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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Engine Issues and Cummins Rocky Mountain!

Early in my ownership of the Bus, the diesel engine had a little issue that was aggravating.  It happened for the first time, when it was parked in my driveway with the slides out and levelers down, I walked in and started the engine (standing up… not in the driver’s seat), and headed to the rear of the Bus to bring the slides in.

When I got to the back, there was a lot of stuff vibrating and the engine felt as if it was running rough.  I went back to the front, and I noticed that the RPM was about 400 instead of the 800—900 that it normally idled at!  I stepped on the accelerator, but there was no response, so I shut the engine off and sat there wondering about what to do for a while.  Finally, I restarted the engine, and all was well!!

This did not happen until about 8—10 months later.  This time, being “experienced” with this issue, I shut the engine down, and restarted.  Once again, all was well!  This continued to be an intermittent issue that was on an 8—10 month cycle……. and it did not really bother me.

Then…… on the second day of this trip, on the Wal-Mart parking lot where we overnighted in Fort Stockton, TX, the issue happened again!  However, this time it took all of eight (8) restarts to get it idling properly!!  It had me concerned, but so what, it finally started.  Two mornings later, we were in a campground in Tucson, and it took four (4) restarts to get going.  I got concerned and decided it had to be fixed!!

Early on, while in Quartzsite, I called the Cummins main office and talked to the technical department.  Luckily, a fire truck with a Cummins engine had had the same issue, but that city had spent $7000 in trouble shooting fees before they called the technical department and they analyzed it……. and got it correct on the first analysis.  He gave me a list of things to have a mechanic check, and recommended a Cummins/Onan Repair shop in Avondale, AZ (near Phoenix) called Cummins Rocky Mountain.

The next day, I called and made an appointment for 6:00AM on Tuesday, 28Jan2014……. a date that gave us plenty of time in Quartzsite.

On Thursday, 23Jan2014, Patsy and I had had about all of the dry camping that we needed for 2014, and decided it was time to find a campground with hookups near the Cummins shop.  Others in our group were also starting to leave, some for home, but a lot of them to Yuma to visit there awhile, and to cross into Mexico at Los Algodones to shop and eat!  We had planned to go with them, but decided getting the Bus issue fixed had priority!

I located a Passport America campground, Saddle Mountain RV Park, in Tonapah, AZ, and I made a reservation for Thursday – Saturday nights.  The park turned out to be a pleasant surprise as it was very nice and quiet.  The best thing was using all the water we wanted to take a shower, leaving whatever lights on, and watching TV for hours…………. even leaving the Bus without turning them off!!  Here are some pictures……..


While at Saddle Mountain, since it was only 35 miles from Phoenix, we drove to Phoenix to shop and sight see a couple of times.  On one of the trips, we went by the Cummins shop to check out the “RV hookups” (electric only) that they had told me about.  The area was nice, so we decided to drive over on Sunday to avoid Tuesday morning rush hour traffic, and to allow the Bus to sit for a couple of days to see if the issue would show up on Tuesday morning with the mechanic there……….. of course when Tuesday came, the issue did not!!!

Here are some pictures of the area at Cummins Rocky Mountain…..


On Tuesday morning, they took the Bus in on time, and we hung out in the customer lounge waiting on their findings.  About 1:00PM, after we got back from a KFC lunch, we discussed the list of work with them.  The main problem was a sticking turbo.  I also had them to update our engine computer, change a leaking oil pan gasket, and change a breather filter in the valve cover.

After discussing the cost, I asked what time that they would be finished, as we kind of had a plan to meet up with friends in Yuma!!  His reply was “We can’t get you into the repair shop until Friday!!!”  I told him that I thought we were already in the repair shop!!  It turns out, we were in the diagnosis shop! 

After I calmed down a bit, I went into the Service Managers office, who had been working very well with me, and discussed the appointment with him.  He moved some other work and mechanic assignments around, and managed to get the Bus into the repair shop on Wednesday morning at 6:00AM.   Then……… I realized that this would make it two days in a row that we had to be up and out of the Bus by 6:00am!  Not my M.O., but what we had asked for!!

While the Bus was in ‘surgery’, we played tourist and drove up “South Mountain” south of Phoenix, and then to a VF factory outlet mall so Patsy could buy some new, smaller clothes for her new smaller size!!

The drive up “South Mountain” was nice.  We spent about three hours going to the top, and driving on the various roadways.  The top of the mountain is used as a location for various transmission towers for the area around Phoenix.  We really took a lot of pictures, and here is a ‘small sampling’ of them…………


There is an effect that you can see, but it is hard to capture on film.  When the sun is behind a cactus, the fine needles seem to glow and light up as if they were a string of lights outlining the saguaro cactus plant.  Look closely in the following picture:


We got the Bus out of the shop at about 7:00 PM (they work on a lot of over the road trucks, and the shop is open from 6:00AM to 12:00 Midnight, M—F) and parked for the night in the same parking lot place at Cummins Rocky Mountain.  On Thursday, we headed south toward Tucson.  More on that in the next posting.

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