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1989 Chevy Horizon Camper Van battery and accelerating trouble

Hi there!
I own a 1989 Chevy Horizon Camper Van, a “camper” on a 1989 Chevy chassis, the “van part” of the camper is just like a normal 1989 Chevy G20 Automatic Van. About 2 weeks ago it started to “bog” down while accelerating, meaning it feels like the van is running out of gas although it is defiantly not out of gas. Also I put a new battery in two days ago because I had been having starting problems and somewhat hoping this would cure the other problems. It did not cure the problems and although I have not had to get a jump, the van is starting hard and the battery indicator on the dash is in between the dead line and the middle line. I also put in two cans of “Sea Foam” thinking there might be condensation in the gas line. If anyone has any idea of what this could be and if they are related to one problem please let me know.

Hoping for the best!


oh also, the heater fan stopped blowing about a month ago… I changed the fuse and it started back up then quit again. I don’t know if that helps.

“between the dead and middle line” leaves a lot to the imagination. You need to get the charging voltage checked. It should be about 13.8v.

I doubt the battery problem is related to the bogged down on acceleration problem. For the latter, my first suspect would be an exhaust restriction. A plugged cat for example. Ask your mechanic to do a before-cat pressure test. That will tell you one way or the other. Alternately, remove or loosen the exhaust pipes from the exhaust manifold temporarily, see if that fixes the problem. On some cars you can remove the O2 sensor which might be easier to do. The idea is to give the exhaust gas a place to go besides the cat. Temporary, not a permanent thing, as it will be noisy as all get-out, and wake your neighbors and make them mad at you, plus unsafe as exhaust gas might get into the car. But if doing this makes the bogging problem goes away, you know either the cat or the muffler is plugged.

Other likely things that can cause bogging would be the fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, fuel filter, air filter, EGR, and O2 sensor. Most of those would throw CEL codes. CEL on? If not, are there any pending codes?

I am not sure what the CEL is…and not sure what you mean by codes.
sorry for my complete lack of mechanical skill.


He means check engine light

Fault codes can make the check engine light turn on

A mechanic would read the codes with a scan tool, or by counting blinks.
Your van is older, so we’re probably talking blink codes.

Then he would look up what the codes mean

Hopefully that helped.

does thank you… checked the alt. and it checked out fine. The CEL has gone on intermittently through out the time I have owned it, it has now been going on more often, also I found a radiator leak.

Here’s how to pull codes from your OBDI GM vehicle and the code definitions.


Even if the CEL is now off, there may still be diagnostic codes stored in the ECM’s (computer’s) memory. The codes are not erased simply because the problem is no longer detected. The car engineers do this to help the car mechanics find the problem.

These ECM diagnostic codes are a very important part of how mechanics determine what is causing the problem. Car’s are so complex now-a-days, without using the diagnostic codes, fixing them would take much more time and be far more expensive. So it is worthwhile for you to have these codes read, esp with the type of problem you are reporting, and that your CEL has been going on and off for a while. Post them back in this thread, and the expert mechanics here (of which I am not one of, I’m just a driveway fixer-upper) can give you some further guidance on what to do next. If you don’t want to do it yourself, most of the large retail auto parts and auto repair places will read the ECM codes for free.

Car mechanics have their own time-saving-lingo, just like doctors and lawyers. But it can be confusing to the rest of us. For definitions of the various abbreviations and acronyms used by car mechanics, here’s a link you might find helpful. Best of luck.

For example, under CEL it says:

An acronym meaning Check Engine Light. An indicator to the driver that a fault has occurred in the computer management system See our section on Engine Diagnostics. (see also Check Engine Light)