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From: John De Armond
Subject: Be Prepared
Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2000 02:15:58 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

This is a followup on a post I made a month or so ago in which I
provided a list of the tools and spare parts I carry in the motor
home, something another member described as overkill.

On Christmas Eve we headed out with no particular destination in
mind in what turned out to be an almost 2000 mile big loop up to
Roanoke Va and then down the length of the Outer Banks of NC.  Hit
the mountains of NC on I-40 near Asheville about 2 in the AM when it
started snowing.  We decided to stop at the rest area and cook (hmm,
what meal would it be at 2 am?) and enjoy our little white Christmas
- a rarity here in the South.

When I started back out, I noted the dash voltmeter hovering right
at 12 volts.  Not good.  A check with the DVM confirmed 11.8 volts
with the headlights on and 12.5 with 'em off - a pretty good
indication of a popped diode in the alternator.  It was pretty cold
out so I didn't want to fool with the repair right then.  I flipped
the switch to parallel the house and start batteries and cranked the
generator.  My old ferroresonant converter supplied all the current
necessary to keep running and keep the batteries charged.  Found a
Wal-mart a few hours later and slept it off :-)  Including my wife's
12 volt electric blanket.

Christmas day it was warm enough so I reached into my spare parts
box, pulled out the spare alternator and changed it there in the
parking lot.  Next day, I stopped at the first Autozone I found and
got a free new alternator on their lifetime warranty.  Needless to
say, had I not had the part and the necessary tools, my pooch would
have been screwed, roadside assistance or not.  Absolutely NOTHING
was open over there on Christmas day.

Anyway, made the big loop, spent New Year's Eve sitting under the
Cape Hattaras light house watching cable TV at the trailer park, and
waiting for the world to blow up. :-)  Packed up New Years day and
got ready to head out for the ferry back to the mainland.  Found a
nice puddle of antifreeze in the floorboard of the passenger side. 
Heater core had decided to go on vacation - hey, it's an 82, it got
tired :-)  Went back to the stash, got some heater hose and bypassed
the heater.  Ran a cord up to the front of the MH and placed our
little ceramic heater between our seats.  Whenever we got cold, we
just fired up the generator.

Point of this article is to reiterate my advice to carry an adequate
set of spares for your MH.  Even if you have roadside service, parts
may very well not be available for hours or days at a time.  Even if
you don't do any mechanical work, it sure is nice to hand the
replacement part to the mechanic and say "put it in".  It is also to
point out the advantage of an "old fashioned" "across the battery"
type ferroresonant converter in an electrical emergency.  A modern
converter with separate battery charging and house power outputs
would not have helped us.

Oh yeah, the Outer Banks were wonderful.  Gorgeous views and almost
no people.  And the seafood, ohhh lala!


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Be Prepared
Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2000 17:13:49 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

Dick Lucas wrote:
> Neon John wrote in message <>...
> >This is a followup on a post I made a month or so ago in which I
> >provided a list of the tools and spare parts I carry in the motor
> >home, something another member described as overkill.
> >
> Might your real last name be McGuyver? ;-)

Awww, you found out :-)

> I too, carry a fairly extensive set of tools and spares in my motorhome.  I
> have changed alternators and starters on the road, but I haven't even
> thought of carrying a spare alternator.

I guess I'm really weird cuz I carry a spare alternator in all my
vehicles.  I've had a lot of trouble with alternators over the years
so I just consider that part of the necessary gear.  My only
quandary is whether to carry a water pump or not.  I think I
probably will on the RV.

> By the way, my experience with the "lifetime guarantee" on starters and
> alternators is that they usually fail far away from a store which will honor
> the guarantee.  I have replaced starters with a guarantee from a west coast
> source while I am on the east coast, and vise-versa.  Same thing with spark
> plug wires. (454s are notorious for burning them up.)  I finally bit the
> bullet and bought the "lifetime guaranteed" wires from NAPA.  I have
> replaced ones bought in Kansas with ones from California stores.  They cost
> a lot more, but at least I can find replacements on the road.

You know, it pains me no end to give business to the chains that are
skimming of the gravy business without supporting the less
profitable parts but the ability to get Autozone or the other chains
to honor a warranty anywhere in the country is the deciding factor. 
This guy took my phone number, called up the record over the sat
link and instantly processed the claim.  I had the receipt but it
was never necessary.  I keep an envelope in my important papers
folder labeled "warranty receipts".  Anything that has a warranty
gets its receipt stashed there.


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