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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Whistling Dixie - A Blogging Detour

I know many of you are waiting on the edge of your seats (not Marti) for my post on the National Naval Aviation Museum.  I was looking forward to writing up my visit with a few special aircraft to show pictures of.

Alas, it will have to wait for another day as I take a blogging detour.

This morning we packed up to get ready to leave the FamCamp in Pensacola, Florida and start our trek to South Carolina for a couple of weeks.  Yesterday I did all my pre-trip checks, tire pressure (all good), fluid levels, battery water, etc.  Gave the Journey a serious eye-balling to make sure everything was ship shape (motorhome shape?).  Everything was as it should be for carefree travels down the road.

Once everything was stowed, I turned the ignition key and...the engine started right up.  That's when the fun started.

The Journey is built on a Freightliner XC chassis.  One of the features is a computer controlled information center on the dashboard that reads out all kinds of information.  And the computer went out of control.  I got all kinds of waring lights and messages as well as a whistling alarm.  The screen flashed "Brakes Worn", "Oil Change", "Water in Fuel" and the whistling alarm sounded, and sounded, and sounded and sounded some more.  Also the icon for the cruise control stayed on, the fuel gauge slowly bounced back from fuel to empty to full and the whistling alarm continued to sound.

The other gauges read normal, oil pressure, temp, charging and air pressure.  So I turned off the ignition and turned it back on, no joy, just more whistling.  I gingerly pulled out of the campsite and tried the brakes, they worked fine, in fact, everything worked fine except the exhaust brake, the cruise control and the message screen.  I stopped and checked the central ground wires connection under the dash, I took it apart looking for corrosion and found none, so I re-tightened it.

Next, I took some wrenches and a wire brush and took apart and cleaned all the battery terminals, both the chassis and house batteries.  Lots of connections and wires come off the batteries.  Once everything was put back together, I tried the ignition again joy, just the annoying alarm whistle.

We decided to head out anyway, the only real problems were no cruise control (I have cramps in my right leg from holding the accelerator pedal down all day), and the exhaust brake did not work, so I made sure I kept extra distances between me and the cars in front.

We are heading to our daughter's house in South Carolina for a couple of weeks, and we planned after visiting her to head to the Freightliner repair facility in Gaffney, SC for some routine service before heading to New Jersey to welcome our new granddaughter.  We decided to call Gaffney and see if we could get an appointment for next week.  We landed a slot for Wednesday next week. The shop is about an hour and a half North of our daughter's house so we'll run up to Gaffney Tuesday afternoon and check in to their campground to be ready for our 7:45 am appointment on Wednesday.  We'll hang while the Journey gets poked and prodded and hopefully repaired quickly.  Then we'll bounce back to our daughter's house again for the rest of the time we have slotted for the visit.

It is acting like a ground problem, I checked the obvious, but we're at the point where some computer diagnosis is required.  In the mean time, we're shopping for ear plugs, because the *^&$#%^! alarm whistle won't shut off.

What did you say?  Huh?  I can't hear anything now...

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. yep we have camped at Camp Gaffney.. great service there...

  2. I sure bet that whistle was super annoying. When it is cold, our jack sensor chimes at us telling us something is amiss, but it is not, but it is tollerable. Can you pull the fuse that powers the whistle?

  3. Bummer of a start to the morning . Let us know how it works out. Had a great time last night.


  4. Hmm.. seems to remind me of all the bells and whistles I heard when the mother board died as I tried to leave Indiana last fall.

    Are you having fun yet? :)

  5. Not fun at all for you guys. Sorry you've having such LOUD issues but glad you were able to get into the service facility.

  6. That's gotta be annoying. Hope it's an easy fix.

  7. Oh! We know that whistle. As soon as I hear it my fingers immediately dial 800-FTL-HELP! I don't know how you managed to drive today. But, the good folks in Gaffney will get you squared away. Safe travels!

  8. What a terrible way to start your day. I can't imagine driving for how many hours with that whistle?? I'd be pulling my hair out. And probably pulled over on the roadside calling freightliner to ask how to make the thing STOP!
    Hope you aren't hard of hearing by the time you get to S.C.

  9. It's really a good thing that you were heading close to that direction anyway. At least that part of it worked out for the best ... you were close. We'll keep our fingers and toes crossed for you.

  10. Hope you have enough ear plugs to last to Gaffney:)

  11. the Journey is 'whistlin' dixie!'..hope the repair goes quickly!!

  12. Ouch ... and I don't mean that just for the problem with the Journey (or it's potential impact on the wallet) ... your ears must be ringing from all that whistling. We're planning to go to Gaffney on our way south next year ... in the meantime, we'll get the annual check up done locally again this year.

  13. Ouch ... and I don't mean that just for the problem with the Journey (or it's potential impact on the wallet) ... your ears must be ringing from all that whistling. We're planning to go to Gaffney on our way south next year ... in the meantime, we'll get the annual check up done locally again this year.

  14. Yikes...can you hear the whistle on the outside of the rig too? Everyone will hear you coming!

  15. What!!! I couldn't read the post over all that whistling......hope you get it sorted out soon.

  16. On your cruise control, I would check for a loose vacuum connection. This might also be the source of the whistle.

    Just a thought.


  17. This is one of the things that scares the bejeppers out of me when it comes to buying a diesel pusher these days. That "control centre" can get out of control.
    Locating the buzzer/whistle and muffling it somehow should help your nerves though, unless you're completely immune by now. But I somehow don't think so.
    I wrapped a whole bunch of foam around the buzzer that announced that the jacks were down, (on the RV we no longer own) since it was way too loud. Does the manufacturer figure their customers are all deaf, or do they just want them to end up that way?