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Engine Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's engine.

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  #1  
Old 08-06-2012
Jim Magowan Jim Magowan is offline
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Default 3208 Continuing Saga

Last fall the experts told me the engine had a bad head gasket or cracked head. This spring I took the coach down to Greg's place in Kenai because he wanted to look it over and confirm the 'experts' diagnosis.

Greg borrowed a little dye check kit that checks for exhaust gasses in the coolant (actually in the radiator). The blue dye turns yellow or green if exhaust gasses are present. The blue dye stayed blue.

Greg checked the pressure build-up in the cooling system. It started going up as soon as the engine was started and went up, steadily, about a pound per minute.

We disconnected the air compressor and it ran for several hours with no pressure build-up.

Since the problem has been there as long as we have had the coach (since 2002) and seems to have gotten worse lately, right now it looks as though when Ringhaver changed the engine in '02 and when NC in Anchorage put in a factory reman (complete engine) the compressor was probably bad and the (factory trained experts) just kept moving it from one engine to the next.

The air pressure build-up hasn't been acting right lately so we may be killing two birds with one stone.

Bendix advised that this compressor is a CAT part only available from CAT so I got one from CAT (NC here is Anchorage) at twice the cost of a TF-150 that does not say CAT. The parts guy is usually pretty good, but there were a few problems. First when I said I wanted to change the governor at the same time he said I needed an unload kit. The instructions with the compressor when it came said that if the governor is attached to the compressor there is no unload line, hence no unload kit is needed.

Back to NC to get a governor. Also needed gaskets. They ordered the wrong gasket to go between the base plate and the engine block (which we discovered when we were putting the new compressor on, down in kenai). The old gasket seems to be working O.K. They also missed the gasket between the air intake fitting and the compressor body.

You can imagine my reaction when the parts person told me they do not take gaskets back (it's not the 5 bucks, at this point it is just dealing with this kind of nonsense).

We had to take the alternator off to get at the compressor. That's how we discovered that one of the mounting flanges on the alternator was broken off (alternator was installed by NC in Seattle).

I am now looking for a new alternator and have a question: The 160 amp alternator is inadequate, particularly in winter with heaters going (if we have the coolant circulation problems resolved). Leese Neville (Prestolite) advertises new brushless alternators in 160 and 185 amp versions. Does anyone know if the 185 will go on the 3208?

Also, are there any other higher capacity alternators that will go on the 3208?

I don't know if it is the same on other 3208's but we found what may be another reason the 3208 is difficult to get air out of.

There is a line from a port in the engine block to the expansion tank on top of the radiator. This line should take any air in the coolant and vent it into the expansion tank. There is a port in the block below the port and line to the expansion tank. This is the return from the cabin heat registers. It looks as though, if you have air in the heat lines it goes into the block below the line to the expansion tank so the air pushes coolant into the expansion tank instead of the air venting into the tank.

If our luck holds we may have resolved the cabin heating problems, the engine blowing out coolant and overheating problems and possible the engine cooling fan problems (it doesn't come on unless the override switch is turned on) without spending $20,000 on factory trained experts.

Incidentally, factory trained experts aren't the only scary folks out there. Two days ago I was listening to the Motor Trend Magazine radio show. One of the hosts asked the other one why diesel engines get better mileage than gasoline engines. Neither of them knew the answer! "Well, diesels are designed to produce torque and you can't get good mileage without that torque." "It's just the way they are designed."

I would love to hear their answer to what the difference is between a diesel and a gasoline engine. Probably, "Diesels don'e have spark plugs. The fuel is ignited by magic."
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  #2  
Old 08-06-2012
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That compressor has a BB part #. I have not replace one on this SP but did on our FC. It looks the same to me. Is it time to find a new part store?
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  #3  
Old 08-06-2012
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I got a rebuilt compressor from Bepco. First one leaked oil after the first 1000 miles. They honored the 1 year warranty and the second one works fine
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  #4  
Old 08-07-2012
Jim Magowan Jim Magowan is offline
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If this one leaks after 1,000 miles there won't be any smiles around here. Just getting to it was a major pain. The one I got has a CAT label that says it was rebuilt by Bendix.

Now I need a higher capacity alternator since the old one is broken and we have the rear end open.
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Old 08-07-2012
Jim Magowan Jim Magowan is offline
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Rick,

I contacted Bendix with hte numbers from the old compressor which I had also got new numbers for from the Bendix website. Called Bendix to see where I could get one. I was told that it was a CAT number and hte only place to get it was from CAT. I don't know what makes it any different from any other Bendix TF 150 other than they put a CAT tag on it and up hte price.

In any case it is available from CAT ($688 plus a $1,000 core deposit in Anchorage). If there was anyplace I could just examine some Rebuilts it might be possible to find a match, but I didn't have much choice, but to get it from CAT.
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Old 08-07-2012
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Jim, When I replaced the unit on the FC I had to remove the bottom plate from the rebuilt compressor. That opened the compressor to the mount. Bet that is the only difference. You are over a huge barrel.
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  #7  
Old 08-07-2012
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Here's what I got, much less than $688.

Original tag-


Rebuilt tag-


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  #8  
Old 08-07-2012
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Bingo. Just what I had also.
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2012
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Gardner has the numbers,
Remans are usually Blue in color and last letter is an X.
Lots of TF501 configurations, check out the pictures, belt driven, intake and exhaust same side,
governor connection on rear.
Bolt pattern is 4 or 6 holes, ??? But I can not remember which
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2012
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So, perhaps Blue Bird wasn't a bunch of schmucks?
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