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.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Day at the Cabin.

Heading Out.

We got on the road by 9:00 and headed north on 101. Just north of Winsor we came up behind Dave and Joanne’s pickup. They were also heading to the cabin to put up their lodge.
We followed them all the way to Boonville. We stopped at the Boonville Market and bought a couple of sandwiches. Joanne and Dave kept going .
We got to the cabin about 15 minutes after J&D.
The mosquitos were pretty thick outside so we sat around in the cabin for a while visiting.

The Old Stove Pipe.

After BS’ing for a while I decided that it was time to install the new stove pipe.
I figured that it would only take a few minutes to  swap out the pipes.
The old pipe was stuck and it took a lot of pounding and cussing but eventually it came off.

The New Pipes.

The new pipes went on without much struggle.


Now, I shouldn’t have to replace these pipes. I was replacing the black ones about every other winter.

Okay that’s it for now. We had a nice day at the cabin.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Still Working on the Distributer.

Distributer Problems.

I went out in the morning and tried to start the van.
It was running the after noon before but now it doesn’t want to start.
I turned the distributer way advanced before it would start, then it ran crappy until I retarded the spark.
It runs crappy unless the timing mark is advanced about 20 degrees. It is acting like the distributer is off by one tooth but I haven’t removed the distributer so it should be in the same place as it was when I started this job.

I checked to be sure that the plug wires are in the right place. I even tried moving the plug wires one space in the advanced direction. but it still wouldn’t start.
I messed around with the distributer for a couple hours. It will start  but I haven’t been able to get the engine to run right.

I am contemplating buying a complete new distributer coil and wires and starting from scratch.
Since all the parts that I have are old stuff. They should be ok but there is no way to know for sure.
I am going to let this job sit for a bit while I decide what to do.

Going to the Cabin.

Wednesday (tomorrow) Dave and Joanne are going up to the cabin to set up their lodge.
Patti and I are also going up there. I have the stainless steel stove pipes that I want to install on the wood stove and I will need some help with that.
That is why we are going up there while Dave and Joanne are there. So Dave can help me with the stove.

Okay, that’s it for now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Distributer Replacement.


When I was at Bob’s the other day discussing the hi RPM miss, we decided that the problem could be something in the distributer. Bob had an old distributer from his old Six cylinder that he gave me. The plan is to swap out my distributer and coil distributer for his distributer.

Here is my old distributer.

And here is the externally mounted coil.


The new distributer has the coil mounted on the top of the cap.


Swapping the Distributers.

The first thing I did was to check out the “fly weights “ on Bob’s distributer base. The fly weights are part of the centrifugal advance system.

The weights were free enough but the advance part is very slow to respond and sticks in a few places. Therefore I decided to use the base for my distributer as it works nice and freely. And use Bob’s Cap and coil.
This turned out to be a problem as there is supposed to be a plug on the wires from the distributer to the coil but mine had no plug because it was hard wired to an exterior coil.


I tried to just put a spade connector on each wire and plug them into the cap individually. I did this but found that since I didn’t have shielded connectors, the connectors were shorting together and causing problems.

Swapping the Electronics.

I removed the electronics package from Bob’s old distributer since it had a plug on the ends of the wires.


As it turned out the connectors on Bob’s cap were bent and loose and I was having a hard time getting the plug to plug in.
I decided to use an old cap of mine that is the same type as Bob’s.
This cap also had the sparkplug wires already on it. The electronics plug fit fine and all the plug wires were the right length.

Once that was all hooked up I tried starting the engine. I had to play with the timing a little but eventually the engine started.
A little more tweaking the timing and it was running good.

The last thing I had to do now was to tighten the distributer in place.
The bolt that holds the distributer is in a hard spot to get to. It even requires a special bent wrench to get to it.
I was tightening the bolt when the wrench slipped off the bolt.
I raked the back of my hand across  the sharp corners of the old coil mount and tore the skin open in a couple of places.

I was going to take a picture of the wounds but decided that it would just gross people out.

Nurse Patti did a good job of bandaging the hand.


That was the end of work for today.
The only thing I have to do now is put the air cleaner back on and take a test drive.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Finish the Oil Filler Project.

Fathers Day Breakfast

Patti and I got up late this morning. We decided to eat breakfast out at our favorite breakfast place, Hanks Creekside Café.
Unfortunately everyone else in town had the same idea as the  parking lot was jammed and there were people waiting outside.
We ended up having breakfast at Adel’s. It is good but not like Hanks.

Buying Some Parts.

The first thing that needed to be done once we got back from breakfast this morning, was to buy a piece of 1-1/4” X 6” pipe nipple and a screw on cap.
I headed off to the closest hardware store.
When I got there I went straight to the pipe stuff and found the nipple right away. I looked around for a long time trying to find a screw on cap. I wanted a ABS or PVC plastic cap since a metal one is going to get to hot to handle.
They didn’t have any plastic caps so I settled for a metal one for now.

I also bought some epoxy putty.

Back at home.

When I got home I needed to check out the height of the pipe in  place.
I set the valve cover on the engine with the pipe sitting in the cap mount. I eyeballed the situation and decided to cut about 2” off the pipe.
I put the pipe in the lathe and used a cut off tool to cut it. That way it makes a perfectly flat cut.

Here it is sitting on the valve cover cut to length but not epoxied in place yet.


Breather Tube Fitting.

The next job is to drill and tap a hole in  the side of the pipe to install a fitting for the PCV breather tube.

First I drilled a pilot hole and then finished it with a drill the right size for the tap.


Next I put the pipe in the vice and tapped the hole for 3/8 pipe thread.


I put some epoxy on the threads of the fitting so it won’t come out easily.

This is what it looks like at this stage.



Okay now it is time to epoxy the two parts together.
I cut off about a half inch piece of the epoxy stick and kneaded it between my thumb and fingers until it was well mixed.  I
rolled the glob of epoxy into a long skinny “rope”. I laid a small length of this rope into the hollow in the old cap where the pipe will go.
Next I pushed the pipe into the hollow squeezing out some of the epoxy around the edges. Next, I kneaded some more epoxy and worked it around the outside of the pipe, pushing it into the small gap as much as possible and working it up the sides of the pipe.

I took a break to let the epoxy set up some before the next step.
After my break I removed the filler pipe from the valve cover with a careful half turn to the left, .
Next, I turned the valve cover over and applied a layer of blue silicon sealer to the mating surface then I carefully laid the gasket in place , pressed it down all around.

A Visit With Felice.

At this point I ran out of silicon and was about to dash off to the auto parts store when my youngest daughter stopped by for a visit.
Felice stopped by to wish me a Happy Father’s Day. She brought a delicious home made crumb cake. Yummmmm!
We had a nice visit. Felice stayed for about an hour and a half.

Off to the Parts Store.

After Felice left I headed for the parts store to buy some more sealer.
I was back in about 20 minutes.

Install the Valve Cover.

As soon as I got back from the parts store I laid a bead of sealer all the way around the exposed side of the gasket. I spread that out along the gasket with my finger and let it stand for a while.
Next, I managed to get the valve cover through all the wires and tubes and set in place and only got blue silicon on a few things.
After that it was just a matter of tightening down the screws and that’s done.

Here it is in place.
You can see the epoxy on the lower side.

Okay, its quitting time. Tomorrow I will work on swapping the Distributer Caps. That should be easy. I just hope it solves the high speed acceleration miss problem.

We’ll find out tomorrow.


I don’t know how many people know this so I thought I would pass it along.

To remove the epoxy and the blue silicon from my hands and fingers I used WD40.
As soon as you are finished working with any sticky stuff or paint or thick black grease, spray some WD40 on your hands and scrub them together. You will be amazed how easy it removes the stuff. When you are done wash your hands in soap and water to remove the dissolved crud.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Start Oil Filler Tube Refit.

Getting Started.

I decided that it would be best to remove the valve cover to do this job. Just in case I had to drill any holes in the valve cover, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting metal chips in the engine.
Also it is a lot easier to work on it out of the van.

I removed the air cleaner and its mount and stowed them under my welding table out of the way.
Next, I removed the valve cover, got it cleaned up and on the welding table.


What to do?

I want to make some kind of tower for the oil filler.
It is a pain trying to pour oil into the oil fill hole in the valve cover without a funnel and you don’t always have a funnel. If I do it right it will stop an oil leak.

On the right is the original tube after I got all the epoxy off of it.
It had been epoxied to the top of the valve cover for several years but the oil finally soaked through epoxy. Couple that with the extreme heat in the engine compartment and it finally let go.
On the left is an old filler cap.
On the left is an old cap that is no longer legal.

At first I thought I would try mounting the original filler tube ( the one that fell off) by drilling holes in the valve cover to bolt it down but I didn’t really want to drill holes if I didn’t have to.

Bob’s Idea.

I got an email from Bob and he sent a couple of pictures of one he made. He modified an old stile cap to make the connection to the valve cover.


It looked like a good idea but I wanted one a little taller.

My Plan.

I have decided that I would use the bottom of the old cap for the connection, with a 5” piece of 1-1/2” diameter pipe for the tower and maybe a threaded abs plastic cap for the cap.

First, I had to separate the bottom of the cap from the rest of it.
There is a rim around the cap that is folded over to hold top and bottom together.

I tried grinding the edge off the cap.

IMGP3091 After a couple slips I decide to take a different approach to separating. I did manage to get all the way around without grinding off my finger tips but didn’t get all the way through.

I put the cap in the vise and used a small chisel to cut off the rim. Grinding it first made this part easier.


Here it is all separated.


This picture will give you some idea of where I am going with this.


A New Gasket.

The old gasket on the cap was in real bad shape.
I had to go to get the gasket for the the valve cover so while I was out I tried to find a gasket for the filler cap. Of course that wasn’t happening. I even tried to buy a new cap but couldn’t find one at two parts places.

I decided to try and make a gasket myself.
I had some old gasket material but when I pulled it out, it was so old that it would not unroll, it just crumbled.
I decided to try some plastic I had.
I don’t know how it will hold up in the hot and oily conditions but it should be ok.
I used some chassis punches to make the gasket.

The larger one cut the outside diameter and the one in the vice is making the inner hole.


Here it is on the part.


Okay, that is as far as I got today. If I can get a piece of pipe the right size tomorrow I’ll continue with this project. Otherwise I’ll swap out the distributer cap.

Working on the Van

Coming Home.

On the way home from the cabin the van started running bad.
It still has the original acceleration problem that it has had since I installed the TBI.
The last thing I did was to replace the TPS. The problem persists. On the way home the van developed a different problem. It just cuts off for a heart beat and then it runs okay for a while, then it will do it again.

The Brakes.

The van also has a noisy brake. It growls when I step on the brakes.
The morning after I got home, I jacked up the van and pulled the passenger side front wheel.  I found that one of the bolts that hold the brake caliper in place was missing.
It is a special bolt but fortunately I always save any bolts that I remove from anything so I had a replacement bolt for it.

Going to Bob’s.

After trying a few things to take care of the TBI problem 
I was conversing with Bob. He suggested that I try changing the distributer.
I argued that I replaced everything connected with the distributer when I installed the TBI.
A light came on in my dim brain!
I installed everything at the same time.  It could be a bad coil or some other part of the ignition system even though it is all new.
Bob had a complete distributer so I started to swap it out but it was getting late in the afternoon so I decided to to drive home and swap things out.

Bobs Peep’s.

This is Bob’s chicken yard and coop.


Bob got a bunch of baby chickens delivered in the morning.
He had to get the chicks out of the box that they came in.


The first thing the peep’s did once they were out of the box was to try and escape. Bob used some fencing with square holes in it to try and coral the baby’s but they squeezed right through the holes in the wire.


We ended up putting some cardboard in front of the fence and that kept the little ones where they belong.

On The Way Home.

When I left Bob’s I noticed a strong odor of hot oil. I had to go a ways before I could pull over to check it out but when I did a found this.


The oil filler tube had fallen off and oil was coming out of the filler hole and getting all over. I still had to get home to do anything for it so I continued driving. The oil was getting on the manifolds and making a lot of smoke. Very embarrassing.

Okay, I got home fine. Now I will have to fix everything.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Six Days at the Cabin.

Tuesday 5/05.

I arrived at the cabin around 11:30.

The first thing I noticed was a pile of lawn chairs on my front porch. I couldn’t even get to the fridge so the first thing I had to do was to take all those chairs over to the dining hall. That is a better place to store the chairs.
While I was in the dining hall I noticed my small pasta cooker and the lid for the big pot were there. At first I couldn’t find the big pot but later in the day I found it. I don’t know what they were cooking in it but it looks ruined to me


Another of my pots was apparently used to collect creosote from the wood stove.


This pot is definitely ruined. We are down to one useful pot in the cabin.

Once I finely got moved in, I had lunch.
After lunch I took the new shower down to the wash house to install it. I worked on that for quite a while and even though I used copious amounts of Teflon Tape, it still leaked at the connections.
I decided to let it be for the rest of the day.
I’ll look around and see if I can find some pipe compound. I think I have some around here someplace.
Spent the rest of the day enjoying just being here.

Wednesday 5/06

I had to scrub all my cast iron skillets with a metal scrubby to get the crud that the last users left.
It looked like instead of cleaning the skillets when they were done with them, they just hung them up and grabbed another one.
When I leave for the winter I am going to take all my cooking stuff home. They don’t deserve to use them.

In the afternoon I walked up to the spring tanks to try and install a filter on the main line. As it turned out I need a couple of connectors that I don’t have up here.  I’ll have to wait until the next trip to do that job.

Spent the rest of the day reading and enjoying the passage of time.

Thursday 05/07

Lumber shopping.

I wanted to build a new work bench to replace the one that fell apart.
The original bench was crudely made out of inferior material. Even so it lasted many years in the elements under heavy use.


The first thing to do was go shopping for some lumber.
I drove the van up to the lumber pile at the slag heap.


This is mostly Redwood lumber so it will stand up to the wet weather here in the temperate rain forest.
I found enough pieces to build the work bench and went back to the cabin.

Starting the Workbench

I set up my work area in the dining hall as there are several tables there I can work on.
When I started, I tried to do the cutting with a skill saw.
The generator was in use charging a battery. I plugged the saw into the second outlet and tried to cut a 2X4 with the saw and almost stalled the generator.
I guess I can’t do that.
I decided to just use my hand saw to do the cutting. I cut all the 2X4 legs to length and started to cut the boards for the perimeter of the bench. Here I realized that I didn’t have enough wood for the sides and ends. I decided to take a break and think about it for  while.
The break turned out to take the rest of the day.

Friday 05/07

Finishing the Workbench

Once I got going today I drove back to the lumber pile and found a piece of 1X4 that would be good for the sides and end of the work bench.

Back at the dining hall, I cut the 1X4‘s to length., With a slight angle to them so I could splay out the legs a bit for stability.

Once all the parts were cut, I screwed them together temporarily to see if it was going to work.


Once I was satisfied, I took it apart and moved everything to the spot by the cabin where the workbench will live.

I dug a couple holes for the feet to fit into to give the bench more stability. Since the legs are redwood they will last a long time.


The next thing was to put the top on the bench and add some bracing.

Here is the workbench completed with the vice mounted on the end.


Took the rest of the day off.

Saturday 05/09

Drizzly Morning

It rained during the night. When I got up in the morning it was still cloudy with a light drizzle falling. I hung out in the cabin enjoying the fire in the woodstove.

The Woodstove.

The flu pipe for the stove has burned out. I had to make  a collar out of aluminum foil so the pipe would stay on the stove. It leaks creosote onto the top of the stove when I have the stove turned down over night but it gets the smoke out.


I will be taking the pipe home with me as I don’t want anyone to burn the cabin down. I will bring new flue pipe when I come back in a week or so.

Good Time For a Hike.

In the afternoon the sun came out between fluffy white clouds.
I decided to take a walk on the cabin loop trail. I grabbed a rake and headed up the Bear Spring Road to the trail.
The trail goes through some really nice forest.


I did a little trail work, as much as I could with just a rake.


I’ll have to come back with the Polauski and do some more work on the trail. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

Sunday 5/10

Cold Morning

It was a bright clear morning with no clouds visible but there was a very cold breeze blowing. I mostly hung out in the cabin by the fire until after lunch, when it finally warmed up a little.

Trail Work.

After lunch, I took the Polauski up the trail from the cabin to see if I could get some work done on the tail. I should have also taken a rake.

I climbed the switchbacks that go up the hill from the cabin. Most of the trail is in good shape until you get past the last switchback. Here the trail kind if blends in with the hill side.


I decided that I would work on this stretch of the trail.
After about an hour I had chopped out a descent trail.
The ground is drying out rapidly and is getting very hard to dig.


By now I was pooped so I headed back to the cabin for a break.
I spent the rest of the day hanging out at the cabin and gathering up tools and such I as I am going home tomorrow.

Monday 5/11

After breakfast I started getting stuff packed up.
Once I had everything packed, I cleaned and swept the cabin.

This is how I left the place. I wonder what I will come back to.


I took the bottom section of the stove pipe home. The next time I go up there, I’ll bring up new pipes.

Okay That was my time at the cabin. I’ll be back in a week or two.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Getting Ready to go to the Cabin Again.

Just Puttering.

Haven’t been doing much since we got home from our last trip to the cabin.
I have been puttering around the yard.
I got the drip system working around the patio so the hanging plants will get regular watering.


Bamboo Shoots.

The other daily task has been chopping down the Bamboo shoots that are coming up in the yard from the neighbors Bamboo patch.


I didn’t take any pictures of this latest crop while they were growing but here they are in the green waste barrel.

This represents about five days harvest. There are more every day.

A Day at the Movies.

On Thursday 5/31 Patti and I went to a matinee at the Airport Cinema to see Solo (a Star Wars story).
The movie was great and the theater was real nice.
Of course at 11:00am it was almost empty.
The seats were plush recliners and were very comfortable. They even had trays attached so you could have a meal if you wanted to.
The two and a half hours was over before I knew it. I’m just glad I didn’t fall asleep and miss the movie. Not likely!

I‘m Getting Ready for the Cabin Again.

The last couple days I have been getting things together to go back to the cabin.
I ordered a new tankless water heater/shower. It arrived yesterday. That will go up with me and hopefully I can get it working.
I also bought a water filter for the main system as there is some sediment in the water that I would like to filter out. If I have all the right fittings I plan to hook that up.
There are always more projects that I can work on while I'm up there (if I want to) so I should have a good week.

I’ll be going up tomorrow and be back home Sunday.
I’ll let you know how it went when I get back.