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Old 04-11-2016, 09:33 AM   #1
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Where do you learn?

I have a long list of maintenance items that need doing and would like to do most/all myself. I'm modestly handy but certainly no diesel mechanic. Ive changed air dryer and air filter, changed transmission filters, etc. Where do you go to learn A) how to do things and B) where everything is located? For example, need to flush and fill radiator. Is there a procedure to follow? Is there a chart that shows where the petcocks are? I've read you can get air stuck in the system that will keep it from working properly. The ISC engine system is complex and I don't want to tackle a project and miss anything important.

2013 Fleetwood Discovery 40G / 2012 GMC Acadia
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Old 04-11-2016, 09:40 AM   #2
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You should have info in the packet that came with your coach. Freightliner has classes to learn about their chassis at their factory.They also do seminars at rallies. http://www.fcccrv.com/wp-content/upl...Chassis-v2.pdf You can also find just about everything doing a internet search. Tom 07 Pacifica

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Old 04-11-2016, 10:27 AM   #3
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Tom, I thought it would be easy to find diagrams and procedures online. After much searching what I have found is lots of forum discussions on doing it but very little specifics on how. Hoping someone can point me towards the specific.
2013 Fleetwood Discovery 40G / 2012 GMC Acadia
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:15 AM   #4
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I don't have a diesel MH but I do have diesel farm equipment. I had them come out and service my equipment and took notes. I know garages are a little more restrictive but you may find one that would allow you to watch and take notes.
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Old 04-11-2016, 02:12 PM   #5
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I have learned most of that stuff by tackling one item at a time and then visiting this website and the one at RV.net for topic search and the posting of my questions.

Also my coach manuals and the Cummins engine manual have most of the answers if I bother to read them.

My C8.3L Cummins manual actually has step by step photo instructions on many service items.

I even learned to replace my dash AC system components via You-Tube videos, and other sites on the internet. Who woulda thunk a former desk jockey could do this?
1995 CC Magna #5280
C8.3L 300hp Cummins, 31,000lbs
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Old 04-11-2016, 02:26 PM   #6
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youtube has some videos on some of those items.
HR 29 fks TT, 1 slide, Chevy Silverado, RVM 167
Next stop?
Previous rigs..2 Pickup campers,2 TT's, 3 DP MH's
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Old 04-11-2016, 02:43 PM   #7
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I use YouTube for a lot of projects.
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Old 04-11-2016, 02:54 PM   #8
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These engines may be complex, but relatively easy to maintain. I've seen the "real mechanics" working on them and by golly I knew I could do a much better jab than they do.

Changing the coolant is not all that hard. Find out what coolant is currently in the engine and use that. Don't mix OAT coolants with the others unless you completely clean and flush the system several times. OAT type of coolants don't play well with others, but they are the newest and best on the market. As far as the petcocks, on my two Discoveries I have owned, they were located on the smaller diameter heater hoses on the rear drivers side. Also proper procedure was on a sticker near the rear radiator. Basically the procedure is to purge air from the dashboard heater circuit. The way the system is designed air will get purged normally after a few hundred miles anyway, so it isn't a huge problem. You just have to keep adding coolant until everything stabilizes.

Hard to get more specific since your coach is much newer and everything changes over time. Ask specific questions here and on the DOAI site and I'm sure you will gets lots of good information specific to your engine/chassis.
Good Luck, Be Safe and Above All, Don't Forget To Have Fun
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:16 PM   #9
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I always start here and then g to you tube. Between the 2 it has been a wealth of information

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Old 04-11-2016, 04:24 PM   #10
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Your local college may have adult education courses that teach maintenance.
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:38 PM   #11
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In theory most vehicles would have some way to allow you to bleed air from the highest point in the system. On some of my toys I've had to lift the rear of the car because the the highest point did not have any provision to allow air to escape. I wouldn't think a motor home would have this problem.
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:20 PM   #12
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Regarding the radiator flush and fill, I did this not too long ago, and found a great tutorial posted by Brett Wolfe. I saved it, and I've included it below. It is written for a Cat engine, but the steps will be the same.


Cooling System 101

I just changed out my coolant to Caterpillar ELC and replaced all water hoses and belts. Thought I would share the experience.
To my knowledge no chassis/coach maker is using ELC—so all are "low silicate coolant for diesels" with included or added SCA. Coolant needs to be changed per manufacturer's instructions (usually every 3 years). Additionally the SCA, pH and freeze point need to be checked on regular intervals using SCA test strips and SCA added as needed. The test strips are inexpensive and easy to use (we check the SCA concentration in all coaches at Cat RV Club Rallies). When either the time lapses (time starts when coolant installed in cooling system, NOT when purchased) or testing reveals an out-of-line conditions like pH or freeze point, it is time to change it. You can avoid all the testing and SCA adding, and go to 6 year change intervals by going to Caterpillar ELC and get better cooling system protection as well. Whichever coolant you choose, most of the steps are the same. The job is reasonably time consuming TO DO RIGHT, but low-tech.

Turn dash heater to full hot for the rest of the procedure—fan off. With the engine cold or at least cool, drain coolant. On some, there is a drain cock. On others, pull the lower radiator hose. I catch it in 2 Rubbermade 10 gallon storage bin lined with black trash sacks so I do not even get them dirty. At the end of the whole process, use a coffee can and funnel to pour old coolant into new coolant/water containers for recycling. Our city maintenance shop recycles coolant for free.

Refill cooling system with tap water. IMPORTANT: Be sure to remove any air lock from the thermostat housing. Some systems have a hose set up for this—on ours I just loosen the coolant line to the air pump and bleed the air out. Allow engine to warm up (using the cruise control to select idle speed of 1,000-1,100 speeds this up). Run for about 10 minutes at regular temp. If the temp gauge does not rise as normal, you likely have an air block and need to bleed the thermostat housing. Allow engine to cool 20-30 minutes and drain again. Repeat until the color is clear.

At this point, if this is the first coolant change on a 2-3 year old coach and you are not changing coolant brands/types, skip right to "Last rinse". For older systems or for switching types of coolant, add a Cooling System Cleaner such as Cat Fast Acting Cooling System Cleaner 4C4611. Follow directions. Run, allow engine to cool, drain and again flush until effluent is clear. The flushing is markedly sped up by pulling off the heater hose (usually 5/8 to ¾" lines going to dash heater/motor-aid water heater, etc from the water pump. Put a hose nozzle in the hose and let it run until what comes out is clear. Run the engine to temperature at least once with tap water.

If your hoses are over 3-4 years old, this is a good time to change them as well (before last rinse). Same for thermostat(s).
Last Rinse is with distilled water. At $.62/gal at Walmart, it is silly to skip this step and leave your system full of high-mineral content water (there will be several gallons of residual water that you can not easily remove). Run engine for 10 minutes after getting to operating temperature. Cool and drain. Also drain and flush your coolant overflow container and refill with new coolant/distilled water.

Add the proper amount of Coolant CONCENTRATE (NOT PRE-DILUTE) to make 50% of cooling system capacity. My cooling system is 18 gallons, so I added 9 gallons of Caterpillar ELC CONCENTRATE (119-5150) (plus one for overflow container). Top off with distilled water to achieve your 50/50 mixture.

This is also a good time to clean the OUTSIDE of the radiator/after-cooler whether you have rear or side radiator. On rear radiator, most if the debris will be on the FRONT of the after-cooler (accessed from under the bed). On side radiators, most debris is on the outside of the after-cooler (side of coach). If it is just dirt, a hose and regular nozzle is all you need. If greasy or oily, use Joy liquid (dish washing detergent) in a spray bottle. Be SURE to rinse it off completely. You need to insure that the perimeter is as clean as the center. Ya, I know it is easier to see the center, but the fan blades "sling" the dirt to the perimeter.
Check belts while you are in there.

Brett Wolfe

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St. Augustine, Fl.
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