Sunday, October 25, 2009

Accelerations at constant throttle

I've figured out what most astounds and delights me about having all this power now that my fuel system is cleaned up.

When I hold the throttle constant, the van accelerates. A lot. It's great. It rarely did that, usually only when I'd just inflated the tires, then it would stop doing it over time. Now it does this all the time: I hold the throttle constant, and the van stays at constant revs, but it keeps going faster and faster on the road... and then it shifts, into even slower revs! Fuel efficiency, yes, we like it. And it even does this going up a hill.

I did a lot of little maintenance this weekend. I put some Parr-Bond, thanks to the suggestion of Possum from the vandweller's list, on the leak where the roof of the cab meets the front wall of the box. Parr-Bond is basically airplane glue. Works out well for the tight areas and the vertical areas, but up at the top where the seam is horizontal, there's also a huge gap, and the Parr-Bond is runny, so it just runs into the crack rather than sealing it. So that needs to get fixed, somehow.

I also discovered a deeply-pitted spot on the van cab roof, where water pools up. I cleaned it off and primered it. Over the next day or two I will enamel it.

I put in the new starter I've been carrying around for almost 2 years now. Sadly, it turned out not to be a gear-reduction starter, just the regular stock starter, so the van doesn't start any easier than it did before. But it was a simple job once I obtained the right kind of wrench (17mm C wrench, or an S-wrench will do in a pinch).

It is very weird how this van is half metric, half SAE. A vandweller friend gave me a caliper, which is very useful: I see a bolt, I measure it, I don't have to fish around for the right socket or wrench.

I am still baffled by the leak under the van. I looked yesterday, and saw a golden-brown drop clinging to a random peice of metal-- the unmistakable look and viscocity of motor oil. Biodiesel won't hang from a surface that long, for sure. I found another spot that was definitely leaking fuel before I changed out the hoses and o-rings, but is once again wet now! So maybe I still have a fuel leak, and an oil leak also.

To find the leaks, I will need to take off the turbo so I can see back in there. The oil leak may be coming from the turbo itself, its o-rings, or perhaps from the fuel pump which is buried behind the turbo. I sure hope it isn't the fuel pump: a new one is $400!

I made some progress planning the interior. The most important thing I need is the ceiling. Nothing can really happen until I get that ceiling in, and I'm having a very hard time locating ceiling tiles and hangers. I still have to mount the remaining lockers, but I need to get the ceiling in first. Then I can move cabinets around, move my batteries around, and start running conduit for a more permanent electrical setup-- something I definitely want. I'm also eager to put in a kitchen counter ($10/foot, not bad) and the sink I have had sitting around for a while. Something as simple as a sink would be a joy right now. I will re-do my bed with 2x2's instead of 2x6's, and put in a closet for clothes and stuff... lots of plans.

But right now I'd like to not be leaving puddles of fuel or oil or whatever all over the road.

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