Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Tiny O Ring that Crippled the 14 ton Beast

On Wednesday when we got to the Great Meadow Camp Ground I noticed that the Jetta’s front end was covered with black oily spots and grime the likes of which I hadn’t seen before. Was this just diesel engine exhaust crud due to the steep grade we just climbed or was it the start of something more serious? After I found a bit of oil beneath the engine I checked the dipstick several times only to find that it was O.K. However that “what’s up” feeling continued to nag at me, though I put it off until we were ready to leave the park on Saturday. Once it was time to leave I hooked up the car, checked the oil and headed onward with the intention of stopping often to look at the leak and check the operation of the newly installed Brake Buddy.

By the time we got down to Shenandoah valley the Jetta was covered with oil and an 8" puddle appeared as soon as we shut down the motor. Do we risk continuing on 125 miles to Roanoke where there is a Freightliner dealer and family to stay with while our home is in the shop, or do we change our plans and stay where we are until this is sorted out? Driving the rig in this condition is too great a cause for anxiety so we made the latter option plan "A".

Thanks to a good Verizon signal and an excellent referral we were able to find a knowledgeable diesel mechanic who specialized in road side service. After waiting on the shoulder for a couple hours, Richard the mobile mechanic, who cancelled his deer hunting plans for that afternoon, arrived with his apprentice (his talented daughter) and large trailer filled with tools and parts. It didn't take him long to diagnose the problem as a leaking high pressure (2700 psi!) oil line. The good news was that he could fix it here on the spot; the bad news was that the floor under our bed had to be removed to get to the top of the motor. Uh- oh, If you've been reading this blog for long you know we've had trouble letting go of certain favorite pieces of furniture. A bookcase, grandfather's clock, coffee table, etc. are all packed into the bedroom and had to be be removed first. This furniture is becoming less favorite all the time. In another couple of weeks it may well be downright hated (BTW the grandfathers clock met with an unfortunate accident and is now a two piece grandfathers clock). Getting back to the oil leak; all is fine now thanks to a small "O" ring and we were on our way to Roanoke by 4:30pm.

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