Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Emergency Roadside Repair! - Part 1

After The First Repair, Before The Second
    As many of you know, I am traveling down to Florida from New York this week with my helicopter in tow. Unfortunately, this trip hasn't been going all that well, mechanically speaking. After getting everything ready and then starting out late we got about 1.5 hours down the road and into the State park lands in Pennsylvania and the rubber hose on my engine water pump ruptured. This was quite a surprise. First the huge vapor cloud that obscured my rearward vision, and the fact it happened at all. You see, I had just had someone replace the pump and I had told them to replace the bypass hose as well. Obviously, they didn't and I didn't check their work. Sad that I would have to...but there it is.

The Offending Hose!
Once stopped on a stretch of I84 at the crest of a hill with my lights/emergency flashers on, I attempted to diagnose the problem. I looked underneath the engine and was dismayed at the large quantity of coolant everywhere. Especially under the BRAND NEW water pump. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was it wasn't sealed properly and had failed. Back up inside the RV I removed the engine doghouse/cover and got a huge cloud of coolant vapor all throughout the RV. Great, I remember how difficult that stuff is to clean off windows. *SIGH* Anyway, as the engine cooled down, I was able to figure out that the underside of the water pump bypass hose at the 90 degree bend had ruptured and sprayed piping hot fluid all over the engine and underside of the cover. What a mess. Usually, I have a spare for every hose. Not this time. Of course, Murphy is the eternal optimist.

The Bypass Hose
After calling the PA State Troopers to apprise them of the situation, they assured me that they could get help to call me in the next few minutes. They did. Outstanding job guys!! A mobile tow/repair person called me straightaway and I explained the problem, he showed up within 20 minutes with an assortment of hoses and extra coolant. Of course, the ONLY one we needed for the fix, he didn't have. He then proceeded to REPAIR the existing hose to get me off the road and to a lot by his repair facility. A new part would be ordered and at his facility by 8:30AM. It got there at 8AM! He was incredibly professional and had an exceptionally friendly demeanor. I was back on the road by 9:30 AM with a freshly bled coolant system and a new friend.

I've been saying (and writing) for MANY years about the importance of carrying spare parts and enough tools to work with them while traveling. Dark and desolate roads with no cell service will leave you to fend for it was in the "olden days" of motor travel. It's a good idea to be prepared. Better to "Have it and not need it, than need it and not have it." Don't suffer "tripus interruptus" like I just did. All over a small $1.45 (plus shipping) part.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"


  1. Many years ago I used to have tools and parts in all my vehicles. Nowadays, with all the technology and engines stuffed under the hoods, I open the hood only because that's what we ALL used to do before diving in and fixing problems. Now I have trouble finding the hood latch! The days of sitting on the fender with your feed dangling INSIDE the engine compartment - ARE OVER.

    1. Mr. Tommy,
      For many folks, that's a GOOD thing!. I prefer to try and do my own repairs. Especially after the last few days. Thank fully my RV is old enougth that it's still possible.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

  2. Similar situation: We had just left for our fall trip and stopped for breakfast. Trying to leave, the rig wouldn't start and we could smell diesel. Very long story short (it took us the rest of the day to get a tow to our nearby regular repair place), the problem was that the hose clamp holding the fuel line to the fuel filter was missing --- presumably broke and fell off. Repair was $1.34 for a new hose clamp and $123 to fix it. (Plus another $72 to fix the messed up universal joint when the tow company didn't send the flat-bed we requested.)

    1. Gene & Jean,
      I'm glad it worked out...even with the hassle.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

  3. Your story reminds me of one of the best cars I ever owned, except for one recurring problem.

    My first brand-new car was a 1974 Honda Civic (about the size of a 50-cent piece, but tough as nails). We lived in the boondocks with animals, so I regularly hauled 50-lb bails of hay, 3-4 bails of straw if I stacked them just right, chaufferred small boys to Little League practice, & once even transported my big white ornery goat to the vet.

    I was taught to take care of my possessions, & this little Honda Civic was no exception. Nothing but TLC since "birth" for this baby.

    In spite of all the good care, every summer for the 12 years I owned it, I had to replace the water pump. Like clockwork, every July! So, I always kept an extra in the tool box in back just in case. I'm not saying that's unique, but I've never met anyone else who did this. :)

    I sold that car 12 years and 150,000 miles later to my stepdaughter ($1), who is still driving it. And, it still needs a water pump every July!

    I always enjoy your column, Rich, & I always learn something. Thanks for your efforts!


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