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rickeieio

Truck Repair

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Today we had the good fortune to meet Keith Britten, owner of Tower Tech, located at the Leaning Tower of Texas on I-40, east of Amarillo.  We nursed our truck in there with anti-freeze leaking from the sleeper supply line.  The fitting was in a difficult spot and tightly corroded in place.  The two mechanics worked for over 3 hours and finally capped the line so we could continue.  After all that, the only charged me $194, including parts.

Keith came out to the rest area where we discovered the leak, helped us get water in the truck, and led us back to his modest shop, where he and another mechanic fought the offending line.  It was a JIC fitting coming off the lower water manifold on the ISX motor.  Access was blocked by the frame, oil filter,  intake duct, and various other things Volvo had stuffed in there.

It's nice to find someone who likes to help people, rather than gouge them.

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That is awesome!  Thanks for sharing.  You may have read the thread about my recent experience with a Volvo dealer shop with my fuel problem.  It is definately a gamble!  Last year I have a very similar issue with the coolant lines going to my sleeper.  In my case it was the actually steel coolant lines had corroded and started spewing antifreeze.   Luckily I was just outside my home town and was able to get it home to repair it myself.

If you haven't already, submit this shop to the HHRV Resource Guide!  http://hhrvresource.com/

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 I was thinking you should stop and leave bad weather get ahead of you.

 

 Well that happened anyway. Glade you back on the road again.

 

 Safe a travels,.   Vern

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(Sigh).  Now the truck won't start.  Solenoid sounds weak, not hitting hard.  Good voltage to it with no drop when trying to crank.  Of course I didn't bring many tools.  But, there's a truck repair service adjacent to this RV park.  They're on the way.

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It was the starter.  Good news, the repair shop is 1/4 mile away, and they had the starter in stock.  Bad news is that he had a hard time getting to the bolts, and actually had to cut the head off one to remove the old starter, which had lees than 40k miles on it.

so here it is, the middle of the afternoon, and we haven't moved. I think we'll turn in early and get an early start in the morning.  Maybe make It through  St. Louis tomorrow..

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I'm trying to make some lemonade......

While waiting for the truck to be repaired, I pondered all the money we've put into this thing over the past 8 years and 35k miles.  Nearly $4k in various tranny repairs, $10k in the motor (at least half was due to incompetent mechanics or poor company policy), $3k in repairing the rear cab suspension and cross member, $2k in a/c repairs, $1.5k in two starters, and some other incidental stuff.  Round it up to $22k.

Had we bought a gently used class 4 truck in 2010, it likely would have cost about $40k, (double the cost of the hdt) and would have needed 6 tires, a brake job, maybe a tranny rebuild and/or injectors/turbo, and would have depreciated roughly $20k.

I did put two steer tires on this truck, so the 4 LDT tires would be about $900, the brake job about $500 in parts, my labor, tranny, who knows.  I haven't had one done since I sold my Dodge 15 years ago.

All told, I'm satisfied with our truck, knowing I'm at least $15-$20k ahead of where I could be, and have a huge safety margin to boot.

Dropping a grand on a starter isn't so bad, but it does cut into the beer fund.

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 Now just think about this a few minutes.

 

 Just trade that Smart car in on my jeep and you would have all the tools you need.

 

 Plus a little more power to boot.

 

 When things happen you do need to look at it with a good attitude.

 

 Just kidding, my jeep is not for sale.

 

 Atleast the bad weather has stayed in front of you.    

 

  Hope you get home safe,    Vern

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Vern, I doubt Susan and I could both get in your jeep.  It's about a handful of screwdrivers from capacity.  Have you ever weighed it?

Maybe Henry could design a smart ET so we could pull the t/h with the little guy.

Just talked to little brother, who lives on our farm.  There's 10-20' of water over our fields right now.  No planting for a few weeks.

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Rick, glad to hear you are getting it all worked out and keep up the positive attitude. That is the hardest thing to do when life throws those lemons at you. 

Safe travels. 

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I just costs a certain amount of money to engage in this lifestyle. And one of the biggest flaws in the propaganda put out by the RV industry is how inexpensive it is, I mean just look at all the motel bills/ restaurant money you will be saving, cleverly leaving out the costs of routine/not so routine maintenance, and the elephant in the room, the payment on a $200,000 loan due every month. 

If you look at the whole picture, particularly if you are full timing the numbers are likely in your favor, more so if you can at least spot needed minor repairs before they become major. And even better if you can do some of the repairs yourself, a challenge given the lack of an available shop, the biggest thing I miss about being full time. 

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Speaking of the cost of this lifestyle and truck repair, I was a little shock with the repair cost in getting back on the road. The diesel mechanics are young, and some were not that experienced. 

We started our fulltime in 2002 with my HDT 1998 VLN610 (445K miles) from Knight retired truck. I paid $2200 purchase price and $55K brand new Mountainaire trailer. That was it. When I look at the price today, similar four years old HDT sell for double the price and the new trailers were up to $100K at a minimum. I understand today vehicles have more belt and whistle and thus of cost increase.

We were fulltime until 2011, and I can write off my total RV expense with the rental cost of living in an apartment in Dallas Texas. I was happy to see that cost equation. Like anything else, inflation has crept in no matter what the official number.

Our truck was great on the pocketbook at the repair department. In those early days, fluid and tires change was the only cost. We did have the same water leak on the passenger side of the truck. We were in a campground before our maiden voyage and be able to fix it myself for cheap. 

I built my truck bed using $2000 of steel and brought $2500 welding equipment in 2003 for my welder friend who created it for me based on my design from Autocad. Back then, I was total into RV lifestyle, I live and think RV in all my waking hours. So we did it with less cost than living a regular housing arrangement. The bonus was to see the country free.

Seeing today cost in acquiring the same quality setup would be out of reach for us then. I can't believe a fully build HDT, and a nice bed today can sell for $100K plus if I see at the right place. Not that it not worth the cost if someone is in this lifestyle. For me, the value is no longer there. I was going into HDT for value, low cost, and safety for the money. The value equation is tremendous then. It is questionable today if I can't do most of the work myself. Like, pick my own truck, build my own bed and do the repair. 

This is just a reflection of mine, the way of looking RVing on the cheap sentiment back in 2002. A history what it was. Not to make a judgment how other see what is right for them and for me, not totally get the cost RV market being so high. 

A sign of getting old.

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4 hours ago, NoDirectionHome said:

The lemon in me says you spent $990/mi + the cost of the truck.  That's about the same price per mile as a Gulfstream G650.

My pencil and chicken scratching says $22k / 35k miles = $.62857, plus depreciation, which is likely nothing.  Can't hardly fly paper airplanes for that.

On the other hand, son in law just bought a new Platinum F-350, and a new 5er.  We'll so that goes.

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Maybe my figure was not clear. $22K for the truck, 445K original miles. Now after 16 years of ownership. The odometer stated 485K. 40K miles during fulltime for 9 years. Stored another 7 years. Maybe the truck still worth for 15K. That will be $0.175 per mile. If the truck can get to 1 million miles, that would be $0.04 per mile plus repair and fuel. 

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I wonder, anyone has a $22K in repair. What does an engine overhaul cost? Like, replace the 6 sleeves, piston, valve and cam/crank shift. Parts and/or labor cost.

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6 hours ago, Padraic said:

I wonder, anyone has a $22K in repair. What does an engine overhaul cost? Like, replace the 6 sleeves, piston, valve and cam/crank shift. Parts and/or labor cost.

If it came to that, buying a replacement engine would be cheaper.  

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We've had that much in total repairs over 8 years, but it was spread over many items.  A/c work, starter, batteries, engine, tranny, etc.

Being able to do some of your own repairs helps, but on the side of the road, that's rarely an option.  One of my immediate projects is to replace all the coolant lines.  That will kill an afternoon.

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Like the saying goes, you either pay for it by making truck payments or repair bills, but pay you will.  The trick is in finding one that can spread the repair costs out a bit.

AND planned preventative repair bills always feel better than broke in Timbuktu repair bills.

Edited by VegasFlyer

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2 hours ago, rickeieio said:

We've had that much in total repairs over 8 years, but it was spread over many items.  A/c work, starter, batteries, engine, tranny, etc.

Being able to do some of your own repairs helps, but on the side of the road, that's rarely an option.  One of my immediate projects is to replace all the coolant lines.  That will kill an afternoon.

For my education, what was the truck age and mileage when you acquired. Did you expect that? I guess I was lucky.  

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I probably don't have over dime over 20K in my Pete. And that includes the $1,600.00 I spent on leather seats with arm rest. a few weeks ago. I only drive it a few thousand a yr. Almost a milion miles on it. I restored it and the only person who ever worked on it was an AC guy. Needed  everything new after sitting 12 yrs. $800.00. Yes I,ve replaced air bags-air lines (make my own), batteries, rebuilt transfer pump-fuel pump ($30.00) in parts. Spring hanger ($90.00). Runs like a finally tuned machine. Am sure could sell for 2x what I got into it. It NEVER looked like this when I got it.https://i.imgur.com/6u6Kf4El.j

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