We’ve spent the past two days in Beckley West Virginia, camped out at the Tamarack exit. For those of you who don’t know what that is, check my earlier post.
Our destination was to be Savannah, but the real impetus for this trip was to drive a good distance, do some serious hills and as Ben puts it, “exercise the vehicle.” Well, we did that and it had an asthma attack.
Finding someone to work on a diesel motor home isn’t easy, especially in a smaller town. Around Beckley, tractor trailers are the standard, and most of the shops either didn’t work on them or couldn’t fit us into the schedule for a few days. Then Heritage Equipment came to our rescue. Not only did they tell us to come by that morning, they were up the road about 3/4 of a mile. The RV has an onboard computer, so it diagnosed itself to a point, and it’s trouble log told us it was most unhappy. The back of the radiator was clogged with oil and dirt to the point that the engine was suffocating. The mechanic theorized that there may be a leak in the main seal. This is a gasket that keeps the oil in the engine and out of the transmission or the fuel. If it leaks badly enough, oil sprays out from the pressure, and can generally gunk up everything, which it did. That, however is not the only theory going–a bad fuel injector may also be the culprit. What this all translates into is that–well, we are going back to Ohio. Carefully.
They cleaned the radiator, changed the oil and made sure it was the correct pressure AND they power washed the engine to get all the oil off the parts where friction is necessary such as belts, AND they washed the oil off our poor little Subaru. We were patched together by 2:30 this afternoon. All in all we spent 5 hours there.
Unfortunately, our trip is over for now. Since we intend to take a longer trip west, we feel fortunate. It was probably building up for a while, but didn’t become an issue until we put a serious demand on the engine. We were incredibly lucky. If the coach had broken down anywhere else outside of Charleston, we would have been stranded right on the highway, as Beckley is the next largest city on the route. We happened to be close to an exit where there was designated RV parking in a place that was clean and safe, and being so close to a repair shop was a minor miracle. If you talk to many RV travelers, you will hear tales of being stranded for days or weeks waiting for parts to arrive. It’s all part of the deal.
Tomorrow morning we’ll head for home. I’ll drive the tow car separately and we’re going to empty the water and waste tanks to lighten the load. The white knuckle part will be to get from here to Charleston. Once we’re through the big hills, we should be OK. Keep your fingers crossed!