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Old 06-01-2013, 05:35 PM   #1
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Irregular Temp Concerns on 2011 Tiffin Phaeton

We bought a 2011 Tiffin Phaeton 42QBH on a Spartan Chassis with an ISC380 HP Cummins new in Sept 2012, We spent 2 months at an RV park nearby getting everything checked out then went on a 200 mile trip to the Texas Coast. During our maiden voyage I noticed the engine temp was 195 at 63 MPH, went up to 205 when I passed at 70MPH and then went back down. Everything sounded reasonable to me! We then went up to Arkansas and Memphis with everything working about the same. On our trip from Memphis to Red Bay (Tiffin) for some warranty work, going 63 MPH, outside temp around 78 deg, pulling our Jeep, the temp went to 205 and then kept going to 220 - 223 deg, the fan came on and drove the temp back to 205, fan went off, then the temp went back up to 220ish, the fan came on...this cycle kept up all the way to Tiffin. Tiffin has no answer other than "it seems normal!" We only have 3,500 miles on the coach but this constant cycling does not seem normal to me.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:48 PM   #2
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My Cummins ISL9 will vary from about 200 down to about 160. It has never risen to 220. Call Cummins.

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Old 06-01-2013, 05:53 PM   #3
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At 80 degrees ambient you shouldn't be seeing 220+. Cycling from 205 to 220 & back isn't proper recovery, should cycle up from ~190ish. My theory- whatever is triggering the fan isn't getting its signal soon enough in the heat gain cycle. Seems its about a 15 degree lag. If you have an analog damper fan, it isn't set correctly or the hot air path is not reaching it efficiently.
All this assumes your gauges are reading correctly; check them w/an infrared thermometer scan on the radiator tanks, engine casting, etc. to be sure you are not just seeing an aberrant sending unit that needs to be replaced.

There is frequently a lag in receipt of analog heat trigger on fan "dampers" (speaking generically about the thing that actuates the fan) whenever the analog device is not in the coolant stream in the engine. E.g. you could have an in-coolant-temp sender that is in the radiator head at a level that sees constant cooling air, so for it to hit a trigger point of say 210 degrees to call for fan, the in-engine coolant has to get to 220 or more. If the analog triggering device (there is always an analog device of some sort whether it triggers a digital actuation or not) is in an air stream instead of coolant stream, its harder to match the trigger point needed because of the vagaries of ambient combined w/only somewhat predictable turbulent airflow hitting the actuator.
When I had a 6.5L GM diesel motorhome, we discovered that we really needed a 10-15 degree lower fan damper, as GM's engineers had not properly accounted for heat exchange under on-the-road conditions from front radiator air to the fan damper behind. Engines consequently ran 10-15 degrees hotter than planned and even worse if there was any radiator plugging (which is easy on a front or rear radiator that sees bugs or engine oil blowby.

Don't bother calling Cummins, not their issue. Its either Spartan, or its Tiffin, probably the former, whoever assembles the cooling system.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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I am not 100% sure on yours but on my ISX 650 the ECM has control of the fan, yours most likely is the same. Also on mine if you pass 215-220 it will set the CEL on the dash and if it gets too hot it will shut down. Again yours may be different. I would be wondering if the gauge is correct? I wonder what temp the ECM is seeing?
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:51 PM   #5
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I appreciate your replies. I am in Red Bay and had the guys at Bay Diesel do some rather significant work on my chassis (alignment was set 2 deg out and should have been 8 deg in, drive axle on passenger side was pointed 3/8"" or 1 shim towards the drivers side).

Since the consensus is that it may be another problem that Spartan has to address, I will talk to Chris at BD and see what his opinion is. With that said, I am going to Birmingham when I leave Tiffin, and will drop by Cummins to see what they have to say. I will post updates after my conversation with Bay Diesel and Cummins for anyone else who might be having similar issues. Once again, my sincere appreciation for your input.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:03 PM   #6
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I will be following this thread with great interest. I too have a 2011 42 QBH on a Spartan chassis with the 380 8.3 ISC.

I bought mine barely used with 7000 miles. I now have 11000 on it and it runs great. But anytime at highway speeds my temp runs from high 190's to 210. I can hear and feel the fan engage at just below 210 then temps drop off as they should.

I have called Spartan who says it is within specs and that the fan should engage at 209. As long as that there is no CEL than all is good. Then I had Tiffin at RB place it on a computer and they say everything looks good without any stored codes. They said "if it was mine I would drive it and not worry about it".

Then just before climbing some passes in Colorado (bought it in Florida) I called Cummins to be safe. They ran the VIN and said that it sounds like a lot of the newer ISC DEF equipped engines which are running warmer than what us old diesel drivers remember as normal temps. BTW while climbing some significant hills here in Colorado it never got warmer than my normal temps. I will feel better if there are more of this happening to others and these temps are ok.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:18 PM   #7
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One more thought; all of my readings seem a little high. In fact my outside temp is about 8 degrees higher than the ambient temp under all conditions. What does yours read, Maybe it's a computer glitch??
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:40 PM   #8
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I would suggest that you call 1-800-DIESELS (Cummins) and you will get the same answer that I am going to post here. Since EPA 2007 and up, they are running 195 degree thermostats. The fan is set to not kick on high till 205-207. It is normal to see the engine temps cycle from 190-217 while driving. Usually on level roads it will range between 190-205 and cycle up and down as the thermostats and fan cycle. On a grade you can see temps as high as 220, but usually no more than 215. The light is set to come on at 225 at which it is still not overheating, but a warning that you are reaching the upper threshold and you need to take evasive action such as downshift or ease up on the throttle. These temps on the smaller engines are the new norm, and I know it is tough to get used to, but that is what is require for the new emission requirements. Again I repeat call Cummins so that you can hear it from the horses mouth directly.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:05 PM   #9
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Thanks Cbones, it is nice to hear that my coach is running within normal limits. You said this is on the smaller engines, do the ISL and ISX run in the same temps that they use to?
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:19 PM   #10
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The ISB in my 2011 truck has a 200 degree thermostat as equipped by Cummins. Normal temp pulling the 5th wheel at 65 MPH on level ground is 202 degF per the EVIC (electronic vehicle information center) which is reading from the CANbus. The highest I've ever seen it is 218 degF while pulling a long grade which is where the cooling fan engages, at which point it drops back down to 202 degF or so.

New diesel emissions standards took effect January 1, 2010, and it appears that one change Cummins made is to run the engines a little hotter than previously, so (bearing in mind that your engine is an ISC), your temperatures don't look that different from mine. The cyclic excursions between 205 and 223 would bother me, though, if they couldn't be explained by additional load from grades, a stiff headwind, etc.

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Old 06-06-2013, 03:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FDchief View Post
Thanks Cbones, it is nice to hear that my coach is running within normal limits. You said this is on the smaller engines, do the ISL and ISX run in the same temps that they use to?
I am not sure if this applies to the ISL and ISX as I never questioned Cummins about those engines.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:36 PM   #12
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Mine does sound like the new normal temps now. The OPs big swings sounds like an electronic glitch in the making. Maybe a bad sensor or a loose ground.
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:34 PM   #13
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Cummins doesn't supply the cooling system - the chassis builder does (though it has to meet Cummins specs for the engine). What Cummins allows as an absolute minimum/maximum is not the "norm". It is important to notice when your coach temps start to leave their normal range and head towards the limits, because that indicates a problem in the cooling system. A change of 10 degrees is significant.

My 2004 ISL "normally" runs at about 185 (the temp the thermostat opens) to around 195, and the transmission stays a bit under that. The fan has been running since 110 degrees - it's a variable speed fan under ECM control. On long grades both temperatures climb to around 200-210, which is "hot" for my configuration. Cummins says I don't have to worry about permanent damage at 210, but I know I'm far above "normal", so I watch it closely. At 220 I have to start thinking about possible damage if it continues for very long.

Chassis with an ISC engine may NOT have a variable speed fan. I know that neither Freightliner nor Spartan equipped them that way in the early 2000's. Not sure about more recent ones. Likewise for a chassis with the ISB engine.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:20 PM   #14
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I spent the day at Cummins in Birmingham and found out several things about the history of my engine...even before I bought it new from my RV dealer. Evidently, there was some work done on it and it required the dealer to replace the ECM module. When they did this, no updates were applied, including the injector codes. The mechanic told me there were 10 published updates that he needed to apply. Cummins told me to drive it and see if it behaves any better. I will let you know if it made a difference after we make the upcoming trips to Nashville and St. Louis.
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