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Old 05-31-2016, 10:19 AM   #1
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Diesel Air Filter

Will an Air filter that had not been changed in over four years cause a motor to blow oil out the blow by tube? I have the bus at the Cummins Shop and they are telling me that they did a test that indicates my engine needs to be rebuilt as the numbers were way high indicating the rings are bad. I have a Dutch Star with a Cummins 8.3 / 330hp with a turbo. I have about 128k miles on the engine. I have been told this engine is indestructible. If it is taken care of. The reason the air filter has not been changed since we bought it four years ago and had the Air fFilter changed at that time is that the air filter indicator is only reading half way. I have been told since then that you cannot go by the air filter indicator and the air filter should have been changed prior to four years. We have decided to get the engine re-built rather than buy a new bus. Yes I know big $$$$. I am 75 years old and in good health but things happen. I have several friends in our motor home chapter that have bought new buses / 5th wheels and their health is not good and they may not be able to travel like they want too and they are stuck with their rig with a lot of money in it. So,what do,you think?
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:29 AM   #2
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I am not an expert but from what I understand, if dirt gets into the engine (called getting dusted) it will cause the engine to require a rebuild. The indicator gauge, if working correctly, is supposed to indicate when it's time to change the air filter. If the gauge is broken...well you get problems. Hind sight as they say is 20/20. I think I will change mine every other year now due to your experience. Thank you. As to whether you should rebuild or not, do whatever makes you happy. Me, I think I would get as nice a coach as I wanted with a 30 year loan and have a ball!!
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:41 AM   #3
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Air filters are the epitome of a time change item, not in years, but engine run time. Even miles are somewhat misleading. That being said, I hope the air cleaner system, the housing for the air filter and all the tubing delivering the filtered air to the engine, is not leaking air and bypassing your air filter. Who ever told you the filter should be changed after four years is a liar on one of two levels; they want you to believe they know what they are talking about and they know they don't, or they actually believe they know what they are talking about and in fact don't. Either way, I own several classic cars, and I don't change the air filter every few years. IF your motor is bad, big IF, it's not because of the air filter being four years old. The filter indicator lies if the air cleaner system is leaking.


Blow by is normal on all engines, gas or diesel. Gas engines burn their blow by via the pcv system, except older gassers like my 55 Chev 210 which blows by on to the ground. Diesels can't take that blow by for a variety of reasons so it just slobbers out the back.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:22 AM   #4
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I'm assuming the shop did a cylinder leakdown test which tells them pretty quick what condition the engine is in.
The decision to rebuild or not is entirely yours and what you are comfortable with. Sell or trade it in as is, rebuild and drive it? I'm with you as far as buying a new coach. I've only got four or five years that I would feel comfortable operating this thing and to take on new debt at this point, for me, is not going to happen. Problem with these older coaches though is that you never know what's going to fail next. But then a lot of new ones have their share also.
If you do choose to rebuild, I would lean on the service manager to define exactly what caused the problem in the first place and what you need to do to make sure it doesn't happen again. Was it really the air filter? Maybe it was a leaking connection?
They need to explain the cause as part of the rebuild and not just replace a bunch of parts and send you on your way.

Good Luck with your decision.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:53 AM   #5
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Are you at a Cummins Distributor or a Cummins Dealer? Distributors (which are Cummins owned) are located in large areas and their name always begins with "Cummins". Dealers are everywhere and are usually heavy truck dealers (Peterbilt, International, Volvo, etc.) I would feel more comfortable at a Cummins Distributor, and if you are, be sure to join the Cummins Power Club to get a 10% discount on parts and labor.

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Old 05-31-2016, 12:00 PM   #6
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You might want to have a second opinion of the needed repair.

A Cummins shop should not be offended if you have an expert review their findings.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:21 PM   #7
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Hey I was losing oil to the tune of 6 quarts or'ore in 300 miles. That is a little extreme in my opinion.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:25 PM   #8
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The filters need to be changed every two or three years as the glue holding them together breaks down and allows dust to enter the engine, resulting in a dusted engine as the OP found.
If buying new be sure and check the date on the filter and insist on a new one.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:27 PM   #9
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join the Cummins Power Club to get a 10% discount on parts and labor.
Didn't save me 10% but is was about $1,200 saved. Would have liked it to be 10% but it was actually about 5%, still worth the cost.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:29 PM   #10
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I've seen some discussion about how after 3 years the glue is suspect on filters and its cheaper to replace the filter than let it damage the engine.

There is a Cummins spec on blow by, make the Tech/Service Manger show you the spec and the results. Unless you are losing oil from the breather, I'd think pretty hard about a rebuild. Are there any other symptoms? Loss of power, loss of oil? Have you had a Used Oil Analysis? It would show contamination from dirt if the intake system has a leak. Have a cooling system fluid analysis, maybe there's a head gasket issue or one of the liners has slipped a bit. Is the rebuild an in frame or out of Frame? Have you checked on the cost of a Remanufactured engine rather than a rebuild?

Just tossing' stuff off the top of my head.

On edit I see you've secondary symptoms.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
The filters need to be changed every two or three years as the glue holding them together breaks down and allows dust to enter the engine, resulting in a dusted engine as the OP found.
If buying new be sure and check the date on the filter and insist on a new one.
Never heard of such a thing. I have filters in my hot tub that are evidently built of better materials than Cummings air filters, if the point of your post is to be believed. I can't find any info on the web about filter glue breakdown in any application. What exactly is the change criteria given by the engine manufacturer? And where did you find it? All I find is change by miles or hours.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:50 PM   #12
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Get a second opinion. I'm sceptical about the need to rebuild the engine. Overfilling the oil pan will cause excessive oil blowing out.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:01 PM   #13
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Get a second opinion. I'm sceptical about the need to rebuild the engine. Overfilling the oil pan will cause excessive oil blowing out.
Can't argue the 2nd opinion but 6 plus quarts in 300 miles sounds like more than a little blow by. I'd say it's time for a rebuild.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:02 PM   #14
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A Freightliner representative I spoke with at the Tampa RV Show told me that the location of the air filter in relation to the engine (heat) did more to determine when an air filter change was needed. A filter that was mounted near engine height and got hotter was detrimental to the glue in the filter element. Luckily, my filter is near the bottom of my engine which he said was the better location for one to be. I changed out my filter after 3 1/2 years and it still looked new. Of course, we also don't drive in the rain except for emergencies.

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