Saturday, March 05, 2011

Workhorse-Bosch Recall

I first received the Holiday Rambler Workhorse Bosch brake recall
  • notice last year. They were not sure just how the problem was to be remedied at the time. The 2004 Holiday Rambler 8.1 Liter gas coach was one of those designated for Bosch service brake caliper assy replacement. We never had any problem with our unit. We live and store the unit in the dry climate of the southwestern USA. New Mexico has all sunny days except for a few. I understand that the problem occurs more often in the higher humidity parts of the country, and then only after long periods of storage.

    Workhorse referred us to ADVANTAGE AUTOMOTIVE
  • John gave us a tentative slot on the extensive list...three/four/five months out. He did say to call him if we were planning a trip. The last days of February came, so I called John as he recomended. The Third of March was open so I drove the Motor Coach to their shop and left it after it's release from winter storage. Marvel Mystery oil in the fuel, seems to ensure a fast start like the engine was just run yesterday. I also fired up the generator just to be sure. The fully automatic battery maintainers from Walmart, kept the cells in the chassis and coach batteries fully charged through the cold winter.

    John explained that the brake problem was with the phenolic piston puck used in the cast iron cylinders of the caliper assys. They swelled slightly in moisture contaminated fluid. The replacement pucks in the caliper cylinder assys, are made of steel, as James showed with a magnet. John asked about several key services, seeing as the coach is at 55,000 miles. We agreed on the fuel filter replacement, being it is a Workhorse proprietary , three line part, original equipment, and soaks the mechanic underneath with gasolene, as it is being unbolted and changed.

    I decided not to get gas soaked while under the coach, changing the filter on the side of a busy highway. John called for my OK at each stage as work progressed. The brake pads were about 3/4ths consumed. Within 15,000 miles, they would most likely require replacement, so I told John to go ahead and change them while installing the four new Bosch disc brake actuators, one at each wheel.

    The large iron rotors were fine and no big cracks, like one set from another coach John showed me. With fuel costs gleefully advancing higher with the refusal of congress and this administration, to approve drilling, we may never be able to sell the coach anyway, so at least we can enjoy it until it is worn out.

    In order to afford the RV lifestyle, I do almost all of my own maintenance, change oil, lube and basic repairs. John mentioned checking the front wheel lubrication reservoirs while they were exposed. I had already drained and replaced the brake fluid with the latest DOT 4 (higher temp rated) Synthetic. He recomended I bring a couple of more qts, if that was what I wanted again. He left me the 2 unopened qts of DOT 3 that Workhorse sent. When I went to pick up the coach at their modern well equipped, well lighted shop, I met Doug and James. Both had done their individual sections of expertise on the recall and service.

    Driving home, the unit worked as new. Brakes may smoke a bit as they lap themselves in, according to John. I would recommend their shop anytime. Having connections to obtain parts, they are the last Workhorse authorised mechanics in Alb NM. The other two shops got fed up with the 'Govt Motors' aspect during the Union bailout fiasco in 2009.

    Now to plan a little trip...after finishing the flood restoration project here at home that is wearing us down. Maybe our neighbor house sitter will finish up? The break will be welcome, away from the job that displaced us from room to room as work progressed.

    The oil changes, I do myself while still agile. 6.5 qts of oil and the 15mm socket wrench for the drain plug, were carried to the coach, along with numerous wiping papers and rags. The five gallon bucket to collect the drain oil, is placed under the engine pan (note: do not drain the transmission fluid by mistake). The filter on the 5 speed Allison Transmission was needing changing. Called ahead for parts, then drove to where I found a Purolator filter at Pep Boys while buying the new Purolator gold premium oil filter for $5. The little Purolator transmission filter is made in China? It sells for $18 including taxes.

    Seems like that simple little twist-on filter could be made in the USA? Of course the legalities, the taxes, the environmental issues and of course union demands, preclude much distasteful 'manufacturing' in the USA of today. Alas, we are being forced by political 'legalities' into the unenviable postion, including the consequences of being a debtor nation of consumers? ....sigh.

    Everytime I crawled under the coach, I noticed something else needing attention. The left rear outside dual tire was flat due to the brake mechanic not getting the small pressure line tight enough on the valve stem (I located the leak with soapy water bubbles). After checking all of the other valve stems for leaks, I refilled all 6 of the tires to 110 PSI as spec.

    The 6 excellent Michelins (22.5's) were all replaced two seasons ago. Crawling under once again, the grease gun's new snap fitting (made in China) did not fit the chassis Zerks. I had to crawl out, get a couple of crescent wrenches and change to the old end fitting for the new hose that I had installed on the gun last fall. Never toss the old 'stuff' until sure of the new 'stuff'.

    The new Purolator transmission filter was then filled with Dexron before installation to prevent 'dry sump' during startup. Same for the oil filter. Zerk fittings are many, on this W-22 Workhorse chassis. Five Zerks on the segmented driveshaft universal joints (including splined slide) and 8 on the front suspension steering gear. Wiping each is mandatory before and after to control dirt contamination of the lubed parts. While in the back yard storage, I roll a carpet runner on the dirt, and move it frequently from position to position. In the street, the creeper works better.

    The batteries showed signs of stress after a week of idleness (in spite of the solar array), so the Schumacher 'Smart Chargers' were again hooked up to maintain the four coach and one chassis battery.

    The cost of fuel is high and rising, but due to political pressures, not going to get any cheaper. The debt ridden dollar is falling in value, so we figure to spend it on some fuel while visiting some history, some geography and great little communities as we are rolling across the United States of America. The greatest Nation ever in history. "One Nation Under God".

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