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Old 09-04-2013, 09:06 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Most Common Breakdowns Diesel Pusher

Tell me your experiences?
I have a trip planned and don't want any problems, i have done all the maintenance, oil, filters, coolant coolant filter, transmission fluid and filter, checked all the lamps, air conditioneers,Chassis lubed, V-belts and fuel filters. Coach just had new tires installed anong with my towed trailer.
Since my coach is 24 yrs old now, but has only 37,000 miles i don't expect any problems but...............What did I miss? and what problems have you had on the road that maybe I can avoid ?
36 ft. Hawkins 4 speed Allision Tranny, 3208 Cat, air suspension and Air Brakes, Jake Brake.


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Old 09-04-2013, 09:11 AM   #2
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Did you have the air dryer serviced? Was the Jake Brake serviced? How old is the serpentine belt? Low mileage on a diesel isn't necessarily a good thing. When were the brakes serviced?

And it will be whatever you didn't think to do that will be the "gotcha" moment. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.


Barbara & David O'Keeffe
Figment II (Alpine 2002 36 MDDS)
On The Road since 2006
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:18 AM   #3
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Have , spare fuel filters with you and all the tools; fuel for priming ; you need to change them.
Cell phone and a paid up MH towing plan.
Murphy; is riding with us, even brand new coaches can have issues on the road.
99DSDP 3884, Freightliner, XC, CAT 3126B, 300 HP /ALLISON 3060
2000 Caravan toad, Remco & Blue Ox.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:42 AM   #4
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Carry a spare serpentine & V-belt? for your engine!
Siggy & Ursula.
2011 Newmar DSDP 4020 (no Tag, no DEF, 07 emission),
FTL XCR ,ISL 400,2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited, 4x4, V6, Active Drive II, BrakeBuddy
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #5
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I run a 1996 Monaco Signature Series and have 41,000m on it. Other than small nagging problems really have never encountered any majors. Just do "all" your maintenance as others have recommended in prior remarks and have a great time.

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Old 09-04-2013, 10:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by siggyd View Post
Carry a spare serpentine & V-belt? for your engine!
And take a picture of the serpentine belt route if you can. Helps put a new one one go easier.
Don, Sandee & GSD Zeus. Guardian GSDs Gunny (7/11/15) & Thor (5/5/15)
2006 DSDP 4320, Spartan MM IFS, 2013 CR-V, Blue Ox Avail, SMI AF1, Samsung 197R Refer.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:34 AM   #7
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Great tip Don!
Clay & Pebble.. Miss Butter our sweet Goldie (Jan. 2005-Jan. 2015) Sissy our Border Collie
2012 Providence 42 M. Spartan Chassis, 450 ISL
Ford Edge toad, RM All Terrane, TST TPMS, SMI Air Force One, RVM95....
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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I should have kept my old serp. belt when I replaced it as a spare. Dern.

Regarding the brake service comment by Barb, it raised a question I am curious about. What life expectancy would one typically get from a DP MH with supplemental braking (exhaust/jake..)

American Revolution 40L CAT C9
Samsung 197, TireMinder, Ready Brute Elite with Wrangler
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:13 AM   #9
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These things are almost as complex as the space shuttle. As soon as you think everything is up to snuff, something else crops up.

Just changed my serpentine belt. The factory belt looked good on the motor but once I got it next to the new Gates belt from NAPA there was no comparison.

That 1 item dictates whether you're driving or sitting (or maybe crashing). On my coach the fan, water pump, alternator, power steering and eventually the brakes all go away if it fails. Not to mention the mess it can make getting wadded up in the pulleys.

It's a pretty important $25 - $40 piece of the puzzle.
Dick & Theresa
2007 HR Endeavor 36 PDQ
Lots of power to pull the toys I don't have time to use!!
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:26 PM   #10
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A good road service plan above all others. I bought my MH used I had it three weeks and had put about 500 miles on it. I was driving to a wedding and noticed smoke coming out from the engine compartment. I stopped and went back to the compartment where I saw diesel fuel everywhere. I called the road service the mechanic found a cracked high pressure line to one of the cylinders. I only had 30,000 miles on a 8 year old coach.

If you have replaced the fuel filters they are not going to leave you stranded for a while more than likely. Same way with new belts. New ones break once in a while but not that often. A good road service plan the mechanic will have access to all of these parts.

In my case it was a holiday weeked. The mechanic could not get access to the new part so he got one from an old engine in his yard and bent it to fit. Then he ordered the new one and on the way back I had him replace it. The point being is a lot of things you need mechanics have at their establishment or sometimes can make work. For other parts they can get them. I had a hydraulic controller for my fan go out in sacremento California. The nearest one was in Memphis. They overnight shipped it and had me on my way the next day.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:32 PM   #11
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Only "breakdown" with two DSDP MH's over 13 years has been the fan control on our 2000 DSDP on FL chassis and CAT 3126. Called for a tow but before they got to my location FL support had me disconnect the wiring so the fan defaulted to high all the time. Cost me some fuel mileage though but I got where it was going. Then had it fixed under warranty later.
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 '14 CR-V
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:23 PM   #12
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You may want to consider doing a little shake down trip prior to the real one just to let everything settle in if it has been stored for a while. Maybe a Wal-Mart or equivalent. Seems many times op's have problems on the day they are leaving for that big long trip.

Hyd fan oil, heater anode rod, toilet seal wet and not leaking, decarbon genny spark arrestor, Spare fuel filters and means to change them as you can get dirty/bad diesel the very next time you fill up (from experience), coolant DCA level, drive shaft u-joint and slip shaft grease, front wheel hub oil, differential lube, ride height level....
1999 Newmar Mountain Aire MADP 4080, Cummins ISC 8.3L, Allison, Spartan MM IFS, Howard Power Center, Chev Trailblazer LTZ Towed w/ BlueOx rigging, Segway X2.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:30 PM   #13
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We took one of those long trips several years ago. I did everything you could think of for preventative maintenance. I put on a new serpentine belt and kept the old one as a spare. About 1600 miles into the trip, going across the bridges west of Baton Rouge, the temp started to rise and voltage loss. I just crossed the last bridge so I had room to pull over. No problem, right? I have a spare belt, go back and pull the old one out but it's still whole. On closer inspection the idler is gone! Bolt is sheared off flush in the block. Sunday night, 4 miles to the west exit. I walk back the highway with bumper to bumper traffic looking for the idler, no luck. I got lucky and found the idler laying on the cross member. With the right tools, a breaker bar and a ratchet strap, a Cummins ISB belt can be rerouted to run everything without the idler. Drove into town, 1st gear only, didn't want it to shake and disrupt my engineered belt system. Drilled and easy outted the broken bolt, replaced it and we were up and running. Long story short, you can't prevent everything. Just take it as it comes and enjoy your trip!
2005 American Tradition 40L
69' Camaro in tow
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:48 PM   #14
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I have been around trucks for over 40 years. Check all hoses for chafing or rubbing on frames, on each other or just touching something that vibrates while under way. This could be air, coolant, fuel or hydrolic such as power steering hoses. If they spring a leak, you could be stranded. Carry a roll of good duck tape like gorilla and it may get you to a town or shop. Another thing which you can't see is the brake pot diaphragms and they can develop a leak at any time and leave you stranded if it gets too bad. Especially on the park brake side where they have to hold to keep your parking brakes released. On the service brake pots they will only leak under brake application, which I have drove trucks many miles this way. Just use the jake and the gear shifter to slow you down and a light touch on the brake pedal. That's the way a good truck driver drives anyway. New rigs can be the worse as things may not be routed and tied up very good. I would say leaking or ruptured lines have been our number one cause of breakdowns over the years. Along with brake pot diaphragm failure.

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