Wednesday, May 25
A windy day, which made things a bit brisk as I drove the Sammy south of the town of Parker, CO and past the Castlewood Canyon State Park.
I'd originally planned on checking out the hiking trails within this park but the steady winds convinced me that the hiking would be too chilly.
Instead, I drove a bit further south and got pictures of the Sammy with Pikes Peak in the background:
On the side of State Highway 83
I then moved the Sammy north a bit to County Rd 80 and found a better angle on Pikes Peak:
No mechanical issues encountered with the Sammy, I was happy.
Thursday, May 26
Glorious day today in terms of weather, sunny and warm with very gentle breezes. Drove the Sammy to Rampart Range Road by way of Jackson Creek Road off of CO Hwy 105. It is a much shorter drive than the normal driving to the north end of Rampart Range Road using CO Hwy 67.
The Sammy was doing great until about 3 hours or so into the ride. Then, she acted like she had no power, especially on uphill portions of the road. I thought it might be a dirty air filter so I swapped it out for the spare I carry. This seemed to be the solution for about another few miles but then the lack of power/hesitation returned.
I was having to really drive up the RPMs to maintain headway, and definitely to get her moving while in first gear. I continued to fixate on it being a possible air leak/vacuum leak issue but found nothing untoward during the couple of times I stopped to check in with RichardM.
Got her home after negotiating starts from stops in the following manner: Rev up the engine and hold higher revs than normal for first gear while letting out the clutch. The Sammy would kind of slowly move forward for a bit and then something would "catch" and she'd move out as normal except of course faster since I had the revs up.
I was "premature" in thinking it was a clutch issue. The info I gave MikeW led us down the wrong path it seems.
After an examination of the vacuum lines in the engine bay revealed nothing. I called MikeW, the Samurai Guru in New Mexico and described the symptoms and actions I had to take. He believes the clutch is worn/glazed and needs replacing. Sigh. He first had me check the sheathing on the clutch cable but it was fine. So, after talking things over with Martha, the plan now is to not go to North Dakota on the way to Wisconsin to check on her Dad; instead driving down to Truth or Consequences in NM and having MikeW help me replace the clutch. Who am I kidding, I'll be helping him! He's done the work several times over the years and feels confident in being able to get it done in one evening! After that, we drive cross country to Wisconsin. We'll be there for a bit then we'll make our way to Bedford, KY to attend this year's Zookimelt Suzuki Samurai Rally. The detour to get the Sammy's clutch swapped out adds about 500 miles to our trip itinerary but it doesn't make sense to go through North Dakota and not have a vehicle to drive around in does it? The original thought and proposal from MikeW was he'd help me do the work during Zookimelt, but this way there's no time lost or imposition made during his "vacation time". Clutches are wear items so no blaming the Samurai. I checked the PO's records once more and he didn't have the clutch replaced while in his care. The Sammy's odometer reads above 92k miles now, of which I think almost 10k is towed miles, so figure 70k miles on the present clutch (PO said it was about 12k towed miles under his care). Not too bad, probably the original clutch! Note: The local mechanic gave me a rough quote of $1000-1500 to do the work and while the money is there, not sure when he'd be able to schedule the work.
Along with RichardM's help, Martha roped in Chris and Lori Z of Blazeourway to help diagnose what we now believe is a fuel delivery issue on the Sammy.
Several test rides were done, each after a mod was made to see if it remedied the bogging down issue:
Isolate the Deceleration Mixture Control Valve. I capped off the valve's vacuum line with a known clogged jet and capped the air line from the valve into the intake manifold. No joy, bogging symptoms persisted.
Bypass the mechanical fuel pump. Known to have issues before, which is why the Sammy has an electrical fuel pump. Instead of the fuel flowing from the electrical fuel pump AND through the mechanical pump, I used fittings to link the fuel line from the electrical fuel pump and the fuel line leading to the carburetor.
After ensuring no leaks with the fuel pump running, I took her out for test drives. No joy, bogging still occurred.
I even tried rerouting the fuel line further away from the manifold area, thinking heating of the gas might be an issue. No joy, bogging still occurred within an hour, sometimes less of me driving around.
I did notice though, during the drives, that whenever the bogging down conditions occurred; I could pull over, shut down the ignition, turn it back on and the Sammy would be back to its normal responsiveness....no more bogging! Until the next time that is but still, a work-around at the very least.
At first, I thought the turning off/on of the ignition was resetting something in the ECM: Electronic Control Module, which regulates fuel flow in the carburetor. But the fact that the change was immediate basically eliminated that, I was told, by MikeW. It would, you see, take time for the electronic bits in the ECM to cool down. So, at this time, no need to hunt for a replacement.
The thinking now is that debris is being sucked up against the filter used by the gas pickup tube inside the tank. By turning the ignition off, I turn off the fuel pump, fuel flows back into the tank and pushes away debris from the filter. The debris then floats around till it gets sucked up again against the pickup tube's filter and blocks fuel flow, starving the carburetor and causing the bogging down conditions.
So, currently, the plan is to:
Drain the gas from the gas tank ( If there's a lot of debris, then also drop the tank, remove the pickup tube and clean it and its filter out. Perhaps even roll some old nuts/bolts inside with some old gas, to further clear out gunk that might be in the tank.
More to follow.