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Old 05-18-2014, 11:38 PM   #1
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
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First Big Trip - Check Engine Light

Well....we've owned the coach for 5 months and only had it out for three days in late January. There were so many things going on that we just couldn't get away until today. We left this morning on our first big trip (two weeks). It's been so long since I loaded the coach, I can't remember where I put anything.

Our trip lead us out of L.A. this morning and east on I-40. This was the first time that we would pull some decent grades and run through the desert winds. I was pleasantly surprised on the Cajon Pass where it pulled the grades between 57-58 mph. We ran through the desert and the winds were blowing, pretty hard in some places, but between the Comfort Drive and tag axle, I could hardly tell they were there.

As we hit Needles the outside temp jumped to 102 degrees (who would want to live there). We stopped at the Lake Havasu interchange at a Pilot that always has good prices. They were $3.71 for diesel which is great out west. Even better, the dash computer, my VMSpc and paper/pencil put us at 9.0 mpg (not towing).

We fueled up and a few minutes after we were back on the road, I had a check engine light. We traveled another 30 minutes and it stayed on. We started and stopped the coach a couple of times at a campground in Kingman, but the light stayed on.

I checked the dash diagnostics and got a code of (SPN 3058 FMI SA 0). I called Freightliner and left my number. They called back about 30 minutes later. The code said EGR/Turbo out of temp spec (something like that). I told the tech that we had just filled up in 102 degree weather. He said the turbo may have gotten hot when we stopped (I had been idling before shut down).

He said it was okay to run the coach as long as it didn't derate or get a flashing light or obviously a stop engine light. He also thought it my clear the next day in cooler weather....we'll see.

Okay.....observations after my first long drive with heat, grades and wind:

-The Comfort Steer and tag axle were great.....nothing moved us.

-The power was better than expected.

-The fuel economy was better than expected.

-I had wind noise at my driver's window before the trip, but when I checked the Quick Tips for the repair, mine had already been done by Newmar. A stethoscope discovered the leak was up where the lower window meets the upper window near the "A" pillar. I used silicone in the joint and the noise was gone on this trip.

That was the good news.....I had some things that need fixing:

-I had a LOT of front end chop making for a rough ride. It was as bad as my Monaco until I changed to Konis. I had the tires at 115 psi, so I dropped them to 110 this evening and will see how they are tomorrow. I had the front end weighed and probably went a little higher than I should. I'll try all the way down to 105 psi.

-The darn MCD windshield shades bounce around a lot and make a lot of noise. This will be front end related.

-The front door is noisy unless I close it just right. Not happy about how it closes still. I hope it gets better as time goes on as others have stated. My bay doors do close better after a few months.

-The radio speakers are really cheap crap. I don't understand why the things you use all the time, like the speakers and microwave, are the items that Newmar went cheap on. I will be replacing the speakers when I return. The Clarion radio/GPS is sophisticated, but too hard to see. I really liked the big Pioneer in my Diplomat. The radio will go when I get back.

Okay....hoping the light goes out tomorrow or it will make me nuts.

Lastly, if I can't get the front end to calm down, everyone can send me $20.00 and I'll buy some Road Kings and do an unbiased test. Just think...for $20.00 you can find out if a product really works before you spend several hundred dollars.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:15 AM   #2
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Don, had a similar thing happen WRT the Check Engine light with a few exceptions. Mine didn't stay on, it came on for a couple of minutes then went out, that happened 3-4 times, and it didn't pop any codes that I could tell from the dash readings. My operating equipment is a little different then yours, I've got a Cummins ISM in a Spartan chassis. When this happened to me I went to Cummins in Mobile, AL and they found the code and it was for an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve or the tubes. The good and the bad on an EGR: Cummins warranties them for 5 years, it's going to take a day or even 2 for the repair to be completed. And yes you can still use the coach, but I wouldn't be making any trips with it until it's fixed, you may get some black smoke and it might even derate if it gets too clogged. And you know Mr Murphy is always waiting just around the corner.
Good Luck, Charlie
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Well....we've owned the coach for 5 months and only had it out for three days in late January. There were so many things going on that we just couldn't get away until today. We left this morning on our first big trip (two weeks). It's been so long since I loaded the coach, I can't remember where I put anything.

Our trip lead us out of L.A. this morning and east on I-40. This was the first time that we would pull some decent grades and run through the desert winds. I was pleasantly surprised on the Cajon Pass where it pulled the grades between 57-58 mph. We ran through the desert and the winds were blowing, pretty hard in some places, but between the Comfort Drive and tag axle, I could hardly tell they were there.

As we hit Needles the outside temp jumped to 102 degrees (who would want to live there). We stopped at the Lake Havasu interchange at a Pilot that always has good prices. They were $3.71 for diesel which is great out west. Even better, the dash computer, my VMSpc and paper/pencil put us at 9.0 mpg (not towing).

We fueled up and a few minutes after we were back on the road, I had a check engine light. We traveled another 30 minutes and it stayed on. We started and stopped the coach a couple of times at a campground in Kingman, but the light stayed on.

I checked the dash diagnostics and got a code of (SPN 3058 FMI SA 0). I called Freightliner and left my number. They called back about 30 minutes later. The code said EGR/Turbo out of temp spec (something like that). I told the tech that we had just filled up in 102 degree weather. He said the turbo may have gotten hot when we stopped (I had been idling before shut down).

He said it was okay to run the coach as long as it didn't derate or get a flashing light or obviously a stop engine light. He also thought it my clear the next day in cooler weather....we'll see.

Okay.....observations after my first long drive with heat, grades and wind:

-The Comfort Steer and tag axle were great.....nothing moved us.

-The power was better than expected.

-The fuel economy was better than expected.

-I had wind noise at my driver's window before the trip, but when I checked the Quick Tips for the repair, mine had already been done by Newmar. A stethoscope discovered the leak was up where the lower window meets the upper window near the "A" pillar. I used silicone in the joint and the noise was gone on this trip.

That was the good news.....I had some things that need fixing:

-I had a LOT of front end chop making for a rough ride. It was as bad as my Monaco until I changed to Konis. I had the tires at 115 psi, so I dropped them to 110 this evening and will see how they are tomorrow. I had the front end weighed and probably went a little higher than I should. I'll try all the way down to 105 psi.

-The darn MCD windshield shades bounce around a lot and make a lot of noise. This will be front end related.

-The front door is noisy unless I close it just right. Not happy about how it closes still. I hope it gets better as time goes on as others have stated. My bay doors do close better after a few months.

-The radio speakers are really cheap crap. I don't understand why the things you use all the time, like the speakers and microwave, are the items that Newmar went cheap on. I will be replacing the speakers when I return. The Clarion radio/GPS is sophisticated, but too hard to see. I really liked the big Pioneer in my Diplomat. The radio will go when I get back.

Okay....hoping the light goes out tomorrow or it will make me nuts.

Lastly, if I can't get the front end to calm down, everyone can send me $20.00 and I'll buy some Road Kings and do an unbiased test. Just think...for $20.00 you can find out if a product really works before you spend several hundred dollars.
Don,

On the MCD noise; I put small felt strips at each end of shades and that helped tremendously. Also helps to put all shades fully up when traveling.
Good Luck on the rest of your trip
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:24 PM   #4
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I agree on the radio speakers, I'm thinking about upgrading them myself.

I had one of the clips that holds the shades on come loose. Once I tightened it up the rattle went away.

Our door did loosen up a bit. Make sure the pins haven't "blackened themselves". Mine did and I scuffed them off with 2000 grit sandpaper and covered them in dielectric grease. That stopped that problem.

Look forward to hearing about you shocks, I've been wondering if Konis could make any difference.
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:42 PM   #5
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:42 PM   #6
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OK...I'll bite. Where do I send the check? . Thanks fir the updates...a lot of the same thoughts and issues from others, I'm sure.

Yes, The DCM speakers in the Essex are also a poor product, but then the wimpy radio hasn't got any clean? Power to it either. So I'll be adding an amp as well as some speakers. I figure I can get some 6-8? In. Speakers behind that set of louvers. Blocking off the rear and doing a cutout in the front to accommodate the speaker. And what's with placing the speakers at the TOP of that cabinet with the TV surround sound speakers below?

Great MPG. I got 7.9 coming back from FL, so that's in line with a lighter coach and smaller engine. Keep an eye on that DEF consumption and let us know.

On my old coach I put velcro on the shades and pillar in the position I wanted them in and that stopped them from rattling. One thing I need to do is take them off the ignition so I can move them any amount up/down while on the road.

If you're on I-40, you should have a tailwind...or at least it seems it's always in my face when heading west! How far east are you traveling?
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:06 AM   #7
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
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Taking the air pressure down on the tires helped quite a bit. I've also found a way to close the door and make it lock better. I don't like to slam it because the whole wall moves. I find that if I sit down on the floor (inside) and pull the door shut firmly and at the same time turn the door handle a smidge, the door closes and locks better. This also works outside. As I close it on the outside, I slightly pull on the lever to open it.

The check engine code showed up again. My VMSpc tells me it did it when I stopped for fuel on Sunday and restarted. Did it Monday morning when I started the coach and did it one more tome when I started the coach after fueling today. So....it only throws the code when I start the engine.

I-40 through Arizona and into New Mexico was horrible. I told my wife as we were climbing the grade just before Williams.....watch their will be a truck rolled over. Sure enough, there were two. I have yet to pass thru the area about 10 miles west of Williams without seeing a truck rolled over. 75mph speed limit, curves and a downhill.
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:57 AM   #8
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I normally don't read trip reports (on another forum) but decided to give this one a try. Surprise, pleasant and interesting reading. Thanks.

As to the code thing - don't start the engine. Hah! I used to be a field engineer for a fruit company called Apple. One client complained about traffic on the network. One of the guys in his shop made a comment to me one day when he wasn't present: "He thinks the best network is one that isn't being used."

Your comment about Road King and Koni - I have a friend that bought Road King shocks after attending an FMCA event a couple years ago. He liked the idea of the warranty they had and that they could be rebuilt. I was nearly convinced to give them a try this year when I saw him write a flaming note on a Facebook group. It seems that both shocks in the front had failed and were leaking fluid; one worse than the other. He contacted the company and was treated as though it was his tough luck, more or less. He finally got through to a manager of some kind that agreed to accept the shocks for rebuilding. After months, he never received them back. In the process, he purchased Koni shocks so he could drive the coach (a Beaver of some variety). He is as happy with those as the ride he got with the Road King. As far as he is concerned, the name should be Road Kill.

Speakers - agree, they are worthless and not housed well. My previous coach was an Airstream Land Yacht XC. It had good speakers and a great sub-woofer and they worked. I miss the sub-woofer and will be replacing my speakers in the near future plus, as someone else, building a housing for them. Being able to fire backward into a large cavity does not enhance the sound at all.
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:06 AM   #9
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Don, your intermittent engine light reminds of an experience I had with the coolant sensor. It, too, would cycle on/off while we were on a trip. Ended up finding a Spartan Fire Truck parts place near St. louis and got a new one. Hey, those guys even brought the part to me!

At best, you may just be marginal on coolant levels. I think I took the sensor out to clean it while someone held her finger in the dike. . Ended up being of cheap plastic and unrepairable.
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:14 AM   #10
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I am waiting to get mine into Cummins, got the same EGR check light on my way to the Smokeys. It was Cummins fault code 1896 per Spartan support. It cleared but came on again. Seemed to happen when I went over a pretty good bump. But I have been having undetected coolant loss for a few months now, Cummins says the EGR can leak coolant into the exhaust and you can never detect the leak? getting it in this week, we'll see.
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:58 AM   #11
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Don, we had the same thing on our ISB engine for a couple of years. If we stopped at a rest area it would come on and stay on for a minute or two and go out. Sometimes it would be there all day and then go out. We put up with it, figuring it was because we didnt shut the diesel off correctly. Short story is that it failed after the coach was out of warranty and cost us 1200 bucks. Get it fixed in warranty.
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wracinti View Post
I am waiting to get mine into Cummins, got the same EGR check light on my way to the Smokeys. It was Cummins fault code 1896 per Spartan support. It cleared but came on again. Seemed to happen when I went over a pretty good bump. But I have been having undetected coolant loss for a few months now, Cummins says the EGR can leak coolant into the exhaust and you can never detect the leak? getting it in this week, we'll see.
Yes, if the valve is bad you can get coolant evaporating into the exhaust. I got a call today from Cummins in Mobile, AL. The EGR valve: $1,000.00; the tubes: $25.00/each; labor: $450.00. They said the codes are not specific enough to tell if it's the valve or the tubes, but they'll know when they get into it. Luckily the pre-DEF engines don't have the extra plumbing in the way. So the job should take no more than 4 hours if it's the valve, less if just the tubes.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:48 PM   #13
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Thanks Charlie for the cost estimate. Driving back from Sevierville to Cincinnati it was very sluggish and I babyed it all the way. I had the coolant replaced when I first bought it as it was time and kept thinking it was air lock because they only put back in 6 gallons for a 10 gallon system as I later learned. I'm pretty convinced now it is the valve.
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:59 PM   #14
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Okay....We're at Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado for three days). Anyone who knows will attest that something like the check engine light makes me NUTS. I just HAVE to fix things as they break. I'm being very good and letting it go. We left Sunday and the weather was good, but Monday and today, the winds have been horrendous. Through Arizona we had 25-35 mph constant winds hitting us on the passenger side. Today we easily had 35-40 mph constant winds for two hours. Suddenly, I hear I noise on the roof that sounded like my satellite was getting ripped off. We pulled over, I climbed the ladder in that wind and found nothing wrong. This wind was hitting the driver's side square on. I think it may have lifted the crank up antenna and some wind pierced the seals of the full wall slide. It was right about then I thought....maybe I shouldn't have bought a new motor home (should have kept the Monaco).

Well....once we arrived in the campground, opened everything up and realized how nice this is inside, I was okay. A cocktail back at the campground after sightseeing made things better.

I still think I will change shocks. Byron's info probably help me decide that I will try Koni FSD's on the front when I get home. They were expensive on my Monaco because you had to buy four. I think I'll pop for them as an experiment and share my findings.

Lastly, we had a Sleep Number type bed years ago and didn't like it. This coach came with a king size Sleep Number and I'm not really happy with it. As a matter of fact, we have a king at home, but had a really nice pillow top queen in our Monaco. he king in the Dutch Star is so tight against the walls that it's hard to get in and out of and really hard to make. We'll probably sell the Sleep Number when we get home. I'll cut the frame down and put a quality pillow top queen back in the coach.
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