Our Travel House

Our Travel House

Thursday, December 25, 2014


We just got back to the rig from the RV Park's Christmas dinner. As usual I ate way too much. So did everyone else. Had a nice turnout and everyone brought a bowl of sides to pass. The park provided the ham & turkey and there were a lot of tasty sides and then ( drumroll here) THE DESSERTS..that last part is what got me. Oh my ! Pies, cakes, cookies, whipped cream !!

We waddled back home and I'll betcha I'll be fighting off a nap soon.

We heard from the kids today and everyone is safe and happy.

My daughter, Nicole, and David, made it up to her moms in Michigan.

I've been enjoying all the blogger's best Christmas wishes. Hope all my fellow bloggers have a happy and safe Holiday Season.

What bloggers ?? Check out www.hitchitch.com if you are curious.

It's a whole new world in the blogger world. Sure beats reading the news today. Happy people !!

The yawns are overcoming me so for today I'll say goodnight.


Charlie & Heather

Monday, December 22, 2014

To shroud or not shroud ??

Fan shroud or no fan shroud ??

Saturday, 12-22-14--- I've been debateing with myself about the fan shroud we left off when we put the engine back together. I figured it'd be easier to see if anything was leaking and would allow me access to tighten up anything. Last evening I fired up the all powerful “new to us” 454. It runs really well. I let her run about 45 minutes and watched the temperature guage. When we drove the rig home the other day it maintained a normal temperature. Hmmm..climbing past normal and it kept going up. Of coarse, now, there was no air flowing like when you are driving. And the temp. kepy climbing up !! NOT good. Shut 'er down. She was hot to the point of boiling into the overflow bucket. It took about a ½ hr to cool off.
Got on the internet to educate me...Many hours later I was still befuddled. Opinions varied from no shroud to gotta have it. Now what ?? I did see one forum that mentioned the distance between the fan and radiator..Now that makes sense. Our rig has about 12” there and the theory was the air from the engine compartment would recirculate instaed of pulling air thru the radiator.
I decided the shroud needed to be on. So I retrieved it from the tool trailer. This shroud is in 2 pieces and after I looked at the area to install it I decided to remove the staples holding it together horizontally and will bolt the 1/2s together after they're in place. Another part of my internet education says the fan blades must be removed to enable reinsertion from the top and from inside via the doghouse. ( have I lost ya yet?)
Gonna take a lot of contortions. But not by me !! I decided to see if my mechanic, Robert, was available and he was..YAHOO!!
He was here within an hour and had it all done in 1 hour. Ya gotta love it !! I'd abeen ( is that a word?? LOL) all afternoon and sore in the AM !
We also changed the thermostat to a fail safe 165F one. Had a 180F in it and Robert said we should lower the temperature range. The fail safe feature costs a bit more but if the thermosat fails it will be open instead of closed. That way we won't boil. Good idea!
Engine got fired up again and we let 'er run for quite awhile. Definately a big difference and a lower temperature. Checked for leaks and found a tiny leak at an oil fitting on the new oil cooler hose which stopped after a tweak.
I fired up again in a few hours and all is well...PHEwwww!
We will try a run into town tomorrow and if all is well I'll dump the radiator water and add the antifreeze. I haven't wanted to find a leak of antifreeze. I'm glad all this is done today as the weather guessers are calling for rain over the next few days. No FUN working in rain.
Shopping tomorrow for the RV Park dinner on Christmas.
Heather and I sincerely hope all our friends and blog followers have a wonderful and Holy Christmas !!


Charlie & Heather

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Puttering ( in my mind ) -small stuff

We had rain most of the night. I really like the sound of rain on the RV roof. Hit the sack last night about 11PM and didn't blink until 0830 this morning. AHHH !!
My mind went to thinking before the coffee was done. I still have to make permanent connections to the replacemant starter solenoid wire. We've been starting the rig by touching the temporary wire to positive of the battery. Robert did trace out the wire to the firewall. It was a pink wire. Hey, that oughta be easy ! After coffee we got a break in the rain so I figured I'd give it a go. I tried to lookup a wiring schematic on the internet, hmmmm..no can find. I found Chevy trucks..Chevy cars...no P30 Chevy motorhomes. Oh-oh !! So I decided we'll do it the old way, with a DC light probe tester.
I told Ms. Heather I'd need help. She grinned and I thought she was going to get into work clothes and find her gloves and tie her beautiful hair back..WHOAH girl !!!...all I needed was a key turner ! Hahaha ! I really love her ambition ! I took the tester outside to the firewall passthru of the wires and stuck the probe into the wires one at a time and had her turn the key to the start position several times while I probed the “ pink wire “. Of course there were 3 of them ! Finally found the “start” wire and had her shut the key to off. Then I cut the old wire and spliced in the new wire we installed the other night. Now it was “ TEST” time ( insert drumroll here! ) The engine roared to life as it should..YAHOO ! Back to normal on the “ Start Circuit “ !
I still have a few more items to reinstall. We left the fan shroud off to allow for any leak adjustment that might be needed. It's simply impossible to access the radiator hoses and oil cooler hoses with it in place. I suspect the shroud is needed for temperature control as the fan is almost a foot away from the radiator. This is a simple job ( famous last words) but it was my decision. I want to run the engine several times up to temperature and retorque the hoses and exhaust manifold bolts before I reinstall the fan shroud and heat deflector. I also have to rehook up all the front lights. Oughta be easy as we marked all of them before disconnecting them. There's a few misc. wire to resplice too.
We'll spend a few weeks running the rig around the area and then enjoy the Holidays and RV Park festivities right here before we continue out Southbound venture.
Charlie & Heather

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rolling Earthquake liftoff ( finally )

At 0730 we were up ! 42F BRRRR! I woke up a few times last night with thoughts of what we had to accomplish in the morning. It's just the way my mind works. Lots of little details to get done before blastoff.
Morning came early but we don't mind that. Had to pickup and clean tools, round up the debris from the motor changeout, it was too dark last night to see anything, filled a large box with that stuff. Ms. Heather and I put the front end grill and bumper back on the rig

and I zipstripped all the wiring harnesses in place.I found an anti-freeze leak at the lower hose and had to relocate the clamp. That stopped the drip but it managed to drain a lot of antifreeze overnight soI'll have to freshen that up in the next few days. I put all our tools back in the trailer and Heather secured the inside stuff for travel. That all took about 4 hrs. I decided to call my buddy, Phil, before we took off to see if he could act as an escort for our 5 mile trip back to the RV Park. He was already enroute and arrived about 5 minutes later, musta been just up the street !! No reason in particular except it would make me feel better for the maiden voyage. We left the repair site at 1400 hrs. New engine fired right up and sounded and felt good. This new engine has a lot of zip to it and I'm happy ! Phil brought up the rear and we were recamped at 1430 hrs at Wilderness RV Park. Already have the rent paid thru January 14th. ( $300/mo )
We both had sh** eatin' grins on our mugs and a good feeling about the last month's decisions. Time will tell !
When we got back, a lot of the folks here walked over to see how we were doing. Nice to feel their concern.
Phil drove me back to the repair spot again, about 5 miles away, to retrieve the Goldwing. We'd been using it to get around last week.
As soon as we got back we got all hooked up, Phil and I went to a local party store and restocked for Happy Hour. I'm definately in a mood to unwind !
It'll be 1-Relax, 2- beer, 3-Hot shower !! I'm not going to do a damn thing for at least 2 days !!!!!

Charlie & Heather

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We Have Liftoff ( finally! )

12-15-14 and more thru 12-17-14

We got back to our rig from the motel on Monday 12-15-14 about 1130hrs. Robert was working, intently, on the rig. He had removed the broken engine and had it's replacement installed.( his sister and brother in law, Jason helped him ) He still had to reconnect & install all the accessory components like oil cooler lines and radiator and electrical stuff. It's a lot to me. We decided to stay there til it was done. He kept very busy til about 6PM and was hoping to finish up in the morning.
Bright and early Tuesday he was back at it. Had a problem with the oil cooler lines yesterday, found a cracked spot on one and they definitely needed to be replaced and we had to order new ones. They came into the parts store about noon and Robert went and picked them up. $123 later he found out that they had the wrong fittings on one end so back to the supplier to get that fixed. Did I tell ya my blood pressure takes a rise over this kinda stuff? All of these “ glitches “ eat up time and money. I'm old enough to remember when we ordered a part years ago, it was right the first time. Nowadays, I'll bet 50% of the time you gotta go back to fix it again. Is it just me? Do any of my blog readers have that kind of luck ? Ha ha ha ha !! Oh well !!
Wednesday 12-17-14-- Here we go again at 0800. Robert was in high gear today. I don't blame him ! He's gotten to the point of apologizing for the time this is taking ! I've helped a little and so I've been seeing him being very fussy and meticulous. I told him to not stress out as we don't have any place to be. I think he's been takeing time off from his normal job to get this done. He's quite sure this will be done today. Ms. Heather and I have been trying to help where we could. Not much but we did do a few things to assist him. We poured all the oil and anti freeze from the old engine into gallon jugs for later recycling, picked up and cleaned tools, handed tools to Robert, put oil & antifreeze in the new engine and other trivial things. Finally at 5PM we were ready to start the engine. GRRRRR !! NOTHING !! Here we go again in the dark. After a bit of trouble shooting it was determined that the ignition feed from the starting circuit wasn't getting any voltage to the starter solenoid. Off to the parts store went Robert. He decided to run a new wire to the solenoid. Another hour ! When he got back about 630PM with the parts I wanted to call it quits for the night because it was pretty cool, but OH NOOOO, not Robert !! Down under the rig he went with trouble lights. He disconnected the solenoid wire from the starter and connected the new wire and ran it to jumper around our suspected bad wire. “OKAY”, lets try this startup again ! After a few tense minutes and some sprays of starting fluid the engine came to life !! YAHOO !! We ran it for awhile and it sounds real good. Ran it up long enough to check for leaks and get some temperature showing. The only adjustment was to tighten up an exhaust gasket clamp.This part of the job is fun !! Robert was grinning from ear to ear too !!
Whenever you buy a used engine you never know for sure how it will run. I've had engines completely rebuilt and I've bought used engines in the past and I've had better luck with the used ones.
I won't judge this engine until we put on some miles. We're figuring on staying in the area for a least a few weeks and run around a bit so we can rebuild our confidence in our power plant.
Robert goes back to his primary job tomorrow. Ms. Heather & I have a few wrap up chores to do in the AM. We have to put the front plastic and bumper back on, which will take a couple of hours. Gotta put tools and misc. away. I'll make final & permanent connections of the new wire. Planning on being back at our RVcamp in the afternoon. Gonna have one good Happy Hour tomorrow and a good hot shower if all goes well !!!
Our fixit spot hosts, Jason & Jessica ( Roberts sister) have been wonderful ! I'm so grateful they let this repair happen in their yard. They are wonderful folks. I made sure to donate some $$$ to them too! Robert and I squared up and I made sure to include a good tip too. There was no way I could justify our agreed upon price. He's sure been a “ guardian angel “ to us. ( did I mention my Craigslist ad found him?? ) I'm also grateful that the weather has been agreeable for the project. ( can you imagine if we had been up North instead of in South Alabama ??) Thank You God !

Charlie & Heather

Monday, December 15, 2014

12-13&14 Moteling it

Spent a few nights at the Super 8 in Foley. Al. while the motor is being changed out in our motorhome. We picked this motel because it's walking distance to eats and for it's prices. At $60 per night it raises our camp fees considerably.

Robert, our mechanic had the weekend and Monday off ,so he's been working on our rig every day. Took a day to get everything disconnected and a day to pull out the engine and plant the replacement. That ate up Friday and Saturday and part of Sunday. He was working on reconnecting all the oil lines, tranny lines, electrical wires and gas lines when we got back on Monday. Had to order a new accelerator cable (got bent during engine removal), which won't be at the auto parts til Tuesday at 2PM . I tried to order new oil cooler lines ( which were aged and leaking) and they are “ not available” so we have to have them made & that will slow this job down. But, all in all, it's all progressing.

Went back Monday night to the rig at the work site. Going to return to the motel tomorrow for 1 or 2 nights.

Robert is starting to worry about time constraints so I told him to take it easy. I know this is a lot of work. I certainly have “ been there, done that” !! No sense in doing this half assed. If we find stuff that is showing it's age then we need to fix it. It's understandable when you're driving an Classic motorhome!! Most of the repairs are do to age (1984). Hard to believe Rolling Earthquake is 30 years old ! Part of the game. We decided that a long time ago. I know that you can have big problems even on a new rig. The nice part of all of this is The Rig Is Paid For !! ( grinning ). Most of our repairs don't even equal a new rig's payments.

I've had a few of my friends make comments about how they couldn't stand the stress...that's never been my problem ! Our backup plan has always been to go buy another “classic” rig if we have to!


Charlie & Heather6

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday progress 12-13-14
Out of the rig earlier than usual. Got work to do ! Robert was working up to high gear very quickly. Loosen this, take that off, wrenchy, wrenchy. I guess the best thing to do is get out of the way.
We stuck around til 1300 hrs and then loaded the Goldwing for tonite. We're going to the Super 8 Motel in Foley, Al. . I don't know if we'll stay 1 or 2 nights, it depends on Robert's progress. I will probably go back to the work site for awhile tomorrow. Ms. Heather took some of her craft stuff to keep her busy.
In my usual, old, pessimistic mind I'm guessin' the engine change will take a bit longer than 2 days. I worry if we spent more that a few days in the rig that the holding tanks would get full and I really don't want to have to go thru that mess. Better safe than sorry. Have I mentioned that Rolling Earthquake's holding tanks aren't as big as in our previous MH ? We used to get 4 days before dumping.
The Super 8 Motel here in Foley is about a ½ hr away. Nice room, close to eateries. After we checked in and unloaded the cycle bins (and it does hold a lot of stuff ) we went next door to Ruby Tuesday's and had happy hour. Met a few locals but when the conversation went political we said goodbye. Then we walked to KFC and picked up some dinner. YUM !!
I sure dislike these early sunsets. It always cools off about 4PM and is dark be 5:30PM. I reserve 8PM for blog reading. In between we usually eat and then I watch the clock.
Sunday 12-14-14

As in most motels, the noise started about 7AM. Sun's up so so am I. Got dressed and to the office for coffee and “ continental breakfast” . Never have figured why it's called that. Cereal, waffles, cinnamon buns and COFFEE !! Good coffee. Lots of coffee. Puts a smile on my face.
We whiled away the day reading, watched the news and got a couple good walks in. I decided to keep out of Robert's way and stay in town today.  Discovered a Wally World was a short walk away so we spent about a ½ hr wandering around in there. I've got the Detroit Lions on via internet. The gourmet meal toight was compliments of Wendy's !! LOL. Been awhile sincee I've had a good burger. YUM. ( Heather looks at me digusted !! ha ha) We decided to stay here tonight too.
6PM..got a text from Robert, old engine is out, new engine is in. He has to do all the bolt ons yet. He's going to work late tonite and may/may not get done. He's gonna call me by 9PM tonight.

I'm getting excited !! Ya Man !!
    Charlie & Heather

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12-12-14 Engine change weekend.


Recieved a text early (Friday 0609) this morning from my mechanic, Robert, verifying he was going to be off from his primary job for 3 days this weekend. Engine change out is on !!! We talked on the phone about 0845 and made a plan for meeting up after 1200. He's going to be prepping the new engine this morning. We have to travel about 5 miles down the road to his sisters place. I hope the rig makes it. I'm sure we'll be smoking !! If the rig can't make it, Robert will tow us.
The weather forcast is for mid 60's and sunny for the weekend with 70's next week. Kinda critical for this work.
At about 1200hrs we fired up Rolling Earthquake and slowly drove 5 miles to the repair spot. Wow, did we smoke up the route. I'm going to guess we may have lost a compression ring or have a cracked piston. Still had plenty of power but had a slight miss in the engine. I was still towing the trailer and that weighs near 2500#s.
Robert got right to work. I had already prepped the front bumper and fiberglass cap last week so that all came off in ½ hr.
Robert, Heather & I worked together to strip the replacement motor and the one in the rig. We finally called it quits for the day about 6PM and it was after sunset. It cooled off rather quickly so we put the motor doghouse back in place and cranked up some heat. Gonna stay in the rig tonite.

Saturday-- I heard Robert rummageing around outside about 8AM, so the day begins. Hot coffee tasted especially good this chilly morning. We're planning on going to a motel this afternoon. 
     Charlie & Heather

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12-3-14 Living with Glitches

12-3-14 First Glitch
It's a good thing I'm patient. If you read the last blog you know I'm worried about “glitches” happening during this engine swapout. My mechanic, Robert, was gonna be here by 2:30 PM to look at our rig and take me to the salvage yard to pick up the replacement engine. He called about 2PM and said he was having problems with his vehicle. OH-OH ! We needed to be at the salvage yard by 5 PM. I called the yard and told them we may or may not be there today.
Robert limped his truck here at 4:30PM. Seems he has a bad tranny fluid leak on his truck. He had just put in a new tranny seal yesterday and universal joints. He was very apologetic. Since I've done a few of those, years ago, I can relate to that headache. We looked over the rig and he took note of what was needed & looked at parts I've accumulated. . The revised plan is for him to pick up the engine Friday AM and then we will all travel to the repair spot. Oh well, a slight change in plans.
One of our neighbors, Phil, has been a monsterous help to me. He's driven me to stores and to get misc. parts any time I've asked ! That sure makes this whole mess easier.
Glitch #2
On Friday about 3PM Robert called and said he got called into work and was stuck at his primary job & has to work Saturday too ! So we revised plans. He's going to try and pick up the engine Saturday afternoon and we agreed to do the engine swap next weekend if all goes well.
He called at 3 PM Saturday and now has possession of the engine from the salvage yard. He sent pics of it in his truck and has it covered in a tarp. Later in the day he stopped by our RV Park to discuss the job and look over our rig again.
On Monday (8th) he called to say he moved the replacement motor to the place we're getting the work done at ( His sister's house). He said he bought a new vehicle to replace his undependable truck. Still on for next weekend.
I read a lot of other's blogs. Billy Bob's tells a story of an uptight trip to Texas. His engine keeps dying which causes the emergency brake to engage. Very scary ! Seems he has a bad ignition switch. To condense the story, he finally made it. Makes our problem seem simple. If you are curious about the other blogs just look up “ www.hitchitch.com “ It's a good site to get an education about this lifestyle.

Charlie & Heather

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

12-2-14 Enroute to engine change

12-1-14 Lots of details for Engine Swap
My friend, Phil, and I met up with Robert, the mechanic, at the salvage yard last Saturday to see the used 454 engine and to get an out the door price. The engine has 35K miles on it and is out of a 1983 motorhome per the Baldwin Auto Salvage yard owner, Juan, he said he heard it run before it was pulled and it ran strong. I'll pay for it today ($1150) and Robert will pick it up Wednesday with his truck.
Robert is now making arrangements for a place near us to do the work. His sister has 2 acres nearby, about 5 mls. He's trying his best to keep us near where we are at so I can drive there with no hassle. Gonna look like a big mosquito chaser going down the road ! That will save a lot versus towing.
I have been WD40'ing any nuts and bolts we need to remove and marking all the wires ahead of time. This will save time I hope.
As agreed with Robert, I'm picking up gaskets, oil & filter, etc today . ($150). I preordered all of it. Supposed to be ready at 1PM.
Looks like we're all set for Friday. Robert says 2 days for the work to be done.
12-2-14 Tuesday

I'm getting in to my “ more geeked out” mode as the day nears to get this engine changed. Bad habit from years ago. I'm over worrying and over thinking this whole thing ! I've never been very good at letting someone else do things for me. I really dislike being old! I was sitting here this morning and I suddenly remembered that I forgot anti-freeze yesterday ! BAM, there it was! *&%*....The shop I'm getting parts from didn't have a carburator gasket yesterday so I have to go there again tomorrow. I wonder what else will be forgotten ? I woke up a few times the last few nights with all of this on my mind.