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Saturday, March 5, 2011

RV Maintenance Day

We’ve been home for almost 2 weeks now, but the weather has been mostly cold and rainy.  Today, for a change, the rains have held off and the sky is partly cloudy.  Even better, the temperature outside reached 60 at one point.

So with all the great weather, I declared today to be a “RV Maintenance Day” and started tackling a number of tasks I’ve been wanting to do.

1.  Install the IPOD capability for our RV dash radio.  I know I’ve blogged previously about all the great features our RV radio has.  (If you don’t remember, click here to reread)  I was waiting on a cable to use the built-in IPOD feature.  The cable arrived while we were on our long trip to California and today was the first time I really had a chance to install it and work with it.

I had to pull the backup camera off the dash to get at the connection.  I plugged in the cable and my IPOD and began exploring the features.  Once connected, the controls on the IPOD do not work.  Instead the radio controls the IPOD.  (very similar to how the IPOD features in cars work).  I was surprised that there was no fast forward or backward capability, but since car units don’t have that either, I guess I should not have been surprised.  Plus messing with an IPOD while driving a 23,000 lb RV is probably not too swift.  Having the radio do all the controls makes more sense plus you can actually see what is playing on the radio display.  And you don’t have to worry about dropping the IPOD while driving and the IPOD battery is being charged while it is being used.  Pretty neat features.

2.  Relocated and repaired our outdoor temperature probe.  I have had the devil of a time finding a good place to put this probe.  It is supposed to be in the shade.  On the outside of an RV, there are a limited number of places:

Engine compartment – would give false readings due to engine heat.

Refrigerator compartment – would give false readings due to heat from unit.

Any outside compartment – since our bays are heated, this would cause false readings. 

behind license plate – this is where I picked.  The fuel filler is there behind the rear license plate, so I will have to be careful when fueling, but there really is no other good place to safely put it and get valid readings.

I also had to make a slight repair to the outside probe as a wire had come off the circuit board.  A bit of soldering and it is as good as new.

3.   Fixed outside storage bay doors.  This has been an ongoing problem for me.  The doors on the outside storage bays had a nasty habit of popping open as you would drive down the road.  Usually you could not tell it had happened unless some other driver came alongside and honked their horn and pointed at it.  Then you had to hope you never lost anything out of it.  (fortunately, we never did.).

This began happening right after we got the RV.  I took it to Camping World for warranty service, but they really never fixed it. (Surprise, surprise!).  I finally decided to go after the problem and fix it once and for all.  I’m going to go into some detail here as I know one of our fellow bloggers asked Carol about this not too long ago and she attempted to describe my fix.

I realized that the problem happened because the latch in the side of the doors was locked behind a U-bar.  If the RV flexed enough, especially when on rough road, the bar would come out from behind the latch and spring the door open. 

I had already fixed three doors with my solution and today I did the remaining eight.  Here is what I did….

2011-03-05 14.11.21

Above is a picture of the latch on the side of the door.  The rod that it latched behind is shown below:

2011-03-05 16.06.52

The latch goes behind this bar and keeps the door closed and secure. Below is a picture showing a bar (silvery color)with the door open and out of the way and a second door closed and latched  (darker color) in place.

2011-03-05 16.06.55

Below is a close up of a door, but as you can see, the latch is hardly making contact with the bar.  This is a door just waiting to fly open while being driven!

2011-03-05 16.07.06

The actual fix is to put one or two washers behind the latch base and remount the mechanism into the door.  You can’t use more than two washers without getting longer screws.  This effectively moves the latch further behind the bar when closed. 

2011-03-05 14.15.56

However, there is a rod that connects the latch with the actual locking mechanism in the door.  You have to lengthen this rod to account for the longer distance caused by the washers you added.  Fortunately, the rod is easily adjustable by rotating it counter-clockwise to lengthen.  Do 1-2 revolutions per washer, remount the lock, lube the mechanism while you are in there, replace the cover plate and screws and you are all done.

2011-03-05 14.11.16

This fix has worked perfectly for the doors I had already done last summer.  Hopefully now all will stay closed.  (though I did have 1 or 2 that could use 3 washers, I’ll wait and see how two works before getting longer screws.

4.  Problems with my water “manifold” and regulator.  I have an adjustable water regulator that allows you to change the water pressure by adjusting the regulator and yet still protect the RV water system.  Our RV seems to need a higher pressure than the usual 40lbs the fixed valves allow.  We need more like 70 or even 80.

When we discovered this on our big trip to the Grand Circle in Utah last year, we found an adjustable regulator with a  pressure gauge on it that told you the adjusted pressure.  Recently, out gauge gave weird readings like below….

2011-03-05 15.55.36

As you can see, the old gauge is giving a reading of 46lbs of pressure when hooked up to thin air!  Not exactly usable…..

So I took the regulator apart and replaced the old gauge with a new one, carefully reconnected everything tightly, checked for leaks and all is well now…

2011-03-05 15.54.16

As you can see, the new gauge is working just great.

So as you can see, today was a rather busy day which included 2 trips to the hardware store for parts.  Now I only have 12 more things on my RV list to do!!!!

Carol thinks I have a new career as an RV repairman.  Actually, I think my new career as a Social Security recipient is working out just fine!


Judy and Emma said...

Wish I had your talents for figuring things out and fixing them!

I.M. Vayne said...

I.M. a thinkin' yer RV must be a close cousin of my RV, Ol' 5th Wheel, which is always a breakin' down somewhere. After a readin' yer post I don't know weather to thank ya fer showing me what else can brake on Ol' 5th Wheel, or be a weepin' just thinkin' of what else is gonna go wrong. Leastaways when them things does go wrong, I now know how to fix 'em thanks to you.

Donna K said...

Good job Dave...get it all fixed and then take off on another trip. That's where the fun part is.