Motorhome Maintenance & Repairs

When I was driving H-R back to storage after our last trip the “Service Engine” light lit up. Oh grand.

I’ve been wanting to have the spark plugs replaced so I decided to combine that with the service engine light correction.

Turns out the error code was for the DPFE – Differential Pressure Feedback Exhaust [Recirculation] – sensor which has a “history” on the Ford engines of our vintage – a 1999 Triton V10. It was redesigned after 1999 and changed from an aluminum housing to a plastic housing. The sensor has something to do with controlling the amount of exhaust being recirculated to the EGR something or other – enough details for me. The hoses related to this doohicky were also tired out.

So the sensor and hoses were replaced. 

In addition I had the spark plugs and plug boots replaced. Ford originally specified spark plug replacement at 100K miles on this V10 but later revised it to 60K miles. Our mechanic confirmed that I was correct in my assumption that the prior owner[s] of H-R hadn’t ever replaced the plugs as they were suitably crudded up. The boots always dry out over the miles so they were replaced with heavy duty boots.

I asked them to inspect and lube the suspension with a particular eye to how tight H-R’s front end is. They reported that the front end was tight but H-R had spit one of the donut bushings off of the rear sway bar. So they ordered up a couple of bushings and installed them. Rounding it out with a new fuel filter (again, doubting that it may have ever been replaced) and H-R was ready to come home.

With only 1,000 miles on a full synthetic oil change on both the V10 and the Generator those items were left alone.

So with my wallet $855 lighter I brought H-R home. Spending money on this kinda’ stuff comes with the purchase of a used coach with 82,000 or so miles on it. I’m looking forward to our next trip so we can see how it runs after the maintenance.



Sunday in the State Park Campground

I realize that I am skipping from anticipating our trip to Yakima to the near end of our stay, but I just haven’t had the oomph to post about the trip yet.

At any rate, here I am at Sunday. We’ve been here at Yakima Sportsman State Park since Wednesday and it has been a wonderful experience. The campground was very lightly populated until Friday night, Saturday morning. Even after filling to capacity it has been a pretty mellow crowd, save for one incident in the tenting area across from us where a young guy with a beer fueled anger issue exploded providing a bit of drama. However it passed rather quickly as he departed.

I’ve been sitting outside in the cool morning air with my dog, my coffee, and my iPad since about 7:40 watching folks pack up and leave. My in-laws, who have been here in the spot next door to us since Wednesday will be departing today, too. Since Jean, still tucked in bed, and I are retired we’ll be staying until tomorrow.

I find it a bit sad to watch the small town of campers breaking down and dispersing to the wind. It starts as a rural area on Wednesday, builds to a small town for the weekend then, over a few hours on Sunday, reverts to a rural area.


Anticipation builds as we prep H-R for Yakima.


It’s very warm here (for us) in the low 90s and we’re heading to Yakima where it’s over 100º. Glad we’ll have a 50 amp hookup and functioning A/C.

Jean spent this morning carrying stuff down to H-R while I mowed the lawn which was a dusty job today since we’ve been without rain for several weeks. The grass is browning out where there’s lots of sun. The lack of rain doesn’t seem to bother the weeds as much.

With most everything in H-R, we’re finishing laundry so we can load our clothes and we’ll buy food tomorrow morning before we leave.

Planning to take US-12 over to Yakima. I detest I-90 and US-12 is actually interesting plus it’s more amenable to the 55 mph I prefer to run in H-R than the interstate.

Can’t wait to roll.




I feel so happy!

Before we departed Fort Worden State Park a few weeks ago, the black tank on H-R drained part way as normal then stopped. I heard a dribbling after that but that was all. Damn. Got a clog. Damn. Using the flush inlet didn’t seem to help. Damn.

I went ahead and drained the gray tank, flushed out the sewer hose, and closed’er up for the drive home. I did add some extra chemical to the tank before heading out. I was hoping the sloshing around and some time would correct the “problem”.

Since we’re headed to the Yakima Sportsman State Park in a couple of days, I picked up H-R from storage and drove it straight to a dump station. Paid my $5, put the hose end into the “receptacle”, connected the other end to H-R’s poop chute, and pulled the drain handle.

I heard flow, kinda slow at first but then it picked up! Oh man, what a relief! 

I was so not looking forward to escalating the situation.


Bicycle Riding



Bought a very nice used road bike. It’s actually an urban commuter bike, some might call it a hybrid, suitable for both road and tame off road riding. When it needs tires, I plan to put on a narrower profile, to tilt it more toward the road.

I have a stand for it, a Bell Motivator, to allow me to train indoors when the weather is sucky.

I rode outdoors on it for the first time on Monday. Did 14 miles on it then. Did 7 miles yesterday and 23 miles today.

I hope I can keep it up.

Waiting Waiting Waiting

Today, Friday finds me waiting for Sunday when we’ll head for Bay Center for four nights. The weather forecast for Sunday – Thursday looks pretty good.


I mowed the lawn again today not wanting to let it go until we get back from our trip and fearing a chance of rain between now and our departure on Sunday.

H-R is pretty much ready to go since we took little out of it after the breakdown on our aborted Tuesday try for the coast. We need to add another dinner to our food larder, I need to put my clothes back in, I think Jean’s clothes mostly remained in the rig.


Good News…


I was mistaken when H-R went kaput. Its engine oil was brand new and very clear. In my angst I failed to see it on the dip stick. The fluid loss was coolant. One of the heater hoses split.

May get H-R back this afternoon. I asked them to also check all the belts. I don’t want to be headed out on our next trip and have it spit a damn belt off.


First Motorhome Trip of the Year

H-R Comes Home


When we brought H-R to the house from its storage location it was truly a mess. Rather grumpy looking, needing a good pressure washing.

When I set up my pressure washer, an electric model, it wouldn’t run, it kept tripping its own built in breaker.



So off we headed to the RV / Auto Car Wash a few miles away in Buckley, wooden step-ladder and long handled brush in the aisle of H-R.

After about $18 of car wash tokens, too numerous to count trips up and down the ladder with the pressure sprayer, and Jean brushing where I sprayed, H-R looked way, way better.

With our clothing well sprayed and shoes full of water, we sloshed home.

Unfortunately H-R got some rodents in it during the last part of the winter in storage. So now that the outside was cleaned up, Jean tackled the inside with a vengeance.

While she scrubbed and cleaned, I ran more than a few loads of stuff thru the “sanitary” setting on our LG front loader with bleach added for good measure.

Lesson learned for next storage phase.


We planned a trip, the first outing of the year in H-R, for weeks.

Our destination was Willapa Bay at Bay Center on the coast.

The KOA there has killer reviews, woodsy campsites, and gracious, friendly owners on site.

The weather was predicted to be beautiful this week.

Departure day arrived on Tuesday. After spending much of Monday and Tuesday morning humping down and up the hill that is our front yard, and mowing the entire lawn, we were ready to head out around noon.

Low Tire

I had detected a low PSI tire on one of the right rear duelies so we headed for Les Schwab to have it checked.


While we were waiting our turn, being hungry, we walked to the nearby taco truck for lunch.


At the taco truck, I had one of my favorites of five carnita tacos. The fried pork is delicious.

After lunch, it was back to H-R and the dogs to continue waiting our turn.


Waiting, waiting, waiting…


As it turned out, the air loss was caused by a leaky valve extension. You know, the braided hose kind of extension. Les Schwab has had such bad experience with them that they no longer sell them. So I had them take off the offending extension and we finally hit the road for Willapa Bay at about 2:00 pm.

Disaster Strikes

About 20 miles down the road, H-R’s Service Engine Soon light and an oil warning light next to the oil pressure gauge came on.

We were approaching an exit so I took it and stopped in a parking lot. After shutting the Triton V-10 down I checked the oil. Nothing on the dipstick.

I looked underneath to see that while the drain plug and oil filter both looked intact and secure, oil was dripping off of cross members in the chassis.

Obviously I had lost a majority of the engine oil from some freakin’ place.


A phone call to my favorite mechanic disclosed that he was full, no room at the inn, no way he could take H-R in. So I searched for someone who could. I got more than one recommendation for Scarff Motors in Auburn.

The service people at their truck shop told me that they were booked up two weeks out but I could bring it there if that delay was OK. Well, what else could we do?

AAA got a heavy tow on the way to us and Dennis, from Olympia Towing got us hooked up.

A 40 minute ride later and we were at the truck shop in Auburn.

The service writers there told us they would have a look at it the next day to see if maybe it was something easy like an oil cooler line and let us know. Otherwise, it would be the two weeks to get to something more serious.

So we sit back at home, shoulda’ been at the coast, waiting to see how bad the damages are gonna’ be.

Oh well.