Home Repair

Today we found the motivation, and a reasonable spot of weather in which to accomplish some van maintenance.

2011 09 03 Mr MechanicWe turned out attention back to the valve cover gaskets. Andrew installed two new gaskets back in Whitehorse but when we were in Nenana we noticed the drivers side gasket was broken and misaligned. We recently picked up a new set but haven’t had the time to sort them out until today. Once he removed the cover, we found that the seal was holding fine, it just was the outer parts which were damaged. The new gasket got put on anyway and we were a bit more careful with the bolts this time.

2011 09 03 Broken gasket2011 09 03 New and oldWe also replaced the oil filler cap – a simple task. The washer-like gasket on the original cap was no longer doing its job and we noticed a small slow oil leak on the outside of the valve cover when we last took the doghouse off. Should be fixed now, time will tell.

2011 09 03 Elusive oil filler capAn oil change was also on the agenda – a task which proved we were not yet completely free of the Dempster Highway dirt. There was a whole lot stuck to the oil filter which came crashing down into the oil pan with a splat. Hopefully the inside of the filter was cleaner than the outside.

2011 09 03 Oil change2011 09 03 Mud covered oil filter2011 09 03 Still finding mud from the Dempster HighwayWe also wanted to change our belts out – we have two: one connected to the alternator and the other to the power steering. Unfortunately we couldn’t get one of the main bolts un-stuck, and without that, we can’t do anything.

After all was done, we took her for a drive – everything sounded happy.

2011 09 03 SceneryOur last bit of maintenance involved fluid checks and top-ups. We finally checked the transmission fluid properly; it’s quite the task, requiring a hot engine idling in neutral with the doghouse off – not the most convenient of dipsticks. We were happy to find that the level seems to be normalized and perfectly full. Plus, we haven’t had any power loss issues since we had help changing out the gasket and filter so all is good. While we were idling though, we noticed a gas leak coming from the front passenger side. We’re thinking a faulty hose clamp or potentially the fuel pump, neither of which we have on hand, so it will have to wait.

Generally, we check the pavement under the van every few days looking for leaks and I have a sneaking suspicion we’ve had this leak since at least Whitehorse. Unfortunately, the nature of the beast is that the gas has probably been evaporating too far to fast for us to notice and recognize it as a problem. We know now at least, and it should be a reasonably easy to correct. We’re becoming regular mechanics.