Q: I’m concerned about the oil consumption of my Ford 6.8-liter V-10 engine. Since day one it has consumed a lot of oil. During break-in it used about a half-quart per 1,000 miles. Today, 22,250 miles later, it uses approximately three-fourths of a quart to one quart per 1,000 miles.
I was told by my dealer that after 10,000 miles the oil consumption would go down, but there’s been no change. Ford Customer Assistance told me that the consumption is normal, but to try not to use overdrive as much. I’ve tried this but noted no change.
My motorhome’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 20,500 pounds and I never carry more than 20 gallons of water. With full fuel and LP-gas tanks and with my gear on board, my coach weighs 19,400 pounds.
This is my fifth RV and my first Ford, and I’m disappointed in its oil consumption.
Ben Demers, F231868
Suncook, New Hampshire
A: The following statements were taken directly from the October 2001 edition of the Ford Warranty and Policy Manual:
“Oil usage is normally greater during the first 10,000 miles of engine service. As mileage increases during the warranty coverage period, oil usage generally improves.”
Cars and light trucks in normal service should get at least 1,500 miles/quart after 10,000 miles of service. Severe service (e.g., towing, hauling, short trips, taxi, extended idling, or law enforcement use) may result in greater oil usage. Diesel engines used in severe service should get at least 1,000 miles/quart after 7,500 miles of service.
The manual went on to say that when an owner complains of oil usage (consumption), the dealership should determine the amount of oil the engine uses before any major repairs are started. To accomplish this, the owner would need to return to the dealership each time the engine needs oil.
To further clarify this position, all gasoline-powered motorhomes built on Ford chassis fall into the severe service category. According to your letter, you are averaging one quart per 1,333 miles. That is why most dealers are telling you it is normal per Ford Motor Company policy guidelines. Admittedly, this is a borderline case, and in the end it is a judgment call on the part of the dealer that runs the oil consumption test.
Q: I have been told that the 2002 Honda Civic with an automatic transmission is no longer towable four wheels on the ground. I just bought one and had a hitch installed, and I am concerned that I may have made a blunder. Can you please advise me on this?
Robert Adair, F99281
A: American Honda Motor Company has never approved towing any of its vehicles other than the Honda CR-V and the Acura MDX. However, the company has provided a letter that instructs owners regarding the proper procedures if they should decide to tow their Honda or Acura vehicles (the letter applies to all Honda/Acura vehicles except the CR-V, MDX, Insight, S2000, Passport, and NSX). We checked with our Honda contact when we were compiling the 2002 towing survey information that appeared in the March issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine, and we were told that the information included in the letter is still accurate for the 2002 model year.
Members who have misplaced or passed along their copy of the March 2002 issue of FMC magazine can find the 2002 towing survey on FMCA’s Web site “” www.fmca.com. Log on to the For Members Only area and click on FMC magazine articles and then “Towables For 2002.” Members will be asked to log on before the article is displayed.
I am not sure who is sounding the alarm about not being able to flat tow the 2002 Civic, but we haven’t heard anything to that effect. However, we’d be interested in finding out if this is a valid concern so we can alert our members who regularly travel with a towed car. Hondas are popular towed vehicles.
Q: I want to run an LP-gas line with a quick disconnect to use for a grill, stove, etc., from my motorhome’s LP-gas tank. Which type of piping should I use: black iron, copper tubing, or Gastite CSST (as is used in new home construction)? I will have a licensed HVAC contractor install and test the line for leaks.
Betty Sawyer, F233163
Garner, North Carolina
A: Your safest choice would be black iron. It has thick walls with positive-threaded connections; there’s very little risk of it cracking due to vibration; and it should have excellent resistance to abrasion wear. There may be circumstances where your motorhome’s space configuration might dictate a final short run of copper tubing. This often is seen in the RV industry in the last connection to gas appliances. The gas-style quick coupler “” different from an air hose quick coupler “” is a must. To be on the safe side, I would recommend putting an LP-gas-approved shut-off valve immediately before the quick connector.
Q: I have a 38-foot 2000 Dutch Star diesel pusher. It is time to replace the batteries that power the 12-volt DC circuits in the coach. It came with two standard check-the-water-level-type batteries. What do I need to understand and learn about replacing batteries? I have heard about deep-cycle and gel-pack technologies; what are the advantages, disadvantages, brands, recommendations? My coach sits a lot. It is primarily used for family vacations and two or three times a year beyond that.
Bob Buehler, F39521S1
A: For a coach that is used occasionally, the most practical solution would be to replace the coach batteries with the most economical deep-discharge batteries available with a reasonable warranty period. Batteries that are idle for long periods of time seem to deteriorate faster than those that are used frequently. An article titled “Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries” was published in the December 2000 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine (page 62). The article explains the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of flooded-cell, gel-cel, and absorbed glass mat batteries.
A photocopy of the article can be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope along with your request to the FMCA national office, attention Editorial Assistant.
Backfiring In Bossier City Revisited
Q: Our 1993 Winnebago Brave with 22,000 miles on it had the same problem as the one Mr. Hungate described (“Backfiring In Bossier City,” April 2002, p. 24) “” and worse “” for more than a year and a half. After spending close to $1,800 for diagnostic tests from “experts,” which included three major Missouri RV service centers, my lovely wife found the answer.
As background, we had changed dozens of fuel filters, changed the spark plugs and wiring, had tune-ups, and pumped out the fuel tank (several times), based on professional diagnosis. The causes listed for my motorhome’s problems included bad fuel, bad fuel filters, bad vacuum system, bad cruise control, bad transmission fluid, bad this, and bad that. Almost everything in the coach but the radio was blamed for our problem.
Then in 1999 on a trip from Rolla, Missouri, to Mill City, Oregon, after the engine died several times, lost power, and lost brakes and steering due to loss of engine power (even in the Cascade Mountains) on the way west, we decided to stop at a campground at the east end of the Columbia Gorge. And, yes, as we pulled off the highway, the engine died.
That night, while I was studying our stack of receipts, our operator’s guide, and other technical books looking for the problem, my wife asked, “Did anyone ever check the PCV valve?” A quick review of receipts disclosed that a PCV valve was not listed. The next morning we replaced the $1.69 valve and have had no problems since. The biggest task in changing the valve was removing and reinstalling the engine cover. Since that time, we have shared this remedy with three other Chevy big-block engine owners who had similar problems and they, too, were cured.
It appears that the PCV valve became hot due to a failure in the exhaust manifold gasket and twisted the valve just enough so when it warmed up, the check ball inside would become trapped and starve the engine. Obviously, we now carry a spare valve.
Rich & Sherry Hashagen, F227391
St. James, Missouri
A: On behalf of Mr. Hungate, and other members with similar problems, thanks for your suggestion.
LP-Gas Tank Question
Q: I have a question about the new law pertaining to propane tanks made after 1996, which went into effect in April 2002. I understand it is necessary to have certified fittings installed on the older tanks or purchase new tanks. Does this affect propane tanks on motorhomes as well as trailers?
Bud Leathers, F209408
Many states have adopted the National Fire Protection Association code change that requires small propane cylinders to be equipped with an overfilling prevention device (OPD) by April 1, 2002. This code applies only to vertical, portable tanks with a capacity of 4 pounds to 40 pounds; the frame-mounted, horizontally oriented tanks in RVs are exempt. Most of the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) tanks of recent years have been voluntarily fitted with an OPD. Tanks equipped with the OPD have a non-removable triangular-shaped hand-wheel, and the body of the valve is marked with the OPD letters.
A: The OPD is a safety device designed to prevent overfilling a tank beyond its maximum permitted limit. For additional information about OPDs and propane safety, visit www.npga.org or ww.nfpa.com.
Stalling Southwind Solutions
Q: We have a 1988 Pace Arrow with a Chevrolet 454 engine, and we experienced the same stalling problem that Dan Crain expressed in his letter in the February 2002 issue of FMC magazine (page 26). In our case, the carburetor’s butterfly closed too quickly. Assuming that Mr. Crain’s engine has a Holley carburetor, the first step to solving the problem is to find the small adjustment screw located on the right front of the carburetor. This adjustment screw controls the tension on the spring that pulls the butterfly shut. To adjust the setting, release the small Allen-head lock screw located on the front right side of the carburetor. Make the adjustments a quarter-turn at a time before road testing the coach.
Bill & Bev Sutherland, F148645
Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada
A: The stalling problem experienced by Don and Mary Crain (“Stalling Southwind, February 2002, p. 26) which you correctly identified as a lean mixture in the Rochester Quadrajet, can be caused by the auxiliary throttle plates in the secondary bores. Because the auxiliary plates are spring-loaded, they do not open until air velocity is sufficient enough to ensure a proper mixture. The setscrew that holds the spring on the auxiliary plates can come loose, causing the plates to lose their tension. It’s an easy fix: remove the auxiliary plate, rotate the spring axle six or seven turns, and tighten the setscrew.
Don Bevilacqua, F178905
Thank you for your suggestions.