MotorHome Engine Loss

Jun 9 & Apr 21 updates at bottom.

Short story: April 8th, we blew an engine and we had to get towed. Thankfully, we have tow coverage with GoodSam.

Longer version: We were on the our way to Pahrump to do communications for the Baker to Vegas Race. From Baker, we go up through Shoshone to get there. About a mile south of Ibex Pass (call box 127-412), Dave heard a noise like a pop or bang, and got pulled to the side of the road while the engine was losing power (5:20pm). He and Sam (ham radio friend riding in passenger seat) went out and as soon as Dave opened the engine compartment, he saw the start of flames, went back and grabbed the fire extinguisher before the fire really took hold. I was riding in the back of the coach and knew we’d stopped and from the hot smell, at first thought we’d overheated until Dave and Sam said otherwise.

Since we knew it was going to have to be towed, we got the car off the car carrier and then I started the phone call to GoodSam. Because I was calling the wrong number at first (membership instead of tow), it took an hour to get through, then in the transfer to tow dispatcher got disconnected and had to start over again. While Dave was waiting to give all the information to dispatcher, Sam and I went on to Pahrump to have dinner with friends Gary & EddieJo from our RV club.

There were major issues in GoodSam finding someone to tow Dave. They were doing their job, but the tow companies were giving excuse after excuse. One even said “it’s dark, we’ll be out in the morning”. Finally, they found a competent tow company ( and they got there at 5:15am. Would have been sooner but their dispatcher had them go south on 15 from Vegas, then north on 127, instead of going direct over Blue Diamond to Pahrump/Shoshone to Ibex, and they had to go around a multi-car pileup. By the time they hooked up the motorhome to Tony’s heavy duty tow truck, and the car carrier onto the flatbed, they finally pulled in to the RV park at 7:30am.

Nothing could be done until Monday, so we did our communications duty for the race and Monday morning called GoodSam again to tow us into Las Vegas. They provide the tow for as many miles as needed to get us to a service provider that will do the work. We ended up at (which had been recommended by Tony). Luck of the draw for tow company so we had a different company this time ( and we were just as impressed with them as with Tony and his partner.

See the pictures at

Since this rig was so much bigger, they had to use a chain to pull us out of the RV space so that it could get winched up onto the “Landoll”. Very impressive how that works. If you look at the double axle wheels in picture 20, in relation to the words, and follow through 24, you’ll see that the way they move the bed from its loading position to its travel position, is by moving the axles. Last 4 pictures are unloading in the back of United Auto Care, where it remains while they try to find an engine.

PS. Sam and I returned Mon aft/eve with as much as we could get into the car. Since that was both scooters, Sam’s walker & luggage, bird cage, and a few misc items, there was no room for another person. So son Matt made reservation for Dave to fly from Vegas to Burbank, and I picked him up at airport at noon Tue.

Apr 21 update – they found an engine and estimate they’ll be done in 3 weeks.

Jun 9 update – We went up to Las Vegas the weekend of May 20th to pick up the motorhome. During the time the it was at the shop, it got broken into with about $3000 replacement value stuff stolen or vandalized. (Wasn’t covered by mechanic’s insurance because it was outside the shop, the bays not big enough for RVs). But, it did make me think of putting in a claim for the engine fire. So, the invoice was sent to Allstate to see if they would at least cover the parts that had to be replaced because of the fire.

Great news – Insurance (RV policy) actually covered the WHOLE BILL, didn’t even take out the $250 deductible. Sure makes up for the $3k loss that, because of $2500 deductible (homeowner’s policy) and depreciation, wasn’t covered.

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