Thursday, September 28, 2023

Sydney, NE & Cheyenne, WY

Monday - Today's excitement. Towing the RV to a truck repair shop in Sydney, NE. The truck arrived only a couple of minutes after they said he would be there. It was quite the process hooking up the RV. Since the engine doesn't start, there isn't any air pressure. Since it has independent front suspension, it needed to be towed by cradling the front tires. He also needed to connect an airline from the tow truck to a special connection to inflate the airbags. He had this line connected the entire time. He also needed to remove the drive shaft to prevent the transmission from heating up.

All in all, quite the process. The capacity of his lift was 20k lbs so the front of the motorhome was well within the capability of the tow truck. He mentioned that diesel pusher motorhomes are the most difficult. They are low to the ground and removing the driveshaft is a hassle. The engine not starting also complicated things.

Tuesday - Wednesday - The RV was in Sydney at a truck repair shop. After inspection, they concluded that the engine needed to come out and they were not equipped to handle that job on an RV with a Caterpillar engine that needs to drop out of the bottom. They thoroughly examined the engine looking for an oil leak and didn’t find anything. They concluded that the oil was coming out of the crankcase vent pipe. 

On Tuesday, we “moved” down to Fort Collins. Friends, whom we had met several time while RVing, invited us to stay at their home while the RV was being repaired. So thankful for them. 

 - Last night, Coach-Net towed the RV to a different shop in Cheyenne, WY.  This time it was a larger Caterpillar shop. They had the tools, shop, and experience to deal with the engine. We met with them this afternoon and they listened carefully to the symptoms and history. On Monday, they plan to pull the RV into the shop (after steam cleaning the back and frame) and drop the pan. They will inspect the cylinders for scoring. If they aren’t scored, there is a possibility that the engine can be salvaged. Otherwise, new engine… mucho $$$!!

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Chappell, NE

Friday - Well, the RV wouldn’t start this morning. After numerous attempts, we gave up and called Coach-Net, our RV roadside assistance provider. After talking with their tech for a bit, he went off and looked for a shop that could/would work on an RV. Some shops won’t since engine access is difficult. They found a shop in Sydney, NE, about 30 miles west of Chappell and will tow us on Monday. We are staying at the RV park for the weekend. It’s only $15/day using Passport America. No complaints about that…

Saturday - After the morning test session, I figured that it may be a good time to regenerate the water softener. After draining the water, you open the cap and add two 26oz boxes of regular table salt. Then you slowly run water for about half an hour. Then flush it out for five minutes at full flow. Then taste. There shouldn’t be any trace of salt. The manufacturer suggests doing this every month. It’s been about a month and a half but then we don’t use much water.

 - Today was a prep day. Not for traveling but probably moving out of the RV for a time (currently unknown duration). I removed the back seat from the Jeep and put the 12V portable fridge/freezer. I also pulled out a couple of storage bins for food/supplies. We won’t really know what’s going on for a couple of days…

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Chappell, NE

Wednesday - Another travel day to a Passport America campground in Chappell, NE. Passport America gives us a 50% discount so our stay here is only $15/night. The sites are kind of cramped but for the cost and full hookups, it’s worth staying. 

Thursday - The engine is going through a lot of oil. There is no oil on the engine. Only on the frame to the left and behind the crankcase vent tube. Here is an example of oil on the frame. In front of this, there is no liquid oil just dirt and dust.

I had thought that this line may be the culprit but there is no evidence of liquid oil. Just dust and dirt.

I called a friend ChrisZ who also has been dealing with the same model engine and explained what I was seeing and my suspicions. He suggested that I put a catch bottle on the vent tube to see how much oil was coming out of the engine. If there wasn't much, then I need to look for a leak somewhere. An excellent suggestion.

Here is my catch bottle. The blowby tube is going through the bottle opening and I drilled a hole in the side of the bottle to allow air to exit as the tube is a pretty good fit into the bottle opening. Tomorrow mid-day, I'll see how much oil is in there...

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Casper, WY - HH

Tuesday - Today was a longer travel day at 281miles. We are stopped at Gruner Brothers Brewing, as part of Harvest Hosts. Their lower parking lot has several level gravel sites. There are quite a few paved locations in their parking lot but all of them aren’t very level. 

I added another 2 quarts of oil this afternoon and I’ll check it tomorrow morning.