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Old 09-15-2015, 10:18 PM   #1
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Air Filter 400 ISL

I was quite surprised at how full of dust my air filter was. It was changed approx 3000 miles ago. I have in that "time frame" traveled into two camp areas that were approx 2 miles of gravel each way......and dusty.Ugh I hate gravel.
The rest of the mileage all Hwy. The indicator , yellow band , was not approaching the red warning. I blew the filter out with blow gun and the dust REALLY came out. The Donaldson cover with the three plastic thread in bolts seem to make a good seal and were tight when I removed filter. I now think the filter should be checked as soon as possible after driving in any dusty conditions regardless of what the color band indicator shows. Is this normal......standard maintenance ?

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Old 09-15-2015, 10:36 PM   #2
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So many variables here. Each coach manufacturer dictates the canister and filter, as well as it's placement. So an ISL400 in one coach, can have may different items with in the front end breathing plumbing when compared to another ISL400 powered coach.

Also, search under Cummins forum, for posts from Spike45. He is, IMO, one of the most knowledgeable members in regards to flirtations of any kinds. (He worked with Cummins/Fleetguard until he retired - and knows of what he speaks!). Spike45 cautions about too frequent of Air Filter changes. A new filter, is letting in more particles. The actual partial clogging of the filter cartridge, adds to it's ability filter better. And, each time you open the front end of the breathing pipeline, you risk contamination, and 'dusting'.

Also, IMO, blowing out a cartridge is never a good way to go. Too easy to damage, and that is damage that you can't see with your normal vision, the cartridges materials. Just not worth the costs of trying to skimp by cleaning out and reusing.

Now, that being said. If I had an unusual sittation that caused severe dirt accumulation on the air cartridge. And I had no way to replacing it. I would remove it carefully using best practices to eliminate dusting risks, and tapping it to remove external cartridge dirt accumulation. (Look for some sites that reflect this, and how to slowly turn the filter as ou are tapping it at about a 45 degree angle. Keep doing so, until you are not seeing dust exit the filter. I was told if you had to do this, to have a shop vac blowing the dust away from the filer in general.

And Rider Fan, I here you about dust build up! Especially with air canisters and or intakes, that are low and behind the rear wheels... Makes you think about the rest of the design, when seeing this configuration!

Best of luck to you, and suspect you will get other input on going ahead and changing an air cleaner as frequently as you feel is needed. Not sure that tis solid advice!

Roo II is our 04 Country Coach Allure 40'
OnDRoad for The JRNY! Enjoy life...
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Old 09-16-2015, 10:26 AM   #3
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The air filter in my ISL is also seriously clogged by the time the filter minder gets to the halfway point. If I clean it out or change the filter ($$$!), the performance difference is noticeable.

One dusty road is all it takes to suck up a lot of dirt.

My filter capacity is just a few sq inches above what Cummins specs as the minimum for this engine, so it doesn't take much reduction in filter air flow to begin to impact peak performance. That comes into play during acceleration and hill climbing.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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Old 09-16-2015, 02:06 PM   #4
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I have a different point of view about changing air filters......First, never blow out or tap to clean a diesel filter. If it's dirty, replace it. You have a $25K-$30K engine and you're going to save money and go cheap by saving on a new air cleaner.

I was once criticized here for saying I changed my Donaldson removable filter on my Monaco every year during service (9K-15K mileage). Two people just couldn't get over the fact that I was spending my OWN money to change filters so often. I was even told that I was being reckless by recommending this. One of those was even mentioned here!

About three months after my post, another poster on the Cummins forum reported that he had dusted his engine. The dusting was caused by a two year old cartridge filter, that could not be inspected, that got water in it from driving in the rain. The filter paper disintegrated and ruined the engine. One of the critical posters read the other thread and saw what happens when you try to get every nickel out of a filter.

My Monaco had the Donaldson removable filter and cost about $55.00. My new coach has the cartridge type and can't be easily inspected, but you can still pull the inlet and look inside. It costs about $165.00. Rather than once a year, I keep one available and change at 15K. I also see a performance increase with a new filter.

Lastly, by the time the filter minder shows a replacement is needed, your filter is long overdue. You can reset them and hard every hard pull, they'll return to the same spot.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:07 PM   #5
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We travel about 100-200 miles a year on dirt and gravel between going to the desert southwest and Alaska and have been pleased with using the filter minder to indicate a change was necessary and we also change on the Tiffin recommendation, every 2 years. We carry a spare with us if it ever becomes necessary to change it out on the road. Never had to use it yet.
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Old 09-17-2015, 08:56 AM   #6
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Smitty , Gary , Don and Pigman 1
Thanks for your input / advice. I never cheap out on maintenance... I think Smitty nailed it with comment on poor design / location. I did not realize using a blow gun to clean it could cause damage to the filter ? if i had like 10k+ miles use I would of replaced it without thinking twice about it. Regardless, it sucked a lot of dust on my two very short "gravel trips" and I'm taking Don's advice and installing new filter. Thanks guys and Happy Trails.
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Old 09-17-2015, 09:49 AM   #7
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You should not "blow out" a filter without exercising some care, but it isn't exactly rocket science either. Heck, you can mess up changing the oil or a fuel filter too, but that doesn't mean nobody should ever attempt it.

If you do choose to clean up a filter, be very cautious to get rid of all loose dirt/dust on the outlet side, both in the cannister (if it has one) and the filter surface. Failure to do so can result in that dust getting sucked into the engine when it starts and causing extreme wear rather quickly. When dirt & dust bypasses or escapes the filter, it's called "dusting" the engine.

My air filter costs about $150. That's not chump change at our house, so I will clean up a filter with my air hose if the filter is still otherwise sound. I also check it for signs that water has intruded and damaged the filter media, or the adhesive that holds the media in place is coming loose. Those are fairly rare, but potentially dangerous conditions as well.

So yeah, it's a $30k engine, and yeah, it deserves respect and care, but that doesn't mean I don't dare do anything with it. Just be meticulous in your maintenance.

Just my $0.2. Your mileage may vary...

Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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