Cummins Canoe (A Stepvan Story)

bajajoaquin

Adventurer
Yes, the main reason I need air is for tires. Those pay to use compressor kiosks at fuel stations are a pain. And most times I need air in much more desolate places. Air horn would be a nice extra thing to have too. Maybe a 12v setup with a little 5 gallon tank is all I need.
In California, you can’t charge gas customers for air. Might be similar in other states. Try asking them to turn on the air for you.
 

ben1ben1ben

New member
Finished the diesel boiler heating system and It all works great! After lots of tinkering and design changes of course.

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Boiler all wired and plumbed. Air intake is black tube on the left. Exhaust is silver tube on the right. It all looks very messy right now, but we'll get to that.

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Used up all the exhaust pipe that came with the heater to get it back and away from the side door and shower as possible. It comes out close to the engine exhaust. I read that some people aim their exhaust at their oil pans. Seems like a great idea if I were to mount the unit in front by engine. But I found this spot was much better location, and the exhaust pipe wouldn't reach the engine, so oh well.

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Our current version of boiler valve control assembly. The problem we kept having is that the control valve in the dashboard is above the highest resting coolant point in the system. So when everything is off, air rises up into the valve assembly. When the pump would kick on, air would end up down into the pump and all the other boiler components. None of that was good. So we installed an automatic air vent to bleed air out of the system when coolant starts flowing.

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We also had to move the check valve onto the engine block where the old coolant line to the stock heater core was originally located on the water pump housing.

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And moved engine coolant feed from the boiler to the back of the engine block. Now, the hot coolant from the boiler will need to travel through the cylinder head, down into the water jacket around the cylinders, and then back out the bottom front of the engine where the pickup hose is located that the circulation pump takes coolant from. All that hurt my brain thinking about it. But it works well, so I can stop thinking about it.

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Anywho, back to the boiler itself. The Eberspacher units are very well made. The control board and all the electrical connections are waterproofed so they can be mounted outside. But this thing was about the most expensive component to the build, and we mounted it down in the gutter! Where it is is mounted it is kind of protected by the front passenger step well, but no way were we taking chances letting it sit down there unprotected all the way. Had some scrap aluminum sheet laying around from when we did the initial demo of the van interior. Cut that up and bent some stuff.

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Welded the seams and bam, got a nice little protection box for the boiler. We put rubber protectors on for around all the stuff going in and out of box to protect from edges. Need something for around the exhaust pipe so it doesn't vibrate, that won't melt. Any suggestions?
Great photos and description!! please could you add a schematic ?
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
In California, you can’t charge gas customers for air. Might be similar in other states. Try asking them to turn on the air for you.
I hate coin operated pumps… mostly because they are noisy and slow. I think every time I’ve spoken to a clerk because I didn’t have change… they’ve just turned it on.

That said, I love having onboard air and wouldn’t voluntarily be with out it. When you have an inner dually go flat in a rain storm, at 11pm, when there are hurricane force winds, you don’t want to have to look for a gas station. It also comes in handy for fabrication of repair parts &/or doing repairs in the middle of nowhere.

*been there & done that… 😁
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
In California, you can’t charge gas customers for air. Might be similar in other states. Try asking them to turn on the air for you.
Hmmm, most places I've come across charge you.
Great photos and description!! please could you add a schematic ?
I can dig a schematic up. No way would I have been able to do it without figuring it on paper first.
I hate coin operated pumps… mostly because they are noisy and slow. I think every time I’ve spoken to a clerk because I didn’t have change… they’ve just turned it on.

That said, I love having onboard air and wouldn’t voluntarily be with out it. When you have an inner dually go flat in a rain storm, at 11pm, when there are hurricane force winds, you don’t want to have to look for a gas station. It also comes in handy for fabrication of repair parts &/or doing repairs in the middle of nowhere.

*been there & done that… 😁
Yep, I'd much rather have my own air!
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Driving down the road, started hearing a funny noise. Thought it was a little exhaust leak. Oh well, not a big deal, sounded like a later problem. Later that day, smoke started pouring into the cab. Pulled over and took a look...

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Oil everywhere! Started the engine and observed. It was actually fuel and exhaust shooting out from around an injector.

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Turns out the copper washer failed and the injector was no longer sealed to the cylinder head. Took a hike to some parts stores. Nothing a little sandpaper and copper washer kit can't fix.

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A few hour delay and was back on track to our destination.
 

iggi

Ian
Your patience and perseverance are amazing. Maybe it's time to start carrying a small motorcycle on the back? Make those parts store runs a lot quicker. :)
 

bajajoaquin

Adventurer
Hmmm, most places I've come across charge you.
That’s what I’m saying. In CA, by law they must give air for free to customers. So they can turn it on for you. Other states may have that same law. Or they may have the pay setup to deter abuse and the guy will just flip the switch for you anyway. It’s worth asking.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Your patience and perseverance are amazing. Maybe it's time to start carrying a small motorcycle on the back? Make those parts store runs a lot quicker. :)
The frequency of the rig breaking down is what keeps me in shape. I enjoy hiking!
It will be a new truck when you are done with this trip!
Haha, I hope so!
That’s what I’m saying. In CA, by law they must give air for free to customers. So they can turn it on for you. Other states may have that same law. Or they may have the pay setup to deter abuse and the guy will just flip the switch for you anyway. It’s worth asking.
Interesting. Regardless, I'd rather not depend on any place to get air in the tires.
The Cummins Canoe was at Seneca Rocks, WV!
Good eyes! Great place to rock climb!
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Nothing is breaking! This is great! I guess I can do some preventative maintenance instead.

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Got the time to do it, so it's getting done. Drivers side balljoints and tie rods. Greased all the joints, packed the wheel bearings, and torqued everything down to the proper specs.

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But, some things just couldn't go right. The driver side front shock mount broke off, so we had that welded up right quick. Once the tires were back on, it's off to an alignment shop. Three weeks to wait for an appointment, but only $70. Apparently, every mechanic shop is backed up and people are waited several weeks to get their vehicles in and fixed. I can't imagine waiting in line overtime something broke. Very fortunate I've been able to fix things myself. But alignments really shouldn't be done with a tape measure as a permanent fix.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Now that I'm not battling crippling repairs, I can finally make things more better!

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There aren't many good things to say about stock headlights from 30 years ago, except that they would last forever and not fog up like modern plastic ones do. But the light output was really terrible, and I really did everything I could to avoid driving at night, so it was time to upgrade. The lights are definitely better, but I was hoping for better. The new led ones from Maxima are still kind of spotty. On high beam, oh boy, they light up the whole town! But I can't always have them on. Oh well. I feel comfortable driving at night so all is well.

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It's been very hard to keep the hood closed lately. Found out the hood latch bracket was broken.

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Had a spare headset for the intercom system. It always shorts out and causes interference over the whole intercom system. Found the reason why.

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Nothing a little solder and heat shrink can't fix.

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The passenger side seatbelt has been a pain to operate. It was a hasty install and was bolted on crooked due to interference with the sliding door. Cut the mounting bracket and welded it at an offset angle so it's nice and straight.

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The big rear cabinet under the workbench needed shelves too. Much better to keep organized instead of just piling things in there and ramming the door shut real quick in hopes that it all won't avalanche back out.

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Came up with a new idea to keep the fridge doors closed. A simple wooden peg with a piece of rubber hose on it put through a ring. Simple and effective. Using the ratchet strap across the door to keep the milk and eggs in the fridge was getting very old.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
I don't think I'll ever win. Noticed my coolant levels in radiator have been dropping and eventually a small puddle of coolant under the rig. Other than that, everything is running great. Tracked it down from dripping from the bell housing, behind the starter, up the side of the block, under the exhaust manifold...

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Oh great, less than a year and the head gasket already went.

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But wait, that's leaking from the head bolt? Ok, could still be head gasket. Checked torque on bolt, seemed to be ok, removed it, everything seemed fine. Put bolt back in, re-torqued it. Ran engine again while looking closely. Coolant was not leaking from bolt.

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In the corner of the casting, there is a small crack that coolant is bubbling through, hard to see, but it's clearly there, maybe an inch long. Just what I need. Winter is fast approaching and I might need a new cylinder head. I bought a Cummins so I wouldn't have these issues. This rig is cursed...
 

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