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Old 01-06-2015, 02:58 PM   #1
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Is it the Age or the Miles???

A recent thread over in the Newmar forum included a thread on repairs that one owner needed to have made to his engine. Several people expressed surprise that those repairs were needed on an engine with so few miles (around 70k I believe). At least one other person commented that age, not miles, could affect a number of the engine components, expecially those that might be subject to corrosion. The point was made that yes, diesel engines typically go several hundred thousand miles without work ... BUT that for the typical truck diesel those miles are accumulated quickly (over only a few years). With our DP's the miles do not accumulate nearly as quickly ... and so problems related to sheer age tend to crop up, even with relatively low miles.

Two questions for discussion:
1) does the general forum tend to agree with the "age not miles" perspective?
2) would a yearly steam-cleaning of the engine tend to help avert those age-related problems (at least those that are associated with outside components of the engines)???
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:00 PM   #2
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My thought is...it depends. If the coach is properly maintained it should be good for many, many miles and several years.

Some items, like fluids, belts, hoses and tires should be renewed based on time if the coach is driven the typical 10,000 miles or less per year.

I don't know the answer on the steam cleaning. In the wrong hands a steam cleaner can do more harm than good. However I saw annual steam clenaing on the Detroit Diesel annual maintenance checklist.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:54 PM   #3
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Normal wear & tear items, rubber goods, etc. will need to eventually be replaced regardless of mileage. Use it & enjoy it. Fix things as need be.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:30 PM   #4
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My opinion it's lack of miles.
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:35 AM   #5
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An engine that is not used for long periods of time suffers far worse than an engine that is used frequently and properly maintained. Seals, gaskets, hoses, tires, fluids and other items go south with lack of use. I would rather have a well maintained unit with reasonable mileage than a low mileage unit that is seldom used.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:50 AM   #6
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Properly Maintained is the factor that determines how long a unit is serviceable.
If the unit was subjected to someone that tried to see how long they could put off
proper maintenance you will have above average problems.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:53 AM   #7
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Right on, Shaky and wb7auk. Proper maintenance combined with regular use is the key to longevity.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:55 AM   #8
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I doubt that the internal workings of the engine are affected by age.

The diesel engine is the 500,000 mile component, if properly maintained. All other parts of the drive train and suspension have use wear or age wear that may not allow them to go the distance.

The above statement is a generality not a guarantee.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:39 AM   #9
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There is a lot of good thought in the idea that MH travel should be moving every 3 or 4 nights while Fivers are a better choice for folks who move between a few spots for long periods of time. Trailers only have the axle assemblies to worry about sitting and the tow vehicle keeps getting driven. ;-)
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deandec View Post
I doubt that the internal workings of the engine are affected by age..
This would be true if not for corrosion. Trapped moisture and acids that result from combustion can corrode internal engine parts. When the engine is driven normally, this moisture is expelled through the exhaust, but if the engine sits for a prolonged period, moisture seeps in, combines with combustion byproducts, and internal corrosion can take place. Over a period of many months, this can damage your engine from within.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:17 PM   #11
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What would be considered as sitting around for a long time?

Lots of us typically park for 3 months or more during the winter. We all are pretty informed on starting and exercising our generators monthly. I've not heard any similar thoughts on the coach's engine.

Any thoughts on regularly starting the motor when driving the coach is not feasible?
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky_Boss View Post
What would be considered as sitting around for a long time?

Lots of us typically park for 3 months or more during the winter. We all are pretty informed on starting and exercising our generators monthly. I've not heard any similar thoughts on the coach's engine.

Any thoughts on regularly starting the motor when driving the coach is not feasible?
These thoughts from an old diesel engine rebuilder, serving agriculture.

You know, the average agricultural machine is used in Canada from spring until fall. If properly maintained, before storage for the winter, all fluids and filters will be changed, fuel tanks filled, and the unit will be parked hopefully inside an unheated building for the winter, about 5 months of storage. The engines will not be started once during that period of time.

Unheated storage means temperature fluctuations, with temperatures swinging down as low as -40, with resultant condensation within engine components.

When being used, these engines are under full load much of the time. On average, they are expected to provide more than 10,000 hours of basically trouble free service.

That's roughly equivalent to 500,000 miles of service.

It makes me wonder why the necessity to start our coach diesel engines several times during the winter?

Jim
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:20 PM   #13
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Curious - this maybe raises the additional question of whether annual service (fluid changes mostly) are better done before or after winter storage ??? (DP's only)
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN_Traveler View Post
Curious - this maybe raises the additional question of whether annual service (fluid changes mostly) are better done before or after winter storage ??? (DP's only)
Before, for sure! Reason? You do not want the crap that is in your old oil, sitting on your engine parts all winter, eating away at them! Plus, with new fluids, you are assured that the inside of your motor is coated with new clean oil, for your start of the next season! As too starting your coach during your winter storage or at your campsite while staying in it for the winter? That is up to you? What ever makes you feel the best! If you do chose to start it up, make sure you let it warm up to operating temp. and it does not hurt to put it into reverse and drive a couple of time's, just to cycle the trans. fluid too. Just remember to raise your jacks, and block the wheels if you do that! The one other thing that any good shop will tell you is to check the ELC in your radiator, when getting the oil changed! If needed, they can add, so the levels are good. You do not want captivation to start in your cooling system! And before you park it for a extended time, fill the fuel tank up, to keep condensation down! You do not want a bunch of water in your fuel system when you fire it up next time! Hope this helps?
Rail!
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