The Big Tow’er Gets Some Attention
Sometimes it’s easy to take the Big Tow’er for granted. He dutifully and safely pulls our home wherever we ask him to take it. So with a couple of weeks of “down” time mooch-docking in the driveway of our friends, Jay & Karen, we decided to take a look at the Big Tow’er and see what preventative repairs might be done to ensure his continued reliability. Of course Jay’s knowledge of trucks made it an even better time to poke around a bit. Jay and I started by taking a peak at the front breaks on the truck which had been pulling and squeaking recently. After some manual adjustments to the front breaks, we were still not happy. So Jay offered that he used a local mechanic who had done work on his motorhome, a well-preserved 1993 Foretravel Grand Villa. The mechanic, Randy, runs a U-Haul truck and trailer rental location and does repairs on the side. We drove the Big Tow’er to Randy’s location and he took a look at the brakes and made an adjustment. While under the hood (like any good mechanic), Randy took a look around. He was very familiar with the Big Tow’er’s engine, a Cummins N14, as he had maintained a fleet of them in a previous job. He commented that it appeared the “main seal” in the front of the engine was leaking and would be best if replaced. After some discussion, Randy said he could put it on his schedule that week and do the work if we got the parts.
Before the trip back to Randy’s, Jay and I decided to play back yard mechanics and address an air bag leak in our Trailersaver TSLB2H Air-Ride hitch. The two air bags on the hitch showed visible deterioration, so we opted to replace them. Ordered directly from the Trailersaver web site for $260, we had them in hand a couple of days later for installation. Less then an hour of labor and we had them installed.
Later that week, after a trip to a truck parts supplier, we dropped off the Big Tow’er at Randy’s location. We left with the agreement if Randy came across anything that looked like it needed attention he would let us know. Knowing you always come across some items as you tear the front of an engine apart, we were not surprised at his recommendation to replace a couple of coolant hoses, clamps, the coolant expansion tank, and the radiator. The big ticket item was the radiator, and although not leaking, it appeared to be in bad shape. Randy’s thoughts were the same as mine, it was easier to replace now with the front of the engine off, than along the highway when it did start to leak. The other item Randy addressed was an exhaust pipe above the muffler that had a hole in it. All together, the Big Tow’er was with Randy for a week, with Jay and I running to get parts at multiple places. The financial impact was not insignificant. Although much less expensive than having the work done at a truck shop, parts and Randy’s labor still set us back about $1,500. We hope just a small investment to keep us rolling safely down the road.