Gremlins, Engine error codes, air system issues, brake issue, fun fun fun

Wednesday 10/22 was another travel day. It was time to leave Sisters Oregon and start heading south. And Wednesday turned out to be a day filled with Gremlins.

The first gremlin,, was while hooking the Jeep to the RV. We have the Air Force1 brake system and have loved it but this morning it wasn’t as user friendly. After hooking up the air hose I jumped into the Jeep to back up and lock the pins on our tow-bar in place and as I tried to back up I found that the brake pedal was to the floor and I couldn’t move it. So I jumped out and unhooked the air line and the pedal was fine. I hooked up the airline again and the same thing happened. So I took it off again and the pedal would release. Hmmmm

Then I went in the coach and released the parking brake and set it again and pumped the brake a few times then went outside to try again. This time everything seemed fine so we finished hooking up and Diane walked next to the jeep for a couple hundred feet while I drove forward applying the brake several times to see if anything seemed wrong. All looked good so away we went.

After being on the road for several miles I pulled over on a wide spot and felt the jeep wheels, they were very warm so I just disconnected the airline and continue on.

The second gremlin,, which may have actually started on our last travel day from Eugene to Sisters but I thought I was imagining things then, but now I know I wasn’t. Anyway, you know how the air release valve will pop off and release air as you drive once and a while, well while I’m driving slowly and can hear mine release almost every min. or less.

I kept a very watchful eye on the air pressure gauges and everything seemed fine but things just weren’t right so my mind was always focused on it and figured I would find a Freightliner shop along our way south and have them look at it.

The third gremlin for the day,, after stopping for fuel I fired up the engine and as always checked the gauges before driving off and an engine emblem stayed lit, NOW WHAT!!! So I pulled to a parking slot and called Freightliner. They had be do a few things to pull up an error code and told me it was ok to drive but I would need to find a Cummins or Freightliner shop to have it re-flashed. Well with everything that happened throughout the day I figured it would be wise to fins a Freightliner shop sooner than later!!

There was some good during the day however. While staying in Sisters our good friends Bob and Karen were staying in La Pine and planned to be leaving on the same day so we both planned a fuel stop at the Kla moy-ya Casino where we could also have lunch together before moving on.

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After our visit with Bob and Karen we headed south, following Bob and Karin for a few miles, towards Susanville Ca.. A little over 300 mile travel day which is long for us.


For our motorcycle riding friends that have ridden the roads between Klamath Falls Oregon and Susanville know it’s a pretty good scooter road, well it’s not such a great motorhome road LOL!! Unless you ask Diane, she said it wasn’t bad. I wonder if she would feel differently if she had been driving.

Once we reached Susanville we followed our GPS directions to our campground. Unfortunately after having us make a left hand turn it was a little slow in telling us we had an immediate right hand turn. As it was saying “You have reached your destination on the right we were stopped at an entrance to a mobile home park that had signs clearly stating (NO RV”S or TRUCKS) and I was scratching my head. Why not, it was just one of those days.

Once set up in Susanville I checked the Freightliner app on our phone and located the closest shop that would be at least in the general direction we were headed. With luck that was in Sparks Nevada. Not just close to the path we would be taking but smack dab in our path.

Their service dept. is open until 7pm so I was able to called them that night and explain our situation and asked if I could make an appointment. They said just pull in and they would get us looked at.

All-righty then, it was roughly 2 hours from our campground to the shop so we decided to get up at 6am and be on the road by 7. What a day.

Thursday morning we did just as we planned, got up at 6 and was on the road shortly after 7 and arrived at the shop just after 9am.

Now more fun, I had not driven the Jeep since we had troubles when leaving Sisters Oregon. So when I unhooked at Freightliner I immediately felt the brakes were as hard as a rock and stopped the Jeep poorly. So after getting squared away checking in the RV I took the Jeep for a test drive, things were not good.

Because we are headed into the desert and some pretty unpopulated areas I figured we better get it looked at while in the Reno area. So we called a shop and headed their way. They put it on the rack and took the wheels off so we could get a good look and found the pads were toast and rotors had definitely gotten very hot. So I had new pads installed and had the rotors turned. To be safe I also had the brake fluid changed as well.


Dang, our first year on the road went so smooth and this second year had its share of trials and tribulations. Like I said one time before, just because we have the good fortune of touring this great country of ours it can’t always be a bed of roses.

While waiting for the jeep we walked about 1 mile to the Grand Sierras Casino and had some lunch and poked around a bit before walking back. The Jeep was done about 2:30 and we headed back to check on the RV. They had JUST pulled it around to look at it. I was a little disappointed but oh well.

After they hooked the rig up to the computer and re-flashed the ECM which took care of our check engine light they took it for a test drive and said they didn’t find a problem with the air system. I informed the service advisor that it seemed odd because I heard the air pop off 3 times as it returned from the test drive from the time it hit their lot to when he parked it.

He then had a different tech go for a drive with me to listen. They figured out it was a failed Air Governor. The good thing is they found (We hope) the problem and had the part in stock. The bad thing it was 6:30pm and they didn’t have time to make the fix. So we dry camped in the Freightliner parking lot for the night. Hey!!! Free camping!!!


Friday morning the shop opened at 7am and I patiently waited until 8:30 before going inside to make sure they remembered we were still there. About 45 minutes later our tech came out and took our rig.

They said it should take about 2 hours for the repair so we decided to take a drive to a state park we had read about between Reno and Carson called Washoe Lake State Park. If you are ever in the area it would be worth looking into if you want a place out of town to camp. It’s all dry camping but the sites are nice sized and spaced well. We thought about going there after the RV was fixed but the road leading to it was being repaved and I wasn’t too hot about the idea of driving the rig on a freshly tarred road on purpose so we passed this time around.

We headed back to check on the motorhome about 12:30 and they were just finishing up. They replaced the governor with an adjustable one and said they found no other leaks.

At that point we had to decide if we wanted to head out with no definite destination in mind or just find a campground close by to chill and lick our wounds for a day or two. We decided to head to the Sparks Marina RV Park where we stayed back in May on our way back to Oregon. It sounded simple and we were ready for simple LOL!!



Because the campground was only 3 miles from the Freightliner shop I didn’t bother hooking up the jeep. I will hook up the airline while we are at the campground and see what happens. I don’t know how the bad governor would affect the Air-force One but I guess stranger things have happened. I only hope in some strange way they were connected. If not we will cross that bridge next. At least I’m not too worried about the Jeep pushing the motorhome during stops but we do need it working correctly. If we still have a problem I will be contacting Air Force One to see what they have to say.

I hate to admit it but when I bought our TPMS system I only installed the sensors on the RV and not the Jeep. I wonder if I would have gotten a temp. alarm that would have alerted me in time to avoid some of the damage. Lesson learned, I guess I will be installing those sensors before we leave as well.

The good this the repairs on the motorhome were of course covered under warranty. The sad part is that the repairs on the Jeep were not. I guess that’s why we have emergency funds standing by.

As we post this update it is Sunday and we have pretty much hunkered down the last two days but we will do a separate update about our stay here. Hopefully it will be more upbeat LOL!! The bugs are bound to be about all worked out of this rig. The first year is always the worst they say. When I made mention of how smooth our first year went keep in mind we had a rig that we bought new in 2007 so all the bugs had already been worked out by the time we hit the road (even though there were certainly fewer bugs with it overall . In fact we had fewer issues with that rig the entire time we owned it than we have had with this one in just less than 1 year. But to be fair this is a much more complicated machine).

But the skies are blue and the temps aren’t bad and we have a nice lake with a 2 mile walking trail around it just a short ways from our campground so all is good!! More to come on that. We will be here a week.

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4 Responses to Gremlins, Engine error codes, air system issues, brake issue, fun fun fun

  1. debbiemc14 says:

    Dang, well that’s how things go sometimes huh? Not pretty though. Well, here’s to smooth sailing ahead! Looks like you’ve got a nice place to unwind.

    • Dave & Diane says:

      Thanks,,, yep,,, ya just have to roll with the punches as they say. And yes, this isn’t a bad spot to lick our wounds LOL!! But it’s getting cold at night, 30 last night. Looking forward to moving on Saturday.

  2. You guys have the best attitude of just about anyone I know considering the problems you’ve encountered. But then again, what’s the alternative? We’re hoping that everything gets taken care of and you can finally get “south” for the winter.

    • Dave & Diane says:

      Well thanks Steve. I have mentioned before that I use some of the challenges as simple character building exercises LOL!! But then the words in a blog CAN mask some of the frustration.
      We have been telling ourselves to keep it slow, don’t want to get down south in the heat to soon but even though the days have been pretty nice it got down to 30 last night. May be time to pick up the pace LOL!!

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