The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


We last reported that our motorhome’s HWH hydraulics system had dumped a puddle of fluid below the steps while we were parked at Cattail Cove near Lake Havasu City, AZ.  We needed to move the rig to another location for a week before we could get into repairs at 3T’s RV Products.  Moving, however, meant we needed to retract our leveling jacks and bring in our two room slides. That job required adding more hydraulic fluid to the reservoir and creating enough pressure in the lines to get (and keep) things moving in the right direction.  The 3Ts staff advised us to retract the jacks first to put the fluid back into the reservoir and then do the slides. (Winnebago recommends the reverse process.) 

Luke added about 1.5 quarts into the tank, pushed the buttons, and we held our IMG_20140205_102159_339breath.  Voila!  It all worked smoothly. IMG_20140205_102955_801IMG_20140205_104255_622

After leaving our space, we notified the Cattail Cove Park Rangers of the fluid spill and they dispatched someone to deal with the clean-up. Thankfully, there were no penalties.

While Luke was pushing buttons, I was standing over the hydraulics access area under our top step to see if we could see where the fluid was coming from.  Oh, yea!  I almost got hit in the face from the spray from one of the lines controlling the front slide.  And when Luke retracted the back slide, I watched as a pool of hydraulic fluid seeped out over the top.  I was able to capture photos of the leaks which made troubleshooting much faster.


The top photo, if you look closely, has a diagonal line coming from the middle on the bottom of the screen upwards towards the upper right corner. That is actually the fluid shooting upward.


The lower photo shows the puddle of fluid atop the hydraulic system.  The culprit was the smaller “check valve” next to the large bolt.



Since we still had a week before our appointment, we moved south a couple of miles and took up residency in the Boomer area at a boondocking (free dry-camping) area called The Steps.  We found a level spot, reversed the processes, and got our jacks and slides out without difficulty… or so we thought!

Luke actually had to re-position the rig slightly, so he did a loop around some desert plant life and came through his path a second time.  Upon further inspection, he had left a looooong trail of red hydraulic fluid over his entire course.  We managed to bubble out all the fluid again like the puddle we made at Cattail while we sat and hope the desert dirt covers our tracks. 

The afternoon before our appointment Luke once again refilled the tanks, got the system working and we drove into 3T’s.  They provided us a flat concrete IMG_20140212_142411_021pad with 30 amp electrical and water for the night.  When we told them we were “puking” fluid (Luke’s term) all over their white concrete, they provided an oil pan immediately.


We didn’t have to be ready for the service tech until 7:30 a.m., and, even then, the office woman had said they normally stand around and have coffee & donuts, and then jockey rigs into their service bays.  When it was our turn, we noticed one bay door had a cut-out for taller RVs, but it was not the one the driver was taking our rig through.  We figured they knew what they were doing, but we still sweated it as the rig crept into the service bay.  First, our DirecTV satellite dish barely slid under the header beam and then we thought the plastic extended roof vents would surly hit… but they didn’t either!  The driver had lowered our airbag suspension system and everything cleared without damage.  WHEW!!!  They really do need to make that opening taller.  [Sorry, no pixs.]

We were told they would call us when it was ready, so we gathered up Star and went to breakfast with friends Elise and Don McKibben, fellow Escapee Club members, who also had an appointment the same day. 

By 10:30 a.m. we received a call to pick up our motorhome.  We were really surprised that it was done so quickly.  We had also asked them to clean up all the fluid left on the interior of our steps and to also adjust a pesky rear slide that had developed a gap at the top over my bed.  We could actually see light through the gasket area and we were lucky we had not had any rain since the gap appeared.


At $100 per hour labor, we were expecting a bill much higher than the $229 we were charged.  The main problems of the leaking fluid was caused by two loose check valves and two bad O-rings and a breather cap that had to be replaced.  3T’s is good at itemizing their time and charging appropriately.  It only took them 30 minutes (0.5 hr.) to troubleshoot and resolve the problem.  It took them longer to clean up the fluid mess (.8 hr.) and only .3 hr. to adjust the slide (or so we thought).

We returned to our same parking space at The Steps, proceeded to properly extend the slides and lower our leveling jacks. A quick check of the hydraulic system showed a sparkling clean area with no signs of any leakage. 

Unfortunately, when Luke extended our rear slide, the gap over my bed was still there!!!  We immediately called back and they told us to bring it back in.  We will do that next Monday, after we stay at The Steps and attend Winter Blast. We don’t plan to pay for that botched repair.  Good news is the skies are still clear and no rain is in the forecast.







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