Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?
So here it goes:
STARTING WITH THE LETTER B
Brake Line Fluid:I think we can all agree that brakes are a pretty important thing on a huge 30,000 pound vehicle!
Motorhome brake fluid should be changed yearly, or at least every two years, for safety. Because of the long length of brake lines in motorhomes, with more connectors and fittings than in a car, there is more chance of intrusion of moisture. And, of course, moisture means brake failure if it reaches a boiling temp in much-needed braking situations. When draining out the old fluid, it's very brown and root-beerish looking, and you can easily see that it needs to be replaced completely with fresh fluid. Not just added at the reservoir, but pulled completely through the lines.
We do it right in our own backyard....
Steveio has this nifty tool from Harbor Freight that utilizes an air compressor to remove the old brake fluid from the motorhome lines and at the same time, draw in the new fluid so there are not any air bubbles. This tool runs about $20. We use 2-3 of the big jugs of DOT 3 brake fluid.
My job is to pour in the new fluid as the level was sucked down through the lines. Normally you can use the second device in the box to let the new fluid come into the reservoir on it's own, but we don't have much clearance under our Safari to do that. So it's easier to just have a second person to pour it in while Steve uses the tool to draw it through the lines.
Brake Pad Replacement (while on the road):
We were on vacation out in western Texas in 2013 we realized we needed to do a brake pad replacement on the front wheels. We were camping near Del Rio, a tiny dusty border town. We called a Napa auto parts in that town and ordered the pads which were to arrive the next day.
NAPA number UP 7149-M $130
Steve got some of the lug nuts loose while at the campsite, but decided to drive the whole motorhome into Del Rio to a tire place to get the rest loosened. They kindly offered their empty back lot to park in for us to do the work! The nice guy named Travistino (sp?) came around back with his service truck and loosened up the last few lug nuts for us. Look at this Big Boy Tool!
The charge??? $5.00.... yes.... $5.00!
(I gave him a $10 tip and said to buy lunch)
Then we went to work. First we had to jack up the motorhome on the front leveling jack till the tires cleared the ground. We stacked up heavy wooden planks under the axle in case the front jack gave way. Never hurts to be safe. Then Steve was able to remove the driver's side tire and get to the brake system.
Steve said to note in the picture on the left, his reinforced top of the shock absorber mount that he repaired after it broke. He super duper welded it and made it even better than before. Steve noticed in New Orleans on Eric's rig, his has been repaired too. So it must be a common problem on Safari's with the Velvet Ride? Also we have since changed the shocks back to Koni brand for a better ride. I will do a blog post later when I get to the letter *S* for that.
OH MY GOD----- LOOK AT THESE!
Guess we needed new brake pads, eh?
Once he got the brake pads out, he took them with him. He hopped in the Tracker and went over to NAPA on the north side of Del Rio where our new ones had come in on the truck an hour before. Amazing--- we ordered them at 4pm and they were on a truck ready for us to be picked up by 8am the next morning. What good service!
Here is the box with the part number that NAPA used after cross referencing the numbers we got from other Safari owners. Steve was told the pads are actually the ones made by Bendix for the Ford Truck braking systems. That is good to know too.
Out came the rest of his tools and he set to work. It was fairly warm in the low 70's so his brown overalls were needed for protection while he worked, but soon got hot in the sunshine.
Before reassembling any of the brake parts, he used the generator to power up his grinding tool. The wire cup brush took off any excess rust and cleaned up all the parts nicely.
I was the gopher and the wheel turner and the tool hander and the picture taker!
Then he dabbed the brush of Copper Never Sieze on each piece that needed it, including the keeper pins (if that is their name?)
When assembling the caliper unit back together, you have to be sure to get these two metal discs in the right place inside of the cups before setting the pad into place. You need three or even four hands to do this, especially if you keep the brake line attached like Steve did.
Now.... he did the same thing to the passenger side as the driver's side... both front brakes were serviced. What a job! In a parking lot in a desert city with all his tools on board. What a guy! See why I keep him around?
It was time to put the tires back on, and lower the jack a bit till the tires were snug to the ground.
Bit by bit, he tightened up the lug nuts with the torque ratchet to 170 ft pound as high as it will go. After we drove it around to the front, the nice guy Travistino tightened them up to spec 500 ft pounds with his torque bar on air ratchet. Steve estimates it was about a two hour job to do both front brakes. We saved a LOT of money by doing it ourselves.
We stopped into the office of the tire place and thanked them for the use of their back parkinglot to do our brake job. They smiled and said no problem. I talked with the owner a bit, a nice woman, and gave her $30 to order some pizzas or donuts or something for the three guys who work there. With a nice wave from Travistino, we were on our way!
Later on that summer, we did the two rear brake pads in our own back yard, they were close to the same price and are same exact pads as the front brakes. We ordered them from our local Napa dealer and got them in one day.
$140.70 Napa part number UP-7149-M
Brake Line Failure and Replacement:
Not only do brake pads and brake fluid need replacing, but the lines that carry the fluid to the brakes sometimes need replacing too!
On another trip, this time to New Mexico in February of 2015... Steve noticed a big oily spot under our rig just after we leveled off in our campsite. Rut Roh! Breakdown again!
I am soooo thankful that Steve notices all of these little things before they become big or dangerous disasters. He is always watchful and keeps on his toes in regard to maintenance of our motorhome.
The brake line seems to have broken leading up to a front wheel. Good thing we were near a large enough town to get parts. Steve blamed me for "breaking the brake" because I was the one driving the motorhome up on blocks to level it. He said I stomped on the brake pedal too hard! Well, better that it breaks here in a park rather than in the middle of some mountain descent, right????
Now it was time for Steveio to get to work! He got down and dirty to figure out the busted brake line, and take measurements and get a good idea of what parts he would need to fabricate a new line.
With all of his notes in hand, we trooped on into town. He dropped me at Walmart for a grocery stock up session, while he hit the autoparts store with his list of items. Sadly. they didn't have what he needed!
Now here it where it turns into the GOOD NEWS!!!
Another customer, standing in line behind him says: "Hey, I own a truck repair shop down the highway and I can custom make that brake line for you. Just bring the old one on over and we can set you up!" Wowzer!!!! After some discussion, he said it would be better if we could drive the rig right over to his shop, and he can examine it firsthand before fabricating the new line. He even offered to let us stay in his lot overnight if we got over there too late in the day to get started on the job!
What are the odds that Steve would be standing next to one of the only truck repair places in 50 miles around who can custom make brake lines and has all the lines, fittings and tools to bend them???
Yes, the Motorhome Gods were smiling down on us!
We rushed back to the campground and Steve donned his overalls. (yes, he takes them along on the road just in case!) He was able to temporarily patch in a piece of line with some compression fittings to get us limped down the highway 25 miles to the truck place. We also have our Pac Brake engine exhaust brake to help stop us, but it is best to patch this line in the meantime and we have brakes enough to get down there. So here is my Mr. FixIt Guy laying on an old Thanksgiving table cloth as he works on patching the line.
He was done with the temporary patch job, and out he bled the lines while I pumped from inside. Everything held and we were good to go.
On a positive note, we arrived safe and sound at Harold's truck repair place. It is called Emergency Truck Repair right off the highway at Caballo Lake, NM. It's comforting to see that he is working on all the local folks vehicles, the county ambulance, and even the Derry Arrey Fire and Rescue vehicle. If the locals trust him with their things, we should be in for a good experience.
Harold came out and checked the line on our rig, and yes, he said that he can easily make that line. Steve suggested that perhaps he should make up another front brake line for the other side as well, so now we will be good to go if Harold can make both of these for us.
The only problem is Harold can't do the labor himself to install them, because he had recently hurt his shoulder really bad... Harold thinks he tore his rotator cuff. His doc appt was the next afternoon. So he said to Steve: "If I make the parts in the morning, can you do your own labor??" YESSSS !!!! That will save us in labor costs, and Steve is more than adequate at handling the installation of the new lines. We even have along our power bleeding tool device that runs off our air compressor. Whew.... that is a good thing! Silver Lining, perhaps?
See, the problem is that the brake lines are a flexible type, 36 inches long, and need to be specially fabricated for a long-defunct chassis company on our 22 year old motorhome! (Magnum chassis manufactured by Safari when it was out in Oregon) And he did it! Great guy!!!!
Here is a pic of the extra one for the passenger side:
We had a safe night sleeping in our rig in his gated shop yard. Steve got the new brake line fabricated from Harold in the morning, and Steve set to removing the old rusted fittings from the old line and installing the new line in it's place.
In the meantime, Harold had to lock up shop and leave for a doc appt. We were out in the parking lot working on it with our front end up on blocks and the front hydraulic leveler for added stability. Steve used all his own tools too, so Harold could lock up his shop and go.
So once we were done testing the new line, we didn't know how much to pay.. or WHO to pay because there wasn't anyone around!
Harold thought he would only be gone 1 or 2 hours. He said that when he came back he would make up a duplicate line for our passenger side for Steve to change out later on. It was 5:30 before Harold got back to the shop.
He made up the duplicate line and we were good to go for under $100.00 WHEEEEEE Thank you Motorhome Gods for putting Steve in the right spot --- at the right time --- to meet with the right guy --- who can make up these special brake lines for us!!!!Steve was gone most of the day yesterday for work. I am still hanging out at home, being a recluse and healing from the pneumonia. I would say I am feeling 80% better, but still weak and tire easily. I am very very afraid of picking up a flu bug or other virus out there, so I am staying home inside. Safe and sound.
I did finish sewing together all of my blocks for my Twin Turtle Coffee Quilt. The quilt is named after the shop that I won the fabric from in October for a contest. http://www.twinturtlequilts.com/
Here is the finished quilt top (not yet quilted or binding edges) on our king sized bed. It hangs down on each side about 8 inches, so I want to add a border to make it a bit wider, as well as taller at the top to make a "pillow tuck" area.
I like the three dimensional look to the blocks,
with the darks and golds to the upper rights
and the creams and beiges to the lower lefts.
I think for the border I will do a strip of cream and then a strip of this adorable coffee bean fabric. I made up four border variations in photos and posted them to my quilting group. I asked for their opinions on which way to make it, and most of them voted for this number 3.
This is the coffee bean fabric I am using for the border and also the entire back of the quilt! I saw it a while back at Joanns Fabrics, but when my friend Vicky and I went there for a shopping sale, we could not find it again. I looked online on my phone and it said that store should have about 8 yards of it in their inventory. So we looked and looked again. I was ready to give up, but Vicky found the bolt of coffee beans setting behind the cutting table in a big bin of fabric!!!! Thanks Vicky! Moral of the story, "Never Give Up"!
And.... I got to use my coupon for a discount on the fabric!
The weatherman says we are due for our THIRD January Thaw this weekend!!! I am looking forward to some warm sunshine and perhaps coffee out on the front porch.
Keep tuned to my blog, we are going to replace the king sized mattress in our motorhome with a new memory foam one if the weather cooperates! (we want dry pavement to use our little flat trailer to haul the mattress home). So we will see if Steve and I can wrestle the old one out and get the new one in? Either that, or Steve will call on a buddy to come over and help.