Just a Little Burp With The Car (and the computer)

While we were in Montana we took the opportunity to drive over to the far west end of Fort Peck Reservoir to see if we could spot (and or hear) the male elk bugling. This is the time of year for mating and Ranger Sue told us there was a pretty big herd over that way. The lake is 135 miles long and we were camping at the far east end while the elk herd was spotted at the far west end.

Lake has 1500 miles of shoreline and is over 135 miles from east to west

During our ride, the exhaust system on the car blew out and it was LOUD! I think we scared all the elk into hiding.

I knew there was no place near Fort Peck to get it fixed and that it would be best until we made it down to Rapid City next week. We would be towing it more than driving it over the next few days so we were good with that plan.

I looked online and found Chad and Exhaust Pros in Rapid City. He had loads of good reviews.

We pulled the coach in his drive (towing the car) and Chad came right out, crawled under the car, and assured me it was an easy fix.

He told me to unhook the car, he’d pull it into the hoist, and he’d have us out of there in an hour.

Turns out it was a flexible coupling that connects the manifold to the exhaust pipe that failed and Chad quickly cut out the old one and welded in the new one.

What impressed me about Exhaust Pros is that exhaust work is the ONLY work they do. Unlike the national chains that advertise “Exhaust/Brakes/Alignment” and may or may not have the right part for your vehicle, Chad carries all the commonly needed exhaust parts and BENDS HIS OWN PIPE, he doesn’t have to order a bunch of different pipes for a myriad of car models. Bending his own pipe means that he can effect a repair much more quickly not having to rely on Napa or AutoZone or another supplier to bring him the needed pipe.

(Video) Chad welding in the new coupling

He got the car down off the hoist and started it up. The noise was a LOT BETTER, but still there was a problem. Back down on the ground to take a look, Chad found that both of the mufflers are rusted and have very small pinhole leaks in them. It was up to me whether to just go ahead and drive it or have more work done.

We decided to go ahead and have two new mufflers installed but that would have to be done another day as it would take him more time to get it done and he’d need to get back to serving his customers who have appointments set up.

We reached out to our friends David and Sue who are working at Custer State Park. We were planning on getting together with them anyway to discuss our travel plans back to Rover’s Roost in Arizona. The four of us will travel together once they are done with their Custer gig October 1st.

It turned out that they had Thursday off work so we set a date for them to pick us up at the muffler shop on Thursday and we’d have lunch together and talk about our travel plans while the repair is being completed. I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER! (Thank you David and Sue!)

We got back to the shop in time to pick up the car and Kathy and I made a bee-line for Best Buy where I had to buy a new computer as my 15 year-old Dell laptop finally gave up the ghost.

We got the computer and we back on the road to Hot Springs before 3:30

Next blog post – Hot Springs South Dakota and Angostura Recreation Area (and see who we bumped into there!)

Thanks for riding along and we welcome your comments below. See you next time!

Herb & Kathy

And now for the REST of the story …

As a follow-up (part 2) to Honey, shouldn’t we get those toad brakes installed? I wanted to let you know that all is well.

The folks at Little Dealer Little Prices in Prescott Valley, AZ did a great job.  We had stopped in a month or so ago and talked with one of their technicians (Lance) and he told us it would probably take 4-6 hours to get the system installed in the coach and the car (toad).

I called the service desk last Friday, talked with Colt Sullivan at the counter and we made the appointment for today (the next Tuesday).  We got there about 9:30 and Lance was ready and got right on it.  He finished up about 4:00 p.m., we hooked up the car to the tow bar and Kathy and I took a spin or two around the lot and all worked beautifully – just as Roadmaster had promised.

I have to say it was a real pleasure working with the folks at Little Dealer Little Prices.  They actually did what they said they were going to do, they did it on time, they didn’t charge me more for things they “found” and we were treated by any of the staff we encountered with courtesy and respect.  They have a comfortable and clean customer lounge (the old western schoolhouse) and their WiFi is open and works great.

I shot the video of their showroom and placed it in part 1 of this post, but since then I shot a few of the hallway and offices, wanted to share these with you.  The slide show is below.  If you’re viewing this post from an email sent to you, you MAY not see the slide show.  Just click on the post title up at the top of this email (by my head shot) and you’ll be taken directly to the blog where you will be able to see the slide show.

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So we’re back home for a few more days until we head out to Quartzsite.  I’ll write more about that as we head that way and once we’re there in the desert.

Honey, shouldn’t we get those toad brakes installed?

Kathy’s been asking me this for a while now and yes, I know the answer should be in the affirmative.  But I’ve been putting it off for far too long.

We have driven this coach with the Saturn (Toad) in tow from Ohio to San Diego and back, from Ohio to Vermont and back, and most recently from Ohio to Camp Verde, AZ then from Camp Verde to Tombstone and back, and next week we’ll be towing to Quartzsite.  All of this has been without any braking assist system installed in the toad.DSC_0033

My rationalization for not getting the system installed was that the car (’06 Saturn Vue) is mostly plastic and only weighs about 2200 pounds.  Each time we pulled it I proved to myself that I can stop “ok” even with the toad cramming up our back end.

But it was not a real comfortable feeling.  Especially when it was a HARD stop, like when that light turns yellow just at the wrong time.  Yes, we stopped but nonetheless, it was a bit anxiety provoking.

So, I recently bought the Roadmaster auxilliary braking system. brakemaster This is a small air cylinder that gets installed in the toad and actually pushes the brake pedal when I push the brake pedal in the coach.  There are no wires or electric hook-up .. just an air line from the rear of the coach, over the tow bar, through the toad engine compartment and on into the drivers compartment and then connected (via a quick coupling) to the air cylinder that applies pressure to the brake pedal.   This is a truly proportional braking system.

A month or so ago, we were day-tripping over in Prescott Valley and stopped to talk to the service department at Little Dealer Little Prices.  I had already ordered online the BrakeMaster kit, but I needed to talk with one of their mechanics to make sure he was comfortable installing the system and to get an estimate on how long it might take (cost).

So today was the day to come on over with the coach and car and get it installed.  Kathy and I will “walk the lot” looking over their inventory and there’s a TSC (Tractor Supply Co) right next door so we can walk over there, that’s a cool store to look around in.  But first down the road a bit for breakfast at Dennys.2017-01-10-09-42-45

Then we came back to the shop and I shot a short video of their showroom.  This place is SO COOL!

They have their showroom set up like a campground (at nite) and all the offices look like an old western town.  Cute idea, I wish I was creative like the person who dreampt (sp?) up this theme.  But I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks, eh?

Here’s the video of their showroom … Check it out

We’ve been here since about 9:30 – it’s noon now and hopefully we’ll be back on the road to Rancho Verde RV Park in Camp Verde later this afternoon.

If you are on Facebook, do me a favor and Like us (the park) on the park Facebook page.  I’ve recently been assigned the task of ADMIN there and am trying to post some content of interest and get the LIKES up.  On Facebook, look up @ranchoverdegreenoasis (or follow this link) and LIKE us.  Thanks.

I’ll post an update later today when we have the task completed and do a test drive with the TOAD hooked up and travel back home.