Sunday, February 6, 2011

Turbo Resonator Story

We promised to bring you the story of the Turbo Resonator failure, so here it is.

We'd already committed to purchasing the Serrano, and were waiting for it to be prepped for us to take home. The dealer wanted us to bring the Parakeet to the lot, but we knew better than that, and also had one more trip to make.

My stepson Stephen and his bride Casey were getting married on Anna Maria Island. It's about a 3 hour drive (I drive a bit lower than the speed limit) from our house, so we set off early, just in case. Right after Seffner Florida, Nancy noticed a burning oil smell. I thought it was probably from the Tractor Trailer in front of us. Another 20 minutes down the road, the RV lost power fast. I could only get it to 35 mph. I looked on my ScanGauge. No codes. No 'check engine' on the dash indicators. I knew exactly what it was. I was in 'limp-home' mode.

When Winnebago came out with the View line, and the Sprinter based chassis with a Mercedes Diesel engine, I joined a few Yahoo Groups that focused on them. Automotive groups are excellent for sharing information and solutions to common problems. I learned that the 2006 5 cylinder Diesel engines had a problem with the turbo resonator . The resonator is basically a muffler for the turbo charger. It reduces the high pitched whine the turbocharger tends to make. I makes a deeper, less annoying sound. There were several versions of the device. Most Sprinters had either a Q3, Q4, or Q5.

A Q5 (left) and Q4 (right) Resonator

The Q4's and lower tended to split near the top, causing the limp home mode to engage.

The Q5's were supposed to be a better quality, and not split. When we purchased the RV, I had the mechanic let me know if we had a Q5 or not. The Parakeet had a Q5. From the Yahoo View/Navion Group, I learned even the Q5's could split, but there was a fix.

James Riordan had created a Turbo Resonator Eliminator.

People on the Yahoo Group swore by them. Just in case, I went ahead and purchased on. I thought we'd gotten away with not needing the Eliminator. I decided to leave it on board, and let the future owner know it was there, just in case. 

After the Parakeet went into Limp Home Mode, I pulled off I-75 and looked for a spot to park. We found a closed automotive store with lots of shade and no one else parked. It was 92 degrees out, so the shade was very necessary. I pulled out one of our 12 volt fans, placed it on the ground under the engine, opened the hood and let it cool down. Within 20 minutes, the engine was cool enough to work on.

I pulled out the Turbo Resonator Eliminator, but I couldn't find the instructions anywhere. Luckily, I'd put a pdf copy in our DropBox, so I accessed it on Nancy's iPad, and had her read it to me. I quickly discovered I'd purchased the wrong size socket. But according to the instructions I could use a 5/16 socket, and I had one of those. 

The resonator was in a tight spot, and it was difficult to work it out. The worst of it all was zip-tie that was cutting my arm to shreds. Being the summer, I didn't have any long sleeve shirts onboard, so I just had to frown and bare it. During all this I was watching the time. The time for the wedding was ticking down faster. I finally got the resonator out, and put the eliminator on. Getting it back on was way easier than taking the other out. The eliminator is skinnier and easier to move around in that tight area. I bolted it up, cleaned up as best I could, and cranked the engine. All seemed okay so far.

We got back on the road, and full power was restored. I felt like one of the Apollo 13 crew. We got to the wedding location with just 3 minutes to spare. Luckily, they were running 15 minutes behind, so I was able to clean up a bit more. We watched my stepson and his bride get married, overheard all the drama going on behind the scenes, and had a wonderful evening. My grand-stepson Gavin was cute as a bug.

Yesterday, we learned that someone near Buffalo New York purchased the Parakeet. Luckily for them, they won't have to worry about a Turbo Resonator Failure. 

This experience taught me something; with good instructions, I can fix almost anything!

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