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Fuel Loss & Air Loss At Same Time

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September 1st we headed out from Denver to the Pacific Northwest in the Panther. Not far out on the interstate West of Glenwood Canyon I had to run over 3/4 of a truckers failed tread recap. I could not move into the opposite lane due to traffic. It was shortly after watching my left mirror that a small pickup was frantically flashing his lights. I pulled left on to the shoulder immediately to check what was up. He was yelling watch out there is gasoline all over the place (it was diesel) and yes it was all over the place. I hollered at Janet to shut the coach down. which she did. That dang tire tread wholloped itself down the right side under carriage of the coach, smacking every thing hanging down an inch or more which included the Hurricane exhaust and the secondary fuel filter.

Impact to the Hurricane heater exhaust was minimal  but the fuel filter was history, probably usable in a pinch if I had reinstalled the seal. The force was quick enough that the filter flexed/bent and the fuel pressure blew/rolled a small section of the seal over enough to leak quite a bit of fuel under pressure. For some reason I did not have a spare when I checked.

I was only a couple miles from Glenwood Springs so asked SERI for a phone number of the O'Riley parts store to see if they had secondary filter for a C 12 CAT. They had 2, great. I unloaded the toad from the trailer and went up to the next exit and back to Glenwood Springs. I found the parts store easily and asked for the filter I had spoke about earlier and they looked at me like I was an idiot. They said I had not spoken with any one there. I got out my I phone and had a look to show them I had called...They were right SERI had me call the Leadville, Colorado store 80 miles away. OK I remind myself start over politely. Do you have...yes they had 2 as well and now I do. Back to the coach, pull out the filter wrench, reinstall the filter after refilling it and fire up the coach. Great no fuel leak but what is that hisssssing? 

I crawl back underneath, fuel had, by this time, stopped dripping and there in front of me were two smashed flat, ripped air lines. Fortunately for me, they were air, dump lines and one was redundant anyway. i am a nutty guy when it comes to preparedness in the coach since i have minimal faith in most repair shops. Notice I said "most" repair shops. Well back to my bag of tricks and supplies.  I get out the cheapy plastic air line/PEX tubing cutter and a 1/4 inch push to connect airline fitting, cut out the redundancy install the fitting and we are good to go. 

I will say it was a last minute thought to put those last two items in the bag in large part because I had an M&G brake system to install on the Chevy Tracker if I had time  and nothing to do on day while out West. Time lost 1 hour. For most this incident would have been a tow back to Glenwood and an undetermined wait and a $2,000 bill. Did I get the M&G installed, nope had to much fun crabbing and fishing. We took home 20 Dungeness crab and 60 pounds of Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead and that is another story.

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Hey Bill,

Good story and explanation of your diagnosis on the coach's fuel and air system.  Thankfully you are handy enough to do that and don't let setbacks such as these ruin your day.  Glad you had fun on vacation and wish we were around to sample the crab!

Blake 

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Hello Bill and Janet,

We left Fort Morgan, CO on September 1 headed west toward California on I-80.  Guess we were lucky, we missed the road alligator.  What a story, I'm not surprised, just impressed with the things you carry with you and your ability to use them.  We are in Valley Springs, CA right now, leaving next week for the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque then heading back to Texas for the winter.  Have a good remainder on your trip.

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Gosh, maybe I should post more of these kinds of instances, learning experiences... That said here is another. I was as my bio suggests in the auto repair field and generally old stuff at that so this relatively new coach and electronics is not so familiar. Here which follows is another lesson learned the hard way with few consequences...lucky me.

On September 12 Robert Lewis on Safari Friends mentioned using a wire penetrating probe with which to chase electrical issues. I would suggest that there is a place that this method is sound and another where it is potentially detrimental. Just ask me how I came up with this idea. Do not probe wiring after the ECU or such electronics and walk away with out sealing the punctures. I was, still am looking for a wire that carries a signal indicating that the Jake Brake is active and on. I knew or thought I knew what I was looking for, a connection with three wires going into the head of the C 12 CAT. I poked and poked no signal. Humm and went about doing other things. While I was on the trip out West earlier this month a fault appeared on the dash telling me that the barometric pressure sensor was in a low voltage condition. I pulled over and looked about, all voltages checked out and away we went. The fault gone after shutting down. A while later it was back this time blinking and that got my attention because when dash lights blink, it is getting more serious.
 
Making this a little shorter I called my friend and yours Dave Atherton to query him on the problem. I asked about the low voltage issue and since he knows some of the history of this coach, he said, probably a dirty connection, not that it is dirty, it is not, it is a time thing. I was the thinking don't tell him you poked all three wires because during the conversation I connected the dots that led me to the sensor wires I poked. I will tell you this all transpired over a few days and me sweating bullets every time it lit up because it could de-rate the engine at any time...each time, I turned the key off for a couple seconds and the fault would go away for a time, sometimes long and sometimes short.  Lucky me it did not de-rate and I was finally able to get some sensor safe sealant and sealed up my poked spots and no more issues. 
 
Moral of the story seal up your probe points, your coach will smile upon you for doing so. I did not tell Dave what I had done. Here I should thank our friend Dave Atherton he is a terrific resource for solving not obvious problems...THANKS DAVE

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Bill,

It is OK. We are all sworn to secrecy-- Dave will not find out from any of us.

But, yes, many ECM systems work on 5 VDC.  Doesn't take a lot of resistance in a connection to alter the reading.

Also, you might recall in my diesel maintenance presentation to the Diesel RV Club and at FMCA Conventions is a reminder to clean and tighten the ECM ground wire every year-- same reason. That simple issue (lack of good ground) has stopped more than a few coaches with electronic engines.

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