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Another Exciting Episode in Audrey's Great RV Adventure
Old 09-21-2009, 11:11 PM   #1
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Another Exciting Episode in Audrey's Great RV Adventure

I would have posted this in the "What did you do today?" thread, but.....

For those of you RVers, contemplating RVing, or especially contemplating full-time RVing, you just never know what you are going to have to deal with! Sometimes it gets a little hairy!



Yep, our motorhome on a flat-bed trailer. Why? Because we'd had a heat-induced brake failure the afternoon before and didn't trust that the wheels would turn properly under a more normal tow.

Spent the night at a Walmart (first time ever - and we've been RVing since 2003). Big flat-bed tow truck came by today to pick us up!

Wait a minute! It's too tall!!!! Yep, it really is. But the tow driver was extremely confident about the 20 mile route, and that if we were under 15 feet in height, we'd be OK. Final height (after dumping the air bags) - 14 feet 9 inches We're lucky - our motorhome has a relatively low height for a Class A - 11 foot 9 inches, and we managed to drop another 3 to 4 inches by dumping the airbags. Yes - the tow people climbed up and measured the drop to the ground.

So who got to drive it up onto the flat bed? - I did!

The tow guys were very careful to get out of the parking lot (and to clear some low lines) and onto the freeway, but once they hit the freeway they went flat-out at 75 mph! WHAT!!! I felt like I was having to floor the jeep to keep up. I think we were driving into a headwind too!

No problems with clearance - on the freeway I think we had at least 20 foot overpasses, and a few lights with pretty high clearances as well - 18 feet? Standard height limit for vehicles is 13 foot by the way.

Our emergency road service had found us a place to stay Sunday (the Walmart), got a tow to take us there - that didn't quite work, but we carefully drove there with tow truck "escort". Just barely made it.

Then in the morning the emergency road service found us a service place 20 miles away in Tupelo MS and found the right kind of tow to take us there and sent them out. We double checked with the service place that they really could handle our equipment.

Got to the truck service place just fine. More excitement for me backing the motorhome off the trailer. Yep - we got our ladder out so I could climb up into the motorhome on the trailer.


Coach-net did a great job of finding the right service shop - we have an unusual breaking system for a Diesel Class A. The shop was able to start work right after lunch. The mechanics were fabulous. They did a very thorough inspection of each wheel, each break, all the ABS sensors (one had been pushed out). All that was fine. Then started checking other things.

Problem? Our brake pedal wasn't always returning properly so sometimes ALL the brakes were dragging - yikes!

Once they found the culprit, they took the linkage apart, cleaned it up, greased it, added a zerk to grease it in the future. It turns out other owners have complained about there being problems and no way to grease the linkage. The mechanics just knew exactly what to do.

Cost of repair? $300 bucks (man those truck mechanics are way cheaper than RV mechanics!). No parts. Anyone who has motorhome service done knows this is very, very cheap. Cost of tow - already paid for by our emergency service membership. I think today's tow probably pays for the 7 years of membership fees that we have already paid - we are paid up through 2012.

Even though we've had the membership for over 4 years, this is the first time we used it mainly because we really were in an emergency situation. Normally we talk to the manufacturer of whichever sub-system requires service and have them tell us where to go. We were very impressed by Coach Net - especially with them finding the right shop because we've had trouble finding places to service our brakes in the past.

After repair and a few local "tests" we decided to return to the same Walmart and just see how things went. No problems! All tires stayed cool. No funny smells, no warning lights, no weird noises. So here we are enjoying another fine evening in the Walmart parking lot. Fingers crossed on our longer run tomorrow - just to West Memphis AR, less than 100 miles.

I think overall we have been very, very, very lucky.

Audrey
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:24 PM   #2
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Whoa. Just whoa. You make this sound so easy! Sounds like all worked out--be sure to post from West Memphis!
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:20 AM   #3
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OK - will do! Keep your fingers crossed!

Audrey
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:26 AM   #4
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Hi Audrey...very nice looking Class A...even on the flatbed! I see no brand name? Can't quite place it? As a wanabee that probably will "never be" I have been studying RVs for over three years now...ya I know...get a life!

Looks like a diesel, side radiator...probably a premium brand? 4 slide...40'?

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Old 09-22-2009, 05:52 AM   #5
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Wow!
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:52 AM   #6
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It's an Alpine Coach - name is on front and rear. Diesel pusher with side radiator - 400 ISL Cummins engine. 37 foot. Western RV is the manufacturer - no longer in business. A bunch of RV manufacturers went out of business last year. Now with Monaco having shut down operations, there are a whole lot of us "orphans" out there.

OK - here are a couple more pictures and you can see the logo on the rear end and mud-flap.

What are these guys doing?





Well, they're moving the rear axle on the flatbed trailer forward so they can "tip" the bed down. The axle is normally moved by electrc motor without anyone being underneath, but they were having some "technical difficulties" and someone had to be underneath to release some latch every few feet.

Would I crawl under there to do that - no way! - that's 30,000 pounds overhead! Who gets to sit in the coach while it's tipping backwards? Me!

Audrey
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:17 AM   #7
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Congratulations Audrey! You survived the second worst nightmare of a motorhome owner with flying colors. A breakdown on the road is bad enough but problems with your brakes? Yikes!

Talk about dodging a bullet - $300 for repairs is a steal. You are absolutely right about repair costs at a truck place vs at an RV place, big difference. I just had an oil change and transmission fluid service at a truck place and saved almost 50% off what the local RV dealer wanted - and like your situation, these guys appeared to really know what they were doing.

We have Coach Net also and did have to call them once for a tire problem while on the road (bad valve stem). That was very minor by comparison to your situation but they came through for us as well.

Thanks for sharing your 'adventure' with us and hope you don't have the opportunity to do it again anytime soon.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:59 AM   #8
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Congratulations Audrey! You survived the second worst nightmare of a motorhome owner with flying colors. A breakdown on the road is bad enough but problems with your brakes? Yikes!
So which do you consider worst nightmare? Tire blow-out or wreck? I guess it has to be a major wreck, huh? But I sure don't ever want to experience a front tire blow-out - well any blow-out really, but front tire is particularly scary.

Well, I was somewhat concerned we might have a brake issue - we'd had intermittent high-ish temp readings on the rear tires.

A few miles after we had turned onto a major freeway, something made me take my foot off the accelerator and check the brake pedal which to my horror I discovered had dropped almost to the floor! By the time I quietly said "Oh, My Gaaaaad!" and my husband said "What!?!" I had turned on engine braking to decelerate the coach and was already slowing way down and pulling off on the shoulder. No problem with a controlled stop. We were on a very slight rise at the time and the shoulder was paved and just wide enough - very lucky. It was also pouring rain at the time!

After stopped, parking brake on, safe - then the Brake Fail light comes on!

Like I said - lucky, lucky, lucky!

Audrey
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
So which do you consider worst nightmare? Tire blow-out or wreck? I guess it has to be a major wreck, huh? But I sure don't ever want to experience a front tire blow-out - well any blow-out really, but front tire is particularly scary.
Yep, combine a wreck caused by a front blow-out and you have my worst nightmare.

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Like I said - lucky, lucky, lucky!

Audrey
Yes, yes, yes!
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:24 AM   #10
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Yep, combine a wreck caused by a front blow-out and you have my worst nightmare.
Actually, my worst nightmare is wreck due to collision with another vehicle. I've seen a post or two. RVer's OK but RV totalled, passenger car - killed. In the case that sticks in my mind, it was a front end collision caused by the passenger car swerving into the RV, but they were doing so to avoid someone passing a merging truck ahead of the RV and subsequently lost control of their vehicle. Both RV and car ended up well off the road in a nearby field. RV just "ran over" the car. Just horrible.

Audrey
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:00 AM   #11
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Here's a story of a pro golfer that had a horrible RV accident right outside of my town. Pretty tragic. A tire blew out.

Ken Green RV Crash Kills Girlfriend, Brother (CRASH PHOTOS) | Bitten and Bound
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:03 AM   #12
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Audrey, you must be the most unflappable person on earth. I can't imagine having the presence of mind to take photos during a crisis. My hat is off to you.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:07 AM   #13
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WOW! This is quite a story! You handled it SO well. That emergency service really came through for you. I can only imagine what that specialized tow normally would cost. I also can't imagine driving a rig that big, let alone driving it up and down off that tow bed. My hat is off to you!

Hey, you were sort of in our area! We live about an hour south of Tupelo. Enjoy Arkansas!
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:21 AM   #14
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Coach-net did a great job of finding the right service shop - we have an unusual breaking braking system for a Diesel Class A. The shop was able to start work right after lunch. The mechanics were fabulous. They did a very thorough inspection of each wheel, each break brake, all the ABS sensors (one had been pushed out). All that was fine. Then started checking other things.
DH is in the kitchen giggling at my typos! Too bad I can no longer edit the original.

Audrey
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:25 AM   #15
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I thought it was an intended play on words based on your personal experience.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:26 AM   #16
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WOW! This is quite a story! You handled it SO well. That emergency service really came through for you. I can only imagine what that specialized tow normally would cost. I also can't imagine driving a rig that big, let alone driving it up and down off that tow bed. My hat is off to you!

Hey, you were sort of in our area! We live about an hour south of Tupelo. Enjoy Arkansas!
We had stayed at Trace State Park just west of Tupelo. Lovely state park. Originally we were only going to stay over the weekend, extended into Monday because the park was so nice. Then that huge rain/low pressure system moved in and we decided to wait it out - why go to Arkansas to be drowned!!! Took another 6 days for that to finally move on. Such is the life of a fulltimer!

Towing - the driver told DH that it would probably come in around $700. The tow truck came from 2 hrs away, so that made it much more expensive. Like I said - about pays for 7 years of membership in Coach-net!

Audrey
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:33 AM   #17
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Audrey, you must be the most unflappable person on earth. I can't imagine having the presence of mind to take photos during a crisis. My hat is off to you.
Well my husband made sure we had my camera available. But by the second day most of the initial freak-out wears off and there is lots of standing around and waiting, so you have to take pictures!

Audrey
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:33 AM   #18
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I thought it was an intended play on words based on your personal experience.
Uh, NO! I would never want to have an "unusual breaking system"! No wonder it would be tricky to find the right service shop!
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:25 AM   #19
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DH is in the kitchen giggling at my typos! Too bad I can no longer edit the original.

Audrey
I know nothing about RVs, but it did come across that your brakes were breaking while you were braking, typo or not
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:14 AM   #20
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Gimme a brake...

Of course, when the brakes go out on a rig that size, the Fish Cheer might be more appropriate!
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