Ominous weather and an ominous idle
We’ve been running from the rain ever since leaving Seattle. It seemed that every morning we were heading out, a light pattering of rain would on the roof would serve as an alarm clock. Unbelieving of our luck, we were never actually caught in it until Billings, MT.
Traveling across the vastness of Eastern Montana the weather turned nasty. Gusty winds had me constantly keeping two hands on the wheel, always adjusting to get the motorhome back on its course. We were down to 45 mph if that. Eighteen-wheelers roared by, spraying thick jets of water on the windshield. It ran streaming down as I cranked the speed of the wiper blades to its fastest capacity. Things can turn on you fast, and today was not going to be our day.
When we pulled of the highway to get gas and wait out the weather, we noticed an even bigger problem. With the engine idling, it could hardly even stay running. There was an erratic, uneven, sickly sound in place of the previous purring of the day before. Things had gone from bad to worse.
Because of the immediacy of this new problem, we started making phone calls right away. Finally after much frustration, we found a Toyota dealership 50 miles away that could look at the Dolphin. I was fearing the worst. Burnt valves, exhaust leaks, the money and time I would spend.
Then came a glimmer of hope. The technician we spoke to from Toyota thought it was probably just bad gas! The area is notorious for low quality gas, and we had noticed that Octane 85 was the low end, rather then 87, which is standard in so many other states. Really?? Could that be it? I hardly dared to get my hopes up.
But no, actually that was not the case. Braving the strong winds for another hour to the town of Sheridan, we got it to the mechanic. He took a look, and to our great relief, found the problem. The motorhome was not liking the altitude! He adjusted the idle speed to give it more power and that was it! Happily, we paid the mechanic what he asked for, a 6-pack of budweiser, and were on our way!
Little did we know that only another few hours down the road a much more serious problem was waiting for us…