Boondocking!, CA, General info, Travel, Uncategorized

Mechanical issues in month two

Ok, so this life is not all glamour and glitz! 🙂  I hope all the people considering this lifestyle will see that.  Just like anything that is in the least bit mechanical, issues can and do arise.  Yep, even with brand new rigs.

We have traveled from South Carolina across the entire United States to Idaho, then Oregon, Nevada and now California.  We’ve done pretty good with all that mountain driving.  Our truck has held up perfectly.  And until we got to our second boondock by Lake Tahoe we hadn’t had any issues with the rig either.

When we moved from Scott Lake to Indian Creek it was a short 15 miles.  Probably a good thing too.  When we got out of the truck to get set up I smelled something funny.  I walked around and looked and this is what I saw:


Yep.  That be grease coming out of the hub.  Damn.  Damn. Damn.  Keep in mind at this point we had only had the rig for about 6 weeks.  Unfortunately, RV manufacturers use cheap grade grease figuring most people are probably only going to go on major highways and stay in clean and neat RV parks.

FORTUNATELY (for me at least) hubby is a master mechanic.  Even though he is retired with a major back injury he was certain we could do the repair ourselves.  I got to do the heavy work, of course.  🙂  And since one of the seals was leaking, Mark said it is always better to do all four bearings and hub assemblies at the same time, replacing all the seals and cotter pins.

Now, I won’t go into major detail about how it’s done other than to say it’s a time consuming job (if done right).  Since my hubby is injured, it took us a few days to do all the hubs.  To get a very concise description you can check out Dan from on the blog post he did regarding this.  He does an excellent job covering it all.  And Mark agrees with him that this should be done yearly but if you do see a failure before that then do it sooner and do all the hubs.  You’ll be safer in the long run.  And remember to use a HIGH TEMPERATURE grease!!   Also, please let this be a lesson to EVERYONE out there!  Always, ALWAYS inspect your rig before each departure and during EACH stop!  You could save yourselves some serious issues and money by being careful.  If we had continued to drive with the seals leaking we could very easily have had a fire, not to mention the bearings seizing up and the spindle being damaged to even possibly losing a wheel while driving.  What was a $25 repair to do ourselves (not including my hubby’s beer expense lol) could have been in the thousands of dollars should any of the worst had happened.

The second thing that happened really pissed me off.  As we were getting ready to leave Indian Creek I noticed the water pump acting weird.  It was sucking air and acting like there was no water in the tank which I knew to be false.

After arriving at Glass Creek in the Mammoth Lakes area, the water pump gave up the ghost.  Yep, only two months old and it died.  After searching the Mammoth Lakes area for an RV parts dealer (ha ha) we did happen to find a place that did trailer rentals.  They had a small parts department and we were able to acquire a new water pump.  Granted, they pretty much raped it us on the price ($115 versus $60 on Amazon) but when you are in need of water you do what you got to do.  Again, very fortunately for me, hubby saved the day and was able to install it in a matter of minutes!  Whew! 🙂

The old pump (top left) and new pump installed (top right).  Bottom is the box for the new pump.
The old pump (top left) and new pump installed (top right). Bottom is the box for the new pump.

Yes, we could have arranged for the pump to be replaced under warranty but frankly we didn’t want to go through the hassle.  And knowing that the hubby could install it and probably better than an RV place we decided to deal with it ourselves.

One thing we know is that without a little bit of mechanical knowledge, this life could get old, fast.  Knowing how to take care of things yourself is really a saving grace when possible.  Granted, some things are easier to let a qualified mechanic or RV repair person do, but if you can take the time to learn some simple maintenance you will enjoy this life a lot more.

Happy trails!

Shelly & Mark ~ Boondock or Bust

2 thoughts on “Mechanical issues in month two”

  1. Yes you do need to be able to make repairs on your RV yourself or else have lots of money. I have overhauled and replaced a Transmission in a motor home while traveling in John day wilderness area. Replaced a broken cam shaft in a 454 engine in my truck while in Colorado Springs. All of this several years ago. I can’t do it anymore unless it is an emergency. Then I am stove up for days afterward. I am 76 years old.

    1. Well it seems by your blog you still do a lot yourself! And that’s all that matters. At least you have the knowledge to supervise repairs as well. To me that is invaluable. Stay safe on your travels!

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