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Updates!! Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: Gary ()
Date: October 23, 2012 06:03AM

UV #420 now has a functioning transmission, a good running (if noisy) engine, good brakes, and towing insurance. Planning to leave Salem, OR, Tuesday heading for MN. The plan is to go up the Columbia River Gorge to the Tri-Cities the first day. After a one-day layover I will either go to Spokane, WA & take I-90 or go to Lewiston & take US 12 over Lolo Pass. In either case, I go through Missoula, MT. My question is, which is the best way? (I.e., least steep grades.) I'm sure some of you would say, "On the back of a flatbed truck," but I can't afford that solution. I'm hoping some of you who are familiar with both routes will chime in.

There is a slight propane leak at/near the tank (no time to find & fix), so I won't have heat. If you see some fool all bundled up & heading east in an Ultra, it's me. Wish me luck.

Gary from Rochester

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you must have an electrical problem.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/23/2013 05:29AM by MattNall.

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: October 23, 2012 06:11AM

May be the northern route.. but lowest passes.. just watch the weather...

[maps.google.com]





MODERATOR
Somewhere between Sea Mountain and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
.............................PG...................................Turbo

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: sweet66monza ()
Date: October 23, 2012 06:29AM

IIRC, lolo pass is pretty nasty as far as the grade. From what I remember, it was a very long, steep grade. But its been a few years since ive been there.

IMO your best bet is to catch I90 and take it through ID into MT. Once you go over lookout pass, its smooth sailing to Missoula. 4th of july pass and Lookout pass (the two on I90 in ID) I dont think are too bad. And ive pulled a load over both.

Cody Hurley
North Idaho (Post Falls)
Mine-66 monza vert 140/PG, loaded with factory options
66 Corsa factory turbo coupe fully documented [corvaircenter.com]
66 Corsa 140 coupe 95% rust free car, build or sell
My dads's vairs-
66 Corsa crown V8 350/4spd coupe-100% home built by father and son
66 monza vert-weber'd 140 race motor/95hp driver motor/4 spd- YENKO clone project in the works
65 monza vert toronado 455 FOR SALE

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: lgoodwin ()
Date: October 23, 2012 07:01AM

Gary, this is a dangerous time of year for travelling, as bad weather can happen at any time. I hope you have a cell phone, chains, road flares, a gas can, good set of tools, spare tire, jack, lug wrench, water and food, and plenty of warm clothing with you. Better still, GPS and/or a smart phone, CB radio! IOW, be ready for a breakdown.

While you may hit some fairly steep grades on I-90, I'm sure they will not be anything that an old VW bus could not climb. I'm guessing your UV can probably climb any hill the VW can. As long as you stick to the main route (I-90) BAD WEATHER should be your main concern. This time of year, YOU NEED CHAINS!

Get on Google Maps (maps.google.com), click "Get directions" and type in your Start address (Salem, OR) and Destination addresses (Minneapolis, MN, or wherever you are going). I-90 is the default route choice (and the best).
Select the "Weather" and "Terrain" options (box on top-right side of the map), and trace your route (the blue line). Note all the places where the temps are LOW!

Expect the WORST weather and be prepared for it. Best wishes for a safe and uneventful journey!

1962 Corvair 900 sedan1967 Corvair Monza 140/4-speed1968 Corvair 500 coupe1983 Mexican Mustang 5.0
1962 900 sedan needs a home1967 Monza 140/4-spd1968 500 coupe (now my son's)1983 Mexican Mustang 5.0

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: owen ()
Date: October 23, 2012 10:45AM

Good luck Gary!!

Safe travels,
Owen in Wichita

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: OttawaCorvairGuy ()
Date: October 23, 2012 12:28PM

Gary Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> UV #420 now has a functioning transmission, a good
> running (if noisy) engine, good brakes, and towing
> insurance. Planning to leave Salem, OR, Tuesday
> heading for MN. The plan is to go up the Columbia
> River Gorge to the Tri-Cities the first day.
> After a one-day layover I will either go to
> Spokane, WA & take I-90 or go to Lewiston & take
> US 12 over Lolo Pass. In either case, I go through
> Missoula, MT. My question is, which is the best
> way? (I.e., least steep grades.) I'm sure some of
> you would say, "On the back of a flatbed truck,"
> but I can't afford that solution. I'm hoping some
> of you who are familiar with both routes will
> chime in.
>
> There is a slight propane leak at/near the tank
> (no time to find & fix), so I won't have heat. If
> you see some fool all bundled up & heading east in
> an Ultra, it's me. Wish me luck.


Gary,

First off congrats on your new Ultravan. May if give you many years of enjoyment.

You can also go to the Yahoo Group UltraVans · Ultra Van & Tiara Motorhomes.
Sign up if you have not already and post this same question to those who have taken their coaches on many trips.
Plus it a a great place to get tech and other helpful info, share stories and pictures.

BTW - If you need or want new Ultravan windshields as spare - I have a set available - while it last.


Good Luck,
Sincerely,

Tony
(Ottawa Area - Canada)

(1) Marie's 1962 Convertible and our 1966 Ultravan #248 (aka Itchy Feet - Long Restoration)
(2) Our 1963 Rampside (Sold 2014) and 1967 Ultravan #256 at Upper Canada Valley car show in 2009.
(UV256 aak Itchy Feet II - corvair power plant came out 2012 - plans with donor for a GM 3.8L FWD conversion, as a gas pusher, in the back of UV256)
(3 & 4) Are some of our 11 Corvair parts cars - to help keep our stuff on the road - hopefully as long as we live. ;-)
(5) Is one of our Wayne 100 boats (Corvair powered)
(6) Nov 14, 2012 Ultravans #362 and #512 arrived. We are getting closer to our goal of having an Ultravan museum.
We now own; UV248, UV256, UV362, UV512, and UV520 will hopefully be here July 2013.
(7) I saved Ultravan #231 from the scarp yard this year. It arrived May 9, 2013 and I plan to flip this one with a mid-engine Subaru power plant.



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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: geezer43 ()
Date: October 23, 2012 05:06PM

Skip Lolo Pass, there are few services for miles and miles and grades can be tough. Stay on the Interstate and you will go right through Butte, Mt and can stop for a pasty or a pork chop sandwich. I suggest the "Wop Chop" at Muzzy's Freeway Bar just off the Interstate at Montana Street. Turn South about 100 yards and it is on the right. Maybe have a cold one too (one only, you are driving)

Jim Johnson, chandler, Az
Butte, Mt (summers)
63 vert

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: deebee ()
Date: October 23, 2012 05:39PM

Gary
Keep us posted on your travels, we all have our fingers crossed for you.
I remember the Lolo pass climb as a much shorter slog than going through Idaho and western Montana and more scenic. Jim is correct in that there are fewer services going over Lolo Pass. Hope you have a good heater.
Doug
66 Ultra Van
#215 "Bella Beluga"
60 4 door 700
61 Ramside

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: upnorth1 ()
Date: October 24, 2012 02:43AM

Gary! Cool stinkin beans!

Let me know how she travels, glad you got one. Its a floating quilt convention you know! {GGG}

bob

Chaplain Bob
135 miles from Canada

AT THE TIP OF LAKE SUPERIOR
1961 Loadside 110 140 4 speed, 30 over. 4 speed
1966 Corsa clone
1966 4 door 110 pg

DON'T mess with Old Men, we didn't get old by being, STUPID!!!

\/ this is a mile from my house... \/

Click for Hermantown, Minnesota Forecast

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Date: October 24, 2012 03:50AM

Here is a link to a couple sites that allow you to create an elevation profile for any route you lay out. It's for bicyclists so naturally the grade is an important part of route planning, just like an Ultra Van.

http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx

http://veloroutes.org/bikemaps/

I've driven my Ultra around the West, from California to Washington but I've not been over the Rockies in it. I have driven my LeSharo (small MH with a 4 cyl. Renault engine & A/T across the Rockies. I went thru New Mexico.
For your route, I would also advise I-90 thru ID and Montana.
You could also go down I-84 and cut down to Ogden UT where you pick up I-80. The route of the first transcontinental railroad.




Corvanatics
to host the 2014 CorSA Int'l Convention July 21 to 25 at LeMay "America's Car Museum" - Be There!!
Dan Davis - Seattle ~ CORSA Western Director + Corvairs NW + North Cascades Corvairs + Corvanatics
1966 Corsa Turbo coupe ~ ~ 1966 140 Corsa ~ 65 Monza 140/4 'Vert Sierra Tan/Fawn (my current driver!!)
~ 1964 Monza 'Vert ~ 65 Monza 140/4 Evening Orchid w/ ivory/black int ~ 1962 Monza Wagon 102/4
1963 Rampside/Scamper ~ 1963 Red/Greenbrier ~ 1969 Ultra Van #468

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: Gary ()
Date: October 24, 2012 04:50AM

UPDATE: Black cloud over my head. Dropped the cell phone in a bucket of water yesterday. R.I.P., cellphone. When I departed today, the Ultravan wouldn't upshift. Turned around & started heading back to the mechanic, who is desperately trying to get his own stuff done so he can leave for Palm Springs. On the way back, the engine quit for lack of fuel. Replaced the fuel pump, but dislodged hot wire to coil. Rescued by mechanic. Drove in low to his place. Replaced governor. Test drove. No dice. Hemmed, hawed, called people. Decided to drive in low gear to Tri-Cities (270 miles) tomorrow & store it with relatives for the winter. (Been gone since September 10 - Gotta get home.)

Decided to go fill with gas for early start tomorrow. Surprise! Upshifted like new on way to gas station. Big smile on my face. People waving, taking pictures, asking questions at gas station. Left station & transmission lapsed into dementia, forgetting how to upshift. If I get lucky, maybe it will remember how to upshift tomorrow. The plan is to stay off Interstates as much as possible. With luck, I might make it in 9 hours. But, if it ever upshifts, I'll use a pee bottle & keep driving until I run out of gas. (Wife is following in chase vehicle.) Wish me luck. Correction: Wish me good luck.

Anybody know of someone in the Tri-Cities area who might be able to repair or replace the transmission? Doug Bell has offered me a used one of unknown provenance to replace the used one of unknown provenance that mechanic just put in over the weekend.

Also, thanks to those that offered route suggestions & encouragement.

Gary from Rochester

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you must have an electrical problem.

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: lgoodwin ()
Date: October 24, 2012 10:08AM

Gary Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> (LOTS OF BAD NEWS)...
> following in chase vehicle.) Wish me luck.
> Correction: Wish me good luck.
>
> Anybody know of someone in the Tri-Cities area who
> might be able to repair or replace the
> transmission? Doug Bell has offered me a used one
> of unknown provenance to replace the used one of
> unknown provenance that mechanic just put in over
> the weekend.
I'm not volunteering him, but Craig Nicol is in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, right over the state line from Spokane. Are you SURE your upshifting problem is not a cable adjustment issue? Here's hoping for a simple, cheap and permanent fix!

1962 Corvair 900 sedan1967 Corvair Monza 140/4-speed1968 Corvair 500 coupe1983 Mexican Mustang 5.0
1962 900 sedan needs a home1967 Monza 140/4-spd1968 500 coupe (now my son's)1983 Mexican Mustang 5.0

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: TIBCO ()
Date: October 25, 2012 01:54AM

Bump!! Gary needs some help, anybody out there that can give a hand. It's a bit of a drive from central KY.

Cliff Tibbitts
Lexington, KY
CORSA, CKCE
66 Monza, 140/4sp

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: October 25, 2012 02:01AM

Would be nice if we had a CELL #??


ps Craig's leaving for the Toss...





MODERATOR
Somewhere between Sea Mountain and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
.............................PG...................................Turbo

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: Gary ()
Date: October 25, 2012 06:02AM

UPDATE: Another memorable day. Doug Bell of Damascus, OR, led me around Portland on back roads so I could stay off the freeway. He also provided a spare transmission which, like the current one,is of unknown provenance. Made it to Cascade Locks on the Columbia River before I heard a noise (hard to describe) & lost some power. I'm thinking probably a valve problem (seat?). Drove a quarter mile to get into a parking lot. Then calls to various of the Corvair brethren to locate a mechanic in the area. Rex Johnson of Salem is at the fan belt toss & I don't know of any others in the Portland area. Closest mech I found is in the Tri-Cities area, still over 150 miles from Cascade Locks. Spent a whole bunch of time on the phone with my towing insurance company trying to convince them that the "nearest qualified repair center" is not the nearest RV dealership. That managed to chew up most of the available daylight. Got a valve cover off but that's all before I had to talk on the phone some more to the insurance people. When I got done with them, it was getting dark. I am insisting that they not dispatch a truck until they tell me where it is going to take the Ultra and I have a chance to vet the mechanic as being familiar with Corvairs. Insurance people aren't very happy about my suggestion of taking it to the Tri-Cities. They say if they find a qualified repair shop that is closer, I can go where I want & pay the difference at $6.00/mile. Conference call on the subject is scheduled for 9am tomorrow. In the meantime, Dale Stephens (corvair mech from the Tri-Cities area) has pitched in with advice on checking valve adjustment, pushrods, etc. If I can't fix it myself, find closer mechanical assistance, or come to agreement with towing company, I plan to try making it to Tri-Cities in low gear on 5 cylinders.

Per Matt's suggestion, my cell is 507-316-2722. Any tips on nearby Corvair mechs would be appreciated. Gotta quit now & get some badly needed sleep. Up at 6 to drive back to the van.

Gary from Rochester

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you must have an electrical problem.

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: October 25, 2012 06:05AM

Best to you Gary...

You should've headed south on 99...

All those going to the Toss would pass you!! ggg

I'll cross post this on VV.





MODERATOR
Somewhere between Sea Mountain and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
.............................PG...................................Turbo

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Date: October 25, 2012 06:58PM

Gary - I wasn't aware you had left until a few days ago.

You're having WAY more trouble with our old Ultra "Blimpie" than we ever had but it did sit over at the Luckows for 5 or 6 years. Saw it over at Rex's a few weeks ago with the wheels off. One thing about a mechanical problem with an ultravan is that you always have a place to stay.

I don't know what all the Luckows did to 420 after we sold it to them. It was a VERY original coach with only the hot water heater being replaced new. That means that the propane tank is VERY old and possibly not currently to code. The last time we had it filled was probably 2001 or something like that.

Because one of the only mechanical problems we had with it was it's wanting to downshift into low without warning I spent many miles driving it at 40-45 mph in low gear. It's very odd that a second powerglide seems to have much the same problem.

On the other hand.....other than engine noise and a top speed of 45-50 being stuck in low gear may not be the end of the world, especially in the mountains. There is no reason why you couldn't drive all the way from here to Minnesota in low gear without damaging anything. Obviously you wouldn't be popular on the interstate but we found that driving non-interstate roads to be much more interesting anyway.

I would be much more concerned about your loss of power. If you have dropped a valve seat then driving it is very questionable as it will only get a lot worse.

Oddly enough I picked up an ultravan motor in eastern oregon a few weekends ago that had a severe power loss. First we assumed it was a dropped seat but now having talked to the Baker City mechanics I don't think it's the problem. There is 50-70 lbs on all 6 cylinders. I have my ideas....

Lon
www.corvairunderground.com

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Re: Best Way Over the Rockies in an Ultravan?
Posted by: owen ()
Date: October 25, 2012 07:25PM

From the UV forum:
The UltraVan propane tank is an ASME RV tank. This is entirely
different from a DOT vertical tank. Generally the ASME tanks do not
require certification and are exempt from OPD's, because they have a
vapor vent to prevent overfilling. Make sure you have a new type
pressure relief valve. The older types of valves don't work as well as
the newer types. Any RVe dealer carries the new type valve.
Jim Davis

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Re: UPDATE 10/25 8pm
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: October 26, 2012 03:26AM

Just talked to Gary.... they are safe and sound in the Tri-Cities at the friends house... where #420 will spend the winter...





MODERATOR
Somewhere between Sea Mountain and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
.............................PG...................................Turbo

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Re: UPDATE 10/25 8pm
Posted by: OttawaCorvairGuy ()
Date: October 26, 2012 03:42AM

Glad they made it safe.

Because of them and their story along with the trucking company not picking up my UVs; I decide to go get UV362 ASAP – if I don’t hear from a transporter by then. ggg

I hope you have a safe return back east and all goes well for getting it in spring 2013!


Sincerely,

Tony
(Ottawa Area - Canada)

(1) Marie's 1962 Convertible and our 1966 Ultravan #248 (aka Itchy Feet - Long Restoration)
(2) Our 1963 Rampside (Sold 2014) and 1967 Ultravan #256 at Upper Canada Valley car show in 2009.
(UV256 aak Itchy Feet II - corvair power plant came out 2012 - plans with donor for a GM 3.8L FWD conversion, as a gas pusher, in the back of UV256)
(3 & 4) Are some of our 11 Corvair parts cars - to help keep our stuff on the road - hopefully as long as we live. ;-)
(5) Is one of our Wayne 100 boats (Corvair powered)
(6) Nov 14, 2012 Ultravans #362 and #512 arrived. We are getting closer to our goal of having an Ultravan museum.
We now own; UV248, UV256, UV362, UV512, and UV520 will hopefully be here July 2013.
(7) I saved Ultravan #231 from the scarp yard this year. It arrived May 9, 2013 and I plan to flip this one with a mid-engine Subaru power plant.



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