A Little R&R “Rest & Refit” at the Dirt Farm (Casa Grande, AZ)

My last posting was on 23 February.  Since then… for the last week and a half or so, we’ve been hanging around the “dirt farm” with my Mom and brother in Casa Grande.

Not a whole lot of exciting things to blog about while we spend some quality family time with my Mom, Stepdad Jim, brother Steven & Cheryl.  However, I did get a few maintenance items taken care of… read on if interested:

Long time blog readers may remember that I had to replace my inverter/charger last year.  An autopsy of the old inverter indicated that the cooling fans gave up the ghost and caused it to overheat and shut down.  I decided to see what I could do to prevent this from happening to the new one.


I got a hold of some thin gauge sheet metal from my stepdad here at the farm.


I cut some notches on one side after putting in a small bend so it will tuck behind the wall-mounted inverter/charger behind the existing bolts.  I put black tape on the sharp edges.


I loosened the top two bolts from the wall and sandwiched my new dust guard between the wall and the inverter/charger.


The finished product should now keep some of the dust from settling onto the inverter/charger and (hopefully) prolong the internal components (fans) useful life.  There are also a couple water lines running above the inverter, so this shield should theoretically protect it from any water damage from above as well.


My new dust guard was just long enough to flex under the crossmember and up over the main bedroom slide cylinder.  No further mounting screws or clamps were needed.


Here’s the finished dust guard/shield (below) as viewed from the passenger-side rear basement door.  Not bad eh?  Even if I do say so myself 🙂  It still has plenty of room on all sides for the internal fans to draw air for cooling and is now protected on top.


My next project was to do something about the dust that always gets stirred up when the air compressor reaches its maximum pressure and blows air directly at the ground when the cut-off valve opens at the bottom of the air drier.  My solution was a PVC elbow that directs the air to the rear of the coach instead of the ground.  I cut multiple notches on one end of the plastic elbow so the plastic would squeeze tightly and hold with an ordinary hose clamp.  Now, when the air compressor releases its excess pressure, the forceful blast of air is directed to the rear of the coach instead of directly down on the ground while still allowing any condensation to drain off.


For my next project, I even got mom involved… the edge of my awning was starting to unravel at the corner.


I set up a step ladder so mom could show me how to do some sewing.



Of course, by the time I learned how to sew… mom was already finished.  Oh well, at least I’ll know how to do it myself next time.. right?  Thanks Mom!


Then, I decided to take the generator covers off to check things out and do a general cleaning.


Once I had the top cover off, I found an exhaust leak between the exhaust manifold and the muffler.

Generator exhaust manifold (as viewed from top looking down) on passenger side.

Unfortunately, to get to the offending part, I had to get the passenger-side cover off… not an easy task 🙁  There is one hidden bolt behind the angle bracket (below).


Here it is circled in red (below).  As you can see from the picture, there isn’t any room to remove the bolt without taking the whole front nose of the coach apart.

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Luckily, we’re here at the “dirt farm” where I have all my tools stored.  So I pulled out my angle attachment for a sawzall® and attached a small metal-cutting blade.


With the attachment installed, I was able to cut the bolt head off with only minor scratches to the panel.


After the sawzall® did its job on the bolt head, I finished off what was left of the bolt with a small hacksaw.


With the passenger-side panel finally off, I removed the exhaust pipe.  I also found the reason it was cracked.  The muffler was twisted off two of the three rubber mounts at the bottom.  This was caused by the exhaust pipe that extends out the drivers-side of the coach which had been hit at one time or another in the past.  I’m guessing it was the previous owner since I know I didn’t hit anything.  I had always wondered why the exhaust pipe mount had such a weird angle to it.


Here’s the exhaust manifold pipe below.  You can see the black exhaust soot at the bottom where the flex pipe was cracked.


View of the cracked flex-pipe (below).  There’s a wire mesh hose on the inside, I think it’s braided stainless steel.  If it wasn’t for this braided inner lining, the exhaust leak would have been really bad.


Here’s what I used to repair the hose.  I used both of these packages that I purchased at a local AutoZone™ store.


I wrapped the first layer of “bandage” tape around the crack in the flexible pipe.  This tape came with a wire to secure the bandage after the cloth-like material was soaked in a liquid that dries hard.  All this was in the package on the left (above).


Then I used the next package which consisted of a black sticky (gooey) tape to cover the first layer.


I also used some lacing wire to make sure the repair stays in place.  Here’s the freshly repaired pipe installed (below).  I also repaired the burned out insulation on the inside of the cover with heat-resistant reflective metal tape.


After the muffler was properly re-mounted into its rubber mounts hidden deep inside the bowels of the generator, I then attached a new exhaust clamp at the end of the pipe on the bracket.  The pipe comes out at a much better angle now and aligns much better now with the mounting bracket like it should.  I can’t believe how much quieter the generator is now!


I also changed the oil.  It’s much easier to get to the oil filter with the panel off.  I think I’ll do this job with the side panel removed in the future instead of fumbling through the small access plate underneath.  I didn’t have a new fuel filter so I’ll replace that next time.


With the generator back together again, I concentrated on cleaning and repainting the inner frame rails at the front of the coach.


Now, don’t get me wrong… we didn’t just do maintenance and cleaning on the coach while parked at the “dirt farm”.  I also cleaned and serviced the ATV and put it away in the shed.  Then I brought out the Harley and did some general cleaning on it as well.  I want to take it with us to the next rally in Goodyear, AZ on 5 March.

And when I wasn’t working or cleaning something we also had a little fun…  We went to the local dirt-track races at Arizona Speedway near Casa Grande one evening.  That was a good time.  We also went to our first Spring Training baseball game in Phoenix.  We watched the Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks (6-5) at Salt River Flats, Talking Stick Stadium.   We had so much fun there, that we bought tickets for the 13th to watch the Rockies play the LA Dodgers at the same stadium.  It will be our daughter Jennifer’s birthday, so we’ll take her and and our grandson Kaan to this game.  Looking forward to that 🙂  It will be Kaan’s first baseball game.


Check in for my next post on the Alpine SoCal Spring Training Rally (Mar 5-12) in Goodyear, AZ.