No start – July 2004

Rig won’t start! July 2004

1994 Fleetwood Bounder 36.5′
190HP Cummins Diesel Engine
96,000 miles
Previous owner was a RV rental place in Fairbanks, Alaska

This RV has had many miles from Alaska to Florida and back again every year for several years through states that use salt on the roads in winter or it tended to be near the coast (rusty chassis). There is some evidence that the rigs front end went through a wash that had water in it. There was a couple pounds of sand & small rocks up in the genset compartment that took a couple hours to remove.

Starting problem: After picking coach up at the consignment dealer, ran fine, restarted several times.
Got it home, parked it on a 3-5 degree slope, nose down.
Next day started fine.
3rd day would not start, strong batteries, just not getting fuel. Would not start for the next week.

Neighbor and #1 son worked on coach and gave up, but son did notice that an air release banjo screw on the engine was striped, would not seal and allowed air into the fuel delivery system.

Hired diesel mechanic who did some magic involving removing the output hose from the water separator and dipping it in a can of diesel fuel, pumping the lift pump, cranking it for many seconds several times, etc.

Mechanic decided that the banjo screw assembly needed replacement and that the in-the-tank fuel pump wasn’t working or was weak. Whatever that means.

Ordered and replaced banjo screw, two washers and the sealing screw, $39 worth of parts, $245 for labor (including trip charge) @ $60/Hr.

Since I had a backup out-of-tank in-line fuel pump ($55, cheap insurance) with a 5-9 GPM output, I went ahead and plumbed it in near the engine while we were waiting for the parts to be delivered, bolting it to the frame and rerouting the fuel hose. Additional parts needed were fuel hose ($3.60 per foot! needed 8′) brass couplers and adapters to mate the 1/4″ pump with the 1/2″ system ($20 or so), clamps, and electrical connectors. Got lucky and found a nearby live wire that is live during ‘run’ and ‘start’.

[Update 5-’06: Talked to a RV’ing friend. He carried a spare in-tank fuel pump with him when he traveled. He’d had it for two years or so. When his fuel pump went bad on him on the road, he was towed to a dealer and the dealer installed the pump he had with him. After around 300 miles, same symptoms, and he broke down in downtown Reno on a stretch of road that was being rebuilt. After sitting for several hours, and after the traffic cleared, he was towed to a shop and they replaced his pump again. They explained that since the spare fuel pump had not been soaking in fuel, the seals dried up, rotted, broke free and plugged the pump. They also mentioned that fuel pump stock levels are kept low at auto parts stores just to avoid having that problem. His was an in-tank pump and I don’t know it that applies to in-line pumps too. My advice: If you’re going to carry a spare fuel pump, store it in a sealed tub of fuel.]

Starts great now! All I need do now is place a fuel filter for 1/2″ hose in front of the pump.

I mounted the pump as noted above and you can see from this picture that I looped the fuel hose and mounted the pump so that it was well away from road debris (but not road dirt it seems).

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