We headed to SLC early on Thursday morning to get on the service list at the Freightliner dealer to have our exhaust manifold repaired. I had talked to the service manager the afternoon prior and he said he could do it as soon as I got there.
When we arrived fairly early that wasn’t the case. They told me they were too busy to look at it, and I should try back on Monday (4 days away) to see if they had time then. It was then I realized that dealer had been bought out by the same company that owned the San Diego Freightliner dealer. (that company should be called Darth Vader Enterprises) I will not use those dealerships unless it’s an actual emergency as they are not what I would describe as “competent”. Apparently when they buy out the local dealerships, all the good people leave.
Literally across the street was the Cummins dealer. Needless to say, I drove over there next, walked in and talked to Lacy, the service writer, and she said she could have a tech look at my manifold around 2 pm that day. We hung out in the parking lot till then and I made reservations at the SLC KOA. We had camped there twice before, first time on our first big trip in 2017, and again on the way to Alaska in 2019.
He arrived just after 2 and took the bus back into the shop. After a while I went back inside to talk to Lacy and the tech happened to be there explaining what he found. It was a blown gasket, and he also found the turbo charger bolts were very loose. (so loose it was barely attached to the manifold.)
I told them to order the parts, and a new manifold, as I read it was a very common problem to have the manifolds warp on my model engine. (ISL) They thought I could bring it back in for the repair on Monday.
I had re-injured my back in Nephi and all the standing around at the dealership had not made it any better. The ride that afternoon to the campground after the diagnosis of the problem was excruciating. The next day, after a lot of pushing from Kathy and Cousin Frank, we scheduled a chiropractor visit. After getting an adjustment, I felt much better! I scheduled another follow-up for the next week.
I was able to order groceries from a local Smith’s store for pickup. That turns out to be a really great convenience. I think it might even save money as there aren’t any impulse purchases that happen when you wander thru a grocery store trying to find what you need. I had been using our local Ralph’s while home, and in SLC, Smith’s is the Kroger affiliate. Kroger’s app is great for informing them when you are leaving to go pick up the order and letting them know when you arrive. But I use the Website to place orders as it’s easier to spot things ordered in error. I don’t think I’ve ever waited in the parking lot for them more than a few minutes, probably because of the app allowing me to communicate to them when I am on my way. Often they are there before I am ready.
Monday came and the manifold wasn’t there yet, but was expected later in the day. We made an appointment for the next morning at 7am. That afternoon I went back for the other chiro appointment. The regular doctor was there and her adjustment was nothing like the first one I got. I thought this lady had broken my back with what she did to me. The drive home afterward was almost as bad as the drive back from the Cummins dealer on Thursday evening. But by Tuesday, I felt a lot better and still feel pretty good a few weeks later as I write this up.
We packed up the coach Monday night and we drove over to the Cummins dealer and parked in one of their overnight spots. They have 50 amp electric. Doing that allowed the engine to cool off overnight, and in the morning the tech would only drive it a couple hundred feet and they could shut it off, making it a lot cooler to work on when you need to do all the work from the top of the engine where the exhaust manifold is located. In the morning the tech said thank you for that. He said he cannot remember anyone purposely doing that in the past to make his job just a bit easier.
I had been quoted 12 hours labor and was hoping we could get the bus back before they closed for the evening so we didn’t have to go to a hotel for the night. So we packed up all our clothes and items we would need in case we did.
We left to find a place to have breakfast and then drove a few miles west to the Great Salt Lake State Park ,which of course was right on the lake. The potholed dirt road for about a mile was not nice. And after that experience, they charged us to get in. Otherwise it was a nice park and we walked around for about an hour.
After that I searched Google Maps satellite view for a nice small local park to sit around in the shade for a bit and Dusty could poke around all the trees and grass for a bit. He might be deaf and cannot see much anymore but his nose is just as good if not better than it used to be. That dog can sniff stuff for hours if you have enough patience to stand there forever.
Sometime after noon I was checking out the Fido Friendly App and picked Uinta Brewery for lunch. Just after finishing and paying the check, I got a text from the bus saying it was moving. I opened the Linxup App (GPS asset tracker) and sure enough our bus was back into its parking space the tech had picked it up from about 6 hours prior. I hoped that was a good thing but didn’t want to get my expectations up in case there was a problem and that’s why they pulled it out of the bay early.
We drove back over to the Cummins dealer and were pleasantly surprised to find it was done. The only unpleasant part was they still charged me for the 12 hours, saying they charge the standard rate for that repair, even if it takes half the time of the estimate. That seems like the standard time estimate is extremely flawed. I don’t care how efficient a tech is, he should be able to shave off maybe 20% of the time, finishing in half the time just means the standard estimate is a bogus figure. And what was going to get reviewed as a 5-star experience on Google turned into a 3 star, and almost a 2, with me feeling cheated.
We stayed that night (Tuesday 14th) at their hook-up sites and drove off for Green River State Park the next morning.