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Old 04-04-2016, 10:38 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 26
Second Trip. Going, Going, slowing, DONE.

Well here is a link to my first trip which was a interesting first RV experience.

This is going to be a long read so sorry in advance.

So our second Trip. Leave Chicago, Hit up west coast come home. Mission Completed.

After the first trip I went through and made quite a few repairs getting ready for our cross country trip.
I will start the story a week before we left. Weather has warmed a bit here in Chicago so I figured what better time to test the water system out as we bought it in the winter and never used the freshwater tank before. After consulting google and youtube I did the bleach cleaning of the freshwater tank. All went well. Level gage worked, Pump worked. All good signs after all what else could possibly happen. Now for the rinse of the tank with freshwater to get the bleach out. Stick the hose in the hole. Start to fill it and walk away. Got to checking some emails then lost track of time. Few hours later O **** I forgot about the water. Head out and water is pouring out from the basement. Shut off water, open hatches and let it all dry out. Check out inside camper and all seems to be ok. No water or anything.

Few days later my wife is packing the RV and says it smells kind of funky in there. I said well it has been closed up for a while so we just need to air it out. Smell around and canít find any particular area where the smell is coming from. Tuesday. (Leaving Thursday Night). Open camper and now it smells pretty bad. Like musty. I search around and lean down onto bedroom floor (itís a 33í class A) and the carpet it soaking wetÖ. Not good. Start to towel dry and the storage compartment under the bed is soaked also. I take off the wood hatch that covers the compartment and the other half of under the bed turns out to be the freshwater tank. Never knew it was there. Soaking wet there also. Off to home depot I go to rent the biggest dehumidifier they have. Get back and now its dark. The lights in the RV are dim. I have it plugged in so it shouldnít be like that. Do a bit of checking and the power inverter had gotten soaking wet and fried. Hop on amazon and replacement $200 shipped to my door.

So now itís been drying overnight. I have the whole tank out. Seems dry now. On a side note the tank was sitting on a piece of plastic on top of carpet which is strange but hey nothing about this RV is normal. Get the tank back in go outside to fill it up and out comes the water immediately out the bottom again. Water off. Back in RV I pull out some drawers near the electrical panel and low and behold the tube that connects the outside outlet for water to the tank has disconnected from the outlet so I was just running a hose full force right onto the floor o and onto the electrical panel.. Out comes the tank. Some more drying and back in the tank. Fill her up and the fitting going into the bottom of the tank is leaking. Great. Pull it out check it and its damaged. Home depot to the rescue and pop in a new fitting. Well the threads must be stripped so I canít really get it tight and its leaking. I was using pipe tape like the one that came out. Then I try pipe dope. That works much better but I get a drip every 15min or so. Its late Wednesday and leaving the next day at 5pm so enough. No fresh water tank this trip. Back together itís all dry. Thursday morning Inverter arrives and in that goes. All is well and ready.

Hit the road. First destination is Grand Canyon. Head south, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Driving through the night kids (4 and 6 years old) are sound asleep and Marbles running like a top. Another side note. Marbles is the name the RV was given based on the noise that started coming out of the exhaust pipe on the first trip which randomly disappeared. Stop right over the border in new Mexico for late breakfast (maybe lunch). Hope out. Get the dogs out and start to walk them. Dogs are walking funny. Kids are running around in sandals. Stop look at the dogs feet and they are filled with thorns. The Thorns are EVERYWHERE. Carry dogs back to the rv. Luckily the kids didnít get any in their feet. Pulled them out of the dogs paws and they seem to be fine. City dog problems I guess. New Rule of the trip. When in desert full shoes are required. Onto Flagstaff to stop for the night. BTW Marbles is running awesome and no issues.

Head to grand canyon which was the only place my 6 year old really wanted to go. Get there take a look and says ďthought it would be biggerĒ. Wow. Walk around a bit and away we go. Windy and cold so we didnít last long. Next stop Disneyland. Stay at park across from Disneyland. Was there for Easter morning where the Easter bunny placed about 50 eggs in our all concrete rv site. That lasted about 5 minutes but kids LOVED IT. We wanted to take a day and relax so we headed to Huntington beach, Disney and then back to nature heading to the giant sequoia trees. Get to entrance to sequoia national park and she goes to take our money and I ask howís the road. She then tells me well you are going to have a tough time. The maximum recommended length is 22í and Iím 33í. The we are directed to another entrance like 90 miles away. Ok fine. Was a really nice drive anyway. Get to other side and start to head up the mountain. This for me was a white knuckle drive. Super steep and huge drop offs for something like 13 miles and the RV was topping out at 27mph in first gear. About 3 miles from the top it starts to snow. O boy. Get to the top stay for a short while and back down before the snow would get worse. Took it at like 15mph and had no issues. Was very impressed that Marbles held up. Heading up I thought there was a mild chance it was going to break down as I donít have a whole lot of faith in marbles.

Next off to Yosemite. Got in the park and it has put everything we have seen thus far to shame. Was AWESOME but then it happened. It was a tight road with only a few inches to spare and a rock wall along the side right along the road. Well took a left with the wall on my right and didnít go into oncoming lane far enough and clipped the wall with back of the RVÖ I look in mirror and see things hanging. Then the RV stalls out.. Here we go. Starts right back up park it and take a look. Not horrible but very large cracks in the back fiberglass cap and ladder is bent a bit. Had some screws and a drill so put some screws in it so it doesnít flap around and continued on with the park and tried to not let it ruin my day. Tried to cook dinner later and sure enough the generator will not start. Turns over but as soon as I let go of the button it dies. Check oil and thatís good. Drive a bit and try it again and it starts up and thatís about how it was for the rest of the trip. Sometimes it works sometimes not. O well. On wards and up wards.

Left Yosemite then to Vegas. Try to fill up the gas tank and couldnít get more than a ľ gallon into the tank without the thing clicking like its full. Hundreds of click just to fill the tank. Stopped in Vegas at a camping world to see what they thought of my damage to the back. Guy says its likely totaled and would take at least 100 hours of labor to fix. I call the insurance and make a claim. I said should I just leave it here and find a way home or get it home. They suggested to just drive it and deal with it when I get home. Start to drive to Utah and the fuel gage isnít moving then it goes right to Empty after only 200 miles. I have been getting easily 400 miles to a tank. Stop over fill it up and top it all the way off. Utah, All of Utah was just incredible Best part of trip. Did drive threw a snow storm at 7,000í but took it slow and no issues. Did see a uhaul truck flipped. Still Marbles is going strong with all the ups and downs. Now we only use freshwater at the camp sites and I did use some of the grey water space when doing the flush but gage is still reading empty. My wife comes up to me after we leave and says there is a few inches of dirty water in the bath tub. Hummm. Guess the tanks full. Gage still reads empty. Only problems currently is the generator was iffy if it was going to work or not, the fuel gage doesnít work, I have to click the gas filler hundreds of times to get it to fill the tank and we have a few inches of dirty water (didnít smell thank god) in the bathtub. Now we have been staying in KOAís when we stop so I am trying to find a KOA to stop at. Finally find one in Colorado and there is no one in the office so I figured since I have been at all the KOAís We just dumped and left. Dumping I was REALLY nervous since this would be our first pump out. Well I am happy to say it all went as it should. Go through Colorado up to 11,200í and running great. Even in the mountains I am getting 8.4mpg.

Onto Nebraska our home stretch. Doing great. Going to drive strait home. Made it through all the mountains and it ran great. Road was bumpy and all of a sudden as the wind which was pretty strong would lean us to the side and the bumps would go away like we were floating. Very strange feeling. Happened over and over again. About 10 minutes later I hear a humming coming from drivers front tire. Decide to get off at next exit to check it out. As I am getting in the off ramp and applying the brakes the petal goes to the floor and I am stopping VERY SLOWLY. Luckily it was enough to stop be before I hit the end of the ramp. I was really close to pulling the parking brake. Limp across highway to gas station. Put down front lifts to get the tires off the ground and kick the tire. Well easily by hand I can move it inches back and forth. Bearings GONE. Also leaking brake fluid. Now Iím thinking to myself, Really. All the mountains, turns, pushing the motor, trans, brakes extremely hard where does it end of failing. In the middle of flat Nebraska. Yup. About right. Marbles is FULL of surprises and no way is letting us off that easy.

Ok Trip is over call the wrecker. I have towing insurance so give them a call but now I need a place to take it. Call place after place and no one wants to work on a workhorse chassis. The closest place I could find is a GMC dealer 110 miles away. Insurance pays for 21 miles. I also need to get it to a collision center and there is a good chance itís going to be totaled. Camping world is 220 miles away. Decided to just pay for it to go to camping world where they can either fix it all or total it. $1,100 and my wife, 2 kids and I get a ride with a very nice tow truck driver for a few hours. Dogs rode in the RV. Not ideal but have no other options. One sat in the drives seat and the other laid on the dash board. At this point $1,000 is nothing as it provided us with so many more options so it was not only a tow but a cab ride to a bigger city.

Get to camping world parking lot. Drop it off. Chock the tires as the driver had to break off a bolt for the U Joint to tow it so itís now not mobile and has no parking brake. All the car rental places closed at 2pm. Check airport and no one answers or they do not do one way trips or only have a economy size car to rent. Hop in enterprise car rental website and was able to get a minivan at 9:30 at night. Get a Uber to pick me up (I love Uber). Get the van, stop for a quality drive through dinner and get dinner and slept in the RV in the parking lot for the night. Of course the Generator doesnít work. In fact after trying to start it a few times it stopped turning over and now just makes a sound like the starter is spinning. A little more icing on our ever growing cake. Next morning managed to fit everything in the RV into the van with both dogs and kids in case I never see marbles again. Was going to be easy to unload as opening the back door I figured everything would just fall out onto the driveway.

Got home safe and a day late. Hit up all the sights we had hoped to see. Kids absolutely LOVED the rv. We really like the idea of a RV also. Was just so easy. On the way home my wife was searching for a new one. Now that we know we really like it we want a much more reliable one. Maybe even a brand new one. The tow truck we were in had 1,350,000 miles on it and ran and looked like it was only a few years old. We also have a 23í boston whaler boat that we will need to be able to tow and launch the boat with the next RV. The boat vacations our favorite vacations so if a RV cant tow and launch the boat I have no interest in it. For sure donít want another Class A as I want all the wiring for the chassis to be done from a factory such as ford and unless itís a diesel pusher cant tow the boat. We start looking at Super Cís and Toter homes and that would be awesome but even a used one is BIG bucks but I guess they seem to hold their value. I have always said you never know how much something costs until you sell it. Really we like a 23-25í class C but I would need a E450 chassis to be able to pull my 7,000lb boat and new would be under 60k. Maybe I could order one with the 450 but that size all seem to be 350ís and I donít think thatís enough. Diesel would be nice.

Time will tell. Will be a week before I get an estimate for the damages and if we will be getting it back or not.

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Old 04-04-2016, 11:31 AM   #2
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Always entertaining! I sure hope you get Marbles back since it seems like its part of the family now.

Dennis and Katherine
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:08 PM   #3
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After reading your 2 trips and the experiences you endured I am not sure I would ever want to see Marbles again.
2014 Itasca Sunova 33C towing a Jeep TJ Wrangler
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:21 PM   #4
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Never a dull moment...

Good luck !!
Eric & Denise
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Old 04-05-2016, 06:45 AM   #5
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I can see the movie version already! Go for it.
Jerry and Barbara,
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:34 AM   #6
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Personally I would keep it, you have a good start as a remodel.
Is it a Vintage?
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:46 PM   #7
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Where do you live in the Chicago area?
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:40 AM   #8
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Isn't RVing great. Sorry you had the troubles but you have many great family memories on that trip. It's not all bad. Good luck with the outcome.

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