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Old 05-16-2005, 05:51 PM   #1
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We are ordering our first diesel (2006 Dutch Star)We will be needing some recommendations on care and maintainence of diesel engines-both the coach and generator. Any suggestions on "Diesel Engines for Dummies" ? Maybe a short list of "stupid things you can do to your diesel" without really trying?
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Old 05-16-2005, 05:51 PM   #2
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We are ordering our first diesel (2006 Dutch Star)We will be needing some recommendations on care and maintainence of diesel engines-both the coach and generator. Any suggestions on "Diesel Engines for Dummies" ? Maybe a short list of "stupid things you can do to your diesel" without really trying?
Be kind!!!
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Old 05-17-2005, 05:44 AM   #3
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Diesels aren't all that hard to live with. Some people get scared because it's something new but it's not a big deal. Diesels have more torque, are built heavier to contain that power, and are designed to last longer. The biggest key is to read the owners manual and familiarize yourself with the operating and service requirements for your particular engine. Based upon your coach's description I'm going to assume that you are getting a Spartan chassis with a Cummins ISL 370 or 400 HP engine. That's a great setup and you'll find that the ISL is an awesome engine. It's very forgiving, has lots of power (in the right RPM ranges too), and has minimal maintenance.

Speaking of maintenance, diesels are designed to go quite a while between services. But, when you do service them, everything happens in quantity. For instance, my ISL is rated at a 20,000 mile oil change interval. That lets me run it quite a while. But, when I do change oil it costs me 28 quarts of Shell Rotella-T 15W-40.

You will find that there is an initial service on the Allison 3000 tranny at 6,000 miles. It's nothing more than changing one filter but just be sure you don't miss it. Hopefully your system is filled with Allison's Transynd synthetic fluid and you will have the extended fluid change intervals.

As long as you keep the coolant and oil levels up, you shouldn't have a big problem servicing the Cummins. Be sure to buy brand name filters when it's time to service. I'd recommend Fleetguard because it's owned by Cummins, very high quality, and very popular in truck service centers. I'd also carry a spare primary fuel filter. That way if you pick up a bad load of fuel someplace while traveling you have a spare filter on hand to get you going again.

As with any diesel you don't want to lug them. Just let the Allison do it's job of shifting and be sure to use the engine brake when descending grades. If you come off a hot run, let it idle to cool down. If it's really hot you can use the cruise control to kick it up to fast idle. This will allow the water pump to run faster and cool the engine faster. 2 minutes is plenty of time for a cool down and most of the time you come off a ramp after a good workout and have to ease your way through access roads before your ready to shut it down anyway so chances are you've already given it a good cool down. Excessive idling is not good for any diesel so don't let it sit there running forever.

The same holds true for start up. Don't let it idle for 30 minutes to warm it up. In cold weather, if at all possible use the engine block heater to preheat the engine. Once you fire it up, let it idle for a minute or so and then kick it up to fast idle to build up air pressure in the brakes so you can get rolling. Be sure to get the engine up to operating temperature (at least 170) before hammering it hard on a ramp or highway at full throttle. Generally, you can ease out of the campground with minimal throttle effort and by the time your need full power it'll be warmed up. I generally get everything ready to go before firing up the engine. Then, soon after I get air up, I crawl out of the campground towards the office. Then kick in the fast idle and hook up the toad. That way it gets warmed up but my neighboring campers don't have to listen to it.

As to the generator - that's easy. Use it! Most generator issues come from lack of use. You'll find that Onan recommends running the genset once a month for at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour) at half load. That gets everything moving, lubricated, and any moisture cooked out of the system. You'll find that, like the main engine, the genset engine also has an initial service interval so again, read the owners manual.

Oops, sorry. You asked for a shortlist. I wrote a longlist.
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Old 05-17-2005, 07:34 AM   #4
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Hello PairoDoc:

I like the Cruzer's description of the Diesel Engine, the only thing I would add is when pulling a long grade I recommend maintaining engine RPM around 2000 even if you manually shift the transmission down to a lower gear. By keeping the RPM at around 2000 you do not lug the engine down as Cruzer indicated, and the engine will run cooler on that long hill climb.

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Old 05-17-2005, 11:44 AM   #5
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Originally posted by CRUZER::
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Oops, sorry. You asked for a shortlist. I wrote a longlist. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Mark, don't be sorry, you can't load a bushel of information into a thimble. And that was another of your usual excellent posts Thanks, ED
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