The End of the Brake Saga (we hope)

Well…we’re out of the service bay and back into site 3 here at the MORryde facility in Elkhart IN…and hopefully our brake woes are behind us.

After our pretty uneventful trip from the rally in Marion NC to Elkhart IN we got parked, checked in with the service manager Rob, and headed over to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner. Our first choice was our favorite place to eat here in Elkhart…Iechyd Da Brewery but they were closed on Tuesday and we had a hankering for Chinese…so she found the Mandarin Kitchen that had good reviews. We drove over there and walked in the door…followed by walking out the door as it was a take out place with a couple of tables in the front; not our idea of fine dining. The other Chinese place in town Jade Garden was our second choice and it turned out to be a good one. Great food and $30 including tip.

Wednesday we finally backed the house into the service bay in the late morning and Rob’s guys Sergio and Keith started looking at our problems. Here are a couple of before photos of the failed parts.

Rotor…this turns with the wheel, the surface is supposed to be shiny and smooth like glass.

Brake Rotor

Caliper…this fits over the rotor and does not rotate. Notice the arrows pointing to what used to be little rubber boots that help keep the brake fluid in and the dirt out.

Caliper

And finally the pads themselves…you can see in the shot of the caliper above that the top pad of the two in the middle doesn’t have any brake material on it. Here’s what the pad that was rubbing on the rotor looks like.

Brake Pad

Some discussion with Rob and others here at the factory revealed that back in early to mid 2012 Dexter (they make the brakes) had a problem with pads in that the material separated from the backing plate. The material is epoxied on so it’s either bad epoxy, bad mixing, or bad curing…sure seems like a manufacturing defect on Dexter’s part to us (and Rob as well)…but rather than owning up to the problem they just say “24K warranty and it’s normal wear and tear” so they save money.

So…after some evaluation by Rob, Keith and Sergio here’s what we ended up needing: (a) 2 complete new brakes for the rear wheels, turns out that an entire kit is cheaper than the individual parts so we have a few leftover parts from the two kits in our spare parts bin now; (b) we also needed new springs installed on our IS (independent suspension) since we’re pretty heavy (although still well within the rated capacity of 7,000 pounds for axles…our heaviest axle is 5,700 and heaviest wheel is 3,100) and the original springs (well, they’re actually rubber plates but they call them springs) were fully compressed and Rob replaced them with stiffer/stronger springs to both give us a little more headroom as well as pick up the rear of the trailer just a bit; (c) we needed to have our IS welded to the frame to make it a little stiffer; and (d) a little dress up of the wiring for our ABS system that New Horizons didn’t leave enough slack in.

We told them to fix it right and also check our bearings as that was on our original work list for the Alaska trip…the good news is that the bearings look fine, no excess grease in the caps and nothing looks out of order there. They got to work and finished up the welding yesterday…and since we were up on blocks (like any good redneck, ya gotta have a house trailer up on blocks) we just spent the night inside the service bay which essentially meant that we were inside the 3 shifts per day factory. Luckily they don’t do too much noisy stuff at night. After the day’s work we headed over to Iechyd Da for dinner…and it was another rousing success.

We had a pint each of Stiff Wind Scottish Strong Ale (7.2% alcohol, stronger than most brews)…a dark brown ale similar to Newcastle Brown Ale…quite tasty. Along with that we split a Kidwelly pizza…Rosemary oil, ham, smoked Gouda cheese, mozzarella, arugula, and balsamic vinegar…again quite tasty. We were still a bit hungry so we split an order of Sticky Toffee Pudding with caramel sauce and whipped cream and a snifter each of Walloon Belgian Dark Strong which is a fruity dessert type beer and even stronger at 9.2%. It’s served in a smaller glass…the snifter was about a half pint but it was heavily flavored and that’s about all you would want of it. Here’s a shot of the Stiff Wind.

Iechyd Da Elkhart Brew2

After dinner we came home…sat in the rig in the factory…and watched TV until bedtime.

Today we were up at 0500 as we had to be ready for Keith by 0600…had coffee and breakfast and got dressed then headed over to the office while Keith and his helper got to work. About 1400 we were finished and ready to pull out of the service bay. After we did that Keith measured our over all rig height as the stronger springs did pick us up a bit…he measured it at 13’6” which is about 2 inches higher than before but he and Rob said the springs would compress an inch or so over the next couple of days so figure we will end up at 13’5”…just an inch taller than before. Not a big deal…we’ll just reprogram the height in our truck GPS and head on down the road.

The final bill for our troubles was almost 3400 bucks…787 for the original repair at Restless Wheels Trailer in Manassas VA a couple backs, 583 for the parts Bill Napier and Neil picked up at Redneck Trailer Supply (what a great name) in Lincolnton NC and another 1990 to MORryde for the parts, labor, and alignment of the IS we needed after the spring replacement

We pulled over and parked (again) back in site 3 and got power on and the A/C fired up as it’s about 80 today. Neil stored away all the spare brake parts we ended up with…along with some spare lug bolts for both our friend Bill Napier and ourselves and some spare hydraulic hoses and limit switch for our Quadra BigFoot jacks that level us when parked and unhitched. The spare hoses will help ensure that we have no issues with hoses on the Alaska caravan.

We also figured out our route between Elkhart IN and De Forest WI (right outside Madison) for tomorrow. We have to pass Chicago and want to (a) miss the traffic, (b) miss downtown Chicago, and (c) pay the least amount of tolls we can get away with without driving 100 miles out of the way. Connie found us a convenient way that does all of that and will only cost $16 in tolls…we could have had no tolls but it’s 100 miles farther and we’ll waste more than 16 bucks in fuel going that way. We’re having dinner tonight at Heinnies which is local bar and steak house…then we’ll get hitched up, tested, and on the road tomorrow morning with an underway time of about 0900 for our 270 mile trip to De Forest. We’ll park overnight at the Madison KOA then head out again Saturday morning for the remaining 270 miles or so to Minneapolis where we’re staying at the Minneapolis NW KOA which (strangely enough) is in Maple Grove and not Minneapolis. Then we’ll do Fun Stuff© along with probably a little work for Connie until we leave next Friday for a 2 day drive via Fargo ND to Medora ND where we will stay at the boon docking campground at Teddy Roosevelt National Park for a couple days…then it’s off to Saskatoon and points west in Canadia.

Cyas.

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About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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