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2000 Safari Zanzibar Over Heating Issue


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#1 rrlowther

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:00 AM

I'm going to share this story with everyone in hopes that perhaps it might save someone else the extremely expensive repairs we endured.

We purchased a 2000 Safari Zanzibar Diesel Pusher in April of 2011. It proceeded to spend the major of the time since in the shop for a number of repairs.

We were finally ready to take our first trip in our coach. From Denver to Phoenix for my little brothers wedding.

We left on a Monday morning and broke down about 30 miles from home. Check engine light came on, engine derated. We pulled over and started looking for the problem. I noted that I was loosing oil out of the bottom of the oil pan. This issue was supposed to be corrected (I have the receipt saying it was) by Windish RV.

We drove back to the shop we had it in originally and ended up spending $1,200.00 for a new oil pan. Our Star RV warranty would not cover the repair.

Tuesday afternoon we pulled out again and this time we made it all the way to Monument Colorado. Where, the check engine light came on again, the engine derated. We pulled over, fired up the internet and proceeded to call 32 different diesel repair shops before we found one that would wait for us to get there. (It was 5PM).

We got to Allens Auto and Diesel Repair in Colorado Springs. They hooked up the computer and tinkered with the engine for about 3 hours. They weren't able to diagnose the issue. So we spent our very first night in our coach parked behind a diesel repair shop. At the end of the run way for the air base. Let's just say it wasn't a peaceful nights sleep.

The next day Allen's Auto and Diesel Repair proceeded to continue their diagnostics. They stated that the auto tensioner was bad and the serpantene belt needed to be replaced. Then they determined that the Electronic Control Module was bad. The part cost was $1,800.00. Star RV denied the coverage. I got on the phone and raised a stink and finally got them to agree that the ECM was indeed covered. We took the dingy and drove 40 miles to Pueblo and got the new ECM, had it programmed and returned to Colorado Springs. They installed the ECM and called everything good. Total for repairs: $2,800.00. Star RV Warranty paid $1,900.00 we paid the balance.

We got back on the road at 6PM on Wednesday. You guessed it, at 7PM the check engine light came on and the engine derated. Allan's Auto and Diesel repair did not answer their emergency number that we were given "just in case".

We limped to a KOA site in South Pueblo and set up for the night. Thursday morning we called Wagoner CAT repair center. They said they would work us through. We drove back from Pueblo South and on the way... You guessed it again! The check engine light came on, the engine derated and we literally limped into the Wagoner repair facility.

They did their own diagnostics and determine it had to be the thermostats. They offered to work us in and have us back on the road by 4PM Thursday. The wedding was at 6:30 Friday afternoon.....

The thermostats were replaced. The engine coolant replaced. We took it for a test drive just to be sure. And it overheated again.

We were told that the only other issue could be the radiator. They had checked the water pump. They had installed probes and confirmed coolant flow, coolant pressure etc.

We abandoned our coach and drove the dingy through the night to make the wedding on Friday afternoon. We made the wedding and returned on the following Wednesday to "Pick up our coach". Only to find that Star RV Warranty had once again denied coverage for the repair. We authorized the repairs and returned to Denver in the dingy.

We went to pick up the coach yesterday (Tuesday)...We arrived just before the mechanic returned with the coach after his test drive. We drove right past us and straight back to the garage area. Clearly, this was not going to be good news.

The mechanic was scratching his head and was visibly upset. With a new set of thermostats, confirmation of pressure and water flow and a new radiator, the coach was still overheating, the engine still derating.....

While studying the issue, I put the coach into high idle. I went to the back of the coach, and started feeling for air flow out of the back of the engine compartment. It was pretty minimal.... I opened the louvered doors and was overwhelmed with hot air....

I instructed the mechanic to remove the lourver doors that covered the back of the engine compartment. Then we went for a drive. The engine did get up to 220 degrees on inclines. But quickly recovered and dropped back down to 186 to 199...

I instructed them to remove the doors and the lower louver on the bumper. We then drove the coach 200 miles from Pueblo back to our home in Denver without issue.

After $5,500.00 in repairs, (None of which were apparently needed), we figured out that the louver doors on the back the coach along with the louver cover over the radiator was preventing any air from escaping the engine compartment. The design of the doors was forcing the hot air right back into the engine compartment and preventing the engine from being able to take in fresh air to push over the radiator.

This story has been extremely frustrating but I wanted to share it in case someone else is having a similar issue.

I am having the grill and doors modified this morning to allow for proper air flow. It may not be as pretty or finished as it looks with the doors as they are now. However, it will be nice to be able to take our coach on a trip this weekend to Santa Fe...
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#2 trekker01

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 10:05 AM

I highly recommend you get in contact with CoachNet and get coverage through them to cover towing expenses should you break down again. They are able to perform miracles at getting you into a qualified shop on a timely basis. I wouldn't be without that backup. No, they don't pay for the repairs, but they do all the legwork to get you into a shop that can get you back on the road ASAP.
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#3 flowerman

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:21 PM

I joined this site just to reply to this issue. I bought a Safari Zanzibar new in 2000. I had the same over heating issues from the get go. I won't tell the whole story but I finally got it all fixed under warranty. There is more to the fix than louver doors. I can give you full details if you are interested. you can email me at davesemail@myway.com.


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#4 vmelroe

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

I bought a 2000 Safari Zanzibar 1 year ago drove it all last summer down in the hot Texas sun and didn't have any overheat problems.  We are planning on  doing long 5 week trip this summer about 5000 miles. Hopefully no problems.


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#5 flowerman

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:35 PM

I bought a 2000 Safari Zanzibar 1 year ago drove it all last summer down in the hot Texas sun and didn't have any overheat problems.  We are planning on  doing long 5 week trip this summer about 5000 miles. Hopefully no problems.

The problem is most pronounced when climbing grades. Your coach probably has the needed fixes. It was a design problem with the back louvers and engineering of the fan and fan shroud. On mine, they replaced the back louvered doors and the louvers in the back bumper. The fan shroud was cut back to allow the fan to grab more air, and the fan was replaced with a six blade fan.

 

You should also check that your breather tube is long enough to hang below/behind the radiator so oil doesn't splash up into it. Also wash the outside of the radiator regularly because dirt and debris can build up over time. It is not recommended but I use my pressure washer on low pressure first with detergent and then clear rinse on low pressure.

 

I love my coach and wouldn't trade it for another, hope you enjoy yours as much.


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