June 20, 2020
The Coronavirus shutdown has been a good time to catch up on a number of Airstream projects. The Airstream Service Center in Jackson Center repaired the damaged roof from my run-in with a covered bridge in New Hampshire in July of last year. With a new roof, air conditioner and bedroom Fantastic Fan, it was a good time to update some other things. I know my friend, LeRoy, is excited to read about this. There were some things I had on a to-do list, but as I did one thing, I would see something else that wanted help.
It started with wiring LED lights to the hot water heater switches. It’s not a big deal, but it sure is easier to see if I left the water heater on with lights on them. One switch is for an electric heater, while the other is for a propane heater.
That led to switches next to the door for the “porch light” and the step light. The step light may not be a big deal, because it is a small light, but if I left the porch light on, it could bother the neighbors. It also burns power, which might be OK when the trailer is plugged in, but not when on battery. That’s a bit like leaving a light on in your car, and when you go out in the morning, it won’t start. It is similar to the water heater switch, but each switch goes to a different light, so I labeled which is which.
I am happy to go into the full description of how to do this if you like, even step-by-step pictures 😊
LevelMate Pro: Reading the Airforum is fun, but can lead to more projects. One person described how he put a LevelMate Pro in the trailer. With an app on his phone, he could tell when it was level. There are various ways to tell when you are level, both side-to-side or front-to-back. One night i had to turn around in the bed to get some sleep, as my head was lower than my feet. I put in a LevelMate Pro, and it does save time. I’ll let you know on my upcoming trip west. You can also set the hitch position, making it easier to hook up the trailer.
Pantry: Replacing the slides for the pantry was next. This proved to be a difficult project. Like most things, it isn’t so tough once you know how it’s done. There are two slides, one on the bottom and one on the side. The one on the bottom had rusted and was not running smoothly. The pantry is only six inches wide, making it difficult to work in and clean. There are no releases on the original slides, so you can’t remove the cabinet. It also took me a long time to figure out how to remove the cabinet and slides.
With new slides, the cabinet can be easily removed, and it slides out further for easier access to items on the shelves. Taking from the Airforum again, I added a ¼” board to which a spice rack was added.
Rust: I cleaned and painted the hitch as well as the front part of the Airstream frame, both of which were rusting. I used POR-15 (Paint Over Rust). I like this stuff. It goes on easily and smoothly. Hopefully it will do it’s job for a long time.
Flooring: We use a soft covering to help protect the vinyl floor. It’s like a workout floor that comes in squares that interlock. Ours was 3 years old and looking punky, so I replaced it. It adds a little insulation, making it warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. It soaks up moisture, leading to mold, but isn’t expensive to replace every three years or so.
The toilet! I had a teeny leak in the mixing valve. Since there was water around the base of the toilet, I decided to remove it and check it out. Of all the projects, this was pretty easy. I ordered a replacement seal and hardware (nuts and bolts), cleaned the toilet, replaced the mixing valve, and put it all back together.
Solar system: I have been having trouble with the solar system cutting off, not charging. I would have to cut off the power switch or the breaker and turn it back on, and then it would work…….until it didn’t. Reading about others who had a similar problem, it was suggested to look for a loose wire. The batteries and wiring are under the left twin bed, so I took the bed apart and examined everything. Lew Farber did the work in Naples and did a great job. There is not a loose bolt or connection anywhere, so I removed the Circuit breaker. The breaker never flipped off, but in order to get the system working, I would have to pop the breaker and close it again. I took it out and found the housing was cracked. I ordered a new one, thinking it would be an easy job replacing it, but those big wires don’t allow much flex or give. I made the opening in the wall bigger to give the wires (cables is more like it) room to wiggle. After 10 tries to get everything passively fitting in that hole, I realized why it probably cracked. I was about to crack this one, but I finally got it back in. Hopefully it will solve the problem. At least it works for now.
Next, I detailed and waxed the truck and the trailer. Who needs to work out? Just go out and detail and wax.
Now I think I’m ready to hit the road, leaving Monday for a 4-week trip to Idaho. I will travel “The Loneliest Road”, Rt. 50, which was the main coast-to-coast highway before interstates. I have driven it across Nevada, where it gets its name. There is definitely very little on that stretch of highway. Still, it is very pretty in its own way. Rt. 50 travels past a number of National Parks and other interesting sites. For one week of the trip I will be floating the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. I’ve done that before, and look forward to doing it again. My friend, Ron Lowry, has been doing this trip for 18 straight years with Steve Zettel and Idaho Wilderness Adventures. Steve does a great job and has great guides.
Disclaimer: I get no money, kickbacks, rewards or any other favors from anyone.