Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Smokin' Time in the Little RV

We spent two days in North Central Montana in the town of Conrad. This trip we have been conscious to travel shorter distances on travel days and to stay over at least two nights because it is much less stressful on the mind and body.  
When we pulled over to take this photo 
Grant barked at the fake pig.

We camped at Pondera Campground.  We chose it because it was the ONLY campground around the area.  The reviews said the camp hosts were wonderful people and they are. The campground, not so much.

We pulled out of the campground around 10 am yesterday.  Just a few feet out the truck chimed and a warning message popped up saying something about a trailer wiring failure.  I got out and double checked the hookups and the warning went away so we took off.  We had never gotten that message before but it seemed to have been resolved.  

About two miles up the interstate a car passed us with the passenger frantically pointing to the 5th wheel.  One look in our side mirror and I could see black smoke coming from the wheel area. We pulled over quickly and jumped out to see what was happening.  

It was clear that the brakes on the trailer had locked up and where incredibly hot but we had no idea why or how to fix the problem.  We checked the wiring harness on the hitch, the plug and socket where the trailer plugs into the truck, Rob even crawled under the RV to see if he could find the problem.  NOTHING!  

So I called my dad because dad knows everything. He gave us some ideas for things to check but nothing panned out. Finally I called AAA for roadside assistance.  

After making that call I called an RV place back in Conrad to see if we had it towed there they might be able to take a look.  I explained what happened and he suggested we check the breakaway cable. 
Breakaway Cable - A steel cable which is permanently fixed to the lower end of the hitch and which has a clip on the other end which you attach to your towbar. This cable would apply the trailer brakes if, for instance, the trailer became unattached from the tow vehicle.
Rob went back to take a look and once he jiggled the cable the dash screen said "Trailer Connected" and we knew that was the problem.  Somehow the breakaway cable had been pulled and was telling the truck there was no trailer connected and telling the trailer to apply the brakes.  So we drug the poor Little RV for a couple of miles with the brakes applied.  That can't be good. 

We carefully tested the brakes several times along the side of the freeway and then drove a couple of miles and tested them again.  They seemed to be functioning properly so we continued on with out trip.  I cancelled our AAA roadside assistance call and called dad to let him know we were OK and on our way again. We didn't have any further problems and made it to our destination.
The rest of our drive looked like this. It sure stinks inside the Little RV!  

We are now in Havre, Montana at a lovely little family owned campground, Evergreen Campground.  The spaces are huge, on the grass and shaded.  We have the whole place to ourselves except for two tents.  

After we settled in and had dinner we drove into town to take a look around. There are some historic sites in and around Havre.  We stopped to see the buffalo jump.
buffalo jump
buffalo jump is a cliff formation which North American Indians historically used in order to hunt and kill plains bison in mass quantities.
View from above the Buffalo Jump


  1. Sure glad it was an easy fix and that there was nothing serious wrong. I pull a Jeep behind my motorhome and one I forgot to unlock the steering wheel and burned up two front tires. The last time out, the Jeep blew a front tire and ripped up the fender and wheel well liner. Then coming home, I sideswiped a tree in my driveway doing $26,000.00 damage. Sometimes things just don't go to plan. Hope the rest of your journey is trouble free.

    1. Dizzy, I think we dodged the bullet on this one. We'll have the brakes checked just to make sure they are OK. You are right, sometimes things don't go as planned. But everything is fine and that's what is important.
      Hope your repairs from the tree are finally done??


    2. I always check your blog postings, so will know how things work out. That is, if you post them.