80 series seems sluggish towing uphill from Tamworth

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 09:39
ThreadID: 106484 Views:2001 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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My petrol 80 series has recently travelled around Aust and performed perfectly however when leaving Tamworth heading north on the New England hwy it went back to 1st at one stage which has me wondering if something is the matter.
I realise that the mountains there a fairly steep and of course my 80 seies is getting old.
It's1996 model petrol automatic with 363,000 ks. It has never had anything done to it apart from lubrication every 5000. the van is only 16ft and unloaded weighs 1000kgs, only carrying normal load consisting of 3 people total weight of 180kg 40 litre of spare water and a dog.
My driving style may contribute as I try to keep the motor from reving too hard and after the auto changes down I let the motor settle to about 2400 revs and that is when I couldnt keep my speed up and subsequently it went back to first. I wasnt using the power button as I usually pull back a gear if I think I need it.
The car has never been to a workshop I simply change all oils, wheel bearings brake pads etc myself.
The motor usually runs between 85 to 90degrees measured with engine watchdog but rose to 99 by the time I reached the top of the worst hill in first gear which I think was ok.
After the hilly section everything seems ok.
I am very interested to hear your comments and or advice.
best regards to everyone
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Reply By: Thinkin - Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 10:12

Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 10:12
You don't indicate what seems sluggish, engine or auto.
" the car has never been to a workshop I simply change all oils, wheel bearings brake pads etc myself ", 363,000 is a long time without valve adjustment. What about ignition timing.
Start of by doing a simple compression test, see what that tells you,
AnswerID: 527459

Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 09:01

Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 09:01
Hi Thinkin
Had trouble posting my thanks
Your right I am slack for not having valve adjustment and timing checked.. It's something I must do but I thought with spacer system on valves and electronic ignition it may not have been necessary.
Thanks for pointing that out.
FollowupID: 809909

Reply By: Gronk - Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 10:21

Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 10:21
That hill is probably one of the worst mothers you'll ever find.........long AND steep..

My 4wd went up to 116 deg towing a small van ( 1400kg ) up there a month ago when the outside temp was only 30 deg..

I find it's easier on the motor ( and temps ) to keep the engine revving fairly high, which in turn keeps the load on it down..
AnswerID: 527460

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 11:32

Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 11:32
Making an engine labour is a big mistake. That is the enemy of most engines.
At 363,000 on the clock it should still have a lot of life left in it especially as you service it regularly, also 10,000Km intervals is sufficient for servicing on those motors.

My 97 petrol 80 did the same thing on Moonbie so don't worry.
As Gronk says, "It is one mother of a hill"

Let the engine rev as those long stroked hard pulling engines like a few revs and in fact you will use less fuel by letting the engine work a little faster.
About 3000 to 3500 RPM is a good range when pulling up that hill and a little more wont hurt. They are red lined at a little over 4000 so doing 4 grand wont hurt for short periods.

The multivalve turbo diesel 80 series I had didn't like that hill either so don't worry. it was back to first also.

Not only was I back to first on that hill but on the subsequent sections of the Oxley Highway heading to Port Macquarie from Bendemeer I found the old girl to be sluggish as well.
Turns out that there is not as much oxygen the higher up you go so do not expect miracles when climbing hills and on top of the range. Let the engine rev more and don't push it as hard by making it labour.

Many of the guys around this area of the Mid North Coast often head up into the ranges with their trail bikes and also report considerably reduced performance when up there due to the higher altitude. That is very normal in the higher altitudes.

My V8 cruiser goes close to 1st gear as well but on that hill but I am pulling a heavier van now also.

Just as an example, I often climb the range west of Port Macquarie on the Oxley Highway heading to Tamworth and what I do is I select 3rd gear in the auto (5 speed) and leave it there till I have reached the very top of the climb. I use less fuel that way and the engine is in the right rev range to make it as easy as possible on the motor and drive train. The engine and gearbox decide if they need to go to a lower gear and often do.
I also stop for a cuppa at Stockyard Creek, about 2/3rds of the journey up the hill, and this gives the vehicle a break and the driver and passengers as well and that is such a lovely spot at Stockyard Creek.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Bruce.

At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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AnswerID: 527463

Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 13:07

Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 at 13:07
Thanks Bruce and Gronk
It was really encouraging to read that your petrol cruiser performed similar to mine on Moonbie. Also interesting comment about the attitude which is about 1300 meters at that point.
You also provided welcome info about keeping the revs a bit higher in those mountains which certainly was a mistake of mine.
So thank you, much appreciated
FollowupID: 809858

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 14:32

Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 14:32
This 80 series...is it a country or a city truck.

Are you sure you had the right music playing....particularly comming out of Tamy.

AnswerID: 527520

Reply By: peteC - Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 16:57

Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 16:57
Quick thing you can do is clean your MAF sensor. Makes a huge difference if its dirty
AnswerID: 527527

Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 19:36

Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 19:36
Thanks Pete
I don't even know what a MAF sensor is but I will look in my service manual when I get home and check it out
Thanks for the advice
FollowupID: 809942

Follow Up By: peteC - Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 20:09

Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 20:09
On your air filter should be an electrical plug. Unplug and undo the screws that hold the MAF unit and remove. You should see a small ceramic thing with 2 pieces of metal strips and down inside the plastic housing you should see two tiny pieces of wire resistors. DON'T touch them as very fragile. Spray them and the ceramic one with MAF sensor cleaner from supercheap repco etc to remove all dirt.
If there is too much dirt on these it mucks up your air fuel mixture.
There is often another tiny MAS ( not MAF ) filter on top of the engine that looks like a miniature fuel filter and made of ceramic that can often do with a clean by removing pipes. And flushing with the same cleaner but I can't tell you where it is on the 80
FollowupID: 809947

Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 21:15

Sunday, Mar 02, 2014 at 21:15
Thanks for the detailed description Pete.
I will get onto that but may wait till I get home in case I bugger something up.
The vehicle seems to be going fine again now that I am off that Moonbie Range but I will certainly give it a thorough going over when I get home.
FollowupID: 809953

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