“POP,” the sound or tone of a champagne cork popping out of a newly opened bottle, only much, much louder, followed by a very distinct lack of power and acceleration.
I KNOW THAT SOUND, I FELT THE LACK OF POWER! I HAD NO IDEA WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED!
My six-speed Allison Transmission would not up shift above 4th gear, my Cummins 400hp Turbo Diesel would not push the motorhome above 45mph and I was on a two lane highway running through some swampy Vallejo, CA lowlands. Eight miles ahead of me with no place to get off the roadway, no one in front of me anymore, and hundreds of cars behind me!!! You think my ears were burning? Whew!
If you drive a diesel with a turbocharger, whether it’s a truck or a motorhome, and you hear the POP and you feel the loss of power, you have probably just experienced a “charge air cooler” hose blasting off of its housing.
If you’re mechanically impotent, you’re not alone! However, it is possible to fix this problem alongside the road. You are however, probably going to have to let the motor cool for awhile.
Basics first. A charge-air cooler is simply a term meaning that it cools the turbo’s air charge before it is routed into the engine. Other synonymously used terms are intercooler and aftercooler, meaning in-between the turbocharger and the engine. My limited research tells me that Charge Air Cooler is the more appropriate “today” term.
When the tube blows off, and if you carry tools, you can put the hose back on. You should view this as a temporary fix as it is possible that the hose will be blasted off again and again because the inside of the hose can get coated with some slippery engine oil.
So, at the very earliest opportunity, the hose should be cleaned inside and out and reinstalled properly.
I included a couple of pictures to help you know what to look for should you ever hear that POP. You really need to take a look at your engine, find the hoses, and look at the clamps used to install the hoses. You’ll need to carry the tools necessary to make a roadside repair, and having an extra clamp couldn’t possibly hurt either.
Blue hose for cooled air, Orange hose for hot air.
Yep, it might take me awhile to fix the problem, but my vacation will not end behind a tow truck!