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Old 07-15-2006, 01:15 PM   #1
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We just came back to Northern California from the desert and had a recurrence of engine overheating on long pulls with our Grand Cherokee behind us. Took it to CAT dealer thinking it would be covered by Warranty (20,500 miles and 27 months old) and CAT had to replace a Fan Hub about 3,000 mi ago. They are telling me they will have to pull out the Radiator and clean it as it is about 50% clogged. (Est. $2,400) They offered to "spray" it but said they haven.'t had much luck with that approach. Oh, and it is not connected to the other work, nor the engine so no warranty. They do have a "fix" which is a demister from the blowby pipe that they can put on so it won't happen again.
Am I getting scammed? Should it be Freightliner's or Winnebago's problem? Would like to hear of any similar problems/solutions.
Thanks,
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:15 PM   #2
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We just came back to Northern California from the desert and had a recurrence of engine overheating on long pulls with our Grand Cherokee behind us. Took it to CAT dealer thinking it would be covered by Warranty (20,500 miles and 27 months old) and CAT had to replace a Fan Hub about 3,000 mi ago. They are telling me they will have to pull out the Radiator and clean it as it is about 50% clogged. (Est. $2,400) They offered to "spray" it but said they haven.'t had much luck with that approach. Oh, and it is not connected to the other work, nor the engine so no warranty. They do have a "fix" which is a demister from the blowby pipe that they can put on so it won't happen again.
Am I getting scammed? Should it be Freightliner's or Winnebago's problem? Would like to hear of any similar problems/solutions.
Thanks,
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:45 PM   #3
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This has been written about a lot do a search and see what you find.
You could get it back and try to use simple green and spray it from underneath to the outside. A lot of folks do this as yearly maintainence.
I know about extending the blowby but don't know anything about a demister. I would sure try to clean it myself even if I had to repeat the process 3or4 times. I don't know if you are down shifting on long grades or even if that what the problem is but some folks keep the rpm up around 2000 and cut the dash air off on long grades. Good Luck
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:06 PM   #4
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Tried to search the topic, but didn't find much...guess I'm not asking the right topic.
We are about to go on a 4 week trip, wife says this MUST be fixed! Guess she's tired (as am I) of sitting along side the highway letting things cool off. Yes, I downshift on hills, but heard that too many rpms do not help the situation.
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:52 PM   #5
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I have just experienced a similar situation in my '01 Journey.

If I understand your suggestion, you get under the MH and spray Simple green on the radiator toward the rear. Do you spray it off with water afterward?

If this doesn't work, what else could be going wrong as it just happened as I was in MT, WY and CO hill country as it was very hot.

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Old 07-15-2006, 03:51 PM   #6
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I cleaned mine last Fall using Simple Green. I bought a gallon, put it in a garden sprayer, sprayed from inside and outside, let it sit, then wash from inside, then outside with hose. I repeated the process. Mine looks clean. I also had the slobber tube extension but I added some rubber hose and extended it more.

You could use Gunk. It is available in gallons I believe. You will get wet and dirty but it will cost a lot less than $2400.
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Old 07-15-2006, 04:01 PM   #7
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The crankcae vent tube has been a known problem with Frieghtliner for over 10 years.

To stop the problem in the future, clamp a suitable sized, similar hose to the short hose coming out of your engine and extend it back to the rear of your end cap. Be careful not to have kinks or low spots in the hose.

Get a bunch of Simple Green and a sacrificial 2 gallon weed sprayer. Sacrificial because the Simple Green is going to eat it up. Take a Black and Decker electric leaf blower and while someone sprays the SG on the rear of the radiator, the other person blows the SG back through so that the solvent goes in toward the fan. Repeat this procedure 3 or 4 times. Rinse with water thoroughly on a cold engine. Take a mirror and see if the crud is working loose. Let the SG soak in after blowing and spraying until you get a black slug dripping on the plastic tarp you've put down. It WILL work but it's a pain in the butt.

You can clean it yourself for about $ 100.00 Most of the oily crude is on the first heat exchanger
(radiator) closest to the fan so it's important to blow the solvent through from the outside rear.

Freightline/Cat/Cummins service shops can't preform this cleaning method because it's not conventional and subject to intense whinning from customers who can't think outside the box.

HERE is the Simple Green Material Safety Data Sheet. You can see that the product is non flammable but it does cause cancer in green lipped lizards. So if anybody has any of those around it's better to move them to a air raid shelter.
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Old 07-16-2006, 06:15 PM   #8
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Thank you all very much for the helpful comments. I think I'll question the CAT dealer some more before they tear into my rig.

Also, Smlranger, thanks for the comments on the batteries. I'm going check out the AGM sources near Sacramento.

Gene
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Old 07-17-2006, 06:10 AM   #9
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Is there a method to Prevent this problem??

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Old 07-17-2006, 06:17 AM   #10
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The longer breather tube is supposed to help, but dumps the crud closer to your toad. CAT has a CAT Mist Filtrtion System which I'm going to have installed which is supposed to recycle the engine oil that has been fogging the radiator and blow only non-oily residue out of a longer breather exhaust tube.
I'm hopeful this will solve the clogging problem for the foreseeable future.
Gene
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:45 AM   #11
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You can have your extended vent hose a little longer so you can slide it into a piece of oversized PVC attached to your tow bar. (Oversized PVC so the hose is loose and doesn't created any additional positive or negative air pressure)

You can even elbow the PVC down under the tow vehicle and if you really want to get fancy. put a flared tip on the end to create a venturi action under the towed vehicle. The oily carbon, dirt, and other poop will be under your toad and not in the radiator (Or in the intake manifold like the new green diesels mandated for 2007 will have via the Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Vent tube recirculation (Google VW TDI intake manifold cleaning). ************ Editorial diatribe deleted.
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Old 07-17-2006, 11:59 AM   #12
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Golfingene
It sounds like you may have too much oil in your CAT. I have had two C7's and have not had an issue with oil blow-by. CAT recommends 19 qts.

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Old 07-17-2006, 05:45 PM   #13
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I think Freightliner recommends the 2000 RPM during long pulls. They told me that the water pump is working at it's best efficiency at 2000 - 2100 RPM.

I use a pressure washer on my radiator once a year and have not had a problem.
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:41 PM   #14
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That could be true. The dipstick reads above add and just read that they are recommending only 19 instead of 22 qts on the CAT site. Another CAT dealer did my most recent oil change. I'll ask this one if they have a comment on that as a potential cause.
Thanks, Gene
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:46 PM   #15
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Buddy and Jenna,
The one thing we did notice was that if we slowed to about 35 mph (don't remember RPMs) it didn't heat up quite as fast as 45-50 mph.
The CAT site says that the fanspeed increases with RPMs but it also takes more HP to climb up hill and run the fan faster.
Thanks.

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Old 07-17-2006, 07:50 PM   #16
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You're a wealth of info. One of my concerns with the CAT Mist Filtration System is that it will clog up or screw up something else...we'll see.
Thanks.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:09 AM   #17
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You might wish to join the CAT Club. This issue has been discussed there on several occasions and you can search past postings for info. Brett Wolfe, the president of the group is very good and CAT participates as well.

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/CATRVCLUB/

I enjoyed this forum when I had a CAT. Sure wish there was one for Cummins engines.

This slobber tube issue is really frustrating. Seems the engine manufacturers view it as the responsibility of the MH manufacturers - and none seem to be concerned enough to do anything.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:21 PM   #18
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Thanks, I just joined the CAT RV Club in addition to the forum. Very helpful.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:24 PM   #19
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golfingene,

I would agree with that dealer, keeping the radiator and charge air cooler (CAC) clean are owner responsibilities, not warranty issues. But $2400 to clean it seems way out of line. get yourself a simple green sprayer and a water hose and you can clean it in 4 hours. if you've let multiple layers of gooo accumulate, it may take multiple cleanings to get back to normal.

If you can prove Freightliner put in 22 qts instead of the correct 19 qts you might take a run at getting them to pay for the cleaning. Freightliner has more control over this problem than CAT.

I also agree that the most common cause of serious oil blow-by is too much oil in the pan. CAT didnt help by changing the oil pan capacity in mid stream. It also doesnt help that CAT leaves it up to Freightliner to supply the correct oil dip stick. they dont always get it right when these changes are ongoing.

Once I got my oil level correct, the blow by problem disappeared.

The demister sys sounds like CAT's way to take advantage of this situation. if the engine is functioning correctly and has the correct amount of oil, there shouldnt be excess blow by.

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Old 07-18-2006, 05:08 PM   #20
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This has been discussed at length at various FL and Cat seminars. The chassis builder has the responsibility for the dipsticks and they coordinate each configuration to meet the coachbuilder's unique build.
Cat has designed the demister to alleviate the problem, quite costly but works well.
If you decide to add an extension of your own design you must know what you're doing. If you extract the blow by fumes at an accelerated rate it can damage the engine (it needs the proper balance). I forget the mechanics as they explained them. Cat does a lot of testing before they approve any mods. FL and Spartan both have an approved extension for the blow by. As others have indicated the problem mostly occurs with an over fill situation.
With respect to radiator cleaning I haven't had the problem as I have the side radiator. I do know others that have used "Simple Green"¯ and "Oil Eater"¯. They have all had best results with Oil Eater, which is available at a lot of places and is also environmentally friendly.
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