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Old 01-26-2016, 02:33 PM   #1
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Chicken or the Egg - Blown Head Gasket

Ok, The Janie Lynn is in the Cummins shop for a blown head gasket. A little unusual for an 8.3 ISC 350 at 76,000 miles. Estimate to repair -- $6900.00! Racking my brain to figure out what happened. Head gaskets blow when engines overheat. They overheat when they lose coolant. No sign of previous coolant loss. None pooling on the ground. Initial survey and repair estimate don't include the replacement of any coolant hoses, fittings, valves, or radiator repairs. So, if the cooling system was intact, what caused the overheat and what caused the head gasket to blow? Yes, I got a warning on the dash (and on the Road Relay), but I stopped immediately and added coolant. I think the gasket was already blown by then. I've asked Cummins to share in the cost, but I'm not real optimistic. Your thoughts? How did it happen if there was no breach in the cooling system?
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Old 01-26-2016, 02:56 PM   #2
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Good question. I believe this is the first head gasket failure that I've read on IRV2 in the 6 years I've been on the site.

Overheating for sure is cause for failure. Have you pulled any hard grades, did you notice any spikes in temperatures??? Is your cooling system working correctly. Do you have a rear radiator design, is the radiator clean. Any of these could contribute the failure and in this case you don't get 2nd chances.

As to whether Cummins will pick up part of the tab >>> don't hold your breath. I had my rig in last year and they screwed up my cooling fan thermo valve, I replaced but they never offered to pick up a portion.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:24 PM   #3
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You can easily overheat without a coolant leak. If you have a hydraulic cooling fan then any issue with the hydraulic system can cause the fan to not function correctly, allowing the motor to overheat when under load. Clogged filters, or a partial blockage in the distribution block can cause issues with the hydraulic system, allowing the engine to overheat.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:40 PM   #4
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Head gaskets can fail from corrosion. Any record of coolant changes ?
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:53 PM   #5
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Cummins can put on there computer and see if any over temps were recorded.
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:07 PM   #6
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Do you have a EGT gage and what has it ben running?
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:23 PM   #7
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why is the cost so high if only replacing head gaskit is it the size and weight of
the head
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
As to whether Cummins will pick up part of the tab >>> don't hold your breath. I had my rig in last year and they screwed up my cooling fan thermo valve, I replaced but they never offered to pick up a portion.
I know of a rig (a 2008 CC ISX 600 and not ours BTW) that was purchased in not running condition. New owners spent $20,000 at a Cummins shop getting it running. 20 MILES later the engine threw a rod through the block and cost another $44,000 to get fixed. Cummins refused ANY participation even though it had a one year, 100,000 mile warranty on the repair.

When we had our ISC it overheated a couple times, enough for the warning light to come on, but not to derate. Got it home by watching the gauge and not pushing it. Cleaned the radiator stack and everything was fine from then on. I couldn't believe how many pine needles I got from between the CAC and radiator.
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:33 PM   #9
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All good comments. Coolant temps were always 180-185. I just bought it in March, 2015 and thought the engine and transmission were the least of my worries. Don't know the history on the coolant. Unfortunately, these engines don't come with a log book. It's a 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage. I doubt Cummins is going to open its pocket book for a 14 yr old engine. In retrospect I should have changed all fluids and filters as soon as I bought it, or negotiated that with the dealer. At least I would have had a starting point. After $6,000 last summer (lift pump, wiring harness, ECM) and another $6900 now, the reputation of the indestructible Cummins diesel engine is somewhat tarnished.
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:40 PM   #10
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A portion of the cost is attributable to replacement of some oil cooler parts and hoses that Cummins said were in bad shape, and a portion of exhaust pipe from the exhaust brake to the muffler that had a crack in it ($600 for the pipe alone from Spartan - I hope it's gold plated). Labor is high because of the difficulty in accessing these engines in a motor home for serious repairs. I suspect the same repair in a truck would be less than half.
Based on a few comments I won't hold my breath for any help from the factory.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:15 PM   #11
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I definitely would not expect any help from Cummins. EGR cooler and EGR control valve failure 6500 to repair No help from Cummins not even after I complained to Cummins Corporate about the cost of repair Coach is 7 years old not put into service until Oct. 2009 both failures in 2015 one in July the other in Sept 9 and 10 months out of warranty and way below the 50000 mile limit
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:40 PM   #12
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All good comments. Coolant temps were always 180-185. I just bought it in March, 2015 and thought the engine and transmission were the least of my worries. Don't know the history on the coolant. Unfortunately, these engines don't come with a log book. It's a 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage. I doubt Cummins is going to open its pocket book for a 14 yr old engine. In retrospect I should have changed all fluids and filters as soon as I bought it, or negotiated that with the dealer. At least I would have had a starting point. After $6,000 last summer (lift pump, wiring harness, ECM) and another $6900 now, the reputation of the indestructible Cummins diesel engine is somewhat tarnished.
Your experience is exactly why we bought a Good Sam extended service contract when we bought our MH - insurance. If fact, I'm going to extend it another 3 years next month. That will make our MH 18 years old.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:51 AM   #13
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Yes, in retrospect my decision not to purchase the extended service agreement (warranty) may have been a bad one. However, I remember at the time when I was quickly reading it I was disappointed by how much was excluded, i.e. not covered by the contract. Again I had the mindset that engine and chassis problems were not likely. Clearly, I was wrong.
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:20 AM   #14
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You would have felt even worse if you had spent all the money on an insurance plan and had ben denied.
I would install a good EGT and boost gage setup. EGTs can reach dangerous highs way before the water temp comes up.
Have they given any idea as to what they think caused the problem?
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