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Old 08-13-2011, 09:29 AM   #1
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1200 mile round trip with a few issues

Just got back from vacation with the family in our 1985 Georgie boy 34'.

Went to Missouri, The RV ran good, so it seemed. Needed gas sooner than I thought we would, the 1st campground had some steep windy hills back to the camp area. chugging up one of the hills we came to a crawl than a stop. Engine was running but it would not pull all our mass up the hill. Very Nervous being stopped in the middle of a winding hill.

We pull a Dodge caravan on a dolly so we unloaded the van to lighten the load. The motorhome could now pull the hill and we got situated in our site for the night. After getting set up I figured the mileage of our 1st tank of gas 4.3/mpg UGHHHHH this is gonna be an expensive trip.

From the forum I knew I should be getting better MPG, so I got looking at the plugs/wires. I pulled a couple plugs on the passenger side, the whole time nervous something would snap off and being 300 miles from home. Plugs looked good, gapped at .045 looked good. Air filter new, the drivers side plugs not as easy to get at. I crawled underneath to see if it was easier. thats when I noticed #1 plug wire BURNT off-part of boot still on plug but wire hanginging down. SWEET that could be the problem. Previous owner had changed the wires more than once and kept the old ones as well as some belts stored in the steps. Glad we didnt throw them out. Found a wire and swapped out the burnt one. We only stayed at this campground for the night as our destination, The Johnson Shutins, didnt have a site open until the following 3 nights.

We debated, when we left if we should leave the van off until after the hills. I decided to hook it up and see if the way out was any better. What a difference having all the plugs firing made. We made it up/down all the hills without issue and got to our next destination. Power and MPG was better but still MPG was only a bit over 6. After we spent a couple days enjoying the campsite and being on vacation, I realized when I noticed the burnt off wire I didnt pull the spark-plug to check it, figured it was fouled and may have been contributing to lower than expected MPG.

I crawled underneath to pull the plug, when I discovered the Plug Wire BURNT OFF AGAIN!

Factory heat shield was in place, but I knew heat was causing the wire to burn off. The wires were 8 mm ac/delco's. Looked around an auto parts store. Decided to get new plugs and wires. THey only had house brand wires or BWD 8 mm high tmp wires. I went with the BWD's then found some of these HEAT Socks for the boots.
I found a 3" piece of exhaust with a 1.5" i.d.

Got back to the challange at hand and was determined to protect the wire from heat.
Changed out the plug, found the piece of exhaust I had gotten fit snuggly into the factory heat shield but wrapped 100% around the boot and about an 1" further.

So new plug/wire. Wire wrapped in above pictured boot, plus the piece of exhaust to act as a heat shield I was feeling pretty good.

A couple days later it was time to try it out. Glad to say we made it home with no issues. Wire still intact, but MPG still lowsy. 7.3 mpg. much better than the originial 4 mpg but still not quite what it should be.

I will pull the plugs again to see how they look, then I will check with my mechanic and see what he thinks. I am going to print out Jim Elliots suggestions (below) to have the HEI set up, then we will look into carburation.

ALL and ALL Great trip. just one day of rain (got to replace an A/c gasket) lots of fun and good food and drink.

Even helped a guy with 2 children, whose car had broke down at the Elephant rocks near the Johnson Shut-ins. ANother lONG STORY, so I will spare the details.

Jim Elliots suggestions: These were suggested before we knew about the burnt plug wire.

Sluggish up the hills indicates your ignition is really retarded so now you will need to find a "Guru" in your area that understands the "HEI" ignition and is willing to set it up to these specs....
(1)....Base timing 10*, NO vacuum connected at the distributer advance (yet).
(2)....Distributer mechanical setup to 22*-24* at 3,000 RPM.
(3) Stock vacuum advance hands out way tooooo much advance (25*) and will need to be cut back to 10*---15*.
Base 10* + mechanical 22* = 32* without the vacuum hooked up yet..
Now with the vacuum advance reconnected which while lite footing it down the flat & level road add in the 10* or so advance and when your foot is into the floor board and you have ZERO vacuum you have at least 32* of built in advance and your engine will love it.....

Please find this socalled "Ignition guru" and just ask him the above questions.......WALK AWAY if he makes NO sense......

Cannot get into the carb section YET until your ignition is setup and locked down (forever )

Jim
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:02 AM   #2
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Dang, #1 wire burnt off?

Now I've seen #5, #6 and #8 burnt off but never #1.

Gotta get off for now cuz my buddie from the RV shop is coming over to check out the fuel gauge problem, His ideas are at times kinda strange but so are mine and we enjoy the daily arguements...
Will get back on this topic soon.

Jim
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:48 PM   #3
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Glad you had a good trip, despite the problems. Would love to see some pics if you have any.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:21 PM   #4
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OK, I'm back on this interesting thread and my RV was finished up yesterday without toooooo much arguements LOL.

On my rig the "Metal spark plug shields" are in place and with Thorley headers the wires are "Straight boot" Borg warner select from Pep Boys which are kinda cheap but work well...

Do you think a "Straight booted plug wire" combined with the items you have purchased (Heat socks) will fit around the manifolds?

This I know you will NOT like this cost....... So I've done it for you and long ago purchased a high temp infrared gun so the high manifold temps could be checked.

You have probably heard of the "Glowing manifold" problems which cracks the manifolds and breaks off the bolts correct..

Well those glowing manifolds are 1450* and above and are caused by late timing plus an overly rich carb burning the somewhat spent fuel in the manifold instead of inside of the engine cylinder....

Yup, It doesn't take that much degree of advancement to straighten that can of worms out and place the power into the cylinder instead of the manifold and another prime reason to use full manifold vacuum to the distributer instead of the ported vac off of the carb.....One must be careful on the vacuum advance unit and not exceed 12*---15* with all of the other mods in the dist setup.....

See.....You have much more (STOCK) power to extract from that engine IF you want it......

Jim
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:26 PM   #5
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See.....You have much more (STOCK) power to extract from that engine IF you want it......

Jim
I DO WANT IT! my wires are straight boots at the plug. I do have factory heat shield (steel) at each plug. I kept it in place plus what I mentioned above. After the mods I drove 400 miles with no issues and a bit better MPG.

Im gonna go out and check the wire and plug on that cyclinder to see how it looks.
I have printed your suggestions and am gonna talk to my mechanic tomorrow.

How difficult is it to install the Thorley headers? Is it something an average backyard mechanic can handle or should it be left to a real mechanic? what is the estimated time for a real mechanic to do the job?

We only go on one long distance trip per year the rest are approx 100 miles from home, but I do want to get all I can out of this ol girl
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:29 PM   #6
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Glad you had a good trip, despite the problems. Would love to see some pics if you have any.
what would you like pics of? The beutiful scenery, The elephant rocks, My sweet wife taking the wheel of the rv for a bit, or the BURNT PLUG WIRE. Cuz I got pics of them all. Well not of the wire but I got the wire so it's no problem
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:46 PM   #7
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Here's a few pics of the good times of the trip. Some random pics of our time At the Elephant Rocks State Park near Ironton Missouri
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:39 PM   #8
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I DO WANT IT! my wires are straight boots at the plug. I do have factory heat shield (steel) at each plug. I kept it in place plus what I mentioned above. After the mods I drove 400 miles with no issues and a bit better MPG.

How difficult is it to install the Thorley headers? Is it something an average backyard mechanic can handle or should it be left to a real mechanic? what is the estimated time for a real mechanic to do the job?

We only go on one long distance trip per year the rest are approx 100 miles from home, but I do want to get all I can out of this ol girl
Please keep those shields on..
Thorley installation can get very mean with the crusty & rusty bolts and I suggest at least 1 day of presoak with the good stuff ($$$$).

Also use a low pressure butterfly air ratchet which does a good job of rattling the bolts loose without breaking the off inside the heads.

The oil dipstick (R&R) is NOT my favorite thing to work on cuz my age prevents a dang good grip on that mangy critter.

Decent mechanics can complete that job in 4-5 hours BUT IF you decide to add on the "X-PIPE" configuration just add on 2 more hours, You might want to know that the "x-pipe" adds on a ton of torque throughout the entire RPM band.

"H" pipe will add some also but nothing like the "X".

Please measure you stock pipes cuz they should measure 2 1/2 inch all the way back which is another perfecto...

Jim
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:42 PM   #9
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Love the pics! Glad you all had a great time.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:52 PM   #10
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have been through all this myself i bought my 26 ft class c in Tucson 1300 miles from home four days before Christmas , loaded up dolly and hhr made great time out left Sunday morning got there Monday about noon. had to repaired wiring on mh to work,got dolly loaded up got fuel and then found no power for gps stopped at truck stop got power port installed found rad hissing let cool found low and no antifreeze in rad just water added two gallons anti freeze took off should have cked before moving owner swore was ready to go. uneventful except 55 as fast as would run got home after thirty hours of driving it averaged 5.6 on trip
got home flushed rad filled with proper coolant ,found pan plug stripped had been holding by one thread,replaced all plugs and wires wrapped in tubing to protect it used lots of wire separators and tie downs to keep off of hot manifolds, set timing to early 1970 specs, move vacuum hose to manifold vacuum source eliminated all smog control devices and plumbing, no smog cks here. repaired the fresh air tubing to let engine get cooler air from grill area,it was in storage box.
replaced tires ,brakes and brake hoses took for test drive found would not heat up installed thermostat fixed dash air and extended rear 18 inches for more storage did lots of inside stuff to make dw happy but nothing to affect performance.
took on trip to Tennessee in may will run 75 if don't pay attention to it and get 6.6 running dash air if you keep it at 55-60 it will get 8.2-8.5 on flat ground all towing car .
it will top 9 running by it self and this thru manifolds and a large single exhaust, headers are in its future if we keep it and don't move up to a class a in a few years.
so sounds like you are on track with what you are doing keep us posted
on your progress
happy travels
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:59 PM   #11
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Please measure you stock pipes cuz they should measure 2 1/2 inch all the way back which is another perfecto...

Jim
measured the pipes as the exit behind the rear wheels. I.D is at 2"
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:20 PM   #12
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measured the pipes as the exit behind the rear wheels. I.D is at 2"
, Inside at 2 inches might be 2 1/4 pipe......

All exhaust pipe is measured on the outside and maybe you only have 2 1/4 but measure carefully before ALL purchases.

Jim
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:45 PM   #13
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yep the outlets are 2 1/4" od
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:19 AM   #14
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yep the outlets are 2 1/4" od
2 1/4 after the muffler is OK BUT I would check the pipe that is in between the manifold and in front of the muffler......

The 2 1/4 will work and will allow more torque at lower RPMs but run out of power at the higher RPMs (3500 and above) just not IMHO much of a big deal and the "X-PIPE" also comes in that size....

My engine NEVER sees RPMs over 4,000 and pulls the hills with ease with ~some~ manifold vacuum left over

I've yet to bring up the vacuum gauge in this thread so now might be a good time, Most of the gauges along the top of your instrument panel are of the 2 1/8 size and the "Summitracing gauges" fit perfectly......Connect to full vacuum please.

The vacuum gauge is one BIG help in determining the condition and settings of engines.

Jim
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