Mods, Swimming Pool and Frozen Yogurt

Current Location: Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

This morning we were running a bit later than yesterday. While showers were taken and folks were getting ready, Malcolm was out putting the new rear bumper receiver on. This is a bolt-on affair that we will use to hold a receiver-mount bike carrier (as of yet unpurchased) for our bikes, instead of the aluminum deal we bought that hooks over the rear ladder.

Bolt-on receiver.

Bolt-on receiver.

We loaded up our laundry in the truck and headed over to Elizabeth’s house to do laundry and visit with the grandbabies. Once there, we had a couple of donuts for a late breakfast. Around 10:00, the place where Malcolm had ordered the hitch indicated that it was in and ready to pick up. After that, it was off to run errands.

We took a bunch of items that had been collecting both in our trailer and at Elizabeth’s house and dropped them off at Goodwill. From there, we swung by K-Mart to return an item that was the wrong size. Then it was on to Trackside Pizza for lunch. This is Violet’s favorite place to eat because you can watch the trains go by right next to the building.

At the end of lunch, Violet was having the “crankies” (and it was close to nap time), so Elizabeth took the two girls home. We dropped by to pick up the new hitch (it was in boxes) and then went on to the grocery store with two lists (ours and Elizabeth’s). We got home, put groceries away and worked more on laundry.

Malcolm opened up the hitch boxes and assembled the new hitch. He was pleased to find out that it mounted onto the existing rails in the truck bed with no problem. He put the old one up for sale on Craigslist. Not sure if we’ll get a bite or not, but worth a try.

New Reese R16 hitch.

New Reese R16 hitch.

After naps were complete, Malcolm and Val took Violet to find a swimming pool for the back yard. We drove up to WalMart and searched around the store for the hard-sided type with a slide. They only had the inflatable type, so Violet conceded that was better than nothing. To make up for a lack of slide, we also purchased a few pool toys to complement the pool.

New pool

New pool

Once home, we inflated the pool while Elizabeth started dinner. Cole got home and helped with the cooking. Malcolm filled the pool partway with water. Malcolm and Cole checked to see if Cole had an appropriate hex wrench to tighten down the bolts on the new hitch. He didn’t. Violet splashed in the pool while all this was going on.

After dinner, it was out to the back yard for a little more pool action. Violet found out it was funny to hug someone’s legs while wet with ice cold water. Better yet, Malcolm was a sitting duck as he laid on the grass to relax.

Brrr...

Brrr…

After a while, we decided to head out for frozen yogurt. Malcolm happened to be outside when the UPS man drove up carrying three boxes, two of which had Malcolm’s name written on them. He collected up the boxes and headed inside to see what had arrived. One was a box of items that Val had ordered from Amazon. The other two were parts that Heartland RVs had sent to Malcolm based on the items that were not fixed at the rally.

Slide electrical raceway parts.

Slide electrical raceway parts.

Roof cap repair items.

Roof cap repair items.

The corner piece in the roof repair items was incorrect. Malcolm will follow up with Heartland on that piece. In the meantime, he filled the hole in the existing piece with silicone sealant.

After frozen yogurt, we stopped by the house to load up the remainder of our stuff and headed back to the trailer. On the way, we stopped by a Harbor Freight Warehouse store to get some hex wrenches to tighten down the hitch. Once at the campground, we unloaded the laundry, groceries and various other items. Malcolm finished tightening down the hitch.

Tomorrow, everyone will start loading up to head out to Fox Island for the next few days. Malcolm found out officially that they want him to work in San Diego in a couple weeks, so we’ll be heading down the coast instead of cross-country to Texas. Since San Diego is half the distance, we’ll be staying here a few more days. Malcolm will be re-arranging the travel plans this evening and working out details with local campgrounds tomorrow.

Water Heater Fixed

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Malcolm stayed home from work this morning to fix the leaking backflow valve on the hot water heater. Last night, after opening the basement wall and trying to unscrew the valve from the hot water tank, it broke off. Between it being dark and too late to run to the hardware store, he left it as it was and turned off the water to the trailer. We kept a container of water next to the toilet overnight to flush with.

The broken piece. The piece to the left needed to be extracted from the hot water outlet.

The broken piece. The piece to the left needed to be extracted from the hot water outlet.

This morning, Malcolm got up and went to Lowes to grab the necessary plumbing fixtures – a brass backflow valve and a couple of couplers. He also picked up a PVC nipple extractor to use for removing the remaining plastic from the water tank. Then it was back to the trailer. The extractor just wasn’t doing the job. Having searched the Heartland Owners’ Club forum on the issue, Malcolm found that some people had luck getting the piece out by heating it up with a torch.

Dampness from the hot water heater leaking.

Dampness from the hot water heater leaking.

So, it was off to Lowes again (fortunately only about 5 miles away) to get a small butane torch. Malcolm also picked up a replacement plug for the hot water tank drain, since the original nylon one had gotten cross-threaded. Then, back to work on the stubborn part. Heating it up didn’t help, either. The biggest problem is that there is only so much force one can apply reaching up into the basement from the storage area.

Pulled the hot water heater out.

Pulled the hot water heater out.

Malcolm decided that pulling the hot water heater out would help with the required leverage needed to extract the plastic part and he was right. After pulling the unit and tipping it down onto a couple of the basement totes, he had the plastic piece out in about 2 minutes (this, after working on it for a couple hours).

Success!

Success!

With the plastic piece out, the threads were clean, so it was in with the new brass pieces.

New brass fittings and backflow valve.

New brass fittings and backflow valve.

One more trip, this time to WalMart to get some RV sealant (didn’t find any, so general purpose beige outdoor silicone sealant was used instead) and the water heater was re-installed. The water lines were hooked up and water flowed back into the system. Air was purged from the lines by running all the faucets in turn.

The output had one small drop of water formed after a couple of minutes, so there is a very, very minute leak. Malcolm will get back in there in a couple days (when we’re not so busy) and tighten the fitting down a little more.

Malcolm turned on both the electric and gas heaters to warm up the water and everything seemed to be fine. He took a shower and we headed to lunch at Taco Bell before Malcolm went on to work for the rest of the day.

This evening, we took our son to Springhouse Restaurant to celebrate his birthday and Mother’s Day. Excellent meal, as always. Fairly pricey, so we only go there for special occasions.

 

Water Problems

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Malcolm went to empty our gray tanks this evening and found what every trailer owner doesn’t want to find – a puddle of water under the trailer and freshly dripping water from the underside. Malcolm dug out flashlights, tools and emptied the basement of storage boxes to find a common issue – the plastic check valve on the hot water outlet of the water heater was dripping.

A quick grip with a pair of pliers broke the valve off, as one would probably expect. Looks like Malcolm will be shuttling back and forth to Lowes tomorrow to start buying extraction tools. (For those familiar with such things, he has spent this evening reading numerous threads on the Heartland forum on removing the plastic piece and what to replace it with).

Shopping, Grilling, Repairing

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

This morning we headed into town and met our son and his roommate (for the summer) at Costco to let them do some grocery shopping. Val had an appointment with the optometrist there to look at her swollen eye (a sty) and get a prescription for antibiotics for it. After that, we went to Academy Sporting Goods for Malcolm to pick up some foam rubber practice golf balls and a golf towel.

From there, off to McDonalds for a quick and inexpensive lunch, then to Home Depot. Malcolm picked up some nylon swivel thingies that hold in screens to use on our top plexiglas window in our trailer screen door. We made one more stop for Malcolm to get his hair cut and Val to look around a couple stores for some LED tea light candles (no luck).

On the way back to the trailer, we stopped at NAPA for Malcolm to pick up an air filter for the truck (we have a custom intake setup that uses a filter that NAPA stocks). There were none in stock locally, so they ordered one in from another store. Malcolm will pick it up Monday. From there, back to the trailer.

Once back, Malcolm dumped the black waste tank and installed the nylon swivel thingies on the screen door (sorry, no pictures). After that, he grabbed some clear hose and inline connectors he had purchased some time back to fix the leaky icemaker water line under the kitchen slide. Here are some pictures of the project.

The tubing - 1/4" OD clear.

The tubing – 1/4″ OD clear.

The connectors.

The connectors.

Repair on trailer side.

Repair on trailer side.

Repair on slide side.

Repair on slide side.

Split hose that was removed from slide.

Split hose that was removed from slide.

Once Malcolm got done and was putting away the extra hose, he noticed that it was stamped with the statement “Not for use on icemakers”. A subsequent Google search couldn’t find a reason why not, so for now the repair stands as-is. Malcolm turned on the water and let the icemaker do its thing for a couple cycles before turning it back off (the water here at the park is less than clear). Everything seemed to be fine. We’ll keep an eye on it.

Malcolm grilled steaks and potato and onion packets on the grill for dinner. He also practiced his golf swing in the open area of the campground since all the tent campers are gone. The new clubs and balls are much more effective when practicing. After dinner and golf practice, we drove over to DQ to cap off the day with an ice cream treat.

Busy Saturday

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

This morning was all about trailer maintenance. We had items we wanted to take care of and one we hadn’t anticipated. First up was to trim the decorative plastic cover around the trailer hitch. We’ve pulled the truck forward a couple times with the tailgate closed and cracked or broken the plastic a couple times.

Malcolm bought a cut-off wheel and chucked it in his cordless drill. After marking where he wanted to cut the plastic with masking tape, it was a fairly easy job of just grinding through the plastic. A little trimming up with a razor knife and he was done.

Plastic trimmed smooth.

Plastic trimmed smooth.

With the hitch out of the way, the next project was one we had seen on the Heartland Owners’ Club forum. Taking a foam knee board and cutting it to size to block the hole in the bottom of the Universal Docking Center (where the water and cable TV come up from underneath). This helps prevent critters from wanting to crawl up inside this area from below. Note that it is a decorative stripe pattern, to boot.

UDC cover.

UDC cover.

Next was to replace the perpetually leaky faucet “Y” splitters with higher quality units from Home Depot (all the previous ones purchased at WalMart or other places just seem to not hold up or are difficult to impossible to seal enough to prevent drips and leaks.

Additionally, Malcolm had found some hose quick disconnects he wanted to try out. They work really well, so he put one at the output of the regulator and another on the input to our water filter (inside the UDC) and matching ends on the water hose. Should make hooking up and unhooking the water a lot less prone to causing leaks.

One of the brass "Y"'s and the tag from the quick disconnects.

One of the brass “Y”‘s and the tag from the quick disconnects.

New Y, regulator, female and male quick disconnects hooked up to the hose.

New Y, regulator, female and male quick disconnects hooked up to the hose.

While Malcolm was walking around the trailer and just giving it a once-over, he noticed that the back wall on the outside looked a little like maybe it was de-laminating (which might point to water intrusion from the back of the roof). He climbed up the ladder on the back to press on the areas to see if they felt soft (they didn’t). While up there, he found a hole knocked into the corner cap at the back edge of the roof. He taped it up with duct tape for now. We might have Heartland look at it during the rally up in Indiana in June.

Hole knocked in corner cap.

Hole knocked in corner cap.

After the trailer maintenance, we went up to the house to mow the lawn and tidy up around the house a bit, as well as pick up a package and some mail. Then, back to the trailer for the rest of the day. We rode bikes around, ate dinner out on the picnic table and generally had a nice day.