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Old 09-22-2006, 10:11 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 39
I had a bit of an adventure last weekend.

While driving on the 210 freeway near Pasadena, CA. one of the injector fuel lines on my Cummins ISB broke. Our first indication of trouble was when one of the kids came forward and said he smelled gasoline. Of course, I immediately started thinking about how it must be coming from outside since there is no gasoline in my DP rig, rather than thinking, "this kid does not know the smell of gas from the smell of diesel". No adverse indications on the gauges, and I am in heavy slow rush hour traffic. Fortunatly I was in the rightmost lane. With heavy traffic noise, radio and conversations going on, my first awareness of loss of power was when I stepped on the brake and the electrically driven hydraulic booster motor came on. Within two minutes of the first indication of problems, the engine was dead, I was rolling about 15 mph in heavy traffic and towing my jeep. I tried to re-start while still rolling, after remembering to select neutral the engine turned over but no joy. I then deflected off the road and stopped just outside of the rightmost traffic lane.

Getting out and looking at the back of the rig and opening the engine access doors (the ones outside the rig) I saw diesel vapors escaping the engine compartment and everything - the rear of the motorhome and all of the jeep were covered in diesel.

I decided that the first thing to do was to get everyone out of the rig, in case it started on fire. I had the kids stand away from the rig on the side of the road while I un-hooked and cleaned up the Jeep so that it could be driven. I was taking 3 kids and their astronomy teacher to CalTech to do some work on a project for school, so the teacher was available to drive the kids to CalTech. I suggested that they go there and start work on their project while I called road service and got things started on that line. We agreed to contact each other by phone as situations changed.

I called my HolidayRambler affiliated coach-net service number and explained what had happened. They verified that I was not in immenent danger and that my rig was under various warrenty coverages for the problem at hand. They then said they would call me back after they found a place to take the rig.

About fifteen minutes later, they called back and said they were arranging a tow to take the rig to Cummins Cal Pacific in Los Angeles. They said the place was open till midnight ( this was at about 4 PM on a Friday evening ) and that they might be able to look at the rig tonight. Then they said they were looking for a tow truck and would call me back. After about another 30 minutes or so, they called again and said that Blue Diamond Tow would be arriving in about an hour to take me to the Cummins shop.

My wait on the side of the road (back in the rig now that it had cooled down and was not on fire) grew more exciting as traffic cleared and sped up. It is amazing how much wind even a minivan moving 60 mph or so can create. The rig was constantly buffeted by air blasts and the sounds of the big-rigs and cars going by was frightening.

After about an hour, the tow truck driver called and said that he was on his way and would be about an hour and fiftten minutes to get there. I was not particularly surprised that things were getting delayed, I was happy to hear from someone actually comming to help me. After a total of about 3 hours from the time I first pulled off, the tow truck arrived. It was an under-lift tow rather than a flat-bed. I asked about this and the driver explained that with my 12' rig and a 3 foot trailer height we would not make it under 14'6" bridges which are not uncommon in the LA area.

It took about one hour to get the rig ready to tow including disconnecting and removing the one foot section of drive-shaft and getting the lights rigged. We headed out lurching along at about 25-30 mph for about fourty-five minutes until we arrived at Cummins Cal Pacific.

After getting the rig to the indicated area and disconnected I opened up the slides and prepared the rig for the mechanic to look at it. I removed the bed-covers down to the plastic wrapped mattress and then opened the access panels for the engine. It took only a minute for the mechanic to locate the problem (after having me turn on the key, and then crank the engine) a broken fuel line from the injector common-rail to one of the injectors. About a foot long curvy piece of pipe the diameter of a soda-straw.

The asked me to wait in the waiting room while they looked to see if they had the part in stock. In the course of hanging around waiting for them to look at the rig, I had been talking to the service writer / manager. He explained that they closed at midnight, did not open on the weekend and that I could not stay in the rig since it would be behind their locked gate. The police would ticket me If we put the rig on the street for me to stay in, and besides, this was an industrial type area and perhaps not the best place to stay. I, thinking aloud, allowed as how I could probably drive the 4 people who were with me home in our jeep and then take a day off next week to come and get the rig, driving it back towing the jeep. I also supposed to him that their insurance might not cover vandalism or theft from my rig while in their lot, which he agreed it would not.

After waiting for as long as I could (about ten minutes) I wandered back to the service writer and asked if they had the part. He indicated that they did not, but there was one in their Irvine store. He then said my rig was fixed. They had "borrowed" the part from another engine in the shop which they could repair using the Irvine part on Monday. The mechanic was busily putting my driveshaft back in. I had also anticipated that they may charge me labor for putting the driveshaft in, but they did not.

Bottom line: I was back on the road after seven hours, some of them tense. Cummins Cal Pacific provided me with outstanding customer service and an appreciation for my particular situation as an RVer. Blue Diamond Towing also provided excellent service, the driver was carefull with my RV and was an expert at safely preparing it for tow and actually towing it.

Lessons Learned:

1. Passengers provide somewhat misleading information. It must be paid attention to, even if it does not make perfect sense. I waisted a minute thinking about what the smell could be rather than using that minute to possibly get stopped in a better place.

2. When stopped at the side of the road, be prepared to wait a while. Don't panic about how terrible a situation you are in, and how terribly expensive the problem must be. A $10 part can stop the biggest rig cold in it's tracks and yet be simple and cheap to repair. I think that if I had paid for the Cummins service, it would have been less than $250. (hopefully much less!) I managed to stay as calm as possible and not "sweat the load" until I knew what was going on.

3. Getting people/passengers away from the hazardous side-of-the road situation is a good idea. It is important to create a flexible plan for keeping in touch however. If cell phones don't work in the area you stopped in, it might be good to have a CB in the rig and tow car.

4. It is enticing to think of carrying a spare fuel-line, but I think this is an uncommon failure, and would probably not happen again or to many other people. I do carry tools. It is interesting to think of what parts to carry as spares when traveling.


Hope this story helps someone be prepared in some way if a similar event happens to them.

Jim
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Old 09-22-2006, 10:11 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 39
I had a bit of an adventure last weekend.

While driving on the 210 freeway near Pasadena, CA. one of the injector fuel lines on my Cummins ISB broke. Our first indication of trouble was when one of the kids came forward and said he smelled gasoline. Of course, I immediately started thinking about how it must be coming from outside since there is no gasoline in my DP rig, rather than thinking, "this kid does not know the smell of gas from the smell of diesel". No adverse indications on the gauges, and I am in heavy slow rush hour traffic. Fortunatly I was in the rightmost lane. With heavy traffic noise, radio and conversations going on, my first awareness of loss of power was when I stepped on the brake and the electrically driven hydraulic booster motor came on. Within two minutes of the first indication of problems, the engine was dead, I was rolling about 15 mph in heavy traffic and towing my jeep. I tried to re-start while still rolling, after remembering to select neutral the engine turned over but no joy. I then deflected off the road and stopped just outside of the rightmost traffic lane.

Getting out and looking at the back of the rig and opening the engine access doors (the ones outside the rig) I saw diesel vapors escaping the engine compartment and everything - the rear of the motorhome and all of the jeep were covered in diesel.

I decided that the first thing to do was to get everyone out of the rig, in case it started on fire. I had the kids stand away from the rig on the side of the road while I un-hooked and cleaned up the Jeep so that it could be driven. I was taking 3 kids and their astronomy teacher to CalTech to do some work on a project for school, so the teacher was available to drive the kids to CalTech. I suggested that they go there and start work on their project while I called road service and got things started on that line. We agreed to contact each other by phone as situations changed.

I called my HolidayRambler affiliated coach-net service number and explained what had happened. They verified that I was not in immenent danger and that my rig was under various warrenty coverages for the problem at hand. They then said they would call me back after they found a place to take the rig.

About fifteen minutes later, they called back and said they were arranging a tow to take the rig to Cummins Cal Pacific in Los Angeles. They said the place was open till midnight ( this was at about 4 PM on a Friday evening ) and that they might be able to look at the rig tonight. Then they said they were looking for a tow truck and would call me back. After about another 30 minutes or so, they called again and said that Blue Diamond Tow would be arriving in about an hour to take me to the Cummins shop.

My wait on the side of the road (back in the rig now that it had cooled down and was not on fire) grew more exciting as traffic cleared and sped up. It is amazing how much wind even a minivan moving 60 mph or so can create. The rig was constantly buffeted by air blasts and the sounds of the big-rigs and cars going by was frightening.

After about an hour, the tow truck driver called and said that he was on his way and would be about an hour and fiftten minutes to get there. I was not particularly surprised that things were getting delayed, I was happy to hear from someone actually comming to help me. After a total of about 3 hours from the time I first pulled off, the tow truck arrived. It was an under-lift tow rather than a flat-bed. I asked about this and the driver explained that with my 12' rig and a 3 foot trailer height we would not make it under 14'6" bridges which are not uncommon in the LA area.

It took about one hour to get the rig ready to tow including disconnecting and removing the one foot section of drive-shaft and getting the lights rigged. We headed out lurching along at about 25-30 mph for about fourty-five minutes until we arrived at Cummins Cal Pacific.

After getting the rig to the indicated area and disconnected I opened up the slides and prepared the rig for the mechanic to look at it. I removed the bed-covers down to the plastic wrapped mattress and then opened the access panels for the engine. It took only a minute for the mechanic to locate the problem (after having me turn on the key, and then crank the engine) a broken fuel line from the injector common-rail to one of the injectors. About a foot long curvy piece of pipe the diameter of a soda-straw.

The asked me to wait in the waiting room while they looked to see if they had the part in stock. In the course of hanging around waiting for them to look at the rig, I had been talking to the service writer / manager. He explained that they closed at midnight, did not open on the weekend and that I could not stay in the rig since it would be behind their locked gate. The police would ticket me If we put the rig on the street for me to stay in, and besides, this was an industrial type area and perhaps not the best place to stay. I, thinking aloud, allowed as how I could probably drive the 4 people who were with me home in our jeep and then take a day off next week to come and get the rig, driving it back towing the jeep. I also supposed to him that their insurance might not cover vandalism or theft from my rig while in their lot, which he agreed it would not.

After waiting for as long as I could (about ten minutes) I wandered back to the service writer and asked if they had the part. He indicated that they did not, but there was one in their Irvine store. He then said my rig was fixed. They had "borrowed" the part from another engine in the shop which they could repair using the Irvine part on Monday. The mechanic was busily putting my driveshaft back in. I had also anticipated that they may charge me labor for putting the driveshaft in, but they did not.

Bottom line: I was back on the road after seven hours, some of them tense. Cummins Cal Pacific provided me with outstanding customer service and an appreciation for my particular situation as an RVer. Blue Diamond Towing also provided excellent service, the driver was carefull with my RV and was an expert at safely preparing it for tow and actually towing it.

Lessons Learned:

1. Passengers provide somewhat misleading information. It must be paid attention to, even if it does not make perfect sense. I waisted a minute thinking about what the smell could be rather than using that minute to possibly get stopped in a better place.

2. When stopped at the side of the road, be prepared to wait a while. Don't panic about how terrible a situation you are in, and how terribly expensive the problem must be. A $10 part can stop the biggest rig cold in it's tracks and yet be simple and cheap to repair. I think that if I had paid for the Cummins service, it would have been less than $250. (hopefully much less!) I managed to stay as calm as possible and not "sweat the load" until I knew what was going on.

3. Getting people/passengers away from the hazardous side-of-the road situation is a good idea. It is important to create a flexible plan for keeping in touch however. If cell phones don't work in the area you stopped in, it might be good to have a CB in the rig and tow car.

4. It is enticing to think of carrying a spare fuel-line, but I think this is an uncommon failure, and would probably not happen again or to many other people. I do carry tools. It is interesting to think of what parts to carry as spares when traveling.


Hope this story helps someone be prepared in some way if a similar event happens to them.

Jim
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Old 09-22-2006, 11:35 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Pensacola, Fla.
Posts: 28
Nice post! Glad it all worked out for you.
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2004 Meridian 34H
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