We're stuck on the road...

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Well-known member
Dec 21, 2006
We headed south on Thurs. night.  We were about 3 hours from home (NY) driving uphill the battery light on the dash would come on and the fog lights would go off, then come back on going down hill.  At 65 mph the engine sounded like it surging and sometimes wouldn't down shift.  Then the "transmission failure" light came on as Jim pulled into a rest stop for the night.  Fri. morning he started it and tried to pull forward a little and it wouldn't move then all of a sudden it engaged and the "transmission failure" light came on again.  We were able to get a tow truck but being a holiday the service garage was closed for the weekend.  The tow truck driver suggested a campground near by so that's where we are until Monday.  Oh also, while waiting for the tow truck the refrigerator was flashing  "lo dc".  It's fine now.  I don't know if that has anything to do with our other problems.  BTW  Jim said it does not feel like the transmission was slipping while we were on the road.  It maintained speed.

We have a 2004 Simba, by Safari (Monaco) It has 55,000 miles on it. It has an Allison transmission, Workhorse W22 chassis, 8.1 motor, 33' long.  As stated in the manual, we have the transmission fluid changed yearly by a heavy duty truck garage.

While we sit here waiting, we are wondering if anyone has any input on this problem.

So instead of sunny Florida, we sit in Carlisle, PA on this cold cloudy weekend.  But we are safe and well fed :D

Thanks and I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

JoAnn & Jim
I don't have any valuable input for you, but do feel your frustration. Thank goodness you are safe, housed, and fed.

Just hope the repair is something on the less complicated end of things.
Good luck.
Numerous electrical problems I would be remaking battery connections, ground connections and checking battery voltages.
I am by no means an expert but I second harris155 and the electrical possibility.  Make sure the bat terminals are clean and you might track the ground wire down and clean it and it's connection to the frame.  We almost didn't leave on time for our Utah trip last year because of a little ground wire which DH had just hooked up.  All sorts of weird things were & were not happening until he redid the connection after a couple of hours of frustration, explitives and hair pulling....oh and REWIRING!  Nothing helped until the ground was fixed.

Good luck!  I sure hope that's all it is.
Thanks jmugs.  I am grateful for that also.  Waiting is very frustrating.

We appreciate all suggestions.  Thanks!  I will pass on to Jim to keep him busy today :D 

Oh one more thing.  The water heater stopped working on electric. Works fine on propane.

Not sure the water heater is related, will have to have shore or generator power to work.
A good place to start is to check battery volts, 12.8 engine off and 14 with engine running.
It certainly sounds like a chassis battery and/or alternator issue. Low voltage will definitely cause problems with the transmission and engine controllers  and the engine will eventually quit as well. Remember, the fuel pump in a modern engine is electric, so if nothing else it will starve for fuel if power is lost or reduced.

Once you get on shore power again, the house system picks up the 12v load and in some coaches will also recharge the chassis battery. Not sure if your Simba does that, however.
Gary, Jim said ours doesn't recharge the chassis batteries.  We are hooked up to shore power now. 

At least everyone's response is giving me hope that it isn't the transmission.

Just did a Google Search! There is a Workhorse service center about 25 miles east of your location!
Cummins Power Systems
4499 Lewis Rd.
Harrisburg, PA. 17111
Ph. 717-564-1344

Scott  :)
That's where we're headed tomorrow.  They were closed Fri. and Sat.  Holiday weekend ya know.

i had a similar problem when my alternator falied- and my "get me home fix" was to jumper the house and chassis batteries together using a set of heavy duty jumper cables and ran the generator - this kept the chassis batteries charged after my alternator failed.

1999 Tradition
I had a similar problem but it was the house battery. It is setup to run ALL the marker lights on the RV. We spent the night at a flying j waiting for the sun to be safe to drive.  I would get a tester on the batteries and go from there.
Make sure they check everything.  Had a similar problem with headlights on an old Chevy SUV.  Brought it in and even though I suggested the alternator, all they did was check the battery.  Of course it was bad.  They installed a new one which failed the next day.  A new alternator resolved the issue. 

It seems like the good folks here have some outstanding hints. If Jim is anything like me he can't sit still if there is a problem. I have a feeling y'all will find the solution to be something a lot easier to swallow than a costly tranny repair.

Oh BTW, when you are up and running again come on down....it ain't rainy and cold in Az.
Stand by, sending some of our sun that way  8)
Use the jumper cable trick to drive to the service center on Monday. Or hold down the Aux Start button from time to time to pour some house battery current into the chassis system.  You can run the generator too, so that your house system provides a continual 12v supply.

You might want to consider a Trik-L-Charge in your future too.
I concur with Gary's suggestions.  They will either confirm a lot of our suspicions of chassis battery/alternator problems or completely debunk them.  Either way, it should save you several diagnostic dollars on Monday.
Thank you all.  I'll update you tomorrow!

JoAnn & Jim
Water heater problem solved.  This morning the hose to the faucet caught on something under the sink.  I reached back and cleared it.  However when I pulled the faucet out the hose must have turned the lever on the water heater.  Woooo Thank goodness nothing major there.

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