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Leaky88

Towing a 3500 after major breakdown.

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Hi,

 

We can't predict everything, so I will ask the question ahead in preparation.

If anyone has been on a long trip and suffered a breakdown, how did you get the truck back home to your shop?

I'd like to hear what you did?

Are there companies that rent Haulers/trucks capable of hauling a 3500? Or maybe a  vehicle Transport Company?

 

Thanks.

 

Leaky

 

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 I have never had any kind of break down bad enough I could not fix where I was. I would not however think it would be a problem finding some one to haul the truck home.  There are a lot of hot shotters out there that would do it. It does not take a big truck to haul your 3500. I would do it with my 2500 and the right trailer. There are trailer rental companies out there too but not sure how versatile they are on returns. You could spend upwards of $2 a mile to haul it if you hire someone. You have to weigh that with the kind of repairs that you need done. A $2k tow bill for a $1K repair does not add up in my book. 

 As much as I would rather do most things myself sometimes it is not possible. There are reputable repair shops out there. The locals should now where they are. In my line of work I travel a lot but would not have time to haul it back and fix it anyway. I also have the luxury of working with the locals so i have head start on that.

Edited by dripley

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Hmmm...

 

  • Broke the mainshaft in the transmission - I continue to drive the truck hauling a second truck to New Meadows. I still had 1st, 2nd and 5th. So Managed to jump from 2nd to 5th and continue to my delivery. So in that case I ask the owner of the other truck to load me up and haul me home nice change out.
  • VP44 failed - I continued to drive it home at about 20-25 MPH stuck in full advance from Riggins, ID.
  • Clutch failed - Just slipping badly continued to drive home gently with the failed clutch.
  • Wheel Bearing failed - Jump on my 911 contact list and started making phone calls to get my truck towed and find a shop to do the work in. All repaired by myself in under 24 hours including towing. 

315k miles... The biggest thing is to treat your truck like an airplane. You want to look at everything closely if there are leaks or issues don't wait to fix them. Do it now. Out here truck failure could be deadly. With winter temperatures as low as -30*F and towing company times are 2-3 hours away. Walking in blowing snow storm is dangerous and deadly. What even worse is most the area I live in has ZERO cell service. Typically most of my problems I've spotted before a total failure could occur. This is why my list of failures is so small. Also I WILL NOT carry large amounts of tools and parts. As you see most of this stuff that failed you couldn't fix on the road side.

Edited by Mopar1973Man

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Sorry, should have mentioned the states I run are Wyoming and Nebraska, parts of which can be devoid of amenities like Moparman said.  I do fix things immediately upon discovery, but always looking/thinking about the "what if", and how I will handle it. I've had gassers break down and was able to easily get them home, but this Dually makes it more of a challenge.  I do appreciate everyone's input, especially parts that failed. Nothing better than a good maintenance program, but one cannot think of everything. Or at least I can't anymore.

 

Thanks. 

 

Leaky   

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5 minutes ago, Leaky88 said:

Sorry, should have mentioned the states I run are Wyoming and Nebraska, parts of which can be devoid of amenities like Moparman said

 

Ummm... I'm also devoid of amenities as well. There are miles and miles in between towns, no cell service and very few parts stores or shops. This is why vehicle inspections are very important. 

7 minutes ago, Leaky88 said:

but always looking/thinking about the "what if", and how I will handle it.

 

Like myself. I've got a bag behind the front seat. It's got enough food and water, clothing, fire, etc to hold me for 24-48 hours. I've been out in the back country and got stuck with the truck in soft mud. Not fight it and expend a bunch of energy. Just grab the bag and start walking out. I don't waste a bunch of effort on the truck I know it best to find assistance then come back to get the truck freed, fix or towed. Don't rely on 911 or cell service. Like @IBMobile found out when his VP44 failed north of Riggins, ID it took quite awhile to get towed to Riggins and then for me to receive the VP44 and install it. So my bag is based on the worse case that the truck has a major failure and I've got to get to help. 

 

DSCF4291.JPGDSCF4292.JPG

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  Fortunately my work building CFA's takes me to cities, some large and some small. So I am usually near someone to use for help if necessary. The luxury I dont have is being able to take it and work on it. Fortunately I have been able to handle the major ones. at home. I have been out they while working on Loves Travel center in Hooker OK out in the pan handle. Blew my mind how far you could ride and not see a tree much less a town.

35 minutes ago, Leaky88 said:

Nothing better than a good maintenance program, but one cannot think of everything. Or at least I can't anymore.

I can identify with you on that one. Once I turned 50 I found I could not remember to zip up my zipper any more. Now at 64 I still cant remember. Part of the CRS syndrome I believe.

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Good towing insurance on your policy helps tremendously.

 

My truck only left me stranded one time in the last 16 years I've owned it. The VP went out while pulling the 5ver back home from a trip. I was about 250 miles from home when I heard a bang under the hood, truck lost power and check engine light came on. I got to side of road and that was the end for my original vp. It had about 200 k on it at the time.

 

I knew nobody in the area, so I called roadside assistance on my insurance policy and told them what I had and all they could find was a class 8 tripple axle semi wrecker from a town 30 miles away. That bill was about 450 bucks for a 30 mile tow, but all I had to do was sign a paper and they took care of the bill. and they towed it to a local dodge dealer, but that's another story, things got worse from thier. If I had known what I know now I would have just replaced the Vp and redone the fuel system where I was.

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2 hours ago, 01cummins4ever said:

I knew nobody in the area, so I called roadside assistance on my insurance policy and told them what I had and all they could find was a class 8 tripple axle semi wrecker from a town 30 miles away. That bill was about 450 bucks for a 30 mile tow, but all I had to do was sign a paper and they took care of the bill. and they towed it to a local dodge dealer, but that's another story, things got worse from thier. If I had known what I know now I would have just replaced the Vp and redone the fuel system where I was.

This is how I ended up with a $900+ in tank fuel system. I had to pay the tow bill however. I did not know enough about it then to do anything different. I had to supplement it with a booster pump and then replace the whole thing 3 years later.

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  Have a good tow policy.  I have the AAA premier 200 mile with RV policy so when my vp44 went out north of Riggins ID they came with a flat bed for the truck and a pick-up with a 5th wheel hitch for my trailer. This took about 2 hours.  The cost of the policy is $200 a year ($16.66 a month)  but I also use their DMV services, maps, travel service among other things they offer.  

  It also helps to break down within a few miles of some one you know that can lend a hand in time of need. 

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I have the longest amount of free towing from AAA, think its 250miles.  I figure that amount of distance shall (not always) get me to a good repair shop regardless of my current location.

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My VP44 died on me about 20 miles from home.  I called a couple of towing companies and ended up paying $70 for the tow, I was in my driveway within an hour.  The company had no problem getting me a truck that could haul my dually.

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On ‎9‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 4:53 AM, Leaky88 said:

Hi,

 

We can't predict everything, so I will ask the question ahead in preparation.

If anyone has been on a long trip and suffered a breakdown, how did you get the truck back home to your shop?

I'd like to hear what you did?

Are there companies that rent Haulers/trucks capable of hauling a 3500? Or maybe a  vehicle Transport Company?

 

Thanks.

 

Leaky

 

 

If anyone has been on a long trip and suffered a breakdown, how did you get the truck back home to your shop?

I'd like to hear what you did?

Very important topic for some folks in my opinion.  And I never been able yet to get it back home yet. But here is what we’ve gone through.   Wife says we are getting pretty good at getting un-stranded. 

First of all being stranded is not fun (usually) and can be very expensive.  I'm still cry'n & whin'n over the last time we were stranded.  We’ve been stranded several times but last time we got stranded we got taken advantage, big time.  Not only time wise, but we were lied to and final costs were just under $3,000 worth and total time was 3 weeks 2 days.  We’re retired and towing wives 9,000 trailer around, so time of being stranded isn’t that big of deal.  We’re towing our motel room with us so to speak. But you don’t know where you might get stranded.  We've also spent a 4 days in a yard of a trans/radiator repair shop, overlooking a scenic sewer pond and overly friendly dog with about 10 pounds of grease on it.   

Being stranded is also challenge.  Before the last breakdown, I knew nothing about these pick-ups.  That’s why we bought one in 2005 in the first place. .  They are supposed to last forever, so why bother learning about them :badidea:  

My idea of not having to know anything these trucks has changed 100 percent.  Now the more my hood “salutes” in the up position the more I learn.

Here is info that might help.   

Communications… (most important)

   (phone) T-mobile does not have as good coverage as their maps say they do.  We’ve talked to lots of “full time” RVers and now have t-mobile and Verizon, as they are best if you need nationwide coverage.  We now each have a phone plan but with different carriers, and price only about $8.00 more a month than what we were paying for one carrier with both phones on plan. Now very seldom both of us don’t have coverage. 

   (getting parts and shipments overnighted to you)   UPS or Fedex stores but small places Mom and Pop places are best to get parts shipped to you. Just someplace with an address that won’t mind getting a shipment or two for you. 

   ( wifi) Somewhere near Souix Falls the ABS light goes off.  It’s Sat afternoon, Dodge dealer said I’ll have to wait till Monday.  I got on-line (TDR) with the wifi hot spot and found what to check. Found elec connection right above diff came loose.  Couple Zip ties from Ace hardware and good to go.  

(computer) Now days I’m even more prepared and hopefully don’t get separated from my money as quick.  To help me, everything I find and learn I save to my computer.  You may not have internet where you break down at, but I can still look at computer without any internet.  I have lots of info saved, maybe too much.  Recently I renamed my saved files and have files broken down into sections like the Dodge manual is set up.  And yes, I carry the manuals with me. 

 

Example…if I save an article that main focus is “fuel” I start my file name with “14”, see above, section 14 is fuel.    If I were to save this posting I would probably save it under section 26 which is “miscellaneous”.  So I would copy to word file and name as  “26 ideas for major breakdown”.  For me saved info so much easier to find, especially after you get lots of files saved.

Mechanics…used to be a turbo diesel shop on about every corner.  Not anymore. Some are listed under “diesel repair” some under “auto repair” depends on the area you are stuck at I think. 

 Start by asking locals…But be careful, one time we ended up at a “good mechanic” that was recommended and I think he was a good mechanic, but for gas.   He installed a new fuel module,   But he installed the gas model. It worked for maybe ¼ tank, then wouldn't  suck fuel anymore. This 1st mechanic felt so bad he loaned us his car for the day, so we could get our truck to another shop that knew something about diesels.    That “one” day car loan turned out to be 3 weeks!  Reason was the other 2 “diesel” mechanics weren’t so good either.  Save all your old parts!  The second mechanic noticed the “gas” fuel module and wanted $250.00 for a "big line"  replacement module, we drove back to the first mechanic and fished our old fuel module out of his trash dumpster. 

The 2nd mechanic was taking forever.  Our pick up was parked for several days in between about a dozen farm tractors and gigantic irrigation pumps, and no work being done.   They were taking care of their “bread and butter” accounts first.  Not what they called "winter visitors"  code words for we don't care when you want it.  We went looking for other mechanic’s and ended up at a shopping center (that had wifi) asking locals that had 2nd gens for recommendations.  Yuma does not have very many 2nd gens compared to Ford and I wonder if heat has something to do with it?  Also Dodge needs to put larger badges on their diesels.   I don’t like “stocking” people when they are parking to see what badge they have, gas or diesel.:doh:

Dealers---We have not found a dealer yet that either doesn’t have the time or wants me to pay for his “admission cost” of them pulling codes (usually around a hundred dollar bill). So they are our last resort.  Lots of time their mechanics are kids that were in diapers when our 2nd gen were made.  That doesn’t bother me as much as most of these kids don’t care about the quality of their work.  And more times than not, their knowledge is lacking and just want to throw parts at it. So we avoid dealers.

Rv parks are great resource for mobile mechanics--- many have mechanic’s info on a board or ask management.  

---Some mobile mechanics are very good.  Problem is you really don’t know until your wallet is flattened   So if they have a cards on the wall, pick with the one with the oldest looking service truck.  If you can get their address, google up their address on a map program.  Pick the one with most junk in their yard.  They know how to put stuff together. We disregard the reviews on yelp type reviews. Brother and sisters, aunts and uncles can make anybody’s reviews look good.   

---Other info---Many web sites have what they call “911” or need help now type thing.  Post what your problem is and maybe you might luck out and get help.  But be very careful of who’s advice you take.  Confirm all advice you get.  That is where your saved files come in handy.  On the Cummins web site under “state” listings they have the “pres” of the state.  Ask them if they answer who they would call or do.  My “go to” sites are (and in this order) Moparman, TDR then cummins web site.  I have contact info of a retired Cummins engineer that eats and sleeps cummins, but communication is a problem with him.  Him and his wife full time RV and usually are at some campground without any communication.  He always writes back but again communication very important. When they are in town, doing laundry and decide to give a call a week later.  

Also might help you of what to bring, there are lots of postings about what to carry in your “just in case” tool box for repairs on the road. 

 

Usually being broke down sucks, but here is a fun example…In Waitsburg WA smoke started coming out from under the hood. If lifted the  hood, and remember I don’t know much about these trucks.   I asked at the grocery store “who might be able to fix it”.  Cashier asked where I was broke down at.  We gave cashier my Mom in law’s address.  Then we stopped by the post office and by the time we got back to my Mom in laws place, some guy was already in her driveway.  (News travel fast in small towns) he had big chrome stacks coming out of his bed and jacked up so high one would need a ladder to get in.  Took him about 5 min to say our ac compressor was bound up and pulley wasn’t moving at all and the pulley melted the belt. And I would have to get new ac compressor out of Spokane or maybe Walla Walla if we were lucky.  Then he banged with his fist real hard near the radiator, pointing out a decal that I never noticed  before.  The decal had the belt routing for “ac and without ac”.  He called local garage for the belt with “no ac” in order to bypass compressor, but they didn’t have one.  He hangs up the phone and says, “one more angle to try”.  He called his girlfriend that was working in Walla Walla. He had her pick up the belt on her way home to Waitsburg.   Later that night during diner, we hear our truck start and there he was all smiles.  I asked “how much” is said $25.00 for changing belt and the price of the new belt.  Anyways wife gives him $200.00 for all his troubles and big tip IMO.  My Mom in law called him for years after that to do her auto work.  When he pulls out of her driveway, he puts about 10 tons of smoke in the air and waving good by. Mom in law is staring at all the smoke through her kitchen window and innocently says “I hope that $200 dollars is enough to get his truck fixed, see all that smoke, something is wrong”

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4 hours ago, 015point9 said:

My “go to” sites are (and in this order) Moparman, TDR then cummins web site.

 

Thank you... :wink:

 

I've even added Mopar1973Man.Com to Google Business Listing for map and contact information to hopefully help the passing person. 

 

Just doing a search for "Diesel Mechanic near Me"...

 

google.jpg

 

Now if you do a search for "Mopar1973Man" you'll bring up a full business listing.

 

google1.jpg

 

Then right here on the site people are placing information in the 911 Contact database...

https://mopar1973man.com/cummins/911-support.html/contacts/

 

So I'm trying to give all the traveller the best chance at getting help. 

Edited by Mopar1973Man
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WOW, what a great program.  I never knew that existed.  

 

Guess I can throw away my hard copy of the TDR book that had listed state by state diesel mechanics or products that mechanics could either pay to have their name in the book or if they advertised with them, they were automatically listed ?  To end user like me, the book was "free" that is if you re-new'd early or for more than 1 year at a time.  . Time frame, maybe 15 years ago.

 

I thought it was a big deal when TDR went to on-line copy's and computers got cheap enough that I didn't have to carry around 50 pounds of a laundry sized plastic container full of their magazines.

 

I've got TDR going all the way back to 98 or 99.   Wonder what good they are now?  I try to keep up with the times and I actually do have hot and cold water at my house or is it a cave?  :doh:

 

OK, Thanks for the info.  It  is really useful info.   And so now if I'm ever in your neighborhood I can just hit the "go to" button:thumb1::clap: 

 

(WOW...lack of knowledge about things like that really dates me.  Think I'll go listen to my cassette tapes in my cab) :whistle2:

Edited by 015point9

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1 minute ago, 015point9 said:

If I'm a business, where does someone sign up for that?  

 

Right here with Google Business.

https://www.google.com/business/

 

3 minutes ago, 015point9 said:

Guess I can throw away my hard copy of the TDR book that listed by state diesel mechanics or products that mechanics could either pay to have their name in the book or if you advertised with them, they were automatically listed ?

 

Yes. Google is a really good tool as long as your location GPS location is turned on. Then you can ask questions like "Fuel near me" or "Diesel Mechanics near me" etc. So Google will use your current location in consideration of locating a search for businesses near your location. So I'm using nothing more than the standard Google Search Engine for this information.

 

https://www.google.com/

 

 

5 minutes ago, 015point9 said:

I actually do have hot and cold water at my house or is it a cave?

Ummm... I'm in a solar and hydro-powered house... :whistle2:

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20 minutes ago, 015point9 said:

     Think I'll go listen to my cassette tapes in my cab)

                                                    

                                                                           I'm still an 8 track man, myself

 

                         59c0a4365dfd3_s-l6401.jpg.f8dceb34f770b14f7228c6e0c5181fbf.jpg

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OP never got the question answered .... "Are there companies that rent Haulers/trucks capable of hauling a 3500"? 

Being I sort of bla, bla, bla in thread to much and that Uhaul QC folks have called me twice, wondering why I didn't rent from them about a month ago (another project) .

I'm more than happy to give them a call and see if they have anything that will do the job.   

If a 1 ton will fit (width and weight ) I know my 3/4 ton will. 

But I need weight of front axle and width of a 1 ton.    Anybody know approx. what they are?  

Edited by 015point9

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Well IIRC my 2500 curb weight on the sticker was just under 6k pounds. Cant imagine a 1 ton would be over 7k. I googled it and came up with 5958 for a curb weight. That is from the factory and includes nothing you might have in it.http://www.nadaguides.com/Cars/2001/Dodge/Ram-3500-Pickup-1-Ton-V8-Dual-Rear-Wheels/Quad-Cab-SLT-Plus-4WD/Specs

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