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fagnaml

FINAL UPDATE -- Sudden Loss of Engine Cooling

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Yesterday while driving on I-10 to Baton Rouge for LSU football game my 2007 Damon Astoria had a sudden loss of engine cooling and had to be towed to a repair shop in Lake Charles,. LA.  The motorhome only has 8,000 miles.  There was no odor or other sign that I could see of a coolant leak.  Temperature gauge needle had consistently been in the middle of the gauge range until this unexpected event yesterday.  I stopped driving as quickly as possible after high temperature alarm sounded and warming message flashed,  The engine is a Cummins 300 HP ISB on a Freightliner chassis.

When I purchased the motorhome a year ago it had 5,000 miles.  Since the motorhome had very little use for eight years I had the cooling system flushed, belts replaced and hoses checked by PPL Motorhomes in Houston whet I purchased the motorhome.

Any ideas on what would cause a sudden loss of cooling to discuss with the repair shop?

The good news is wife and I are safe and cost of towing and repairs will be covered by the XtraRide Extended Service plan I purchased when I bought the motorhome.

Thanks for your thoughts and guidance!

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Hi Mike,

Sounds like your coach didn't want to go to a Tigers game!:lol:  Glad you are safe and sound.

Seriously, given your explanation above I would start diagnosis with the thermostat.

Blake

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Here's an update to my "sudden loss of engine cooling" event this past Friday. After a two hour search effort (which I'm sure was least cost driven) my Good Sam Roadside Assistance Plan found a towing and repair business in DeRidder, LA (about 50 miles north of Lake Charles, LA) by the name of Harmon's Towing and Automotive to take care of my motorhome.  The towing service was superb.  Late yesterday Bill Harmon (owner) reported the A/C compressor had seized which caused the big serpentine belt to be thrown which of course stopped the fan from turning and everything else driven by that belt.  The good news is because I stopped the engine so quickly after getting the high temperature alarm there is no apparent damage to the engine block.  Except for the A/C compressor, all of the other pulleys, fan, alternator, etc. are in good shape.  The search is on for a new compressor, receiver, etc.   My XtraRide Extended Service plan will pay for the repair except for a $200 deductible.

I posted a few weeks ago that I was having trouble with dash board cooling even after adding Freon to the A/C system.  Now I know the compressor was probably the culprit. After giving Bill the history of my motorhome (very little use by the previous owner during its first eight years of life) he stated that infrequent use of an A/C system results in lubricating oil separating from the Freon and settling in the receiver.  When the A/C system is first turned on, the compressor will operate without lubrication until the Freon can pick-up the oil that has settled out.  Operating the compressor without lubrication Bill said will eventually lead to the failure I experienced this past Friday.

Has anyone else has an A/C compressor lock-up / thrown belt event or heard of a fellow motorhome owner who has?   Are there any cooling system items that should be checked/replaced following the overheating event?  For example, should the thermostat be replaced?

As always, I appreciate the forum's thoughts and guidance!

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24 minutes ago, fagnaml said:

Here's an update to my "sudden loss of engine cooling" event this past Friday. After a two hour search effort (which I'm sure was least cost driven) my Good Sam Roadside Assistance Plan found a towing and repair business in DeRidder, LA (about 50 miles north of Lake Charles, LA) by the name of Harmon's Towing and Automotive to take care of my motorhome.  The towing service was superb.  Late yesterday Bill Harmon (owner) reported the A/C compressor had seized which caused the big serpentine belt to be thrown which of course stopped the fan from turning and everything else driven by that belt.  The good news is because I stopped the engine so quickly after getting the high temperature alarm there is no apparent damage to the engine block.  Except for the A/C compressor, all of the other pulleys, fan, alternator, etc. are in good shape.  The search is on for a new compressor, receiver, etc.   My XtraRide Extended Service plan will pay for the repair except for a $200 deductible.

I posted a few weeks ago that I was having trouble with dash board cooling even after adding Freon to the A/C system.  Now I know the compressor was probably the culprit. After giving Bill the history of my motorhome (very little use by the previous owner during its first eight years of life) he stated that infrequent use of an A/C system results in lubricating oil separating from the Freon and settling in the receiver.  When the A/C system is first turned on, the compressor will operate without lubrication until the Freon can pick-up the oil that has settled out.  Operating the compressor without lubrication Bill said will eventually lead to the failure I experienced this past Friday.

Has anyone else has an A/C compressor lock-up / thrown belt event or heard of a fellow motorhome owner who has?   Are there any cooling system items that should be checked/replaced following the overheating event?  For example, should the thermostat be replaced?

As always, I appreciate the forum's thoughts and guidance!

At first look I would say no as it wasn't what caused the overheating. How ever if you don't have maintenance records I would change it it may be original and they do wear out and doing it now would give you a good baseline as you will have all new coolant and a new thermostat. 

Bill 

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The A/C compressor can most definitely seize due to lack of use. Thats why I would never install a used compressor from a salvage yard. I cycle my A/C during the winter just for this reason.

I would change the T-Stat for the same reason, lack of use.  As I recall, you have 8000 miles on a eight or possibly a nine year old motorhome. Depending on who the original delivering dealer was it could have had 1000-1500 miles on it at delivery. Less than a thousand miles a year is not enough miles to exercise the mechanical parts.

Curious, how many hours are on the genset?

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Never had one seize on me (have replaced many that were seized), mine was leaking a week after we bought the coach. I replaced it (they provided the parts). I only use my dash A/C when starting the trip until the roof tops take over and I shut the dash off.

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Definitely replace the thermostat.  Don't know about Cummins, but the Cat hotline tech told me that thermostats kill more motorhome diesel engines than all other things combined... new one was $18 for me.

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This is the final update for my dashboard A/C compressor problem.  Per the mechanics working on my motorhome, when an A/C compressor locks up, typically the compressor shaft breaks which allows the head/clutch to freely turn.  In my case, the shaft did not break resulting in the serpentine belt getting chewed up.  I learned that while most Cummins ISB engine parts are standard, the dashboard A/C parts are "custom" to each coach.  Finding a proper replacement compressor and replacement drier was challenging.  The expansion valve was also bad and had to be replaced.   My cost for the repairs was the $200 deductible for the XtraRide Extended Service Plan plus I paid overnight shipping costs for the parts.

Given the engine overheating I also had the annual service performed for the engine and generator (oil change, air/oil/fuel filter change, clean the charge air cooler, new coolant and thermostat, etc.).   The cost for this work was $500.

Bill Harmon and his Harmon's Towing and Automotive team in DeRidder, Louisiana provided the towing and repair services and did fantastic work.  If you're ever in southwest Louisiana and need emergency roadside assistance / towing and chassis repair work, I highly recommend Bill and his team.

The XtraRide folks were very easy to work with and get repair authorization.  Bill Harmon stated from his experience XtraRide provides the best service.  Per Bill the poorest extended service provider/most difficult to work with is Good Sam's Club.  

This is the link to the XtraRide (Protective Asset Protection) website if you'd like more info --> http://www.protectiveassetprotection.com/products/rv.aspx

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Bill --

The motorhome is back to running almost like new (it now has a whopping 8,000 total miles of use -- 3,000 miles are mine).  Having just said that I probably jinxed something (?).  I greatly appreciated the insight from you and the other forum members!

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I had a sudden coolant loss on mine!  Right in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic in Denver and the outer lanes were restricted to 13'0 heights because of the upcoming bridges.  How I got to the side I'm just not sure.

Mine was a piece of tire I ran over, flipped up and broke a plastic fitting on the diesel exhaust filter cooling loop that uses coolant to circulate around the filter to cool it after does its deed.  I can't believe that part was plastic!  Probably a $12 part and it cost me 10 times that in the end.

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19 hours ago, WILDEBILL308 said:

Welcome to the forum. Glad you got it fixed and back on the road.

Bill

Thanks Bill & Carl

We have a 2013 Itasca Meridian 42E with the Freightliner 400hp Cummins.

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