Thursday, October 4, 2018

We Were Survivors

We spent September as campground hosts at Pictured Rocks Lakeshore. Of the three sets of hosts we were the only ones to stay the full month. Another campground host disappeared sometime in the middle of the month. The gale coming off the lake may have had something to do with the decision to split. The couple at the lighthouse left after the solar system went down and the generator wouldn't work so they had no heat or water. Can't really blame them, they were from Florida.

Solar panels trying to catch some sunlight.


We had interesting times staying at a primitive campsite for an entire month. I bought a set of solar panels last spring. I had set them up at home, but there really wasn't much of a load on the battery, all that was drawing power from the battery was the radio playing 24/7. At the campground it was different, the site was wooded with little direct sunlight. After about a week and a half the RV battery went dead. On our day off I took the battery home and let my boat battery running the RV. Basically it was the refrigerator running on propane, but it still needed a battery keep the gas valve open etc. When I checked the battery at home with my hydrometer, it was totally flat. The hydrometer didn't even wiggle when filled with electrolyte from a cell. After about 24 hours the battery was about half-charged. When we got back to the RV the boat battery was dead and the refrigerator wasn't working.

In addition to my solar panels there was a solar panel belonging to the Park Service for out use. I would use that to try and charge the battery that wasn't in the RV.  It never did fully charge the battery, but at least it wasn't dead.

After almost three weeks I came to the conclusion that the problem was the refrigerator. That was the only thing drawing power and causing the battery to go dead. Also we heard a strange noise coming from the refrigerator. We shut off the refrigerator and bought some ice for it. After we shut it off we didn't have anymore problems with the battery going dead. (I had tried testing to see how much of amperage draw there was on the different circuits. They all had marginal draw when I tested each circuit one at a time. The circuit for the refrigerator checked out OK, but it looks like I would have had to be checking it for a long time to see when the amperage spiked.

After we got home I used an extension cord to run power to the RV and we turned on the frig. After a day the water bottles we put in the freezer were solid ice, so it looks like we can still use it when we are plugged into 110. If we get a couple of warm days I'll see if it will work on propane again. There are two settings for running the frig. One is the normal position (the one we weren't using) and the other has a heater to get rid of condensation (that was the position it was on the whole time until we turned it off). I hadn't used the normal position because when I would put the switch on normal the light in the frig didn't come on. It always did in the heater position.

Because of the battery drain we didn't use the furnace much when it got colder. We bought a Buddy Heater to use instead.

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater
It worked pretty good, we had a few mornings where the outside temp was in the 30s and inside in the 40s. It didn't take long to make it bearable in the RV. I had several little bottles of propane along to use with my BBQ grill, but used them all with the Buddy Heater. I also had an adapter along that I could use to refill the little propane bottles from a 20lb tank. I did have to fill a couple and used one.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

It's Done

Finally finished the project on The Guppy. Can't believe it took a month to do. Anywho, it is done.

First part of the insulation.

The R board to cover the other insulation.
The project is done.
The front part will be the best insulated area of the whole motorhome. There are 2 inches of Styrofoam in the area where the window was.



When I went to take pictures of the finished project on the inside I couldn't get a clear picture with the newer camera (14 Megapixel), got a better picture with the older digital camera (3.2 Megapixel). It didn't matter if I used the flash or not the newer camera did not focus, the picture came out fuzzy and I couldn't get the pictures looking good with the confuser.

The brown spot on the right side ceiling is some old water damage. The Old Lady is going to cover it with some old topo maps.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Progress On Guppy Project

The front window in the bunk area over the cab has been a problem with it leaking. Finally decided to eliminate the window.
The window that was leaking.

Some of the rotten wood I discovered when I removed the paneling.
I had some metal left from when I covered the fascia on the house. It is white so figured it would work to cover the window area. Simple deal, I worked with sheetmetal most of my working life. But when I removed the paneling on the inside saw that there was a lot of rotten wood from almost 30 years of leaks.

Rotten wood out and new wood going in.
Most of the new wood in place and supports for the metal to replace the window.
The pieces going across were one piece originally, but I had to do two pieces and splice them together in order to get them in place.

Inside with metal in place.

Outside with metal in place.
After I got the metal in place it rained the next morning. When I checked for leaks, the only place it was leaking was two of the marker lights.

Now I need to insulate and panel the inside. I got a sheet of 1½ inch Styrofoam and a sheet of ½ inch R board. And a sheet of vinyl to cover it all.

Need to get some trim pieces to cover the edges. Thought I had a bunch of "daisies" for the screws to hold the vinyl in place. I know I had a some in a jar with screws from the ceiling of the single-wide trailer I took apart about 12 years ago. At this point I can't find them, so I will paint some body washers white and use them.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Guppy Remodel Project

In the bedroom of The Guppy there was a cabinet that wasn't really useful. It had a rod for hanging clothes but the cabinet wasn't tall enough for most things you would put on a hanger. Also it got in the way when making the bed or if you wanted to turn the mattress over.

The cabinet with padded strips around the bottom. Can't understand why there was a gap between it and the overhead cabinet.
The Old Lady wanted it gone so I removed it. Turned out it wasn't too hard to remove. It was screwed to the walls. Once I took some paneling off I was able to get at the screws.

Cabinet removed.
We figured the thing to do was install a shelf in the space where the cabinet was.

Pieces parts. These were cut from pieces of the cabinet.

The shelf.

Used paneling to cover the shelf and piece across the front was framework for the door opening.
Now we have a shelf for storage and the cabinet that was getting in the way is gone. When the cabinet was there I had to be careful getting into and out of bed. Now it's no longer a problem.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Gear Shift Knob

Last year sometime the gear shift knob came off in my hand. It was just pushed on the gear shift lever and the plastic inside the knob had broken.

The pieces should be inside the knob all in one piece.

I looked for a replacement knob at a couple auto parts stores and couldn't find one that was right. Most of them were screw on ones. So I just used electrical tape to put the pieces back together and some on the shift lever and put the knob back on.

Today I made a quick shift from first to second and the knob came off in my hand again. I stopped at NAPA and the only knob they had was a screw on one. On the way home the knob came off a few times as the pieces had fallen out. I noticed there was a hole in the end of the shift lever, so I thought maybe I could tap some threads into the shift lever and drill hole in the knob to use a screw to hold it on.

If it comes off now I will have a real problem!

I would have preferred a new knob, but this is a good fix for an old truck (17 years old).

Addendum: I know I could have gotten a new knob from a Ford dealer, but I'm still kinda pissed at the local Ford dealers because if you buy a Motorcraft battery it has a longer warranty than the Motorcraft battery that comes in a new car. The battery died in The Old Lady's car after 3 and a half years, but it was only covered for 3 years under the car warranty.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Running Boards

Many years ago when running boards that you could add to a modern truck first came out, I thought they were kinda stupid. I thought at the time if you wanted running boards get an old truck that had them as original equipment. Then as I had a truck that had running boards on it when I bought it and I got used to them. It did make it easier to get up into the truck. After that truck I bought one that didn't have running boards and after a while I started thinking about getting running boards for it. The problem was that getting up into the seat wasn't as easy as when I was younger. If I got my ass up high enough to get on the seat, half the time I hit my head on the top of the door opening. When I mentioned I was looking for running boards to a friend, he said he had some that I could have. Turned out they were the kind I was looking for and the price was right, FREE!!

Then it was just a matter of figuring out how to mount them on my truck as there wasn't a mounting kit with them. Thought I could bolt angle iron to the frame, but then I needed something to support the angle out closer to where the running board would be. Was thinking of doing a strap from the angle to the body, but then thought maybe a long bolt would work and sure enough that worked.



Now I can step up on the running board and sit down on the seat, no more hitting my head on the door opening.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Tailgate Ladder

Six years ago I made a tailgate ladder for my truck. Now that I'm going to try and sell that truck I took it off the tailgate. I did that last fall and I sandblasted the parts and painted it. The pieces have been hanging in the shop waiting for Winter to be gone. Yesterday I finished installing it on the truck I am driving now.



Like I said in the original post on the tailgate ladder, I'm getting too old to jump up on the tailgate to get into the box of the truck!

While this picture looks like Winter is gone, we still have snow on the ground. There are patches of bare ground, but the shady places still have snow.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Another New Confuser

Got my new confuser Tuesday. The old one only lasted 7 years and died last fall. The hard drive is still good, but the BIOS is corrupted (hope the current administration didn't have anything to do with it, but then again they are blaming Obama for everything bad so I can blame tRump).

The new confuser. It's got a SSD with only half the memory of the old one, but hopefully faster.

Now I'm going thru a learning curve because the old one was Windows 7 and this one is Windows 10. Something as simple as downloading picture (see above) from the camera card was interesting.

We have been using a notebook with Windows 10, but somethings seem to be different between the two confusers. Maybe it's because the notebook has Windows 10 and the new confuser has Windows 10 Pro. I got a hunch I'll be confused for some time and asking The Old Lady how to do stuff while I figure out how to use this thing.

Now I best get busy with this thing, those porn sites aren't going to bookmark themselves!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

This Time It Wasn't Fucking Magic, It Was Mechanical

When I bought my truck over a year and a half ago the cruise control didn't work. For over a year (can't count the almost 6 months of playing Snowbird) I have been trying to figure out what the problem was. First check was the fuses, one under the dash and one under the hood. Actually there's two under the hood after the recall on the cruise was done. Anywho, all the fuses were good . The switch on the brake master cylinder was good.

Googled the problem and got a number of causes including a bad brake light bulb or third light bulb?? All the brake lights worked so that wasn't the problem. The third light didn't have a bulb, but after I replaced it the cruise still didn't work. Then I found how to do a diagnostic on the system using the buttons on the steering wheel. The first diagnostic procedure I found didn't give the codes and what they mean. I thought when I hit the last button the one flash was for that button and one more flash meant the system was good. Then I found another site that gave the error codes and two flashes meant the clutch switch, brake switch or one other problem.

The one on the left is the old switch and the one on the right is the new one.

When I took the clutch switch apart I saw the springs were broke. The part that slides was not being pushed all the way back and was always in the position for canceling the cruise.

On a side note, a couple weeks ago I read an article about how auto parts stores will soon be history. The guy that wrote it had a dealership or something where they did repair work on cars. He said there was a huge markup on parts, altho as a business he got a better deal than the average person. After having had a number of problems with auto parts stores sending him the wrong part or having to wait a couple days he started checking out online parts places. The conclusion he came up with was if you can afford to wait a couple days it makes good sense to order your parts online.

Anywho, I checked the price online with Autozone and they wanted $90. At Amazon I could get a Motorcraft (Ford replacement parts) for $45 and found the one I order for under $25. I took a few days as it wasn't coming from Amazon, but the cruise hadn't worked since I bought the truck, so what's a few more days??

Also on prices, the check engine light is on the truck and I had Autozone check it and found out one of the O2 sensors is bad. Asked how much it cost and was told about $90. I checked Amazon and I can get one for under $20. Now I need to go see my neighbor and see if his code reader can figure out which one of the four O2 sensors is bad.