Back on the Road, Sort Of

Current Location: Phoenix, Arizona

On Friday morning, we hitched up the trailer and pulled it the five miles out to Seligman Truck and Auto. We dropped it off beside their building and our service technician got right to work on it. We headed back to the KOA to do laundry. While there, he called to say that they were able to tap the end of the axle and he was just going to run into town to get an axle nut and we’d be ready to roll.

It turns out there weren’t any axle nuts in Seligman, so someone had to run to Williams to get parts. They came back with an axle nut, but they found out that there just weren’t enough threads on the axle to safely hold the nut in place. Back to plan A which was to get an axle stub and weld it on. When they called to order the axle stub, the place told them they no longer do axle stubs because of failures related to welding them on incorrectly. Instead, they did have one entire axle in stock so that’s the route we all selected.

We dropped off our laundry and hooked the trailer up to 110V power at the shop, ran out the bedroom slide and put Callie in the bedroom of the trailer so she wouldn’t be miserable. Fortunately, it was only 68 degrees outside, so the ceiling power fan kept the inside nice and comfortable during the day.

We headed back into Seligman to eat lunch and wander through some of the Route 66-themed shops. We eventually got our fill of Route 66 shops and headed back out to the repair shop to sit around and wait. Val ended up on a Facetime call with the granddaughters while Malcolm watched the finishing repairs to the rig.

Finishing up the new axle installation

Finishing up the new axle installation

Looking good

Looking good

Everything was put back together about 4:30 PM and we finalized the bill – about $1350 total. We were back out to the Seligman KOA before dark and had dinner going on the grill shortly thereafter.

All good as new

All good as new

This morning, we pulled out and headed south and east. Our final destination was to be Tucson to visit some friends. On the way, Malcolm thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and pull the plastic plugs off the wheel center caps so we could keep better tabs on the hub grease caps and monitor for any temperature issues. We probably should have done this a long time ago. We might have caught this problem in plenty of time to have prevented the issue.

Center cap plugs removed.

Center cap plugs removed.

We headed on across I-40 to Flagstaff, then down I-17 towards Phoenix to pick up I-10. We made a couple stops along the way, one for lunch at a rest area where Malcolm checked the hub caps and they were all in place and cool to the touch. Another stop at a rest area about a half hour north of Phoenix and everything still checked out fine.

Mountains behind truck stop

Mountains behind truck stop

As we were rolling through the west end of Phoenix on I-17, we had a couple cars pass us and wave towards the back of the trailer. No tire pressure monitors were screaming. We were hoping it was something like our bike cover flapping in the breeze. No such luck. Malcolm got out and found smoke pouring out of the wheel well on the same side of the trailer that we had problems with before. This time it was the wheel on the back axle that was askew. To make matters more fun, the back side of the wheel had flames licking out of it.

Another bearing failure

Another bearing failure

Malcolm ran around and threw open the trailer door, grabbing the fire extinguisher off the wall and running back around to the tire to extinguish the flames. Fortunately, they hadn’t hurt anything. While Malcolm was waiting on hold for Good Sam Roadside Assistance (all operators were busy), a gentleman in a black truck pulled up behind us to check on everything. He had been driving down the road underneath the overpass we had stopped near and saw Malcolm running with the fire extinguisher. Our new friend, John, drove up the road, turned around and came back to see if he could help.

Narrow shoulder

Narrow shoulder

Good Sam identified a nearby repair place and found that they could service our rig. They were going to try to find someone to get it moved there and asked if we could possibly get the wheel off, strap up the axle and drive it carefully there. We told them we would try. If that didn’t work, it was going to be several hours before they could probably get someone there with a big enough rig to carry our trailer.

When Malcolm asked if John was game with helping, he didn’t hesitate to say yes. He followed us as we slowly rolled down the shoulder to a wider area where we could work without being right next to four lanes of interstate traffic. We lifted the trailer with the leveling system and pulled the tire, wheel and hub off as one assembly. At least the axle looks in better shape than the last one and can probably be reused.

We tossed the tire in the back of the truck and took two ratchet straps and strapped up the loose axle end. Malcolm removed the brake backing plate to keep it from dragging the ground. With everything strapped up, John ran blocker in his vehicle and followed us all the way to the repair shop – about a 5 mile drive at 15 mph.

The repair part of the business is closed until Monday, but they have a retail shop in front. The gentleman that fielded the call from Good Sam instructed Malcolm on where to park the trailer in the back and got us set up with 30 Amp power and water. So, for the weekend, at least, we are camping in back of the repair shop.

Val talking to John

Val talking to John

We offered John something for all his help and he declined. We did give him one of our “business” cards. So, John, if you are reading this – thanks a million!

Monday morning when the shop opens, we’ll find out how long it might be before they can work on the trailer and whether we’ll have to find a place to stay while we wait. The salesperson from the store part of the business did say that he knew the service department is swamped right now, so it may be a while.

On the lighter side, before being sidelined with more injuries, we did manage to find 29 of 51 state license plates today:

License Plates

License Plates

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One thought on “Back on the Road, Sort Of

  1. Wheel bearing grease. Malcom, I am currently using Redline 80402 CV-2 Synthetic Grease in my Big Horn wheel bearings, purchased from Amazon.com @ $11.95 per tube. I do my own wheel bearing maintenance. I also use a high quality grease seal, not the Chinese variety like most shops. Gary Gresge who is a fellow Heartland member recommended the Redline CV-2 grease because of its red moly content and the synthetic grease has a much higher temperature rating. I am sure Gary would be glad to give you his history behind the selection of the Redline CV-2 Syn. grease in his application in race car wheel bearing. Sorry to hear that you and Val are having so much trouble with the wheel bearing failures. From your post, it seems that you folks take things in great strides and are able to make the best of the worst situations. Regards, Jim Hutt

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