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Published: October 31st 2009
Soaring over the RV
After reaching over the edge to retract the awning, Grace took this picture of the men who helped me put the broken awning away. I found my next project - securing the awning to the side of the RV. It's pulling loose at the hinges.
By 3:00pm the day after our first sleepless night in the RV, we still didn't have electricity, air-conditioning or the slides working. We hired Mike, a mobile home handy-man, to put a $120 electrical connector (see picture) on to the end of a 25’ electric cable. The cable is about an inch thick and can carry 50 amps of juice to run 2 ACs in my rig. We went to the RV store and they wanted $357 for a similar cable and would of had to order it. I talked Mike down to $50 for his cable and he installed it, charged us $75 for the visit and $85/hour for his time.
After we got the ACs running, we moved on to the next problem of expanding the trailer. Mike had me run and get a couple of quarts of automatic transmission fluid to put into the hydraulic pump. As soon as the ATF was in place, the pump pushed the slides right out. 2 problems solved.
When Mike tried to get the stove working, he commented - "Someone's been living here full time. No weekenders are going to use the stove this much." Then we started
Down on my knees
Here's me at work on the hydraulic pump ready to use my STP ATF.
noticing a few things - warn keys to get into the storage compartments, many dings and dents, the PVC pipe for the sewer drain that is different than what campers use. Mike explained that there are two types of RVers - the campers that use their RV from 2-4 weeks a year and full-timers. We'd bought a full-timers RV who lived in a trailer part. Possibly they only wintered in it.
We mentioned that we'd bought the RV from Steve on Lantana Road and he just shook his head. Steve buys and sells RVs out of his home and does it under the table so he doesn't have to pay sales tax. Steve did stop by and paid us for the electrical cable since RVs typically come with the cable. He also sent the washer/dryer repairman over to fix that as well. We were surprised that he came over, but Grace's threat to get our lawyer involved made the difference. The lawyer card is a rather effective negotiating tool and it's sad that we have to resort to that so often in our society.
Then the hydraulic pump began leaking. That was why
Wires and Hoses
The electrical wiring in this vehicle is pretty sketchy. The black hoses go from the pump to each of the slides
the slides didn’t go out in the first place - all the fluid had leaked out. I had to take the pump apart and it was now fully loaded with 2 quarts of ATF leaking out at a drip every 3 seconds. I needed Grace’s help to hold it in place while I worked more wrenches. She took a couple of pictures of me doing the work and was very helpful.
After I disassembled the pump, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. So I took it to Dick, my neighbor. He’s a retired mechanical engineer and he recommended making my own gasket. I did and when I re-assembled the pump, the leak was stopped.
Grace had been cleaning and unpacking the whole day while I did these repairs. Now I could tackle the hopefully last major project - getting the sewer for the RV converted back for living in the campground.
I used my hack saw to cut through the old PVC pipe and attached a new pipe that is see-through so that you can see the progress of the RV evacuation. It went rather quickly. Now it was time to release the
Dick the Mechanical Engineer
This is Dick and his rig. He's got the killer spoiler on the roof of his dualee. Dick used to be a manager of a team of engineers that designed casts for engine blocks at Cummings engines. He has every conceivable tool in his rig.
waters that had constipated our RV for months. First came the black water and it was more of a dark brown with lumps and clumps of Styrofoam, hair, string, and the usual things that go down drains. One piece got stuck in the glass bottom pipe, so I took a picture of it for you. I could see it through the pipe about 30’ away because the sun hit it in the right way.
After the black water came the gray water. It wasn’t as dirty, but there was a lot more of it. It had been sitting in the RV for at least 2 months - probably for 4 or more months. The torrent soon subsided and then I had to repeat it for both tanks in the back bathroom.
I then poured 5 gallons of water into each tank with some enzymes to clean and break down anything that remained. We left it in over night and we got up in the morning to drain the pipes again. Grace watched the second attempt at a Koon Country Cleanse for my RV and the whole process started again. It seemed like even more crap came out the
Dick made this device in front of his 5th wheel to steady the load. The RV does push our truck up and down quite a bit and this device he made reduces the bounce. Notice his blown out tire mounted with the chain.
second time. I was seriously nauseous and was dry heaving. It even clogged the pipe and I had to shake it to make the shit go down out of our 3.5" drain hose.
I hoped the problem was solved, but the back black water tank didn’t drain on the second flush and the pipes are still leaking. I don't know how to drain that pipe yet - maybe RV Draino. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Besides the cleaning, Grace and I did get to meet some fellow campers. They were really cool, but we were so busy, that we barely had time to hang out with them.
On Thursday night, we decided to start packing and retract the awning. We couldn’t get our awning to close, so we asked for help and the group of people gathered to help out. People in these parks seem to have more time than I’ve seen anywhere else and they were very helpful. I had to climb on the roof to get the awning to retract and it still needs to be fixed.
The RV campground that we stayed in was awesome.
This came out of the black water tank and is an amalgamation of hair, shit and piss. I'm glad I didn't have to smell it, but seeing it was bad enough.
We had loads of water fowl around and there were supposed to be alligators in the water but all we saw were iguanas, raccoons and toads. Despite the hassles, Grace and I are having a ball. Adversity leads to great stories, so I hope you're enjoying them.
So this is the end of this blog and we left the campground at 11am on Friday. I’ll tell you about my first accident in the RV on our first day of driving soon.
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