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Old 04-06-2019, 12:56 PM   #1
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Overheating at idle...

I am slowly resolving issues with a 34 foot south wind that has sat idle for approximately 10 years. 1988 on the P 30 chassis with the 454 and three speed transmission. The engine starts easily, idles smoothly and runs up RPM just fine. After an extended idle the temperature climbs above 190 and goes up to around 230. When I put it in drive or reverse, the engine begins to behave erratically misfires, stumbles, is slow to respond on RPM run up and sounds like a considerable RPM loss. The External filter to the auxiliary transmission cooler gets hot to the touch. It has been suggested that there is a vacuum and or transmission failure issue. I will be replacing the thermostat when I finish flushing the cooling system just to eliminate that possibility. I would appreciate hearing from anyone with similar issues or thoughts on the problem, thank you
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Old 04-06-2019, 01:06 PM   #2
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Start with the fan. Likely the fan clutch is bad. Once the over heating at idle is taken care of then you can move on to the next issue. Motor homes parked can have all sorts of problems. Did you flush the entire fuel system before start up? Rust in the tank can wreak havoc on fuel systems, not to mention bad fuel.
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Old 04-06-2019, 01:13 PM   #3
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To me, the implications of the phrase 'overheating at idle' is that it does NOT overheat when going down the road - is that the case?
If so, then look to the fan as having an issue.
If not, then I'd say starting with the thermostat is a good place to being.
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Old 04-06-2019, 04:05 PM   #4
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

I'm far from being a mechanic so can't help with that. Noticed that you are kinda new on IRV2 and wanted to say hello! Have fun and keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:01 PM   #5
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Check the fan clutch . Once the temperature gets around 210 , rev up the engine . If the fan clutch is working properly , the fan noise will be real loud.
Another cause of overheating could be caused by someone removing the rubber shrouding that seals the outside of the rad to the chassis. If this seal is gone , the heated air will be sucked back into the rad and possibly overheat.
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:53 PM   #6
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+1 on fan clutch, thermostat, and radiator shroud seals.
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gump159 View Post
I am slowly resolving issues with a 34 foot south wind that has sat idle for approximately 10 years. 1988 on the P 30 chassis with the 454 and three speed transmission. The engine starts easily, idles smoothly and runs up RPM just fine. After an extended idle the temperature climbs above 190 and goes up to around 230. When I put it in drive or reverse, the engine begins to behave erratically misfires, stumbles, is slow to respond on RPM run up and sounds like a considerable RPM loss. The External filter to the auxiliary transmission cooler gets hot to the touch. It has been suggested that there is a vacuum and or transmission failure issue. I will be replacing the thermostat when I finish flushing the cooling system just to eliminate that possibility. I would appreciate hearing from anyone with similar issues or thoughts on the problem, thank you
Gump,
May I ask, you state it's an '88, correct? If so, is that a carbureted version or an early stage fuel injection model? There's a reason I ask. For years and years with carbureted vehicles, especially ones with clutch fans, your procedure would be to push the accelerator all the way to the floor, to "set the choke". If the carburetor was functioning correctly, the choke would set to a fully closed position and, what's called a "fast idle cam" would kick into position.

The closed choke, would assist in starting the engine. Now, once the engine is started, a choke dash pot would retract the choke plate a given amount, to allow for "partial choke" positioning. But, the fast idle cam would normally remain on its highest step. That high idle, would also immediately bring the clutch fan to run at almost fully engaged.

But, the bi-metallic spring inside the clutch fan, would know it's a "cold ops" condition and, that clutch fan would almost immediately die down to an almost free spinning condition. Your engine would remain at high idle, 'till the operation that controlled the choke, be it either engine intake manifold heat, or, an electric bi-metal spring, would move the choke control arm, AND the high idle step cam, off the higher steps, to lower the idle.

All that takes place in normally about 5-6 minutes and your engine SHOULD be at normal idle after that. Now, this is if, IF, your engine is a carbureted unit and, if, IF, it's all working correctly.

If your '88 454 is an early form of F.I., there are sensors that know what it needs to operate in cold conditions and, they will control all factors that lead that engine to operational heat or, thermostat heat. There are also, SMOG components that will have an influence on engine operational conditions.

If your engine has a fan clutch, with the engine off, you should be able to spin it somewhat freely. I say "somewhat" meaning, it will have some restriction, it will not continue to spin, if you grabbed one blade and spun it aggressively. In most cases, the fan clutch is filled with a viscous fluid that is comprised of Silicone and other chemicals. It has valving in it. There is, in many cases, a bi-metallic coiled spring on front side, the side that faces the radiator.

That bi-metallic spring feels the temps and, it will expand, or contract, depending on what kind of air temp is flowing through the radiator. Hence, this is why it shuts down the fan in cold radiator conditions. But, as an engine warms up, and the thermostat opens, it will allow heated coolant to flow into the radiator. That heated coolant, will heat the outer fins. That radiated heat, will be detected by the bi-metallic spring in the clutch fan.

That spring will then retract or expand, I forgot which way it goes when heated, and it will then close a valve inside the clutch fan. When that happens, the viscous fluid inside the fan, will act up a set of blades, very similar to the blades in torque converter inside a auto trans and, it will begin to lock the clutch fan up.

When that happens, the fan will turn at a much higher speed which, inturn, will draw more air through the radiator. More air through the radiator, cools the fins, which cool the coolant and, then the air being emitted off the fins, will be cooler and the bi-metallic spring feels that and controls the fan to slow back down.

This is how it's all supposed to work. Now, if your thermostat is misbehaving, that can reek all kinds of havoc on a what would be a normally operating engine. You need to get down to basics here. Change coolant and maybe do the best possible flush you can. And, as you've indicated, change that thermostat too. That clutch fan may or, may not be bad. Changing out an expensive clutch fan, won't do a bit of good, if the T-stat is not playing well with the coolant.

You say your engine operates rather smoothly even up 'till it reaches 220 degrees huh? But, when it's put into gear, that's when the kaos starts, correct? Now, in the old TH-350 and maybe even the TH-400 transmissions, I think, and maybe corrected here, there's a vacuum operated transmission shift control, on the side of the transmission. It's a biscuit looking thing with a vacuum line connected to it, coming from the intake manifold or carburetor base, I forgot. That shift control is a major player in just how that transmission behaves both putting it in gear and, controlling all its shifts.

If that shift control biscuit is damaged or, is leaking, it will cause some issues with engine idling, shift control and more. You'll have to slither under your coach to see if it's got one of those and, possibly remove it to run a check on it, to see if it's good or not. They're not very expensive.

Anyway, there's some things to think about. Keep us informed of your progress on this issue.
Scott
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:37 PM   #8
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454 will have a T/H 400.....vacuum modulator is on the pass side toward front.....see if there's fluid present when pulling off hose.....if there is, a 1/2" wrench and 1 bolt to remove.....
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:27 PM   #9
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454 will have a T/H 400.....vacuum modulator is on the pass side toward front.....see if there's fluid present when pulling off hose.....if there is, a 1/2" wrench and 1 bolt to remove.....
Ahhhhhhaaaaa, I knew someone would refresh my old, worn out memory. Thank you. Man, this getting (already am) old stuff sucks.
Scott
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:14 PM   #10
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Thank you to all for the responses to my heating issues. Scott you were correct on the fan clutch assessment! I also found a broken vacuum line on the thermal sensor for the thermo stat. And there was not even a thermostat installed. New plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor along with a good coolant flush...as the Beach Boys once said, “she purrs like a kitten till the lake pipes roar.” But most importantly she holds steady at 180° on a 45 minute idle. Thank you again forum readers. I am sure I will be back with more questions, it seems that the more I fix the more I find broken.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:44 PM   #11
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Thank you to all for the responses to my heating issues. Scott you were correct on the fan clutch assessment! I also found a broken vacuum line on the thermal sensor for the thermo stat. And there was not even a thermostat installed. New plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor along with a good coolant flush...as the Beach Boys once said, “she purrs like a kitten till the lake pipes roar.” But most importantly she holds steady at 180° on a 45 minute idle. Thank you again forum readers. I am sure I will be back with more questions, it seems that the more I fix the more I find broken.
Yahoooo,
This is what we all like to hear, something got fixed, all is better now. And, from the sound of it, you did it all yourself, THAT'S GREAT!!! And, don't worry too much about the more you fix, the more you'll find breaking. Sooner or later, you'll fix it all. Been there done that, more than a few times.
Scott
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:58 PM   #12
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Now that it's running should you be putting some miles on it and not want to worry about points and condenser there is a fairly inexpensive eliminator kit. This is just one brand out there.
https://www.jegs.com/i/Accel/110/2010ACC/10002/-1

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Old 04-09-2019, 11:02 PM   #13
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Now that it's running should you be putting some miles on it and not want to worry about points and condenser there is a fairly inexpensive eliminator kit. This is just one brand out there.
https://www.jegs.com/i/Accel/110/2010ACC/10002/-1

.
1988 I think it has big distributor HEI with coil on top.
Don't forget to clean or replace PVC valve while your at it.
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Hope \ don't think it affected truck motors .....
that was about time GM had bad cams ... 305 was worst for it.
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