Thursday, June 7, 2012

RV: Replacing Water Pump. RV Tips. Secure, No Contract WiFi. Don’t Feed The Animals. Chief Seattle. Mt. McKinley.

For “tRaVersing or RV Day”:

Replacing a bad RV water pump.

“One of the most common plumbing complaints among RVers is a badly behaving water pump. Whether the problem is noise, leaks or “no water,” some folks believe pumps just suck. But pulling a defective water pump out of an RV and slipping in a new one isn’t a difficult task. We’ll focus on the removal and replacement of the Shurflo water pump that is found in most RVs on the road today.

First, is your fresh-water tank higher, lower, or on the same plane as your water pump? Unless the tank is much lower than the pump you'll need to empty the tank, to prevent water rushing into your RV by gravity flow. Use the drain valve (usually found outside the rig) to drain the tank.
With the pump switched off and fresh-water tank drained, it's time to remove the old pump. Don’t disconnect the leads that run directly into the pump switch—on a Shurflo, these are typically red in color, and have push-on connectors. One of the leads will trace back to the pump motor, the other provides power from the RV’s electrical system. The other black lead coming from the pump connects to the other side of the electrical system. Both the red and black leads may be connected to the RV wiring with a crimp connector—in this case you’ll need to cut the wires loose as close to the connectors as possible.

Next, use an end wrench or a "water pump pliers" (aka Channellock) to remove the water line fittings from the pump. Have a towel or absorbent rag at hand as there'll probably be water in the lines.

Pumps are usually held in place on a bulkhead or floor with three screws running through a rubber "foot." The foot absorbs vibration and cuts some of the noise. If your replacement pump is identical in size and layout, you may be able to simply pry the rubber feet loose from the pump, leaving the screws in place. Take the feet off the from the new pump, and pop it over the existing feet. This is helpful if the pump is located in a tight fitting location where getting the screws loose is a problem. In practice, we’ve found pulling the feet more of a hassle than a blessing. With the old pump out of the way, clean up your work area, freeing it from water and dust bunnies.

Replacing a dead pump with new is basically a "reverse order" procedure. But check out the hold-down screws. We once found square heads. We like square heads but there the pump was tucked in a dark corner of a low-clearance closet. Since we couldn’t see the screw to appropriately line up the driver tip, there was a lot of grumbling frustration before completing the task. When the new pump went in Phillips heads screws made an easier removal "next time."
If you bung up the threads on the water line fittings, or need to replace them, you don't have to spend a huge amount of money on these simple plastic fittings. We’ve seen some dealers ask seven or more dollars for them, but other dealers are far more reasonable. A couple of phone calls may be in order before you head out shopping.
When you reattach the water lines to the pump, don’t over-torque. Simply hand-tighten the fittings, then give a little snug with the wrench. After you get water back in the fresh tank, add a bit of electricity for good measure, flip the switch, and check for leaks. Tighten only enough to rid yourself of the leakage. Overdoing it easily cracks fittings.” From:

From me: To quieten your water pump, install it over a mouse pad, and put pipe insulation on any water lines that touch cabinets as they travel through your RV.


Write Down Those Numbers!

“Before you leave on a trip, write down all important phone numbers you will need while away and store them in a safe place. Most cell phone users store the numbers in their phones. But if the phone should malfunction or get lost, it's unlikely they'll know the phone numbers by memory. So write them down.”


Bill's Hints
Operating generators at high altitudes
When operating your generator at altitudes above 5,000 feet, it may be necessary to make an adjustment to the automatic choke on the generator engine. Learn how to do this before you need to do it.


Who's driving your motorhome?
”I am one of those people who likes to do all of the driving myself and my wife Dawn is happy with our arrangement. I know Dawn is a competent driver (she even has her CDL) but I still prefer to do the driving. I also think it is extremely important that both individuals are capable of driving or towing the RV. You never know when your travel partner will need to drive the RV and they should feel comfortable and confident in doing so.”   Tech Tips from Mark Polk


Tip for New Full-time RVers

“Take along your most loved possessions and use them. Love your cast iron cookware? Take it and use it; you won' t be happy with the light weight stuff. Treasure Grandma's fine china? Take it and use it every day. You're living, not camping; you don't need to use paper plates.”


RVing Shoe Storage Tip

“A towel bar mounted close to the floor is a good way to keep shoes neatly in place when you aren't wearing them. Use the wooden ones, so that you can cut the rod to fit the available space. Slip your shoes into it toe first and they stay in while traveling.”


New RVer asks: How long can I keep fresh water in the tank?
When we're not using our RVs we often leave them pretty much stocked and ready to go on a moment's notice. That can mean non-perishable foods, linens, clothing, and perhaps a full propane tank. But what about fresh water? How long can you keep it in your tank before worrying about "bugs?" Here are some thoughts.


New phone app tells you if your fifth wheel is overloaded
According to one safety expert, the leading cause of RV accidents is towing an overloaded RV. How can you tell if your fifth wheel is safe -- or could be leading you down the road to becoming an unwelcome statistic? Fulltime RVer, David Gray says he's got your app.


Bill's Hints

Turn down your hot water heater
Don't set the thermostat on your RV water heater higher than you need it. High settings waste propane and increase the possibility of scalding.


How to flush and clean a Suburban brand RV water heater
The RV Geeks demonstrate how to thoroughly flush and clean a Suburban brand RV water heater. Although they discuss the primary difference between the two brands (Suburbans have an anode rod and Atwoods don't), they wanted to show the actual flushing of a Suburban unit. Watch the video.


Weird table extension fix and other ramblings
A previous owner of the Wanderman's motorhome modified a table so it would expand the table in the primary dining area. But when Rich Miller decided to extend it further he ran into a problem. Here is how he figured how to extend the table with ease. Read more.


Beware using the wrong type of gas in your RV
Of course you know that using diesel fuel in a gas-powered motorhome or tow truck is a guarantee for engine trouble and costly repairs. But the wrong type of gas can also lead to problems, as these two RVers discovered. Read their story and learn from their mistake.


Random RV Thought
If your RV refrigerator should ever fail when you are far from a repair shop, buy some bagged ice and put it inside. They will help keep your food cold until you can get help. You won't have as much time with the frozen food, so maybe it's time to pig out.


Secure WiFi For Part Timers, With NO Contract:

“I would like to tell you about one of the absolutely coolest services for RVers to come along in a long time -- one that allows you to get 3G WiFi access nearly everywhere. It uses a device similar to a traditional air card, but there is no contract or recurring monthly fee. For the record, when I heard about this I convinced the company to let me introduce and promote it to the RV community. We subsequently agreed that would get a small commission for our efforts. I want to be upfront with you about this in case you question I'm touting this just to make a buck. Truth be told, I think this is one of the best things to come along for RVers in a long time.

The way the program works is you pay about $45 upfront for an aircard for one user (at a time) or about $85 for a portable hotspot where up to four users can get online at once (see photo) with a secure, password protected connection. These are one time fees. After that, you pay for how much bandwidth you need and only when you need it -- similar to a prepaid cell phone where you're charged only for actual phone calls. There is no recurring monthly fee. The system works on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. Nothing needs to be installed.

So, if you're heading out on a two month trip, buy some bandwidth when you leave and you'll be set. Get online at 3G speeds at rest areas, campgrounds without WiFi (or bad WiFi), Wal-mart parking lots -- even while rolling down the road (as long as Sprint wireless service is available). If you use up your bandwidth, recharge for as little as $10. The huge advantage to this over traditional plans is that you are not stuck with a payment every month for the life of a contract.

Fulltimers, who need year-round Internet access, are better off with a traditional plan like a Verizon MiFi card, which offers more affordable bandwidth when used regularly year round. But for part-time travelers or light users (of all kinds, not just RVers), this is a far better and more affordable choice. You can learn more at We have even negotiated a special discount for you.”


Don’t Feed The Animals

“Until I wised up years ago, I fed wild animals, mostly chipmunks and squirrels. Unlike bears, they will never pose a physical threat to humans (although they can carry and spread diseases), but in feeding them we may end up unintentionally killing them instead of simply providing a treat. These critters learn to depend on our food and can forget how to forage for their own after the tourist season ends.

So don't feed wild animals. Mother Nature taught them how to find food. They don't need our crackers.”


On This Day:

Chief Seattle dies near the city named for him, Jun 7, 1866:

“Thirteen years after American settlers founded the city named for him, Chief Seattle dies in a nearby village of his people.

Born sometime around 1790, Seattle (Seathl) was a chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes who lived around the Pacific Coast bay that is today called Puget Sound. He was the son of a Suquamish father and a Duwamish mother, a lineage that allowed him to gain influence in both tribes.

By the early 1850s, small bands of Euro-Americans had begun establishing villages along the banks of Puget Sound. Chief Seattle apparently welcomed his new neighbors and seems to have treated them with kindness. In 1853, several settlers moved to a site on Elliott Bay to establish a permanent town--since Chief Seattle had proved so friendly and welcoming, the settlers named their tiny new settlement in his honor.

The Euro-American settlers picked the site because of the luxuriant forest on the bluff behind the new village. The Gold Rush in California had created a booming market for timber, and soon most of the villagers were at work cutting the trees and "skidding" them down a long chute to a newly constructed sawmill. The chute became known as "skid road," and in time, it became the main street in Seattle, though it kept its original name. When the Seattle business district later moved north, the area became a haven for drunks and derelicts. Consequently, "skid road" or "skid row" became lingo for the dilapidated area of any town.

Not all the Puget Sound Indians, however, were as friendly toward the white settlers as Chief Seattle. War broke out in 1855, and Indians from the White River Valley south of Seattle attacked the village. Although he believed the whites would eventually drive his people to extinction, Chief Seattle argued that resistance would merely anger the settlers and hasten the Indians' demise. By 1856, many of the hostile Indians had concluded that Chief Seattle was right and made peace.

Rather than fight, Seattle tried to learn white ways. Jesuit missionaries introduced him to Catholicism, and he became a devout believer. He observed morning and evening prayers throughout the rest of his life. The people of the new city of Seattle also paid some respect to the chief's traditional religion. The Suquamish believed the mention of a dead man's name disturbs his eternal rest. To provide Chief Seattle with a pre-payment for the difficulties he would face in the afterlife, the people of Seattle levied a small tax on themselves to use the chief's name. He died in 1866 at the approximate age of 77.”


First successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, Jun 7, 1913:

“On this day in 1913, Hudson Stuck, an Alaskan missionary, leads the first successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, the highest point on the American continent at 20,320 feet.

Stuck, an accomplished amateur mountaineer, was born in London in 1863. After moving to the United States, in 1905 he became archdeacon of the Episcopal Church in Yukon, Alaska, where he was an admirer of Native Indian culture and traveled Alaska's difficult terrain to preach to villagers and establish schools.

In March 1913, the adventure-seeking Stuck set out from Fairbanks for Mt. McKinley with three companions, Harry Karstens, co-leader of the expedition, Walter Harper, whose mother was a Native Indian, and Robert Tatum, a theology student. Their arduous journey was made more challenging by difficult weather and a fire at one of their camps, which destroyed food and supplies. However, the group persevered and on June 7, Harper, followed by the rest of the party, was the first person to set foot on McKinley's south peak, considered the mountain's true summit. (In 1910, a group of climbers had reached the lower north peak.)

Stuck referred to the mountain by its Athabascan Indian name, Denali, meaning "The High One." In 1889, the mountain, over half of which is covered with permanent snowfields, was dubbed Densmores Peak, after a prospector named Frank Densmore. In 1896, it was renamed in honor of Senator William McKinley, who became president that year.

Mount McKinley National Park was established as a wildlife refuge in 1917. Harry Karstens served as the park's first superintendent. In 1980, the park was expanded and renamed Denali National Park and Preserve. Encompassing 6 million acres, the park is larger than Massachusetts.

Hudson Stuck died in Alaska on October 10, 1920. Today, over 1,000 hopeful climbers attempt to scale Mt. McKinley each year, with about half of them successfully reaching their goal.”



Jay and I went on a short shopping trip into town.  We only stopped at the first thrift shop, and didn’t venture all the way to downtown Conroe to the other four that we usually visit.  There I bought three nice woven cotton tops as they were on sale for 50 cents each.  A visit to Lowes to look for a pretty hasp for the cargo trailer’s bed base, was futile.  They had a sample of a black swivel one, but were out of them.  The brass one from Home Depot was too short to work right.

We found a tree’s shade to park under at Krogers, but just bought a few groceries.  Jay was upset, because his bill was higher than he expected. Upon looking at the receipt, I found out that they had overcharged him more than $2 on one item, so he had that refunded.  You not only have to watch the labels when you buy something, but the monitor for the scanner, too.

It was hot, and that curbed our desire to do any more shopping yesterday.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

I think that we are over charged way too often.