RV Repairs

Along with getting a variety of projects done, both large and small plus getting “Project ShoeString” moving along, there is also the need to get ready for next season. That’s where some work on the RV is essential. Our rig is a 2008 Forest River unit that is 32.5 feet long, uses a Ford chassis and Ford V-10 engine. Towing our 28 foot race trailer, the RV actually does a good job of it although our excursions into the mountainous areas has been limited to a few runs out to Bristol, Tennessee. Over the years that we have owned it, a number of things have happened. Small accidents have left it marked with damage, bits and pieces have failed and at times it has been neglected for long periods of time. I have a short list of items that need repair and a separate list of items that need maintenance. With the recent nice weather, I have tackled a couple of items that include repairing the fresh water tank and re-working the water supply system so that it is easier to maintain and hopefully a bit quieter. The water tank developed a small leak that took quite a bit of time just to discover it’s location. Unfortunately it was on the bottom of the tank so the entire supply system had to be removed, the cover door for the basement bay had to be taken off and then the tank was pulled out. This is a 75 gallon tank that rests on a plastic supporting framework with a piece of OSB between them. The OSB didn’t stand a chance against a long term water leak and was thoroughly soaked and rotted. I repaired the small leak I found in the tank with a soldering iron, melting some plastic into the small hole and then covering the entire area with a generous coating of clear silicone. To help the adhesion of the silicone, I roughed up the area around the leak with 220 grit sandpaper. A new piece of plywood (not OSB) coated with two coats of oil based porch paint on both sides should hold up a bit better should we have any leaks in the future. My next move is to put the water supply system back in which includes the water pump in a fashion that makes a bit more sense than the helter-skelter version that was factory original. I also wanted to find a method of isolating the vibrations of the water pump and am searching for a large piece of dense rubber.

The next item is the electric steps. These have been repaired in the past when they suddenly popped out on a two lane back road and caught the side of a bridge piling. It wiped out both steps and bent the arms badly plus broke the plastic trim piece around the steps and damaged some of the lower body work on the coach. I was able to find the repair parts I needed for the steps and put those back together, but I had to purchase the trim piece from the dealer and have yet to do the body work. That is going to take a small amount of fiberglass work along with some touch up painting. This time around the connection between the step slide mechanism and the motor came loose and the electric motor actually cracked into two pieces. I find it almost funny that the various RV repair part vendors online wanted hundreds of dollars for a replacement motor when it is nothing more than a power window motor from a car or truck. The trick is to find out which car or truck matches your step motor. A really good source for this information is Bob’s Guides. I was able to find out that for my steps, the power window motor from a 1992 Ford Bronco was a good fit. I had to drill the mounting holes out to the next larger bit size and mount the GM style connector to the wiring harness but it was a bolt-in after those mods. And, it only cost me $32 including the shipping plus the motor is brand new, not a rebuilt one.

Another RV item is basement lighting and by that I mean 12 volt lights in the basement compartments. I only had one compartment that had a light in it and when I needed to find something in the others at night, I had to make sure I had a flashlight with me. I purchased four plastic lights with on/off switches from Amazon for about $20 and plan to run them off of the engine battery. I have additional compartments on the RV but I put them in the compartments that I normally use for storage items and I also put one in the power bay. It will be nice not having to fish around in the dark for a power connection in the future. I plan to simply string all the lights together, run the power side of the circuit through an inline fuse and connect it directly to the engine battery. The engine battery tends to stay in better condition than the coach batteries so I can count on having light available when I need it.

A few other items that are going to be addressed before winter is a good wash and wax job, the yearly roof inspection, clear coating the headlights, and replacement of the vinyl strip that covers the roof binding connection. It just looks ugly. Hopefully before the weather catches me, I can get that body work done and maybe shoot a little touch up paint.

And lastly – that’s Theo in the lead picture, one of our Yorkies riding shotgun as we left Galot Motorsports Park in N.C. and headed home last year.

 

Project “Shoestring” – 1955 Chevy 210 Sedan Begins

Project “Shoestring” – 1955 Chevy 210 Sedan Begins

 

Project Shoestring has been in the works for so many years now that it was beginning to be an unbelievable idea. As I noted in the project introduction – Project Details, the line on this car has changed over time and whether that is good or bad remains to be seen. The car was never a good candidate to be restored and while I like looking at restorations, my heart has never been in putting the labor and money into them. The one attempt that I made with an early Corvette caught so much flak for having an aftermarket part on it from the snobs of that world that I lost all interest in ever attempting it again.

So currently I am finishing up a house flip with a few minor details that should be accomplished within the coming week – which is another reason I am writing this – as that major project concludes it will allow me the time and resources to finish up a couple of other vehicle issues and move on to this project for the coming fall and winter months. My goal is to have a running vehicle ready for the first test and tune sessions come mid-March. I work slowly so that is a major commitment on my part. I will turn 65 in January of the coming year and while I plan to drive my dragster for at least another 5+ years, I see the ’55 as my retirement ride for the coming future. Slower yes, but consistency is the key and getting back to the drag strips in a heavy dose is extremely important to me. I feel like between weather issues and the house flip that I completely lost this current season which was certainly not my plan last winter. I guess we have to see what happens this coming year but I am going to do everything I can to make this happen.

First issues with any vehicle project is finding the room to work on it. I am fortunate to have a 3 vehicle garage that honestly can only house 2 cars at time for all of the other bits and pieces in the way. The upside is that my youngest son moved to his new house so that is freeing up a lot of space that I have not seen in about 2 years. As I mentioned I have a couple of other vehicles to take care of first but one is an on-going slow project that runs and moves under it’s own power and the other is simply shooting some paint on my dragster body panels. Now that the weather is improving a bit, that should become a reality soon.

So with an open space available now, and the ’55 sitting at the edge of my property it’s time to move it inside. I don’t want to see snow on it again this year and the only thing I need to wait for is to get the ground dried out to where I can pull the car up to the garage and get it in place. At that time, I will probably question my sanity about starting another project but what the heck, it’s the last one and the one that I have been planning for a very long time. Another plus on this project is I have probably 90%-95% of what I need to complete it. That’s a big, big plus in itself.