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Old 11-06-2020, 09:20 AM   #1
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2002 Journey hiccup under load

I have a 2002 Journey with the 5.9 300 hp Cummins and 4 speed Allison transmission. Things were working smoothly until it came out of storage this spring. I replaced the coach batteries as they were quite old and on their last legs. When I started on a trip, the voltmeter gauge appeared to be running lower than usual. It appeared that the battery was discharging slightly but after about 5 hrs, it still ran fine. I took it to a freightliner dealer and they replaced the alternator and also said it it had a bad ground (which they supposedly fixed). The voltmeter seems to be where it should be now.

Since then, when I drive in hilly terrain towing our CRV (so it is under load), and the engine downshifts, when the RPM’s are between 2300 and 2500, it will sometime hiccup. This hiccup occurs only some of the time, and it is one hiccup and then maybe 3-5 seconds later another single hiccup, etc. It only does this in this rpm range and only when a lower gear and under load (that is the only time it gets to this rpm range). I have gone back and forth about this hiccup but it seems as if it is trying to shift to a higher gear but does not. Again, under normal conditions, it shifts and runs great and engine braking seems to work great as well.

I don’t typically believe In coincidences so I suspect it could be related to the work that was done. They also put a new muffler on it but I believe this is unrelated. I could not imagine what alternator work would have to do with this but have since read that suspect ground could cause this transmission to act strangely? Does anyone know if this is a shift point for this transmission? Is there a way to troubleshoot this better. It would be hard for a repair shop to troubleshoot it because it does not always happen. I am still not completely convinced that it is not engine related but I have run lots of diesel fuel conditioners through it and this has not resolved it.

Thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:18 AM   #2
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I just came across your post and see no one has replied with possible causes. Did you find the root cause? If not, I would like to know what type of lift pump your engine uses?

My thinking is that you are sucking air into your fuel delivery line... into your CAPS pump or V44 pump. I do not know your coach but I can say from my experiences that when you have a high demand on your fuel delivery system, as is the case when you are trying to climb a hill, then you engine will sputter due to air being sucked into your fuel delivery system.

All my experience is with an 2003, ISC-350-CAPS Injection System, but I think the solution is very similar:

* You can change your filters, but the real problem is due to "flappers" disrupting fuel delivery; or you are loosing fuel pressure and flow because air is getting sucked into your fuel line.

Do you have a lift pump that looks like either of these two types in the pictures below? ...If you have 3-bolts holding your lift pump like I do with my ISC-350 then you may just need to tighten those bolts and you will find you "hick-up" gone!

The fuel flow diagram shows I have prevented early injection pump failure by adding a FASS 12V Electric Fuel Pump. I.e., I don't know if this will resolve you problems, but it should.

When your VP44 or CAPS fuel pump is starved of fuel, you may see a "hick-up" but the bigger concern is that your fuel injection pump (VP44 or CAPS) is being starved of fuel and that leads to loss of lubrication... resulting in more heat... and early pump failure costing you $5,000 or more. Consequently, this is NOT a problem you want to ignore.
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:22 AM   #3
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Wow. Thanks for the detailed response. Pictures and all. Unfortunately, I live in the northeast and I have the rv in storage for the winter a few hours away. So I will not be able to look into it further until spring.

One question. When you mention sputtering, what are you describing. This is a single skip like once every 3-5 seconds. When I think of sputtering, I think of general misfiring like a few times a second.

I just want to clarify that the symptoms we are describing are just different terminology for the same thing and if not, that you think the cause would be the same.

Thanks again
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:29 PM   #4
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We are saying the same thing. When your engine hiccups/sputters your injection pump is loosing fuel pressure momentarily.

Fuel also cools your pump. So over time your pump wears and heats up. These injection pumps have very close tolerances and can suffer a catastrophic failure due to a number of variables that have to do with the loss in lubrication.

Loosing fuel pressure is something you can look into. Maybe it will cost you nothing if you just need to tighten up those bolts and do the work yourself. After all, most of the effort involved has to do with entering the engine bay through the bedroom and the owner is often more qualified than the mechanic.

Adding fuel additives (PS-Diesel or Howe's) at every fill-up is a good idea to help lubricate your injection pump. Note: I use to use Howe's because it's cheaper, but I changed over to PS-Diesel and every once in a while I will use Hot Shot fuel additive.

And you can install a FASS or AirDog to provide positive fuel pressure... worth every penny to avoid a break down on the road and an expensive tow.

Keep in mind all pre-2006 engines were not designed to run on USLD fuel. That means less sulfur in the fuel, and sulfur is a good lubricant. And there is nothing you can do about that now. However, using Bio-fuels are reported to have more lubricity vs. #2 Diesel without 5%-20% biofuels.

I have no problem using bio-fuels in my CAPS injection pump for this reason. However, a lot of owners mentally object to this stuff, because they heard from someone, who heard from someone else, to be on the lookout for "bad diesel fuel."

This is a holdover "wife's tale" from all our experiences driving cars. And those of us with Harley's know you can get bad premium fuel (low octane) that can cause our engine to stall out because the electronics sense the hiccup and that causes problems. ...But diesel fuel is not the same as gasoline.

Much has been written about this. You should search www.irv2.com for how and why you should install a FASS or AirDog.

Your engine is always talking to you; and my advice to pay attention to what it is saying!
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:53 AM   #5
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I have an '03 Journey with the same engine you have. One thing i have come to know is that although up front you don't notice engine vibration but it obviously vibrates a lot. I say this because every time i go to remove the bed frame to get to the top of the engine all the screws and such are loose or backed out and I know they were previously tight.

I said all that to say this. On mine this vibration causes the connections on my starter to loosen. This of course causes it to loose ground. Tightening everything back up solves the problem, but I do have to keep a check on it.

A loose ground will cause the problem you are describing. When it comes to wrenching always eliminate the simple things first before tearing into complex things. Just my 02.
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Old 01-15-2021, 03:54 AM   #6
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alamon: I don't know, but might you consider that your crank-dampener is not balanced? ...Could this explain all that vibration are concerned about, or is this common for ISB motors? I have a 2003-ISC-350.

...Or could it be you need a valve adjustment. I adjusted my valves at 75,000 and found the intake valves "on the money", but the exhaust valves were on the outside of the spec... but still within spec. I adjusted them and my engine ran smoother, but I had no noticeable pickup in power.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:26 AM   #7
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alamon: I don't know, but might you consider that your crank-dampener is not balanced?

Really have no idea. It's not that big a problem that I would consider spending $$$ to have it looked into. As long as I keep those connections tight all is good.
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