Camp Parking Lot – Lone Star style

Howdy folks! Long time no grouse at!

We cranked up The Barge for the first time in a while on Monday and waddled our way down to Texas RV in Cypress to get some repairs done; repairs we should have done earlier but put off. She ran great after not having moved in so long.

You know that as we’ve mentioned she has a tendency to break something on the way to a repair shop. That’s happened on the way to the last two shops and true to form she did it again. I’d noticed that the fuel gauge moved a bit over the 60 miles while normally it wouldn’t; we pulled in at the shop and we were happily pumping diesel fuel all over the parking lot.

Fortunately this was on the “cool” side of the engine and nothing caught fire. A three-foot piece of cheap rubber hose simply sprung a leak. I’ll add a piece of hose to my parts bin and it’ll never happen again.

What are we doing here? Glad you asked. We had a crack in the exhaust manifold and a bunch of soot on the exhaust brake housing and we’d been ignoring all this for too long.

First repair was the hose, which took all of 10 minutes including hunting in the shop for some hose. Next was the manifold.

Twenty-three year-old exhaust manifolds don’t want to come off. It’s as if they’ve grown there. So you spray the bolts with P-Blaster or something, let them soak and hope for the best. Our tech gave it a try yesterday evening and promptly broke a bolt. He squirted them again and let them soak.

Promptly at the crack of noon or so he appeared today and got started. Clanging, banging and air-hammering and shaking the rig tugging and pulling. For FIVE friggin hours. Laying on his back under the engine reaching and working upward. With all the crap and crud falling on his face. I hope they’re paying him enough.

I certainly didn’t want to pester him but I checked in after a couple of hours and said “You’re not cussing near enough.” He said that he had to walk away every now and then and let loose so I told him to not hold back on account of us!

And then he discovered that he’d have to take the turbo off to get at the last two bolts. And then he discovered that the adaptor tube going to the exhaust brake was in fact cracked in half.

So…can we get the tube from PPL here in Houston or does it have to come from Elkhart? We can’t move until the exhaust is fixed; can our tanks hold out that long? We have electricity and water, but we’re eyeing that drainage ditch out back.

Tune in tomorrow!

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