Molly Needs Attention

10 days and 1,000 miles ago Molly started to complain. While traveling through Big Bend National Park, we got a red engine light that was accompanied by a loud and very piecing audible alarm. All very frightening. We immediately pulled over to assess the situation. We had seen this type of problem once before, and it went away magically. The error code indicated that we had High Crankcase Pressure, and that did not sound good. We stopped the engine, waited ten minutes, started up again with the hope that it would magically go away again.

However, a few days later while at the McDonald Observatory it happened again. And while it might have been ok to ignore an issue once, it is not smart to ignore the same issue twice. We reached out to a few friends and other Earthcruiser owners who agreed with our assessment of the situation, that the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) filter needed to be changed. And the oil was a little low, so an oil top-up was required. We rushed to the nearest local garage in the tiny town of Fort Davis TX, to get some oil before they would shut for the day and the rest of the weekend. Ended up buying the wrong oil, oops. We titled the cab forward and had a good poke around. Fortunately Christoph, another overland traveller we had met a few days earlier was in the campground and provided his mechanical knowledge and assistance. We found an oil leak and ended up dismantling some pipework to trace the source of the leak. We somehow convinced ourselves that no serious damage was occurring to the engine from this leak. Still, plans were quickly made to head to the nearest FUSO service center, which was over 500 miles (800 kms) away in the wrong direction.

The next day an Earthcruiser owner invited us to his place and offered his driveway and expertise to complete the PCV filter change. What an amazing offer. This was also a great opportunity for us to learn some new skills. Parts were ordered and we turned North towards Ridgway, Colorado. It took us about a week to get there, as Molly was mainly behaving and we felt the situation was under control. The owners manual for the truck advises that the PCV filter can be regenerated by revving the engine to 4,000 RPMs for 2 minutes. Not sure this helped, as we got the red engine light a few more times.

We spent two nights with Gary and Alison, and had lovely time. Gary showed us how to do three service jobs; 1) change the engine oil, 2) change of engine oil filter, and 3) change the PCV filter. While a mechanic might complete this service in 1 hour, it took us nearly three hours. But the work went well and we followed the workshop manual closely. The test drive proved our work was good.

Let the work begin.
Stephen tackles the jobs and Gary maintains a watchful eye. And lots of encouragment.
The new PCV filter installed.
Time to change the oil.
Some new tools we will need. Circ-clip 90º spreader, 90º long nose pliers, 32 mm six sided socket and a 12 mm hex ket (not shown). I borrowed these items from Gary.
Work done and electronics reset. Yihaaa!
Also, as we entered Ridgway, Molly got a nasty windscreen crack. We will be back in 10 days to fix that.
When we completed the service work, went for a very nice walk to Dennis Weaver Memorial Park