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Author Topic: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side  (Read 587 times)

drisley

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Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« on: July 27, 2017, 01:41:34 PM »
I've got a 2002 Vacationer on the W22 chassis, Vortec 8.1. We are currently up around the Smokies, from Florida. As we went north of Atlanta, I noticed that the engine (seemingly suddenly) was much louder under load. More so than usual. Here's what I'm noticing...

  • When under load (like climbing a hill or accelerating, it is louder than usual. Almost like a lawn mower.. it has that unmuffled clicking sound coming from the passenger side.
  • It seems to rattle a bit while idling.
  • The exhaust coming out of the passenger side tailpipe is visible and a bit louder than the driver side. Not smoking, but you can see the exhaust.
  • It SEEMS as if I have to open throttle more than usual to get up the hills. I'm going out of memory here, but it just seems not to have as much umph up the hllls. Could just be me being overly sensitive at this point. ;)
  • No overheating or anything. Engine seems to be doing it's job. And when we're flat and level and the engine isn't under any load, it sounds perfectly smooth and normal

I've done some reading and some people say spark plugs. I'm not exactly a mechanic here. :) And I don't have a mechanic's set of tools with me here (just standard stuff). But, is there anything I can check easily?

Some have talked about the donut gasket where the exhaust pipe begins (out from the manifold). When I look there, I see no weird discolorations or anything. Interestingly, though, we can smell some exhaust fumes from the engine when we're sitting still. When we pulled into our current campground, we even had the gas alarm go off inside while the rig was sitting still. No odors or anything while traveling because the airflow is higher, most likely.

Hoping somebody can help point me in the right direction.

We're heading to Anchors Down from here and I'm sure I can get there without issue, since I've probably put 150 miles on the rig since I noticed this. But, there's a lot of up and down around here in the mountains, so this noise is nerve wracking and I'm concerned if it is hurting anything.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 01:43:44 PM by drisley »
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

Paul & Ann

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2017, 01:52:14 PM »
A couple of other possibilities are leaking manifold gasket caused by broken bolts, or a worn out muffler.  Does the check engine light come on?
Paul & Ann  Iowa
2005 Winnebago Voyage 38J
http://stoughrvadventure.blogspot.com/

drisley

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2017, 01:54:35 PM »
A couple of other possibilities are leaking manifold gasket caused by broken bolts, or a worn out muffler.  Does the check engine light come on?
No. We have a Scanguage in it, too, and there's no codes or anything. And it doesn't sound as if there's a muffler issue. The noise is coming from the front, not the tailpipe.

I also checked the bolts I can see around the engine and nothing looks to be blown or broken, that I can tell.
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2017, 01:58:10 PM »
How many miles on it?

Have you ever had exhaust manifold problems? Usually the  bolts will break after a while. I've had mine in several times over the years for that.

Exhaust manifold leaks will make many and various sounds that will come and go. Sometimes only at startup and go away when warm, some not.

I didn't notice any loss of power when mine were bad.

The leaks didn't seem to hurt anything as I ran cross country with mine before I knew what it was.

Are you getting a Check Engine Light? Visible exhaust on one side is a bit strange, maybe unburnt fuel.

Have you ever replaced the plugs and wires? 
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

drisley

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2017, 02:13:00 PM »
About 42k miles on it. No bolt issues that I know of, but I don't know the history of the rig before I owned it. And no, no codes or check engine light.

I just took a couple photos of the top of the passenger-side cylinder bank. I notice some staining there. Don't know if that's a concern. Doesn't seem new to me, tho.
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

drisley

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2017, 02:44:49 PM »
I went out and looked through the wheel well and up from underneath. It SEEMS as if the manifold bolts are intact, if I know what I'm looking at. Although, there are some holes that appear to have nothing in it. A few images attached. Hope you can tell what it is, since it is from weird angles.
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

Sun2Retire

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2017, 03:17:15 PM »
X3 on exhaust manifold. Actually have that exact issue that's getting fixed in a couple days. Sounds exactly as you describe. That "click" is actually a little spurt of exhaust from the one cylinder closest to the broken bolt.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2017, 03:37:39 PM »
I think I'd take it to a Workhorse dealer. Looks like you need plugs and wires to me and have them check the exhaust manifolds.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

drisley

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2017, 03:40:34 PM »
I think I'd take it to a Workhorse dealer. Looks like you need plugs and wires to me and have them check the exhaust manifolds.
How would I know if I need new plugs and wires? None of the wires look back to me.

And in terms of the exhaust manifold, if I do indeed have an issue with that, is it hurting anything for me to drive it around? It'd obviously be easier to deal with a repair back home in Florida than out on the road. If it is only a noise issue and otherwise not a big deal, I'll just drive it home like this.
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

John From Detroit

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2017, 05:11:03 PM »
Suspect list includes bad manifold to exhaust pipe gasket

Bad manifold mounting bolt
Bad manifold gasket
Cracked manifold
and. from there it gets real expensive.

Also you should inspect the pipe and muffler.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

drisley

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2017, 05:56:23 PM »
OK, so can I continue to drive it like this until I get home without worrying about anything?
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

garyb1st

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2017, 06:53:40 PM »
Not sure which years involved but some Vortec 8.1 engines had a history of wires and plugs overheating due to a design problem.  Apparently not enough clearance from some hot surfaces.  Discovered this while researching our 2005 Pace Arrow with the same engine.  When I reviewed the service records of the original owner, I noticed one or two times when the plugs were replaced.  Motorhome only had 32,000 miles on the Odometer when we purchased it two months ago.  A lack of power is one of the symptoms. 
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler

butchiiii

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2017, 11:40:31 PM »
Sounds like a bad exhaust gasket. Especially if you are missing bolts. Sometimes the gaskets get super brittle and a small piece can get blown out where
the bolt is missing/loose. The rest of the bolts will seem tight still. About driving if that is the problem I'm no help there.

Butch & Joanna
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SkateBoard

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2017, 02:39:55 AM »
I say small hole in exhaust manifold. Here's a pic of mine. It was behind a tin shroud. The air would bounce off that. It progressed to different sounds. One like marbles in a can rattling around and a ping. Then it would only make a noise under load. 

« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 02:54:39 AM by SkateBoard »

NewmanRacing

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2017, 07:17:56 AM »
With the engine stone cold, have someone else fire it up as you feel around the manifolds / exhaust for the leak.

You have only moments for this process before it gets too hot.

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TonyDtorch

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2017, 08:48:35 AM »
I say small hole in exhaust manifold. Here's a pic of mine. It was behind a tin shroud. The air would bounce off that. It progressed to different sounds. One like marbles in a can rattling around and a ping. Then it would only make a noise under load.
SkateBoard...your manifold is cracked,   it will expand and get louder as it heats up. you can try to have it welded but cast iron is difficult to weld correctly. 

Big block Chevy's are famous for that.   It's time for a set of headers or a new manifold.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 08:57:40 AM by TonyDtorch »

SkateBoard

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2017, 10:36:41 AM »
SkateBoard...your manifold is cracked,   it will expand and get louder as it heats up. you can try to have it welded but cast iron is difficult to weld correctly. 

Big block Chevy's are famous for that.   It's time for a set of headers or a new manifold.

Started out as a hole and that's why I posted that pic

Heli_av8tor

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2017, 11:14:17 AM »
I had a Class C 25 years ago with a 360 Dodge. It had been run so long with a small section of the manifold gasket blown out that a V groove eroded in both manifold and head. Both had to be milled to repair.

I wouldn't drive thousands of miles but would drive hundreds.

Tom
Tom & Theresa
2004 Pace Arrow 37C
Workhorse W22, 8.1 Vortec
2014 Honda CR-V Toad, Roadmaster -5 Base and tow bar
SMI Stay and Play Duo Brake system

drisley

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2017, 03:46:49 PM »
I've got an appointment locally here on Tuesday AM to have it looked at. Decided I'd rather get it checked out sooner rather than drive several hundred new miles with it like this.
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2017, 07:09:30 PM »
Let us know what you find.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

drisley

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2017, 07:07:32 AM »
Just to follow up on this, it was indeed the passenger-side exhaust manifold donut gasket. A pretty easy swap. Also had them replace all the spark plugs and wires, since the wires were a little burned and it was original plugs. Engine running quiet and smoother than it was before the gasket blew. :)

Of course, now I'm noticing a little bit of fluid leak out of what I think is the master cylinder. So, it's always something. :/
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

Lou Schneider

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2017, 01:53:36 PM »
Does your motorhome have the right side splash guard to let the cooling air flow past the manifold instead of exiting out the wheelwell?  My motorhome had the mounting holes for the guard but someone removed it to get better access to the right hand spark plugs.

Here's the best writeup I've found:

P-series Splash Shield
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 01:58:41 PM by Lou Schneider »

Heli_av8tor

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2017, 03:06:57 PM »
Happy to learn it was relatively minor.
Tom
Tom & Theresa
2004 Pace Arrow 37C
Workhorse W22, 8.1 Vortec
2014 Honda CR-V Toad, Roadmaster -5 Base and tow bar
SMI Stay and Play Duo Brake system

drisley

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Re: Vortec 8.1 Loud Under Load, Passenger Side
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2017, 03:31:25 PM »
I'll need to look, but I don't recall seeing that.
2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36WDD
2012 Honda CR-V (soon to be the toad)
Our Blog: RV Family Travel

 

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