Workhorse Down

Travel Journal – October 29, 2015
Most Favorite Time - NOT

Most Favorite Time – NOT

I have a few things to take care of today around the Coach, besides the regular cleaning. I usually try to break up the jobs into smaller segments. That way I can get a few things done each day and move on to enjoying the day. Today is the “Dreaded Dump” day. It’s really not that bad, especially now that I have done it so many times. Still I want to be alert when pulling the valve. Accidents can happen fast and wouldn’t be fun to clean up.

Here at a semi-permanent camp the sewer hose stays connected so the nasty part of separating the hoses and cleaning up doesn’t need to happen each time I dump. At the end of this blog post I have written some tips on how I manage my Black and Grey Tanks that may be useful to newbies or even experienced RVer’s looking to see how other’s manage their homes on wheels.

My routine for dumping went as usual and I moved on to my regular cleaning around the coach when Jagger reminded me we haven’t been to the park for our walk. I decided to treat myself to “Del Taco” for lunch, then we would go to the park for our walk. After putting the collar and leach on Jagger, we loaded up in the Workhorse.

Off to the Park

Okay ready for this…I turn the key to start the Workhorse, click…nothing. I attempt several times, then open the hood to see if all the parts were still there. Hmm, looks like an engine to me. Try again, click…nothing. I then proceed to remove a disappointed Jagger from the Workhorse. He doesn’t want to come and I don’t blame him. We were looking forward to the park walk and I Del Taco. We go across the street and hang out in the small dog park here so it wasn’t a total bust for Jagger.

After getting back in the Coach I start planning for what I am going to do. My head spins, thinking the absolute worst possibilities that I knew were NOT in my budget. I call Good Sam Club, to which I am a member. This would be the second time I have used them in the last six months. What, this is a new truck! Oh, but I now have 39,900 miles on it, so not so new. Anyway Phil answers the phone and walks me through what needs to happen. I choose to have the Workhorse towed to Superstition Chrysler Jeep in Mesa, only about five miles away. He sets up the tow service, Thompson’s Auto Repair & Towing on Main street in Mesa also. Then I hangup the phone, so I can wait and worry some more.

When Thompson’s tow truck arrives, I meet Jake and he listens to the sound the Workhorse makes. Doesn’t sound like the battery, maybe the starter, which was my thought. I am no mechanic, PC’s are my area of expertise. He positions the tow truck platform to lift the 4 ton Workhorse onto the tow truck. The winches grind and strain lifting and end uneventfully, with the Workhorse now on top of the platform. We talk a little and then they pull away, Jake, the tow truck and the Workhorse.

As I am resting I hear the beep..beep…beep of an RV backing up and look out my window. There is one good thing today, that my new neighbor didn’t arrive before my truck was towed. It would have been very tight for the tow truck driver and my new neighbor, Earl. Backing into these sites is rough, especially if I couldn’t move my truck for him.

In review of the afternoon, I think of how a bad situation today actually had a series of good things happening around me. Besides my workhorse being out of Earl’s way as he backed in his rig, the Workhorse refused to start in a safe place. I could have been out in the middle of nowhere towing the Coach. There was a tow company close by and I got to meet Jake, who was very helpful. I’m also sure Bill and his team will get the Workhorse back on the road soon.

The Problem

Friday morning I speak to Bill at the Superstition Chrysler service department. He explains they tested the alternator and several other points of possible failure including the batteries. The batteries , it turns out are dead and replacing both of them is going to be expensive. Bill’s “out the door cost was going to be around $570. According to “similar” batteries I found “online”, they about $40 dollars more each, plus the installation charges. At this point what are you going to do? You can’t drive away. I give him the go ahead to install the batteries, also replace my tires all the way around as they were having a buy 3 get the 4th one for $1. Finally my Oil needs to be changed.

The Solution

Bill and the Superstition Chrysler-Jeep team were good to me. They gave me what seemed like some very nice discounts, including a free oil change (which I needed and costs nearly $100 for my diesel). The batteries and Oil Change came to $470, much less than the estimate.

[one_fourth][/one_fourth]The tires we agreed on came in and were the wrong match for the Workhorse. As it turns out the ones he found for me were mislabeled and hundred dollars less than the correct match so I had to make another expensive, but necessary decision.

After checking some more he noted  that the Michelin’s also were on sale for a buy 3 get 1 for $1 too, but cost $100 more than the alternative BF Goodrich. I choose to go the with the Michelin’s and bite the bullet for $770, which I think is a pretty good price for the quality. They are the only ones with a 70K miles hazard warranty and a tread wear warranty. I have heard a lot about the quality and warranty of these tires and I am sure I will get many more miles of seeing our country before having to replace them again. They had to order the correct size for the Workhorse and the tires won’t be delivered until Monday. Then I will take the Workhorse back for new “shoes”.

Until next time…safe travels, Gary

RV Tip – Sanitation Dump

I’ve been traveling and living Full-Time in my fifth wheel now for over a year and never have covered any tips for the RV Lifestyle, whether an occasional trip or Full-Time. For those newbies or if your just refining your own routines, here is how I maintain my Black and Grey tanks.

  1. Tools
    • I have two 10′ flexible sewer hoses. I have used both several times.
    • A “bridge” to keep your sewer hose off the ground and sloped to the city connection. When you leave your hose connected, some municipalities require that your hose is off the ground.
    • A ninety degree connector for the city fixture that fits multiple size openings.
    • A clear forty-five degree connection to my Coach. I know it can be gross, but after the nausea leaves you the first time or two you get used to it. It’s invaluable to see if in fact all of the tank is finished dumping and clear.
    • Disposable gloves.
    • Disinfectant spray.
    • Hand Sanitizer.
    • A green or black garden hose for the black tank flush only.
  2. When camping at a place that has a sewer connection, I always leave my Grey and Black water valves closed.
    • There are other opinions to this rule. Some say they leave their grey water open. It’s my belief that it’s just as important to completely fill your tanks, if possible, then dump as the flushing action helps pull out the heavy sediments that settle in the bottom of your tanks with the water as it exits the tank quickly.
    • Even more important on your Black tank. You never leave the valve open as the liquids will drain leaving a build up of solids which will eventually clog your tank. That’s not fun, from what I have read online.
    • Just a thought about leaving the valves closed. If your valves are open, you have a direct connection to the city sewer or common septic tank. Bugs and sewer flies can go up the hose and take up residence in your tanks or worse, come into your living area, need I say more.
  3. I use disposable gloves when connecting my sewer hoses and operating the valves.
    • Call me paranoid, but I want to maintain a barrier between myself and even my own RV’s sewage water. But especially the fresh water fixture nearby and the city sewer fittings in the ground.
    • I use Lysol All Purpose disinfectant spay on all of the connections, including my own hoses and connectors, before and after.
    • Side note, when hooking up to my fresh water at the site I always use this spray on the fresh water connection. After hooking up my fresh water hose I flush my hose with water before hooking it up to the Coach. You never know if this connection was use by the previous camper to flush his sewer tanks. Again an once of prevention. (I also have a better quality filter for my fresh water)
  4. Always open your Black water tank valve first and it alone.
    • I have an on board internal black tank fresh water flush, that I use every time I dump my black tank.
    • Take your time flushing, those of us behind you will be patient (most of us). I usually close the valve wait thirty seconds or so for the black tank to refill with fresh water, then dump again. I will do this until the liquid coming out is clear.
  5. After the Black tank finishes I close the valve and I open my Kitchen Grey tank (I have three sewer tanks)
  6. Next close the Kitchen Grey tank and open the Bathroom Grey tank, which services the bathroom sink and shower.
  7. Now close the Kitchen Grey tank valve and the outside valve gate.
    • The outside valve gate is an after market secondary valve I purchased that is connected permanently on the outside connection to my fifth wheel. It acts as a back up valve and prevents any “surprises” when you open the outside valve cap as you begin this process.
  8. Finally use fresh water to spray down any spillage and you equipment. Use the disinfectant spray on your equipment and the city fixtures. Now return everything to storage.


There are a lot of resources on the internet, including some how to videos that are very helpful.

6 replies

  1. I can so relate to your pain. We had to replace the ejectors on our Duramax this summer and that is big big bucks. But still cheaper than a new truck. So we, too, bit the bullet and spent the money. We were boondocking outside of Yuma when our batteries died. Thank goodness we had friends parked next to us. Hopefully now you are good to go.


    • Friends jumping in are wonderful. How many miles did you have on your Duramax? I am hoping the same, but I know very soon I will be looking at servicing my Transmission, Trans-axle (4×4), Differential, Axles and hubs serviced.


  2. OUCH and OUCH!!! I think I likely forgot to tell you I had a diesel once, and swore off them forever!! Bought a new Chevy 3/4 ton in 86, with a 6.2L “true” diesel engine… was problem free until it rolled over 100k miles, then the fun began!! Injectors, injection pump, starter, 2 Delco HD batteries, alternator, new transmission…..not to mention the tires!! I feel your pain, but it is what it is!! Safe Travels…


    • I love the power my Ram diesel has going up hills and the exhaust brake going down. But I can’t believe how expensive the regular maintenance is, let alone any failures. I definitely didn’t plan enough for my Auto budget for the number of miles I am driving! I have Extended Warranty policy for 100K. I hope the Workhorse hangs in there. Take care.


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