I know… I know! It has been quite a while since I last posted. We’re still in Phoenix at the Triple “T” Mobile Home & RV Park. It feels like we’re homesteading 🙁
We moved here after attending the Alpine Coach Rally in Goodyear, AZ and have just been biding our time until the next SoCal Chapter rally in Newport Dunes, CA which is scheduled for 20-27 April. The monthly rate is really good here (~$450) but we still have to settle up on the monthly electric bill. I got two spots here; one spot for us and another spot for our oldest daughter Jenny and grandson Kaan after we bought her a trailer as a temporary solution to help her get settled here in Phoenix. You may recall from previous posts that we helped her move down from Colorado Springs back in late January – early February. Jenny is going to work every day and Kaan is going to school while Stilla enjoys some ‘Grandma’ time. Anyway, I’ve used our time here to take care of a bunch of maintenance items… I remembered to take pics of some of the projects:
Here’s the first project – The door handle broke a while ago on the washer/dryer combo. We have a Splendide® Model 2100. I finally found a source for a new handle kit and had it shipped.
The new door handle kit came with detailed instructions. I had to remove the door from the washer/dryer to affect repairs.
This was a pretty easy project thanks to the instructions included in the kit. Email me for source and price of kit if you need one of these… it took a bit of research to find it online.
Yea! Now I don’t have to use a screwdriver to push the latch and pry the door open anymore. It’s the little things in life 🙂
My next project was to finish repairs to the solar panels I removed when we were parked in Goodyear at the last Alpine Coach SoCal Rally.
The connector for the solar panels was corroded where it connected on the roof and wasn’t sending any voltage to the batteries.
While the solar panels were off the roof, I took them over to a local RV repair shop near our mobile home park. They tested out good.
I basically gave up trying to find a new connector… all the newer model solar panels use different connectors and my older system isn’t supported any longer. I had to cut the wires coming out of the roof and removed the roof-side connector.
I decided that i had to reuse the old connector in order to seal the rather large hole in the roof. I drilled out the old connector in order to pass the wires from the panels through so I could wire crimp them directly together.
After crimping the wires together on the underside of the old connector with barrel connectors and shrink tubing; I then remounted the old connector on the roof, sealed it up good with non-silicone caulking, and Eternabond™ tape.
Now I just had to fix the broken corner on one of the solar panels before mounting them to the roof rails again.
I found an angle bracket and drilled some new holes to fix the damaged solar panel frame. I used new machine screws and lock nuts to secure the corner of the frame. I still have to wonder how this broke in the first place – it looks like it was hit with something.
And voila! The panels are all back where they should be and charging the batteries. If I understand correctly; the panels are primarily for keeping the chassis batteries (2 ea. ) topped off while boondocking. When the generator is running, it concentrates on charging the house batteries (8 ea. ) through the three phases (bulk, absorption, and then float). The house batteries have to be fully-charged before the system switches over to charge the chassis batteries which basically never happens because we don’t leave the generator running very long after reaching the float stage. It’s just not cost-effective. So that’s where the solar panels come in. Of course, none of this matters when we’re hooked up to shore power because the system automatically switches between banks of batteries (house vs chassis) depending on state of charge in order to keep them all topped off.
The next project was to replace the sewer valves. For a while now – every time we went to dump, I had to be careful when taking off the cap because there’s always a little “liquid” that has leaked past one of the gate valves and sits there between the cap and valve waiting to come out before I had the sewer hose in place. I bought two new gate valves and flushed the tanks before removing the old Y-pipe and gate valves. However, while removing the gate valve bolts/screws, I found one corner of the flange on the Y-pipe had been previously overtightened and cracked. I had to go back to the RV store and buy a new Y-pipe, which unfortunately for me, only came with new gate valves already attached. So if anyone needs a couple new gate valves (never used/still in package)… let me know.
After taking care of the sewer valves (a surprisingly easy project), I turned my attention to the kitchen sink. A ‘not-so-easy’ project… our Corian™ countertops have a heavy stainless double sink mounted underneath. Originally, the manufacturer used strips of wood that were glued under the counter to attach clamps that are supposed to hold the sink up. Over time, the silicone holding the sink up along with the weak clamps/wood strips allow the sink to drop from the countertop. Ours came loose a long time ago but luckily, it was only sagging a little bit on one side so I braced it underneath and have been putting it off. The falling sink issue is not an uncommon problem with our Alpine Coaches as they age gracefully. This is evidenced by the many posts on the iRV2.com website under the Alpine Owners Forum where other owners wrote about their fixes.
I reglued the wood furring strips to the bottom of the counter using Gorilla glue™ and lots of clamps. I let the glue dry for a day while I replaced the kitchen faucet. I found a nice replacement faucet at Lowes™ but had to go to Ace Hardware™ for the proper “compression thread” fitting that would adapt the larger diameter Pex® hose on the coach to the small diameter supply hose on the new faucet.
After siliconing the top of the sink, I carefully pressed it up into place…
I used three methods to ensure the sink never falls down again. In addition to the clamps attached to the freshly reglued wood ‘furring’ strips, I used about six of the adjustable refrigerator bars (←link) to brace the sink along the edges from underneath…
I also used a couple footman loops (←link here). One of these I mounted on the back wall behind the sink and the other one I screwed to the front (inner) top edge of the counter. I then used a friction strap (the non-ratcheting) type to connect the two footman loops and tightened the strap underneath the middle of the sink, effectively strapping it up into place. (Sorry, but I forgot to take pics of this). I think the sink will now outlast the rest of the coach 🙂 We can probably remove some of the refrigerator bars now that the silicone has dried and the strap is in place, but we’ll probably just leave them in place unless they get in the way of storing stuff on the shelf below.
The next project (that I remembered to take pictures of) is the re-securing of the rear spoiler. The rear spoiler on the Alpine Coaches deflects air to keep the rear of the coach (relatively) clean while traveling down the road. It also doubles as the mounting point for the rear-view camera. Over time, the original rivets come loose and the spoiler starts vibrating. Some unfortunate Alpine Coach owner’s have even reported losing their spoiler on the highway 🙁 Ours had a little wobble that I’ve been periodically checking to make sure doesn’t get worse. And well, since there’s no time like the present, and before it gets worse – I decided to redo the rivets. Plus, one of our fine Alpine friends (thanks Sandy) gave me some of the high-quality rivets that are best for this application. I’ve been holding on to the rivets since our rally in Quartzsite. I drilled out the old rivets after removing all the marker lights for access and removed the spoiler. The brackets attached to the coach itself were in good shape except for a couple rivets on the outside mounts that showed a little movement. After replacing those rivets, I then had Stilla hold the spoiler in place while I replaced all the rivets holding the spoiler to the mounting brackets. Now we’re good to go again (at least for awhile) 🙂
Top view (below) of rear spoiler and rear cap. Notice that I resealed the end cap with Eternabond® tape (←link). This tape is great stuff, I no longer have to recaulk. I plan on doing the same to the front cap in the near future.
In between projects and just hanging out in Glendale… we went down to my brother’s and mom’s place (the “dirt farm”) in Casa Grande for Easter: Again, I’m sorry for the late posting but I’ve kind of been taking a hiatus since we’ve been parked in one spot for so long.
Kaan had a lot of fun hunting easter eggs around the “dirt farm”.
We had lots of good food and fun catching up with family while visiting the “dirt farm” for Easter.
And here’s an update on our little dog “Coach”. It’s official – my mom has now commandeered little Coach. We left him with her a little too long 🙂 She even gave him a military-style haircut. He’s enjoying life on the “dirt farm” and has a lot more freedom and stability than he did while traveling with us.
Sure, we miss him – but it’s kind of nice not having to worry if he’s okay when we have to leave him in the Coach if we go somewhere, OR if it’s too hot in the car if we take him along with us and he can’t go into wherever we’re at. Plus, he’s well taken care of… spoiled even 🙂
My mom and brother are also taking care of Kaan’s dog “Sheba”. Some of you that follow the blog know that we had Sheba for a while with us in the Coach while Jenny was getting settled. We even took her to the fireworks rally in Lake Havasu (which she didn’t like at all). It was great of my mom/stepdad and brother Steve/Cheryl to put up with her at the “dirt farm” but she’s a great dog and i think they have really taken to her. She’s become quite the “outside” dog which she’s not used to, but she’s doing fine as well.
Back at the mobile home park… I also spent a lot of time cleaning up and working on the roof of the trailer we bought for Jenny and Kaan. Here I am (below) on one of my many trips to the roof to either clean, reseal, or recaulk something.
Here’s a few photos of the trailer for those interested…
I haven’t had to do too much to the trailer yet. Just worked on some drawer slides, rewired some of the refrigerator ground wires, fixed window crank knobs and did a general cleaning focusing mainly on the roof. I also used some of the Eternabond® tape to reseal the front roof seam and around the bathroom skylight along with one of the roof vents.
In other news: We also got the opportunity to go to a Wedding Ceremony on the 10th of April. We were invited to attend a wedding reception for one of my nephews. I have three brothers, one of whom lives in Florida. His oldest son (Christopher) got married earlier this year to a girl (Kourtney) that has ties to the Phoenix area. Apparently, her side of the family didn’t get to attend their wedding so they scheduled a reception and renewed their vows at one of her relatives (grandparents) house in the north Phoenix area.
It was a really nice ceremony at a really nice house. The reception had a ’50s theme and (most) everyone dressed up in ’50s style clothing. Unfortunately, the day of the reception happened to be the only day it has rained here in Phoenix over the last month or so. But Chris & Kourtney made the best of it. I helped put up an E-Z Up® canopy for them to hold their ceremony and renew their vows in front of family.
Lots of good food. Hamburgers with all the fixins’.
Awesome desserts. Yummm!
Make-ur-own sundaes 🙂
Towards the end of the day, my brother Steve became the gracious recipient of numerous nametags of attendees that had either left or were getting ready to leave the ceremony. Good thing most everyone already knew his real name by this time 🙂
Thanks again for the invitation Chris and Kourt! And congratulations 🙂
Back at the RV & Mobile Home Park, projects continue… I even restrung one of the day/night shades. Yup, that’s what I said. I was actually able to replace all the cords and get one of the day/night shades restrung so it actually works again 🙂 I bought a couple of the repair kits on Amazon.com. Only two or three more to go. It’s actually a lot of work to get the shades off the windows because the upholstered window surrounds have to come off the walls to get to the blinds. I think I’ll take a break and do the other one’s later as time (and energy) permits 🙂 One of the shades has six (6) strings, I think I’ll save that one for last. The other’s only have four (4) strings or less. They just get worn out over time with heavy use and the cords start fraying or even breaking. At least I got the worst one (condition-wise, I mean) completed for now.
Check back soon for another update… We plan on leaving here the 19th in order to get to the Alpine SoCal Rally in Newport Dunes, CA by the 20th. It looks like Jenny & Kaan are going to ride along with us to the rally. We’ll just leave her trailer here at the park, she’s paid up until the end of the month. Of course, that means we’ll have to come straight back here after the rally in order for Jenny to go back to work and Kaan to school. We also plan on visiting the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande before we leave in order to check-in on family and the dogs. We’ll probably do that tomorrow (Sunday). I’ll post again soon…
PS I passed an RV Sales and Consignment lot in northwest Phoenix a week or so ago…
They have a 2006 38FDTS for sale! This is the same coach as ours, except a year newer.
I stopped (naturally) to check it out and took lots of pictures… so if anyone is in the market, let me know and I can forward more pics and specifications. I temporarily misplaced the data sheet that the dealer rep gave me, but I’m sure it will turn up. It was really nice and had the same interior and all the options we have, i.e., aqua-hot, residential fridge, washer/dryer, etc., I sure have to wonder if I haven’t seen this Coach before at one of our rallies but the dealer rep couldn’t tell me who the current owner is. Hmmm… anyone recognize this Coach?