Jun 122015

We were awake before 6 a.m. yesterday morning to be ready for the tech at Rocky Mountain Cummins to take our motorhome into the garage at 7:30. Since we are not morning people, we were not thrilled about that. And it’s been our experience at different repair shops over the years that even though they tell you to be ready when they open, sometimes it 9 or even 10 before they actually come to get your rig.

But not this time. At 7:30 sharp the tech was at our door and took the RV into the shop. We retired to the customer lounge, which had a TV and comfortable chairs, and settled down to wait.

Four hours later they called me to the desk to tell me that three or four mechanics had gone over the coach from end to end and they were mystified. They had checked the driveline, U-joints, rear end, front end, wheel bearings, motor mounts, and everything else under the Winnebago and could not find a reason for the vibration we have been experiencing on hard acceleration, such as when climbing a hill, or when coming down a hill with the exhaust brake on, or why turning off the exhaust brake on a descent makes the vibration let up. In the process I had them install a new air filter, which was overdue.

Smith Power Products is an authorized Allison Transmission repair shop and is right next door to Cummins, so we went there next and they spent another four hours flushing the transmission, putting in a new filter and Transynd synthetic fluid and looking for anything that might be causing the problem.

Winnie in shop at Smiths small

When I saw they had an armored car there I asked them if they did so much business that they needed it to haul their money to the bank every day. Or maybe they just knew I was coming.

Armored car at Smiths small

When I called Mike Bronzi at Redlands Truck and RV  the other day, he told me it sounded like the exhaust has a broken bracket and is touching the frame and sending a vibration through the RV. When I first described the problem to Lurch, the Service Manager at Smith Power, he said the same thing, and their mechanic did find one nut on an exhaust bracket that he was able to tighten almost three turns. He didn’t know if it could have been something that simple.

So the good news is that a full day and a $1,000 lighter in the checkbook, we have been assured by both shops that nothing major (and expensive) like the engine or transmission is bad. The bad news is we still don’t know what the problem is. We came back to Cummins to park for the night, with their free 50 amp power, and today we’ll be back on the road.

We had planned to spend a few days in Eureka, California on our way to the Oregon coast, but Mike at Redlands suggested we might want to go up Interstate 5 to Grants Pass, Oregon and have John Henderson look things over. I’m thinking that may be the better option, and then we can cut over to the coast from there. I’ll call him this morning before we take off.

We already have over 80 entries in this week’s Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.


Thought For The Day – The dumber you are, the smarter you think you are.

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Nick Russell

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  5 Responses to “Early Start To A Long Day”

  1. Wanted to come find you, but stuff got in the way. Eventually, we will meet you…

    For your travel today…

    We’ve taken the trip from Reno over to Escapee RV rallies along 70 and 99 many times.
    I used to take the scenic route on 20 to Yuba City, then North.

    I recently determined that the interstate route was less dangerous than the hot-shoes who can’t wait for a passing lane or me to use a pull-out.

    At 53 feet (20 feet for the truck and 33 feet for hitch and 9K pound trailer), there were no problems on 20.
    On I-80, I work at keeping the speed down to that of the trucks unless they are really slow.

    Even though I-80 is pretty worn and rough from chain use (sometimes feels like a luge), it is generally faster to just take it and go North on I-5.

    You can check Google Earth from the Donner Summit rest area for the dreaded red dots. Go with the green dot route.

    If you are not in a hurry, another scenic route (yes, taken it a few times too) is:
    395 North to Susanville, then 36 West to 44 West (89 joins in for a while) to Redding where you find I-5.

  2. You know you put on new tires in AZ…can you have them checked for being out of round? That was what our problem ended up being. Never heard of such a thing but even new tires can be out of round or so we were told. Who knew? And they use the phrase so casually like oh your shoe is untied. But it made a Big difference.

  3. My thought after yesterday’s blog was sunspots are wrecking your coach. Today’s blog seems to reinforce that. I know they do funny things. I just didn’t know they could take that much money out of your pocket. Here’s to a great recovery.

  4. Hope your problems are over, phantom strikes again, expensive phantom. We wish you a safe a trouble free trip up to Oregon.

  5. okay I’m going to chime in here much as I hate to
    I am going to assume you have an exhaust exhaust break when you get to the next mechanic shop have them pay particular attention to the exhaust break valve damper assembly ( you know like the little damper inside the exhaust pipe that helps you slow down )
    If there’s any possibility that it is loose due to wear you take this scenario from there

    as for your tires being out around Forget that part,,,( three would cancel the one )( but 15,000 miles down the road is when you’re noticed one being out around )
    at the tire shop did you watch them torque the nuts down on all the wheels.,,, but then again you said they checked it from front to back so they would’ve been a good chance they had checked that as well
    But then you can check that as well by looking very closely at the studs how they line up with the hole
    Enjoy your day,,, but throw more money at it

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