Letter 6

Isuzu Trek Owners Infoletter #6

January 2001

Towing a 5000 lb toad

We have towed our Dodge Dakota 4×4 extended cab pickup over 5000 miles now.  With 70 gallons of diesel in the tank in back, and all our extra stuff in it, it weighs in at just under 5000 lbs.  I continue to be amazed at how well the Isuzu Trek handles it.  We unhook only for extended grades of 6% or more, which means some serious mountains!  Fuel consumption is about 1 mpg less than we got in the 10,000 miles of treking without a toad.  Before towing with the Trek, two things are a must: A transmission temperature guage. Temps over 250 degrees will fry your $4000 transmission.  Our rule is that if the temp gets to 230 degrees, we will stop for a few moments to let it cool off.  We haven’t seen temperatures this high but we haven’t towed in extreme ambient temperatures.  The other is a brake for the toad. We have the Toad Brake from .  I installed the vacuum pump in the aft compartment that provides vacuum to the toad’s brake augmentation system and operates a small ram that is installed under the hood in the toad, which pulls the brake pedal down with a small cable. That way, there is no intrusion into the toad’s hydraulic system. It also features a break away switch which applies the toad’s brakes if it gets loose from the towing vehicle.  Support from the manufacturer is excellent.

Firewall Bolts

I finally got around to replacing all of the missing (nearly all of them) firewall bolts as discussed in earlier newsletters….it seems that nearly all Treks have been plagued with this problem. The results were amazing! No more dashboard/instrument panel squeaking and creaking!  I used 5/16″x 1″ lagbolts (3/4″ length is recommended but I couldn’t find any, so I used 1″ long ones with a flat and lock washer.  Washers and threads were coated with GOOP (other sealants should work, too) to keep the bolts from working out.  It is definitely worth doing, just to get rid of the high internal noise level.

Addendum to the above: After about 4000 miles, inspection showed a couple of the bolts trying to work their way back out. Goop held them from coming out but I suspect that the thin sheet metal the bolts screw into are becoming hogged out. Keep an eye on those bolts!

Treking in a hot climate (100+)

Carolyn & John McHale ( offer some good advice about hot weather Trekking:

We recently traveled across the southwest states this summer where the temperatures were 100+.  We would like to share some of the hints for keeping cool!

Some days, when when we were zooing, hiking or doing other things and the temp  was 100 to 107, we would get back to the TREK for lunch.  We would have left the TREK with the roof vent fan on and the window over the sink open.  We would get in and turn on the generator and wait a minute or so until the generator picked up the load and was generating 115 VAC.  We would then turn on the AC and close the window and roof vent.  In a short time, the TREK was very comfortable for a leisure lunch.  When possible, we try to park the TREK rear toward the sun and especially not directly on the side where the refrigerator is installed.  We installed a pull down mylar shade on the inside of the front window  that can be used when we are parked facing the sun.  We also pull the side curtains foreward and turn the blinds to reduce the heat from the sun.

Other times, when we would be traveling through the lunch period with the TREK engine AC on, we would pull over at a rest stop and turn off the engine, turn on the generator, wait a minute and turn on the AC for acomfortable lunch.  When we were dry camping, we would either just use the roof exhaust fan with the windows open or sometimes button up and turn the generator on with the AC to cool the place down before we shut the generator off and opened the windows and went to bed.  If the day had been very hot, we found it better to lower the bed a foot or so and get the heat out of the bedding and mattress.  If we were out for the evening and we were hooked to shore power, we would lower the bed all the way with the AC on to cool the bed down.  This was not necessary for temps lower than 85 degrees.

We find that it is best when you run the AC to turn the fan from auto to ON.  In this way the air is circulating all the time and the AC doesn’t cut on/off so frequently.  The cost of gas is negligible relative to your comfort level.  The TREK is a great vehicle and the same slogan applies to the TREK and its components‑‑”Use it or lose it!”  The generator is made to run, so don’t concern yourself with the clicks of the motor on the clock.  In fact you want to run the generator at least monthly in order to keep it working optimally per the instructions.

When your coach is parked with the door in the direct sun and the heat is 90+, we have found we cannot use the deadbolt for it will swell and you can’t turn the key in the lock to unlock it.  Instead we use the handle lock.  If the deadbolt does swell a remedy is to cool the lock itself down.  We put out the awning to keep us cool, then put water in a bucket from the basement water tank and used a cloth to apply cool water on the lock.  The swelling recedes and the key can be turned.

Headlights

(sorry, name not included) writes:  I was a little disappointed when I needed to replace a headlight. The light mounting is poor and fastened to the nose using three sheet rock screws. To replace the light I had to remove the assembly, easy to do after finding the poor fasteners. If your unit is newer this may not be a problem. If you are unable to access the screws holding the bulb in place from the front of your vehicle, look for the screws behind the assembly in the hood area, remove those and the complete housing is loose. The screws you’re looking for are the only ones with the head visible. Other screws are visible but only the point, these are in the housing to hold the bulb mount to the fiberglass.

Trek Parts

(again, no name given) writes: I think the salvage store you’re trying to find is Northwest RV Supply in Eugene, Oregon. They have a large supply of surplus Safari stuff at least they did when we were up there for the Homecoming Rally. Their number is 541‑746‑9092 and address, 86325 College View Dr., Eugene OR 97405.. Speak or write to George. (Note: Let Dale know if it is or is not still there.)

Leaks/caulking

Joann Figueras () writes:  A few years ago I discovered that our ’94 Trek had MUCH deteriorated/loosened caulk‑‑on the roof by the seam‑covers front and back and also on the sides of the rig, again on the seam‑covers.  In fact, on the side by the refrigerator vent we got water under the skin which corroded through to the outside.  I found that the silicone caulk on the TOP edge of the seam‑cover had loosened, but that the caulk on the BOTTOM had held, allowing water to fill the space and then seep down behind the lower skin.  When I pulled caulk from the lower edge of the seam‑cover, water ran down the side of the rig.  I recaulked all the seams, and we had the holes under the refrigerator vent filled and the area repainted in Mexico.  Safari said the damage was our fault, and refused to help; they said we should have the whole panel replaced at our expense.  Recently, I noticed gaps in the the caulk around the door, but I haven’t fixed it yet. NOTE:  After all the horizontal seam‑covers were recaulked, we stopped getting water in the basement cabinets.  I had been fighting that battle for years!

Editor’s note: Thanks, Joann. We have been lucky with our Trek. We received about 8″ of rain, some torrential, this Fall and have never seen a leak.  I do try to keep up with recaulking the seam covers and the front and rear cap joints as well as whatever else on the roof I can get to with the caulking.  It is definitely a maintenance item that wreaks havoc if neglected too long.

Oil Change

(Dale again) Isuzu Trek owners have reported oil change costs of $200-300.  I recently had a positive experience you might like to know about.  In Omaha, I called the Isuzu Truck dealership and was quoted about $160 for an oil change, filter replacement and lube.  I stopped at the Texaco Express Lube on 114th St.  They lubed all fittings, replaced the oil filter I supplied them and supplied the Texron oil.  The total bill was $31 and change!  The only thing that wasn’t done that would have been accomplished at the dealership was replacement of the fuel filter. So, it pays to shop around!

Speedometer Problem and Fix

Floyd Rainey ( ) writes:  I experienced a speedometer failure on a recent trip and found out some information that could help others if they should have a like failure.     My problem was caused by a worn out key on the cable end tip. This is at the very end of the drive cable at the transmission. It is a metal shaft about 2 inches long, about one quarter inch diameter. One end has a stamped key that fits in the drive gear inside the transmission, the other end fits the end of the speedometer drive cable.      I found that Isuzu did not furnish this part to Safari. Their parts list for the NPR will not reflect the proper parts number. Safari apparently got it from International Navistar) Their part number for it is 387228c1. It should cost about $9.00. It should be available from any International Truck Dealer.  Hope this may of help to someone.

Editor: Many thanks, Floyd, for sharing this. It just may save some of us some grief in the future. EVERYONE: send me something about your Isusu Trek that we should all know!  That is what keeps this letter going!

Rear Camera

William Dutcher ( ) writes: My rear camera was always not too clear.  I removed it to clean.  It was filthy! They did a lousy job of mounting it at factory, I made a new adjustable mount, so that is easy to remove and/or adjust camera angle. Now picture is clear and camera is aimed better.

EMB Blues

(Dale again)Well, the EMB motor bug finally got around to us (600 miles into Mexico). I knew when I bought the Trek that this was the weakest link in this wonderful motor home.  Symptoms started with the bed not quite coming all the way down without a struggle, then when put up, it struggled the first inch. Finally one night when Trish climbed up in bed, the bed dropped about an inch, then wouldn’t go up.  I drilled out the pop rivets holding the cover over the motor and found the entire motor assembly rotated, stretching the power cable very tight and pulling two of the four wires apart. I rerouted the wire and re-connected the loose wires and found the motor would lift the bed but the bed stopped about 6″ from  “up”. Adjusting the up limit switch allowed the motor to raise the bed into the up position. The uplocks are installed and won’t be removed until we get to Eugene, OR where a new motor awaits our arrival.