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M380 (Unique Issues) If you have a unique issue with your M380 model coach and it can't be answered in one of the other forums here, then this is where you can list it.....list your M380 Parts here too.

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  #101  
Old 05-19-2012
cmillsap
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Originally Posted by marvjeanm380 View Post
Dan:

I don't think there was any gasket material protruding from the head when the engine left the factory. Even thought the head gasket was damaged I think everything look "right" until the fire ring fractured and then over time the gasket was pushed from the head. I have no way of verifying this but that is my talk on the sequence of events.
Marv,

I hear you and one would like to think that the head gasket protruding out from the head would have been noticed before the engine ever left the assembly line. However, I am hard put to believe that the gasket could be moved or pushed out of its correct position once the head had been torqued down and the gasket compressed. Also, the straight edge of the compression mark over the protrusion would indicate to me that the gasket had to be compressed after the tear and protrusion had happened.

I'm in hopes that as we develop more data, we will be able to pinpoint the root cause of the problem. If nothing can be derived from the serial #'s and build dates data, at least we are aware now that a protruding head gasket is a warning signal and a non-protruding head gasket should give M380 owners less concern. I know for sure that I personally feel less concerned since I inspected my engine and found no gasket protrusion.

Chuck
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  #102  
Old 05-19-2012
cmillsap
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Originally Posted by Robert Britton View Post
A new head gasket will run you about $2500 installed, way less than a set of tires...I certainly would not let that be a deal breaker if looking at a coach that you like. I would be more concerned in overall condition of the coach than just one maintenance idem, as it can be easily dealt with.
Hello Robert,

I agree and I really hope that this little exercise that we have undertaken will not get blown out of proportion. I would not want anyone to get the impression that a M380 is a "disaster waiting to happen" if it hasn't happened to you already. I can think of many more serious problems that can happen to a coach or its engine other than a blown head gasket.
This is an easily repairable condition and like most other repairs; relatively inexpensive to repair if caught early.

BTW: Thank you for providing the information on where to find the engine build date. That data may become more useful than the engine serial #s

Chuck
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  #103  
Old 05-19-2012
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I don't and have never owned anything with this Cummins engine but I have blown the head gasket on a couple of different style Cummins over the years. In Both cases the problem was a burnt fire ring. When the ring fails it allows both high heat, up to 1200 degrees, and compression to eat away at the composite material. As the heat and pressure digest the gasket it finds the path of least resistance to the outside. That pounding of compression, heard as a ticking noise, gets close to the edge of the block it pushes the gasket out. The black line in the picture could be a soot line but I'm not sure.

If you want to watch what happens to a Head Gasket failure tune into a NHRA event on ESPN 2. Almost every race day someone will "Push Out" a Head Gasket. Head Gaskets on blown fuel engines are made of solid copper and are replace every pass unless the team is on a very very tight budget. If you do tune in don't get overly excited about your Wanderlodge looking like a Top Fuel rail. The fireball you see is Nitro and Oil burning.

The only real thing a Top Fuel engine and a Cummins diesel have in common is the high cylinder pressure. That pressure and the heat of combustion eat at the fire rings. Once a hole is made the composite material won't last long.

I keep a close eye on the Pyrometer. When those temperatures start to reach 1000 degrees I back off the throttle and drop a gear to get temps back in order.
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  #104  
Old 05-19-2012
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Rick is dead right.
Now,what i want to know is this.
The head gasket in the pics,is that pushed out area painted?
Or soot?
Or grease?
If its paint,then it was pushed out at the factory,(before the engine was painted)
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  #105  
Old 05-19-2012
davidmbrady
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Thanks for the great write-up Rick.

Yes, we need more information to understand whether the engine was built that way or whether the gasket pushed out over time, or whether it pushed out suddenly. As Randy said, we don't know if that well defined dark line in the photo is paint or soot. If it's soot then it may have been created after the push-out.

A while back I said that my goal is to try to prevent this from being a recurring problem with a set of engines. The idea that the engine was assembled that way played nicely into a permanent fix - just replace the gasket.

It's becoming more clear to me anyway, that other things may be at play. Sleeve height and stability as the head bolts are torqued, stretch in head bolts, deck flatness and texture, gasket clamping pressure, gasket integrity and quality, and more. I'm realizing that there are too many unknowns to say at this point and with any certainty that the engine was built that way.

And then there's Marv's case where he has a recollection that the head gasket did not protrude from day one.

But, this doesn't mean that a protruding gasket isn't a good diagnostic. If it does exist, then recognize it as a possible indicator of impending failure. Keep checking your engines.

More info is needed. That's what the other thread is for. It's all a learning process.

Last edited by davidmbrady; 05-19-2012 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Added explanation.
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  #106  
Old 05-19-2012
Robert Britton Robert Britton is offline
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Originally Posted by cmillsap View Post
Hello Robert,

I agree and I really hope that this little exercise that we have undertaken will not get blown out of proportion. I would not want anyone to get the impression that a M380 is a "disaster waiting to happen" if it hasn't happened to you already. I can think of many more serious problems that can happen to a coach or its engine other than a blown head gasket.
This is an easily repairable condition and like most other repairs; relatively inexpensive to repair if caught early.

BTW: Thank you for providing the information on where to find the engine build date. That data may become more useful than the engine serial #s

Chuck
Another example of my point...when I bought my M380 there were only three for sell in the U.S. at the time, the other two had rear slide that I didn't want. I found my coach in Florida through Randy, the owner of the coach is not a forum member and probably has never heard of this head gasket problem. I could not imagine walking away form the deal if he was not willing to lower his price by $2500 just because I told him the head gasket might fail in the future. I paid $145K for my coach, it was garaged and in pristine condition with dated out tires. The owner would not budge any lower on his price with the tires so I bought the coach as is and replaced the tires before driving it home, best move I ever made! A $2500 preventive maintenance head gasket replacement is small deal in the grand scheme of things when buying a coach in this price range...just saying don't get to worked up over this as the sky is not falling, its $2500 bucks
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  #107  
Old 05-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Britton View Post
Another example of my point...when I bought my M380 there were only three for sell in the U.S. at the time, the other two had rear slide that I didn't want. I found my coach in Florida through Randy, the owner of the coach is not a forum member and probably has never heard of this head gasket problem. I could not imagine walking away form the deal if he was not willing to lower his price by $2500 just because I told him the head gasket might fail in the future. I paid $145K for my coach, it was garaged and in pristine condition with dated out tires. The owner would not budge any lower on his price with the tires so I bought the coach as is and replaced the tires before driving it home, best move I ever made! A $2500 preventive maintenance head gasket replacement is small deal in the grand scheme of things when buying a coach in this price range...just saying don't get to worked up over this as the sky is not falling, its $2500 bucks
Sort of like the 8V92/6V92 brittle coolant hoses issue. We're spreading the word and people are changing them out. Critical issue but it is not stopping people from buying the two strokers.
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  #108  
Old 05-19-2012
cmillsap
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Originally Posted by Randy Dupree View Post
Rick is dead right.
Now,what i want to know is this.
The head gasket in the pics,is that pushed out area painted?
Or soot?
Or grease?
If its paint,then it was pushed out at the factory,(before the engine was painted)
Rick and Randy certainly know a **** of a lot more about diesel engines than I do but I will throw the following into the pot as fuel for thought.

Racing engines usually run much higher compression ratios and boost than a standard diesel engine. Special gaskets and high strength cylinder head bolts are used to counter the high compression ratios and boost. Even so, the high combustion pressure will override the highly torqued cylinder head bolts and “push out the gasket”. When that happens; the area of the gasket that was compressed under the head would get pushed out from under the head and be seen on the protrusion.

In the case of the ISL 400 head gasket shown in the photo above; it appears to me that the compressed area of the gasket that was under the head did not get pushed out from its original assembled position. This is evidenced by the rear edge of the gasket’s compression line remaining straight across the protrusion and it mirrors the rear edge of the cylinder head and engine block where they meet. If the gasket was pushed out after assembly; that compression line would have moved out and been a part of the protrusion. Also note that the void area created by the gasket tear behind the fire ring approximates the area of the protrusion.

This is what supports my reasoning that the gasket was damaged before or during assembly. As I said before, this is just a layman’s opinion based on the evidence presented. Consequently, I believe that a protruding head gasket is evidence of a faulty installation and should be changed. Until I see a blown head gasket from an ISL 400 engine that has no protrusion, I will continue to believe that engines without any gasket protrusions were installed correctly and do not bear any higher risk of failure than normal.

Chuck
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  #109  
Old 05-19-2012
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Chuck,i have to agree with you on the "compression" line showing on the head.
But,it could stand out because of grease or soot.
Thats why i questioned paint.
Theres a "witness mark" for sure on that gasket.
The 5.9 cummins is famous for "lifting the head" as its called.
Most everytime the head lifts on the 5.9 is because of high timing events,nitrous and high boost pressures,hot rod stuff for sure.
Not a stock motorhome engine,as we have here.
I'm just throwing out ideas here,thinking out loud so to speak.
What i really want is that head gasket in my hands!
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  #110  
Old 05-19-2012
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Thinking more,what kind of engine brake is used on that engine?
Jake?
Or a Cummins copy of a jake?
Not sure that it matters,just wondering.
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