Isuzu Trek Owners Infoletter #9
Jim Goedde (jimgoedde (at) msn.com) writes: Our transmission suddenly would not shift up until the engine was overreving. After 4 hours in the shop someone suggested disconnecting the chassis battery for ten minutes. This resets the transmission control module to the default settings. We’ve not had a problem since.
(Dale: we had a similar experience many thousands of miles ago. We were able to reset the tranny control by pulling over to the side of the road, shutting off the engine for a few minutes, then restarting. After which, the transmission acted normally. You might try this first, then go to Jim’s fix if the problem persists.)
Changing a Flat
(Dale) Most of us have emergency road service/cell phones and dont worry about fixing a flat. But, sometimes we go to Mexico or the boondocks of Canada or Alaska. I finally worried about it enough that I bought a spare tire (no rim). Now I worry about whether someone can get those big, tough lug nuts off, in the middle of nowhere! A few years ago, someone suggested some sort of device that provided a mechanical advantage for this task. Please write me with your tire changing experiences and ideas for a solution to this problem.
Tad (fqo63 (at) hotmail.com) writes, recommending a product called Phenoseal: An excellent product for sealing roof seams, which I have used for years, is Phenoseal. It comes in ‘Almond’ color which is a perfect match to the roof color on our ’94 Trek 2840. This is a commercial grade sealant and made for outdoor use. It is available in caulking gun tubes. It is made by a Massachusetts company and carried by, or is available by special order from, any Ace Hardware store.
Russ Smith adds: According to the Safari parts department the product they use on the roof for caulking is “Parlastic”. I found it at Thehotdeal.com. The proper color Parlastic is called “off white” it’s an exact match for the roof color. (Dale: it is interesting to note that the factory recommends, for its newer models, that the roof be recaulked annually, according to one contributor to ‘safarifriends’.)
Tad Arnold (fqo63 (at) hotmail.com ), with a new Trek (as they say in the Caribbean,’New Brand, second hand’) queries: I am looking for a factory service manual for our ’94 Isuzu Chassis/engine/transmission. If you have a place for such requests, please include mine..thanks.
(Dale: my first thought would be to try the parts department or Gordy Morris at FMI in Portland – a great source of everything involving Isuzu trucks/Treks. 800-927-8750. Any other good sources??)
Under difficult driving conditions of steep grades, high winds and rain we averaged around 11.5 to 12 mpg. at an indicated 62 mph. without a toad. After reading e-mails from some of the other Trek owners that sound like it may be just a tad less than some owners.
(Dale: Russ, like all fields of endeavor, there are some Trek owners who fib a little or go constantly downhill with a tailwind. Based on our experience, what you describe sounds normal. We have gotten 11-14 not towing and 9.8-12 mpg towing. Long time averages are 12.2/10.1. We are towing 5000#.)
Russ continues: Some of the modifications we have done to our Trek include:
We have just completed repairs to the electrical system following a near lightning strike in Zion National Park. Our original converter and inverter were replaced, and extensive damage to the 110 volt wiring and outlets required repair. Fortunately the repairs were picked up by our Camping World insurance. During repairs we were able to sort out and remove 110 wiring changes made by a former owner that were a real rats nest. We now have a modern Heart Freedom 20 inverter with remote that also allows for periodic battery balancing. I was able to purchase the inverter directly from Heart for $950.00 which is a big discount. If you need an inverter I suggest you call Bob in sales at 800-446-6180 and check his prices.Batteries
Our Trek had coach batteries here there and every where. We had two 12 volt marine deep cycle batteries under the entry stair and four 6 volt batteries in a forward storage compartment. Besides combining battery types, they were wired as three separate battery banks with cable running every where. After sorting out a wiring diagram for the existing battery set up, a new larger battery tray was built to fit under the stair to hold four 6 volts. Does any one need two new 12 volt marine deep cycle batteries. They are almost new and were replaced after the lightning strike by the insurance.
The battery tray was built from some of the1& 1 /2″ perforated angle iron from the local Home Depot. The base and sides were cut from 3/8 poly cutting boards that should last forever. The box has sides that should cut down on water spray from the tires and slow down corrosion of the battery terminals. The bottom of the battery tray is at about the same level as the bottom of the stair in its raised position. This gives about 8″ between the top of the batteries and the underside of the stair so maintenance is much improved. I can now see to fill the cells! When this was done some new cables and cable ends were also installed.
The thought of not being able to raise the bed when dry camping out in the middle of nowhere fills me with dread! I am building a very simple lifting device that we can toss under the sofa in case when not required. The former owner of our unit related that he had to raise the bed after the set screws became loose and the gears drifted off the track. He was able to unscrew the set screws and manually raise the bed with a helper. Not a pleasant experience.
The tool I am making uses a automotive scissors jack to raise a 2×4 inside a plywood sleeve. After extending the jack a pin retains the 2×4, the jack is compressed and a short length of 2×4 is inserted and the process repeated. In its compressed state it is about 32″ long and will raise the bed to it’s full height. If you would like photos I’ll send them. Costs under $20.00.
ENGINE NOISE AND HEAT
Perhaps newer Treks are not noisy and the floors are not hot, but ours made for hot feet and difficult conversation. We now have a quiet and cool cabin. One of the RV magazines had an article on a very efficient insulation developed for RV’s. The product is called “The insulator” by Bonded Logic. It requires two rolls of 3/8″ x 4’x6′ insulation part number 12-04006-SG, a large roll of aluminum high temperature tape # 90-3030-1 and a can of “sticky Stuff” spray adhesive # 90-4000-1. You can order it at 800-528-8219. About $60.00. I put a layer on the engine side of the hatch and covered all of the floor including the top of the hatch. Rather than remove the existing carpet the insulation was installed over the top of the carpet with a few dry wall screws and small decorative washers.
(Dale: from what I hear, the ’92s were noisier than the ’94s, so this sounds like an excellent fix.)
NEW CAB AND LIVING AREA CARPET.
It just happens that two 5×7 rubber backed throw rugs were the perfect solution. The cab area carpet was cut fit the space and the rear edge drapes over the 8″ step behind the front seat. This surface is retained by a maple board stained to batch the cabinets. This is held in place by four decorative fasteners screwed into anchor nuts in the riser surface. Carpet between the seats and the side walls are separate pieces retained by screws and decorative washers. It’s very attractive and hides the hatch. To remove the hatch, just remove the trim board and roll up the carpet.
The living area carpet was a perfect fit. Placed length wise the aft edge lines up with the aft edge of the stair. The carpet was cut at the stair allowing the corner of the carpet to cover the first riser and tread. There was enough carpet scraps from the cab area to cover the balance of the stair. The carpet is wide enough to extend about 4″ under the removable panel under the sofa.
This was a good solution, it was much easier than actually replacing the carpet, and very inexpensive. When these wear we will just replace them. The interior looks larger as carpet now extends back in front of the fridge.
As a way to improve mileage I spent a good deal of time trying to find a K&N air filter for the Isuzu diesel. No such filter is currently made for this application although K&N modified some Isuzu filters in the past and they were briefly available.
I was able to find a universal K&N filter which I modified slightly to fit the Trek. The model # is RU-32-60. This unit has a rubber base rather than the metal base of the original. It also required that I drill a hole to accept the mounting bolt. It was also necessary to fabricate a 1/2″ thick plastic disk (from a kitchen cutting board) to support the base. This filter is about 1/2″ less diameter and about an inch or so shorter than the original filter. I paid $59.99 for this unit which is good or the life time of the Trek.
The Isuzu air cleaner canister appears to be a very restrictive design as the filter element fits tightly into an inner can, leaving only about 4″ of the filter exposed to the full flow of the air. The base of the filter is also contained in a tight fitting can about 2 1/2″ high. I suppose this design allows for the collection of water in the base of the filter. As most of our driving is in the southwest water isn’t much of a problem for us. This lower can was trimmed about 1″ to expose more filter to the air flow. The slightly smaller diameter of this filter allows for better air flow around the inner cans.
We haven’t had a chance to see what this does for mileage. I’ll let you know. Russ later wrote: the K&N air filter worked out well. The mileage has increased by 1 to 2 MPG and our hill climbing ability has improved as well. Although it is difficult to quantify, it seems that we are topping some of the long grades in our area about 5 MPH faster then we have in the past.
Thanks to comments by others in the Trek infoletter I checked ours and found that the drivers side had additional bolts installed at one time but all the bolts on the passenger side have fallen out. Always something huh?
The Isuzu Trek front and rear brakes have inspection ports that provide an easy way to determine pad and shoe condition. It’s not necessary to remove wheels or drums for the inspection. The rear brakes are designed to be self adjusting, however it’s common for this function to falter. As the rear brakes go out of adjustment the braking effort is shifted to the front and the pedal gets increasingly soft. We just had ours manually adjusted and have a much firmer pedal.
On Line Fuel Pricing
How nice it would be to be able to plan your route with some input on fuel prices.
Thanks for the informative newsletter! Russ & Carol Smith
Joan & Ed James (loobyj (at) webtv) wrote: You may remember that we were having repairs done on our Electric-Magic bed at Carriers in Eugene last April, as you were. Now our Quasar micro/convection oven is malfunctioning. So far we haven’t found anyone that can fix it so we’re looking for a replacement. Ours is a 1993 Trek & so far we have had no luck finding a unit small enough for the space provided. Safari doesn’t use those small Quasars anymore.
Is it possible that someone on your Trek e-mailing list may have had a similar problem and could give us some clues OR is there a place where one could pick up a used one perhaps from a wrecked unit someplace? Thanks for your help.
Per Robert Willis willis1 (at) adelphia.net, to take the covers off the armrests for cleaning, first detach the armrest from the chair in order to remove the cover. Push in on the armrest very hard and rotate it down. It should go down past the normal position then pull out.
Generator Problem and Fix
Ken Harmon (kencathyha (at) aol.com) writes:
TRANSFER SWITCH PROBLEM 4-14-02
My first indication of a problem with the electrical system was when I started the generator to get 110V power online. After the 10 second warmup delay the power did not come on. I turned the generator off and restarted it and the power came online. This happened 2 or 3 times during this trip.
On the next pre-trip check-out of the generator it would start and run normal through the warm up cycle, 10-12 seconds, and then the engine would suddenly stop. My initial troubleshooting of the engine did not disclose any problems. I did notice on some of the test runs the circuit breaker inside the generator housing would trip. Further testing showed the generator would start and run normal if the breaker was turned off at the generator.
The next item in the 110V circuit is the transfer switch. The switch is in a box (4.75x4x6″) attached to the back of the 110v circuit breaker/12v fuse box located below the bathroom sink. The 12v fuse board and some additional wires must be moved aside to get to the screws to remove the transfer switch.
My switch box had some smoke damage inside and a fried diode and capacitor. I called Monaco (Safari) parts and they could not identify the part. They told me they did not have a parts book for the 94 Trek and did not know who the vendor was. I located the MagnaTek web site and called them. The transfer switch products have been transferred to Paralax Power Component, 102 North Main, Goodland, IN. 47948, ph. (219) 297-3111. Chuck in tech support group identified the part as “Transfer Switch, 30 amp, Part No. ATS”. I was referred to BR Wholesale in Los Angles, Ph. (800) 900 2468 for retail purchase. Price is about $75 plus shipping.
Paralax Power makes a replacement terminal strip with the diodes and capacitor installed. It can be installed and soldered to existing wires to save money. I elected to replace the whole box. I understand the same transfer switch and circuit breaker box is used in boats and may be available at boat supply stores. There are later model MagnaTek ATS30 transfer switches available but they would require custom mounting and wiring.
Exhaust System Modification
Jim Goedde (jimgoedde (at) msn.com) writes
I recently had the exhaust system on my 94 Trek modified (cost about $650). As you all know the original system runs from left to right and back to exit on the left. Every bend and every inch of pipe causes additional back pressure on the engine. The approximately 2.5 inch diameter pipe is also restricting flow.
The Power Shop in Enumclaw, WA built my new system using various components from Gail Banks Engineering. Starting at the exhaust brake outlet the pipe diameter is increased to 3 inches for a 44 percent increase in cross sectional area. The muffler is installed on the drivers side with a 3 inch tail pipe exiting in the original position.This modification has resulted in a noticeable improvement in acceleration. Unfortunately, I did not try a 0-60 MPH test prior to the change. Hill climbing has also improved as noted below. The engine sounds like it is running freer at cruising speed. I now have to be more careful because it wants to cruise faster than my self set limit of 60 MPH. As for exhaust sound I notice very little if any difference.
Some examples of hills I frequently travel:
Before modification: After modification:
6-7% grade 40 MPH in 3rd gear 45 MPH in 3rd gear
I-5 Southcenter hill 55 in overdrive 59 in overdrive
Swauk pass 35 in 2nd gear 43 in 3rd gear
As advised by The Power Shop the next change I am considering is a Banks ram air intake with a 4 inch tube to the air filter.
Anyone interested may contact The Power Shop at www.thepowershop.com or myself as noted.
Bed Problems Again
Larry Moon (moon288 (at) juno.com) writes
I have a 1992 Isuzu 24 foot with the bed over the dash and steering wheel. The bed was down when the motor went out. I used a large pair of pliers to turn the shaft to move the bed up. This worked fine.
I read the April trek talk and found out the price of the bed motor is now $325.00. In March 2002 I paid $554.93 plus shipping. When I ordered the motor Safari parts said I could not rebuild it and I would have to order a new one. I called Safari customer service and asked for a refund of the difference. I was told that I could not get a refund but I did get a big runaround. The next time I need a part I will go to the manufacture to get it.
Jim Goedde also writes: The jack pad and springs is another story. When requesting an estimate to fix/replace the jack, one service tech wanted to replace the complete jack assembly saying you don’t know if jack could be bent (I don’t think so). The other tech offered to get a new pad and springs for a lot less money. I called the HWH company because I felt that I could install a new pad and springs myself. The gentleman at HWH took my address and said they would send the parts by UPS if that would be fast enough. I asked if he wanted my credit card number. What a surprise! He said this one would be on HWH. The parts arrived in a couple of days with a statement saying I owe $0.00. Am I a believer in HWH? You bet I am. Will I advise RV owners to buy HWH? You bet I will.
That’s all for now, folks. Happy Trekkin’ everyone!