We arrived in Chattanooga last Sunday with a rear seal leaking on the engine. Replacing the seal apparently is not a big deal but the engine and transmission had to be removed to get to it. Yikes! We have full confidence in Joel of the Choo Choo Express Garage; he is truly a master at his craft.
We got settled into our spot in the wash bay and plugged in. The work commenced on Monday and by Wednesday they had the engine back in the bus. Jim worked right alongside Joel, who is tireless.
I was able to get some of my magazine work done and all was going well.
The next day Jim spent almost the entire day powerwashing the engine and transmission. It has never been so clean! Except maybe when it was new, back in 1981.
At least it wasn’t as gunked up as this one in the shop. Joel has to tackle that next.
And he discovered a spot in the support brace that needed to be welded. If that had broken off and given way it could be bad news. Joel is nothing if not succinct; he said “They didn’t know what they were doing.”
When they got the bus over the pit on Thursday to fix an airbag that somehow was no longer leaking, they discovered a gasket in the transmission that needed to be replaced. So we planned to spend another day at the garage so they can drop the pan and replace it. Not the most scenic spot we’ve stayed in but easy to close the blinds, mix a cocktail and just be at home in the bus.
Once they got everything back together, Joel suggested we take a test drive about 40 miles to Dalton just to make sure everything shook out OK. We went and had lunch. On the way back, we were in stop-and-go traffic and the Low Oil light came on. When this happens, the engine shuts itself down which can be interesting in traffic. It happened to me once while I was driving and you can’t steer or maneuver well at all. We limped off to the shoulder and Jim checked the oil. It was full. Hmmm.
He got it started back up and all seemed OK until we were just about a mile or so from the shop and it happened again; Low Oil, engine off. We got it started and went back to talk to Joel. I’m sure this was just what he wanted to hear. The guy is swamped with work.
Joel thought it might be the oil pressure switch, which is ironic since we just had the one on the generator replaced. Jim thinks it may be the way it is wired and not the switch itself.
Jim also noted that he didn’t seem to be getting full throttle. We have had trouble with the throttle before but when Joel took a look he said the mechanism at the back end was put together wrong. Again, somebody didn’t know what they were doing. Joel got it put together right.
The next morning we got to sleep in a bit while waiting for the gasket. Then Joel came over to say they sent the wrong one! Of course it is a Friday so we won’t be able to get another one until Tuesday! Oh well. We thought about going to a state park or someplace with a little more scenic view but decided to just put down the blinds and relax here. We can work, play ukulele, read, watch football and go on our way after the repair is complete. They have lots of Garage kitties and some of them let us pet them. Joel lives behind the shop and they have kitties too. It’s nice here. We will probably rent a car for the weekend and go explore (translation: eat and drink) around Chattanooga.
Oh yeah. It’s also our anniversary! Happy 26th sweetie!