Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Saga of the Tow Truck Guy

Yesterday we finally decided to once again brave backing the fiver into the narrow tree-lined driveway.   Obstacles to this include a creek, a field that trapped us in mud a few weeks ago, those trees, and not really getting how it works. However, Jenny is fearless and after several attempts, it sailed right into the driveway. Well, there was the part where the rear fender of the truck kissed that alder and it de-barked, but that was minor. We put the stabilizers down and allowed the cats to wander around inside. It's part of our RV desensitization program for cats. Three of them. This may not work.

We plugged into the house, aka shore power, and wandered off to have dinner. The next day, when we were ready to venture off to do something really important like pick up some money someone owed us, we still had to unmate the two vehicles.

Now, we remember that we have to put the front stabilizers down first. Check.

Then we have to pull the pin. Check.

Then we have to raise the front stabilizers. No check.

Apparently, the house power (15 or 20 amps) and the RV (stepped down from 50 to 30 amps) are not exactly compatible. Apparently, compatible means "the same" in this case. Jenny crawled around in the RV, then in the house, all the while stopping to push the buttons that electrically raise and lower the stabilizers every few minutes, all to no avail.  She eventually found that the "incompatibility" had tripped a breaker in the house. Go figure. And, overnight, for some reason, this drained the batteries. No battery power, no electronic leveling. I, of course, did nothing much because a) I had a job to do for a client and b) MY FREAKING LEG IS IN A CAST.

She calls the dealership and they say "did you buy the extended warranty?" and we can't remember. I sit there wondering why we need to use the extended warranty on a rig that is brand new and under original warranty. Jenny does the more practical thing (ain't it always that way?) and checks to see if we have the extended warranty. We do.

Our insurance policy also has emergency road service. While the extended warranty will bring an RV tech to the house, it might not do it anytime soon. So we opt for the emergency road service. She calls, explains the problem (which, in case you forgot, is that the stabilizers won't go up so we can get the RV off the hitch), and a guy is dispatched. We assume this is a guy knowledgable in the ways of fifth wheels.

The guy comes, tells Jenny to get in the cab, and then tells her to drive forward. Or maybe it was backward. Just a little, which she does, The RV comes off the hitch easy peasy.  But the guy didn't drop the tailgate. At the same time, or so we're told since neither of us actually saw it happen, the stabilizers decided to come up. Not electronically. On their own. Is our RV haunted?

By now, Jenny has called me and I come out to supervise. Remember, I'm in a cast. I can't do much of anything useful, but I'm really good at limping and saying "Ouch." I also bring my cell phone. And here's what I find:

Notice the complete lack of clearance between the front of the RV and tailgate. It's not supposed to be that way. My guess is the stabilizers, which were down by the time I got there, didn't raise up due to some weird electrical oddity, but because the pin on the hitch was now resting in the bed of the truck, canting the whole thing at a weird angle. Which leads to this picture.

I'm calling this photo coitus interruptus. See the two prong-like things on top of the left part? Now see the little round thing on the bottom of the part to the right? They are supposed to be together. As in the little round thing is supposed to go into the prong-like things. Not gonna happen this way. Clearly these inanimate objects do not understand the way it's supposed to work. 

Obviously, it's dark so we can't see the damage to the tailgate. Neither can we.

So, I'm sitting there supervising, and I start talking to the tow truck guy who I think is knowledgable about such things and he tells me he knows NOTHING about fifth wheels. Well, duh. 

Even I know that you have to drop the tailgate before telling the driver to do anything. Which begs the question, why did the insurance company send someone who knows nothing about fifth wheels when Jenny clearly told them the RV was stuck on the hitch and the stabilizers weren't working. The tow truck guy says they just told him we were stuck. Like in the mud. That is so last month. We make mistakes but we seldom make the same mistake twice. For example, many years ago, we realized that you can't drive a tent trailer through one of those post office boxes that sticks out so you can reach to put mail in without getting out of the car. Can you say BONDO? And we've never done that again. No, siree. Our next error was letting me and my friend Mar drive the trailer somewhere and my attempt to back up. But that's another story, an old story, and one I'm not proud of.  Let's just say the folks at Apache Trailer are relieved that we are no longer coming in with our annual crisis. Although I'm sure they had some good laughs along the way.

So now we have a hitch in our gitalong or at least a big dent and tear in our tailgate. We'll be calling the insurance company to make good on this one. 'Cause we're pretty sure the electronic leveling system works just fine, thank you very much. At least as long as the batteries are full. (We will get it checked out though, when we take it in to find out why the backup camera and lights no longer work.)

But it doesn't make sense to me that the stabilizers would suddenly retract at that very moment. Tow truck guy, you've got some 'splainin' to do.

1 comment:

  1. Is this the part where the physics is wrong? Because I would correct this post to read this was hard, and then things didn't work, and then roadside assistance wasn't all that assistive. No one can say that's incorrect.