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1990 Chevy RV cuts out — will we get across the country?

My son bought a 1990 Chevy RV and talked me into driving across the country with him, from Snowy Pennsylvania to Sunny California… It runs pretty good - but after 600 miles we have experienced an issue. It hums along and then out of the blue it stops running - nerve wracking for sure. When it cools down (about 20 minutes) It fires right up and hums further down the road. We finally found Gary’s automotive who would work on it, everyone else seemed to not want to touch it. He replaced the fuel filter which did not solve the problem. So we went back to his shop and he replaced the fuel pump - we drove about 60 miles into the sunset and it stopped running again. After 20 minutes we fired it up, we coasted off the the road and got a motel room. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe the spark plugs and wires? How about the modulator? we are hoping you can shed some light on this situation.

A this rate it will be spring before we get there…

You can’t even get across a county and you’re thinking about cross country? Be realistic. Find another mechanic with some diagnostic skills. Me personally, I’d be looking at the crankshaft position sensor. That’s my 2 cents worth.


A 1990 should have a distributor, I’d be looking at the ignition control module.


yep, missed the new fuel pump note. yes, ignition is probably next

thanks for responding yes it is old, and the fuel pump and filter are 1 day old! That was our first attempt. It has low mileage and the engine was replaced 10 years ago. It was used for tailgate parties at Steeler Games… at least this is what we were told.

We found a RV repair shop so i will give them a call. It has been a good learning experience.

good day to you

wish us luck.


Maybe the ignition coil? But determining whether it’s ignition or fuel is the first step. After cooling down does it start right up, or do you have to turn over the engine for a while?

1990 chevy 39 (350 motor) So we fixed our first problem with a fuel pump, and a fuel injection modulator… ran good for hundreds of miles.

No we are on to something else… The automatic transmission stopped shifting into 3rd. So we got towed to a shop. The tranny module tested ok - then he drained the tranny oil in order to replace the filter. The old filter was flopping around due to a warn out bushing. He fixed that problem and put in a fresh filter and fuild. The old fluid was clean - not metal. this did not solve the problem. The next suggestion is to adjust the bands - i did some research while waiting on the next thing and there is mention of loose linkage or maybe shift cable… ideas? We are inWinslow Arizona.

I really appreciate hearing from all you car talk folks helping each other out.



sure you don’t mean the fuel pressure regulator . . . ?!

So exactly how many rpms are you turning on the freeway . . . ?!

as far as I know, this vehicle doesn’t have a separate transmission control module

that should be one of the first things to check. What you want to do is make sure nothing’s binding and that you can actually move the shift shaft . . . you’ll need to get under the truck for this . . . all the forward and back. Also make sure that no part of the shift cable is missing or broken. Many shift cables have plastic bushings at one or both ends. If they’re worn, missing or broken, things may not work properly

you’ll want to do that BEFORE you start messing with any bands

If you’re lucky, the problem is external . . .

I’m not sure if the automatic transmission in your RV has adjustable bands or not. If it has, and you’ve already tried a routine transmission service, fluid is good and correct level, and still have the problem, a band adjustment procedure is worth a shot . I don’t think it’s going to do the job though. You’re probably going to have to take it to a shop and have the transmission fluid pressure test ports measured to get a proper diagnosis. The transmission requires a lot of force to effect a shift and that force comes from the fluid pressure. Over time the seals inside the transmission will start leaking internally, and the leaking prevents the fluid pressure from building up to the psi required to effect the shift. Worn out clutches and bands is another possibility. My guess is either a faulty transmission solenoid valve (cross your fingers its this one) , the throttle valve body needs to be rebuilt, or the entire transmission needs to be rebuilt or replaced.

And it’s only another 400 miles or so to LA. Maybe just limp along w/out third gear until you get there.

reminds me of the song Take it Easy by The Eagles

Well I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl my lord in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me

Michele’s not looking at you, George

Because she’s driving a Chevy, not a Ford :wink:

But that was a good song :+1:


Does a GM transmission even have externally adjustable bands anymore :question:

Do you have a temperature gauge, sticking thermostat comes to mind.

this is a wonderful community blog - thanks for all your responses. We will start in again in the morning, tonight we are camped out in the mechanics parking lot.

ill check out these suggestions.

thanks everyone

I just took a little computerized tour of Winslow AZ using Google’s street view. There’s a shop at the main intersection (near the movie theater) named “Standing on a Corner” … lol…

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I think a 1990 Chevy 350 rv would have an OD trans. 700r4? Hmm, 2nd gear and 200 mi range. Uh, not going well.

It is Christmas season, just for fun, rusty Chevrolet Da Yoopers

Yes indeed!!! Classic symptom! I had one of those GM HEI distributors in an 85 truck. My money is with you on ignition module. You are supposed to put silicone grease underneath the module so it makes good contact with the base of the distributor to shed its heat. Seems like nobody ever did that.

If you’re stuck in Winslow for another day make sure to have dinner at the Turquoise Room, in the La Posada hotel. The absolute best meal in the state.