Monday, April 24, 2017

Angels & Tires

God is good!

He watches over us in our travels and all other parts of our life.  We take Him for granted most of the time, but always ask for His forgiveness and thank Him for giving us his Son, Jesus to save us.

While traveling back to Virginia from Arkansas some thousand plus miles, I knew that all of our Goodyear tires that came on the RV originally were starting to wear to the point that they needed to be replaced.

The Goodyear G670 RV 275/70R 22.5 tires are known for rivering, especially on the inside and ours were no exception.  We had 28000 miles on them and they were to the point of exposing the inner layers of the tire.  I'm sure the steel belts were not far from showing.
Passenger front Goodyear G670 tire that is rivering on the inside tread.
The front driver's side tire was the worse of all of them and so if any were going to have a blow out, then it had the best chance.  If you look real good you will see where it had worn through the top layers of the tire and was starting to expose an inner layers.
Driver front Goodyear G670 tire that is rivering on the inside tread.  Notice it is into the inner layer.
I knew the tires were starting to wear excessively and would need to be replaced soon, but just kept putting it in the back of my mind that I would get them changed later on.

Sometime thinking about the logistics of getting the RV worked on can be overwhelming.  Since it is our home, when we are displaced out of it, we are out of our home.  Then we need to find someplace to go kill the time it will take to do whatever work is being done on the RV.  If I have a conference call to get on or work to do, then that even complicates it even more.  So it is easy to put off maintenance until it becomes necessary.

Misty follows me in our Nissan van due to it not being rigged for towing yet and so is almost always behind me during the drive.  We usually talk most of the time on the phone to keep each other company and keep us from falling asleep.

While driving from Little Rock, AR to Memphis, TN I could feel the tires on the pavement and knew that every rotation was wearing off more and more tire.  I would tell myself that if I would have a blowout to accelerate to keep the RV moving forward until I had control and then slow down and pull over.

At this point I said a prayer that the Lord keeps us safe, that we do not have a blowout, and that He helps me to get my act together and get new tires.  So on down the road we went without any issues.

Well a little while later, once we are in Tennessee, Misty tells me on the phone that she saw an Angel following along the RV at my driver's window.  She said it looked like a shimmering light, but was not a reflection off the RV or anything like that, and she had a very peaceful feeling while watching it.  She said it followed along with the RV for miles and miles and afterwards she would catch a glimpse of it once and a while.

Later one that night we stopped in Knoxville, TN and spent the night at a Love's truck stop.

The next morning Misty was adamant that we check the tires, especially the inside tread and when we did I knew we had to get tires before we finished the last four hundred plus miles to get to Virginia.

So after calling around to a bunch of tire shops in the area we ended up getting refereed to David's Tires in Knoxville, TN who had tires in stock for our RV, were the cheapest so far, and could get us in the next day.  They would also let us stay in their parking lot overnight so that we would be there first thing in the morning.
David's Tire Service in Knoxville, TN
We ended up buying the Firestone model FS561 tires from David's Tires, which seem to drive much better than the Goodyears that were originally on the RV.  

For six tires, balancing, and a front end alignment our cost was $3454.49 out the door.  For Goodyear tires we were quoted $4800.00 for the same thing and had to wait for them to order the tires.
Firestone FS 561 275/70R 22.5
Firestone FS 561 tread.
David's Tire was also going to install a Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer on the front of the RV too, which really helps tighten up the front end especially in winds and helps in case you ever do have a blow out by not letting the steering wheel be jerked out of your hands.

For our RV we required the blue Safe-T-Plus model 41-230 with the F-143K2 hardware kit for installation.  For some reason when the mechanic was installing it, he called me and said that the U bolts in the kit were too small and he could not install it after all.

So I took his word for it and did not question him.  Once we were at our next location to park I emailed the Safe-T-Plus company and told them they gave me the wrong kit. They wanted me to go measure my tie-rod so they could send me the correct U bolts.

While doing that I took the entire hardware kit under the RV with me to see if in deed the U bolts were too small and found out that they were not.  I had to tap them on with a hammer, but they fit good and snug with plenty of treads left for the nuts after the mounting plate was attached.

I called David's Tires and told them they were mistaken and then crawled under the RV myself and installed the Safe-T-Plus.

While installing it my air gun died on me after removing the 3/4 inch bolts holding on the shocks, so I had to tighten them along with the same size bolts to hold on the stabilizer by hand using a 1 1/8 wrench and a crescent wrench.  

Needless to say, my arms and shoulders were sore from laying on my back, reaching up for hours, tightening the 3/4 inch 3 inch long bolts with lock nuts.  I could only get a 1/4 turn of the nut each time, so it took a long time to finally get them snugged up and tightened.

The whole process of installing the unit should have only taken an hour, but it took me a good four hours, but it is done.

I waited a couple of days until we had to go up towards Alexandria, VA on business to test drive and adjust the steering control.  Once I reached I-85 where the road was good and level I noticed that it did pull just a little to the right, so marked the steering wheel where it tracked straight.

After stopping to get fuel I parked in a safe location, grabbed my tools, and crawled under the RV and made the adjustments by loosing the U bolts and letting the tie-rod mount slide into position while one of the kids held the steering wheel in the position that I marked.  Then I tightened the nuts back up and went on our way.

Now my front end is not as loose as it was and I do not have to fight the steering wheel as much.  I'm glad I installed it and it is nice to know that if I would have a front tire blowout, the steering wheel should not be jerked out of my hand.
Model 41-230 Safe-T-Plus installed on a Fleetwood Discovery RV.
Make sure you read the installation instructions for your hardware and RV model when installing your Safe-T-Plus since my installation was completely backwards from the installation video off of the Safe-T-Plus web site.

Also during this event I lost my cool a couple of times since it seemed nothing was working out and taking much longer than planned.  Misty realized that she did not say a prayer for me yet that day and so prayed that the Lord help me to install the Safe-T-Plus and keep me safe while doing it.

I clearly remember after smashing a knuckle and taking a little temper tantrum that all of a sudden a calmness came over me and I was able to finish the job without any more issues.  I am sure that is when Misty said her prayer for me.

So God was surly watching over me while installing the Safe-T-Plus and while driving on our old tires.  

I'm sure some will not believe Misty saw an angel and that it is all just a coincidence, but we know God is good and is always watching over us and will assist if it is really needed.

All you need is a prayer and believe in the Lord.

We are so blessed and at times I feel ashamed at how sometimes we forget that or think that life is hard, when we have it all, just knowing the Lord and that he died for our sins and saved us.  God has blessed me and my family and we have never done without, so to ask for more is just being greedy.

God bless and safe travels!

Don, Misty, and Kids.........
Twenty Six States Visited So Far.



    1. Mary & Steve,

      Yes He is! We are so blessed to know Him and that He has given us family like you.

      Love you all too!

      Don, Misty, and Kids.......

  2. I'm finally following. Until I recently started blogging myself, I didn't really understand how all this worked. Better late than never! :)

    1. Jason, we are happy you are getting into it now. We will have to follow your blog too.