Quick Catch-Up

Current Location: Pineglen RV Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

On Saturday, Malcolm did a little maintenance around the trailer, replacing a couple slide seals. You can see the resulting How-To article here. Val picked up groceries for the week.

On Sunday, a rainy day, we headed to church at St. Andrew Baptist Church. We have some friends that attend church here, so we got to visit with them. After church, we met David at Mamma Goldberg’s for sandwiches. We also did a little shopping.

On Monday, another rainy day, we did a little shopping and sightseeing. Malcolm did some work online. It was generally a slow day. The rain came and went all day long. It was warm enough for short sleeves, though. For dinner, we pulled out the grill and set it up under the awning since it was spitting rain. A couple pieces of Mahi Mahi were grilled to perfection and eaten for dinner.

Today is the third rainy day in a row. Malcolm is writing this blog post mid-day, so we might do more stuff later. But for now, we’ve generally been inside cleaning the trailer, Val taking care of some sewing projects and Malcolm doing a little work.

How-To: Replacing Slide Seals

A couple weeks ago during a routine walkaround (which we try to do at least once a week when we are parked), Malcolm noticed that the D-channel slide seals on the top and front sides of our bedroom slide were splitting.

Bad seal on top of slide

Bad seal on top of slide

Bad seal on front side of slide

Bad seal on front side of slide

He checked on the Heartland Owners Club forum and, as it so happens, there was a new thread on this very subject. Seems someone else had the same problem at the same time. In that thread, Malcolm got a link to an RV parts place that supplies this seal and, using the part number, he found it on Amazon as well.

Product Description

Product Description

The material comes rolled up in the box (35 feet of it) and is easy to lay out flat (doesn’t want to curl back up too much).

There it is

There it is

The tools you will need are a phillips screwdriver (preferably chucked in a drill), a sharp box knife and a hacksaw. You may be able to get away with using only the knife for cutting the material if you don’t have a hacksaw handy. Just make sure you have a nice, sharp blade.

The first step is to remove the old material. On our rig, the factory ran a screw through the backing of the seal into the side of the coach to keep the seal from sliding out of the channel. For the most part, there are screws in each end of the seal. Just take those out with the screwdriver.

Removing the set screws

Removing the set screws

The seals overlap in different ways. Note that the top seal on our rig extends over the tops of the two side seals. The two side seals extend down beside the bottom seal. Depending on which seal or seals you are replacing, you may need to remove and replace a good seal to get to a bad one. In our case, we didn’t have to do this.

Once the screws are removed, you should be able to simply slide the old seal off the channel on which it is mounted.

Sliding the old seal off the channel

Sliding the old seal off the channel

The top seal may have a bit of sealant overlapping it, causing it to stick. Just gently pull on it to break it loose. It may be necessary to use your sharp knife to cut some of the sealant if it was applied too liberally. In our case, the ends of the top seal had a bunch of sealant over the ends that we just cut away.

Cut away any extra sealant.

Cut away any extra sealant.

Here are what the channels look like once you get the seals off the rig.

Front seal channel.

Front seal channel.

Top seal channel

Top seal channel

While you are up on the ladder, it’s a good time to check the slide wiper seals as well. Ours were in fine shape, so you don’t get a double-bonus on this how-to on how to replace those.

We used the old seals to measure for where to cut the new seal material. Once marked, use the hacksaw (or knife) to cut through the channel material, then the softer seal material. Malcolm found that cutting the material with the hacksaw was easier with the material flat on the table instead of hanging over the edge as shown in the next picture.

This is the more difficult way to cut the material.

This is the more difficult way to cut the material.

Test fit the material to make sure it isn’t too long (hopefully it is not too short). Once you are ready to put the new material on, it is a good idea to mark the positions where the screws formerly held the old material on. This makes it easier to hit the existing hole when running the screws back into the new material. (Note that we decided to do this after sliding the new top seal onto the channel).

Mark the old screw holes

Mark the old screw holes

Now, slide the material onto the channel, making sure it grabs the channel on both sides. You’ll know if you missed since it will just fall back off.

Lining it up

Lining it up

Sliding it on

Sliding it on

Once it is in place, center the material and grab your screwdriver. Use the marks you made to figure out where to start running the screw through the new material and into the channel. Note that the screwdriver bit will grab the softer seal material and try to wrap it around while you are running the screw in. Stop every couple of revolutions and pull the material back straight to keep from trapping the seal under the screw head or, worse, tearing the material.

Reinstalling the screws

Reinstalling the screws

With all the screws back in place, go grab the beverage of your choice and stand back and admire your new seals.

Yay!

Yay!

Lunch at the Base, Dinner Out

Current Location: Pineglen RV Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

This morning we took our time around the trailer. Malcolm did a little work and attended a conference call. After that, we headed to the base and met David at the visitor center. He got us a 72 hour pass to the base (the most you can get without a background check). From there, we headed to the flight line side of the base and attended a Thanksgiving lunch get-together for what looked like half of the base. There was still a line for food when we left.

Lots of food

Lots of food

After lunch, we went to the Base Exchange and did a little shopping, then over to see David’s living quarters. David changed into civilian clothing, then we stopped by and picked up a friend of his. The four of us went shopping at a couple of places. Afterwards, we ended up at Dave and Busters and had dinner and played games for a while. Malcolm dropped Val off at the trailer then took the airmen back to the base before heading home himself.

Made it to Florida

Current Location: Pineglen RV Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

Wednesday, Malcolm left for work a little late so he could fill one more LP tank and let the office at the KOA know that we were leaving a couple days early. They gave us a credit for the two days. Malcolm left work a little early to take the rental car back and got a ride home from the rental agency.

Once back at the trailer, Malcolm emptied all the gray and black tanks and disconnected the water hose. He put everything else outside away, leaving only the electric cord to unhook in the morning. We ate dinner then headed out to Kroger to do the rest of our Christmas shopping – gift cards.

Gift cards aplenty

Gift cards aplenty

Kroger started offering 4X fuel points on gift cards on Wednesday, so we took advantage of it and purchased $700 worth of gift cards (2800 fuel points) along with a few groceries. We filled up the truck and used 500 of the fuel points to get 50 cents a gallon off our fuel (making diesel $2.99 a gallon).

This morning, we were up before dawn and were rolling out of Nashville at 6:00 am. We pretty much beat the majority of Nashville’s rush hour traffic. Our drive to Panama City Beach was 485 miles. We also crossed the 40,000 total traveled miles threshold about halfway into today’s trip. We arrived a little before 4:00 and got set up here at Pineglen, then called David to tell him to come on out.

All set up.

All set up.

David came out to the trailer and we all had potato soup for dinner, then headed to Publix to get Thanksgiving dinner groceries. On the way back to the campground, we stopped by the Tom Thumb gas station (owned by Kroger) and Malcolm tried to use our Kroger card at the pump to get a discount, but it wouldn’t work. They said to just fill up, then come in and they’d scan the card and take payment at the register.

When Malcolm got back inside, their credit card processing had quit working. Fortunately, Malcolm had enough cash and paid for the fuel. They couldn’t scan the Kroger card (related to the credit card processing being out), so they gave Malcollm $25 back in cash, representing a dollar a gallon discount (what he was going to use if everything worked). The upside is that we didn’t use any fuel points.

After grocery shopping, David headed back to the base. It’s about 40 minutes away. We stayed here at Pineglen before and liked it, though it isn’t convenient to the base. The campgrounds near the base all had marginal to bad reviews and David verified he had physically seen at least one of them and wasn’t impressed at all. He tried to get us into the Fam Camp on base, but it is booked during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Today’s license plate count – 25 of 51 plates.

License Plates

License Plates

Waiting to Head South

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

We were blessed over the weekend with warmer weather, but Sunday turned out to be a long, rainy day. We headed out mid-morning to the Green Hills mall to do some shopping for Christmas wear. Malcolm found a nice shirt and tie at Macy’s that will go with the jacket he picked up Saturday evening. Val found some items to go with her Christmas items she had picked out Saturday, as well. We had lunch in the diner in Nordstroms.

We headed on back to the trailer and spent the afternoon and evening listening to the ever-continuing rain. It eventually subsided overnight as the temperature dropped to near freezing. Monday morning, Malcolm was greeted with a snowy car. Snow had started falling early in the morning, but the ground was too wet and not cold enough for it to stick.

Monday evening, Val took the truck over to the Ford dealer and Malcolm met her there in the rental car. We left the truck overnight so that they could perform an alignment and put new tires on it. The original tires made it close to 40,000 miles, and really had probably 5,000 or so left on them, but with winter weather here, we decided to go ahead and replace them. We headed to Panera Bread for dinner, then back to the trailer.

Today, Val rode the shuttle downtown and had lunch with Malcolm. She hung around the office all afternoon and we headed to the Ford dealer after work and picked up the truck. We headed on home to eat soup that had been simmering in the crockpot all day. Tomorrow, Val will start breaking down the inside of the trailer and preparing it for travel early Thursday morning. We’ll be heading south to Panama City Beach, Florida then.