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Old 03-09-2012, 12:25 PM   #1
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What am I missing?

My recent purchase of a 40' Monaco had me a little concerned that I may have over looked some key systems. Having never owned a Diesel RV I looked at the normal systems I was familiar with (same as on a gas RV). Most everything seems to be in good shape.

After browsing through the manuals I found so many other systems I know very little about. Now I did buy from a dealer and was assured the RV was gone through from top to bottom.
What would be a good list of things to check or plan to replace more frequently than on a gas powered RV.. A few things that come to mind is the suspension air filter and fuel filter. Items that seem to require more frequent maintence than a gas vehicle.

2000 Monaco Windsor Cummins 330
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:38 PM   #2
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Rob, I don't want to sound negative, but you need to have a trusted tech go over the unit. I hate to say it, but often when a dealer said "everthing was gone over" it means the unit was washed. Diesel owners will have lots of suggestions, however if you are not familiar with diesel chassis the learning curve will be steep.

Good luck with your "New Baby".


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2005 Dolphin LX 6375
Abby, Ruffles & Scarlett, "The Cats"
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Thanks Fred. Yea the problem lies with not having a trusted tech I know of. I dont want to start replacing stuff for the sake of lining some guys pocket.
They did walk me through the entire RV and I did see the various new filters they did replace and checked fluid levels myself.
I am capable of rebuilding a gas motor and a mechanical engineer by profession. I figure I can fix just about anything thats broke but I'm not even sure I've looked at everything.

Its one of those things.. You dont know what your dont know. Also just not familar with DP's and the differences from a gas RV.
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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Hi Rob! I just bought a 2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT and it is really mind-boggling after having a 5er for 12 years! The previous owners did not keep good maintanance records so I plan to just assume that everything is due and start out fresh. I am working on a good maintenance schedule so I can keep everything done on time. One thing you have to watch out for is that most of the maintenance has a time limitation as well as mileage. I have learned that the Speedco truck lube shops can do all the routine maintenance at probably half the cost of a diesel truck shop. I started a thread about Speedco service and only had one negative response. I like the fact that they will let you stand there and watch them do the service. Good luck!
Joe & Annette

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Old 03-09-2012, 06:23 PM   #5
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Rob, have you checked out the Monaco section? Monaco Owner's Forum - iRV2 Forums, I believe you will find the info you are looking for.

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Old 03-09-2012, 07:40 PM   #6
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There won't be much difference in service requirements, gas or diesel, need oil changes, and filter changes and routine services. the biggest difference you will see, is the time or mileage intervalsl, and of course the costs. DP's are much more costly to keep up.
Damn, I'm Good!
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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Boy, I can identify with where you are at! I was just a little (OK I lied, a lot!) overwhelmed at first too. First thoughts-

If it's a rear radiator, take a good careful look (with flashlight) to see what kind of a crud collection you have on the fan side of that, especially the outer perimeter. That's a big deal on some of these, especially if your crankcase vent is dumping right into the fan's path...

In addition to all the filters, I would also want to know the last time the trans fluid, anti freeze, and serpentine belt was replaced? Regarding the belt - it's not like an automotive belt that will go forever. I learned that the hard way....

Regarding a trusted tech, often truck shops in the area will offer a "safety check" pretty reasonably. That should include a walk around under it, and a brake inspection. They're used to working with stuff this size, and know what they're talking about. I lucked out and found a guy that won't try and BS me, has taught me a bunch in the 2 times I've seen him.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:36 PM   #8
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Just did the same thing last Nov. Lucked out and had a dealer who was as good as his word fixed evrthing he said he wuld. It sure is a change with the different systems. I love it though.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:56 PM   #9
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Greatlakes, One item that I think you would be well served to renew is the air dryer filter. It is what removes moisture from the air that is used in your air brakes. If the other filters have been changed as you mentioned you should be good to go for some miles.
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:08 AM   #10
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Congrats, and hope this unit gives you many miles of smiles ahead!!!

A few comments, then some suggestions:
-Good honest dealers do exist. What is the rep of the place you bought yours from?
-Did you get maintenance records?
-Some dealers provide those, especially when the records are good
-Some do not
-Do you know the name of the previous owner? If not, ask the salesman
that worked with you, if they will get in contact with the person, and
give them your contact info, saying you would appreciate any
back ground history on the rig.
-Last tip, can you tell where the rig was serviced before? Stickers, old
receipts? If so, contact them and ask them to pull the history on the
-When in doubt, on the things you can't see. (Like Tire dates, you can see them. But you can't see oil quality.) If you can't prove it has been done, then do your own major service to get a 'solid baseline' to go forward on. Yep, could cost some coin, but it will set you up for normal maintenance going forward.

Baseline Maint Considerations:
-Do an oil change and filters, and get an oil analysis - it will tell you the current condition, and then allow you to monitor from that point.
-Air cleaner
-Cooling fluid check, not levels, but condition (Strips at Cummins available.)
-Air Cartridge, again if not able to prove it is replace, do so.
-Trans fluid, has it been changed to Transyn, if not, good idea to do so.
-Belts, hoses, etc. A visual inspection of the belts will usually tell you. (As a tip, if replacing, we always put the old one in a bag and carry it just in case!). Hoses are a tough one, at that age, they are getting close to being ready for preventative swap out. Your call on the timing, now on your schedule and your shopping dime. Or, on the road at wherever you might be and their costs....
-Wheel hubs checked, normal chassis lube.
-Inspect bushings
-Shocks checked, and plan replacement if needed
-Etc., Etc.

I'll stop here. If you feel comfortable on many of these, go to it. If not, then look up 'independent RV Inspectors', and ask them to come give you an inspection. Tell them it is for you, and your looking for a sanity check review of what needs to be done now, or soon, from their perspective. (NOTE: If the dealer has a good rep, and you do feel good about it, they should have done a PDI on the rig. Did they include this for you? If not, ask them for it from their records. On our coach, I went in and talked to the mechanic that did the rig's PDI - he had good info, and I find the appreciate being asked for input. If the dealers Service Manager will allow you to talk with him/them.)

On the engine, go to a Cummins service center, and pay for them to do a full analysis and dyno test, look to be sure recalls were done, etc. This cost me about $400, out of my wallet, as a pre-inspection before purchase condition of sell, with a get out of jail walk away, if I did not like the results of the inspection and oil analysis.

A few not chassis areas. I would swap out the water filter, unless again you feel the dealer PDI did this and you believe it (our dealer did, and you could tell it was new). Sanitize your water tanks (search on this board for how to.). Check all windows, and seams where calk is, to be sure it's in good shape. Fridge and LP and Water Heater maintenance, as you would with a gasser. Look over the battery, and if the terminals were not cleaned at the Dealer PDI (another good way to see your comfort level of what they did or did not do)...

I always recommend going slow, and getting the baseline maintenance fully caught up. Again, when it doubt, do it. This give you a chance to learn your rig, it also is again done on your schedule and dime. I'm a firm believer in 'If you take care of your rig, your rig will take care of you.

Once you get up to speed on DP's, they are not really that much more complicated on maintenance, in some ways easier, then a gasser.

Go enjoy, have fun, be safe,
Roo II is our 04 Country Coach Allure 40'
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:24 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the great input Especially Smitty that was a very good informative read. The dealer has a good reputation and I trust they did everything they said they would. They made no bones about the fact that this is a 12 year old coach and was not in perfect shape. Which I knew going into this things would need some TLC. The price was right so I expect to have to dump some money into it..
I bought the RV for 8k under the book value so I didnt put any money down knowing I would need to buy some things.. Just trying to figure out where to start and you all have provided some great information.. Thanks.
2000 Monaco Windsor Cummins 330
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:51 AM   #12
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Rob, I started out about where you are in 2004 when we bought our RV. I was comfortable with the gas engine environment and was more than a bit intimidated by the diesel.

Based on what I've done since our purchase, here are my recommendations to you.

1. Start with the chassis manual for your coach. It will have a list of the maintenance routines. Do a "divide and conquer" on the list of items, putting aside items like "lube front end" where there is little difference with a gas chassis and concentrating on any item on the list that isn't familiar to you.
2. The air brake system is a great place to start. In your case, I'd assume that any maintenance routine that wasn't documented had not been performed and I would go ahead and do it immediately. There are air brake system checkout lists that walk you through forcing the warning buzzers and automatic brakes to go off. They also check for leaks in each of the system. I'd recommend getting one of those and performing it regularly. I also can say that I'm one of those who seldom uses the brakes hard enough to activate the automatic slack adjusters and use the checkout routine to do that. In my case, the air brake air filter also had a kit which replaces the coelessing filter under it, the exhaust valve and the cover over the intake heater. If yours has a similar setup, ti would be a good idea to do it. To me, there is no such thing as too much familiarity with the air brake system.
3. Whether you have a rear or side radiator, there could be issues. With the rear radiators, dirt build up can be bad. Mine was. I had to go through a Simple Green cleanup and doing that repeatedly since has eliminated a lot of problems with potential overheating. On side radiators, there are sometimes problems with the variable control for the fan. It would be a good idea to set up a test where you could observe that the fan was operating correctly.
4. With any older engine, the most vulnerable parts are made of rubber. I replaced my belts and hoses at 5 years just because it was a lot cheaper than having a breakdown because of one of them. It is a great idea to replace the sepentine belt on most diesels in advance because you may need special tools to do it. Mine, for example, has a 3/8" square opening in the tensioner. I needed a 1/2" to 3/8" adaptor on my 1/2" breaker bar to be able to get enough leverage to open the tensioner and remove the belt I also strongly recommend making your own belt path diagram before attempting to remove the belt. If it does break, it may not be easy to figure out how to put it back on without the diagram.
5. I don't have them but dealing with airbags when servicing a diesel is important. I bought jack stands so that I could lift the chassis and block it. Safety first.
6. The most common failure on diesel engines seems to be fuel related. One bad load of diesel can leave you stranded. I have several spare fuel filters and have done the job of replacing it enough times to know how to do it. I use an additive, too. Buying fuel at high volume stations is another preventative measure. You can still get bad diesel but your odds are improved it the station is selling 1,000s of gallons per day. Fortunately, I've never had fuel issues.
7. I waited too long to put a device on that charges the chassis batteries at the same time as the house batteries and it cost me a new set of chassis batteries. If yours doesn't have one, I'd recommend getting one ASAP. Mine was about $50.
8. I love VMSpc. It is a monitoring program that runs on a laptop that will let you see the data buss for the chassis. You can monitor any sensor that feeds the bus. For example, I don't have a turbo boost gauge on my dash but VMSpc has that feature. In additional, it captures and stores all error codes. That alone has saved me the price of the package. It was about $400 when I bought it. It attaches to the diagnostic port on your chassis. I run a laptop while we are driving that has a split screen - 1/3 for VMSpc and 2/3 for Street Atlas, a GPS program. It works great.

I hope that some of this helps you.


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