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Thread: Snow buildup on cables, other road hazards

  1. #1
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    Lyle
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    I searched the archives, but didn't find this problem.

    I drive my 87 Westy in the snow quite a bit. After parking for a few hours (like after snowboarding), I have noticed that the throttle cable will want to stick wide open. In other words you can push the gas peddle down, but it won't return (even when pulling on it hard by hand). I've also noticed trouble with the emergency brakes not disengaging and with the stick shift linkage having a lot of resistance. I had a very exciting time in the ski area parking one day with the throttle stuck wide open! This has happened to me 3 times now. Upon further investigation I discovered big chunks of hard as rock snow stuck to the front of the engine firewall underneath the car right where the throttle cable passes through the fire well into the engine comparment. After chiseling this all away with a screwdriver, everything worked fine. It seems like a dangerous design flaw to me. I'm surprised I haven't heard of it before. Anybody else experience this problem?
    Maybe it only happens in slushy NW snow conditions...

    tx

    p
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 10-07-2008 at 03:17 PM.
    pablo (87 Westy)

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  3. #2
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    I've driven mine in my fair share of snow, too, but never a problem along those lines. Of course I've got a 4WD so the extra drivetrain & guard may help.

    Is this a recurring problem, or could you have perhaps run over a chunk that flew up and got wedged, thus giving routine splash a place to build up on? Since that area isn't in any direct tire splash pattern, that seems plausible.

  4. #3
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    Lyle
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    Yes, this is a recurring problem. I don't know how the snow gets to that location either as it's not behind the tires, but the chunks of snow are similar to the chunks that you might get behind your back wheels. And the snow build up is along the entire front of the engine fire wall. I'm guessing it wouldn't occur in colder areas of the country where the snow is dry and powdery. Around here, you can be driving in the rain one minute and in the snow the next. Thanks.
    pablo (87 Westy)

  5. #4
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    I've changed the title to expand the topic to other road hazards.

    RE: The snow build-up. I wonder if there is some relationship between the temperatures of the engine compartment and the build-up. i.e. Is the temperature of the firewall condusive to melting snow that refreezes as it reaches the air-stream and then provides a host for continued build-up, much in an icicle effect? I have seen ice buildup on wheels that emanated in a perfect symetrical pattern from the warm hub bearings. If so, would insulation of the engine compartment help?

    I'd presume excessive mud could do the same as the above snow problem. I know in the calcium chloride coated dirt roads of NW Canada, the mud build-up can become extreme. With calcium chloride (a salt to hold down dust in summer, it makes roads slick gumbo in wet weather), the dirt will spray up, then harden. It can thus build up in layers until it fills the wheel wells much like snow. But it doesn't melt! The exhaust system, where heat dries it quickly, can build up into visible layers. I've had it build up so thick, it falsely engaged the Syncro 4WD. During trips in these areas, frequent washing is necessary. (Fortunately, high-pressure self-wash pits are relatively common.)

    Worse, calcium chloride is corrosive so can attack the various cables and levers. Full hot water high-pressure or steam cleaning are necessary after a round of travel on roads treated with calcium chloride. Then inspect and relube, repairing any boots or damage.

    I've also noted considerable abrasion damage of under-body parts from the sand & gravel of dirt roads. This is noticeable from a body point of view where the fender wheels and chassis are stripped of paint and undercoating, so you can imagine it's effect on cables & wiring. I have found harnesses and tubing 'blast' damaged, so I've put additional protection in the areas most susceptible. Although most of my abrasion has been confined to wiring harnesses, it would also apply to cables and hoses.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 10-07-2008 at 03:17 PM.

  6. #5
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    Similar situation in my '86 syncro

    After driving in very heavy snow/slush. I parked for the day. I came out the next day and the shifter wouldn't shift, and the car was frozen, it would not move, as though the brakes were frozen on. I discovered that the slush had frozen solid around the drive line, as well as the parking brake cables. (The temp had dropped from just above freezing to about zero f with strong winds.) I chiseled out the mess with a crow bar. The only remaining problem was in the process I broke the bracket that holds the accelerater cable housing, and opened up the housing from it's grommet. Be careful how you dig out the snow. I hope that I have resealed the cable well enough as I have a weeks trip in B.C. with the temp going to -20. The frozen snow/ice berg also got in the way of the shift rod, so that It was difficult to shift. I had noticed it driving home the day before and thought it was just cold an needed lube.

    From now on I will scrub the snow out before it freezes. Reminds me of Slush freezing in a ski-do track.

    Icars
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 10-07-2008 at 03:19 PM.

  7. #6
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    There are times -- we've discovered -- when having an electric hair-blower is worth its space consumption. True, it may require AC, but they do thaw frozen things. I suppose there are DC versions available -- check out the truck stops.

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