Dec 022010

By 7:20 yesterday morning I was pulling out of the Orlando Thousand Trails, taking the Explorer to Camping Connection to have the Blue Ox base plate and SMI auxiliary brake system installed so we can tow it behind our Winnebago motorhome.

I actually got there a few minutes before their staff did, but once Tim, the tech who was doing the work arrived, it only took him a minute or two to check me in, and then he dropped me off back at the Thousand Trails. Tim said he’d call me by noon to have us bring the motorhome in, so they could set up the air line for the SMI brake, and then test to be sure everything was working properly.

Back at the campground, I snoozed for a little while, then Pat McFall from PressurePro called and we talked for a few minutes. Pat told me that they had just left the Escapees Dream Catcher RV Park in Deming, New Mexico, where it was fourteen degrees! Okay, so tell me all about global warming!

Check Out Our Holiday Subscription Special Offer!

About 11:30 Tim called and said he was ready for us to bring the motorhome in, and when we did, it took a couple of hours to hook up the airline on the motorhome, test everything out, make a couple of fine tuning adjustments, and we’re good to go. Tim did an excellent job, all of the work was tidy, and it’s obviously a very professional installation.

We had an older SMI Duo auxiliary brake on the Ford van, which gave us excellent service, but we decided to upgrade to their Air Force One, which provides proportional braking, is very user friendly, and installs under the hood, out of the way. An air line runs from the Winnebago’s air brake system to a hookup on the back of the coach, and I plug in an air cable to that and to a hookup on the Explorer, and every time I step on the motorhome’s brakes, it also activates the brakes on the Explorer, with the same amount of pressure. If anybody is looking for a used auxiliary brake, send me an e-mail. I’m selling our older unit cheap.

Air Force One

When we’re ready to go, all we have to do is hook up our Blue Ox tow bar and safety cables, clip on the breakaway cord that stops the dinghy if it were to come loose for any reason, put the Explorer’s transfer case in neutral, and off we go. Quick and easy.

We know a lot of RVers who don’t use an auxiliary braking system, and I was just as foolish for many years. I learned my lesson when some fool ran a red light in front of me a couple of years ago, and I had to make a panic stop. The front wheels of our Toyota pickup ended up sitting on top of the motorcycle rack on the back of our bus conversion. Fortunately, we didn’t have a bike on the rack at the time, so the only things destroyed were the rack and our tow bar. But it could have been a lot worse.

Before we left, we also told the nice folks at Camping Connection to schedule us for our Norcold refrigerator recall. Yes, we did have the Norcold recall done at RV Renovators in Mesa, Arizona back in May. They did an excellent job and there was nothing wrong with their work. This recall is because Norcold’s fix in the first recall apparently isn’t working. There have been a number of RV fires that have originated in the refrigerator compartment, and some people have watched their RVs burn to the ground. If you have a Norcold refrigerator in your RV, check the Norcold Recall Website to see if yours is included in the recall of the recall.

Be prepared to wait at least a month before you can get the work done. Just as with the last recall, the shops I have talked to all said Norcold is very slow in sending out the units needed to get the problem fixed. Maybe if it were their homes that were in danger of burning up, they might move a little faster!

Thought For The Day – I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  12 Responses to “All Set Up And Ready To Tow!”

  1. We’re waiting for the Norcold recall parts also, an entire cooling unit. I wasn’t too concerned about the recall until they said that they had to change out the cooling unit. For Norcold to be willing to do that on a 5 year old unit, their has to be something major wrong. The replacement was ordered the 18th of November and is due into the dealer December 3rd. We’ll wait! It could be worse, al-la, a ruptured ammonia line or a fire.


  2. I think if I had a Norcold I’d get one of those fire suppression systems from Mack the Fire Guy that automatically goes off if the temperature goes over 280 degrees.

    We’re guilty of not having an auxiliary brake and we actually have the unit that we bought used. We just haven’t set it up. I guess we need to re-think that! Thanks for the reminder.

  3. We finally got rid of our Norcold and replaced it with a residential refer. I did the work myself. It was a big project but I just finished it yesterday. This is not the answer for everyone but it works for us.

  4. We heard that Mac’s fire suppression thing doesn’t work with the Norcold as it’s placed on the floor and needs to be placed higher. Have to check with Mac.

  5. We have Mac’s fire suppression unit, and they do work if mounted correctly. However, if you have a fire, and don’t have the recall installed, your insurance company may use that as an excuse not to cover you.

  6. Nick, I am going to purchase a Thousand Trails Zone Membership. . .if I click on your link to TT. . .do you get credit? Thx for a great blog with lots of info!


  7. Janice,
    Yes, I get anywhere from 75 cents to $1 commission from Google.

  8. Thanks to the Escapees forum letting us know before the official notice came we were first in line for the newest recall so got ours done quickly. It’s a great group and you don’t have to join Escapees to particiapte in their discussion forum at at Y’all come visit.

  9. Nick,
    Thanks for the update on the recall for Nor-Cold—-we had it done while in Vegas, and hopefully no more worries bout that!!!!!

  10. I too replaced my RV Fridge with a Residential one.
    It works for us, and we don’t even have a generator or battery bank. Stays cold enough between campsites just fine.

  11. We heard about the recall from fellow Escapeee Boomers before receiving the recall notice. Had our service center, Village RV in Roseville, CA, do the repair. It took them a week or two to get the parts and they were allocated 30 minutes to change out the cooling unit kit. We were among the first jobs under the NEW recall so they said it actually took about an hour to do (on-the-job learning curve which should help others down the road).

  12. Thanks for pointing out that recall notice. We’ve checked in the past, but never found that our model number or serial number fell within the recall, but this time it did. So we’ve made arrangements to have the fix done when we get to Fort Myers around xmas. Again, thanks for drawing our attention to the notice.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.