Q: We updated our towable to a 2004 Chevy Tahoe LT with four-wheel drive. The owners manual states that the transfer case must be in “Neutral,” but says nothing about pulling a fuse. Also, can the motorhome’s main wiring harness be tied into to use the Tahoe’s taillights and brake lights? We do not care for the magnetic-mounted lights, and the dealership cannot answer my questions.
Tom & Barbara Stanton, F296028
A: Not all vehicles require the removal of fuses when towing. Apparently, that is the case with the Tahoe, since it is not mentioned in the owners manual. To find a wiring kit that will allow you to run the Tahoe’s lights from your motorhome’s wiring harness, contact one of the towing equipment suppliers listed in FMC’s “Business Directory found in the January 2004 issue of the magazine and online at www.fmca.com/bd. The kit will include diodes to protect the Tahoe’s electrical system while towing.
ABS Warning Light
Q: My 1994 motorhome is built on a Ford Econoline 350 chassis. It currently has 54,000 miles on it. Since it was nearly new, I’ve had a persistent problem with the ABS warning light coming on and staying on while the vehicle is in operation. It has been impossible for me to associate this occurrence with any operational time span, heat, road condition, or braking patterns. The light remains on until the engine is shut down. Normally, it does not come on again until the motorhome is driven a few miles, but sometimes it will take many miles, whether or not the brakes have been used.
The problem was already corrected once, just prior to the warranty expiration, but I was given no details of what was done. The dealer in Portland, Oregon, that performed the service could not locate the records to discuss it. The repair lasted no longer than a year and a half before the light started coming on again. I have had the brakes redone twice (yes, twice), but the condition remains.
The catch-22 I’ve run into is that any shop that I take it to while the light is running cannot service it immediately, and if I make an appointment for repair, usually several days later, I am told to bring it in with the light on. The problem is that I have run it for up to an hour under various braking conditions without the light coming on. This has led to total frustration.
Obviously, my brakes work, and fortunately, I have not confronted an emergency stop or road condition for which the antilock feature is intended, but who knows when my luck will run out. I am now concerned enough about the safety issue to write for assistance. Do you know what could be causing this problem? Is this an issue you have dealt with in the past? Perhaps another reader has faced this same problem and would be willing to share the solution.
Byers Manchester, F76754
A: The bottom line is that unless the ABS brake warning light is on indicating a problem, the technician can only make an inspection of the sensors and wiring for obvious problems. If the technician cannot see any obvious system problem, then he is forced to drive the vehicle until the ABS light comes on or just start replacing components. When the ABS light is on, the brakes will operate normally, but you will not have the antilock feature.
Also have the technician use a scan tool, which should activate the ABS correctly, when bleeding or flushing the braking system. In addition, have the technician check for moisture (or water) in the fluid. Fluid manufacturers produce moisture-detection test strips for just this purpose.
Q: Have you heard from anyone whose motorhome has had a delaminating problem due to the use of hydraulic levelers and not a seal leak? I’m asking because my wife and I own a 2000 model-year motorhome, which we bought new, and we have just noticed a very small spot that’s delaminating at the extreme rear driver-side corner above the generator compartment. The spot is about 6 inches by 12 inches. We only have about 11,000 miles on the unit. If the delamination were caused by water due to a bad seal, wouldn’t I see some sort of stain? I am going to have the problem checked at a motorhome dealership, but I felt that I would run it by you also.
Robert & Mary Lou Davis, F261271
Hurffville, New Jersey
A: The normal factory-installed hydraulic leveling system usually controls the lifting sequence to prevent the frame from twisting. This feature should prevent any sidewall stress and lessen the chance of delamination caused by leveling the coach.
The sidewall delamination I have seen sometimes starts as a small area (as you described) where the outer layer of the wall bulges or bows out slightly. Often, the problem spot is located near some type of opening, such as a window or a body seam (for instance, the rear cap), where water may penetrate if sufficient sealant is absent. Over time, a loss of adhesion between the outer fiberglass panel and the inner panel can occur, allowing water into the walls and resulting in delamination. My advice would be to do exactly as you planned and have the dealer look at the spot on the wall that’s delaminating and determine what is causing it to do so.
Q: We have a Traveler porcelain toilet by SeaLand. We are full-timers, so we are in the coach most of the time. We have, on occasion, had to leave the coach for several weeks, and when we get back the toilet won’t hold water. It seems that after several weeks of daily use it starts working correctly. Does anyone have a quick fix? I called SeaLand and was told I needed to replace the seal. But if the seal is bad, why does it start working after a couple of weeks of use? It has happened three times now in the last two years.
Jim Joray, F289250
North Fort Myers, Florida
A: The person at SeaLand with whom you spoke is correct. You do need to replace the seal. Because of its age, the seal has shrunk slightly, which allows the standing water to slowly leak out. Once all of the water has leaked past the seal, the seal dries out more, allowing the water to leak more quickly. When you begin using the toilet again, the water eventually expands the seal back to near its original size, which is why it takes a few days of use before the toilet begins to hold water again, giving the illusion that it’s working properly.