9/19/2009

Hello All, John here.

Well, I gotta say it has been an interesting 20 hours. Not good, but interesting.

First off, the damned power went out again last night about 10pm. I decided to stay up for a bit to see if it came back on, since when it drops out I like to shut most everything down so it doesn’t get the surge when it does come back on. I was jsut about to give up and it flipped on about 10:40ish. So i restarted a few things, and headed off to bed. I was up early yesterday (No idea why…) so I was pretty tired and fell right asleep. Then, I was awakened by an Air-Horn at about 12:15. First I thought it was the guy behind us who has a business moving mobile homes and one of those “Stubby” tractors. Figured he hit it getting in our out of his truck or something… But then I heard the sirens, and saw the lights. Jumped up to see 5 firetrucks literally outside my window… Threw on some clothes and ran out to move the Subaru up a little so they could get in closer. My neighbor, 4 doors down (we really have never spoken to them…) was on fire.

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Best pic I got of flames. I couldn't get very close, and frankly the iPhone's camera is pretty crappy at night.

It was his fridge. His propane detector woke him up. He shut his gas off, and was investigating what was wrong, and he heard a “Whoosh” and then got his wife up and called 911. They got out safely, and the neighbor next to him was already watering it with a hose, which is good since there was a tree right over the camper than could have easily spread it to all of us in the row. The Fire Department was quite prompt, and arrived with 5 trucks. They seemed to have a bit of trouble containing it at first as it seemed to have gotten in the walls. They then got the axe’s and saws out, cut a large chunk from the roof and sidewall, and I am told pulled down most of the inside ceiling. Then the deluge came… Let’s just say aquarium style. This is the first motor home fire I have seen that hasn’t been burnt to the frame, so I gotta give the Fire Department and the neighbor kudo’s for acting quickly. Here are some pic’s:

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Smoke, just after they flooded it.

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Rescue truck.

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The aftermath, doesn't look too bad from the outside, but I am sure it will be totaled...

I Should have grabbed the Sony, as it takes MUCH better night pics, but alas, I didn’t. Al, Donna, and I stayed out and watched them for quite a while, and then about 1:30 I came back inside, and wound down for bed again. I don’t think I made it there until after 3:00…

The good thing is No one was hurt, it didn’t spread, and was well contained in a short amount of time. I think it was a good wake up call for all of us, well except Derek, who slept right through it all– I know, Unreal. Since he didn’t wake on his own, I didn’t want to wake him unless we had to move, and they did have it under control pretty quickly.

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New LP detector.

So, a while back we blogged about our LP detector being bad. It is very clear that this guy’s detector most likely saved his life and limited a lot of property damage. I drove up to May’s RV and picked up a new one first thing this AM. I had it installed by 9:30. LP detectors go bad, the sensor desensitizes, which is why they all have a MFG date on them. Smoke and CO detectors are the same, and should be replaced regularly. I haven’t heard a consistent time frame, but I would think at least every 5 or 6 years. Mine was from 2000 and was well overdue. You can test an LP detector by holding an unlit, but gassing lighter up to it, the butane should set it off. Make it a habit to test them monthly along with your Smoke/Fire and CO detectors.

Second problem with this is the Norcold Recalls (or Dometic if that’s what you have). These are serious recalls. The owner did state that he checked his serial number, and it wasn’t part of the recall, but I have a feeling that he may have checked the wrong number. The Serial number Norcold uses is the number of the cooling unit. If your unsure, take it to your dealer and check, but the recall is pretty obvious, as it adds a thermal cut off (in the case of Norcold) to the Chimney section of the fridge. This thermal cut off is supposed to cut the power to the gas solenoid if it overheats, preventing fires. A Large number of units were recalled for this, and it goes back a lot of years, so please check yours! I Know I put it off a long time, and that was not bright. Get it done ASAP!

The next part of my day was dedicated to Air Conditioning. We have been having trouble with the High Humidity and the lower temps here. Our basement air has been freezing up pretty regular. I opened it up and ran some diagnostic checks to make sure both compressors were coming on and not drawing too much (Indicating a failure or about to fail motor), check both blowers on both high and low speeds, and straightened out the fins that were bent. I also vacuumed the coil off and pulled out all the cotton wood stuck up in the cracks. Everything checked out well, though I did find that the Outtake Plenum was a tad loose because the screws backed out, which could have been a contributor (Sucking in warm humid air), but nothing overly obvious. It was pretty nice out today, so we left the fans on and windows open most of it to give it a bit of a break, and let things dry out some. It seems to be running fine now, but I really didn’t change anything. I did look over how to pull the unit out, and I think I can do it with Derek’s help. I really should pull it out to at least clean it and lube the fan bushings, or more like replace them after 8 years of service. I do think that there is a problem with the coil thermistors. These are ‘Temp Probes” on the coils that prevent freeze up by shutting the compressors down when they get too cold, but you really can’t change them without pulling the unit, which really is a lot of work. I have two plans in the works… 1. Save up enough to buy a new unit, I found them for $850.00. This unit is certainly done its good deed, and that price is quite reasonable from what else I have seen. It also eliminates future problems, at least in the near future. Or 2, Call RVProducts, and order new thermistors, new bushings, new starter caps, and pull the unit when they arrive. Do a through cleaning and inspection, replace wear parts, and reinstall. Considerably more “Work” and more chance to damage something, but a much cheaper cost, I figure less than $200.00 in parts unless a fan motor is really sloppy. I am leaning towards the second option mostly because it falls in line with me ‘Do it and Learn ideology.” and worst case I just get a new unit when this one fails. We have some time, I want to wait for the cooler weather.

For Lunch, Derek wanted to Try Braum’s so we drove over there and had lunch. It was OK, similar to a Culvers, and this one had a goofy little market inside– like a mini grocery. We did not try thier ice cream, as we were both full. As we were walking out, I missed the curb. Walked right off it (stupid thing was 2 feet out the door!) and twisted my ankle hard, and fell straight down on my knees and right hand. It sucked. My knees are all skinned up, my ankle hurts like hell, though It isn’t swollen, and I can still stand on it barely, and my should hurts. I don’t remember this crap hurting so bad when I was a kid! We then made a couple more stops, and headed back home.

As we were entering traffic, the jeep started acting weird. I couldn’t get more than 2000 RPM out of it, and it was incredibly sluggish. Shit. I figured it must be the fuel filter. We limped it back home, and I ran to NAPA to get one. Of course not in stock, but he was able to have one shipped over from Plano, which I was thankful for on a Saturday! I did check O’Riely, and Auto Zone, but they both suck here… O’Riely has been hit and miss in different parts of the country, Auto Zone is really my last choice ever. I used to Tolerate O’Riely, but now they even dropped Wix filters, so I have no need to go in this store and be treated like crap from the little Hispanic Pre-Madonna on the counter. Don’t you know it is rude to talk to your friends on the clock in front of a customer? NAPA here is a GPC store, so it is High Priced, and the counter guys are rude until they get to know you. Still, it is a real parts store, and they do what they can to get the right parts, which is really all that matters. I came home and waited until 4 to get the filter, and then installed it. I also pulled the “Boost Sensor” which was right there, and cleaned the soot off it. It wasn’t too bad. The filter is on the firewall and fairly easy to see, but a bit of a pain to get off. It would be easier from underneath, but the though of diesel dripping down on me wasn’t appealing, and being that my knees hurt like hell, I really wasn’t in the mood. I got it changed and went for a check ride, and that was the problem.

Fuel Filter… Yeah I know bad pic, it wasn’t meant for the blog, I just wanted the part number for NAPA…. and I was too lazy to take another since I forgot…

We just finished our pizza, and now I am blogging, so that was my exciting last 21:30 hours. I guess you could call it a day of problems and solutions…

Have a good night.

John

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