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Old 06-02-2015, 09:23 AM   #1
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Fluids and General Maintenance

Here we go again, another long post.

I am currently mulling over the wisdom of DIY fluid changes and other maintenance. I am missing some/a lot of the literature that came with my MH. I did print the owners manual off the ACA site and also the Allison manual with codes and maint. schedules so I'm good to go in with that.

I see discussion on here about brake fluid change, and some other hydraulic fluids, fans etc., but I have no info on changing those fluids and or filters. I don't know where to find and print this info with reservoir locations, fluid types etc. and schedules. I may be missing something, but I can't seem to find those items on here. Probably search error.

I stopped in at Cummins yesterday and bought air, oil and fuel filters for my generator, $62 out the door, seems reasonable. I will pick up coolant and oil today and probably change it all tomorrow.

I also picked up a price list for various services and I've been perusing it and weighing the cost versus convenience factor of DIY. They get $133 an hr plus parts and the prices are subject to change based on access etc.

I can save $200 labor, 1.5 hrs, by servicing the generator myself easy enough and doable in my driveway. Most likely an enjoyable task and will give me a reason to look around the generator compartment.

Now comes decision time. I have a 40' MH in a 37' driveway, the neighbors have been good enough to put up with it for about 4 weeks at this point. I'm mechanical and I used to perform the maintenance on my previous MH, but it fit in the driveway and was fairly roomy underneath. My big problem is a lack of flat space. Another consideration is that I ain't getting any younger!!

I guess what I'm trying to get an idea of is at what point does it make sense to go to Cummins or one of the local independent truck centers for these services rather than do it myself.

Trans fluid, filter and gasket change $266
Oil, filter and chassis lube and fuel filter $266
Check all fluids and lube chassis $133
All prices plus parts and also the access disclaimer.

These are the things I am thinking about DIYing. Seem to make the most sense and biggest bang for the buck.

The brake fluid change coolant change and some of the other items I am thinking best done at a shop.

That all said, are suggestions or preferences for oil and lube. I would use Transynd for the trans. Best prices.

Thoughts?

Thanks again. Terry
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:12 AM   #2
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Terry,

Only you can determine what servicing is within your ability AND interest to do.

If you are even an average shade tree mechanic and do the research on each of these jobs, you will likely do a better job than a tech.

Example, you would clean the bottom of the transmission before dropping the filter bases. You would use an inch-pound torque wrench to tighten the filter base bolts, not an air tool......

Research each item individually and if questions, ask here.

BTW, I do ALL my own service work as do others here.

Brett
2003 Alpine 38'
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Old 06-02-2015, 11:21 AM   #3
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I am pretty mechanically inclined, years of cars and motorcycles, I can usually do some research and decide if I want to do a job myself or have it done. I am very aware of my skill and patience levels. There are some jobs that are just interesting and you learn things about a given system.

The coach is an '05 and has 62k miles on it. I know that I need to change every fluid that should be changed. I have no history on this coach. The oil filter and fuel filter look new, but!!!!

Part of my question is where can I find the information to help me make an informed decision. I know where the master cylinder is, but I'm not sure of the best way to access it or what all needs to be done for a fluid change. Wheel removal? Jacks and jack stands? Probably not gonna happen in my driveway.

Also the fan hydraulics and other items. Reservoir locations? I have the schedule and part numbers that are in the owners manual.

My trans has the transynd sticker, but I don't know when the fluid and filters were changed.

Are there some manuals, pictures, schematics available that I can buy or on line that I can print and study. My searches thus far have been somewhat fruitless. My computer skills are not on the level of my mechanical ability.

Is Delo the oil of choice, it's cheap enough at Costco. Where to get Transynd at the best price. Filters, I know Fleetgaurd for the common fluids, but what about some of the other filters that are lurking around in hidden places. Is Castrol 10-40 the preferred choice for the generator? Synthetic? Regular Prestone anti freeze?

I belong to a couple of other forums for my cars and there are part numbers and interchange numbers as well as substitutions/upgrade parts listed. They also have fluid types and capacities listed. is there anything for the Alpines. I'm not sure I know of all of the owner related on line sites.

Sorry for all the questions and I appreciate the input. Whether I do this myself or have it done, I would like to have an understanding of it. If you know how and why something needs to be done it is easier to make sure that it is being done right.

Terry
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Old 06-02-2015, 05:35 PM   #4
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By using the search feature on this forum you can find: answers, facts and opinions on everything you are asking about. Trust me--some other Alpine owner has "been there and done that." Once schooled on the basic issues and locations of things, your questions will become shorter and fewer--thats how it worked for me 13 years and 150k miles ago--smile......
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:15 PM   #5
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Do it yourself?

Hello Terry, you are going through what everyone that has bought a used Alpine goes through. You have to make the decision on what maintenance to do, as stated above. There is a lot of information on this forum to help you get the correct fluids and how to replace them. As you have found the owners manual lacks detailed information on a lot of the system maintenance. I think they assumed the people that bought these vehicles would not be doing their own maintenance.
Here are a few tips for you that I have learned in the past several months of ownership of my 2008 Alpine 34FDDS. Get the engine serial number and go back to the Cummins shop and give it to them and tell them to find any info on the maintenance for that engine. If the previous owner took it to a Cummins shop the records are available and are in great detail. It helped me get the last oil change,coolant type and date of change,work performed on the engine and cost of repairs.
Look at all of your service points and see if you have any labels stating what type fluid or oil has been used. Through the years Western RV changed fluids and oil in some of the systems so all years don't use the same fluids. Take the time to research and get the right stuff. Mixing fluids or oils can lead to problems. From what I have learned you will be solving problems as you use the coach and you do not need to create any yourself.
Keep this in mind, some shops are great and some not so great. When I do work I take great care to do the job right. When you have skin in the game you do a better job. So my attitude is, if I can do the work I will.

Good Luck
Paul
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:27 PM   #6
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You might want to rethink the generator fuel filter change. It's a messy situation that will have diesel fuel running down your arms and shoulders. Been there, done that. Won't do it again.
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koop View Post
You might want to rethink the generator fuel filter change. It's a messy situation that will have diesel fuel running down your arms and shoulders. Been there, done that. Won't do it again.
I really don't find that a problem.
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koop View Post
You might want to rethink the generator fuel filter change. It's a messy situation that will have diesel fuel running down your arms and shoulders. Been there, done that. Won't do it again.
It will help wash away the used oil in my armpit.
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:13 PM   #9
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I will head back to the search feature and see what I can find. I start tomorrow with the generator service and I'll play it by ear from there.

I will contact Cummins and also check out the Cummins APP on line or on my phone. I don't remember what it's called but it's supposed to be pretty informative.
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:13 PM   #10
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A little of my view. I am 70 and perform most of the items you have mentioned. When I buy a used vehicle I like to change all the fluids for my own peace of mind. My coach has 100,000 miles and had 16,000 when I purchased in 2004. I generally use the filters in the Owners manual. I use the 15-40 Valvoline as recommended on the sticker on the engine and also in the generator. The 2001 did not come with Transynd and I have just done my second change and that should be the last one needed. You also have the three hydraulic filters, water separator, fuel and air filter.

One thing I changed a few years back was the water pump belt on the generator. A friend had his fail and I did not want to replace my generator. It is a bit of a job, but only takes a few beers

Enjoy the Alpine.
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:22 PM   #11
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Replacing the fuel filter on the Onan genset requires some patience--get the in- and output fuel lines properly aligned and the threads started before tightening the nut that holds the filter to the frame/bracket. The couplings are easy to cross-thread and the nuts are easily rounded--yes, all this while fuel is running down your arm. Hold down the start button in the off position to re-prime the genset.

Genset is not of wet-sleeve design so any long-life coolant will do. Cummins is wet-sleeve so rust and cavitation prevention are paramount.

Similar issues for changing the Cummins fuel filter [two filters if you have the Pegasus engine]; fuel will run [gravity]while you have filter out--be sure to replace the small gasket at the top of the primary filter; run lift pump for 3-4 30-second cycles to clear any trapped air before trying to start engine. Some owners pre-charge the fuel filters prior to install--Cummins does not recommend this. Engine starter motor is directly below secondary filter on Pegasus engine--12v cables to starter are hot-wired so be careful.


Changing the Cummins oil filter does require the new filter be pre-charged.

Be careful when buying/changing the air filter on the Cummins--the 350 [ISC] has a smaller opening in the filter than the 400 [ISL]. Using the 350 filter on the 400 can result in dusting the engine.

Depending on model year--WRV used different fluids in the engine hydrualic pump [eg ATF-III, or 15w-40 engine oil]; some owners have changed over to specialized hydraulic fluid to improve power assist brake performance.

JG Lubrications Inc offers a good oil/fluid/coolant testing program to help determine duration/change schedules.

Lots more info on the forum for DIY-ers but this will give you a good overveiw and get you started.....
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