We’ve been lingering in PV for what feels like forever and we are really ready to get moving. Finally, we’re almost ready to go.
We had been camping under a mango tree and the fruit would fall off whenever the wind picked up throughout the day. They would hit the pop-top and make it reverberate like drum. We hadn’t been getting the best night’s sleep. Fortuntely, we were booted from our camping spot to make way for another French Canadian caravan.
When we landed in our next camping spot… it was full with another French Canadian caravan. These folks travel and they travel en masse. Nevertheless, there were a few spots still available and we pulled in between some giant RV’s. A day later, they all fired up their engines and drove off. We were essentially alone except for a few stragglers. Even better was that we were walking distance to Volks Vallarta.
I made a few more trips to see Alberto and he kept us going with parts. The new coil was holding up and kept us running, but there was something else obliviously wrong. I had pulled the plugs many times and noticed that the #1 cylinder was burning far too rich, but but the rest were fine. This made no sense to me, since #1 and #2 share the same carb and intake, so the mixture should be the same. The spark was there and everything else seemed okay. I adjusted the valves way too many times, checked for vacuum leaks the best I could, and tweaked the carbs again and again but I couldn’t figure it out.
Finally, I decided to take off the carb and manifold and just poke around and clean it up and hope for some sort of indication of what was going on. It’s still a little baffling, but I think I figured it out.
At the base of the intake manifold are the two ports. Mine are not centered. I don’t know if this is normal or if it’s a manufacturing defect. The metal seal used to connect it to the cylinder head is centered with the bolt holes. This causes the raised sealing surface to not be centered on the manifold intake ports. Of course, I’ve been driving like this the entire trip (well, since Portland) and haven’t had a problem. I must have been lucky. Other than the miles and miles of vibrating, I’m not sure what would cause it to be problematic now, but it seems to have been my leak.
I ‘fixed’ it by getting a new seal and cutting around the bolt holes with tin snips so I could center the sealing surface around the ports (rather than the bolt holes.) I’ve carried tin snips the entire trip and use them all the time – very handy.
Since I had things in pieces and was already filthy, I decided to pull off the rest of my vacuum lines and go through those as well. Seemed okay.
I put it all back together and fired it up with more signs of improvement. I had to go back and re-tune the carbs and I’m almost happy with it. The thing about tuning the carbs is that they have to be synchronized. I bought the tool way back in Canada, but it doesn’t fit the top of the carbs because of the way the filters get attached. I’ve been to hardware and plumbing stores trying to find something to use as an adapter to make it work but haven’t found anything. What works? The top half of a Pringles can. Yes, I bought the chips just to use the can.
One more thing to note. I’ve been driving the entire trip with the wrong jack and never noticed it. Every time I needed a jack, some friendly person had a floor jack or better on hand and I just used theirs. I’ve never pulled mine out from under the seat since we left. I never tried to use it before we left because I had my own floor jack. Anyway, I pulled it out to use it and it doesn’t fit. The jack insert is round and my jack points are square. Round peg into a square hole. Story of my life.