Guys… I had like a novel plunked out…. somehow it got deleted! Crap… now, you’ll never know how stupid a question this was! Give me tomorrow…. I’ll take a wack at it again…. gangit.
Yeah.. you probably figured that one out… that’s Dangit
So after a day of trying to figure out where I was going with this, betcha figured out he must be nuts…. well there are debates open on that but there is a point I would like to make that may just apply to all of our motors.
So look, we all know there’s just so many risks in building a motor and even moreso today……. there’s the $&))^&^# parts, the worker quality, knowledge of how to build a motor…… assembly, installation, breakin, driving habits, maintenance… and THAT list goes on and on. When something happens to a motor we usually spin the needle on the “blame-game board” to see who wins the fickled finger of fate award. But wait, maybe there is a more underlying reason these things happen?
We also include ZDDP in the oil, Ethanol in the gas, and other variables that have changed since these motors were designed here lately into that list of possible Blame-game possibilities but let me suggest another that may explain a bunch of things!
No pics today so if you’re like me…. picking up a magazine for the pictures you may want to go watch an Andy Griffith show right now……. after having to deal with 2 motor failures… one a fresh rebuild another an older rebuild I feel this may be a factor that we need to consider…… so here we go:
Just because I admit this doesn’t mean I’m a bad guy… I’m a product of the 70’s. My first NEW car for graduation was a 1973 Pinto stationwagon…… yeah, I know and my best friend got a 340 Duster…. I helped him find floormats for the thing! Back then there were many things different… many are coming back today, I just hope those 3 piece double knit leasure suits don’t come back! Another thing I wish would come back was the gas and oil.. both the price but more the makeup. We do not use the same gasoline as we had back then……. there’s alote recently been said about that and going into the new active, real time fuel injection systems have talked a bit about that recently but there’s something else… something more that we may just be letting slip by and this is what I wanted to talk about.
The 2 recent motor failures were very different but they both had one big thing in common…….. the fresh motor, 1 of the 8 firing chambers reached a point that the aluminum piston started melting gallding the piston to the steel cylinder wall…….. it got that hot! The other motor, an older rebuild cylinder head got so hot it cracked! Both motors got so hot at a major spot and caused failure. OK.. so why are these motors doing that?
Could be something as simple as they ran the crap out of the motor, it got hot and melted sure… but lets try and find out more… I mean the intent of the driver was not to screw that motor into the ground! The intent of the folks that built the fresh motor was not to make a bomb so what’s the key here?
“Back in the day” I had a timing light and as most basic mechanics had one too along with a dwell meter (an obscure device today). We timed a motor to it’s factory spec then fiddled with everything else to try and make it run good. We always knew we could pour some Sunoco hi test in it, go blow it out on the highway the see if we could get it tuned up. You may have done it other ways and actually PERFORMANCE MECHANICS DID…… They screwed with the timing, they did other things, polishing the intake, bigger valves, heavy compression…… big funnel looking things that took a stupid amount of fuel but hey… we didn’t care… you had to waste fuel to go fast!
My Pinto wagon had a 2 liter German motor with a DGV weber stock! After I finished doing my worse to that thing… it would idle perfect and run like a lawn mower of I could idle it above 2000rpm and it would leap when you said giddiup! I put headers on it, fat tires and I thought I was hot shit! I pitty the fool who ever ended up with that thing and my buddy’s 340 Duster? We started buying “performance goodies” from the magazine and that thing NEVER ran again! We had it so hot it blew up!
So lets FF to today on the 8-track and lets get to my point. Back then, a basic mechanic would do the service on the motorhome…. he would set timing at 8 degrees which because of the coolaide fuel we have today, with no lead to lube up things, Ethanol to wash things out, today 8 degree timing just won’t get it. If you do, you will need to run hi test gas with a lead additive and no Ethanol and your mileage will be somewhere around 10mpg. The original compression on our 455 was 8.4……. today cars are running at 10 1/2…… coolant pressure was 9psi.. today it’s 18 and 24psi.
Back then a low compression motor running hi test gas set at 8 degrees will never ping! There will never be so much cylinder heat buildup to cause preignition, hot spots on a piston or too much cylinder heat to crack a head!
Before his passing some years ago, Joe Mondello would say to you he wasn’t a smart man but he did figure out one thing…….. That the 455 Olds motor was a performance race motor from the GM skunk works that was detuned and used to pull heavy loads like Grandmas lead sled or maybe a bige ole motorhome…. Joe said I just put the beans back in…….
OK so if we believe Joe, today we are following the performance guys ideas trying to build our motors today stronger.. we add timing…. we add compression (we only bump to 8.9… most production builders are doing 9.5 as SOP today. Our fuels are pitiful…. we THOUGHT taking the lead out didn’t do anything… maybe the damage take a while to come to the surface. Maybe over the years we have abandoned the specs we used to set these motors up with now leaning toward those performance pickups because we have to for the thing to run!
High compression causes more heat… it’s hard to find a quality piston under 9! Forget 8 degrees, 12 is normal if you still use a timing light… usually we set timing today to get it to run the best…. that means timing will be higher which means again more heat in the cylinders. The fuels today must burn hot to do their job. Motors today are set up to handle that… they have to. Carberators job is to keep the amount of air and fuel mixt where it will burn efficiently. A carb cannot do that job today with the fuels we have today and brother DO NOT put a load of E85 in your motorhome…..!!!!!
Hey but we still seek that performance the specs say it would do back then and with adding all this performance shit we expect to find MORE performance… better mileage and all that. We are telling a performance motor to act like that detuned lump motor. It can’t do it like it used to!
Oh it can do it once in a while but back then as today, we expect our motors to do the extreme heat cycles today just like they used to…. with different everything…….. You know the song lyrics “I’m as good once as I ever was”. Today, I’m not even sure that I can do that! I think we are expecting our motors to do something they just can’t like they used to……
I’ve seen motors take it…. I’ve seen motors fail that theoretically were identical. Was the reason for the failure one of the selection for the needle in the Blame-game or was it maybe something else. Nothing will work the same as it always did if you do different things to it. It’s hit and miss today because of all the variables we through into out soup pot.
A guy shows up every time to the rally in his tired looking but still alive motorhome…. Everyone wonders when he’s going to do something to it…… another coach has flashy paint… an awesome interior and an awesome engine to boot and he breaks down on the way to the rally… all the techno-geeks are all over that coach talking all sorts of hi tech stuff and that other guy opens another beer while sitting under his orange/white striped awning…….. Who…. has the better motorhome?
So guys, detune your motor to run cooler, use hi test gas like the manual says, only use non-Ethanol fuel and drive like a preacher and there might be a better bet you will always get there. Build it up, leN IT OUT TO GO…. drive it like you stole it and be sure you have AAA Plus with an RV endorsement! THE CHANCES ARE HIGHER YOU WILL NEED IT.
We expect way to much from our machines today. We do so many performance things to our motors and expect them to act as such. We have to remember…. things are different today!
OK, that’s it… I was driving 2 coaches out to Moss Park, Janie and a bunch of her girlfriends have an annual campout @ 15 miles away from the shop… I bring2 coaches out for them to use. JayGee, our coach which runs along with the FiTech fuel injection….. brakes are a little lacking….. tires are probably low hey….. it’s the “plumbers pipes” syndrome……. I know what that noise is and I just take my time… it’ll be fine…. right guys? So the second coach was Jay M. coach with a roller cam 403… gears, fresh tires, a Mac Daddy dash staring back at me man, this is a nice machine… maybe I should bring up the R’s and see what we have? NO>>>> STOP THAT… all that performance stuff is to let it drive like my other one and not break! Be col with it, don’t stuff your foot in it’s face… don’t use the 4bbl for fun….. don’t smoke the right tire cause you can! Beeeee Koool and it will run forever! And maybe THAT’S what we need to remember… these things are not hot rods… they are motorhomes and we need to drive them as such… even though we’re sporting a roller cam motor with gears!
So I’m selling my drag motorhome….. that may be setting the wrong example…… Looking like a lexas, don’t drive it like one! That fire breathing motor is to get us up to highway speed with the traffic… not to run over them!
Use your cruise control… at 60mph! Up to there, you are not pushing air, the motorhome likes that, the motor likes that, the alignment likes that, your wife likes that.. especially if she is like mine and you will grow to like that because you will not be throwing belts and all that other stuff! You can have fun once in a while… not many fun things from back then we can DO today… be happy, be safe and be good to your motorhome and it will be good to you. When you are driving… it’s about having fun yes but it also needs to be about the motorhome and how you can be good to it…….
I do think these new, real time learning fuel injection systems can help our motors adapt to all the things we have today. Again, NOT FOR PERFORMANCE but to allow you to do today with things we used back then……..
Let me know your thoughts… what do you think? Lemme know…….