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First Scare



In the process of the delivery and our purchase, the seller picked up a new chassis battery and I agreed to split the cost with him. However, he delivered the coach on the old battery.

I installed the new battery. I consider myself mechanically proficient, and I have changed batteries on dozens of vehicles over the years. This battery has the GM type side terminals. I thought I had them tight, but I am also concerned about over-torquing things (don't ask me why).

I had no electrical problems driving the coach over to ALT RV Service for the brake work, etc. They had checked out the electrical system as part of their "100 point inspection." They test-drove it 2 or 3 times before everything was done and we picked up our new-to-us motorhome.

After we had paid the bill, I headed home with the coach, followed by Grandma in her car. At the top of the hill on Rte 202 in Winthrop, I got into the left lane, preparing to turn left on my way to a gas station. Suddenly everything went dead! No engine, no restart, no power steering, no power brakes. I did not want to end up with a dead coach on the left side of the road! I checked the mirrors. Fortunately, Grandma was well behind me and there was no one else really close. I yanked the thing to the right and still had enough momentum to get across the highway and coast to a stop on the right side of the road.

Grandma pulled in behind me, quite concerned about "what the **** happened." We called ALT RV Service and the mechanic came over. As we were checking things over, we found that the problem was that the ground terminal on the battery had loosened. With a computer-controlled, electrically fuel-injected engine, things come to a halt immediately if battery contact is lost. Some of the older engines would keep running on the alternator, but not the current ones! As it turned out, the problem was really my own fault. I have not had the problem again in about 1200 miles. You can bet that I will make sure those battery terminals stay tight from now on!

Years ago, when I took pilot training, my instructors taught me to always be scanning for a place to make an emergency landing. I think the same advice applies while driving a truck, bus or motor coach. Actually, this incident wasn't the first time I have had a vehicle suddenly quit on me. However, I must admit it was a little scary in this big coach which I was not totally used to driving yet.


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