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Old 04-22-2017, 10:28 PM   #1
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Cummins Cooling issue and repairs

This is a long one so bear with me. I’ll eventually get to the current Cummins engine repair issue….

Our coach has the 8.9L ISL 450 in it. 2011 Winnie Itasca/Tour, rear radiator. We’ve had it since new, July 2011. Coach has constantly cycled from about 194 to 212, climbing to 216 on long hot grades. When it began hitting 218 climbing grades 2 years ago, I downshifted and last 2 times into Freightliner Tolleson had them check and clean the radiator which brought the climbing higher temps back in check. I was told cycling is normal based on fan clutch kicking in and out.

The dash air never worked properly. 3rd visit to Freightliner (this time Kingman) finally found the culprit, a leaking fitting on the AC compressor and fixed it at just under 75K miles. Ok on to most recent trip. On startup after overnight at RV spot in Santa Nella CA, got a low voltage warning and the coach was doing a fast idle, similar to what it will do under Regen. I called Freightliner and they assured me it was Regan and don’t worry about it. Still nervous and a little stupid and brain bamaged after a long hard weekend at the track, I hit the freeway. Less than 1 mile on the freeway and engine alarms over temp. 2+2 now = 4. Crap. No alternator + engine overheat = fanbelt. Crap again. Ok let it cool down, short dashes to drive before it starts to overheat, repeat 3 times, get off freeway and back to RV resort. Start pulling hatches and verify fanbelt gone. Worse is the AC compressor is frozen. Must have literally happened on startup that morning. Ok this will require towing. Not just me replacing a belt. Thank you Coachnet.

Coachnet hauled us 40+ miles to Merced, Anthony Jones Truck and RV Repair. Anthony had the parts ordered that afternoon, installed (new AC compressor and new fan belt) and we were on our way by 4 PM the next day. Extended warranty covered about ˝ of the bill for the repair. Moral to the story is if your AC is blowing hot, don’t run it. Over time your AC compressor won’t like it!

OK finally, current problem…went from Merced CA to Temecula CA, about 200 miles, 4 hours. Low coolant light on when we got parked that evening. Next morning, expansion tank bone dry. Went in search of and found a NAPA dealer. Got 2 gallons of NAPA heavy duty antifreeze concentrate, SCA precharged, mixed it 50-50 and the coach took 2 gallons of coolant. Not good. Went on to Temecula that day. About 150 miles. Coach took about 1.5 gallons of coolant that evening and I noticed that I had coolant all over my dinghy and the expansion tank overflow vent was dripping. Temecula to home (Lake Havasu AZ,) and another 1.5 gallons of coolant to fill. So 5 gallons of coolant to go about 500 miles. Made appointment with Cummins Mesa AZ and took the coach in next day. Until this episode, I have never had to add coolant.

Oil was fine, no coolant in oil so my “cheap” guess was head gasket leaking from a cylinder to the coolant. Maybe result of recent overheating? No such luck. Teardown found pitting on the liner sleeves and we’re facing replacing all 6 liner sleeves, and a new head. Serious rust on the liners and in the radiator. DCA analysis of coolant looks bad. Based on rust on liners, pitting, and current low DCA values, Cummins respectfully declines to provide any coverage outside of warranty (we’re 10 months outside of the 5 years but still under the 100K miles at 77K miles) as they feel it is a maintenance issue.

The coach has been in to reputable dealers at least yearly based on mileage for service, Freightliner dealers (in Portland OR, twice 8000, 15000 miles), Cummins NW (Coburg OR once 25000 miles), Freightliner dealers (in Tolleson 3 times 41000, 52000, 65000 miles). Every single one of these says SCA (or DCA in Cummins speak) checked and OK. Only one of them (Cummins) actually listed my DCA value at 2.2 and I note FTL Tolleson charged me for test strips.

So this is a very long winded lead in to my question. I thought I was properly maintaining my coach. Looking thru all the service records it looks like 1 gallon of coolant was added in 2015. Overall system was never drained/flushed/replaced. FWIW Cummins (https://www.cumminspowerclub.com/res...chedulesRV.pdf ) says every 80K miles or 2 years but when asking about coolant replacement during servicing, had been told it was Ok. None of these shops advised me to change coolant or add DCA. How is the average non-motorhead supposed to keep one of these things running?????

Told you it was long…
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:38 PM   #2
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I have never purchased a new coach. I guess the dealers don't spend much time on maintenance issues.

Our first coach was a little Isuzu-based diesel. Before we could leave with it, the owner required me to prove my skills by changing oil, checking coolant, inspecting belts, and servicing the transmission. He set a tone that I still sing to.

Maintaining coolant in DPs is not a secret, but I am surprised how little it is discussed. It is every bit as important as oil. Maybe more so, you don't have a flicker light on the dash to remind you it is ailing.

Thanks for the reminder for all of us, and I am sad that it will be an expensive one for you. I hope you are soon on the road with it behind you.

Matt B
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:56 AM   #3
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Are you saying that you still have warranty left but they are not honoring it??

Don't know if there is any recourse. If you do have service records you could try going up the food chain to a higher authority. Couldn't hurt.


As to how do non-motorhead cope, they don't. In most cases ignorance is bliss. The maintenance schedules that are provided on new vehicles (not only motorhomes) is there to protect the manufacturers and a way out if something fails.

I consider myself above average on knowledge regarding vehicle maintenance. At one point in my career I was Technical Services Manager for a Mining Complex which included responsibility for the Maintenance Department. That being said I don't even try to keep up with the complete recommended service intervals. I do pay attention to the important things: engine oil and filters, lubrication, and frequent inspections.

When I first bought our current rig in 2008, a 2002 Monaco Windsor, I took it to the local Cummins shop for a complete service and inspection including engine computer check. I did inquire about the antifreeze since the rig was 6 years old and I doubted it had been changed. The shop said the coolant looked good and didn't recommend actions. I kept up with changing the coolant filter but in 2014 I contemplated having it changed, the shop told me to get it tested so I did. It tested as if it was new.

I have a Cummins Coolant presentation that says if the coolant tests good there is no need to change. If your coolant tested good I would use this to go up the warranty food chain.
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:16 AM   #4
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If you are running a Big Cummins or Cat check your Coolant conditioner at each service, it is very important, I had a Cat that burned the liners out also but it was at 250K. It is called Electrolysis I think, I was using straight anti freeze not know any better.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:11 PM   #5
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Yes it's going to be an expensive lesson learning about SCA/DCA now. Regardless of what the service advisors say (or don't) I should have learned more about coolants and insisted on seeing the SCA/DCA numbers at each service and changed out the coolant a while ago.

No official warranty left. First order of business is get it back, hopefully next week, then try going up the food chain for some or partial coverage arguing that I *thought* I was being a responsible owner by using reputable shops.

In the grand scheme of things tho, it is only money, not a health issue!
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:31 PM   #6
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I do not know if your coach still has an EGR (Exhaust Gas Recycler/cooler) or not. I have an 08 cummins 425 and when my coach began loosing coolant on a regular basis, that was the culprit. A cummins authorized motor fixer put in the redesigned cooler and it has been fine since. You may not have it if your rig uses DEF. jmo mark
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddb View Post
Yes it's going to be an expensive lesson learning about SCA/DCA now. Regardless of what the service advisors say (or don't) I should have learned more about coolants and insisted on seeing the SCA/DCA numbers at each service and changed out the coolant a while ago.

No official warranty left. First order of business is get it back, hopefully next week, then try going up the food chain for some or partial coverage arguing that I *thought* I was being a responsible owner by using reputable shops.

In the grand scheme of things tho, it is only money, not a health issue!
Based on what you say, if this were mine, I'd be looking for a second opinion. I just cannot believe these repairs are required at 77K miles. SCA/DCA be dammed. Somebody is not telling the whole story or the truth.
Unless you were adding slough water or similar, there is no valid reason for the damage you are describing. Find a good engine guy and have it checked out.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddb View Post
Yes it's going to be an expensive lesson learning about SCA/DCA now. Regardless of what the service advisors say (or don't) I should have learned more about coolants and insisted on seeing the SCA/DCA numbers at each service and changed out the coolant a while ago.

No official warranty left. First order of business is get it back, hopefully next week, then try going up the food chain for some or partial coverage arguing that I *thought* I was being a responsible owner by using reputable shops.

In the grand scheme of things tho, it is only money, not a health issue!
Exactly why I trust but verify or do it myself. I regularly checked the SCA's in my Cummins ISC when we had it. Added DCA as necessary as well as coolant filter with DCA in it.
Present ISX has OAT coolant put in by Cummins NW in Portland OR. But their inept people broke an interior sliding door and two KONI shocks. Cost me about $1,000 to fix them.
The reason it was at the shop was for a dropped valve in #6, Cummins "covered" part of the cost but still ended up paying over $22,000 for a known (to them) engineering defect!
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCJones View Post
I do not know if your coach still has an EGR (Exhaust Gas Recycler/cooler) or not. I have an 08 cummins 425 and when my coach began loosing coolant on a regular basis, that was the culprit. A cummins authorized motor fixer put in the redesigned cooler and it has been fine since. You may not have it if your rig uses DEF. jmo mark
Mark how many miles did you have when the egr failed? I have been dreading having that issue with mine. I have the list of parts needed to do the latest egr modification, something like $1800 of parts.

Having or not having def does not mean you may not have egr. Most all engines had egr first and then def and egr.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:56 PM   #10
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To put this in perspective, 74,000 miles at 50 MPH is about 1500 hours.

This engine is designed to operate 24/7 which is 750 per month. The life cycle of this engine is in the range of 20,000 plus hours.
Coolant changes on Continious running engines is basically an annual thing, or 9000 hours. More or less.

You have run basically for two months. Not even 10% of the life cycle of this engine.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:36 PM   #11
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I have a ISC 360 Cummins. Failed EGR control valve and EGR cooler at 32000 miles and 8 months over the 5 year warranty. No help from Cummins even after appealing the repair cost to Cummins Headquarters repair cost in excess of 6000.00.

only got a little back when then could not explain charging me for 10 gal oil when engine holds only 6 gal
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:37 PM   #12
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Coach owners lesson here it is easy to check your DCA/SCA reading with a test strip which is less then 1$. At Spartan factory an Essex a owner was getting 1700$ of drive line repairs because the shop he was taking it to never lub. drive line at 60K the coach need that work done. Best to do it your self or at least check to see if the work was done.
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:41 PM   #13
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Cummins liners are not forgiving if the coolant is not maintained bought my 08 Diplomat 2 yrs ago and the first thing I did was drain the radiator and refill with long life coolant problem solved no more testing or adding supplements especially on the ISL with no coolant filter
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:06 PM   #14
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Cummins liners are not forgiving if the coolant is not maintained bought my 08 Diplomat 2 yrs ago and the first thing I did was drain the radiator and refill with long life coolant problem solved no more testing or adding supplements especially on the ISL with no coolant filter
But you didn't replace the cylinder head and all six liners I'll bet. The OP has a 2011 and has (according to his statement) had ithe Coolant checked along the way and now the liners are shot. Hmmmm, just doesn't sound right to me.
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