If you have been following our blog, you may recall that our 2015 Roadtrek E-trek nearly broke down when we picked up our son from college in Boston in May. Since then we have had the secondary alternator (under-hood generator) repaired twice–due to the serpentine belt coming off–at Mercedes-Benz as discussed in our posts Finally Some Answers–Part I and Our E-trek’s Back! After the second service at Mercedes-Benz, we had done some preliminary testing as documented in our previous article; however, the trip to Boston would be our first significant trip since the belt tensioner, pulley, and bolt had been replaced during the second of two repairs at MB.
We had made the painful round-trip to Boston in one day several times in the spring; however, this time we hoped to stay over on the way home, since we knew we would be exhausted from the drive, unloading Ryan, and what is always an emotional farewell. We had selected a Cracker Barrel in Sturbridge, MA, where we stopped for lunch on the way up. They had nice RV parking slots and we checked with the manager and they said we could definitely park overnight. It was about an hour from Boston, and would get the typically difficult part of the drive (i.e., Mass Pike) behind us.
As in May, it was an extremely hot day. We ran the coach and cabin AC all of they way up to make sure Ryan and the two dogs were comfortable. Karl had the coolant temperature display on the dash to monitor the temperature and it seemed to be staying within normal range (~175). However, when we left Boston at about 6:30PM and stopped to pick-up the dogs at the Pooch Hotel (just outside Boston), the coolant temperature was over 225. Karl popped the hood and sure enough, the now infamous serpentine belt was not spinning the cooling fan since it had again slipped off the pulleys.
So now we were facing a 4-5 hour drive home, without AC, and no hope of stopping to stay overnight because we could not charge the batteries and it was too hot without the coach AC. Our ETA after picking up the dogs was 11:30 PM. Furthermore, we did not have time to eat before we left Boston because we were trying to pick-up the dogs before 7:00 PM to avoid the late pick-up charge. Fortunately, it had started to cool-off slightly, and with the windows opened, it was bearable. The Mass Pike traffic was actually moving along–which is highly unusual. After stopping in Sturbridge, MA for a quick dinner, we hoped to make it home before midnight. Unfortunately the co-pilot (me) dozed off, so we missed our exit for the Tappan Zee Bridge and ended up taking the treacherous George Washington Bridge. Finally we got home about 12:30 AM, relieved that we hadn’t hit any significant traffic.
Our first call Monday morning was to our dealer to get his thoughts on how to proceed with the third occurrence of our serpentine belt failure. He placed a call to the VP at Roadtrek and we were put in touch with one of service technicians. The service technician conferred with his team and they agreed that the only option at this point was to flatbed the E-trek back to their factory for service. Our 2015 Roadtrek E-trek is now Canada-bound. We hope it will be returned to us in time for the RV Show at Hershey, PA in a few weeks.