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Towing a coach
#1
This is not about a coach towing a car/truck...it is about towing a broken Newell.

Yesterday, I broke an axle on the side of a busy highway in Madisonville, TN (outside of Knoxville).  I immediately knew I would need to be towed.  (my worst nightmare).

I got a wrecker recommendation from the local Prevost guy....they would not be able to help for several hours.  They suggested their competitors...not available.  Same for the third through seventh wrecker services I called.  Eight time was the charm.   A local wrecker company agreed to come out and tow me about ten miles to the local Prevost service shop.  Idea was to land somewhere safe while I figured out what was wrong with coach.

In the meantime I called the Newell emergency number to ask specifically how do you tow a Newell.  They said that if the guys had the right wrecker it was not an issue.  They would pull the axle and it would all be good.  Uh. No!

The guys with the wrecker showed up and spent maybe an hour pulling the axle and getting the "stinger" under the front wheels.  The idea is that they slide a big sled under the front wheels and lift up.  The sled pivots left and right so the coach being towed acts a lot like a semi-trailer.

I stayed in the coach with the dog.  As we made our way up the road to get turn around to go the Prevost guys shop, I heard some loud pops and groans.  (Not a good sign).  As we made the first turn, it was clear that the wrecker guy was having trouble turning this rig.  As he tried to make a wide left turn, there was a car broken down on shoulder right in his way.  Now we were blocking an off ramp, and four lanes of traffic.  After a little maneuvering and some folks pushing the broken car out of the way, we made our way down to a parking lot to try and turn around.  No dice, still trouble turning.

Driver had to back up and try another cut.  All the while I was hearing pops and groans coming from coach.  As he was backing up, I heard and felt a large crunch.  Yup he backed into a light post!

Did I say that I had a motorcycle lift on the back with a brand new (24 miles) BMW motorcycle on it?  Well, I did.  

The next part is a little blurry.  But here are highlights....

1. Motorcycle had minor if any damage.  2.  Motorcycle lift was totaled. 3.  The groans and pops that I heard was the stinger ripping off the front skid bars, and the fairing under the penny.  4. The trim pieces around the front tires were now customized. 5.  Cops came and investigated and wrote report.  

After a great deal of tinkering, we got the coach moving again, now with clearance on the front end.  Eventually we made it to the Prevost shop and that is where I am now.

Lessons learned.  
1.  Newell needs to create and distribute written instructions that we can give to wrecker drivers to keep from "wrecking" (get it?!!) our coaches.  
2.  If you need to get towed, be sure that there is sufficient clearance so that the stinger can pivot left and right without tangling with the undercarriage.


Cheers,
bill


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Bill Johnson
2003 Newell #653 Quad Slide Cat C-12 engine with Motorcycle lift 
2011 Jeep Wrangler, 2018 BMW 1200GS Adventure Motorcycle
Auburn, Alabama
#2
That is a bummer Bill. I know that you are frustrated over the damage to your new BMW and the Newell.
Michael Day
1992 Newell 43.5' #281
NewellOwner.com
#3
So sad to hear of your troubles.
From my experience with towing companies - If they can read & understand towing instructions, they won't need them.
Sounds like you were unfortunate enough to get a tow from someone who didn't know what he was doing.

I hope his insurance treats you well, after all, he is an expert charging for his services.

As bad as the damage is, you are fortunate it wasn't lots worse.

Good luck with a good quality repair!
1987 classic #159
8V92 MUI , Allison 740
#4
I have been pretty busy since all this happened, but wanted to add a question to this thread....

When the first wrecker towed the coach, the wrecker driver removed the axle on the passenger side. I assumed that this was the correct drive side, but now I am worried that I did not make him remove both axles.

What do the gurus think? If you remove the axle from the curb side wheel, does that make it safe to tow, or must you always remove both axles? What is the potential of damage now that I have been towed (twice) with only the curb side axle removed?

Don't hold back if you think I have done a BAD thing. We will know once the diff has been repaired and we try out the transmission.

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
#5
Bill, my understanding is that you want to prevent the driveshaft from being driven by the wheels as the vehicle rolls. The driveshaft will spin the output shaft in the transmission which could cause internal damage. Removing the driveshaft is the surest solution. Removing one axle is OK if the differential spider gears are not seized and there is lube in the axle. In your case since the differential was compromised I would have removed the driveshaft or both axles. The Allison trans is very stout and may be fine but I would talk to an Allison service center about it for sure.
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.
#6
I am the least knowledgeable of all gurus. I have been probably towed more than anyone. It is my understanding if you remove an axle you also lose fluid you must replace . The drive shaft is about 4 feet long and is pulled by 4 bolts. I prefer driveshaft.
Marc and Theresa Newman
Formerly Newell 422, 507, 512
Current owner of 701 2004 quad slide
2004 28 ft Champion Stacker.
2007 Mercedes SL 65 AMG "Hammer"
2016 Rzr Xp4 1000
2016 Newman-Ellis 28 foot coach trailer.

#7
(07-30-2016, 07:41 PM)HoosierDaddy Wrote: Bill, my understanding is that you want to prevent the driveshaft from being driven by the wheels as the vehicle rolls. The driveshaft will spin the output shaft in the transmission which could cause internal damage. Removing the driveshaft is the surest solution. Removing one axle is OK if the differential spider gears are not seized and there is lube in the axle. In your case since the differential was compromised I would have removed the driveshaft or both axles. The Allison trans is very stout and may be fine but I would talk to an Allison service center about it for sure.

The coach is at one of two Allison approved shops in Knoxville.  I hope they can sort it out.
Bill Johnson
2003 Newell #653 Quad Slide Cat C-12 engine with Motorcycle lift 
2011 Jeep Wrangler, 2018 BMW 1200GS Adventure Motorcycle
Auburn, Alabama
#8
This is great information! Thanks for posting it for posterity - I am needing it now... :-(. We have Isaac’s Towing coming to get us and tow us back to Nacogdoches, TX... I sure hope the driver knows what he is doing but how can you really know???
Karen & Adrian Abshire 
1998 2 slide 45' Newell towing a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited and a 2006 Mercedes SLK320 for wifey. 
Prior: 1985 Foretravel ORED 35, 1988 38' Foretravel U280, 2000 Foretravel 42' U320, 1990 Bluebird Wanderlodge WB40
#9
I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. I am curious as to what the initial issue was was to break an axle, which is such a robust part of the Newell drivetrain? Have any of you Gurus also experienced an axle failure? Could this be a differential failure causing the axle failure and towing problems?

Best wishes getting this sorted out and back on the road to happy travels.
Guy & Sue
1984 Classic 40' #59
#10
Guy,

The problem was not a broken axle. It was a lack of differential oil in the diff. The differential came apart on the inside. When the tow truck guy pulled the axle, no oil came out. Apparently there was no oil at all in the diff.

I have deep suspicions as to how that happened but lets just say...that while I owned the coach, there was never any drips or puddles of diff oil under or near the coach.

Newell has now added a check on their PM to check the level of the diff oil.

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


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