2012 - 2017 Travel Map (Map NOT Current) - Now in South Prairie Washington

Moving North with a fixed truck and now a bad Satellite Antenna

May 04 –6th, 2015   

Finally Monday, I am up at 6am to get the truck to the Ford dealer about 10 minutes from here due to the check engine light. I got the truck to Mac Haik Ford at 7 am. Had no problems and was checked in within just a few minutes.  Ford got me back to the RV at around 9 am.  Now I just need to wait and see what the issue(s) will be.

I am also having them fix the tow/haul switch.  It seems to not want to turn on until I play around with the push button for a while.  If I wasn’t going to be pulling in the mountains like we are in a couple of weeks I probably would let that go and see if some contact cleaner would work.  Since this is the 3rd time we have taken the truck in for this damn light, I am more than just a little nervous about it.

At 4pm Ford called and said that the oil cooler is again clogged!  Ford looked up my vehicle and found where Ford had replaced the last one at their cost.  Now they want to try and figure out why this is happening.  One would have thought that they would have done that the last two times!  After a lot of back and forth with Ford it was decided that they would drain the coolant and check the block for sediment.  That concluded Monday, day one at Ford.

On Tuesday morning Ford calls to tell me that after draining the coolant they didn’t find any sediment and the block was clean.  They did find the degas tank to have sediment and it was also leaking.  They now feel that the thermostat is sticking and needs to be replaced.  Seems that this thermostat failure may have been the problem from day one! 

This is not a cheap fix either but much cheaper than the oil cooler ($400 vs. $2500).  My extended warranty will not cover the thermostat or the tow/haul switch; however they will cover the degas tank.  So far, the expensive stuff on the truck the warranty has not covered.  Ford believes the truck will be ready either tonight or for sure the next morning, Wednesday.  That concludes day 2 at Ford.

OK, Wednesday morning and we are ready to leave and head further north.  We are now off our schedule a bit, so I rerouted us in a more direct route to Indiana.  Our next stop will now be Livingston TX, 207 miles northeast of where we are instead of traveling to Waco TX and then up to Oklahoma City (we don’t yet know how lucky we were not going there). 

We are hoping that the call from Ford will come in soon.  We need to be on the road by noon at the latest so we need the truck by 11am to have that happen. Right at 11am Ford called to say the truck was done and they would be there in half an hour to pick me up.  Looks like we will leave a little late but we are still OK. 

Got the truck picked up and back at the RV to hook up and leave by around 12:30.  By a little before 1pm we were hooked up and ready to leave when I noticed that the roof mounted satellite antenna was still up.  I had put it down before I left to get the truck but I didn’t look up on the roof to make sure. I usually do this just before leaving as I did this time.  I tried again from the controller to make the antenna go down and got an error saying the AZ motor had stalled.  I got this error message once before a week ago but after trying the second time I was able to get it down and back up.  
Well, "this is a fine kettle of fish", we are ready to leave, we are already 2 hours late and we can’t get the antenna down!
I figure that there is a manual way to get the antenna down but I don’t know how to do it.  I called Winegard, the manufacturer of the antenna, to get some help.  Winegard is a well known and very reputable company in our RV circles so I was hopeful that we could get this resolved quickly.  I was on hold for a few minutes, longer than I wanted since I was in a hurry.  The person I got was very helpful and told me how to get the antenna down manually and also sent me the instructions via an e-mail.  She also said that the issue I was describing was one that would require the antenna be sent back to them for repair and that it was out of warranty.  We have had the antenna now for almost 3 years and have not had any issue with it until now.

The manual method required that I power off the controller and then get on the roof with a ratchet, an extension, and a 3/8 socket.  I had the antenna down in about 10 minutes including getting the tools and getting off the roof. However, now we are 3 hours late leaving!  We decided to move on anyway as we were all ready to move and we would still get to our destination before dark.


This is the satellite antenna on the roof.  It is also pointed in a weird position, straight up.

In the middle of the picture on the antenna base is a black plastic nut
that I will remove to get at the manual lowering nut.

The ratchet with an extension and the 3/8 socket is ready for me to turn to lower the antenna.  This only lowers the antenna, there are 2 other joints with motors to that need to be moved to get the antenna to the right position to stow it.  These 2 other joints can be moved by hand without the need for tools.

We arrived at our next site in Livingston TX around 6pm. The truck pulled just like new with no engine lights this time.  We are now in a site at the Gray’s Landing RV Park just off of US59.  This is just the right place to overnight. 

Gray's Landing RV Park.  We passed by the first time because we didn't even see the place.

Our site at Grays Landing.  It looks much better in this picture than it is!

We were going to stay 2 nights but this place was just not for us at all.  The park is basically just a small area right off of the highway with no permanent management on site and a lot of permanent residents in shabby RVs.  

We waited about 15 minutes for the owner to show up who walked right by me without saying a word.  He went directly to the office and sat behind the desk.  The office was just a room with a desk sitting in it.  It made me feel like I was in some cheap bail bond place!  

The owner asked me if I wanted to use the showers/rest rooms because I would need a key.  Also, I needed a key just to use the trash bin!  Right there I figure this was just a one night place and we would leave in the morning.  There wasn’t anywhere to walk around there either; we are so much out of here in the morning.

We had love bugs again on the truck and on the RV, just not as many this time.  After setting up I got right to removing the bugs before it got dark.  I also set up the grille so we could have burgers for dinner.  It was pretty late after dinner, around 9pm so we decided to watch some TV.  We don’t watch much TV but we do watch a couple of hours on most nights.  We now don’t have the satellite system so we need to rely on the bat wing over the air antenna and what we have recorded on the DVR.  We almost always just watch the recorded stuff on the DVR anyway, so not having the satellite is no big deal for a while.  We have something like 100 hours of recorded TV to watch right now.  Also, when we are closer to major cities we have all of the networks from over the air to watch.  So, I believe we will be just fine for a while without the satellite.

Our next stop will be Texarkana,TX, about 200 miles north of here.

Stay Tuned!

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