Tech Info

Members Helping Members












Breaking down for any reason is never a happy experience. But not knowing your coach and not knowing how to present your situation to the service provider can only make it worse. Here are a few simple pointers that can make a bad situation a little better.

I.                   KNOW YOUR COACH (this is the single most important part by far)

A.                 Make and Model

B.                 How long is the coach?

C.                 How much does the coach weigh? (this is absolutely critical)

1.                  Total weight of the coach

a)                 Weight of the front axle of the coach

b)                 Weight the rear drive (s) of the coach

(1)              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

D.                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.

E.                 Know what type of front suspension your coach is equipped with (again this is critical)

1.                  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 



2.                  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

a)                 The Prevost 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.

F.                  If your generator is located at the front of the vehicle, make sure that that information is expressed.

1.                  More than likely the exhaust pipe and or the muffler will have to be dismantled for the proper clearance of the underlift.

G.                 Know how high your coach is from the ground to the highest fixed point (most likely, but not always, an A/C housing).

1.                  The vast majority of the time a coach MUST be towed with a “tow truck” or “wrecker”.       

2.                  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.          

3.                  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.

II.               Know Your Service Provider

A.                 Just because you have purchased an annual service (Good Sam, Coach Net, your insurance company, etc.) means nothing.      

1.                  When you call the 800 number you are calling a call center. They have no idea what your coach looks like.

a)                 You must take charge of the situation from your first words (politely!!)

b)                 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 in #1.

c)                  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

d)                 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).

B.                 Law Enforcement could be your service provider

1.                  Towing companies are often on rotation

a)                 Thus they will call the tow company that is first up - but that does not mean they have the right equipment.

b)                 `It is your RIGHT to get the right equipment and not be forced to take what is offered.                                                                                                                             

c)                  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.


A.                 It is very important to give the ACCURATE location of where you are.

1.                  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.

2.                  If you are out in the countryside, give estimated mileage from a known landmark

B.                 Where and how your coach has come to rest is critical.

1.                  Make sure that you describe that to the service provider and towing service

a)                 One tire on the shoulder, the other off on the grass at a slope

b)                 In a downtown area up against the concrete barrier with passing traffic very close

c)                  If you are stuck, supply detailed information as to how bad you are stuck

(1)              Snow, ice, mud, grass, etc.

(2)              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.

C.                 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.


A.                 Air brake connection location that is recommended by the coach manufacturer for the service provider to tie into - KNOW WHERE IT IS LOCATED

1.                  Critical to release brakes

2.                  To air up the coach or keep it aired up

3.                  To use brakes from the coach in a mountain region

B.                 Transmission - what make and model

1.                  Automatic or manual

C.                 Drive shafts or Half shafts - they will have to be removed to keep from damaging your transmission

1.                  Know that and make sure THEY ARE REMOVED

2.                  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.

V.                YOUR PAINT JOB

A.                 The service 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!


A.                 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.

B.                 Ask up front for the fees and costs that can occur.

1.                  There is the cost for the call

2.                  There can be a mileage fee from the beginning or after so many miles traveled.

3.                  There can he drive line or half shaft fees.

4.                  There can be hourly charges.

a)                 For service on the side of the road

b)                 For heavily populated areas where traffic increases travel time.



The towing and recovery business is a great business, supplying a much needed to service to the automotive public. When it comes to high end motor coaches, these operators must have a lot of experience.  And like any business that is supplying you a service, you have the right that the job be done responsibly and professionally. The information that YOU provide up front will be greatly appreciated by them and allow them to know that you have an understanding of the service that is going to be provided. Remember, they did not cause your breakdown; they are only providing a service. And this service is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, NO MATTER what the weather.

Good luck, and hopefully you will never -ever – have to use the information provided.

John L. Hawkins