Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I Was Driving Down The Interstate And The Smoke Detector Went Off

In the two months we were traveling in The Guppy we put just over 3500 miles on the odometer. The last 300 were the most exciting. We were on our way home and were about 300 miles from home and the smoke alarm went off. I pulled over on to the shoulder (being in Wisconsin and on an Interstate there was a shoulder, not like some of the state and local roads in Missouri and Arkansas) and shut it down. The place was full of smoke. There was a weird smell to the smoke. At first I thought maybe it was wiring burning. I checked under the dash and under the hood. I also checked the RV battery and it was cool, so that wasn't the problem.

After looking at everything I could see, (which wasn't much) I started off again. I only got a mile or two before the alarm went off again. The Old Lady got up and shut it off. I continued on to where I knew there was a truck stop a few miles further. She said she saw smoke coming out from under the engine cowling. I pulled it after we parked and finally we saw some debris on the engine. There were some pine cones and seeds that a squirrel or some critter had stashed on top of the engine.

Thinking that that was the problem we took off in the morning after spending the night in a motel because of the smell in The Guppy. About  5 miles down the road the smoke alarm went off again. This time The Old Lady said she saw smoke coming from under the refrigerator. That's where the furnace is, but the propane was turned off for traveling. We checked around the furnace and couldn't find anything so I looked under the motorhome. One of the hangers on the exhaust system had broken and the muffler dropped down. When the muffler dropped it tilted the tailpipe up and it was pointing at the holding tank. It had melted part of the plastic tank (source of the weird smell and smoke) and it now was leaking. I had some safety wire which I used to wire up the muffler. The wire wasn't very heavy (.032) so I did 5-6 pieces around the pipe and parts of the frame and the broken hanger.  The rest of the trip was uneventful, smelly but uneventful.

Now I have several months to make repairs to The Guppy before we head out again. Obviously I need to replace the holding tank. Another thing I need to replace is the battery charger. It seems to be unregulated. It charges at too high a rate (it's burning out the 12v lights) and doesn't quit charging when the battery is fully charged. I had to add water to the battery as the charger was cooking the water out of it.

And I need to fix the steps going into the motorhome. The steps move when someone steps on them. Looks like the problem is that the wooden structure of the steps was just stapled together and things have worked loose over the years.

I also want to replace the TV antenna. The one we have is the original one from when the motorhome was built in 1989. It's an old analog one and now everything is digital. The only time we got any TV was at a campground in Waco and we were close enough that we probably could have gotten an signal with just a piece of wire. I used a piece of wire for a TV antenna back in the 60s when I was close to the TV station.

I need to replace the marker lights on the front at the top. I lost 3 of the five lens on the lights. I might as well replace all 5 with new led lights.

I don't think I'll have a chance to work on getting the generator running and installed in The Guppy. It would be nice to have it for those times when there isn't an electric hookup available like when you are "boondocking".


  1. Guppy for repair..I'm sure she will be oh so happy.

  2. Harbor Freight has generators for three hundred that would run most of your needs.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  3. Reminds me of the lady who said her husband was like a skidoo. Three hours of tinkering for a 10 minute ride


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