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Old 05-09-2021, 11:52 AM   #1
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My Belt Saga

Last Sunday I went to fuel up our coach for the trip back to WI from AZ. The dash AC worked going, but did not coming home. I thought maybe low on Freon. All shops were booked. On checking, I could see sparks on the AC clutch so shut it down. Was told by a reputable RV shop owner that if I did not try to engage it, the compressor would just act like a idler pully and be fine for the trip. HE HAD NEVER SEEN AN AC COMPRESSOR BEARING FAIL. That belt drives the water pump, alternator and AC compressor. Tiffin included a shorter bypass serpentine belt in to event the AC compressor locked up and I wanted to have it put on so that the compressor was bypassed, but was assured it was not necessary. 230 miles later, the engine temp shot up to 245 degrees and the dash lit up. Fortunately, I could get to the side of interstate 15 and shut the engine down. Enter Coachnet Roadside Assistance that I had just joined two days before. The AC compressor had locked up and shredded the belt. I knew that all I needed was to put the bypass belt on, but needed three arms to do it. 97 degrees with traffic whipping by this 78 year old guy decided to wait in the cool coach for help. Coachnet will pay for roadside service OR a tow, but not both. I wasn't 100% positive something else might have happened so picked the tow option. The tow truck had to come 45 miles from ST George, UT to tow me 3 miles into Mesquite AZ. After the engine cooled down while waiting for the tow truck, I pulled the coach further off the shoulder onto an adjacent graveled area to be away from the traffic. Six hours after the shut down, the tow truck arrived. He said "Lets just put the bypass belt on and see what happens" "TWENTY SHORT MINUTES LATER, with that third arm, the engine was running smooth and we were on our way.

The story should end here, but there is more. When I pulled further off the road through a very shallow gradual dip, the twist of the body popped the lower passenger side of the full windshield out. I could slide two fingers through the opening. We're back on I15 north of Mesquite on the phone to Coachnet again. A tech told me to just tape up the gap with duct tape and hit the road. Said it happens a lot to coach delivery drivers and some carry a roll of tape just in case.

End of story now???? Not yet, there's more. That night I discovered that when I went though that gradual dip, a piece of sage brush broke the generator tail pipe hanger and twisted it back toward the drivers side steer tire. Was able to pivot it back and wire the hanger together.

Now, the story ends,,,,,,,,,, or maybe it just pauses for awhile. This whole chain of events happened because I did not follow my gut feeling that the bypass belt needed to be installed "BEFORE" we left AZ. I should have known better that to ignore what my instinct was telling me and instead listened to someone who was supposed to know.

If you have a similar belt drive on your coach, it's a good idea to have such a bypass belt so you can keep going in the event of such a failure.
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Old 05-09-2021, 12:10 PM   #2
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Thanks for relating the saga. I'll be trying to not ignore my gut feeling in the future.
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Old 05-09-2021, 01:36 PM   #3
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Wow! It turned out to be very different from my thought when I saw the title I was thinking you pants had fallen down. Come to think of it, that would have been much less difficult to deal with. But all is well that ends well.
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:56 PM   #4
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Always follow your gut...it knows best.

Question? If you don't mind, What engine and what was the bypass belt p#?
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Old 05-09-2021, 08:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Card View Post
Always follow your gut...it knows best.

Question? If you don't mind, What engine and what was the bypass belt p#?
Cummins 8.9 liter 450 ISL. It has a Cummins part number, but can't see it now. I'll crawl under it tomorrow and see if I can get it. I've carried it for eight years. I should mention that the compressor that failed was a rebuilt one put on one year ago. The first replacement they tried was defective and had to get a second one. That is when I should have insisted that they only install a new compressor. Guess I'll start paying more attention to what my instincts tell me. Could have prevented a lot of inconvenience and expense for Coach net. No more rebuilt parts for me.
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:22 PM   #6
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Had my compressor on my 2014 Dutch Star seize up. I was unhooking the toad at a campground and heard a sizzling and a pop. Luckily, the belt broke right there. I could see that with the removal of one idler pulley, I could bypass the A/C. I used the old belt to measure the distance I needed, went to Napa and got the correct length belt. I was able to do the entire swap with an 18" breaker bar and one size socket. I now keep a spare belt and the breaker bar in my tool box. (450 ISL).
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