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The Tale of A Generator Part 1

August 27, 2018

So as bird projects go this was one of the more major projects that we had to deal with.  If you didn't check out the quick write up in the "Miss-Adventures in RVing" blog post, here is the tale of a generator, Roll'n Home addition.

 

By the way there isn't a whole lot of pictures in this tale, but there are some, some that may even be exciting to certain people, you know who you are.

 

As we climb into our way back machine get ready for a journey to far away lands and mysterious happenings.

 

It all started 2 weeks after we bought our bus.  Hold on lets start at the true beginning.  So when we bought our bus the generator worked great, when I was driving back to Oklahoma from Arkansas, I would run the generator and keep the AC going to keep me nice and cool during the drive (it was August).  We left the bus at a RV repair place outside of Norman Oklahoma to have the skylight resealed, we were to return 2 weeks later to pick up Jen's parents and the bus and take us all back home to Alpine Texas.  So we get back and get to the bus, luckily for us the RV shop remembered to disconnect the batteries, or else the bus wouldn't have started at all, but it did start and while it was airing up I decided to go ahead and get it cooling off.  Start the generator, about ten minutes later it shuts off on its own. Try it several times, eventually it shuts off immediately.  What the Heck!!!  After a bit of poking around I notice that it is overheating, weird.  Go and check the reservoir, empty, take a look at the hoses, leaking!  Get a good look at the hoses, all are cracked and crumbling.  No way to get it fixed in time in Oklahoma so I guess I'll drive the bus by myself across Oklahoma and Texas in August with no AC, YAY for ME!!!

 

After dealing with the consequences of bringing the bus to a authorized mechanic for fluid changes, I was on my way back to Texas.  Now I'm sure I've got your curiosity going regarding the consequences, so let me interject that story.

The Transmission that would stop!

 

It all started after I dropped of the bus at an authorized Allison transmission shop outside of Oklahoma City.  We didn't know from the previous owner the last time any of the fluids (engine oil and transmission fluid) were changed so we found a place that could do it.  Dropped it off on a Monday, it is a first come first served place, so we finally got a call on Wednesday morning(ish) that it was ready.  Drive up to the shop, go over what they did and pay.  Go out to the bus and start it up.  As soon as it was started I got all the buzzers and lights telling me that there was a problem with the transmission.  I scoured over the paperwork and I couldn't find anywhere where they said they broke the transmission, weird.  So I go back inside and ask them about it, they said they thought it was that way when we brought it in. Yeah really.  So I politely tell them that it wasn't, and they send a technician out with the reader so we can figure out what its going on.  The code comes back as temperature sensor out of range, tech boy doesn't think they can get one because it's built into the board and the transmission is soooo old that they couldn't get one, whatever.  After a reset it was back to normal, so I told them I would just take it (we were 2 days late at this point).  Finally back on the road! YES, oh wait no AC and just in case you forgot its August.

 

So about an hour into the trip back home...buzzer!! Flashing lights!! "DO NOT SHIFT" warning on transmission readout, oh crap I just cratered the bus.  Kept driving for a while, as there was no good place to pull off (I was on I-44 out of OKC which is a toll road).  Get to a spot to get off, start slowing down, notice the engine sounds funny, huh it seems that transmission isn't shifting at all.  So I roll to a chugging stop, as powerful as the Detroit Diesel 8v92 engine is, stopping in 4th gear is not something for which it was designed.  I turn off the ignition, catch my breath, cuss the shop, go outside and check for chunks of engine and or transmission...all good, phew.  Go back inside and start the engine, sounds fine, no buzzers, no warning lights, good to go, I guess.

 

Head off back down the road, some time later same thing happens, but this time I'm prepared.  I just keep going, heck its a freeway no reason to stop.  Until there was.  At about Sweetwater TX I decided it was time to get some fuel, which means I had to stop because no one has invented on the go refueling (except those idiots, I mean geniuses from Amazon's "Grand Tour" previously from BBC's "Top Gear").  Chugging stop again, restart, head to the "truck" pumps.  If you didn't know the bus holds 300 gallons of diesel fuel!  Made some truckers mad because I didn't fully understand the satellite pump operation, so after like 45 minutes I was refueled and back on the road.

 

Had to stop a few more times on the way home for intersections and such, but finally made it home, oh did I mention it was 104 degrees in the bus most of the way home and there was no AC, and it was August.  I had the windows open so I had a nice blast furnace feeling going on, fun.  Anyway back at home we decided to work on the interior of the bus, the transmission would have to wait.  After a few months of updating the interior, I got back to the transmission.  Got some ideas on what this issue may be (other than what the shop said), started checking all the plugs, making sure they are all nice and clean, then something caught my eye.  Right next to the shiny new transmission filter was a broken braided ground strap, it almost looked like some grease monkey used it to hoist themselves closer to the transmission while changing the filter.  Dirty rotten jerks.

 

I made a new ground strap, got everything back in working order and haven't had that issue since.  Thanks guys at the shop, let me give you the good old one finger salute!

 

End of Transmission story.

 

 Broken Ground Strap

Well that transmission story took a bit more time and space than I thought it would so I guess you'll have to stay tuned for part 2 of The Tale of A Generator.  You know its going to be quite the story and if you end up missing it you know you'll regret it for a long, long, long time.

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