Watch the bumps and dips

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Tom

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I just talked with forum member Dave (aka SpareTime) and he suggested I post his story as a warning for others.

Dave has a 45 foot Monaco Signature with the Cummins ISX 600hp motor. He previously showed me how low the motor is slung in that coach and how easy it is for the coach to sit on the oil pan if the air levelers do their thing on very uneven ground.

As he was leaving a casino RV lot in Biloxi yesterday, Dave inched the coach over the concrete sidewalk (no curb) and concrete rain gutter. The rear wheels dropped into the gutter and he heard a loud thud. When he went outside he saw that oil was pouring out from the oil pan, so he promptly shut off the engine. On closer inspection, Dave saw a hole the size of his fist in the bottom of the oil pan.

The local police came by, set out cones and called the fire department to clean up all the oil. Meanwhile, Dave's coach has been stuck on the side of the road while CoachNet unsuccessfully tried to find a tow truck. This morning Dave called the nearest Cummins shop (80 miles away) and they recommended a towing company close to them. If there's no other damage, Dave will be back on the road by the end of tomorrow.

So, if you have a low-slung engine, watch those bumps and dips!
 

Ned

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I guess we need to add skid plates to our motor homes :)
 

Tom

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Ned,

I doubt that either your Endeavor or our Camelot would be as succeptible to this issue. That ISX engine is huge. The bedroom has an extra step to the bed to clear the top of the engine and the oil pan hangs really low. The bottom of the transmission is "protected" by a cross-member, but not the engine.

I can't help wondering if Monaco made an error in offering that engine as an option in that coach without a chassis change. The chassis and coach were designed for a smaller engine. Since Dave first pointed it out to me, I've seen a number of oil pans sitting on the deck, either in campgrounds or at rallies.
 

John From Detroit

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I am thinking about all those speed bumps here in vegas... I did not see one last night and hit it at about 10 mph (Thankfully in the towed NOT the MH)  This rig has good clearance though, I can crawl around under it without using jacks
 

Tom

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Hi John,

Dave's home base is Las Vegas and I'm sure he's memorized every speed bump in town  ;D
 

JerArdra

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Tom,

I agree with you.  Monaco engines are to close to the ground.  My oil pan is venerable and I do not have the big ISX engine.  Monaco has a welded crash bar (similar to a skid plate on a jeep) below the Allison transmission on mine so they know it's low.

Another point I want to mention to anyone buying a NEW coach, get AIR LEVLING.  In other words, do NOT get hydraulic jack leveling.  With our air leveling we can raise the entire coach 5-6 inches and slowly drive it that way whenever we see dips or bumps or driveways where we think we might scrape the bottom.  Try that with hydraulic jacks!  :)  :)  :)

Once when driving our Executive across a dirt paring lot in a small shopping center we crushed the exhaust pipe a little bit.    The dirt parking lot had small rolling bumps and dips.  We really didn't even notice it much.  I looked and thought it was the tow hitch scraping because ours is low anyhow and there was fresh dirt on the bottom of it so it had scraped

A day later I noticed that the exhaust pipe was crushed in a little.  It closed it by about 1/4 of its diameter.  Actually we were going to stop by Monaco for something else so I had them replace it.

My punishment was that now Ardra won't let me do off-roading in the coach anymore.

JerryF

 

Tom

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JerArdra said:
With our air leveling we can raise the entire coach 5-6 inches and slowly drive it that way whenever we see dips or bumps or driveways where we think we might scrape the bottom.

Jerry,

Dave used the air levelers to raise his coach as high as it would go, but he still bottomed out. He's going to need to sell his car in your yard to pay for the damages and the cleanup costs.
 

Giles

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Hi Jerry!
Is air levling the same as Air ride (4 air bags) ?
 

JerArdra

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Giles,

Usually it is  not the same.

Air leveling means that, by pressing a buttom, your coach is automatically leveled when you park.  It also means that it is air ride suspension (no metal springs) and that you also can raise and lower the entire coach using two different buttons.

Air ride usually means the you have air bags that augment the metal springs but no auto leveling and no raising/lowering of the coach.

JerryF
 

JerArdra

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Tom,

That was quite a dip.  I wonder if he kept his finger pressed on the RAISE button as he was driving.  On my coach you have to hold the button down.  If you release the button it will IMMEDIATELY begin to lower the coach.  It could be that his wheel went down into the dip just as the coach was lowering which would have made the impact a bit more severe.

Suggest to him that he put his SL500 on eBay.

JerryF
 

Tom

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Jerry,

I don't know if Dave held the button down. I suspect he did because he's quite conscientious about reading manuals and Al does a good job of filling any gaps in his knowledge.
 

Tom

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Good news - Dave is back on the road. The Cummins shop checked everything out, including the bearings, motor mounts and cutting open the oil filter. The only replacements required were the oil pan/gasket, filter and a short length of exhaust pipe that they'd had to cut off. Dave was very impressed with the tow company and the repair shop. More details later.
 

ArdraF

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Tom,

So maybe we won't have to sell Dave's car, after all.  Too bad - Jerry was really looking forward to it!  ;) ;)

ArdraF
 

Will

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Aww, wish I'd known.  Biloxi is only a couple of hours away from where I park.  I could have gone down and given Dave some "moral support."

It's no small wonder that they couldn't find a towtruck down there.  In Mississippi, we use a "Southern Towtruck," a pickup and a chain.  Most of the fancy-schmancy custom built towtrucks were washed into the gulf.
 

Rockcreek73

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Jerry
  On the Roadmaster chassis, when you hit the "raise" button, does it lift the frame up from the axles, thereby raisng the motor and trans higher off the ground?  Or does hitting the "raise" button lift just the body higher on the frame ???  I'm confused here. 
 

JerArdra

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RockCreek,

It raises the entire chassis (frame), coach body, transmision, and the engine.

JerryF
 

Tom

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More bad news....

Dave, being the conscientious guy he is, checked the oil level and found it was 3 quarts low. He figured that they hadn't filled the oil filter and proceeded on his journey, intending to top off at his next stop. Next time he checked the oil level it was 5 quarts low, so he went under the coach. Several bolts were missing from the pan and the remainder were all loose or 'hand tight'. They obviously hadn't been tightened by the Cummins repair facility that had installed the new oil pan.

He called the nearest Cummins repair shop and they told him they were too busy to help him. That's when Dave called Cummins rather than a distributor or repair facility. They immediately opened a complaint file and conference called between Dave and the facility that couldn't help. They'll take him in first thing Monday. Meanwhile, Dave is in a campgound in Houston for the weekend, courtesy of Cummins.

Needless to say, Dave is not a happy camper.
 

Ned

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It was a good move calling Cummins directly.  I'm sure they wanted to hear about both shops and how they behaved (and the poor service from the first shop).
 

Tom

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Can you imagine if all the bolts came out and the new pan dropped - instantly zero oil with little or no time to react.
 

Ned

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I would hope the ECM would shut the engine down instantly in a total loss of oil pressure.  The driver could never act as fast as the computer.
 
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