Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fire in the Hole


Seffner, Florida

Yesterday morning, I was busy minding my own business, working on the computer and trying to plan the rest of my day.  The morning was slipping by and I needed to get out of my recliner and away from the internet.

I had clothes drying in the dryer.

All of a sudden, I heard a clicking noise which sounded similar to the sound the metal racks in the convection oven make when we’re traveling or the dryer is running.   I got up to investigate and couldn’t quite locate the source of the sound, but then it quit.  It was coming from the right front of the coach.

Shortly after that I got up to check my clothes in the dryer and noticed a burning smell.

Uh Oh!   That got my attention.   This smell was coming from the rear of the coach, near the dryer so I thought that was the problem.  I turned the dryer off, then went all over the coach on a sniff and touch tour.  Did this smell?  Is this hot?  One of the first things I checked was the outside refrigerator vent.  All seemed well there.

Then the next thing I noticed was the clicking noise had started up again.  Occasionally I noticed a very, very faint beep.

Did I mention Al was working and not at home?

I finally pinpointed the source of the clicking.  It was coming from the little box over the front door.  It’s connected to the inverter and gives us a readout of the battery volts. 

I went outside and checked the inverter to see if it was burning/hot/making an unusual noise.  It wasn’t.  I called Al and made sure he was going to worry right along with me.

In the meantime, the burning was still strong in the rear of the coach by the dryer.

The clicking noise continued and I pushed a few buttons.  Of course I didn’t know what I was pushing.

Al suggested I call the Lazy Days Service Center help line.  I spoke to Greg and tried to explain it all to him.  He had me flip the circuit breaker to the inverter and disconnect the remote control line (looks like a phone connection) on the outside inverter.

That stopped the clicking of course, but Greg said in about 4 hours I would not have enough batteries to run  the air conditioning.   It was pretty warm yesterday and our site had no trees, so that wasn’t going to work.

Greg recommended someone look at the coach because the inverter inside panel was now reading “equalizing”.   I don’t know why that happened. Was it the buttons I pushed?  What happened?  I normally don’t push buttons I don’t know about, but this time I did.  

I called a few mobile Rv techs and of course only got voice mail.

We decided to bring the coach to Lazy Days for an emergency appointment.  They are always very busy this time of the year, but they squeezed us in.  Thanks Lazy Days!

Of course we weren’t planning on traveling yesterday, so it was a hassle packing up in a hurry and getting to Lazy Days before they techs went home for the evening.

The tech restarted the inverter and it appeared to be running fine.  It was back to the normal “float charging” like normal, and not clicking.  We don’t know what that was all about.

Rob, the tech at Lazy Days,was really good at listening to what I told him and checking the most obvious sources for the burning smell.  By the time we got to Lazy Days, the smell had pretty much dissipated.  He was at a loss as to where the burning smell came from, but I insisted I smelled something burning, and I was not imagining it.  I was not going to rest until we figured it out.

Thankfully, we happened to notice one of the rear fluorescent lights was burned out.  Then I remembered it had been working that morning because I remembered noticing it flickering like they do when a bulb is ready to blow.   Rob pulled the cover, and noticed a wire had burned!

There was our burning smell.  I guess when it burned, it shorted the light out.   We were relieved we discovered the source of the smell.  He changed the fixture out.  That’s likely to be one expensive light fixture!  Rob says this is normal for these lights as they get older.  Normal to have a wire short out?   We have 7 of these lights throughout the coach and the others will be changed out before we use them again!

So……the clicking noise still hasn’t come back.  It’s hard to diagnose a problem, when you can’t find it.  Maybe it was a fluke.  I think I’ll go online and see if I can fine out if anyone else has had this problem.  Any ideas??

While we’re here, we decided to see if they could do some maintenance work we’ve been needing.  Fortunately, they could fit us in while we’re here.  We’re having the engine coolant changed, a lube job, wheel bearings repacked and the brakes checked.

We spent the night in one of the service bays last night.  For those  of  you that haven’t experienced the joy of of camping in a service bay at Camp Lazy Days, you don’t know what you’re missing!

The good thing about being here is that we have access to the campground and facilities.   We had dinner at their poolside restaurant and then enjoyed the wonderful hot tub!

Al left me alone here and is working on some pest control accounts, so I have to entertain myself in their large waiting room.  Fortunately, I have a comfy couch, and free internet. The kitties are in their cages.  I feel bad for them and of course I worry.

The joys of living in your Rv!


  1. At least you found the cause of the smell and no real damage was done to.
    Have fun at camp Lazy Days.

  2. Good thing you were home and being vigilant.

  3. That is pretty scary. Glad it turned out okay. We 'camped' in a service bay at Lazy Days too, when we bought our coach and they addressed a few things on the punch list. We loved it!

  4. Smelling something burning is scary!

  5. Wow, what a scary feeling smelling something burning and not being able to track it down. So glad that LD was able to find and fix the problem.

    And you thought you were going to have a slow day with nothing to blog about, right? ;c)

  6. Whew - scary, indeed! Glad that things are okay now!

  7. The clicking you heard was probably the broken wire that was arcing as it shorted out. Having been a professional welder for over 40 years that is the sound arc welding makes thus giving you the burnt smell. Good thing you were there when it started. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  8. So glad your story had a happy ending....well at least a " you are safe ending " ! I was getting a little worried as I read.

    The kitties will be so excited to see you...hope you will be settled back in to your routine soon!

  9. So glad you found the burned wire. That would worry me also. And then I'd worry about all the rest of the lights. It's always so frustrating when you can't recreate the noise. Happens to me all the time with vehicles. Hate it.

  10. You are quite the sleuth and it paid off. You are fortunate to have found the source of the burning smell and now you can be proactive about the other lights. Can't say I ever spent the night in a service bay but it sounds like it was worth it to get other things on the list completed while you are there.

  11. Boy I am sure happy to hear that didn't start a fire. Good thing you were persistent to find the problem. I would have been worried too about the pets in the cage...but that is what us Moms do isn't it?

  12. The smell of something burning always sends me scurrying. Glad it was nothing too serious and at least you get to use the hot tub.

  13. That is one of the hardest things to find--the source of something you know is very wrong! If I had to be somewhere while the RV is in repairs, I think I'd pick Lazy Days. No such facilities at Tiffin!

  14. Great job on being persistent until the source of the burning was found. You may have just prevented a real disaster.

    I just checked our entire rig and was happy to find we don't have any fluorescent tubes!


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