Got on the road, the RV was feeling like it was dragging its rear end. The first thought was that the dually in the back was flat. We got out and found the RV was tilting a bit, but it eventually rose back to it originally driving height. We drove a while, but it was still feeling a little soft, so we pulled into a truck stop in Fernly Nevada to have a closer look. We could hear air like it was coming from a high pressure air pressure coming from the back of the RV. There was a mobile Mechanic there repairing another truck, so we asked him if he could have a look. Right away he diagnosed the fact that we had a blown air spring, and our trip could not be continued, as we would lose air to the braking system and the angle of the coach would destroy the drive shaft. Normally it only takes two hours to replace a spring, but this one was more of a problem. He called his parts guy “Jack” who came out and personally inspected the RV. The Mechanic left to a new job while Jack tried to find a part. Athena verified the part number with Monaco. W01-358-9551 Jack called every Firestone dealer in a 200 mile radius, and no one had the part. We called around and found the part was no longer in production, the best case scenario was a 5 week wait for Firestone to make the part. This part is normally a $150.00 part, and is common in suspensions, so it seemed odd to to Jack and everyone we spoke to that we could not get the part. At the end of the day Jack, recommended we move to the Dessert Rose RV park. It has to be the best in Fernly. The park is nice, and the staff pleasant. We had several neighbors, who all shared their mechanical war stories with us. Visiting was fun.
I got on the internet and found a bout 5 companies across the country who claimed to have the part, and we called them all, with each one saying they did not actually have the part, but Firestone could custom make it for us. They would have the part in our hand in 4 to 6 weeks. Fernly is nice and all, but 6 weeks at $40.00 a night, and miss summer at home, not going to happen. So we hope.
Jack had the mechanic show up in the morning, and we had him pull the air bag off the rig. One of the bolts had been cross threaded at the factory 6 years ago during assembly, worked its way lose, and cracked the metal casing on the base of the spring. Jack took the spring back to Reno. (About 30 miles away) and spent the day trying to find a comparable spring that might fit. He found two – (Firestone – 8897, or 9376) He said the bags fill a little taller than ours, so he was not sure about using them. Instead, he took our in to a welding shop, where the crack was welded shut with a tig welder.
We looked at the weld, and it looked very good, so the spring was installed back in the coach.
We pressurized the system, but the weld did not quite seal it up entirely. They found soap bubbles around the base. Since it did not sound like a high pressure air gun any more, and out on board compressor was more than able to keep up with the demand from the leak, we decide to press on. They think it will hold, but being the good guys they are, they asked us to call them and let them know we made it to our destination safely. With them, we were not just customers, we were family. Jack spent two whole days hunting for this part, and treating us like we were his only customer. He and the Mechanic form Dickerson worked close together to make sure we had what we needed, and had a safe place to stay. The boys in the city should take notes, this is how business is done. Jack supplies to people like Dickerson, not to the public directly, has a ware house full of truck parts, and a lot of other things he could be doing, but he and this mechanic get the job done.
Once on the road, we immediately ordered 2 new spring from a vendor in Maryland, who is having Firestone specially make them for $162 each. We should receive the springs in August.
Good Evening and Good Night…. Pray for our RV, August is a long time to rely on a weld