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Old 08-12-2010, 10:16 PM   #1
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DP on dirt roads

We've done many a camp trip in the nearby desert country around here...

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--our trusty Brave, and the old CruiseAir before it handled these journeys with ease. Not like we're hill climbing or 4-wheeling, but there are a few ruts here and there, and about a mile and a half of dusty, dirt road to get to the good camp sites...

I'm not worried about the Bus, except for the fact that the engine and everything out back will REALLY be getting loaded up with dirt.

Dirt washes off. But my main concern is the air filter, and maybe the radiator taking on more dust than they're designed to handle...

Anyone do any dirt-roading with their DP? Any suggestions?

Or just say NO...?
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:20 PM   #2
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I'll be interested to see the responses here. I don't know the answer, but the question makes me begin to twitch uncontrolably! Just can't imagine doing that with my rig.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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I do it all the time....

just clean up afterwards

change filters more often
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:32 PM   #4
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I'll be interested in the responses, too. Our driving is all highway, EXCEPT, we live 1/4 mile off the highway on a gravel road. That 1/4 mile is enough to coat the engine with gravel dust so thick that I can hardly see it. Washing it is not a good idea, there's just too much sensitive electrical stuff there. When we're slowly driving to the highway, the fans on one side, and the exhaust on the other side are swirling up a hurricane of dust back there so thick you can't hardly see the back of the coach. By the time we hit the highway, the back of the coach is coated top to bottom in gravel dust.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:20 PM   #5
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Caution Washing a Diesel engine

I have driven diesel vehicles for 20 years. I recall that you must be careful washing diesels as diesel fuel systems and water are not a good mix. I have read that you must ensure the engine is completely cooled so that the cold water is not pulled past seals etc, by a hot engine or fuel system.

How about blowing out the excess dust with an air hose rather than water, then just wash the bodywork.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:37 PM   #6
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My air intake is up by the roof at the rear. It does'nt get much dust up there. I also remove my air cleaner canister and blow it out if I see the suction guage rising.
To clean the engine and the mechanical parts I use paint thinner. It's not very flammable and it solves the problem of getting water in the parts you don't want to get wet. The bonus is that it dries fairley fast. Of course you dont want to spray it on hot parts DUH
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck 1935 View Post
My air intake is up by the roof at the rear. It does'nt get much dust up there. I also remove my air cleaner canister and blow it out if I see the suction guage rising.
To clean the engine and the mechanical parts I use paint thinner. It's not very flammable and it solves the problem of getting water in the parts you don't want to get wet. The bonus is that it dries fairley fast. Of course you dont want to spray it on hot parts DUH

Mistyped?
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:19 AM   #8
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Diesels are supposed to be tough. Where is all this sensitivity coming from? Something is wrong if too many think a little dirt or water is supposed to stop these behemoths.

Oh, I get it now. That's why they end up in nice cushy concrete resort driveways. I could never understand why people would do that. Now I know. It's the DP has to be babied or it has a temper tantrum.


Seriously, when we're in Alaska, the buses take the cruise tourists all the way up the haul road to Prudhoe, drop them off for their plane ride back. How are they making it? Diesels can't be that delicate.
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:31 AM   #9
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I wash the cold engine frequently with water when dusty and the leaf blower will not clean the dust off.

The air filter just becomes a more frequent change when in dusty conditions.

However, my DP has low ground clearance compared to most gas rigs. Therefore, I feel I need a fairly level or smooth dirt road to travel upon with no big dips to cross.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:14 PM   #10
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I recently went to a State Park where I had 1.4 miles of dusty, rutted, dirt road to the paved campground and then 1.4 miles out. I did notice a slight climb on the temp gauge later when pulling a 6% long grade. As soon as the wind dies down here I will first use the air compressor to see if I can get the dust off the engine and out of the radiator and the CAC. Then when it gets dark out I'll have my wife shine a flashlight around the radiator while I watch from the inside access cover in the bedroom to see if there is any areas that are not allowing the light through. If no light coming through it's time for dawn dish soap and the garden hose. I usually do this once a year and that is without going on dirt roads. Had I known the road to the campsite was partial dirt I may have thought twice about it. Rear radiators on DP's gather enough stuff on paved roads, they sure don't need any extra help by going on dirt roads.
So, in answer to the OP's question on taking DP's on dirt roads, it's a no for me. I'm sure there are a lot who do, just check out Quartszite, AZ in the Winter months.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:09 PM   #11
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It's the low ground clearence and having everything I own in a 40 foot coach rocking and bouncing back and forth that's the reason for my choosing not to take my rig on rutted dirt roads. I don't feel I have to baby my delicate little 400hp ISL.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:31 PM   #12
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Our first experience with dirt roads was going to the CG at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Jacobs Lake) the first year that we had our DP. It was about 1/2 mile back and it just made the toad dirty. Our next stop was Las Vegas and I ran the toad through the car wash there.

When we went to Yellowstone, the East entrance was under construction and we had a really dirty, dustly climb. Like others, our air intake was at the top on the driver's side but the road had kicked dirt up as high as the clearance lights on the rear cap. It wasn't just dust - there was some sort of an adhesive quality to the caked on result. I'm assuming that some got into the air filter but in the time since, it hasn't made the gauge change on the air filter. I was expecting more of a problem when I changed the air canister on the air brake system,since that sits right at the rear axle but there was no evidence of problems there either.

Ours is a rear radiator and I do clean it about 2-3 times a year, depending on use. The CAC gets plugged up just from driving over paved roads. It is no big deal, however, to spray it with Simple Green, let it sit for a while and hose it off. If I had to drive over a lot of dirt roads in a short period of time, I'd make sure to do that process.

I agree with the other posters, too. It is the bumps on dirt roads that bother me. We were heading to a KY State campground, got lost and had to turn around. The high berm on the dirt road scraped the bottom on two of the compartment doors. DPs in general don't have a lot of ground clearance. Some are a lot lower than mine.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:20 PM   #13
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You don't have to be going down some desolate dirt road to subject your MoHo to a dust storm, that would be a choice. I'm sure everyone has been down that highway or main road under construction where you couldn't see 100 feet infront or past the back of the MoHo, this situation is not a choice and there is no way to turn around. I'm wondering if there is an air spoiler that could be mounted on the back cap of the MoHo to cut down on the effects this situation.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:52 PM   #14
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I came across this paper about Aerodynamic Drag Reduction Devices for Tractor Trailer Trucks. I thought it was interesting reading so I thought I'd share.
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