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Old 11-30-2020, 05:52 PM   #1
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Dead on road.

RV life sure has it's ups and downs doesn't it! I'm sure some of you remember that I'm the new guy with the 2000 Monaco Diplomat. We're out on our first real trip (had an amazing few days in Moab!) and everything has been going well until......

We were climbing up I-70E just before the Eisenhower Tunnel when the engine shut off and won't restart. Sitting here waiting for a heavy hauler to come pick us up and take us back down to Silverthorne where there appears to be a handful of 24-hour diesel repair facilities. The WARNING light came on and I lost power before the engine quit. It seems to restart something for 5-10s when I turn the key (not sure what runs -- it doesn't sound like the full engine starts) and then it shuts off again. Temps were all good and nothing else was amiss on the gauges before she turned off.
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Old 11-30-2020, 05:57 PM   #2
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When was the last time you replaced the fuel filters? There are TWO and one is on the side of the engine.

This has the CAPS fuel system and what you are experiencing was likely a fuel starvation issue from the climb. It's probably run itself out of fuel (it does NOT have a pump in the tank, it is a suction system all the way to the engine! Any issues with the filters, and the engine starves. FYI: that's really bad for the high pressure pump.

You may want to think about installing a FASS pump, and if possible - right now. That will draw the fuel from the tank and filter it at the pump, then FORCE it (at a safe pressure) through the rest of the factory system to the high pressure fuel pump, so that there is always a supply available for the high pressure pump to draw on.

Climbing to the Eisenhower Tunnel is one of the more abusive routes for an RV, that's a long hard slog that will test any engine. Not surprised at all that there was an issue there.
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by geordi View Post
When was the last time you replaced the fuel filters? There are TWO and one is on the side of the engine.

This has the CAPS fuel system and what you are experiencing was likely a fuel starvation issue from the climb. It's probably run itself out of fuel (it does NOT have a pump in the tank, it is a suction system all the way to the engine! Any issues with the filters, and the engine starves. FYI: that's really bad for the high pressure pump.

You may want to think about installing a FASS pump, and if possible - right now. That will draw the fuel from the tank and filter it at the pump, then FORCE it (at a safe pressure) through the rest of the factory system to the high pressure fuel pump, so that there is always a supply available for the high pressure pump to draw on.

Climbing to the Eisenhower Tunnel is one of the more abusive routes for an RV, that's a long hard slog that will test any engine. Not surprised at all that there was an issue there.
Previous owner had the filters changed in the spring (or that's what I was told.) I've only owned it a month. But he was religious about having the dealer maintain it and had it fully serviced before I purchased.

I do believe your description is correct and it starved out. But the odd part is shouldn't the system be able to self prime to get going again? It is exhibiting symptoms of being out of fuel but gauge shows 1/4 tank.

Of course the roadside assistance service promised me the moon and stars but now is telling me it may be morning before a big rig can get out here and the 24-hr service center is not a service center at all but a mobile diesel mechanic and I'm not sure they work on RVs. Sounds like we need to now tow about 65 miles to Denver. The service is working on it but meanwhile getting very dark and supposed to start snowing tonight. Yuck!
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:11 PM   #4
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If you turn the key to on (but not starting the engine) you should hear the lift pump running for 30-60 seconds. I just changed the fuel filters in mine and you can hear the sound of the pump change when the system is primed.
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:18 PM   #5
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I suggest you don't rely on the gauge as they are notorious for being inaccurate. I always assumed 8 mpg and watched miles driven and filled up before I got down to a 1/3 tank. On flat ground I may push it a little further but in the hilly country I wouldn't take a chance.


When you turn the key you should hear the transfer pump kicking on, it should run for 30 seconds. It should prime the fuel filters. But if the tank is low it may sucking air.
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:21 PM   #6
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I just changed the fuel sender in my Diplomat and the original was nasty with a black oil like coating on it. My gauge wasn’t working at all, and the sender cal knobs had been messed with.
I think the generator won’t run on these with less than a 1/4 tank right? Does your generator still work?
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:28 PM   #7
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Mine had algae in the diesel . It would plug up the filter every 200 to 300 miles!
Get real low on power especially on hills. Never had it quit completely. It would kill the generator though. I would carry 5 of each of the filters with me until I got rid of the algae.
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:37 PM   #8
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I'm not a diesel guy but do diesel fuel tanks have that same tendency of old gas tanks of sometimes accumulating debris and impurities at the bottom of the tank?

Over the years I've heard stories of unusual situations that may stir up contaminates in gas tanks a quarter full or less and the fuel filters are immediately plugged up.

We haven't been on that particular piece of road but it sounds like there may be hard turns and/or quick elevation changes. Would that be enough to stir up the contents of a fuel tank?
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:58 PM   #9
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Mine had algae in the diesel . It would plug up the filter every 200 to 300 miles!
Get real low on power especially on hills. Never had it quit completely. It would kill the generator though. I would carry 5 of each of the filters with me until I got rid of the algae.

I had the same problem with mine - and about the same mileage per primary filter! You shouldn't need to change the secondary as the primary is catching all the algae IF that's what is in the tank... What poured from mine looked like iced tea with the grounds still in it! YUCK.

As for the priming pump - The instructions above are correct, if you turn the key on, you should hear the electric priming pump humming for about 30 seconds - It is ON THE ENGINE though and still needs to pull the fuel 40 feet and through the primary filter. So it is DEFINITELY going to take a lot of cycles to get it back to the engine.

You shouldn't trust your fuel gauge until you know how accurate it is - if the generator quits on you, then YES, that is about the 1/4 level and you are in "deep shipt" for also being on the hills - b/c the tank is not baffled internally and the fuel spout could be high and dry! For me, I figure on 6mpg and plan on about a 300-400 mile range before filling up, b/c when the fuel sloshes, the generator can flame out. That's not good news, and it is ALSO a royal pain in the arse to get it running again. Diesels (especially since most are suction systems) REALLY don't like running dry.
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:59 PM   #10
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ffFrank,

Not sure where I read it, but I recall that the usable capacity of the fuel tank on the early Diplomats is about 75% due to the placement of the pickup above the bottom of the tank.

That is why the red warning hash marks start at about 1/3 empty.

If your fuel gauge is reading 1/4 you may be effectively running on empty.

I had the same thing happen once when I got down to about a 1/4 tank (also on our maiden trip). Fortunately, I was able to get it re-primed and restarted after about 5 minutes of bumping the lift pump and cranking ( just before the traffic patrol called for a heavy wrecker).

Filled up right away and the problem never recurred. Since then, I always try to keep it above half full.

Hope that is all your problem is.

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Old 11-30-2020, 08:09 PM   #11
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"I had the same problem with mine - and about the same mileage per primary filter! You shouldn't need to change the secondary as the primary is catching all the algae IF that's what is in the tank... What poured from mine looked like iced tea with the grounds still in it! YUCK"

I changed the primary every time and the secondary every 3rd time.
I cut both open and the were full of black "slime" . the secondary had algae "balls" on the top, almost looked like caviar !? It was definitely getting past the primary filter.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:18 PM   #12
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Thanks all for the advice. I'm going to feel like a real dummy if it's out of gas but we will need to wait until tomorrow AM to find out. It is conceivable to me that the pick up is high in the tank and that running on such a steep grade with low fuel caused it to run dry.

Right now the earliest tow is 8am and they'll run us to Denver. Briefly considered an Uber to a hotel but the logistics of getting a car and bringing the dog with us rules that out so it's going to be our first night of boondocking. Flashers on, heat fired up and we just opened the bar. There are worse situations to be in.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:19 PM   #13
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Maybe that’s what the black stuff was in my old fuel sender. Centroid recommenced treating the tank with Biobor before installing the new sender unit.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:25 PM   #14
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Maybe thatís what the black stuff was in my old fuel sender. Centroid recommenced treating the tank with Biobor before installing the new sender unit.
I had to remove the tank and flush all the lines. It was BAD
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