Q: I was a little surprised that in your response to the letter from Dennis & Kristie Karsen, F260959 (April 2004, page 24), which asked whether their 270-horsepower V-10 engine could be upgraded to produce 305 horsepower, you spoke only of options available from Ford. You, being in the RV industry and familiar with aftermarket upgrades, did not refer to the Banks Power upgrade system. I have a 1999 V-10 and it also was rated at 270 horsepower. After installing the Banks Power system, my horsepower and torque were greatly improved. The system, totally installed, cost less than $2,500. You might want to advise Mr. and Mrs. Karsen to look into this system. I am very pleased with it. It did not increase my gas mileage, which has averaged 7.5 mpg over 60,000 miles, but it did increase response.
Al Selke Jr., F257932
A: Thanks for your input.
Q: Do you have you information on tire monitors? Ever done any reviews? I notice more of these devices are available at motorhome rallies. Discussions are going on about having them on new cars and motorcycles, so the technology seems to be at hand.
I notice that some models are mounted inside the tire “” a costly operation “” but they also indicate the tire temperature as well as the pressure. Others screw on the end of the valve stem and report pressure only. Might these types come loose? As you can see, I have been doing some research (a recent flat tire gave me the impetus to start this project and would almost have paid for the system). Any advice?
Richard Fry, F285034
Williamson, New York
A: I haven’t tested any of the tire pressure monitors on the market, so I have no personal knowledge/experience with them. From what I’ve read, however, it appears that your decision will be based on your own preferences.
The screw-on type senders offer easy installation and can be moved from vehicle to vehicle should you decide to purchase a new motorhome. I wouldn’t worry too much about the senders backing off the valve stems; if there were a significant chance of them unscrewing, I don’t believe they would be as popular as they are.
The senders that are mounted inside the tires offer an advantage that the screw-on types don’t: they also indicate tire temperature. Oftentimes a significant increase in temperature can warn of a potential tire problem before loss of pressure occurs. Of course, the tires must be removed for installation and the senders are not easily exchanged between vehicles.
If you tow a vehicle behind your motorhome, include that vehicle’s tires in your monitor plans. A blown tire on your towed vehicle, dolly, or trailer could wreck your trip. When doing so, make sure the maximum allowable distance between the monitor and sending units is sufficient for your motorhome’s length, as well as the additional distance for the towed vehicle.
Q: We are considering the new Chevy Equinox as a towed vehicle for our type A coach. It isn’t listed in the towables article published in the 2004 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine. Will it be included in future lists or is it unsuitable for towing?
Brian Crockatt, F338882
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A: According to a representative from Chevrolet, the 2005 Equinox, a new small-size SUV, will not be towable four wheels down.
Q: I have two problems with my motorhome, built on a Workhorse chassis. The first is that I have had to replace the dash air conditioner relay three times. The fan puts out nothing but hot air no matter where I set the temperature. As soon as the relay is replaced, the air conditioner works properly for a while, and then it starts sending out hot air again.
My second problem occurred when we returned from Florida. I backed into the driveway, parked, got out, and noticed a small pool of fluid on the ground under the engine. I slid under and discovered the fluid was red, so I assumed it was either automatic transmission fluid or power steering fluid. From the location (the oil dripped down onto the front stabilizer bar), I would say it was power steering fluid, but how? The coach had 2,000 miles on it when we bought it about a year ago and now it has 11,000 miles on it.
Richard Stirling, F331629
A: I will comment on the electrical problem first. I assume that you tested the air conditioner relays and found that each was faulty before replacing it. I’m also assuming that the air-conditioning system is fully charged with R-134A refrigerant. My next question is, has the air conditioner ever worked since you’ve owned the coach? Workhorse has issued Chassis Service Bulletin #80101-T that has information you may find helpful. Do you know whether this work has been performed by your Workhorse service technician?
Regarding the small pool of fluid under the coach, it could be automatic transmission fluid, but it probably is not power steering fluid. In most vehicles, power steering fluid has been reformulated and has a different color “” clearer with a slight amber cast. If Workhorse has used Dex-Cool coolant in the GM engine, that coolant is very red and could be what you see. In any case, you should have a service technician take a look at your motorhome to determine where the leak is coming from.
Engine Shuts Off
Q: I have a 1995 Safari Serengeti with a Cummins 8.3-liter, 300-horsepower engine that randomly stops running. It could be after 25, 50, or 100 miles, or it might run all day.
The engine was diagnosed as having a defective fuel shutoff solenoid, which Cummins reps told me to replace ($280). This did not help. Next, I disassembled the ignition switch and inspected the contacts, which I found to be clean and aligned. Safari officials told me to replace the ignition solenoid, which I did, but still there was no change.
The transmission stays engaged, so the coach doesn’t completely lose power. After stopping, the engine can be restarted in a few seconds.
Carl Kummer, F272373
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
A: According to a Cummins service engineer, as difficult as it is to diagnose a problem without seeing the motorhome, he thought you were on the right path to finding the root cause. Given that the power plant used in your motorhome is a mechanical engine, the only way for it to quit running as you described is for the fuel flow to be stopped. It makes sense to think that the problem is located in the fuel shutoff circuit.
The only suggestion that he made, beyond what has already been done, was to check the wiring and connections between the ignition switch and the shutdown solenoid. He indicated a loose or bare wire or a bad connector somewhere could cause the symptoms that you’ve described.