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Old 08-27-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
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lack of power @ 50 mph

Hi
My 84 winnie chieftain just got picked up from a tune-up this past tues. We drove from NJ to middle of PA last night not much problem. at first

But after 4 hours or so there was this great "popping" noise which started to come from what felt like just under the doghouse. When accelarating in the 50-60 mph range (i try not to go over 55-60mph, btw). It would thunk and then be gone. Smooth sailing except for that "pop".
But this morning, we got back on the road. Within 15 min it went away and was replaced by marked lost of power. (Dont ask me to go uphill without taking it up to 4k rpm @ 45mph). On the downgrade its not as bad. 55mph is doable & within 3k rpm.
Safe to drive to our destination 60 miles away?
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:37 AM   #2
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Hard to say without further investigation, but I would probably try to limp along and see how it goes. Keep the RPMs down as much as possible and watch the engine temp for first sign of stress. Also watch for signs of vibration or shaking.

Do you have Coach-Net or other roadside assist so you can get towed if needed?
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:09 PM   #3
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It sonds like one or more of the plug wires was damaged or has burned through. As I recall the plug wires on this age GM product were carbon coated filiments. They can easily be damaged if the rubber boot got stuck to the plug and someone pulled on the wire itself to free it. Since it didn't happen until you drove several hours I would bet one or more wires was misrouted and is laying on or near the exhaust manifold.

I wouldn't drive it until you find the problem. If it is a damaged plug wire the sparkplug won't fire and all the unburnt fuel will go into the catalytic converter. The excess fuel could cause the converter to plug or melt down. If it melts down the converter becomes a huge plug in the exhaust system. When the exhaust system plugs you won't have mch power. It will make a hissing sound or sound like a jet trying to take off when you step on the gas hard.
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:47 PM   #4
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Thanks all! Apparently it just the alternator.
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Old 09-05-2011, 02:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikerdogs
It sonds like one or more of the plug wires was damaged or has burned through. As I recall the plug wires on this age GM product were carbon coated filiments. They can easily be damaged if the rubber boot got stuck to the plug and someone pulled on the wire itself to free it. Since it didn't happen until you drove several hours I would bet one or more wires was misrouted and is laying on or near the exhaust manifold.

I wouldn't drive it until you find the problem. If it is a damaged plug wire the sparkplug won't fire and all the unburnt fuel will go into the catalytic converter. The excess fuel could cause the converter to plug or melt down. If it melts down the converter becomes a huge plug in the exhaust system. When the exhaust system plugs you won't have mch power. It will make a hissing sound or sound like a jet trying to take off when you step on the gas hard.
The repair shop said it was the alternator and sent me on my way. Soon i realized it was backfiring still and virtually no power uphills. Im wondering if i get it fixed again, will the engine just break again?
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:52 AM   #6
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If you deteremine it is the plug wires (at this point I would think it's highly likely) and buy a quality set from some place Like NAPA I doubt you'll have any further problems. Some wires come with a heat resistant covering so they're less susceptable to heat damage. They aren't going to be nearly as cheap as those available from the discount stores, but get what you pay for.

The keys are to:
1. Put some dielectric grease in the boot before pushing it on the plug. This will ensure it goes fully on the plug and make full contact. It'll also make it easier to remove in the future.
2. Route the wires properly so they don't touch hot surfaces. GM used to make special bolts for the valve cover. They had a stud that held a plastic bracket for routing the plug wires.

Good Luck
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:36 PM   #7
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Well we made is 250 miles to pittsburgh and the bugger died in a tunnel. Luckily we kept it alive teasing the deep cycle long enough to get it out of the tunnel. After 4.5 months of hassles letdowns constant breakdowns, we are packing up out of the Stinkebago and hopping in an 04 chrysler convertible.

When 1 month, $1500 breakdowns dont last 300 miles, theres a problem. Mold stench, wet dashboards from leaking roof… oh the $300 porcelien spark plugs that didnt stop the engine from running too hot... I dont understand how people can find this fun.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:59 PM   #8
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Finding an honest, reliable, competent mechanic will go a long way towards changing your attitude about motorhoming. Old and sometimes newer motorhomes have issues at times. If you are not mechanically inclined then you really need to find a good mechanic. Look around the forum here and get recommendations for someone in your area and have a go. The rough times will be attenuated by the good...................ronspradley
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:19 PM   #9
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It WAS NOT the alternator.. You got taken.

Personally, with out hearing it myself, I would say either plug wires or carb. Sounds like you are 'missing'. My bet is on the wires burning.... I would bet that you backfired through the carb (loud pop) and damaged it.

You need to find an honest mechanic, or get a good Haynes manual for your engine and do the work yourself.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:36 PM   #10
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The first thing I would check is all the fuel filters, the first one in the carburetor and there should be a second one along the frame right by the entry door. The second thing I would check is the in tank fuel pump or a second fuel pump on the frame behind the 2nd filter. It sounds like it is starving for fuel. Ask me how I know, we went through the same thing last year with our rig. Don't give up, with everyone on here you'll get some good information on where to start looking.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:24 PM   #11
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Sounds like a good run of bad luck.

2nd on the plug wires.

2nd on the fuel filters. Had that issue when we bought out 89 with Chevy 454. We went thru 3 sets (and 6 tanks of fuel) before the dirt and rust quit showing up.

Another thing wrong was the carb base gasket. It has a 4-bbl carb on it. The gasket would not allow the 2 back "big" butterflies to open up, thus no acceleration.

Don't discount the alternator, either!

Last trip we took in it, it started bucking, popping and back firing about half way to our destination. Barely climbing hills and backfiring LOUDLY. I could hear it firing 1, 2, 3, not, not, not, 7, 8 and repeat. After about 15 minutes of this steadily getting worse, the alternator guage FINALLY showed only 6 volts.

Stopped at a stop sign 5 miles from camp and the guage jumped up to 14 volts. Limped it into the campground and set up camp. Got up the next morning and pulled the alternator off from the inside with the ac going! Took it to town and it was shot. Had a rebuilt one in my hands 3 hours later. Back on in 20 minutes.

These things have High Energy Ignition modules. They need voltage to put the spark out. Low voltage = low spark or no spark. Drove like a champ all the way back home.

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Old 09-18-2011, 02:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummibear
I dont understand how people can find this fun.
RV or not, you have a 27 year old vehicle. Same would go for a car, truck, ect. There will be maintenance issues. I wouldnt let that turn you off the RV lifestyle. Now, if you are unable or unwilling to do constant maintenance, maybe another style RV (such as a trailer/no engine to fail) or a newer model motorhome would work best for you. Good luck.
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