Fuel Leak – Oct. 2007

Fuel leak repair in Alaska

Last October I drove the RV over to a cabin I rented about 2 miles from the RV park where I’d been volunteering for 3 months. I’d put around 22 miles on the thing since I’d done an oil change and filled the tank with diesel to prevent moisture. I’d also added a quart of anti-gel juice to the diesel. It needs it up here I’m told because of the very low temps. I put the 22 miles on the rig to get the anti-gel through the system.

Anyway, I drive over to the property, pull up passed the driveway and begin to back up into the parking spot I’d selected right next to the cabin. As I glance out the front window, I notice a trail of something on the ground that seems to be following me. Damn. I’ve sprung a leak. So, I stop, leave the rig running and jump out to take a look. I stick my finger in it and smell it…smells like diesel fuel. Then I run back and look under the rig. There is a steady stream of fuel dripping off the side of the engine. I quickly finish backing up, shut the engine off, and then walk down the road to see how much fuel I’ve lost. Luckily, the leak started just 20 yards up the road. Not to much fuel loss. I’m distressed because of the huge bill ($3600) I’d paid for repairs just a few months before. And here I had another problem. Well, I figured it wouldn’t change much with it just sitting there so I decided to leave the problem until spring. That night it snowed so there wasn’t a thought of fixing it until spring!

It’s now spring here in Fairbanks, Alaska, and this week I started calling around trying to find a mobile diesel engine tech in the area. Turns out there isn’t one. At least not that I could find with the phone book and asking repair places. They all wanted me to tow it in to them. I didn’t look forward to paying $300 for a tow followed by a $300 bill for repairs.

But being a volunteer here at Ice Alaska has it’s benefits and I figured I’d ask around. Sure enough, there is a diesel tech that volunteers here at the park. I get his number and give him a call. He comes over the same day, takes a look and finds a hose with a worn hole. We get new hose and replace the bad section while also changing the fuel filter. Thirty minutes later we fire it up and crank it until it finally fires. Good to go! The best part? He only asked for $50. I gave him $70.