Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Phannie Gets a Hole in Her Hose

At Blackstone North RV Park, Fresno, California...

It never fails. A couple of posts back, I was doing some bragging on Phannie for her almost trouble-free reliability in the four years we've owned her. I was reluctant to do that, but I knocked on wood, and I thought that gesture would somehow cancel the jinx that I knew might result. It didn't.

As we were approaching this RV park in Fresno, I noticed that both air pressure gauges were reading lower than normal. I dismissed this at first, because I had been on the brakes a good bit in the stop-and-go traffic. However, upon turning into the RV park driveway and setting the parking brake, I noticed the air pressures were even lower, and suddenly the low air pressure annunciator light illuminated along with the very annoying buzzer that accompanies such warnings. Now it was obvious something was wrong.

It was too late in the day to make any repair arrangements, so we drove ahead to our site after checking in. We had plenty of pressure for braking, as it increased above the minimum 65 psi when the engine speed increased beyond idle.

I pulled up my trusty Freightliner 24/7 app on my iPhone and queried for a nearby service center. Fresno Truck Center, a bigtime Freightliner facility, popped right up. The next morning, we hopped in Mae and drove there, as I figured a meeting in person might convince the service manager to work me in the same day. I didn't have much hope for that, however, when we reached the facility and noticed perhaps a hundred trucks were in the shop or parked outside.

Undaunted, I went inside and strode up to the counter, where I described the problem. I also asked when I might expect repairs to be made. The service writer smiled and said, "I have only about five rigs ahead of you, so we should be able to get to you sometime this afternoon." I was a bit taken aback, but I didn't dare ask how we managed to get ahead of a whole parking lot full of Freightliner trucks.

So we hot-footed it back to the RV park and began preparing Phannie for her journey to get well. Since I was able to keep the RPM up during the freeway travel, we retained plenty of pressure for the brakes to work well. After dropping Phannie off, we went to lunch, and then Sandy went shopping while I played chauffeur for her.

When we returned to Freightliner, we noticed that they had pulled Phannie into one of the bays, and a technician was on a creeper looking underneath. He saw the problem right away: Two of the rear air hoses had apparently been misrouted at the factory and had been rubbing together since the coach  was new. Finally, a hole appeared in the heavily-worn flat spot on one of the hoses. That's where the air was going.

Fresno Truck Center had the hoses on hand and they installed them rather quickly. Problem solved, and we were out of there before 5:00 p.m.  Oh yes...and we were $481 poorer.

I noticed a truck wash business nearby, so we drove over there and got a very nice wash job on Phannie, complete with towel drying and tire dressing, for $80. What a deal, and they did a great job!

Because of the positive experience at Fresno Truck Center and Fresno Truck Wash, I heartily recommend these places if you're ever in the area.

As for Phannie, I don't take back a single word of my praise for the old gal. A rubbing air hose is something that could happen on any coach, and that is no indication of a chronic problem or flawed design. She's still like an old friend on whom we can rely. I might mention, though, that I'm currently knocking like crazy on my wooden computer desk.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough every day.

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