Balancer line up with the grooves on the fan pulley so I guess it is good.

Install the Radiator.

I installed the belts for the fan and alternator and then installed the radiator.


Getting the radiator in by ones self is a struggle as it has to go in from the bottom.  I hope I didn’t damage any of the tubes.

To Hot to Work.

I went to the auto parts store to get some coolant but by then it was about 105° outside and it was to hot to continue working.
Tomorrow (Saturday) I’ll finish this up. It got to 108° today.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Pulling the Harmonic Balancer, Order Parts and Buy bolts.

Lets Try That Again.

First thing Thursday morning I cleaned up all the threads in all the holes and on all three bolts for the puller. I figured I would try one more time to pull what is left of the balancer.  As I was tightening the bolts the stripped one would not even tighten. I took puller off the engine and decided that I would need to drill out that one hole and rethread it for a larger bolt.

Order Parts.

I Tried Smothers Parts.

Around 10:00 Patti took off on some errands and I went to see about parts.
I was told that Smothers Auto Parts was the best place to look for parts like the Balancer as they had a large selection of parts and a large network from which to draw parts.
They had the Balancer on their computer but could not find any in the real world.

I Went to our Local Napa Store.

The counter guy, looked the Balancer up on their computer and said that he could have it here in the morning.
Now that’s a parts store!
I also ordered a seal and gasket set for the timing cover in case I have to pull it.

On the way home I stopped at the hardware store and purchased two 3/8-24X2” and 0ne 7/16-20X2” bolts. The two new 3/8 bolts will replace two of the ones for the puller and the 7/16 bolt will be the third bolt on the puller.

Drilling the Hole.

I was concerned about drilling out the hole in the Balancer that is stripped because there isn’t much room behind the Balancer and I was concerned about accidently punching a hole in the timing cover.

I selected four drills  as I wanted to increase the size of the hole in small steps.

Below are the drill bits and the tap.


The two smaller drills were too small so I ended up using a 3/8 followed by the 25/64.
I managed to drill the hole without blowing a hole in the cover.


Tapping the Hole.

Next I had to tap the hole.


Pull the Balancer.

In order to use the larger bolt on the puller I had to file one of the slots a little larger. It’s the slot on the right.


I hooked up the puller and pulled the rest of the Balancer off with out a problem.


Pulling the Seal.

I wasn’t sure if the timing cover had to be removed to pull the seal or not.  After cleaning the dirt and grease from the area I noticed the metal ring around the seal.
I decided that I could pull the seal from without.
I took a small punch and made a small hole in the edge of the metal ring then I used a slide hammer with a sheet metal screw affixed to the end.  I screwed the screw into the small hole and with a few slams of the slide the seal came right out.

Below is the seal removed, the slide hammer and the punch.


Okay that’s as far as I got on this project today. I get the parts tomorrow and hopefully finish this up.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

5 Days at the Cabin.

Getting Started.

We got up early and after breakfast we finished loading the last minute stuff in the van.

We stopped at Arco for gas and were on the road heading for the cabin by 10:00.

Dead Van.

The van was running great going up the freeway, lots of power.

We took the highway 128 exit from 101 and started climbing the hills. The van is climbing the hills nicely.
About 5 miles out of Cloverdale on 128 there is some road work so we had to stop for the flag man.

While we were waiting for the traffic to start moving again Patti said that she felt something hit the inside top of the engine box.
We could also hear some squealing coming from the engine area.

The traffic moved forward so I followed.
Just a short distance past the road work Patti said that she could smell engine coolant. So could I.
I looked at my gauges and saw that the generator light was on.

Did the fan belt break? No, I have two fan belts, they both couldn’t have broken at the same time.

As soon as I could I found a safe spot to pull off the road,

IMGP0694 I started to open the engine cover and steam and water spewed out around the engine cover. I closed the cover and we waited for the engine to cool down.

Good Samaritans.

Some guys in a pickup stopped and gave us some water for the radiator.
Thanks guys.

Strange problem.

Once the engine had cooled I was able to top off the radiator.
I checked the belts and they were still in place.
What could have caused the engine to over heat so quickly.
When the radiator was filled I tried starting the engine.
It started right up.
What the heck? The engine is running but the fan isn’t turning.
I checked it out and found that the Harmonic Balancer had come apart.
The Harmonic Balancer is the bottom pulley on the engine.  It is connected directly to the end of the crank shaft and turns the fan , the generator and coolant pump.

Between the center of the pulley and the outer surface is a rubber insert. That is supposed to allow a certain amount of movement to keep down vibration.
Some how the rubber had come unsecured from the center. The crankshaft was turning but the outer part of the pulley was not so therefore the fan and generator were not turning; hence overheating the engine.

Call for a Tow.

Fortunately we have AAA road service and in under an hour we were on the hook and heading back to Santa Rosa.


Lets Try This Again.

Once we were home we took all the stuff that we would need for the weekend out of the van and loaded it into Patti’s car.
We had to stop for gas and lunch and we got to the cabin around 4PM.

Some Disturbing News.

When we arrived, Bob was sitting on the bench on the hill by the cabin.

As we exited the car he asked; “Do you want the good news first or the bad news”.

“Well, I have had enough bad news for one day” I replied; “how about the good news”.

“The good news is; the bear didn’t get into the cabin”.

“Okay, that’s good. What is the bad news”?

“He did break (tore a hole) in one of the plastic windows”.


He also tore a hole in Dave’s tent again. On the opposite side from where the bear tore a hole last time.


The bear got in and knocked a bunch of stuff around in their tent but didn’t destroy anything.


Bob also told us that he saw the bear the evening before we arrived. It was coming into the clearing near the dining hall.
Bob yelled at the bear and it took off.
It’ll be back.

Something has got to be done about that bear!

Water Leak.

Another thing that the bear did was to bite the main water line in half.

Bob and I went up and fixed it before dinner.

Here is Bob pushing the splice together.


More Arrivals.

Around 5:00 Josie arrived. We had a nice visit and then she went to set up her camp.

Around 8:30 Dina arrived.
We talked about where she wanted to camp. Originally she was planning to camp at the Grove down by the creek but after hearing about the bear she decided to camp at the cabin site with us.

After a little discussion she tried to move her car but it would not start. We will have to address that tomorrow. It was full dark before she and Robert got their tent up.

Okay that was our Friday I sure hope Saturday is an improvement.


I woke up around six o'clock and got up as I had several things I wanted to do before everyone else was up.

Fix the Frig

The first thing I tackled was the refrigerator. It seems that every time I come up here I have to work on the frig. What happens is; rust falls down the chimney and collects on the burner partially snuffing the flame. The flame is needed to heat the chemicals in the system to cool the frig. Low flame = low cooling.
I pulled the back off the frig and cleared the rust from the burner.
Now the frig should work right.

Set up the shower

After breakfast I tried setting the shower up but when I transferred the stuff from the van to Patti’s car I forgot to transfer my tool box so I am very limited. I have a Crescent Wrench,  a Multi Tool and a Screw Driver.

I needed Channel Lock Plyers to tighten the fittings.  There is a bad leak in the shower connection. It may be missing an
“O” ring. I gave up on that for the time being.

Mow the flat.

Once most of the others were up I decided to see if the lawn mower would start.
I filled it with gas and pumped the bulb on the carburetor, pulled the rope and it started right up.

I mowed a little, then Bob took over and mowed most of the flat.


Cover the Spring.

Bob had been doing some work on one of the springs before we came up. He wanted to finish covering the spring so he and I went up to check it out.

Here, we are hiking up to the spring.


The spring is in the rocks in the gully.



Here you can see the rough screen covering the drain and Bob starting to cover it with rocks.


Once the rocks are all in place he covered the pile with some plastic and more rocks. Then he connected the out put line.


That done we went back to the cabin. 

Bob Left.

Around 1:00 Bob decided to take off.

We hung around camp the rest of the day and around 5:30 we  had supper.

First Campfire.

Around 7:30 we decided to have a campfire. I set up the fire ring last season but haven’t had a chance to have a fire in it until now.


We are wearing hoody’s and long sleeve’s not because it is particularly cold but to keep the Mosquitos at bay.


Joanne and Dave.

Joanne and Dave showed up around 10:30.
They had read Bob’s blog and knew about the bear break in so they weren’t surprised.
Dave brought some canvas and stuff to fix their tent.

The Shower’s Fixed

He also brought some other tools.
I was able to borrow his large locking plyers to work on the shower.
I found the missing “O” ring stuck to a piece of blue tape on the shelf above the water heater.
We now have Hot showers.

Peter Shows Up.

Around 11:30 Peter showed up. We had a nice visit and he brought us up to date on the status of the property.
Things are still in flux.
He assured us that the parcel that the cabin is on will be kept safe.

Call a Tow Truck.

We tried several things to attempt to get Dina’s car going but no luck.

We decided that the only thing to do was to see if a tow truck would come out here to pick the car up.

It took Dina and Robert until 2:00 to get their shit together so Patti could take them down to the highway and try to get a tow truck.

About two hours later they showed up with a big flat bed truck.
The driver was bitching and complaining about having to come all the way out these dirt roads but it only took him around 15 minutes to get the car on the truck.


We waved good by to Dina and Robert as the tow truck disappeared around the corner. 

Peter Leaves.

A short time after the truck left it was Peter’s turn to leave. He has to get up at 4:00am to go to work tomorrow.

Jean and Don Arrive.

After supper we were just sitting down to play cards  with Joanne and Dave when a vehicle pulled into the compound.
It was our friend’s from Seattle, Jean and Don. They were on a road trip and we were on their itinerary.
We hung out with them until after dark then they had to leave as they were staying at the Anderson Valley Inn in Philo. 
They will be back tomorrow.


Nothing Like a Hot Shower.

I got up early and got a hot shower this morning. It sure is nice having a working shower again.

Jean and Don Show up.

Around 10:30, Jean and Don showed up. We spent some time shade hopping and visiting.


A Walk in the Woods.

After visiting for a while, Jean, Don, Dave and I took a walk on the cabin loop trail.


It only takes about 45 minutes to walk the loop from the cabin.


A short time after we got back from our walk the ladies decided to play a tile game called Quirkle, or something like that. They played in the dining hall for an hour or so. Patti won.

Supper in the Dining Hall.

Around 6:00 we cooked some Burgers and Brats and we all ate in the dining hall.


Jean and Don left for their hotel around 8:30. They will be back tomorrow.


I got up early and after breakfast I fired up the weed whacker and whacked some weeds before Jean and Don showed up. Now the place looks better.

We visited with Jean and Don at the cabin for a while then drove down to the Grove to check it out. We sat in the shade by the creek visiting until around 1:00.


Joanne was the only one to play in the water.


Heading back to the Cabin

Jean and Don decided to walk up the road to the cabin from the creek.
It’s a pretty steep climb so we gave them about a half hour start and then drove up the hill.  We passed them about 1/3 of the way up the hill.
They didn’t want a lift so we continued up to the cabin. Jean and Don arrived about 20 minutes later. They made good time.

Jean and Don left around 4:00 as they had to drive to Marin County.

Supper and Cards.

After Jean and Don left we fixed supper.
When we had finished our supper’s Joanne and Dave came to our place to play cards.


Got up early again. While the water for my breakfast was heating I started striping my bed and folding up the bedding. We are leaving today and want to be ready to go by around 11:00.
I had breakfast and was lingering over my coffee when Patti got up.

Once Patti was up and running, we began the task of moving out of the cabin. By around 10:15 the car was packed and Patti had the cabin all swept out clean.

Window Fix.

Dave had some clear packing tape so we used that to put a temporary patch on the window that the bear tore.

Here is how it looks from the outside.


It looks a little better from the inside.


Heading Home.

We left around 10:30 and stopped at the Hamburger Ranch in Cloverdale for lunch.
We got home around 1:00 and in a half hour we had the car unloaded.

The Van’s Harmonic Balancer.

After we had been home for a short time I decided to start trying to fix the van.

I removed the radiator and the fan belts.  Then I removed the outer pulley from the Harmonic Balancer. The center of the Balancer is still on the engine.

This view is looking up from under the front of the engine. You can see the center of the Balancer below the fan.


The Harmonic Balancer should look like the one on the left in the picture below.


The ring on the right is the outer ring of the Balancer that is still on the engine.

On the left is an old Balancer that I am using as an example. Unfortunately that Balancer is worn out and can’t be used on the engine.
The black line round the center of the Balancer (on the left) is the rubber that should bond the inner hub to the outer ring.
There is no rubber on the outer ring of the failed Balancer (right) and there is no rubber on the inner hub of the failed Balancer, as you can see in the view of the engine.
The rubber was totally gone so the center was turning but the outside was not.

A Stripped Bolt Hole.

I got out my pullers and tried to remove the inner hub of the Balancer but one of the holes that the puller bolts go into is stripped.
It looks like I will have to enlarge the hole and rethread it for a larger bolt.
By this time I was hot and tired so I stopped for the day.

I’ll work on it tomorrow.