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Old 09-02-2011, 01:38 PM   #1
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Well, boogers! DOA on the side of a TX road...

Driving south to Livingston today, MH hard to start and seemed to be running awfully rich. Suddenly backfires 4 or 5 times and quits.

Wife is driving, she muscles it to the side of the road. Won't restart. We pull off the doghouse and the distributor cap is loose- WT..???

Call Coach-Net for a tow- oh wait, its the Friday before the holiday weekend. Nobody wants to deal with this stuff (including me, by golly!) but they'll drag us to a dealer in Marshall, who MIGHT be able to look at it before they all go home tonight.

It would have helped if the tow truck had come 2 hours ago when we called.

I tried just rotating the cap a tiny bit, cranking it, rotating again, but can't seem to get it to fire. NOT a happy camper.

I'm hoping the dealer will at least let us hook up to electricity over the weekend if they can't get us going again. Friggin' Labor Day.

AArghhh. Just venting pressure here....
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:17 PM   #2
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The first thing I would do is pull a spark plug wire off of a spark plug, put a screw driver in the rubber boot all the way in & place the screw driver so the metal shaft is about 1/4 inch away from a metal part of the engine. Then crank the engine, there should be a blue spark. If not is there moisture in the cap? I would pull the cap off without removing the spark plug wires & check for moisture or cracks or corrosion on the contacts. Also check if rotor spins while cranking the engine. Clean the contact points for the rotor also. A nail file will do this job easily. If you have spark your problem is most likely not within the distributor.

Silly question here, but I tend to leave no stone unturned when troubleshooting. Do you have fuel & are you sure? double check? So you have fuel but no spark. Battery voltage is good? Engine cranks as normal? Rotor spins when engine is cranked. Was distributor cap loose on distributor or was the complete assembly including the distributor loose? If the complete assy was loose then you could be several degrees out of time. If the cap only was loose,reinstall after checking the above items. Do you know if your engine has electronic ignition? I am going to assume it does. If everything above checks out good except no spark, the ignition module could have gone bad. I have had several of these go over the years. They can just quit as yours did. No sign of anything wrong & the engine just dies, cranks fine but will not start. Replace the ignition module & away you go. If your engine is a GM it will be inside the distibutor under the rotor, easy change, not sure about where it is on a Ford. Should be able to get it at any auto parts store. Could be dist cap was just loose, due to not being properly latched down.

Maybe the tow truck is there by now & you are on your way to a shop that cares. Good Luck
Keep us posted I will check here again later. It is now 4:15pm EST
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:10 PM   #3
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Hope you got it fixed.

In the "good ol' days" I would have pulled number 1 plug, advanced the engine to TDC (Top Dead Center) lookat at the points in the distributor and see if they were open or closed. (Don't remember what they are supposed to be) Then I'd rotate the distributor until I saw a change in the points. Lock it down and see if it fires (put plug back in). Repeat as necessary and once found "the sweet spot" lock it down tight and proceed to a service stations for a timing light.

Whatever happens, good luck.
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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Never did get that tow- 3 1/2 hours after we call them, Coach-Net had them send out a teeny weeny tow truck, not big enough to tow the MH.

The tow truck driver recommended a friend of his who would come out and do a mobile service call. He did, and an hour or so and $60 later we're back on the road.

Turned out to be a faulty ignition switch, which is why we couldn't get it to fire by rotating the loose distributor by hand (the loose distr. was the reason for the running rich issue, of course) .

We've made it to Livingston, taken a shower, eaten supper, and now we get to think about our newest surprise- it appears the refrigerator is on its last legs.

Ah, the carefree RVing life...
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:11 PM   #5
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Aarrggg!
Now I feel better about where I wound up today. No cell service, no data service and intermittent wifi... doesn't seem so bad now.
Hope all goes well with the fridge.
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:44 AM   #6
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The tow truck driver recommended a friend of his who would come out and do a mobile service call. He did, and an hour or so and $60 later we're back on the road.
Wow.. you lucked out big time.. I would've thought on a Friday starting a 3 day weekend, that would have been $600
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Old 09-03-2011, 04:34 AM   #7
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good to hear your on the road looks like im right behind you il be 30 min. from marshal monday
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:49 AM   #8
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What was the problem (Assuming the mobile tech told you) and put that tow driver on your Christmas list big time!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:16 AM   #9
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We've been frustrated by that "no cell service" issue every time we've gone out, this season and last. Even at a CG just 7 miles from Bellingham - no service. Other folks are on their mobiles all the time.

We finally started to ask which carrier they were with. Replies were about 80% Verizon and the rest ATT. We were with Virgin Mobile, who use Sprint towers. Our daughter has a Verizon family plane and had one open slot, so we switched. It will be interesting to see how much improvement we get.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:34 AM   #10
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Never did get that tow- 3 1/2 hours after we call them, Coach-Net had them send out a teeny weeny tow truck, not big enough to tow the MH.

The tow truck driver recommended a friend of his who would come out and do a mobile service call. He did, and an hour or so and $60 later we're back on the road.

Turned out to be a faulty ignition switch, which is why we couldn't get it to fire by rotating the loose distributor by hand (the loose distr. was the reason for the running rich issue, of course) .

We've made it to Livingston, taken a shower, eaten supper, and now we get to think about our newest surprise- it appears the refrigerator is on its last legs.

Ah, the carefree RVing life...
Aside from the heartache and time lost it sounds like you made out pretty well under the circumstances! That "friend" must know his stuff.

Tell us about the fridge....
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:37 AM   #11
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Glad to hear you got her fixed & for an amazing cost & sounds like from a very honest mechanic. There are still good people in this world who are just willing to help. Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.
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Old 09-03-2011, 04:13 PM   #12
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I got a big chuckle of of the comment to check for moisture in the distributor. We haven't had rain in Texas for so long that the catfish are being dusted for ticks.

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Old 09-03-2011, 05:39 PM   #13
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The tow truck driver recommended a friend of his who would come out and do a mobile service call. He did, and an hour or so and $60 later we're back on the road.
The good folks of east Texas are still some of the most helpful people in the world. We "broke down" last summer across the street from Foretravel's plant in Nacogdoches, TX. In short order, someone stopped to help and then got a "friend" to get us back on the road...no charge of course. The "friend" is the service manager and one of his techs from Motorhomes of Texas. I tried to pay as Freightliner was covering all expenses but no, just remember us when you get ready for another motorhome...and I will.
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:27 PM   #14
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trust me there are some good people out there i love east texas to say henderson
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