A Quick Task! Chapter 1:

On Monday, September 26, 2016 Judy and I set out in Arcturus to accomplish a couple of housekeeping tasks. First was to dump the tanks, one of those disgusting but necessary jobs that must be done periodically. Robin Williams in his movie “RV” makes great sport of this simple task. But I digress, this task went smoothly and soon we arrived at our second destination. The Less Schwab store on Imbrie Drive where we had an appointment to exchange our dead 15 year old chassis batteries for a pair of new healthy ones. It was a little congested in the truck parking area, but Judy managed to wedge Arcturus between a Gulf war vintage 6×6 exchanging tires and a fully loaded log truck replacing two flats. The transplant went smoothly until it came time to test start the coach. I slid into the driver’s seat and inserted the key. First click activates the cylinder head heaters, wait for the “wait to start” blinking warning light to go out.

I twisted the key to the start position and dead silence. The Les Schwab technician, “Jay,” and I carefully verified each connection to the batteries, there are 14 of them, and verified that the chassis battery disconnect switch had been switched back on. I slid back into the driver’s seat and tried the same sequence, click, ticky-ticky-ticky, nothing. We spent another hour reviewing everything and testing everything. My friend, Dave Campbell came over and provided several Alpine specific suggestions and still nothing could get so much as a grunt out of the starter motor.
No sweat, we have “Roadside Assistance” they will know what to do. Well their solution is to tow us to the closest mechanic. By now it is two in the afternoon. The tow truck shows up; a bright red Peterbuilt named “Miss Ashley” with a friendly and helpful driver. We while away the afternoon helping get the coach chained to the tow arm, stringing air hoses through the inside of the coach and removing the drive-line. By then I had an appointment with Bruce at the Cummins Northwest shop on Swan Island in downtown Portland.


Arcturus Gets a Helping Hand

Next is an hour long ride through some of Portland’s most challenging traffic. The Sunset Corridor, I-405 and I-5 into the heart of downtown Portland. This all happening between four and five on a Monday evening. The trip was slow as molasses but smooth as silk. Eventually we were back on the ground with drive-line reinstalled.
Bruce got a technician right on the problem, and with me clicking the key on and off, we tried valiantly to resolve the problem. Once again we verified the wiring connections, checked off each component of the starting sequence and time after time, “click, ticky-ticky-ticky, nothing.”
At about 7:30 we threw up our hands and bagged up some “Bear Necessities,” and returned to Hillsboro with our daughter, “Renee.” It is now two days later and there has been no progress at the shop, and our “Bear Necessities” are not enough. Today we must get access to the coach and get some substantial supplies.
The moral here is; be sure to properly schedule your breakdowns, and have a qualified mechanic standing by. It’s either that or be prepared to do it yourself.
–End of Chapter 1:–

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