Saturday, November 4, 2017

Cummins Service Center Experience and Lessons Learned…

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I felt a little follow up on my Jacksonville Florida Cummins experience is in order. Before we left the Cummins dealer I also had a tech come out to our rig and show me exactly what the problem was. What happened is that the “doghouse” in our rig is made of wood and then covered with carpet. Well where the doghouse was attached to the firewall area there was a piece of it in contact with the hose. Over time the wood on the edge of the doghouse acted as a saw and after thousands of miles of RV vibration it actually cut through the hose thus presenting the whooshing noise we heard.

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From what I could tell after the tech showed me what happened I felt there was no way it should cost $1000 to repair this!  We were so glad  that they couldn’t get to the repairs as I feel sure I will be able to do this on my own for no additional cost (unless I have to replace the hose clamps). So, some friendly advice, is to pull your doghouse up and look under it to make sure none of the sharp edges of the wood is in contact with any part of the engine.

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Before we left Jacksonville I lifted our doghouse and contorted my body in such a way as to be able to saw off the offending piece of doghouse. It took about 10 minutes of time and Cummins was going to charge me $100 just for doing that! Next I went to Walmart and bought some self sealing silicone tape to use to temporarily patch the hose until we get to a location where I have time to actually replace it.

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The job of wrapping the hose with this silicone tape was not an easy task due to the tight working space under the doghouse. When I finished I also put on a piece of Gorilla tape to keep it secured. When we packed up to leave Jacksonville FL the motor was making no noise at first. However, after a few miles of travel it started whistling at a high pitch much to our chagrin. What happened was that the silicone tape was too narrow and small gaps were made between the wraps, thus the whistling as the air was being sucked past the tape. Groan. If it hadn’t been so hard to wrap I probably needed to wrap it more in multiple layers.

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At the next rest stop I attacked it with more Gorilla Tape which didn’t totally silence the whistle but made it bearable. Happily we drove on to our next stop near Flagler Beach at Gamble Rogers State Rec Area which is one of my favorite coastal parks. We were only there for two nights but we certainly enjoyed some beach time.. We also enjoyed a few happy hours at both the Funky Pelican with great views of the Flagler Beach Pier and the High Tides on the beach which we could actually walk to from our RV site! (Todays pictures are from that area)

So what lessons did I learn from our Cummins experience that I can pass on?

  • ask for someone’s name and number who will be accountable for communicating about the work being done
  • after diagnosing the problem ask them to show specifically what the problem is and how it was diagnosed (you will pay a hefty diagnosis fee of $350 so I feel you should at least learn something from their work)
  • in our case if they were going to complete the work (quoted to us as at least $1000) I would have questioned the 5-6 hours of labor they were going to charge me for a job that I believe I can do in 2 hours or less – of course that remains to be seen if I can)
  • if you can do the work yourself after learning of the diagnosis tell them that you don’t need them to do the repairs and bank the money they would have charged.
  • as for my “patch” I would strongly suggest purchasing both 1” Silicone Rubber Self Fusing Tape and a wider 2” Silicone Rubber Self Fusing Tape (I think a wider tape would have prevented the whistling we got in our patch job)
  • as part of our diagnosis, new heat shield insulation for the inside of the doghouse was ordered but did not arrive prior to our departure as promised. We paid for this and the staff was trying to charge us to ship it to our next location. However when we stood our ground they eventually did the right thing and shipped it as we requested at no additional charge.

This Silicone Rubber Self Fusing Tape is a miracle product and can be used to repair hose leaks or even plumbing leaks with very little effort. I plan to have rolls of it in my RV and in my car as I can see this saving the day if I ever experience another leaking hose!!! Hopefully our experience will help other RVers who need to stop at a Cummins Service Center. Judging from a comment on our last blog, others have had some not so pleasant experiences....

NOTE: We are now near Mims Florida where we booked a weeklong stay…


  1. I love that silicone tap have used it for a couple of temporary fixes, hopefully you can get the repair done in short order.

  2. Ordered some of that tape just now. I'm sure it will come in handy one day. Glad to hear that the way things worked out with the repair center, you'll actually save a bunch of money, as annoying as your experience was. We just arrived in Chula Vista this month, Mission Bay is for next month. We sure miss you and Sharon. Next winter we'll be in Florida and you'll probably be out here!

    1. Yep, current plans are to ehad west next year... maybe we will pass each other switching coasts close enough to meet up a bit...

  3. Good advice on the tape!! We will order some as well.

  4. Thanks for the advice on the tape, think I'll pick some up.

    Sad to hear Cummins/Onan are such crooks - I've always brought my generator to them, and even bought my current one from them. Never again. There are too many good mechanics around who charge reasonable prices and will do a great job. But I have to say, I am happy to have my experience confirmed by you and the other comments on the last post. Different locations, and still problems. :(

  5. Don't have any reason to ever go to Cummins thankfully but really appreciate the advice of your experience. Gamble is one if my favorite Florida parks as well. We'll be there in about a week. What site did you get? Oceanside I hope.