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Old 07-29-2021, 04:59 PM   #1
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First Diesel

We are buying our first Diesel Motorhome saturday.

2005 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 38
400 hp ISL

What do I need to know to get started. I have read diesels run at much lower RPM.
What RPM I want for cruising down interstate and what RPM to stay for climbing grades.?

What are some of differences between gas and diesel powered motorhomes in same size class.

Thanks for all info
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Old 07-29-2021, 05:04 PM   #2
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Put transmission in DRIVE and go

Diesels PULL better (more torque)
Diesels do NOT loose power in altitude

Tranny in 'D' and GO


Enjoy your 'new' RV
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Old 07-29-2021, 05:07 PM   #3
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What he said. Enjoy the ride!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Put transmission in DRIVE and go

Diesels PULL better (more torque)
Diesels do NOT loose power in altitude

Tranny in 'D' and GO


Enjoy your 'new' RV
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Old 07-29-2021, 05:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Onthehunt49 View Post
We are buying our first Diesel Motorhome saturday.

2005 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 38
400 hp ISL

What do I need to know to get started. I have read diesels run at much lower RPM.
What RPM I want for cruising down interstate and what RPM to stay for climbing grades.?

What are some of differences between gas and diesel powered motorhomes in same size class.

Thanks for all info
Well you made a good choice.

Mostly you put it in D and drive it. The engine and transmission will do most of the deciding.

I got my first DP last year. There is a button on the shifter that says "mode" I had no idea what it was for, thought there were odd things I could do to it. Ive been around diesels all my life, drove over the road for a while. This was my first with an automatic. What I found out was, the coach will normally start up in standard mode, all the "mode" button does is change the shift points to an ECO mode. For the most part you can run it with the mode button on. Driving home 2400 miles from Mexico, I got almost 1 mpg better than running with the eco off.

If you are driving in mountains you may want to shut it off. It accelerates slower when pulling onto the highway and may not shift down quite as quick when starting a climb.

Generally you don't want to lug it below 1700 for long, and don't want to run it above 2800 for long periods. It will handle both, but the best operating range on highways with just gradual hills and curves is 1800 - 2200.

If you know you are about to start a long grade up, you may want to shift down one gear and get it at about 2400 rpm. If you have to shift down another one to keep it up there that is just fine.

Also I will assume you have an engine brake. Be a little careful as it may want to shift down 2 gears going down hill, and that takes the RPM up to 2800. Won't hurt it but I don't like to run that high for long periods. I'd slow the coach down with the service brakes to get in the 2500 rpm range.

Mostly you will figure out pretty quick where it runs the best.

Also, one important thing with a diesel, I generally let mine get pretty close to operating temperature before driving it. When you start it at an idle 700 <> RPM it does not oil that well. With your cruise control buttons you can idle it up. On mine I turn the cruise on, then tap the accelerate button. Each time take it up a little more, or you can hold it. If I'm going to idle for more than a minute or so I idle it up to 1000-1200 RPM. Check your oil pressure when you do that and you'll see why. Diesels like oil pressure, and 700 RPM at idle just doesn't give it enough.
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Also, one important thing with a diesel, I generally let mine get pretty close to operating temperature before driving it. When you start it at an idle 700
Cummins says not to do this...

Here is what the Cummins 400 ISL manual I found said about cold starts and idleing in general:

Quote:
Engine Warm-Up

Avoid full throttle operation when the engine is cold. When starting a cold engine, bring the engine up to operating speed slowly to allow the oil pressure to stabilize as the engine warms up.

If temperatures are below 32įF (0įC), operate the engine at moderate speeds for five minutes before full loads are applied.

Engine Idling

Avoid prolonged idling, long periods of idling may be harmful to your engine because combustion chambertemperatures can drop so low that the fuel may not burn completely. Incomplete combustion allows carbon and varnish to form on piston rings, cylinder head valves, and injector nozzles. Also, the unburned fuel can enter the crankcase, diluting the oil and causing rapid wear to the engine.
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Old 07-29-2021, 10:05 PM   #6
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Cummins says not to do this...

Here is what the Cummins 400 ISL manual I found said about cold starts and idleing in general:
..... which means .... there's no reason to let the engine 'warm up' or 'cool down' in a campground. By the time you slow down near the entrance and get settled in your campsite you can turn it off. Likewise, when leaving, by the time you pull out of your campsite and drive slow exiting the park you've warmed it up enough.
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:01 AM   #7
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Open a special bank account to save up maintenance money. When a diesel breaks, it breaks expensively. But, you'll have a good smooth air ride into the poor house.
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:30 AM   #8
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First Diesel

Quote:
Originally Posted by hohenwald48 View Post
Open a special bank account to save up maintenance money. When a diesel breaks, it breaks expensively. But, you'll have a good smooth air ride into the poor house.


^ this
I just ran my costs fuel repairs etc for the last 7 years Iíve owned my Marquis . I keep it in a spreadsheet
51500 miles in those years with the last year and a half mostly sitting 23,000 in fuel and 47000 in all for maint and repair
So about 10 grand a year. Now , for reference , my coach has some expensive aging systems that arenít cheap to repair and I hire all engine chassis work done. The diesel is amazing and comfortable but expensive to repair Ö. Be sure put aside budget funds for at least 10% of its value each year was advice I got 25 years ago and has held true for me.
All engine rpm operating recommendations are only good for the person quoting them. Diesels are not uniform. For example my cat redlines at 2300rpm ! my sweet spot is 1500rpm those with different engines have different specs. Read up on your specific engine.
Idling more than a few minutes is old school that wonít die. Under a hard pull
Like up a pass almost all recommend a 5 minute cool down Ö thatís all and if you arenít pulling grades no cool down. Start up is the same Ö. start engine and drive slowly the first mile or two. Thatís the time to drive out of your rv spot to the freeway. Drove commercial truck for years that way with engines that were million milers with no majors
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:46 AM   #9
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Use diesel fuel treatment.
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:54 AM   #10
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Find out exactly what type of coolant (anti-freeze), and possibly additives, that your specific diesel needs and make sure that is what is in it.

Diesels can suffer from a problem called cavitation, essentially without the proper coolant and additives, the cylinder sleeves can start eroding, eventually causing holes in the cylinder. (very basic description of the process).

Using the correct type of coolant, and in some cases additives too, will prevent this VERY expensive failure. The "safe for all vehicles" coolant is generally NOT safe for many diesels.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:42 AM   #11
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RPM is different - 1500-2500 for power to cruise or climb - 2500-3200 for exhaust brake/no load operation - research specific ranges for your engine. Do not do what feels good. Do what the engine is designed to do and only that.

Learn to drive by engine RPM, boost, and temperature (engine & transmission). Also learn to drive to the capability of your rig. Your transmission programming is going to over-ride your desire to change/maintain speed. That means you have to manually over-ride the programming when you can.

On a hot day or a long grade, you may need to drop a gear to spin the fan and water pump faster if the temps build. Most grades are 6% or less. When they are closer to 10% you may need to be in a lower (higher numerical ratio/lower number gear). For reference you will have acceleration gears (4,3,2:1), a 1:1 drive gear and overdrive gears (0.8 or 0.9:1). Droping out of overdrive is a given for grades. The transmission will drop to lower gears on grades, but it takes time for the programming to act. You may need to manually shift down before the grade. That's where knowing the capability of your rig pays off.

This also depends on your gear load out. If you are light, you can maybe just drive the rig. If you are heavy, you need to out think the programming and the conditions.

Light will also let you run lower tire pressure and that improves the ride. Just match your tire pressure to your weight, not to what you wish it would be. Default is sidewall maximum (cold - before you start driving for the day). That will likely be too high, but get the coach weighed before you drop the pressure. A four corner weight is best, but if not possible, increase the weights by a 10% safety factor.

Edit - Have anti-gel treatment (cold weather freeze prevention) on hand. When you need it the shelves are empty. In areas where bio mix fuel is mandated, look for R100 that is all bio, but blended as petroleum diesel with same performance. If the tank is going to sit, as stated above, use fuel treatment to eliminate moisture collection.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:45 AM   #12
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I don't have a motor home, but I do have a diesel truck. But my best guess, all you need to do is simply, turn the key for the ignition and ENJOY! Congrats on your new camper!
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:05 PM   #13
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My last RV was a Monaco, 2005, so very similar to yours. Here's my entire process.

1. Get in
2. Start it up and let air come up
3. Turn off air brake
4. Push D

That is it, 109,000+ miles on clock when sold.

Never went in shop so don't let people scare you in regards to repair fees. All repairs are expensive, gas or diesel. The key is to not need repairs.

It never saw a single drop of diesel fuel additive.
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:22 PM   #14
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Open a special bank account to save up maintenance money. When a diesel breaks, it breaks expensively. But, you'll have a good smooth air ride into the poor house.
.... and on the other side of the coin .... in 8 years of full-timing and traveling constantly we didn't have any repairs.... just maintenance. Keep your RV in good maintenance and repairs will be minimal or not at all. Just sayin'.....
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