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Old 03-04-2021, 07:13 AM   #1
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New Alpine Coach 40 owner, drivability questions

This is a great forum, I was pleasantly surprised to see an up to date functional forum when so many have just gone to Facebook which is a horrible platform to replace a forum with.

We just picked up a 1999 Alpine Coach 40FDS "project" to restore and hopefully use for years to come. Owner did not know much about the coach, he inherited it from a family member and it had been sitting for a while, over a year from what he said. He replaced all the batteries and both fuel filters because he said he thinks it has water in the tank, it was stored with a full tank from what he said so I wouldn't think there would be much. The gauge reads over full but I don't even know if the gauge works properly. We ran into some issues on the drive back home from picking it up. On the test drive it ran well, a little black smoke on initial acceleration but didn't seem excessive. It was a few hour drive back to our storage lot and about half an hour into the drive it started bucking real bad on partial throttle and full throttle. I saw smoke but being night I couldn't tell if it was white or black. When I would come to a stop it had a loping idle with some smoke (again couldn't tell what color.) Check engine light is on now. The lope at idle would clear up and idle smooth, then start again. The bucking on partial throttle and heavy throttle stayed until I parked it.

I am wondering what scan tool I need for this rig. I am well versed in gas engines and was a master tech for 10 years, I am not well versed in Diesel so this will be a learning experience. I am going to see if the fuel/water filter has a manual petcock on it to drain today to see if there is water in it. I also read something about algae build up possibly plugging the filters.

The Coach is in overall decent shape, we expected to have to do some work to it, I just hope this isn't something crazy expensive and something that I can fix on my own. Other issues I need to address is the parking brake does not work, the handle for it is completely missing with just a rod sticking out. Brake lights do not work when pedal is depressed and the auto leveling jack will not operate because it says the brake is not engaged. I'm pretty sure this has hydraulic brakes but every time you let off the brake pedal you get the air release sound like an air brake setup and random air release sounds while idling.

Anyway, super glad to have a functioning forum with lots of knowledge. Now to figure out where to buy parts for this and start working on it. I was hoping to have a solid drivetrain and just worry but the rest, I just hope I didn't get in over my head. We live in North Tampa BTW if anybody has good suggestions on fairly priced shops where I can buy my filters and Cummins parts from.
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:37 AM   #2
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Welcome to the family. I bought my 2001 4 years ago and it has been a little bit of a project. Your biggest concern is likely to be brakes. The brakes are hydraulic, just like found on 90's school busses. They work great when driven every day. Since most RVs are not driven every day, there can be trouble. The trouble comes from water being absorbed by the brake fluid as the coach sits and the water causing corrosion internally with various brake components. The most common problem is sticking calipers. I recommend an immediate change of brake fluid. When you are bleeding the brakes, if you can't get fluid out of one caliper, that might indicate an open solenoid in the ABS modulator. You should also pull the wheels and inspect the brake disc. If you see any signs of heat damage, check the ABS wheel sensor too. The parking brake is on the drive shaft. It is air operated. The switch on the dash should be easy to replace and be a standard trucking item. The suspension is via air bags. The air is drained out of the bags when the leveling system is used. The air will slowly leak out of the bags over time when the coach sits. If the air in the bags is low, you will get an alarm when you start the engine. The on board compressor fills the bags, and the alarm goes out. The occasional release of air you are hearing is probably from the compressor.

One noise that you will notice when you turn on the ignition is the fuel pump. it runs for 30 seconds to pressurize the system. After 30 seconds, the pump shuts off and the fuel system on the engine draws the fuel form the tank.

I use a Scan Gauge D to for trouble codes and more. I bought this tool because my RPM gauge doesn't work. The Scan Gauge D plugs in to the diagnostic port behind the front lower panel on the passenger side. The gauge reads all of the engine operating data, trouble codes, and more. FWIW, there is a second diagnostic port in the passenger rear compartment. I bought my tool at Advanced auto using one of their coupons.

Parts are fairly easy to find, at least the mechanical stuff. NAPA is the go to source. The parts used in assembly can vary from coach to coach, so it is a good idea to get the numbers off of the part you have before ordering. I have a spreadsheet for parts numbers that was given to me by another member here. I'd be glad to share it. Send me an email to andy112652 at aol dot com.

Good luck!
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:41 AM   #3
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search for other posts regarding engine missing using google.

use this: https://www.irv2.com/forums/f104/:engine misses smokes


nets this: https://www.bing.com/search?q=https%...3ddf312580d32e
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by andy29847 View Post
Welcome to the family. I bought my 2001 4 years ago and it has been a little bit of a project. Your biggest concern is likely to be brakes. The brakes are hydraulic, just like found on 90's school busses. They work great when driven every day. Since most RVs are not driven every day, there can be trouble. The trouble comes from water being absorbed by the brake fluid as the coach sits and the water causing corrosion internally with various brake components. The most common problem is sticking calipers. I recommend an immediate change of brake fluid. When you are bleeding the brakes, if you can't get fluid out of one caliper, that might indicate an open solenoid in the ABS modulator. You should also pull the wheels and inspect the brake disc. If you see any signs of heat damage, check the ABS wheel sensor too. The parking brake is on the drive shaft. It is air operated. The switch on the dash should be easy to replace and be a standard trucking item. The suspension is via air bags. The air is drained out of the bags when the leveling system is used. The air will slowly leak out of the bags over time when the coach sits. If the air in the bags is low, you will get an alarm when you start the engine. The on board compressor fills the bags, and the alarm goes out. The occasional release of air you are hearing is probably from the compressor.

One noise that you will notice when you turn on the ignition is the fuel pump. it runs for 30 seconds to pressurize the system. After 30 seconds, the pump shuts off and the fuel system on the engine draws the fuel form the tank.

I use a Scan Gauge D to for trouble codes and more. I bought this tool because my RPM gauge doesn't work. The Scan Gauge D plugs in to the diagnostic port behind the front lower panel on the passenger side. The gauge reads all of the engine operating data, trouble codes, and more. FWIW, there is a second diagnostic port in the passenger rear compartment. I bought my tool at Advanced auto using one of their coupons.

Parts are fairly easy to find, at least the mechanical stuff. NAPA is the go to source. The parts used in assembly can vary from coach to coach, so it is a good idea to get the numbers off of the part you have before ordering. I have a spreadsheet for parts numbers that was given to me by another member here. I'd be glad to share it. Send me an email to andy112652 at aol dot com.

Good luck!
Thanks for the quick help. I planned on replacing the brake fluid as I read many threads on the "honey" fluid. I know at least one disc is warped so I may just end of replacing the disks, pads etc. We were hoping on taking this out to a fairly local area for spring break but I may just end up working on it instead. I need to grab a scan tool ASAP so I can see what the code is and where to start with that as it is most likely related to the bucking. I just sent you an Email. I need to get the jacks working so I can get the tires off. I'll be working in the storage lot as my neighborhood will have a fit if I did anything of the sort at my house.
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:20 AM   #5
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You mentioned “bucking” so I’m assuming that’s while driving. If so, that can easily be a dirty/clogged fuel filter. It gets even worse when accelerating. Just one possibilty.
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:46 AM   #6
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You mentioned “bucking” so I’m assuming that’s while driving. If so, that can easily be a dirty/clogged fuel filter. It gets even worse when accelerating. Just one possibilty.
That's what I've been reading, and goes along with what the previous owner said about thinking there is water in the fuel tank. He did put a new fuel/water separator filter on there which is maybe why it ran good for a little while? I do not know how old the fuel is either. How long is Diesel good for? it's already well over a year old. The strange thing is how intermittent the misfire or chugging is at idle. The bucking is on light throttle while driving, moderate it clears up and so does the smoke, then heavy-full throttle the bucking returns as well as the smoke.

Will the Scan D Gauge work with my year of Cummins? It's the 8.3 350hp Cummins from what he said. It says it works with J1939 & J1708 Vehicles and I'm not sure if that is what I have. I would like to find one local and quick so I can get working on it this weekend.
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:56 AM   #7
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What Bob said--plus:
1- First, there is a lot of difference in Alpines over the model years, especially for the 98s and 99s, so focus on comments from some one who owns one. eg, "honey" in brake reservoir is likely silicone residue from master cylinder manufacture/shipping prep.
2- Algae is a possibility in Fl if it sat, you can treat tank but your filter[s] will continue to trap the dead stuff--wont be fun with a full tank but probably need to drain/flush tank--try treating tank and replacing filter[s] first. [not sure if 350s had 1 or 2 fuel filters?]
3- Service brakes are hydraulic but parking brake[?] and suspension on 99 are air.
3a- if parking brake is air vs hydraulic on the 98s, brake is spring activated and air released, so if you drove it home, the air released worked --or maybe not????? You were kind of brave to drive it home--not knowning.
4- 99s had 2-piston calibers with slide rails/pins, so corrosion/no annual maintenance could be an issue, in addition to a fluid flush/replace.
5- replace desiccant cartridge sooner than later in air dryer.
6- Check tranny fluid level at ops temp with key pad.
7- Check SCA level in engine coolant, if appropriate.
8- Noises at start-up include: a-dash vacuum pump; b-hydro-boost aux brake; and c-air suspension fill and adjustment.
PS--external fuel filter should have water drain at bottom.
PSS--"normally" don't use jacks to lift tires--use bottle jack and safety stands of appropriate size.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Varelse View Post
That's what I've been reading, and goes along with what the previous owner said about thinking there is water in the fuel tank. He did put a new fuel/water separator filter on there which is maybe why it ran good for a little while? I do not know how old the fuel is either. How long is Diesel good for? it's already well over a year old. The strange thing is how intermittent the misfire or chugging is at idle. The bucking is on light throttle while driving, moderate it clears up and so does the smoke, then heavy-full throttle the bucking returns as well as the smoke.

Will the Scan D Gauge work with my year of Cummins? It's the 8.3 350hp Cummins from what he said. It says it works with J1939 & J1708 Vehicles and I'm not sure if that is what I have. I would like to find one local and quick so I can get working on it this weekend.
Agree with the others to replace the fuel filter(s) first. Not sure how many on your engine, but that is consistent with the issue, especially after using such old fuel. Replace the filters and cut open an old one. If it's filled with crud, you know the issue is the fuel, tank, or lines. This may take several replacements to clear up, and I would drain/replace the fuel with fresh, as soon as practical.

From your description, you may have other issues as well due to the fact the coach was unused for so long. Dirty or faulty injectors come to mind. It is important to get these fuel issues resolved quickly as interrupted fuel flow can quickly destroy your main CAPS fuel pump which is a costly repair.

Brakes. Alpines had an option of air brakes instead of hydraulic discs. You may have that option, but I doubt it. If you have air gauges on your dash, then you have air brakes. If you brakes are hydraulic, you likely have the early calipers that can bind. They need to be serviced, fluid changed as mentioned, discs inspected, and pads replaced. You may also switch out the calipers to the later style which do not have the issue of binding.

Fix the parking brake immediately. It sounds like only a knob is missing from the rod that protrudes from the dash. Pulling out on that rod sets the brakes. Pushing in, releases the brakes. You can buy a new knob that screws onto the rod, on line.

Good luck, and keep us updated. Everything, so far, is able to be addressed relatively easily.
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
What Bob said--plus:
1- First, there is a lot of difference in Alpines over the model years, especially for the 98s and 99s, so focus on comments from some one who owns one. eg, "honey" in brake reservoir is likely silicone residue from master cylinder manufacture/shipping prep.
2- Algae is a possibility in Fl if it sat, you can treat tank but your filter[s] will continue to trap the dead stuff--wont be fun with a full tank but probably need to drain/flush tank--try treating tank and replacing filter[s] first.
3- Service brakes are hydraulic but parking brake[?] and suspension on 99 are air.
3a- if parking brake is air vs hydraulic on the 98s, brake is spring activated and air released, so if you drove it home, the air released worked --or maybe not????? You were kind of brave to drive it home--not knowning.
4- 99s had 2-piston calibers with slide rails/pins, so corrosion/no annual maintenance could be an issue, in addition to a fluid flush/replace.
5- replace desiccant cartridge sooner than later in air dryer.
6- Check tranny fluid level at ops temp with key pad.
7- Check SCA level in engine coolant, if appropriate.
8- Noises at start-up include: a-dash vacuum pump; b-hydro-boost aux brake; and c-air suspension fill and adjustment.
PS--external fuel filter should have water drain at bottom.
PSS--"normally" don't use jacks to lift tires--use bottle jack and safety stand of appropriate size.
Great information, I'll have to grab a bottle jack. The parking brake does not work and has to have to wheels blocked so it does not roll so it appears to be released. I'm pretty new to class A's so this will be an adventure. Looks like I need to buy some new tools as well. I've got about $40K in tools for working on standard vehicles, just not for big rigs. As for the filters, it has a 33422 fuel/water filter on there, will NAPA know what regular fuel fits this?
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:17 AM   #10
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Agree with the others to replace the fuel filter(s) first. Not sure how many on your engine, but that is consistent with the issue, especially after using such old fuel. Replace the filters and cut open an old one. If it's filled with crud, you know the issue is the fuel, tank, or lines. This may take several replacements to clear up, and I would drain/replace the fuel with fresh, as soon as practical.

From your description, you may have other issues as well due to the fact the coach was unused for so long. Dirty or faulty injectors come to mind. It is important to get these fuel issues resolved quickly as interrupted fuel flow can quickly destroy your main CAPS fuel pump which is a costly repair.

Brakes. Alpines had an option of air brakes instead of hydraulic discs. You may have that option, but I doubt it. If you have air gauges on your dash, then you have air brakes. If you brakes are hydraulic, you likely have the early calipers that can bind. They need to be serviced, fluid changed as mentioned, discs inspected, and pads replaced. You may also switch out the calipers to the later style which do not have the issue of binding.

Fix the parking brake immediately. It sounds like only a knob is missing from the rod that protrudes from the dash. Pulling out on that rod sets the brakes. Pushing in, releases the brakes. You can buy a new knob that screws onto the rod, on line.

Good luck, and keep us updated. Everything, so far, is able to be addressed relatively easily.
That's my biggest worry, I do not want to create a larger problem and I have read some of the CAPS components are $$$. I'm hoping it's just the fuel and will be inspecting the boots and such tonight. Depending on what time I get off work and how much daylight I have, I may run down and try to grab a couple filters for it.
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:28 AM   #11
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What Bob said--plus:

5- replace desiccant cartridge sooner than later in air dryer.
Old Scout - you always come through with the skinny. Your item #5 (air dryer desiccant) is one I have thought of but not acted on. My coach has a drain for the air system that I use periodically, but I don't know the where, what, when regarding the air drying system. Please share what you know.
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:31 AM   #12
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As for the filters, it has a 33422 fuel/water filter on there, will NAPA know what regular fuel fits this?
NAPA Gold 3422
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:01 AM   #13
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NAPA Gold 3422
Awesome, thanks and I did get your email. Sifting through information now
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:12 AM   #14
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Careful with the NAPA Gold 3422!

That filter is a 2 micron. Your engine with the CAPS typically uses a 10 micron filter, at least as the water separator. If you have only one filter, it should be comparable to the Fleetguard 1022. If you have two filters, the 1022 should be the first from the lift pump.

There were some engines with two filters, some with only one, such as mine. If you have the 3422 NAPA on there now, it's likely clogged already as the element is too fine. Try replacing with the Fleetguard 1022 or another with a 10 micron element.

Starving the CAPS pump of fuel is the kiss of death.
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