Letter 21

Isuzu Trek Owners Infoletter #21

August 2007

Inspection item

Air conditioner attach bolts

Jim Goedde (jimgoedde at comcast.net) tells us:

The symptom was a squealing fan belt.  Simple to fix right?

Upon examination I discovered the a/c compressor was completely loose and resting between the engine and the frame rail.  One of the mounting bolts had the head popped off.  Another bolt was missing and the third bolt had lost the nut.

Access to the two lower bolts was not too bad.  The lower rear bolt had a spacer missing so I filled the gap with a build up of washers.  The upper bolt was a different story.  I finally was able to get a box end wrench on the nut by setting up between the front wheel and the frame.  I then reached up from below to put a wrench on the bolt head.  It would have still been difficult but a lot easier if I’d had a helper to hold the wrench on the nut.

I suspect the problem was caused by someone before me who couldn’t go through the trouble to tighter that upper bolt.  I also suspect that none of them had lock washers installed.  (They do now.)

I recommend that any Isuzu owner check out these bolts for tightness and make sure they have lock washers.  Much like the exhaust manifold bolt problem, it’s much easier to deal with before the trouble starts.

It seems this was not a factory (Isuzu) installation so the dealer did not stock any of the bolts or the spacer.  I found replacements at NAPA.

 Heart Inverter not charging batteries

From editor Dale: the CO monitor started beeping loudly about every 15 seconds indicating low house voltage. A check of the battery condition on the panel confirmed. We were hooked up to shore power. The Heart inverter/charger was not charging the batteries. A hearing check in the trunk indicated no AC hum could be heard coming from the inverter.

I cycled the circuit breaker #2, the green one, on the AC panel beneath the bathroom sink. I could now hear the AC hum coming from the Heart again and the battery condition meter confirmed charging. Phweew!

 Pre-lubricating the engine turbo

Kieth R. (bags at myepath.com ) contributes:

Hi Dale, we are finally coming out of hibernation here in Cleveland Ohio. I saved this E mail from you because I wanted to keep your question about lubricating the turbo. I ordered a service manual from Izusu & they recommend lubricating if a long perod of time has passed since it was run. I had mine stored in a county fairgrounds building,locked up since 10/1/06 & I am able to take out soon. Here are the directions verbatum from the manual. IMPORTANT:  If the engine has not been running for a long period of time, it is recommended that the turbocharger bearings be lubricated BEFORE starting the engine.  Proceed as follows:  1) Clean around the turborcharger oil feed line.  2) Disconnect the turbocharger oil feed line. Take care not to allow dirt into the oil passage. 3) Pour about 4 oz. of clean engine oil into the turbo passage. 4) Disconnect the air inlet pipe.  Turn the turbocharger compressor wheel by hand to distribute the oil.  Reconnect the air inlet pipe.  IMPORTANT:  Any time the air intake pipe, charge air pipe, or turbocharger is removed, the air intake opening must be covered.  It is most important to protect against any foreign material getting into the air intake which could damage the turbocharger and engine when engine is started.   I hope this helps out somebody else through your newsletter.

Front Curtain Repair

John Tomich (frida at sonic.net) contributes this useful info:

Well, over the years it’s become harder to open and close the front windshield pleated blind.  Who needs tension last thing at night or first thing in the morning?  The first few grommets on both sides had pulled out of the fabric and left their rollers behind, the corners were hard to navigate, and folding them back into the boxes required a little too much patience.  So…  We removed the valances and pulled the whole kit and kaboodle down.  Threw all of the rusted and broken rollers away. Spread the blinds out on the garden dinner table and scrubbed them with a mild soap and water.  Dried them in the sun.  Bought a 1/4 inch grommet kit online from Campmor, and replaced or tightened all of the bad ones.  There had been a grommet every seven folds, but we increased
the frequency to every fifth, not sure it mattered, but since we had the kit, WTH.  Found new rollers online at camping world and replaced all of them.  Spray starched and ironed the shades, silicone lubed the tracks, and reinstalled.  Nice.  They open and close with ease.  Wasn’t very hard.  Should have done it a few years ago.

The EMB strikes again!

Erick (Erick at fmitrucks.com) tells us:

Hi Dale, Well it was my turn, we were at a camp site 11:00 pm, hit the switch for the EMB it goes down 2 inches and stops. I asked the family to help push up on the bed while the up button is pushed, it dropped another ½ inch. I called for my brother to come over from the next site and with his help we pushed the bed up so I could pin it. Rest of the trip I and my family slept on the sofa and the floor.

I took the trek to Carrier & Sons in Eugene (nice folks 1-877-531-0091) after picking up a new motor at Monaco (lousy customer service) and had them install the new motor which I am glad I did not attempt. Nine hours and about $1000.00 later we have a new EMB bed motor. By the way a couple folks there used to work at SMC. My 1994 2830 now has 37,000 miles on it.

(Note from Editor Dale: Erick reports the failed motor was original equipment. He and I have never heard of anyone having problems with the ‘new’ motor which was redesigned. We probably have over a 1000 up and downs on our replacement motor with never a problem.)

 Amana Oven Install, bigger tires

Deon (deon at tds.net) contributes:

We haven’t made any Trek trips since our 4000 miles journey last winter from Wisconsin to the bottom of Texas, over to New Mexico and then back home.

We have been busy making a few more improvements such as eternabond on the end cap seams, all new tires (went to the bigger size which we know most people don’t do but on a trial run, the Trek handles MUCH better. We had already replaced the front two with the bigger ones last fall and noticed a big improvement in handling plus, as we understand it, the speedometer will then be more accurate. We’ve replaced the cooktop with the Amana range which will give us an oven and the burners will no longer rattle as we go down the road as the new ones are constructed differently. It was a tight fit but my husband is very handy and he made it fit. We installed a new water heater as the old one was in tough shape. We’ve done a few other odds and end such as the dash air which was a pain to try to get to work,(just bypassed the broken lever with a new little gizmo (my terminology) new speedometer cable (to work better with the Audio-Vox cruise control) and I think that was about it. My job is to try to get the carpet clean AGAIN and I think we are going to try to come up with a storage system for under the sofa which would be easy to get to without having to lift up the the couch and take the front off. It’s been discussed in Trek Tracks and seems like a lot of good space is kind of going to waste. Last year we just tossed everything under there but it would be much better if it were in some kind of drawer or container system.

We love our Trek and plan to go somewhere this fall to make sure everything is working right before we leave right after Christmas for two months down in the bottom of Texas. Hopefully, it will have quit raining down there by then!

Keep up the good work on the newsletter. I have all of them in a 3 ring binder and they travel with us whenever we leave home.

Fuel Tank Capacity

In response to the editor’s query last letter about fuel tank capacity, Jim (JWhites at sierra-oceanvistas.com) writes:

By the way, I looked on the side of the tank just now, and guess what it says?  Stamped on the tank:  Capacity  33 Gallons (US)  do not fill more than 95% of capacity.  That calculates to 31.35 Gallons.  Since you said you went 40 miles after the light came on, and used 28 Gallons to fill it, that says the fuel light must come on with about 5-7 gallons from absolute empty (assuming that you can’t overfill the 31.35 theoretical limit)  I would assume that the light comes on with about 5 gallons left, so you were pushing the reserve pretty close, I would guess.  You can put that in your newsletter.  I guess that the most I put in was 23-25 gallons, my memory isn’t that good 4 years later (lol).

Skylight replacement

Ken Harmon (Kencathyha at aol.com) contributes this skylight repair method

While finishing up a reseal of the roof on my Trek, a gust of wind blew an empty paint can into the skylight and broke it beyond any chance of repair. My first effort was to obtain a replacement skylight from Monaco or find information on the original supplier.  Monaco did not have the part and could not provide any information on the supplier.

After searching several local stores I finally settled on a skylight that, with some modifications, would cover the opening.  The unit consisted of three parts: the outer smoke-tinted dome, the inner clear dome that is designed to maintain an air space between the domes, and the aluminum frame.

The first thing that was apparent was the aluminum frame was designed to install over the two domes and attach to a raised box on the roof of a house.  The Trek installation would require a frame that would hold the domes to a flat roof.  I elected to modify the aluminum frame by cutting the welds at the corners and reforming the vertical flanges by bending them outward 90 degrees using a box brake. The frame could then be screwed to a flat roof to hold the domes in place.

After several fit checks I sealed the inner clear dome to the roof using the same string-type chewing gum putty that is used for window installations.  I installed the second dome over the first one using the same putty to seal between them. In both cases you can see through the plexiglass to see how well the sealer is making contact.  Then I installed the aluminum frame over the domes, using care to add putty sealer between the frame and roof in the area of each screw to prevent leaks.

The initial stationary water test showed no leaks. The first trip through rain showed no leaks into the interior but the area between the two domes was filling with water.  A close inspection through the domes from below showed that the corners of the outer dome had cracked when the aluminum frame was screwed down to the roof.  I decided to attempt a repair before buying another skylight.

I drilled a small hole, about 3/16″, through the inner dome close to the inboard side.  I inserted a small plastic tube and blew dry compressed air into the open space between the two domes to clear out any moisture.  To seal the cracks in the outer dome and the entire aluminum frame, I chose a free-flowing non-hardening calk, C-10 Flow Seal by Dyco (an alternate could be Alpha Systems sealer).

I applied liberal amounts of the C-10 sealer around the frame while it was very fluid.  Then I went inside and sucked  on the vent tube to create a low pressure between the domes.  From the inside I could see the sealer flowing in and around the edges of the domes and between the two domes.  When it looked like sufficient sealer had flowed in and around the corner cracks, I stopped the process and inserted a small plug of open-cell foam into the hole to keep moisture and dust from entering.  On the top of the coach I replaced the sealer that had flowed in and around the aluminum frame.

So far this dome and sealing system has been completely leak-free. I think this will be a more durable skylight since it is made of heavier plexiglass than the original and it has a shape that should be more resistant to impact damage.

 Trek Interior Makeover

Linda Dahle (lindadahle at bdumail.com) gives us some ideas:

Hi Dale,
Thank you for putting together the newsletter, I really appreciate your work.

This has been a great year for my 94 Trek and I.  We summered in Minnesota and wintered in Alamo, Texas.  With the fuel prices high I am glad to get 10mpg towing my car and 12 without.  I have remodeled and updated the interior this year.  After having the carpet cleaned several times and the dirt returning, it is history!  I removed the front seats and the sofa (those bolts were tough) and had high quality indoor outdoor from Lowe’s installed professionally in the front step-up area and vinyl in the “sofa” area. I also used the same vinyl on the front flat part of the dash.

I had removed the table and dining chairs when I purchased the trek and put in a classy metal and glass filing cabinet/end table and a contemporary metal lounge chair, both of which can be moved around.  Under the chair is a ottoman on wheels with storage inside.  So while the furniture was out, I pulled the vinyl wall covering off and exposed the luann type paneling beneath.  After experimenting, I wallpapered with a “Navaho” pattern to match the window fabric.  I took the covers off of the captain’s chairs, washed them, and replaced the pattern material on the seats and backs with marine vinyl.  That was a huge job because I did not have an industrial type sewing machine and I may have to have it redone professionally.

A slipcover for the sofa in vinyl was fairly easy and so much easier to keep clean. I removed the board from the front of the sofa and hung a curtain of sorts across the front with double stick tape, it is much easier to access for storage and easier to clean.  Under the sofa I keep a round metal folding patio table with a glass top.  To have a real dining spot inside I turn the captain’s chairs facing each other and set the table between.  When parked for a while the table goes outside.

Well total cost for the “front section” was about $300 and worth every penny.

Having a place for the computer, printer and scanner was a huge problem, my solution was to have an attractive wood box made that fits in the first section under the sofa and behind the driver’s seat.  in one corner a post holds a table made from that worthless step cover.  The table has a bracket in the center or corner so that I can position the top any way I need it.  For dining, computer work and so on.  To use the scanner and printer I just slide the box out.  I have a surge strip in the box for all the plug-ins and the bottom is carpeted for easy sliding.

Well that all looked so great that I replaced the carpet in the bath with the same vinyl and the bedroom carpet with peel and stick flooring.  I removed the wallpaper in the bedroom and painted, it worked ok but some flaws in the paneling showed and when I painted the kitchen area, I just painted right over the vinyl and that worked great.  I will paint the bathroom next.

For less than $700 total and lots of elbow grease my little Trek looks like a first class act.