Q: I have a 2000 Monaco La Palma on a Ford chassis with a V-10 engine. If I drive in town and make a lot of stops and starts, my speedometer stops and the overdrive light on the gearshift comes on. This continues until I park and turn the engine off. I don’t know how long it has to be off (usually I don’t start up again until the next day). This has happened several times and the dealer always says to bring it in when it stops. Usually, though, I’m off someplace and it’s not easy to take it in.
Henry Fryer, F122270
A: According to a representative from Ford, most of these symptoms were far more common on the 1999 F-53 chassis than the 2000 F-53 chassis. He recommends that the electronic control module for the ABS be replaced and the vehicle be updated per Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) 2-11-03. The TSB update involves the installation of a new ground harness for the powertrain control module (PCM).
A qualified technician also can use a scan tool to check the operation of the vehicle speed sensor (VSS) and its associated circuits, as there could be a trouble code stored in the computer’s memory.
Q: I have just read your article about the Saturn L300 (April 2003, page 62) and was pleased to find that I could buy a wagon to haul behind my motorhome. I went down to the Saturn dealer and was told by the head mechanic “” he mentioned that he had another RVer in the week before asking the same questions “” that the L-Series automatics cannot be towed four wheels down. He said that the transmission would burn out. I live in Ontario, Canada, and wondered if the Canadian Saturn is built differently from the American one, or our warranty does not cover this? I hope you can clear up this problem and let me know what is going on.
Barbara Cormack, F169960
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
A: The first thing you should do is to ask the salesperson or mechanic whether you can take a look at the car’s owners manual. What you’ll discover is that the automatic transmission models of the LW300 wagon, like all of the other L-Series vehicles, can be towed without modification other than removing some fuses. Saturn’s Vue and ION models do have different transmissions installed that will be damaged if flat towed, but not the LW300.
Q: I have a 40-foot Holiday Rambler Endeavor diesel, and I am interested in having a Bose entertainment system installed. We live in New Jersey, so can you recommend a place where we can have this work done?
Kevin Gillen, F310515
Vernon, New Jersey
A: Perhaps you could start by contacting Holiday Rambler (800-245-4778, www.holidayrambler.com) and asking whether there is a Holiday Rambler dealer near you that might perform such installations.
FMCA does have several commercial member RV dealers in New Jersey. Their names are listed in the Business Directory that appears in the January and June issues of FMC magazine and online at www.fmca.com/bsd. One of them, Garick RV, C3881, in Oak Ridge, New Jersey, (877-442-7425), is listed as a Holiday Rambler dealer.
Finally, a look through your local Yellow Pages (under “Stereo Equipment “” Dealers”) would likely turn up a number of candidates for the installation. Many stereo shops are accustomed to working on very expensive installations in stationary homes, custom cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles, and a motorhome is no different “” just a bit larger.
Q: We own a Dutch Star diesel pusher by Newmar. When we were on vacation in Florida we pulled into an Exxon/Mobil station because we noticed the green-handled pump, which indicated to us the availability of diesel fuel. To our very unfortunate surprise, the pump was for unleaded fuel, and we put 16 gallons into our diesel fuel tank. After a $400 service call, we were on our way. We have written about this experience to Exxon/Mobil with no response. Our question is: when did stations go to green handles on their pumps for unleaded gas? I was in the service station business for 20 years and have never heard of this.
Steve & Deb Grand, F269993
A: There is no law regulating the color of fuel pump handles. By unofficial agreement, several oil companies use green for diesel fuel and other colors for the various levels of gasoline “” or just one nozzle for gas with an internal valve to control the octane level.
You’re not alone in automatically picking the green handle for diesel fuel; for years it’s been an expensive lesson folks have had to learn. Usually it happens when you’re tired after a long day on the road and all you’re thinking about is that comfortable bed you’ll be hitting just as soon as you’re topped off. This is a good reminder for all diesel users to double-check the pump before sticking the nozzle in the filler tube.
Q: I own a 2002 Bounder motorhome built on a 2001 Ford platform. When I purchased it new in October 2001 there was already a Ford replacement part (Ford part number YC3Z-9K635-AA) installed to keep the engine from running rough and stumbling. The repair did not solve the problem on my unit.
This stumble occurs in the rain, with the engine running under moderate load in fourth gear in the power band at approximately 2,100 rpm. Downshifting to third and unloading the engine clears up the problem. In dry conditions, the engine runs perfectly. After the last occurrence, a representative with Ford technical support told me to check the air filter for water. It was dry. The local Ford truck dealer’s shop does not know what to do. The symptoms point to an ignition-related problem. The stumble can be severe, similar to a cross fire, but that is supposedly impossible with the V-10’s ignition system.
James Willick, F302286
A: Have you tried changing the ignition wires or spraying them with ignition sealant spray? I know that cross firing is supposed to be impossible, but I agree with you that it sounds like a grounded spark plug wire. Try the spray first, and if that doesn’t work, have the plug wires replaced.