Breaking down on the road with a RV

Posted on Posted in Full time living

It’s a scary feeling when you are far from your destination and your engine starts to make a strange sound and the dash warning lights come on. That’s what we ran into on our way home from a recent trip to South Dakota.

We were in Minnesota, Near Minneapolis at about midnight on a Friday after driving for about 8 hours, trying to get back to our home in central Wisconsin. I pulled the RV to the shoulder of the interstate as and tried to think of what this loud thumping sound could be coming from the doghouse “engine compartment”. I shut the motor off and popped the hood and grabbed a flashlight to check for a broken belts or anything else that id be able to see. If you ever owned a class C motor home you know you can’t see too much under the hood, But I could see the belts were still on and nothing else looked out of the norm. I went back inside the rv and figured I better take off the doghouse cover to access the top of the engine to see what’s going on. After I got that off and started the motor I could see that one of the spark plug coils was loose and banging around. I then figured my Ford V-10 Triton had spit out a spark plug, A common problem with my year of engine that I had read about previously. I knew this was something that I couldn’t fix my self on the side of the road. So we figured our best bet would be to try limping the RV to the next exit and at least get off the interstate highway.

It was noisy but actually ran fine for the few miles to the next exit at a slow speed. We spotted a small strip mall just down the road that looked like we could park out of the way of anything way in the back. It was a relief to be parked somewhere and be able to think of what our next step would be. I pulled down all our night blinds and made sure everything was secured and locked outside. Luckily we were in a pretty good suburb business area and I felt we would be safe for the night. I started looking on the internet for nearby auto repair shops that might be open on a Saturday. We both were exhausted so we decided to just get some rest and start making some calls when places open in the morning.

In the morning I started calling places to see if they could look at it and when they would have time to work on it. most places said they don’t work on motor homes and the one Ford garage said they would but depending on when we got it there it might get worked on that day or Monday. I took that offer and moved on to the next challenge of getting the RV towed to the Ford dealers shop.

I called our insurance company and verified that we had emergency towing on our policy and informed them I already found a shop that I needed to be towed to. They gave me a estimate of 1 hour before a truck would arrive. That hour came and still nothing. They called back and said it would be another half hour as there was only one truck in the area large enough to handle our rig. The tow company gave me a call and informed me the driver is finishing up with a current tow and would be at my location shortly. He asked what kind of problems I was having. I told him about the spit spark plug and he said they have everything needed to repair it at his shop and could get it done today if I wanted. I took him up on that offer.

I parked in a way that would give plenty of room for a tow truck to hookup. When they pulled up with a flatbed I was a little surprised. I asked the guy if his truck was big enough? He says yeah, It should be. That didn’t sound to promising but I figure let him do his job, After all this is what my insurance company sent to do the job so any damage should be on them. He got in loaded and the flat bed was flexing some and the front tires of his truck looked light but it was up there. We all got in the truck and started moving, I asked him if there are any height restrictions on the way to his shop. He says, Oh. I didn’t think of that, How tall is your RV? I tell him 11′ 6″ to the top of my AC cover. He says he will take a route that should be fine. I’ll tell you what, Every bridge and street light poll we went under I was waiting to hear a crashing sound. The driver radio’s the shop to have someone block traffic so he could back in the shop because he would not clear the roof of the gas pumps on his main entrance. He tells us this is the biggest thing the ever towed so far. His co workers were even getting a kick out of it and taking pictures with there cell phones when we pulled in. I told him he’s a legend now. It was scary but he did a good job.

The owner took my info as they unloaded the rv and gave me a estimate for the job and said they would have a look at it as soon as it’s unloaded. They had a little problem with the uneven ground and the bumper wanting to hit the ground. I had them add air to my rear air bags to give more height and it got off safely with no damage.

We walked to a local diner and had some breakfast and relaxed and gave them some time to work on it. When we finished we walked back over to the shop and he said it actually didn’t spit the plug out by ripping the threads out of the cylinder wall like they normally do, But the plug actually broke right in half and it would be a easier, less costly repair. They ended up pulling out the plug that was hanging down into the cylinder and replace the destroyed coil on that plug and within a few hours they had us back on the road. Over all they did a great job on a Saturday to get us back on the road at a very fair cost. I’m thankful we had the roadside towing on our policy or this would have been very costly.

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