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DO YOU KNOW YOUR COACH IF IT HAD TO BE TOWED?
YOU NEED TO, BECAUSE TIME – KNOWLEDGE
FRUSTRATION – AND DOLLARS ALL PLAY A PART
JOHN L HAWKINS
KNOW YOUR COACH
(this is the single most important part by far)
Make and Model
How long is the
How much does the
coach weigh? (this is absolutely critical)
Total weight of
Weight of the
front axle of the coach
Weight the rear
drive (s) of the coach
Make sure you do
this separately (you can simply add the two together to get the total which is
the Gross Vehicle Weight or GVW
Take a tape
measure and measure from the front bumper to the center line of the steer axle;
know the measurement in INCHES. This along with the axle weights of the vehicle
will become the two most CRITICAL points. Take this information and memorize these
two critical measurements.
Know what type of
front suspension your coach is equipped with (again this is critical)
A truck style
front “I” beam axle can be towed with frame forks without damage. You will see
this on most of the truck chassis that are used on most “non” tag coaches. A
photo is provided to see this application
If you have an
“A” arm suspension with either spring or air on your coach, this vehicle is
best towed with a “TIRE LIFT”. Two photos are provided to see the two different
models used domestically
chassis has two very secure pull rings just forward of the “A” arms that can be
used for frame forks, but I highly recommend that sized tire lift be used.
If your generator
is located at the front of the vehicle, make sure that that information is
More than likely
the exhaust pipe and or the muffler will have to be dismantled for the proper clearance
of the underlift.
Know how high
your coach is from the ground to the highest fixed point (most likely, but not always,
an A/C housing).
The vast majority
of the time a coach MUST be towed with a “tow truck” or “wrecker”.
If a company
shows up with a large trailer that tilts back and loads your coach from the
rear, it will be “TOO TALL” and thus illegal. This might be your only solution,
but it is dangerous one and only to be done as a last resort. Make sure that
you have this discussion with the company providing the service and they have
signed off for the liability.
Take the time to
fill in the printed side view of the coach provided with “ALL” the information
above. This can be used as a quick reference.
Know Your Service Provider
Just because you
have purchased an annual service (Good Sam, Coach Net, your insurance company,
etc.) means nothing.
When you call the
800 number you are calling a call center. They have no idea what your coach
You must take
charge of the situation from your first words (politely!!)
You must tell
them you are going to provide them with critical information that they will
have to REPEAT back to you all of the info you will provide, which was outlined
Make sure you ask
them their name and that you give them and your cell phone number IMMEDIATELY,
in case you lose signal so he or she can call you back
REQUEST that once
they have taken the information, that the company that will be providing the
service please contact you. (This
insures they have gotten the information you provided).
could be your service provider
are often on rotation
Thus they will
call the tow company that is first up - but that does not mean they have the
`It is your RIGHT
to get the right equipment and not be forced to take what is offered.
If you provide
the Law Enforcement officer with the info listed above, he will get a better
understanding that you are a knowledgeable person in need of the right service.
LOCATION OF YOUR
It is very
important to give the ACCURATE location of where you are.
If you are on an
Interstate or Turnpike, a tow truck might have to pass you and come back. Do
not be alarmed if you see this happen. But he can also approach from the right
direction with the right information.
If you are out in
the countryside, give estimated mileage from a known landmark
Where and how
your coach has come to rest is critical.
Make sure that
you describe that to the service provider and towing service
One tire on the
shoulder, the other off on the grass at a slope
In a downtown
area up against the concrete barrier with passing traffic very close
If you are stuck,
supply detailed information as to how bad you are stuck
Snow, ice, mud,
How far it is to
high ground or protected secure ground
NOTATION: more tow
truck drivers lose their lives annually per capita than Firemen or Law Enforcement.
This happens, when they or the vehicle they are providing a service for are hit
by other vehicles. It is a dangerous job, and you need to stay in a safe
location while they do their job, i.e. away from the coach and traffic.
You need to tell
the towing provider how many people are in your group.
It is against the law
to ride in the coach while being towed. A tow truck might have room for only one
or two people at the most. They will provide a service if there is a large
group, if told up front.
OF YOUR COACH
connection location that is recommended by the coach manufacturer for the
service provider to tie into - KNOW WHERE IT IS LOCATED
To air up the
coach or keep it aired up
To use brakes
from the coach in a mountain region
what make and model
Drive shafts or
Half shafts - they will have to be removed to keep from damaging your
Know that and
make sure THEY ARE REMOVED
A drive shaft
connects the transmission to the drive axle and they can be short and not easy
to get to. Thus the service provider will opt to remove the half shaft out of
the center of the drive axle. If this is
done, they will seal the opening created from removing the shafts with
cardboard or special designed covers to keep the gear lube in the axle housing.
YOUR PAINT JOB
provider will have to run an air, electrical, or both lines to the rear of the
coach - nearly 60 feet. There is no other way of doing it than down the side of
the coach. Once they have done the routing and connections, they should protect
the paint of the coach by placing split tennis balls or shop rags tied in knots
to keep it off the paint. The further the coach is traveling, the more the critical
this is. If they do not have anything, then it is time for you to tell the wife that she is getting new towels
because you are donating hers for the cause!
THE COST OF THE
In 2010 a new tow
truck capable of towing your coach is a $250,000 to $400,000 investment. Tow
truck owners are nearly 100 % family owned and to be making the call they have
to be successful.
Ask up front for
the fees and costs that can occur.
There is the cost
for the call
There can be a
mileage fee from the beginning or after so many miles traveled.
There can he
drive line or half shaft fees.
There can be
For service on
the side of the road
populated areas where traffic increases travel time.