Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cooling our heels

We are still in Santa Fe, reluctant to move any further eastward into temperatures above the century mark. Temperatures here have climbed only into the high 80's, and have dropped below 60° at night, so we've not needed any air conditioning at all, and our power consumption has been very low.

We actually spent a second night at Wal-Mart, uncharacteristic for us. We had left there around mid-day Tuesday to do laundry and other errands, including road-testing the bus (more on this in a moment), and by the time we found ourselves wondering where to head next, it was the end of the day and Wal-Mart was the easy option.

Yesterday we moved here, to the Santa Fe Elks Lodge (map). RV parking is in a dirt lot with a panoramic view of the hills, and is free. Last night happened to be prime rib night at the lodge, so we also went in for dinner, where we were each served a heaping plate for $7. We're the only rig here, and so have the place all to ourselves at the moment.

Regarding the low power problem I reported here on Tuesday, I discovered that the fuel is being sucked out of our fuel/water separator, after which the engine becomes starved for fuel. On Tuesday I filled the separator with fresh fuel, and the power problem completely disappeared as we drove around town. So yesterday I set to work on the separator, based on some troubleshooting tips from the manufacturer. I ended up replacing the filter cartridge and the grommets and O-rings that seal the unit, using up the spares we normally carry with us. Then I filled it with fresh fuel before we drove over here.

We had no power problem for the first part of the drive. But we've climbed 300' or so in the five miles from Wal-Mart, and the power dropped just as we arrived. Sure enough, all the fuel is gone from the separator again. I am now faced with the prospect that either the fuel supply from the tank is restricted somehow, or there is a minute air leak in the separator allowing the fuel to drain out without being replaced. Today's project will be to tear into the separator again looking for leaks, and perhaps to get some fittings to blow air through the main supply line to clear it out. I'll also be looking for fittings to bypass the separator, just in case.

We're planning to stay right here until the temperatures east of us come down a bit, so I'll have plenty of time to work on this. We'd also like to get some sightseeing in before we leave town.

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