Our coach burning off antifreeze leaking into engine.

For those of you following along for some time, you know that we have stopped more unscheduled stops then we care to admit. Well, I am here to say that yet again we will be staying longer here in Meridian, MS, at least one day longer if not two.  This could put us behind with where we want to be by the 22nd in Texas.

You see, the check engine light came on and of course it gives us no real clue as to why the light was on and why it said to stop the engine. (RANT TIME…I am sorry, but one light with no other message when the system has an engine stats system is just, well, STUPID! It should TELL YOU why the light is on without needing a computer to hook to it.

After all, if I had it in “engine error” mode, it will tell me the error, but only when the error is happening and only if you leave it in that mode, then you see nothing else. So it could be programmed that when an error happens, display the message.  AUGH!)   So, with a quick call to my new buddy Dwayne at Freightliner support, along with my keen notice that the check engine light came on going up hill, and went off going down hill, Dwayne knew where to look.  Check the coolant reserve tank to see where the fluid was.  Sure enough, it was low.  So, when we went up hill, the fluid was low enough that with the coach tilted going up the hill, it no longer contacted the sensor.  When we leveled back out or then went down hill, the light would go off as contact was made.

So now, where was the fluid going?  Well, seeing no leaks, it could only be one thing…the engine burning it off and you would not know it.  I happen to remember that our friends Bob and Pat has sent us a note sometime back as a heads up that he received from another friend, it read… “I was up to loosing a gallon of coolant in 200 miles. Freightliner found that the EGR cooler was bad and dumping coolant into the exhaust through the leaky cooler, therefore I never saw a leak. I mention this because Freightliner told me this has been a problem on the Mercedes EGR engines.”  Well, Bingo!  That had to be it seeing we have the same engine.

An EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) Cooler is a heat exchanger installed in the EGR circuit.  Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_an_egr_cooler#ixzz18U8BtxZD

Sure enough when talking with Dwayne, he also came to the same conclusion.  Now what?  We were stopped at a rest stop so Brenda jumped on the computer to look up a shop that dealt with our engine.  Well, WE GOT SO LUCKY!  You see, we had planned to stop in Meridian, MS  at Benchmark Coach and RV Park for two nights and the engine repair shop was 2 miles from the RV park!!!  Yes, you read that right!  2 miles away.  Seeing they also are a Freightliner service center, Dwayne jumped on the line with them and connected us into the call.  He gave them the run down and the service manager Scott came to the same conclusion quickly. EGE leak.  The shop actually had another unit, a truck, in with the same issue and same engine and was ordering the parts needed and was just going to double the order.  WOW.  :)  So we are set to have it repaired on Monday as long as the parts arrive.  So, I added water to the reserve tank and off we went…100 miles away.   Made it without issue.

We thought this may come in handy knowing what you may want to look for when you seem to be loosing engine coolant and see no leak.  This can happen with any engine that uses ERG.  Also you can have this issue if you notice white smoke coming out of the tail pipe after sitting for 30 minutes or more with the engine off after driving.  This is based on the pressure built up in the coolant system forcing the coolant through the leak and into the engine cylinders.  When you start up, it will burn it off in a white cloud for about 5 minutes or so.  (See above photo.)

So, thanks to Dwayne and Freighliner for sticking with us all this time.   Always an adventure with us.