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PT & WB (Twin Axle Pusher Unique Issues) If you have a unique issue with your PT or WB model coach and it can't be answered in one of the other forums here, then this is where you can list it....list your PT Parts here too.

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Old 09-19-2020
Don Meyer Don Meyer is offline
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Default new rear at Sam's Club

Some of my fellow WOGer's know that my wife and I do product demo's at Sam's clubs around the country. Well here's a good story about our recent experience at the Sam's Club in Hagerstown, MD.
We actually travel full time from one Sams club to another. And this trip was no different. We pulled into this Sams on Tuesday, Sept 8. We unloaded our "stuff" and parked in our usual spot in the far corner of the lot. Did our normal routine in the club and all was well. This demo was scheduled for 11 days. So we just dry camp in the lot.

Last Sat, Sept 12, we took a side trip to northern PA to meet my son and pick up some tools. We left my trailer behind Sam's and ran to PA with no trouble.
About 4 years ago I blew the ring gear in the coach and had it replaced with a rebuilt unit from Trans Axle. A nationwide rebuilder. For 4 years all was ok.

We made it back to Sams in Hagerstown Sat evening and hooked up to the trailer. Then went to pull around to our normal parking spot. Got about 6 feet and then nothing. Engine running, in drive...but no movement. Had my wife sit in driver seat and put it in drive while I looked under the coach. Drive shaft was turning, but bus didn't move.

Humm...what could it be? There was no noise, no grinding, no bang, no nothing. So I grabbed my trusty old Jeep Cherokee, hooked up a chain, popped the Jeep into low range and towed the bus and trailer around to the front of Sam's and into our usual parking spot. Before it got dark I figured I pull the axles to see if perhaps one broke. Fortunately I carry a nice big sledge hammer that is needed to pull the axles. Pulled them both and....nothing! Both in perfect shape. By now it was getting dark, had some dinner and went to bed for the evening.
Next morning, Sunday Sept 13, I used a big drain pan I carry in the roof top storage pod and drained the gear oil. No big pieces came out and the oil looked OK. Humm, guess I gotta get into it and find the problem.

On these big Rockwell axles you can pull the pinion assembly out without removing the entire drive assembly. So out it came. Pinion was in perfect shape, not a mark on any gears, no chips, wear pattern was perfect. So I start spinning the ring gear. Turned nice and easy. All teeth looked as nice as the pinion. No chips, no abnormal wear. It looked great.

So. I'm thinking.....did I blow a spider gear. I went to spin the ring gear again and it moved sideways and fell off the carrier. So I grabbed my super, super bright 4 LED flash lite and looked into the bottom of the now empty rear housing. Every fastener, which held the ring to the carrier, which I thought we bolts, were sheared off. NEVER seen anything like it before. Except perhaps on the mud racers we used to build. So, at this point I knew I had to pull the entire drive unit out. But....where to do it?
Why not right here in Sam's parking lot? Seems like as good a place as any. I had all the tools I needed. Jacks. Impact wrenches. Cribbing. We carry it all just for times like this. Or if a fellow BB owner should need help.

But first I called for some reinforcements. Called fellow BB owner Kevin Rhodes in N.C. He's retired, and like me, always looking for a new adventure! He agreed to come up as soon as I procured a new rear.
So..... Monday morning, Sept 14, I'm on the phone with the nearest Trans Axle location in Baltimore MD. (remember, I bought the rear from them 4 years ago) gave them the model number and ratio I needed. They said they would have a freshly rebuilt unit there on Wed. Great, let's do it!
While I waited for the new rear to be delivered to Baltimore, I got under the coach and got the drive unit ready to drop. I was waiting for Kevin to arrive because he was bringing the one tool I do not have. A motor cycle jack. 1500 LB capacity. Low to the ground. Just what the doctor ordered!
So, Kevin rolls in just before dinner on Tuesday, an 8 hour drive, ONE WAY
We immediately got under the coach and dropped the drive unit out. We threw in the back of my good old Cherokee, got cleaned up and went out to dinner.

Next morning we were up at sun rise. Had breakfast. Oat meal and blue berries for Kevin. Honey nut Cheerios and bananas for me. Grabbed a mug of coffee and headed to Baltimore. And sure enough, the new rear was there waiting for me.

I showed the manager the broken fasteners, which I thought were bolts.

WRONG! It turns out the the rear I had put in 4 years prior was rebuilt by Rockwell. But sold thru Trans Axle. And lo and behold...they used RIVETS instead of nuts and bolts to attach the ring gear to the carrier. And from what the manager told me, the rivets are softer that the ring gear and carrier, in order to be pressed in, and are known to break. Makes one wonder WHY they'd use them in the first place. Probably a cost thing!
Fortunately the new rear waiting for me is rebuilt by Trans Axle and has grade 8 nuts and bolts, (NOT rivets) used locktite, and torqued to spec. We hauled it back to Hagerstown in the trusty old Cherokee, got it installed in no time, thanks to that motor cycle jack. Installed the axles. Refilled the rear with new synthetic oil, and were good to go. Worst part of the job was maneuvering the drive unit around the tag axle and suspension components. But we got 'er done with no injuries or broken bones.

Since bad weather was heading towards Kevin's home in N.C. he pulled out shortly after we finished. I didn't even get to buy him dinner again. But I'll certainly get him while at Pine Mountain!


So...much thanks to Kevin Rhodes for his help. We love you buddy! I could NOT have installed the new rear without you!!

And finally, even though the warranty had long run out on the rear replaced 4 years ago, the manager of Trans Axle worked with me for a significantly reduced price on this one. And he even gave me a 5 gal bucket of synthetic gear oil at no charge. And only charged me half price for a new u joint I wanted to replace while I had the driveshaft down.
I guess I couldn't ask for more.


That ends the story of replacing a Rockwell drive unit in a Sam's Club parking lot. We don't consider this kid of stuff a "job". We consider it an "Adventure" (Just one of many) LOL
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Don & Jane
86 PT38 8V92
Pop Pop's Bus
Jeep cherokee in
24' car hauler
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2020
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1984Lodge 1984Lodge is offline
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At first I was thinking that Sam's club now carries wanderlodge rear ends..
Sounds like quite the adventure, that would be something to see that rear end in the back of a cherokee.. Good job guys and glad your back on the road..
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Jeff LoGiudice
1984LodgeJeff@gmail.com
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1984 Bluebird PT40
#F063411 6V92TA & MT654CR
& 1986 MCI 102A3
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2020
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Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is offline
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Better luck than I had w/exchange unit, had similar adventure w/the FC 35 however replacement carrier would not fit, same part number as original, same numbers on casting, however would not fit in the axle, off the flange quarter inch. Interference was in the cap area. Had to install new gears on old carrier.
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Old 09-19-2020
Big Al Big Al is offline
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That’s a great story. Happy that it all worked out.

What kind of products do you demo at Sams Club?
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Waupun, Wisconsin
2000 LX ME "Angry Bird"
1989 WB “Pasture Prime” 2017-2019 Sold
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Old 09-19-2020
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Crit Bliss Crit Bliss is offline
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Don you are tough!
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Old 09-19-2020
Harold,Cat&Sam Harold,Cat&Sam is offline
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Wonderful inspirational story . Nothing beats having great friends always ready to help and a "can-do" attitude .

Thanks for sharing
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Sam 11 year old min schnauzer
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Old 09-19-2020
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Stick Miller Stick Miller is offline
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Don, you never cease to amaze me. I stand in awe of your mechanical abilities.
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Old 09-19-2020
P Surgeon P Surgeon is offline
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Don,
I was leaving Sam's last week and looked over and saw a bird! Decided to loop back around and take a look. Didn't see anyone around so just took a few pics and sent them to my daughter with the caption "your girls will get a kick out of the name on this bird". They call their other granddad "Pop Pop". I've got a farm north of town and lots of tools and would have been glad to come help you. Figured you were just overnighting. I'll swing down there tomorrow and see if you're still there. I just bought a '90 SP36 this spring and am working through a bunch of minor issues to get it road worthy. Seems like you better be really handy if you own one of these old birds or really rich. I'm kinda the first, definitely not the second.
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Old 09-19-2020
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brhodes brhodes is offline
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Don and Jane represent some of the finest chocolate covered fruits and nuts you will ever have the opportunity to try. If you are fortunate enough to have them at your local Sam's Club, do not miss the opportunity to take some home with you.

Don is our very own Blue Bird Coach Mechanic who is very knowledgeable and has agreed to do one of our technical talks at the rally.
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2020
Don Meyer Don Meyer is offline
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Peter,
You should have knocked on the door. If the blue Cherokee was parked next to us, we were there.

We will be pulling out today (Sunday) to head to VA. We have 2 simultaneous demo's to do in Sam's in Roanoke and Lynchburg. If you miss us, we'll see you at Pine Mountain.
And as far as our talks at P.M. go, Barry is correct. I'm in site 140 and would love to have a discussion about 2 stroke engine oil. I now have over 450,000 mile on our coach. Original engine. Never been rebuilt. Last June I replaced all the engine bearings. Not because anything was wrong, but because Detroit says to at least check them every 200,000. Well, I pulled mine out and they look almost new. I attribute that to good oil, oil changes every 6K (instead of 10K) and the fact that 12 years ago I shimmed the spring in the oil relief valve, giving me better oil pressure. And the fact that I don't beat on the engine or over rev it. Also never been over heated. Since I already had the new bearings in hand, I replaced them anyway.

And while we're having a discussion, I'll pass around a few bearings and some of the broken rivets from the rear.
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