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Old 08-21-2010, 11:26 AM   #1
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Question ACTIA Gauge possible failure

I orginally posted this as engine would not start, per the ACTIA company the problem when you receive an Engine Communication Error on the guage it is a fuse or wiring problem that keeps the engine from starting. Per the WRV Guage ACTIA Manual, Engine Comm Err is displayed when the EECI from source address 0 message is not received. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THE EECI IS? Address message 0 mean?
(also shows low air suspension) This always comes on when it is only started 3-4 weeks in between, never has been a problem, restores air once started.

Facts: 2005 Alpine Unlimited 36FDTS 400 Cummins ISL Engine
ACTIA Guage software version 104495V01-02

New Batteries, full charge, echo battery charger, last started about 4 weeks previously always started within 5 seconds of turning over the key always has ran perfectly. Engine purred like a kitten.

We have owned coach for 2 1/2 years but never used on a trip, only used when taking it for service, new batteries, etc, fuel etc. Bought used, now has approximately 15,000 miles, been well maintained for engine, etc. We are elderly and are not familiar enough with the coach to take it very far. What we have done so far:
Turned off and restarted RS2000 system
Turned off and On chassis switch at front
Turned off and on Coach disconenct at back
Checked batteries and all connections
Replaced Ignition Relay module
Did get engine to start briefly by using starter fluid in air filter slot, immediately went back off. Started one other time briefly. ERROR notice did not go away.
Can turn starter over and over, cranking, but engine does not catch.
Called ACTIA and they told how to check guage except ours will not let you clear the engine comm err or will not give any code errors or any information for the instrument check function. They insist it is fuse or wiring issue.
Vancso unit reads following without key in ignition:
Front PDM
Bus 1 power light on, on light not no output lights on
Bus 2 power light on, on light on, outputs 7-12 on
7=Aux FBa
8=Aux FBb
9=Step motor 1
10=step motor 2
11=pedal adj/elec gattery
12a,b,c= wipers
13=HVACb
14=ground

Multiplex module unit front
Input 5 on, (ground) outputs 7, 16, 17 on
7=panel/overhead LMP
16=seat power 1
17=seat power 2
Back Multiplex module unit
Power net light on
Inputs 4, (ground) 17(ABS lamp)on, output 19 on. 12 volts (battery interconnect)

tried to push in yellow park brake would not go in all the way (per manual if no air cannot release) but did result in brake failure alarm when key is turned on now.

Opened generator slide and checked all connections.
checked all connections at back of coach and in engine compartment
checked with volt meter all fuses in battery compartment

Anyone who has an idea where to check next or what to do will be greatly appreciated. I do not want to move this to the Cummins engine forum as ACTIA says it is fuses or wiring.

Maybe it is fuel starved because of some reason, but the engine comm err has to be found first.

Thank you.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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UPDATE:
tried again to run ACTIA through test process - no results. ACTIA gauge shows -V and it should show at least 12V
Turned off AC and all electrical, unplugged from shore power, inverter light on
Disconnected coach inside door front-inverter light on
disconnected coach at battery in battery compartment - inverter light on
disabled inverter - inverter light off
leaving coach for a period of hours to see if that helps any. It appears the 12 volts from the battery is not showing up on the ACTIA gauge, is this a gauge problem???????????????? Any suggestions for further checking will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:48 PM   #3
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Lera,

I have no idea what the problem might be. But, you might want to consider having a diesel mechanic come to you to check out the problem.

Our 2004 Alpine, and I'm sure yours too, has two Cummins Data Ports. One in the Battery Compartment and one on the interior firewall in front of the passenger (remove the cover panel which is velcro'ed on). These Ports are about 1" in diameter and have a cap screwed on them to keep out dust.

If you ask a Freightliner or Kenworth (or motorhome) dealership to send a mechanic WITH the Cummins diagnostic program on a laptop computer, he can connect his cable to your Port and read the Diagnostic Codes that the engine is giving.

The mechanic, with his laptop connected, should be able to download a ton of information from your engines computer. (When we bought our Alpine from another state, I paid for a Freightliner mechanic to go to the coach and download the information. It was a 26 page report which the Service Writer very thoroughly went thru with me so that I understood everything and what it really meant.)

I guess this would only work if it's a Cummins problem and not an Actia problem. But, it may help even if it only eliminates one thing.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:04 PM   #4
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Thank you for the suggestion. I will call around and see if I can find a shop that can send a mechanic with a computer. I agree, great information to have any way. We are continuing to try to find solutions. Spoke with ACTIA today, they gave us some additional ideas to test.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:34 AM   #5
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Lera- I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I'm pretty certain its not Actia. The Actia gauge cluster doesn't interrupt anything, just report.

If you can turn the engine over but get no ignition there is a problem w/fuel delivery which is almost certainly electric/electronic. That's why when you added fuel (starter fluid) it ran, but when you stopped adding fuel it stopped. Cummins software will tell if the ECM (engine computer) is getting 12V properly and a number of other important baseline conditions. I'm betting its in the wiring or else a rear Vansco output function. The key in describing the issue to a shop is- engine turns over, zero ignition.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:59 PM   #6
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Lera, under no circumstances should you use starting fluid on any diesel engine, it could blow the pistons out of it, or it can bend a push rod, and any number of other things. Cummins will void the warranty on any engine which they determine has been started with that stuff and they will know. When I worked in the field, we had one crane operator who used it on one old crane we had, and it sat in the shop for over a year getting fixed after that, so think on it. Additionally, never crank the engine for longer than 30 seconds, because the huge amp draw through the electrical cables makes them real hot, and they could start a fire. Wait 2 minutes between each 30 second start attempt.

Engineer Mike is most likely correct, the error needs to be cleared first, but you also might have; - Now you most likely have contaminated fuel, algae growth, water, and who know what else. Here is what you could try:

Call diesel parts houses, Cummins, most any of them, and get some diesel fuel algaecide treatment. Then based on how much fuel you have in the tank, put some in to the fuel tank, and let it do its magic. You will have to change all the fuel filters on the engine, genset and if equipped hydro hot.

Here is a link to one brand: http://www.fueladditiveonline.com/Fuel%20Additive/RacorAdditives.php#Biocide


Worry about the main engine first. After you have treated the fuel change the fuel water separator filter, and let some of the fuel run into a jug, or big bucket, at least two gallons, to ensure you get treated fuel from the tank through the fuel line. Replace that filter, and the one on the side of the engine. The engine side one, is tricky, so you might have to have Cummings do that one, or you can move the mattress, take the bed engine cover off (several long screws to remove) and change that one yourself. If you are tiny, you might be able to squeeze up their alongside the engine and change it yourself.

My guess based on what and how you use the coach, it will start, might have some air in the lines, and that should work itself out. Don’t move the coach for at least 30 minutes, letting it run at fast idle to make sure you get that algaecide through the fuel system, and the air out.

Next – genset, change the fuel filter, again let fuel run into a bucket, then put the new fuel filter on, try to start the genset, if it runs, let it run for 2 hours with both a/c running so it has a load on it.

If you have a hydro hot system, call a certified HH repair person and let him do a service on the system. That might cost you 150 or so depending on his rate and how much the parts cost.

Now I could be way off base, but since the coach never goes anyplace, contaminated fuel would be my guess based on your discussion. Then after you get if running, treat the fuel with a good diesel fuel treatment every 30 days, and keep the tank full. If you don’t use it much, maybe it’s time to sell and get something you will use, or quit RV’ing all together.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:20 PM   #7
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Old Rv'er, Thank you for your suggestions. We have changed the fuel filters, checked the fuel, it is good, no water or algae, our bed lifts up so we did that and have looked at the engine from top side. When turning on the ignition and turning over the starter for 30 seconds, we do not hear any type of pump running.

Do you know where the engine fuel lift pump is located on the 2005 coach? (Once we get the coach running and back in top shape, your suggestion of selling will also be taken!)

We are really at a loss as to the problem and where to look next?
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:35 AM   #8
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Because these things are so long, it's really hard to hear what is going on in the engine area. What I would do is one party stays up front to turn the key, one party is outside with the rear and side engine access doors open, then communicating via two way radio or cell phone, have them count to three, and then turn on the key, but don't try to start the coach. The person in back then listens to what noises are made, and you should hear the pump run. I am not sure, but I think it's electric and on or near the engine area. I actually have never seen it to my knowledge. I think it times out after a while and for sure once fuel pressure has been met. As you stated you raised the bed, but try listening from the outside and see what you hear.

I am also going to assume the battery voltage (starting batters at two) is up to snuff 12.8V or so. The ECM needs that voltage to run properly. I don't know its low limits but assume it won't operate at less than around 11V, so the engine won't do anything if the voltage is low. Engineer Mike will know what those limits are; the manual does not state them as I checked. He will also know where the lift pump is located. It helps for the fuel tank to be full because it takes less effort to draw fuel from a full tank as an empty one.

OK, you can try this, it’s a long shot, but it has worked for me, and I don’t know why, but when things just are acting weird, especially electrical issues, I do two things to clear those faults.
1. I turn off all the master switches to the coach and chassis, wait one full minute. Then I turn on the chassis switch then the house switch. I work from bottom to top, turning on the bottom one first, then the top one. Every coach is different, you may only have one master switch, but there must be away to disable all power draw from the chassis and house sections, so turn both off, and wait that minute.

2. If you have an inverter, and again I am assuming you do. Find it and push the reset button, let it do a hard reset, it takes around a minute to run through its hard boot process.

Usually #1 fixes most issues, but doing #2 always fixes things for me. You have an electrical fault someplace. If you were closer, I would run over and try to help you figure it out, doing it this way (written out) is harder, but it will garner lots of help from others who have way more experience than I. I have only owned the coach two years and still working on the bugs. And if you are experienced on this forum Personal Message me, with your e-mail address and we can skip using this forum to try stuff. But you have one I have never heard before. Did you search the forum to see if this message has happened prior to someone else?

When we were heading into Branson, MO last spring, we got a charging not charging warning, it would for a while and it would not for a while. We limped in, turns out it was several things happening all at once.
1. The batteries needed to be cleaned up, try to do it at least every 3 months, more often if I have the time.
2. The Xantrex battery temp sensor failed, and was not allowing the inverter to operate the charging part when plugged in to Shore Power, no charging going on. I unplugged the sensor from the inverter and back to normal in a heartbeat.
3. I had some loose connections down under the air dryer, where several solenoids hang out. I cleaned those connections and tightened them and coated them with NO-OX-ID-A Special dielectric grease.

That fixed that problem and we have not had a repeat since. However, last Friday, I picked up the coach to work on it at home, and the genset refused to pick up coach load. Did my battery maintenance since it was due, and tested my water pump (recently replaced it) and then took it back to storage. Tried genset and it still would not pickup coach load, and did not know why, so I did #2 above, and everything was restored to normal. My suspicion is, these things don’t like sitting too much, and need to be used. Sorry to be so long winded, writing is not my strong suit.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:46 AM   #9
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Hello - I searched the cummins forum, this is what I found. It may or may not be the issue, it's someplace to start. Check out this link.

Engine Comm Failure?

But that leads me to guess you have a bad connection on the engine someplace, and it could be just a lose ground. If you can crawl around and check wire tightness, you might find it that way.
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:57 AM   #10
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Does anyone know if this ever got sorted out, this problem was real interesting and I for one would like to know what the end result was.
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:43 PM   #11
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Monte and Janet,

We have not figured this out yet. My husband is getting his hand operated on and cannot have any wounds on it so we are on hold now. We have completed all of the suggestions which did not produce any results and he plans to look at the fuel lift pump again as soon as he can. The first look did not produce any loose wires or anything obvious. When we do find out the problem I will post the find and solution. Needless to say we are quite unhappy and disappointed. We have never had any problem starting the MH. We have good fuel, good batteries, and nothing on the Vansco that indicates a problem. We have run over the list of suggestions at least twice to be sure we did not miss anything. Thank you for your inquiry. Any new suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:11 PM   #12
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Again, sounds like a bad ground someplace. WRV's wiring prowess was horrible, I find lose or broken ones all the time. Have some limber person (husband once he is well) to go over the big cables from/to the batteries to the starter, etc to see if he finds any lose ones.

Otherwise, see if Cummins will make a house call. If you end up having to have it hauled in, ----- PLEASE READ THE THREAD ON "PARTS" - takes 10 minutes to remove and disconnect the generator bay drive motor, and 6 months to find the replacement parts and again lots of MONEY. So please be proactive on this area of the coach if you have it towed in.

If you Personal message me using this forum, and give me your e-mail address, we can communicate using that method since this one is a little public.
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:47 PM   #13
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Old Rv'er I sent it to you I hope via private message.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:16 PM   #14
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You already should have an e-mail from me.
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