Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Emerging into daylight
Posted by Sean
We've moved! OK, so it's only 70 feet or so, but we are at last out of the service bay and into some much-welcome daylight in the parking lot here at the Choo Choo Express Garage near Chattanooga. I have a goal of posting here every time we "move," and after we rolled out Louise said, "You have to blog now."
Yesterday morning I rode the scooter the ten miles or so to the local bearing distributor, arriving about 11:30, even though they had not yet called to say they had arrived. It turned out that they did, indeed, have them, and I was back here at the shop with the two correct bearings just a bit after noon. Master technician Joel had the new bearings in and the hub and wheel assembly back together in short order, and started on the other side, as I had asked him to repack the other three bearings.
The right side steer hub did not come quietly, and it looks as if some water has ingressed to the bearing area and rusted the spindle and hub somewhat. After Joel got the old bearings out he suggested we replace them as they were already showing signs of excessive wear. Fortunately, we now had the spare set on hand and just went ahead and put them in.
That gave us some pause about just repacking the tag bearings. With the two extra inner bearings that the distributor in the UK had sent in error already on hand, and two outer bearings still making their way to us through US Customs in Cincinnati, we decided to just wait for the two outers to arrive before tearing into the tag hubs. However, with both front wheels now back together, we were again mobile, and they rolled us out of the shop so they could move another coach into that bay for kingpin replacement.
Later in the day I learned that DHL, finding our paperwork and explanation in order, made entry of the package and paperwork to US Customs. By the time I went to bed, the items had cleared customs and were ready to depart for Georgia. This morning they arrived in Smyrna, and we just received them here about a half hour ago, after a glitch wherein DHL had claimed that a delivery attempt had been made with no one home (we've been sitting here watching the parking lot all morning since learning they were out for delivery).
Of course, the service bay is now occupied by a different coach with its hubs off -- as luck would have it, they've been dead for most of the time we've been here, and then two coaches pulled in for service this week. I'm not sure when they will be able to slide us back in to finish the tag axle, but I am hoping we will be wrapped up here no later than tomorrow afternoon. That would put us back on the road on Friday morning.
If the tag bearings are in as bad a shape as the steers were, we'll end up using all four sets of bearings, and I will have Joel set the best pair of all the takeouts aside for me as "emergency" spares -- something I can have slapped in to get us back on the road should we again suffer a catastrophic failure. And at least I can now count on finding the outer bearings here in the US without too much trauma. The inner bearings still seem to be specialty items that need to come from Germany.
After I came back from the bearing supplier yesterday, friends Pat and Ken dropped by in their tow car to take us to lunch. We had intended to try legendary Bea's south of town, but discovered they are closed Tuesdays, and so ended up back at old standby Los Potros just down the road from here. It was great to see them and spend some time together, and as we often tell our friends, whenever you travel, check our blog, because you never know when we might be right around the corner.