Remote network mesh router stops responding, isolating clients

I set my parents up with a set of linksys E8450 and two E5600 routers that are connected to eachother with 802.11s. The issue is that one of the E5600 routers is dropping off the network frequently and the main router (E8450) only see it connected at 6Mb/s receive rate.
Unfortunately it's still broadcasting the other SSID's so clients don't roam to the working APs

This network is connected to my VPN mesh, so I have direct access to the net, but obviously when the mesh router is isolated I can't connect to it. Rebooting gets it back online for some time until it stops working.

How can I identify what is causing this since I live hundreds of miles away. I'm suspecting that the device is locking up, but I'm not sure how to make the syslog persistent so I can see what happened, without setting up a whole network syslog.
I'm pretty sure it's locking up, because I set apinger to reboot after 5 minutes of ping loss to the gateway and it never reboots, and the 5 minute dhcp lease I'm testing on the mesh router isn't renewed until it's rebooted manually.

You haven't mentioned anything about how you configured the mesh.
Here is the documentation:

What you are describing is typical of not having configured the hwmprootmode although there can be other reasons.

Did you install mesh11sd on all 3 devices? It automatically sets the required defaults for a multi node mesh to reliably establish.

I just installed mesh11sd, I had set everything up but somehow missed that section among rushing to flash openwrt and copy over settings from their old router.

Hopefully that's all it takes, thank you

This can be a symptom of inter node signal strength as well as interference issues.
When installing, did you survey the signals on the chosen channel at the 3 locations?

If not, this might be your next problem. If you can ssh into the "main" router there are numerous checks you can do.
You could start by looking at:
mesh11sd status

I assume you installed it on all three devices?

I did and the issue has been resolved. thanks for the insight.

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