$80 Pliers

wiresOn our motorhome trip earlier this month, we had a bit of a mishap. We’d started our trip home by leaving West Virginia mid afternoon with the intention of driving until we got tired. The trip went well, and we got past Cleveland before we stopped for the night. The Ohio Turnpike has a very good system of service plazas every 40 miles or so. In one corner of each, they’ve designated a place for RVs to park, complete with electricity and dumping facilities. So for $20, we stayed at the one just west of Cleveland.

We set the alarm for early the next morning. Since hookup would be pretty easy, we hoped to be on the road by 6:30. It was not meant to be. It seems that some bonehead (me) had hooked up the wires that run between the motorhome and the car backwards. One direction there is strain relief so that when the car turns around a corner, the wires can stretch. The other direction there is no strain relief, and that is the direction I’d chosen. At some point in the trip, I’d made a sharp turn, which mashed all the wires together, shorting out the brake lights and turn signals on both the motorhome and car. Shoot.

After I experienced the site of these useless wires at 6:00 in the morning, my mind started working. We may just have what we need to get this rig back on the road again. I brought the cable into the RV and started removing the rubber sheathing and exposing the wires. One by one, I stripped the insulators off each wire on both sides, twisted them together, and connected them with electrical tape I’d brought along. Once all that was done, I taped the whole thing back together into one big black electrical tape wad.

I then plugged everything back in, and as I expected, nothing worked. Fuses had blown on the motorhome, just as they should have, when these exposed wires touched each other somewhere back on the road. I also carry a complete set of fuses with me, so it was just a matter of finding the blown fuses and replacing them.

The engineers that design these vehicles must think we are all contortionist dwarfs that drive these things. The fuse box on the RV is on the drivers side, and the only way I could get at it was to lay on my stomach and squeeze between the engine compartment and the driver’s seat. I eventually found the two bad fuses, replaced them, and we tested the lights. Alice’s thumbs up in the driver’s side mirror was one of the nicest things I’d seen all morning.

Instead of getting on the road at 6:30, we made it at more like 8:30, but we did have working lights on both the RV and the car. Which tool did I use the most to make this magic happen? My trusty Leatherman; my $80 pliers.

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