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Old 10-26-2011, 04:35 PM   #1
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Overheating?? Yes and no



Okay, here is the scenario... My husband and I were traveling home from a trip to the beach. We have a Itasca Suncruiser 02 on a Chevy Workhorse chassis with a 5 speed allison transmission. There was an accident with bumper to bumper traffic that went on for a couple of hours. The coach was running fine and when traffic opened up, DH moved over into the lane next to the fast lane since the road was smoother and raised his speed up to about 65 miles per hour to keep up with the flow of traffic. Up to this point he admits he was not paying attention to the gauges because things were going so smoothly. We had gone down the road a few miles when suddenly I hear him shout an expletive as he is moving the coach off the freeway and on to the shoulder of an off ramp. He said he had glanced down at the temperature gauge and said that it was "buried" in the overheated position. He had no idea how long it was overheated. He turned off the engine and checked under the hood but could not find anything that looked wrong. We sat there for about 25 minutes and decided to pull it off the freeway and over to a gas station. When he turned the engine back on, the temperature gauge dropped back into a normal position (about 210). We thought this was strange. The gauge has been reading accurately so this is not the question. We started driving to the gas station and my DH decides that since the MH seems to be running normal he wants to try taking the MH all the way home. The Cajon Pass was between us and home, but he said we would take it slow and pull over as needed. Get this... we did drive home. We did take the pass at about 35 miles per hour (luckily there was a slow big rig in front of us). The temperature gauge never again showed any signs of overheating. I am working on having a mechanic look at the MH but was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on what we should be looking for. It just seems that if there was a real problem with overheating, that it would have surfaced again. Do you think maybe it is an intermittent fan clutch? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:12 PM   #2
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When the needle was pegged and you pulled over was there any other indication that the motor was hot such as steam or smell or popping and cracking sounds?

I think it is either a bad temperature sender unit or a loose wire on it or your thermostat stuck closed and then opened up. Maybe time to install a new thermostat and I would only recommend an original equipment one of known good quality and not one from China.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:21 PM   #3
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No... there was no steam, no smell and no popping sounds. It would be great if it was a faulty thermostat.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:24 PM   #4
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As you know, idling along in traffic causes massive heat build-up, so it seems likely the gauge was already high. I'm surprised you didn't hear the electric cooling fans cut in, though. They make such a roar that they are hard to miss, and they should come on well before the needle gets "buried". You might want to have the auxiliary electric fans checked for proper operation.

I'm not surprised that it drove fine after - cruising at highway speeds cools the engine quite well.

Is 210 your usual gauge reading when traveling at highway speeds?
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:49 PM   #5
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The unit has a great sound system so we had it turned up while we were cruising along, so we didn't hear anything unusual. That sure sounds like a newbie move doesn't it?

I'm pretty sure that it stays at or a little below 210 when cruising at highway speeds. Is that considered on the high side?
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleValley2 View Post
The unit has a great sound system so we had it turned up while we were cruising along, so we didn't hear anything unusual. That sure sounds like a newbie move doesn't it?

I'm pretty sure that it stays at or a little below 210 when cruising at highway speeds. Is that considered on the high side?
210 is normal for that gm 8.1. as O/Ps have said check Elec cooling fans(tip turn on your dash air after a short perion fans should come on), faulty T/stat (cooling fans should be on though), bad guage/sender (although unlikely). I would be very careful operating over 220 for long.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:31 AM   #7
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Check your coolant level. Low coolant may mean a small leak so see if the system pressurizes properly. The fans are suspect---did they come on over Cajon Pass? They should have come on at idle for that long almost a sure thing.

The Cajon Pass is a good test of your cooling system---and evidently you passed---pulling it @ 35mph should have out some pressure on the engine and transmission if you remained in the drive position for gearing. Also if you were really overheated initially your engine would have felt significantly hotter when checking under the hood it would have been very obvious.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:47 AM   #8
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AppleValley2, the same thing happened to us, except we had not been sitting in traffic. We were cruising along the interstate at about 63 mph, and I just happened to glance down to see that the temperature gauge was pegged. I pulled off onto the shoulder and expected to see steam rising from under the hood. There was no steam or no excess heat coming from the engine - nothing. I started the engine back up, and the gauge went to the normal position. That was several years ago, and it never happened again.

Before and after that incident, once the engine warms up, the temperature gauge always sits in the same position- just below the "half way" mark. It doesn't matter if we're sitting in traffic at 100 outside or climbing the Rockies.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:14 AM   #9
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A bad connection will peg the needle
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:40 AM   #10
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I don't believe you have a bad thermostat. A thermostat is only closed when you have the motorhome shutoff and cooled down. You had already been driving with no problem. The thermostat was open. While they will stick and not open to begin with, the only other failure is a broken spring which allows the thermostat to compress fully closed and no water flow. You would not be able to drive in this condition. I believe you had a guage problem. If you were pegged out, the engine would be overheated with the recovery tank overflowing and steam. I have seen this happen several times with no reoccurance. check the connection on the engine for the temp sensor. If that is OK. I would just drive it at see if it happens again.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:53 AM   #11
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The Actia instrument panel gets it's temperature (and all the other info) from the engine computer. The temp gauge is really an idiot light in disguise and only has about three positions as I recall - off - middle of the scale, and overheat.
It sounds like you had a "gremlin" that went away when the power was turned off and then back on.

You can download the manual in pdf format HERE .
It will download automatically when you click on "HERE" above.
There is a diagnostic mode the manual tells you how to activate that will operate all the gauges, tach and speedo. You might want to run it.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:43 PM   #12
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I wanted more info on my engine performance, so I went with ScanGauge - Trip Computer + Digitial Gauges + ScanTools receiving constant information.

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Old 10-27-2011, 11:30 PM   #13
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Hi neighbor

My wife and I just picked up our first motorhome today in Apple Valley and drove it home to Laguna Beach. It's a '92 Fleetwood Bounder 31. Mine seemed to be running at about 210 untill a good grade took it up to 230 over thetop and returned to 210 sitting at a stop caused it to creep up again. It only has 19,000mi. look forward to talkin to or seein' ya one day
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:40 AM   #14
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Captaindesmo, a couple of things because 230* is too hot, did you manually downshift to keep the rpms up when the temps started to climb when you where climbing? On steep grades the automatic downshifting is normally not enough and one has to manually hold it in a lower gear to keep the rpms up around the horsepower peak rpm. Also if it is a rear radiator unit then you might want to clean the radiator and CAC from both sides with a strong detergent like Simple Green or Gunk engine degreaser.
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