120. Northbound towards Red Bay, AL

I am heading to Red Bay, AL, the home of Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. manufacturer of my Bus. I want to find out the cost to repaint the front cap of my mh. Also one of my slide outs makes a loud snapping or cracking sound near the end of its travel out. Sounds like a board cracking. It’s been that way for months and doesn’t seem to affect the functionality. But Murphy’s Law dictates that, untreated, something major will break when the slide is extended preventing my ability to bring it in and drive. So I’ll get that checked out. Also, yesterday a truck threw a stone into my windshield and this afternoon I discovered about a 12” vertical crack near the outer edge so I guess I’ll get that checked out as well.

I wrote yesterday about how windy the drive was. I noticed in the afternoon that my Motorhome would buck like what you sometimes feel behind a or when a semi passes you and the wind coming off buffets you. I’d get this momentary, very momentary, feeling of slowing down though it wasn’t noticeable on the speedometer or tachometer. Well today was as or more windy but 60 miles down the road I’d be heading north on I-55 and the wind should be substantially from behind.

I didn’t notice any improvement once I turned north so I started paying more attention. I decided I was only noticing it on inclines and so I mulled over in my mind whether the winds would gain more speed or affect coming down on me as I was climbing. Then on a longer climb (these are hills, not mountains) I did notice my speed decline, RPMs decrease and sitting forward could see the warning light hidden on the dash and then the message screen said “stop engine”. I found a place to pull over within a half mile or so and when I did, the idiot light turned off and the message screen cleared. I pulled back on the road and all was fine with the next nearest town being Jackson, MS some 40 miles away. I now knew it wasn’t wind!

I googled Cummins service and entered it into my GPS. Upon arrival, I explained my situation and was told that they were scheduled out for three weeks. I practically begged to get them to plug their computer into the engine diagnostics and they finally did. It showed fuel flow faults (3 warning lights history so I must have missed 2) and then the service mgr explained those were the most difficult issues to trouble shoot – pumps, filters etc. I said it seemed to me that rather than wait 3 weeks, maybe it would make sense to change the two fuel filters and I’d see if it cleared. They didn’t want to even do that so I asked where else I could go for a simple filter change and someone suggested Speedco about 2 miles away.

Away I went and found the Speedco (a National chain of lube and oil change shops for trucks – similar to Jiffy Lube for autos) and got in line. Once I was next in line for entry, the service guy came to see what service I needed and I told home I needed 2 fuel filters changed. They got that done while I was still in line, I paid, turned around and left. Problem appears to be solved and the Bus is again riding smoothly as though on a pillow.😎. Yippee! I’m guessing my fuel probably got a bit of algae during the 2 months of sitting and week of freezing weather. I doubt the diesel I bought in the RG Valley was a winter blend.

It was getting late and I found a nearby campground with 50 amp service and pull through and so I treated myself.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

A longer day but one I liked as most of it was not Interstate. Even included about 35 miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a historic 444 mile roadway through MS, AL and TN following an old Indian trail. Similar driving experience to that of the Blue Ridge Skyline Drive. Two lane, woodsy, low traffic 50mph drive.

Sorry about the bug splatters on the windshield.
Spring is starting to show up in northern Mississippi. I think those are dogwoods and they sure do brighten the roadside. Now and then a pink tree but never when I have the camera in hand.

I am across the state line from Red Bay – in Belmont, MS. I’m getting an estimate to repaint the front cap of the Bus. It has a lot of paint chips and apparently the cove area from the top of the windshield to the roof line had peeled and was “repaired” by prior owner with a spray can of bedliner material which is now peeling. It drives me nuts. The lower grey paint on the front cap had also been previously repainted, poorly. The foundation wasn’t properly done so there’s some peeling plus, though the color was right, it wasn’t blended so there’s a abrupt line. Repainting will fix it all at once. The bus is 13 yrs old.

I’m told that in those years, the cove area from the caps to the roof, were thinly painted from the factory and haven’t held up well to UV light. It is also evident on the rear cap cove and the prior owner must have used the same painter in the rear as the front. There’s some overspray that never got taken care of and the cove itself shows ‘orange peel’. So I want that fixed as well. There is also a small scrape at the bottom of two of the exterior storage doors which probably can be buffed out or painted. Finally, I want them to remove and replace all the exterior name decals which are showing a lot of sun fade.

Tiffin has a huge manufacturing facility in Red Bay. But their main paint shop is a large facility in Belmont, MS. Tiffin no longer provides factory service on rigs older than 10 yrs. Like in Elkhart IN (the mecca of US RV manufacturing) this policy creates many many many independent satellite businesses catering to us ‘older crowd’. It’s a good symbiotic relationship. The knowledge and technical people base is here as is the immediate supply of parts. As a company town, or nearly so, it’s a magnet for Tiffin owners to get good work done.

The paint shop I’m going to is next door to the Tiffin paint plant. The shop is owned by the guy who supplies, and has for years, all of the paint to the Tiffin Company (and also to Newmar and other Elkhart manufacturers). Tiffin paint plant closes at 3 pm. This guy’s paint shop opens at 3pm with Tiffin painters walking from the plant to his shop and moonlighting from 3-9pm. They know how to paint all those swirls you see on custom RV paint jobs (no they’re not decals).

The windshield crack, I described yesterday, grew today. It’s now about 4 foot long stretching from the top of the windshield to within 8” of the bottom. Repair is not an option. Bet I can find Tiffin windshields and installers around here! It’s a big one piece windshield. Also am getting shop recommendations for looking at the slide out noise I described earlier. Guessing I’ll be here 2 weeks or more. All or many of the shops have RV spots with hookups for their customers so that’s nice.

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6 thoughts on “120. Northbound towards Red Bay, AL”

    1. Right now it really needs a bath. So many squished bugs on the front cap that most of the stone chips can’t be seen.

      Thanx for reading and be well


  1. Al, you never cease to amuse me with your dry sense of humor.
    Hope you are enjoying your journey!
    Hello to your former crew member 😁


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