Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Class A Motorhome Discussions
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-20-2016, 05:11 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Nashville
Posts: 16
Post diesel buying/maintenance question

I am about to buy my first MH (after owning a small TT). I will be traveling from September to the end of March thru several states from CA to PA. It's possible that I will live in it for a year (with my wife & 6yo girl). As I read about MHs I learn that Diesels are stronger and last longer. My question is:
What is the most common repair in diesel units, and what is the most difficult and most expensive repair? And if I want to buy a used one, is there anything I should avoid?
I would like to buy a used 41' 2007 All Star Family Edition 350hp Cummins w/Slide - Bunk House (about $87.000 with 52000miles). Should I expect to repair anything in such model before I hit the road?
Thank you so much for your help.

Kuba is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-20-2016, 05:23 AM   #2
Senior Member
timjet's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Maintenance records will indicated if the previous owner maintained the engine. Get an engine survey/inspection before buying.

I have 2 Cummins series B engines in my boat. They can be very reliable or very expensive depending on their maintenance history.

As a heads up on costs, Oil changes once a year will cost you about $100 if you do it yourself.

Tampa Bay
Current Ride 35' motor boat, Future Ride 37-42 DP
timjet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 07:15 AM   #3
Senior Member
jacwjames's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 3,581
Probably the most frequent issue with Diesel Motorhomes is the engine or related parts.. You can frequently read about injection pump problems. There are also some reports of engine failures but considering the number of coaches/people it is a rare occurrence. Maintenance is the key to preventing these types of problems. Changing fuel filters on a regular basis helps along with adding additives like algaecides to prevent algae. Turbo chargers can also fail. which depend on clean air and oil for lubrication, both maintenance related.

Buying a used coach the most important thing is maintenance records, making sure the oil changes have been done at the prescribed intervals.
Jim J
2002 Monaco Windsor 38 PKD
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
jacwjames is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 07:27 AM   #4
algolfer's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Cameron Park, California
Posts: 87
As others have stated these Cummins diesel engines are pretty reliable and long lived when properly maintained. Although not a motorhome, my brother recently sold a 1992 Dodge pickup with the series B 5.9 Cummins diesel. The truck had been used in his air conditioner business hauling a/c's, ducting and other stuff. Did not live an easy life. He maintained it well, changing oil, filters, etc. as specified by Dodge. The truck had over 650,000 miles on it!! The beast still ran well and he never did a thing to the engine other than routine maintenance. We won't talk about how the body held up!!
algolfer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 08:12 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Nine Mile Falls WA / Arizona City AZ
Posts: 305
I think jacwjames covered most of it... Clean fuel... meaning care for the fuel filters, on a over the road truck that might be 40K miles... on a low mileage RV that might have to be every 15K miles... I personally use a fuel modifier... something that will add some lubricity to the fuel and help prevent algae.. oil change annually... for sure... on my pickup, its every 7K miles... On a Class A its annually even if its 5K miles...

A lot of people will suggest that you start and run the engine and gen set monthly... I don't personally do that... but what I do do is start and run it to allow them to come up to operating temperature for at least 30 min... that's at least 90 most of the time...

I watch the fluids, check for water in the air tanks, and work to change the transmission oil, power steering fluid, coolant.. etc... at 5 year intervals... and I add a modifier to the coolant (CAT) annually... Remember that set of belts might have only 50K miles but might be 10 years old... you know what the heat/sun do to tires at that time frame... so the belts need attention as well....

The key here... is to get on a schedule and stay on it... I personally do an annual inspection when I prep for winter... I'm mechanically inclined so I do this myself... taking care to examine, look and see....

Hope this gives you some thoughts...
jelag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 08:36 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 447
Originally Posted by Kuba View Post
.... Should I expect to repair anything in such model before I hit the road?
Thank you so much for your help.
Hopefully the previous owner will have detailed maint records for you. The keys to a trouble free diesel are frequent maintenance changing fluids & filters. Most diesel problems are owner caused, bad fuel, clogged filters, mixing coolants, etc. In a diesel, coolant is as important as engine oil, having the right type of coolant and maintaining the right pH in the coolant is critical.

Lacking previous maint records, I would start by changing all the fluids & filters immediately to have a known starting point. Sending an oil & coolant sample off for lab analysis can give early warning to potential problems.
Otherwise its just when the typical chassis items are going to wear out: brake pads, shocks, batteries, air leaks, etc
Jim2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 08:40 AM   #7
Senior Member
TonyMac's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Layton, Utah
Posts: 670
2007?? Tires. Hint: wrong answer is "Oh, they have lots of tread." Six tires times $400-1000=YIKES! Well worth the peace of mind.
TonyMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 09:03 AM   #8
Senior Member
oldmattb's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 217
Maybe someone has compiled figures, I don't know. My observation is that the most common repairs of significance (aside from appliances and etc.) are air system failures and cooling system failures. Most air failures seem to be a governor, lines or fittings, which are relatively inexpensive. For me it was a $20 governor and a $60 air dryer rebuild kit.

Hydraulic cooling failures can be huge. We had a pump fail and the repair was under $2K. It seems that any reconfiguring due to no-longer-available parts will result in a $10K repair.

Engines do fail, but it seems uncommon. We replaced a transmission computer for around $1K.

My best advice - buy something that has a good history, Have access to several thousand in CASH. Learn as much as you can. When our transmission failed, I understood the symptoms from reading forums. I knew the computer was a plug-in and knew where it was, I knew that they could be repaired component-level. This information saved me a 60-mile tow, $175 an hour labor, maybe waiting days for the repair, and a savings of $1200 for a refurbished computer over new. Oh, and a cash discount!

Matt B
Matt B
1998 Monaco Windsor
oldmattb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 05:46 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 231
I echo what everyone else said. When buying an older coach, make sure you get a complete set of maintenance records and then compare those records with the recommended maintenance for that chassis and engine. You will be able to see any holes that may cause a problem. Besides, the owner that keeps detailed records is one that has probably taken meticulous care of the coach.
Ludmilla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 09:08 PM   #10
Senior Member
Ray,IN's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: North America somewhere
Posts: 12,300
Don't limit yourself to diesel power. I know a couple who full-timed is a gas power MH(towed-Honda CRV) for 14 years. No telling how many still are.
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA 1SG, retired;PPA,Good Sam Life member."We the people are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts - not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow men who pervert theConstitution. "Abraham Lincoln"
Ray,IN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 09:12 PM   #11
Senior Member
Mr_D's Avatar
iRV2 No Limits Club
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 22,349
Originally Posted by timjet View Post
Maintenance records will indicated if the previous owner maintained the engine. Get an engine survey/inspection before buying.

I have 2 Cummins series B engines in my boat. They can be very reliable or very expensive depending on their maintenance history.

As a heads up on costs, Oil changes once a year will cost you about $100 if you do it yourself.
Even that won't catch a valve about to break, ask me how I know!
2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
Charter Good Sam Lifetime Member, FMCA, SKP
RV'ing since 1957, NRA Benefactor Life, towing '05 Odyssey
Mr_D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 09:17 PM   #12
Senior Member
RSteele's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 153
All of the Allstars I have looked at had a Cummins ISL mounted mid coach and a side mounted radiator with a hydraulic fan. Keep the maintenance up and failures will be low. The most common failure on ISC/ISL family engines is the 1. exhaust manifold. If replaced by you 400-500 dollars, manifold can sometimes be resurfaced but you need new bolts, gaskets etc. 2. Turbo/waste gate failures. Turbos are expensive especially VGT turbos but can be rebuilt. Waste gates are rebuild able depending on which shop you go to. So anywhere from $100 in parts if your a diy'er to 3-5k depending on problem. 3. Air compressor, usually inexpensive depending on access to it. Now for example if you do not inspect your intake system and something is loose or you don't change air filters like you should it could lead to a $25,000 engine rebuild at worst not a diy'er project for most people. Gotta pay attention and stay on top of things can't stress that enough. The Allstars I have seen have great access to the engine through the floor in the kitchen. As mentioned earlier anything mechanical can break maintenance or lack of is usually the deciding factor but Murphy is out there. I replaced an exhaust manifold a couple months ago but other than that have not any major issues with my ISL. Had a Cat powered DP before and didn't have any issues with it either but I stay on top of maintenance also. These DP's are complex and require a certain amount of attention but it's not something to lose sleep over there should be manuals that come with the coach that let you know maintenance schedules. I would have it inspected by a good mechanic if you are not real knowledgeable about diesel Motorhomes and not the mechanic at the dealership. It's a lot of money. Also consider a good warranty, could save you a lot of money. Good luck Newmar/Spartan makes a great product.
07 Winnebago Vectra 40 TD ISL 400. Tru-balance, centramatics, Koni shocks
RSteele is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 10:21 PM   #13
Senior Member
Pexring's Avatar
Newmar Owners Club
Holiday Rambler Owners Club
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Aberdeen, SD
Posts: 572
Upon inspection if you notice that the coolant reservoir bottle is empty -- RUN!
2000 Newmar Dutch Star 38' Class A, Spartan chasis, MM-2242, Cummins 330 pulling a 2014 Ford Focus.
Pexring is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2016, 04:03 AM   #14
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Nashville
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
Don't limit yourself to diesel power. I know a couple who full-timed is a gas power MH(towed-Honda CRV) for 14 years. No telling how many still are.
Thank you. I consider a gas one as well. I know they are much cheaper. Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me that diesels are more reliable than gas ones. It is also very important that they are much quieter (we are entertainers and will use our MH for a concert tour in US. My wife is a singer and she can easily loose her voice during a ride from venue to venue ). It is possible that I am going to upgrade in a year or two.

Thank you all for your replies. Extremely helpful!
I am glad to hear that diesel engine don't have to be super expensive to maintain. I will definitely look for a maintenance record before i buy anything.
All the best! and safe travels!

Kuba is offline   Reply With Quote

diesel, maintenance

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Buying a New lot leftover vs buying used. hydrocarbon Class A Motorhome Discussions 4 10-23-2015 10:09 AM
Buying a Clipper 17BH - need buying advice. mikedelta Travel Trailer Discussion 14 06-15-2014 10:20 PM
How much to budget for engine maintenance when buying used DP? TwelveVolt Spartan Motorhome Chassis Forum 18 08-07-2013 09:56 AM
Diesel Generator Maintenance,question re access door Don and Kim National RV Owner's Forum 4 11-13-2011 09:55 PM
EPA grants Cummins a maintenance variation for some diesel engines Route 66 Cummins Engines 2 01-23-2009 03:51 PM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:31 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.