Monday, April 28, 2014


Just so everyone will understand that the life of a nomadic RVer is not all fun and games, I guess you should hear some of the bad parts....   As you can see by the above picture, I didn't have much fun on this day. But,  I guess we have to take the good with the bad. About a week ago, Murphy joined my crew. Sure wish the cat had chased him out before he decided to do his special mischief. The first inkling I got was a funny noise under the hood of the truck one day when I hooking up. Sounded like a fan belt type noise, but it couldn't be, the serpentine belt had been replaced a few thousand miles ago. After I got hooked up and pulled out of my campsite, the noise stopped and I figured it was OK - for now.

The next morning, I started the truck again and the noise seemed louder. The general consensus from my conversation with a couple guys in my new camping area was that it was probably the pulleys that made the belt work. OK, sounded logical to me. I called a repair shop and the guy told me to bring it in and he could check it. It was a little way down the road and I figured it shouldn't take too long to do the job. Sure wish I had taken a book with me.

The mechanic opened the hood and listened to the noise - yeah, at least it made the same noise when the mechanic was around. Murphy must have been sleeping. He said it had nothing to do with the belt or pulleys, it was coming from the back of the engine. Sounded ominous, there are only expensive things back there. He finally decided it was a broken flywheel. HUH? They break? All by themselves? Not that I'm skeptical (yeah, right!), but I really didn't believe it. I told him that I wanted to see it for myself, I just didn't believe it.

He was pretty adamant it was the flywheel, so he started tearing into it to uncover the problem. Well, when he got it partially apart, the diagnosis changed - the starter gear that meshes with the flywheel wasn't retracting after the engine was started, it just sat there and pinged along the flywheel teeth. OK, I'll buy that, especially when I saw the little teeth on the starter had some new shiny spots. The flywheel teeth didn't look damaged at all.

A new starter was ordered and a few hours later he was putting things back together and I was on the road back to the campground, a few hundred dollars lighter.

A couple days later, I hooked up again and left that park. I was about 60 miles away when my brakes started pulling to the side. And I thought Murphy had jumped ship. A few more miles down the road, I smelled the dreaded hot, burning smell that demanded immediate attention. I pulled over the first chance I safely could and got out of the truck. The driver's side front tire was smoking! I grabbed my phone, got in the middle of the wide median strip and called Coach Net. While I was talking to them, a Sheriff pulled up. He helped give me information on the areas and roads I had just passed through since I wasn't paying that much attention and she needed more information than what my GPS was telling me. After that, she asked me where I wanted it towed to. Well, of course, a fix-it shop. She said I had to give her the name of one. OK, I don't understand, I told her that this is an RV specific service and since most RV people don't know what's available in the area they're traveling in, so I didn't understand why she thought I'd know what was around me. Even the Sheriff's guys (by now I had 2 of them with me) didn't know, but one checked on his computer and found a place about 25 miles down the road.

After about 25 minutes on the phone with this non-helpful person, she told me I should see two trucks in about 75 minutes - one for the 5th wheel and one for my truck. A Sheriff's volunteer spent the next hour and a half with me waiting for these guys, the first time I've been in the back of a police car!

The guys loaded up my truck and trailer in record time and we set off to the fix-it shop. Unfortunately, there was no room at the shop to park both the truck, which would be taken care of first thing the next morning, and my trailer. The tow truck guy called the local Walmart and got permission to park the trailer in their lot.

The next day, I got new calipers and brake lines for the front wheels. And I sure hope Murphy left with the calipers that went back for the core charge!

I've decided that if Murphy shows up again, I'll try an exorcism - 2 major problems in the space of a couple days means he was having way too much fun.

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