Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Oil leaking from Wheel hub changes our plans

It's hard to believe it has been eight days since my last post. We are alive and well and are enjoying the cool weather on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. This should probably be two posts, instead of one long one.

We have just spent a week at the Forks 101 RV Park, but our next planned stop was changed from going to another park on the Washington coast, to a stop inland at the Freightliner Service Center in Olympia.

The front wheels on our Freightliner chassis have oil-filled bearings. When we were at the Sol Duc Resort, we noticed patterns of black material on the cover of the Alfa's passenger side front wheel. We couldn't tell if this was new or if it had built up over a period of time, but either way there would be no help for us at the National Park.

We knew our next stop, Forks WA, was only 40 miles away and figured we would be able to drive there. Craig took the following picture of the wheel.

Then he thoroughly cleaned the hub cover so we could see if there was any new material on it after our drive.

There was, but not much. Craig posted this picture on the new alfaSeeYa forum on, and got some helpful advice and offers to help. We have learned so much from following this group, and have tried to add information we have discovered over the years we have owned the Alfa.

[From Craig] I found the wheel cover nut wrench that came with our Alfa when we bought it used. It's a small flimsy thing, and I couldn't get the wheel cover nuts off using it. 

So I went to NAPA and bought their longest socket wrench and a 1-5/8" socket, plus some Blaster which I've read about for years.  Great stuff -- the 3 nuts that hold the wheel cover came right off.  The hub looked cleaner than I expected, but the oil level was a little low.  Called Freightliner and they said it wanted 80-90W gear oil.  So back to NAPA for that.  Turned out that the drain plug (which was positioned at the top of the hub) was loose. I added some gear oil to where the level was above the minimum shown on the hub window, and tightened the drain plug about as tight as seemed right for a plastic plug. I cleaned all the black stuff from the wheel cover before putting it all back together.

At this point we might have just kept an eye on it and had it checked out when we go in for our annual Freightliner service in Salt Lake City (scheduled for September 17), but we still have coverage from an Extended Warranty that expires on September 6. So instead of spending a few more days on the coast when we left Forks on Tuesday, we went directly to the Freightliner Service Center in Olympia. 

Our experience there was great in three ways. 

First when we pulled in, the service writer gal was efficient and scheduled an inspection ASAP. 

Second, after removal of the wheel to check the brakes, the evaluation was that there was no oil on the brake components and all was OK. The seals were also OK and the loose plug had caused the problem. Any new oil on the outside of the wheel cover was residual.

Third, the total bill was $37.75. A good deal for peace of mind!

Since Millersylvania State Park was only three miles away, we went there and were happy to get a nice spot. It is mid-week, so we were not suprised by the availability.

Now, back to our week in Forks:

We have been jokingly saying we feel we have finally outrun summer and the fires. Some of our afternoons were sunny, but on others the sky was overcast. It was hard to tell if this haze was smoke or marine influence. Sunny or not, the daytime temperatures were pleasantly cool, and our warm quilt was welcome at night. 

On Wednesday, we drove about ten miles west to Rialto Beach.

The tree line above the beach feels like a post-hurricane debris field, littered with stripped trees and bleached driftwood. I guess this is just the ongoing effect of the ocean winds and high tides.

The ocean and the coastline rocks were quite rough. There was some fog.

I wonder if this is the stump of a tree that grew here,  or it is a driftwood stump that washed up and happened to be roots down as the rock and sand washed in around it. Whatever its source, it was one big tree!

The beach itself was not sandy like some. All of the rocks were very worn and tumbled smooth.

Our next stop for the day was La Push. For anyone who has read the Twilight vampire books, this is where the Native American Indian "werewolves" lived.

Back-to-back signs at the town line:

The beach in the town of La Push is called "1st Beach." It is sandy and also littered with lots of large driftwood logs.

I can't imagine how old this tree was, and how many years have passed since it came down and washed up here.

Friday was a bit sunnier. We took a fairly long drive south to the Lake Quinault area for lunch at the big old lodge there.

Lake Quinault Lodge
President Roosevelt stayed there in 1938 when he came to see the area he would later designate to be set aside as Olympic National Park.

After lunch we headed back North on US 101. Along the way we took two detours to visit a couple of record trees.

There are Douglas Firs that are taller, but this was a record Red Cedar.  Quite a sight!

As I review the many images we take on each of our outings, I try to choose those that are a little different. The next three were taken on our walk at the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center area. 

Club Moss drapes almost every twig and branch.

Several Gray Jays, also called  Canada Jays, flitted about keeping an eye on us. It seemed every time I got one in focus he would fly to the next branch. I would have loved to sit around quietly with a tripod.

I wondered if these trees both fell in the same storm.

It rained on Saturday, and was quite overcast on Sunday, so I took advantage of the time and did the wash and relaxed in the Alfa. We do love our time at State and National Parks, but it is also a treat to have a laundry in the park, satellite TV, a good Verizon connection, and a good grocery store just across the street! (I'm pretty good at keeping the larder stocked with everything we need, and making substitutions when necessary. But it is nice to be able to just run to the store when you run out of something while cooking.)

Monday was a perfectly glorious, sunny day for our drive up to Cape Flattery.

The road was good, and I was suprised to see several RV parks overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca. We also saw several small marinas. 

When we got up to Neah Bay we stopped at the Makah Tribe Museum to get the required $10 permit to go out to the Cape Flattery viewpoint. It is on reservation land.

No photographs are allowed inside the museum, but this is the front door.

Since the trail is an easy hike, there was a rapid turnover of people, and we didn't have to wait for the next parking spot to open up.

The path out to the Cape was well maintained. It was obvious that it could get quite muddy, and many parts either had rounds of cedar embeded in the path, or thick cedar plank boardwalks. There were a lot of up and down steps, so the path is not suitable for anyone with mobility issues.

It is incredibly difficult to choose only a few of the pictures we took, to share in this post.

Wild, surging waters are always a favorite.

Catching a splash is a fun photographic challenge. 

Going to a place like this reminds us of the relentless power of the sea and how it is not controlled by man or country.

This is our "official" image from Cape Flattery

There is always on ongoing battle between land and sea. This tree tenaciously fights the wind and rock.

Eventually the eroding power of water will win as it carves away at the cliffs, creating huge caves that will eventually colapse.

After having a small picnic lunch on a bench on one of the view point decks, we headed back up the trail to the car.

These are a couple of the last Olympic Peninsula pictures we took.

Craig found a natural tree while I rested on a bench near by.

Autumn is just around the corner. New places to go.  New things to see. 

Life is Good!


  1. Wonderful pictures! We really enjoyed the Cape, but my better half was not that thrilled with the trail out to the edge. But the view was sure worth it:)

  2. I love the photos of the driftwood - imagine the forces that moved them to their resting spot. I'm glad your wheel turned out okay. There always seems to be something to worry about!


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