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Old 01-30-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
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Most of us are lucky that we don't use road service very often if not at all. I have traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada and have never used an emergency road service before my latest trip from MD to AZ. I'd like to know how my experience compares with others and what emergency road service others have used.

What happened -- Driving at interstate speeds I felt a vibration. I slowly pulled to the very narrow shoulder and stopped. I smelled rubber. The right rear tires were both flat. The hub cap was missing. The valve stems were missing (See my other message about the Cross Fire tire guage and air fill system). Seven of the eight wheel studs holding the rims and tires to the axle were broken off and the rims had elongated stud holes. The time was 11:15 AM on Saturday.

I called FMCA emergency service and told them of my problem and requested help. An hour and a half later a man older than I am (I'm 73) showed up in a battered truck alone with one tire. I asked him to put on the yellow blinker light on top of his truck, but he said it didn't work. I had asked for two 16 ply tires. He arrived with one 12 ply tire. He looked at the wheels and said he couldn't replace the studs, I signed his order sheet and he left.

I called FMCA roadside service again and waited on hold, with elevator music of course, for 11 minutes before someone answered. I told them again what I needed. They said that they had trouble getting 16 ply tires. I also informed them that since the coach had been driving on the rims that the rims might need replacing in addition to the studs. 30 or 40 minutes later they called back and said someone would be there in about two hours. The road service person who was going to do the work called and asked questions about the studs and rims. The road service arrived about 4 hours later at 6PM. They only had one 14 ply tire and of course when we went to put on the spare we found a rip in it that I could put my hand into. That was my fault for not checking the spare before I left.

I asked the FMCA road service telephone rep to let me talk to the motorhome expert that was on call 24/7. I did and found out that the "expert" couldn't even tell me gross axle weights of my MH. I incorrectly assumed that the rep would have all this information on his computer. They don't. Of course I did have this information in the coach and was able to dig it out. We were about 12 inches from an active interstate lane (couldn't get off any farther due to a steep slope leading to a drainage ditch) and everytime a truck would go by at 75 mph the coach would rock back and forth. My wife and I had moved out of the coach and back to be out of the line of any flying metal in case something hit us. I had blinkers on and emergency triangles displayed for about 100 yards leading to the MH.

The second service showed up at 6PM with two men, one 14 ply tire, two used rims and eight studs. They jacked up the bad wheels, removed the rims, punched out the studs, replaced them with shorter studs, put on the new tire, removed the spare and put it back when we found we couldn't use it, and used one of the flat tires on the other rim. Both tires were flat, but there were no holes, rips or tears in them. They had just lost air, but the sidewalls were seriously weakened due to riding flat for a very short time as evidenced by lots of rubber powder in the inside of the tires. The shorter studs were long enough to hold the rims on, but not long enough to put on a hubcap. We got out of there about 8PM almost 9 hours after the incident began.

We don't know why this happened, but I did have the rear brakes replaced and perhaps the lug nuts were not torqued correctly. Perhaps the hubcap came off which would have taken the valve stems with it and dumped the air from the tires. The man who performed the emergency service told me that the studs should never break unless the lug nuts were not tight. I had driven about 8 days since the brake job. The second man who showed up was very knowlegable (he also owned a MH) and I have no problem with him since he was called out late Saturday afternoon.

I do have a problem with the FMCA service. I finally asked them, since they were having trouble locating someone to come out, if we could be put on a flatbed and towed somewhere. They said we couldn't and were told that we might have to wait until Monday to have someone get to us. One of the reasons I elected to use FMCA was the fact that they advertise having a technical MH expert on call 24/7. This seems like a huge exaggeration.

We never know about emergency road services until an emergency occurs. That's why I'd like to hear what others have experienced, because I think, after this experience, I should seriously look for another service.
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:19 AM   #2
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Most of us are lucky that we don't use road service very often if not at all. I have traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada and have never used an emergency road service before my latest trip from MD to AZ. I'd like to know how my experience compares with others and what emergency road service others have used.

What happened -- Driving at interstate speeds I felt a vibration. I slowly pulled to the very narrow shoulder and stopped. I smelled rubber. The right rear tires were both flat. The hub cap was missing. The valve stems were missing (See my other message about the Cross Fire tire guage and air fill system). Seven of the eight wheel studs holding the rims and tires to the axle were broken off and the rims had elongated stud holes. The time was 11:15 AM on Saturday.

I called FMCA emergency service and told them of my problem and requested help. An hour and a half later a man older than I am (I'm 73) showed up in a battered truck alone with one tire. I asked him to put on the yellow blinker light on top of his truck, but he said it didn't work. I had asked for two 16 ply tires. He arrived with one 12 ply tire. He looked at the wheels and said he couldn't replace the studs, I signed his order sheet and he left.

I called FMCA roadside service again and waited on hold, with elevator music of course, for 11 minutes before someone answered. I told them again what I needed. They said that they had trouble getting 16 ply tires. I also informed them that since the coach had been driving on the rims that the rims might need replacing in addition to the studs. 30 or 40 minutes later they called back and said someone would be there in about two hours. The road service person who was going to do the work called and asked questions about the studs and rims. The road service arrived about 4 hours later at 6PM. They only had one 14 ply tire and of course when we went to put on the spare we found a rip in it that I could put my hand into. That was my fault for not checking the spare before I left.

I asked the FMCA road service telephone rep to let me talk to the motorhome expert that was on call 24/7. I did and found out that the "expert" couldn't even tell me gross axle weights of my MH. I incorrectly assumed that the rep would have all this information on his computer. They don't. Of course I did have this information in the coach and was able to dig it out. We were about 12 inches from an active interstate lane (couldn't get off any farther due to a steep slope leading to a drainage ditch) and everytime a truck would go by at 75 mph the coach would rock back and forth. My wife and I had moved out of the coach and back to be out of the line of any flying metal in case something hit us. I had blinkers on and emergency triangles displayed for about 100 yards leading to the MH.

The second service showed up at 6PM with two men, one 14 ply tire, two used rims and eight studs. They jacked up the bad wheels, removed the rims, punched out the studs, replaced them with shorter studs, put on the new tire, removed the spare and put it back when we found we couldn't use it, and used one of the flat tires on the other rim. Both tires were flat, but there were no holes, rips or tears in them. They had just lost air, but the sidewalls were seriously weakened due to riding flat for a very short time as evidenced by lots of rubber powder in the inside of the tires. The shorter studs were long enough to hold the rims on, but not long enough to put on a hubcap. We got out of there about 8PM almost 9 hours after the incident began.

We don't know why this happened, but I did have the rear brakes replaced and perhaps the lug nuts were not torqued correctly. Perhaps the hubcap came off which would have taken the valve stems with it and dumped the air from the tires. The man who performed the emergency service told me that the studs should never break unless the lug nuts were not tight. I had driven about 8 days since the brake job. The second man who showed up was very knowlegable (he also owned a MH) and I have no problem with him since he was called out late Saturday afternoon.

I do have a problem with the FMCA service. I finally asked them, since they were having trouble locating someone to come out, if we could be put on a flatbed and towed somewhere. They said we couldn't and were told that we might have to wait until Monday to have someone get to us. One of the reasons I elected to use FMCA was the fact that they advertise having a technical MH expert on call 24/7. This seems like a huge exaggeration.

We never know about emergency road services until an emergency occurs. That's why I'd like to hear what others have experienced, because I think, after this experience, I should seriously look for another service.
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Old 01-30-2008, 01:19 PM   #3
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Isn't FMCA the same as Coach-Net?
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Old 01-30-2008, 01:47 PM   #4
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FMCA offers Coach Net.
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Old 01-30-2008, 02:34 PM   #5
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I assume your talking about Coach Net and my experience has been quite the opposite. I had three occasions over the years to use them and they done excellent work. I'm really amazed this happened. They are by the way the same outfit who answers all Ford calls. I have forwarded your message to the Ex Director- FMCA to get his attention.
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Old 01-30-2008, 02:50 PM   #6
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You are correct, the FMCA Emergency Road Service and Technical Referral services are provided by Coach-net, Lake Havassu City, AZ. That information is in small print on the back side of the membership card.
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:02 PM   #7
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Coach Net generally provides pretty good service. I have used them 4 times in the last 6 years, with pretty good results. Not always perfect, but I cannot complain too much.

I would log a complaint with Coach Net to make sure the service company dispatched will not be used in the future.

The only way to make a company better is to let them know how good (or bad) their serive is. They should thank you for the input.
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:18 PM   #8
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I have found Coach net to be far better than some other service? providers. I used them twice in two days 2 years ago and both times the service was good.
You have to remember if you are in the boonies you won't get service in an hour. I get the feeling there is more to this story.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:40 PM   #9
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I've also had good service from Coach Net, but don't expect them to show up in 30 minutes with a bin full of spare parts. Ain't happening. They are a dispatching service - all they can do is call road service providers in the area where you breakdown and see what help they are able to provide. Only in major metro areas will large tires be readily available in oddball sizes, and even then it may take several hours to locate them and get them where you are.

As for expecting the "expert" to know your GAWRs, that is well over the top. They would have to have a database of every coach ever made. Heck, even the manufacturers have trouble digging out that kind of data for older rigs.

I think your expectations were far too high, though I'll grant the situation was a bad one, stranded right on the edge of the highway as you were.
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:01 AM   #10
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Where were you in the great United States??
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:59 AM   #11
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Remember, MANY of the roadside services contract with the same "folks" in certain areas. So whether you are with Coach.net or GoodSam, you might get the same guy dispatched to you in a certain area.

Its probably hit or miss - some areas are probably 100% perfect! Others, stink I am sure.
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:18 AM   #12
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In reviewing road service providers over the last few years the one thing I found out between the two most used, Good Sam and Coach Net, was as mentioned by another poster for the most part they use the same service company's in a particular area. The big difference came with the fact more local service company's had dropped Good Sam apparently due to poor payment habits. Coach Net, on the other hand, didn't have this problem and the service company's answered the call without problems.

Nobody likes these kinds of experiences but no matter where you're located your going to get good and bad service companys. Hopefully this won't happen again, but even with this bad experience, I'd give it a little more time before jumping ship to any other Service Provider.
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:36 AM   #13
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I'd have to agree with some of the other posters in that it must depend on where you are. The one time I had occasion to call them was my first trip out and we were in Death Valley. The "expert" was of no help, and there were essentially no service shops in the area, so I would have to wait until someone from outside the area could get there on Monday sometime, if I wanted to go ahead with the service request. My trouble was that the coach wouldn't start, and not wanting to wait until Monday, I dusted off my automotive knowledge, got underneath and was able to find that it was merely loose starter wire connections. Anyway, I am still with Coach Net, and hope to never have to use them, but not sure who else one would use, and it's good to have someone to call. If I do have occasion to have to call them again, I hope I'm in a better area and have a better experience. Good luck.
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:28 AM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Alan Frank:
I'd have to agree with some of the other posters in that it must depend on where you are. The one time I had occasion to call them was my first trip out and we were in Death Valley. The "expert" was of no help, and there were essentially no service shops in the area, so I would have to wait until someone from outside the area could get there on Monday sometime, if I wanted to go ahead with the service request. My trouble was that the coach wouldn't start, and not wanting to wait until Monday, I dusted off my automotive knowledge, got underneath and was able to find that it was merely loose starter wire connections. Anyway, I am still with Coach Net, and hope to never have to use them, but not sure who else one would use, and it's good to have someone to call. If I do have occasion to have to call them again, I hope I'm in a better area and have a better experience. Good luck. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I am over 15 years with two motorhomes and I did have a service for the first few years, and had a so so experience getting tire service. Then I found my insurance company offered roadside service for $8 a vehicle per year. Difference I have to find my own service and they reimburse me.

Since I have had two tows each over $300 and they paid promptly.

Finding help on the road is very simple and you do basically what they do but better. You can use exit authority, call the closest truck stop and get who they recommend or call Freightliner, Cummins or your manufacturer for assisstance. One time I overheated, called Freightliner, told the lady I was broken down on Interstate and she put me through to an immediate Mr. Freightliner guy. He told me how to disconnect the fan controller and I was on my way in 30 minutes.

If I were a full timer or on the road all the time I might have one of these services for peace of mind but for most of us there is a simple alternative, do it yourself.

Cost wise with those two large tows, it would have been a wash as far as bucks. These services are not free.

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Old 02-02-2008, 06:11 PM   #15
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"Where were you in the great United States??"

"You have to remember if you are in the boonies you won't get service in an hour. I get the feeling there is more to this story.
As for expecting the "expert" to know your GAWRs, that is well over the top. They would have to have a database of every coach ever made. Heck, even the manufacturers have trouble digging out that kind of data for older rigs."

"I think your expectations were far too high, though I'll grant the situation was a bad one, stranded right on the edge of the highway as you were."


It happened just east of Jackson, MS on I-20.

I agree that one should not expect service in an hour, but I think that 6 1/2 hours is unreasonable. A passerby stopped a few hours after the event happened and told us that 2 hours before he passed us as he went to Jackson and we were still there two hours later with no help. He told us there were truck road service companies in Jackson and couldn't understand why our service company couldn't get one of them out. I had never spent any time in Jackson, MS before so I was unaware that the city was so large and had many tire companies. The service company that was finally dispatched actually came from 60 miles away in the other direction.

As far as having a data base available for weights, I have one on my computer for coaches built since about 1995, so I don't think that is an unreasonable assumption.

I, too, have heard good things about Coach Net and that is the reason I changed over when I bought my MH. I guess that I should be thankful that the last stud didn't break off and result in the rims leaving the coach, since I was told by the Coach Net rep that they have no flatbeds available that can carry a motorhome and the wheels/tires must be usable to tow one.
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