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My first side of the road breakdown
#1
I was due for a side of the super slab down and out. Yesterday, heading North on I75 just outside Ocala, I hear a high pitch whine that is new. Hmmm, Rhonda do you hear that. She heads back to the coach and says it's smoking back here. Immediate high alert ensues when I look out the mirrors and we are billowing profuse smoke. Nascar burnouts have nothing on us. I assume we are on fire, tell her to prepare to abandon ship, and head out the door with a fire extinguisher. Nothing from engine compartment, but when I get to driver side the problem is evident. The coach is sitting on the rear tires. Oops. Air is hissing. 

First order is to try to see what is up. I put jacks under the hitch to keep it from going down further, and I go in through the duals on the other side. If you can get through there by turning on your side it is by far the easiest access under the rear. Nothing hangs down to catch you there. Anyway the primary problem is evident when I see the vertical and horizontal rods on the HCV are no longer connected. The rubber "P" that normally connects them had fractured. Never seen that or even heard of it, but it results in a big problem.  I tried to put the coach in level mode to get it up but that corner was not coming up like it should. I could still hear a large volume of air hissing but I couldn't find the leak. I couldn't hear well because of the trucks whizzing by 5 feet away. Soapy water didn't find it, but I went back in with my leak detector and headphones to find an airline tucked in the outer perimeter of the wheel well. The tire had rubbed through it of course. 

Rhonda found a local truck supply place, and we took the toad to find a replacement "P". I was already figuring how to make one if I couldn't find one. Lucky for me they had a suitable replacement. 

Now the fun begins. With my arms you can't reach the HCV through the well even though I have jacked up the coach with bottle jacks. And from underside I can barely reach the junction with one hand. The nut is spinning the bolt in the HCV arm. It is impossible to get pliers or a grip on the backside of the bolt. Replacement part in hand but I'm really stuck now. I try a number of different things and none work. Hmmmm, maybe the impact gun. Find the gun, correct socket, and extension bar, but I have no air because of the leak. Crank engine to get air, and it doesn't get the nut off. The bolts just spins. Finally, I used very long needle nose pliers and I nibbled the remaining rubber away from the bolt. Then I could get pliers on it while I hit it with the impact wrench. The nut never came off, but the wrench did break the bolt. That allowed me to bolt the new "p" on  with a fresh bolt. Splice the air line next, hold my breath, and press the travel button. Bingo !

Three hours of excitement and we were rolling again. 

Yes, I have Coachnet. They couldn't tow the coach with it on the tires. I saw the problem. Either I was going to have to fix it, or the unknown technician that I waited unknown hours for was going to have to do the same. 

It's still not clear to me why the Level mode would not raise the coach. Perhaps in the stress of the moment I didn't wait long enough. 

Some years ago I put double ended quick connect fittings in the fitting box for an emergency splice. They sure made the fix quick. 

Many thanks to the Ocala LEO who parked behind us with the flashing lights. 

Honestly, when I first saw the smoke, I thought the coach is gone. 
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )
#2
(03-11-2015, 02:20 PM)Richard Wrote: I was due for a side of the super slab down and out. Yesterday, heading North on I75 just outside Ocala, I hear a high pitch whine that is new. Hmmm, Rhonda do you hear that. She heads back to the coach and says it's smoking back here. Immediate high alert ensues when I look out the mirrors and we are billowing profuse smoke. Nascar burnouts have nothing on us. I assume we are on fire, tell her to prepare to abandon ship, and head out the door with a fire extinguisher. Nothing from engine compartment, but when I get to driver side the problem is evident. The coach is sitting on the rear tires. Oops. Air is hissing. 

First order is to try to see what is up. I put jacks under the hitch to keep it from going down further, and I go in through the duals on the other side. If you can get through there by turning on your side it is by far the easiest access under the rear. Nothing hangs down to catch you there. Anyway the primary problem is evident when I see the vertical and horizontal rods on the HCV are no longer connected. The rubber "P" that normally connects them had fractured. Never seen that or even heard of it, but it results in a big problem.  I tried to put the coach in level mode to get it up but that corner was not coming up like it should. I could still hear a large volume of air hissing but I couldn't find the leak. I couldn't hear well because of the trucks whizzing by 5 feet away. Soapy water didn't find it, but I went back in with my leak detector and headphones to find an airline tucked in the outer perimeter of the wheel well. The tire had rubbed through it of course. 

Rhonda found a local truck supply place, and we took the toad to find a replacement "P". I was already figuring how to make one if I couldn't find one. Lucky for me they had a suitable replacement. 

Now the fun begins. With my arms you can't reach the HCV through the well even though I have jacked up the coach with bottle jacks. And from underside I can barely reach the junction with one hand. The nut is spinning the bolt in the HCV arm. It is impossible to get pliers or a grip on the backside of the bolt. Replacement part in hand but I'm really stuck now. I try a number of different things and none work. Hmmmm, maybe the impact gun. Find the gun, correct socket, and extension bar, but I have no air because of the leak. Crank engine to get air, and it doesn't get the nut off. The bolts just spins. Finally, I used very long needle nose pliers and I nibbled the remaining rubber away from the bolt. Then I could get pliers on it while I hit it with the impact wrench. The nut never came off, but the wrench did break the bolt. That allowed me to bolt the new "p" on  with a fresh bolt. Splice the air line next, hold my breath, and press the travel button. Bingo !

Three hours of excitement and we were rolling again. 

Yes, I have Coachnet. They couldn't tow the coach with it on the tires. I saw the problem. Either I was going to have to fix it, or the unknown technician that I waited unknown hours for was going to have to do the same. 

It's still not clear to me why the Level mode would not raise the coach. Perhaps in the stress of the moment I didn't wait long enough. 

Some years ago I put double ended quick connect fittings in the fitting box for an emergency splice. They sure made the fix quick. 

Many thanks to the Ocala LEO who parked behind us with the flashing lights. 

Honestly, when I first saw the smoke, I thought the coach is gone. 
Rolleyes Ashley Pardue Coach 589
#3
Richard your the man
Rolleyes Ashley Pardue Coach 589
#4
Wow, that is an experience I hope never to have. Thank goodness you carry every tool and a never ever give up state of mind. Good on you.
Jon Kabbe
1993 coach 337 with Civic towed
#5
And you are slender enough to get into places that some of just dream of being able to get to.
Michael Day
1992 Newell 43.5' #281
NewellOwner.com
#6
I know how the "billowing smoke" makes one feel. Perhaps we should all once in a while refresh ourselves including spouses with fire extinguisher locations and an abandon ship plan just in case. With a drill now and then, the real thing can be handled a little more calmly should it ever occur.
#7
I'm curious about the air hose that the tire rubbed through. Can you be more specific about where that was?
I had a RHCV fail right after I bought my '93. The coach settled with the aluminum siding edge (that is hidden by the fiberglass fender flair) rubbing on the left rear drive tire , rubbing another tread line around the tire and burning the paint off of the aluminum siding above the fender flair. I did a roadside repair by re-routing the air lines at the solenoid block in the engine compartment.
I was disappointed that Newell did not allow proper clearance for such an occurrence such as a frame mounted bump stop to limit the body from dropping so low. Since then I think I heard that some air bags have "stops" built into them and maybe my coach was retrofitted with improper air bags in the past.
I would like to prevent coach damage from air bag or RHCV failure in the future but am not sure of what to do to prevent it.
1993 Newell 45' 8V92,towing an Imperial open trailer. FMCA#232958 '67 Airstream Overlander 27' '67GTO,'76TransAm,'52Chevy panel, 2000 Corvette "Lingenfelter"modified, '13 Grand Cherokee.
#8
Richard, when we bought our '82 you may remember that the Air Ride wasn't functional. I found the Linkage Arm was bad, the top "P" was stretched straight. I was able to heat the metal and re-bend it into the loop on top and used a short piece of fuel hose for the grommet, still there.
I agree that we should all have an "Evacuation Plan" and go over it every so often, I'll discuss this before we get on the road today.
Steve & Patti, Bonnie and Tucker
1982 Newell 38' Classic, DD 6V92
cocktails for as many will fit in the site, dinner for as many can sit at the pick-nick table and sleeps 2 since I fixed the couch
#9
Richard,

Glad you are going again. Can you elucidate on "vertical and horizontal rods on the HCV". What is HCV?

Cheers,
bill
Bill Johnson
2003 Newell #653 Quad Slide Cat C-12 engine with Motorcycle lift 
2011 Jeep Wrangler, 2018 BMW 1200GS Adventure Motorcycle
Auburn, Alabama
#10
I'm guessing the P-rod failed at the bend that begins the loop around the rubber thingy at the top. If so, the likely cause of the failure is metal fatigue. I noticed that when I changed out my rear HCV that the P-rod was solidly bolted to the lever on the HCV. As the rod moves the lever up and down there is a slight rotation occurring between the rod and the lever. If the rod is solidly attached like mine was the rotation will slightly and repeatedly bend the P-rod which over time could lead to metal fatigue and ultimately breakage.

When I installed the new HCVs I was very careful to tighten the bolt just prior to the point at which the P-rod could easily stop rotating and yet not be loose. I then double-nutted the bolt. I believe that the original tight connection very well might have produced the failure Richard experienced. I was just plain "lucky" that I decided to replace my HCVs before they started leaking. Little did I know that I also prevented repeating Richard's experience. Changing those valves was a real bear with all the access troubles Richard described.

Anyway, this is a possible explanation of what triggered Richard burning rubber in a Newell. If so, it would behoove us all to check that connection and make sure it just loose enough but not too loose. Based upon Richards experience I know I'm going to check my front one before I leave here next week.
Jon Kabbe
1993 coach 337 with Civic towed


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