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One of THOSE trips!
#1
Have been pretty busy last 6 weeks or so.  Wanted to let others know about our last trip out & what I have learned from the experience. You may want to get a cup of coffee before starting.
Had been thinking coach is due for service. Probably should schedule it with Stewart & Stevenson in El Paso.  (have gotten to be on fairly good terms with Pablo there after engine re-man issues were resolved).
Got call out to head  to CA for a few days. Note to self: will be a bit over due for service when we get back so schedule it for Monday when we get back.
Thursday: Load coach & head to PHX to drop grandson off at airport. Generator running just a tad rough on start up. Dry camped at Pilot in Eloy (a great place as they have RV parking on north side of building and we have NEVER not found a spot there). Head in to PHX ammeter charging high (70-80 amps) when first heading out. Did I forget to shut off marker lights? Park coach at one of my suppliers yards a few blocks from airport. Unhook toad & head to airport. I am thinking with unattended minor you just show ID's at ticket counter & they take him from there, so I leave Fran outside in "No Parking drop off only" zone. Very wrong! I was told I had to move truck to parking. Left grandson and my ID at counter & found parking after a loop around airport. Got back to counter, they said "after clearing security you have to stay with him at gate until wheels are on the ground". Since we were a couple of hours early, Fran could not stay in pick up in parking that long so we went back to coach & had breakfast. Took him back to airport with Fran staying in coach. Finally got out of airport only an hour late. Hook up toad & head on to CA.  Ammeter is reading a tad high again. West side of PHX on 10 CE & SE lights come on. Lookat ammeter, it is showing +/-70 amp discharge. Pull off on shoulder shut engine down and check diagnostics on VMSPC.  Shows "low coolant level high voltage". Check coolant level, it is at bottom of sight glass should be way over sensor. Limped on to TA truckstop so as to have some space out of traffic to work on problem. Called S&S in El Paso. Last time I had issues with the "low coolant level high voltage" they stopped after replacing 2 bad engine batteries. Pulled out load tester isolated & tested all batteries OK. Cleaned sensor connections, 1 1/2 qts coolant to get level to top of sight glass and all seemed OK. Went on to CA. Dry camped in Parker & made quick trip in toad back towards Quartzsite. Ammeter charging high but dropped back fairly quickly on way to Newberry Springs. Set up in RV park for 3 day stay. Got late start 4-5pm for journey to San Felipe (just north of ALB). Pulled into Love's in Williams, AZ around 11 pm very tired. Barely got parked out of everyone's way & went to bed. All of a sudden generator is starting to die. Thought "oh no, out of fuel" jumped up got dressed & ran outside. Tapped on generator fuel tank. Yep sounds pretty empty. Opened cross over valve between tanks to dump some fuel from main tank into generator tank & went back to bed. 15 min later generator is starting to die again. "not enough fuel in main tank to to run into generator tank" I am thinking now. Un-hooked toad which was in a bind because I couldn't pull forward with coach.  Had a truck in the way but thought "surely he will be gone before I leave" when I had parked.  Pulled coach to fuel island & filled both tanks. By this time I am wide awake so hooked up toad & headed east. Made it to Winslow around 4:30 am. Due to Fran's righteous living we found a pull through spot at Flying J as soon as we turned in. Generator lights had been flickering some on the way from Williams. Went to bed exhausted.  Generator was running rough up & down but still running so I slept through the rough spots trying to think what the problem might be.  Got up around 9am & made breakfast. Was a bit longer than usual as voltage would drop when generator lugged down. Stopped at Pilot in Jamestown, NM & they had a fuel filter for generator. Got it changed & drained water separator. Had a bit of gunk in separator. Left with generator running great again. As we pulled off freeway in Grants, CE & SE lights came back on. Pulled into Petro & wiggled some connections on DDEC. Sprayed electrical connection cleaner a bit. Working OK but will have S&S check it out on Monday. This is Friday btw. As we are heading home I get a call to go back to CA right away. Cancel service at S&S for Monday. I was able to get 30 qts 40w at NAPA in Deming 5 mins before closing. Ate dinner & got mail out of box & headed west on 10. Stopped at Petro west of Deming to get oil & filters changed. They said that corporate would only let them change wiper blades on RV's now. Note: we had to pick up grandson at airport in PHX at 12:30 pm sat. Stopped at TA in Wilcox with some trepidation as I had had tire issues with them about 3 yrs prior.  They said they had 3 jobs ahead of me but another tech was coming in at midnight and should be able to get me out in a couple of hrs. Plenty of time to make it to PHX. I took a nap until they had me unhook & pull in bay about 12:15am. I know to always watch & keep an eye on service folks just be sure what's going on. I went to lounge to get a cup of coffee no coffee pot so I made a pot in the coach. Generator still running great. Went out to check on service with coffee in hand. Too late! Tech tells me transmission pan plug was leaking, " not sure how long it"s been leaking sir, but you need to keep an eye on it" . He added 2 qt ATF, still not up to add mark but that was all he had in shop. Had them drain air tanks while they were working under coach. When finished they said " we'll spot you coming out of the bay". Put it in gear inched forward a foot or so. I asked " did you pull wheel chocks?"  "Yes" was the reply. I said "I'm not sure what the problem is then. It pulled in under it's own power. Maybe when you drained air tanks a brake is locked up". They said " I think you need some more ATF but we can't transfer it from the store". I went to store & bought 4 qts. Still not up to add but now coach would barely make it out of the bay. I had to go across freeway to Circle K & buy the last 4 qts they had. Now it's just a tad over full mark. As we headed out Fran said "what is that noise?" I said "I don't hear anything I think we're good". As we hit on ramp at +/-3am, a horrible GRRRRRRR erupted from under the console area. I hit flashers, next exit & went back to TA. A bit upset & flustered by this time.  I had the tech come inside to hear the noise. "we didn't do anything to the generator" he said. I told him perhaps they had knocked muffler loose. Slid generator out and hear growling. Shut it off, still growling. By this time I am wondering in NAPA had given me a few qts of something other than 40w and the tech didn't notice and now 8V92 is about to crater. As I was sitting in driver seat I turned off dash air and viloa! noise is gone. Have had an intermittent noise from dash air for a while now but not time to pull it apart to fix it. Still doesn't explain 10 qts ATF though.  Exchanged pleasantries and went to PHX. Picked up grandson & headed on to Newberry Springs. Got in around 11 pm. When plugging into shore power noticed red "fault" light on on Xantrex II charger. Went to bed. In the morning got out Xantrex manual & saw that it was an "internal fault code". Instructions said "call Xantrex" . I had experienced this before & at that time tech asked me" did you do a hard re-set?"  I said "no it says to call Xantrex. Nothing about hard re-set. What is that?" " Just unplug it and disconnect from batteries for a couple of minutes then reconnect" he said. Worked great, so this is what I did again in Newberry Springs with success. Trip back home on Mon was uneventful.
Here is what I have learned and think: The generator had been having some issues due to plugged fuel filter before I noticed it. The resulting low voltage caused the Xanterx II charger to shut down. Because I was in such a hurry, I did not take time to actually look at charger lights when hooking up shore power on first stay in Newberry Springs & San Felipe. The resulting drain from the house batteries cased the high charge rate on ammeter.  This is most likely also the issue with CE & SE lights from "low coolant level high voltage" codes.  Had I gotten coach serviced when it was originally due instead of slipping it, generator fuel filter would not have started the cascade of issues.  The coach would not have had 10 qts ATF drained by mistake either. I need to be a bit more proactive and observant when getting work done at an unfamiliar shop. Or even more so at a shop that has proven to have issues in the past. Have never had ATF on back of coach, on front of toad or under coach, so pretty confident they pulled wrong plug & tried to cover it up with BS. Last but not least, don't get in too big of a hurry so as to gloss over things that need to be checked & taken care of.
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#2
hardly know what to say after reading all those challenges.

the best thing is you are back home.

i learned from my last big trip this past summer to not delay things. my tires were 5 years old and i told myself i would change them when i got back. didnt exactly go that way as i had 3 separate tire failures that caused me to change 7 of the tires on the trip (one had been change a couple of years ago due to a slit)

tom
2002 45'8" Newell Coach 608  Series 60 DDEC4/Allison World 6 Speed HD4000MH

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#3
I know the feeling with "professionals" making me pay for their mistakes.

I don't know what I'm gonna do when I can't do the work myself . . . .
1987 classic #159
8V92 MUI , Allison 740
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#4
Seems to be a lot of that going around Kyle. I have recently had to negotiate more than once, at more than one Ford dealership, rather large repair bills. Have generally had satisfaction after going up a level or two from Service Manager. Have had up to 2K in questionable work/parts taken off bills. I never argue over legitimate charges though. It is helpful to have some knowledge of how systems & equipment actually operate when having someone else do the work. Gives you better insight into whether you are dealing with honest competent people or bill padding scam artists.
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