Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary, RV Living, Travel

Downs and Ups

Can you tell from the title that there’s been a change in circumstance?

Norcold 1200 Refrigerator

This is what our Fridge looks like

It’s Friday morning and the repair story has changed a couple times since Wednesday evening.  Isn’t that always the way…!

We got  an update call on Thursday morning.  The part was supposed to arrive on Thursday at 11, and they were going to start on pulling the fridge out of it’s place and replacing the cooling core at 1 p.m.  — and they’d call to confirm.

The confirmation call never came.  I heard back from them late in the day to say that the part still hadn’t arrived but that they anticipated pulling us into the shop Friday morning (today) about 9 a.m.
If that holds we could have all our repairs completed by the end of the day on Friday.

Norcold Refrigerator Fire 1

Refrigerator fires are nothing to laugh about.

Norcold Refrigerator Fire 2

Refrigerator fires are nothing to laugh about.

That doesn’t mean we’ll leave Junction City Friday night, or even Saturday Morning.  In fact, the Svc Mgr sat down to talk about 3:30 in the afternoon to say that they usually like to let a new cooling core ‘cook’ for a good 24 hours before returning it to the owners.  With us staying in our coach that makes the burning in time a little dicey, and with the weekend upon us there was a question about just what our travel plans might be.

The two photos attached illustrate the  dangers of  overheated RV refrigerators.  We agreed with the Svc Mgr that we’d stay through the weekend, give the fridge 48 hours to burn in and stabilize on AC power — importantly enough — not on LP — and see how the repair works.  It’s not that they don’t trust their work but there is such a thing as ‘infant failure’ with replacement parts and we want to make sure we are really repaired and not have to spend more time at another shop.  Better safe a day later than sorry on time.

Norcold Refrigerator Cooling Core

A Norcold Cooling Core

Refrigerator fires aren’t all that UN-common.  These two are just examples of many RV refrigerator fires and it’s not a scenario we choose to visit!

The actual part being replaced is quite a chunk of  tubing and sheet metal.  It extends from the top of the fridge pretty much to the very bottom, and most of the width.  The job typically takes about 5 1/2 hours to complete so we’ll have time to do our re-provisioning while they are working on the coach.  After all, we’re nearly out of coffee beans and you can’t start on a long trip without coffee beans!

So, that’s our good news!

Friday (today)  is the day our daughter and SIL close on the sale of their house.  They made the physical move into their new place (with a few livability chores to be completed) and they are eagerly awaiting a smooth closing.  This will be the first time in … almost three years … when either we or they have not had a house in the process of being sold and it will be a relief for us all to be done with real estate uncertainties!

So — there you go.  That’s our day and our plan — (Revision A). Tomorrow may change; but we’ve always got a plan working, even if it’s “Just Hang Tight Until We Know More.”  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!

Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary, Travel

It doesn’t pay to gloat

I’m getting my comeuppance!

It’s what I get for anticipating a repair and departure date:  a kick in the anticipated schedule.

Last evening before the Svc Manager went home he came over to check on our progress; we looked at a couple things together and considering that he was to be gone for the next 5 days he encouraged us to ask questions and make sure that we were happy with the finished job before leaving.

Based on that conversation I had a couple questions for the technicians working on our coach yesterday — and one question about our coach that I had not been able to find an answer for in the owners manual.

We talked about what he found about the refrigerator, and boy was I glad we did.  He pulled out his troubleshooting directions to show me the schematic for the version of the refrigerate we have.  He was pointing away and explaining why he re-wired the sensor circuit when I commented on the fact that OUR fridge matched diagram 10 which uses wiring schematic 6B, but he had been pointing to diagram 9 which uses wiring schematic 6A.  So, yesterday he had rewired the fridge over-temp sensor according to the wrong schematic and in fact he had not made any fridge repairs; now it was wired so that the over-temp sensor would not work properly; it had been right when we arrived here.  All of which caused a sudden flurry of activity and a brand new attempt to troubleshoot the recent overheat situation.

It turns out that our heating core is failing.  It  needs to be replaced, and our warranty will cover all $2380.00 worth of repair.  At present we are likely to be here in total a week — till Tuesday the 19th. (Though we won’t know for sure until tomorrow morning when we get a call from the Svc Mgr to tell us exactly when the parts will arrive.   The warranty is also covering the cost of the water pump repair; we lucked out with our warranty purchase this time.

The second question got me an answer I’ve been looking for (haphazardly) since taking delivery of our Ambassador.  PLQ cockpitOn my left side there’s a panel of rocker switches.  And the furthest back and furthest outboard is a rocker switch labeled:  ATC.  Nowhere have I found a reference to that switch — and it turns out  it’s an Automatic Traction Control — a feature of the Allison transmission which applies braking to one drive wheel in case it begins to spin, slowing it down to the same speed as the wheel still gripping.  Not sure I’ll ever use it — but nice to know what it is (the button).

See the Air Dump switch?

See the Air Dump switch?

We don't have 'automatic' leveling -- we have to do it ourselves.

We don’t have ‘automatic’ leveling — we have to do it ourselves.

There were two other items on our list:  a question about one of the slides — turns out my expectation was wrong — the slide is ok.  And another about our leveling system which we jointly concluded may have been happening because of something I was doing (should stop dropping the air in our airbags when we are leveling).  Always something new to learn.

So…. at the end of the day we moved from behind the shop where the technician has our coach up on the leveling jacks to the other end of the Travel Center parking lot where we are plugged in for 4 or 5 days.  Just knowing we are here for the next few days makes us feel a lot  better.  Knowing is always better than not knowing.

And so it is, as the sun sets gently in the Western sky…..

No, seriously…. thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow. 🙂

Old Diary

What’s a Ditch Bag? And Do You Need One?

rv-fireAnyone who’s put on any miles over the road has probably seen  this scene at least once or twice.  If you’re a full timer like us it sends shivers through our bones to think that all our earthly belongings could go up in smoke and what would we do; what would YOU do?

For us, all our little incidents with RV malfunctions have been minor and easily rectified.  But what if you were caught in a sudden emergency situation?  What would you do?  Do you know how to handle a fire?  Are you equipped to handle one?  (Because, don’t think that your single just-inside-the-door fire extinguisher is going to handle a real emergency.)

Just as importantly, do you those  few basic items that would be necessary for your own survival without your RV?

Consider a survival ditch bag.

RV-Fire-1The wiring in your RV is not going to announce — before it shorts out — “Hey there, RV’er, You’re headed for disaster!” And it seems as if no matter how much or how little maintenance we do on our rigs that failures always take us by surprise .   The most common risks we RV’ers face are emergency breakdowns. Insurance can help out; and knowing something about your rig can help too.  But worse things can happen than a minor breakdown — and fire is one of those things.

When your vehicle/home is on fire you will normally have barely enough time to get clear of your rig, much less gathering a few important documents strewn around the inside of the coach or trailer. You will need documents in the weeks and months after such an event and if you don’t have them you’re in for quite an ugly surprise.

If you have a survival ditch bag — one that is prepared and ready all the time, at least you’ll be semi-prepared to handle the rigors of what lie ahead of you after you have abandoned your RV.

burnt-out-rvWhat is a survival ditch bag? Think abandoning a ship. You want a  waterproof, floating bag containing crucial survival items that a boater would take with them when they jump off a ship in case of emergency. Why shouldn’t an RVer arm themselves with a similar survival ditch bag?

What would you need in an emergency?  I would suggest these at least:

  • Copies of car/RV keys
  • Copies of your insurance policy
  • Copies of your driver’s license
  • Water
  • Energy bars
  • LED Flashlight
  • Extra cash
  • A cellphone with emergency numbers pre-programmed
  • Ponchos
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • First aid kit
  • Anything that can be used as a signal mirror, such as a CD

Next, think about how your RV is arranged.  Keep your ditch bag accessible.  Place it somewhere that is easy to grab on your way out of the RV during an emergency. Think close to doors.  Do not put it in a read bedroom.  Make sure you do not put it in a towed vehicle.  Keep it with you.  If you tow your toad could be engulfed as quickly as your RV.

And whatever you do, make the bag should be small, compact and bright so that it’s hard to miss. Any marine store will have them.

“an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Ben Franklin

Remember those three rules of mine?

  • Be specific
  • Plan Ahead
  • Don’t assume

It is easier to err on the side of caution than it is to pick up the pieces after an emergency has already struck.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope this will give you something to think about, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.