I decided at the last minute to drive down the coast to Tillamook that morning and that appeared to be a bad decision about 10 miles outside of Astoria when we heard a loud pop and we lost almost all engine power going up a small hill. After a few seconds, we were only going about 5 MPH up the hill on a two lane highway with lots of vehicles stacked up behind us. I had instinctively pulled on the emergency flashers to give the folks behind us a heads-up. There was a wide spot in the road about a quarter mile ahead and we pulled over to see if something in the engine compartment looked odd or sounded odd. Nothing looked or sounded out of place. All I knew is that after the popping sound, it was like we had a 5 horsepower lawnmower engine propelling us very slowly along.
I called my 24/7 Freightliner support number and almost immediately they told me it sounded like the flex hose popped off the CAC (Charge Air Cooler). I was wondering if he was just trying to get me off the phone, but later I realized he was correct. To see that hose, I would need to pop open the hatch behind the bed, and the only way to do that was to open both bedroom slides to gain access to the bolts holding it shut.
We finally made it to Astoria and drove toward a diesel mechanic shop we found on Google with lots of reviews. I drove there without calling. Everybody is so busy that if you call them, they often tell you they are weeks away from an appointment being available; so I now usually just drive to a place to ask them in person. This time it didn’t work. Then I called every other place listed in the area and all the way down to Tillamook where we were headed, at least an hour away at full speed, no one wanted to touch it. But a mobile mechanic in Tillamook said they could, but it would be that night after 7 pm. (it was currently around 11 am).
We limped over to a Walmart parking lot so we could put out the slides and open the hatch to see if we could find that flex hose. I popped the hatch, and there it was, plain as day, the flex hose was disconnected from the pipe that goes to the intake manifold. What that actually meant was the turbo’s boost pressure was just leaking out there and no high- pressure air was going into the manifold, which is now clearly known to be very needed.
Figuring we would be waiting the rest of the day in that parking lot, I called our next campground down in Tillamook to let them know we probably wouldn’t be getting there till the next day. Pat, the host, mentioned an RV place not far from us in Warrenton and I called them. They didn’t do chassis work, but told me to call Rod’s Marine and Automotive. Rod said he would be glad to help and that as soon as his mechanic finished his current work, he would send him over. I said I could drive over, but very slowly, and he mentioned he had just come from that direction and said traffic is moving very slowly anyway. So I just dropped the hatch cover back on and brought in the slides, then drove over.
Within a few minutes, the mechanic came down out of a small gill net fishing boat and the owner came out and they were discussing what voltage a particular device on the boat needed to be hooked up to. They weren’t sure. And the owner (his name was not Rod) told the mechanic to look at my issue while he looked up the voltage requirements for that device.
He crawled under and immediately saw the hose and went back inside to get some tools. Within a few minutes he had it reattached and was able to use the same clamp to tighten it back on. We did the paper work. They charged me ~$50 and we were on our way to Tillamook!!
I found long ago that driving these things in the dark is not fun. You can only see straight ahead. Seeing anything to the right and left is impossible due to the flat glass reflecting any (and I mean any) light like it’s a mirror. Even after turning off all dash lights, it was still like looking into a mirror. That was in 2017, early one morning when we needed to get to a facility for a 6 am appointment in Mussel Shoals, Alabama.
The day after getting there, we visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory with friends Tami and Scott. It was an interesting self-guided tour from up above the factory floor, and of course it ends up in the gift shop like most attractions.
That evening we actually went out for dinner inside a restaurant. It seems like years since we have eaten inside a restaurant. Las Margaritas in Tillamook had very good Mexican food!
We also checked out the Air Museum just outside of town in an old WWII Blimp Hanger. An interesting place. The video they ran in their theater was something I had not heard about. I had no idea the Japanese Military attempted a coup de ta the night prior to the Emperor’s releasing his recorded capitulation speech to the Japanese people.
The last day at Tillamook we drove down to Whale Cove and to my surprise we saw lots of whales. We wanted to each lunch at the Whale Cove Inn, but the restaurant didn’t open till 5 pm, and we were there on a Saturday.