Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Cool in Santa Fe

We are at a Wal-Mart in Santa Fe (map), along historic 66.

We're happy to be here, for several reasons. First and foremost, we're at 6,600' elevation, and the temperature here is considerably cooler than anyplace south or east of here. Since we're already east of the continental divide, with nothing but the great plains between us and hurricane country, we've decided to stay in Santa Fe for a few days and enjoy the climate. Besides, I've never been here, and I'd like to see the place.

It turned out that there was an Olive Garden less than a mile from here, even though our GPS indicated the nearest one to be in Albuquerque, so we walked to dinner last night. And we've needed a stock-up visit to Wal-Mart anyway. Lastly, there is a laundromat right across the street, which we desperately need, and we'll spend a few hours there today.

It seems lately that none of my posts is complete without an update on mechanical issues, and I do not want to disappoint. Yesterday we stopped at Stewart & Stevenson in Albuquerque to see if they could look at the cooling system, but they were booked up for three days, so we pressed on. Climbing the grade we got up to around 205° or so, but, subjectively, things seem like they are getting better. I attribute that to the engine breaking in a bit since the first couple grades (Cajon and Union). We pulled in to a rest area just past the summit with the temperature still around 200, and I was able to measure a consistent 10° drop across the radiators (205°-195°, 198°-188°, etc.) as the system cooled down. Also, it was impossible to stand behind the fans, such was the heat blowing from them.

I'm told that 10° is the bottom end of "normal" and 15° would be better, but I have no evidence that these radiators ever dropped more than 10° (although I wish now that I had thought to measure this back when things were "normal," whatever that means). But this seems to indicate that the fans, radiators, and water pump are all working, although the efficiency of the whole system seems to have degraded since some undetermined previous point in time.

Of somewhat more concern is that I started noticing excessive smoking and loss of power yesterday afternoon, as we pulled into Santa Fe and tooled around town looking for a parking spot. I've got feelers out on the bus boards for possible causes, and I've already spoken at length with Virgil over at PEDCO. I am leaning towards a fuel problem right now, possibly related to the 150 gallons we put in in Albuquerque. We're going to change the filters today and see if that helps.

Virgil has some contacts down at Stewart & Stevenson, so if we can't solve this here ourselves, we may backtrack the 50 miles to have them look at it. He probably could have pulled some strings to get us in there yesterday, too, but he was out of the office all day and I did not reach him until we were already here.

1 comment:

  1. hello sir,
    I am an avid reader of your blog and the busnut page.
    Though I am unable to post there,I am curious to know why with two radiators Y'd to your coolant pump you do not opt for a two stage cooling system..IE feed the output of the first thru to the second,there is such a thing as a dual pass single radiator,There are engineers who I believe could help in the Pacific Northwest.let me think on it some more.
    Suggestion 2:
    Refrain from future stall testing until you sort out your problem,this test is probably the hardest thing you can do to your engine in the desert.
    In the future I will E=mail you if you like.


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