Web Log

Our Camper Van




Amy's Cakes

Outboard Hydroplane Racing

Radio Controlled Toys

Expedition Trophy Camp Site

2009-11-24 (E)

It has been quite some time since I have gathered enough time to write one of these entries. We are still alive and having adventures, but the arrival of WiVi has done a pretty good job of sucking down our web-logging energy.

We have headed out in the van a few times, each one better as WiVi gets a bit more managable and can reason. She unfortunately thinks that she is the center of the universe, and is probably right.
WiVi Driving

For a week in the spring we headed down into the San Rafael swell area of central Utah, and explored the "Little Grand Canyon". It was a bit of work getting use to life in the van again, complete with me working via satellite and Amy dealing with many of the domestic duties such as cooking and cleaning. WiVi just added to the excitement.

Little Grand Canyon

Summer was mostly filled with more home-centric activities as I finished up building a motorcycle and getting a bit of experience riding it around. WiVi continued to expand her repetoir with "Mo-Mo!" (motorcycle) as her favorite word.

Track Day New Bike

By the end of summer we decided to try another week out in the van, with an initial visit to my parents' in Oregon to get them a visit with their granddaughter. She was probably a lot more interesting than when they initially saw her in the winter, as now she could crawl, talk, and try to catch the cats. We also had some time to develop a more refined baby-jail system. We found a collapsible play-pen that just fit on the rear of the upper bed, Amy sewed a zipper in the fabric side for access and we put WiVi up there for naps and night-time sleeping. We slept on the flip-out sofa-bed below. Notes from jail...

After a couple days we headed out early in the morning looking to do some exploring in northern Nevada. We made it almost 6 miles before the engine died suddenly as we were heading down a steep hill. Without power-assist on brakes and steering it took all my weight on the brake to stop the van and get it wrestled to the side of the road.

The high-temp of the day was predicted to be about 110, and the van was nowhere near shade, so I had to start hiking uphill to find a cell-phone signal and get Amy and WiVi out of the van and back to my parents'. After a nice little half-mile hike I had enough signal to call my father and get a tow-truck on the way for the van.
Van being towed

The van ended up being at the local shop for a couple of days with a diagnosis of a blown snap-to-connect (STC) fitting in the high-pressure oil pump (HPOP). This was a bit disturbing as we had been told the whole HPOP had been updated, due to this known issue, with the latest design a couple years ago by a shop in Salt Lake City. The shop said our oil-pump had never been updated and was running with original 2005 parts.

The visit to the shop cut out all of our adventuring for the trip as we had to get back to Utah by the time the van was released back.

On our return home we decided that it was time to go through the van and try to address all issues we knew of, or were reported as known issues online, and make the van as reliable as we could on our own without relying on another shop. Our warranty expires next spring anyway, and the utility we have had from it is questionable as it keeps us from feeling free to address issues on our own, and every time some shop works on the van other things seem to get broken.

Since returning we have re-plumbed the remote oil-filters (the directions from Sportsmobile I used to install them were backwards, and they apparently installed them all backwards too), installed a set of gauges to monitor the engine; installed a coolant filter to keep the oil-cooler from plugging; cleaned the EGR valve and intake; installed a heavy-duty alternator; re-plumbed the coolant heater to actually pre-heat the engine block; installed a heater-core valve to reduce heat coming into the cabin when we don't want it; fixed a leaky fuel-tank vent to regain our 55gal capacity; and installed insulation on the exhaust pipes to and from the turbo near the dog-house for heat and noise reduction.

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