Thursday, August 11, 2016

Finally Got The Parking Brakes Fixed

Yesterday I finally got the parking brakes fixed on my truck. Almost 2 months after I bought what I thought was the only part I needed to fix the parking brakes. As I said in the earlier post installing the cable kinda made the brake work, but then I discovered the lining had separated and disintegrated on the side that didn't lock up. I figured no big deal, I'll get a set of shoes and replace them. I didn't get them right away, it was a couple weeks later. When I went to replace the shoes I discovered that one of the shoes with no lining had come loose and jammed against the other shoe.  I removed the shoes and what parts were left to hold the shoes in place. So I bought a hardware kit because some parts were missing and others damaged badly enough to be unusable.

The parts between the shoes was what I needed to finally fix the brakes. This is the old shoes (the ones that were left) before I changed them. Took a couple pictures in case I forgot how to put it back together. 

Then when I had the hardware kit and went to install the shoes I found there was another missing part. Part of the mechanism that pushes the shoes apart was missing. Yesterday I went to see my neighbor because he has a wrecked Expedition. I got the parts I needed and cleaned them up and they were froze in place with rust and crud. A little Never-Seize on the pin the parts pivot on and I got everything installed. Now the brakes lock up and will hold the truck. The main reason I wanted to fix the parking brakes is the truck is a stick and with over 230K miles the engine probably doesn't have enough compression to hold the truck by putting it in gear on a hill with any kind of slope.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

I Gave Up On My Half-Assed Smart Phone

Last winter before heading South to Missouri I got a cheap smart phone. I was told that Johnson's Shut-In where we were going to be campground hosts had WIFI, but poor cell service so I got a cheap smart phone that had WIFI  with the thought that if I couldn't use the cell service, maybe I could connect thru the WIFI. Turned out that wasn't the case because the WIFI signal area was so small you had to be right next to the antenna to receive the signal. Turned out I had an occasional cell service so I was able to use the phone to talk and text when I had a signal.

The WIFI part of the phone works great, too bad it sucks as a phone!! I was learning how to operate the phone for various things and downloaded several apps to make it work better. (Didn't like that fact that I had to download an app that would tell me how many minutes I had left on the phone or another one that would tell me how long the calls I had made or received were!!) I was able to do Twitter and facebook using WIFI, didn't want to burn up the limited amount of data I had available on the phone. Using it as a phone is another story.

I had trouble making calls with it. If I went into my contact list and was looking for a number, it would sometimes start to call when all I wanted was to look for the number. I guess I just don't have the right touch with my fat fingers. The sound quality sucked, it would break up and I would miss words, etc..  Like I said it was hard to make calls, either thru my contact list or dialing the number using the keypad (fat fingers again, would hit the wrong numbers or same number twice).

One of the more annoying things about the phone was there was no way to do different alert ringtones for different things. Like I couldn't do a separate one for text messages. It would do the same ringtone for messages, new twitter messages, picked up a WIFI signal, etc... Every fucking thing was the same ringtone for everything other than a phone call!!

My problem was I went with such a cheap phone. It said it was 4G WIFI so I thought it would be good. The WIFI works great, but not the phone. I may try a smart phone sometime in the future, but I would like to be able to try it first, but when all you see is either a dummy one in the store or pictures and info online, that isn't possible. Or maybe I need to be smarter than the phone???

So yesterday I went back to a flip phone. It will be more of a hassle texting, but hopefully I'll be able to make and receive calls.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Another Guppy Repair

Last year I changed the black water tank in The Guppy. When I put the new tank up into place I couldn't see if the vent pipe was in the vent fitting properly. I knew the waste pipe from the toilet was in place right as I put it in from above. We would occasionally experience a smell from the holding tank. Last week I decided to see if I could see the vent pipe connection to the tank from above.


There is this panel in the corner of the bathroom and I figured it was hiding the vent pipe. I was right, when I removed the panel I saw the vent pipe. When I tried to see down to the tank there wasn't a big enough gap in the floor to see down to the tank. I used a hole saw to cut a hole in the plywood between the toilet and the vent pipe. Even then I had trouble seeing what I wanted to see. I tried getting the pipe into the fitting with no success. I cut the plywood from the hole out to the edge and cut the pipe so I could pull the pipe out and see what the fitting looked like. The pipe had been off by half an inch or so and had flattened out part of the fitting. I cut a chunk of pvc pipe about 4-5 inches long and put it in the fitting to make it round again. Later I was able to get the vent pipe back in the fitting, but it wasn't easy.


The problem from the git-go was the water lines that are next to the vent pipe. The one on top of the other was clamped along side the other and against the vent pipe.  I figure they pushed the vent pipe over when I removed the old tank and that's why the vent pipe didn't line up with the fitting even tho I had measured carefully before I cut the holes in the new tank for the fittings.

In my last post I mentioned how I don't throw stuff away. I have a couple buckets full of plumbing parts, pvc fittings, galvanized fittings, copper fittings, valves, etc.. I thought I was all set to glue the vent pipe back together after I found an inch and a half coupling, WRONG!! Somewhere in that joggle the pipe goes from inch and a half to inch and a quarter. Now I got 1 inch and inch and a half couplings in pvc, but not inch and a quarter. So today I made a trip to town and bought a coupling for 89 cents and put the bathroom back together.

The Old Lady is planning on us spending the winter in The Guppy down in the Southwest, probably AZ. We don't want the shit tank stinking up the place if we are going to be living in The Guppy for several months!!!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why I Don't Throw Things Away

Yesterday after doing the dishes as I was cleaning the sink I noticed the drain was loose. No problem, I'll just loosen it up and put some plumbers putty under it and tighten it up again. WRONG. Discovered the big nut underneath wouldn't tighten up. For some reason the nut had expanded and would no longer engage the threads. Then I remembered I had a loose sink with drains still in it. Went and took one out of the sink and when I went to remove the drain pipe from the drain the nut fell apart. It was metal and had corroded to the point where when I turned it it fell apart. So I went looking for more plumbing parts. I found a nut for the drain pipe and also some gaskets. Then I was able to put the sink back together. Now it should drain better because the pipe was almost plugged and I cleaned it out.

The point of this post is that I saved myself a trip or two to town to get the parts to fix the sink. If I had gone to get a new drain basket and then discovered the nut after getting back, I would then have had to make another trip to town. It's not the price of the parts as they are relatively cheap, it's the time and hassle of driving the 10 miles to town and 10 miles back.

I have a lot of stuff I'll probably never use, but I figure it's better to hang on to stuff than to throw it away and later have to go to the store and buy another one!!

This is like the one I put in the sink.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Found The Cause Of The Smell

Last December I bought another truck, a 2001 F-150 extended cab. It had several problems. First thing I did was have the windshield replaced. A couple months ago I replaced all the ball joints on the front end. Last month I got and replace a parking brake cable. It is kinda weird setup. The cable from the left rear wheel hooks into a metal piece and the housing for the other brake cable goes into the piece and the cable goes forward and hooks on to the cable from the brake pedal in the cab. I got the new cable routed and installed. Tried out the parking brake and all it did was tighten the cable without applying the brakes. The next day I took out the parking brake pedal assembly and found the cable had slipped. Instead of going up and over, it was along side of where it should be. After I routed the cable properly the parking brake worked, but only for one wheel. I figured I'd look into adjusting the brake that wasn't working later. The other day we went somewhere with the truck and when we stopped after 15-20 miles there was an annoying smell. It smelled like either a clutch burning up or a brake hungup. After we got to where we were going I checked the wheels and found the right rear was hot while the others were warm. Whatever it was, it wasn't causing a drag on the truck, just the bad odor. I couldn't do anything about it then in any case, so we continued on, did what we had planned and then went home. Yesterday I took the wheel off and removed the caliper. Had some trouble getting the rotor off and it probably hadn't been off since the truck was built 15 years ago. Sprayed penetrating oil in the crack between the rotor and the axle and after some time I was able to get the rotor off. What I found was the the linings for the parking brake shoes had fallen apart. Found one piece several inches long and a bunch of pieces no bigger than a half inch.


This piece is about 5 inches long and the rest were just small pieces. I think some of the small pieces got jammed between the shoe and the rotor. Not enough to slow the wheel, just enough for friction to heat the assembly and cause the stink!!



This shows the cable setup that had me confused when the longer cable was missing.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Update to the Flag

My previous post about the flag had some results. I posted the picture on facebook and also a link to my post. The Old Lady shared both the picture and the link to the post. Several days later the flag and the garbage were gone. I guess they really were throwing the flag out with the trash!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Flag

Now I'm not gungho, hunglo, esprit de corps and all that shit, BUT I do think if you are going to display the flag, you should do it properly. I don't give a shit about flag burning, we don't need a fucking amendment against flag burning. If you are that pissed and feel you have a bitch against the government, then go ahead and burn the flag to get their attention!!!!

What I object to is people that treat the flag like fucking yard art. They hang the flag and leave it there until it rots without following proper flag etiquette. You don't leave it out in the dark, either shine a light on it or take it in at night. What's with this bullshit of putting a full size flag on the back of your mailbox post??? Or next to a road in the middle of nowhere?? One I've seen appears to be next to a service road for a cellphone tower.

I've noticed a lot of campers will hang a flag as soon as they park in their site. I'd like to know what the fuck is the point of putting out a flag when you are only going to be somewhere for a short time?? Are they afraid someone will accuse them of being furriners??


This is typical of most campers. This one was taken at Canyon Lake in Tejas. This one isn't as bad as some I've seen, one that I saw this spring on our way home had a flag hanging off the back of their trailer over the garbage bags!! I guess to show that their garbage was 'Murikan!!

But I think the one that takes the cake is one I've seen lately whenever I go to town. It's in front of a business that's being remodeled.  Needless to say that if the business ever opens, I won't spend a dime in it!!


Now, will someone tell me if this is some proud real 'Murikan showing his patriotism or did they put it out with the rest of the trash????????????????????

"When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner."

I have relatives that are all for a flag burning amendment (said that way it sounds like they are in favor of burning the flag, but then again that is the proper way to dispose of one), but you won't hear a peep out of them about those that treat it like yard art. They probably think it patriotic!!

The ironic thing about this supposed show of PATRIOTISM is that 94% of the flags come from CHINA!! (Google is a wonderful thang!!)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Good Thing We Have The Guppy

Last week our water heater died. The pilot light was out one morning, I got it lit again after spending a lot of time trying to light it. It stayed lit thru one heat cycle and went out again. I got it lit again after spending a lot of time getting it lit. It stayed on long enough for the burner to light and after a minute or so the pilot and burner went out. Then I could not get the pilot to light while holding the button down.

Also noticed a rust stain on the floor next to one of the legs. Looks like it has had a slight leak for some time. So now we are mulling over what kind of water heater to get to replace it. Do we get another 30 gal. one or do we get a tankless one, and what kind of tankless. Turns out the tankless ones can run from $150 to over a thousand dollars. They run from 1.5gpm to around 8gpm. Standard water heaters start at 4 hundred something on up.

After I decided the water heater was dead I got The Guppy set up. I hooked up a garden hose for water and turned on the gas. Now we can take showers in The Guppy. Or heat water on the stove and take a bird bath in the tub in the house.

Now I also get to try out a couple things I got for hooking up water. I have an inline pressure regulator which keeps the pressure in the line at 40-50 psi. (Don't really need it now as the pump shuts off at 50 psi.) Got to thinking when we were in Missouri that maybe the reason the pressure relief valve on the water heater dribbled water when the water got hot was maybe the incoming pressure was to high. I also got a new thing for hooking up the water line to the motorhome. I got one that is brass and at a 90 degree angle. I figure that will have less strain on the fitting on the motorhome.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Test Run of Guppy Repairs

Last week we went camping with The Guppy and we got to see how it works when there was no power or water hookups. I took along a second battery in case the RV battery wouldn't last the 4 nights we were there. I brought my boat battery which has the same type terminals as the RV battery. After 2 nights I switched batteries when the RV battery was down to 10.2-10.3 volts. Probably could have used it longer, but didn't want the refrigerator to stop working and not notice that it had. It did last longer than before I changed the battery charger, I think the old one was draining the battery when there was no power hooked up.

In a previous post I mentioned cleaning out the fresh water system. It worked very well. The only thing I noticed was that when the pump built up pressure and shut off, occasionally it would run for a few seconds even when no water was used. I have a hunch the check valve in the pump might be leaking because I haven't seen any signs of a leak in the plumbing. I can get a new screen with a built-in check valve and that should take care of that problem.

On the plus side with the water, The Old Lady took a shower and said it was almost like when we are hooked up to city water. The shower doesn't work that well in any case and is on my list of things to do.

Old school coffeepot and toaster.
We've had this four slice toaster for about 30 years. We got it when we didn't have power at The Ranch and used it to toast bread on a woodstove. The coffeepot is fairly new, we got it after we got The Guppy. We got it for when we are boondocking and don't have electric so we could cook coffee on the stove.

One of my next projects will be to see if I can get the generator running and installed back in The Guppy. According to the hour meter it only has a little over 43 hours running time. The generator was removed before we bought The Guppy. I think it was removed to replace the slides that hold it in The Guppy and allow you to pull it out to work on and/or check on it. I'll change oil and filter before I try to start it. If I can get it running I'll try to figure out how to put it back in The Guppy. It would be handy to have it for charging the battery. I tried running the engine to charge the battery and figured out I would have to run it way too long to charge the battery.

Tried to see if we could get any TV reception and failed. A couple days later when we went out to eat I figured out why I couldn't get any TV reception as we climbed this big hill while going in the direction of where the TV transmitters are. One of these days I get a new antenna, the one we have is an old analog one. It is also a directional one, in that you have to turn it to point towards the transmitter to get the signal. I'm going to get an omnidirectional one so all I have to so is raise the antenna when I want to get a TV signal.