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Old 06-22-2021, 05:58 PM   #1
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Question Stumped, engine light on, can't find cause

Hello everyone, I'm excited to join the forum and found some useful stuff on this site already.

I'm new to RVing, just picked up our first RV mid last summer. A 2000 Winnebago Chieftain, 36'. Cummins 5.9 isb. Overall decent condition...not new of course, used it a few times last summer before winter set in and got used to driving it around. I started it (and the genny) on the first of the month each month over winter. Wisconsin winters get cold and it started right up each month.

This spring I took it out and went on about 30 miles trip to get it out and 'exercise' it, ran great no issues. Two days later I pick up a new fuel filter, actually two as I have a primary filter and one located on the engine. I did not know when those were replaced last. Also picked up a 5 gallon bucket of oil and oil filter to change that also, again wasn't sure the age from previous owners.

Was going to move it into the driveway to change fluids/filters. Started it up and it started kicking out white smoke right from the start, no engine lights lit, idled a little rough RPM pulsing some. A little freaked out I turned it off. Gas was about 1/3 of tank, some research suggested maybe some water in gas, figured I'd change the fuel filters first. Changed both...lost the prime in the gas line so had to re-fill that. (On a side note, it installed two shutoff values at the primary filter to make future changes easy). Dribbled in a little Lucas fuel injector cleaner in each filter and tip started to run the lift pump 25-30 seconds without starting the engine a few times to get the fuel lines filled. Engine started again it was smoking a lot less but still more then should and smoke was darker but not black.

Got it moved a little so I could change oil. So did that, new oil filter and oil in. Fluid levels are right on for everything. Started the coach seemed better but still some smoke, went to move it and felt underpowered. Pushed the gas pedal some more and Check Engine light came on. The computer would not let me rev it up, pushed peddle to floor and it just idled with light on. Turned it off. No idea what's wrong so picked up a ScanGauge and plugged that in. Now I can see some data points! ScanGauge showed 254 error code with FM #8...not an expert on cummins engines I looked up codes and of course 254 doesn't seem to be a valid code??? Maybe it is, not sure. This is where I need help. The error code is maybe related to an electrical ground and or the high pressure pump. Took off all battery connectors and wires I could reach on engine and cleaned off. Used dielectric grease on connections. Restarted coach. Idling fine, no light until I try to move it in gear. Check engine light goes on/off but no power to move coach up my driveway hill, only on flat ground. Check engine light goes on when loaded. I can rev the engine in neutral and it spins up. Still code 254 FM#8. Stumped on what to look at/fix. Any help would be much appreciated. Engine appears to be fine, sounds fine. could it be air in gas line? Fuel pump? with the smoke I am wonder if I lost turbo, thus no power. Please help so I can wave hi as I pass all you other RVers on the road this summer.
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Old 06-22-2021, 06:03 PM   #2
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That is the code for a bad injection pump (or related issue). Search "P0254 Cummins"
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Old 06-23-2021, 06:56 AM   #3
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Are you using gas on a diesel engine or were those typos?
Starting is the worst for any engine until the oil starts flowing and lubricating. There is no need start an engine unless you need to go somewhere and the worst is wintertime when the engine and oil are cold. Just let it sit over the winter.

Also, there are summer and winter blends of diesel fuel and summer blend does not work in the wintertime, it can turn into slurpy type slush and clog the system.

Once you start the engine, drive at least 1/2 hr to get any moisture out of the system.
My OTR friend for 30+ years said one of the reasons the repair shops are full of trucks is excessive idling.
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Old 06-23-2021, 07:17 AM   #4
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While you should just idle your engine for no reason at all. Getting fuel system primed after double filter changed is one of the reasons to do so. Other owners have done one filter at a time due to your current issue. I'm guessing you introduced too much air into you fuel system and have to finish remedying the situation if it's not about finished now. I have a Racor priming hand pump filter assembly to replace Winn system with bleed screw on top it helps a lot not even a stumble after the swap. Bled the top screw after/while cycling lift pump then hand pumped it up until very hard.
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:09 AM   #5
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Got it on don't start unless driving, and will only change one filter at a time next time to avoid air in the fuel lines. I've seen it recommended to run the generator to charge batteries and dry out coils but will only start motorhome to drive it.

It's a diesel engine sorry if I used the generic term gas.

So first step is perhaps there is still air in the fuel system, I can turn the fuel pump on and loosen a fitting before the vp44 pump to try to purge the lines and any trapped air in the filters.

Finding the P0254 code TravelSolo mentioned showed that it could be sensor or the Fuel Quantity Actuator which I'm dig through the diagrams on the VP44 pump. Hopefully I can check the connections to the sensor and/or test the sensor. The P0254 code isn't very specific.

Would air after the filter change affect the operation if this sensor and if air is purge perhaps it will be happy again?

I'll look into the Racor priming pump.

Thanks for the help thus far!
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:23 AM   #6
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Welcome to iRV2

Just a note before you go to far ; some Scan Gauge codes , are specific to Scan Gauge so give them a call , to make sure you have a valid Cummins code .

Be aware there might be a fuel strainer ( third filter ) in the supply line , above the passenger side air bag .
Some info on the VP-44.
Attached Thumbnails
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Attached Files
File Type: pdf VP44_Install and diagnose.pdf (306.0 KB, 3 views)
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:26 AM   #7
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Going to throw something into the mix.


Is your coach on a Freightliner chassis?


Certain early century 5.9 equipped chassis had an inline filter/screen buried in the fuel lines and cables that run along the frame rail just above the right rear wheel. It was installed at the factory and is really a screen that is to catch large debris from the tank. Problem is, it is hidden and relatively unknown to most shops so it never gets replaced. After 21 years, in your case, it could be clogged. There are threads where owners spent thousands of dollars on diagnoses and parts only to discover this filter/screen was causing the fuel starvation issue.


I had one on my former coach, a 2007 on a Freightliner chassis. It was part 025-RAC-10 by Racor.

LOL, I see Skip426 and I had the same thoughts! He just types too fast!
BTW, his posted illustration gives an excellent view of where it would be located. However, you will have to dig behind several fuel lines and cable runs that are bundled in that area to actually see it as those lines and cables are not shown on the illustration.
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljwt330 View Post
Going to throw something into the mix.
Is your coach on a Freightliner chassis?

I had one on my former coach, a 2007 on a Freightliner chassis. It was part 025-RAC-10 by Racor.

LOL, I see Skip426 and I had the same thoughts! He just types too fast!
Well I didn't ask about " Freightliner Chassis " so fewer words to type .

Here's a picture showing the strainer hidden in the wiring harness.
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:12 AM   #9
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It is a freightliner chassis, I will for sure check for that first! Thanks for the tip. I'll check with ScanGuage on code before to many wrenches going to work removing parts. Thanks for the diagrams, very helpful.

Would you remove the screen filter or replace? Given how easy it is to change the primary filter why deal with a screen that is a pain to get to...Or maybe I'll move it to just prior to the primary filter.

I think I'll check the wire connections though as that's easy to unplug, check, and re-plug. I've ran into simple things like that on my boat where the connection just was poor and as soon as you put current on the wire it couldn't keep pace. Clean it, grease it, and back in action.
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Old 06-24-2021, 01:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Welcome to iRV2

Just a note before you go to far ; some Scan Gauge codes , are specific to Scan Gauge so give them a call , to make sure you have a valid Cummins code .

Be aware there might be a fuel strainer ( third filter ) in the supply line , above the passenger side air bag .
Some info on the VP-44.
Hopefully the OP solves the issue.....

With that said, this is why this forum can often be a great tool. How many knew that third filter was there. That filter is one of those things that only an owner learns about, usually the hard way.
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Old 06-30-2021, 02:07 PM   #11
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According to ScanGuage Support, this 254 error means 'Data Link Escape'. Unfortunately that's all the lady on the phone could offer me. Time to figure out what that means, but perhaps not related to the default code Cummins reported as mentioned above being the some thing with the fuel pump

I am going to scan the RV to get all the PIDs to send them and hopefully they will be able to provide me additional data points to read.
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Old 06-30-2021, 02:11 PM   #12
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Thanks for the update ; hope you get to the bottom of this soon.
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Old 06-30-2021, 02:26 PM   #13
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I would suggest to find the ECM and unplug it and plug it back in (and check for loose ground and wires there). Data Link Escape likely means that the ECM isn't getting data. Although I am not sure, I suspect the ecm would be near the engine, perhaps near the starter area where many other wires run. ~CA
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Old 06-30-2021, 06:22 PM   #14
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Watch out for the "killer dowel pin" issue. Affects 5.9's from 88-02 I believe
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