A Class A RV is an incredibly luxurious and spacious vehicle, so it's no surprise that these massive motorhomes are fitted with hugely powerful engines. So-called 'diesel pusher' RVs are particularly popular among Class A owners, and the rear-mounted diesel engines fitted to these formidable RVs are renowned for being both powerful and incredibly reliable.
Unfortunately, no engine is completely immune to mechanical problems, and diesel pusher RV engines can still suffer from a number of serious malfunctions. Problems caused by fuel contamination can be particularly severe and can cause serious damage that can cost thousands of dollars to repair.
What causes fuel contamination in diesel pusher RV engines?
Fuel contamination is a serious problem in any engine, but powerful diesel engines such as those fitted to diesel pusher RVs can be particularly vulnerable. If the fuel in your diesel pusher RV has become contaminated, the contaminating substances may have entered the fuel supply from a variety of sources.
In many cases, diesel fuel is contaminated by air leaking into the engine through cracked hoses, perished valves, and other gaps caused by ordinary wear and tear. This causes the fuel to oxidize, and may even cause air bubbles to form in the diesel fuel itself. This is a particularly serious form of fuel contamination that can cause catastrophic overheating problems if left untreated.
Diesel pusher RVs are also uniquely vulnerable to fuel contamination caused by water. If you only use your RV for a portion of the year, water can leak into the engine while your RV sits in storage, especially if you store your RV in an unsheltered area or live in an area with high rainfall and humidity levels.
The other liquids used by your RV's diesel engine can also cause serious contamination problems if they are allowed to enter the engine's fuel supply. Coolant liquid from damaged radiators can easily contaminate an RV's fuel supply, especially if the radiator is mounted over the main engine block or fuel supply lines. Fluid from leaking brake lines and damaged transmission boxes can also cause widespread fuel contamination.
What should I do if my diesel pusher RV has contaminated fuel?
If your diesel pusher RV has a contaminated fuel supply, you will probably notice problems sooner rather than later. Rattling noises, thick exhaust smoke, and cylinder misfires are all common early warning signs that your diesel supply may be tainted. More serious contamination can cause your engine to idle improperly, or even cause the engine to cut out altogether.
If you suspect your RV has fuel contamination problems, taking a sample from the fuel inspection line is a quick and easy way to confirm or deny your suspicions. If the sample of diesel you take is cloudy or discolored in any way, it is almost certainly contaminated.
Unfortunately, properly repairing a diesel engine with contaminated fuel is complex and time-consuming, especially when it comes to the massive diesel engines fitted to Class A RVs. If your diesel pusher RV has contaminated fuel, take it to a professional diesel repair service at your earliest convenience.
However, towing a huge Class A RV to a mechanic can be hideously expensive, and you certainly don't want to drive it there yourself. Hiring a mobile diesel mechanic to inspect and repair your RV on your own property can be a much more convenient and cost-effective choice.