Saturday, June 22, 2019

Seeing what's behind me

Ok, a B&W CRT rear view system in a 2005 motorhome?!?!?!?  You have got to be kidding me.


Yeppers, it's true.  And it seemed that the more that I used it, the "flakier" it got on me.  It was finally to a point that it wasn't working well at all.  I went online to see what was available.  There are LOTS of cheap color flat panel systems available on Amazon, but the reviews are a bit sketchy.  There are TONS of wireless systems out there, but the distance on these motorhomes from the front to the back leads to inconsistent video.  I opted (with the urging of my wife about safety) to go with a reputable DIRECT REPLACEMENT made by the same manufacturer (Weldex).  With a kit from RV CAMS, it was an easy swap out.

Now the really hard part....getting the dash apart and the old screen out.  Actually, it was super easy.  I removed 6 screws under the crown of the dash (right above all of the gauges and screens) and the top part of the dash came right off.  It was apparent that someone else had done this previously as all of the holders for the screws along the front of this cowling were broken.  That's ok.  I'll velcro along the front if needed.  Having it screwed in "inside" underneath the dash cowling was a stupid way to attach it.


There are four large knurled screws holding the old unit in.  Just remove them, unhook the wiring, and then put the new screen back in its place.  RV Cams seems to be the only people who make this custom bracket to fit everything right back into place.  Nicely done!!



When's it's all back in place, it looks great!  I ordered a new color Weldex camera as well from Ryder.  The camera was $50 cheaper from them, and it looks to be a newer model.  It all went together perfectly.

Getting a handle on things


There is an acrylic handle next to the front door.  I didn't think much about it when we got the motorhome, but I noticed the "lines" in the handle.  In looking things up, I found out that this was actually a lit handle!!  It never lit up for me before.

A little research showed me that there is an LED light inside the top of the handle.  A quick order with Amazon and I had a new light ready to install.  Now when I unlock the door with the key-FOB, the porch lights and the handle light up.  Very classy.

On Air Force One

Well, not the flying one, but the "braking system" one!

I installed the Air Force One braking system in the motorhome and the towed car.  My neighbor, Larry, down the street was extremely kind in letting me come down one Saturday and put my car up on his lift.  We were able to get under the car and do all of the work needed.


He was Superman in getting my car taken apart and knowing exactly what to do.

He custom made a few items to make it a really professional finish.

Unfortunately, the custom mount on top of the engine didn't work out too well.  It shook the control box violently, so I ended up taking off the front of the car again and mounting the box behind the bumper.


Inside there is a pneumatic cylinder that applies the brakes proportionally in the car as I apply them in the motorhome.  What's really nice is that I don't have to hook anything up inside to "ready" the car for towing.  I just put the key in, turn it to ACC, put it in neutral, and flip a switch that I installed to disconnect a breaker.  Everything else is just hooked up to the front of the car.




Now that it is all done, it looks very nice.  You really don't see it standing in front of the car looking at it.  Closeup you see it all!


STOP! Well, more like CAN'T GO!

STOP!  Well, more like CAN'T GO!



This is what happens when I decided that I was going to do the braking system myself for the tow vehicle.  I was installing the Air Force One braking system in my car and I accidentally drilled into the brake booster on the back side.  I was trying to mount a small plate right behind the brake pedal on the floorboard (firewall).  Because this is such a small car, there isn't much room to mount this thing.  As luck would have it, I hit the brake booster on the other side of the firewall.

On my way to work, I turned the Air-con on...well, I do live in Central FL!  I noticed that the engine was laboring and revving up quite a bit to keep a steady speed.  I made it to a stop to make a turn, and then it all hit....my anti-lock brake light came on, and my brakes were smoking!!  I made it to a nearby lot to call for HELP.

I ended up buying the new booster off Amazon and taking it to a local auto-shop to have them fix it.  They did a great job in replacing it AND putting my bracket back into place.  They bolted from the engine side so I wouldn't be tempted to drill into the new brake booster!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

A good washing

I am trying out a new "wash" for the motorhome.  I have heard the jokes from my friends saying that by the time I finish washing it that I will be old enough to retire.  Yes, after finishing just over HALF of the washing, I am sunburnt and tired.  I did put on sunscreen before I went out today.  I am only washing the side in the shade, so I am waiting until a little later to do the other side.


The new wash I'm using is LustreLabs LXR.  It is a wash and chemical that is supposed to "seal" the clearcoat and provide a yearlong wax type of finish.  It is SUPER thick when it comes out of the soft-sided bag container.  I think it would be best to set the bag in the sun a while to warm it up before trying to measure it out for mixing.  It has the thickness of pancake syrup right out of the fridge.  You only need 4oz per gallon of water.

So far it has done a good job of washing.  I'm not seeing the "miracle" of resealing the finish.  I do see the color of the decal areas darken a bit, but I am not seeing the finish being restored like I hoped it would.  Don't get me wrong!  I am a bit of a realist when I read product claims and then use the product.  I have rarely been amazed by a product in comparison to when it is hyped up to be.  But it is doing a nice job with a good washing.

POWER!!!

So there is a sign on the compartment that has all of the power systems in the motorhome.  It says 120/240, but don't you believe it!!!!  I made the mistake of wiring up a 220 to plug my new baby in.  It is a massive 3-prong plug that looks like a dryer or stove type of connector...and at 30 amps!  Connecting it up and turning it on made massive growl and then a loud "thump".  I knew I was in trouble.  Well, after a 1.5hr trip to an authorized repair facility for my inverter/charger, it was declared that "It's dead, Jim."   That was a $1,500 mistake.  Now it wasn't acting perfectly healthy to begin with, but that certainly finished it off.

So yesterday was a very stressful day for me as I was going to install the new inverter/charger myself that I had ordered off Amazon.  I couldn't see driving back 1.5hr to the repair place when I could probably hook things back up myself.  Everything was fine until I couldn't get ANY power from my shore connection.  I found that there was yet ANOTHER breaker inside that provides power connectivity to my inverter.  Once I figured that out, all was golden.  Here is a picture of the new pure-sine inverter that I installed in place of the destroyed modified-sine inverter that I put out of its misery.

A few weeks ago I replaced the "house" batteries as well.  The original setup was using (4) 12v deep cycle batteries in parallel.  I wanted to make sure I had lots of reserve power as I am looking forward to getting off-grid for camping.  I put in (4) 6v batteries that are connected in series and parallel.  I will get the same 12v power, but I will have a lot more runtime.  It calculates out to 450ah of power at 12v.
I chose to go with the Trojan T105 batteries...in case you are interested.  These are the gold standard for deep cycle off-grid RV type application.