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Old 12-18-2014, 03:35 PM   #1
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Hurricane Behavior - Fuel Supply

I put this on Roger Berke's RV Hydronic Heater Repair board and the Country Coach Yahoo group too. It's a slow week....

Prior to getting the coach fully winterized we had a cold snap. I enabled the Hurricane (model C045DRF s/n 0401-2621) and set the thermostat to "furnace" and 40 degrees for both Hurricane zones in the coach. I put remote thermometers in the coach and in the wet bay to monitor temperatures.

Everything worked as advertised. The coach living area stayed close to 41-42 degrees. The wet bay fluctuated more at 65 degrees, plus or minus 5 degrees even though the wet bay thermostat was set to about 50. That adjustment is very coarse and I did not want to risk setting it at a point that would allow the temperature in the wet bay to go below freezing.

Having just returned from a trip, I had not yet topped off the diesel tank and the dashboard gauge said it was a little over half full. I checked the fuel gauge periodically over the course of 2 days and according to the gauge, the level of diesel went down to slightly less than half full. Based on that observed rate of consumption and all else being equal, I figured the Hurricane would keep the coach at the selected temperatures for many days.

After another day or so I saw the coach and wet bay temperatures start to fall. Fortunately the weather was warming so they did not get near freezing.

The Hurricane had stopped working. The fuel gauge still showed what should have been ample fuel at about 7/16 full. The Hurricane fuel filter looked to be about 2/3 full of diesel. When the thermostat called for heat the blower would spool up but I did not feel any pulsing of the bleed valve which is supposed to indicate an operating fuel pump. The "Power On" and "Water Pump On" LED's were lit but the remote LED in the bedroom panel was not lit.

At the time I attributed all of the above to the possibility that the fuel gauge was stuck, what with the coach sitting still and the Hurricane sipping small amounts of fuel. The probability that the level of diesel had gone below the 1/4 tank level that the Hurricane fuel pickup tube was theoretically set at seemed to be the best guess.

I soon finished the winterizing and took the coach out for an exercise spin and a fuel top-off before putting it in storage. Moving the coach did not cause the fuel gauge to move and filling up confirmed that the gauge was close to the mark since it only took slightly more than half of the stated capacity to top it off.

As soon as I got the coach parked I tried the Hurricane and it instantly lit off and started heating/circulating coolant. I could feel the fuel pump pulsing on the bleed valve.

I know the first thing that will be suggested is a routine scheduled service and it is in the queue, but is there anything else I should be looking for?

Is it possible that the fuel pickup tube is only 9/16 into the tank? Or is it possible that the fuel pump/fuel filter are weakening the lifting abilities to the extent that it needs nearly 1/2 tank of diesel to be able to deliver fuel to the unit?

Thanks for any ideas.

Dave M.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:28 PM   #2
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I don't think so Dave. I have run mine all the way down to 1/4 tank and the heater was still running
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:57 AM   #3
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All fuel tanks have a certain amount of fuel that is non recoverable. Looking at an analog gauge and expecting it to be within a quarter at the bottom end of the gauge is somewhat optimistic. I had the same problem and found that I was sitting just below a half filled the tank and everything worked fine. Sounds like it's working as designed. However if you have questions call these guys http://itrheat.com/marine_support.html and see if they can help you out. I have found them extremely helpful and the even have videos of how to maintain the system. You might also want to check and see if there was a recall on your unit. I had to have a new board put in but they sent it for free and told me how to replace it. Good Luck
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:09 AM   #4
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Good to hear the system kept the temps at safe levels, while the HH was firing. Your doing the math to validate it was close to half full based upon the amount of fuel going in at refill, should take away the potential of a false reading at 7/16 of a tank reflected on the gauge.

How level were you? Could the pick up for the HH been on the high side of a slant?

And since it started working at after refill, I doubt this is it, but I always share this info as it has been a surprise to many over the years.

The fuel lines to the generator and HH, were designed for pre ULSD change over. ULSD will breakdown the material of these older fuel lines. We went ahead and changed these fuel lines over to a Gates Barricade line, but NAPA and others have ULSD compatible fuel lines available.

Suppose it could have been involved in your problem, and that the driving around shook loose the inside of the fuel line and allowed it to flow again. (Doubt this, but a possibility.)

Will follow this thread and see what others come up with!

Best to you, and good luck as you sort this out,
Smitty
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:24 PM   #5
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following this thread too.
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:33 AM   #6
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Thanks, guys, for the responses.

I've spoken with the folks at ITR and watched most of the videos. Both were and are helpful.

Coach was exactly level when the Hurricane stopped.

The hose composition is an interesting aspect, Smitty. Did you replace all of the hose between the fuel tank and the Hurricane/generator?

When I spoke with ITR, they said that the air cleaner on top of the unit was a Country Coach feature and that it was overkill. A screen to keep the larger critters out was sufficient and I may do that. That filter is very dirty due to the constantly running radiator fan which kicked up billows of dust depending on road surface.

When the Hurricane stopped working I checked for "pulsing" at the fuel air bleed valve and felt none. When it started to work again the "pulsing" was present. I'm wondering if that's an indication of a loose connection at the fuel pump. Something to check when I service it.

Now that the coach is in storage, I'll have to wait to do more with the Hurricane until mid-to-late January.

Thanks again for the suggestions.
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:21 PM   #7
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there is a possibility of dometic thermostat glitch. my a/c has been sporadic, so was the power to the hurricane furnace. i reset the thermostat now all seem working fine.
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:54 PM   #8
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"The hose composition is an interesting aspect, Smitty. Did you replace all of the hose between the fuel tank and the Hurricane/generator?"

I had Holland Motor Homes in San Diego (now San Marcos) area replace all of the rubber diesel fuel lines (HH and Generator) as part of my purchase agreement. I paid for the materials, and negotiated a 100 Hours of discounted Shop Rates as part of the purchase. We had a punch list of items that had three colums of To Do's as part of the deal. One was the items that the Owner (He sold the coach on Consignment.), the second was the Buyer (at discounted rates, and with parts at 10% over actual costs, to cover at Holland handling), the final was one that Holland agreed to do, to seal the deal (the smaller of the lists, and I believe this was all out of the Sales Department budget.

I knew I wanted some items changed, and caught up on, that would be above and beyond what I should expect the Owner to cover. Thus I added the 100 hours of discounted costs on the Shop Rates into this mix.

I considered the preventative replacement of the non ULSD compliant fuel lines, a safety item, so added that to my punch list section.

By the way, Countryfit's comment about Thermostat interaction problem - is a good one to rule out.

Best and ongoing good luck!
Smitty
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