Thursday, April 23, 2020

Fixes and Fails - Stranded in Upstate NY

We made our first trip to Wakarusa, IN on September 9th, 2019 as Thor had referred us to Paul's RV service for some warranty work.  Paul's is literally blocks away from the Thor factory service center, so he was able to accomplish a lot of things quickly.

We left there and started heading Northeast to view the fall colors on our way to visit our son and his family in Cambridge, MA.  We did not make it without issues...

We stopped at Ann's brother's place in Ohio for a quick visit and at Niagara Falls for a couple of weeks with plan to stop in upstate New York and try our hand at mining for Hirkimer Diamonds.

We were about 5 minutes from our campground when, after climbing a decent grade, the Check Engine light came on and the RV would not go over about 5 mph. There was no shoulder, so we pulled over a little and could find nothing obvious, so we called the Freightliner help number.  They walked me through checking the codes, which pointed to an Engine problem.

While I was speaking with them and trying to figure out our next steps, Ann walked ahead where there were a few buildings and found someone who said we could pull around and park on the road by the Town Garage, where they were stockpiling sand for winter roads.  We started up and crawled slowly to a spot that was much more out of the way, but technically still in the middle of a street.

Meanwhile, Freightliner had arranged for a towing company to tow us to the Cummins service center in Syracuse (about 60 miles away), but it was late on a Thursday and they couldn't find any available trucks, so we waited until morning...on the side of the road...in cold temperatures, while our lead acid batteries drained down to less than the recommended 50% charge overnight.  We played a lot of gin rummy by flashlight!

The next morning, we tried to get a status on the tow and I am not sure what actually happened, but Freightliner eventually got a truck from another towing company out to us mid afternoon. (That driver told us that the first company did not have any trucks big enough to tow us, so that may explain the delay).  He got us hooked up and towed into Syracuse.
All hooked up at the Fairfield NY town garage
The driver was very nice, but he didn't want to haul this much weight back down that big hill we came up, so he took some smaller roads which involved several short turns and dips.  (Tip - remove your EZ-PASS from the vehicle being towed so you don't end up paying for a toll you didn't actually drive...Ugh)  We arrived at Cummins, but it was after 5 on Friday and they were closed until Monday. Luckily, this Cummins service center had a 50 amp RV hook-up next to each of their driveways, so the driver backed us in and re-installed the Axle he had removed for towing.

While he was disconnecting, I noticed some damage to the fiberglass on the front of the RV.
Damage caused by tow truck
We ensured it was noted on the receipt (which was paid by Freightliner) and settled in for the week-end.  More gin rummy, but at least we had power.

Monday morning, Cummins quickly determined it was the Turbo, but they did not have one in stock. More gin rummy and a trip to a local truck stop for showers.  They got the Turbo installed and gave it back to us late on Tuesday.  We stopped by a local U-Haul to fill up on Propane and headed to Green Lakes State park to spend the night before continuing on our trip.  Right away, I noticed that there was more power.  It never had this much power!  I also noticed that the fuel economy had improved from 9.5 mpg to 10.5 mpg, even though we were driving in mountains.  My thought is that the Turbo never worked correctly.
It takes a tow truck this big to tow our rig
We never did get to mine for Hirkimer Diamonds, but the White Mountains in NH were fabulous.


2 comments:

  1. Your blogs are convincing me to never try this. Lol

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    Replies
    1. Even with the issues, it is still an adventure and I would do it all again. I am loving it.

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