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46  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Drive line vibration diagnosis on: October 22, 2013, 04:19:29 pm
Warning:  long post.  Read last paragraph if you are in a hurry.

Captain's log:  Stardate 10/22/13.  Work continues on fixing the vibration.  I drove the RV home after the Ford dealership diagnosed an out of line drive system and they attempted a repair by shimming the 2nd coupler 3 shims towards the ground.  I couldn't feel any improvement, but wasn't any worse.

I contacted Earl and sent him the thoughts of the Ford folks and pictures of the driveline taken by the Ford service manager.  Earl replied stating he forwarded my email to Kermit.  Kermit emailed me a couple of days later and said he couldn't find me in the warranty system.  I emailed back and said I wasn't filing a warranty claim and it was known to me before I purchased the rv that the warranty didn't transfer.  I was simply looking for information on whether the Ford service manager was right and how to fix my rv. 

Kermit called me 2 days later and said he disagreed with the service manager.  The driveline is offset by design towards the passenger side because the engine is offset towards the passenger side and so is the rear axle.  Kermit thought the problem was likely an unbalanced driveshaft and he suspected the rear driveshaft because that is where he had experienced problems in the past.  According to Kermit, before the chassis is extended, the driveshaft may not be "in spec" but it's not a problem until the chassis is extended.  Once extended, little problems are magnified.  He said the company doing the extension has years of experience and has their part of the extension perfected.  They rarely make mistakes.  The extender uses the Ford driveshafts and add one for the length of the extended chassis.  He recommended finding a driveline balancing company and see if they could find the problem and suggest they start with the rear shaft.

I located a driveline balancing company in the next town and took the rv to him yesterday.  The owner's credentials are 17 yrs of driveline experience working for Ford dealerships in the area.  He claims to be a Ford's master driveline technician, the highest level that Ford certifies.  He seems to know his stuff.  He hooked up his analysis equipment and found a driveshaft vibration.  However, he doesn't know which shaft is out of balance.  The shaft coming out of the tranny is an aftermarket shaft and the rest of the line is Ford (actually Spicer, a supplier to Ford). 

He asked if it was possible the driveline was under warranty by PC or Ford.  I know PC won't cover it, but I called the Ford guy and asked him.  His response was maybe.  His concern about a warranty claim was Ford would want to know if the driveline was balanced as a whole or by its individual parts and was the extender certified by Ford to be covered under the Ford family umbrella.   The deal about balancing by part is that Ford balances the entire unit and the splines must match exactly or you can get an out of balance driveline.  Care must be taken to line everything up just the way Ford tested it or Ford wouldn't warrant it.  And even if it is out of balance, Ford may balk paying a claim anyway if the extender isn't certified, Ford doesn't pull the shaft out and verify it, blah blah blah.  He said he sees a lot of finger pointing between Ford and RV manufacturers and the customer is usually the one that ends up paying.  This is the fourth time I've had it in a shop for fixing and I'm growing weary.  So I called the driveline guy back and said just fix it. 

I asked him how he was going to approach balancing the system.  This is my understanding:  He will pull the 3 section shaft and spin each part and correct any balance issue with the 3 shafts.  Then he will connect the first two and balance them together (messing with spline alignment) and get it as good as he can noting any 'high' spot.  Then he will do the same on the rear two noting any 'low' spot.  Finally he will put it back together with the high spot on the 1 and 2 matching the low spot on 2 and 3.  Then he will test drive it and it should be fixed.  I can only hope!  Sorry for the very long post.  Mark

 
47  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Drilling into the closet on: October 21, 2013, 10:15:47 am
Great idea, thanks!  Putting shelves in these closets is testing my limited carpentry skills.  Almost everything curves and curves at different rates.
48  Main Forum / General Discussion / Drilling into the closet on: October 19, 2013, 08:41:16 pm
I am putting some shelves in the closet.  Does anyone know how thick the closet wall is and how far I can put a screw in until I punch a hole in the outside skin?  Thanks, Mark
49  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Drive line vibration diagnosis on: October 16, 2013, 01:48:00 pm
John, the vibration I am experiencing starts at about 58 and is worse at 60 to 62 and then it subsides by 65 mph.  I can both hear it and feel it.  I spoke with the previous owner and he never mentioned the vibration, so either it didn't bother him, he thought it was normal, or he never drove at these speeds.   

The service manager said this vibration was consistent with an out of line driveline (ramp up and then down).  He also said if the vibration starts and got worse as speed increased and never got better, it was most likely an out of balance driveline.  He said you can often see an out of balance driveline if you put the truck on a rack and lift the tires and run it.  You can see an obvious flutter. 

I traded emails with Kermit and I'm awaiting his response as to whether he disagrees with the service manager's assessment (maybe all PC's drivelines are off center for a reason) or if he agrees.  If he agrees, then what is the best fix? Mark
50  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: I killed my carburetor on the Onan Generator on: October 16, 2013, 01:33:06 pm
I took my atv in last year because it would barely start and wouldn't idle.  I took the carb off and cleaned out all the ports I could get to with carb cleaner.  It still didn't work so I took it to a motorcycle dealer.  The service guy told me they soak the carb for 2 days to dissolve the deposits.  It worked when I got it back.  I wonder what they use to dissolve the varnish.  I've also had the same problem with other small engines.  I always put stabil in my gas cans and sometimes still have issues.  I can believe your mechanic although I'm not sure a whole new carb was necessary.  And simply turning off the gas and waiting for the gas to burn up isn't effective because the carb float bowl doesn't always completely empty before starving the engine for fuel.
51  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Drive line vibration diagnosis on: October 14, 2013, 10:51:04 pm
Sparky,
PC outsources the bodies to be lengthened or at least I think they do.  When this body was lengthened a 4' driveshaft extension was added and a coupler was added to support the new shaft.  As you can see in the first picture, it appears the new bracket was welded in off center.  This bracket was added aftermarket so it's not a Ford problem.  There might be something I and the service manager may not know.  I sent an email to Earl and he has forwarded it to Kermit.  Let's see if this was intentional or a mistake.  Mark
52  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Drive line vibration diagnosis on: October 14, 2013, 05:52:20 pm
Here are the pictures the service manager sent me looking fore and aft.  There does appear to be a definite cast to starboard.


by


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53  Main Forum / General Discussion / Drive line vibration diagnosis on: October 14, 2013, 05:38:05 pm
OK, it's taken a while to get my 58-62mph vibration issue diagnosed.  To recap:  The first try was to get all 6 tires balanced.  The improvement was slim although the tire company told me all 6 tires were out of balance (cost $15/tire)  I took it back to the tire company to see if this was the best they could do and took a run with a mechanic.  He diagnosed it as a suspected driveline issue not the tires.  The recommendation was to take it to Ford and try to get it fixed under warranty.  If that didn't work, bring it back and they would locate the vibration with a sensor machine. 

I finally got it into the Ford dealership and they drove it and rebalanced and indexed the tires and told me it was fixed (cost $0).  I picked it up and drove it to the nearest highway and it rode smoother due to a little better balance job, but the vibration was still there.  I drove back to the Ford dealership and complained and a service manager agreed to take a ride with me.  Once I got the PC up to 60 mph, he heard/felt the vibration right away and he tried to locate it.  He said it was worse behind the transmission.  He asked me to leave it until he could look at it on a rack.  They only have one truck rack and it was in use so it sat a few days. 

Today he called and said it was as fixed as good as he could get it.  The problem, according to him, is the driveline is not straight because the factory added coupler is off center by 1/2".  The added coupler is about 1/2" off center towards the passenger side and this is causing my problem.   I asked if he could just slide the coupler 1/2" towards the center of the vehicle and he said, no, the adjustment on this particular bracket is fore and aft, not sideways.  I asked if he could grind the bracket holes out so the coupler could be slid to the center and he said no, there is only about 3/8" of metal on the edge of the existing hole and there is no room to grind.  He thinks the only way to fix it properly is to cut the welded bracket off and then weld it back in the right place.

He attempted to fix the problem by shimming the coupler down.  He tried 5 shims and it got best at 3 shims and then got much worse by 5 shims.  He went back to 3 shims.  He thinks it's about 50% better (Cost $0, thank you very, very much).

He also said an out of line driveline is consistent with the vibration ramping up and then ramping down as speed increases.  If the shaft was out of balance, he said it would ramp up and up and keep getting worse as speed increased.

He doesn't have the equipment to fix it and recommended I take back to the factory if I can't live with it.  Since I bought it used, I don't have a warranty and it's a 2500 mile roundtrip so that solution is out of the question.  His second recommendation was to take it to someplace like camper's world and see if they could tackle it.   He is going to send me pictures and if it shows the problem, I'll post them up here.  I'll also contact Earl and see if he has any pearls of wisdom.  Mark
54  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: ENGINE COWLING on: October 09, 2013, 11:22:46 pm
I always keep my office windows closed (and on my vehicles too). 
55  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: ENGINE COWLING on: October 09, 2013, 01:57:55 pm
To make my experiment as scientific as possible (and not spend much money), I bought a $1 app for my iphone that measures sound levels.  I doubt it is accurate but it does give me relative differences.  The sound level in my office is about 47-48 dB.  The sound level in my f150 at 70 mph is 53-54 dB.  The sound level in my 2552 at 62-64 mph is 57-58 dB peaking at 60 dB.  Perceived loudness is doubled every 10 dB, so my f150 at 70 mph is about 50% louder than my office and my 2552 is twice as loud and my ears pretty much agree to what the meter is showing me.  I have to speak above my normal voice level for my wife to hear me when I am driving the PC and she is in the passenger seat.  The noise level becomes fatiguing after a while.  Much of the noise is wind on the cap, windscreen, and mirrors, but the engine contributes a lot too.  I'm very curious to see if insulating the doghouse with a premium insulation product will help.  There are several threads that say it helps, but it's all speculation about how much.

I sent Hushmat and Dynamat emails and asked them which product I should use inside the cowling.  They have both responded but I haven't had time to evaluate either product.  Hushmat recommended removing the existing insulation on the doghouse and chucking it (my words).  Dynamat also sells an exhaust wrap.  I found a thread on it and one user was very happy with it on his 450 van which I think is a diesel (Does Ford make a diesel 450?).  I also found a post where a user applied Dynamat to both the inside and outside base of the doghouse.  He was going to add carpet or some other flooring over it to protect the interior application.  He said he had extra Dynamat after covering the floor and doghouse and just wanted to use it up.

I'll be purchasing one of these products soon and will post up my results, but it may be a month or two b/f I'm done.
56  Main Forum / General Discussion / 2006 2551 offered in Mobile AL on: October 02, 2013, 08:24:34 am
For anyone interested, I came across a craigslist ad for a "wide body" 2006 2551 with "fiberglass front and end caps" in Mobile AL.  Please delete if this violates the rules.  Mark
57  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Rubber Floor Mat on: September 30, 2013, 08:33:31 am
When I heard about this mat, I was anxious to get to my Ford dealer to order it.  However, looking at the pictures, I see this is what is already installed in my 2013 2552.  Interesting.   I may pull it up and see if I can add some insulation under it or put something else on top.

I pulled the cowling yesterday and there is a foil backed insulation product attached to the inside of the doghouse.  It looks like there is plenty of room to add more insulation except maybe near the exhaust.  I think this will be my first project.
58  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: ENGINE COWLING on: September 30, 2013, 08:27:46 am
I pulled mine off yesterday to see about adding some insulation.  It slides back easily enough.  Be careful about pulling on the cup holder for leverage.  The cup holder section is a drop in held by adhesive caulk.  On mine the adhesive didn't bond and I snapped one of the 2 seating tabs (that did bond) when I lifted the cowling and the holder popped off.  The view under the cowling shows you just how little separates you from the engine, transmission and pavement!
59  Main Forum / Photos / Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham AL on: September 29, 2013, 10:35:34 pm
Camping at Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, AL.

<untitled> NG7A22322013-09-2828 by
60  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Rubber Floor Mat on: September 25, 2013, 08:42:12 am
Thanks for posting this.  I'm taking my PC to the Ford dealer next week to investigate my vibration and I'm going to see if he can order this mat for me.  I'm also going to see about insulating the doghouse and see if I can make the inside a little quieter when running down the road. Mark
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