After spending the night at Fort Bellefonte Campground we hit the road again at quarter to eight. We made a stop at a rest area on I-80 in Pennsylvania and then stopped for fuel at the Flying-J at Exit 234 in Ohio (just over the PA/OH line). After fueling up, it was another 16 miles to the Ohio Turnpike.
When we stopped to pick up our toll ticket Judy said, “I sure hope that smell isn’t us!” I said it’s probably just the area we’re in, but looked in my rear view mirror as we were pulling away. Then I said, “I think it is us!” as I saw smoke rolling out behind us. My first thought was injector issues again, but as both Judy and I looked in the passenger side mirror, at just about the same time, we saw black smoke rolling out from behind us.
About a half mile from the toll booth, we were able to pull over to the side of the road and we quickly moved to the passenger side of the coach where we witnessed smoke billowing out of the hub on the forward wheel. Judy opened the coach door and I grabbed the fire extinguisher that’s right inside the door and sprayed it into the hub; then I crawled under and sprayed the back of the wheel as well. There were no flames, but I wasn’t taking any chances of some flaring up.
We contacted Coachnet and they assisted us as best as they could. We were on the turnpike which is a limited access highway for towing purposes, but they did locate a repair facility and make arrangements for us to get repairs.
In the meantime, I pulled the wheel off to determine what the problem was – wheel bearing freezing up or brake shoe locking up. If it was the brake shoes, I planned to remove them and put the wheel back on so we could drive to the repair facility. Both the brakes and the bearings were totally “burned up” so I couldn’t tell what caused the problem. That being the case, the only way to move the coach was without the wheel.
After loading the wheel and the hub in the back of the truck, we limped our way to Leonard Truck and Trailer in North Jackson, Ohio. It was a seven mile trip limping along on three wheels. Chuck, the service manager, came out and looked at the wheel; he couldn’t tell if the problem was caused by the wheel bearings or the brakes either. He gave us a $325 “ball park” estimate for parts and labor to rebuild the wheel. We are scheduled for the first thing this morning and, providing they have all the parts (which he’s quite sure that they do), we should be on the road again by noon.
It was a scary scene to say the least. We both had visions of everything we own going up in smoke right before our very eyes there along the side of the highway. It’s a good thing that we had to stop at that unmanned toll booth or else we would have never smelled or seen the smoke. Hopefully the seven mile trip on three wheels didn’t ruin the rear tire on the right side; we’d hate to have any more issues on this trip.
Just as a preventative measure, we’re going to have them pull the other three wheels to grease the bearings and check the brakes. I put grease in the zerk fittings while we were in Maine, but after yesterday’s “fiasco” we’d feel safer knowing that everything is “kosher”.
Well, that is our state of affairs this sunny morning in Ohio. Judy says, “Gee, not everyone can have this much fun!”, but thanks be to God for His protecting hand being upon us. We were truly blessed yesterday as it could have been a whole lot worse.
Keep On Keeping On and May God Bless - - - - - - - - -