Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Bringing back that Shine!!

All of us vintage RV owners know that at some point the exterior finish, exposed to all sorts of weather and temperatures and UV rays tends to age and in the case of aluminum paneled RV's (which I think have it made over fiberglass panel RV's!!) the paint and coatings get chalky and dull. Now that's not so bad but when the white portions start to run down over the darker color trim bands that's when things start to look a bit used.

What to do? You can clean it and clean it but at some point those aluminum panels will wear down the paint coating and you're left with a repaint. At this stage we have an Allegro that is not there yet but showing signs that a good go over is needed.

I'll share with you my technique to clean, prep and clearcoat my RV. The supplies consist of a set of cleaners to kill off the algae that grows on our rigs, cleans of the debris and also helps strip off the oxidized layers of the color coat. Now, you don't want to strip all the coat off, just enough that you get rid of the grime, algae and other foreign materials. The clear coating will help bond and preserve the remaining base coat.

Unless you like the military drab look on your classic RV, then get ready to bring back the shine!!

Steps I took to restore the finish (fiberglass and aluminum were separate).

1) take glass cleaner (Castle Glass cleaner or similar ammonia based cleaner, spray on) and cover the area to be treated.
2) use 4 O steel wool (0000 on the package) to rub off the oxidation without leaving marks on the fiberglass. I have NOT used power sanders because I don't believe they allow the control you need to stop before you sand too much off.
3) Respray with glass cleaner and use a clean rag to remove all residual dust.
4) Look over the panel to see that you got off any over sprayed paint, oxidation and other discoloration where you could.
5) Spray a light coat of clear coat over the area. It's really tempting to over spray now because you can see the improvement right away but with clear coat it will drip even more than paint. Keep with several light coats. You should not have to sand between coats unless you get a bad drip. Heck, I've over sprayed knowing the coat would just drip down and run off the bottom of the panel.

1) Glass cleaner sprayed over area and wipe off with rags. You may need chlorine based cleaners to kill off the algae that grows in the seams but DONT MIX these as you will get a version of ammonium chloride!!! I believe that is mustard gas.
2) use rubbing compound and rags and apply the compound to the rags, rubbing most of the compound on the area to be cleaned. Let it dry for a minute and start rubbing, using the compound as your abrasive to get off specks of bugs, paint chips, stains, oxidation, etc. from the panel.
3) use glass cleaner to spray and wipe off the areas with a rag or paper towel to remove all the compound.
4) Spray clear coating on the panel over several coats to get the even shine with a smooth finish.

Here are a few pics of the work being done on the fiberglass front and aluminium sides.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Dometic Fridge Recall: FYI.

Hey Everyone!
Just thought I'd pass a couple of links to you so you are up to date on some of the appliances residing in your RV. One is the Dometic 2 way fridge (LP gas, electric) that may have an issue with coolant leaks and some small fire issues.

This is the link for you to check out what has been a lengthy recall on the product. Check it out and have your model number and serial number (found on the inside of the fridge door in most cases) ready to input and the site will tell you if your fridge is one of the units needing work. The retrofit consists mainly of adding a "secondary burner shield" to the bottom part of the unit. This allows more shielding and has a thermoswitch that allows shut off of gas to the burner in case it detects more heat than allowable.

Link:  this is an IP address that takes you right to the Dometic USA site.

If you cannot find a repair shop you can buy the recall kit online. This will require you to perform the work yourself or find an RV shop that is willing to do it. The RV shop should be doing this for free since they will be reimbursed for the time by Dometic. In any case, here is the kit with instructions and all parts:

This may not be available for long so be sure to verify it. I bought one and it was just fine.

Be Safe out there!!
The Vintage RV'er.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Memorial Weekend 2018: oil change on Onan....

Hello everyone!
I have only put about 20-30 hours max on the Onan since we had it but the oil has not been changed in over a year. Yep, there is a reason you don't go by miles/hours alone. Upon pulling the dipstick I could see it was low. Not dangerously low but low nonetheless.

So, pull out some 10W30 and then.... how much oil does this thing take anyway??? IDK. You would think I would remember this from the last oil change but come on!

went onto the interwebs and found the actual manual. I only have the parts lists and dealer service listing. Gotta get this downloaded somehow.
Yep, 3.5 quarts to do the job. Glad I checked!!

This is a Fram eazy off filter for a BMW 325i from the eighties. Perfect fit. $6.

New oil in the genset! Nice and clear as compared to the black sludgy oil drained out. Not 30 hours on the genset but time takes it's toll.

Yikes!!! Only about 2 quarts drained out on this change. Good thing I had new oil and filter. Will have to keep an eye on the oil consumption. Manual says, "check daily" no kidding....

In any case, 3.5 quarts did the job. Full up and filter, too. I use filters for a E30 BMW (the  6 cylinder M20B25 engine) and this fits PERFECT. So this should mean I'm all set for this Summer's trips around the area! Glad so much as come together and systems not working at all for years are now sorted out and ready to go. Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Onan Genset is back on-line!!

Hello Folks out there in Vintage RV land!

I have posted up some videos on my effort to address some of the quirks of my BFA 4.0 Onan Genset that provides AC power to my rig and helps charge up the batteries. The past summer had me whacking the genset control panel with a rubber mallet to get it to start up, otherwise hitting the start button you would just hear the cycling of the solenoids... clicky, clicky, clicky. After doing that for a while the starter solenoid just broke in two and that was the time I decided to clean everything up.
My Box-O-Parts collected over the last few months... no kidding. The one solenoid took over 2 months to get.
The YouTube Video can be found here:

Between Amazon, and other sources I ordered up the new parts and made up my mind to eliminate any old parts and get this Onan back up and running as it should. Most of the parts you can still get but the relays are NLA, so  you have to improvise and order some Bosch 0 332 209 150 relays (5 pin~!!!!) in lieu of the original Bosch 0 332 209 125 relays. Same wiring and function.
Managed to get all the new and alternate bits in place, fit on new clips and prep for restart!

While doing the video I was really ticked that the Onan wiring harness was all white. How do you figure out what wire goes where with no color coding???? Easy, you realize that the wires all have codes written on them. I mean the wiring diagram (not schematic) has all the wire codes on it and you can follow just what goes where when installing new parts. Glad I figured that out!\
Yeah, remember this is a "schematic" and not the actual wiring diagram available on the manual or on the interwebs. 
Some details came up over which starter solenoid was the one for this genset. When I bought it the genset had a 4 post solenoid like an old Ford version. The two post for the battery then another two for Ignition and Start on the front. I order a replacement based on the model and they send my a 3 pole version. Oh, oh. What to do?? Well we should refer to the wiring diagram on the genset and what do you know the diagram shows both posts ( ignition and start) on it.

It's nearly 10pm and I've started up the generator several times both at the genset and on the remote panel up front. Seems to work just fine! 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cleaning up the 454... the after-effect of a crank, no-start issue

So after having such a great set of fast starts on the rig she decides to toss me a crank/no-start issue. Yippee! I had replaced most of the distributor parts last year to clear up any question of start up. Now it seems that I should have done more after 1 year and 900 miles?

My #2 son and I spent an entire weekend working on this issue, removing all the top end parts to get to the carb and other smog components that may have caused issues. We did find a cracked vacuum line that we replaced  to the delight of the engine start.  We also decided that after the RV furnace project that any part that was not looking in tip-top shape should be cleaned and redone to bring it back to the condition is was in during the delivery from the factory.

 All of these pics are from the project where I cleaned off as much of the engine as I could, rust treated the metal and then repainted the engine to prevent any further rust to build up. I still cannot believe how many vacuum lines there are and pumps, belts and all such nonsense to get an engine to run. At the end of the day, I replaced half of the spark plug wires on the right side and in the process shown what else could be upgraded and repaired to improve the operation of the motorhome.

Best Regards,

Working Towards Spring.... Clean up and fixin' stuff....

I am so glad to have the Allegro's furnace rebuilt, installed and WORKING. My #2 son and I managed to blow out all the ducts and re-install them on the furnace unit. If you ever visit me on a very cold night --- go right to the bathroom. This is by FAR the warmest room in the RV. The rest of the RV heats up just fine but when you open the door to the potty room you are welcomed with a warm rush of air that rivals Swedish Saunas.... ok, not that bad but it is much warmer than the rest of the rig.

Along with this final install furnace work we decided that the press-board trim installed on the ceiling was needing replacement. Forget that this trim was double the size it was because it absorbed water and swelled up. We went to Lowe's and bought 1x2 oak trim strips to install. I had to countersink the screw holes nearly 1/2 way into the wood to get them to mount the right way but we got it dun!!
Along with the furnace and trim fixes we tackled the surface rust on the stove hood and surround by grinding all the rust off, treating with converter, and repainting the bits to seal them up for future use. The Allegro is lookin' pretty good this year! We also installed a shadow box display cabinet (look at the first photo) next to the door to store our trinkets for each camping years' worth of memories!! Then it goes into a scrapbook for the kids.

Happy Camping All in 2018!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

All systems normal (not always "go")....

This may not be a picture heavy post but one that links you to a couple of videos I've managed to cobble together on the Suburban furnace project I finally tackled. This RV had a furnace but I never even attempted to fire it up for fear that it would, well, catch on fire. With years of disuse and who-knows-what collecting in the burner, fan unit and other areas it was best to leave it be until I could tackle it this weekend. Glad to say that the result for now is a working furnace that can get the interior up to nearly 90F on a 32F day!! I still have to blow out the flex ducts but the complicated portion of getting the unit out, repaired, cleaned and installed is done.

Check out the two YouTube video links on here for how it was done. It was a collection of short video bits put together over this past weekend so I hope it makes sense and you get some benefit from it. I don't have professional video production on my channel.

I could not believe that even with just filming the critical bits I still wound up with a 22 minute video! The second part is about 14 minutes.

Have fun watching and remember all this fun is free. I  put this up here for fellow Vintage RV'ers looking to keep the older rigs running and it's worth it just getting the looks from folks as you pull into the campground!