Sunday, April 29, 2012

Last minute update.

Location, at Home, CA

While pulling together the things I need for the next 10 days in the back country I managed to watch all of the NBA first round play-off games. Some good and some not so good considering it is the play-offs.

Tomorrow morning I will go over the mountain and mow. Craig will go with me so it should go fast with two of us mowing. He changed out an engine on one of the large heavy mowers he has so that should help with the deep grass.

I need to buy the last groceries tomorrow afternoon. It is mostly fresh veggies and dairy products.

Tuesday afternoon about 2 Pm I will travel to the site with the trailer and stay for the next 10 days. I hope the weather stays nice but I did see the possibility of rain showers later in the week. I hope it is only showers as working in the rain sucks….Not to mention cooking outdoors in the rain.

What will be, will be. I will try to post while I am there but no promises.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Location, at Home, CA

Another week gone by with not a lot to show for it on my part.

I am slowly getting things organized for my 10 days gate guarding with the Rancheros. I bought some of the canned goods the other day and will buy the remaining just before I start. I have my food and menus planned but there is always the uncertainty of not knowing what I will receive for meat for dinners. Some years I have gotten a whole New York strip all cut into very thin steaks or both cooked and uncooked tri-tip roasts. Last year I received a package of top block steak. Fortunately, there was someone there who knew what it was as I certainly didn’t recognize it. I cut 2 inch steaks and BBQ’ed them which was perfect.

I filled the truck with diesel this week which should be enough to make at least 2 trips over the mountains. I will go up and mow the grass the day before I take the RV up. I do this to get rid of the foxtails growing there. If I don’t mow them, they get in our shoes and socks and make life miserable.

This year I will be by myself on Friday and Saturday as my helper is being used at the other camp for those days. It is not to my liking but that’s beyond my control.

On another subject: everything is blooming right now so here are some photos to enjoy.

Clyda's radish bed in a box.

Navel orange tree blossems.

Lime tree blooming.

Boysenberrys in full bloom.

Bearded iris bed.

California poppies.

There are even some apricots this year.

Cymbidiums blooming.

And of course, our large bougainvilla along the back fence.

Friday, April 13, 2012

RV repairs completed.

Location, at Home, CA
Yesterday I finished putting the RV back together.

I had Craig weld up 2 angle iron T brackets. These were bolted to the existing brackets holding the hydraulic tray in place. They are not meant to support the weight of the tray but rather to keep the whole tray from dropping down. The front of the tray now rests on a 2x4 which spans the top of the generator box. This should keep everything in place even with the rough roads here in California.

I still have a hydraulic leak somewhere around the motor and reservoir to check out. Running the rooms out and in a few times should show where the leak is.

Sometime this summer I want to pull the underlayment from the underside of the trailer so I can see what is wrong with the hydraulic cylinder for the living room slide. I suspect that it is a possibly a lubing problem. It means removing the spare tire and lots of self-taping metal screws.

On another note, my taxes are done and off to the government. I did manage to get a little back from both the Federal and State. In this day and age with governments grabbing with both hands to get our hard earned dollars, it probably is a miracle that we got anything back.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Repairing a jack on the RV.

A week ago we camped at Morro Bay with friends. After I put the jacks down on the trailer I pulled the truck out from under the 5th wheel hitch. The trailer on the passenger side suddenly dropped. Fortunately it only dropped a few inches. It was still enough to cause a heart stopping moment. I immediately put the truck back under the hitch and let the trailer rest on the hitch for the weekend.

We surmised that something inside the jack had broken.

When I got home I dropped the jacks and took the weight off the truck but the passenger jack wasn’t holding anything. In fact I could push the whole jack up several inches. To get the truck out from under the hitch I used a floor jack to take the weight on the passenger side and a heavy duty jack stand with a block on it on the main frame member to hold that side up.

This morning I started the process to remove the jack. This required removing the tubes holding the sewer hoses, removing the frame and door from around one of the compartments next to the jack. Then the compartment itself is collapsed on all sides while pulling it out from the body of the trailer just far enough to clear the jack. When it is out far enough I can stand up behind the box and remove the 2 bolts securing the jack to the frame. The jack can then be lowered out of its brackets.

My jack shaft on top.

Taking the jack a part requires removing a cover, a bearing guide, and driving out a tapered pin from the gear head. When that is done the jack shaft can be removed from the jack itself.

It was very obvious what the problem was as the large hex nut through which the jack shaft rotates was stripped. The nut could be freely slide up and down the shaft. Also, threads from the nut were embedded in the grease on the shaft. Further investigation indicates that at some time I had retracted the jack too far up into the trailer. Somewhere in all the literature I have is a warning about doing that.

Now comes the good part. My neighbor Paul had an old jack in his junk pile saved from another neighbor years ago who had replaced his jacks. It took some grinding, a little welding, and shortly we had a good as new jack shaft. A healthy slaughtering of grease on all the moving parts and some assembly and the jack was ready to be installed.

Before the cross coupler was installed we measured how much of the driver side jack shell was extended and set the passenger side the same length.

While doing the final assembly I noted hydraulic fluid on the tray under the hydraulic unit which pushes the slides in and out. Something else to troubleshoot. I also noticed that the bracket that holds the hydraulic unit up had broken welds on both sides and the whole unit was resting on top of the compartment where my generators are housed. This bracket and the cross member to which it is welded are light duty steel.

The builder used too thin steel for the brackets and the cross member. We had heard of this happening to another camper while we were at Morro Bay. I his case the whole pin box of his fifth wheel broke loose and dropped his trailer onto his truck.

In my case, I don’t want to reweld the brackets as the metal is too thin to hold.  I think the fix will be to fashion metal brackets to bolt to the hydraulic unit and over the cross member.