Thursday, August 2, 2012

RV Tank Handles. Screen Cleaning. Jeff Daniels’ RV. Fridge Chimney Fan. How To Replace Slide Topper. Social Network? Pres.Harding. Sick Pup.

For “tRaVersing or RV Day”:

Maintain your RV holding tank valve handles

“There's a parallel to the old "You don't miss your water 'til your well runs dry," tune. It's called, "You've got no place to 'go' if your holding tank valves won't open." Yep, a stuck (or broken) holding tank valve is a really big issue if it happens, but can easily be prevented.

All that "goop" in your black water and gray water waste tanks is held in place by their associated dump valves. A little plastic "paddle" rides between two rubber seals, preventing the stuff from rolling out. Attached to the side of the paddle is a stainless steel rod, and to it, a small T shaped handle that allows the rod to pull back the paddle and allow all the contents to flush forth.
A couple of things can get in the way of a simple operation. If the rod gets stuck, or the handle breaks, you have a decidedly difficult issue. Maintenance is easy and inexpensive. First, keep the rod well lubricated. When you dump your tank(s) and the handle is pulled to the open position, simply shoot the stainless rod with a good shot of silicon or Teflon containing lubricant spray. Now "work" the valve open and closed a few times. DO NOT USE the old standby, WD-40. WD can get into the seal at the end of the rod shaft and gum it up, making it extremely sticky.

Next, keep an eye on the valve handle. If that T character breaks, opening the valve is tough. Replace it if it cracks, or if any part of it breaks off. Again, it's an easy fix, if done properly. With the valve open and steel rod exposed, wrap a rag around the rod, and grasp the rod firmly through the rag with a pair of pliers. Now turn the handle counter-clockwise by hand to remove it, and screw a new one on firmly. Be careful not to ding or in any way damage that steel rod, as a rough rod can create problems--like tearing up the shaft seal.

Do you need to lubricate the plastic valve paddle? Probably not. Holding tank treatment manufacturers often boast about the "lubricants" they include in their formulas, but plenty of RVers don't use any sort of tank treatment at all and few have problems with sticking valves that could be cured with lubricants added to the tank.”  From:


RV window and roof vent screen cleaning tips

“Got a dusty window screen in your RV? We used to recommend taking the screens out, dumping them in the shower stall and scrubbing them down with a brush and soap. It's a lot of work, and a good project when you have a few hours on a good day. But there's yet another way to clean up screens that are simply dusty.

Take a lint roller to hand--one of those tricky "adhesive tape roll" variety available at your nearby Walmart. With a fresh layer of tape exposed, roll the roller back and forth over the screen and watch that obstructing dust jump off onto the tape. Works as well on the outside of the screens as it does from inside. Quick and easy, and no mess.

There's yet another set of screens in our rigs that can cause us a lot of grief: Roof vent screens. Camp under the trees for a day or two with the roof vent open and you'll soon have a collection of "crud" riding around on the screen. Sure, you can take the screen down from inside the rig. Get a screwdriver, release the crank handle and take out the screen mounting screws and pull down the screen assembly. Be prepared for a shower of needles, leaves, and whatever else was stuck up on the screen. There's another way!

This time, leave the lint roller in the drawer but take out your blow dryer. Yep, that little electric hair tool, set for "low" heat and "high" air flow can blast those obnoxious "clingons" right off the screen. You'll find really stuck on items can be released by gently scratching the screen with the tip of the dryer while blasting air at the same time. BUT DON'T use high heat, lest you melt down non-metallic mesh.” 



Jeff Daniels shares stories about driving his RV around the country.

Actor and certified RV driver Jeff Daniels tells of becoming a connoisseur of truck stops.


Installing a Fridge Chimney Fan. Do You Like Your Drinks COLD? -

“On my last trip it was over 90 degrees out (Fahrenheit, if it were Celsius I'd be cooked!)  I love cold drinks, the colder the better. My RV fridge was struggling to maintain 48 degrees in the fridge compartment and the freezer was edging up past 20 degrees. Mostly because I was parked, the only way I could, with the wall where the fridge was is in direct sun most of the day. I had looked into a supplemental fan, mounted in the chimney, below the roof exhaust vent last year. Now I knew I had to install one. This isn't really difficult to do, but can really make a difference in hot weather

120MM 12 Volt "Muffin" Fan

All RV absorption fridges use convection to transfer heat up and away from the interior. It's really an elegant way of making cold from heat. The manufacturer will set specifications that show the space needed around the fridge during an install. On mine, the space behind the fridge is quite large, so a fan will help create an air current to move the hot air up and out the existing roof vent.
To get the air moving I used a computer style "muffin" fan. It's about 4" across and draws around 1/2 Amp at full speed. These are commonly available online and from local retailers. They aren't expensive at all. Mine was 7 dollars including shipping. I thought I would need some kind of bracket, but my 1"+ roof plywood and the small holes in the corner of the fan surround were sufficient to mount the fan above the fins and below the vent.

Roof Vent Off (Wires are from Solar Panels)

Shut off the fridge! Gather all the tools you think you'll need. I'm sure (like me) you will be going up and down the ladder a whole bunch of times to get things you forgot. Better yet, get someone to help!

Next remove the screws holding the fridge vent on. Remove the vent and put it aside. Preferably somewhere it won't fall off the roof. Remove (carefully!) the mesh vent cover. These are designed to keep critters out. Do they really work? It will bend easily so put it aside.You may also have a thin  metal plate above the cooling unit. This is a baffle to re-direct the airflow up and out. Mine was bent everywhere! I straightened it as best I could and made sure the air path to the vent was clear.    Now we figure out where you want to locate the fan.

Close Up of Opening Showing Cooling Fins

Look closely inside the vent opening. Do you see the cooling unit for the fridge? It's the metal tubing with square fins surrounding it. The top is where heat is removed from the system.
I put mine mostly over the fins on the cooling unit. I figure drawing air up through the chimney and across the fans will increase efficiency.
Otherwise, you'll have to flip it over and start the mounting procedure again.

Fan Mounted, Wiring Done, Zip Tied, With Heat Shrink Tubing! 

I had some 2 conductor wire left over from another install. It was 20AWG...more than sufficient for a 1/2 Amp draw. I spliced this onto the fans "pigtails" and covered the splice with heat shrink tubing to make it more water resistant. (You thought I would forget that AGAIN, didn't you?) Next I zip-tied the splices and some wire to a convenient spot to avoid pulling on them when they were wired down below. Drop the wire in the chimney away from the cooling unit as best you can.
Climb down. (Again?)

Lower Fridge Vent Compartment.

Once back on the ground, open your lower fridge vent and make sure it isn't going to fall on you (over and over, bashing you on the head.) Find the 12 Volt ground and the Power block for the fridge. A cheap multi-meter that reads volts will be VERY helpful here, but you could just look at the diagram that MAY be attached to the plate covering the fridges innards. Attach the ground. I used the plate at the bottom of the fridge. There were quite a few wires using this as a ground already so I simply crimped on a ring style terminal and used an existing screw.

Giant Mystery Switch (Now Fan Control)

For the positive 12 volt line, I could have used the main power into the fridge or found a line from the fridge control board. If you use the one on the control board make sure it can supply the amperage you need. In either case install a fuse!! The control board method will turn on power to the fan every time the fridge is on. Not ideal.
Since I bought my RV there has been this HUGE toggle switch in the lower fridge vent that I couldn't figure out what it was for. Now I know. It was put there for me to attach the fridge fan power lead. OK, so I really have NO idea what it was for, but it works nicely for this application. After testing this for a while in the heat, I will likely hard wire power to the fridges main power block and out to a switch INSIDE to control the fan. You could buy a thermostatic switch to turn the fan on and off with temperature, but that's another article. For now, manual control is OK for me.

With a single day of testing, it appears that I have gone from 44.9 degrees down to 35.6 degrees in the main  fridge compartment, in the same outside conditions. The freezer is also down to 1 degree. I have the fridge set to a lower number on its control panel as well. It's set to 4 instead of 5. Only more testing will confirm the true value of this upgrade, but for now...I'm happy.  Be Seeing You...Down The Road, Rich.”  From:


How To Replace an A&E RV Slide Topper.  See video below.

“Our favorite type of DIY RV project is one that is both surprisingly manageable and also saves a lot of money.  Slide topper replacement fits that description to a T by being much easier to accomplish than one might expect and costing as little as 1/2 to 1/3 the price of having it done at an RV shop.
As an added bonus, aftermarket slide topper fabric readily available online is often superior to the original material.  Our large front driver's side A&E slide topper was coming apart after only 7 years and had to be replaced.
For this project, you'll need two stepladders, two people and a couple of basic tools. If you thought that replacing your slide-toppers was out of your league as a DIY RVer, watch this video first, and you may change your mind!
We demonstrate the entire process and describe in thorough detail what's involved.  And since we're replacing the largest topper on our RV by far, replacing any other one is even easier, since they're much smaller.”



 Social Network? Why?


“Here’s an interesting Lug_Nut thought.

Communication is a very important to most, if not all RVer’s  With all the latest wireless technology , internet, smart phones, GPS location devices, etc, I think we are pretty well equipped. After all, we can contact and keep in touch with friends and relatives regardless in the world they, or we, are. Our family and friends network is complete.

Not so, according to the multiple folks that Twitter and Face book off.   What’s up with them?  If they really want to let friends know something, why can’t they e-mail them?   You can do it in a multiple recipient if it is many contacts you would like to advise.  Instead, these lonely folks seem to need to post their life, perhaps in hope that they will be discovered as not a social dweeb!

Don’t these people have friends?  Are these people in that need to reinforce their popularity?  Are they insecure with their personal status?  I guess so.  There is no other reason why people would feel obligated to post everything they do, or are going to do, on any public site.  Oh yes, they will tell you it is secure only to those “Friends”, (Many of which they have not seen for years or may be never).  Hello!  Hacking your information is probably “Internet 101, to break into any or all of this gibberish.

This social networking is supported by commercial enterprises, and probably for good reasons.  If you owned a business, you would want to reach everyone you can.  Why would a private individual ever want to expose their life to any and everyone?  I can only assume that these people either are socially challenged or want to increase their popularity image, to others, or more likely to themselves.

Well, to each his own.  They can keep what they are doing and I will too. Just Stirring The Pot  -  Lug_Nut  -  Peter Mercer. ”     With the comments from: 


On This Day:

Harding dies before scandals break, Aug 2, 1923:

“In a hotel in San Francisco, President Warren G. Harding dies of a stroke at the age of 58. Harding was returning from a presidential tour of Alaska and the West Coast, a journey some believed he had embarked on to escape the rumors circulating in Washington of corruption in his administration.

Harding, a relatively unremarkable U.S. senator of Ohio, won the Republican presidential nomination in 1920 after the party deadlocked over several more prominent candidates. Harding ran pledging a "return to normalcy" after World War I and in November was elected the 29th U.S. president in a landslide election victory. Conscious of his own limitations, Harding promised to appoint a cabinet representing the "best minds" in America, but unfortunately he chose several intelligent men who possessed little sense of public responsibility.

In the summer of 1923, as Washington began discussing rumors of corruption in the departments of the Interior and Justice and in the Veterans Bureau, Harding departed on a speaking tour of Alaska and the West. On August 2, he died of an embolism, perhaps brought on by worry over the political scandals about to explode on the national stage. Early the next morning, Vice President Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as president by his father, a notary public, in his family home in Plymouth, Vermont.

For the rest of his first term, one of President Coolidge's principal duties was responding to public outrage over the Teapot Dome oil-leasing scandals, the revelations of fraudulent transactions in the Veterans Bureau and Justice Department, and the reports of his predecessor's multiple extramarital affairs.



I knew something was wrong with the smallest puppy the minute I looked in on them before 6AM.  He looked thin and was lethargic.  He is tan with a little white stripe on his head, so I call him Streaker.  The others were fat and sassy, and had pink gums.  His gums were pale and he was dehydrated.  (His skin didn’t snap back right away when I picked it up.)  I weighed him and he had lost 4 oz since he got here.  I tried hand-feeding him his breakfast, but he didn’t want anything to do with it.  The others just dived right in.  I quickly put some water in a syringe, without a needle of course, and gave him some in his little mouth, and some NutriCal.

It was shopping day, so some things for Streaker were added to the list.  Misty and I went to get Jay, and after I had dropped Misty off at my house, off we went.  We only stopped at one thrift shop as that is where we unload the recyclable paper, but we didn’t buy anything there.  I bought some Esbilac (puppy milk) at Petco, and some Pedialyte at the grocery store, plus a few essentials and rushed home. 

Streaker was staggering around, and looked so pitiful.  Jay said, “Oh, he is going to die”, he was so weak.  I mixed the puppy formula half and half with the Pedialyte, and gave him some in a pet bottle, and he really wanted it.  This little baby hadn’t been properly weaned from his mom, he needed milk.  Then I put some in a little bowl and he lapped that up.  The difference was amazing, his tummy filled out, and he came to life in front of our eyes.

In the evening, when I fed his siblings, he still wouldn’t eat dog food, but I had cooked some liver, so I put a few tiny pieces in his bowl of puppy milk, and he ate them.  I did that again last thing last night, and Streaker is much better today.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

You sure do love animals and know how to take care of them and safe them. Bravo!!!