• Limping along with Mr. Allison

    Things didn’t exactly go swimmingly so we decided that we needed to go to an Allison shop and not just a truck shop; I reasoned that since the brain box came from W. W. Williams and we were closer to W. W. Williams in Montgomery that W. W. Williams in Atlanta especially considering the Atlanta traffic we would proceed to W. W. Williams in Montgomery. So I plotted our route there.

    It appeared, according to the topo map, that we would encounter many hills, even some that were called mountains, on the direct route and with an ailing gearbox that didn’t look like a good way to go.

    We toddled down to FDR SP south of LaGrange, Ga., and stayed the night. Actually we had a two-night reservation but getting Mr. Allison in good shape was a whole lot more important than sitting in a campground.

    We launched for Montgomery this morning and had a relatively uneventful trip with Mr. Allison only once taking a dump and arrived at W. W. Williams just in time for lunch.

    After lunch the tech came out and asked “Where’s you port?’  I replied, “Don’t have one.”

    The tech said “I’ll find it.”  I said “Good luck, I’ll help you look.”

    After a lot of rummaging around the tech said “They hid it too good. Let’s go for a ride.”   I believe there’s no port at all;  neither the chassis manual or the engine manual make mention of any sort of port. There is no port.

    Mr. Allison huffed and puffed and blew up his back feathers and hunched and hissed and spat and took the tech for a ride and threw codes that don’t even exist.

    The decision was “Park over by the fence; we’ll fix you in the morning.”

    When I tried to back out to get over by the fence Mr. Allison had decided we didn’t deserve reverse gear either. But we made it through the neighboring business’ parking lot.

    I think this tech’s going to fix it. I’ll post his accolades when he does.


  • Escape Velocity

    It was rather interesting leaving Camp Parking Lot.

    We got about five miles down I-85 and the Allison downgraded and locked into third gear. We sorta had a WTF moment and dealt with it, seeing that were on I-85 near Spaghetti Junction, and exited onto Best Friends Road. Seriously.

    We went back to Peach Truck in third gear; the guys looked up the code as said it was “learning” and if it did it again we’d need to go down to Williams on the south side of Atlanta. Did I mention we were on the north side?

    We drove around and around and decided to hit it and go. And the Allison crapped out several more times. We’d get out of the way and restart and all would be well until it happened again. Code 56-55, which is a “learning” code. So they say.

    Allison, we’re not expecting you to do algebra. Simple sums would be sufficient.

    We were near a truck and gear shop that actually rebuilds Allisons but the Commander said “proceed” so we did. And we didn’t have nary a problem.

    We toddled on down to Little Tallapossa CG without any issues other than getting slightly misplaced. I hope that trend keeps on.

    But we’ve reached escape velocity.

  • Greetings from Camp Parking Lot

    Well, we’re at Camp Parking Lot again but at least it’s a different one.

    Waiting for service!

    Waiting for service!

    The Allison ECU (electronic control unit) declared itself brain-dead. And of course there’s a story.

    When we cranked up yesterday it blinked and beeped and continued blinking and beeping for about half an hour until it warmed up enough to work normally. The code readout said 69-32, which means “replace ECU.”  Since our experience has been that once it warmed up it would work fine the rest of the day, we proceeded on our errands and appointments and boogied on down the road to the nearest shop that had a clue what I was talking about, going 75 miles down to Norcross.

    Our neighbor!

    Our neighbor!

    About two-thirds of this 75 miles was running with the heavy trucks, something we’ve never done much, and I felt oddly comfortable. Most of them are regulated to 65 miles per hour; that speed is just below lightspeed for me, so I could just line up with them and go with no jockeying for position or fast passing. I could ride along three feet from a big rig and my only concern was all those little cars we might perhaps squash.

    Since the shop, Peach State Truck Center, starts at 7:30 a.m. we got up an hour before zero-dark-thirty and  waited a couple of hours for someone to get to us. A  guy came out with a computer and hunted around for a socket to plug it into. I said there’s probably not one and he couldn’t find one so he went back inside. Momentarily he came back with his supervisor who was determined to plug the computer into the diagnostic port.

    Did I mention that The Queen’s Barge is 21 years old? We’re just above steam age; there is no diagnostic port. Actually the engine has no electronics at all.

    So both guys went away and came back later to confirm that my initial diagnosis, “replace ECU” was correct according to the built-in diagnosis capability of the Allison ECU. In short, the computer declared itself  T.U.

    By the way, when I tried to show the first tech what was happening it fired up and worked perfectly. We can only figure that direct sun on the dash for a couple of  hours was enough to warm it up, so yes of course it worked at the shop.

    More to come.