Finally the end to this long diatribe……
So I go over everything that has been done to the coach with the fuel system (dropped tank, cleaned, replaced all fuel lines, lift pump etc and what the symptoms were that lead to that work). So he says he won’t be able to get it in till tomorrow morning and will call me. So not being one to sit around, I showed up at the shop when he said he would call. He said the hooked a fuel pressure gauge on it and a vacuum line back by the tank and ran it forward so they could see what was happening. His tech went out and drove it for a bit and didn’t notice anything to amiss. Then his tech took it for a quick ride and didn’t notice anything too amiss on the gauges. When he returned he drove it right into the bay and let it run and a high idol. Then it happened. The fuel pressure dropped to 1.8psi, but the vacuum didn’t budge. Like it was drawing from the pump but unable to deliver the fuel….. Couldn’t be the lift pump. They checked all the new lines and said the last shop did a great job and ran everything the way he would have. He also nixed my idea about a check valve.. .. oh well I thought I had something there. I thought I might have even actually figured something out....But nope no such luck.
Still can’t figure out why airsream put the inline filter were it was; completely inaccessible without dropping the tank. In a way finding it now saves a huge potential headache down the line!
He said it should still have no issues even at 1 psi of fuel pressure, but he couldn’t figure out what it could be since my shop did everything he would have done for the issue. He asked how much I have filled the tank since the work was done. I told him only once. I filled it initially when I left the shop the first time and then filled it before the morning the issue was getting really bad. So he wanted to do one last thing and he understood if I didn’t want go along with it since most folks wouldn’t in my situation. He wanted to change the new fuel filters (with a few hundred miles on them) again and leave them in a pan over night ??? What the heck, might as well. He said he has never come across bad fleetguard filters, but there may be a first since I have had this issue and everything else was done and new filters put on.
So I go back the next day (thank goodness for all my hotel reward points!)
He says “Take it for a run, and explains the gauges he installed to me so I can check the readings while I put it through it’s paces…. OK.. So off I go, and all I could think of was “Baby the Beast is back!’ I was flying up the hills with no issues at all. So I go back and say what gives? Well, he says the first issue I had that lead me to my shop back in Memphis to do all the work was a crack in the old fuel line that would open up when I hit the gas causing more vacuum. And the only solution was what I did, replace all the rubber parts (lines) of the system. And since I had the tank dropped and cleaned it lead him to the current cause. The second problem was that my mechanic put 5 gallons of diesel in it and it ran great, because he used his diesel. Good clean diesel. BUT when I left there I filled up and the new fuel I got was crap! Not only crap but loaded with sediment. Couldn't have found a worse source if you tried.
Look, he says and takes me over to the fuel filter. There was a mud type sludge in the bottom Of the secondary filter (10 micron). What happened was as I used that initial tank of gas it basically clogged my filter. No one thought of it since everything had just been done. Also it was small enough to pass through the first filter but large enough to get trapped by the second filter. So when it sat overnight, or for 20 minutes or so, the sediment fell off of the membrane and into the bottom of the filter and as long as I was just on a strait away, no issues since fuel demand was minimal, but when you went up a hill the fuel consumption went up enough to pull that sediment off the bottom of the filer to block the membranes again. Every time you stopped, it would reset itself and the process would start over. We spun some of the fuel in the tank and what you have in the tank is good. This is all from the first tank. We put some stanadyne lubricity formula in it just in case. Just change the filter again when you get home or if you have any decrease in performance. Here is my personal cell number call me if anything at all happens on the way home and we will help you figure it out and get you home.
Really??/ The first place I went gave me not only bad fuels but really, really crappy fuel after having everything redone….. What are the fricken chances!
The next 300 miles flew by without one problem. Although I often caught yself and worried about getting a speeding ticket when I would look down and realize how fast I was going.. Oh the speed limit was 70mph
When I got home, I replaced the fuel filter as directed. There was a very small amount of stuff in the secondary filter but obviously it was some remnants from the first tank. I filled up locally at a known good source that I got all the diesel fuel for my truck from. Oh, and I carry 3 extra filters (of each type) with me now!
Experience is a good if not costly teacher…. I feel okay in the fact that after everything was done to the fuel system, who would have thought (other then Dixie Diesel) that it was a fuel system problem and a cheap one at that!
But, I am thankful for that every time I have had an issue I seemed to be at the right place with the time to handle the problem.. Still can’t figure how over a several hundred mile trip I managed to break down a few miles from a shop that not only specializes in Cummins but Cummins fuel systems and that is all the do and they are the best at it.
So now it is parked in out driveway (and has been for a few weeks… took a while to be able to relive this story by putting it down in writing PTSD?).
Now I can start working on building the new beds this week-end. I have a long list of stuff to do and I finally have it at my house where I have all the tools to do the work!