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Old 11-02-2011, 11:47 PM   #1
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ran out of fuel

hi all, picked up coach after having new tires installed (Samson-couldn't make myself come up with the additional $1,500 for Michelins), and going up a hill with a grade of 12-15% grade, engine stalled. off course, it was a busy 2 lane road with no shoulder and heavy traffic. the upsetting point is that my fuel guage registered comfortably higher than 1/8th. fortunately i had part of my excavation crew working nearby and they were able to fuel me up enough to get running again. also fortuantely i was abel to restart the engine without priming, but one thing i'm going to study up on is what to do if i have to prime it in the future, althou, i can't forsee letting my fuel get that low in similar circumstances in the future.
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:37 AM   #2
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To prime you turn on the key, let it stay on for 30 seconds or so. Turn off the key, wait a few seconds, and then turn it on, repeat until the engine will start, but do it 4-5 times before you try.

If I remember, cat's have a bleed knob/button, and you losen it, let fuel come out, then close it and your ready to go.

ISL engines, have an electric pump which runs for about 30 seconds when the key is first turned on. You can go back and listen for it if you want. You will need to prime it if you ever change the fuel/water seperator unit, as it holds about a quart of fuel or more.

FWIW - I never let my fuel tank go below 1/2 empty. Reason:

1. First condensation forms and water in diesel is not good for the injectors and other parts of the combustion process, water does not form in a full tank.

2. If an emergency comes up, stopping for fuel before I can get moving is not the best way to handle having to be on the road quick.

3. Since MH's sit more than they move generally, or sit a long time between moves, I also fill up the tank prior to a long stop while camping. Having a fuel tank will allow lots of fuel for the genset if you need it because of a power failure, and in this day of prices being high, I keep it full so I don't get gouged when treveling. I figure my range is 600-800 miles for a half of tank depending on terrain. If I hold 60 MPH, it seems to get better fuel milage/range between fill ups.

Also for some reason if I Rest overnight and i'm close to my destination, I will fill up prior to going the rest of the way, especially if I'm going through a large city, and might get stuck in a huge traffic jam. I don't want to hear about the RV rig stuck on the interstate out of diesel, "cant the idot read a fuel guage".

On our first trip with ours, we did not fill up prior to a visit to a relative and we did not have enough fuel to make the hydro hot work, plus the price went up 30 cents in a week, and when we did fuel, we had to pay the higher price. So now it's full before we stop.

It's also cheaper to only fill half a tank instead of the whole 147 gallons if it's empty.

These are my reasons, and it was a construction crew rule, the rigs get filled up when down to half, I've done it this way since.
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:30 PM   #3
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It would help if you could post which engine you have.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:51 PM   #4
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Kraig - I suppose this would be beneficial, but most of the alpine coaches are all laid almost identical as far as where filters and the associated stuff is located. And I also believe, but am not an expert, you have no manual bleed for at least the ISL 350 - 425 HP models. Prior engines might have one, but a call to cummins would be warranted for that information.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:57 PM   #5
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This will probably stir things up, but based on my experience as a USCG marine inspector, and giving credit to marine surveyor David Pascoe, I submit the following for consideration:

We frequently hear that condensation causes water in fuel tanks, but I have long doubted this widely-held assumption, so I’ve attempted to refute it. I assert that:
1. The amount of water vapor in air is actually very small, even at 100% humidity
2. There isn't enough air volume in a fuel tank to hold much water vapor
3. On average, tanks are half full of fuel, further reducing air volume
4. Temperature conditions are rarely conducive to causing condensation inside a fuel tank

First of all, the maximum amount of liquid water in air at various temperatures is:
@50°F : 0.60 oz/cubic meter (17 grams/cubic meter)
@13°F: 0.32 oz/cubic meter (9 grams/cubic meter)

(There are 28.3 grams per ounce)
A cubic meter equals 264 gallons of liquid volume, so a 100 gallon tank = 0.38 cubic meter.


Therefore:
At 50°F, an empty 100 gallon tank could contain 0.23 oz. of water, and at 17°F, 0.12 oz. This is the amount of water the air in an empty tank could contain, so the air in a tank that is at least half-full of fuel could contain about a tenth-of-an-ounce or less—and that much water vapor would enter the fuel only in the unlikely event that all of the water in the air condensed.


Next point: in order to have water condense onto a surface, the surface must be much colder than the ambient air. The problem for the condensation-in-the-tank theory is how do we end up with a fuel tank that is much colder than the air? One way would be to have a very cold day that suddenly warms up dramatically, but how often does this happen?

The steel or aluminum walls of a fuel tank have rapid heat transfer properties, and will adjust to atmospheric temperature changes fairly quickly. On the other hand, diesel fuel absorbs and releases heat slowly, so one might expect to see sweating on the outside of a tank as the day warms up from cold mornings, but do we? I've rarely seen fuel tanks sweating, even in a marine environment.

I think that the diurnal changes that occur happen slowly enough that the difference in temperatures inside the tank and outside are seldom conducive to condensation. Furthermore, with such a small amount of water vapor available inside a tank, how much would be expected to condense on the inner walls of such a relatively small enclosed space and end up in the fuel? Would not most of such condensation be re-absorbed into the tank’s micro-climate atmosphere? And how much air is exchanged via the tank’s vent?

At this point, this is getting way too esoteric for me, but my conclusion is that there is little need for worry when storing a motorhome with partially-full fuel tanks.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:14 PM   #6
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Good comments John, My thoughts are, large amounts of water in a fuel tank usually arrived with the fuel at some point.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:59 PM   #7
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"comfortably" above 1/8 tank? not sure I would ever be comfortable at that level. My DW goes into a near panic if the guage is below 1/2. Plus from experience, at 1/2 on the guage it takes about 70 gals to fill my 115 gal tank so I know it is always less than what is showing.
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:06 PM   #8
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Smile ran out of fuel

I appreciate all of the comments.

firstly my apologies for not disclosing details of my coach: 04 36fds 400 cummins.

i don't usually fill up until lower than 1/4 because of the time involved, however, i do fill up before entering large cities just in case...

in this case, be came home from down South in May and haven't used the MH since then. guess i was just anxious to get home. point is i've never had a problem before, and just wanted to alert others that going up a 12-15% hill with less than a 1/4 tank could be problimatical.

thanks to all, best regards

Dick Skeers
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:26 PM   #9
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John great information, but then our Motorhomes sit a lot more than they run, in fact, ours sat this year from April to August since we were doing a kitchen remodel. Condensation in the Pacific NW can form in those fuel tanks since the weather is all over the place. It's cheap insurance to keep it full, and put in fuel treatment as added insurance, since a new fuel pump and all new injectors is in the thousands of dollars if water gets into the system.

For my current trip I stopped for fuel three times. The tank was filled when we left the Anacortes rally at I-5 Exit 99, so we drove about 100 miles, so it was down a few gallons, and several times I took it home to do work on it. So for this trip when I stopped the first time, I was below the 1/2 tank mark, but wanted to fill up in Oregon, and put in 80.857 gallons, I traveled 544.6 miles. The second time it was 76.23 gallons, and traveled 652.6 miles. The third time I wanted if full for the time I’m in Vegas so I filled at Whisky Pete’s Chevron and put in 36.94 gallons and had traveled 304.1 miles. For the 50 or so miles I traveled before I got here, I used maybe 5 gallons. I will fill up again, in Pahrump before I head back to Vegas later in the month.

All of us treat our stuff differently, and I guess I am compulsive about the water in the fuel thing and exercising the different components in mine. I have issues with it, and things that need to be tweaked or fixed, but for the most part, it runs great. It has only taken 3 years to get it that way.

Thank you Dick for the information, but I won't let it get that low, everybody else is different.
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:30 PM   #10
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John- Good information. I know you also live in Oregon and we all get the B-5 biodiesel. Several other states including Washington use it too. I used to always fill my tank before I stored it. Since Oregon started using biodiesel. I fill it when I take it out. Since biodiesel is made with vegtable oil, I don't know how well it stores in fuel tank for a month or two. I do use a fuel additive.
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:43 PM   #11
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Just for information, ISL 425 you do bleed a a liitle different. I had to learn it the hard way from a Cummins tech. I did a separate post on it. Mike Young did tell me WRV did have lot of trouble starting the 425, so they did install a bleeder on the pump most people don't even know about.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:05 AM   #12
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Excellent post John!!! That had to take some time to put together and I, for one, learned a lot. One less thing to worry about and we all know there are plenty of other things with these coaches to keep track of. Someone else once said, I think it might have been Mike Canter, that we coach owners just maybe have a tendency to go a bit overboard with our concerns at times. Thanks again.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dick skeers View Post
...point is ...going up a 12-15% hill with less than a 1/4 tank could be problimatical. Dick Skeers
Ayup! BTDT.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Rv'er View Post
ISL engines, have an electric pump which runs for about 30 seconds when the key is first turned on. You can go back and listen for it if you want.
Our 2002 ISC is the same.
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