In our last post we shared that we had experienced a severe drop in power at the end of our trip back home. The bus went from cruising comfortably at 65 mph down to 55 mph and then barely being able to maintain 45 mph speeds.
While this was happening, we kept a close eye on all the other gauges which showed that everything else was normal. The engine temperature was at a comfortable 174 degrees F, the transmission temperature showed the same 195 degrees F that it showed nearly the entire trip, and oil pressure was a normal 45 psi. All this was good news, so we were optimistic that the problem was fuel or air related.
This, of course, didn't mean it was automatically going to be easy (it might have been a bad fuel pump or cracked fuel lines), but we decided to start with the easy stuff first and hope for the best. The first thing we needed to try was changing the fuel filters and the air filters. We read many posts on bus forums discussing how simply changing the fuel filters can make a world of difference.
Luckily, we were able to source the fuel and air filters locally at NAPA Auto Parts (although I did have to go to three different stores to get all the filters we needed). The fuel filters are very common, and they had both of those in stock for reasonably cheap (bus stuff is almost always REALLY expensive) - $14.99 for the primary filter and $15.49 for the secondary filter. The air filters were a slightly different story and the reason we had to go to 3 different NAPA stores. Sometime before we purchased this bus, it was changed from an oil-bath system (stock) to a paper element setup with four paper filters. These are pretty pricey. I found them online for $95.00 each, so I was not expecting NAPA to be much better. I was pleasantly surprised to find FIL 6343 for $54.49 each.
Changing the fuel filters is easy - unscrew the old ones, screw on the new ones. However, we were a little concerned about losing prime in our fuel lines because we have read that it can be a little tricky to get it primed again. We also read that if we are careful and fill the fuel filters all the way up to the top with diesel, we will not have to prime the system. We changed the filters, filling them to the top with fuel and crossed our fingers as we hit the starter. We are happy to report that changing the filters with them full of fuel does indeed work with no need for priming.
The air filters were also in desperate need of changing. They were filthy. Fortunately, they were very easy to change.
We are very happy to report that changing the filters had a very positive effect on the power of the bus. A short test drive revealed that we were again at full power!
The following week after the Mexico debacle, we got a call from our painter in Mexico who explained that if we put a few "RV" things on the inside, a bed, toilet, maybe some walls and a sofa, we could send him the pictures and he would try to get our bus "pre-approved" to cross the border into Mexico. We had our work cut out for us. We needed to build out some of the inside and get the pictures to him, and then we would know our next steps.
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