Monday, April 20, 2015

Wasp Prevention

I was out puttering around the camper the other day and saw a wasp hanging around the vent on the water heater. I thought to myself "that guy is looking for a place to build a nest". A couple days later I found him and a small nest started in the corner of the opening.

 He had helped himself by squeezing in these tiny louvers in the door.

    My solution was a piece of cheap aluminum screen. I bought a roll of screen from Home Depot for about $6, it was the smallest repair screen they offered.

I used RED high temperature RTV because this door will get very hot and any other silicon will break down and fail.
 I made and outline with tape, then make the inside box. I cut the screen down to fit inside the white line. I then took the inside masking tape box off in one piece and centered it on the screen. I held the screen in place with one hand and applied the RTV with the other until I had a nice glob all the way around.
I timed a one hour wait before I pulled the tape off. In retrospect I might only wait 30 minutes next time. The RTV had dried too much and wanted to come off on the tape. Razor cutting the edges did help get the tape off. The wasps will not be making next in our water heater any longer and no holes in the door to look at.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dewinterization of the Lance Truck Camper

Saturday brought a nice day to be outside and get some work done on the camper. I dewinterized it by flushing the water system and filling the tank and lines with fresh water. I also installed two new Trojan brand Group 27 AGM batteries. One in the slide out battery tray and the other is located in the optional generator compartment. The original owner did not include the generator option, instead deciding to have storage the storage. Somewhere along the way two extra batteries were added to the system along with the solar panels and 3000 Watt inverter. I had Trojan brand batteries before and they lasted longer than I owned the unit they were in. I was very happy with them.

The interior checkout went well, all water faucets work and are leak free. The bath features all work like new. The fans are fantastic and the windows all work. The foam seal around some of the windows is old and deteriorating but I believe I have found a replacement product I can install myself. Lowes has a 3/8 x 3/16 weather stripping that should work perfect, only they did not have it in black. I may need to order it online to get the color I want. I will do a post when I undertake that project.
The water heater and all the gas appliances fired up just fine. The microwave worked when plugged in to 110 volt power. the power and water system monitoring station systems all seem to be working like they should.
I examined every gas connection I could find and all were checked for leaks and tightness. I hooked up an external propane tank and chilled down the refrigerator. I also ran the refrigerator on shore power for a while and the electric side also worked great. There was a wasp hanging around while I was working that gave me the notion to plug some entries. I went to Lowes and picked up some screen to make covers for a couple of vents that could be trouble areas. The vents behind the refrigerator and water heater are notorious places wasps like to build nests in. The screen project is on my list to do sometime this week.

Saturday was also brew day at my house. I am a home brewer. I brew beer in five to six gallon batches in my basement. Today I made a basic India Pale Ale, one of my favorites. It will sit in the carboy and ferment for a week or so, then I will transfer it to another carboy, add more hops, and let it enjoy another week or so of secondary fermentation. This will mellow it out and really make the hops pop on the pallet.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Launching of the Boat

It is finally that time of year again. Time to peal the winter away and bring our 22 foot Aqua Patio pontoon boat back to life.
I rose early for a Saturday and began checking off a mental list of things to do in preparation to launching the boat. I knew the boat battery would be dead so I had charged up the backup unit. I also new the trailer had two flat tires so I had obtained an extra air bubble in addition to the small portable air compressor. I had unloaded the truck camper Friday night and still needed to install the truck tailgate to ensure these items remained in place during the trip. I spent the better part of an hour loading up for the day. Nephew Woodie arrived mid morning and we piled into the pickup truck and headed towards Hillsdale Lake.

We stopped at Lake-n-Dale and ate Pancakes and Sausage until we were bloated. Then we pushed on to the lake. The boat had survived the outdoor storage none the worse for wear. The first order of business was to check for power and ultimately installing the backup battery. With power assured I turned to the two flat tires. The first took air and rose to the occasion. The second was not so cooperative. The ten year old tire had given up the ghost. The sidewalls were cracked clean through, the air escaped as fast as it went in. A new tire was going to be required.

Debbie got on the phone and started calling around looking for a tire. Walmart and Tractor Supply were no help. Big O tires in Gardner saved the day and came through with a new tire. We headed to town. They were fast and friendly, our experience was great. I must recommend them. We will be buying three more tires later in the summer as they all are 10 years old.

Returning to the lake we had the tire on in short order. Woodie assisted by installing the lug nuts. I tightened them up. We removed and stowed the boat cover, hooked up and headed for the boat ramp.
We rent a slip at the marina boat docks year around. The cold icy winter months find our boat in open storage behind lock and key, the summer enjoying the warm summer waves. The weather was a bit cool so the first trip around the lake was cut short but warmer days will show up shortly.
We can’t wait to bring the truck camper down and spend some time. Fishing, floating and relaxing during the days, camping and enjoying the day’s catch in the evening is in our future. The camper is self contained enough we can boondock from the parking lot next to the docks.
Stormy weather the next week and busy days will keep us from the camper. I have made arrangements to pick up two new Trojan brand Group 27 Deep cycle AGM batteries for the camper next weekend. I have a sneaky suspicion I have a slight gas leak somewhere to track down. The gas alarm goes off when the unit is locked up and the windows closed for any length of time. It quickly resets when I open the door and let fresh air blow in. I have made arrangements to get it into the shop on the 20th for an operational inspection. In the meantime, I will keep fixing things that I can.