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Old 10-03-2007, 10:20 PM   #1
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1994 35' Land Yacht Diesel
Franklin NC , North Carolina
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Brake broken on the road

Here's a horror story to share.
In September we were traveling in the Smokey Mountains in our 35 foot
diesel pusher Land Yacht towing our 34 Ford on a trailer. We heard a noise that sounded like a wheel bearing squeak.
We stopped a a local truck garage and both hubs were cool and the garage said it would be two weeks before he could look at it. So, we went on down the road to the Tom Johnson RV Center in Marion, NC. (A very large RV dealership that had locations in Marion and Concorde NC) They were very nice and had it looked at right away, but couldn't get in the shop that afternoon. Sure enough we had a left front brake caliper that the pad was worn out on and it was scraping on the rotor, we could see that the rotor was groved. They could turn the rotors and put new pads on it and get me out the next day. They even had a very nice campground we could stay in.
We unloaded the 34 Ford and parked the trailer so we would have transportation, rented a campsite and would take it in their shop first thing
in the AM. All was good so far, we went to a nice resturant and to Walmart for supplies, checked our email on the WiFi and went to bed happy in knowing we'd be on the road the next PM.
Thurdsay AM we took the coach right in and it was disassembled to send the rotors out to be turned. PROBLEM!!!! The right rotor had two big cracks in it. We needed two new rotors! They found a NAPA in Califorinia who had them and could overnight them to NC for $150 freight plus the $149 each for the rotors. So we ordered them. We still thought we'd be gone Friday afternoon and on our way.
Friday about 2 PM the rotors came and again we drove the coach in from the campground. They took it all apart and pulled the old rotors off and tried to put the new ones on. Notice I said they tried? They didn't fit!!! Our coach has ABS and thse rotors were for one without ABS. (The difference is that with ABS they need so special cuts and threaded holes to put the ABS sensors on the back of the rotor.) Also on furhter inspection they found the calipers were not working properly either, which may have caused the brake problem. I suggested they order rebuild kit for calipers and rebuld them while they were there. Shortly before 4 PM they located the Rotors and new calipers from Sparton Chassis in California, but no rebuild kits available so we we ordered new calipers and one new hub seal package. It all could be overnighted and arrive on Monday. (The cost of the wrong stuff would not be charged to me, NAPA would refund that)
We had a wonderful weekend in Marion. We toured the area, went to yard sales and a flea market, a car show, and met some really nice people. I even
got a ride in a 1918 Cadillac Roadster. Over the weekend I also got a really bad earache.
Monday morning our parts were in and the Roadhouse was on the way to being back on the road. While they were working on it I went to a Doctor and told her about my earache that didn't go away when I put Gin in my ear.
I also mentioned a small rash on my neck that came at the same time as the earache. She didn't even look in my ear, but said "you don't have an earache, you've got Shingles. It's a viral infection that follows the nerves and it's attacking the nerve that runs up your neck to the top of your head."
I guess bad luck was with me that week.
While out getting an anti-viral drug and pain killers for the shingles, the RV
Center called and said our Airstream was ready. We retuened to find it all finished and a bill for $2700. I expected $1000 to $1200 but didn't know those calipers were $675 each. WOW! @!$#&*@*^! They didn't charge for the wrong parts and the calipers were what hey paid. They only charged for 4 hours labor although they spent at least 8 on it. How could I be mad at them?
So, we stayed another nght, loaded the 34 and headed south with great brkes, although expensive.

Moral of the story: Find a better mechanic at home.
We had taken the coach in to our local place in May at the start of the season to get it checked all over and serviced . We had specifically asked to have everything checked and gave them a list of particular concerns. When I picked it up the A/C didn't work, it was on the list. When I double checked the tires they had 110 PSI, 90 was the specification. One battery was shorted out and it burned up my alternator and sparator 300 miles up the road. (They said I should charge the battery)
Now it's obvious they never checked or even looked at the brakes.
Now I wonder what else they missed. (The previous owner of this coach had to replace the diesel engine because some careless mechanic had put the wrong air filter in and the engine self distructed)
Anyway I recommend Tom Johnson RV Center in Marion NC. Very nice people
and they take road problems right in. (I hope nobody writes and tells me that these calipers have a $24 rebuld kit that takes 15 minutes to do)
For a couple hunderd miles after this we though maybe we should go back to
Motels & Hotels. Then we though about the bedspreads being used in trials for DNA and all the toenails in the carpet. SO we'll keep our own DNA and
know that anyting in the carpet is ours.
But the way there is a vacine for Shingles, ask you doctor for ZOSTAVAX.
It's expensive but not as much as the anti-viral and th pain medicines.
If you've ever had Chicken-Pox as a kid you are carrying the virus inside for Shingles. If you are over 50 years old, it's just a mattter of time. So get
the ZOSTAVAX. Shingles can last for months!
Paul
Note: All typographical errors are a result of Shingles.
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:24 PM   #2
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Whike not the best vacation experience. It could have been a lot worse and more expensive. You got very lucky when you feel into that Tom Johnson RV Center.
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Old 10-04-2007, 04:20 AM   #3
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AND, for $2,700.00 you have a great story to tell!

calipers can do that. unlike drum brakes, they are more prone to corrode and bind when they sit idle for periods of time. you can wipe out a pad in a short time. note to everyone: use your vehicles more often! :-)

i've heard about the shingles med, it has to be used early after an outbreak to work best.

can you get a rebuild kit for the old calipers. have them rebuilt and sell them?

thanks for posting the info and feel better soon!
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:01 AM   #4
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It is almost impossible to tell if calipers are going to fail, or are sticking, and if the pads looked good in May, the hoses looked good, there really was nothing else your tech could do.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:46 PM   #5
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1987 32' Excella
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Wow, I’ve got a similar issue with the brakes on my ’94 LY (diesel). When I first got the unit about 2 years ago, while driving in stop and go city traffic, the front left brake started to smoke. As I arrived at my destination, I called my diesel repair shop, and they came out the following day. At that time, the brake had cooled down and was functioning normally. A cursory inspection showed nothing wrong, and for the next 2 years everything seemed OK.

Then, on Monday I started to drive from New Jersey, where I had had some exterior refurbishing done, back home to Canada. The route I chose was to avoid tolls (gets kind of expensive when towing a car 4-down – they count the LY + car as 5 axles). So I had some stop and go urban traffic. Before too long, the front left brake started to smoke. I pulled over (I was just outside Eureka PA) and called AAA to get the name of a truck repair facility. Good ol’ AAA gave me 4 telephone numbers, but these were totally useless, as they were for RV repairs in California. After a couple of hours, the brake cooled down and I was able to drive the rig back home.

I took it to my diesel shop, and they pulled the front brakes – and I need new rotors. The left one has dark stripes on it.

The shop has ordered new rotors and they will totally service the brakes all around. As they checked things out, they also noticed that one of the bolts that secure the transmission torsion bar has come undone – the nut and washer are missing – but the screw portion was still mostly in place, so the torsion bar didn’t let go.
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Old 10-06-2007, 12:03 AM   #6
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change the brake hoses!
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Old 10-06-2007, 07:17 AM   #7
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Paul,
I am happy to hear you are back on the road. We had our front brakes go out while driving through the mountains in Northern Georgia. We pulled into this auto repair shop only because his doors were high enough to fit our MH. He pulled the wheels and went to his back shelf, took down some boxes blew off the dust and said: "here's the parts." My total bill was just over $100.00. I think he was so thrilled to get rid of those obsolete P-30 chassis brake parts he had taking up space.
Good luck with your shingles.
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Old 10-06-2007, 10:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny
change the brake hoses!
Thanks, Rick. I'll be at the garage on Ruesday and I'll ask them to do that too.

Howard
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