Houston Area Road Construction
Just a heads up that in Houston, Interstate 10, from the intersection of Interstate 610 westward for approximately 30 miles, is under perpetual construction. It is navigable, but in many cases drivers should proceed with extreme caution and forethought. Some of the entrances and exits are too short for motorhomes to safely exit or merge back into traffic. Be careful.
A considerable amount of this construction is on I-10 between I-610 and Katy (20 miles). The section from I-610 to State Route 6 is probably the worst, because motorists move back and forth from the old road to the new road, and the area under construction does not conform to any road standards, such as the length of entrance ramps, angle of the road, and drainage, as it floods often (under the I-610 west loop, for example). It is navigable, but with extreme caution.
Tony Wiese, F178480
Don’t Forget The Boards!
I am writing to warn motorhome owners about a simple blunder I made that resulted in a great expense, both on the wallet and the body. And I have been driving motorhomes since 1982.
We parked our 35-foot motorhome at a lovely campground with no obstacles around, on mowed grass that resembled a manicured lawn, with a slight downgrade. I proceeded to put my jacks down. No lift was required in the rear, but a full lift was required in the front to become level. This caused the front wheels to clear the grass, subsequently creating a wobble. Since we were staying five days, I proceeded to lift the front a little higher. We then placed two planks, each 2 inches by 6 inches and 3 feet long, one on top of the other, under each front wheel. I then lowered the front wheels to meet the middle of the boards, allowing some weight to be placed on the boards. The front was then fairly level, and stability was attained. We then enjoyed our next five days.
On the day of departure, I proceeded to do all the usual steps “” slideout in and locked; antenna down; jacks up; water, electric, and sewage disconnected; awning in and locked, etc. All I had to do now was back up about 10 feet onto the solid road.
I put the unit in reverse, carefully looked in mirrors and rearview camera to determine that all was clear, and began to accelerate. Within 2 seconds, there was a horrific sound. The front of the motorhome pulled off from the dash and the windshield twisted and shattered. I stopped the engine and looked in amazement at the interior damage, still not realizing what had just happened.
Of course, the damage was caused by the boards left under the front wheels. As I backed up, the front wheels came off the end of the boards, and the top board on the driver’s side tipped down into the lawn, allowing the front of the board to stick up. It wedged in behind the headlight area. With the motorhome going backward, the board wedged in the ground, and other end now wedged in its newfound position, the front of the motorhome decided to stay where it was. The 1-foot “stretch” caused great damage to the body, wiring, insulation, windshield, etc.
After much consoling and assistance (and rope and duct tape) from fellow campers, we were able to make temporary repairs and drive our motorhome back home.
Hindsight is 20-20. Yes, I should have removed the boards first, or I could have used shorter boards. You are fortunate! You still have the opportunity to do it properly.
I am sure many other RVers can tell some horror stories of their own. By telling this one, I hope someone else will not go through the expense and aggravation that we experienced.
Allan Dickson, F183595
Tide Head, New Brunswick, Canada
North Carolina Repair Shop Recommended
We were in Franklin, North Carolina, when we had some serious brake problems on our RV. We were lucky to find a wonderful repair shop, and we would like to tell others who might need motorhome service while in that area.
Dan’s Auto Repair Service hooked us up to electric and water and did all they could to make us comfortable. Our wonderful service adviser was Josh Cochran, but everyone at Dan’s was good to us. Dan’s Auto Repair Service is at 454 E. Main St., Franklin, NC 28734; (828) 524-6677.
Lamar Seufert, F268577
“Tanks” A Lot
We purchased a Model 5800 RV Sani-Con System in August 2005 direct from the company using their Web site (www.rvsani-con.com or www.emptythetanks.com). In October 2005 we began having problems with the pump cutting off or blowing the fuse after dumping the black water tank and about two-thirds of the way through dumping the gray water tank. I could shut off the motor and let it cool for a period of time and it would again run properly. The problem continued and was happening after running for shorter periods of time. I checked all the wiring, the piping connections, and the hoses to ensure there was no blockage or electrical problems before I contacted RV Sani-Con.
I called the company in Lexington, Kentucky (866-410-1965), and was informed that they had problems with the automatic temperature sensors that were built into a certain number of pump motors. This sensor was designed to protect the pump from damage due to overheating if the pump was run without water.
Without detailed questioning or any delay, the RV Sani-Con representative stated that a new pump was on the way and that I didn’t need to return the old pump. I received the new pump with installation instructions within a week, and have had no additional problems with the system.
The RV Sani-Con system is a wonderful addition to our motorhome and makes dumping a breeze, without the mess of disconnecting and storing the hoses. Plus, it is so much more environmentally friendly, less accident-prone, and more sanitary.
Gary Scoffield, F285038
A Great Response
I wanted to bring Family Motor Coaching readers up-to-date on the response I’ve received regarding the need for volunteers at state parks in the Pacific Northwest. You may recall seeing the letters asking for volunteers that were printed in the November 2004 and December 2005 “Readers’ Forum” columns.
The past two letters combined elicited more than 275 requests for information and subsequent sign-ups. So many FMCA members are truly interested in helping the parks. It’s also gratifying when I visit the parks and see how many of the campground hosts have the FMCA goose egg on their coaches. What a great group of people.
So, thanks to all of you for volunteering, and I hope to see you out there. And when you are visiting state parks in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, or any other states that have a campground host program, look for fellow FMCA members, and then stop in and say hello. After all, we are family. And many thanks to FMC magazine for printing the letters.
If you are interested in receiving information about volunteer opportunities in Oregon, Washington, or Idaho, please contact me, and I will see that you receive the information you need.
Tab Tabacek, F155438
5331 N.E. 31st St.
Renton, WA 98059-3766
Recent problems with a current model type A Coachmen could not be properly corrected by the selling dealer, so I called Coachmen’s home office and talked to a Mr. Hopson, who was very professional in getting my problem solved.
He authorized me to take the unit to RV Source in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Dan Martin is a certified RV tech whose motto is “If I don’t get it fixed, you don’t pay.” Mr. Martin came through as usual and did an exceptional job of taking care of my problems.
Thank you for allowing me to express my appreciation to the people at Coachmen and RV Source (1009 Highway 84 W., Brookhaven; 601-823-3212)
Wayne L. Nix, F55811
After I pulled into the campground at Canyon Gateway RV Park in Williams, Arizona, and parked the motorhome for the night, I became quite ill. I ended up as a patient in a nearby hospital. When the management of Canyon Gateway heard about my situation, we were told not to worry about camping fees. They wanted to give my wife and me a complimentary campsite for as long as we needed to stay, as a “get well” gift.
You can imagine what a gift that was. Not to have to worry about paying for an unplanned, two-week campground stay and being with such thoughtful, caring people “” priceless!
If you can, go by and see the folks at Canyon Gateway RV and stay awhile. Please tell them that Blair said “Hi, and thanks again.”
Blair & Hope Laughlin, F327222
Gulf Breeze, Florida
A Tribute To Spartan Chassis
Spartan Chassis is proud of its product and does a good job standing behind what it produces. We would like to pay special tribute to M. Chris Friar, off-site customer service representative for Spartan; Don Pipes, OEM account manager, motorhome chassis division; and our friend Paul Krug, service manager and Spartan representative.
These men used sincere empathy regarding a situation that required special attention related to warranty issues on our 2001 Newmar, built on a Spartan chassis. They handled us with respect, listened to us, and stood behind the product.
We are completely satisfied with Spartan and all they did to fix our problem. We highly recommend Spartan.
Spartan is not just a big company, but a company that believes and listens to its customers.
Bill Jacobs, F47727
Brad Jacobs, F47727S
St. Paul, Nebraska