"No More Projects!", says I. And then...1972 Superior 2200. Couldn't pass it up.


Tail-End Charlie
ok so did I miss something there? did you get it running again or just get fuel to it? focus man!
Got fuel. Got sparks. But something's still not right about the sparks so it's still not running.

that battery isolator that's in there looks similar to one I had on my backhoe, well it doesn't look like it right now but it did a while back before it caught fire and spewed its contents in a blow torch like fashion that didn't want to extinguish very easily without a full extinguisher was used on it.....so I don't trust those things!
Well, that's gotta be a fairly rare failure mode, but I have seen a couple of melted starter relays over the years.

I'm not too worried at the moment, since it's not hooked up. But even if it was, and the engine was running, the truck only has a 60a alternator.

Still, relays are cheap and I will be replacing it with a proper continuous duty relay eventually.

Bit once I shift the solar and big batteries over to the Superior (in a year maybe), I'll be in the same situation I'm in with the van now - no real need for that second battery under the hood.

Requires more thought. :)

Anyway, keep up the good work!
Putter putter, tinker tinker. But I'm making progress, little by little. :)


Tail-End Charlie
So...does it run?


Bloody hell...

Okay, so I did the pull #1 plug and get the piston to top dead center on the compression stroke thing. Then I popped off the distributor cap and proceeded to see where exactly the rotor was pointing. And it was in fact pointing to the hole on the cap marked "1". Well, the "1" for counter-clockwise rotation, not the other "1" for clockwise rotation. Fine, that's where I put the #1 wire when I double-checked the firing order. So the distributor is not 180 off.

So the points and condenser are new and working. And the point gap is correct at 17 thousandths (specs say 14-19). The cap and rotor are correct and installed correctly. The wires are good and well seated at both ends. The plugs are correct, new, gapped correctly at .035, and installed correctly. The firing order is correct for counter-clockwise rotation. The coil is new. The ballast resistor must be more or less working, since I get good spark from the coil wire, and good spark from the plug wires.

Therefore...it is not an ignition problem. Can't be.

Well, an engine needs fuel and spark, and it bloody well by the gods HAS spark. The correct spark. At the correct time.


In last week's episode, I diddled around with the fuel system. To recap: the fuel filter had drained back into the tank. Cranking the engine did not sploosh fuel up into the filter. So I tried using the electric fuel pump to suck fuel into the filter and got no joy. So I unhooked the lines and blew compressed air through them and hooked the electric pump back up and then it sucked fuel into the fuel filter.

So here's me, thinking that the fuel delivery system is sorted out:

Yea. So I decided since it can't be spark, it must be fuel, so time to revisit that whole thing...

So once again, the fuel filter had drained back into the tank. Blipping the starter to get to #1 on the compression stroke wasn't enough to fill the filter. So I crank that bad boy over for a while. And...fuel does not sploosh up and fill up the filter...dammit. So I decide to do the electric pump thing again.

But this time, when I pulled the fuel line off the carb inlet, I noticed something. A whooshing sound. A bit like opening the poptop on a can of carbonated beverage. Like...there's pressure in the line. But there shouldn't be...

So then I start thinking, "Well crap...that one filter was pretty bad. I wonder how much crud made it past that filter into the carb. Enough to clog up the carb?"

Time to test the theory. First I pulled out the inlet fitting on the side of the carb, there is a brass screen in there. The screen looks okay, and is not full of crud. So I put it back. Then I put the fuel line from the filter back on the carb, and crank the engine, and fuel does not fill the filter. No flow. So I stick one end of a long piece of fuel line on the carb inlet fitting, and the other end in my piehole. And I proceed to blow. And no air moves. At all. Not even a little.

So then I unhook the fuel line from the carb again, and repeat last weeks' fun with electric suckage. And the electric pump sucks fuel up into the filter nice and easy. No problem. Then, just for jollies, I decide to just cut a short bit of hose, stick it on the electric pump and stick it in the throat of the carb just to see what I see...


And the electric pump does in fact suck fuel up from the tank, through the mechanical pump, through the filter and dumps a bit of fuel into the carb. No struggle at all. So then, just for more jollies, I crank over the engine, and the mechanical pump sends a nice fat stream of fuel through the filter, through the electric pump and into the carb. So the mechanical pump works. The fuel lines are not clogged. The filter is not clogged. Fuel flows.

So I let the filter drain back into the tank, stick the fuel line into an empty Gatorade bottle and try again. Again, the mechanical pump does a great job.

So I let the filter drain back into the tank, remove the electric pump and try again. Again, lots of fuel.

So I let the filter drain back into the tank, and connect the line from the filter back to the carb. And no fuel flows. At all.

Then I disconnect the line from the carb inlet, and once again - the sound of compressed air escaping.

(Oh, I know, if the float is full, it'll shut off fuel flow to the carb. But another thing I noticed is that pushing on the throttle, the accelerator pump doesn't squirt fuel into the venturi like it used to.)

Okay, now I'm thinking some of that crud got into the carb. So I pulled the carb so I can take it back to the carb shop so the Maestro can hook it to his test rig and check it out. I suspect he A) will call me a damned fool, while B) secretly counting the extra dinero if he has to tear it down again and clean it out. Still, it can't be as expensive as that first full rebuild with new shaft bushings and all that.


So...no. Not running yet. :)


Tail-End Charlie
So the weather report is calling for 30% chance of rain tonight between 10pm and 4am. And after that, 40% chance of showers until 10am tomorrow. And the roof vents are screwed.

So I've been keeping an eye on the Harbor Freight coupons, and lo and behold, their Black Friday (still sounds like a terrorist event to me) Black Saturday and Black Sunday sale will have the 17' flip and fold and extend and twist and shout ladder on sale for 99 bucks. And of course, already blew my 20% off coupon. Oh well. So this morning, off to HF.

Got the ladder:


Also found this:


Picked up a couple other on sale things, like some little tool bags and a stainless steel folding knife.

Anyway, it turns out that just taking that ladder and unfolding it to make it straight is almost the perfect height to climb up on the roof of the Superior. Only needed a bit of extending at one end to make it stick up enough for me to basically walk up onto the roof. Which BTW, is very sturdy. The roof pretty much didn't move at all with my 6'4" fat *** walking around on it. Sweet.

Here's the before and after of the vent in the head (lid completely missing):

IMG_20171126_144658723_HDR.jpg IMG_20171126_144701845_HDR.jpg IMG_20171126_145217317.jpg

And the one in the rear (lid still goes up and down after repair):

IMG_20171126_145410712_HDR.jpg IMG_20171126_145859448_HDR.jpg

Yes, duct tape. I haven't ordered the new vents yet. Not planning on doing that until after I at least get it running and get it to a car wash and hose it off.
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Tail-End Charlie
More roof shots...

The rather large A/C unit. That's a steel cover BTW:


Notice there is a fitting protruding just to the left of the condensor. Fill port? Dunno. Not an HVAC expert:


The top (yes, there appears to be a large ape-like creature standing behind me holding a phone/camera over his head):


The Thermo-King reefer unit. Note the short hoses that lead to a proper bulkhead fitting through the roof. Top notch. Too bad I'll be ripping it out and tossing it. (Probably...haven't actually fully decided on that yet.)


(All of our reefers at work are Thermo-King. I've been to their shop downtown several times. I'm going to discuss it with them before I make a final decision.)

Looking toward the rear. The TV antenna will be gone. The roof rack will be gone. There are actually two plumbing vents, one for the galley and one for the head. You can see the head vent in this pic, and the galley vent in the pic just above.


The fridge vent. Large and all steel. That I'm keeping, though I'll probably pull it and clean it up and reseal it.


The worst looking seam:


Note the riveted school bus construction.

Overall I don't think the roof will be too bad. Clean it, remove what I don't want, replace the vents, clean up the fridge vent, seal up the seams and then paint the whole thing with some sort of rubberized UV resistant RV roof sealing goop.

And new LED front and rear marker lights while I'm at it.

Oh, and removing and junking the awning. Dunno if it's any good and don't care - the mounting brackets at the bottom of the arms are broken anyway.

The roof is rather high up on my TODO list. (High up, get it?)

One thing I want to do while I'm doing the roof, is make as much room as possible for solar panels. I figure I can probably squeeze in two of the 300w Astroenergy panels (have to buy another like the one I already have), if I remove the Thermo-king up front and all that crap in the back. If I remove the RV a/c as well, I could probably get three up there. Dunno, haven't actually taken any measurements yet. I think it'll end up either 2 or 3 of the 300w panels, and maybe a couple (or a half dozen) of 100w Renogy panels in the extra spaces.

But! When the time comes to mount solar, the good news is that RivNuts should be the perfect thing to use to attach the mounting brackets to the school bus style steel roof. Yay!


Tail-End Charlie
So yea, got some glass fuses. A whole box of them. 10 each of 5a, 10a, 15a, 20a, 25a, and 30a. For 7 bucks I'm not complaining.

First I disconnected that fan motor in the head vent:

IMG_20171126_152231965.jpg IMG_20171126_152410368_LL.jpg IMG_20171126_152508669_LL.jpg

Then I stuck a couple of 10s in to replace the blown fuses at "REAR CIR" and "BATH CIR / RANGE HOOD" (yes, I know only one of them is blown - I replaced one then remembered to take a pic ;) ) :


And the range hood started blowing. So I let it run while I stared at the fuses. Then I left it running while I cleaned up a bit and put the carb back in its box. Waiting for the fuse to blow. Waited a good 10 minutes and the range hood was still blowing and no blown fuses. Sweet.

So I went to stick an 1141 in one of the bathroom fixtures...and there seemed to be a little bit of spark in the socket. And the range hood stopped blowing...

Replaced the blown fuse, and tried again. Blew another fuse.

The "REAR CIR" fuse hadn't blown. Until I tried sticking lamps in the sockets in the back. Then it blew.

So...the frigging light fixtures in the bath and the rear (all the same type of fixture) are screwed. I figured they might be, there is basically no spring action when inserting the lamps and the lamps sort of flop around in the sockets.

I was planning to replace them with LED eventually anyway - now I guess that project just moved up on the TODO list.

They are recessed wall mount doohickeys. They measure out at 2 7/8" x 6 5/8" (the pics don't capture the measurement accurately):

IMG_20171126_154330143.jpg IMG_20171126_154341042.jpg

I'll probably just buy a pack of RV LED fixtures off Amazon if I can find ones that A) are the right size and B) are rated for like 10v-15v or some such so they don't blow up too soon (LEDs can be voltage sensitive).

And of course I might as well replace the three fixtures in the front while I'm at it.

And...I've been wanting for a long while to order some stuff from Oznium or SuperBrightLEDs. Might have to rig up some accent lighting while I'm at it.

Requires more study. :D


Tail-End Charlie
And finally, to conclude this week's episode:


Yup. Discovered a hole-in-the-wall locksmith shop literally right around the corner from work. Drove past it every day and never noticed it, then one day - there it was. Hung a quick right and the guy took the lock apart and started trying different key blanks. Then he busted out the file and next thing you know, he had a working key. Made a couple of copies and hit me for $20. Oh well.

The keys work in most of the locks on the external hatches. A couple look like they'll need a bit of Liquid Wrench and some soak time, but I think they'll work. One of those is the water fill hatch...which I was particularly looking forward to checking out.

The one odd thing, is the big hatch in the back. The key doesn't fit. That lock actually looks newer than the others, so I think it was replaced at some point. D'oh! Not sure what I'm going to do about that.

Enough for now. :D


Tail-End Charlie
Really enjoy the updates. Keep them coming.

Glad you're enjoying it. I like to share the misery, so I'll keep posting for a good long while...

As they used to say on my uncle's farm in Arkansas - "good lord willing and the creeks don't rise".


Expedition Leader
Glad you're enjoying it. I like to share the misery, so I'll keep posting for a good long while...

As they used to say on my uncle's farm in Arkansas - "good lord willing and the creeks don't rise".
I am and thank you because we have all been there on one (all) project or another.

Being from Arkansas, I've heard/used that phrase a time or two growing up. People don't get it in Nevada though...


Tail-End Charlie
Picked up the Carb.

Aram at Canoga Carbureter & Fuel Injection was none too happy with me. He didn't actually use the word idiot...but I could tell he was thinking it. (I would have been. Hell...I WAS thinking it.) Or whatever the equivalent word is in whatever his native language is.

He quoted me $60 to clean it when I dropped it off. When I picked it up, I could tell he regretted not charging me more. Told me he basically had to rebuild it all over again...anything that could be clogged had been clogged...

He *repeatedly* mentioned things like cleaning the tank and using fuel filters...just to make sure this knucklehead got the point.

If I have to take it back to get cleaned again...I'm betting the price is gonna double. :)

[But to be fair to my idiot self...I HAD to get that thing running and out of Compton. If that meant sacrificing proper proceedure (cleaning out the fuel tank) for expediency's sake; so be it.]

So anyway, picked up a few more fuel filters. I need to charge up the batteries anyway, so I'm planning to go ahead and hook up the electric pump amd pump out that tank. Filter it into a 5g jerry can and see just how bad it is.

I figured out something I was wondering about. I'll try to remember to post about it in the next major update.



Tail-End Charlie
So, no major progress this weekend.

Worked a lot of OT this week and didn't get enough sleep, so I decided to sleep in Saturday and just take it easy. Even managed to catch an afternoon nap.

Today, I was planning to fire up the little Harbor Freight 2-stroke genny and do some battery charging and fuel pumping/filtering - and maybe do a checkout on the 120v system while I was at it.

But the genny won't start. (Sympathy strike perhaps?) Well, it started, ran a few seconds and then made an interesting noise. I suspect a spun bearing in the alternator.

I'm not surprised. I got quite a lot of use out of it for a couple years, and it lasted longer than the last one I had (recoil starter failed). So that's two HF 2-strokes in a row I've worn out. Not complaining for $99 each. I knew this day was coming.

HF extended their Black Friday sale for a week, and the little 2-stroke was on sale for $88. Plus they sent me another 20% off coupon. Thought abought it, but no.

Before the HF gens, I had a Champion Power Equipment 1200w/1500w 4-stroke that I really liked a lot. I looked into getting another some time ago, when the first HF failed. I discovered that they had a new model - 1400w/1800w. It looked to have the same 80cc engine, but a higher power rating. So I called and asked them about it. I was told that model had a beefed up alternator.

I looked around and the only place that carried it was Tractor Supply - and not all stores carried it. The closest one that had one was two hours away. Each direction. Meh. I could have ordered it delivered, but they were asking $260 for it, plus tax and shipping. I could have gotten another 1200 off Amazon for $199 with no tax and free shipping. So I was wondering if it was worth it. Ultimately, I was in a hurry to get out of town so I just picked up another HF 2-stroke.

So when that one failed this morning, I decided to just sit around drinking coffee and catching up on Mr. Robot. :D

But I did some web surfing and lo and behold - TSC still carries the 1400w Champ. For $199. And a couple stores have them in stock, including one about an hour away. So after I think it over (procrastinate), I'll probably make a pilgrammage to TSC and get one.

I wonder if it'll run the a/c in the Superior? (HIGHLY doubtful.)


I did putter around a bit. Hosed out the external hatch locks with liquid wrench. They all work fine now except for the big hatch in the back (different lock, key won't go in), and of course...the one for the water fill hatch (key goes in, won't turn), which, like the lock on the big rear hatch...looks to have been replaced at some point...

Geez. If it ain't one thing, it's another.

Also did a bit of cleaning and poking around. Didn't take any pics though...it ain't that clean. :)

More next week.


Tail-End Charlie
Oh, and the thing I figured out...

That one little 4" bit of fuel line that my buddy changed out with one hand...there is actually a reason for it.

Coming out of the top of the fuel tank is a brass 90 to a flare fitted metal fuel line that runs to the frame, then the short length of rubber line then more metal line along the frame to the fuel pump.

Well, there's no way to unscrew what's on the top of the tank without dropping the tank - so that little bit of rubber line can be disconnected and the tank dropped with the short length of metal fuel line coming down with it.



Tail-End Charlie
Didn't get a chance to update this past weekend. Didn't finally get time until today. Busy.

So, anyway, here's the Tractor Supply story...

On their web site it shows which stores have something in stock. In this case, it showed that the Moorpark, CA. store had the generator I wanted in stock. So I drove out there last week and...yup, you guessed it...they haven't had any generators at all in stock for weeks. (Yes, I know - call first. But I didn't. I figured by this day and age, any IT Dept. with a total of nine brain cells between them could figure out how to query a frigging inventory database. But...apparently not.) Nice. The stooge working the customer service desk was a stooge. Told me they didn't have any, then just stood there staring at me. So I decided to put on the grumpy old man act and none too gently suggested that he find a store that actually HAS what I want. In stock.

So he - wait for it - went to their web site to find a store that had one in stock... Then he tells me, okay, this store over here has them in stock. Then stands there and stares at me. To which I replied, "Yea, but according to that broken POS web site, YOU have them in stock. So how about you CALL them and make sure?" Which he does. Then he hangs up and says they have it. And stands there and stares at me. To which I replied, "So now call them back, and tell them to put one one hold for me." Which he does.

During this time, another guy had wandered up and was listening in, and he decides to be helpful. Tells me that to be sure a product would be waiting for me when I went to get it, I should order online for store pickup. To which I replied, "So, if I had ordered this generator online yesterday, for store pickup today, at THIS store, it would have been guaranteed to be HERE waiting for me?" To which he replied, "Well, it has to be a store that has them in stock." To which I replied, "Yes, but your busted-*** web site shows that this store DOES have them in stock." He thought it over for a few seconds, then said, "Oh. Yea."

So, a 45 minute drive to the Moorpark store, plus 15 minutes screwing around with the two stooges, then a 2 hour drive from there to the Bakersfield store, which did actually have one waiting for me, another 15 minutes screwing around there, then an hour and and a half drive back. What should have been a 2 hour trip, ended up taking nearly 5 hours total.

But...I got what I wanted, for $215 out the door:

IMG_20171210_071149207.jpg IMG_20171210_071411073.jpg


So I put in .4 quart of 10w-30 (recommended for that unit), checked all the nuts and bolts and screws for tightness, pulled the plug and checked the gap, stuck it in the box I built on the back of the old camper van to hold the previous Champ and strapped it down. Fueled it up and it fired on the second pull. Nice.

Ran out some extension cords to the Superior. Ran one to the side, where I was able to stick my little 6a Stanley charger in the square hole that runs from side to side (then lock the hatch :) ), feed the wires down to the battery compartment just below (and locked the hatch :) ), and used a triple-tap to feed another extension cord to the rear to power up the shore power plug.

IMG_20171210_140557270_HDR.jpg IMG_20171210_140607971_HDR.jpg

And now, the moment of truth...


Turned on the breakers, and could immediately hear the generator load up a bit. That's a good sign. Checked with the POS Amazon "always reads low" voltage tester and indeed, both the lighter socket in the head (aux battery), and the lighter socked in the dash (engine battery) were starting to jump up a bit in voltage.

The top right breaker turned on the power to the Progressive Dynamics converter/charger, which worked as intended. The top left breaker powered up the 120v receptacles. Also worked as intended. The bottom left breaker...dunno. It says A/C, but the A/C did nothing. At all. Not even the fan blew. I don't care, I'm going to toss it anyway, but still...it would have been nice to see something happen. The bottom right breaker...dunno. That might be for the receptacle down by the water pump plumbing, where I'm pretty sure the water pipe heat tape is plugged in. More investigation is required. But hey, at least no breakers kicked, and nothing caught fire. :D

Then I left the whole works alone while I went and did some other stuff.

The manual for the gen calls for first oil change after 5 hours, so after 5 hours I came back and shut it down and did that. Oil was a bit dirty, but not bad. Also checked the battery voltages while I had the battery chargers shut off, and here's a crappy shot of the lighter receptacle in the head:


Hard to see, but it says 12.6v. So I know the PD actually does charge the house battery.

So after changing the oil, I topped off the fuel and fired the genny back up, and started messing around with the fuel system. I rigged up my electric fuel pump, with patented "triple-filtration system":


Stuffed the line and remote on/off switch (blood handy, that) out past the side of the radiator and got ready to pump out the tank:

IMG_20171210_140549379.jpg IMG_20171210_140723113_HDR.jpg

Flipped the switch, and started getting a nice flow. Took, I dunno...10-15 minutes maybe? To fill the 5g container. The gas looked good and smelled...um...decent. Not bad. So I poured it in the old camper van and started pumping again. Got the container about half full again before the pump ran dry. I had put 5g in before I started the truck the first time, and another 5 at the gas station. Plus whatever the guy I bought it from put in trying to get it started. Then drove it 30 miles running on 5 cylinders. I was a bit surprised it had that much fuel in it. But whatever. Then I dumped the rest of the now filtered fuel into the camper van and went to the gas station and got 5 g of fresh fuel and poured it into the Superior.

The filters didn't look bad (sorry, didn't get a pic), so I put the carb on (with yet another new fuel filter) and turned it over. The battery was cranking it over with gusto. Gas flowed freely up to the carb. Eventually, the accelerator pump started pumping when I pushed the pedal.

And...it wouldn't start.


(yes, that's definitely a Heath Ledger "Joker" laugh at this point)

Well, crap. I'm pretty much stymied. I've done all the "won't start" troubleshooting step-by-step. Geez. Well, once again I'm pretty sure it has to be ignition/timing. I loosened the hold-down on the distributor and moved it back and forth while cranking it over just to see what happens. Pushing it all the way one direction I was finally able to get the sucker to backfire through the carb! (Not good for the carb, no. But I was excited to see SOMETHING happen.)

So sitting there and thinking it over. I start thinking that the plug wires ain't right, so I rechecked them and they ARE right. If I could have turned the distributor a little further, I might have gotten it to fire, but the distributor wouldn't turn any further. So I'm thinking that maybe the wires are all one hole off. But I did the top dead center thing...

Bloody hell.

Well, I ran out of time to mess with it, but next weekend I'm going to try shifting all the wires one hole over and see what happens. What the hell. I've tried everything else. If that fails, I'm going back to step one and run the troubleshooting routine again step-by-step from the top.

I let the gen run until it ran out of gas. I always do that so gas doesn't sit in the carb and go bad. It ran 7.5 hours on a 1.5g tank. The old 1200 Champ I had with the same 80cc engine used to run 14 hours on a 1.2g tank, but it had less load on it - and that was after break-in. It remains to be seen how long the new 1400 will run on a tank after break-in. Still, 7.5 hours on 1.5g running 15a worth of battery chargers isn't something I'm going to complain about.

And it sure beats the hell out of those little two-stroke generators.



Expedition Leader
Awesome, keep the updates coming!

I have a 3800(iirc!)W champion, it's always been faithful. I don't think 7.5 hours with a nearly full load is bad at all!

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
I'll be back in your neck of the woods tomorrow and just realized my father in law has a Superior as well. No idea what model or anything, will find out. About same condition as yours (I know it's been sitting years so maybe worse) and he's a half hour from the Valley. Message me n I'll give you my contact info to meet up possibly before the end of the year when I head out.