Fixing Our House

So about that flashing Check Engine light…

I previously wrote about the diagnosing and repair of its cause leading to, among other things, “the worst sort of bloviating.”  This is probably overstated, and more a more a function of dealing with repair experts in general, particularly self-styled ones on the internet, many of whom I spent a good bit of time engaging in this case.

The issue was this – is Davista now safe to drive in this condition?  And secondarily, if she’s technically safe to drive but it’s not recommended to do so, will driving a significant distance (i.e. Bend to Portland) affect the warranty?

To get answers to these questions, I talked to many, many Ford mechanics at many, many Ford dealers in an expanding circle centered on Bend and eventually reaching Portland.  I also registered on an RV enthusiast website and tossed my question, along with all the pertinent data, into the appropriate forum.

In an ideal world, there would be a simple answer.  What I got instead was a spectrum of info that varied from thoughtful, well-meaning advice to finger-wagging lectures about what was almost certainly wrong with my vehicle and what I Needed To Be Doing, almost all of them to some degree contradictory, and zero consensus.  Which is fun way to spend the better part of a day. 

The “bloviating” came primarily from the internet, and I should have expected that. It comes with the territory, and teasing out the thoughtful (and freely given!) nuggets of actual wisdom from within the sea of anonymous “I have an opinion and an audience now, look out!” noise is pretty much what we do in 2018. The mechanics, at least the majority of them, did their best to help, and I appreciated their time.

But still… nothing approaching consensus, even among the actual experts. Amusing to have two people with “years and years of experience” assure me with total certainty both that I would absolutely be able to detect actual misfires, and that I almost certainly wouldn’t feel a thing in a single cylinder misfire situation. “Trust me.”

I also discovered that, though there are several Ford dealerships in and near Bend, the closest one both certified to and capable of handling a vehicle this size is in Portland.  After aggregating everything and taking what I thought was the best advice I had been given, I called Ford themselves (rather than a specific dealer) and put it into their hands.  After some wrangling and convincing them that no, none of those dozen closer Ford dealers can handle us, they decided that driving was unwise and arranged a tow to Portland.

So we broke camp, put what we needed into our car, and watched as the huge tow truck arrived (three hours late), lifted Davista’s front end, disconnected her real axle, and towed her away.  Disconcerting.

We met her in Portland after checking in at our hotel near the airport, and told our long story to the service coordinator.  To my substantial dismay, he didn’t appear to be interested in any of the data I had collected on the problem or the troubleshooting I had already done.

“Check engine.  Got it.” 

“No… again, it’s a flashing check engine, and it’s throwing these codes, and it’s been happening when we..”

“Yup, flashing check engine, that’s right.  Don’t you worry about a thing.”

“OK, don’t you want to hear about the conditions in which is comes on, for how long, etc?”

“Uhhh… ok, yeah, sure.” [eyes glazing over as I tell him, with his pencil hovering over the page but writing absolutely nothing down]

“OK, so you’ve got all that?  You’ll tell the mechanic?”

“Yup, of course.”

“And you’ll call me if you need any further detail, as well as any time you find out anything?”


“Because this is our house.  We can leave it with you for a while now since we’re leaving town for a week or two, but it’s important we get it fixed asap.”

“Oh, I assure you I understand.  Don’t you worry.”

*sigh* “ok.”

And with that we jumped on a plane back to Maryland to throw more money at put the final touches on our actual house and get it completely packed out prior to closing.

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