View from the top of Old Man of Coniston hike in Lake District National Park, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Not a very smooth day, but we did get a couple of things accomplished

Well, lots to talk about today!

From the Wasa Provincial Park, I called the Kal Tire store in Cranbrook, only about 35 kms (22 miles) south of the park. Fortunately, Sherman's two front tires had arrived! They said they weren't very busy, and should be able to install them without much of a wait.

Lindsey and Justin followed along to see if we could figure out how long it would take to do the job, but by the time we got there it was almost 11:00am. I sort of figured they would end up carrying on on their own towards Kelowna because they fly out of there on Wednesday morning.

The guys at Kal Tire said they would do it right away, but I also wanted the new SuperSteer bell crank installed that I had bought in the U.S. in April and have been carrying around ever since! Besides which, I wanted a wheel alignment, and this should be installed first.

They said it would be no problem, provided Sherman fit in their alignment bay.

I suggested that the best time to change the bell crank would be when the left front tire is off because it gives you much easier access.

Granddaughter Sadie got to ride in the copilot seat!

I sat and waited for Sherman's work to get done, while Ruth went with the others and found some lunch. I went out once to get my laptop, and an hour later Sherman hadn't even been moved yet. But, I didn't say anything.

Lindsey brought me back some food, and they decided to carry on, so we said our goodbyes. It was a short visit, but we will see them again at the end of next month when we fly back to Ontario for Ruth's nephew's wedding.

Eventually, one guy came and asked if Sherman's key was in it so he could bring it into the alignment bay. I said yes, and quickly thought about doing it myself. I would later learn that I should have!

Finally, at about 2:30pm I saw Sherman pull up outside and they came and got me to pay the bill. 

He explained that they couldn't complete the alignment because there is too much play in Sherman's lower ball joints.

Regular readers will remember that this is what broke and was replaced in Mexico in March of this year!

Now, I'm not completely surprised that the ball joints are already showing some wear. We've done 15,000 kms (9,300 miles) since they were done, and a lot of it was on very rough roads.

But, I would have thought they would still be good enough to do a wheel alignment. 

Anyhow, I resigned myself to the fact that we'll have to get that done. Again. This will be the fourth time we will have changed lower ball joints since we have owned Sherman. They simply aren't heavy duty enough for the chassis, and I've read about other P30 motorhome owners having the same problems.

I found it odd that they didn't make any effort to sell me the ball joints job. No price quotation or anything. Simply told me they needed doing, and that was that.

I paid the bill, and went out to Sherman. At least he has the front tires done!

I went to sit in the driver's seat, and I saw the box with the bell crank. I thought "hm, they must have given me back the old part", and I opened the box.

Nope. The brand new part was still in the box! They never changed it!

I walked back inside with box in hand. The manager says "yeah, I told them not to do it because we only have an apprentice on staff today".

Huh? Who was going to do the alignment? The apprentice?

I told him that the bell crank is the exact job an apprentice should be able to do. It's only four bolts and a pickle fork.

He said, "yeah, but if he ran into problems..."

Okay, whatever.

Not impressed.

So it took them three and a half hours and all I got done was the two front tires installed and balanced.

Speaking of balancing... we drive away, and we're heading to do some grocery shopping. We're only doing about 40 km/h (25 mph), when I hear something metal hit the wheelhouse and then the ground. I think "what the heck was that", and I pull over to the side of the road. I get out and walk back about 100 yards, where I pick up a wheel balancing weight.

Turn around, and back to Kal Tire.

The guy at the counter says "oh, there should be a mark where it goes, we'll just put it back on".

I walked out with him to see if he's going to put it in the right place. Realistically, I'm thinking to myself that the whole wheel should come off and be re-balanced. He can't find a mark, and was all set to simply install it beside the other weight that was showing on the outside of the rim. I told him that rather than guess, it might be a good idea to check with the guy who did the balancing... he might have a better idea of where it goes!

So he did, and the other guy pointed out where the weight went on the inside of the rim.

If I hadn't stopped him, Sherman's wheel would be way out of balance.

This is why I hate having to pay to get basic mechanic stuff done. Even an oil change. I do it myself because they put beginners on this stuff, and beginners make mistakes.

We went and got some groceries, and then we went to look at a new bicycle for me!

A new used bicycle. Lindsey knew that I was looking for a bike, and she had found one on kijiji in Cranbrook. The guy agreed to show it to us at 4:30pm, so we went over there and looked at it.

Not quite as nice a deal as Ruth's new bike that we got in Smithers.

He was asking $300 for a Specialized Hardrock mountain bike. It was 3 years old, and you could tell it was well used. But it has decent tires, and he just had it serviced at the same shop where he bought it three years ago. We agreed on $250 cash, and I have a new bike! We even gave him my old bike to dispose of as he saw fit.

Pictures another day. Hopefully we'll get out for a bike ride today!

Cranbrook is not an RVFT, so we drove outside of the city limits and found an old logging road. Drove about 1.5 kms (just under a mile) and found a little pull off where we quietly passed the night.

Sherman, parked up for the night.

As I walked back from taking that photo, I happened to notice that the antenna from our cell signal booster was sitting crooked. Crap!

Obviously, when they drove Sherman into the shop for the wheel alignment, they never checked for height issues! Fortunately, I patched it back together and it seems to be working fine, but I was not happy!

Broken antenna.

I've used Kal Tire at probably five or six locations across Canada and always been happy with things. But yesterday's experience was less than stellar. I think I'll send a note to head office.

This morning, we drove to Creston. Mostly, to use the internet. Another thing that didn't go right yesterday is that my cell phone isn't able to connect to the network, the same way it did for the first few days we were in the Yukon! Just gotta keep smiling... :-)

Yesterday's drive.

The 50 amp Progressive Industries Hard Wired Electrical Management System is at a record low price. Not that great of a discount, however they never go "on sale"...

And in Canada...


  1. Sorry you are having so many problems with Sherman. Just like a house, something always needs repairing and it seems you have to keep an eye on the workers.

    1. This all comes with owning a vehicle. We have had many good years where we haven't had any big issues so it was bound to catch up with us at some point. We would rather deal with this than deal with the issues of owning a proper house. :-)

  2. Murphy's Law sure kicked in gear for you yesterday, but you have had worse days! At least the bicycle purchase worked out for you; hope you rode it to make sure it fit your body frame; a bike which is three years newer, but is well used sort of evens out with Ruth's bike. The only thing extra I can think of that Ruth got was a bike shop checkup before it left the store. As women generally do, we ask what color!! Hope it wasn't pink!

    1. Yes, we have had worse days, it was just frustrating because Kevin didn't feel that the shop was very professional, including the manager!

      Of course Kevin tried it out, he wouldn't have bought if he couldn't take it for a spin first! It is actually the exact same size as his other bike, just a different type of bike, it rides a little differently as well which will take a little to get used too. At least now he will be able to ride more comfortably on gravel roads. Kevin's bike had been in the shop and been checked out before the guy put it up for sale. It is silver and black.

  3. Has Sherman ever had his roof replaced? We're having some issues with ours now- its rotting.. hubby fixed a spot but says may need a new roof soon- he's still holding out for my lottery win a big longer though.

    1. You asked this same question a week or two ago and we gave you an answer then! We have reroofed Sherman but we have a rubber roof and didn't have any underlying problems with our roof. Sounds to me like you need to properly redo your roof from the bottom up. Here is our post on when Kevin redid ours.

  4. I feel your pain with mechanic issues. Same thing with house stuff; if you want it done your way, you inevitably have to do it yourself (but if you can it's more rewarding). I'm a bit surprised about your ball joint problems though. At 100,000 miles we were still running the original front end hardware, but then we had the 6,000# front GAWR, that might be the difference.

    1. If Kevin had a place to work on Sherman properly and the right tools he would do much of the work himself! He knows that he can do it, like changing the bell crank but he just doesn't have the tools for it.

      Sherman is old (1995) and with this particular model they are known to not have the best suspension on them, also it didn't help that we drove over 2,000km on dirt roads this summer!

  5. I know your pain. It's hard enough to find a good RV service in your home town, it's just potluck when you are fulltime. It's good you are capable of doing many jobs yourself. Keep smiling.

    1. Kevin has always been happy with the work that Kal Tire has done for us at several different locations but this one really seemed Mickey Mouse and not very professional, it was as if they really didn't want to work on it! It is frustrating because Kevin knows that he can do much of the work on Sherman and do it right if he only had the right tools. :-(

  6. 10-1 the ball joint story is BS. If "the apprentice" lacked the smarts to do the bell crank, how the heck would he be able to do the alignment. That job actually takes some skill.
    If I remember correctly from my mechanics days, the lower BJ will/may have some play when its unloaded. If thats when he checked it,unloaded, it may have had a bit of play, but of course he wouldn't know that would he. And the wheel balance thing...sheesh.
    I feel your aggravation.

    1. I do think it's possible the ball joints are a little worn. We've done a LOT of bad roads since they were last done. I'm going to get them changed, along with the lower control arms. This time, I'm doing the assembly, with the ball joints included with the lower control arms.

    2. OK Kevin, good show...I'm also wondering if the BJ's have zerk grease fittings(good) or are sealed(bad). IF you are going to change them again get the greasable ones. Its easy enough to get a grease gun and give em a fresh blast of lovely clean grease every month, just not too much though.

    3. They are greasable, and I carry a grease gun.

  7. Hey Kevin
    I've been reading your blog for a few years and always enjoy your adventures. Concerning the shop Kal Tire, I would definitely send the head office a note about the lack of service and lack of professionalism on their part. By making this public you're actually helping everyone. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment Ron and for following along on our adventures.

      Kevin has already sent an email off to their head office and they have also replied back but want a phone number where they can reach us, which isn't possible at the moment because our SIM card in the phone is acting up. Hopefully we can get in touch with them soon and see what if anything will come of this.

  8. Crazy day you both had. Hope the next adventure is better. Drive safe!

    1. Yeah, it was a bit of a frustrating day but it's all behind us now and these days are bound to happen. It could have been worse and we still had some good things happen, so all is good. :-)

  9. A frustrating day, to be sure. Better luck the next time Sherman goes "into the shop!"

    1. Yep, it was a bit of a frustrating day but everything will eventually work out. It's not the end of the world! ;-)

  10. Glad you were able to get a bike, at least! It's funny, when I read your post, I noticed that Cranbrook sounded familiar. Sure enough, the cheapie Huffy cruiser bike I bought at our RV park garage sale last winter to ride around the park has a model name of "Cranbrook" and is painted in a cranberry color. I don't know if they got the name from the Canadian town, but I thought it was interesting. I hope you and Ruth both enjoy your new-to-you bikes!

    1. Getting the bike made the day so much better! :-)

      I would doubt that it was named after Cranbrook, BC but you never know!


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