Friday, February 19, 2016

Broken Down In Little Rock, AR

20 Feb 2016 ** UPDATE AT BOTTOM ** 20 FEB 2016

You always wonder when it will happen, when will something break on the RV that stops you in your tracks?  Well for us it was January 2016 while leaving Little Rock, Arkansas for Dallas, Texas.

We pulled out of the RV park on Camp Robinson in North Little Rock and made our way to I-30 W towards Dallas.  Misty was following behind the RV in the van, since we do not have it rigged for towing, and noticed smoke coming out of the engine compartment.

She called me and I pulled over at a Love's truck stop which was just a couple miles down the road.  The engine temperature gage was reading normal and there were no other warnings or anything to indicate a problem.

After stopping I started to investigate to see what was wrong with the engine and noticed that the pulley barring on the air conditioning pump was cherry red, so knew it had locked up.  Just then the serpentine belt broke from the heat.
Air Conditioning Compressor.
If you look closely between the pulley and clutch plate you can see a slight glow where it was cherry red which caused the belt to break.
Frozen clutch on air conditioning compressor.
Broken belt due to heat generated from frozen clutch on air conditioning compressor.
The first thing I did after parking the RV was talk to the manager at the Love's truck stop to make sure it was OK for me to park the RV there, put our kitchen slide out, run the generator, and stay the night in the RV.

Since it was a Sunday I could not get a hold of anyone to assist me since all of the service centers in the local area were closed, so we just slept in the living room/kitchen of the RV with the kids on the floor, Misty on the dinette, and me on the couch.  It was not very comfortable for any of us, but it worked.
Our living area while stranded in Little Rock, AR.
Luckily we got stopped before the engine overheated so the only damage to the RV is the bad AC compressor and the broken belt.  Also our extended warranty will cover the cost to get it repaired and Coach-Net will cover our towing cost, which is around $900.00 for our size RV.

One of the main reasons I decided to blog about this event is to let everyone know that you absolutely need some type of road side assistance service to help in situation like this.  

Prior to calling Coach-Net I called my extended warranty company, CornerStone United, which covers towing along with the repairs, but requires you to call around and get service.  This was not an easy task and proved to be very challenging to line up a tow service and service center.  Plus CornerStone will only pay up to $500.00 for a tow and the cheapest I could find was $950.00 with taxes.

So I got smart and called Coach-Net roadside assistance service.  We have the Premium Coach plan which costs $149.00 a year plus $10.00 the first time you sign up.  It is well worth the price since towing is included in this plan.

I used their Request Roadside Assistance app on my iPhone which made it very easy to contact them.  They follow up very quickly and it was only a couple hours until a tow truck arrived.  It would have been sooner, but the truck had a blowout on the way to us and so had to have that fixed first.
Coach-Net Request Roadside Assistance App.

Parked at a Love's truck stop waiting for a tow.

Waiting in a Love's truck stop for a tow.
So the tow truck is on the way and all is good.  But that is not the end of this tale.

The tow truck has arrived.
In order to tow the RV they have to disconnect the drive shaft and strap it up, which I did not think about, but makes sense.
RV almost ready to be towed.  Wheels still need to be strapped down and driveshaft disconnected.

On the very first right hand turn the passenger side mirror was busted off.  No big deal, the tow company will just have to buy me a new one which is good because they cost almost $1300.00 to replace.

So we get to the garage doing the work and then it happens.  The tow truck driver forgot to set the brakes on the RV when he lowers the tow arm and the RV starts to roll back toward a busy highway.

I'm standing there watching it roll away just feeling like I'm in a bad dream.  Luckily another person who was with the tow company jumped into the RV and got the brakes on before it rolled into the highway, but not before the front end was ripped off.

The damage is done.
So the A/C compressor was replaced by West End Garage along with the belt and other parts which took about a week to accomplish due to waiting on parts.  The total cost was just a little over $3000.00 of which I had to pay $900.00 out of pocket.

New A/C Compressor and belt.
We were very happy to find West End Garage since they were very knowledgeable of how to work on a big Class A RV, very courteous, and professional.

Our extended warranty paid up to $600.00 for a hotel and meals since the RV was out of use, which pretty much covered three nights in a hotel due to us having to get two rooms since there were eight of us.  We were lucky that we have friends in the area we could stay with while the RV was being repaired.

Now we have to get the body work done which is estimated to cost over $15000.00.  We are going to use Crain Automotive Team to do the body work on the RV which is located in Little Rock, AR. 

It is a good thing that we do not have to pay anything on these repairs since it is the responsibility of the tow truck company.

It is going to take four weeks for the new parts to come in from Fleetwood and we are not sure exactly how long it is going to take for the repairs.  So we are going to travel some until the parts come in and then come back for the body work.

I have been told stories by other RVers about how they went through a similar situation and it taking over six months for repairs.  I guess we can consider ourselves lucky that it has not taken that long.

We will be sure to keep you updated on the body work and how everything turns out.

Until that time, God Bless and may you have safe, trouble free travels.

20 Feb 2016 ** UPDATE ** 20 Feb 2016

Well while driving from Little Rock, AR to Dallas, TX today Misty heard a loud bang from the back of the RV and then saw a puff of smoke, while following it in the van. 

It seems that the new AC line they had made could not hold up to the pressure and so came apart at the coupling.  So now we are going to have to call the garage and get it all repaired again.

Hose coupling on A/C compressor that is missing the hose.

Another view from the top of the missing A/C compressor hose due to a bad coupling.
So let's see who claims responsibility for this and how long it takes to get it repaired.

I guess when it rains it pours, but at least there was no major damage and no one was hurt.  Praise God!

Don, Misty, and Kids...

States we have visited so far.

No comments:

Post a Comment