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Old 08-31-2005, 08:10 PM   #1
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On the Actia panel 4 in 1 guage is the Engine Coolant Temperature Guage. Contrary to what my WRV Owner's Manual says, there is no red zone.
There is a red lighted thermometer symbol that tests OK on startup.

Does anyone know at what temperature the red light is set to go on? Cummins can't tell me as it is a manufacturer's (WRV) installation. WRV has not responded to my question as yet.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-31-2005, 08:10 PM   #2
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On the Actia panel 4 in 1 guage is the Engine Coolant Temperature Guage. Contrary to what my WRV Owner's Manual says, there is no red zone.
There is a red lighted thermometer symbol that tests OK on startup.

Does anyone know at what temperature the red light is set to go on? Cummins can't tell me as it is a manufacturer's (WRV) installation. WRV has not responded to my question as yet.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-31-2005, 08:34 PM   #3
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We have discussed the engine temperature and gauges many times during our club tech sessions with Cummins. Unfortunately the dash coolant indicator light (idiot light) seems to vary from coach to coach in my experience.

My coach coolant light comes on at between 201 and 202 degrees. Cummins says the engine is ok up to 212. Unless you have an accurate way to measure coolant temperature it is only a guess as to what yours is doing. I thought I had a cooling system problem until I installed an engine monitoring system. On the hottest days of summer climbing the Rockies my engine has never gone above 205. I ignore the light now!

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Old 08-31-2005, 08:44 PM   #4
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Hello HTG3:

From what I was taught and was advised by Cummins is that an engine is considered to be over heating at 225º. When my VMS 200 indicates 205º I back off and select a lower gear to cool the engine back down. My dash warning light/alarm goes off at 220º.

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Old 08-31-2005, 08:59 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info Danny. 201-202 sounds low. The Cummins rep told me the thermostat is fully open at 190 and the "check engine" light comes on at 211-212 (400 ISL)
I had a "catch 22" situation recently. I was heading home from Yakima, southbound up the Grapevine. It was a hot day, probably above 100. I already had a "check engine" light on from another issue that the WRV service had not been able to duplicate. As we climbed the grade, I ended up in the truck lane only able to do 30-40mph. The temp guage climbed to 225 but I never got a red light or a "stop engine" light which Cummins said should have come on at 221-225. If the temp had gone over 225, I was going to pull over, but by then we were at the top and starting to cool down.
I took the coach into a Cummins authorized shop where they found a bad fuel pump that had been the cause of the original "check engine" light and a partial cause of a lack of power under load. They also found an overheat code which probably came on when I got near 225.
Apparently I need to get back to the shop and have them see why the temperature warnings are not operating properly. In addition, I could not find any reference in the WRV or Cummins owners manual to max temperatures. I used 225 from past experience.
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Old 09-01-2005, 12:28 PM   #6
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IIWM, I'd use 215 for an overheat worry threshold. My understanding is:
Water boils @ 212 and atmospheric pressure, but our coolant is not just water, and is under a few pounds of pressure. So boiling point is raised to maybe 235. However, ramifications of heat start before coolant boils. One of the issues is that water jackets in the engine are not perfectly uniform in thickness, and they do not see the same heat from combustion (which can run to 1400+ degrees if you are standing on it & the heat isn't properly scavenged. This can create hot spots where coolant contacts hotter-than-optimum metal, usually in the head or near the top of the cylinder. @ hot spots, coolant can flash to steam briefly, and that removes the heat-scavenging from the hot spot, further aggravating the situation. Now where the heat gradient went from 235 or so @ the coolant side of jacket to (hopefully closer to) 1100 degrees in the cylinder, it suddenly goes to 4 or 500 degrees @ the flashing area to 1100+ in the cylinder ('+' since the heat isn't being drawn out as efficiently so the metal is getting hotter). That's the heat gradient across the thickness of the hacket, but along its length it is now fluctuating also; and sudden or differential expansion/contraction is what causes cracks in cast iron.
@ 215 for the start-to-worry trigger, I have plenty of time to back off the hammer & let things equalize before risking non-steady-state heat expansion. Another good reason to start the correction process earlier is the tranny oil should be kept under 235 all the time IIRC. Since the tranny cooler is in a stack w/the radiator, one being hotter means the other is fighting in the same hot air path. Lower engine top-temp means easier radiator cooling as well.
FWIW, 205 is the hottest I've seen in the puny 1000 miles I've driven my rig (SilverLeaf reading). And if I was seeing 215, I'd suspect my radiator stack needed cleaning or the coolant needed service.
For analog-only guaged engines: naturally aspirated, steady state (@ idle, from a cold start) diesel ignition is about 172-178 degrees, and coolant should be the same before any acceleration and on-the-road heat is applied. You can calibrate your analog guage by doing a cold start in the a.m., and letting it idle till the needle stops; call that 175 (hit your exhaust manifold near the exhast ports w/an infra-red temp guage to check). This is useful since most analog temp guages are not linear, i.e. the farther the needle moves- the more degrees of heat a given amount of movement represents. W/a mid-scale calibration point you get a more definite read on your analog-reported temps so you know when to correct.
(sorry for the length, my former GM 6.5 diesel geekdom is showing)
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Old 09-01-2005, 05:52 PM   #7
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Thanks EngineerMike. That is the best explanation I've heard on the subject, WRV and Cummins included. Are you running a 400 ISL and would the temps you mention be about the same for a 350. Thanks again.
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Old 09-02-2005, 08:35 AM   #8
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The latest info I have received from WRV via the Cummins shop is that the red engine coolant overheat light gets its input from the Cummins ECM and comes on at 235 degrees. That must correspond to the "Stop Engine" light and seems to me to be too late to be a warning light.
I guess that's why they call them "idiot lights".

In the future, I will rely on the guage and start to worry at 215. Cummins also mentioned that, in hot ambient temps and load situations, to disregard the auto shift and manually change gears to maintain above 2000 rpm so that the fan stays actuated.

Thaks to everyone for the great information.
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Old 09-06-2005, 11:30 AM   #9
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htg3-
Yep, that'd be my recommendation for any of the 8.3 block config's as well as the 8.9's. It's really more coalesced from oil burning temp, coolant flash temps vs. coolant jacket dynamics, coolant circulation incongruities w/in the block & head (some jacket locations flow easier & have less corners to create eddies or slow flow), and the dynamics of heat flow across steel casting from ignition to coolant.

Combined, of course with a sincere desire for my engine & tranny investment to last the house thru a coupla remodels. W/the Alpine side radiator design, most likely fixes will get down to effectively cleaning the radiator stack. If you have to back off the throttle to stay under 215 (and your radiator/ac-condensor/tranny-cooler are know clean), get your cooling system serviced.
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Old 09-07-2005, 06:05 PM   #10
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Mike:
Our 03 40fdts 8.9 ISL ocasionally, like going southbound up the grapevine or climbing the grade towards Las Vegas, will overheat, that is the temp will keep on climbing til the buzzer goes off, and we must pull over leaving the engine running till cool down. It has done this since new. Also our 0040fdss, did the same thing. I dont think the radiators needed cleaning. Our call?
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:09 PM   #11
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Hello Stretch:

My 01 38FDDS was doing the same thing, I was told by the Cummins Rep, that a Diesel will continue to pull until it destroys its self. He suggested that to keep an engine running with in normal limits is to keep the engine RPM around 2000, when on a long climb. He said that when engine RPM gets down to about 1600 to 1700 RPM to manually down shift, to bring the RPM up to 2000 or more. I have pulled some long grades with outside temperatures over 110º with the Suburban in tow and the temp has never gotten over 210º by following the recommendations of Cummins. I may reach the top at a slower speed but I do not have to pull over and stop. I also hose off the radiator every time I wash the coach.

I hope this is some help with your heating problem.

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Old 09-08-2005, 05:54 AM   #12
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From what I have been told running at 2000 rpm turns the fan faster but also reduces the turbo boost. 1600 to 1700 rpm might cause the boost to be near 22-24 inches. Raising the rpm to 2000 plus allows us (the driver) to back off the throttle thus lowering boost and helping to lower the temperature. I've been told by a long time trucker, not to run the turbo at max boost very long. EGT's can go sky high.
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Old 09-08-2005, 11:50 AM   #13
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Stretch-
The radiator stack (I believe it consists of 3 radiator elements in a sandwich) can fool you. The outer may look clean, but if you picked up road gunk that clung to one or more of the sandwich elements, or have cottonwood fluff, spider webs, etc. in between elements, you can lose a fair amount of the radiator capacity without being aware. This was the primary overheating problem w/my last chassis (everbody thought their radiator was clean but the space between sandwich plies was clogged). The side radiator makes life much more manageable, since engine blow-by doesn't accumulate as a matter of design on the radiator (as w/rear radiator types; watch for this & maintain against it if you own an Avalanche).

W/that said, the ISL has an intercooler (don't know about the ISC for sure but think it does too). The IC takes a lot of the boost-temp sting out of high boost (~300 degrees less incoming temp as a guess). But higher boost creates higher Intake Air Temp, IAT, as w/any air compressor, and higher input = higher output, i.e. higher EGT. I haven't negotiated the Grapevine (or Tehachapi grade) yet to see what ramifications the long, high grade, has on temps (I will heading to Laughlin rally). One thing we found w/the 6.5 GM diesel was that the coolant temp guage alone was not adequate to properly monitor heat scavenging, precisely because of what Dave said above, "that a Diesel will continue to pull until it destroys its self." The statement isn't precisely the mechanics of the destruction; rather than diesel suicide, the operator kills the engine generally by ignorance of engine conditions. By adding an EGT guage to the 6.5's we got up-to-the-second reading of the combustion heat, and when EGT went too high for the cooling system to scavenge (Stretch's situation ), we knew to back off. Too high for the 6.5 was above 1250 for more than half a minute or so. Dave & Tom's input on 2000 rpm & higher fan output sounds correct; engine fan (clutch engaged) on the 6.5 was central to proper heat scavenging, so the hydraulicaly driven fan RPMs on our rigs serve the same importance.

My plan is to watch the coolant & tranny temps (I do by force of habit) and if I get any heat scavenging problems like Stretch reports, to augment my guage set w/EGT. Then I'd know to make some adjustment in engine loading like Dave/Tom suggest when EGTs go high & would stay high for a while, but before starting to cook my goose, er, engine. I asked Cummins if the engine computer has an EGT reading available, and was told no, so it would be an analog, stand-alone guage. Heat damage is additive, so my "worry" limit as stated above has, IMO, a real value. Each time the engine has to warn me it got too hot, I added to its stress and clipped some lifespan from it (steel castings get strain hardened from repeated over-stress & eventually crack, over-heat translates to over-expansion & causes unusual wear results during that expansion period...). So my theory is to watch & control the time-in-service where the EGT is above optimum for scavenging.
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Old 09-08-2005, 04:21 PM   #14
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Stretch,
You got a buzzer? I want a buzzer! At what temp does the buzzer come on?
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