Yesterday, June 19, 2011, it was announced on the RV Dreams journal entry that a couple from Kansas that had retired and begun to travel in 2006 had lost their Mobile Suites RV to a fire. From the details given, there was apparently a locked up wheel bearing or something that then created a blowout and the beginning of the fire. The owners tried to put out the fire themselves, but with the limited fire extinguishers that they had, they were unable to save the coach.
Here is a link to the RV Dreams journal entry:
And here is a link to a posting on the couple trip journal:
The reason I bring this up is because of the importance of being prepared and being conscious of the maintenance that our RV’s need. I have no idea of the number of fire extinguishers the couple had, nor do I know of their maintenance procedures in the past, nor can I say that they have done anything wrong to cause this terrible accident.
A number of forum commenters make the point of being glad they have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) or a detector that can tell the temperatures of the wheels and tires on their rigs. They tell stories of seeing a higher than normal pressure in only one tire on their TPMS system, thus having an indicator that perhaps heat has caused that increase in pressure.
Others write of walking around their RV with a device for detecting temperatures and checking every wheel and tire for temperatures, looking for one that is higher than all the others. That higher temperature would be an indicator of a possible bad bearing.
There may be other methods that RV’ers do to check their rigs, and it would be important to all of us to at least take note of those so that we can duplicate what they do on our own. It is also important to create a system of maintenance so that we have a knowledge of what may need to be checked or repaired or replaced.
How many have kept their tires too long and seen a blowout that severely damaged their RV? How many others have taken shortcuts and ended up seeing a failure?
I remember a topic where someone had checked their bearings and when putting things back together, they felt that the seals were still good. Later, that bearing began to leak from that seal, leading to a bearing failure. The gist of that discussion was that if one pulls a bearing for any reason, replace the seal, even if it not necessary to replace the bearings.
Marilyn and Ed were extremely lucky in that they suffered no harm themselves, but they have lost their home (the RV) and all that was in it. We can all offer our thanks to God that they were spared and that their lives get back to some form of normalcy soon.
Beyond that, let us all learn from the mistakes of others. When we are on the various forums, we need to pay attention to those threads that speak of maintenance of our rigs, especially of the “running gear” that includes the tires, wheels, axles, drive shafts, etc. It isn’t enough to just do a quick look-over and the get the oil changed.
I know that on a number of forums, some of the topics run to being careful to not purchase any tires that are made in China, making sure that tire pressures are maintained at the proper level, and to paying attention as to how old the tires are, not just how much tread is left.
Keep in mind that those things are the foundations of our RV’s and the loss or damage to those things may mean the RV sits at the side of the road, instead of being able to make it to the next repair facility. Being at the side of the road and trying to change a tire or bearing makes it dangerous should that tire or bearing be on the road side of the RV.
Also, with fires in mind, let me remind everyone that a coffee maker that is plugged in can be a source of fire. If you talk to some firefighters, you might be surprised as to the number of home fires that are caused by a coffee maker being plugged in, although not operating at the time.
Have an extra fire extinguisher or two available. The one inside the door of the coach may not be of any benefit because of size and any that are under the sink may be unavailable because the slides are pulled in.
As stated every episode on Hill Street Blues at the shift briefings, “Let’s be careful out there.”
And, speaking of axles and bearings, I think this guy has a lot to look after. It is a converted bus towing a 3-axle trailer in which they carry the full sized Cadillac Escalade seen parked in front of the bus. This was seen in 2008 at the Eleven Mile State Park west of Colorado Springs, CO.
OK. Since writing the above, Ed and Marilyn have updated their travel journal and what they had to say is pretty much what I mentioned. We all certainly need more than one fire extinguisher.
Also, I had an issue last night in that I tried posting this blog post but I kept getting an error message. We’ll see what happens today. I did post two yesterday, so I don’t fully understand unless there is something between LiveWriter and Blogger.