The search for transmission fluid

For the most part, the grounds of the campground are flat, so we got a welcome break for the running portion of our workout.  However, Jeanne felt the running was harder than normal and guessed, since we were surrounded by hills, the altitude made running difficult.  After a GPS reading determined the coach was at 385 feet, I suggested there must be some other reason.

We decided to spend the day on vehicle maintenance.  The coach maintenance schedule required replacement of the automatic transmission fluid filter at 5,000 miles.  We had the work done in Florida but discovered the fluid level was low — the service guy guessed instead of verifying the fluid level.  Through trial and error we found the transmission uses an expensive special high-mileage fluid marketed through Allison dealers only.  The trick is finding an Allison dealer close by when you’re camped in the middle of nowhere without reliable cell phone service.  Eventually, we found a dealer in the small town of Netcong, New Jersey (I’m not making this up).  After a leisurely 18 mile drive along the Delaware river we located the dealer, paid $35 for a gallon of the stuff and returned to the coach.  Problem solved.

We had been on the go for so long, we decided to use the rest of the day to prepare the coach for travel and relax.

Contemporary note:  It might seem to the reader that we spent a lot of time hanging around the coach relaxing.  The truth is there is a LOT of maintenance on a motorhome, it is like maintaining your house and vehicle at the same time.  

For example, the coach had six batteries.  Yes, six.  Two were for motor ignition and four were deep-cycle batteries for the living quarters.  Two highly-rated batteries were needed to start the rig and/or to start the diesel generator when shore power (campground hookup) was unavailable.  The four deep-cycle batteries supplied power to the 12 systems when generator or shore power was not available.  All the batteries had to be regularly checked (especially in hot weather) for proper water level, charge, connections, etc.

All the other systems had similar maintenance requirements.  If one system failed, life quickly became complicated.  Preventative maintenance was essential and the best way to deal with it was to set aside some time every day to check and re-check systems.