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Author Topic: Road fix to top them all...  (Read 4303 times)
gumpy
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« on: August 04, 2008, 08:03:43 PM »

Well, we made it to CO today. The trip sucked. It was really hot. My bus was running hot the whole way. My oil pressure is playing games with me, and to top it off, I had a mechanical problem that basically put me on the side of the road sweating and scratching my head at 7:30 PM on a Sunday in the middle of Nowhere-Nebraska. This one I think I'll write up and may submit to the magazine, because I think my road fix will top all previous road fixes. Suffice it to say that I have the greatest mechanic friend, who's family life I interrupted, but who took the time to call me back on my nearly non-existant cell phone connection and tell me everything I needed to know about the problem. After scrounging a bit, I found my secret weapon, and in minutes, I was back on the road for the final 15 miles to our night's destination. This morning, I was able to buy a 5/8" fine threaded bolt to replace the secret weapon, and continue on our way with only a minor irritation. He's sending parts and I'll fix the problem permanently in a few days.

So what was this secret weapon?  Well, let's just say we had to sacrifice a bottle of wine to the bus gods so I could use the cork to fix my bus and get back on the road.

That ought to keep you guessing. I'll let you know when I get it written up. Will probably post it here. Right now, though, I'm tired and I'm going to bed.

craig
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2008, 08:10:40 PM »

You sure the bus gods got any of that wine before you drank it?  Grin
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2008, 08:13:42 PM »

Hey, NO FAIR!  I want the answer now!

Glad to hear you are doing okay and making it west.  You are going the right direction!
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Paladin
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2008, 08:23:17 PM »

Yeah, no fair!

As someone who is still fearful of roadside breakdowns and always learning about my bus I like to read all that I can so that maybe when my turn comes the answer will be somewhere in the fog shrouds of my brain but I'll at least get going again.

Swing through Utah and drop in on your way out!
« Last Edit: August 04, 2008, 08:28:37 PM by Paladin » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2008, 04:26:23 AM »

Hi Craig,

Glad to hear you got it fixed.

Just wonder how the cork held up and if the bus gods liked your choice of wine. Roll Eyes

Enjoy the rest of your trip and I hope you slept well after the consumption. Grin

Paul
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2008, 06:27:35 AM »

Gumpy Where in Colorado are you headed? I live north of Denver if you have some spare time stop by I would like to meet you. Hope you enjoy Colorado.
                                               Thank You Wayne
                                                303-591-0372
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2008, 07:07:22 AM »

You sure the bus gods got any of that wine before you drank it?  Grin

Gumpy is one of the bus God's
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gumpy
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2008, 07:22:15 AM »

Wayne:  We're in Pueblo. We'll he heading over Monarch Pass on Friday for a family reunion in Colbran this weekend, then up to WY for some fishing. We'll be in Laramie on the 21st to drop off the kid for college, and will head home on the 24th. We won't get to the Denver area, but if you want to come to Laramie on the 22nd or 23rd, I'd be happy to meet up with you for a bit.

Jim: Be careful. You don't want to anger the REAL bus Gods.

As for the rest of you, you'll just have to wait. Maybe I can get some time to write it up today. Maybe after I get a cup of coffee and a shower.

You know me, it's got to be website worthy.

cs
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2008, 09:16:24 AM »

I've always wondered what the correct wine was to go with Detroit Diesel. Red or white?
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2008, 09:38:21 AM »

There is only one correct whine to go with dd's..... Roll Eyes

Glenn
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2008, 10:10:48 AM »

Skinned knuckle blood red!!!
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2008, 11:05:18 AM »

Hole in the radiator or other part of the cooling system-cork to fix the hole.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2008, 11:29:23 AM »

So did you drink the wine (can't let it go to waste) before or after the fix?  Expiring minds want to know.  Jack
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2008, 11:31:40 AM »

This is just another one of those no lose situations.

You got to drink the wine and the bus was/is moving again.

When your on the side of the road, and you come up with an unusual fix or modification to get back on the road.

That's when you realize watching all those episodes of the TV show McGyver wasn't a waste of time after all...LOL

Can't wait to hear what you did Gumpy aka(The Big Tease).......

Cliff
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2008, 01:59:57 PM »

What happened to the wine?  What happened to the wine?  I'm still not sure.  The World Wonders!  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2008, 02:08:05 PM »

Personally, I kinda like the fact that we weren't given the final solution in the first chapter.  It is the bus version of a who-done-it.  In the opening chapters, the author tells us it was a hot day, the oil pressure was a little crazy, and a cork was used at the scene of the crime.

It gives the bus uber-sleuths the chance to match wits.

So, my Dear Watson, here is my analysis of the situation:  Certainly, when most folks think of a cork, they immediately think of it as an object used to plug a hole in something.  Add in the comment about the bus running hot, and TomC's assessment would seemed to make logical sense.  I can't really picture jamming a cork into a radiator, but I could see it being used to temporarily fix a leaking heater hose.   Suppose a hose was leaking, so a cut was made completely through the hose at that location. If the inside diameter was the correct size, perhaps a cork was inserted to seal it off.  Then a hose clamp was tightened around the outside of the hose to hold the cork in place.  Perhaps the cork wasn't trusted, so it was replaced with a 5/8 inch bolt the next day. The new heater hose is the part that is being shipped.    

Ahhh, but was the author intentionally trying to lead us astray? Were we duped into believing the cork was used to plug something?  Perhaps.   Note the fact that the author chooses the words mechanical problem to describe the issue that landed him on the side of the road. I would not expect that terminology for a typical radiator or hose leak. This is causing me to rethink this and wonder if the cork was used more like an interference type pin or other fastener.  I am picturing two holes being alligned and then the cork being jamed into them to hold them in place. The fact that a bolt was later substituted seems to support this theory as well.   Somehow this seems to me to be a more creative use of a cork, and since this is the "road fix to top them all" I think we need the creativity points.

I am not familiar enough with Craig's coach to pin down the exact mechanical part that would affect the cooling, oil pressure, and have a hole suitable for a cork.  So I'll just state my guess as:

"Professor Gumpy, in the engine compartment, with the wrench"
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 02:10:52 PM by WEC4104 » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2008, 08:28:05 PM »

So did you drink the wine (can't let it go to waste) before or after the fix?  Expiring minds want to know.  Jack

You got that right Jack....."expiring minds"....every day dude...! Wink
Lessee...where can one stick a cork?  What does one do the with the contents of the cork donor?
No problem!   Grin
This will be interesting once the story is out!
JR

« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 08:30:28 PM by NJT5047 » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2008, 10:49:39 PM »

WEC4104, I like your style of thinking. While it was not my intention to toss out clues to a mystery novel, I may just have rethink this whole thing.  I could probably drag this out for 4 or 5 issues of BC magazine! 

But I have to confess something here.... I did embelish just a little bit on the sacrificing of wine to the bus gods. I didn't actually open a bottle of wine and drink it... yet... although I do have several bottles of my new hobby along with me, and I'm kind of partial to the blueberry for toasting the bus Gods because it still has a bit of jet fuel taste to it which seems like it should go well with Detroit Diesel, but some of my friends felt my rhubarb wine went well with the bus work we did in AK in June because it was so smooth and flavorful. Anyway, after searching my toolbox and storage compartments, and considering what I could dismantle to use to solve the problem (done that before), I happened to look into a small container on the dash which contained a pine cone, about $0.35 in loose change, a 15 amp glass fuse, and a couple small stones we collected on a beach in Canada in 2005. All were unsuitable for the task at hand. Then I saw the wine cork and the light bulb came on. I had to use my leatherman to whittle a bit off the end of the cork to make it fit the circumstance, and was then able to screw it into the threaded hole.

So, no wine was injured or misused in the making of this mystery road fix, but I did kill a couple cold dark beers when I got to the campsite later that evening.

So, since I led you astray a bit with that wine thing, I'll throw in that we had just filled with fuel in York, and were tooling down highway 81, headed for Hebron, NE, which has a great city park with dump, water, and 30 amp electric for $5 a night. No pads, only grass, but under some awesome cottenwoods. Just before Geneva was where the problem started, and it increased for a few miles till I decided I better pull off to figure it out. That's when I found the old closed gas station with concrete pads still in place but no pumps remaining, and very sporadic cell phone service.

craig

P.S. I was going to write up the whole thing today, but was having some difficulties with my Mother-In-Law's computer vs. my flash drive. I'll try to use my son's laptop tomorrow.


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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2008, 06:03:30 AM »

Craig,
First of all, I will NEVER play poker with you... You know how to keep a secret. Second, go meet Wayne!!!
He has the most unbelievable Eagle's. His shop is immaculate and his attention to detail is awesome. He has a 3 mile (no that's not a typo!!) series 60 and a new eaton 10 speed for his latest conversion. What a great time I had with him last week. We should all ask him together to put some pix of the woodwork on the 40 footer and the suspension work and drivetrain of his 45 footer. It will certainly be worth your time to meet him. He's a great guy.

I just made it home two days ago. we had to stop in Quinter Kansas. 107 degrees with a realfeel of 117. Whew! Bus ran hotter than normal all the way home. What was yours running at? Mine was around 190-195 whenever we tried to stay at 65 mph. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with a Detroit running that hot.

P.S. I think the cork was for your own personal "Hot Air". You should have stocked some "beano"!!!

My wife and I have a mantra when we are traveling. "No beans on the bus".

Have a great trip Craig. Be safe ad remember.... Go down the mountains in the same gear you went up.
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« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2008, 07:46:52 PM »

Well, I decided since Skip paid me a quarter Smiley and since I'm going to be without computer for a couple weeks, I better get something posted regarding this road fix before ya'll send out the lynching party. So, here goes. Hope it's not too much of a disappointment. If more of you had paid up your quarters, it would have been shorter and more concise, but....


It was a hot, humid August afternoon. A Sunday. We're in the middle of Nowhere Nebraska. The bank thermometer reads 107*. The engine temp gauge reads 200*. The family was cranky and we were heading to the In-Laws place. I'd been fighting these conditions all day. I was down to my last nerve, and it showing signs of fatigue.

We had just filled the bus with fuel in York, and were heading down Highway 81 towards a wonderful little campground in Hebron. It was about 7:00 in the evening.

About 15 miles from our destination, I suddenly heard a sound that was not right. One of those sounds you hear that you just know isn't road noise. Teri heard it too, and she also recognized it was not normal. It was a very low hissing sound and I couldn't place it.

I turned off the air conditioner to hear better, and it was louder. It was definitely a hissing sound, and from the sounds of it, high pressure air was leaving somewhere it was not supposed to leave. The gauge was still pretty steady as we began trying to pinpoint the location. It wasn't coming from the dash. It seemed more likely to be coming from the step area, so I immediately suspected my recently installed leveling system, of which 3 valves are located in the small compartment next to the stairs, and under the co-pilot's feet. Teri got down into the steps to see if she could feel where the air was coming from, but was unable to locate it. It was getting louder.

By this time, I decided I better find a stopping place and properly diagnose it. It had increased in intensity, and the gauge was now visibly showing loss of large quantities of air. The compressor was still keeping up, though, and recharged the pressure just fine, only to start the cycle over again. Finally, I came to the access road to Geneva, NE, and pulled in, figuring I'd find someplace where I could park for a bit. Just before entering town, there was an old closed down gas station which was probably in it's hey day before highway 81 was rebuilt to bypass the town. The pumps were gone, but the concrete pads were still there, and clean. Perfect. I pulled in and came to a stop.

When I pulled the parking brake button to set the brakes, and released the service brakes, the loud hissing sound stopped!!!  Hmm, there's a clue! I stepped on the service brakes. Hisssssss! Let off. No hiss. Pressed in the parking brake, Hissssssss! Pulled up. No hiss.

It was also obvious that the sound was coming from under the floor, from the spare tire compartment. I opened up the bumper, pulled the spare tire out, and placed a tarp
in the compartment to lay on and try to reduce the amount of grease and oil that could jump onto my clothes. Crawling into the spare tire compartment, I had Teri step on the brakes. Hissssss! In a matter of seconds, I pinpointed the source. A small silver aluminum box shaped component with some air lines coming out of it, and a large threaded port on the side. Hmmm, wonder what that is?

I began cursing myself for not having spent more time learning about all the components of the air system, and what their functions are. In all the mechanical work I've done on my bus, the air components have been the least problematic, and so have received the least attention, which therefore has not provided me with the necessary incentives to learn all about them. Luckily, I put my maintenance manual in the bus before leaving home. I started the generator and turned on the air conditioner. This could take some time.

Thumbing through the air system section of the manual, I was hoping to find a diagram of the system which might give me a hint as to what the component was. I had an idea I knw what it was, but I wasn't sure, and even if it was, I didn't know how it worked, and so didn't know how to fix it to get on down the road. Unfortunately, I didn't find the diagram I was hoping to find. I did, however, find some drawings of various parts, and one of them was labeled with the name I suspected. I looked at it closely. Sure enough, the drawing looked similar to the malfunctioning part. Parking brake quick release valve. Ok. So what does it do. I read the description.... again and again. The only thing I really picked up on was the part that said you should replace the diaphram once a year or every 50,000 miles. Well, I've put about 50K on my bus since I got it, and it's been over 8 years, and I know for a fact the diaphram has never been changed in that time period, so it's probably a bit overdue. So, what does this thing do? 

Obviously my mind wasn't working well right now. Time for plan two. I pull out the cell phone. Yes, two bars.... er one bar... er, 5 bars... er, two bars. Well, this is going to be iffy. I pull out the number of my bus mechanic friend. He's one of the sharpest person's I know when it comes to buses. I'm not happy about having to call him at home on a Sunday evening. He had given me his cell number and told me it was for emergencies only, and to guard it with my life. I figured this was an emergency and dialed the number. Nobody answered. I left a message, and dialed the house number.

I knew even before it was answered that he wouldn't be available. I also knew why, and how to get past this problem. As I suspected, his wife answered the phone and said he was not available. She asked my name and when I told her, I also appologized for calling on a Sunday, and said I was stranded and needed some expert advice. She said she could get a message to him and have him call me back. I thanked her and hung up.

Within 30 seconds the phone rang.

We discussed the problem briefly. I explained the symptoms, and told him where the air was leaking from. He asked a couple questions about the component, and confirmed it was the parking brake quick release valve. I asked him what it did, and how do I fix it to get me down the road. He said that basically, the parking brake requires air pressure in one of the lines to keep it released. In the event of a catastrophic air loss, loss of pressure in this line will cause the parking brakes to set. In order for the parking brakes to set when you pull the knob, the air in that line must be released, and the function of the quick release valve is to release that air pressure quickly. Hence the name. There's a diaphram in there that obviously had burst.

I asked if it would be a problem driving with it leaking, and he said it could leak enough such that the parking brake might be partially set, causing a dragging brake. This could happen even though the dash gauge indicates full pressure. So, it wasn't a good idea to drive on with it leaking like it was. He said I could plug it with a pipe plug, and install a new diaphram when I get home. The only ramification of plugging it would be that when the parking brake valve is pulled, it would take considerably longer for it to set, as the pressure would have to bleed out through the parking brake valve rather than through the quick release valve. He said if I plug it, to be careful when I set the parking brake, and don't just pull the button and jump out of the coach, because it might not be set, and the bus might roll away without me. Good point!

About this time, the service bars on my phone went to zero.

So, how do I plug that hole to keep pressure in the line?  I look through my tool box. Nothing. I check all the little storage bins on the wall behind the tool box. There was a 3/8" pipe plug. I checked it. WAY too small!! Ok, this is going to be difficult. I don't have anything large enough to fit that hole. Plus, it appears to be fine threads in there.

I remember a small container of miscellaneous "stuff" on the dash, and go to check it. Hmmm, 35 cents, a couple stones, a pine cone... no, I don't think I can stuff a pine cone in there and stop the air... a wine cork, a... wait, a wine cork? Hmmm. It looks about the right size. Could I maybe shove that cork in there and get the air leak stopped. 120 lbs of pressure? Not a snowball's chance in H#&&! Well, what do I have to lose? I don't seem to have any other options, so let's see what we can do.

With a sly grin on my face, I exited the air conditioned bus and crawled into the cramped space where to offending component hung. The wine cork was too big to fit the hole, but in my vast experiences, I've found it much easier to remove material from a wine cork than to put it on. With my trusty Leatherman, I delicately chopped away some of material from around one end of the cork till it would just fit into the exhaust port of the quick release valve. I then screwed it into the threaded hole till it was as tight as I could make it without breaking it. There was another air line that crossed directly in front of the hole, which I had to bend slightly out of the way. I pulled it back in line, and forced the cork under it. It seemed like a nice fit, but would it hold air?

I extracted myself from the spare tire compartment and climbed back into the bus. I steped on the brake pedal. There was a slight hiss, but nothing like what was leaking before. This just might work. I expected a small leak around the edges where I hacked off some of the cork but figured it shouldn't be a huge problem as long as it could retain enough pressure to keep the emergency brakes from locking up.

I put the spare tire back in the compartment, closed the bumper and headed down the road. The air compressor cycled a few times, but it maintained pressure just fine, and the brakes were not dragging. We got to our camp site a little later than we anticipated, but it was not an issue as we were the only RV in the whole park!

The next morning, I pulled the cork out of the hole, and measured the diameter. I then drove the toad up to the John Deere dealer and bought a 5/8" fine threaded bolt which fit well into the hole. With a few turns of teflon tape around it, it fit snuggley into the port, and sealed it off.  Mission accomplished. Emergency repair complete. We're back on the road.

As my mechanic friend said, it takes a couple minutes for the parking brake to set once you pull the valve, so I just have to plan on holding the brake for awhile until I can be sure (or confirm) the parking brake is set. I called my friend back the next day, happy to be on the road again, and again appologized for interrupting his family life, and ordered the parts to make a permanent fix. It should be waiting for me when I get to WY, and should be relatively easy to install.

So, that's my emergency road fix tale. Hope you're not all disappointed after the suspense and delay. We didn't actually sacrifice a bottle of wine to the bus Gods, but I've since toasted them many times, and from now on, there will be a wine cork or two in my bus toolbox for emergency repair.

craig

« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 07:39:28 AM by gumpy » Logged

Craig Shepard
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« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2008, 07:47:59 PM »

the bolt...
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2008, 08:18:17 PM »

& some have the nerve to question why we keep stuff!  Grin
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« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2008, 08:23:22 PM »

nice fix craig.  and i agree with kyle.  after your adventure, why would anyone question why we keep stuff.
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« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2008, 08:42:24 PM »

I'd have never guessed!   Wink
Now I gotta go down and ID that sucker on my bus. 
Already see one problem...getting the spare tire out of the way.  I'd have to pull the toad around and drag it out.   Terri better be feeling strong when it comes time to return the spare to the compartment.  I use a JD loader to remove and replace the tire when at home.  Ain't gonna have Mr. JD on the road.   Sad
Thanks for the 'education' Craig!   
JR




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« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2008, 08:56:58 PM »

Sure, get us chasing our tails trying to guess what the problem was. Cheesy Feed us a bunch of crap about the fluctuating oil pressure and how hot the temperature was. But leave out the small little details like a loud hissing sound and a rapidly cycling air compressor.   Cheesy   I'm not recommending this mystery novel to any of my friends! (both of them)


By the way,  nice fix!
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« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2008, 09:26:09 PM »


 Quarter well spent Smiley

  I have a hissing noise but I don't think a cork will help!

  You must be a redneck not if.....................leatherman, corks, and spreading tarps to
  save one from grease......... good to put in the knowledge base (with my short memory)

  I enjoyed it all the way..better you than me I'm sure

   Thanks
 Skip
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2008, 03:14:21 AM »

Nice fix Craig!

Yesterday while moving our Eagle I depressed my brake button and heard a hiss. Hmmmm, never heard that before. Pulled up on the button and it stopped. I'm thinking, this is not good, I don't like air leaks. After reading your post I'm concerned that you passed your gremlin on to me, at least part of it. The leak is coming from the valve button itself. Looks like I'll have to replace it before I head to TBR in September. I hope I can find one here in Abilene somewhere. Your story needs to be in the magazine!

By the way, I'll add "The Cork" to my parts supply.  Wink

Good Luck on the rest of your journey,

Paul
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JackConrad
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« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2008, 06:58:49 AM »

Nice fix Craig!
Yesterday while moving our Eagle I depressed my brake button and heard a hiss. Hmmmm, never heard that before. Pulled up on the button and it stopped. I'm thinking, this is not good, I don't like air leaks. After reading your post I'm concerned that you passed your gremlin on to me, at least part of it. The leak is coming from the valve button itself. Looks like I'll have to replace it before I head to TBR in September. I hope I can find one here in Abilene somewhere. Your story needs to be in the magazine!
By the way, I'll add "The Cork" to my parts supply.  Wink
Good Luck on the rest of your journey,
Paul

Paul,
   Try any large truck parts supply store. These are a standard item, and not real expensive. You can also purchase a rebuild kit.  For not much more and peace of mind, I went wiyh a new valve.  Jack
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« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2008, 07:03:20 AM »

Jack,

I'm going to find and install a new one and get a rebuild kit for the old one to keep as a spare. Can't have too many spares you know. Grin

Thanks for the help.

Paul
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« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2008, 08:41:26 AM »

Great job Craig! I wish mine had been that simple! I scalded a spot on my left wrist about 2.5"s long on the hot coolant pipe 4's from the back of the altenator, and have the still healing scar to prove it! But I got those boys to their World Series compitition and that's what counts!  Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2008, 02:09:54 PM »

  Craig I will not be able to make it up to Laramie. I have a friend in Minnesota I see once in a while maybe the next time I go that way we can meet. I am sure our pathes will cross sooner or later.
  Rick Thank you for the kind words. It was a pleasure to meet you and your family and see your very nice bus. Was Willy able to help you? BTW nice tunes.
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« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2008, 02:17:35 PM »

Hello!
 I loved the story and the suspense! I also have been hearing a hissing in the same area that you mentioned and what I had envisioned as something complex and expensive is most probably the exact same thing! Man you made me feel better thinking it might not be that bad after all! I have a '75 TMC MC-8 Crusader. I'll be glad to fix that problem because that's the only thing wrong with my coach!
 I saw that greasy mess in there and that's kinda trippy in itself. But at least it'll make it easier to slide in and out of there!
 Thanks again for the story as I know that's exactly what my coach is doing!
  Take Care,
                  Jeff Smiley
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WD4IHS Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2008, 06:29:36 PM »

Great Road Fix Report!

Well done!

Thank you Craig!

Sojourn for Christ, Jerry
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