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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Car breaks down on a trip. What to do with your camper?

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iwanttoretireearly

Berkeley

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Posted: 04/23/20 11:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Worst case scenario happens let's say. You live in your truck camper full term or almost full term and you are on a long road trip far from home and your pickup breaks down (and not able to be saved)! You have AAA premier so you can at least get yourself towed 200 miles. Let's say you were not towing anything to keep it simple.

What do you do? Find a place to park the camper? Pay to transport the truck and/or camper somewhere? Buy a cheap used pickup truck and take you home? Rent a used pickup to take you home?

FireGuard

Frazier Park

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Posted: 04/23/20 11:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’ve heard many times where the repair shop allowed people to stay in their RV on the property. Some even provided electricity and water.
Probably more likely with a small independent shop vs a dealer.


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Hemi Joel

Minnesota

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Posted: 04/24/20 12:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was on a trip to Florida from my home in Minnesota, planning on about 6 weeks. When in Kentucky, my 1993 Dodges flywheel (flexplate) broke and left me stranded in the middle of a winter cold snap. I was also pulling a trailer loaded with a car. AAA got me towed to a garage, arriving Saturday evening. The shop owner met us there, and opened the gate for my trailer to go in, but I chose to stay out in the parking lot with the camper. At the time, I didn't know what was wrong with the truck, but the shop owner said they would check it out monday. I thought maybe the crankshaft was broke, so sunday I searched craigslist looking for a truck to buy, or maybe a used Cummins to swap in. I found there are no good deals when you really need one! I also checked out rental cars in case I needed to leave the truck there long term for major repairs or for sale as a repairable. I figured I could drive the car to FLorida, enjoy my vacation in motels, then drive back to Kentucky for the truck when it was fixed. Or See if I could store the camper there long term while I flew home and searched for a truck and came back when I had one. SO I had lots of ideas.
As it turned out, on monday they figured out it was the flex plate, and they had it replaced by tues night. So I was able to load the camper back on it, hook up the trailer and resume my trip. The shop, Markhams in Princeton Ky was awesome, and everybody was so kind to me.

[image]

Camping in the lot sunday:
[image]

Broken flexplate:
[image]

Fixed and ready to go:
[image]

* This post was edited 04/24/20 12:09am by Hemi Joel *


2018 Eagle Cap 1163 triple slide on a 93 Dodge D350 Cummins, DTT 89 torque converter, big turbo, 3 extra main leafs, Rancho 9000s rear, Monroe gas magnums front, upper overloads removed, home made stableloads, bags.


Tripalot

Golden Horseshoe, Ont. Canada

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Posted: 04/24/20 07:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We had problems with our Ford truck/Lance camper in Ohio when we were returning from spending a winter in Texas. We were able to limp to a Ford dealer who were excellent to deal with. Of course this happened on a Sat. am when the shop was closed. The dealership allowed us to stay in the camper in their parking lot and put the truck in the garage. We were provided with electricity and water + they rented a vehicle for us so that we could travel around the area and also store the stuff we kept in the truck. Security came and checked on us regularly and always asked if we needed anything.

It turned out a spark plug had blown through the engine and it took a couple of days before we could continue home to Ontario. A bad situation was made bearable thanks to the kindness of the service mgr. at the dealership.


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naturist

Lynchburg, VA

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Posted: 04/24/20 08:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Every case is different.

That said, been there, done that. On the road from home in Virginia to professional conference in Las Vegas to start annual vacation when the oil supply line to the turbo blew out in Russell, Kansas. Discovered the problem when I stopped for lunch in a rest stop, and seeing the front of the TT coated in black diesel oil, I investigate. Of course, this was lunch time on Saturday.

Fortunately I had just purchased the oil for a planned oil change, so I had enough oil on hand to fill up the crankcase. It hadn't dropped enough yet to set off the oil light, but it did take half the oil-change volume. Managed to limp the 2 miles to the nearest campground for the weekend, and it took the rest of the oil-change oil to refill when I got there. Monday morning, I got the truck towed to a dealer in the next town over, and they tracked down the only replacement part west of the Mississippi, and got me back on the road by Wednesday afternoon. (herewith a shout out to the Lewis Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/RAM/Toyota folks in Hays, Kansas. Thanks, guys, you did good.)

And yes, had the truck died completely, I'd have been buying a new truck from that dealer to continue the trip. But a new oil line is a lot cheaper.





Kayteg1

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Posted: 04/24/20 08:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not a camper, but years ago my old ClassA blow the engine on suburbans of Toronto.
Local truck repair shop (huge one) took like 5 days to charge me $1500 and tell me old diesel is not repairable, while finding replacement engine is impossible.
So I rented minivan, took family to friends and family for 2 weeks and then bought another motorhome in Baltimore.
When that made nice dent in my savings, we still remember it as adventure.





ppine

Northern Nevada

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Posted: 04/24/20 08:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stay in the camper on the ground. Get some sleep and decide what to do about a different truck.
Or Call your closest friend and have them come a get you.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 04/24/20 09:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Based on your string of questions, honestly this setup doesn’t sound like it’s good for you.
If you’re that worried about breaking down away from home, I’m not sure how it will be enjoyable and not nerve wracking to be away from home.

Answer to you question is as variable as all the potential scenarios. But in general, find somewhere to unload the camper and stay in it while vehicle is being fixed.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

northshore

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Posted: 04/24/20 09:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll chime in, if you travel and on the road on a regular basis it seems likely you will have some kind of problem to deal with. It seems like the problems were more frequent many years ago but they still happen. Many years ago we were towing our travel trailer and in Bakersfield CA on CA58 going east almost to CA99 busy busy busy tons of traffic and the old Ford lost its clutch... NO clutch So we got off the road and found a phone book and found the Ford dealer, which was not too far and we made our way with out clutch. The Ford dealer was great, we parked our trailer on their lot and they provided elect and the next day our truck was complete and we were on our way. With our extra time I inspected plenty of trucks, almost bought a nice dually sitting on the lot but the clutch looked pretty cheap compared with the dually. After it was all done I should have bought the new truck.

* This post was edited 04/24/20 05:49pm by northshore *

HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Posted: 04/24/20 09:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was traveling back from Washington to California, left at 5 on Friday afternoon. Got on the freeway and got a 50 mile tickdown warning from the F350: "Engine will shut down in 48 miles" etc. I turned around at the next exit and drove back to the large Ford dealership in Burlington, knowing I'd probably have to wait until Monday to even talk to someone - it was now 5:30. There was still someone at the desk, and some service personnel. They hooked up the computer and said likely the NOx sensor - Could I bring it in early Saturday morning? And sure, you can camp right here in our lot. Saturday morning they took it in at 7:30, ran the required tests, had the new sensor in stock, replaced it, and I was on my way again by 10:30. I was sure I'd be there for a week: queue time for a service slot, diagnosis, wait for parts, etc. Covered by warrantee.


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