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Old 08-18-2014, 12:52 PM   #1
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Gotta get towed

Well I am going to have to get towed to a mechanic shop. Last week I was moving my coach and noticed that the reverse camera wasn't engaging when I put it in reverse. Then I looked at the dash and the check engine light was on and in the message center it was flashing "Trans Comm Fail". I called the FCC hotline, we tried a few things to no avail. I called a few mechanic shops locally but there was some confusion as to if it was a Cummings or Allison problem. So this morning I called Good Sam's Roadside Asst. They got me hooked up with a shop about 2 hours north of me, but I will have to get towed there. Tow truck will be here Wednesday. I'm just glad this happened in my driveway instead of on an interstate somewhere.


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Old 08-18-2014, 06:36 PM   #2
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I saw this a few times after i replaced the inverter. I found a loose connection in the harness that runs behind the inverter.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:46 PM   #3
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I searched all over it looking for the same. Everything I've read and was told was that it is probably a loose wire somewhere, I just can't seem to find it.


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Old 08-18-2014, 09:13 PM   #4
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beipers, did you fix it yourself?


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Old 08-18-2014, 11:57 PM   #5
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Yes. I had to have mine towed earlier this summer. Thru the process, I have learned several important lessons. My situation was as follows.

I have a 2012 390BH-60 that I take in to get fully serviced every year at Cummins before putting it away in storage for the winter. Throughout the winter I went out to storage several times to run the unit and bring all batteries up to full charge.

Before our first trip in the spring I went out to the unit and let the engine and genset run for a short while as I had lunch. When I came back to the unit I noticed the check engine light was on. I drove the unit home a very short distance and called cummins for an appointment.

Cummins told we that due to the color of the light (not red), then said that it was safe to drive. I booked the unit in for the next morning to have the code pulled. We were planning to leave for a 3000 mile trip two days later. Cummins was completely booked up but I wanted the self assurance that it was safe to be driven for a trip of this distance with the yellow light.

The next morning my plan was to stop at the battery store and then drive to Cummins to have the code pulled.

This was when things got interesting ... as I pulled away from the battery store I noticed the unit had almost no power. As I scanned the dash, I noticed that the LCD display now read "Stop Engine". Although I was only about 6 blocks away from Cummins, I stopped the engine and phoned for help.

I phoned AMA (your equivalent to AAA) and asked for a tow. Thank God I carry the RV membership. I was first told that it would be a 30 min wait but was later called up and told that their normal Big Rig Towwing company was tied up for the remainder of the day and that they were in the process of finding an alternate company.

I waited at the side of the road from 10 am until 2 pm before the tow truck showed up. After assessing the unit they decided to tow from the front. After positioning their unit and stared to lift, they came to the conclusion that their lift was going to hit the fiberglass front of the MH before they would lift it off of the ground. They lowered their lift and proceeded to put taller extensions on their lift (the part that goes under the axel). All was good until the started to lift. This time they discovered that the genset exhaust was now in the way and would need to be removed. Time passes and they discover that even with their tallest extension the front of the MH would likely be damaged if they proceeded. More time passes ... they now decide to lift from the rear which requires the removal to the one-piece mud guard. (which by the way ..weighs about 100 lbs). They manage to get the unit hooked up but now find that the front of the unit and the front step is dangerously close to the ground. The slightest bump would risk contact with the ground.

We crawled the 6 block down to Cummins at about 5mph and all was well. No contact with ground and no damage to the unit ... although .... it is now 6pm and the flat rate towing paid to the contractor company meant that they had lost their shirt on the deal.

Now to add insult to injury, when Cummins ran codes they found three errors all related to the DEF system. Two of the errors were something that was Cummins related and the third was a Freightliner issue which if I got it fixed at Freightliner would require a second tow.

This was when the Cummins service person told me that the motor is designed in such a way that once the Stop Engine message comes on ... the unit can still be driven but only at a max speed of about 5mph. (yikes I could have driven the unit rather than waste the entire day waiting for a tow.)

Just before the tow truck driver left he told me the following. Even though the was very familier with towing Motorhomes (4 in that week alone). he felt that the 390BH is one that should be trucked on a lowbed rather than being towed.
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:24 AM   #6
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So you are saying that adventure is just getting started.........great.

I am able to drive mine even with the transmission comm fail, I got it out on the highway, top speed is about 38mph. My exhaust break does not work, neither does the speedometer. What worries me is that I have two very high bridges to cross to get to the Cummins shop. It feels like the trans is stuck in about 3rd gear. It takes a while for me to get going and at 38mph I am at 2500rpm.

I got my speed from my GPS. I hunted all over for a loose connection or wire, I can't locate any fuses that may be for the speedo or exhaust break.


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Old 08-19-2014, 09:42 AM   #7
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I dread having to ever be towed.
I would sure exhaust all my other options if I wasn't on the road or have a trip planned.

I hope it all works out well for you.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lefaivre View Post

Just before the tow truck driver left he told me the following. Even though the was very familier with towing Motorhomes (4 in that week alone). he felt that the 390BH is one that should be trucked on a lowbed rather than being towed.
Absolute BS. They just don't have the right equipment.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:40 AM   #9
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beipers, did you fix it yourself?


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I did. I had a pin pushed out in one of the connectors behind the inverter in my electrical compartment, just below the Freightliner fuse boxes. The engine brake switch is likely locked out because there is no communication between the engine and the transmission. That is also why you have no speedometer. This won't be a Cummins problem, it is either Freightliner harness or Allison ECU. I assume you've found the ECU next to the transmission and looked for mouse damage?
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:40 AM   #10
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I found lots of wires next to the transmission. I don't see any damage to any wire and all connectors feel tight. I'm not done yet though.


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Old 08-20-2014, 12:06 AM   #11
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Per Freightliner, when your MH is towed from the front, the drive shaft should be disconnected and the connection marked so that it can be reconnected with the same orientation. This is because it was balanced during manufacture. You could probably void the warranty on the Allison if the shaft was not disconnected.

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Old 08-20-2014, 02:07 PM   #12
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Absolute BS. They just don't have the right equipment.

Very True to a point. Some companies don't have the correct equipment whether it be the tow truck or better yet the employee sitting behind the wheel. Coaches are truly a pain to tow as depending on the type of coach sometime the genset exhaust needs to come off, the drive line always needs removed, the splash guard in the rear needs secured or removed and the motorclub expects this to cost the same as a car tow.

We own two diesel repair facilities along with HD tow trucks and prefer not to tow coaches for motorclubs as they pay is not worth the reward.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:38 PM   #13
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EJM, I am learning what you are saying. I don't believe that there is a mechanic shop that even likes working on them. I didn't get towed today for lack of people in my area willing to tow a MH. I'm supposed to have a tow truck here tomorrow morning.

This is really a big pain in my aspirin bottle. I am just glad this happened in my driveway. I would have lost it if I were on the road traveling.


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Old 08-21-2014, 05:04 PM   #14
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The saga continues. Tow truck shows up today, attempts to hook up and discovers that his attachment is not long enough to reach the axles 😖😲. The sad part is his boss calls me before the truck leaves his shop and ask me what kind of "camper" I have. I was very specific in my description, yet he sends the smaller tow truck.

Will try again tomorrow morning. Still I am glad I am not out of state and away from home having to deal with this.


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Old 08-21-2014, 05:31 PM   #15
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I think I'd want them to put my rig on a flatbed and not attempt to tow it.... I'd be afraid they will do some serious damage trying to tow it.....


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Old 08-21-2014, 06:36 PM   #16
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"I think I'd want them to put my rig on a flatbed and not attempt to tow it.... I'd be afraid they will do some serious damage trying to tow it....."



If you have them do this, I'd like a picture of the center of the wheel base going over the front of the trailer while being loaded and your 12' 8" tall vehicle going under the overpass on a 18"tall trailer deck.
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:40 PM   #17
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There are some trailers designed to carry motorhomes, unfortunately not in my area. It's either tow truck or drive it there and risk more damage from the drive. No mobile techs either around here.


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Old 08-21-2014, 06:48 PM   #18
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I've seen lots of RV transport trailers and double drop large equipment trailers, but never one with an operating deck less than 18". Send me a pic, I'd like to see it. As "Turbs" says, "if there aren't pictures, it didn't happen."
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:50 PM   #19
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beips, I've never seen one either. I wish I could see one tomorrow morning when they come get mine with the tow truck.

I did remove my rear flap and my gen tailpipe. I marked the driveshaft myself also, that way if they get it wrong I will know.


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Old 08-22-2014, 05:19 PM   #20
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Well today went way better than yesterday. Tow truck finally showed up, the right one this time, got her all hooked up, dropped the drive shaft and away she went. I am glad to report she got to the destination without any damage. Here's a few pics of the right way to hook up and tow.
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This is a shot of how the bar is under the tires.
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Here's a shot of the space in between front cap and truck.

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There's Larry with the straps for the tires. He really was professional about everything and earned himself a nice tip for his hard work.

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There she goes, I followed him to the mechanic shop. Again, can't say how pleased I am with the way this went. If any of you find yourselves in south Louisiana and are in need of a tow truck give these guys a call. Rudy Smith Towing out of New Orleans.
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