When you buy an older RV you never really know what it's history is and what condition the parts are inside it.
Also, when you're driving a 13 ton rig down a steep mountain and you think you know how to drive big rigs, yet you don't.
Things Break, Mistakes Happen.
Because we had 13 tons and were going down a mountain we smoked our brakes, cracked our rotors, and melted our breaklines.
Total bill? $6,000
That's almost half what we paid for our rig, Gracie.
Part of me asks the question, since we had to spend $6k on repairs would we have been better off buying a newer/better motorhome by putting that $6k into the original purchase?
You never know what can go wrong, even with a brand new rig. Not that we would have been able to get a new rig for an extra $6k. No matter what we would have purchased we love Gracie and the things she includes.
Shoot I'd probably have broken the transmission doing the same thing in a newer rig.
Although I know I'll buy a diesel pusher next time.
Picking up Gracie
Last week I returned from a business trip on Tuesday evening. We found a SWEET spot with the cousins at the Atlanta airport (Busiest airport in the WORLD) to watch planes landing and taking off. If you're going to do this, do it at ATL, it keeps the kids so busy because there's so many planes landing and taking off.
The RV shop wasn't done with our Motorhome quite yet, they wanted to take it out for a test drive but they did have the brakes and transmission replaced. So they were able to put our home outside the shop so we could sleep in our own beds.
In reality we were only without Gracie for one night. This is how we worked that: Sunday we moved the RV to the shop and Becky and the kids dropped me off at the airport, they returned to Gracie and spent the night in her at the shop. In the morning (Monday) they piled a bunch of stuff into the Minivan (which is still nameless!) and spent the day at Becky's sister's house. They slept there Monday night and then picked me up Tuesday evening and we slept in the motorhome that night. Wednesday morning the guys took Gracie out for a test drive while we took the kids out for a rare breakfast out meal. When we returned she was ready to go!
Pretty quick turnaround I'd say. The owners of the RV shop were very understanding about Gracie being our home and really worked with us. Especially since we were able to be flexible on when we scheduled it the parts were (almost all) on hand when they went to work on her.
Outcomes and Fallout
When we first broke Gracie's transmission and then drove on it while broken I was starting to think we didn't need to replace it, that perhaps we should keep driving it until it "really" broke. But when it "really" broke on our second trip to Asheville I realized it had to be replaced. Good thing we had already ordered the parts and scheduled the replacement.
Talking with the RV shop guys on one hand made me feel better in that they often see brake jobs on motorhomes after coming down out of the mountains in North Carolina. In fact they rarely go a month without a break job on a motorhome. In fact, they told me that one summer they had 25 motorhomes that needed brakes coming down from North Carolina. That means they saw two motorhomes a week that needed brakes.
None of those motorhomes needed transmission work.
I burned our brakes because I lost the transmission.
So I wasn't feeling so bad about burning through the brakes.
Funny thing is now the transmission has a 3 year unlimited mile warranty on it. Only catch? It needs to be serviced by a Ford Truck dealer/mechanic. So we're going to run Gracie through the paces in the Rockies and test out this new transmission.
So far we haven't even put a mile on her with the new tranny. The RV shop is less than a block from where we're staying... so the "drive home" after picking up Gracie Wednesday wasn't really long :)
They had to flush the transmission coolant system and added a new transmission cooler on it. (This is how Ford can Warranty it since it has a clean system and more cooling). When they flushed it they got metal chunks out of it. They were floored that Gracie was able to come into the shop under her own power. They've never seen it that bad even on motorhomes that had to be towed in!!
Oh and you might remember that we had to replace our clutch fan in Kentucky? The guys in Atlanta commented that we have a REALLY strong clutch fan. ... this is what will keep us from over heating.
So little by little Gracie is getting retrofitted with industrial innards.
Hopefully that will prevent stories like this in Honduras, Mexico, or Ecuador! Maybe.....