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Old 07-21-2015, 09:39 AM   #11
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

So, we woke up in high spirits the next day, somehow. Perhaps it was the Telluride effect. It was my wife's birthday and I wanted to make it a good one. We wanted to hang around longer and do a little more offroading, but we were definitely seeing a pattern. The van started fine every morning and ran great until about noon when it got good and hot. We could only find an ICM in Durango. We had called everywhere in the area, which was a short list of places, and no one had it. I pulled mine (not easy to get to), and cleaned it up. There was lots of corrosion between the ICM and the heat sync it mounts to, and the firewall. I thought now that I know the problem I could just spray some water on it, put a fan on it, or whatever when it heated up. The most direct path to civilization and parts stores was south on 145 to Cortez, but that involved a pass I wasn't familiar with and no one there had the part in stock anyway. Durango looked like the only choice. We chose Ophir Pass after hearing it wasn't that bad. Yes, we were risking it here but we had no choice. I thought we'd be fine on Ophir starting early in the day while it was cooler, but I forgot how long and steep the San Juan Skyway (550) was.

It was a beautiful day on Ophir Pass





The van ran fine over Ophir Pass, and as soon as we got out on 550 headed south towards Durango it stalled again. I cooled the ICM, which did no good. Hmmm. How could that be? I have no pics for a while here, but let's just say that my wife's birthday wasn't a good one. Lots of stalls and drama getting over the high passes and downhill towards Durango. When we made it mid afternoon we were hot, stressed and hungry. We got our new ICM and guess what? It did no good.
We coasted in to a shop in Durango just before closing and picked the brain of two very helpful mechanics there. Quick plug here for Built to Last Automotive in Durango. They were super helpful, but it was near closing time on Friday and they were trying to wrap up several cars. One mechanic offhandedly said "You know, I used to have an F250 about that age with a 460 and it was always vapor lock with that thing. Same symptom!". Huh? Vapor lock? I hadn't considered this. I hadn't considered anything on the fuel side. The tank is new, the (original) pump has only 30k or so on it, vapor lock? Isn't that something old VW busses suffer from? Not fairly modern vans. Still, I took his advice to go get a tank of pure (ethanol free) gas. I was just under a half and he said that would probably get me rolling. He didn't mention the fuel pump, because he (nor I) had never heard of one heating up and quitting, then working again after cooling. I thought fuel pumps just died and that was it. We made our way slowly and intermittently to a pure gas station a mile or two away, filled up with pure and voila! We were running fine again. It was late but we were sick of breaking down in the desert. 4 days out, 4 breakdowns. Many times on her birthday trying to get to Durango. No nice hotel as planned, we just made a bee line for Cortez hoping to catch up on lost time.
We stayed in a dump in Cortez, too hot to camp. Neither of us could believe that the problem was as simple as vapor lock, or that I had been so wrong. But the van was running???
At this point, we really once again thought we had found the problem so we detoured through Monument Valley. It was finally good day.

Mexican Hat



Monument Valley





We drove the offroad loop down in to Monument Valley. Lots of pics here but I'm no pro and they mostly look the same. Guess what? We were climbing back up to the visitor's center and the van quit!

We were done. It was going to the shop. We painstakingly got up out of the canyon and coasted downhill about 5 miles to a gas station at Goulding's near Monument Valley. I filled up with 10% ethanol premium, the best option they had. Rusty fired right up with a cool, full tank of gas but by now we had narrowed it down to the fuel pump, largely from advice from some of you here on the forum. We made it just past Kayenta a few miles down the road and the van quit, this time for good. 5 days, 5 breakdowns. This time in the desert in the absolute middle of nowhere. We sweated it out for an hour and a half while AAA sent a truck from Page. A long 65 mile tow later the driver unloaded us at the KOA in Page. 106 degrees and few trees. Saturday afternoon. No shop even open til Monday. This was our 20 year anniversary trip. Life was not good.

More to come

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Old 07-21-2015, 10:56 AM   #12
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

Oh noooo! Rusty's down for the count. I read your thread about being broken down in Page. Maybe you'll duplicate it here. Great pics. Love Colorado, we did a Durango- Ouray loop a few years back in a 76 VW Bus. Broke down a couple of times, fuel filter problems, as the tank was getting rusty. We had a break down at the north rim in the Ford, fuel pump as you know, but got pretty lucky. I figured it was the fuel pump right away, because I had already replaced the distributor and coil, and practically everything else. It did stall on me on the way in a couple of times, but restarted within a few minutes each time until it finally quit for good. We figured it wouldn't get us out and were prepared mentally to break down. And we did. I now have towing insurance.
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:00 AM   #13
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

Your pictures look pro to me. Keep e'm coming. Your adventure kinda reminds me of this guy and his girlfriend.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCidJft ... 196YynvqXg

That's why I said before you should have a go pro and a youtube channel.
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:08 AM   #14
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

So this is when the trip went from bad to worse. We had absolutely not planned to wind up in a KOA in the desert. Not our kind of camping. We made the best of it though. We caught up on laundry, cleanup and fixing a few small things on the van. I noticed my neighbor climbing under his truck and it turns out he had a radiator that had given up on. Then another guy across the way wandered over and joined in our tinkering. We wound up all hitting it off and not only did we make two new friends but we had a great day together. The guys replaced Pat's radiator and the ladies visited. Then Brian, the only one with a good running truck, helped us run a few errands and got the charcoal going. He and his wife Tasha insisted on feeding all of us, and it was quite a spread after everyone chipped in. Pat brought wine and lots of veggies from his garden to grill with the chicken and pork chops, and we even had ice cream and a spread of toppings after.
We were up early the next morning and the van ran fine the mile or two to the shop. Page has one rental car place (Avis) at their small airport, but that was enough and since it was Monday morning we had plenty of freshly returned cars to choose from. We got an Xterra and set off for Zion with our van in pretty capable hands. This actually worked out awesome. We wanted to spend 2-3 days in Zion and that's about how long Paul at Liberty Auto needed to get our van diagnosed and fixed without having to rush it. Somehow this bad run of luck was balancing out with just enough good to keep us positive.
Zion was awesome. We had wanted to hike the Narrows sans children for a long time, and see how far we could get from the bottom up. Next time we'd love to get a permit and go all the way from the top down. We wound up going 8 miles in and back. It was a tough but rewarding day!

First day, Emerald Pools area













Here we go into the Narrows











Things were looking up















16 miles later and this happy couple was ready for a big burger at Zion Lodge!

More to come

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Old 07-22-2015, 12:30 PM   #15
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

Sounds like a trip where all the bad luck with the van will one day become fond campfire memories. I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Thanks for the write up.
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:53 PM   #16
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

not that the rest of your trip report wasnt awesome, BUT this installment is what i was waiting for! the narrows report was awesome, thanks for taking such great pix man. just making that place a must see for the wife and i someday!

sorry about all the woes with rusty, but overall it sounds like things worked out as good as they possibly could for all the different situations you ended up in. i cant imagine coasting that bigole van was any fun at all and it seems like you did a lot of it, lol.
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Old 07-22-2015, 01:29 PM   #17
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
16 miles later and this happy couple was ready for a big burger at Zion Lodge!
20th Anniversary and you couldn't spring for two burgers?

Great pics.
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Old 07-22-2015, 01:56 PM   #18
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

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Old 07-22-2015, 03:01 PM   #19
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by rallypanam
Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
16 miles later and this happy couple was ready for a big burger at Zion Lodge!
20th Anniversary and you couldn't spring for two burgers?
^^ LIKE
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Old 07-22-2015, 05:02 PM   #20
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Re: Rusty rides again..........mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Quote:
Originally Posted by rallypanam
Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
16 miles later and this happy couple was ready for a big burger at Zion Lodge!
20th Anniversary and you couldn't spring for two burgers?
^^ LIKE
Maybe 25 years..........if she behaves.

Thanks for the compliments everyone. I know it's a wordy story but one worth telling I think. I've got lots more pics and much less to say for the rest of it, which is to say, the van ran like it was supposed to so we could do what we came to do.

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