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Friday, September 14, 2012

Pre Flight Checks

Sunday is just around the corner and we’re scratching the itch to get rolling down that "long, lonesome highway" (apologies to Then Came Bronson).

I had some routine maintenance checks and tasks that I got out of the way.  The first one was the biggie, lubricating the exhaust brake.  It is also one of my least favorite, but on a diesel pusher, it is a twice a year requirement.

The reason it is my least favorite task is because of its location, under the bed in the bedroom.  First off, I have to fight with the removable top step, believe me, it is quite a fight.  Winnebago designed it to be a tight fit and they got it right.  (Just ignore the blue stains, that’s Tide detergent from my broken bottle.  We’re going to steam clean all the carpets when we get to Branson).


Off with the step and then the underneath engine hatch and the engine is exposed.  Due to poor light conditions, I apologize in advance for the next couple of crummy photos.


Here’s where it gets fun, I had to stick my head and arm down into the hole and reach way forward to get to the exhaust brake. ( My bonnie bride stood over me to help pull me back out when I was done).  The exhaust brake is the little round thing point up at a 45 degree angle towards the tip of the triangle shaped mount.  It is actually an electrically operated solenoid and the linkage and sliding piston are what require the lubricant.


You have to use a special lubricant, it has to stand up to extreme heat. Normal oils will just burn off.  It is available at Camping World and many Freightliner dealers for about $10 .


On the back it has instructions about the lubrication points.  Sorry again for a lousy photo, at least my thumb is out of the way.  :cO


It only takes a couple of seconds to squirt the lube on the lubrication points.  It took longer for Marti to help pull me out of the access hole.

After buttoning up the hatch and fighting with the *#)%^@! step, I moved on to two more pleasant tasks.  The first one required use of my ladder.


This task applies only to Winnebagos with slide locks, no other brand has these (lucky dogs!).
It is cleaning out the slide lock drain holes.


All it takes is a pipe cleaner to run into the hole and ensure it is clean of any dust and dirt that might wash down into the slide lock mechanism that some @%*$(&^#! Winnebago engineer put on top of the slides.  Failure to keep these drains clean can cause water to collect and then leak down into the cabinets directly under the slide locks.


Last item was a check of the tire pressure on all the tires, for me I run 110 psi.


I know many folks have tire pressure monitoring systems, my mind is still not made up on purchasing one.  Along with the very high cost of a system to cover both the Journey and the Element toad, I’ve read where many owners have had leaks of the sensors on the wheel, dead sensor batteries and false readings.  On our budget, I’m not sure if I want to go ahead with a system at this time when I could use the same amount of money to purchase a good mattress. 

Decisions, decisions.  I think I'll sleep on it.  ;c)

Tomorrow’s tasks are checking all the fluids and topping off as necessary.  I firmly believe a penny’s worth of maintenance is worth many dollars towards a breakdown cure.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Love it when that count down stuff gets started. Means take off is shortly.

  2. How ya gonna sleep on it if you need a new mattress???

  3. Your bonnie bride sure missed a Judy type 'the end' picture opportunity while you were after the pacbreak. Maybe next time.

  4. I'm thinking sleeping on your broken bed will result in not buying the tire monitoring system. :)

    Now I have to find a pipe cleaner somewhere. :(

  5. Mtnc is always worth it ... whether you like it or not. Just ask those who don't take the time to maintain their MHs.

  6. We actually decided against the tire pressure monitoring system for the same reason you mentioned. My daughter and her husband have a semi, and their fancy monitoring system was causing all the problems. They got rid of it and haven't had a problem since.

  7. David got some sort of tire gauges that Jo Beth uses and likes them. They turn red if the pressure is some # of lbs low. Much less expensive than the tire monitoring system. Of course these don't notify you when you are going down the road, you actually have to look at them. I do remember Howard and Linda having repeated troubles with their fancier system.

    I'm a maintenance freak too and David gets REALLY TIRED of me sending him all your maintenance blogs saying "read this and tell me if we need to do it" LOL He reminds me that we're gas and you're diesel, and sometimes the two differ.

  8. We had a tire monitoring system (came with Lucy) but we don't use it. It was the most frustrating, error ridden, pain in the neck, thing we owned. Battery issues, false readings, no readings. We finally turned it off. We check our tires manually before we leave every time and that works well for us.

  9. TPMS since the last 5th wheel purchased in 2004. I would never run without one and was "saved" by it two times while I had the 5th wheel. So far, the MH has run with it without a hitch. I'd think long and hard before deciding not to install one. Also, there are many more systems available than when I purchased mine. The sensors are much more compact and many have user replaceable batteries. Just a thought!

  10. Well, I hope your take off and landing is uneventful. I never realized you'd be the pilot but at least your flight will have a highway underneath. Besides doing all this maintenance keeps you out of Marti's hair.