By Dennis Reid
Our trip to Madison started out on a sour note when our microwave died on the way to the rally. We hooked up with the "microwave lady", who likes to sell her seminar units to keep from shipping them back home, and procured a new microwave for $500. With the help of my new found friend David Gilbert, we had it installed in no time. After many fellow RVers experienced a variety of problems, I was confident that we had "paid our dues" by having to buy a new microwave.
After touring the upper peninsula of Michigan with the leadership of our hosts, Richard & Elle Bonewitz, we all left St. Ignace, MI heading for home. On RT 23 at around 3:00pm on Friday the 19th, all hell broke loose. It seems like every light and bell on my dashboard went off. There was apparently a problem with overheating. After consulting with technicians at Good Sam's Emergency Service, they made arrangements to have us towed to Cummins Bridgeway just west of Detroit. After a 5 hour wait on the side of a major highway and a 30 mile tow to the dealer we arrived at 9:00 pm. We never saw a cop for the entire time we were broken down. In her infinite wisdom, Joyce had already informed me that "you know this is Friday don't you". She was right again.
On Monday morning the parts necessary to perform the repair was evaluated and special parts were ordered for next day delivery. By noon on Tuesday all parts had been received. Since the coach could not be started, we had to order another tow truck for Wednesday morning to back the coach into the garage. The mechanic did not get to start work until noon. Prior to moving, we were able to stay in the coach with a 30 amp connection. After the coach was moved into the garage, we had to go to a motel for 2 nights.
Since we were marooned, we decided to make the best of a bad situation. We took in all of The Henry Ford attraction including a factory tour of the Ford F150 assembly plant. We also visited Walmart twice, Homedepot, and saw two movies.
On Friday morning we departed the dealership after paying a repair bill for $5,045.21. This was after a complimentary discount of $530. There was $2,500 worth of labor and $2,600 in parts. The most expensive part was $1,400. With all that happened we feel fortunate that there was no more damage than what occurred.
What happened you ask? The fan hub, that controls the fan, broke loose from the engine. The mechanics said that two of the 4 bolts broke off in the engine block. When that happened, the belts gave way, the fan damaged an oil cover, the alternator was damaged, etc., etc.
At our first stop at the Flying J, I discovered a blown o-ring on my HWH hydraulic pump with fluid leaking down the side of the coach.
We spent Friday night in a nice little campground in Cambridge, OH. In the morning we broke camp and drove 1 mile to the Pilot station to top off the tank. After Joyce paid the bill, she noticed something leaking from under the rear of the coach. Yep, it's anti-freeze, coming from somewhere around the radiator. After deciding that it was not the radiator cap or the overflow tube, we made the decision to return to the campground for an extended stay. Remember, since we only breakdown on weekends, no one will be available until Monday. Since the people who repaired the coach near Detroit, have a location close to us in Canton, I chose to have them make it right before I left the area..
Thanks to all of our caravan friends for their concerns.
Dennis & Joyce
PS: I threw a couple of matches in the fuel tank and then I realized that diesel fuel doesn't ignite as easy as gas.
Followup: In recognition of their misadventures, Richard Bonewitz presented Dennis and Joyce "On the Road Again: shirts (which Elle had designed) at the Misty Mountain rally.