So, just after my post assuring everyone that we do not spend ALL our time making repairs….
The Good News:
As I write this, We are Stranded on the roadside!
Stranded Right next to the beach!
And, we have a hotel with us. WHAT A COINCIDENCE!!!!
Here is what happened: Leaving heading south from Crescent City, CA. on Highway 101. Steep up hill. All is looking good. SUDDENLY, we overheat!!!! And I realize the engine fan is not running (it was running perfectly to begin with)! And the Alternator is not alternating!!! Also WAS fine when we started out.
Both of these were just repaired and in better than new condition, courtesy of Peter and Pat. So, what’s up with that?
I pull over at the first turnout I can, and notice immediately that the front is dripping Pink Stuff (Automatic Transmission Fluid). I Check the level: it seems fine. Wait for engine to cool, continue on. Same issue: Fan stops, Overheat, pull out, Dripping ATF.
Stopping again, I Swung the radiator (with the help of a hitchhiker who happened to be at that turnout) and IMMEDIATELY deduced the problem: There had previously been a slight leak of Automatic Transmission Fluid, which I thot tightening a connection had fixed. Well, it may have been fixed at one point, but it was NOT FIXED now, and had suddenly worsened. I can see exactly where it is leaking: at a fitting for the long hose needed for the swing radiator.
And here is how this caused the problem: ATF Leak was on the frame, then dripping on the ground…until the fan came on. Now the fan blew ATF on the front of the engine and all the belts. They started slipping. As soon as they dried off a bit, the Fan and Alternator again started working.
I tried to tighten what appeared to be a compression fitting but find it is already as tight as it can be. I suspect the hose inside the fitting is not a clean end or for some other reason is not sealing with the compression nut. I thought maybe we could limp to the next town, so we all jumped aboard (including the hitchhiker).
We made it less than a mile and now the transmission was acting funny. I realized that I had only 2 qts of ATF with us (I do not carry ATF for the transmission, I carry it for the fuel filters – a story for another day) … it was leaking A LOT and the transmission takes 19 quarts altogether. No limping was going to be done today.
So, I called Good Sam…After discussion with the agent (and he with an RV tech) it was determined that someone will be dispatched who can hopefully repair the hose/fitting so it no longer leaks. And who can bring several gallons of ATF to replace what was left on the highway!
We had offered to take the hitch-hiker south as fare as he wanted, but he wisely understood that the timing was not in our control (waiting for a roadside fix) and he thought he could do better. We said we would pick him up down the road, if he didn’t manage to stay ahead of us!
A few moments later, the Park Ranger (we apparently broke down in a 1 mile stretch of National Park that meets the road) busted the hitchhiker for hitching in a park – made him walk a mile down the road to begin hitching. I felt bad, but what could we do?
In the meantime, we realize the benefits of having our hotel at the ready for just such moments. As mentioned, we were parked at a National Seashore. On a nice wide and fairly level shoulder. The surf is crashing 100 yds away. We simply enjoy the view and the lucky place where we happen to break down!!!
And if our new friend Kenny (who is the mechanic Good Sam dispatched to fix the issue) cannot solve the problem, well we could just stay here for awhile. Or Good Sam WILL tow us to a service facility. Either way, not a big problem for us.
If we had not broken down, we might not even have stopped. In fact, this is another GORGEOUS PLACE along the California coast, in magnificent weather. I am GLAD to be spending a bit of down time here.
It took two trips and two days, but Kenny, our new friend and truck mechanic manufactured and installed two new hoses and we were back on the road. LATE in the day, so needing someplace to stop, we used the parking lot at the Moose Lodge in Eureka, CA.