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Old 02-15-2021, 07:25 PM   #1
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Latest Member of the "Snakebit by DEF System" Club

Based on 22 years of motorhome ownership, I’ve learned that no trip, no matter how short, is without incident. This truism was underlined over the past few days when we drove 150 miles from our home in the Phoenix area down to Tucson Dragway and back.

Shortly after leaving the racetrack Sunday afternoon (2/14/2021), I heard a beep and saw the ever-so-informative “Check Engine” message on the dash. As you can see in the first photo below, my trusty ScanGauge indicated a code 3364, which was confirmed when I jumped through all the hoops necessary to get the dash panel to display the same information.

Based on a NHTSA document I downloaded a while back, code 3364 is defined as “Aftertreatment 1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid Quality.” I figured that meant the DEF system wasn’t happy with the quality of the DEF in the tank. That didn’t surprise me too much, since our last trip before this one was a short trip to Las Vegas & back in October 2020 (about four months ago), and the most recent trip before that was a long trip to Reyco Granning in Mt. Vernon, Missouri in August 2020. I can’t recall adding DEF during the trip to Las Vegas & back, so the DEF in the tank was probably from August 2020, making it about six months old.

We spent Sunday night (2/14/2021) at the Tucson/Lazydays KOA, not far from the race track. Once we got there, I devised a plan to replace the suspect DEF with fresh DEF. I made a run to the local Walmart and purchased two 2.5 gallon jugs of Blue DEF. This morning (2/15/2021) I examined the DEF tank, hoping for a drain plug. Finding the bottom of the tank covered by a steel plate, I drove our Jeep to a nearby Ace Hardware store and purchased a few feet of clear tubing, otherwise known as siphon hose.

I’m sure many of you have enjoyed the pleasure of siphoning gasoline at one time or another. I can assure you that siphoning DEF is equally pleasurable. Nonetheless I got it done, and with the tank virtually empty I added the five gallons of fresh DEF.

Not long thereafter we left the RV park, headed for home. For the first 20 or 25 miles all was well, and I was congratulating myself on a job well done. About that time, the dreaded “Check Engine” warning message reappeared. Apparently my actions did nothing more than aggravate the DEF system because this time there were not one but three codes, as you can see in the second, third and fourth photos below:

1) The previous code 3364 – “Aftertreatment 1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid Quality” (So much for fresh DEF in the tank.)

2) Code 1761 – “Aftertreatment 1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid Tank Volume”

3) Code 3031 – “Aftertreatment 1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid Tank Temperature 1”

So now the system apparently thinks I have bad DEF fluid, not enough of it in the tank, and that it’s frozen or about to be. Fortunately we made it home with no de-rate or other issues.

So, I presume I am officially the newest member of the august “Snakebit by DEF System Club.” For those of you who have lived this nightmare (not to mention Chuck and numerous others by name), a few questions if you would be so kind:

- Our coach was delivered in October 2017, so it’s coming up on three & a half years old. In light of that age, is there any warranty coverage for this problem?

- Assuming the answer to that question is No, who do I contact to order a new DEF head unit? Entegra? Spartan? Shaw? Or?

- How do I ensure the new DEF head unit I receive is the latest & greatest? I believe Gen 6 is the latest (if not the greatest), but how do I determine the part I receive is in fact a Gen 6?

- Anything else I should know as I deal with this situation? (Yes, I have considered trading for a new motorhome, but based on Chuck’s experience that doesn’t appear to be much of a solution.)

Thanks in advance for any and all advice and assistance!
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Old 02-15-2021, 07:42 PM   #2
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So sorry to read....... I feel for you.

I am going to stay out of this because I dont have 100% answers for you on a couple of your questions, but I think that Spartan is capable of guaranteeing that the version that they send if you get it from them is a Gen 6. I have not read about owners receiving older Generations if sent from Spartan. I also think that it is confirmed by the serial number stamped on it.

Good luck buddy.....

Gary
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Old 02-15-2021, 07:52 PM   #3
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DEF is covered under the emissions warranty which I think is 7 years. You should be covered 100%. I just had the DEF heater replaced on my 2014 GMC last year and it was covered.
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Old 02-15-2021, 08:00 PM   #4
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Larry, sorry for your misfortune. I hope you will join the other complaints filed with NHTSA. Maybe it will help us all in the future.
Best bet for a replacement is Spartan. I "think" emission warranty is 5 years, I haven't made it that far to have any experience
As for Gen 6 it will be the 3rd number on the model tag and box. All Spartan is shipping now is Gen 6, but the were also suppose it install Gen 6's on 21's too.....it pays to double check.
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Old 02-15-2021, 08:44 PM   #5
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Thanks to all of you for the replies and suggestions - much appreciated!

I'll contact Spartan tomorrow morning (Tuesday 2/16/2021) and report back regarding what I'm able to learn.

Chuck, I'm sure Spartan has been installing Gen 6 DEF heads on everything they've built for quite some time, except for that one special chassis they built for a most-favored customer...
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Old 02-15-2021, 09:23 PM   #6
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Larry you're covered...5 years. Spartan will authorize and ship to a Cummins authorized shop near you. Just got mine 3 weeks ago, it was a gen 6. Sorry to have you join the club )-:
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Old 02-15-2021, 09:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWBAZ View Post
Thanks to all of you for the replies and suggestions - much appreciated!

I'll contact Spartan tomorrow morning (Tuesday 2/16/2021) and report back regarding what I'm able to learn.

Chuck, I'm sure Spartan has been installing Gen 6 DEF heads on everything they've built for quite some time, except for that one special chassis they built for a most-favored customer...


I got the light recently on my 2019 Aspire that was out of factory warranty. Fortunately I was at NIRVC Surprise at the time. They ordered in the new DEF head and it was replaced (parts and labor) by Spartan under their warranty. You may want to reach out to them.
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Old 02-16-2021, 06:23 AM   #8
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Chuck, I'm sure Spartan has been installing Gen 6 DEF heads on everything they've built for quite some time, except for that one special chassis they built for a most-favored customer...
They tried, but they didn't know which chassis I was going to get so they installed them in a few other K3's for 21 year models JME, with Spartan I always have to verify.
In addition to Cuimmins, NIRVC has been approved to do the installation on a few other coaches. Cummins was the only one in my area that Spartan would approve for warranty coverage.
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Old 02-16-2021, 09:07 AM   #9
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Larry:

As above, the emissions warranty is 5 years. At Spartan, Hunter is a good contact, and at least for me, he overnighted the probe. You should be in good shape for distance vs derate to get to NIRVC or any other spot near Phoenix. At first, Spartan wanted me to go to Cummins before they would ship it, but after 'splainin' the codes, they shipped it without Cummins' say so.
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Old 02-16-2021, 10:13 AM   #10
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Larry:

As above, the emissions warranty is 5 years. At Spartan, Hunter is a good contact, and at least for me, he overnighted the probe. You should be in good shape for distance vs derate to get to NIRVC or any other spot near Phoenix. At first, Spartan wanted me to go to Cummins before they would ship it, but after 'splainin' the codes, they shipped it without Cummins' say so.
Thanks Stew - that's very good information to have.

Because of the hard-to-finally-resolve drivability issue our coach had, I'm very well acquainted with Hunter Smith and his manager Scott Wixson. I was in the process of writing up an e-mail to Hunter & Scott when I saw your post. Hopefully they will be as cooperative with me as they were with you.
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Old 02-16-2021, 04:44 PM   #11
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‘After check engine light comes on, how many miles can you drive before de-rate?
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Old 02-16-2021, 06:34 PM   #12
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‘After check engine light comes on, how many miles can you drive before de-rate?
Good question. Based on previous posts there is not a definitive answer. Maybe someone will respond who knows.
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Old 02-17-2021, 06:20 AM   #13
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I got about 120 miles. No telling how close I was to actual derate
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Old 02-17-2021, 06:52 AM   #14
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‘After check engine light comes on, how many miles can you drive before de-rate?
Somewhere between 60 and 600. As much as I have asked, Cummins says it set by the chassis manufactures. So far Spartan will not disclose that information to me. Very strange when auto manufacture have it digitally displayed on the dash how many miles before derate.
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