Here's the latest development. Ford determined that the PCM (Primary Control Module) (edit 10/31 POWERTRAIN Control Module) needed to be replaced, but the part had to be ordered and would take two days to get and install the part to see if that fixes the problem. They are not saying that the Ravelco has anything to do with it, but they will be very suspicious if it happens again. Ford rented us a car, we emptied the van into the rental and drove home last night. Now I wait until they get the new PCM and see what happens.
So far, the towing, repairs and rental car are all covered by Ford under the warranty. I suppose this is one argument for buying new instead of used. Once I get the van back, I will have Ravelco verify that the installation has been done correctly. Aside from that, is there anything else I should do to try and assure that everything electrical is connected properly?
The next scheduled trip is the off-road driving class with Badlands in November at Hungry Valley one day and Mojave the next day. I'll be able to give it a good shaking with lots of other people around this time. Hopefully that will be enough of a test to restore my trust.
Here is the first towing attempt:
Then this happened. Two broken hydrolic cylinders:
Then we got to drive to Pahrump, NV and get this beast:
Here we are driving in reverse at 2 mph to keep from overheating for 1.75 miles for the second time that day!
Don't worry, this was just a lift from the tow bar to get blocks under the back wheels so that the lift had enough clearance to prevent damaging the differential. I stopped taking towing pictures after this, but once we were on pavement, we dropped the van, picked it up again from the front axle and disconnected the drive shaft. The only damage was that the center mount for the steering dampener got pushed up a bit by the lift.
Our cozy campsite the next morning