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Sunday, February 18, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *H* Hub Seal, Pulley and HangUps

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter H now!

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS 
STARTING WITH THE LETTER H


Hub Seal Replacement:
A few years ago, we had a slow leaking hub seal on the motorhome rear axle on the driver's side.  Steve had contacted a big truck repair place about 20 miles away to see if they could do the job.  We ran the motorhome over for a quick "look see" and make sure they had the parts in stock.  (better than bringing it in, having it torn down and setting there in the way for days on end)  Our motorhome is built on a custom diesel chassis from the Safari company, from it's own division called Magnum Chassis.  So it is not common, nor found in most, if any, parts books to just look up a part number and be good to go.

They said they could do the work and get the parts, and made an appointment for us to come in on Thursday at 7 a.m. Since Steve doesn't have to be to work until 8 a.m., he drove it over there and I followed in the Tracker.  

B & C Repair
3339 Brodtke Rd. 
Reedsville, WI 54230
920-775-4238    

We arrived to a neat clean shop, with multiple bays plenty large enough to take our motorhome.  It is located out in a country setting next to the owners home, about a mile off a main highway. We were escorted into our spot in a service bay at 7:05 a.m.  


Steve went over the work order with the guys, then he chocked the front tires, and raised our back axle up on our own hydraulic levelling jacks.  (rather than risk someone putting a floor jack through a part of our underbelly)  Chocking the tires is necessary because our emergency brake is the type that clamps around the driveshaft, so the front wheels are free to wheel if the back wheels are off the ground.  Some RVers are not aware of that and can run into troubles with a rolling vehicle or collapsed hydraulic jacks if they don't chock the front wheels securely.

Then Steve had to leave and head out for work at the park.  I stayed behind with the dogs, my coffee cup, my laptop...  inside the rig and comfy cozy while they went to work on our rig! I could even pull in tv stations while inside of the building.  So I could watch my quilting shows on PBS at 9 a.m.  It was comforting to be able to glance out at any time and see what they were doing.  (the dogs slept) 

I watched some of the progress from time to time.  The tech working on our rig was friendly, informative, and didn't treat me like a "dumb woman" if you know what I mean?  He was working diligently on our rig, and other techs were buzzing all around us with other jobs.  I think about 6 big semi and diesel trucks were being serviced at the same time as our motorhome.  

The two wheels were removed and the parts torn down to change out the seal on the driver's side.  He was working and I noticed all the tools were clean, organized and neat as he worked.  That is a good sign.  A tech who respects his tools is going to hopefully respect your rig and do a good job too. 



I noticed the drips on the very clean floor... oh my! 
Not to worry, he soon took out a steam cleaning device and not only cleaned off the hub and brakes and wheel rims, but also the floor was cleaned up right away too.  The entire shop was clean and as each big diesel truck was backed out, the floor underneath was cleaned with a big scrubbing machine!

Once the seal was replaced and the tires put back on.. now it was job number two that we asked for.  We had the tech drain out the old fluid in our differential and replace it with new synthetic fluid.  Yes, it's costly, but it is worth doing the changout at the same time as the other work being done.  It took 13 quarts at $10.75 a quart.... almost $140.00 for that fluid.  Since our rig is almost 20 years old, it's a safe bet that with only 67,000 miles it's never been replaced by the previous owners.  Now was a good time. 

The repairs were complete before 11 a.m.  The tech even pointed out some other things to me to watch underneath along the drivetrain and engine.  Yup, I crawled right underneath there with him and saw what he was talking about.  The floors were clean so it was not a problem at all.  We set the rig down on the floor and the job was done! 

I removed the chocks, locked up the compartment with the controls of the levellers, and cautiously backed the rig out of the bay.  

Then it was time to go pay the bill.....  ack!   That is never a good time.   It wasn't as bad as I thought, and with 3.5 hours of labor, all the fluid and parts, it came to just over $500.00 with tax.  As I was going out the door, they double checked that I had locked the latches on the compartment door for the leveller controls.  How thoughtful was that?  


I drove it on home, with two snoozing doggers at my side.  It was a sunny morning to wind along the country roads.  Through farm land and fresh tilled soil.  I noticed some of the fields have tiny rows of shiny leafed-out plants poking up already.  Corn!   There are even some places cutting their first crop of hay!  I couldn't take any pics of course, because I was driving 40 ft of big diesel power down a crowned country road.  Have to pay attention, ya know!    Wandered my way through the tiny towns of Clarks Mills, Valders and Hayton... and home to Chilton.  

Normally it takes two people to back our rig into our driveway.  We live in town, but it's right on hwy 57 and four lanes of traffic.  It's only 25 mph, so I usually block the traffic as Steve backs the rig in.  Since I was by myself, I just drove it nose first into the drive.  Next time that we go out, we will have to back it out into the street instead.  

Soooo all in all, B and C Repair gets five stars from us! 

Why am I giving it such a glowing report?  Well, you would think nowadays that kind of service would be the norm in a professional industry.  Sadly, that good service and reliable work is usually the exception.  

With a motorhome that cost us more than our current home, we ARE cautious whenever subjecting it to someone else's care and workmanship.


Tensioner Pulley:
We have had problems with a tensioner pulley a number of times on our rig.  We have changed them out I think 4 times now.  Other Safari folks with the same model and year seem to have it go to heck too.  

We were on our way home 2 years ago and stopped to see a friend in Bethel, MO. We backed outta Rosie’s barnyard and said our “See You Soon”s and pulled outta Bethel.  We drove about 5 miles away when Steve noticed our alternator was not putting out a charge…. oh my!   We pulled over and lifted the bed.  The tensioner pulley for the belt that runs on those pulleys to charge it had somehow lost it’s springiness.  We had changed that one a couple years back, and now it’s broke again.  Good thing Steve has a running scan going of all engine and tranny systems on the Silverleaf VMSpc on the screen of the Safari.  He can tell at a glance if anything is amiss.

Steve got out some heavy black wire ties and was able to secure the pulley in a tensioned position, and I checked the readouts… yes!  we were charging again!

Let’s hear it for wire-ties!  The World’s Best Invention Next to Duct Tape!
heading home0

We made it home with the wire tied section, and then ordered a new tension pulley as soon as we got home.  This is what it looks like:


He changed it out and we are good to go again. 
He usually keeps an extra on board, so I will have to check if he has 
an extra for *nest time* ARRGGHHH!

Hang Ups:
Most RV folks like to customize their rigs with hanging up things on the walls. Because they are thin, and do not have traditional 16" on center studs like a house, it can be difficult to know where to pound a nail or put in a screw.  

We have turned to 3m double stick tape, the heavy duty stuff.  We run strips of it behind the item we are putting up, and it seems to hold really well.  Our rig is subjected to sub zero freezing temps when not in use, and also blistering hot summer temps when parked out in the yard. The stuff has held up for 10+ years for us. 

Coat hooks are pretty important to us, near the door especially.  This one holds dog leashes, fly swatters and an occasional hat. It has a lazer cut Shetland Sheepdog head on it, and we added the two big brass hooks to the wood.  



This one Steve made a base of wood that matches our trim, and put on three more of those hooks. It is in the bedroom on his side. He can hang up a sweatshirt he may want to wear the next day, or his flannel jammie pants and sometimes an extra jacket.  Then he made one for me on the other side with 2 hooks. 



Long ago we removed the flop-down step cover at the mid entry door on our rig. It was always in the way, and we rarely move around when in motion so the step cover was not really needed.  There was a really nice wooden handle on the step cover that matched our woodwork perfectly of course. We mounted it (with screws this time) to the side of the cabinet in the kitchen. Voila! Instant towel bar!



Hang Up, Take Down, New Hang Up:
This hangup was done a long time ago, when we first got the rig... We wanted a clock up in the livingroom area and used some velcro on this plexi glass door.  Velcro so we could take it down to change the battery or adjust the time when we crossed into other time zones. We centered it on the middle one of the three doors we had at that time.

Since we now removed the tv to the far left and put up one more plexiglass door over the opening, now the clock looks off-centered to me.  It was bugging me. 

The clock with the fuzzy velcro side came off of course. But the spikey velcro side was stuck tight to the plexi glass.  I know one or two times over the years I had added glue to the backing pad to get it to stay up.... probably super glue and also 2 part epoxy from Harbor Freight.  So it was stuck on REALLY tight now!

I didn't know if I would damage the plexi by removing it now, but heck, if it left a bad spot, I would just stick the clock back up there again and live with it!  haha....   It was stuck on solid and I could not peel it off no way no how.

I took out my miracle stuff called UnDu.  It works much better than Goo Gone or Acetone.  I used to work in a hardware store and this stuff would remove price tags (during price changes) on items and never ruin the finish underneath.  Even on plastic or cardboard we could easily remove tags and put on new ones.  I use it all the time at home for anything, even removing permanent marker from things!

I held a folded up paper towel underneath and saturated the pad from above.  Let it soak in a few minutes and it started to pull away.


I added some more UnDu about 1/3 of the way down the pulled off pad and let it work a bit.  Soon I could pull off the whole square.   Then I used a few wipes of the UnDu to get off the rest of the glue residue.  Done!  Looks great!




We chose a new spot to put the clock, on the side cabinets centered over the tv.  Only problem was a small tweeter speaker was to the left of the space we wanted to put the clock. It would only cover it by a bit, but the bulged out speaker cover prevented the clock from sitting flat to the wall.


We don't use the surround sound or stereo system much, so covering it up wouldn't be a problem. Steve went in behind and released the speaker bracket to pop out the bubbled grid over the top. He was able to hook it back up so it will still make sound, but not protected by the grid.  Now we can mount the clock!

When we removed the big CRT tube type tv from the overhead cabinet... we mounted a smaller flat screen on an articulating arm from the side cabinets. Now it faces our loveseat, and we can swivel it towards the kitchen we want too.  The clock goes just perfect in the space between the cabinet doors.  We used a small screw this time, because there was a groove in the woodwork that we could just jam it in between to hold the clock.

There... I think that looks spiffy, 

and the four front black plexi doors are all neat and uncluttered in a row. 

~~~~~~~


In my last blog, I talked about the area between the two houses that gets saturated with water as the snow melts or during a heavy rainstorm. I snapped this pic yesterday while I was outside with the dogs. You can see where all of the water runs between the two houses and heads down towards the street. I think this is the area where the ants were last fall. I think they got drowned out during that last thaw, and came into the wall of the house. Steve sprayed well and we put out the ant baits and we haven't seen a single ant since. Let's hope we solved the problem!!



Reminiscing about my Grandma Kafehl.
She used to snip off little parts of houseplants
and stick them in water.
Before you know it, Roots were forming.
I did this to some ivy a couple weeks ago. 

Look how pretty with the sunshine streaming in....


Sassy Stevio likes to tease the dogs. I had my empty small clothes hamper downstairs ready to carry back upstairs. It looks like Binney is just scared somebody's going to fly her away in a balloon. But that Finnegan is giving us the Ole Stink-Eye. I don't think either one appreciated it very much.



But they easily forgave Steve because after that he was busy cutting up some tenderloin. A local grocery store in Sherwood, Dick's Family Foods, gets the most wonderful meat from a local supplier. They had tenderloins on sale for $5.99 a pound. The only trick is you have to buy the entire tenderloin and you have to know how to cut it up. Steve is very good at removing the silver strap and filleting out the tenderloin into butterflies, perfectly ready to be grilled. Out of the one hunk he got enough for us for six meals. (10 butterflied steaks and enough little pieces for putting into a beef stew or soup)



 Of course he had two very attentive assistants, just hoping up beyond all hope, that a piece would fall down in front of them!



Yes, a few little pieces "fell" to the ground.



We spent Saturday helping out Steve's dad unpack more boxes at his house in Sister Bay. We waded ourselves through a lot of dishes and knick-knacks and assorted artwork. We got a lot accomplished and soon the movers will come back to pick up all of the empty boxes. Steve took care of a bunch of other little projects around the house as well and we spent a good long day enjoying our time with Pops!  Of course Finnegan and Binney got to visit with Millie --- and she got to show off her new house and yard to our dogs.


We drove home in a beginnings of a snowstorm. The first 40 miles or so we were following a plow at about 30 miles an hour. It took a while but we were safe to travel right behind him. Once we got south of Sturgeon Bay the roads were pretty clear and we got home the rest of the way easily. Winter is not over in Wisconsin, not by a long shot!








Friday, February 16, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *H* Headlights, Heater, Hooks, 1 Year and ANTS!

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter H now!

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS 
STARTING WITH THE LETTER H


Headlight Replacement:
As many of you know, we HATE to drive at night!  The Safari motorhome's headlights are very dim. Various Safari owners have tried all kinds of work-arounds to fix that problem.  It's just the way it was designed and the bulbs that were selected when built in 1996. Some owners have used relays to increase the voltage to the headlights to make them brighter. Some have installed different LED headlights to overcome the problem too.  Trying to fit different bulb/lens shapes into the existing fiberglass framework and grill is a problem too.  Well.... Steveio took a different approach:

He bought two 65 watt type headlights from Fleet Farm (a locally based Farm/home store in the midwest) for $19.95 each. Sylvania H4666 They were the same size and shape as the headlights we had. 



He creatively bent one of the three prongs that was slightly manufactured at an angle on purpose.  With gentle persuasion of a pliers, he was able to match up the new prong on the far left to match the configuration to our original Safari plug.  Voila....   


We took it out and night and realigned the headlights in a big dark parking lot at the back of a local factory nearby. We made sure it was not too high, and not aiming too far over to the oncoming traffic either. (my pet peeve on other vehicles coming at me!)

It was a HUGE difference.... 
much more than we ever expected!!!  

With this type of lighting, we won't mind night time driving when we choose to do it.  


Some people with Safari motorhomes have opted instead to install a "relay" device to add more power to the headlights to make them brighter.  We didn't do that, but this is what they shared on the Safarimotorhomes Yahoo Group that I manage with lots of information about the Safari motorhomes: 

Adding Headlight Relays
Many Monaco/Safari coaches were originally wired with the headlight and dimmer switches directly controlling the headlights. That is, there was no interposed relay, so all the headlight current passed through both switches. Due to the voltage drop across the switches, and the length of wiring, the voltage at the headlight bulbs was far below 12 volts, and thus the headlights were quite dim. Attempting to use higher wattage bulbs only makes the problem worse, as the higher current causes even lower voltage.

The most successful way of correcting this is to put two relays in the circuit (one for high beam and one for low beam), so that the high current path for the headlights is “battery to relay to headlights to ground”. The lower current "headlight control" path becomes “battery to headlight switch to dimmer switch to relay coil to ground”. You can use the same type relays that are commonly found in the electrical bay (the bay with several cube-shaped relays, fuses, and connections). In most cases, the circuit from the headlight switch to the headlights passes through this bay anyway.

Specifically, the relay type you need is 30 Amp, 12 V, SPST (single pole, single throw, although double throw will work as well), available at Radio Shack or auto parts stores. You can use a Radio Shack part number 275-226 or a Tyco (formerly Bosch) relay with specs of 12V 30A.

There will typically be 4 or 5 blade-type connections on the bottom of the relay, labeled as 30, 85, 86, 87, and (optionally) 87a. You can use corresponding female compression connectors on the wires that you will connect to the relay.

The most difficult part of the modification may be finding the two wires that come from the headlight hi/lo switch (the steering column mounted switch you use to set the headlights to high or low) and go to the high and low headlight filaments. With any luck, they will pass through the bay where you want to mount the relays. Cut these wires and connect them to the relay terminals as follows: High beam wire from switch - to terminal 85 of relay 1; Low beam wire from switch - to terminal 85 of relay 2. Wire going to headlight low beams - to terminal 87 of relay 1; wire going to headlight hi beams – to terminal 87 of relay 2. A new ground wire from terminal 86 of each relay to a good ground point. 12V power wires to terminal 30 of each relay. These last connections should include inline 20 Amp fuses. The power source should be one that is always hot (not switched on by the ignition switch). Usually you will find a copper “bus bar” or connection strip that feeds other relays and circuits and can easily supply the needed current. You will not use terminal 87a of the relays, if present. 


okay... now back to our own modifications and improvements:
Heater:
We have a nice propane Olympian Wave 8 heater in our motorhome, and also the original propane ducted furnace (which eats up a lot of battery power for the blower). 

Sometimes, when we are camping at a site with power hookups included, we like to run a little electric heater to take out the chill.  We tested various ones in the store, noting the noise level, the appearance and the size to fit in a little area of our closet....


This one is the winner! It kinda looks like a chiminea terracotta exterior on a fancy little stand.  (It's really a thick solid plastic) and it either rotates or sits still.  It is very quiet and does not tip over too easily.  I like to set it in the bathroom to warm it up before taking a shower. It is thermostatic in 5 degree increments, with a HI and LO fan speed too.  Plus a tip-over safety switch is nice.  We can set it right up on the kitchen table and blow backwards to the bedroom to circulate the heat.


 Sometimes it is the little things that make you just a little more comfortable.  Ahhhhhh


Hooks:
I found these acrylic hooks one day at Walmart. They are great for extra hanging space in the bathroom to dry towels or hang clothes while taking a shower.  They can easily lift off and flip to the inside to hang wet raincoats or umbrellas to drip dry off in the shower/tub enclosure.  They do not rattle much and don't scrape the top metal trim as much as the first ones I bought which were metal. 


I like these so much I bought a few more for in our house too! 



~~~~~~~~~

Is has been ONE YEAR since Steve took on a part time job. You might remember on January 1st 2017, he retired from the State of Wisconsin.   He managed to be retired for a mere 6 weeks.  Arrggh!  He went and took a job driving the handicapped accessible busses and transport van for the county.  It's called the ADRC and he transports non-ambulatory folks in wheelchairs, mostly from nursing homes and assisted living centers back and forth to doc appointments, dialysis and discharges from hospitals after surgery.  He drives part time, about 15-20 hours a week. It's a flexible schedule and there are enough rotating drivers that he can take off bigger segments of time if we travel or he is ill.

It has gotten so he is finding himself in charge of some of the same folks over and over... his "repeats"  who are requesting "that really nice friendly tall guy who drives good!"  awwwwwww! His schedule is usually to nearby clinics and hospital, so he often gets to clock out and come home for lunches or in between transports. The dogs are always excited to hear the BEEP BEEP BEEP of the back-up alarm as he manuvers it back into the driveway.  After driving that 40 ft motorhome, he does quite well with the little "Old Fart Party Bus" (We fondly let the grandkids refer to it with that name!)


Speaking of docs, we have to head out soon to doc appointments of our own this afternoon.  Our health insurance changed us to only using docs and clinics down in Fond du Lac and south of there.  Fond du Lac being the closest to home, about 22 miles. It's our first appointment with our new family physician so we are hoping all of our records were changed over from the old docs.  We gave them 4 weeks to do it, and called again last week to each one to make sure things got transferred. They said it did, so we will see!  From previous experience, I never trust any of them to follow through anymore.

I hope that we don't pick up any new bugs from the visit.  We have masks to wear into the clinic and we are going to wear our outdoor gloves on our hands until we are actually in the examining rooms.  When we get out, we have a bottle of hand sanitizer to slather on when we reach the car!   hahahah but after being hit with this crap three different times since January 1, I don't care to pick up any thing else!

Now for the last word in my title:  ANTS! 

Since the weather warmed up, and the snow is melting, we suddenly have discovered ANTS in the kitchen by the sink!!!!   Black long skinny ones. They are not carpenter ants and don't have wings. We know last summer there were a bunch of this type out on that side of the house, and we noticed them using our new fence as a bridge over the house. The fence meets the house RIGHT by that part of the kitchen!

It is a lower spot of narrow ground between the houses that gets really saturated and leads out to the storm sewer grid up front by the street. Many years ago as the houses were built here, we are told there is a long horizontal underground natural aquifer that runs the length of our block, right down the middle between the houses on the street behind us. We noticed the other day the water just running across the sidewalk and into the street between the next two houses down the block.  I think when the ground is really wet after a rain, or melting snow, the ground between all of our houses gets saturated as water makes it's way to the storm sewers.

Lasts summer, was when we first noticed those ants walking on our fence. We had sprayed the outside liberally during the summer and fall and really haven't thought about it since.

Till now!  ACK!   On Wednesday, Steve got some Home Defense spray and did the outside, especially where the ground is all squishy and wet from the melting snow.  He then went into the basement and sprayed all of the foundation sills and the floor joists below.  Next he came up and removed all the things in the cabinet below the sink and sprayed down into all of the  water and drain pipe access holes and along the cracks where the wall meets the floor. He also sprayed around the garbage can slide out cabinet as well.

Last night I came down for a drink of milk about midnight, and flicked on the light. I found NINE more ants!!!!  All hanging out sipping from the sink around the drain where there is a small crease of water.  .... DIE ANTS DIE!!!!  I squished them all and sent them down the garbage disposal.  Then I did a big glug glug glug of bleach down into the disposal as well, and ran it with hot water for a long time.

Today we are going to pick up some stronger stuff, maybe granules for the side yard.  Then try to spray something stronger into the cracks some more or even up under the siding from the outside.  I also put out some ant bait pieces.  The ants are supposed to eat it and take it back to their nest, and kill the others.  The nest must be somewhere in the wall itself.

I have never had ants in the house in the middle of winter in Wisconsin!!!! 
 Global Warming, anyone? 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATION - *G* Generator Maintenance and Fixes

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter G now!

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS 
STARTING WITH THE LETTER G


Generator Removal, Repair and Reinstallation:
We have an Onan Emerald Plus 6.3KW  propane generator built into the rear driver's side compartment of our motorhome. It operates off liquid propane from a separate line on our propane tank (not vapor like the fridge, stove or water heater).


Our generator is very quiet during operation.  Located at the back of our motorhome, when running, as you walk to the front of the rig, you can barely hear it running.

A mention here on generator use when camping.  We normally camp in the rustic National Forest Campgrounds without any electric hookups.   It's fine for us, because we are solared up and have four big batteries to store our power.

We hate being parked next to someone with a noisy generator, especially those new cheap little yellow ones everyone seems to buy-- they are VERY noisy!   The Honda red ones are nice and quiet.

We rarely use ours while actually camping in a campsite..  I think we have used ours more while driving down the road, with it running the rooftop air conditioner when we travel on very hot days.  It helps assist the dash air when sunlight is pouring in the big front windows and it's 95 degrees and sweltering hot outside.

If we do fire it up when camping, we first notify the people around us before doing so.  We offer that if they have anything that needs charging up, come on over and plug it in!   We have charged up people's boat batteries, video cameras, cell phones and one time even a tenting gal was ECSTATIC to be able to come over and plug in her curling iron!!!!   She plugged it into our exterior 110v outlet, sat in a lawn chair with her little mirror and comb and brush and spiffed up her coiffure.  It's a big generator that produces 6000+ watts of power at full load so we can easily share the power.

We try to prevent running it in the early morning or late evening hours.   Nothing can ruin an early morning "coffee sipping, bird watching, sun rising experience" than hearing someone fire up their generator! ACK!  So, please, think of others around you when you run your generator.



Well,  eight years ago, we were having trouble with our generator --- we later learned it was from not using it enough. From not "exercising" it monthly under a load… 

It would not stay running.  We tried the normal checks like fuel filter, fuel line, oil cap tight, oil filled enough (if too low a sensor won't let it run)  We changed spark plugs and checked the breakers.

We knew we had a problem. We did a little research and found a place with some helpful information online. The great guys at Flight Systems were VERY helpful with troubleshooting.   Randy was “The Guy” to talk to about the system.

Their diagnostic troubleshooting information is the best and we sure appreciated their help. They have downloads of information you can print out.....  and try out  what things to test first, second, third etc. and using a voltmeter, you can diagnose what is wrong with your own generator before paying for costly repairs.



So after checking it all out, we found a shorted out browned burnt spot on the control board, and a bubbled area on the voltage regulator.  We think that our old batteries with the bad cells and the exploding expanded case on two of them ruined our generator somehow with a back surge of something or other.  (we have all new batteries now)

We threw a new control board at it, then a new voltage regulator, then cleaning the slip rings, and replacing the brushes (plus the ceramic holder cracked so had to replace that too)  It would run-  but -   … finally we came to the conclusion that it was still only putting out 55 volts and not 120vac.  That meant the half of windings on the rotor were bad.  Sigh.

So that meant a removal of the generator, and take off the rotor and send it in to be completely rebuilt.

We found a great guy down in Ohio,  name of :
SAM BORCK - 11392 CTY RD 5 - DELTA, OH  43515 -   419- 466-0485
He seemed to know the Onan generators inside and out, exactly the specific stuff about our model and year and did very prompt turnaround, we got it back within a week of him getting it!  Cost was $365 including his shipping it back to us.  What a deal compared to what Onan wanted for a new one, or what even other places on the net wanted for a rebuilt one.

I was the Gopher Girl and Steve patiently stopped from time to time to let me take pics of each step. Here are the pics of removing it.  Steve wrenched loose the rusty bolts...what a guy! 

working on the onan generator1

We had the motorhome parked over an area where the ground sloped away from the rear.  Then we could lower the generator without having to jack up the rig!
working on the onan generator0

working on the onan generator2

We dropped it down slowly onto a board balanced over a floor jack... and eased it up into the garage.

working on the onan generator3



Okay.. back to the generator---    Now it’s a couple weeks later and we got the rotor rebuilt and back.. and the snow is gone! Time to put it BACK in the motorhome.  Steve installed the rotor unit back into the generator.  We crossed our fingers that all was fine, because we were not able to "bench test" it without being hooked up to the liquid propane line.  So we just had to cross our fingers and HOPE it was the right fix.

working on the onan generator4

working on the onan generator5

 working on the onan generator6

 working on the onan generator7

 working on the onan generator8

working on the onan generator9
 working on the onan generator10

 working on the onan generator11

 working on the onan generator12


working on the onan generator13

Steve finished up the connections. We attached the propane line, bled it, checked for leaks… double checked all of our connections…. and hit the button!
annnndd it WORKS!!!!! 
wheeeeeeeee  120V ac current at the outlets… yahhhhoooooooooo

Generator Muffler Replacement:
On day six years ago, when Steve went to start up the generator for a little exercise (plus he wanted to run our vacuum cleaner to do the lower compartment carpeting)   it started up with big roar and a backfire BANG!    What was up with that?  The dogs almost went through the roof! 

We shut it down immediately and went out to investigate.  Yikes!  It blew the back off the rusty muffler-----   time for a replacement!   Plus, Steve looked at the throttle linkage again which needed more lubricant.  It had hung up once in January and he lubed it then, but it was still a little sticky.  That is probably what caused the backfire.

Steve called around to various places to see about getting a new muffler, and explored the internet to see if he could find one cheaper.  Amazingly, the cheapest place he found, was right from the Onan / Cummins place in DePere, WI (just south of Green Bay)

RV exhaust kit Emerald LP Generator
 $77.76 with tax
part number 542-0472  

It was a muffler, a hanger bracket, a manifold connector, 
and 2 clamps and bolts and a gasket

First step was to take off the old manifold connector.  Of course, it was rusty and the bolts broke off when trying to remove them.  Steve was working flat on his back on the ground with the manifold opening being up over his head.  ARGGGHHHH


He had to drill out the broken off bolts....  Once he got it off, he used a tap and re-tapped the threads of the two holes.  These photos are from looking up from underneath the rig.  When he attached the new manifold adapter and gasket, he felt the two bolts just screwed into the new threads might not be enough.  There is a lot of vibration on a generator---   (flashback to last summer when oil was pouring out of ours... seems the filter had vibrated loose and oil was leaking out all over)   

In this case, Steve decided to use longer bolts, lock washers and locking nuts on the top end of the bolts where his fingers could barely get up on the top side of the flange.  But now it is more secure and won't rattle loose (we hope) 

This is looking up from the ground to where he attached the manifold adaptor


Next comes the muffler itself.  It came with a hanging bracket and muffler clamps.  Don't you just LOVE new metal pretty shiny parts????



We set it up into place, clamped on the hanging bracket to where the old one was attached and then added the muffler clamp around the manifold adapter.  It was a really snug fit and we are sure it's nice and tight.   Last step yet to go, he has to attach a tail pipe.  (a section of conduit piping will work just fine)  but he has to go buy it today as he was not sure of the length and diameter needed until I brought home the muffler.

Once it was all in place, we started up the generator, with no backfires and no stuck linkage.  Wheeeeee!!!!     It was very quiet again.


Generator Oil Change:
Every year we take care of our generator with an oil and filter change.   We do it every spring, even though we have only put on about 60 hours since last spring when it was done.  The little hour gauge inside helps keep track of the time in between changes.

Here is how we do it:

First, we warm up the oil by running it for a while.  Then we shut it down and set a bucket underneath by the drain.  We write it on the filter with a permanent marker at what hours of usage we are at each time we change it. These are older pics from another time we changed it. I don't take pics EACH time we do it. LOL 



Steve unscrewed the petcock to let the old oil drain out into the bucket...   It starts running out, but also carefully opening the top fill cap lets it run out even faster.  We are careful to not let anything get into the opening, so we replace the cap quickly as soon as the stream into the bucket slows down.


 Looks pretty good... 

and once it's all out, time to unscrew the filter.  
Notice Steve's wonderful filter wrench?? LOL


It's the same "secret special tool" that is used to remove injectors
after sitting 4 days on a corner in Winslow, Arizona---- 
for more diesel injector information--- see the blog at:
http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/2011

Added the new oil --- here are the specs and part numbers:

3 QUARTS 30 WT
 filter number WIX 51762
or 122--0800 ONAN


Onan generator oil change all done, and ready to run again....


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What a perfect day for a walk!  The temps are up in the 40's and the sun is rapidly melting the snow.  When Steve got home from work, we hooked up the dogs for a walk around the block. 

Since the sidewalks are clear, it is pleasant to wear shoes instead of boots, and wear a light jacket instead of bundling up in down filled coats, caps, mitts and scarves. 


Such happy dogs, and a bit of fresh air for each of us was good as well.  Our block is a long one, and when we came back up our driveway, I was pretty well bushed.  This illness has taken it's toll, that is for sure.  

I am figuring I have had all three types of flu that went through our area, one after another.  

  • The first was the bronchial type infection of head, chest, lungs and sinuses.  That one turned into pneumonia for me.  Three doc visits and 2 rounds of antibiotics, followed by a third round of another antibiotic and steroids. YUCK!  But it took three weeks to get back to normal. 
  • The second was picked up from going to 2 stores after a whole month of being secluded like a recluse at home This one was fever, chills, body aches, and miserable weakness with no energy. Wanted to just take my meds and crawl into bed and sleep.  
  • Finally recovered from that last one, what did I pick up now? The stomach, intestines and jitteriness of a real bug that still isn't over yet.  Back on antibiotics and trying to get lots of fluids and rest. But I felt good enough to get out for a little walk and get some blood pumping! 


Last night, my wonderful Valentine Chef took care of making dinner.  He grilled up a couple hunks of tenderloin, baked some potatoes and side dish of corn.  He even set the table and opened a bottle of wine!  Soft music in the background and we enjoyed our evening celebration of the night he proposed, 22 years ago.


Earlier, he made a stop 
at a new little cupcake shop in town called 
Cupcake Celebration 
and got some dessert!  

What a special guy!