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Old 11-15-2012, 10:47 AM   #1
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Smile 03 Beaver Contessa, Cummins 370hp

First of all, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this Form. I have watched it for over two years and have learned more from it than any other media.
Here is my question to all you old Motorhomers. I recently purchased a 2003 Beaver Contessa, ISL 370 hp, turbo diesel with 5121 miles on it. I have not owned a Diesel pusher in the past, but have owned diesel pick-ups. The motor home was purchased new in Calif and was kept inside its whole life, its like brand new. As far as I can tell, it was never lived in for an extensive period of time. Needless to say, with 5121 miles, the maintenance records are real thin. The dealer I purchased if from, McMahon RV, says they have gone completely through it and everything is working great. Because of the low miles versus the age I am concerned about gaskets and O rings. Any suggestion or recommendations on how I should break this unit in, or anything else you think i should do. I have owned RVs for over 30 years and have done the majority of maintenance myself.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:00 AM   #2
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Check the tires, if they are original they need to be replaced. Also check your hoses and belts. Examine hose clamps and anything else for rust. Make sure the brakes are operating correctly. I'd suggest packing a credit card (after you replace the tires) and take it on a short 500 mile trip to see what happens.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:05 AM   #3
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Quite a find, hope you got a good price on the unit.
Tires, tires tires !! Even though they only have under 6000 miles they have aged, and can be a problem. 7 to 10 years depending on brand is the life span of RV tires.
Gaskets & seals time will tell, keep a close eye particularly after a long trip.
Have you looked into drivers licence requirements, lots of discussion in the forums with regard to Air Brakes, overall length and weights of units and the testing/ upgrading required to be legal.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:17 AM   #4
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Should have put this in the first reply.
Cummins manual would be your best guide for break-in, treat this like a new engine. Do not use cruise for first 12000 miles, vary your speed(RPM)and limit full throttle operation. Make sure the fuel filters are new and carry spares, possible algae in the fuel tank, fuel additive with algaicide for the first 3 tanks, any drop in power , replace the filters.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:26 PM   #5
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Sounds like a really nice find. As stated, check your tires. I would then drive it and check for "things". I would bet you just got yourself a jewel of a coach. Enjoy.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:44 PM   #6
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Just use it! Pay attention to noises gauges responsivness on throttle. Engine is way in the back and hard to hear if somehtings not right. Bring extra fuel filters, and serpentine belt. If someone had it indoors it's hole life it's probably well cared for. Good Luck, Sounds Beautiful!
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Should have put this in the first reply.
Cummins manual would be your best guide for break-in, treat this like a new engine. Do not use cruise for first 12000 miles, vary your speed(RPM)and limit full throttle operation.
I don't remember reading anything like that in either my CAT or Cummins owners manuals! What page is that on?
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:38 PM   #8
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If it were my coach, I would spring for a complete maintenance cycle. Since it has such low mileage the chances are good that many of the fluids and some of the filters are OEM. These things break down with age as well as mileage. In particular change the transmission filters and the fluid to Transynd.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:54 AM   #9
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I don't remember reading anything like that in either my CAT or Cummins owners manuals! What page is that on?
This was brought up at Dodge/Cummins training and was in early Dodge/Cummins, owners manuals, and I though it would still be there. At the time I was taking the training, varing the RPM was discribed as the best way to insure proper piston compression ring seating. I'll pull up some newer manuals and see if the info is still there.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:50 AM   #10
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I suggest you service the engine as you would for a scheduled maintainence interval, meaning new fluids and filters as well as visual inspections of all engine parts as well as brakes etc. That way you will have a fresh start knowing that all is as it should be. Carry extra fuel filters with you should the fuel have a problem. (always good idea anyway) Beyond that ya takes your chances! Buying anything used is always a crap shoot and when it comes to motorhomes buying new is problematic as well!
I suspect, that with only 5000 miles on it and little use that you may find the factory defects have not been properly looked after. The defects that surface and should have been repaired during the first 12 month factory warranty period may easily been overlooked and you may find them surface as you use it.
Good luck with your new MH!
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:04 PM   #11
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At 5000 miles it's time to replace the primary filter in the Allison transmission unless you have proof that it has already been done. This per Allison. It's like to take out any breakin products that may have been present.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:13 PM   #12
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At 5000 miles it's time to replace the primary filter in the Allison transmission unless you have proof that it has already been done. This per Allison. It's like to take out any breakin products that may have been present.
The newer Allisons come with TranSynd and the new heavy duty filters. They do not require the 5,000 mile service. The Allison site has service info and the starting serial # for this change.
However, the OP's is not new enough for this so it should be done. It's not hard, but not cheap if it doesn't already have 100% TranSynd in it now.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:06 PM   #13
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The 2003 Beavers came from the factory with Transynd. But it should now be changed due to time. Do not put anything but Transynd in it, and it will go for a long time without another transmission fluid change. Refer to the Allison manual for times and mileage.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:16 PM   #14
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Congrats! Sounds like a score... Concur with the full service. Toss in the air cartridge, belts, hoses along with the mentioned tires and fuel additives. This way you have a new baseline. Also look for a water filter, and are they OEM batteries too?

You could drop over $7K without trying... But, sounds like you have bought a new coach...

Best of luck, enjoy,
Smitty
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