We’re leaving today for a Carolinas Unit of NC airstream club rally in Mt Airy NC then Sunday for points west and way west. The preparations for today seem to have snuck up on us although we’ve known all summer we’d be leaving this week. We forget how much there is to do when you unpack the trailer and move out of it for a little while (like all summer, off and on).
Jim planned two not-so-major tasks for yesterday afternoon, having already lined up almost everything else. He only wanted to refill the fresh water tank we drained last night and adjust the Airstream’s four drum brakes. Neither job is complicated and neither takes much time, maybe an hour total for both.
We’ve been clicking along really well this week, marking things off our list each day and feeling pretty good about everything. Wednesday Jim thought he should run the little Yamaha 1kw generator an hour or so just to keep it happy. Unhappily, it wouldn’t start. Seems Jim has fallen down on monthly test runs on the poor little genset and the gas just went bad.
Happily there is a new outdoor equipment place only one block away from where we’ve been staying all summer. Time passes so quickly on some things — we had no idea we had been using (mostly carrying around) this generator since 2006. It has worked so well, always starting right away whenever Jim pulls on the cord. And Thursday afternoon Kannapolis Power Equipment gave us the generator with an oil change, a new spark plug, new gasoline, and a cleaned-out carburetor.
But back to the breaks. I mean, the brakes. Jim adjusted the two street-side brakes and started on the curb-side rear wheel brake when he saw he needed to reattach the water heater’s propane gas line under the trailer and replace a missing rivet in the belly pan nearby. He completed these and adjusted the brake without incident.
When he prepared to adjust the front curb-side wheel’s brake he noticed the shock absorber was missing the washer and nut at the top mount. Jim tried to reach over or around the tire and just couldn’t get access to the mounting with the tire in the way. But also cannot remove the wheel while it’s in the air because cannot break the lug nuts loose on a spinning wheel.
Jim lowered the trailer to the ground, loosened the lug nuts, raised the trailer, and removed the wheel. He used a thick washer and a nut from his junk box to refasten the shock to the mount and realized he would need to check all three other wheels for the shock absorber mounting. Guess what he found?
The other curb-side wheel’s shock also was missing the washer and nut at the top mount, although the two street-side wheel’s shocks were fully attached. Again with the loosening of lugnuts, removing the rear curb-side wheel, installing another washer and nut while again busting knuckles in the tight clearance of the wheel well.
We don’t know when these shock absorber mounting nuts came loose or why. Jim used Loctite threadlocker blue on these two repairs so they will hopefully be good until time to replace shocks.
And we’ve added another inspection point on our trailer’s annual brake inspection and bearing lube job — check shock absorber mounts, top and bottom. We might encounter no surprises when we only want to adjust the Airstream’s brakes, eh?
Jim and Debbie