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Old 06-12-2016, 10:07 PM   #1
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Doing my own serrvice on a DP

Long post, meant to inspire those that are timid - without cause.

We decided to buy a used DP for a year long trip after retirement. I narrowed the choices down and agreed to buy a coach with 75,000 miles. I had a pre purchase inspection done and prior to the actual purchase, while on a airflight to Hawaii, I read the chassis, engine and transmission service manuals. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming. I service my cars, and I serviced our old gas class A, and a race car for years, but a Diesel Pusher, now that's another matter.
I read about brake cam lube, air dryer / filter maintenance, front wheel bearing oil changes and all kinds of things I had not done.
We purchased the DP and since we had no solid maintenance history on the unit I did a full 75K service. I had to buy a 26qt drain pan, but that is about all.
Easy stuff: Engine oil and filter change, Transmission oil and filters, Generator oil & filter and air filter, greasing zerk fittings on suspension and brake actuators, front wheel bearing partial drain and fill (I will repeat several times the first few months), differential oil change.
A little tougher: Engine air filter - clamps were rusty, BTW I discovered the vacuum gauge hose was tie wrapped so tight it may not have registered correctly, (new hose and proper tie wrapping now), engine serpentine belt (tight space).
Even tougher: All engine coolant hoses and clamps, even the small diameter ones - (all except dash heat hoses fwd of shut off valves). One should practice yoga and be smaller and flexible (my 5'7" 185lb frame was pushing the envelope) to squeeze into the spaces needed to get at all hoses and clamps. I used a Dremel with cut off wheel on many of the clamps that were rusted beyond removal.
Other things done - things discovered while in and around the underside: Rust removal and treatment, ground (wires) cleaning and re-bonding, broken exhaust hanger repair, wire harness tie wrapping and sharp frame edge padding (old hoses split lengthwise and installed over sharp metal), block heater plug disconnected and wire routed too close to exhaust.
I wanted to be as sure as possible that we would not find ourselves on the side of the road for something preventable. I would much rather be in camp grilling a steak sipping Merlot.
It was all work, but I know what has been done and have at least as much confidence in the work I have done as I would in work done by others out of my sight.
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:10 PM   #2
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Thanks for the thoughts
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa19 View Post
Long post, meant to inspire those that are timid - without cause.

We decided to buy a used DP for a year long trip after retirement. I narrowed the choices down and agreed to buy a coach with 75,000 miles. I had a pre purchase inspection done and prior to the actual purchase, while on a airflight to Hawaii, I read the chassis, engine and transmission service manuals. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming. I service my cars, and I serviced our old gas class A, and a race car for years, but a Diesel Pusher, now that's another matter.
I read about brake cam lube, air dryer / filter maintenance, front wheel bearing oil changes and all kinds of things I had not done.
We purchased the DP and since we had no solid maintenance history on the unit I did a full 75K service. I had to buy a 26qt drain pan, but that is about all.
Easy stuff: Engine oil and filter change, Transmission oil and filters, Generator oil & filter and air filter, greasing zerk fittings on suspension and brake actuators, front wheel bearing partial drain and fill (I will repeat several times the first few months), differential oil change.
A little tougher: Engine air filter - clamps were rusty, BTW I discovered the vacuum gauge hose was tie wrapped so tight it may not have registered correctly, (new hose and proper tie wrapping now), engine serpentine belt (tight space).
Even tougher: All engine coolant hoses and clamps, even the small diameter ones - (all except dash heat hoses fwd of shut off valves). One should practice yoga and be smaller and flexible (my 5'7" 185lb frame was pushing the envelope) to squeeze into the spaces needed to get at all hoses and clamps. I used a Dremel with cut off wheel on many of the clamps that were rusted beyond removal.
Other things done - things discovered while in and around the underside: Rust removal and treatment, ground (wires) cleaning and re-bonding, broken exhaust hanger repair, wire harness tie wrapping and sharp frame edge padding (old hoses split lengthwise and installed over sharp metal), block heater plug disconnected and wire routed too close to exhaust.
I wanted to be as sure as possible that we would not find ourselves on the side of the road for something preventable. I would much rather be in camp grilling a steak sipping Merlot.
It was all work, but I know what has been done and have at least as much confidence in the work I have done as I would in work done by others out of my sight.
good job
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:20 PM   #4
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Wow that's very cool appreciate the post, yes it is inspirational! I think I will service my Onan generator this week
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:23 PM   #5
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Nicely done! Having a place to do this is the hardest part. I bought a 60qt drain pan with wheels, easy peasy.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:38 PM   #6
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Nice work! You have already discovered the advantage of doing your own maintenance.
Knowing it's done correctly,
Learning about all the systems on the RV
Finding other things about to go bad or needing attention-
and of course the satisfaction.....

Enjoy your RV....
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:42 PM   #7
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Why not? I just changed the Allison filters, hooked up my BrakeMaster to the braking system and lubed the u-joints. While under there I found the control wires to the tag dump valve had been cut. Have a call in to HWH about it now. Also found some rust so I sprayed it with rust reformer.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:12 PM   #8
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One thing you may be missing, by doing your own service, is the experience a diesel engine mechanic gains over the years, looking over your engine.

Don't beat me up, with the bad mechanic stories, I agree there are many.

Yes the low guy somtimes gets the simple jobs but he, at least gets to see "your engine" in other vehicles.

If something is different, he will point out issues, that he thinks are developing.

You look at your engine and see stuff that always looked like that, but is it supposed to ?

Just something to ponder.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:51 PM   #9
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Regarding doing your own work and that set of professional eyes going over your coach on occasion - I've found that I can do 95% of my own and leave the heavy work to the pros. Anything requiring wheel/tire removal, brake work, and recently we had to have our fuel tank dropped to repair a fuel line leading to the gen set that some rodent had the audacity to chew through (yes rodent, seen the teeth marks!).

Each time, I've asked for and received a cursory going over by a local very experienced pro, with his own shop, at a very reasonable price. He's certainly not cheap, but the knowledge that it's done right (by anyone's standards) is worth every dime he charges me. He'll even take it out on the road for a few minutes to make sure it's behaving normally. Very confidence inspiring....

Point being, there's going to be occasions where even somebody doing the majority of their own work will want to seek out a pro on occasion. Suggest you use that occasion wisely. If the coach is already on the hoist, or in the building, an extra 15 - 30 minutes spent looking "stuff" over for you is money well spent.

Last, the OP didn't mention changing the fuel or dryer filters. Both a big deal if bringing a coach's maintenance up to current. -Al
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post

Each time, I've asked for and received a cursory going over by a local very experienced pro, with his own shop, at a very reasonable price. He's certainly not cheap, but the knowledge that it's done right (by anyone's standards) is worth every dime he charges me. He'll even take it out on the road for a few minutes to make sure it's behaving normally. Very confidence inspiring....

Great concept and good advise.

Point being, there's going to be occasions where even somebody doing the majority of their own work will want to seek out a pro on occasion. Suggest you use that occasion wisely. If the coach is already on the hoist, or in the building, an extra 15 - 30 minutes spent looking "stuff" over for you is money well spent.

Last, the OP didn't mention changing the fuel or dryer filters. Both a big deal if bringing a coach's maintenance up to current. -Al

True. I did not mention servicing the air dryer / filter. I would put that at moderate because of frozen screws and the filter removal required an oversized filter wrench.
I did not mention the fuel filter / water separater because it had recent replacement date and a drain check showed no water.

Today I tackled the basement heat pump. I lowered it out so I could remove the panels. I lubed all the exterior (condenser) blower motor bearings and cleaned both condenser and evaporator coils.

Good feedback going on this thread. Some have been inspired, some have given sage advise, and others have provided required precautions.
Thank you all.


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Old 06-14-2016, 01:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
Last, the OP didn't mention changing the fuel or dryer filters. Both a big deal if bringing a coach's maintenance up to current. -Al
Really? If I can do it most anyone else can too and I'm 69 and not retired.
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Old 06-14-2016, 04:47 AM   #12
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I do all of. My pm,s too... The best part about it is I can do it anytime I want to ...order all filters o. Line keep them stocked in my shop ..
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Old 06-14-2016, 09:53 AM   #13
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DIY +++

62 years old, retired and perform all my own maintenance/mods/repairs. Diesels not so much more difficult as different and larger than gas. If you have good basic mechanical skills and can use the internet wisely (sift thru all the b.s.) you can handle almost anything. Knowing what you CAN'T handle is a good skill to have as well. My philosophy is, if it's already broken I can't damage it much worse, let's give it a try. Again, it requires some skill to attempt a repair and not make any damage worse. Never want a mechanic to be able to say, "if you'd only left it alone and brought it in I could have repaired it for less". Also, I am very lucky to have a shop with the room and tools necessary to perform this type of work. I really sympathize with RVers who can't or don't have the skills or place to perform their own work. I not real sure I'd continue to RV if I had to rely on someone else to perform routine maintenance and simple repairs. Not judging, just the hassle, expense and frustration would kill me!
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Old 06-14-2016, 10:10 AM   #14
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There is some work that simply needs a pit, suspension and my air dryer come to mind. I wish I had one.
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