Not so very long ago, we stayed in one of those RV parks.
You know the type.
The age-restricted kind with so many rules that you quit reading after about the 5th one, and decide that just being a good person for the duration of your stay will probably cover most of them anyway?
When we checked in at this park, we received a packet that contained a list of 25 rules on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, single spaced, small font, both sides. Rule 15, dealing with the laundry room, also had subsections a-f.
And there were a few additional rules on the park map.
And even more rules printed on signs scattered about the property.
And don’t get me started on the club house. Let’s just say that not everybody should be allowed access to a label maker, printer, or even paper and a Sharpie. Especially people of a certain age, with a lot of time on their hands.
(If you’re humming, “Do this. Don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?” you’re not alone.)
So being possessed of a deliciously sideways sense of humor, I decided to have a little bit of fun during our stay in the Land of Many Rules.
OK, a lot of fun.
To be clear, I was not on a mission to break the rules. They’re there for a reason. I get it.
I just thought I could give those fine folks cause to come up with a few more they mmmaybe hadn’t thought of.
Attempt 10: Run with scissors!
Disclosure 1: Neither one of us is over 55. We were able to get a guest spot for a limited time.
Disclosure 2: Park name and location have been withheld to protect the… well… a park that’s really quite nice, and I know that it’s because of a lot of those rules. I’m pretty sure they can take a little ribbing, but just in case they can’t, I’ll keep their identity under wraps. We’d like to be able to stay there again.
Disclosure 3: Photos originally appeared on the author’s personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, and I give thanks to my partners in crime. They know who they are.
A funny thing happened in March, on our way from San Antonio, TX, to Elkhart, IN, for a service appointment to take care of some welding issues on The Toad: the BFT is the one that failed us.
Not what we were expecting.
Our incredibly reliable, tough-as-nails, much adored 2012 Chevy Silverado 3500 dually sputtered and quickly died while we were driving on I-35 just south of Dallas — a mere 225 miles into our 1300-mile trip.
We are very thankful that despite the scariness of the incident, the travel gods were indeed watching over us.
We were on flat ground instead of a hill.
There were no vehicles riding too closely behind us.
We were not in a construction zone.
We had a wide shoulder to pull onto.
And I was smart enough to start veering toward that shoulder at the same time I was saying, “That didn’t sound right.”
Why did that turn out to be a smart move? Because we had mere seconds before the truck shut down. All power: gone. On an interstate.
To make a very long story a lot shorter, the problem turned out to be what is rather evocatively known as “grenading” of the fuel pump. Upon its death, it sent shards of metal through the entire fuel system, leaving us dead in the proverbial water.
As Tim described it “The critical part seemed to be the Bosch-built CP4.2 HPFP, the exact same pump used in the Ford F-series Light Duty diesel trucks. If you google ‘F350 CP4 failure,’ you’ll find plenty of discussion on the issue. Same if you google ‘Duramax LML CP4 failure.’”
Tim, who is not an industry expert by any means, but merely a consumer who’s always trying hard to get smarter, further surmised, “A major culprit appears to be the quality of diesel fuel in the U.S. (i.e., the mandated ultra-low sulfur blend plus other things), combined with what might be less than acceptable engineering by Ford and GM. Reportedly, Bosch has been saying for some time that the lubricity of the fuel needs to be higher for these pumps to last, and U.S. diesel fuel doesn’t meet these standards.”
What that meant for us was a $10,000 fuel system replacement (GM paid for part of it) that left us stranded for two weeks outside a really small Texas town. Middle of Nowhere was still a good 10 miles away. We were there so long we painted our RV’s interior!
And then, after the truck repair was complete, and we were finally sitting in Elkhart waiting for the work to be finished on The Toad, we realized that we needed to make a big decision: test our luck by keeping the BFT and its fresh new fuel system with the exact same type of pump that had gone spectacularly belly up, or upgrade to a truck that wouldn’t have that issue.
To make the second part of the story shorter as well, we knew we couldn’t live with the uncertainty of driving a truck that might croak again, any more than we could change the U.S. diesel fuel composition standards that were probably part of the cause.
The Silverado was our only vehicle, and it pulls the Bighorn, which is our only home. We couldn’t stomach the idea of going through a second catastrophic failure, or having it happen under far more hazardous circumstances than the first one.
We opted to upgrade.
Y’all say hello to our 2017 Dodge RAM 3500 dually, which we picked up at the end of May, just shy of 3 months after the Great Fuel Pump Grenading Incident of 2017.
For those who are wondering why we didn’t go with the 2017 Chevy Silverado, which does not have that same iffy fuel pump as the 2011-2016 diesel models, there were three factors that put the RAM on top.
Shorter turning radius for easier maneuvering
Larger payload and axle weight ratings for higher towing capacity
More competitive pricing for better value
We look forward to thousands and thousands of miles together.
Author’s note: A version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.