We recently made a trip from Oklahoma to Washington. On our return, while passing through Crescent City, California, our diesel pusher developed a major radiator leak.
Fortunately, we were close enough to Shoreline RV Park & Campground in Crescent City and managed to limp in and secure an RV site.
The individual who responded to the road service call identified a hole or leak of some sort in our radiator. And although several local repair shops also came out and investigated, all of them declined to attempt a repair without being able to raise our coach on a hoist to access the side-mount radiator. No such facility exists in Crescent City. The alternative was a tow to Eureka, California, some 80 miles down the coast, over two mountain passes “” definitely not an attractive choice.
After three days, we were rescued by Matthew Sutton, owner of Superior Services. Matthew investigated our situation and stated he could fix the problem without having to raise the coach. It took one day to remove the radiator, a day at the repair shop to replace an internal tube that had failed, and most of another day to reinstall the radiator and put everything back together.
I think Matthew performed a near miracle. He was pleasant and dedicated to the task at hand during the entire process. If you break down in the vicinity of Crescent City, California, call Matthew at Superior Services (707-218-8370). His can-do attitude and expertise will fix whatever mechanical problem you have. You will be pleasantly surprised by his honesty and straightforwardness.
Rod & Ethel Sartwell, F319470
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
While thumbing through the May 2011 issue of Family Motor Coaching, what a nice surprise it was for me to see the Smart Shopper (“RV Products,” page 41).
I received it as a Christmas gift in 2009 from my kids. They had found it on the Internet. It’s worth its weight in gold to me.
I am 92 years old and have a good case of “inherited essential tremors.” I do all the shopping for my wife and me. When I handwrite the grocery list, I cannot read my writing. Then I got the Smart Shopper. As I ride down the aisles, people ask me where I got it.
The device is advertised as an organizer, but as you can see, it has an alternate use for seniors with problems like mine. Thanks to Smart Shopper for making my life a lot easier, and to FMC for including it so more seniors can learn about it.
Gerald W. Collier, A95546
Emergency Info Cards Dear Editor:
Regarding the “Readers’ Forum” letter from Jim Hunter, who reminded us all that medical information on USBs is usually not helpful in hospital settings (June 2011, page 18), I, too, am a former EMT. I spent my years in the local emergency room. Sometimes I would help in the triage area, where important information is gathered from patients to help doctors and nurses determine treatment.
I made up a form that I present whenever I am seeking medical attention. This information gets the paperwork going, and then the hospital can put it into their computer. The next time you visit that hospital, your information can be brought up and checked, and you can be seen more quickly.
In the form I include name, address, phone, Social Security number, date of birth, blood type, religion, emergency contact information, doctors’ names, currently prescribed medications, previous surgeries and illnesses, and miscellaneous information.
Tom Miano, F321293
Santa Maria, California
Towing And Tires
In the June 2011 issue of Family Motor Coaching is an article titled “Beating The Breakdown Blues” (page 60). The checklist “Roadside Emergency Chart,” I believe, has a major omission. It has no place to list information about tires, tire size, manufacturer, tire model, or inflation information, front and rear.
We experienced a blowout on the Ohio Turnpike, and such information was not readily available, unless we went out to look at the tires on the motorhome. The tire brought to us was the wrong one for the coach, though we used it until the proper replacement could be obtained. Also, the servicer could not inflate the tire to its specified tire pressure of 120 pounds, for he didn’t have the right equipment.
So, for what it is worth, I suggest that such information is a must on any roadside emergency checklist.
Bob & Florence Moenart, F288869
My wife, Karen, and I are very new to the RV lifestyle. As a matter of fact, we just took delivery of a 2005 Holiday Rambler Navigator (our first RV) from the wonderful people at Alliance Coach in Wildwood, Florida.
I felt it was important to do this right; therefore, RV driving school would be in order. I did quite a bit of research and found Dick Reed’s RV Driving School (530-878-0111; www.rvschool.com).
Since we were in central Florida, our instructor was out of the Ocala location. We both signed up for lessons for three days, four hours a day. On the first day, our instructor, Warner Detrick, arrived a few minutes early and we made the customary introductions. I explained that this was our first RV and asked him to start at zero. He was extremely thorough. We went from back to front and top to bottom. He covered every item and system in the coach. I am kind of a nuts-and-bolts guy, so I asked him to go in-depth in several areas. Warner was very knowledgeable and had a terrific demeanor and presence. He explained everything in an easy, down-to-earth way that anyone could understand.
After a few hours of talking about the coach and the driving that lay ahead, and completing a very comprehensive predrive inspection, we were off. We left the Ocala Sun RV Resort and headed to a nearby neighborhood that had all the roads finished but very few homes, so it was perfect for our training.
Warner was very easygoing and even-tempered. He never raised his voice or showed any impatience with either of us. It was obvious that he was a well-seasoned driver with years of experience driving large vehicles and RVs. In our three days of instruction, he covered all aspects of driving a motorhome. We each practiced left and right turns, backing straight and around curves, normal and panic braking, U-turns, tight spots, and backing into RV spots. We drove on narrow residential streets, interstate highways, and “” the real nail-biter “” city traffic.
We completed the course, not as experts, but as confident and safe RV drivers. We have the highest regard for Warner and recommend him and Dick Reed’s RV Driving School to any RV owner, no matter what size or type motorhome they have.
Terry & Karen Brock, F419124
Cornelius, North Carolina
Trailing Arm Replacement
As the owner of a 2009 Monaco Cayman, I had heard of the trailing arm issues. With Monaco Coach Corporation going out of business, I was also aware that I was on my own if they needed replacement on my coach. I spoke with a service representative where I purchased my Monaco, and he told me not to worry about the trailing arms, so I put the issue to rest. Then, recently, I had an issue where my Monaco ended up in the shop. I called the new Navistar-owned company, Monaco RV, and spoke with one of their tech guys. He was very emphatic that I should have the trailing arms replaced and told me that they are seeing failure at around 20,000 miles (my coach has 6,100). I told the shop to go ahead and replace them. When they took them off, guess what they found? A crack in one of the arms. It was not visible when the arm was still attached to the vehicle.
I am writing this to urge people to replace these to avoid a disaster. If one breaks while the motorhome is on the road, it could be a catastrophe. The cost to do this is not cheap, but the peace of mind is priceless.
The problem can be found on numerous coaches under the Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Safari, and Beaver nameplates and built on the Roadmaster R4R and RR4R chassis equipped with the Monaco Gold (also known as R-Way) suspension.
Steve Switzer , F187383
Nevada City, California
Editor’s note: We first alerted readers to this problem in the November 2009 issue of FMC (“Roadmaster R4R and RR4R Chassis Safety Update,” page 65). Discussion among FMCA members regarding this topic is also well-documented in FMCA.com’s Forums. It is imperative to replace the arms, as the failure rate apparently is very high. In addition to replacement parts being available from Monaco, Source Manufacturing (541-935-0308; www.source-1mfg.com) offers a replacement kit.
The Short End
Call this a pet peeve, but since I started camping in 1958, progressing from tents, tent trailers, travel trailers, and, in 1983, to motorhomes, RVs have been getting taller, both inside and outside, while I have been getting shorter and shorter. In my 1992 Winnie Adventurer I could, by standing on tiptoes, reach the roof fan controls without the need for a stool. Today, in my 2004 Itasca Suncruiser, I need a step stool to reach the vent controls.
I wish the RV manufacturers would realize that the majority of the RV population is not 6 foot 6 inches (or more), but I would guess 5 foot 6 inches or even shorter. Having an RV with an interior height approaching 7 feet is no picnic for us shorter folks. I know that there is a tool out there that will allow me to reach the vent controls, but why should I have to buy something to extend my reach?
Wake up, RV manufacturers. As the population ages, it grows shorter, not taller.
Russell Trefethen, F65891