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Author Topic: Wow, what a trip  (Read 7371 times)
David Anderson
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« on: December 24, 2006, 01:58:08 PM »

We are back in the Texas panhandle for Christmas after a 4 day ski trip at Breckenridge/Keystone.  This trip dealt a lot of lemons, so I made as much lemonaide as I could stand. We arrived Tiger Run on Monday evening uneventfully from Texas.  We were ahead of the Denver blizzard.  One hour after I shut the bus down and switched the bus from the engine heat loop to the Webasto loop, the Webasto fouled with soot and shut down.  Keep in mind if you have followed my dealings with the Webasto in the past 3 years (see "webasto woes" in the archives of the BNO board for details) this is the 3rd year in a row the heater has failed above 5000' msl.  grrrrr!!!  This was my first lemon.  So, we were plugged into a 50 amp plug and on comes all the electric heaters, lemonaide.

The next day we drove the bus over to Keystone to park where we've always parked for the past 2 years and the attendant runs up to the bus and says, "you can't park here.  You have to go to the tenderfoot lot."  It was about two miles away, and off we go to park there.  We were only one of about 3 vehicles in the whole lot.  We grab our ski gear and begin walking to the bus stop.  I slip on the ice and fall squarely across my skis on my back.  Folks, I must tell you it hurt like hell.  After a few minutes on the ground my boys pick me up and we groan to the shuttle stop.  The bus stops, we attempt to board.  The driver says, "you can't go without a pass."  We explained what the parking lot attendant told us and after about 6 minutes on the radio the supervisor finally told them, "oh hell, let them get on." 

We skiied till about 1:00 and my wife and I get on the shuttle back to the coach for lunch.  Walking up to the coach I notice papers all over the windshield under the wipers.  Food coupons??? Not hardly.  The bus had a warning ticket and call for towing removal from Vail Resorts for illegal parking.   Looking to the side of the bus the other cars that were next to us were being carried away by a towing company.  Yikes, I get on the phone and get in touch with the transportation director from Keystone resorts.  He gets on the radio with Vail parking enforcement and assures me that I was ok to park there.  I wasn't too comfortable with his assurance so I left a note in my window with his business card saying, "we have permission to park here from the director of transportation.  Don't tow this vehicle."  More lemonaide.

We get back at 5:00 and the Eagle is still there so we drive back toward Breckenridge with a stop needed at City Market.  I made a right turn to the side road and hit snow pack with my right back wheels that promply threw everything out of the cabinets on the curbside of the bus.  Broken dishes and more lemons.

After that we back into our spot at Tiger Run and turn those electric heaters back on.  It was really cold and I was walking the dog and she finished her business, so I attempted to pull the door handle to open the door and it broke off in my hand, (lemons).  A pair of pliers solved that problem (lemonaide)  RV type door lock handles are pretty lightly made, I guess.  I walked around the street side of the bus and noticed one of my front wheel lug nuts had broken off.  I got new front tires in July and the &^%$%^& shop torqued them down too hard.  Now in the cold it decides to separate itself from my bus.  lemons.

The next day we skiied at Breckenridge and used their shuttle system.  We never started the Eagle again.  We watched with amazement the goings on in Denver and I was really nervous about my mechanical bay temperature since the Webasto didn't work.   I installed a new nozzle in the webasto to see if it would work any better.  It did the same, ran about an hour with heavy black smoke and soot and clogged up the burner chamber with carbon black.  Fortunately the electric water heater and Trace battery charger kept the temps just above freezing.  By the time we left Friday the water temperature in the bay had dropped to 37 degrees. 

Skip to Friday morning and it is time to go.  I new I could get about 1 hour of operation from the Webasto if I cleaned all the soot out of the burner chamber.  This would get the engine started.   (I don't have an electric block heater.  I'm getting one when I get home.)  Trust me I've been through all this before.  I also turned on the circulator pump in the engine loop Thursday night to move the coolant through everything.  This would scavenge a little heat from the electric water heater.  Doing this raised the engine temp to 40 degrees from -9 degrees. 


I still had a lift ticket left that my wife didn't use so I went to Breckenridge to sell it.  I was standing close to the ticket area holding it up saying, "one day lift ticket, $60."  That is $20 below the window price.  After 5 minutes a lady bolts from the ticket area and threatened to arrest me for scalping.  (lemons)  I was stunned.  She was serious.  I sheepishly said I'm sorry.  I'm from Texas.  I didn't know.  There are no signs. blah blah.  Then she said you can get a refund at the window.   But my ticket says, "no refunds" on it.  "You can get a refund", she said.  Lemonaide.  I got the full price back.  Go figure.

Now the fun begins.  Back to the Eagle and flip on the Webasto.  It smokes and coughs, smells like the Durango/Silverton steam engine. dropping soot particles all over the pretty white snow, but it is heating the water.  After 30 minutes the DD 6v92 is 75 degrees.   Bingo she starts right up.  More lemonaide, yum.

Walking around the coach stowing cords and such I see red liquid on the ground below the power steering reservoir.  It is bubbling out the top.  I clean up the mess and attempt to drive out and it now whines like a jet engine.  Lemons.  I check the level and it is full.  We leave Tiger Run and off we go eastbound on I 70 to Denver.  After warming up the whining stops.  (self healing Lemonaide.)  I'm not sure what caused this.

We get to Denver at 3:00pm Friday and the traffic is at a standstill.  We debated about going I 70 east and US 287 south to Limon but heard the I 25 was clear.  Oh man we should have gone east.  The traffic on I 25 was crawling to Castle Rock so we exited to go east on CO 86 toward Limon.  Guess what?  It was closed at CO 83.  We then turned south on CO 83 and went to Colorado Springs.  Back on I 25 again, the traffic was not moving and my boys turned on the TV and the news said it was like this all the way to Pueblo.   We exited
I 25 on Academy Blvd and looped east to CO 94.  It took 2 hours to get out of Colorado Springs.  Driving east on CO 94 my cruise control quit.  More lemons.  The road was very good and no traffic.  We finally made it to US 287.

We turned south on US 287 and ick.  It was solid snow pack ice.  30 and 40 mph was all we could do.  North of Lamar some folks in pickups behind me got antsy and attempted to pass.  They made it around me, but when one attempted to get back in the lane, spinning he went.  A couple of circles later he is into the fence in about 3 feet of snow.  No one hurt, but a brand new ford truck with paper tags on it is wrapped in barbed wire.

The roads clear at the Oklahoma border.  We are driving through Boise City when I get to this 18 wheeler blocking the road.  He had high centered his trailer jacks backing into a driveway.  Lemons.  I had to back up two blocks and go down a side street through solid ice for five blocks to get back on US 287.  Lemonaide.

Driving a bit farther all of the sudden the auto shutdown light comes on and bam the bus quits.  I roll to a stop.  Lemons.  A check of the engine room shows nothing awry.  I get back in the coach and it starts right up.  Oil pressure normal, temperature normal.  We drive on.  Darn, it does this 5 more times.   From the manual I decide it has to be a defective pressure switch on the oil system.  I disconnect wire 62 and the symptoms stop.  Lemonaide.  I'll get that replaced when I get home. 

We arrived in Dumas TX at 3:15 am 13.5 hours after we left Breckenridge.  I parked at Walmart and turned on the Webasto knowing it would work at a lower altitutude.  Wrong, it was too sooted up to work.  It promptly dropped to 45 degrees in the coach.  The engine still had enough heat to start at 7:00 am.  I filled with fuel at Walmart ($2.46 with the gift card) and drove to the inlaws in Pampa, where I'm typing right now.

I cleaned the webasto out Saturday morning.  Lots of soot.  I put it back together and it has been running flawlessly ever since.  It's a toasty 71 degrees in the coach and about 38 outside.    That's all for now.  I think I'll go drink some lemonaide.

Merry Christmas.

David

Update, Update, Update.  Dec. 26, 2006
 
I got the cruise control fixed.  Some ice had hit the speed sensor and knocked it wamperjawed.  I bent it back into place.  I removed the fartherest downstream wire that throws the skinner valve relay when the Auto Shutdown activates.  This way the light would come on but not throw the skinner valve.  It never activated in the 530 mile trip from Pampa to Pleasanton.   I may have some bad diodes in the circuit.  Those are cheap to fix.   The webasto ran like a champ for 3 solid days in 25 degree weather in Pampa.  (just like the previous times before)

The trip home was uneventful.   Now I need to fix the lug nut, door lock, and begin the letter writing campaign with Webasto to come up with a solution to its altitude problem.

Happy New Year.

David
« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 06:46:13 PM by David Anderson » Logged
Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2006, 02:25:39 PM »

Wow David,

What a adventure, [lemons to lemonade] and you pulled through every one of them....

I like your storys, you should write a book about your trips...

Nick-
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2006, 02:32:32 PM »

As they say "It's not just a bus, it's an adventure!"  Glad to see everything worked out okay for you.  Merry Christmas

Frank
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2006, 02:36:57 PM »

That was some adventure, I think you've had enough lemonade for one year, I hope you change your drink on the way home to something harder like root beer.  I've had similar trips like yours, but not as bad, at least you arrived safe and are having a Merry Christmas with the family.

I hope your trip iis not contagious like others have had on the board,Merry Christmas and have an unadventurous trip home and a lot better New Year.


         From one Eagle to another
              Pete and Jean
                Fantasy
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2006, 03:58:20 PM »

Glad you made it out of CO ok. I don't understand the soot problems in your webasto. I'm suspicious of the air inlet adjustment. I don't have problems with my aquahot. Brian Diehl just had problems with his webasto, and replaced the nozzle and it works great again. Sure don't understand why you keep having problems with yours.

Take care on the remainder of the trip.

craig
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David Anderson
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2006, 07:48:33 PM »

Glad you made it out of CO ok. I don't understand the soot problems in your webasto. I'm suspicious of the air inlet adjustment. I don't have problems with my aquahot. Brian Diehl just had problems with his webasto, and replaced the nozzle and it works great again. Sure don't understand why you keep having problems with yours.

Take care on the remainder of the trip.-------------------------------------------------------------------

This has been an ongoing problem.  After much correspondence and phone calls with Webasto USA, I am getting the implication from their engineers that these units will not function above 7000' regardless of the air damper setting.  I am not a happy camper because I was explicit with Wrico as to my requirements for a cold weather ski coach, and Dick Wright was confident with the information that he had from Webasto that this was the unit that would do the job as I requested. 

Now, after 3 consecutive failures in 3 consecutive high altitude heating needs, this heater does the same thing each time.  Works great before I go.  Soots up at altitude.  Come back down, clean out the carbon black and it works fine.  New nozzles beget me the same results.   A return of the unit to a Webasto service center (some $110) showed absolutely no problem with the heater at all.  (at sea level of course).  I have done every suggestion made by the engineers at Webasto to correct this problem without success.  I guarantee you that when I get home the letters to Webasto will fly, and I will make a lot of noise about this problem.  If indeed they tell me that it doesn't work at high altitudes then a gross misrepresentation was made by them before I purchased this model heater.  Nowhere in their owner's manual or installation manual, or operating specs does it say that you cannot use this above 7000'.

So far I haven't been able to make any lemonaide out of this lemon.

David



« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 06:13:45 PM by David Anderson » Logged
Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2006, 09:08:47 PM »

Hi David,

Just from expierence, it sounds like an air to fuel ratio problem at high altitude.

The fix would be to know how much more air the unit would need at 7000ft....

I'm not sure if the wabasto unit is adjustable for the extra air needed to burn properly. Most likely, the blower in the combustion

chamber would need to be able to ramp up or somehow adjust to let more air into the chamber.

Good Luck

Nick-
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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2006, 05:11:52 AM »

Duane: It is quite obvious that you have isolated the problem to altitude. Nick's sugestion to add more air would be fine if there ia any way to do it (none to my knowledge). The other alternative is to put in a smaller nozzle to get the proper air-fuel ratio. Since you live in Texas, you will not need the maximum output of the Webasto except when you go up in the mountains in the wintertime.

The air problem could be solved with a supercharger on the air inlet but I don't think you want ot go that route!!
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« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2006, 07:13:59 AM »

Hi David,

Just from expierence, it sounds like an air to fuel ratio problem at high altitude.

The fix would be to know how much more air the unit would need at 7000ft....

I'm not sure if the wabasto unit is adjustable for the extra air needed to burn properly. Most likely, the blower in the combustion

chamber would need to be able to ramp up or somehow adjust to let more air into the chamber.

Good Luck

Nick-
I would suspect that a smaller fuel nozzle would be the easiest. Might cut down on the amount of heat but I guess anything to resolve the problem would be nice.
Richard
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« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2006, 08:30:49 AM »

Hi David,

I went to the BNO archives and re-read about your Webasto issues. I have the 2010 in my Aquahot system and as you know, live in Colorado (you passed by my place when you went south on CO. 83 @ CO. 86). I don't have any problems with my burner at altitude.

A couple of suggestions for you, fwiw:

If I recall correctly my installation manual said exhaust length not to exceed 9 feet in length with no more that two 90 degree bends.Obviously, the diameter needs to be correct too. Exhaust back pressure could reduce air intake volume.

If your bays are sealed real well you could restrict intake there too.

Voltage is real critical on those burners to maintain adequate blower speed. I would check voltage at the burner under load. I would even check voltage when it is real cold outside too. I believe it is possible that cold fuel could create more load on the unit thus dropping voltage even more.

One other check would be fuel pressure. She won't burn clean unless fuel pressure is within specification. This is another thing that can be effected by cold temperatures, so check when cold if possible. Low fuel pressure can be caused by supply or return line issues,low voltage, filter problems, and pump wear.


hth, Tq
« Last Edit: December 25, 2006, 08:40:32 AM by Torquester » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2006, 09:40:02 AM »


Hi David,

I went to the BNO archives and re-read about your Webasto issues. I have the 2010 in my Aquahot system and as you know, live in Colorado (you passed by my place when you went south on CO. 83 @ CO. 86). I don't have any problems with my burner at altitude.

If you read the "webasto woes" thread then you know what was attempted.  I opened the damper as per Richard Edwards suggestion.  He is the Webasto engineer that has been helping me.  The attempt was a complete failure.

A couple of suggestions for you, fwiw:

If I recall correctly my installation manual said exhaust length not to exceed 9 feet in length with no more that two 90 degree bends.Obviously, the diameter needs to be correct too. Exhaust back pressure could reduce air intake volume.

On page 403 of my Webasto installation manual it states, "exhaust pipe tubing of 1 1/2" must be used with up to 270 in bends and no longer than 16'.  Mine is 11' with one 90 and a 30 degree bend.

If your bays are sealed real well you could restrict intake there too.

We opened the bay doors in an attempt to see if this would help.   No success.

Voltage is real critical on those burners to maintain adequate blower speed. I would check voltage at the burner under load. I would even check voltage when it is real cold outside too. I believe it is possible that cold fuel could create more load on the unit thus dropping voltage even more.

We were plugged into a power pole so the voltage from the Trace to the battery bank was never less than 13.2 volts throughout my system. 

One other check would be fuel pressure. She won't burn clean unless fuel pressure is within specification. This is another thing that can be effected by cold temperatures, so check when cold if possible. Low fuel pressure can be caused by supply or return line issues,low voltage, filter problems, and pump wear.

The fuel pressure on my gauge 8" from the heater inlet showed no change from low altitude to high altitude.

What really concerns me is the dialogue I had with a Webasto USA engineer named Gilbert on Tues Dec 19.  (Richard Edwards was gone for Christmas)  After explaining my whole dilema, he came out and said, "the 2010 wasn't designed to run at these high altitudes".    My blood pressure really began to rise when he said that, because as I wrote above, I was told this would run at these ski areas that we go to each year.   I may have a $6000 system that won't do what was promised to me when I bought it. 

David
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« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2006, 09:53:28 AM »

I would think that the only place to get a good fuel pressure reading that would be of any benefit would be between the pump and the nozzle. I do not know if you can get in there to install a guage or not. My waste engine oil furnace had a guage and regulator in that location. Also had a draft adjustment on the exhaust which was adjusted using a special draft guage and it made all the difference in the world how clean the exhaust was.
Richard
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« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2006, 11:52:23 AM »

I agree with Richard. The pump is an integral part of the head, and I'm not sure you can get a fuel pressure reading there.

Soot is a product of incomplete combustion, isn't it. I believe the problem is improper mixture of air and fuel.

I'm wondering if heating the fuel would help. Maybe wrap a copper fuel line several times around the webasto water jacket before entering the fuel pump. Then hot water in the body will preheat the fuel prior to it being pressurized into the burn chamber resulting in better atomization of the fuel, and better mixture of air and fuel for combustion.

The reason I suggest this is because those of us with aquahots don't seem to have burn problems. I noticed when my unit is cold it can take a couple trys to get it to fire, but when the fluid in the tank is warm, it fires the first time, every time, regardless of outside temp. These are the same symptoms Brian Diehl was seeing before he started having problems at 40*, and changed nozzles to fix it. The standard Aquahot has a 15 gallon reservoir, so it keeps the head nice and warm in between cycles. The standard Webasto has a smaller reservoir.

craig
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« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2006, 12:07:44 PM »

I agree with Richard. The pump is an integral part of the head, and I'm not sure you can get a fuel pressure reading there.

Soot is a product of incomplete combustion, isn't it. I believe the problem is improper mixture of air and fuel.

I'm wondering if heating the fuel would help. Maybe wrap a copper fuel line several times around the webasto water jacket before entering the fuel pump. Then hot water in the body will preheat the fuel prior to it being pressurized into the burn chamber resulting in better atomization of the fuel, and better mixture of air and fuel for combustion.

The reason I suggest this is because those of us with aquahots don't seem to have burn problems. I noticed when my unit is cold it can take a couple trys to get it to fire, but when the fluid in the tank is warm, it fires the first time, every time, regardless of outside temp. These are the same symptoms Brian Diehl was seeing before he started having problems at 40*, and changed nozzles to fix it. The standard Aquahot has a 15 gallon reservoir, so it keeps the head nice and warm in between cycles. The standard Webasto has a smaller reservoir.

craig

I think that is righrt and if you can not change the air mix, then you must change the nozzle size to reduce the amount of fuel.
Richard
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2006, 01:59:13 PM »

Richard and Craig, both of you are correct! [switch to a smaller nozzle]

The down side of this fix is the loss of BTU capacity. He could loose 10 to 15 thousand BTUs...

Which is a major loss in a bus of 40 Ft. I'm wondering if there might be a air volume fix that would work

instead of sacraficeing the capacity.. Something like a retrofit blower fan that can have an adjustable damper,

something like a residential oil furnace which is made to be able to be adjusted for high altitudes.

Nick-
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