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Old 12-07-2015, 08:02 PM   #253
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Glad to hear you also switched over to the new coolant NHRA22 - assume you've had no issues since switching. Mine is due for a change next Summer so I'll be looking to do the same. I generally change the coolant and filter every two years. It's those darn test strips that drive you nuts. When you buy them at Cummins they're generally near the expiration date so by the time you go through a pack of test strips half of them have already expired. Sounds like switching coolant will eliminate this problem. Switching over to the new coolant has not been without controversy in the past. Here is a post from a few years ago:

Jeff,

You said it best. You are having no problems with the NAPA coolant and use of supplemental coolant additives. Switching to ES Compleat OAT introduces new and not exciting changes. One, you cannot test for the presence of the organic acid content. Two, you cannot even get a reasonable idea of the coolant freeze point whether you use a refractometer and certainly not with a hydrometer. See another post I made on this forum earlier this evening on testing freeze point of OAT coolants.

ES Compleat OAT will protect the engine but you must trust that it is working as there is no real test for the organic acid content. Fleetguard does market a test kit for it. I helped develop that kit but it does not function like their standard test kit, CC2602. There is no reliable laboratory test for that coolant as coolant labs do not know the content of that coolant or the other nitrite-free OAT coolants. Only Shell Lubricants that markets their nitrite-free OAT, Shell Ultra, have a test kit of some sort. I have no experience with it. Testing for organic acid content is difficult enough with laboratory equipment.

On the plus side for ES Compleat OAT will never need an SCA and will only need replenishment of the OAT inhibitors at 300,000 miles. You must be certain to refill with only that coolant. Refilling with other similar nitrite-free OAT coolants will not assure you that you are restoring the protection. There are no field studies as of January 2012 (my retirement date) that showed mixing of these coolants provides the same protection.
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Old 12-08-2015, 09:44 AM   #254
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stkt View Post
Here the story didn't end. Those of us with mechanical engines are accustomed to the coolant test strips, green coolant, SCA infused water filters, and the need to change out the coolant periodically. Tim contacted Cummins who recommended the extended life coolant. When my radiator was replaced 18 months ago the standard green coolant along with a SCA infused water was installed, there was no mention of changing out to a different coolant. With Cummins blessing, Tim replaced the standard coolant with the red Fleetguard Compleat OAT coolant along with a water filter that does not contain any SCA (he's in the process of getting all the air out of the system). There has been some prior debate on this subject but Cummins told Tim this is the coolant they are replacing in all their Cummins engines. If anyone has input on this coolant switchout it would be appreciated.
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Originally Posted by stkt View Post
Glad to hear you also switched over to the new coolant NHRA22 - assume you've had no issues since switching. Mine is due for a change next Summer so I'll be looking to do the same. I generally change the coolant and filter every two years. It's those darn test strips that drive you nuts. When you buy them at Cummins they're generally near the expiration date so by the time you go through a pack of test strips half of them have already expired. Sounds like switching coolant will eliminate this problem. Switching over to the new coolant has not been without controversy in the past. Here is a post from a few years ago:

Jeff,

You said it best. You are having no problems with the NAPA coolant and use of supplemental coolant additives. Switching to ES Compleat OAT introduces new and not exciting changes. One, you cannot test for the presence of the organic acid content. Two, you cannot even get a reasonable idea of the coolant freeze point whether you use a refractometer and certainly not with a hydrometer. See another post I made on this forum earlier this evening on testing freeze point of OAT coolants.

ES Compleat OAT will protect the engine but you must trust that it is working as there is no real test for the organic acid content. Fleetguard does market a test kit for it. I helped develop that kit but it does not function like their standard test kit, CC2602. There is no reliable laboratory test for that coolant as coolant labs do not know the content of that coolant or the other nitrite-free OAT coolants. Only Shell Lubricants that markets their nitrite-free OAT, Shell Ultra, have a test kit of some sort. I have no experience with it. Testing for organic acid content is difficult enough with laboratory equipment.

On the plus side for ES Compleat OAT will never need an SCA and will only need replenishment of the OAT inhibitors at 300,000 miles. You must be certain to refill with only that coolant. Refilling with other similar nitrite-free OAT coolants will not assure you that you are restoring the protection. There are no field studies as of January 2012 (my retirement date) that showed mixing of these coolants provides the same protection.
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I don't have a mechanical Cummins engine but I did switch over my ISL400 to the same Fleetguard ES Compleat in 2009. I flushed it multiple times with distilled water to ensure getting all of the standard ethylene glycol coolant out. The Fleetguard ES Compleat recommends adding a supplemental additive @ 150k miles or 3 years whichever comes first. I only have about 50k miles on it and it is coming up on its 6-year lifespan. Even though the test strips show it is still in good condition I will be changing it this spring with the same product.

For the coolant filter, I just installed a filter only without the SCA time release additive that it came from the factory with.

I highly recommend using the new ELC coolants.

Great writeup and great pictures of the work done on your friends coach.

Mike.
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:26 AM   #255
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Thanks Mike. As posted earlier, I'm scheduled for a coolant change next year and will definitely be looking at the newer coolant.
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:49 PM   #256
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Thanks for posting those pics Stan, I sure hope they can be of some help to anyone having leveling pump issues. I would like to thank the people of this forum, like Stan and Glenn and so many others who have been a wealth of information to me. You have inspired me to take on some projects of my own, Thank You! I would like to add a note about the leveling system, I learned a few a things on that project. I am not a mechanic but only an ambitious DIYer. The leveling system is run by a gear driven pump (two gears about the size of two quarters) with the pump submerged in the tank. As Stan said, I believe the strainer in the tank may have caused one of the gears to fracture, here's why. The system does not have a traditional fuel or oil type filter but only a strainer, a small bulb type as shown in the picture above. It has a large screen covered by a very fine mesh screen. As told to me, the system works like this, the tank is designed to collect the sediment or "sludge" at the bottom, the suction tube (the one with the strainer) draws the fluid from the tank when you put the jacks down filling the hydraulic cylinders and nearly emptying the tank, the other tube (there are two) puts the fluid back in the tank when the jacks are retracted. This is why you check and add to the tank if needed only when the jacks are UP, other wise you will overfill the system and the excess fluid will be expelled when you retract the jacks. The strainer sits just off the floor of the tank. I put the new strainer about a quarter of an inch off the bottom. When I drained the tank and took the entire unit out ( there are 4 large bolts holding it on) I removed the tank from the pump (another 4 small bolts) and found a thick layer of sludge about a 1/4 of an inch thick, I'm questing it was about 17 years worth. Well as someone much more knowledgeable than me said, "it would only take a very small piece of grit getting through the screen and jamming between a gear and the pump housing to cause a gear to break, with such very close tolerances". So, you can see how, by the worn and missing mesh on the strainer that something might be able to pass through. Now, if I were going to inspect that strainer, I think I would do it like this. With the jacks UP drain the 2 1/2 gallons or so, of fluid from the tank, take out the 4 small bolts that hold the tank to the pump. Take out 2 of the large bolts under the tank that go through the dividing panel into the battery compartment, the other 2 large bolts go through the dividing panel directly into the pump holding it there in place, no need to remove those or any of the wiring or hydraulic hoses, you are only removing the tank. If you want to leave the fluid In the system, put the jacks down before you start and replace only the fluid that is left In the tank when you take it off. Clean the tank throughly (I used mineral spirits followed by soap and water) and clean or replace the strainer. Put the tank back on the coach. If the jacks are UP and you had drained the tank, refill with approximately 2 1/2 gallons of ATF or if the jacks are DOWN retract the jacks and THEN top off. Side note; there is a large O ring on the pump where the neck of the tank pressure fits on to it, be sure to clean and lube the O ring with fluid before putting the tank back on.

God's Blessings to you all,
Tim



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Old 12-19-2015, 05:47 AM   #257
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Great detail there Tim. As we discussed earlier, I don't recall seeing where someone had completed the level of repair you tackled on the pump, and I know I learned a great deal about the system from your efforts to take on this project.

Since we're close, let's plan on getting together to review projects and plans for our coaches.

Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:24 PM   #258
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That sounds good Stan, I'd like that very much. By the way, the coach is back together, air burped from the system and running great. I had a bit of a time getting the air out. I finally changed the thermostat but that didn't seem to help, I think the old one was fine. It seems that I read somewhere to massage the hose coming off the thermostat housing, so I did that. I heard air bubbling back in the reservoir so I kept massaging till it stopped, took it for a test drive and that did it.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas as well,

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Old 04-23-2016, 07:22 AM   #259
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Service update

The coach is back from its Winter vacation and performed flawlessly, with one exception - a cord broke on one of the day/night window shades - a replacement is on order. There has been a lot of discussion regarding switching coolants on this and other threads so I thought I'd share my experience with a recent coolant service as well as an Allison transmission service. On our way back home I was referred to Cummins Crosspoint in Mishawaka, Indiana and I'm so glad for the referral. The service Supervisor and Shop Foreman is Trey Gardner, a drag racer (yes Glenn no typo there). I cant say enough good things about this young man. His team is young, eager, and they want to work on motorhomes! Trey sat down with me and we discussed several aspects of the 8.3 mechanical, he reviewed my records, and then showed me a TSB from Cummins related to coolant filters. TSB150166 is a coolant filter upgrade that changes the filter material from the standard cellulose media to the new StrataPore, which offers higher capacity, better filtration, and extended maintenance. The original filter is still available. The upgraded filter fleetguard number for engines using DCA (i.e. the 8.3 mechanical), is WF2121. The non-DCA number is WF2123. Cummins installed the 2121 filter and changed the coolant, refilling with ES Complete (blue). I can't say enough about the eagerness of the staff, the cleanliness of the shop, or the fairness of pricing. Finally, a Cummins facility that doesn't run when they see a motorhome pull into the garage. Plenty of parking space. If you are in the area and need service, Trey is your man. trey.gardner@cummins.com.

Another good experience was found at Clarke Power Service regarding the Allison Transmission. Last Fall at the Cummins rally I met a guy from Allison and we discussed transmissions. I was impressed with his expertise and desire to interact with the customer. I had inquired about making some programming changes and he said to contact him when I was ready. Well, 6 months passed, and expecting nothing, I called. Imagine the shock when he remembered our conversation! All of that led me to Clarke in Indianapolis, where the experience couldn't have been better. Brad Trees, my service tech, brought me in the shop and explained everything they were doing, gave me some great tips, and guided me through the process of a coolant/filter change. Easy access, plenty of parking, and a lounge for the wife. If you need transmission service, (and are an Allison Distributor) Brad is the Allison expert. After filters and a refill with Transynd, we were on our way.

I wanted to post these two experiences because so many times we are met with indifference, poor workmanship, outrageous charges, and even incompetence. We all know some of these facilities don't want to work on motorhomes, even though they advertise otherwise. The two places mentioned above were good experiences, and I can highly recommend either for service.
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:23 AM   #260
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American Coach Rally update

The ACA rally at Myrtle Beach has ended and the 170 or so coaches are headed for parts unknown. American Coach revealed the new lineup for 2017. The Tradition and Allegiance, as well as the Heritage, have been dropped from the lineup. Back however is the Dream, and the factory had several on display. The lineup going forward is the Revolution, Dream, and Eagle. You can order a "Heritage" option with the Eagle but I'm not sure what it includes or the cost.

A bad storm came up suddenly Friday afternoon. Many mangled awnings and flooding was significant at Ocean Lakes. Three fifth wheels were turned on their sides at nearby parks. Fortunately my awnings were in and our site was high and dry.

Coach is performing flawlessly. American Coach gave us a good inspection and removed the butyl tape used to seal the trim around the window on the entrance
door. After cleaning the area they resealed with sikaflex 221. They also replaced a circuit board in the smaller furnace.

Also learned of a source for filters that some said had the best prices and service. I haven't tried them but plan on ordering some filters this Fall from them. The address is beveragetruckparts.com.

Vendors included Spartan, Freightliner, and Kevin Mallory's shop Cruising America. Folks were raving about Kevin's woodworking skills (his source) and his knowledge of all things electrical.

That's about it for the 2016 rally.
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:12 AM   #261
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The ACA rally at Myrtle Beach has ended and the 170 or so coaches are headed for parts unknown. American Coach revealed the new lineup for 2017. The Tradition and Allegiance, as well as the Heritage, have been dropped from the lineup. Back however is the Dream, and the factory had several on display. The lineup going forward is the Revolution, Dream, and Eagle. You can order a "Heritage" option with the Eagle but I'm not sure what it includes or the cost.

A bad storm came up suddenly Friday afternoon. Many mangled awnings and flooding was significant at Ocean Lakes. Three fifth wheels were turned on their sides at nearby parks. Fortunately my awnings were in and our site was high and dry.

Coach is performing flawlessly. American Coach gave us a good inspection and removed the butyl tape used to seal the trim around the window on the entrance
door. After cleaning the area they resealed with sikaflex 221. They also replaced a circuit board in the smaller furnace.

Also learned of a source for filters that some said had the best prices and service. I haven't tried them but plan on ordering some filters this Fall from them. The address is beveragetruckparts.com.

Vendors included Spartan, Freightliner, and Kevin Mallory's shop Cruising America. Folks were raving about Kevin's woodworking skills (his source) and his knowledge of all things electrical.

That's about it for the 2016 rally.
I do not know if it was the same storm but while at Gateway we had the same thing, many awnings and pop up tents were lost.

Having lost two sets of pop up tents in the past we had been watching the weather and had all awnings and tents put away.

The trailer was disconnected from the motor home so that the motor home could be leveled (back need to go down which would have lifted the tail gate of the trailer)

The trailer was moved 6 inches by the wind, wind was coming on it's side, not rear or front. It was very strong and full of sand and dirt. Everyone was spitting dirt for half an hour after the storm past
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:36 PM   #262
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Glad you came out ok on that storm Glenn. One thing I did learn from that storm is that automatic awning retraction that relies on an anemometer doesn't always work!
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:38 PM   #263
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Stkt,
First off I just want to say great job on your coach and this thread. I have learned some very creative ways to update my coach from your thread alone so once again, thank you. I do have one question for you... I just picked up a 95 American Dream and its fixer upper but I don't mind. My question, where do you go to replace items such as gauge cluster dimmers, ignition switches, window/mirror switch, and various other small odds and ends that tend to wear out on these coaches? I've searched but the only luck I've found is with salvaged RV parks. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:19 PM   #264
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Stkt,
First off I just want to say great job on your coach and this thread. I have learned some very creative ways to update my coach from your thread alone so once again, thank you. I do have one question for you... I just picked up a 95 American Dream and its fixer upper but I don't mind. My question, where do you go to replace items such as gauge cluster dimmers, ignition switches, window/mirror switch, and various other small odds and ends that tend to wear out on these coaches? I've searched but the only luck I've found is with salvaged RV parks. Thanks in advance.
Most of the parts you mentioned were stock parts for other vehicles and for the most part are still available as new items from parts stores.

The tricky part is getting the part numbers.

Another good source is American coach, they actually have a pretty good part look up service. You might have to wait for them to look the stuff up on paper on these older coaches, and some times they say they will call back and do not. Give them a day or so and if they do not call back give them a call back (helps if you get the name of the person you talked to).

I got both the headlight switch, wiper switch and wiper motor over the counter at my local NAPA store once I supplied the part number.

Hint the part number is sometimes on the item you want to replace, although it is great to have the new part on hand when you remove the old part sometimes that cannot be avoided.

Welcome to the world of American Coaches, they are a high quality build coach. It is all the little stuff that will tend to drive you crazy. See my 78 page thread on projects on the coach.

Glenn
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