Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Disaster Kitty Strikes Again

Sunday we were up and out early to ride at McDowell.  After returning to the RV, we decided to head out and return to Tucson.  We were booked through Monday, but between the bugs and the heat we decided to leave early.
It was a hot drive.  Of course it was.  Of course the dash air conditioner decided to stop working properly.  There are two major failure modes for dash air in a Beaver.  One is the failure of the vacuum generator.  That's the thing that directs air through a series of gates, so one can select where the air comes out.  The other failure mode is whether the fan works or not.  We're failing in both modes.  So, we spent most of the drive to Tucson whining about the air conditioner.
However, that would be the good news for the day.  When we got back to the RV park, we saw this.  We have a Blue Ox tow bar, and base plates that attach to the truck.  What you see here is the part of the base plate that comes through to accept the clevis pins which attach to the tow bar.  The box on the right is the M and G break away switch.  The entire works is 45 degrees out of alignment from where it should be.  Notice the shiny piece of metal just to the left of the blue wire.  That is part of the truck's frame rail, it's pulled forward, and it's bent backwards. 

This picture was taken while laying on the ground underneath the front bumper.  This is the base plate that is displaced.  Look in the center of the picture.  See how the dark metal overlaps the curved piece of base plate, now move your eye up.  See the upside down V shape in the middle of the photo?  That used to be a solid frame rail.  The base plate ripped a triangular section OUT OF THE TRUCK FRAME RAIL.  That's what you see in the first photo, the chunk of frame rail that was torn out by the base plate.

We don't know why this happened on Sunday.  The last time we were out of the truck was in Eloy, getting diesel.  Everything looked fine then.  When we arrived in Tucson, it wasn't fine.  I can't even speculate as to why this occurred.
We took the truck in to the Progressive Insurance service center Tuesday.  They're covering this under the comprehensive part of our policy.  At that point there was discussion on trying to repair the bent, torn frame rail, or replacing the front section of it.  The base plates will have to be replaced as well.  We're also going to have to take the tow bar in for inspection.  What astonishes me is the force that was required to pull the base plate that far out of alignment (taking the piece of frame rail with it) without visibly damaging the tow bar.

Today we went out to the collision center that is doing the work.  These pictures show the damage much more clearly.  This is the frame rail damaged on Sunday.

This is how the frame rail used to look.  This is the driver side frame rail.  If you look carefully, you can see the two cracks that were forming.  So, it was just a question of time before this one let go as well.

There is a kit that will replace the front part of the frame rail.  Then the Blue Ox parts will be replaced.

However, this will not be a quick process.  Parts must be ordered, work must be done.  We had planned to go to San Diego for two weeks beginning April 10.  I cancelled those reservations today, because we do not know when this will be completed.  We're really disappointed, we were looking forward to seeing our friends from Utah.  It is so stinking hot in Tucson, we're giving some thought to driving over to Rodeo NM so we can go to higher ground.  We'll have to leave the bikes in their storage room, but we can hike in the mountains. 
So, that's our news from the glamorous world of RVing.


  1. Oh my, when it rains, it pours. Fingers crossed these issues are resolved in a reasonable time frame so you can get to cooler temps!

  2. This almost makes my problem with getting a growler filled with beer minor.


    1. Almost - but a full growler is very important.