26-29 November; Great Thanksgiving, and a LOT of Projects!

Wow…A lot has happened in the past few days!  First off, I am posting from what seems to me like a brand new computer!  My Cyber Guru Son has done an awesome job updating my 2007 iMac to bring it up to date.  Went from 1 Gig of Ram to 4, and now have the latest operating system (which wasn’t possible with my previous ram,) new iPhoto, new Office for Mac, and a host of other items that he cleaned up on this system.  It is great, and operates at lightning speed compared to before.  I think I mentioned in a previous post that we brought this old “boat anchor” along with us, because I like it for one, and apparently  we are still a bit “Urban Amish,” as the phrase goes…not quite keeping up with he latest and greatest in the “techie” world.  This post is filled with Tech Tips…right or wrong, but hopefully right.

Jason and Terri have both been Godsend’s this week.  There are many, many projects that could not have been begun, nor completed without their “savvy.”  I’m the first to admit that my mechanical skills, as little as they were, have severely deteriorated over the years as I was immersed in all things called “work,” rather than playing Mr. Fixit.  Terri has always reveled in this world, and Jason has too, so it has been great working with, or sometimes watching them over the past few days.  I am overjoyed to be back in the “fix it” realm of my past on the farm, and being in the “fix it” realm is a constant in the RV Life World.

On Wed I got back to the Coach in the early afternoon after running some errands to get ready for Thanksgiving (I handed my man card in earlier, so no need to elaborate further here.)  When I got in, Terri related that she couldn’t figure out why one of the cleaning bottles we have under the bathroom sink was wet, and as I walked into the bathroom she said, “Oh, there is a leak!”  Jinx!!!  In my last post I mentioned how great it was that we had not had any leaks with all of the rain.  Well, this was not from the rain…this was from the cold water side of the Delta Faucet that is installed in the countertop in our bathroom.  Ever since we purchased the Coach, we have had some water seeping from the bezel ring on the cold water handle.  We knew that at some point it would give out…and this was the time.  I squeezed my small body under the sink with most of “myself” in the hall to discover that water was dripping from not only the cold water line, but something that was duct taped to the cold water line.  I hauled out my trusted jack-knife and cut the “thing” off, and we unwrapped it and determined it was a replacement cartridge for the cold water faucet!!  Gotta love the guy that owned this Coach before!  We have found many, many spare parts that we have used over the past couple of months that he had on board.

After unwrapping this unexpected gift, we started to tear apart the old parts.  Here is a partial photo montage of how it went:

Cold line marked with the blue tape.  The leak was from the area at the top of the pic.  The O ring had failed in the old cartridge.  was real "fun" getting this pic!!

Cold line marked with the blue tape. The leak was from the area at the top of the pic. The O ring had failed in the old cartridge. Was real “fun” getting this pic!!

After I pulled the cold water handle off, all we had to do was remove the cartridge from the sink top after unscrewing the bezel ring...hefty set of pliers required!

After I pulled the cold water handle off, all we had to do was remove the cartridge from the sink top after unscrewing the bezel ring…hefty set of pliers required, as the calcium build up was thick!

Make sure you turn off the water pump, or disconnect from your city water supply before you do this (I bet you thought there would be a Dumb Ron story here, didn’t you!!)  Also, plug the drain and flush the toilette to make sure you get all, or at least most of the water out of the lines.  Even after you pull the cartridge out, there will be water that seeps out of the lines.  It is always good to take photo’s before you start taking things apart.  Terri has been real good in reminding me of doing this.  Most Smart Phones have this feature, and it can be priceless in recalling how things were originally in place should you have a short memory as I do these days.  This cartridge has a copper stem, and two plastic parts.  One of them is a stop, that allows the handle for the water faucet to stop at the correct place…good name, right?  The other piece aids the stem in either lowering or raising to activate a spring that pushes on a rubber piece that allows water in, or shuts off depending on where the handle placement is.

Old cartridge and "bad" O ring.  I noted the placement of the stem and stop before I inserted the new one.

Old cartridge and “bad” O ring. I noted the placement of the stem and stop before I inserted the new one.

Now it was time to go back to the photos that I had taken earlier.  In this pic, the stem and the stop are in the correct place.  The way it came out of the box was reversed.  A bit of "you tube" on Delta Faucets showed us how to pull the cartridge apart and reverse the system so it worked correctly.  It would have worked the other way, but the handle would not have been complimentary to the hot water...cannot have things not be complimentary!

Now it was time to go back to the photos that I had taken earlier. In this pic, the stem and the stop are in the correct place. The way it came out of the box was reversed. A bit of “you tube” on Delta Faucets showed us how to pull the cartridge apart and reverse the system so it worked correctly. It would have worked the other way, but the handle would not have been complimentary to the hot water…cannot have things not be complimentary!

Here is a shot of the hardest part of this process…mentally, not physically.  There is a spring and a rubber cover that go into the hole below the cartridge that are a bugger to get out.  Good thing we had some long needle nose pliers to get the old one out, and place the new ones in.  The old ones are shown here:

When you turn the handle for the faucet, the stem puts pressure on the rubber, which pushes on the spring, and allows the water in.

When you turn the handle for the faucet, the stem puts pressure on the rubber, which pushes on the spring, and allows the water in.

All of this is probably very elementary to most of you, so sorry for wasting time on this kind of stuff.  Hopefully there are some folks out there that are as clueless about some things as I am that can relate however.  All in all, even though it would have been nice to have been sitting down and watching something stupid on TV, this was fun to do, and even more satisfying in that Terri and I are finally getting to do stuff together.

Speaking of stupid…I know by now that I had a math bypass as a child.  I also know that my wife buys logic puzzles and will pick up old math workbooks at garage sales just to do the problems.  Keep this in mind.  We have had issues with our day/night shades of late.  It appears that after 12 years of operation in varying conditions, the strings that allow them to operate are starting to give up…about 12′ of string criss-crossed and bugger muddled (new words, I know!) in each blind.  In fact, we have three shades that now have broken, or ready to break strings.  If you have ever seen anything like this set-up, you are likely prone to…and should run…run far away!

Back to the logic and math thing…trust me, I love a challenge, but not like this.  I helped Terri pull the 5′ blind out of the window, but that was it for me.  She found some place on-line to order new string, and You Tubed several videos on replacement.  It just so happens that our blinds were custom-made, so there were no hard and fast examples of how to replace or re-string, but she did get a good idea of what needed to be done.  So…she hauled out the Crayons!!

Thanksgiving Day morning Terri was busy sketching our how the blinds we have were strung.

Thanksgiving Day morning Terri was busy sketching our how the blinds we have were strung.

A masterpiece, and she didn't even have to use all of the colors in our grand kids crayon box!

A masterpiece, and she didn’t even have to use all of the colors in our grand kids crayon box!

I will say that she did an awesome job, and now has the knowledge to replace the other three without as much consternation.  She has much more patience for this kind of stuff than I do!

Day shades work...

Day shades work…

And so do the night shades!  Trust me folks...this is a rats nest of string going hither and yon...run, run away as fast as you can, unless you like this kind of stuff.

And so do the night shades! Trust me folks…this is a rat’s nest of string going hither and yon…run, run away as fast as you can, unless you like this kind of stuff.

Thanksgiving was a blast, being able to enjoy the rest of the day with Jason, Meghan, Peyton and Logan.  We all ate a LOT, and felt extremely blessed to be able to spend this time together.

I just want to point out that putting a wood spoon over you potatoes while they are cooking DOES keep them from boiling over!

I just want to point out that putting a wood spoon over your potatoes while they are cooking DOES keep them from boiling over!

Meghan made an awesome Brie Cheese appetizer!  We also feasted on, of course Turkey, green bean casserole, Mallow Yam Bake, Cherry Pie and Apple Pie.  Ugh.

Meghan made an awesome Brie Cheese appetizer! We also feasted on, of course Turkey, green bean casserole, Mallow Yam Bake, Cherry Pie and Apple Pie. Ugh.

Peyton spent the night with us, and the next day Meghan picked up Terri and they went to do some…uh…shopping??  Jason had to go into work for a bit, but when he was done, he came by to help, or rather, direct the re-engineering of my audio and video set-up in the coach.  The previous owner, as I’ve pointed out, did not spare expense in what he did in most things.  The electronics set-up worked for him apparently, but Terri and I do not intend to use the roof-top satellite receiver which requires Direct or Dish TV, so Jason and I set about to search and destroy.  Here is a pic of what the electronics bay above the driver seat looked like after Jason had cleaned most of it up:

Front and Read TV switch box on the upper left, Antenna boost upper right, empty bay where the direct TV receiver used to be, and Win guard Satellite Dish control unit on the bottom.

Front and Rear TV switch box on the upper left, Antenna boost upper right, empty bay where the direct TV receiver used to be, and Win guard Satellite Dish control unit on the bottom.

We pulled about 16′ of useless Coax out of the overhead that was not hooked up to anything.  This was a top-end Coach in its day, and had a front and rear VCR (remember those things??)  That had all been unhooked, and the coax was still there, so we removed it all.  We also removed all of the Satellite stuff.  There was a power supply that was still hooked up that was drawing power! and we removed that as well, along with may other boosters and cables.  We also determined that there were at least 6 components at one point in time plugged into two outlets…not good when you are trying to conserve power and have to operate on battery from time to time.  Most of these things use power even when they are off.  Jason turned me on to some things called Green Energy Strips, or something like that.  You plug your main component into the main plug, and when you turn that off, it completely powers the other items off.  I will post a pic of this when we get it hooked up.

We then installed my Blue Ray WiFi DVD player and Apple TV systems.  We still have many other things to do.  In this middle of all of this, since we had to remove the front TV, we took the TV to the bedroom (where there is nothing, as Terri and I removed the small old tube TV long ago) to make sure that we still had antennae feed to the rear, and we did…all worked well.  We will update and post more pics as we make all the changes.  We will be installing a new flat screen in the back, and Jason has some ideas for how to hook up some HDMI to COAX connections so we can put a DVD in the front and watch it in the bedroom, and still be able to watch something else in the front of the Coach.  We also have to figure out how the surround sound is hooked up and what the heck the 6 CD changer that does nothing is trying to prove hanging out in one of the cabinets doing nothing.  We made a trip to a few places today to find some wood to make a new brace for the rear TV and something that will work for the front audio cabinet, but there really were not any stores open that would have what we are looking for.  That will come later.  Jason has “skills” and I appreciate them very much!

Today Terri and I did some shopping on-line and at the BX for what we think we may want in the bedroom as far as electronics go.  There is a lot to consider with  the small area we have to work with.  After that, we headed over to Jason and Meghan’s to cook some steaks Terri and I picked up at an organic meat market last week.  They were awesome!!  We also got to spend some time outside with Peyton, as it was a real nice day:

Too young to drive?? NOT!

Too young to drive?? NOT!

Bad Ron:  Jason and I had a few errands to run, and then stopped by the Coach to pick up my computer to upgrade (mentioned earlier) and I wanted to show him my battery issue.  Batteries are the lifeline of an RV.  Corrosion will kill you, literally if not handled appropriately.  I am very religious about checking battery fluid levels each month, and making sure the water levels are correct.  I do have a corrosion issue however.  Around the first of the month, I made a baking soda and water paste and cleaned all of the terminals; however, I now have rust forming, and I let the corrosion get too far ahead of me.  I now have terminal nuts and bolts that have to be replaced.  I also did a search for what is the best to keep corrosion down, and found out that, as most people know, dielectric grease, and many other products are available.  The one thing I did not know is that Petroleum Jelly is one of the best things to use to keep your battery terminals free of corrosion.  This week I will be replacing some of the terminal securing nuts and bolts and lubricating them to prevent corrosion.  This Coach has 6 coach batteries and 3 chassis batteries.  They are very expensive to replace, so it pays…literally, to take care of them.  I hope I have not waited too long.  I’m sure my good friend Juan will give me heck over this part of the post, and rightfully so.

Just cleaned these a few days agoo.  this is one of the better looking terminals.  The others have completely eaten through the bolts.

Just cleaned these a few days ago. This is one of the better looking terminals. The others have completely eaten through the bolts.  You can see the rust and corrosion.

Bad Ron!

Bad Ron!

All in all, it has been another awesome few days!  We hope you are all happy and healthy and enjoying this Holiday weekend!!

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