Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cummins Turbocharger & Friends

For the second time in our five years on the road we have had to replace the turbocharger on our Cummins diesel. No Cummins representative can tell why this has happened twice, only that it is a rare occurrence, even once. If anyone who reads this has any information that could give me some insight into this problem I would love to hear from you.

All that said, after a really bad start the staff at Southern Plains Cummins in Houston did work very hard to get a discount on the repair even though the warranty on the last replacement was only one year and had expired in September 2010.  We had made an appointment for annual maintenance and to have a couple of other items taken care of on Monday. We arrived at 9:30 AM for our 10:30 appointment, signed in, gave them the keys and went to the waiting room.  No one came to talk to us all day so we thought all was well.  WRONG, they had done nothing but park the rig and had not even looked at it.  At 5:30 they moved it to a spot where we had electricity and told us they would be on it the first thing in the AM.  On Tuesday at about 10 AM they delivered the bad news that the rig needed a new turbocharger at which point began two days of haggling to determining who would pay for it.  Late Wednesday they told us that they would cover 65% of the turbo and labor which reduced the cost a great deal.  We were told it would not be done until the following Wednesday and we would have to find a place to stay over the weekend since they are closed and locked down.  We made a reservation for a hotel in Livingston so we could visit SKP friends at Rainbows End RV Park.  Guess what, when we checked in with Cummins before leaving on Friday morning they told us the rig may be done by the end of the day.  We were stuck with a reservation we could not cancel so we told them to take their time and do it right and we would be back on Monday.  It was done on Monday and after we talked to the service manger they gave us a credit for part of the work which covered the cost of the motel. This was in addition to a $200 credit they had agreed to earlier to cover the scheduling snafu.  While we were not happy with things as they happened, the staff at Cummins did step up after a really bad start and hopefully this will be the last time I have to write about turbochargers.  We did think that Running Down Our Dream would be easier than it has been when it comes to RV service and repairs.

After we picked up the rig on Monday we drove to the SKP park in Livingston so we could give it a much needed cleaning, inside and out and spend more time with friends.  On our weekend visit Mark and Renita had us over for dinner and we had a chance to return the favor with a meal of gulf shrimp we had purchased off the boat in Louisiana.  We were joined by Marvin whom we have spent much time with at Betty's.  It was great getting together to talk about all our old adventures and future plans.  Mark and Renita are planning to travel to Alaska this summer and we have decided that we are still going to head that way too.  We figure that there is no time like the present and if we wait another year the rig and us will just be older.  So unless something happens on our way heading north in the lower 48, it is ALASKA OR BUST.       
Jim, Renita, Mark and Marvin getting ready to chow down on that gulf shrimp.


John and Lora said...

You'll all have a great time in Alaska! We'll hopefully be able to keep track of you by your blogs and maybe can see you if we get up there this summer to visit family. Enjoy the GREATEST STATE!!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you got the rig back on the road with out digging to deep.Sandy & I are in Salem Or. & heading north. Glad "A" is still in the works. We ll see you there.

Sandy @ Mike

FD5, Retired said...

You may already know this but one thing that will cause premature turbo failure is rapid engine shut down after engine load. A turbocharged engine needs to idle 2-5 minutes after running under load. This allows the turbo to "cool down". The oil supply to the turbo stops once the engine is shut off. Larger turbo's generally spin under 50,000 rpms. Temps range 600-1,200 degrees under load. Idling 2-5 minutes will decrease the temp to under 350. Rapid shut down will cause the oil to "bake" on the bearings. We lost our turbo at 450K miles last year.

Stay Safe,