November 6, 2010
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You’re never too old to learn. I know it’s nice to see the great scenery and hear about how great the food is but there is the other side. An RV is a machine that needs constant care and attention…………whether you have the time, the money, the skills, the patience or not. A million things can happen to a machine. Maintenance can help to avoid the inevitable but in the long run, stuff wears out.
The unavoidables: So we were packed and ready to go to Key West. All excited about getting back on the road. I had the truck hooked-up and we were ready to ramble by 9. The last thing we had to do was roll in the slides. Cindy hit the switch for the living room and nothing happened. I checked it out and the motor was spinning bit the mechanism wasn’t moving so I got out the tools to see what I could do. I removed the bolts holding the motor and used a block of wood and a hammer to disconnect the motor from the shaft. The shear pin on the shaft was broken – as it was engineered to do – incase the slide gets in a bind. A 40 cent part and 3 hours labor we were ready to go.
The avoidables: My fault. Cindy and I were running errands a few weeks ago and when we pulled in the drive the low fuel light came on. The next morning we were headed to the beach and were gonna get gas on the way. The truck’s computer said we had 36 miles to go before empty – not the case. We got about 5 miles down the road and the truck choked, then stalled. I cranked it back up and it ran long enough for us to coast into the gas station. I filled the tank but the truck wouldn’t start. Cindy read the manual while I tried to get the truck to start. After about 30 minutes I looked over at the next pump and there was Terry’s Mobile Mechanic – what luck. Terry and I re-primed the fuel system – 40 minutes later, we were on our way. An $80 fauxpas. Of course we made a pack to never go below a quarter tank again.
Key West was great, the Everglades were incredible and had about an hour left to make it back to Sarasota. The computer said we had 60 miles left in the tank and we started to look for for a place to stop. Just before we hit the exit, the engine hiccuped —–uh oh. I got down the ramp and turned right toward the Shell station. Just as we got to the turn lane the engine stalled. I knew I didn’t want to restart it and run the system out of fuel so I let the truck coast into the turn lane, grabbed my gas can and walked across the highway to get some gas. Since I didn’t try to restart (at least I learned something) it cranked right back up and we were on our way.
My advice is to make a checklist, read the manuals, talk to other RV’ers and most importantly don’t take any chances. Even though we had a few set backs it could have been a lot worse.