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Old 01-02-2015, 10:08 PM   #1
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Unhappy Broke down in Death Valley

Just my luck! I bought my 36' Itasca Horizon diesel powered by a C-7 Cat almost a year ago. Since then, I've been slowly attending to the long list of neglected items until I thought I was ready for our first longer trip. Off to Death Valley (5 hour trip) we went. No issues on the way, totally uneventful. We dry camped for two days until a full hookup site became available. That's when the trouble started. When I turned the key on start the engine, the air pressure showed about 60 lbs, which is unusual because it usually holds air for days. I started the engine, but to my surprise it wouldn't build air pressure. I pumped the brakes down in an attempt to get the governor to kick in, still no joy. I called Good Sam Club, they won't help until Monday because it's a holiday weekend and I'm not "in immediate danger".
Long story shorter, I called in some favors and managed to get a friend of a friend to drive a hour out to bring me a D-2 governor. I swapped it out, fired it up fully expecting all to be well. Foolish me, still no joy.
I'm working with limited tools, options, and very sketchy internet connection. No audible air leaks that I can hear..
Does anybody have any brilliant ideas to try? Pahrump, NV and Ridgecrest, CA are 1 and 2 hours away, respectively, and the closest places for parts. I can't even move the coach until I get the air bags inflated.
At first, I thought it might be the leveling system dump acting up, but they seem to be working, and it wouldn't stop it from building air.
If it makes any difference, the lows the last couple of night have hovered around 32* or so, up to around 60 in the afternoon when I got the governor installed. The joys of RVing, eh?
Anyone have a brilliant scheme I can try?
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:16 PM   #2
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If you can, borrow an air compressor and hook it to the connection under the hood or in a compartment tow trucks use to air up system so they can tow it. A 120 v compressor can run off your generator. Once aired up (if it does air up) you can listen again for an air leak. If it holds air and the compressor can keep up, you could drive it to a shop and save the costs of a tow or mobile mechanic having to come with you, go find parts, etc.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:16 PM   #3
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May be a long shot, but here goes. Same thing happened to me one year in south Texas. It was VERY cold for the area that morning and I could not build up any air. Thought I had compressor problem or something, it turned out to be the O ring on the air dryer filter. Cold weather made it contract and would not seal up to build air pressure. All i had to do was tighten up the filter on the dryer. Check that, may be the same, best I can do from this distance. Good luck to you.
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Old 01-03-2015, 05:48 PM   #4
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Hi BigDBright,
Here is another long shot. The valves that tell the system to put air in the bags may be stuck. If they are in the "neutral" position no air will go into the bags. There may be two valves in the front and one for the rear. This has happened to me. What I have done is use the jacks to raise and lower the coach until the valves break free and tell the system to put air in the bags.
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:19 PM   #5
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You mention that you have been catching up maintenance neglected by the PO. How about the air dryer? Have you serviced it? If not, perhaps it's malfunctioned. Have you drained the tanks to check for water or vapor?

Long shot but some ice in the dryer might cause a problem.


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Old 01-03-2015, 06:42 PM   #6
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Check the line from the compressor to the air dryer for a leak. Need to stick head in engine compartment, while it is running, like putting head in lions mouth.


Remove hoses from air dryer and hook together or plug discharge opening with pipe plug.


See if drain valve or auto drain thing froze and cracked on the wet tank. That would be on the tank, that the line from the air dryer goes to.


Remove hose from compressor to air dryer, start engine, put finger over end, feel for pressure.


Check intake line to compressor.


Good Luck
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:02 PM   #7
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The dryer purge valve could be stuck or defective, if so it can be bypassed temporarily.
If you have a Bendix compressor, it also could be the unloader valves in the compressor, stuck or a broken spring on them, they are visible through the compressor intake
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:05 PM   #8
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post #2 & #4 have good info.

I'm going to venture a guess and say this has been you RV's first trip with below freezing temps in a while??
I think some moisture froze in a line some where.
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivraton View Post
The dryer purge valve could be stuck or defective, if so it can be bypassed temporarily.
If you have a Bendix compressor, it also could be the unloader valves in the compressor, stuck or a broken spring on them, they are visible through the compressor intake
I agree. Check to see if your dryer purge valve is stuck open. If his air tanks are only building to 60psi, I dont think it's the air bags.
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:25 AM   #10
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Pull the main line off the compressor, and if you have some air line drying fluid, or in a pinch, some diesel anti-gel, or just plain alcohol, pour it in the line, hold it up as high as you can get it to drain it towards the air dryer. put the line back on, fire it up! If you have a bit of ice in the line, that should clear it out! Also , what the other guys said about pulling the lines off the air dryer and hooking them together, to temporary bypass it, till you can get it to a shop to get it serviced. Also when you have the main discharge line off the compressor, fire it up and put you thumb over the fitting to see that you do have air coming out of the compressor. Hope that works, as air compressor's are not cheap! Rail!
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:48 AM   #11
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Well, here's where we are in the saga. I borrowed a small air compressor from another camper and tried filling the tanks through schrader valve that I found on the discharge line coming out of the drier. The compressor couldn't even make a dent with its limited size and duty cycle. I couldn't find a wrench large enough to remove the braided line from either the compressor outlet or the drier inlet, but I was able to first put my hand over the drier purge, then remove the output line from the drier; absolutely nothing comes out either place. No volume, or no pressure. I don't know that I have much choice at this point but to wait until Monday for Good Sam to send either a mechanic or a tow truck.
I have had two members that live in the Pahrump area message me offering whatever help they could; thanks so much for your offers.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:42 PM   #12
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Sorry too hear of your saga.
I hope you are able too keep warm.
I know this won't help you out this time but Manards has a 5-6 gallon
150 lbs pressure compressor. A good size for MH's. On Sale from $140.00
too $79.00.
Hope you bring better news on your next post.
Best wishes,
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:10 PM   #13
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According to the OP's description of weather conditions, I'd be very surprised it's a problem with ice. He said temps down to 32 then daytime in the 60s. I'd still try a larger compressor (go rent one) plugged in to the tow operator's air connection. With engine running, if the compressor is working, the heat generated by compressing the air should melt any water in the dryer.

Air pressure must be built up to move the RV or detect a leak.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:25 PM   #14
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I dont know if this will help but...I truck and once drove a Western Star equiped with a Cat and the air system would do this regularly esp when temps cooled off but not quite at freezing. There was a small batwing shaped plate on the top of the compressor, 4-6 short bolts. And under this plate was a poppet type valve assembly, this valve would gum up, oily carbon kind of residue, clean up with alcohol or brake clean, reassemble and compressor would start building air. I eventually replaced the compressor. What this valve was doing was not allowing the compressor to compress, therefore not filling the system. tried the govenor thing first...no go. And since you held your hand over drier outlet with no building pressure at your hand I'd say trouble is internal with compressor.
Hope this helps
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