First significant breakdown for my Fitzgerald glider. Waiting on the verdict now.

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thread starter #1
So, recently started tracking fuel economy again with the glider. I had put on some cheap Kelly driver tires, fuel economy took a nose dive, and I ended up taking them off and replacing them a few weeks ago.

Anyway, fuel economy was doing decent, averaging in the mid 7's, which was acceptable given the loads and constant fighting of the wind.

Then last Monday happened. While on my way to Memphis, I shut the truck off when I parked at a rest area to take a quick bathroom break. Started the truck back up and fogged the rest area with smoke. Never seen that before. I took off, checked my mirrors, all seemed fine, truck seemed to be running great.

Load delivered, started truck back up, and once again, some smoke, but not like earlier. Beginning to wonder what was going on at that point. Truck still running great.

shut truck off overnight, started up funny the next morning, more smoke. I was a little more concerned about the way it turned over. Really paying close attention at this point.

After that, truck started up just fine, no problems at all the rest of the day. Next morning, started truck after it being shut off all night, and everything was great.

Get loaded for Phoenix, truck still running great, no smoke, starting normal.

Next morning, hit the key and the truck wont turn over. Let the batteries get good and charged with the APU, hit the key again, truck fights to turn over and starts up.

Worried now, because I was convinced at that point that there was fluid in a cylinder. Lots of smoke after starting up, and running a bit rough. Smoke cleared, but it was still running a bit rough, definitely had a miss to it at that point.

Kept a close eye on it at that point and proceeded to Phoenix. At this point, I could tell that something wasn't quite right. At times, it would run great, other times I would be feeling a miss. Never shut truck off again.

Called mechanic, let him know what was going on. Got truck unloaded the next day, and began my journey back home, 1200 miles empty. Made it back to Santa Rosa Friday evening, and it dropped off really cold outside. The colder the temps, the more trouble I would have. truck was getting hot in cold weather, most likely due to the fluid that was mixing with the coolant in the radiator. (I had noticed at that point that the coolant was getting dark).

Next morning, I took off with it 18 degrees outside. Truck overheated, pushed some coolant out. Kind of worried about that. Added coolant, put cardboard in front of the radiator to stop the overheating, and proceeded home.

Got truck dropped off at the shop Saturday evening, waiting on the verdict now. Thinking it might be an injector cup issue, hoping it's not much more serious than that.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thread starter #3
kinda sounds like a stuck injector when the engine is cold the oil level didn't go up did it?
Nope, no change in the oil level. Change in coolant level though. Got a feeling fuel is getting into the coolant..
 

Injun

Rabid Squaw
Staff member
Supporter
#6
Nope, no change in the oil level. Change in coolant level though. Got a feeling fuel is getting into the coolant..
Head gasket or cracked head would be my guess with the information given. Hope it's just the gasket.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
#8
Guys that I talk with.....

Because of the tune that Fitzgerald uses in the their rebuilds, historically, their engines last about 300,000 miles. And then burn up. Generally an Injector gets taken out or a head gasket gets taken out. Basically, it's so advanced, your are creating too much cylinder pressure for long life.


What you've done is traded engine life, for fuel economy. What should have easily been a 1-1.4 million miles motor will need to be rebuilt prematurely eating up any savings in fuel cost.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thread starter #9
Head gasket or cracked head would be my guess with the information given. Hope it's just the gasket.
So far, it hasn't pointed toward that. No combustion gasses showing up. That said, no decision yet either on the diagnosis.
 

AK7

Well-Known Member
#10
Good luck Mike.
Hope it's a cheap and easy fix.
Can't believe that truck is out of warranty already.
Seems like just yesterday you picked it up.
 

Sinister

Order of The Gilded Flip Flop
Staff member
Supporter
#11
You're brave. I don't think I would have taken a trip that long, with that much "middle of nowhere" in between with a breakdown looming. Past Odessa, that's a REALLY long stretch...
 

dchawk81

Well-Known Member
#12
You're brave. I don't think I would have taken a trip that long, with that much "middle of nowhere" in between with a breakdown looming. Past Odessa, that's a REALLY long stretch...
Brave?

Okay yeah let's go with that word.

😂

Sorry Mike hope it works out to be relatively low cost.
 

Injun

Rabid Squaw
Staff member
Supporter
#14
So far, it hasn't pointed toward that. No combustion gasses showing up. That said, no decision yet either on the diagnosis.
The cracked head I had on that S-60 didn't show anything except running rough with a lope at idle, loss of coolant through the exhaust and crappy fuel economy.

Drove a 1999 S***Spreader with a 3406 that blew a head gasket. It smoked like crazy, used a ton of coolant and got fantastic fuel economy. Got it to the barn and shut the engine off, I don't think it ever started again. Turn the key, you'd just hear a "thunk" and that was it.

In both cases, the coolant system overpressurized from cylinder pressure. The Shaker didn't show combustion gas blowby. The Spreader did.

Really hope it's quick and cheap.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thread starter #15
Should know something by this evening. Don't expect it to be cheap, as I am fairly confident the head is coming off. It's aggravating, it's trucking, it will all work out in the end....
 
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