Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Shocking Truth...

Can't let a good or bad pun go unused here.... We'll as you may have noticed from the UTube channel I crawled under the rig to trace some wires and came across a rather disturbing, shocking if you will, situation.

UTube Video of the Shocks

Turns out at some point my new KYB Air shocks busted their upper mounts right off and were just hanging around. Great. Just great. The original shocks were replaced (see my earlier posts on here) and there were no air bags. Just the leaf springs. So, with the right shocks I should have had a great ride and I did!!! I suspect that during one of the trips to the truck shop someone lifted the RV up, dropping the axle and over-extending the shocks. I never heard any noise or hit a big pothole or bump on our trips to cause this. That's my story anyway.....

So, with that going on I pulled the shocks out, re-welded the mounts (fun that was!!!) and installed new KYB shocks. Also ordered a air-bag kit but the Firestone one turns out is on BACKORDER TILL NOVEMBER!!!

Okay then! It's onto Air Lift kits then. Same as the front springs so it's somewhat fitting (HA!) that I get the same for the back.

The Air Lift 88203 kit for Chevy P30's from 1966 till about 1990. Hope to see this show up soon!!

Re-welded shock mounts. Put such a weld bead on there it should never budge! Careful not to set fire to the foam that Tiffin sprays ALL OVER the underside....
 Never a dull moment with this RV! Always a learning experience as long as it's not as extreme as the Tioga.....I'll be posting up a video for this install and the Escape from NY trip in the next week or so!

As always folks: Safe, Happy and Healthy RV'ing!!!

Chasing the Ghosts in the Machine

Hello all from Lockdown Central! It's been 2 months but it seems like 4.... Well, the upgrade work and repairs continue. Had one of those facepalm moments yesterday when tracking down the 110v no-power issue. Forgot about a little grey box under the kitchen sink cabinet. Yep. Transfer switch capacitor is blown. A little part gave up and the switch won't work except on shore power. Will have to remember to check it first (and also remember where it was!!) if this happens.

See that little silver object that looks cracked open (and the clear plastic cover just above and to the right)?? Yep, blown capacitor on the transfer switch!
So, that should resolve the issue with no genset power! In the mean time I have a new 30 amp genset breaker, new main breaker, GFI outlet.....and I found out what it looks like under the back bed. Need some more sound insulation around the generator and will do that before putting the plywood deck back on.

I found one of the better deals on-line at:

With this hopefully having a fix on the way, now it's time to attempt to wrap up the other issues I've found on the RV. While I don't mind fixing old, broken stuff on the RV I DO mind having to replace stuff I replaced already!!! More about that later....

Be sure to watch my UTube channel! The Vintage RV'er

Thanks for reading! Safe, Happy and Healthy RV'ing Everyone!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Week 7 of the Stay-at-Home Adventure: Some Thoughts About the Future

It's been a while and some things I have noticed are how quiet things are even in town. I just remembered that the aircraft traffic is just about at a standstill -- very much like after 9-11 if you recall. I still remember that week after, being at the south shore of Lake Ontario and seeing NO contrails at all in the sky where I was used to seeing the NY/ Toronto/ Montreal/ Chicago air traffic each day.

Strange I didn't notice that before but I guess it's because 9-11 kind of snuck up on us as a sucker punch type of event. This one is just a lingering, "here we goooooo....." one.

Work on the RV is progressing but I still have to balance doing that vs. the day job and my second job and not get too far behind on either of those. Glad to have employment because there are some folks that are unemployed and even worse, may not get their old jobs back. So for that I doubly-glad to have a job.

I've spent some of that time redoing some of my channel and came up with a basic logo for the branding below...

Kind of a primitive graphic of the top of an old RV and using the colors of my old Allegro (Orange and Brown).

I've been trying some new things on the videos on the UTube channel and found out about copyright, even if you use what you're told are royalty-free music on the channel. Will have to redo those even though I don't monetize my channel at all. Just don't like doing that to folks. Darn you Windows 10 Video Maker!!!!

 Parts for the next project I hope to get done before we head out on the next Long Haul road trip later this year. The RV has the original (still working to some extent!) Brisk-Air A/C unit on top but she's 33 years old and I can't imagine that efficient.....
 So, if we're going to go there..... Hat tip to Chris on my UTube Channel for reminding me that it's always a good idea to install one of these start capacitors on any large appliance. This buffers the start-up amperage so you don't blow a fuse or drop voltage so much you cause other issues with your RV electrical. This also helps save your appliance by delivering the maximum electrical 'punch' at start up the unit needs to get going. Cheap at about $14 to order and save an expensive appliance like the A/C.
 And where would we be without having to order the $85 internal control panel because it's not included in the purchase of the new rooftop A/C unit. That would just be crazy, wouldn't it??? I guess many who buy the new unit are doing so because the old one crapped out but come on, wouldn't offering a package install deal be a good thing? Unless you are trying to discourage DYI RV owners...
The last 'bit' is the optional heating coil unit for the Dometic A/C. Now, I have a working furnace but for about $70 I think it's worth having in the RV as the back up, don't you??

Thanks for reading. If you like to watch stuff, check out the UTube channel by looking my up as:

Dan the Vintage RV'er

As always..... Happy, Safe and Healthy RV'ing!!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

That Which Shall Not Be Named.....Projects and Plans for 2020

Hey Everyone!
Been focusing on the YouTube channel for a while, getting some projects dun while told to stay home during this period in history. Luckily between my day job and my practice I've managed to stay financially afloat.

This blog had always been a way to post up photos and get some thoughts out that I hadn't done on the other channel and I'd like to keep some things here in scrapbook format vs. trying to polish up things for UTube.

Anyway, got lots of things going on now that the LH2 is effectively dry-docked so the Dometic fridge is getting a MAJOR makeover with gaskets, burners, igniters, etc. along with a redo of the enclosure that was rotting away.  This series of videos can be found at the UTube channel.

The Vintage RV'er

We managed to get a trip on Myrtle Beach, SC in February before all this COVID crap hit the fan. The videos are here and yes, we did encounter some mechanical issues but we fixed em up and kept going!! Lessons learned from past trips.

This was the trip down in mid February and the camping time down there and trip back is below:

Can't wait to get the fix-it projects done on the Long Hauler 2 so we can look forward to road trips once this lockdown is lifted.

Be Safe, Be Well and Stay Healthy!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

What's that Sound? Everybody look what's going down!

What's going down? My tire wear, that's what going down! I finally committed to buying a set of Centramatic dynamic wheel balancers for the RV.

Now, what are these things? How can a ring of metal bearings balance out a tire? SCIENCE.

Dynamic Wheel Balancing

That's what I've just installed to deal with the crappy lead balancers that fell off the first trip. After a couple of long trips the noise became noticeable to me at highway speeds. Not cool. The video I've posted to YouTube shows the difference in the LH2 after installing these. No more vibrations, rattles of the stove and other items in the RV. Pretty neat!

Glad to see that this product does what it says it does! For the cost of what, 2 Cooper tires for the RV, I get several benefits for the RV. Check out the install and test drive video below!

The Long Hauler gets Centramatic Balancers!

Next projects are fixing up the electrical, wiper/washers, and rear-end gear swap to get better cruising on the highways!

Thanks for watching and to all of you out there, Happy and Safe RV'ing!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Kick Down! Fixing the TH400 shifting issues

It seems that the PO did some deletions to the transmission to get rid of the kick-down feature on the RV. Not sure why except some think that it's annoying when you floor the pedal and then the RV shifts down a gear (and on a 3 speed that can be somewhat disconcerting!). When climbing hills or trying to pass something (also up a hill) you may need that kick-down option.

Now, this later Chevy has the activation switch near the gas pedal (accelerator) instead of a switch and cable setup found on early Chevy's where the switch was near the carburetor. Basically the idea is that once you floor the go pedal, a switch is flipped that allows for activation of a solenoid in the transmission to shift down one gear for the time you have the pedal depressed that far.

I looked under the dashboard to see what I had near the accelerator and there was that GM kick-down switch! I pushed the pedal down as far as I could with my hand and could not activate that switch. It would take considerable pressure on the pedal by my foot to get that switch to move! First issue found. The other one is making sure the wiring is hooked up to that part of the transmission to allow the voltage to activate the solenoid. Have not checked that yet but I recall a wire hanging loose near there.

This is the Allegro's setup with the switch set in a way that you have to REALLY punch the gas to get it to move. Purple wire is 12V source and orange goes to the shift terminal on the TH400. 

Stock photo showing a shiny plug in the place of the terminal lead to activate the shift solenoid that's accessed by dropping the transmission pan. Hope that part is still there and working!!!
Here are pics of the gas pedal switch, wires and a stock photo showing where the plug should be on the transmission. This plug photo works better showing the location than almost any one with the terminal lead on the dirty and grimy transmissions.

I'll update this once I get the connections adjusted, including putting a section of hose around the switch post to get it to activate a bit sooner... tip I found on-line!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The RV Laundry List: What do you fix on your RV?

The last Road Trip to Myrtle Beach (a 1600 mile round trip, by the way) helped sort out some issues on the RV. Some of which are:

1) Vibration due to tire noise and imbalance.
2) Removal of washer hoses for wipers by PO
3) Running the 454 engine at 3K+ for the trip to keep at highway speeds.

Those are the major issues we encountered on our last trip. The first one is going to be mitigated by a company called Centramatic. This company builds dynamic balancing rings that fit on the tire hubs and counteract the imbalance of the tires at all times.

Their website can be found here:
I bought two sets, one for the front steering wheels and one for the drive wheels. We shall see how it improves the ride. Any reduction in vibration during our trips will be welcome.

The second issue will have to be dealt with by getting new hoses and nozzles for the wipers. The pump and tank are sitting under the hood, awaiting reconnection. Based on the this last trip with the salt and spray build-up on the windshield, I can't wait for a fix.

The last issue has been a matter of debate. Do you pay 3K for a Gear Vendors unit to get you overdrive and some mid gears you don't really need? Do you pay 2K for an R700 4 speed tranny to get overdrive and different gears for the shifts? Or, do you decide to get new rear end gears without disturbing RV owners and have a shop slip in the new 3.73 gears to replace the 4.10 ones you have now and drop  cruising rpm by 300-400 rpm?
This may require both. I've ordered the dynamic balancers and am working on a shop that will do the read end swap. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Wintertime RV tasks

It's winter for all intents and purposes here in Western NY. For RV's that means checking out systems, keeping batteries topped up and making sure that all the things that work in above-freezing temps are protected for the next camping season.

Check out my UTube channel for all the latest videos of me attempting to keep the rig in good shape while working 2 jobs.

Here: The Vintage RV'er Channel

After a close call with the better-half deciding that it would be best to sell the Long Hauler, we've decided to plan some extra trips with the kids and really just kick back and enjoy the experience (okay, the "experience" has been mechanical break-downs, leaving the last RV in Floriday and driving back in a rented van....)  so we have come PTSD issues to work out each time we head out on the road.

The next trip is back to one of our old stomping grounds during the ill-fated road trip with the LH1. Myrtle Beach.

Here's the map:
2020 Trip Map to Myrtle Beach

I'm checking off items on my to-do list such as re-clamping the sway bar link (done!), changing the oil (will do tomorrow am....) and other stuff to make sure the experience is as drama-free as possible.

Good night all! Happy and Safe RV'ing!