Thursday, December 15, 2011

RV DIY Repairs. Tools. Generator Maintenance. Camlocks. 5er Skid Plate. Christ in Christmas. Sitting Bull. Glen Miller.

For "tRaVersing or RV Thursday":


RV Repair and Maintenance for the do-it-yourself RV owner.

"Trust me: It's much easier -- and cheaper! -- to do simple RV repairs yourself than to ignore small problems until you are forced to take your RV into a shop and pay the high prices charged by mechanics and technicians!

If you're not comfortable doing repairs yourself, don't worry!

This web site contains FREE, step-by-step information on RV repairs that makes it easy for anyone to jump in and start working on their recreational vehicle.

A positive I-can-do-it attitude is the most essential tool!"


Tools in RV

"When we were full-time RVing in a 29-foot Holiday Rambler travel trailer with a 15½-foot cube van as a tow vehicle, I had every tool I owned with us. I even had what I needed to install 1000-pound heavier springs in the front and add two extra leaves in the back of the cube van to handle the extra load.

Here are some random thoughts about tools and supplies while RVing:

• In a pinch, run two or even three strands of electrical wire, if you don't have heavy enough wire on hand.
• My ground cloth is a scrap of rubberized pond liner.
• Buy good tape (3M) if you might be anywhere cold.
• Some DeWalt chargers will not work on some inverter power.
• Some hacksaw blades are very hard and brittle -- bring extras.
• Some brake calipers take a 3/8 allen wrench, which is usually larger than what is in most sets.
• I didn't take a tubing cutter; I used a hacksaw and de-burred the end with a jackknife.
• Vise Grip is better than most locking pliers I have seen; don't over use them; use the proper sized wrench whenever possible.
• A stainless toothbrush used on rusty threads before you spray it with penetrating oil does wonders.

Ryobi is not the best cordless tool on the market, but I have some because:

• The 18+ battery system is compatible with over a dozen different tools.
• They are inexpensive.
• You can purchase them separately or as a set.
• Home Depot all over the USA carries them.
• They are on sale often; at times, you can get a charger, a tool, and a battery for the price of some other brand's battery.
• There are a lot of them out there; you can often find them at flea markets without a battery or charger really cheap.

I try to get my tools before I need them. Like many things when you really need them, it will usually cost you more than if you buy them at your leisure.

If you don't want to collect your tools over time, it's easy to get a set of Craftsman tools at Sears on sale at Christmas, or a set of Channel Lock or other reasonable brand at Costco and have them all at once.

However you do it, I believe everyone should have some basic tools onboard his recreational vehicle (or any other vehicle, for that matter)."   From:


Do your own basic generator maintenance

"RV generators are great because they allow you to run all your electrical stuff without being hooked up to shore power. It’s not uncommon for us to pull off on a lonely roadside, fire up the generator and use the microwave to make lunch. 

On excessively hot travel days we use the generator to run both our air conditioners to keep the coach cool. Generators have become standard equipment on motorhomes and on many 5th wheels and travel trailers as well."

"RV generators provide 120 volts of alternating current (AC power) and are powered by gasoline, propane or diesel. Since generators are crucial to the RV lifestyle it is important to maintain them properly.

Save money.  RV generators provide 120 volts of alternating current (AC power) and are powered by gasoline, propane or diesel. Since generators are crucial to the RV lifestyle it is important to maintain them properly. Here are some tips from the Professor of RVing about how to maintain your generator yourself and save money in the process. Be sure to watch the video that accompanies this story. "




Maintenance Schedule for Onan



Polk’s Top 7 Tips to a Long RV Generator Life
Around this time of year it is common for generators to sit idle for periods of time. Regardless of whether the generator is on your RV or you own a portable generator: Read the article on Polk’s Top 7 Tips to a Long RV Generator Life


RV compartment locks: Repair and replacement.    Get a Magnet.

"RV compartment door locks are typically what’s called a “cam lock.” A frequent frustration among RVers are gummed-up cam locks, sticky keys, and “lock outs.” A cam lock is a relatively simple animal, but it’s subject getting gummed up easily. Wind-blown dust flies up the keyway, and many lubricants attract the dirt like a magnet. Result? You key doesn’t want to go in, won’t turn the mechanism, and generally frustrates the daylights out of the owner.

If your compartment locks start to “act up,” the first step is to try to lubricate it. Some folks believe in dry graphite, but there are plenty of professional locksmiths who’ll tell you to swear off graphite, as it can often cause more sticky problems than resolve. The same is often said about WD-40; the locksmith we call on for advice says his favorite lube is one that contains not silicon, but Teflon.

If a shot of spray lube and repeated working of the lock doesn’t resolve the problem, you may be in deeper. We recently hit a spate of “can’t get the key in the keyway” issues: Every time we put the key in the lock, it would jam, and when pulling it back out we’d find the key coated with a strange, yellowish waxy substance. What is it? Bug larvae! Some insects find keyways a great place to lay eggs, and sticking a key in the hole mooshes the offspring. The result is an often terminal gum up. We took our damaged locks apart, and even a thorough soak in solvent wouldn’t resolve our issues. The photo here shows the result of dirt and lubricant meeting inside the lock cylinder, creating an almost gravel-like substance.

Replacing a cam lock is a fairly straight-forward proposition. First, on the inside of the lock you’ll need to remove a screw that holds the locking cam arm in place. Careful! Pieces can get loose easily, and you may need to reuse some of them. Remove the cam arm, and then using a wrench or waterpump pliers, remove the unscrew the retaining nut that holds the “base” of the lock in place. Push the old base out of the compartment door and replace it with one of the same diameter and length.

Here’s where you might hit a snag: We could find a cam lock with correct length, but the diameter of the new lock base was just a tad larger than the old one. Blasting a larger hole through the compartment door was a possibility, but the builder had outfitted the door with hardware that held the lock in place to keep it from spinning in the door. Happily we found the inside diameter of the lock base was the same as the old locks. We simply took the “innards” from the new lock, inserted them in the old lock base, and had a good fit.

Installing the new lock means shoving the new lock back into the door and locking it into place with the retaining nut. Insert the key in the base and turn the lock to either the “open” or “locked” position. A small metal piece called a governor will allow the lock to turn only 90 degrees. If the lock swings the wrong way, you’ll need to take governor off the lock and turn it a quarter turn and try again. The governor lies between the lock base and the cam arm, and is held securely by the screw that installs into the end of the lock base. This sounds more complicated than in practice, just fiddle with it, and you’ll soon catch on.

With the governor set in the appropriate orientation, slide the cam arm onto the lock base, and insert the lock screw in the base. Be careful as you tighten the screw; if you torque it too much the lock will bind and the key will not work the lock. If this happens, simply back of the screw until the key works the lock freely.

Now with new cam locks installed, how can you keep dirt and bug larvae out of the keyway? Some cam locks have a special dirt plug that slides into the keyway to keep the dirt out. Well, at least we’re told this is so, we’ve never actually found any, but we’ve been told they exist. We thought about sticking a piece of tape over the keyway, but weather could easily remove the tape, or even bake it onto the lock, making your situation even worse. Here’s one possible answer: If the lock base is built from a magnetic material, stick an appropriately sized magnet over the keyway. We found some dandy disc magnets at the hardware store that stick right over the lock face. Our old, dead cam locks, wouldn’t have been a good candidate–evidently they were built out of aluminum."



How to grease the skid on your fifth wheel
oLubrication of your pickup truck's fifth wheel hitch plate is an important maintenance requirement to prevent friction welding of your fifth wheel to your truck bolster plate. That's a dangerous condition you want to avoid at all costs and the actual cost, in terms of dollars and your time, is minimal. Read more and watch a video.


Tips by Mark Polk

"RV Refrigerators while in Storage:
When the RV is in storage leave the refrigerator doors open to prevent mildew and place baking soda or charcoal in the compartments to prevent odors. Periodically clean and inspect refrigerator door seals. Place a dollar bill behind the seal and close the door. It should stay there and not drop. When you try to pull it out, there should be some resistance felt. Do this in several different places and have any damaged seals replaced. "

"Cleaning the Inside of the RV: RV’s are constructed with lightweight materials. These materials are more sensitive to harsh chemicals and abrasives than the materials used to construct your home. When cleaning your RV you should always use gentler cleaning products and cleaning techniques."


To Store Water: How to make a non locking STORAGE BAG become AIR-TIGHT – where even liquid will not leak. Cut off top of water drink bottle; remove the cap. Push the bag through the bottle cut off bottle neck, fold edges over top, and twist the cap back on. Your bag has an air, water tight seal.


If Christ is not in Christmas, where is he?

Uploaded by BeyondTodayTV on Dec 14, 2011

December 14, 2011 - "Then where is He? Each year controversy erupts over Christmas in the public square. Is this the way it should be?"


On This Day:

Sitting Bull killed by Indian police, Dec 15, 1890:

"After many years of successfully resisting white efforts to destroy him and the Sioux people, the great Sioux chief and holy man Sitting Bull is killed by Indian police at the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota.

One of the most famous Native Americans of the 19th century, Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake) was a fierce enemy of Anglo-Americans from a young age. Deeply devoted to the traditional ways, Sitting Bull believed that contact with non-Indians undermined the strength and identity of the Sioux and would lead to their ultimate decline. However, Sitting Bull's tactics were generally more defensive than aggressive, especially as he grew older and became a Sioux leader. Fundamentally, Sitting Bull and those associated with his tribe wished only to be left alone to pursue their traditional ways, but the Anglo settlers' growing interest in the land and the resulting confinement of Indians to government-controlled reservations inevitably led to conflicts. Sitting Bull's refusal to follow an 1875 order to bring his people to the Sioux reservation directly led to the famous Battle of the Little Bighorn, during which the Sioux and Cheyenne wiped out five troops of Custer's 7th Cavalry.

After the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull and his followers fled to Canada for four years. Faced with mass starvation among his people, Sitting Bull finally returned to the United States and surrendered in 1883. Sitting Bull was assigned to the Standing Rock reservation in present-day South Dakota, where he maintained considerable power despite the best efforts of the Indian bureau agents to undermine his influence. When the apocalyptic spiritual revival movement known as the Ghost Dance began to grow in popularity among the Sioux in 1890, Indian agents feared it might lead to an Indian uprising. Wrongly believing that Sitting Bull was the driving force behind the Ghost Dance, agent James McLaughlin sent Indian police to arrest the chief at his small cabin on the Grand River.

The Indian police rousted the naked chief from his bed at 6:00 in the morning, hoping to spirit him away before his guards and neighbors knew what had happened. When the fifty-nine-year-old chief refused to go quietly, a crowd gathered and a few hotheaded young men threatened the Indian police. Someone fired a shot that hit one of the Indian police; they retaliated by shooting Sitting Bull in the chest and head. The great chief was killed instantly. Before the ensuing gunfight ended, twelve other Indians were dead and three were wounded.

The man who had nobly resisted the encroachment of whites and their culture for nearly three decades was buried in a far corner of the post cemetery at Fort Yates. Two weeks later, the army brutally suppressed the Ghost Dance movement with the massacre of a band of Sioux at Wounded Knee, the final act in the long and tragic history of the American war against the Plains Indians."


Legendary bandleader Glenn Miller disappears over the English Channel, Dec 15, 1944:

"General James Doolittle of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), hero of the daring "Doolittle Raid" on mainland Japan and later the unified commander of Allied air forces in Europe in World War II, offered the following high praise to one of his staff officers in 1944: "Next to a letter from home, Captain Miller, your organization is the greatest morale builder in the European Theater of Operations." The Captain Miller in question was the trombonist and bandleader Glenn Miller, the biggest star on the American pop-music scene in the years immediately preceding World War II and a man who set aside his brilliant career right at its peak in 1942 to serve his country as leader of the USAAF dance band. It was in that capacity that Captain Glenn Miller boarded a single-engine aircraft at an airfield outside of London on December 15, 1944—an aircraft that would go missing over the English Channel en route to France for a congratulatory performance for American troops that had recently helped to liberate Paris. 

It would be difficult to overstate the magnitude of Glenn Miller's success in the years immediately proceeding America's entry into World War II. Though he was a relatively unspectacular instrumentalist himself—he'd played the trombone in various prominent orchestras but never distinguished himself as a performer—Miller the bandleader came to dominate the latter portion of the swing era on the strength of his disciplined arrangements and an innovation in orchestration that put the high-pitched clarinet on the melody line doubled by the saxophone section an octave below. This trademark sound helped the Glenn Miller Orchestra earn an unprecedented string of popular hits from 1939 to 1942, including the iconic versions of numbers like "In The Mood" (1939), "Tuxedo Junction" (1939) and "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (1941), as well as Miller's self-penned signature tune, "Moonlight Serenade" (1939). 

The Glenn Miller Orchestra played its last-ever concert under Miller's direction on September 27, 1942, in Passaic, New Jersey, and shortly thereafter, Miller entered the Army. After nearly two years spent stateside broadcasting a weekly radio program called I Sustain The Wings out of New York City, Miller formed a new 50-piece USAAF dance band and departed for England in the summer of 1944, giving hundreds of performances to Allied troops over the next six months before embarking on his fateful trip to France on this day in 1944.

The wreckage of Miller's plane was never found. His official military status remains Missing in Action."



Ray came over and we did "Time", that's where we figure out his rent and bills, and take off any hours that he has helped me.

Jay arrived on his ATV, and put the new faucet pigtail on the screen porch's plant sink while Ray and I were doing that.

Then Ray and I carried the cage that had housed Mindi's foundling pup outside to the wash bay, drenched it with diluted bleach, let it sit a while and then hosed it off.  (Beware, not all bleaches say that they kill 99.9% of germs, look at the label.)

That cage hardly ever gets used for animals, usually it just houses the 40lb box of kitty litter.  Unless the litter is in something, the kittens will use that box as their box!  The cage has a hinged opening on the top, so it is handy for tending little animals or storing the litter. It also makes a good little work-top there in the grooming room.

It was a warm muggy morning, and I wanted to change out of my T-shirt into a tank top several times, but never found a minute to do it.  At times the humidity was 97% and 76 deg. The doors and windows were open most of the day.

Ray and I were trying to make the workshop back door more draft-proof, when Jay wanted to go home.  But first we had to go to the corner store to get some gas for Jay's ATV and my Puddle Jumper.  So, we didn't get much done before we all quit for the day.

My new clippers and blades arrived, and they were packed in Styrofoam peanuts.  The cats had a good time with some of those.  A free gift came with my Oster professional clippers, an Oster coffee maker, but it was a Mr. Coffee when it arrived.  A tall, black, fancy 12-cupper with a water filter, lots of timers and options.  It is too big for me, plus too tall for my counter, so I am glad that I am happy with my white Kitchenaid 4-cupper.  Some hypoallergenic pet shampoo, and Misty's red water-repellant Barn Coat were in the order too.

It was a little too warm to try Misty's coat on her, so I will take a picture on a cooler day.

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