(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Replaced light fixture

My van originally had a 12v dual fluorescent bar light over the sofa (which of course has been removed and a dinette put in it's place). It was no longer working, a replacement is expensive and they use more juice than LEDs, so I bought a new double light fixture on ebay and 6 more warm white 68 LED bulbs on ebay for all the interior light fixtures. I originally bought just one to test it.. and I loved it! I put two of them in the new fixture and it looks great.. puts out lots of light with very little power usage..The fixture can have one or both bulbs on depending on which mode you select on the switch.

Regular blueish LEDs hurt my eyes due to the color temperature. Warm white doesn't seem to strain my eyes the way the blue tint ones do. I had first bought a regular LED one with less on it and I don't like it. I'll keep it as an emergency spare or something.

Wiring & other repairs update

I was able to wire up the backup lights via the factory wire harness at the neutal safety switch and they work fine now. I also installed a new 97db backup alarm while I was at it. So now the van is nice and safe for lights.

I got the alignment done yesterday and had the mechanic look at the brakes. He said that they "scared" him how bad they were. You know your brakes are bad when they scare a mechanic when he test drives it. He bled off the brakes a bunch and they got better but they still aren't 100% right Perhaps 60% at best. I think i am going to have them replace the combination/proportioning valve and the master cylinder. Besides the brake booster, those are the only things LEFT that I haven't replaced on the brake system. Something has to fix it eventually!

Since the master cyl is cheap and they would have to bleed the brakes again anyway for the proportioning valve, I may as well just have them do it too just in case this master cylinder is bad. If those 2 things dont fix it.. I might get another booster and try it to see if it fixes it. By then, every single part of the brake system will have been replaced except for most of the steel lines and the front brake rotors.

I pulled the steering wheel today (thank god for no airbag to deal with) and sure enough, the turn signal cam for right turns is worn out. It's too weak to stay clicked. Simple $12 part with 2 wires to splice in so I will get that done in the next day or two once I go get the part.

Original turn signal cam removed:

Current proportioning valve:

Make Waves Miles-Per-Gallon Vacuum Gauge

I bought a Make Waves Miles Per-Gallon Vacuum gauge from JC Whiney for under $40 shipped. Pretty nice looking gauge. Simple installation... one vacuum hose, a hot wire and a ground wire for the backlight.

It's not a TRUE mpg gauge but rather it gives you an MPG estimate based on how much vacuum is used while driving.To calibrate the mpg, you have to fill the fuel tank, drive it on the highway for a good ways (at least 25-30 miles for my van since it'll get about 10-12 mpg), fill it up again... and divide the miles driven by how many gallons it takes to fill it back up. You then take that MPG number you calculated and set the MPG number on the gauge to roughly where it stays when driving at highway speeds.

So if the gauge sits around 15 for vacuum at 60mph and gets 11mpg, I would set the MPG part of the gauge at "11" to line up with the "15" of the vacuum portion of the gauge. The colored "low, good, bad, excellent" refers to how much vacuum there is, not what kind of MPG you are getting. The outer white ring of the gauge is the MPG portion.

A vacuum gauge is a nice diagnostic tool to have anyway since it can tell you what engine problem you may have based on how the needle behaves. So it's a nice little gadget to have.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rewiring running lights, part 2 - More problems.. elsewhere!

Man... just when I thought I was done with major electrical work.

I went and got 5 gallons of gas today and put it in the van and got it cranked up. (Which reminds me, I need to check my new hose connections for leaks now that fuel is in the lines.)

Low and behold... I stick it in reverse to make sure the backup lights are working.. and they weren't. And what's this?! The blinkers stopped working! ..Flashers work, but not blinkers. I look at the fuse panel and find #2 fuse is blown. (#6 was blowing for the running lights).

So after hours and hours of screwing around trying to get it to stop blowing fuses with no luck.. I figured out that it seems to only blow the fuse if left in reverse for more than a few seconds. In park, neutral, drive... it can be left in them and the fuse doesn't blow. If you hurry past reverse (in either direction), the fuse doesn't blow. But as soon as you leave it there... it blows the fuse.

An oddity about the van is that the horn only works when the engine is running which is NOT normal. The little bit of paper work I got with the van shows it failed a TX state inspection for a non-working horn. It's not really a big deal that the horn doesn't work when the engine is off.. but I may venture into fixing that as well since it's just a matter of routing the wire to a constant connection instead of a switched connection.

This may be a clue to why the fuse blows only in reverse since the horn is on the same circuit as the turn signals and presumably the backup lights as well.

I'm looking into if the backup lights are supposed to be wired directly to the neutral safety switch, which is what it appears to show in the Haynes manual schematic. If they are, it's a matter of running one new wire from the harness to the backup lights... like how I did to restore the running lights to working condition on the factory headlight switch.

In the meantime.. I bought some auto-reset circuit breakers that can used in place of glass fuses/ I ordered 3 sizes/2 kinds: Bussmann 10A & 15A & Dorman 20A. The Bussmann ones may not fit into the Dodge fuse panel.. but I may have a use for them in the motorhome's "house" fuse panel. The Dorman one will fit for sure but i wanted to try a smaller amperage rating one if possible so it and the wires don't heat up as much before the breaker trips. The factory fuse for #2 is 20A so the Dorman should be safe to use if the Bussmann ones don't fit.

This will allow me to go into reverse as needed and let the circuit breaker trip as needed instead of blowing a fuse. If I have to replace a fuse every time the van is put into reverse... that can get costly fast!. Never mind the fact that I'd also have to remember to stop and change thee fuse before I even drive forward any since the blinkers and horn would no longer work with due to the blown fuse. At least with an auto reset circuit breaker... it will resume working after it cools down again. It's by no means a proper fix.. but it will get me by without burning up the wiring or replacing endless fuses.

If using the factory wire harness with a new piece of wire to the backup lights doesn't work, I guess I will wire a special switch for turning on backup lights and the backup alarm. The alarm will at least remind me to turn it back off again but that's also annoying and borderline unsafe.

Sorry, no pictures today. Nothing worth seeing anyway.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rewiring running lights, part 1

When I bought the van, fuse #6 was blown and had randomly blown a couple other times. I had no idea why... but I found out the other day.

The running lights (tail lights, front and side markers) were not working. The cluster's back lights had also gone out. I replaced the fuse, turned on the headlight switch and the fuse blew again. I traced it to the two runs of brown factory wire dedicated to the running light "hot" function. It took me over 2 days to figure out how to go about fixing the problem without screwing up the headlights, brake lights and turn signals since they were all working. Last night, I was able to do so.

Today I went to O'Reilly and bought 40ft of 14 gauge wire (two 20ft rolls) and some connectors.. which I won't be using. I tried to use one crimp connector and it didn't hold so that package I'll have to keep. The other package I will probably just return. I may need more wire in fact... but I may get by with some scrap wire I have laying around of the same gauge but of another color.

I also bought a new 97db backup alarm which I will be installing after I wire up the tail/side lights. There was a cheap 1156 bulb type backup alarm that was broken on the bulb holder so I tossed it in the trash. It was barely audible anyway when it worked part of the time and sounded very weak.

When I got home I had just enough time to wire up the front and get it working. I will also be replacing and wiring up the lights on the running boards so I am providing a power lead to them, wired into the factory headlight switch.

I ran out of daylight to finish the wiring at the headlight switch harness but that won't take very long to do tomorrow.

Part 2 will be about wiring up the rear lights. I may also do a part 3 for the running board lights.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Refurbishing Mopar (Dodge/Plymouth) 36 gallon fuel sending unit

Due to the extreme rarity of the late 70's fuel sending units for the 36 gallon (or 35 gallon?) plastic tanks equipped on the Dodge and Plymouth vans, I had to cut a new gasket and buy a new fuel sock and float which were missing from the existing unit.

Assuming you can even FIND a new sending unit, they cost anywhere from $100-200! It cost a mere $33.80 in parts to refurbish my old one!

The gasket with a NOS sender is well over 30 years old... and may not be much good anymore. The gasket by itself is impossible to find at all.. so you HAVE to make a new one by hand.

Here is a list of the parts I bought:

5/16" (steel line size) fuel sock - $10 (ebay)
Brass float (a bit over 1" wide) - $13 (ebay)
1/8" thick rubberized gasket material - $10 (ebay)
6 new screws - $0.80 (Take the old ones and match them up at the new ones. They are fine thread machine screws found in the specialty screw compartment drawers.)

I have attached lots of photos to show how before and after of my sender.

I also replaced two sections of 5/16" fuel hose at the sender and at the fuel pump as well as the clamps ($4.95 w/ tax from Napa for 2.5ft of hose & 4 clamps). They were replaced after I took the pics below of the sender reinstalled.. so the hose on the right you see is the old, badly rotten and cracked piece. The one on the left goes to the generator.

The next and hopefully final thing to do fuel system wise is replace the fuel filter and any rotten hose between the pump and carburetor.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lower fridge vent

I built a replacement lower slide-in vent compartment door and used the generator compartment's old lock due to it's length. I put a new, shorter lock on the generator's door with a cam that made it work perfectly. The longer one wouldn't have worked for this fridge compartment door.

Not too shabby looking if I do say so myself! The vent piece is very light weight aluminum and has a screen behind it to help keep bugs out.

I also removed the frame and replaced the butyl tape and screws for it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Storage Compartment Painting

The rust in the left side storage compartment was REALLY bad. But it's still nice and sturdy. I grabbed a can of Rustoleum primer I already had (and should have used on the propane compartment but it wasn't nearly as bad) that says you can use it on rusted surfaces and gave it a good coating after I cleaned out all the loose bits of rusted metal.

I also had to make a new compartment door for it but it was easier. I used the existing frame parts from two old original compartment doors and built it last night in a hurry. I will likely go back and paint the wood with primer and white paint like I did on the other side except I didn't use primer on the other door first, and it took many paint coats as a result and took days to paint.

I also primed the underside of the compartment as it was pretty rusty too. I'll give it a coat of paint as well.

I got new compartment locks in the past few days and have them installed as well.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Water pump

I partly filled the water tank to check for leaks with the expensive PEX crap I bought.. and it was leaking bad at one of the connections. I pulled it all out and tipped it up to stop the leaking. Grabbed my small shop vac and sucked up as much water as I could from the carpet.

So much for that crap. Wasted about $30 on it. I may try to clean up some of it and return it if I can get away with it.

I went down the street and bought some cheap vinyl tubing and put that in. No leaks. But, it's too weak. I will have to get some reinforced hose so it doesn't collapse in under suction pressure from the pump.

I was able to get a water pump working. The one in the van was turning on but it wasn't pumping any water. A friend had given me an old one from his camper trailer that was almost identical to mine. It was identical enough i was able to interchange some of the parts from it with my pump. Now it's pumping water (not very well but it might be the collapsing hose that's causing it). But also, when the taps are closed, it doesn't stop running.

Normally when taps are closed, the pressure pushes on a diaphragm in the pump which triggers a switch that shuts off the pump. When the tap is opened again, the pressure is  relived, letting off of the switch and turning the pump on again. I fought with it for hours and just couldn't get it to shut off when the taps closed. I almost thought I did but then it totally screwed up again.

I'm not sure if it's a problem with the pump or if it's supposed to have a check valve between the tank and the pump. If so, it's back flowing into the tank making it lose pressure (therefore keeping the pump on). I will ask about that tomorrow when I go to an RV shop for some cam locks.

Seeing as how I will most likely be in RV parks/campgrounds most of the time, I think I can get by without a "properly" working pump for a while if the pump is the problem. I can always go back and put a new one in later if I feel the need. Two wires and two pipe connections.. not very hard to do.

When not in an RV park, I will mainly be using the kitchen sink which is right near the pump on/off switch so I can simply turn on the pump and then turn on the faucet. When I'm done, turn off the pump again. It''s loud enough and so close by, it's not hard to remember to shut off.

When hooked up to water at campgrounds, I won't even need to worry about the pump since it bypasses it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dinette almost complete

The dinette bench seats are almost completed. I reused the sofa's plywood for the two seats.. I also made a small hatch to access the drain's check valve in case it needs to be replaced. I just need to get some hinges for the bench seats so the compartments can open for easy access and they'll be done.

For cushions, I will get a local furniture upholstery shop  to make me some.

I did check the wiring I mentioned yesterday and near as I can figure, it's hooked up to the breaker wrong and the wire in question appeared to be going to the water pump. So I will have to switch the connections around some to get them hooked up properly.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Battery box

I built the wooden battery box today. It needs some minor fixes here and there but overall it's done. I used a piece of 1-1/2" PVC pipe screwed in and caulked around for the vent. The floor vent is going to end up half way covered up so I will see about adding some hose vents down through the floor where the bathroom shower & sink drain goes through. It will house two group 27 batteries with plenty of elbow room so getting them in and out will be easy. There is a lid (not pictured) that will be screwed down to seal it up.

I also changed two wires to a heavier gauge from the batteries to the 30A breaker and from the breaker to the fuse panel. The short red wire is actually smaller now for the larger black wire on the same terminal of the breaker so I will go back and change it. It's meant to feed everything 12V from the batteries, so it needs to be heavier gauge than 12. I think the larger black wire on the same terminal is 10g. It's some old wire I had laying around from when I had an extra battery hookup in the Ford conversion van I once had.

The 30A breaker may also be wired up backwards.. I gotta try to figure out what that wire is coming from the other side of the breaker is, It's pretty small gauge and seems to be spliced in or has something spliced to it. I haven't examined it closely enough to see yet.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Propane compartment & door

The compartment door was totally gone due to an accident someone had with it at some point that tore it to hell. Not enough was left to remake it as it was.

A friend has an old junky travel trailer he let me get an access door from that was the perfect width but too tall. However, it had a traditional hinge that was screwed to the door and pop riveted to the frame. I was able to cut it down to fit my van but had to cut it further around the opening to allow for the tanks to fit into the opening. It may allow water to enter the compartment but it's solid metal inside and has a way to drain out somewhat.

Also, I went ahead and gave it a couple of coats of oil based Rustoleum paint I already had laying around and put a couple of flexible plastic signs in the bottom under the tanks to keep the paint nice.

I also put on new modern hoses that requires no tools to connect and disconnect from the tanks. The tank on the right is too old to use/refill as it is. It has the older style valve and connector so I will be swapping it out for another tank.

All in all, I think it came out pretty decent. Not exactly professional but for the cost of about $50 for the wood and aluminum trim for the door, I'd say it came out well. The sheet metal on the outside of the door is from the original compartment door so it looks fairly original.

I haven't put in all the screws for holding the frame to the van yet but that's not too much work. I am having to drill new holes since the frame's holes don't line up with the originals but it's just a little time consuming, not difficult.

The reason the door has funky cut-outs down lower is so the door will be lighter which means it's easier on the hinge. The upper cut is obvious.. for the vent in the sheet metal. If I feel like it, I may go back and put some sheet metal in the inside of the door to make it look a little better.

I will be ordering a new of new matching locks for the various compartments and access panels.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Interior remodeling

The one feature I instantly disliked about this van was that it had a sofa instead of a dinette. This provides no good desk-like place to sit. After much debate over the idea, I decided to put a dinette in place of the sofa.

But I am only going to put one seat which will house the batteries, fuse panel, and converter. I quickly realized that there would be ample space for 2 batteries in the compartment so I pulled the original metal battery box which was badly eaten out from acid in one bottom corner. Thankfully it didn't eat through the carpet or floor.

I am going to build a wooden battery box that is sealed off from the interior by a screwed down lid with weatherstripping and a host using the orginal battery vent on the side of the van. The lower vent is a hole in the floor which I will allow for in the wooden box for cross ventilation.

The space where normally another dinette seat would go is going to be cabinets for a microwave and other storage over the hot water heater.

It's going to take many weeks to build it since I am building it on the fly without much of any plans other than in my head. I took me two days to do what you see below due to taking out the old stuff, reworking it here and there, measuring a lot, cutting a lot (by hand with a mitre box and hand saw).

For the table I will likely be using a pedestal table post and mount and getting a local place that makes cabinet doors to make a custom size table top with rounded edges.

I had to relocate the fuse panel and a 12V 30A auto circuit breaker that was located where the feet area will be. I have to fix a couple wires going to the circuit breaker that are a bit messed up at the ring terminal and one is now too short so I will be replacing it.

Plumbing fixes

I have really started getting the van ready in the past few days.

I pulled the fresh water tank a month or more ago and hosed it out due to it having nasty old water in it. It still needs to be properly sanitized but it's a start. I also replaced the filler hose, air hose, water filler and the line between the pump and tank. It had a clamped on hose which I didn't like.. it looked like a place prone to leaking.

I had to shell out a little bit of money for 2 compatible PEX fittings for the pump and tank, 2 sizes of PEX pipe plus a reducer fitting. I bought the quick-connect style due to the expensive price for a PEX crimp tool. I'm not real fond of how flexed it looks but hopefully it won't leak. If it does, I guess I'll go back to a hose since I kept the old fittings that were on there. I have yet to test them to see if they leak but intend to very soon.

I did hook up a hose to the city water connection and there seemed to be no apparent leaks for the 10 minutes or so I had pressure on the system. What I though was a leak at the water heater turned out to the drain valve wasn't fully closed. After closing it fully, the dripping stopped. So it seems the old water lines are still fine to use.

I also put a new tethered cap for the city water connection and fresh butyl tape behind it.

Update 10/11/12: The PEX crap didn't work. Read more: http://cubey7800.blogspot.com/2012/10/water-pump.html

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Progress... finally

I had to get the van towed to another shop 18 miles away ($95) and pay them to do the rear brakes and the rear end. He never finished a single damn thing after 3 months. In the next few months, I may sue him for the cost of towing and half the labor I paid him. It cost me $700 more with the towing on top of what I paid him.

But the job is done and I got it back home but the brakes are STILL not working 100% right so I gotta figure out the problem. The front had air in the lines which I bled out which helped a little but not totally. It may be the master cylinder, booster or the proportioning valve. Ugh.

The tires were so bad off, I had to rush out and get new ones before I could even drive it home so I went to Sears and bought a set of 4 Dunlop Rover H/Ts in LT225/75/16. Was just under $800 with installation, road hazard and tax.

I went and bought a new gravity water filler from a local RV place yesterday since the one it had was partly broken from someone forcing it open when they didn't have the key. I had intended to install it today but changed my mind..... read on for the reason why.

I forgot there was water still in the fresh tank so I had to drain that out by removing the broken drain valve and putting a piece of tubing into the rubber hose and feed it down the drain hole. I pulled the whole tank out so I could clean it's compartment better and have better access for replacing the lines around the water pump. The tank is in fine condition with no cracks. It just needs to be sanitized which I will do when I go and reinstall it. For now, it's now sitting in my garage up off the floor.

The hoses around the water tank and plumbing in the van overall are so old and the condition is unknown that I have also decided to re-plumb all the fresh water lines. It appears to currently have Poly-B (very unreliable, leak-prone tubing) for the fresh water lines. I will put that on hold for a while since I can get by at RV parks/campgrounds without using the plumbing in the van for a little while. I will do the job myself since I am good at plumbing and shouldn't take more than a day to do.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Awesome retro vans & RVs

I found an awesome page featuring photos of some pretty awesome vintage vans and RVs. Some on the road, some in museums!

Here is a sample of what you'll find there:

Doing laundry

Some people out there try to devise ways of doing laundry by hand by various methods. I truely wonder if they have ever tried to do so. I have... and it's NOT easy! The easy part is dropping the clothes into soapy water and sloshing it around. The hard part is getting the water OUT of the clothes! Clothes, when what... become very heavy and hard to handle it is also very hard to squeeze out the water as well as a washing machine does.

My plan for laundry will cost a little but it makes practical sense... use laundromats! From camping experience, the best way I find to store laundry is with duffel bags and/or cloth laundry bags such as the one shown below. A duffel bag is great for clean storage and laundry bags are great for dirty storage. Being soft-sided storage, they take up less room when they are less full.. which is vital to vehicle and RV dwellers who must make use of every inch if space. Avoid plastic laundry baskets if possible due to taking up valuable space when not in use.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

3 months later... still not done

It has been almost 3 months now since I took in the van for the brake job which turned into a differential rebuild. I have ended up having to buy $250 worth of tools today on ebay for the mechanic to be able to do the job. In the next 7-10 days I should get them in.. and he'll have zero excuse for not completing the job.

I will be staying there watching him when he uses the tools as things have a way of disappearing in his shop. He has lost parts to the van a few times... as well as parts to other people's vehicles such as someone's alternator out of their truck. He had to go get one from the salvage yard to replace it. He tends to leave the shop wide open and people just walk through and steal things. The old differential shims are gone despite being in a hiding place in the van. I think he moved them and forgot that he did. I think one of the van's rim+tire is gone. If it is stolen, the person who stole it was an idiot. It's a 16.5" rim with a 20+ year old tire on it that I wouldn't trust very much. But I guess if that's the case... he.. or I.. will have to go get a used 16" tire and put on one of the 16" Ford rims I got.

So anyway.... yes. 3 months now and it's still not done. He's had all the parts to do the brakes for a month now... and it's still not done even.

I was about to have him do the brakes and pay for towing to get it taken to another shop but buying the tools are a better way to go. That way he can do it, it'll be done.. and I can resell the tools on ebay and recover most of the money I paid for them.

But.. he did do a ton of work on my old beat up daily driver car for me for only $50 to fix the leaking oil pump. So he did give me a good deal on that at least. He's not dishonest so much as scatter brained and over worked having to do all the work himself. Although... I had to go put the exhaust back on the car... my arms are skinny enough to get in there where his weren't. He said he fought with it for 30 minutes and couldn't get it. I walked over and had it on within 5 minutes. But it took him a week to do it.

After a week of riding my bike, I was happy as a clam to have the car back. I found myself NOT complaining about no AC in the car because I was so glad to have it back.. and.. without any oil leaks now.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Now $1000+ rear end rebuild

The differential gears were badly worn the mechanic said. I had to order new complete sets of gears (ring gear and pinion set & inner/spider gear set) plus a complete bearing set.

And it STILL didn't come with a freaken crush sleeve!! I had to call up Napa today to place an order.. which won't come in until Tuesday they said. I ordered TWO crush sleeves for good measure. I can return the extra if it's not needed. Better to be safe than sorry.

Cost is well over $1000 now. But at least it'll be all new and should be good for the life of the van now.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brake job? Nah.. rear end rebuild

Okay... so I took my van in for a $120 brake job and it's turned into a $500 complete rear end rebuild pretty much.

Brake shoes, wheel cylinders on both sides, all the seals, spindle nut kits of course, right side inner bearing is rusty (has a small rust ring on the right axle). The mechanic is going to have to pull the differential cover to get at the inner bearing he said. The axles were almost bone dry for lubricant but the differential DID have some oil in it still thank goodness.

Considering he's only charging me $250 labor for everything... I guess I can't complain. But I did do almost all day running around trying to source the 2-9/16" socket (for the spindle nuts) and the parts. But I couldn't even find in-stock spindle nut kits or high quality brake shoes, so I ordered them on RockAuto today with 2 biz day shipping so maybe they'll come Friday if I'm lucky. I also ordered the differential cover gasket via priority mail from RockAuto on a separate order due to the way it was trying to charge me for shipping on the same order.

I will be taking the drums in for turning on Friday. I took them in yesterday but they we're fully disassembled so they couldn't do it. I had to bring them all the way back (17 miles..) for them to be taken apart the rest of the way. I'm replacing all 16 lug studs (8 each side) since they all had to be knocked out from the drum anyway for turning. It probably has the original, nearly 34 year old lug studs so I think I best replace them all while I have the chance. They may be a bit stretched by now.

I'll replace the lug nuts later when I get the new tires due to already spending WAY more than I planned on this job.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Starter died

A month ago the started acted like it was dying or had a low battery. Finally though, it got the engine started.

Fast forward to a few days ago. I tried to cranking it and it turned over slowly then not at all. It just made a very faint humming sound you had to put your ear near the starter to even hear. It was deader than a doornail. I took it in to O'Reilly and had them test it to be sure. I got a new (rebuilt) one with a lifetime warranty for $60, tax included. I put it on yesterday.. problem solved.

Taking it in to get the rear brakes done this morning just a half mile down the road from my house.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Not much to report

I finally got the other idler arm needed to do the front end work. But the floor jack I have isn't so good. The lift height isn't enough for the van so I am going to look around for a good used one at local pawn shops (w/ 30 day warranty). I have all the tools needed except the jack so yeah.

I got liability insurance on it this past week and registered it so now it's legally mine and legal to drive.. but not very safe at the moment. Besides the steering stuff needing done, the rear brakes still need doing as well as the very old tires.

Also, the rear leaf springs aren't in very good shape at all. They aren't properly lined up, it seems like it may be missing some of the clamps that hold them together etc. Once I do the steering, I will wait to drive it any until I am ready to take it to a shop for the brakes, leafs and tires all at once since it's a good 20-25 miles to get to a decent garage.

I still need to get 3 more 16" rims to replace the outdated 16.5" rims it has now. I have two so far.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The generator lives!!

After much fussing around with the fuel pump trying to figure out the inlets/outlets.. they were marked on the fuel pump where I couldn't see until I pulled it off of the generator. I also filled up the oil which was badly low first.

It took MUCH cranking to get the fuel flowing.. it fired right up with the old spark plug and air filter!

That's one thing I can check off my list of to-do's, as far as seeing it runs anyway. Now to get a new spark plug and air filter for it. Also need to check the output volage before I plug the RV's cord into it's generator's power outlet.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Doghouse swap

I was dreading the dog house cover that the van offered up. Worthless cup holders, no storage at all. I went to a local you-pull-it salvage yard and saw my salvation. A 1990 Dodge extended van (old church van) had a dog house with lots of storage and even a fold out table on the top!

I pulled that sucker and paid the $50 for it.. even though I did feel it was a little too high. Took it home, snapped a few pics of it next to the old one and put it in. Fits perfectly from what I can tell.

Folks online have said they were surprised it fit and sealed properly. From what I can tell, it is a perfect fit.