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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Some of the mods we made to our motorhome – M thru N

Okey Dokey… here are some more mods, in alphabetical order…  this is the fourth installment …. go back to read the other three blogs.

MUFFLER:
Our motorhome was getting a little louder after our trip down to Florida and back last winter.  We realize that the salt on our Wisconsin roads is tough on vehicles, but just look at where the muffler rusted out.  It was rusting around the holding straps where the salt gets trapped, even after we rinse things off from a snowy drive.  Bummer, eh?  We called around for a new one, and they ran in the $350 range!   So then we called our local CarQuest auto parts in our tiny town.  He was able to order the exact same muffler for us for only $170!~   

muffler (3) (1280x960) (1280x960) muffler (7) (1280x960) (960x1280)

Next he had to special order the big snaky 4 inch pipe and flange made up at a local exhaust muffler company.  That was another $120 bucks.
 IMGA0534 (1280x960) IMGA0538 (1280x960)
Lucky that our king-sized bed lifts up for easy access to our engine compartment.

IMGA0541 (1280x960)IMGA0537 (1280x960)IMGA0546 (1280x960)   IMGA0543 (1280x960)
Whew… good job all done!    And now our Cat is purring along nice and quiet!


MR BUDDY PROPANE HEATER:
Our regular LP furnace installed in the motorhome is a real energy waster, both for propane and battery power for the blower.  The inefficient blower does not even get heat into the back part of the rig, the bedroom vent is barely warm due to a strange configuration under the rig.  The heated air duct leaves the basement compartment and snakes through a piece of flexible venting around the wheel well outside, and back up into the vent in the bedroom floor.  Very strange.
mr buddy rerouted gas lineSoooo we decided to go with a Mr Buddy heater.   Instead of using small propane bottles, Steveio installed a line right through the basement compartment up into this cabinet.   He removed the additional regulator on the Mr Buddy itself, as the line where he tapped into is already regulated for the proper propane flow.   For added safety, we set it on a metal cookie sheet when on the wooden table,  but it really doesn’t get that warm underneath.  
This little heater keeps our whole 38ft long motorhome nice and warm.  We turn it facing the bedroom at night, and turn it facing the living room during the day.  Even on nights as cold as 10 degrees, we were toasty warm.  The only limiting factor is that if we are camping with water in the tanks, the basement compartment does not get any heat.  We normally dry camp usually when it gets that cold and have our tanks empty and our water lines winterized anyhow.



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(NOTE:  WE HAVE SINCE UNHOOKED THE MR. BUDDY AND INSTALLED AN OLYMPIAN WAVE 8 HEATER ON THE WALL.   NO REASON OTHER THAN WE FOUND A GOOD DEAL ON THE OLYMPIAN, OTHERWISE WE WOULD STILL HAVE THE MR. BUDDY HOOKED UP.   SEE POST :  


Blog post about installing our Olympian Wave 8 heater



WE WILL KEEP THE MR. BUDDY FOR AUXILIARY HEAT, OR TO BRING ALONG PORTABLE HEAT IF NEEDED IN OTHER SITUATIONS, LIKE ICE FISHING OR GATHERINGS, ETC.)

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NEW BANK OF BATTERIES:
Before we left for Florida last Feb, we decided to replace our worn-out 12 volt marine batteries with new 6 volt golf cart batteries.  They hold a charge longer and carry more amps.  We invested in four new 6 volt ones before we hit the road.  
We do have room now to put in 6 of them if we wish, because Steveio made a new rack for the two driving (chassis) batteries to be relocated to the engine compartment at a later date. But four was all our budget was allowing at this time.   Ours ran $90 each with Steve’s discount at Batteries Plus.  The are rated 220 amp hours each,  plenty of power.
 new batteries (960x1280) new batteries (1) (960x1280)
The 6 volt batteries are taller and wider than the 12 volts ones we took out.  (the two on the far left are the driving (chassis) batteries for the diesel engine.   The slide-out tray has channels that were too narrow for the new batteries.  Steveio made platforms of treated wood to raise them up a bit above the lip edge, and then secured the new ones into place with strapping and boxed in to prevent slippage.  They are hooked in series of banks of 2 and then parallel together to make 12 volts.   You have to be careful to not hook them up wrong and make 24 volts, it will ruin all your electronics!  If in doubt, ask a battery shop to be sure.
new batteries (2) (1280x960) We now have plenty of battery power, and are able to boondock for quite a few days in a row without even needing to fire up the generator to recharge.  We have a 75 watt solar panel on the roof that tops them off each day. Being very very careful to never drain them below 12.0 on the indicator gauge inside.    That is what will kill a battery over time, by draining it too low in between charge-ups.   We used to do that, and we think that is why we ruined the 12 volt marine batteries in just 3 years.  Now we know better.
We are frugal with our energy use, and don’t need to fire up a noisy generator when we are in the deep quiet woods.  I think our neighbors in nearby tents and pop-ups appreciate the courtesy.  Like I have said before, we rarely go to campgrounds with hookups, so the battery power usage is important to us.
Sometimes if we do find we want to run the generator, in the middle of the day, we try to let the folks around us know that we are going to do it and for how long.  We offer that if they have cell phones, laptops, video cameras or their own camping or boat battery that needs charging, to bring it on over!   We always carry a car-type fast battery charger on board too.   One time a gal was SO happy to come over and sit in a lawn chair by our outside outlet and curl her hair with her curling iron!  LOL 


NEW COFFEE TABLE:
We needed a nice sturdy coffee table for in our rig between the two couches.  So Steveio made us this one that does double duty!   It can be our coffee table, or I can clamp my table loom to it and use it for a stand!  He made it just the right height, width and depth for the loom.  The table loom can fold up and be stored in a basement compartment too, or sometimes I just set it up on the dash out of the way when not in use.
before n after Tools of the Trade in my motorhome 1

Well.. that is it for the M’s and N’s….. in the upcoming blog, you will see our oxygenics shower head, puck light replacements and our scooter rack!

2 comments:

  1. Oh, my, you guys are teaching us lots about remodeling an older motor home, now if I can just keep Michael from selling it cause he is so disgusted with it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The "Muffler Mounting Bands" pictured
    around the Steve and Karen's Donaldson Muffler under Steve and Karen's Safari are also a Donaldson part, (p/n H000349).
    Mel

    ReplyDelete

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