Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tennis Balls and Driveshaft Disconnect

Wesley Chapel, Florida

We finally have the new truck set up and ready to tow.   At least, we hope we do. 

We had a new baseplate installed, the Air Force one braking system removed from the old truck and reinstalled on the new one, the wiring done, and a driveshaft disconnect installed.  We will be able to tow the Nissan truck 4 wheels down by just disconnecting the driveshaft when we tow.  There is a red knob on the drivers side by the hump.  You pull it out to disconnect the driveshaft.  The truck will roll, but you cannot drive it like that.

We didn’t take the motorhome to the shop due to the logistics of getting it there.  We are hoping the lights and braking systems all work, once we hook up the truck to the motorhome.

We also don’t know if we will need a drop hitch since we’re not sure whether the height of the new truck and the motor home will line up.  We need to air up the motorhome and see exactly how high it rides. 

We may need one of these.  They come is different drop sizes.

Roadmaster 2 In. Hi Low Drop Receiver   6 000 lbs

We had all the work done at Rentz Trailers in Clearwater, Florida.  They do a lot of this type of work, so we felt confident they would do it all correctly.  They were nice enough to loan us one of their trucks so that we wouldn’t have to wait there for 5-6 hours.  

We hoped to run some errands and maybe do a little sight seeing. 

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.



The normally afternoon thunderstorms came from the other direction and brought us morning showers.  


We got some thunder that literally shook the ground. 

Here is our view while driving over a bridge.  Notice the heavy rain?  We’ve been offshore in our boat when we would see one of these squalls!   In fact on occasion, we’ve come up from a dive to one of these in the distance. 


This is what a tropical shower looks like!  Fugly, huh?

We did manage to go to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch, dodging rain showers to enter and exit.  Al broke his vegan diet a little and had some chicken soup.   He only had the broth, not the big chicken pieces.

They finally called and said the truck was ready.  We looked at this expensive new driveshaft disconnect and learned how it worked.  It was a much larger part than I had pictured.


The mechanic took it for a test drive and got up to 60 mph.  No vibration which was a good thing, because they say there can often be a small vibration at certain speeds.

They took it back off the lift and were driving it to the front parking lot when all of a sudden it started making a horrible loud noise.  It turns out the driveshaft  “un-engaged”  itself while he was driving.  We were a bit upset that it could happen.  After checking it out a little bit, they determined that the knob hadn’t gotten pushed in quite all the way and that it allowed it to slip out.  I was a bit nervous on the way home…frequently asking Al if his knob was still in.  Smile  


Today, we’re planning on attaching the new Blue Ox Tow bar to the motorhome and hopefully we can check the lights and brakes without having to move the motorhome.

Then we will have to remove the kayak racks from the old truck and put them on the new one.  We didn’t do this earlier because we weren’t sure everything else would be ready with the new truck.  We planned on taking the old truck if necessary.

If all goes well, we plan on heading out Tuesday. 


Now on to tennis balls.

Al and I have both had problems with sciatic nerve pain off and on over the years.   For those of you who have never had it, it’s a terrible pain in your butt when you are sitting.  It feels like someone grabbed a nerve and twists it.  It’s almost impossible to sit in one spot when you get that pain.  It’s usually in the right side.   It’s caused from a nerve that starts in your hip.  Many people have good results from getting a cortisone shot in the hip.  It helped Al for quite a while.  I have never gone to a doctor (I hate doctors) about my problem and it has come and gone over the years.

Lately it’s back.  I happened to read somewhere about using a tennis ball to relieve the pain.  You sit on a tennis ball and roll it around in the area where the pain is.   You know when you get the right spot.  I thought it was worth a try and I gotta tell you, it really seems to work.    Of course sitting on a tennis ball while you’re trying to drive is not the most comfortable thing, but it’s a whole lot better than the sciatic nerve pain.  Try it.  It works for me!


  1. Those skies look nasty!
    I have heard the same thing with the tennis ball. It does give relief, but there is some reason why the pain keeps coming back.

  2. Oh dear, David says that on his walk this morning he saw Al who said the lights don't work. Boy you have had a time getting this new truck ready to tow. Hope you can fix it without having to take both the rig and the truck over.

    Florida rains are definitely quite something.

  3. The tennis ball works but Catherine works better :) You should have mentioned this while we were there. She could have worked on it for you.

  4. Now I'll be watching drivers to see if they're rolling on a tennis ball. When it's not under your bum, Baxter can chase it.

  5. We go our drop hitch yesterday. We will be setting it up after I get back from a week with the grandsons in San Diego. Thanks for noticing the slant on our picture. I would have never known. I'm really irritated with the fact that we paid big bucks to have the hitch installed and they didn't tell us about it not being the right height! Craig said it is because we bought the part ourselves and took them in to be installed.

    A therapist once showed me an interesting, but very effective way to treat sciatica pain.

    Lie down, face down, flat on the floor for five so minutes. Keep your self as straight as possible. Do this a couple times a day until the pain is gone. It really does work.

    The other position that can help is to lean against the wall in a sitting position and try to get your back as tight against the wall at the lower back level as possible. This stretches out the spine.

  6. Wow, what a pain in the driveshaft disconnect. Nothing goes easy, hopefully the knob stays where it is supposed to and doesn't cause any further problems.

    Tennis ball? With my luck I'd move wrong and it'd end up where the sun don't shine...

    Great squall picture, seen many of th

  7. ose underway on the ocean. Nature's beauty.

  8. I don't drive anymore without one of these trucker air seat cushions under my behind. Could be something for you to consider.

  9. I've been using tennis balls for years. Especially before I met Eldy when I lived alone and didn't have anybody to give me a massage. I use two tennis balls, one on each side of my spine and roll up and down on them to get the kinks out of my back. It's great! Works like a charm! Hurts like hell for a minute or two, but then the kinks get rolled out. :-)


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