One more busy day

Returned yesterday from a unit rally in the NC piedmont near the mountains. Only a week left before we plan to leave for our long trip to Dawson Creek B.C. to meet the airstream caravan to Alaska. So this morning we broke into our final countdown list. We’ve beat the list down over the past couple of weeks but still have plenty to do in just a week.

Full-timing includes maintaining our truck and trailer periodically so they are reliable down the road. We’re fortunate to have a level paved driveway for working on the trailer. Deb’s parents have an area perfect for my maintenance efforts, but we don’t want to use it too much. They like to park in the same space so I want to get my stuff done and get out of the way. I hoped to get it all done in one day, two at most.

Today was to be the big one. We adjusted the trailer’s brakes, wrapped the trailer’s gas lines in 1/2″ insulation, replaced the flange seal between the sewer pipe and the banana panel, caulked several openings at pipes’ entry points, found a couple of bottom pan rivets needing replacement; removed, cleaned, and re-installed the black tank level sensor; and dropped the fresh water tank to the ground.

Four large metal hangers and two long straps support the tank in place against the bottom of the trailer. I hoped to correct a leak at the poly petcock on curb side between the wheels. The leak went on for several months without self-correcting, we gave it every chance.

Not knowing how to get at the petcock attachment and lacking an access panel under the tank, I loosened and carefully lowered the tank with a floor jack. Except it wouldn’t lower on the curb side, it was hung on the fresh water lines for the trailer, the fill tube, and who knows what else.

I returned inside where Debbie was researching several other items: our foam cushions for the sofa seats and dinette seats are due tomorrow to the shop for glueing, cutting, and radiusing. The black tank sensor replacement is over $50 with shipping (what a bunch of crap!). LED lights for the vanity and reading lights are on their way from (thanks Dan!). The Dinosaur brand replacement refrigerator control board is on its way from BestConverter.

Deb and I researched again replacing the petcock and finally stumbled onto the right thread — mookiedog had done just as I did and I failed to read his warning in time. He’s correct — the only benefit in removing all the bolts supporting the fresh water tank is the physical exercise.

Fortunately I was able to rehang the tank quickly and restart working on the leaky petcock. I cut a two inch by three inch hand hole and replaced both clamps on the small line between the petcock and the tank. No good, the petcock still drips constantly.

Tomorrow I’ll cut a larger access hole, remove the clamps and tubing, and figure out what the leaky part is. And recaulk the stove vent, windows, tail lights, and awnings.

Not all that is busy is good. At least the brake adjustments went well.

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5 responses to “One more busy day

  1. Had to revise instantly — second paragraph failed to save properly, so this hopefully has it all now.

  2. Richard Hunt

    We look forward to hearing about your experiences on the Alaskan caravan. It sounds like your efforts will have you in top shape for the long trip. The petcock on our freshwater tank doesn’t leak, but I feel like I am going to break the small handle every time I open or close it. I have tried spraying it with lubricants, but they never reach the friction. I am considering opening it and permanently attaching a good quarter-turn petcock (like on water heater lines) on a short hose. Any suggestions?

    • Richard,
      I highly recommend replacing the drain valve. If you have an experienced rv mechanic do this it seems like it should require less than an hour labor and under ten dollars in materials. The valve, a few inches of 1/2″ vinyl tubing, two hose clamps, and a scrap of aluminum for an access hole cover plate cost me six dollars retail. And the new valve is easy-greasy to turn.


  3. We are envious of your upcoming trip. Have a wonderful time, Is this your first trip to Alaska?

    • Jan, We traveled Alaska two weeks in 2008 with airstream club’s Fly-Drive-Alaska caravan. Flew in to Anchorage, rented 25′ foot CruiseAmerica class C motorhome. The trip was a fabulous appetizer to Alaska visits, so we are ready for the main course now.

      Jim & Deb

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