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Old 06-10-2021, 03:18 PM   #1
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Advice for first time cross country trip

Hello all,

I own a 1997 Flair 25Y, 454 (?) engine with 65k on the odometer. One owner prior to me who kept meticulous records and addressed service timelines diligently. The only item not serviced yet is the generator. It sometimes starts, sometimes doesnít.

i am transferring from Oregon to Maryland in about two weeks. Iíve had all the maintenance done plus upgraded all lights, new mirrors, rear view camera installed, and new tires. I bought a master tow dolly for hauling my 2004 Jetta, also new tires and it has a brake system.

This is my first trip more than a couple hundred miles from home and with the dolly. Iím making myself anxious researching overheating engines, driving up steep grades, when these engines break down and at how many miles, and big trucks making me veer off the road as they pass, and a whole lot moreÖ

I wish there were another way to get to where Iím going, but there isnít so I have to carry on. Anyone with words of wisdom or advice?

Stephanie
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Old 06-10-2021, 06:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doobief16 View Post
Hello all,

I own a 1997 Flair 25Y, 454 (?) engine with 65k on the odometer. One owner prior to me who kept meticulous records and addressed service timelines diligently. The only item not serviced yet is the generator. It sometimes starts, sometimes doesnít.

i am transferring from Oregon to Maryland in about two weeks. Iíve had all the maintenance done plus upgraded all lights, new mirrors, rear view camera installed, and new tires. I bought a master tow dolly for hauling my 2004 Jetta, also new tires and it has a brake system.

This is my first trip more than a couple hundred miles from home and with the dolly. Iím making myself anxious researching overheating engines, driving up steep grades, when these engines break down and at how many miles, and big trucks making me veer off the road as they pass, and a whole lot moreÖ

I wish there were another way to get to where Iím going, but there isnít so I have to carry on. Anyone with words of wisdom or advice?

Stephanie
The long and short of it is slow and steady wins the race. Pre plan your route to avoid steep grades as much as possible. Keep speeds in the 60-65 mph range to conserve fuel and for safety. Get your generator 100% squared away before you go. You're gonna need it if you want to crash at a rest area for the night. Bring some tools so you can fix things that may break while you're running.

But most importantly take a deep breath and have fun.
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Old 06-10-2021, 06:57 PM   #3
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Good advice from MASSPARANOIA, gotta love the name too. I have a 2002 gasser and the same tow dolly, (DAMN TOW DOLLY!). You did not mention all the other things needed for towing like a TPMS system, rear view camera, etc. Those are highly recommended. I keep the camera on when towing just for peace of mind. I also recommend locks for the tow dolly and ball as a security and safety backup. Pay particular attention to the tires, both temp and pressure. And as MASS said, patience, even while feeling confident, going 60 to 65, don’t drive while tired, allow more than enough time to get there, and rest when you need to will make it a safer trip. Don’t be afraid to use the rest areas, they are there for you too.Oops, sorry you DID mention the camera. My eyes aren’t what they used to be.
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Old 06-10-2021, 08:25 PM   #4
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Pre plan your gas stops. Use google maps and satellite view to look at the gas station to make sure its easy to get in and out of. You don't want to try and backup with that dolly.

Take the hills slow both up and down. 30-35 is plenty. If you push it you will overheat it. (had a p30 with the 454). Just sit around 2500-3000 rpm with the 4 ways on and be patient. If you see that temp gauge needle move at all, back it down and perhaps pull over and give it a break. Don't turn the engine off, just let it idle and cool down. If you shut the engine off you can boil the water sitting in the engine block since it isn't flowing around.

If you are super concerned about overheating, I made a simple water mister system by using the washer bottle. Got some vacuum hose and a couple mister heads for a drip irrigation system. I ziptied 2 heads to the grill in front of the radiator. When I hit a big grade, I ran the windshield wiper mister for a couple seconds to wet the radiator. Wait 10 seconds then hit it again for another a couple seconds. Repeat as needed. Bottle won't hold a ton of water, but enough to get you over the grade. Then at the next stop, refill the bottle. Only downside is the wipers are going dry against the windshield while you are misting. But hey, I figure a new set of wiper blades is cheaper than broken down on the side of the road. This setup worked well for my old 454 getting over the baker grade (17 miles at 7%) when it was 80 out.

You need that generator to run the house AC while driving. Its going to be hot and the dash AC won't do enough. Maybe get a 12v fan you can throw on the dash to get some extra airflow on your body. Sitting in front of those windows with the sun beating down with little/no AC is not fun
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Old 06-11-2021, 06:27 AM   #5
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Iíve done it twice from nj to Seattle, down the Oregon coast to San Fran and back. 8000 miles each trip. I have the Ford f53 v10 and it performed great. My lessons learned from the sages on this site; when crossing the mountains you go down in the same gear you went up in, donít be afraid to down shift the transmission to slow you down going down,it can handle it. Hang to the right and let others pass and enjoy the view, it is spectacular; find a local company that services Cummins/on an generators, doesnít have to be an rv shop, I use a truck repair co. When refueling if you can look it up ahead of time on google maps(sat view) fine, if not go slow when entering and use outside lanes to give you space to turn. Weíve overnighted in rest areas, Walmart, Cracker Barrel, restaurant parking lots that truckers use, harvest hosts which are farms, wineries. Lots of apps for your phone geared to raving. Above all, donít overthink it and make yourself crazy. You can do it. Enjoy the adventure.
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Old 06-11-2021, 06:36 AM   #6
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Looks like you have everything covered. Go and relax and stop worrying and reading threads. Have fun this is an adventure!
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:28 AM   #7
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My 95 Flair had a 454, I took it cross country several times per year.

I put in a higher flow ac condenser pusher fan and a switch to be able to manually activate it. If I turned it on before going up a mountain I was able to make it up without the mechanical fan clutch engaging, so it was definitely keeping things cooler, even at highway speeds.

You might also want to check or change your coolant before the trip. At least whatís in the radiator.
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Old 06-12-2021, 10:00 PM   #8
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454...CHeck the cooling system prior to trip. Hoses and hose connection for both the upper & lower hose as well as the by-pass hose (small one from water pump-intake manifold)
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Old 06-13-2021, 12:15 AM   #9
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One other thing...

To check the mechanical clutch fan. When the engine is cold prior to starting turn the fan by hand. It should have resistance and not free wheel if you attempt to spin it. Take a mirror and look at the front of the clutch fan and inspect the coil in the center of the fan. It should be free of any crud, dirt, mud etc...should look like the following....

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/hda-2799

If you feel the resistance that is good sign. Once you start it for roughly 30 seconds to 1 min the fan will be slightly engaged. Listen and note the fan noise will lessen after 30 seconds - 1 min.

When climbing a grade the clutch fan will kick in at roughly 221F coolant temp. It will sound like a P-51 (loud roar). This is normal. During grades your speed will likely be 20-35mph tops.
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Old 06-13-2021, 01:19 AM   #10
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My mistake...

The clutch is designed to begin to engage at roughly 150F-190F radiator discharge air temp. Not the aforementioned coolant temp I mentioned. That temp is for the aux fan on the front of the ac condenser.

The discharge air temp is how the bi metal coil on the front of the clutch fan tightens and engages the clutch fan.
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Old 06-13-2021, 01:47 PM   #11
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Good Luck! RELAX. ENJOY and if possible update this group as you travel especially if you need help.
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