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Old 06-03-2010, 05:22 AM   #1
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We finally got back to Minnesota after the worst trip we have ever had. We left Scotts Valley CA April 30th and went to Redding CA to have new 8000 lb axles, new spirngs, new shocks, and beefed up the bracing on the frame. We had planned on leaving May 3rd but they didn't finish until the 11th because they had to replace one of the magnets.We took CA 44 east to Susanville. 2 miles west of Susanville the road is very steep and has 20 mph hairpin curves. We got down the mountain and I turned around and saw billows of smoke coming out of my truck. We had never had that happen before and since we had new trailer brakes, thought the truck had some issue. Pulled into a campground pulled the trailer hand brake and found we had no trailer brakes. That morning we woke up to tires that were sitting in a pool of oil. Thank God we have a F550 so that our truck can stop our 37fl Silverado. So we call the shop and Al-KO shipped new parts to a shop in Elko NV. Got a hotel for 3 days. When the shop had completed the repairs we took off.We get 40 miles from Elko so we stopped at a LOVES and when we came back I noticed two of the tires were shiny. Oil was coming out of the reservoir. Called the shop and they told us to tighten them so we did. That fixed one but not the other. We had to stop every 50 miles or so to had oil to the reservoir. Finally put duct tape over the seal. We were able to go 200 miles before adding oil. Drove through a snowstorm in WY. Got into Des Moines about 1AM turn into a station and NO brakes. Filled up and went 100 feet and the brakes came back on. Got home and took it to a shop at home and discovered that we only had brakes on two wheels and the other two had no brake linings and on one of the wheels the brake adjuster had fallen out and was twirling around in the brake drum. Currently the 5ver is in the shop waiting for ALKO to send new axles. After two sets of brakes failing suspect there may be some other defect that can't be seen. What a nightmare. Now that I am in Minnesota I still have 5 of the decorative aluminum wheels if anybody wants them. They have 6 lugs and we needed to a get wheels with 8 lugs because of the bigger axles. If we had had a smaller truck I probably would not be here to write this.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:16 AM   #2
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Sorry to read about all your troubles. It is a good point you make about your truck. You are proof you can not have too much truck. I certainly hope you can get everything worked out.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:34 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear that the portion of your trip through our neck of the woods was less than enjoyable. I spend a lot of the summer months fishing in the lakes west of susanville.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:44 AM   #4
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John, What a nightmare! There's nothing worse than having no brakes, especially in the mountains. Years ago I boiled my brake fluid on a motorhome while towing my small truck behind it. When I hit the brake pedal it went to the floor, no brakes, I was going downa mountain and thank god just as the brakes went out I had a short uphill section and was able to get it stopped with the emergency brake. Made me change my priortity from wanting more Banks power to go fast tomore gears (US GEAR AUX TRANNY)to slow me down on mountain roads so I could stop.

You mentioned leaking oil and filling the reservoir. I take it you have hydraulic brakes on your Silerado?
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:21 PM   #5
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Glad you made it home safely. May not seem like it now but these are the kinds of trips that great stories come from.

Great point on the truck. A lesson for anyone willing to read and understand.

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