Denver Colorado Sideshow

Pulled into the Henderson Cummins dealer around noon on Sunday for its free hookups to wait till 7 am the next morning to see if we could get a diagnostic on the check engine light we had a few times while traveling around the Rocky Mountains.  When I went back into the monitor to download the info to an email, I noticed the error codes stopped on July 10th, 8 days prior to now.   We will see what transpires with the service person this morning.  The service guy convinced me the problems were just from the altitude, so we headed out to St. Vain State Park that Monday afternoon after making a reservation for one night.   We left the next morning to head for Estes Park, and the CEL light came on while still on the flat ground (although 5,000+ elevation)  We drove to Estes Park with it coming on and off fairly often.  [Very nerve wracking drive in the mountains!]

After a week touring RMNP and Estes Park, CO, we headed back to Cummins.  Only one CEL light happened and that was during the initial engine start. We arrived that Tuesday afternoon (July 26th)  and they were going to take it in 7 am the next morning.

On Wednesday they ran diagnostics all day, checking the fuel system all the way to having the injectors fill a beaker to make sure the flow was correct.  It was double the minimum, so that wasn’t the problem.

Late that afternoon two techs did a road test with their computer hooked up and surprisingly were able to reproduce the issues.  (That never happens!)  That evening they sent all the data to Cummins Engineering and the next morning (Thursday)  were told to install a test ECM.  They did that and after lunch asked me to take it on a long test drive.  (so I didn’t need to pay them $200 an hour for that)  We drove it about 3 hours and not one CEL appeared.

One of the nights while there, I went out to pick up Mexican takeout and saw this Skoolie on the way there that had a mini split mounted up high in the rear.  I had not seen that before but seemed like an ok spot to mount the condenser.


The next morning (Friday) they replaced the test ECM with a “new” one, and I then made reservations near Grand Lake, the supposed headwaters of the Colorado River.   Since it was already Friday afternoon, I realized that getting a reservation was going to be a problem for that night and the rest of the weekend, so I started with the highest priced place, figuring that would be the last place to fill up, and of course they had an opening.

We headed out after 2 pm on Friday and took 1-70 west into the Rocky Mountains.  (July 29th)   It was about a 2-3 hour drive, and about half way there the CEL came on and the engine would barely run if the RPM’s were between 1100-1400.  This was a new problem and not a good one to have driving in the mountains.  It had just started raining, and when I turned on the wipers, my driver’s side wiper just disappeared, dropping down where I could not see it.  My thoughts were it fell off.   I asked Kathy to stand up and see if she could still see the wiper.  She could, it was just below the windshield propped on the right-side wiper; so at least I didn’t need to find a new wiper assembly!

It started raining harder, so I had to find a place to pull off and see if I could fix that new problem.  I saw a spot and pulled over on the freeway, never fun.  I took the wiper off and it seemed to be ok.  I put it back on in the right spot and tightened it up good.  Turns out the painters had put it back on but did not tighten it all the way; so me putting it back and giving it a good turn worked and should continue to work.

Not long after we got back on the road, the sun came back out and it was dry the rest of the way to Granby, CO.

Unbeknownst to me, Granby was on the other side of a very high pass, and that pass turned out to be a couple thousand feet higher than we had ever driven the Bus since we got it close to 6 years ago.  There were a lot of switchbacks on the way up to the 11,307 foot pass and again on the way back down.   Having the engine cut out in the 1100-1400 RPM range made that climb very interesting!  (And not in a good way.)

We made it to the RV resort in Granby and settled in for the weekend.  I sent some emails to Cummins informing them of what transpired (not the wiper issue)  and asked for an appointment on Tuesday morning.

We arrived Monday afternoon (August 2nd) and before I set up the coach for staying the night, I went inside to make sure we had an appointment for the morning.  The gal said the techs were waiting for me and wanted to look at it as soon as I got there.

They pulled it in and put it back on the computer.   Afterward they brought it back out so we could stay in it till the morning.

They took it back in around 7 am and pulled out the muffler so they could see and work from underneath more easily this time.   A couple hours into the process, one of the techs came out (Maximus) and said they found a loose ground wire attached to the engine block and were going to test it on the dyno to see if that had fixed it.

It had fixed it!!  Then we left for a few nights in Cheyenne, WY,  (August 3rd) about $4,000 poorer from the whole experience.   Quite a bit of money for a  loose ground wire, in my opinion.

We ended up staying in Cheyenne for some extra days, and we both tested positive for Covid the day after getting there.  I was feeling pretty bad, so we went to an urgent care where the test came back positive.  They did one for Kathy even though she was not sick and she tested positive too.  I then had to get my PCP to prescribe Paxlovid as the urgent care wouldn’t do that.  They wanted you to be able to follow up with your regular doctor.

A couple days later Kathy started feeling sick and she got a 5-day course of Paxlovid too.     It’s a weird drug, actually two different drugs, 6 pills a day, and it gave me the worst metallic taste in my mouth for the 5 days I had to take them.

I avoided Covid for so long, I was thinking I must be immune… stupid me..