Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Oh no!! The Slide out broke in open position!

We arrived in our RV camp just outside of Zion National Park gates and scored a spot next to the Virgin River.  First we had to unhook Mr. Toad (no additional name yet) from Charli and found it to be quite difficult on a grade or when they are not parked straight so we walked around the camp to find a level spot.  We should have realized then and there that level spot means different things to different people.

We pulled head into our spot on a hot gusty day.  Had just driven 250 miles from GC through northern Arizona over some beautiful roads in windy conditions and were tired and over heated.  Narrow spot.  How are we going to store Mr. Toad and open the slides?  Pull forward, nope,  move left? nope, move right? nope.  ok, back to pulling as far forward almost touching the BBQ grill which we weren't going to use anyway.  Ok?  lower the automatic levelers.  ALL the way in front and still not level.  Hmm.  ok, almost level.  Let's try sliding out the front slide. 

YIKE!  About 6 inches out I noticed the back end going out fine but the faster and farther than the front end.  In fact, the front end isn't moving at all!  Uh, oh.  Retract.  Back end moves but front doesn't.  Now what do we do?  Ok stop.  retract levelers.  try again.  Nope.  Hmm.  Can I move the RV?  Start engine and yes, it moves.  Good news and bad news.  Meanwhile Sraddha looks at another spot 2 doors upriver and she walks 1/4 mile back to office to check availability.  She comes back and says we can move and it appears a little more level.

Ok, so we carefully back out of space, and move over 2 doors to the other space with the slide still extended.  We level it and it is better but not perfect.  Did I mention we were over heated yet? (body temp only).  We can live with this.  The firdge still works and the bedroom slides out fine.  What to do with "broken slide"? Ah Ha!  when we bought Charli the RV dealer threw in a 1 yr subscription to "Priority Care" an emergency road care service.  We had internet and cell service (not always the case on this trip) so I dialed up the phone number and eventually got a technician on the phone.  We diagnosed the problem which turned out to be a broken pin underneath the front slide.  Sigh. 

 "Can you manually pull in the slide", she asked?  

"How do I do that?" I answered.  

"It might say in the owner's manual", she replied.  

Zounds what a brilliant idea I thought.  We didn't get an owner's manual which the RV dealer promised us so we bugged the Tiffin Manufacturer who finally sent us one.  It arrived while I was visiting home for some work so I cleverly put it in my return luggage.  Open to page 8-4 and there it told me how to manually do it.  Except I was really tired and hot and we could live with the slide partially open today.  So she calmly said she would research someone to come out tomorrow if I preferred (they pay travel costs and I pay labor to repair) or I could do it myself.  The instructions were complicated.  Something about dismantling switches and sensors, etc, so I said, sure,  send someone out.  She said she would call back in the morning with someone who could come out.  "OK" I said.  

Meanwhile, the heat and wind were taking their toll.  The good news is that we remained even minded and cheerful and never got upset with the situation or each other.  We decided to table the whole thing until the next day.  Oh, yes, the water hose leaked a little and we had no extra seal.  We can live with this until the next day also.  However, the kicker was the neighbors with 4 kids from hell, who ran around and yelled and talked until 10:30 that night.  I almost said something but they finally quieted down.  We were both overheated so we decided to go to swimming pool to cool off.  We wanted to go into the river but the bank was too steep and long (good news when it floods though). 

We changed into swim suits and walked the 1/4 mile to the pool.  BRR!.  85 degrees air temp.  about 55 degrees water temp. Turns out they had just filled the swimming pool the day before we arrived.  We both dipped in for a few seconds.  It was ccccoooolllldddd, but did the trick of lowering body temps a bit.  Went back to RV and turned on the AC as interior temp was 91 and climbing.  Normally we don't like to run the AC but it was nice to have this day to both cool off and to filter out noise from the neighbors 12 feet away. 

Next morning we discuss our options. Can we manually retract the slide ourselves thereby saving a bunch of money?  Fortified with 2 cups of tea, I hauled out the manual and re-read the section.  Hmm.  this doesn't look that hard.  Let's crawl underneath and have a look-see.  Yep the bolt shear pin was missing on front end.  Where did it go?  drop off or break?  But I did have a wrench to twist the square rod to move the gear to bring it in. Would it break something if I did this?  Was there a sensor i needed to disengage or would the electric motor jam? I decide to risk it.  Turn turn.  It's moving!  A few more turns of the wrench and it was all the way in!  Woo Hoo! I get a call from RV repair guy about 30 minutes away who can't come out until next day to retract it for us.  and then I can drive it back to his place for repair.  Happily, I told him we got it retracted ourselves and made arrangements to drive it down to St George (one hour one way) next day to be repaired.  Whew.  End of tunnel in site.'

We drive up to the park and take shuttle up the Zion Lodge for breakfast, proud that we got the slide manually retracted. We took a walk because I wasn't feeling that good.  Not bad but just not tip-top-hike-up-a-steep-elevation-just-a-mild-stroll-good.  It had cooled down to low 60's and began to rain with wind so we hopped on shuttle back to visitor center and headed back to RV.  During breakfast we had decided to see if we could fix it ourselves.  We needed a new bolt and locknut.  Sraddha went back to our original spot (recently vacated earlier in morning) and found the old bolt!  Good news.  Now we just need a locknut so she drives down to Hurricane to Ace hardware store and gets one.  She also bought some extra washers for the water hose.  I remained home to rest.

Well, if you are still reading, we got back underneath and with a lot of effort, jiggling and turning, were able to put the bolt back through the rods connecting to the motor, tighten down the new locknut and extend the slide to full position!  Victory!  I called back the RV repair guy to tell him we would not be making a trip to St. George.  

We are staying here a couple more days.  That is another story.

Our view out the front window of Charli encamped just outside Zion Park
Breakfast view from Zion Lodge!  Is there a better breakfast place?  Veggie omelet good too!
Storm clouds incoming north of our camp!
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