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 > On the road breakdown stories..

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falconbrother

North Carolina

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Posted: 10/16/20 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'd be interested in reading your on the road breakdown stories and how you got back on the road. I'll share two.

I have been RV-ing on and off since 1987. I guess we have been very lucky to have had very few problems out on the road, all things considered.

Every Christmas we take the RV to visit family over the Christmas break (my second career is at a college, if you don't count military time). About eight years ago we were driving the class A motorhome out on I-40 in ten lanes of traffic during 5 o'clock rush hour. We were motoring along minding our own business, when what sounded like a shotgun blast went off in the motorhome. We blew a tire. I seriously thought my wife was having a heart attack. She said "I don't think I can do this RV thing anymore." I called roadside assistance but, noticed a tire store at the top of the next exit ramp. Since it was one of the rear dually tires I limped to the Discount Tire. The motorhome was on a P-30 chassis and had 16 inch wheels. So, I was able to spend a small fortune and replaced all 7 tires. We were back on the road in a couple of hours and made the RV park around 11pm. We sold that motorhome in 2017. It was in far better shape than when I bought it. The new owner hasn't taken very good care of it. The last time I saw it it was parked under a huge tree with a foot and a half of wet leaves piled up on the roof. Nevertheless..

Last year, we went to the beach for a week. We had a terrific week. For about a month before that trip I kept having this nagging feeling that I ought to replace the radiator. There was no indication whatsoever that there was anything wrong with it. I just had a feeling in my gut, that I ignored due to lack of evidence. Leaving Myrtle Beach I had to stand on the brakes and I heard a weird cracking sound. I thought maybe we slid on some sand or gravel or something. I kept on driving, no indication of any issues. We made it to the middle of nowhere on 501 a few miles from Marion SC and started overheating in a hurry. I pulled over, popped the hood and antifreeze was everywhere. The overflow tank was empty. I thought I might add some water and try to make it to Marion so, yep, I unscrewed the cap on the overflow tank..stupid.. Antifeeze came shooting out and lit me up like a firecracker. Burned my hand. Don't ever do that..

It was literally in the mid 90s that day, like 95 degrees. We had dogs with us. I put them in crates and carried them into the tree line to try to keep them cool, and it worked pretty well. I called roadside assistance and they sent us a rollback wrecker, loaded up the Suburban and hooked up the travel trailer. The wrecker driver was this old biker that was amazing. A really great guy. He dropped us at a campsite in an RV park in Florence SC and took the Suburban to their facility. I had a first aid kit that had stuff for burns in it so, for the next two days we just hung around the campground. I didn't feel stressed at all, which isn't really like me. We had a few meager groceries and bought a few things in the campground store. The nearest store was miles away. Lesson, always have some extras for a breakdown. In two days the Suburban was fixed and we headed home. The next time I get that nagging feeling about such a thing I'm just going to replace it. $200 dollars and an hour and a half and I could have avoided the whole thing.

I'd say that with 33 years of RV-ing two breakdowns isn't bad.

BB_TX

McKinney, Texas

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Posted: 10/16/20 11:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Two in 12 years towing our 5er.

1. Cam sensor on my truck towing my 5er failed just east of OKC. Coachnet sent out a roll back tow truck for my truck and a pickup with 5th wheel hitch for the 5er. Tow truck took my wife and two granddaughters to local Ford dealer. Pickup took me and 5er to KOA east of OKC, parked it in my assigned site, waited while I hooked up and started A/C, and took me to Ford dealer. Friday mid afternoon now and daughters needed to be back home by Tuesday for school. Dealer got me a rent car, sent the truck to the shop, started work early Saturday morning, and ready to go by noon. Great service by dealer and tow company.

2. After towing all day across Texas in temps up to 108 and stopped for an hour on I-40 just before NM due to an accident, pulled into a rest area west of Santa Rosa, NM to walk the dog. After 15-20 minutes go in truck, put in drive, and started to pull out. But it would not move. Tried reverse and no move. After several tries I noticed the truck was trying, but the 5er would not move. Hmmm? Brakes locked? Checked emergency breakaway and it was plugged in. Threw battery disconnect switch and disconnected cord to truck. Still would not move. Getting late and not long to dark, and nothing close. Called local sheriff department. No answer. Called Santa Rosa police department and spoke to someone there and asked about any RV repair facility close. Said yes but nothing would be open this late on a Friday evening.
Beginning to think we would spend the night in the rest area in 100 degrees. Noticed an older latino worker cleaning the grounds and ask him if he knew of any mobile repair person. He said wait a minute, pulled out his phone, and began to speak in spanish. Hmmmm? Don't like the fact I can't understand what he is saying. But he handed me his phone and I spoke to another person with a spanish accent and explained the problem. Breakaway cable he said. Already checked it I said as well as mentioning throwing the disconnect switch and pulling the cord. By any chance are you parked along the side where the big rigs park?, he asked. Yes, I said. Your tires are stuck to the hot soft pavement, he said. What??? Yes, put the truck in gear and give it a lot of throttle, he said. I said I tried that until I was afraid something might break. OK, trust me as I have made several $100 trips out there for the same thing. It is slightly downhill going backward so put it in reverse and give it good throttle, he said. So I put it in reverse, hit the throttle, and after a little hesitation it started to roll. Relief!! I got out and looked and could see depressions in the asphalt where the tires were. I ask what I owed him and he said just give my friend a tip. I gave him a generous trip and we were on our way.
What are the odds of being stuck in a remote rest area, finding a worker who has a friend who is a Mobile RV repairman, who just happened to be familiar with that rest area, who knew right away what the problem was, and who was willing to tell me free of charge rather than coming out and charging for a service call? Someone looking after us????

* This post was edited 10/16/20 12:18pm by BB_TX *

down home

south

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Posted: 10/16/20 11:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BB_TX wrote:

Two in 12 years towing our 5er.

1. Cam sensor on my truck towing my 5er failed just east of OKC. Coachnet sent out a roll back tow truck for my truck and a pickup with 5th wheel hitch for the 5er. Tow truck took my wife and two granddaughters to local Ford dealer. Pickup took me and 5er to KOA east of OKC, parked it in my assigned site, waited while I hooked up and started A/C, and took me to Ford dealer. Friday mid afternoon now and daughters needed to be back home by Tuesday for school. Dealer got me a rent car, sent the truck to the shop, started work early Saturday morning, and ready to go by noon. Great service by dealer and tow company.

2. After towing all day across Texas in temps up to 108 and stopped for an hour on I-40 just before NM due to an accident, pulled into a rest area west of Santa Rosa, NM to walk the dog. After 15-20 minutes go in truck, put in drive, and started to pull out. But it would not move. Tried reverse and no move. After several tries I noticed the truck was trying, but the 5er would not move. Hmmm? Brakes locked? Checked emergency breakaway and it was plugged in. Threw battery disconnect switch and disconnected cord to truck. Still would not move. Getting late and not long to dark, and nothing close. Called local sheriff department. No answer. Called Santa Rosa police department and spoke to someone there and asked about any RV repair facility close. Said yes but nothing would be open this late on a Friday evening.
Beginning to think we would spend the night in the rest area in 100 degrees. Noticed an older latino worker cleaning the grounds and ask him if he knew of any mobile repair person. He said wait a minute, pulled out his phone, and began to speak in spanish. Hmmmm? Don't like the fact I can't understand what he is saying. But he handed me his phone and I spoke to another person with a spanish accent and explained the problem. Breakaway cable he said. Already checked it I said as well as mentioning throwing the disconnect switch and pulling the cord. By any chance are you parked along the side where the big rigs park?, he asked. Yes, I said. Your tires are stuck to the hot soft pavement, he said. What??? Yes, put the truck in gear and give it a lot of throttle, he said. I said I tried that until I was afraid something might break. OK, trust me as I have made several $100 trips out there for the same thing. It is slightly downhill going backward so put it in reverse and give it good throttle, he said. So I put it in reverse, hit the throttle, and after a little hesitation it started to roll. Relief!! I got out and looked and could see depressions in the asphalt where the tires were. I ask what I owed him and he said just give my friend a tip. I gave him a generous trip and we were on our way.

Maybe spray some pam on the tires before you stop there again. [emoticon]

wowens79

Georgia

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Posted: 10/16/20 11:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nothing to exciting, after 5 hours on the road, we were about 5 miles from our campsite at the beach and the fuel pump went out on the truck, first beak down I'd had in that truck in 14 years, and 195k miles. State Farm had the truck towed to a repair place, and coachnet had the same wrecker come back and take us to our campsite. Luckily we were meeting family there, so we didn't even have to rent a car.

Coming back from a lacrosse tournament in 100 degree heat, had a tire blow on the camper. My 16 year old son was with me, so I grabbed the jack, and he grabbed the lug wrench, and we had the tire changed and back on the road in less than 10 minutes.


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2016 Heritage Glen 29BH
2003 Flagstaff 228D Pop Up

caver

Missouri, The Cave State

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Posted: 10/16/20 01:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mine seem to involve leaf springs. I had a Chalet A-frame and was killing a few days until the Chalet Rally near Bryce Canyon. I drove the 55 miles of bad washboard to the north rim of the Grand Canyon to a place called Toroweap or Tuweep. I was a couple miles away when I saw a bad dip that was partially filled in with talc dust. I heard a load clunk when my camper hit it and noticed it sitting funny. It only had minor damage to the wheel well but the leaf spring was snapped. The remote ranger residence was maybe two miles away and he was there. I used a block of wood to tow it to the house in case I could fix it. The ranger got on the sat phone and called Tony's in Fredonia AZ. He warned me the haul out was expensive but I didn't want to spend my vacation dealing with a broke camper in the middle of nowhere. So two hours later the flatbed shows up. They overnight a spring in the next day and only had to spend one night in a motel. A few years later and bigger camper with two axles...I pulled off for the night at Meteor Crater RV park only to notice BOTH rear leaf springs snapped in the same spot. UGG not this again. I had them replaced in Flagstaff as once again limited on time and I didn't have any air tools to deal with the rusty fasteners.

RoyF

Fayetteville Arkansas

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Posted: 10/16/20 01:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Several years ago, I installed an in-bed auxillary diesel tank. (I won't say the brand except that it was a gravity-flow type tank and NOT a Transfer Flow, which is what I have now and which has never given a problem).

Driving along towing the fifth-wheel somewhere in Mississippi the engine just quit. I called for a tow. Mechanic could find nothing wrong with the the truck. Same thing happened twice more before I got home. It happened again on the next trip.

I removed the auxillary tank and drained it. There on bottom was a marble or ball bearing. It seems that the ball would roll around during travel and, once in a while, settle over the fuel opening in the bottom of the tank to create a blockage. Towing the truck would cause the ball to roll away.

PS: Auxillary tank was replaced with a Transfer Flow, which (apparently) did not have any loose marbles.

Matt_Colie

Southeast Michigan

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Posted: 10/16/20 02:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We travel in a Classic GMC motorhome that 47 years old and is over 170K. We have loved her for 16 years and put 70k of those miles on her. We have had two critical breakdowns on the road. Both were serious. Neither stayed that way. The community of owners is such that when one of us needs assistance, help is coming. The number of parts that are still available is pretty good, but if you are going to need to find a mechanic for it in the general population - Good Luck.

Both events required parts. For one, we were remotely directed to a shop that actually had a parts coach on hand and a man that understood the issue. The second time, we got parts shipped in from one of the suppliers that supports our habit, but the mechanic where we were was not eager to pay any attention to the instructions and was about to do more damage. We agreed that I would take the coach elsewhere. I called the Landol back and we left there. Again, I had been connected thought the owner's network with a very competent man (a retired Nebraska farmer) that had a place to work and some tools I did not carry. Two days later, we were on the road headed home.

I our case, the owner's network made the adventures much less stressful and manageable. By the by, I have been on the other end of the situation as well. We tell new owners to always carry a printed copy of the Assist list.

Matt


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.


Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 10/16/20 02:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’m going to knock on wood first....but only real issue in recent years was this summer.
Typical old Dodge bad battery crossover cable.
Noticed exh brake wasn’t working right. Popped hood to give it a once over.
Passenger battery was boiling. Able to disconnect it and run on one battery rest of the trip.
If I’d driven much further it would have been a real mess and maybe exploded battery.
At least at campsite where I could wash it down good before battery acid did damage. To stuff.


"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.

K Charles

Connecticut

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Posted: 10/16/20 03:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We stopped in NC for an overnight. Next morning the alternator was making a bad noise. I said we'll go to the dump station, if it goes away, good if it doesn't we'll stay. The bearing froze up and I pulled back into the spot we just left. Went in the office, got one more night. The first place I called said "motor home? No one will have that". The second place said come on down. I removed the alt and took it about 8 miles, they had new and rebuilt. Less then 3 hr and less then $150 and I was done.
One thing about a class a, you can work on it and stay inside. We had lunch had a game of Dominos and left the next morning.





time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 10/16/20 04:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unknown to me I came down the Grapevine into the Central Valley with a bad trailer bearing. Stopped for fuel at the bottom and the wheel was leaning very badly. This was the start of a 10 day trip where every day was scheduled and busy with travel or sightseeing.

I jacked it up expecting to use the spare bearings I carry and get back on the road. Nope the outer portion of the hub was busted completely away. No more metal to place the outer bearing. Called every number I could find. Ended up with two tow trucks showing up at the same time and a RV dealer in Bakersfield could do the repair. Nope the drivers were concerned of damage to the trailer to pull it onto the low boy. Got me in contact with their mobile repair guy. Great he was available but had no way to get parts as it was too late to get the damaged parts and match them up.

My daughter and I got in the truck and started driving to Bakersfield at 4:30pm. We were an hour away. While en route my daughter was able to find a parts house open 'till 5pm and begged them to stay open. I was driving as fast as I could and be reasonably safe. Got there at 5:20 and the parts don't match. Had to get the entire hub-disk-caliper-mounting hardware etc. Apparently this stuff is not as standard as I expected.

OK parts in hand we call the mobile guy to meet us at the trailer. He arrived about 10 minutes after we made it back. I think he worked close to two hours to get it all back together. Seemed slow but work was done very well.

We pulled into our campsite just before midnight in complete disbelief that we had made it. The trip stayed on schedule and we had a great time. No mechanical issues after that.


2001 F150 SuperCrew
2006 Keystone Springdale 249FWBHLS
675w Solar pictures back up

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