Two Small but Major Repairs
So today we have a couple small but major repairs that happened about a year apart. First we're going to talk about the water heater that almost caused Jen and I to lose our...minds. One day in September while we were staying in Oklahoma, Jen noticed a bunch of water next to and under her side of the mattress, that can't be good. We start digging around and trace the water back to the water heater, which like many RV's its not in the most convenient place, in the back closet, sort of.
In the back closet there is a small access panel that lets you see the water heater, and other hidden components. Well there isn't any way that you can get the water heater out of the closet through that little access hole. That means the side panel of the closet has to come out. A few screws that were very hidden, and that I could barely reach we had the side panel out. I don't really know how to explain it, but the closet is not designed for people, especially people that are considered "Husky". We had Jen's brother come over to help, he's much smaller than me, but still barely made it into the closet. After several attempts we determined that there really was no way to reach the fittings that are on the far end of the water heater from within the closet.
Best solution that we came up with? Cut a hole in the wall, which is what we did. With the 12"x12" hole I could reach the fittings. We got it apart, then shimmied the water heater out of the closet. It's covered with a shroud so we couldn't tell from where it was leaking. Easiest way to fix it...buy a new one. I found one online and had it shipped to us. A few days later it was time for the reverse. The new water heater's input and output didn't quite match up to where the old one was so I replaced some of the pipes with PEX, which gave more some more flexibility. These water heaters also have a heat exchanger, which heats the water in the tank using engine heat/coolant which is pretty neat, also got that all hooked up. I had to build a new platform for the water heater to sit on because the old one was pretty water damaged. There wasn't really any way to fix the hole in the wall so I ended up getting a air return vent cover, and it doesn't' look too terrible. Now we have hot water, and have easy access to the fittings incase something goes wrong again.
Sorry no pics of the new water heater or installation.
Problem number two was a bit more of a concern. In June of this year (2018) we left Oklahoma to stay at our friends cabin up in Red River New Mexico. On the way there I noticed that the "tag" axle suspension wasn't holding the normal air pressure. Great something new to worry about, but it didn't seem to be getting worse, just that it was about 50 pounds rather than the normal 65-70. That was until we reached our stopping point between Oklahoma and New Mexico, Dumas Texas. Dumas Texas has a nice city park that has free electric and water hook up, with a dump station on the property. Sweet, it's always nice to stay somewhere for free, on purpose. As we pull in I take a quick look at the available spots, it's just a big parking lot with power pedestals. I decide on which one we want and follow the road around so I could come in on the right side of the pedestal. As I was coming around the road got a bit bumpy, and we ended up hitting a hole pretty hard. Even at 5 miles an hour a pothole can do some damage. Apparently it did. I pull up to the pedestal and check to make sure everything is good, I notice a loud whistling sound coming from the tax axle area, crap! that sounds like an airbag leaking. We at least we're parked. I go to plug in, and go figure the pedestal I choose is broken, so I have to limp over to another one. I wonder how we got lucky in having it break actually in the park and not somewhere on the side of the road.
The only picture I could find is of the top nut because I couldn't see it from under the bus I had to do it by feel, so a picture really helps.
We get settled and I start looking for two new replacement air bags (technically they're air springs). Despite Dumas having a fairly good sized trucking repair infrastructure no one can find the right springs for me. NAPA found one in Anchorage, not going to work. Because we were only about 40 minutes from Amarillo I called all the places there also, no luck. I talked to one of the independent shops/parts suppliers in Dumas and he would let me ship them if I could find them. Well I found a pair in Michigan online and had them sent there. Big thanks to Fleet Care Services LLC for trying to find the springs, then the hardware once I got them. Once they got there I had the pleasure of getting under the bus (with proper support) and replacing them. I took a few hours, and ruined a shirt or two with grease, but I got it done and all was better in the world. I was positive that I took pictures of the process, but alas I cannot find any, so maybe I imagined it.
I still have a pressure issue that I'm tracking down, but that's another story.