A repair, some modifications and a new project.

Repair:

When we were in Bishop I noticed a dripping coming out of a valve on the bottom of our tanks. There were two valves there so I was unsure of their function. I thought the freezing conditions may have broke the valve. I also noticed it dripping at Calico. However it was only during times where the water system was pressurized either via the pump or shore water. First thing was to figure out what they were.

Using both AirForums and Airstream support, I was able to find out these were the low point drains for the fresh water system. One for hot water and the other for cold water. The cold water one was having problems. I ordered a new one, actually two.

The good news is: there is an access panel:

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The bad new is: you have to take off a wheel to get to it:

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Upon opening it up I see the two valves with PEX:

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You can see the corrosion from the dripping. It took much consternation to remove the valve (I had to cut the PEX) but I got it off and it promptly broke:

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With PEX you are supposed to use a specific tool to connect the parts. However I could not get the tool in there due to size constraints. Also I didn’t have the tool so I would have to buy it (pricey) or rent one. So I thought I would try an alternative. I used the PEX connector but used hose clamps (see the nice new valve?):

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That was a great attempt but it didn’t work. I put the system under pressure but the next day I noticed a droplet of water. Not much but I don’t want any leaks. I thought about it a bit. How much do I need the drains? We don’t winterize as it doesn’t get cold enough here. Also when we are travelling we won’t go places that are cold enough. Additionally if I need to drain I can work it out with my solution.

I used a Sharkbite connection to put on a simple plug. This way IF I ever need to drain, I take off the access plate and remove the plug. I also wire tied them together to stop vibrations:

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Modifications:

1.

In our overhead cabinet above the couch there is an electrical outlet that I noticed was broken. I am replacing it. However the Airstream outlets are not cheap and are rather odd. I opted for a different one from the local home improvement store. This outlet not only has two 110V outlets but it also has two USB charging port. The more USB charging ports the better:

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2

We have a Dyson vacuum that we take with us on the road and will continue to use during full timing. I needed to have a more permanent mounting solution. The Dyson comes with a wall mount that is very functional but it needs a 110V outlet. The ideal area is in our large wardrobe but there is no power in there. The solution is to run an extension from the back of the microwave into the wardrobe and up the side of the wardrobe to a new surface mounted outlet:

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The Dyson charger brick is plugged in. Its’ cord runs up over the doors and to the other side to the Dyson wall mount:

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3

In our bathroom we have one huge and bright LED (retrofit) light above the sink and mirror. This is good for when you really need to see in the bathroom but it is not too great in the middle of the night, however there is a switch on the light. There is another light attached to the main switch that is in the shower but it does not have a light. I was trying to figure out how to put in a red light in the bathroom. We had a homegrown version in our ’92. I used a LED red trailer marker light that I put a switch on. It worked well. I could not find a good way to do this here. Until I found a replacement light for the shower. If found a marine light at Amazon. It does both white:

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and red:

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Perfect. Works really well.

 

4

Many years ago, while at an Ikea store, I found a LED strip of lights that could do multiple colors (Dioder). I used them for a while on the back of our TV for backlighting. One day I noticed that the controller and the lights ran on 12v. That sparked an idea. This idea was finally put into play. We have an area on top of our cabinet above our couch that is recessed:

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I cut off the transformer and wired it into the 12V behind the radio. I laid out the strips like this:

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Here is a shot of the lights on red:

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And a video of the cycling nature:

New Project:

Solar!

I am almost ready to start my solar project. I will have one, or more, blog entries about this. We have a lot of space on our trailer roof but you don’t realize how big solar panels can be until you get them. Wow! I was looking for more room when I was looking at my Winegard Sensar antenna. It is nice that it folds down but it takes up 5 1/2 feet on the roof!! I can use that for my panels. Time to change out the antenna with a King Jack antenna:

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One of the fun things about owning a trailer is the ability to customize things but it seems to never end.

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Baby’s new shoes

Trailer tires usually need to be replaced on a time, not mileage, basis. Most people don’t put a huge number of miles on their trailers. They tend to sit more than not. 5 years of age is the general consensus to replace trailer tires whether you think they need them or not.

We purchased our trailer in Jan of 2013 and were told that it was on the lot for 6 months prior to that. There is 3 years of tire life right there. Additionally we put on over 12000 miles in our first 2 years. After I got my new truck I had some issues in getting the load equalization just right. The last trip (Casini) I noticed that the front of the trailer was riding a bit high and I also was running a bit under pressure on the tires. This turned out to be a bad combination. I could see pretty bad tire wear on the back tires, the ones that were carrying more weight since the front was higher. Time to do some research.

Here is a picture of the old tires/wheels. Look at the right two and you can see the bad wear pattern. It looked even worse up close.

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Trailer tires are under the ST designation which means they have stiffer sidewalls to handle the stress during sharp turning maneuvers. A couple of years ago other Airstreamers started researching using light truck (LTX) tires instead of trailer tires. There was, and may still be, a rash of tire failures with Goodyear Marathons (one of the most popular trailer tires). Airstream continued to use Marathons until just recently. Marathons used 15″ wheels to handle the load ranges. But with the LTX tires it requires an upgrade of the wheels also to 16″ wheels. This is the new combination Airstream is using.

I settled on getting the Sendel T03-66655T wheels and Michelin LTX M/S 2 tires. I know what I want so time to find them. I could go mail order but local is always preferable. A new tire store (America’s Tire) had just opened in town. This is a very large national chain and known as Discount Tire is some locations. This is a huge plus. They obviously had the Michelin’s in stock but had to order the wheels which took about 3 weeks. Their price was a very reasonable $100/wheel which included shipping. The total for 4 wheels, tires, mounting, balancing was $1300. Additionally by using their 9 months interest free financing I received $130 in Visa gift cards.

Installation was easy also. I took the trailer to the tire store and ‘convinced’ them to let me use my Trailer Aide to change the tires one by one instead of their jacks. 30 minutes later we were done. Before and after:

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Since they are now 16″ wheels the trailer now sits just a tad higher. Time to adjust my equalization again!

Two more items to worry about are UV protection and cat spray! Tires should be protected from UV exposure especially when they are just sitting, as ours does a lot at home (unfortunately). One thing I have always done is to park the tires on plywood that sits on our concrete pad (you can see this below). I have heard that this will avoid the leaching qualities of concrete. Might be true, might not, but it doesn’t hurt. I wanted to protect these new tires from these two problems and I had purchased those tire covers from Camping World. However their quality is not very good and I cut my hands from exposed screws in the wheel well.

Here is my solution:

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Just some simple pieces of plywood that sit in front of the tires and are tall enough to be above the top trim of the wheel well. Easy to remove and install, especially with the finger holes. I will just have to paint them now.

I am pretty sure I will be very happy with these tires and wheels.

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