Up at 5:00 a.m., we had the rig at RV Lifestyles in Quartzsite by 6:30 as planned. I backed it into a service bay.
We noticed the loud screeching of the brake on the one wheel. It wasn't as bad as before for some reason, but I could certainly feel the drag while towing. At least we made it.
Once I had the trailer in the position you see above, they jacked it up. In trying to spin the wheel to make sure it was off the ground, it wouldn't budge. It had completely locked up.
Whew. Glad it waited until we got it in a service bay. And we're glad we followed Linda's gut and stayed here in Quartzsite rather than taking the chance on breaking down between here and Phoenix in the middle of nowhere.
They couldn't get the brake drum off as easily as they'd hoped. They had to break out a special tool to pull it off.
They were still working on that as I headed off to Blythe to pick up our new parts. I wanted to be there a little before 8:00.
Just before I got to the UPS service center in Blythe, I got a phone call from Darren, the driver that services the Quartzsite area. He said the package was there and wanted to verify whether I wanted him to leave it or put it on his truck. He would be in Quartzsite at about 10:30.
"Darren, I'll be there in five minutes." When I arrived, he had it ready to go for me and even carried the 75 pound package out to the Jeep. The package was pretty beat up, but the labels were all in tact and readable. Imagine that.
I'll be writing a letter praising these guys at the Blythe station. They were absolutely wonderful. :)
I was back at RV Lifestyles by 8:20.
While I was gone, they had gotten the drum pulled off. Linda took pictures of the drum that was put on a few days ago by Tropical RV.
In only 220 miles, the inside of the drum had several grooves in it. But the brake liners didn't have any protruding metal and it wasn't clear what had caused the grooves. It was clear that the brake assembly was the problem, but we're sure curious about what exactly caused the grooves.
Here's a look at the brake drum with the grooves next to the one I picked up.
We were glad I ordered both a new drum and brake assembly. And Dexter shipped the correct "right hand", passenger side brake assembly. I had tweaked Linda's nerves earlier by saying "Hope they shipped the brakes for the correct side". :)
Chuck, the tech, put the new brake assembly on while Linda watched his every move, asked questions, and took pictures.
We sure have learned a lot about brakes over the past week and a half. We believe it is safe to say that we could put a new brake assembly and drum on ourselves if we had the correct tools. :)
Knowing that the job was being properly supervised, I went back and forth between watching Chuck and helping James, the owner of the dealership. James was working with FreedomCare to see what they would cover for us.
I got the invoice from Dexter faxed over. The brake drum was $400. The brake assembly was $228. And the overnight shipping was .... yikes .... $276.
FreedomCare is paying for the labor to install the new brakes, and they are paying for the new brake assembly. I'll get the shipping knocked off or, at a minimum, knocked down to a second-day air rate. If I come out just having to pay for a new brake drum, that'll be okay, but I'm going to see if I can get either Dexter or Tropical RV to cover that. Worth a shot. :)
With all the new parts installed, I towed the rig around the parking lot a few times. No rubbing or screeching sounds. I backed it up and went forward. I turned it around a couple times to make sure I was doing both left hand and right hand turns. Still no noises and I was no longer feeling the drag.
Linda was satisfied and we settled up with James. It all worked out and we were ready to hit the the road by 10:30 a.m., a couple of hours earlier than we expected.
I threw the "old" drum and brake assembly in the back of the truck just in case I need them to get some money back. I'm told that the drum is still usable if we get the grooves ground out, so, if nothing else, we'll have a back-up.
And I made sure to save the box with all the UPS labels just in case I need that for my shipping refund. If they hadn't tried to blame the delay on Dexter, I might have just let it go and accepted a reduction to a second day rate. But now I'm going after the whole thing - that should be fun. :)
Since we replaced everything related to the brakes, we shouldn't have any more problems. Still, we wanted to be sure that there wasn't some other hidden problem that was a contributing factor.
We stopped at the first Rest Area we came to - about 35 miles east on I-10. We used our infrared thermometer to compare temperatures of tires and drums. Just small variances.
After taking Hwy 85 south from I-10 toward I-8 to avoid Phoenix, we stopped in Gila Bend after about 120 miles of driving. Still looking good. The new drum was actually slightly cooler than a couple of the others. Our confidence was building. :)
After 5 1/2 hours, we finally arrived at the SKP Saguaro Co-Op in Benson, AZ. It was a 300-mile trip and we arrived right at 4:00. They put us in site 250 for our one-night stay.
While we were in the office, we checked our status on the "hot list" to get a lot. We started out at number 437 back in December and as of today we are number 393. :)
As we were getting ready to go to our site, Jerry & Suzy, who we met last year and who are frequent commenters on the Journal, drove by. We waved and they stopped to welcome us. They invited us to come by their place later if we felt like it. :)
We were guided to our site, but we didn't even set up. It was Happy Hour, so Linda grabbed a couple of Bud Lights (for her - I can't stand the stuff) and we headed over to the community building.
Though there weren't many people at Happy Hour, we saw a few familiar faces and met some new people. Linda said it was like "coming home" and after the last several days, it was nice to be in familiar surroundings. :)
Sometime after 5:00 we headed back to the rig to set up. Linda was slightly loopy, and we realized we probably should have set up before going to Happy Hour. :) But we managed.
By then we were starving. We took the truck into town to fuel up and stopped by the Safeway to pick up some milk and a roasted chicken.
After we got back and had dinner, we were hoping to walk over and visit with Jerry & Suzy, but we were just too exhausted from our long day and very early start. We wouldn't have been very good company. :)
We weren't awake very much longer.
Well, it's certainly good to be back on the road and back on schedule. We've had to cut out a few stops and a few days of hiking, but at least we're feeling safe and looking forward to being with more "Family" very soon. :)