Cummins Canoe (A Stepvan Story)

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A stronger engine isn't stressed as much as a smaller engine doing the same thing. It simply doesn't have to work as hard to get the same results. That the 4bt has the power is irrelevant if you have to replace or rebuild regularly.

This is going to be your third engine. Unless you're putting in bad engines to replace blown engines, something is stressing these engines too much.

I've really enjoyed your build since you started it and want to see things go well. But it seems like you're planning on doing the same thing and hoping for different results.

If you have the opportunity, why not upgrade so you don't have to deal with this again? I don't think the mpg would change significantly if that's the concern.
The original Cummins had 400k miles on it. Someone swapped the wrong dipstick in. That engine was not stressed, it was starved. That's understandable. The second iteration had a cracked cylinder head after 12k miles, unknown what caused that. The third iteration was a blown head gasket from improper machining of the new head from factory after 800 miles. The forth iteration blew the piston rings as it was used with unknown history, after 5 miles.. And the fifth iteration lost power when it shot all the oil out the exhaust after 1k miles.

I'm going to blame bad engines and bad luck. That's why I'm not going to the junkyard for another cheap engine. I want new, done by someone more capable than I. Currently working and saving the cash for that. But hey, the hot tub and fridge still work. Oh wait, I didn't tell ya'll about the fridge incident and why I am living outside in a tent...
^^^That is why I still have my Kodiak tent stored away! Just in case! Lol!!!
Damn, I was off by two engines lol. The good thing is that it's fairly easy to stab it in for you.

Hopefully you'll find the right people to work with when you're ready. What area are you in currently?
I'm really good at swapping engines now! Got it down to a three day job now! The van is stranded in WV right now.
I will continue the story I was trying to tell a month ago before I got sidetracked to the other side of the world. I really don't want to relive this horror, but here you go. In the rush to drop the van off at my friends house in WV and continue on our journey to AL for some training classes, we somehow accidentally turned the fridge off. We came back two weeks later. I will let you know that it was a hot summer. There was $100 of chicken in the freezer. The van was pitched so the fridge doors were downhill...


Opening the door into the living area was the worst action I have ever done in my life. No description of the foul stench could accurately put you in our shoes. The chicken had thawed and turned into a plasma state. Leaked out of the freezer door...


Down the cabinet, in and under the fridge, under the batteries, under the floor...


The goo that was waiting for us under all the layers of floor...


Ripped out much of the interior. Fully disassembled the fridge. Cleaned everything! Bleach, vinegar, and gasoline were our friends. Got about 90% of the interior cleaned and smell free.
Sorry for your Loss-of-Chicken...............and it's massive cleanup BUT

What About TURKEY ?..................Inquiring minds want to know.....................
This confirms it. I am definitely sticking with the chest-type fridges and freezers... Still disgusting but at least it wont leak out and flow down the front.
Sorry for your Loss-of-Chicken...............and it's massive cleanup BUT

What About TURKEY ?..................Inquiring minds want to know.....................
The deepest and one of the biggest cave rescues in history happened last month in southern Turkey and I was invited to fly out and help. We saved the explorer with blood transfusions and a lot of rope and pulleys.

This confirms it. I am definitely sticking with the chest-type fridges and freezers... Still disgusting but at least it wont leak out and flow down the front.
If the van was level when I parked it, all the goo would have been contained in the freezer! Just terrible!
Yay for an update! Been settling into the new home lately. Did some more cleaning and fully moved back into the van.


Finished cleaning and scrubbing. Opened every compartment. Placed an ozone generator pack into the living space and closed it up for 24 hours.


These things create ozone and cleanse the space. It started bubbling as soon as we mixed all the chemicals and it did work! The interior is like a morgue now, void of all life with no odors, good or bad. Need to start cooking in it and stuff to make it smell like people live here.


We wanted to relocate the van to more level place to do the engine swap. The tilted front yard was not going to work. The van "runs", but it does not have much power and is stuck in 1st gear. So we got the old work truck fired up and it pulled it off the lawn with ease.


We did start the van engine so it would have powered brakes just in case. Just needed to sit in cab with foot on the clutch in order to be pulled in reverse. The driveway is very steep down towards the garage with a retaining wall at the end with a six foot drop, so we really wanted to stay in control for this maneuver. It was indeed a three person job! But we got the rig into a permanent location and leveled it all out and stuff.
Looks like a great spot to work on it… crazy luck… I hope this new engine will be your last…
The whole fridge ordeal on top of this setback shows how well you can handle adversity. A lot of people shake their heads (maybe rightfully so) when I keep repairing and keep traveling with a high mileage truck. I’m actually thinking of a fresh motor myself…
Ozone can cause some deterioration and cracking in rubber and plastic. So many sure you double check things such as seals and whatnot that were in contact.
Thanks for the words of support! I sometimes think I'm crazy as well! The chicken fiasco, oh boy, I wish I can forget that happened. Still have nightmares...

I did not know ozone was so distructive. The package just said to pull the cover and run, do not return for 24 hours. I hope all is good! It's been a few weeks and all seems fine though.
Ozone is very effective, but you have to know the danger it can present. You have to allow it to clear out from an area so you don't breathe it in.
Living in the van while stationary is going pretty well. Been working and saving money and just trying to enjoy life while I got it.


Yes, many things are broken. But, we still maintain our priorities.


Staying in one place without driving and charging the batteries with the alternator has made it very difficult to run necessities like the fridge and the hot tub. And being the dead of winter in WV we do not get enough sun for the solar to keep up. So I opted to get a 15amp a/c to d/c charger. I wired it in before the rest of the fancy transfer switches and other dodads so this switched outlet always has power when the van is plugged into shore power. So far, it has been working great! It is just enough to stay ahead of all the hot tub stuff when it is running.
Oh boy, taking this engine out this time was with record time despite the less than desirable circumstances!


It's been quite snowy up here in the WV mountains. Waited for it all to melt and let the ground dry out a bit.


Finally got a nice day to take the engine out! But we're lifting 1000 pounds on a few small steel wheels. We assumed it wouldn't work without trying. What we did try is putting down hardwood flooring under the van for the engine hoist to roll around on!


It was strange laying down on hardwood flooring while working on the drive train. But hey, it was comfortable and kept us out of the mud!


It was very strange to look down and see. Has anyone else done auto mechanics on hardwood flooring before? Are we going to start a trend? Is this how Jay Leno works on his fleet of collectibles?


Although super heavy, the wheels rolled just fine any which way we needed to go! Better than expected. Highly recommended. Labor to remove engine this time was down to about 6 hours with 3 of us. Unfortunately, getting really good at this...
I’ve built a transfer case in my living room on a hard wood table sitting on a hardwood floor. Did have to oil the whole floor afterwards! Lol!!!
Shouldn't the fluid from the transfer case leaking all over the floor count as "oiling the floor"?

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