Tom wanted to do this blog because it is a “major, major, major thing” for all diesel pusher owners (who go boondocking especially) to know. And because we did not.
We were driving north (and up) to Flagstaff ,Arizona when the overheating light came on – and buzzed. We’d had this problem before going uphill, but it was caused by lower RPM’s lugging on the motor, so we didn’t worry too much. But this time the light (and the buzzing) were incesent.
So we pulled over and Tom checked the radiator and it was low on water (even though he had checked it recently). So we filled it up and crawled up the hill, making a note to buy anti-freeze at the next chance.
Then it happened again. It had been full of water/antifreeze, but it kept overheating while pulling up a hill – and it seemed to be getting progressively worse. We knew we needed to address the problem before it left us stranded alongside the road.
So I found some diesel mechanic shops in the area and let Tom do the talking. The first shop he called said it was a familiar problem with diesel engines. Because the radiator is in the back, the dirt and dust accumulates. He said we would need a full cleaning of the radiator, inside and out, but that they were a royal pain to get out of the engine compartment and there was no way his little shop had time to work on it. He estimated two or three days work!
Armed with the knowledge of the problem, Tom took our air compressor and blew out all the dust he could. It did help on the next uphill, but we knew it was just a matter of time till there was a real problem so we would have to bite the bullet and break out the bucks.
I was able to locate a Freightliner/Cummins specific diesel repair shop on our route that said they could get to it the next morning. We arrived in town at the end of the work day and ended up being able to spend the night on their property. Which was actually a nice spot.
As soon as they opened, we moved our RV into line. The first mechanic to look at it said the radiator didn’t look as hard to get out (as some he had dealt with) and thought they might even be able to finish it the same day. Woo hoo! We took a change of clothes with us just in case.
So off we went, leaving our home behind. Weird feeling.
We took our dirty laundry, thinking we could take up some of the day with that chore – and we did.
But there was just not a lot to explore in the area. And too hot to do any hiking even if we did find somewhere to go.
We explored the next town – the big city of Richfield – and I was thinking we might be able to take in a matinee. Nope – first movie was after five. We killed some time shopping around in Walmart, then drove back to the little town of Salina and hung out with the laptop at their city park the rest of the afternoon.
We drove back to the repair center right before closing, but no – it was not going to be finished in one day. By noon the following day they suggested. So we had a leisurely dinner, booked a room at a nearby motel, and spent the evening vegging out and flipping through channels on cable TV.
Check out time was eleven, and we headed straight to the repair shop. The motorhome was out of the garage, so we were pretty happy to see it.
It took a lot of waiting, and two-grand to bail it out. But it could have been worse we told ourselves as we pulled the money out of the maintenance “budget” and drove off.
So again, Tom wants to caution that it isn’t always worth it to find a nice peaceful place out in the middle of nowhere to spend the night for free. There is always a cost. In our case, the dusty roads we’ve been down (and who knows what else for the past twelve years) cost a lot!
Peace & Love, Joy