Summer Trip 2016: The First Week Away
When I left on this 5-week RV trip, I had every intention of blogging here at RVFT every day. But, logistics happen…. campground wifi happens (or doesn’t, to be more accurate)… and that plan didn’t pan out.
However, I have been video blogging every day to the Happily RV Facebook page.
It has been fun thus far to produce a short and simple video every day about our travels. It is all done on my iPhone 6 Plus, and I even edit it on the phone (using iMovie) and upload it directly.
My plan is to video blog every day of our trip. Then, when we’re back home, I’m going to edit all the videos together into one longer movie for the whole trip.
On past trips, I’ve done a poor job of documenting via video. This time, this very blog is serving as my own motivation to do a family trip video unlike any I’ve done before. 🙂
Our Mechanical Issues
As I sit here in Interlake RV Resort, in New York State, I look back at the last several days of our trip. It has been fun, although admittedly a little rockier in the mechanical department than I would have liked.
It started with the refrigerator.
We have a Norcold 1200LRIM… the one with the recalls. As, we’ve had the recalls done on it, which means we have the recall “black box” inside the unit. This unit is supposed to detect high temperatures and shut down the fridge as a protection mechanism.
Well, way back in Florida (around Orlando), the black box tripped and the fridge shut down with a LI OP error. This means “Lines Open” and basically means that the black box has tripped and shut down the circuit.
Thing is… no signs pointed to an overheat. When I opened up the service hatch, everything appeared fine. However, the black box was clicking repeatedly and the red light on it was blinking.
Not knowing what the hell to do at that point, we elected to purchase a portable refrigerator from WalMart, plug it in in the hallway of the RV, and continue.
We were also getting a LO DC error, which means the fridge wasn’t getting adequate 12-volt current. Why… I have no idea.
As it turns out, we found that if we simply shut the fridge off and let it coast while we traveled, we could plug into shore power in a campground and the fridge would power back up as if nothing ever happened.
As I sit here in New York, we still do not have this issue debugged. However, it continues to work for a variable amount of time while traveling and ALWAYS works on shore power. So, I figure I can simply let it coast like this until we get back to Florida. We’ll see.
Then, The Starter…
While sitting at WalMart to buy the fridge, the RV wouldn’t start in the parking lot. Yay. But, my good karma kicked in and it miraculously started back up after several tries.
Then, it stranded us at a gas pump in Virginia. Ended up calling a mobile guy to come out and we found that if we jiggled the wires to the starter, we could start the engine. For the sake of time and comfort, we elected to continue onto Washington DC without the repair done. We just didn’t turn off the engine until we were in our campground.
While at Cherry Hill RV Park, I called Mars2Cars and they came out and debugged. The service was awesome. As you might imagine, you definitely pony up some cash to use a mobile service like that. We ended up replacing the whole starter just to make sure it is done right – and yes, I probably overpaid. But, the guy was great and it removed a huge headache from my plate.
Then, The Generator…
We had been running the generator most of the time while underway. That’s a lot more usage than it had probably seen in awhile. And, it ended up busting a fuel line.
When we arrived at Liberty Harbor, I thought I smelled some gas. But, the place is very urban so I wrote it off the first night.
The next day, I still noticed it. I took a closer look around and noticed a wet spot on the gravel under the generator. Open the compartment and, sure enough, the fuel line from the tank to the generator was dripping gas. It has a pin hole leak right before the fuel pump. If I moved the fuel line around, it would literally spew gas from that hole.
We had prior plans to head into NYC for the day… and I honored those plans. But, while we were gone, that gas was leaking the whole time and it bothered me.
When I returned, I attempted to fix it. My first attempt wasn’t successful. I was under equipped and trying to do the job anyway. I ended up crimping the line and using vice grips to hold the end of the line up so gravity would keep the fuel from continuing to drip.
The next day, I hit an AutoZone, bought a line splicer and a few feet of new gas line. I replaced the end of the line, stopped the leak… and we’re good to go.
Ideally, I’d replace the whole fuel line, but I’ll wait until I get back to Florida to have it done. Getting to the connector at the main fuel tank is going to be a real pain and I’d rather have somebody else do it. 🙂
Then, The Toilet…
So, I get up one morning in New York City to do nature’s business. As I’m standing there at the toilet, I could feel some wetness on the carpet around the toilet.
First, whoever decided to build a carpeted stand under an RV toilet… shame on you! 🙂 But, I digress…
The toilet was leaking and getting the carpet damp all around the base. I immediately suspected the seal beneath the toilet.
When this problem first surfaced, the generator was still unhandled. So, at this point I had THREE unhandled repair items at a time (if you include the fridge). That was… annoying.
But, I once again went out for the day with the family, returned… and got busy.
I removed the toilet completely. I then went out to Home Depot and picked up a new gasket, installed it, put the toilet back and…
Seems to be OK.
Will watch for any leaks, but the carpet is staying dry a day later and I think I have it licked.
My Attitude About The Whole Thing
I had a couple people on Facebook tell me that my adventures were making them think twice about buying an RV.
Look, an RV is a toy and that means that the only times it will get used is when you’re on vacation. Which means, when a problem surfaces, you’re most likely going to be out on vacation.
That’s just reality.
Is it annoying when it happens? You bet. But, does that mean the better alternative is to sit in a hotel room somewhere… or not even go anywhere? HELL NO.
Plus, problems like that make things more memorable. 🙂
My RV had only 35K miles on it when I purchased it. This means that, for a 2002, it did a fair amount of sitting around. When I bought it, we’re using it more than it has probably ever been used since it was built. So, in a way, we’re giving it a new shakedown cruise.
Also, these issues give me the opportunity to learn this rig very well. I’ve learned more about that damn refrigerator in the last week than I cared to know. 😉 And now I can deal with that toilet on my own no issue.
When I sold my Coachman and bought this rig, part of me was weary about it because I had gotten to know all the quirks of that Coachman. With this HR Vacationer, it was like a blank slate and I had to learn all the quirks anew. The more I know about it and the more I can handle, the less likely I am to be caught off guard by something it throws at me.
The Daily Video Updates
I already posted days 1 and 2 on my first travel post. Click here to check it out.
Now, let’s play some catchup…