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Letter 29

Isuzu Trek Owners Infoletter #29

Ceiling cover repair

From Tom G:

For those with ceilings in need of repair: the fabric covering is called Ozite wall carpet. It can be found with commercial wall coverings and is sometimes

used for sound control. If you are repairing loose areas you can carefully cut along the lines where it is loose. Pressing it with a large 6” putty knife can

help hold it, and then you can get in behind it with glue to re-attach it. Avoid stretching the material while working with it. It can be cleaned like regular

upholstery and/or with the rental-type carpet cleaning machines. I install this type of material for a living and it is very tricky to get it to look right. Cutting around the cabinets & walls in a Trek would be difficult.

I would do everything you can to preserve what you have now.

Thanks for the input, Tom. ( tjqriep at ) remember change at to @

Oil change and Electrical repairs,

Tom and Marilyn ( gasman234 at ) write:

Jiffy Lube will change oil [Shell Rotella T] and do a lube for about $90 if you supply the oil filter. As far as problems, we lost all 120v power in the Trek. I removed the main circuit breaker box and found one of the wire nuts had burned off and another one looked questionable. Thankfully I carry a VOM to help check for problems. We have 165,000 miles and still have no major problems. We are planning to attend the January rally in Quartzsite.

Tom & Marilyn Stanton

Editor Note: We find the policies, prices and oil brands vary a lot at quick lube places around the country. Some will not work on RV’s but the good news is

you can usually find places where our rigs will fit in the door and they will service a Trek for a reasonable price.


Fan belts, Power steering hose and tube, Step.

Ken Harmon ( IsuzuTrek at )

Traveling in the West this summer we encountered the old style of re-paving, hot tar covered with small gravel packed down by the road traffic. Only this time it was a little different. It seems most of the gravel had small globs of sticky tar that caused it to be thrown up everywhere under the coach. It was stuck on the top of the engine, the propane tank, on and in the Onan generator and it collected by the handful under the rear fiberglass cap. It was more than just a mess. I think the gravel managed to turn over one of the two matched-set v-belts to the alternator, causing it to crack every two inches and then destroy itself.

I knew the alternator belts were important because they also run the vacuum pump for the power brakes. I had spare belts but I soon found I was missing the large 1 & 1/16″ socket I needed to do a belt replacement on the road. We diverted to a fellow Treker’s house for help. Thanks, Dick, for having the right tool and for the help replacing the belts. I have the right socket in my kit now. Note: If you are having problems finding the right belt for the air conditioning drive

where the pulleys have two different size grooves, you may want to try a GoodYear “Gatorback” 17405 / 13AV1030. Be sure it is the Gatorback, no substitutions. They have worked well on our rig While working on the belts, we noticed a slight seepage of red Dextron fluid at the power steering pressure hose located at the upper right corner of the engine. The local Isuzu dealer did not have the hose in stock but we located one at a dealer where we planned to be later in our trip.

The power steering pump is located at the lower right front corner of the engine. A high pressure steel hydraulic fluid line comes out of the pump housing, turns up and travels up the right corner of the engine where it turns outboard and terminates at a support bracket. At the bracket the line transitions to a rubber hose and then on to a frame rail bracket where it changes back to a steel tube.

After the hose was replaced in Portland everything checked out good. At our next stop down the road I rechecked the hydraulic fluid level in the reservoir and looked at the line and everything was fine. Back on the road and about twenty miles later we suddenly lost all power steering. Talk about luck: the turn-out we pulled into had an Isuzu truck service vehicle and a mechanic working on a truck. When I rechecked the reservoir it was empty and there was a lot of fluid dripping under the coach. The mechanic gave us some Dextron fluid and we limped into his service facility, stopping every five miles to add fluid to keep the pump lubricated.

The next day they removed the steel tube and found a crack in radius of the flare where it mates to the pump fitting. Thinking back, I remembered finding the bracket that supports the upper end of this steel tube had broken about 10,000 miles ago. I used a tie-wrap as a temporary fix until the bracket could be replaced. I have no idea how long it was driven with the broken bracket. It is hard to see and it took a push on the hose and tube assembly to see where the bracket was broken. I feel sure the flexing that occurred while the bracket was broken led to the eventual fatigue crack in the tube flange. You may want to check this bracket on your Trek occasionally.

The service manager in Yakima, WA, (his father owns a later model Trek) said the problem he sees that cause premature Isuzu engine failure is engine overheating. He suggested feeling around the fan center hub for oil. When the viscous fan clutch fails, it will leak fluid and the operating temperature of the engine will creep up slowly, allowing the engine to run too hot. He said they use Simple Green sprayed in from the front with a spray bottle and rinsed from the rear with a garden hose (not a pressure washer) to clean a dirty radiator.

The next problem occurred after we got home – the step would stop halfway up and not come down all the way. I disconnected the link to the motor, and found the step mechanism worked free so there was something wrong in the motor or controller. Looking on the web I found a rebuild kit but for not too many more $ they had new steps on sale. With all the cycles on the step and a history of structural repairs, I decided it was time for a new step.

Simple replacement, I thought. Well, not quite. The new step fits in the same place but the electrical harness is all new requiring a rewiring on the coach side. Then, when it was installed, it worked backward – it would go up when you opened the door. Back to the instruction sheet where I found you must install the new magnetic switch they furnished. Works fine now.

Trek remodel and repair.

Hi Ken, we have been idle for the summer and fall mainly because of repairs and up-grades on the Trek. In a nutshell we have replaced the wallpaper in the front half, replaced all of the ceiling, replaced the floor and replaced the bathroom fan.

Wallpaper… We used very similar wallpaper; the hard part was getting the old paper off.

Ceiling… We cut out the old ceiling material, as it was getting a little droopy and replaced it with very heavy off white wallpaper. It looks great and the Trek is brighter inside.

Bathroom fan … In removing the bathroom fan we discovered that around the wood frame the plywood was rotten. After some testing we figured out that fiberglass resin will adhere to the fiberglass shell. So, instead of removing the rotten wood we fiberglassed over the entire soft (rotten) area, with 2-oz or more cloth. We also fiberglassed another soft area and will eventually encapsulate the entire roof. It’s like using the old roof as a mold.

The floor was a big job. We removed the carpet, added 5/8″ plywood then covered it with vinyl planks. We used natural maple. We have had water problems in the past so we decided against any kind of Pergo or anything with real wood in it. We love it. We kept carpet over the engine area for noise control.

We are headed for Texas in February, Brownsville area. Love to hear from other Trekers in the Brownsville area… ’94 2840 with twin beds.

Thanks to Clark, ( clarkvg at )

Mileage, Generac oil leak, Bumpers.

Hi Ken & Cathy, We have a few things to contribute this time. Last year we went on a 9,000 – mile trip out west and were wondering where our good mpg went. Our mileage dropped to anywhere between 11 & 13 mpg. We could not find any reason mechanically & we were trying to deal with our transmission woes as well. On our way home to Ohio it occurred to us that the newer low sulfur fuels may be the problem due to poor upper cylinder lubrication.

At a truck stop in Cincinnati we found they sold a lot of diesel fuel additives made for overcoming poor mileage on older diesel engines. The new fuel is made to work properly with the newer engines with the pollution control systems & may not be as good for older engines. This year we started to use Lucas diesel fuel treatment on a 3,600 mile trek. We used a small measuring cup & added enough additive to treat 20 gallons each fill-up. Our mpg was as good as we have ever had; it is back to an average of 14.9 mpg.

Another problem we experienced this year was with our Generac generator. We developed a bad oil leak coming from deep within the engine when it was running . Using a mirror & lights we were able to determine we had a problem with the oil line. We removed the unit & ordered new original lines from Generac. They are metric-size tubing with compression ferrules type fittings on each end of the lines. Removing the lines was very difficult but we finally got them out while leaving the female fittings in place. We installed the new lines by making a tool that would fit in the tight space between the engine and the generator and allow us to tighten the lines. Then we reinstalled the unit back in the vehicle. We started it up & the leak was just as bad as before.

We removed the unit again & re-examined it again. This time we thought one of the stationary female fittings was the problem. So, we made our own new line to that fitting & put a flare-type fitting in place of the old one. We put the unit back in, started it up and it leaked again! Once again, out it came. This time I was able to remove the most difficult stationary fitting and found a crack in it. We then put in our own line with flare connections and didn’t use the factory lines. The unit works fine now. The moral of this story is to consider replacing the fitting the lines attach to no matter how hard they may be to get to. If anybody needs $35 worth of factory lines you can buy them from us for $20.

One other issue: our ˜92 Trek has a problem with the bumpers. Both bumpers are loose & we plan to remove them in the spring for repairs. According to a body man I know, he thinks the bumper brackets are attached to the bumper with plywood and fiberglass resin and that is why they get loose. Has anybody had to make repairs on their Trek bumpers?. We would appreciate any information we could get. We are in northern Ohio near Cleveland and would like to share & compare our adventures with I-Trek owners in our area. We think our 20-year-old rear-bedroom I-Trek is truly a great motor home & we love it.

Keith & Jody. ( kjredfern at )

Editor note: Our Trek averages around 13.5 mpg here in the West (6,000 ft). The mileage can drop below 12 traveling in the mountains and can improve to over 14 in the lower elevation flat country (with no headwind).