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

Friday, August 21, 2015

Van coming out of hibernation (sort of)

After being parked for a year and only being started and idled twice for short times, the van will soon be on the streets again.

A few days ago, I sold the Geo Metro I bought a year ago. This came about as a result of buying a 1988 Honda Elite 250 scooter last month. The scooter costs a fraction to register, insure, operate (60+mpg) and maintain compared to a car. I found myself almost never driving the car anymore, even before I bought the scooter. I was paying $55 a month insurance on the car and only driving it 2 or 3 times a week, generally less than 10 miles round trip a day. Sometimes more but it was rare.

I made attempts to sell the van, or trade it for something like a Subaru Outback or small SUV but people are flakes and it never came about, despite several offers. The people changed their minds or simply stopped responding entirely. Then I decided I'd rather take the money loss on the car than on the van. Over the last year, I have paid right about $1,000 simply to keep ownership of the van. $50/mo storage ($600/yr), plus insurance and tabs ($95).

Between the car insurance and van's storage, I am shredding off just over $100 a month in costs. I will have to drive the van more which will use a lot more gas but if I drive it once a week, it won't be that bad. I have a high MPG scooter to offset it, as well as the bus system which is pretty good.

I will be street/curb parking it near my apartment. The city code states you can park a car, RV, boat trailer, and so on, unmoved for up to 7 days without being ticketed. ("Extended parking", they call it.) After 7 days, then they can ticket you. If it was a 32ft Class A, then I'd probably have problems; but a 19ft Class B? As long as I follow parking laws (not too close to other cars, not too close to corners, and so on) then the police should leave it alone. If they don't, I will fight the ticket in court.

They mainly seem care about people actively living in them, not so much about people simply parking them. They are super strict on even having an RV parked on your own property. You have to get a city permit to have someone sleeping in it. I will be leaving the curtains open so the cops can see in and know that no one is living inside. The registered address will come back to an apartment nearby too, so it should be fine. I have seen Class B and Cs around the city parked in various places being moved often, especially around where I live. It might be "homeless" people full timing in their vans in the city so they have it harder, they would get harassed before I would.

I need to see why the engine has always idled rough when cold and seems to be running rich until it warms up. Warmed up. it smooths out and idles smoothly and strongly. However, that rich running cold engine is wasting fuel and lowering the MPG.

I will be more likely to take the van out camping again on trips without having it put away in storage. It's been tarped over to prevent leaks. (See pic below). Having $100 a month more to save or play with, I will be in a better position to take trips in it.

I will need to see about getting the leaking windows at the bed area fixed sometime. Until then, I guess I'll get some cheap bath towels and put them under the windows to collect the water so it doesn't pool on the floor at the fresh water tank and rust it out more than it already has. At least it can't hurt the inside of the wall, being fiberglass.


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