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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!


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

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!


  1. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok.
    I'm absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new

    1. There... I found my Twitter acct. I added a link up above in the right hand column. I will post updates there each time I post a blog... and use the hashtag: #RVingTheUSAisourBIGBackyard

  2. Hi, I do have a Twitter I think but I never use it or maybe that's Instagram? You can hit the link at the top of this page to follow me and that way you will get a notice every time I post. I think it sends an email. I am on Facebook though and I always post a link whenever I finish one on there. Maybe I should start a Twitter one huh?


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