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HELP! STRANDED in Houston. Lost Drive Shaft; Coolant hose and damage to air valve(s?). Need resources and advice.


ido70

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I am presently stuck in Houston Tx with a missing drive shaft, busted cooler hose(?) and sheared off air valve (unknown which one but possible high air release). I have been running around to several services, no luck as yet. Cumins is closed, Kenworth won’t because it is Roadmaster chassis, Freightliner  MAY, call back on Monday. Heitman can’t.

Anyone have any suggestions? I am parked at motel parking lot, no plug in and they will not rent us a room due to our small dog.  
 

2004 Windsor Monaco 40PST

thanks

JimB2

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Looks like dry camping for a couple days. Obviously if you have a towed, you could go to a different hotel. I assume you've spoken to the manager about the emergency situation yes? That said, did you recover the drive shaft? The air leak, depending on where it is, may be able to be crimped allowing you to get moving on your own. Assuming you have the drive shaft, does it appear it can be fixed? There are a dozen mobile rv shops in the Houston area. I'd start calling and see what is available. Most shops offered a four day weekend so I don't know of many repair shops that will help you this weekend. This might help https://rvservicereviews.com/StateList.asp?state=tx   BTW, Cummins Houston is an excellent facility and they have hookups.....Dennis

Edited by Dennis H
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LOTS of good information.  CoachNet would be, if you have it, the first choice.  IF NOT....

I would see if I could "RENT" the space in the parking lot for a while and run my Genny.  Even to the point of buying Diesel in  5 gallon cans and hauling it in.  

I would try to find the driveshaft.  That driveshaft, I think, will be difficult to have fabricated without some precise measurements.  Having the "Shell" would be great. NOW, the driveshaft DOES have a Slip Joint....so there may be OTR or HD folks that can supply you with one based on some measurements.  BUT, having the "remains", they might be able to fabricate the yokes and salvage....but they would have all the dimensions to fabricate a new one.

I would, as the last resort, be towed.  BUT, before I was towed, I would want to have a 100% guarantee that the MH can or will be fixed at that shop.  You really might need TWO shops....  First one..  Mechanical.  They can install the new driveshaft and also address the coolant issue.  The coolant issue, assuming that you did not damage the radiator and such should be easy...  BUT, a good OTR truck service should be familiar with replacing a Driveshaft and fixing the coolant.

Second is the AIR.  That will require an RV Shop.  There may be a good RV Front End shop or an OTR Frame/Alignment shop that understand AIR suspension systems and they can replace the hoses and check the valves and get a replacement.  PUSH COMES TO SHOVE....get a Mobile Tech to block or or plug the valve and hopefully, in travel mode, you can drive it.  If the valve is leaking....as in a broken hose, just plug the hose and see if you can level.

REALLY the pits....but getting it fixed, even if in the Motel Lot by having a Mobile TRUCK REPAIR TECH come out and do the work is not a big deal.  Folks pull driveshafts all the time.  Replacing a hose should not be an issue....

BUT, if you are TOWED, make sure that you get a Tow Service that had adequate equipment....I attached the "WHAT TO NEED" when you would talk to Coachnet or any towing service.  You need the information on your rig so that the tow service will send out the RIGHT RIG and hopefully the RIGHT DRIVER...  The Driveshaft disconnect is no longer any issue...

Hope this helps...

BUT, if you are TOWED, make sure that you get a Tow Service that has the RIGHT equipment....

PS, your profile does NOT list a phone.  You can PM folks or maybe the can PM you, but eventually, you are gonna need a one-on-one talk with someone that has been in this predicament before or knows the area....

-Coach Towing Information (1) (1).pdf

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  • Tom Cherry changed the title to HELP! STRANDED in Houston. Lost Drive Shaft; Coolant hose and damage to air valve(s?). Need resources and advice.

Well I have resigned to having to stay here till Monday. The shaft is out along the highway someplace, really hope it has not caused anyone else harm. I am a bit confused on the air line, I heard no air leaking although the rig had a decided slant to the passenger side. I was able to raise it back up, still no air leaks noticeable however I think I remember the compressor gage reading very high, perhaps the part sheared off was associated with pressure dump. Not a concern now as I will not be running motor again till coolant repaired and replenished. I did lots of site visits and phone calls for service but no good results thus far. I am next door to Cummins Houston but they are closed also, the kenworth guy said they wouldn’t work on it, not part of engine.

The gens working fine, Whataburger and gas station short walk, no body hurt, so, Happy Thanksgiving all!

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There's a (gravity based?) leveling rod that the driveshaft may have hit while exiting.  Should be one on the front also for comparison.  Be careful under there! 

What do you consider high air pressure?

- bob

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If safe to do so can you buy some binoculars and look for it maybe from the outer rd? Wear a bright safety vest while your out there doing so. Retrieving it safely is an issue, but if you see it maybe the wrecker can retrieve it because he has all the emergency lights and safety gear. He could even call the trooper if that would help do it safer. Good luck.

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Now logically thinking, exactly how far can a diesel coach travel without a drive shaft?

My guess is not that far unless you were descending a grade.

Are you towing a car behind you that you can use to go look for it or rent one?

Those are not "off-the-shelf" items so it behooves you to go find it.

 

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I was on I69 south when it happened and was able to grab next exit ramp, down onto the service road but could not navigate to the curb and had to stop with traffic at at the lights. The air pressure is still holding at 70psi so there is no air leak in system. There are several companies near by that sell, repair, balance etc drive shafts so I am hoping that is an option. The coolant leak looks to be from a hose that got crushed in the process. The tow to where I am was 30 some miles and cost $1350. I understand my next one to a (hopefully) near by shop will be $850. Any fellow Canadians reading this will appreciate my added costs to the credit card!

Edited by ido70
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2 hours ago, ido70 said:

  The tow to where I am was 30 some miles and cost $1350. I understand my next one to a (hopefully) near by shop will be $850. Any fellow Canadians reading this will appreciate my added costs to the credit card!

You don't have 'Roadside Assistance'?

My coach wouldn't leave my driveway without it!

In my home town (in Canada), there isn't a tow company that own's a truck large enough to move me! A suitable truck would need to catch a ferry to get to me!

You can imagine the $$$ if I broke down in town!

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Guest Ray Davis

I would like to know what you experienced.  Was it a loud noise then loss of power?   From what I've heard the drive shaft spinning wildly can really tear things up.            I hope they can put you back together without lots of headaches.   Are you able or interested in doing any of the work yourself?  

Like others stated, the shaft has got to be where you first had the problem,  that is unless it cause a problem and was picked up.   If there is any way you could retrive it,  It could really help.  It may be repairable or coppied.   A mobile diesel mechanic might be worth a try even if only to give you some advice.  

Look at Browse ( upper left ) then down that page is RV Salvage Yards,  one of those places may be your best bet.

Ha, I didn't know I was making a link but just click on it.

Edited by Ray Davis
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I have read all the comments and surprised no one has asked the question of how much of the driveshaft is actually lost. If the cause of the breakage was a u-joint breaking  the other half should still be there. Knowing where the driveshaft broke would help others to know how to help you solve your issue as well let everyone know exactly what happened. In my 43 years of driving truck never heard of loosing complete driveshaft. I also would recommend contacting PPL as they likely could recommend a mobile guy. Good luck, Don

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Being a mechanici know driveshafts dont just fail without notice. For me… if i had been taking my rig to be “serviced” an they didnt spot that the u-joint was having a issue (there BIG joints an put up with alot before they fail compleatly) i would be looking for compensation, cause for what $$$ is paid for services performed a huge part of that should be a good PM inspection, it makes me wonder if they missed that part of the inspection then what else has gone unnoticed! Also you might want to examine what pieces thats left to see if there has been any recient grease on or around the area, cell phone pics help, ( a usuall inspection of a dry joint is rust from the cups that leaves a tell tail sign of impending failure) One more thing is usually due to the torque an HP of our engines coupled with going out of balance prior to “take off”, there is always a broken yolk, of which can be a issue, either on transmission and or rear differential which means the cost of this repair is about to get real!!!

Then for many of us who do our own maintaince then this should be a lesson to many of us to step up our PM game an give both u-joints a good hard look an a shake when were under there. 
 

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@diplomat don I am not an expert on driveshafts but I believe his driveshaft is not that long to begin with as the Windsor does not have a tag axle. Plus if only half is missing, I would think the other half would have been flailing around causing all sorts of damage under the coach.

I have been attempting to wrap my head around how one could actually lose an entire driveshaft all at once. To me, In order for that to happen, the U-Joints at both ends would have to fail simultaneously.

This entire thread has been very strange indeed.

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2 hours ago, Dr4Film said:

@diplomat don I am not an expert on driveshafts but I believe his driveshaft is not that long to begin with as the Windsor does not have a tag axle. Plus if only half is missing, I would think the other half would have been flailing around causing all sorts of damage under the coach.

I have been attempting to wrap my head around how one could actually lose an entire driveshaft all at once. To me, In order for that to happen, the U-Joints at both ends would have to fail simultaneously.

This entire thread has been very strange indeed.

I fully understand how short the driveshaft is and it so happens I was under my coach yesterday greasing mine in prep for our Arizona trip. Again I asked the question as you are correct  and I asked because never heard of complete shaft leaving the vehicle. Even with a tag the driveshaft is very short, the slip joint moves very little because of this and the suspension on our coaches. On a truck, longer shaft and type of suspension the slip joint moves much more. Would love to see some pictures and hear back from the OP.

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For the drive shaft to fail one of the U-Joints would have had to fail. 

If the front U-joint failed the front portion of the drive shaft could have been thrown off the rear slip joint.  The slip joint would have been spinning , clearances are fairly tight and not sure if it could have hit something.  On my Windsor the Airtank is right above the U-joint nearest he axle. 

If the rear U-joint failed the axle would have dropped down and the slip joint probably fell off as the driveshaft spun from wheels moving and just went out under rear of coach.  There is a large "U" above the drive shaft in the axle support frame, it could have limited damage to the air tank as the drive shaft was spinning. 

Either way chances of some short of damage is pretty high, OP was at highway speed.  A complete inspection should be done. 

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