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

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Better camper shell! ..and too much procrastination

Ugh. I honestly don't mean to be so lazy about posting... really! The problem largely lies in the Blogger app being broken, at least on my phone. It crashes when I try to do anything, pretty much. The website is an option, but it's only the desktop site so it's a pain to use on a 6" phone screen. So I dread it and don't do it. I guess I need to try it on my tablet instead. But it's still a pain since I have to transfer photos... blah.

As of writing this, I'm in Dumas, TX with a free 24 hour RV site with electricity. I had electric and good cell service (for hotspot on my laptop, like I'm doing now) in Borger, TX but it was rather warm (mid to upper 80s) and I somehow didn't feel like dragging out my laptop and posting.

The biggest news is that I bought an RV-style camper shell for $100!! I had to just give away the old fiberglass one to the guy I bought it from, but considering he and his family helped get it put on the truck, and ran to the hardware store for me to get me longer bolts when I realized I didn't have any to mount it, I can't fuss. This one is insulated so it's leaps and bounds better. Plus it's at least a foot taller taller, several inches wider, and not sloped on the sides. This equals a lot more head and elbow room. Plus it has two cabinets that I mostly use for dry food storage.

It's in slightly rough shape inside from poor storage (on grassy ground) so the wood got rotten. I replaced the worst of it that made it seem unstable, which cost me all of $5. I just peeled back the corner skin and slowly hammered it into place.

Then I screwed it into place. It's rock solid now. I couldn't put the skin back as well as I want because of it being right against the cab. I'd need a few people to help me move it away and put it up on a board to give me access to it properly. It might rot again sooner than it should, but it's not hard to change nor does it cost much, so it's fine for now.

This is an inside corner view before and after:

It could stand to have new paneling, which I might do eventually, perhaps only in part. I don't require a fancy living space, after all. The roof vent also needs full replacing. I will be getting one ASAP. In the meantime, I bought the domed vent cover to help prevent/minimize rain coming in. I also replaced the door knob with a "mobile home" one which included a foam gasket for the outside.

Inside view when almost dark outside, with a 120V LED light ($20 from WM) that lights up the place very well. I could probably run it on a tiny inverter without it being too much of a strain on the battery, but I fixed the original dome light so it's coming off of  the house battery too. The inverter's inefficiency loss would probably be more than the LEDs itself. And yes, it's warm white, so it's gentle on the eyes!

While in Dumas, my vacuum pump finally died pretty much. It has almost no vacuum, leaving me with very little power braking. I knew it needed one before I left Texarkana, but I had hoped it would last 6 months more as it was functioning. I had to pay retail ($130) for the pump vs about $80 online. I also had to buy a special pulley puller kit #39000 from Napa for $75 (also sold under the Lisle name, same number) because the cheap and "free rental" ones won't fit the pulley. But, $75 is cheaper than paying a mechanic. Plus it's so easy, I changed the pulley right there on the counter at Napa. Plus I have a physical item to use again or sell later, not so much paying labor. Plus, just buying a replacement pulley at retail price is about $55... and I'd still need a tool to install it with. So it was worth the unexpected extra cost.

I guess that's all for now. I swear, I'll ry to post more soon. I have some interesting stuff to post from the past few weeks, so I'll try to get to that soon. This post took so long, I need to get out and stretch my legs now.