Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3, 2011, Wednesday Ft Stockton to home at 40-45mph. Very long slow drive

This posting is the last of 7 posts detailing my trip back home from Salt Lake City (SLC) after having our Born Free (BF) motorhome upgraded to 4 wheel drive (4x4).  The first entry is dated July 28, 2011.

August 3, 2011, Wednesday
Ft Stockton to home. 320 miles at 40-45mph.  With a 4.5 hour stop in Junction.
Very long slow drive
When I tried to remove the AC power cord from the connector on the side of BF, it was stuck.  The rubber around one of the pins had melted. Last nights hot temps and constant running of the A/C got the connector too hot.  Also one of the pins must not be making a good connection.  It came loose by working it back and forth a few times. 

I stopped by an auto repair place and had him take the exhaust pipe tip off of the exhaust pipe. He charged me $10 & I was happy to pay.  Luckily the tip was held on by a clamp. So it didn’t have to be cut off.  The muffler shop must be on vacation, they didn’t open this morning. 

About 8:30, I started off driving about 54mph while the temp was below 80* and slowed to less than 50mph when it reached 85*.  Then down to 45mph at 90* and down to about 40mph when it got to 95*.  Speed limit on I-10 is 80mph.  Cars were sure whizzing by me!  I was about 20 miles from Junction at about 1:20pm when the temp got over 100*.  I was down to 40mph.  Time to get off of the hwy!  I sure don’t want to blow another tire!  I pulled into the city park right on the Llano river and parked under some big live oaks with very good shade.   

Turned on the generator and the a/c.  I laid down to take a nap, and I remembered I only had a little over ¼ tank of gas. The generator won’t run when the tank is at or less than ¼ full. Just as I was getting pretty good asleep the generator quit.  Off to get gas.  Got about 10 gallons, enough to run the generator & get home.  Back to my shady spot & I read my book until about 6:45 when I got back on the road again, only 99*. Only driving about 42mph, almost all the way to Kerrville, about 45 miles. When I got to Kerrville the temp was down to about 95-96*.  Nice & cool :).  When I got to SA and Loop 1604 I was able to get my speed up to about 54mph.

I used my my tire pressure monitor to keep a very close eye on the tire pressure.  The tire pressure increases as the tire gets hotter.  When the pressure got up to 85psi I would slow down, trying to get the pressure down to 83-84psi and therefore the tire should not be too hot.  When the tire blew yesterday the tire was at 86psi.  I got home about 9:30pm.  A very long and somewhat stressful day.  It probably is a good thing I stopped in Junction during the very hot part of the day. Also the sun beating down on the black asphalt probably has the asphalt at about 150*.   

Update from almost a year later.  The normal tire pressure increase while traveling is about 8-12 psi from 80psi at 75* in the morning to driving at 60mph in 90*-95* air temps. So driving slow did keep the tire pressure down.  Could I have driven faster in the 100* plus temps?  I don't know.  I didn't want to take the chance. Before we took BF on a trip again I did replace all 6 tires with new, larger, Michelin tires.  The standard equipment was LT225/75R16 load range "E".  I installed LT235/85R16 load range "E".  They have a significantly higher weight carrying capacity.  Since BF was lifted 6 inches to make space for the 4x4 hardware, I have extra space for the larger tires.  However I ran into another problem.  The LT235/85R tires are wider and the insides of the rear dual tires were touching each other.  Not good!  I bought and installed a 1.5" spacer which bolted on the wheel studs.  Now I have a good inch of space between the tires.  

Rear tires with spacer installed

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011, Tuesday, Blown tire 15 miles S of Pecos, TX in 106* temps

August 2, 2011, Tuesday
Grants, NM to Ft. Stockton, TX, Comanche Arrow RV Park
Blown tire about 15 miles S of Pecos, TX in 106* temps
In order to beat the rush hour traffic in Albuquerque, I left the CG at 3:40am and passed thru Albuquerque. Between 5 & 6 am, no traffic at all.  Yesterday I set my watch & clocks to Central time so I wouldn’t be loosing an hour in todays long drive. So by my watch I left at 4:40am.  Much better than leaving at 3:40am.
Turned of on I-40 onto Hwy 285, a really nice 4 lane divided hwy in wide open country until you get to Roswell, NM, then it is about 20-30 miles of good hwy between towns until you get to the Texas border

Everything was fine until I got to about 15 miles S of Pecos on Hwy 285.  It was hot! My outside temp gauge was showing 104-106* and I had slowed down to about 51mph to try and be sure the tires were not being overstressed in the heat.  Then Boom!!! The outside right rear outside tire blew.  Right after it blew I could hear the flap, flap, flap of the tire tread hitting the fiberglass side of BF. I slowed down & pulled over onto the paved shoulder & looked at the damage. The fiberglass is pretty badly torn up & the tip of the exhaust pipe in pinched a little more than half way closed.  I can’t drive back to Pecos with the tire tread flopping around on the tire.

I called Coach Net our road side assistance company & they called Hector’s tire in Pecos to come out. Coach Net said it should take about 60 minutes for them to get here but they arrived in about 10 minutes.  They must have been on the highway near me.  They got here about the same time I got the spare tire down from the roof. They installed the spare and tried to open up the exhaust pipe. We got it almost half way open. 

 I drove on to Ft. Stockton at about 40-45mph.  Paid for the night at Comanche RV Park & drove into town to try to find someone to pry the exhaust pipe tip open. No luck.  The metal is to stiff to pry open more than what it is now.  There is a muffler shop in town, but it is closed.  No sign as to when it will be open.  A hot afternoon & night.  The right rear side is facing the afternoon & setting sun.  I pulled the shades down and hung some blankets over the window to keep the heat out. The a/c kept me comfortable all night.  I had thoughts of getting up & leaving about 4am, but realized I can’t drive the 300 miles home with the exhaust pipe partially closed. It could damage the engine. I'll have to do something in the morning.  

Pictures of the blown tire and damage to the fiberglass. 


Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011, Monday Goosenecks SP to Joe Skeen BLM CG near Grants, NM

August 1, 2011, Monday
Goosenecks SP to Joe Skeen BLM CG near Grants, NM
Left about 8:30am.  A pretty drive through open & red sandstone country until I got to the NM border.  After that it was open desert country to Shiprock & on to Gallup. About 40 miles E of Gallup I went through a pretty heavy thunderstorm, but no hail.  When I turned of I-40 at exit 89, heading to camp at the BLM CG, there was dark clouds & light rain in the area.   There was light rain most of the afternoon & evening & cool temps.  It was about 68* when I arrived at the CG about 3:30.  

No pictures, this was the same route & CG I used going to SLC.