To catch you up:
After looking for the “perfect” used coach for our family–class A diesel pusher with bunkbeds–for months, we found it! We purchased a 2010 Newmar Ventana. It took about three weeks after making our decision to bring it home. The dealership that we bought it from did an inspection on it, serviced it, and made a few repairs that you would expect in an eight-year-old coach. When Kevin went to drive it off of the lot…the check engine light came on! This was a huge disappointment. The mechanic was already gone for the day, so we had to leave the coach to have it checked out again. Kevin and our oldest son, Edwin traveled to Guatemala (post to follow!) just over a week later, so it seemed like a very long wait before we finally, FINALLY got to bring it home.
We live nearly two hours from the dealership, so it was agreed that we would meet half-way. Picking up the rig was a family affair. We piled all four kids and my mom in the car to go out to meet it. My three oldest kids, of course, wanted to stay with Kevin in the coach. My mom, my littlest, and I followed in my car. First thing, it needed gas.
As I pulled in behind Kevin at the service station, I realized that one of the tail lights was out. We had only crossed the street and already there was something to be fixed! As Kevin put $120 of diesel fuel into it, I gingerly told him about the problem. He took it in stride.
I watched him through my rear-view mirror on the way home. I was super-proud of the way that he navigated the highway in it, looking like a pro, and knowing full-well that he was alone in there with three very excited kids.
The first true test however was when we hit our road. We knew that navigating our one lane dirt road would be a challenge. It’s very narrow and curvy. Our driveway is steep and the steep part is gravel. I was told to pull in front to watch for low-hanging branches that may scrape the roof of the coach. My mother and I joked. What exactly were were supposed to do if we saw one of these branches? We couldn’t exactly back the coach up the road or turn it around. Y’all it was WIDE. Kevin did it, though. And I don’t think any trees were harmed in the process.
It has set for several weeks in the yard. Friends have come over to walk-through and share in our excitement. We have started learning…and started repairing.
After repairing the burned-out taillight, the next thing that Kevin noticed wasn’t working was the hot-water heater. (I need to learn more about how all of this works so that I can better explain it to you, but I find all of the different energy sources on the coach rather confusing.) He found all of the manuals that had been tucked away in a nice case in the master closet of the coach and began to research the hot-water heater.
Obviously, the hot-water heater is important for hot water. It is also important for the furnace. The coach’s main heat runs on a heat pump. Like most of our homes, the heat pump switches the air flow from heating to cooling as needed. This works if it doesn’t get TOO cold. I don’t remember the magic number that he told me, but somewhere in the 20s, the heat pump will freeze so a furnace is needed to take over the heating. The hot water heater runs the furnace. The hot water flows through the bottom and floor of the coach, keeping the water parts from freezing and circulating heat through the floors keeping it nice and toasty. That’s about as technical as I get, folks. So. This wasn’t working. If the temperature were to get low enough, the water in the coach would freeze and pipes would burst. This would be ugly.
My amazing husband spent hours working on this. He used a volt meter. He called the service department at the dealership. He did other things that he told me about that didn’t stick in my very non-mechanical brain. I DO, however, remember the solution. He jiggled it. Yep. There was some part on the top of the motor that jiggled and he heard the darn thing click back on. Yay!
At this exact same moment, I was inside the coach with a friend who had stopped by for a tour. I was showing her how the slides worked. The fourth slide wouldn’t come back in. The motor was motoring away, but nothing was happening. Kevin hadn’t even made it back inside, yet! Upon inspection, it appeared that part of the rotating mechanism on the slide had rusted and broken. He was able to manually move the slide with a wrench from underneath the coach. This moved it back into it’s home position so that it could be driven. (FYI: We could not do this if he were not quite so mechanically savvy!) Deep breath. Fast forward one week.