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Old 07-16-2013, 11:41 AM   #1
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Engine Cut-out, Check Engine Light

2003 Itasca, 300hp Cummins, Allison 6 speed.

When climbing hills and the RPM's are about 2,300-2,400, the engine cuts out and the check engine light flashes. This is about a 1/10th second occurence. It happens a lot, but maybe not every time.

Cruising down the highway is never an issue, just when under load and the rpm's are up.

I'm thinking fuel filter, but it was changed 11/1/2012 and I've only put about 2,000 miles on it since then. That is, if they really changed it. The tech wrote on the housing the date it was changed. However, I called the service department that did the work with another question about the fuel filter and the tech that called me back wasn't familiar with the type I have. He only knew about spin-on filters and mine isn't like that. I have a housing with a lever/valve on the side. That valve is used to drain water from the filter, I think. I tried it and couldn't get it to shut off and diesel was pouring out of the tube connected to the valve. I worked it a few times and finally got it to stop. It is an FS 1268 filter, which is discontinued.

I guess this has turned into two questions, but my main issue is the engine cut-out and the concurrent check engine light.

Anyone have an idea of the problem? I'm thinking of taking it to Valley Freightliner in Pacific, Wa for diagnosis and repair, but only because they are very close. I don't know anything about them and don't see any reviews here or online.

Thanks, Phil
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:58 AM   #2
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I'd be willing to bet it's a fuel filter problem. Change that and see what happens.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by topdownman View Post
I'd be willing to bet it's a fuel filter problem. Change that and see what happens.
Thanks, Mark. I think you are probably right, but the check engine light has me puzzled. I guess I didn't think it would light up for lack of fuel, but maybe it has a sensor for that. I'd like to find a video or instructions on how to change this filter. It appears to be a top-load filter. Looks like you use a socket to remove the top of the housing, remove the filter, replace with new and then what? I know there is some discussion about adding diesel to the filter or not. I'll see what I can find. I did find the replacement number for a Fleetguard filter seems to be FS19579, so that's a start.

Thanks again, Phil
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:15 PM   #4
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If the injector pump cannot build enough fuel pressure due to lack of fuel, it can trigger the check engine light.
There is a possibility that you have the first signs of a lift pump failure.
The lift pump is an electric fuel pump that moves fuel from the tank to the fuel filter then to the high pressure injector pump; and low lift pump pressure can produce the same problems as a bad filter.
With your description of this as a slightly erratic problem , I'd lean towards the lift pump over the filter.
There is also the possibility that along with the Cummins filter on the engine , that the chassis manufacturer installed a pre filter, that could have never been changed.
I'd caution against changing your own filter ; because if the lift pump is not working to get the filter housing filled, by cycling the ignition key 3 times with a 20 sec wait in the on position before turning off. Then starting the engine. If the lift pump won't fill the filter housing and purge the air then you may not be able to start the engine.
JMHO. take the coach in , have the system inspected for a second filter, have the lift pump pressure tested and check the Electronic Control Module for codes. I know this will cost , but if you can't get the coach re-started after changing your own filter. Towing to the shop for lift pump replacement will just add to your bill.
If you want to try changing the filter yourself, post a picture and I'll walk you through the change. I spent the last 14 years before retirement doing Dodge Cummins repairs.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:40 PM   #5
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That all sounds like good advice, Skip. I do have towing insurance so that's not an issue, but it would still be a hassle. I did find this video and this is pretty much what it looks like on my motorhome.

I thought if I did this myself, I might put a little diesel in the housing, first, then the filter. I don't know if it's possible to add diesel with the filter already in place. I can take a picture tomorrow and post it. Probably should have done that in the first place.

Thanks for the advice, Phil
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:19 PM   #6
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Video show fuel filter change on a Dodge, ISB Common Rail engine ; and a very dirty filter; poor environmental practices JMHO ; Early in the video you can see an electrical connector on the back of the filter housing, attached to the plastic housing of the lift pump ; about 2" dia. and 5" tall; I don't know if that is the location of your lift pump.
Dodge had so many failures of the pumps in that location ; heat and vibration killed them; that they moved the pump into the fuel tank , same location as the gas powered trucks. Lube the " O " ring before installation.
I'd add one thing ,before you start, mark a line across the top of the plastic cap and the edge of the filter housing ; with white paint ; and when you tighten the cap back up that will be the place you stop to avoid over tightening.
Note; some early production caps had a 1/2" drive recess in the center of the cap , if yours does , do not use it , only use a socket preferably 6 point to remove the cap. Using the 1/2" square will break the cap.
If your lift pump is attached to the housing and won't run to fill the filter, they can sometimes be coaxed back to life with a gentle hammer. Have someone turn the key on while you tap LIGHTLY.

Adding fuel to the housing with the filter in place would be preferable , as the fuel would have to flow through the filter to get into the high pressure fuel pump.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Video show fuel filter change on a Dodge, ISB Common Rail engine ; and a very dirty filter; poor environmental practices JMHO ; Early in the video you can see an electrical connector on the back of the filter housing, attached to the plastic housing of the lift pump ; about 2" dia. and 5" tall; I don't know if that is the location of your lift pump.
Dodge had so many failures of the pumps in that location ; heat and vibration killed them; that they moved the pump into the fuel tank , same location as the gas powered trucks. Lube the " O " ring before installation.
I'd add one thing ,before you start, mark a line across the top of the plastic cap and the edge of the filter housing ; with white paint ; and when you tighten the cap back up that will be the place you stop to avoid over tightening.
Note; some early production caps had a 1/2" drive recess in the center of the cap , if yours does , do not use it , only use a socket preferably 6 point to remove the cap. Using the 1/2" square will break the cap.
If your lift pump is attached to the housing and won't run to fill the filter, they can sometimes be coaxed back to life with a gentle hammer. Have someone turn the key on while you tap LIGHTLY.

Adding fuel to the housing with the filter in place would be preferable , as the fuel would have to flow through the filter to get into the high pressure fuel pump.
Skip, this is REALLY good information. You are a wealth of knowledge! I feel like I can confidently replace the filter myself. I will try to find one, locally. Here are some pics I took, which are really hard to get due to the filter being behind the grill. I do see the sensor connection which would probably send a check engine signal to the light in the dash. Do all those connections mean the lift pump is located in the housing? I have more pics but seem to only be able to add 4 at a time.

Thanks again!
Phil
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Madrona View Post
Skip, this is REALLY good information. You are a wealth of knowledge! I feel like I can confidently replace the filter myself. I will try to find one, locally. Here are some pics I took, which are really hard to get due to the filter being behind the grill. I do see the sensor connection which would probably send a check engine signal to the light in the dash. Do all those connections mean the lift pump is located in the housing? I have more pics but seem to only be able to add 4 at a time.

Thanks again!
Phil
Here is another pic showing some of the connections.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:51 PM   #9
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Although similar to the Dodge Cummins , fuel filter housing ,the lift pump is not attached to the housing in the pictures. Wiring connector may be a " water in fuel " sensor, or a fuel heater. The filter housing in the pictures was installed by the chassis manufacturer there may be another filter in line on the motor as in the video.
Grill should be hinged , possibly retained at the bottom with screws , if raising use caution, if I raise mine too high the whole grill drops out of the hinge and its a ..... to put back in.
Top fitting ; right hand side of photo, is fuel in , lower left is the, out to the motor, follow them both , looking for the lift pump and another filter.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:27 PM   #10
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Well, Skip, I think I'll go back to your first post in this thread and take that advice, take it in. You've given some specific info I can use to guide the service department in what I need. I went and took another look, my grill doesn't lift up. It does above the lower grill, for checking oil and coolant, but the lower portion where the filter is located is a part of the rear cap. I looked just a little for an inline filter, but unfortunately, I suffer from a condition, old man syndrome, that doesn't let me lay down and look up without having nausea for the rest of the day. I'll just take it in, pay the man, and hopefully that will solve my issue. Thanks so much for all your informative help.
Phil
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:18 PM   #11
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No problem , any time .
Travel safe.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:30 PM   #12
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ck engine light on after going up grade

i too have , well had the same problem. my mechanic changed fuel filter on my new to me 99 cummins 5.9 275 with 21k miles. He felt the light coming on without any changes in other guages indicated it might just be a bad sensor.. well now I'm sitting stuck in central california with the family waiting for a mechanic to check out the rv on monday. the check engine light came on, I saw the oil pressure light going from 40 to 60 then the stop engine light came on and rv lost all power and quit. here i sit... our first trip in it. after spending lots of money to a mechanic to get it ready.. pulled radiator flushed and cleaned, new pump, hoses and belts. oil change , transmission fluid change air filter and fuel filter etc... Im lucky the state fair going on so things to do..
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:23 AM   #13
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We just bought (well don't have it yet) a 2002 Itasca horizon and on the test drive it did the same thing. I bought it with the agreement that they fix it first. Well they tell me the repairs are already up to $4700. We were supposed to pick it up last Sat but still not done. I was told they are replacing the whole fuel system pumps and all. Check engine light was for low fuel pressure. Got a good deal on the coach but now they are saying they are loosing money on the deal for as much as that is worth. Will let you know on the outcome.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:34 PM   #14
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I'm not sure that the 2003 has the fuel strainer or not. You might check up inside the frame rail on the passenger side just above the rear axle/suspension. It is hard to see and very hard to get to when changing. It is about 4 inches long and about 1 1/2 inches diameter.
My coach had the same symptoms as yours. They changed 2 turbos and one lift pump before they followed the "flow chart" for the code that it was giving. The strainer is supposed to be changed about every 10,000 miles or yearly. It is a Racor strainer and is available @ most Freightliner dealers.
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