There were initially no hitches in getting away from Fernley this morning. I stopped in Reno for a coffee and breakfast sandwich. While pulling out, I heard a clunk. I stopped and looked around, but found nothing. I figured that I must have gone a little too fast through a dip and clanked the exhaust pipes or waste tank pipe, but no harm was done. I had a similar clunk when I stopped at Colfax for coffee but couldn't figure it out there. Same story at Sacramento when I stopped for an extended breakfast at the Black Bear Diner. Something was making a loud occasional clunking sound under the RV.
When I stopped for fuel at the Flying J in Lodi Junction, I heard the sound again, and this time I finally found the problem: the front-end steering stabilizer had come loose. I pulled away from the pumps and rolled over into the general parking area, put on my coat, and climbed under the RV to have a closer look.
The steering stabilizer is a sort of horizontal shock absorber that makes RVs and other long-wheelbase vehicles a little easier to steer. The right end of this thing has a bolt that should be attached to a bracket on the front end.
The bolt must have worked itself loose and the spring pushed the whole thing away from the bracket, leaving the right end suspended in mid-air. The clunking sound I heard was when the spring hit the bracket to which the stabilizer normally is attached. This generally only happened at slow speeds while negotiating my way into and out of parking lots.
I didn't have any tools in the Rolling Stone, so I went into the Flying J Truck Stop and bought a medium sized crescent wrench and some work gloves. Then I climbed back under the RV and removed the nut holding the the other end of the stabilizer in place. Here's what it looked like sitting on the ground.
I stowed the removed part in the back of the RV. I drove the RV without it and can continue to do so; it just doesn't steer as smoothly as it could. When I get home, we'll take it back to the RV shop and see about them fixing it, and maybe confirming that they put locking nuts on it next time so it doesn't work loose again.
This could have been pretty nasty. As it was, it was only annoying.