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Old 01-18-2015, 11:30 AM   #1
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What's NORMAL for a diesel's OIL consumption?

I'm talking with a seller about his 38' DP with 65K miles and asked about oil use, and here is his response:

As with any diesel, there is a small amount of diesel smoke at start-up, but none when idling. When we took it to WA, (2013) it used one gallon in 6K miles. Bear in mind we had a horrendous headwind in WY, and had to go over the Rockies and Cascade mountains. I didn't add any oil while on the Washington DC (2013) trip (much easier drive).

Engine is a Cummins 400HP. No records from the original owner, oil last changed in 2012, with 12K miles put on since then, and no oil analysis to his knowledge.

While I'm not trying to diss this coach, I don't want to weigh against it too much about oil use.

Thoughts from those of you that have a lot of miles of experience?
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:37 AM   #2
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My concern would be,why has the oil not been changed since 2012.
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:28 PM   #3
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My concern would be,why has the oil not been changed since 2012.
Yep, that's the cornerstone concern that got me asking related questions. Seems that the seller is a guy that retired, bought a MH, spent several years on several trips, now has health/financial issues and wants out of his rig.

He wasn't aware that his coach seems to have a TPMS, so let's give him a 5 on awareness about his coach.

He said he'd have to add fuel to the tank in order for me to test drive it, so who knows what's in the tank. He's a genuinely nice guy, the coach is the brand and model I want, price is darned good...but for 700 miles away, I am doing more research. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to want an oil and tranny fluid analysis done.

Before going to that trouble, I'd like to know whether the consumption going up the mountains and into headwinds is considered to be normal?
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:09 PM   #4
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I am not qualified to state what the normal oil consumption is for a 400 HP Cummins. But, ours (please see signature) has not required any additional oil between annual oil changes in 22,000+ miles using Delo 400 or Rotella T.
We have pulled the Rockies on I-70 and TransCanada 1 as well as other mountain grades.
We traveled over 1700 miles twice to purchase our coach. So if I was seriously interested (and it seems that you are) I would go inspect it and if you like what you find then pull the oil and trans fluid samples for analysis. JMHO , but if it became mine I'd have all the fluids and filters (including the air filter) changed before I left the seller's town. From what I have read on these forums, be very cautious of running an aged-out and possibly deteriorated air filter.
Best of luck with your choice!
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:18 PM   #5
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Don't know about that particular coach but my Cummins 400 with 33K won't use a drop of oil in 6K. I would be inclined to think maybe the oil was filled to the full mark on the dip stick and that the dip stick had never been calibrated. Only way to really tell is to change the oil and calibrate the dipstick at that time. Usually if you overfill a diesel crankcase the engine will just burn it out until it finds it's correct level.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:40 PM   #6
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If it sits a lot the seals in the turbo will dry out and cause it to use oil. Might also want to check the engine vent tube to see if it's blocked.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post

As with any diesel, there is a small amount of diesel smoke at start-up, but none when idling. When we took it to WA, (2013) it used one gallon in 6K miles.

oil last changed in 2012, with 12K miles put on since then, and no oil analysis to his knowledge.
Sounds to me this coach has NOT been taken care of and if you purchased it, you would be buying blind. I think I would shy away from this.

FWIW, I've had two motor homes, one with a CAT C7 and now with a Cummins ISL 400.....neither used any oil inbetween yearly oil changes with mileage varying between 5000 and 10000.

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Old 01-18-2015, 05:06 PM   #8
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Sounds to me this coach has NOT been taken care of and if you purchased it, you would be buying blind. I think I would shy away from this.

FWIW, I've had two motor homes, one with a CAT C7 and now with a Cummins ISL 400.....neither used any oil inbetween yearly oil changes with mileage varying between 5000 and 10000.

Ron
I totally agree this coach has NOT been taken care of and with that kind of
oil consumption in 6K miles something is very wrong.
It could be as simple as a leak to a dusted engine and from what the owner replied to your question leads me to believe there is a major problem and he is well aware of it.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:11 PM   #9
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I wonder what the tires indicate for a date code if aged out that is a chunk of money to replace them.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:39 PM   #10
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What's NORMAL for a diesel's OIL consumption?

Our coach has a 400 HP Cummins ISL and uses NO OIL between 10,000+ mile changes. I would be VERY concerned about an engine that used a gallon of oil in 6,000 miles.

And no oil change for three years? Run, don't walk away from this one.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bdpreece View Post
Don't know about that particular coach but my Cummins 400 with 33K won't use a drop of oil in 6K. I would be inclined to think maybe the oil was filled to the full mark on the dip stick and that the dip stick had never been calibrated. Only way to really tell is to change the oil and calibrate the dipstick at that time. Usually if you overfill a diesel crankcase the engine will just burn it out until it finds it's correct level.
This is my 1st thought as well. But, an oil test would certainly be wise.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:21 PM   #12
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We have a Cat 3126B with 100K on it . No oil added between the 6000 mi changes. I would do some research on this one before you get bitten..
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:30 PM   #13
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I get no smoke out of my 2004 Cummins 330 when I start up.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:08 PM   #14
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Like most of you guys, the diesels that I've owned (4) have never given me cause for alarm about having to add oil. I'm going to ask him to have an oil analysis on his own dime in order to share with me the good news (in which case I'd re-imburse him) or the bad news.
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