Archive for March, 2016


Placerville

XPS Ribs should be almost on and I’ll be picking up the RV very soon, will they work?  While waiting for them I thought I’d post a bit about Placerville again.  I have wonderful friends there and so enjoy visiting. I didn’t take any photos this time as it was only a quick trip but I was treated to a new sandwich shop that I highly recommend should you be in the area:  Timmy’s Brown Bag; a one man shop with a bit of help from family.  Tim makes your sandwich over conversation if you like, he’s an interesting man with a background in architecture and teaching architecture before switching careers to fine chefing in such places as Napa. He opened his very friendly sandwich shop with lots of delicious “foody” choices with fixings like Cauliflower Fries, Triple Cream Brie, nam pla shallots or Brandied Mushrooms in Timmy’s creations along with meats, fish and vegetarian offerings. He didn’t want a staff so he kept it small and simple and is relying on word of mouth which should work just fine. I had the miso marinated tuna …  so good, just as he said it would be! I saved half for later. Lee ordered us some deep  fried tater tots! Pop ’em in your mouth crisp and golden. Not just off the old cookie cutter…  so fun!

Placerville and the general area is full of happy surprises esp in the art and food category.  The town is growing. There’s good hiking, wineries, farm ripe fruits and veges at half the price and twice the deliciousness as here, and of course the American River with whitewater rafting.

On various trips I’ve been treated to many good restaurants, ice cream, local theater…  all those things I don’t do at home along with feed stores, hardware stores, the local co-op and yes, the usual big box stores are in the area too.  This last time I was introduced to a really nice place to take your dog for quick bath or even a show groom….  so tired can’t think of the name of the place, but if you go that I’ll look it up for you.

It’s very green in Placerville, on the trip up esp on CA 41 the hills were covered with wildflowers.  Am hoping the trees can make a recovery this year from the beetles and the drought.

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Damm, yes that’s how I’m starting today’s post.  I took my motorhome in for an inspection at Fairview Motors Brake & Alignment and after owning my motorhome since 2010 I’m starting to wake up.  If you live in Santa Barbara I highly recommend this shop to understand your vehicle. I am only sad that the shop does not sell tires.

 

Those numbers on the driver’s side door panel are very important. What was happening with my LT with the new Michelin LTX M/S2 tires is due to insufficient weight load by those tires esp on the rear of my coach.

Here’s  the explanation by the mechanic:
Customer request inspect steering and suspension for loose or worn components. Customer states that the vehicle does not track straight on the  freeway since new tires were installed. She continuously has to steer it to keep it straight. Road tested and confirmed complaint. No steering or suspension problems found. The weight in the back  of the motorhome may be too much for these tires. It feels like the rear of the vehicle is swaying from side to side. the rear tire sidewalls may be too soft and have too much flex for the weight.  After checking the sidewall max load rating it is not sufficient for the gross vehicle weight in the rear. The max rating on the side wall is 2680 lbs single. the gross weight in the rear of the motorhome is 5361 lbs.

 

What all this means is that having only single rear tires (many newer RVs have dual rear tires) this softer Michelin tire bulges out at the bottom with every gust of wind in the rear end as this RV is heavily weighted in the rear. Add to this any possible sloshing of water from the water tanks and uneven road conditions, wind, bumps in the road, etc…  and the back tires as they bulge and release will create a constant wiggle on the front end resulting in the driver needing to continually adjust the steering in an attempt to remain in the traffic lane.

 

Basically these tires are not appropriate for the 1996 Freedom Wide LTV and perhaps other years. They may be fine for other similar Class B motorhomes depending on the weight distribution. My Freedom Wide LTV has a lot of weight in the rear including the air conditioner and spare tire.  In my limited research I did not find an alternative tire that would fit the 225 / 75  R16 tire size offering a greater load capacity.  (If anyone knows of one, please post.) I did learn that it possible to install a slightly larger / wider tire and this is an interesting option but not one I have much time to explore.

All is not lost however as the Michelin XPS Rib  even though of the same load rating, offers a highway tread and a steel sidewall casing. This provides a stronger sidewall able to resist the bulging of the rear tires and therefore the front end handling problem. One still needs to limit storage of heavy items in the rear (if possible.) The ride may be rougher, I don’t know but it would be worth it to correct the handling.  At this point all this is yet unproven but I am hopeful.

 

Add to my tire frenzy, the policy of Costco to claim that the Michelin XPS Rib is no longer made and cannot be ordered.  This is not true. What is true is that Costco does not sell this tire due to their arrangement with Michelin. could be the tire techs at Costco are unaware of the shenanigans of administration and policy negotiations. Nevertheless, the Michelin LTX M/S 2 should not be installed or used on the ’96 Freedom Wide and perhaps other similar rigs. Costco needs a better plan for safety. On the right vehicle these tires undoubtedly earn their merits, but on the wrong vehicle they just don’t work.

XPS Ribs.. will these tires solve my problem?

XPS Ribs.. will these tires solve my problem?

I am not sure why the highway tread is preferred however this also seems to be the recommendation. If your tire has little squares it is not a highway tread, it should look like the picture above of the Ribs.

 

My previous tires, the Toyo Open Country had a load rating of 2680 which is the same as all other options I’ve found for my wheels. I struggled a great deal with the Toyo’s but eventually they seemed to work for me. I never liked the tires however and they did cup badly. I can’t say my RV handled smoothly but it was tolerable, I got used to the delicate steering and was able to plow though wind and all. Perhaps these have a stiffer sidewall than the LTX MS/2, in any case I’ve made my decision to spend the extra money $$$$ for the XPS Ribs as advised by Henderson’s Line Up RV in Oregon …  they are expensive! Now to find some that won’t take too long to arrive….  I do have a date I’m trying to achieve and its way out in Georgia!

Before I forget here is the video where I learned how to make the solar reflective curtain linings From Wander Dano, RV STuff – Keeping RV Cool in Summer Heat Project. I had a chance to try these in partial on my recent test drive to Placerville. the sun beating through the window was so hot I did like the truckers and partially closed my front curtains… Don’t try opening the driver’s side window if you have these curtain linings attached like I did to adjust the side view mirror… the lining gets caught and you will have trouble closing the window! The lining is a good thing to add to your passive cooling system. I also tested the little fan I bought…. love this fan! AboveTEK® Dual Head Car Auto Cooling Air Fan available on Amazon for $26. I mounted the fan overhead where the original TV used to be. It’s just enough air to provide a nice cooling breeze pushing the air-conditioned air towards the rear of the coach without needing to run the rear air conditioner.  My dogs were able to ride in real comfort all the way in the back on the partially reclined couch/bed. Even Mason was content in the back with the new bilstein shocks creating a far less jarring ride.

The K9 kids

The K9 kids

LOVE the bilstein shocks! Highly recommend them. They are a big improvement over the Monroe’s. I can still feel every rut in the road but it’s smoother, gentler; the front end of my rig seems to be more in touch with the road and overall it’s far more peaceful ride.Bilstein Shocks waiting to be installed

I can’t say the Michelin M3/2’s are quite right or even right at all. but I don’t know at this point what the trouble is. My first drive after the install of the LT M/S 2’s was troubled, the ride improved with the addition of the bilsteins but not enough! The trip from Santa Barbara to Placerville is about 425 miles each way. That’s a long drive for one day, with inevitable traffic, accidents and road construction plus a few semi-leisurely stops to walk the dogs it can and does at times take 11 to 12 hours not the 6.5 hrs as listed on google maps. I’d done this drive faster in my car when I’ve been lucky to find no road hazards.

 

The route I prefer is north on the 101 to  CA 41 which cuts across the state to I-5, although I also like taking the CA 33 at times or even heading to Gilroy or the East Bay before heading inland. CA 41 is often windy and blustery, the 101 can blow strong and the I-5 can be extreme. With the older setup on my rig… with the Monroes and Cooper’s my LT would muster though high wind warnings and heavy gusts without slowing me down.  On one trip the wind was so powerful I was barely able to open the door to the van at a rest stop.

This last trip was windy but it wasn’t that bad. This was fortunate as several times I desperately wanted to turn back, I was stopped from doing this by an unbearable weariness of having to then drive through the same section of hell in reverse. Where previously I could hold the steering wheel strongly and steady, now I could not. No matter how I tried to correct the steering it was constant adjustments and near misses.

To the right, to the left, to left, right, left, left, left, right, left, right , right, never finding any sweet spot; if my attention wandered for a moment my rig and I and the dogs were swiftly tossed out of the lane, really scary with narrow lanes from construction and fast traffic. Seemed my new tires were bent on a different occupation than I’d expected! Ice skating! Slip and glide with a nice pirouette, No, no tires, not fun!  Down, tires, down. My back hurt, my shoulders ached, my eyes became glued.  My mind invented a ton of steering games… let’s see if I can just not touch the wheel more than a whisper, no… well, if I can grip the wheel super hard, maybe grab the wheel in this position, no, that position; hey get the knees in there as balance, ok, not, well try the arm rest, no.. Was so grateful for rest stops!

 

Eventually made it to my friend’s home. I’m sure she suffered for my bad mood and achy demenior.
We had lots of fun though, Lee made sure of that!  And yummy stuff to eat! Thank you Craig and Lee!

Fluffy Zak, not so sure about all this company.

Fluffy Zak, not so sure about all this company.

Olympia relaxing on the Couch

Olympia relaxing on the Couch

 

I was thinking the worst was over, I managed to convince myself the trouble was due to the newness of the tires and going home would be a snap. I did check the wind report in deciding which day to leave and am grateful to whatever part of my brain made that decision as going home was a repeat performance of stay in your lane hell; not quite as bad. I settled for a tight knuckled death grip on the wheel that allowed me to press hard on the accelerator rather than to drive slower and prolong the torture. The next day at home the wind is almost gale force so I left on the right day. When I arrived I stress ate, paced a lot and didn’t sleep much. Woke up early and started research. Came up with a list of maybe’s… I called Henderson’s Line-Up and Brake & RV Inc in Oregon; they said the Michelin LT M/S 2 were the wrong tire, I needed XPS ribs which have a steel sidewall. The M/S 2’s they said would slip and not grip the road. Fine, I checked Costco and other local shops but could not find this tire.  I called Costco when they opened and they explained that the XPS ribs were discontinued but maybe I might find someone who still had some. The tire tech felt the LT M/S 2 were the correct ones for my LTV as he’d installed these on similar coaches.  So I called Henderson’s back and we continued the conversation.  Seems Henderson’s had the Ribs but they were discontinued as not many people liked the jarring ride they produced with the stiff steel sidewalls.

Drove the RV to Dal Pozzo’s. I wanted them to do an alignment, that’s what you do when you get new tires on a regular car. As a first step they wanted to try changing the air pressure again but instead of my hoped for alignment or messing with the air pressure, we went for a very short test ride… me sitting backwards on the passenger seat I leave turned that way for one of my dogs…. I sota of put my seatbelt on …  (hold your eveys, we didn’t get a ticket.) Went on and right off the fwy round a curve.  Mechanic gripped the wheel hard,  looked at me as he wiggled the steering wheel back and forth …. nope, no problem, he said! Everything was normal.  Oh sure, it’s normal to be tortured as you drive,  my opinion wasn’t going to sway his expertise so  I placed the RV under my body like a limp tail and went home. Talked again with Costco then Hendersons in a flame of cross opinions.

Things I considered:  buying a new set of tires; installing a true track bar; a Safety T Stabilizer, rebuilding the front end, larger rims with steel walled tires for the rear, emptying the air rite assist and experimenting with differing amounts of air, same with the tires. . .  more .. less? Driving all the way to Frazier Park to weigh the weight on each tire….  and on and on.

Mom says I push through and find solutions after most people would quit….. Heck, I’m not patient, I’m stubborn and emotional. Gifted women don’t fit stereotypes. Gifted women can come up with original unusual ideas and have a superior ability to reason, generalize and problem solve, along with a vivid imagination, complex deep thoughts, abstract thinking, following multiple tracks at the same time with a high tolerance to ambiguity and complexity, highly sensitive, intense, introverted, aware of things that others are not, perfectionist and curious, not motivated by normal rewards, become outraged at injustice with a wide range of interests, strong moral convictions, visionary, persistent, with a strong need for solitude, non-conforming, sporting a sense of alienation, compassionate and so on. . . here am looking at a list describing adult gifted women and randomly copying some of the items..  and reading a lot of the pitfalls and problems.  See, I’m a victim of being myself. Can’t help being odd and overwrought; give me a problem and I will work it like a racehorse running to its death until someone stops me. Rest now, rest now little Nelly.

But not quite yet. I started calling tire shops…nope, can’t do an alignment for your vehicle… too big…… too heavy…. not enough height in our shop…. on and on. I found out why Dal Pozzo wouldn’t do the alignment, things have changed they just don’t do them anymore. My RV is little but it’s too big to be placed on normal alignment rack.  I tried a few RV places out-of-town they had a 2 to 3 week waiting list.  Then one place (right here in River City,)  said YES!!!  Yipee. My LT may not fit on their rack either but they will do it on the ground. More important they offered to inspect and evaluate the trouble and attempt a solution! Why is this so rare? I learned a lot from talking to him.There are issues to consider: a bad tire, esp since the trouble happened as soon as they were installed, alignment, maybe, wrong tires? not sure, tie rod bearings? Some other front end issue? There are things to explore.

I ate a couple of really big pieces of salmon I cooked with chopped spinach and blueberries… delicious but more food than needed… was supposed to last me a few days, but it’s all gone. I’m tired.  Stay tuned for the next installment of, woman fights back in the battle to save her aging heavy loaded van…

I purchased my 1996 Freedom Wide LTV from my fiance’s aunt in 2010 after joyful talking how this rig was in perfect condition and well cared for, only needing a new set of tires and a battery.  My fiance took the RV to his mechanic and for $60 I was told there were no problems and was advised what a great deal it would be.

I erroneously thought that the difficult handling and sloppy steering would be “fixed’” with some new tires, I knew nothing about RVs; the existing tires were in poor condition as the rig had spent too long sitting in one place. I believed my partner, I believed my partner’s mechanic and I believed this dear aunt that everything was good and I was getting an incredible bargain. Aunt was eager to unload as she could no longer make the payments due to medical bills and although she had been “trying” to sell for a very long time, it was explained that this was because she had little time to show it.  So even though the LTV wasn’t exactly what I wanted I made the purchase based on the low cash price feeling that the rig would stay in the family and being my first RV I would enjoy it.

If you’ve followed this blog you know how I suffered for my ignorance! You also know those people in my life are gone, but I’m still here and so is My little LTV. Here are some of the repairs, I know I’ve left some out . .  but you’ll get the gist. .

June, 2010
Dodge Dealer (Santa Barbara)
Tail lamp replaced $119

I requested a full inspection upon purchase: Dealer estimated $4,500 min for repairs only on the vehicle, the Dodge Ram Van 3500 itself (not including tires and battery.) Overall condition was discovered to be poor. I declined service.

August, 2010
Ian’s Tire & Auto (Santa Barbara)
Tires:  Coopers, $774 plus stems, weights, installation
Alignment, $80

On request Ian’s refused to install wheel spacers saying there were not recommended. They went as far as to tell me I was crazy in nice terms to even think of such a thing…  according to them the wheels would fall off… no kidding! I’d called Leisure Travel Van in Canada and asked for help; they were very friendly in 2010 explaining that there was a reason they no longer used this Dodge van… After a brief lecture on weight distribution it was their recommendation from others with similar trouble to install wheel spacers.  This turned out to be one of the simplest and best fixes for the horrible handling, but not all that was needed.

Ian’s also installed Monroe shocks, cannot locate receipt for this.  I learned at this time that my van based RV was neither a “real” RV nor was it a van. RV shops did not want to touch it and the majority of car repair facilities would not touch it.

August 2010
Automotive Technician Group (Goleta)
Oil Service & 21 point inspection
Oxygen Sensors replaced
Throttle cleaned
Spark Plug Wires replaced
Cooling system flushed and cleaned
Water Pump, Thermostat and Timing chain replaced
Total: $2,060 including tax

August 2010
Ventura RV Service (Ventura)
Repair leaking water heater (hot water for the coach)… discovered to be corroded:
Installed new water heater tank, door kit and cone seal:
Parts & Labor $743

August 2010
Associated Tire & Brake (Ventura)
Installed 2 rear wheel spacers ($140)
Alignment ($70.00)
$221 total

 

September 2010
Serna’s Central Truck Service (Nipomo)
Installed rear sway bar after inspection of handling problems.
Total with tax $954   Sway bar cost $593 plus $42 shipping.
Advised replacement of malfunctioning air conditioner … unable to be serviced.

 
October 2010
Windshield was in terrible condition, very limited visibility…  it was scratched in large circles as if someone had taken a scrubbing agent and tried to “wash” it with heavy grit. Finally had it replaced… had to be done twice, first replacement windshield was defective.
$250

 

September 2010
Front End Service Big Brand Tire (Goleta)
No charge … checked alignment and adjusted tire pressure.
In spite of improvements, still having trouble with handling

 

October 2010
Figueroa Brake & Alignment (Santa Barbara)
Replaced Ball Joints (upper and lower)
Installed front end steering stabilizer Shock ($124)
Alignment
$1,305

 

May 2011
Bruce’s Auto Repair (Goleta)
Replace water pump pulley and water pump (again)
Vehicle overheating.
$334

 

June 2011
Bill’s RV Service (Ventura)
Remove Old Cell phone antenna.
Replace coach fresh water filer.
Oil change and service generator, generator will not start.
Repair Sewer Leak and gray/black tank valve.
Install New Sewer Hose. (Sewer was leaking.)
$570

 

June 2011
Automotive Technicians Group (Goleta)
Wiper blades
Turn front brake rotors and resurface
Install brake rotors and caliper, repack wheel bearings and install new seals
$316

 

June 2011
Automotive Technicians Group (Goleta)
Replace Tensioner Pulley and Serpentine Belt (other, not so old belt kept as spare) fix for high pitch whining noise when pressing accelerator.
$186

 

August 2011
Bruce’s Auto (Goleta)
Install AC Power converter.
I purchased the converter as the original converter would not run modern electronics. Bruce kindly installed it. This was very difficult as he had to work all cramped up on the floor due to bad placement of the converter box.
$400

May 2012
Ian’s Tire (Santa Barbara.)
Install front pads (brakes.)
Rear Brakes, brake lining, machine rear drums
$390

Ian’s botched this job and the brakes had severe trouble after work completed. I eventually was able to receive partial refund after much argument from Ian’s but not without crying, shouting and who knows how many visits. This woman will not be told off by know everything but completely wrong bully mechanics…  so there. Don’t go to Ians.

June 2012
Superior Brake & Alignment (Santa Barbara)
Inspect and determine cause of brake trouble
Reinstall quality front brake pads (Ian’s had put trashy pads on the LTV)
Alignment
$279

Brakes pulled and rig did not drive straight, would barely stop and was very scary to drive… hand brake not engaging.  Took it back over and over, Superior was very nice about it and they tried lots of different fixes…  brakes got better but handling was terrible; I was limping along to shop after shop, eventually I got tired of it. It was a terrible experience as I’d intended to drive out to Michigan to take part in the UKC (United Kennel Club) invitational.  Olympia was #3 Lagotto in the country for that year and was invited to compete. We never did make it…  all my money was wasted on mechanics.

June 2012
Dal Pozzo Corp. (Santa Barbara)
Finally adjusted alignment correctly!!!
Rebalanced tires
$80

June 2012
Bruce’s Auto
Trip check/ oil,  fluids, including fixing sewer hose
Repaired rear window   Note window broke again a few months after repair
$165

February 2013
Lara’s Auto Repair
Decided to try a new place… as rig was STILL overheating going uphill and losing power., unable to run air-conditioner and it was hot….  had to abort trip and limp home.
Oil and filter
Spark plugs
New Thermostat (again)
Differential plug
Ignition wires
Distributor cap and rotor
New Radiator and cap
$1543

Had to bring it back for new coolant temp sensor for the computer (Bruce advised)
$70

In this period of time… my LTV was actually running and handling ok.  Had it serviced just for normal maintenance / oil change / trip checks etc. Or else I tossed out bills from 2014   ????

 

I do know I had it trip checked at Bruce’s and then it needed servicing as soon as I arrived in Placerville.

May 2015
Master’s Automotive (Placerville)
Vehicle overheating up steep grades
Replaced fan clutch
$117

February 2016
New LT M/S 2 tires (4) from Costco!
Balancing and installation
Price not listed on receipt, think it was around $840
March 2016
Bruce’s Auto
Trip check / oil change
Check brakes
Fix seat level
Lower Driver’s side seat belt
Service generator
$260
Repair rear window regulator, shim
$78

 

Currently waiting for new shocks (Bilstein’s) which will be delivered today?

Well shocks are supposed to be here by 8pm and it’s 7:50…  probably will not arrive and I paid extra for expedited shipping. <can you see the face I’m making>

There are major items not on this list as Frans has provided his engineering genius to all kinds of fixes including (but not limited to):

Installing coach battery on/off switch within cabin, easily located under rear view mirror
installing lots of 12 Volt power plugs (much-needed and used!)
Replacing house air conditioner.
Reinstalling closet door including door strip.
Repairing doors, cupboards and locks.
Troubleshooting refrigerator failure (works now.)
Removing original 1996 tube TV and installing 12 Volt TV and rotating mount in rear of coach.
Installing wiring and easy switch for cable vs on air TV reception and (more) auxiliary DC power plugs in newly created storage box where old TV used to be.
Remodeling for easier access: water, power and TV connections for house hookup at campgrounds.
Installing backup camera. Love my backup camera!
Installing mounts for modern electronics and onboard equipment as needed.
Attaching mount for a little outside table.
Writing schematic for new house power unit (Converter.)
Troubleshooting electrical failures and fuse troubles.
Assisting in figuring out the many mysteries of this particular RV.
Took off bolts holding back and side windows from opening.
Giving rides back and forth to mechanics, in and out-of-town.
And providing emotional support when I was ready to give up.

 

Also not on this list is the work that Gabriel of Quality RV did in repairing the damage from a hit and run to the side of my vehicle.  In addition to repairing the fiberglass body and paint, he removed most of the rust and replaced the cracked white molding strip and also cleaned and painted the engine.  Gabriel came up with a work around for the broken passenger seat lever (I have not been able to find a replacement but his team fabricated a repair.) His team also cut out the dip in the gas line to the generator; the dip was causing faulty starts to the generator.

I’ve repaired or modified lots of little things including for insulation and comfort. The side view mirrors continue to be a problem and will likely need to replace.  Some interior touch up painting is needed. Most if not all, screws, bolts and so forth including door fixings have been replaced. I’ve added high quality floor mats to the driver and passenger sides although I am not pleased that they can still hold a stain.

 

 

A song for you my little LTV

Love my baby – Wizkid

 

I didn’t give up on you!

 

 

Found a quick delivery for new Bilstein shocks…  they are on their way!  I’ve long been weary of the Cooper tires with the Heavy Duty Monroe shocks; they are okay but I’m eager for a better ride.The Coopers suffered cupping which according to my tire shop indicated insufficient shocks for my vehicle’s load; I had plenty of use out of them.  I’ve come to understand that the Cooper/Monroe combo is easily obtainable as stock fit for the Dodge Ram 3500; however the van is not really a van when it’s a motorhome. For anyone that has this motorhome of similar vintage you’ve probably come to learn that there is too much weight in the rear which causes the wild steering as these vehicle age.  The GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) from what I’ve found (have not been able to do any real-time weights but I would like to)  is listed at 9,200 pounds for the motorhome; the Dodge Ram Van alone is listed at 6,400 lbs. If anyone knows different please post but going by those numbers it certainly doesn’t make sense not to use the Bilstein’s even if they are more difficult to obtain, my local tire shops cannot sell them or order them but actually they are not at difficult to find; I ordered 4 shocks from the ShockWarehouse http://www.shockwarehouse.com/   They have an online chat which I used to ask questions. This is what I ordered, I asked for speed shipping otherwise shipping would be free. :

2 Bilstein B6 4600 Heavy Duty Shock Absorber Dodge B200 Front 24-014014
Item: 24-014014 
$89.84 $179.6
2 Bilstein B6 4600 Heavy Duty Shock Absorber Dodge B100 Rear 24-184670
Item: 24-184670 
$92.53 $185.06

Sub Total             $364.74
Discount Code (CB10)      – $10.00
Shipping (3 Day) $19.95
Invoice Total      $374.69

I found them just a little bit cheaper on Amazon from the same company but I went ahead and purchased from ShockWarehouse directly.  My shop will install them once they arrive, if you’re handy and good with a jack you might be able to do this on your own. My shop quoted $175 for the instal.

I’m hopeful that these along with the new LT Michelins will significantly improve the ride and drivability of my LTV.  Currently with the new tires the ride is difficult, I can feel every grunt and cracked nuance of the terribly maintained Hwy 101 though Santa Barbara. Where ‘o where are our transportation dollars going!!!   Well, that’s a different subject. I worked as a transportation planner for both County and City and obtained my masters in public administration and I will be happy at a future date to discuss a few salient spicy tidbits….  but later.

Up next I will continue the modifications I’ve made
After that I will review what I’ve done to improve the overall handling of my Dodge van RV. When I first brought home my motorhome it was drivable but only barely. I really did not think  I would be able to get it home that day as it wandered all over the highway wanting to choose for itself which lane, or rather lanes to take. Every passing truck or car shook us out like clothes hanging in the breeze to dry, and the wind!  The wind was impossible.

Right now it’s time to walk the dogs!

1996 Freedom Wide LTV modifications

Curtains Cont: Using the directions from the video to put lace on the solar material and then hook the top into the already present curtain hooks was easy.  I glued the lace onto the solar stuff, let it dry…  took it out to the RV and pushed the lace through the hooks then pushed the hooks back onto the curtain hanger. Simple. Not so for “training” the pleats however….  I got tired of that part after some struggle and bunched the solar stuff instead….  not so elegant. (I’m better at “training’ dogs!) My verdict: Think Hard Before You take this on.  If you have a talented aunt (like in the video) or maybe you can sew and make curtains yourself …  then go for it! Best would be to use the solar cloth as a middle layer.

Glued to the lace to that solar stuff... Fairfield Solarize Liner Fabric

Glued to the lace to that solar stuff… Fairfield Solarize Liner Fabric

My mechanic, Bruce of Bruce’s Auto Repair,  is trustworthy and does a great job and he’s happy to work on a motorhome, gas, not diesel.  I should mention that Bruce’s son Bruce works there too…  maybe the place should be called Bruces?   Brakes ok, everything tightened, generator serviced, oil and trip check done; front shocks, good, rear shocks fair and he’s fixing the rear window and happy dance, he lowered the shoulder safety belt by adding an extension so it no longer cuts off my carotid.

Re undercarriage insulation; turns out there is foam insulation sprayed on the underside; Bruce and Bruce Jr. could not apply the solar matting on top of that, nothing will stick. So I cut the material and fitted it under the insulation I already have on the inside and laid the carpet back on top. I fitted insulation material as well around the doghouse and will figure out a way to tape it down (carpet tape on its way) stuffed the edges under the carpet

Two layers of insulation under the carpet. I left the white paper on the self-stick Thermo-Tec since I repurposed it for the interior.

two layers of insulation under the carpet. I left the white paper on the self-stick Thermo-Tec since I repurposed it for the interior.

My hallway with carpet down. I cut this long runner so it lays better. Bought it at Ross. The fuzzy stuff over the door step is one of those Doggy Super Absorbent Mats... and the little rug in the back is something I found on Amazon..

My hallway with carpet down. I cut this long runner so it lays better. Bought it at Ross. The rug over the doorstep is a Super Absorbent Doggy Mat, and the little rug in the back is a find from Amazon .

Am enjoying my new Michelin’s  but true to my RVs irascible nature the steering is wonky again. For now am crossing my fingers that once the tires wear a little it will be better, am having Burce Jr. lower the tire pressure by 5 pounds front and rear, so will be 75 rear and 50 front. Fingers super crossed!

I plan to do a walk-through video of my rig showing the modifications I’ve done in the last 4 years and how it all works out traveling with the dogs.

I gave up on the radio for now, it was too confusing or I just didn’t see one I thought I’d like (kinda like dating in my 60s)  The new radios come with itsy-bitsy buttons nearly impossible to punch and long repetitive menus with a display that cannot be read except by Superman with his special vision in daylight….  the current state of more glitz than usefulness…..  hummm….  I did call Crutchfield Audio and they told me that a simple display with larger buttons and being able to read it were “premium” items and I’d pay a lot more! Nevermind, the stock radio fits, looks nice, sounds nice and is simple to operate so I purchased a wireless Anker SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker to sync with my Android cell. ($33.99 from Amazon) I like it. Will put it on the dash, it plays everything that my cell can pick up. 

Here’s some other items I’ve added or tried to add and maybe send back, in no particular order:

Steering Wheel Desk :  I really wanted to like this, I was excited to get it and ripped the box when it arrived. I was looking forward to the extra flat surface for all sorts of uses from lunch, to an easy writing desk, a place to put my little fan …  you get the idea, what I didn’t realize is that it will not go on without damaging my steering wheel cover and importantly once installed I could not squeeze myself into the seat. This seems to be made for a regular car where the seat can go back far enough, not for an RV, darn. My housemate loved it since he frequently eats lunch in his car, so it’s now his.

Steering Wheel Desk

Steering Wheel Desk

 

 

Up-Oh….  interruption. My V definitely needs new shocks! Just returned from Bruce’s with the back window fixed and the tire pressure slightly reduced by 5 pounds per tire and my RV is bouncing all over the place and the road is even rougher than before…  like a party house for kids.  Will call Blistein in the morning to make sure I get the right ones, then see how fast I can get them and who I can get to install them….  always something, wondering if I will meet my first stop deadline.

 

OK I’ll post more later….  need to research the shocks.

 

david bowie – changes