I had a Vintage Air(VA) system put in my 68 Camaro back in 2008ish. What I didn't realize was that their dehumidified defrost was not heated. In my neck of the US you rarely use defrost unless the temperature outside is cold. VA had a servo you could buy that would add heat to your defrost for about $100 but because of some health problems I just didn't have the money.
I wrote to the CEO of VA asking if they could offer me the part for free and the CEO made a very magnanimous offer to replace my existing system with a newer generation that I would leave me more satisfied. To make a long story short I accepted the offer although in the back of my head I though this could go in bad direction even with the best intentions.
Between the time I accepted the offer until the project began my radiator went and I replaced it with a 2 row aluminum which also came with an electric fan. I liked the thought of the electric fan cutting down on engine noise I'd be able to hear my throaty exhaust again. What they replaced the radiator they didn't flush the system and so my brand new radiator had Stop Leak in it. Initially I found it sealing up the passageway from the radiator to the surge tank and who knew where else it might have been causing problems. When I asked why they hadn't done a flush considering I was putting in a new radiator I was told they didn't have a Superflush machine at the new shop so they just put a hose in the block. Leftover Stop Leak was coming from somewhere. They recommended that I take it to a radiator shop to get a Superflush but that was $100 and someone told me that doing a chemical flush myself would be just as good and a lot cheaper. The other new development was that every time I drove the car it would spit coolant out on the ground. At some point it seemed that it should be at a place where that would stop but it didn't seem to. I even called the manufacturer to see if they had any solutions and they agreed that I needed to get it cleaned out first and then go from there.
My analog temp gauge was determined to be about 20 degrees above the real temperature yet it agreed with my I/R gun to the degree. A man with two watches never knows what time it is. Anyway it was a hot day in August and I was coming home and my temperature gauge was heading towards 250 and as much as I wanted to believe it was 230 it seemed HOT. I was only a couple blocks from home and when I got home it smelled HOT. It was then that I had decided that I had to get the flush done but the radiator core was fairly cool not even over 90 degrees and I wasn't seeing a large difference from input to output of more than 5-6 degrees of course it was HOT out and it was sitting with just the fans blowing. Then I noticed that the large radiator fan was cycling while the A/C fan was just running non-stop and when I shut off the car the A/C fan was the only fan continuing to run.
I got the flush kit and cleaned it out good and even flushed out the surge tank a 2nd time when I found a lot of Stop Leak had accumulated in there again and then the problems with the brownish gelatin like stuff seemed to come to an end. I took the car out for several trips long and short it still seemed to be getting plenty hot. Even at night when there was no traffic to contend with I'd see my temp gauge starting to push towards 250. I would take it out into the country which wasn't all that much cooler but I could drive faster and I could reduce the temperature by 80 degrees. This vast change in temperature was something I also experienced in winter where the radiator seemed too efficient leaving little heat inside a car that once had an abundance of heat. Realize that we had put a 160 degree thermostat in the car to start cooling early when I was running my 4 row brass & copper radiator along with a flex belt driven fan. That thermostat remains in place today.
When I took the car in to start the environmental upgrade I got caught in a traffic jam and I was starting to sweat as the temperature was going up and up back to that 250 mark. A place I'd hoped that once everything was cleaned out I wouldn't be nearing anymore. Of course as soon as I dropped the car off the temperatures changed to be much cooler so running the new A/C wasn't going to push the limits of the cooling system until 6 months later or June of 2019.
When I got the car back about 2 weeks later I was having dieseling problems every time I shut off the car it would buck and carry on like a bronco bucking his rider and ultimately ending in a explosion in the carb with a big smoke ball coming from the fresh air vents on the hood. I learned that if I stomped the gas pedal immediately that I could at least cut down the length of the event. This was something I only ever had happen once prior to the environmental upgrade and it was on a very hot day where I was making a lot of short hops these new ones where happening on 40 degree days with rain pouring down yet the car was getting hot enough to diesel this was every time I turned off the car.
The fans were still running contrary to my thinking when it was initially returned. As a test I turned on the A/C and immediately the large fan began spinning and as soon as I turned of the A/C the fan went off. This to me meant they were wired in backwards. I haven't gotten back to recheck them yet but a non-scientific watching them start told when the thermostat opened told me that something had been corrected. Now I have to verify that the large fan is set to run at 160.
Because of my body problems it's rare that I can get down on the ground and see what's what. In fact I can hardly bend over some days. But I was able to work on putting in my new digital temperature gauge which was forced on me because they had wrongly taken out the dedicated sensor for the Dakota Digital Fan Controller and replaced it with my gauge sensor and because the radiator wasn't refilled and low by almost a gallon it was the time to put the correct the temperature senders in the correct locations. My initial thought being that maybe it would fix the fan operation although that didn't turn out to be the case. I was able to get a connection to my temperature sensor to the gauge in the car so at least I had a gauge that I could read which was why the analog gauges had to go. Even marking the faces with a Sharpie I still couldn't read the actual numbers without pulling over and putting on my reading glasses a problem that was made worse the day I sat on my prescription sunglasses and was unable to have them repaired.
The next thing I noticed was that I was getting thick gray smoke out the tailpipes that would just hang in the air and make your eyes water which to me seemed like it was running rich although I didn't touch anything and wasn't going to until the installer went back and corrected some of these problems that had developed. My assumption was that they had not plugged a vacuum port when they removed the old system or had knocked one lose. I also had some white plastic lattice sitting behind the car and it was now covered with dark black spots as was the brick below. Something that had never happened before in the 15 or so years I have owned it.
I made a list of the problems I was experiencing thinking that the installer was going to know immediately what they had done or forgot to reconnect etc. But they hadn't detailed all the changes that they made. For example they found a hot wire running from the fuse box going across the front of the passenger compartment which they told me had several lines hanging off it as it went across the car so they took it upon themselves to rewire everything back to the fuse block not even knowing what they were rewiring and not having anything to do with the installation of the wire myself I didn't know what it might have affected or what might not be reconnected as a result of course the rough idling at startup with the additional miss on the passenger's side made me wonder if they had disconnected the electric choke. How many other things had they done without my knowledge? I had a specific list of things I wanted them to do in a specific order up to $100 but they didn't follow that doing what they wanted and ignoring what they wanted. What I knew was the car wasn't running as it had just 2 weeks prior.
Because of the distance from my home to this shop it was hard to get a ride to drop of the car to get it fixed and it took about a month to get it back. In that time the car had been driven twice. The first time was when I found out that the car was dieseling every time it was shut off and the 2nd time I had to take my neighbor to the hospital it was incredibly cold, in the 20's, and was having a rough time running.
From that came the an initial list of problems that we discussed on the phone and then from the few answers I got from that I created this document that details the problems that have occurred since the install that I had to take the car back in for them to go over. Their responses are indented following the issue and the (are clarification or my thoughts).
Camaro Post New Environment
Don't feel heat coming through at floor but blowing against firewall and fairly far up. I haven't been able to get down there to look at the setup because of my body mechanics problems. It seems strange to blow it towards firewall and so far up. I guess you're telling me there's no way to rotate it. I do feel heat coming through the center and the side vents even when set to floor I would think the servo would close those paths off.
That's the way those systems are they always leak through the other vents. (That wasn't how it was explained to me from VA.)
Coolant level was down almost a gallon, I refilled it although when I checked it cold the next day it blew out the filler neck which I thought was unusual happening on a cold car.
Maybe an air bubble?
Exhaust smells awful - too rich and not burning completely ie dieseling at shut off and explosions in carb. If I tramp the gas to the floor it stops the dieseling but that's not a solution. For some reason on the recent foggy days the exhaust was at its worst and as of 12/17/18 seems better although I have no idea why the change. I have only driven it twice since it came back. First time with multiple stops every time I tried to turn it off it just keep going and it was shaking violently (and the ultimate carb explosions). The second time was to take my neighbor to the hospital because my Mustang had a dead battery.
Thank God it didn't jerk around on the ride to drop him off like it did on my way home. A ride like that could literally kill him. He only has a partial spine in his neck from a jackhammer incident. It was incredibly cold out that day and the car was struggling to stay idling while cold with temps in the 30's.
Environmental fan increases/decreases as engine struggles to run.
Update 12/17/18: today I took my friend out to pick up his pickup (which I was depending on to bring my car back to you) that had no brakes (they failed at my front door) at Firestone but it wasn't fixed. Still had no brakes. OK, but anyway it was a bit warmer and the car ran better, not as smokey on startup but it had a fast idle @ 1000rpm. I got to thinking about the electric (wire that ran across the front of the passenger cabin that had several drops that the installer "fixed" to all be wired directly to the fusebox) and wondering if somehow during the environmental upgrade if the choke got disconnected or misconnected. I also thought with the several carb explosions maybe it's gotten gummy and throttle blades are sticking although I didn't have a chance to get out to look. Windy days are really bad days for me (physically). When I got back home the car smelled hot as it has since I got it home (from their shop) which I don't know why. I can't exactly explain the engine sound when driving but it's louder than it had been (unplugged vacuum?).
12/18/18 Today we went out to pick up the pickup for the second time the car was running terrible something was sucking down the voltage from like
14.4 to 13.9 and seemed to destroy the quality of the engine running. When I was waiting for my friend outside the shop I heard something start running in the environmental system and I watched the voltage drop to 13.9 and back up when it shut off. I don't know what was running or why I had the heat on with only a little bit of fan. I wasn't expecting to hear anything run and since then I've heard it again. After we headed up to the shop I was on I-83 and I was checking vents when I noticed cold air coming from the center vent. I checked it at various times. Sometimes it was cool and other times hot. It almost seems that heat and air are running together. I shut off the heat and I turned on the A/C to listen for the compressor, it did cycle on and off and I heard it. I went back to heat. The car itself feels like it struggles like everything is off, clunky, unsmooth… I don't like the feel when I drive, it makes me feel like I don't want to drive it. When I got to the shop and turned it off it was the first time it didn't diesel.
There wouldn't be any reason for a amperage drop of that magnitude coming from the environmental system. We will check the system against the specifications. (I explained over and over that this is intermittent and it sounds like a vortex opening and you hear this sucking sound and you can watch the voltage drop. They were insistent that there was no such problem.) A voltage drop like that would be a large amp draw for anything and maybe my alternator was no good. (Except it was fine on the way there and since I can turn off the drop by shutting off the environmental controls that wouldn't suggest an alternator issue.) They suggested that the opposite was the problem that the failure of the alternator to output, being below a 1000 rpms, (which I'm guessing is not a 1000 on your rpm gauge because it has a smaller belt pulley it's rotating faster) is causing the drop in the cars running quality and ultimately shows up in the environmental system with the fan decreasing in speed the less the alternator is able to output and since the car was idling when this happened the alternator doesn't work below a 1000 rpms. (But nonetheless it goes away when the environmental system is shutdown.) You should get the alternator diagnosed because regardless of how new it is I've seen them dead out of the box.
I replaced (coolant temperature) sender on passenger side of engine (that had been improperly replaced by your installer. I had just got done putting in a brand new dedicated sender in place and now I had to change the one on the passenger side for the one in the box. It made sense to make this change because the coolant was already low.) hoping it might fix the fan problems (of the man fan running intermittently and the A/C helper running constantly) but no such luck. I also put the small sender on the driver's side for the new temp guage but gauge isn't reading correctly unless maybe they gave me the centigrade version (this does appear to be the case. Yet another problem). Main fan cycling, secondary seems to run constantly only A/C fan running after shut off. The fans appear to have gotten reversed.
We didn't make any wiring changes to the fans. (Except he rewired the entire run of wires so they all went onto the passenger fender up to the junction box - so yes you did make changes.) We did find a loose wire on one terminal and the settings that were programmed into the Dakota Digital box had been changed. (I didn't change them. I've never even checked the settings on that box. Other than knowing where it is and what it does is about my extent of knowledge regarding it's operation.) Well than your controller may be going bad and if you check it in the future and find the settings are lost you should just throw it away and replace it. (What if you just didn't set it properly?)
Is top toggle switch still controlling compressor? The light is constantly on with switch off or on. What causes the compressor to run or does it run whenever the inside fan is on? If it does let's reconnect through the toggle so I don't run the compressor constantly. Like I said on the phone I no longer hear the compressor clutch engaging and disengaging of course it hasn't been my main focus with the other issues.
The compressor only runs when the A/C is on. As for the light it was on when I rewired it. (No it wan't unless you flipped the switch.) All I did was take the wires and run them directly to the fuse block. (I guess any loose wire was game. How am I supposed to know what he did or didn't? If the light goes on in both settings it seems like it's getting a positive no matter how it's set this and goes to show he just ran wires to the fuse block if they weren't connected to anything else.)
Plastic A/C drain tube stuck out of firewall onto exhaust and melted off.
It will be fine because the passenger side box sits higher and even with the shortened tube it will still drain. (Although to me it looks like the tube is flat and has no downward declination and will most likely become a problem.
This is all attention to details and checking things before closing the hood.)
Could you retrieve flashlight from passenger fender? I sprayed the 2 bolts in front of the door with penetrating oil but was unable to get access to try to loosen them because of the tight quarters in my garage. The flashlight is right there at the bottom.
Couldn't even be bothered to loosen 2 bolts to remove the flashlight which fell into the fender when I was fixing his screwed up sender installation.
How do I know my water pump is pumping? Even before new environmental controls I would lose heat inside when driving over 45ish in winter.
Which would seem to imply that the radiator is too effective at high speed OR the hot water isn't getting pushed into the radiator. I did check the upper hose while I had it just sitting in my garage running after I hooked up the new temp gauge to test it. The thermostat seems to open but the radiator seems overly cool using the IR heat gun and other parts of the engine seem too hot! Even the top hose didn't seem all that warm for 160.
Your car is designed to run at 180-200 and you might want to put a different thermostat in. (We put that in because we were overheating in summer with the old 4-row brass and copper radiator so we lowered the thermostat temp to start cooling early.) You might want to change your thermostat in summer but we also changed the fan settings. (I don't remember what the settings were other than a 10 degree drop would shut both of them off unless the A/C was running but even then you don't run the fan just because the A/C is on. It could be running in conjunction with defrost on a 45 degree or colder day. I hope they wrote them down. I will have to look.)
Where are wires for oil gauge? I wasn't able to find anything except a melted plastic wire casing on the engine side of the headers which I left if you needed to trace it back. Also, you said the gauge didn't work no matter which wire you connected but what happened with each connection?
Was it dark or not what you expected? When I first hooked up the new oil pressure gauge to the old sensor I was getting warnings on the new gauge at idle which I ignored assuming it was a sender issue. Since I couldn't read the old gauges I don't know if there was a pressure issue but it seemed OK when the car was moving. I could see the needle moving up at what looked to be about 10 psi for each 10 mph. Is it possible that oil pump isn't working at idle? I was getting ready to do an oil change before all the radiator and environmental stuff and then I had some leaks on the oil pan which I had tightened at the shop and now it's leaking again only worse.
That could be the result of all the engine shaking or maybe it's time for a new gasket but I think there may be problems getting access because of the exhaust. On the Advance Auto site the gasket says that there's no exhaust pipe packing on certain oil pan filter replacements. I'm guessing, but don't know for sure, that you have to disconnect the exhaust to get access which I wouldn't want to deal with.
The oil is pretty dark given it hasn't been driven much since the last oil change. I have the oil in the trunk but I hadn't gotten a gasket or a filter for lack of money. If you give me an estimate for replacing the gasket and the filter, and connecting the gauge which ultimately should be the pink wire at the back of the gauge, maybe I can have you do it.
They aren't setup for oil disposal and don't do this kind of work.
(At least that's what they told me. Although when I first brought in my car the tech was telling me about replacing a radiator in another car that was having problems adapting to the new aluminum setup. So I'm taking it that you're lying which certainly doesn't fare well in your favor. The tech told me he would package the wires right at the oil filter and that he would put back the new sender which he removed. He also said that the gauge read blank but as long as the gauge has power there's a 0 on the display so another lie and I had hooked all the gauges up to the power I just didn't have all the sender wires connected.) The wires are hanging over the power booster I don't know how you could miss them. (Because they weren't there when I hooked up the temperature gauge sender which is on the same side of the engine and the wire I had to extend was right beside the power booster. I can get out the pictures I took that will show there are no wires dangling over the power booster and there's certainly no extra wire.)
If you can find no solution to the dieseling this is GM's fix below although I never had a real problem prior to this new setup except for 1 time that I recall on a very short run with incredibly hot temps outside; not that I want that happening at all.
GM had run-on problems with these cars, and installed anti-dieseling solenoids on them to fix it. The solenoid is the same solenoid used on the A/C cars to increase idle speed when the A/C was turned on. When used as an anti-dieseling solenoid, the carb's idle speed screw is backed off to about
450 - 500 rpm, and the engine idle speed is set using the solenoid in the energized position with ignition "on." When ignition is turned off, the solenoid collapses, closing the throttle blades, preventing the run-on condition.
No response at all. (Yet I noted on the invoice that they were charging for $288 or about 4 hours of labor to fix a loose wire and check the draw on the environmental unit.)
On the way home it was pouring rain and every time I had to come to a stop the car tried to stall and as long as I got it into neutral and hit the parking brake and the gas I could keep it running. It wasn't smooth though it was like it choked and then started to run better. I have never had it act like that in any circumstance. The next day I took it for a short run following the rain and it didn't stall at all although it was pouring gray smoke out the back. It no longer seems to be missing on the passenger's side I don't know if they did something but that's better. The exhaust is still enough to make your eyes burn but it ran fairly well excluding the exhaust and carb explosion. The guy that normally works on my car is out of work for a work related arm injury and the rest of the techs aren't carb aware for lack of a better term. They need the computer to tell them what to fix.
There's still a draw when I turn on the environmental controls although it's different it's less obvious. It might go from 14.4 to 14.1 to 14.2 and then stabilize a bit then drop another point or to maybe to 13.9 and then up to 14.0 and then back up to 14.3. Very different than the 14.4 to 13.9 in one quick motion. I don't know what to make of that either.
So there recommendations in 1 place:
- Check the alternator
- Check the fuel line it sounds like it's not getting gas (they had the car there running how do they not know. Anyway I have a pre-carb stone filter and it is totally clean. I don't suspect that the jetting could get fouled up if the pre-filter is clear. I will check the carb throttle body and squirt some cleaner into it since it's had to many explosions.)
- Change the thermostat seasonally
- Cooling System: Overheating problems or vast changes in temperature. Is there a way to test radiator and water flow throughout the system? Is there someway to stabilize the fluctuations in temperature? My brass & copper kept a steady temp regardless of driving conditions.
- Exhaust and explosions
- Voltage drop and performance
- Oil pump at idle function