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Old 08-25-2014, 08:43 AM   #1
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Engine Cuts Out

I have a 1989 35 ft Holiday Rambler Alumalite on a P30 chassis with a Chevy 454 engine. The rig has 47,560 miles on it. I'm the third owner, and according to maintenance records, there hasn't been a tune up. About a month ago, we spent 4 days at a campground, and it rained every night. The campground is 50 miles away, and on the way there the engine ran great as always. On the way home, and after the engine had warmed up, it started missing and chugging. At one point, I could barely reach 45 mph. We got home, I let it set for a couple of days, and then took it for a test drive. The same thing happened...when the engine was cool, it ran fine...when it got up to operating temperature, it started to miss and cut out again. So, I changed the fuel filters, put treatment in the gas, cleaned the carb, and put in a new air filter. Took it for a test ride, and after the engine warmed up, it missed every now and then on acceleration, but was much better. If I pushed it, it would miss, but if I backed off and accelerated slow, it would be okay, and reaching highway speeds isn't a problem, except it will sputter a little bit going up a steeper hill. I now have an intermittent problem, and I'm not sure where to look next. I feel like I'm on the right track with lack of or maybe even too much fuel going into the carb when I push it, but I'm looking for suggestions on what to do next. The engine idles great, and sounds like nothing is wrong. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:06 AM   #2
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Major tune up.

Remove dog house and wait until dark.

Start it and look for sparks in the dark.

Plug wires may be bad.

Unless they were changed out recently you should replace all secondary service items.

Cap
Rotor
Plugs
Wires

At minimum inspect plugs to see what they indicate.
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Old 09-17-2014, 11:14 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for the advice. I ended up replacing the cap, rotor, plugs and the coil. All showed signs they were bad, and now it runs great!

Since you were spot on, I have another question. I had the belts replaced this past May. I haven't driven it that much, but now I've developed a squeak or more like a squeal in one of the belts. Nothing happens when I accelerate or punch it, but when I reach cruising speed they start to squeal and I actually feel a little bit of a loss in power. When I let up on the gas pedal, the squeal goes away and things return to normal for a while and then it starts again. I had a friend look to see if one of the belts looked loose when running by crawling underneath and looking, but he couldn't tell. The labor was so much to have them replaced, that I'd rather not go through what I have a feeling would be something pretty costly for the dealer to even look at, unless they would do it for free because their aren't many miles on it. So finally here is my question. The dash air conditioner doesn't work, and hasn't for quite sometime. The compressor must be shot, because it doesn't kick on at all. Being in Minnesota, I really don't need a dash AC. If I did need to cool the place down, I'd just use the roof AC. Do you know if the belt going over the pulley on the compressor, is just for the AC or does it run something else as well? I'm thinking of cutting it off it's just for the AC and see if the bearing's are going bad and causing the belt to slip. Your advice is much appreciated.
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:03 AM   #4
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DO NOT cut the A/C belt. It will be running some other accessories on engine, like Water Pump, Alternator or Power Steering.

On some of these older engines, if you bypassed or engine didn't come from factory with A/C, there was an Idler Pulley system that took the A/C's place with another belt to run what accessories that were needed.

If you have a belt squealing, you have a belt slipping. Your mechanic didn't tighten something well enough. Take it back and talk with shop manager about a belt replacement/retighten as this shouldn't happen in such short time.
I have used a spray belt dressing that's taken care of some worn pulleys before, so if mechanic has determined that all belts are properly tightened, some belt dressing wouldn't hurt to give the pulleys a better bite on belt. That is, if nothing else is wrong or no bearings in A/C pump are shot and burning the belt from drag.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:19 AM   #5
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Another thing you could try is to just clean the belt using soapy water and a brush. Just dip the brush in the water and run it along the inside os the belt. My father taught me this trick and it's served me well. Like Jayco said its the belt slipping thats making the noise.
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:16 PM   #6
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I would also replace fuel filter(s). I had 2 of them. Huge difference after that too.

Walter
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Old 09-18-2014, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whaase View Post
I would also replace fuel filter(s). I had 2 of them. Huge difference after that too.

Walter
Thanks Walter. I did that before I did the plugs, coil, etc.
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:19 PM   #8
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Belt noise combined with loss of power indicates something consuming power.

Paint a mark on ac compressor clutch so you can see if it moves as the clutch may be dragging.

Disconnect the power wire to clutch via the plug.

See if steering feels different when noisy.

If you have ir thermometer you can let is scream for a bit then pull over and scan belts and pullys to see if one is warmer than rest.
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Old 09-28-2014, 04:09 AM   #9
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All belts should be re-tighten'd after about the first 500 mi.'s as they stretch a little from new as they break in. It will be easy to tell which one is loose, and tighten accordingly! Probably the alt. or the power steering pump belt.
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