View original topic: Winston Lives! A VERBOSE Update
msinabottle Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:39 pm

I haven't had too much to say about my work-related weekly summer camp-out with Winston, for a long time.

The adage 'no news is good news' largely applies. He rolls well still on those 15" Michelin Defender LTX tires, the Atelier Sunbrella Tent has held up very well, also. Earlier this year I ran out of propane too early--twice. It turned out that the plug in my adapter had leaked, and the hose into it when I rigged up a spare canister had also leaked. It took me a while to realize I needed to put pipe dope on the fitting and the hose end, I used the 'crayon' style, which I bought at Ace and tightened and tested--successfully. A new driver's side door light switch, the notched one from Van Cafe, solved one of Winston's most aggravating issues.

I see that I mentioned replacing Winston's old plastic bleeder valve with an aluminum metal one from Van Cafe, and that the hose 'U' delete since I didn't use the automatic transmission cooler was leaking... I THOUGHT I'd fixed it by tightening the two clamps. Er, no. I kept finding about a cup of spilled coolant on the garage floor after each weekend. I finally realized my mistake but had to remove the big cooling return hose to get at one of the clamps. I figured that couldn't have that much coolant in it with the system being depressurized...


Er, no.

So since I had to fill and bleed the system anyway, I also installed the replacement metal 'H' piece I bought from GoWesty on sale last November, a decision made easier by reading here on the Samba about how many of the aging plastic ones had failed. That went well enough, and I filled and bled the system fairly easily with my converted (and rebuilt with a better gauge) Ace Sprayer, for which see here:

The leaks have stopped. I was fairly sure they would when the system held pressure for an hour, a test I accidentally ran by getting called away during the bleeding.

We did, though, just have an interesting weekend...

After finally putting paid to the 'coolant' burp, there came the next crisis. Winston so far has only gagged and killed on a clogged 'cube' fuel filter. I run that before the pump, and retrofitted a metal canister filter after it. The fact that those DO get clogs reinforces my decision! I figured that he had one of those clogs as I started out the 37 mile drive to my weekend job and he killed and gagged as I started him. I had no time to replace the filter, but I hoped a new tank of gas and MMO would get me through. I did leave an untreated half tank of gas in him over the winter, and did NOT get away with it. I should note that the pre-pump plastic cube filter was 2+ years old.

He made it fine, which is no small feat, these days. He has to run in 1st and 2nd up a macadamized narrow road which the turns into a rutted dirt road which then turns into a steeply-graded rutted and eroded asphalt road with a very steep grade. With high 'speed bump' ridges to minimize the erosion, which they don't seem to do well. At the top of THAT is an an even steeper deeply-rutted dirt parking area. I am in awe of how well Winston handles all that. A function of his ground clearance and good gearing!

Anyway, starting home Sunday evening he killed a few times when I had to slow way down or stop. At freeway speed he was fine... But then came four or so miles of stop-and-go, mostly stop, bumper to bumper traffic--on the Interstate. 45 minutes of it, and no warning or chance to escapee. The fan ran a lot, too. Winston killed repeatedly until I remembered something...

Long before I knew him, Winston had had a dealer-installed A/C, almost all long removed--except for the switch on the dash. I had to remove a bunch of other stuff still left on him, including the evaporator, the compressor was long gone. Turning the switch boosts the idle to keep the A/C running. Remembering all that kept me from grenading the clutch until the traffic broke free. He got me home all right but did kill as I backed him into the garage. I had to get him road worthy!

Today I pulled and cut open the cube pre-filter. Besides the old gas, I found some black grit. The grit was there, the pleats rust-red--but I caught the spilled gas in a pie pan, not all of it filtered, and it was clear. Some red might be the MMO--every tank.

While I was at that, I also mounted a factory-style bracket bought from Van Cafe to hold the big Bosch canister filter I had installed not so long after buying Winston, in 2007.

I was finally able to replace the plumber's tape I made work then with something stronger. The new heavy bracket bolted right on through that same hole in the long beams under him.

He killed the first time I started him upon completion, then idled perfectly. No leaks or noise.

Winston lives!


jlrftype7 Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:38 pm

Congratulations......WooHoo :D

jimf909 Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:46 pm

Whew! I'm fine with verbose updates, I'm just glad it wasn't wordy! :wink:

Thanks for the update! It seems like it's been a few years since we were routinely updated on Winston's adventure. Glad to hear all is well.

msinabottle Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:48 pm

Thank you for the kind comments, I'm glad you found the story interesting. I got more...


I've been killing Winston at low speeds, particularly backing him into the garage, for which, see HERE:

Besides the new pre-filter, I also replaced Winston's ignition wires, the same set that was on him when I bought him in 2006. These were STI from Arizona Parts Haus, German components, U.S. assembled, they looked very good and went on well. I took the opportunity to pull a plug, installed in 2006, a German made Bosch. The end with the cathodes was black, but the anode was clear and undamaged and there was no build-up. Larry Blazer told me they did need to see Winston every few years to tune him, I need to find someone who can do that with the Blazers gone. When he runs, he runs well, though. I did have a few issues starting out. It turned out I'd left that A/C switch on. That fixed, he idled well and got me right to the job site.

I literally have, over the years, dug out Winston's parking space from that steeply sloping hillside, two places for his front tires scooped out so he sits pretty level with his RMW bumper against an earth bank. The problem is backing out--once he's out of his 'bay' I'm on that steep dirt road on the hill with other camps and vehicles parked about. I've got to hold him and get him into first at enough distance for him to make the right turn onto the exit road out. Sometimes I'm perfect, other times... At least I remembered to let him warm up and took OFF the parking brake. But it still went South. My neighbor, a friend, suddenly drove into his site just as I was starting out, right behind me. I braked hard and stalled on the incline. I killed Winston's engine three times trying to get into First and out again. He made it, though. But the fun had just begun.

They were shutting down the job site, so I found myself behind a large black pick up with a bed cover as it poked its way down the eroded asphalt of the main road. I left Winston in first and let him follow slowly--then came two BIG cargo trucks on the way up hill. The truck ahead of me nosed into a pull out in front of the parked car with an open door that kept me from also pulling out of their way. I hollered, someone came out and closed the door and the uphill trucks got past us. Winston died as I pulled out onto the road, I think it was the heat (90 outside of him, 95 INSIDE him) and a half-empty tank, I coasted down to a level spot without brake boost, and got him started again and out, driving very carefully around the company owner's Escalade (with him in it!) as I made my way out of the site. Smooth run from now on... HAH!

Through town... Long frontage road leading to the Interstate... Unwinding Winston, settling down... Old white Toyota sedan oncoming... straying into my lane... STAYING THERE... HARD RIGHT! <<WHAM!!!>> and zooming off.



I didn't feel an impact, and, a bit stunned, looked into the side view mirror and didn't see any obvious damage. Nasty cross winds on the Interstate, horrible heat, glaring sun... Belt road torn up and a nightmare, so I took another route. That's got another steep hill, but it's only BAD if you're stuck at a red light two cars back, which I... was.

Winston's radiator fan whirring, left leg weary, and as the light changed, sure enough, I killed him again. It's not like there was a huge construction truck right behind me, oh, wait, there was, and I slipped back twice and JUST as I got him in gear a MOTORCYCLE cut in front of me and stopped at the top of the hill. The construction truck, for some reason, stayed WELL back, but this time I finally got him through the intersection without further moments of embarrassment and terror.


I drove through yet more detours and road construction to my local manual car wash, which takes credit cards. I hadn't washed Winston at the end of last season and this year's torrential rains (he hydroplaned briefly on one run during a REAL 'Frog Strangler!) had not cleaned off the mud. And THERE it was--a 28" long black streak on Winston's clear coat, probably from the old Toyota's side mirror. It was in between my side mirror and the intact utility outlets. I gave sincere thanks it wasn't worse, but neither my finger, my fingernail, the wash or the brush took it off.

I fueled Winston after the wash--I had to prepay and get a refund due to the pump being broken. Got him home without further incident and added MMO and Sta-Bil 360 to his tank, which I also hadn't done last year. Then I tried what had come into mind on the scuff, one of those 'Magic Erasers' wet with plain water. It ALL came RIGHT off, not even leaving a scuff on the clear coat. And so the drive home figuratively from Hell had a surprisingly happy ending.

Although I killed him three times backing into the garage...



djkeev Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:04 am

Glad all ended up well!

Yeah, mirrors are a problem, especially newer trucks where ther stick out WAY beyond the body!

I had a mirror swipe on a Roebling Suspension Bridge over the Delaware into Riegelsville. Some big pickup with mirrors extended.... Idiot!

The bridge is quite narrow and people are afraid of the edge so they hug the center line if not even venture over it.
If you are driving a large vehicle and don't know what space it occupies on the roadway, well get something smaller that you can control!


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