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Old 04-12-2017, 02:25 PM   #1
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Preventative Maintenance - Why you should do a coach walk around

We bought a 12 year old Newmar Northern Star at bargain prices. It rode well, and most of the systems were in great shape as was the inside of the coach. But having been RV owners since the nineties (two TT's and two Class C's) my wife an I knew no matter what we saw on the surface or how the coach performed or looked there would be hidden surprises.

Two weekends ago was no exception. This is what is left of a fan bearing and clutch block on a Cat 350 C7. Note the heat blueing. We weren't going much further without serious damage.

I took the coach at a local diesel and rv repair shop for routine annual maintenance and to repair a slide that quit functioning. As part of the annual maintenance I asked them to inspect the serpentine belt. When they looked at the belt they saw metal filings on it. Upon further inspection they found the following:







Preventative Maintenance and periodic inspection is a good thing. However, even if you do your periodic due diligence it's still advisable to do a coach walk around and check fluids, tires ect.

In this case due diligence would not have helped me. The cooling system on our coach has a fan shroud that is an enormous one piece molded plastic behemoth. As such there is no way to check the belt unless you crawl under and no way at all to see the bearings except from the top by pulling the bedroom hatch apart. I've now remedied that problem. I have a large portal cut into the shroud so I can do those inspections. It latches in place and can be closed after inspection and the seam sealed with air conditioning duct tape.

Do yourself a favor and check this stuff. It'll save you some serious dollars. Unfortunately I had to pay the dollars.

Oh, and remind me to thank the PO for all of his "perfect" maintenance he said he did.
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Old 04-12-2017, 02:51 PM   #2
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Looking at the flip side ... you caught it at home so it could be fixed by folks you know and trust
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Old 04-12-2017, 03:26 PM   #3
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Looking at the flip side ... you caught it at home so it could be fixed by folks you know and trust
X2, and it didn't cost you a radiator too.
Was this failure due to lack of greasing of the hub during maintenance ?
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Old 04-12-2017, 03:29 PM   #4
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This one didn't have any grease fittings on it at all.
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Old 04-12-2017, 03:59 PM   #5
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So how would a walk around have helped if you could not see it anyway?
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Old 04-12-2017, 04:09 PM   #6
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It could help with visible problems
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Old 04-12-2017, 04:20 PM   #7
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I wonder how much one could see. The little bit of experience I have had with sealed bearing failing all had a high pitched whine for a little while then failed more or less spectacularly. It looks like that one was already in the noise phase but no one heard it because of the pitch and/or location.

FWIW My complaint is the sealed bearing instead of having a grease fitting. If it had a grease point then it would also get looked at.
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Old 04-12-2017, 04:24 PM   #8
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I was told the fan blade came off as soon as the belt was removed. It could easily taken out radiator.
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:40 PM   #9
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Curious how many miles are on the coach?
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:51 PM   #10
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Charlie, I feel your pain. You were lucky to catch the problem before further damage. I was not so lucky. Last year the DW and I were headed from Seattle to Orlando, but we only made it only 200 miles from Seattle when the fan bearings failed and the fan came off the hub and lodged in the shroud. Long story short, we spent a week in Spokane at Western States Caterpillar getting repaired. $2400 later we were on our way. The 350hp C7 engine only had about 65,000 miles on it. I wonder if this is something common to these engines at this time of their life ?????
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:53 PM   #11
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Curious how many miles are on the coach?
Out had 46,000 miles on it.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Charlie, I feel your pain. You were lucky to catch the problem before further damage. I was not so lucky. Last year the DW and I were headed from Seattle to Orlando, but we only made it only 200 miles from Seattle when the fan bearings failed and the fan came off the hub and lodged in the shroud. Long story short, we spent a week in Spokane at Western States Caterpillar getting repaired. $2400 later we were on our way. The 350hp C7 engine only had about 65,000 miles on it. I wonder if this is something common to these engines at this time of their life ?????
If you google "Cat C7 fan bearings problems" you will find it is pretty common. I learned this afternoon when picking up the coach that there is a fix for this with a zert fitting and long tube that goes to a set of bearings machined to be greased. I haven't had the time to find the information on it yet.
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