Tuesday, October 19, 2021

When it rains it pours! Slide motor replacement.

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When it rains it pours! Once we moved over to Mesa Regal RV Resort we noticed that there was a strange noise coming from the kitchen slide out. Well while troubleshooting it and trying to locate where the noise was coming from, the slide suddenly stopped working all together…. sigh.slide motor

The slide stopped when it was only partially out but the slide motor has a lever on it (see photo above and note the lever under the left side of the rubber boot) which allows us to disengage the slideout so it can be manually moved out or in. We have a rack and pinion slide out system that uses an electric motor to push the slide out and in. Once the motor has been disengaged I used a large crescent wrench to turn the square bar (see photo below) which moved the slide the rest of the way out.

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Once out I had access to the motor. I suspected the motor was the issue because back in 2014 I had a similar problem with our living room slide out motor.I am reusing some of the pictures to show this process.To remove the motor first I needed to remove a bolt on the end of the square slide rail ( see below photo for how it attaches and the other one below that to see the whole rail) ) so I could slide it off of the end of the motor.

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Next I removed the wire nuts from the wires to the motor and  then I removed the four bolts holding the motor to the chassis and off it came. It is as simple as that. Like last time I went ahead and opened up the slide motor casing, took apart the slide motor and once again found what I had suspected. One of the gears in the motor had several broken teeth.

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Remembering how hard it was to find a replacement last time I started searching the internet right away. Luckily I was able to find a replacement at etailer.com . Even luckier it was on sale and available. I order the part and waited until it arrived.

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Once the motor arrived in the mail a week or so later, I attached it using the four bolts while also reattaching the red and black wires.  Before reattaching the slide rail I did make sure that the slides looked the same on both sides. Since the slide out distances were equal on each side I  replaced the bolt on the slide bar after reinserting it onto the motor. Note, I did have to use the crescent wrench to turn the slide bar a  bit so that the hole on the new motor lined up with the one on the slide rail.

Once installed I tested the new motor and the slide worked perfectly! Thank goodness… Maybe we can get back to having fun again!

NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Dang the RV Fridge Died - Part 3 of 3

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Next up was to replace the old floor under the Norcold since it was warped after all the years that the Norcold sat upon it. Some 3/4” plywood would do the trick. I bought an 4x8 sheet of 3/4” plywood and had them cut it to my needed dimensions at Lowes. They will do this for free so make sure to measure accurately. Once back at the RV I installed the new flooring board and fastened it to the side rails so now we had a new floor for the new fridge to sit upon.

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I also wanted to close off the outside vents to the old fridge. The new residential fridge produced heat from the sides not the back so there is no need for outside ventilation. Also residential fridges won’t work in extreme high or low temperatures so closing it off to the outside was a must. I chose using foam board insulation and simply cut it to the appropriate sizes and used dots of liquid nails to secure it in place. I left the bottom piece un glued so I could get it out and access the rear of the fridge if needed.

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Once insulated I built a narrow cabinet next to the new fridge since it was narrower that the old Norcold. We will use this area to store mops, brooms etc. and maybe add a small shelf to store a few other items. I will have a door fabricated for it later.

With all this done the new fridge I bought from the Whirlpool site was on sale at $539.00 plus tax. Shipping was free and we could get it in a week. Once it arrived the fellows from J B Hunt brought the new fridge in through the front door (it barely fit) and placed it on its new floor.

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I plugged it in and all seemed to work well so I commenced to securing it to the floor. One thing I did was cut another piece of the 3/4” plywood so that it would fit under the front legs (one leg extended just passed the new floor) and extend out about 3 inches. I cut it also the perf3ect length so that it would but up against the rollers in the back of the new fridge acting as a wheel lock so the new fridge couldn’t roll forward.

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This construction resulted in the fridge being slightly tilted backward but I like this since the doors of the fridge easily shut due to gravity. Also new fridges don’t have to be level to work normally as did older ones. Next I added wood strips to each side of the new fridge so that it could not slide left or right . Finally I anchored the back of the fridge to the floor with two screws I drilled in through the base frame and one lag bold which I put into an existing hole in the frame and secured it to the floor.

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I used a 2x4 laying flat across the top of the fridge and screwed into the side walls to secure the top so there is no way for it to tilt over. Lastly I bought some baby proof cabinet latches that will keep the doors closed while traveling. So the cost so far for the new fridge and construction needed to get it in place is $700. I figure a new door and the remaining work needed will be an additional $100 but that means we are all set up for less than $800 for our new fridge that, by the way, freezes ice cream perfectly!

NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Dang the RV Fridge Died - Part 2 of 3

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We started researching what fridge was available after we took careful measurements of the space the old Norcold was in. Then it happened! Our old Norcold died leaving us little choice but to buy something immediately available so we purchased a small 9.6 cu ft. fridge as a stop gap while continuing our search for a better replacement.

Now with all of the supply line disruptions finding a refrigerator was challenging unless we were willing to wait until late December of January 2023 for a new one. Available supplies of fridges were very limited. A week or so passed before we found a better alternative, a Whirlpool WRT112CZJ.

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We chose this one (even though it was about the same size as our old Norcold) because it would not only fit in the existing space easily it would also fit (just barely) through our front door of the RV so we wouldn’t have to remove a window and hire some people to get it inside our RV. In fact the movers Whirlpool hired (J B Hunt) delivered the RV, brought it inside and placed in in its rightful spot.

So let’s back up a bit and I will describe what needed to be done before buying a new fridge. First I had to disconnect the water from the ice maker, the gas line from the fridge (turn off your propane first) and pull the electrical plug. Next I removed the front trim from around the Norcold (several screws had to be taken out for removal).

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With the trim off I next located the screws that were fastened to the back of the Norcold holding it down to the floor. Once all of this was done I was able to shimmy the Norcold out of its spot. Next in order to be able to get it out the front door I had to remove the four doors from the Norcold.

With the doors off I was able to get it out the door. We then went to Lowes and bought the 9.6 cu ft. Haier fridge and plugged it in so we could use it for the time being (cost was $369.00). That gave me access to area where the old Norcold sat so I could modify the area for the new fridge.

What I did was first to buy a plug for the faired end of the old propane line so I could plug it up. I used a soapy water solution after turning the propane back on to ensure there were no leaks around the plug I installed.

NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…

Friday, October 8, 2021

Dang the RV fridge died… Part 1 of 3.

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Our next stop was Sun Life Resort in Mesa Arizona. We arrived September 1st and left October 1st. We really didn’t have a lot of activities to talk about because it was so dang hot we didn’t do much except work out in the fitness room,go to the pool and occasionally to happy hour.

The hottest it got while we were there was 114 degrees. I don’t want to hear about it being dry heat because dry or not 114 is freaking HOT! One problem that arose while at Sun Life Resort was our Norcold 1210 refrigerator was becoming less and less able to keep our refrigerator contents at an acceptable safe level.

I know the heat was causing it problems but the cooling issues were not just due to the heat. I tried resetting the control board and diagnosed everything I could including replacing the thermistor but to no avail. Therefore I began researching solutions.

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One was just to replace the cooling system again (we did that once already) at a cost of $1200 in parts plus labor. Another was to replace our old cooling system with an Amish (electrical only) system for $1100. The problem with both of these is that the shell or body of our old Norcold had bad seals and it didn’t make sense to simply replace the cooling system and continue to have bad seals (which can’t be replaced without replacing the whole door).

Thus the only other options were to buy a new Norcold 1210 for $4500 (YIKES) or replace it with a residential fridge for a $1,000 or less. We opted to replace it with a residential fridge because we couldn’t see shelling out $4500 plus labor for another Norcold.

NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…

Friday, October 1, 2021

Why are we going to Phoenix in September!!!

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We really enjoyed our stay in the Prescott AZ area but we decided to do something we may regret. The plan is to move on down to Phoenix during the heat wave they have been experiencing. We spent three nights at the Phoenix Metro RV Park using Passport America and then moved over to Sun Life RV Resort in Mesa for a month.

The Phoenix Metro RV Park was pretty empty but the sites were fairly nice but small like most are in the Phoenix area. There was a nice pool and hot tub and we had a scenic view from our RV of a small desert mountain.

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With temperatures in the 110’s we spent some time at the pool to cool down and Sharon spent some time in their small, but adequate, fitness room. We didn’t do a whole lot while at this park but we did check out three breweries, one each night we were there. Our favorite was Front Pourch!

One thing we were happy to do was to meet up with former RV friends and now residents of nearby Sun City. We met for brunch at a place they chose, JD Campbells, and I had a fabulous green chili omelette while Sharon enjoyed a traditional breakfast plate.. We first met Bobbie and Jim at Betty’s RV park and have stopped in to see them a few times since. It is always fun to catch up with friends we made while on the road. These two are always great to be around!

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When the temperatures dropped one day we took advantage and found a little disc golf course to play. It was still plenty hot but it was nice to be outdoors for a fun round of disc golf.

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So you may be wondering why we are in Phoenix during the heat of summer. Well now that we have been here a month we are wondering why we chose to do that as well. But there was a reason…

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We have been on the road a long, long time and know that the end of our fulltime travels is closing in on us. As a result we are starting to explore areas of interest to us as places we might stay for a longer period of time after our travels in the RV are over. Working on an exit strategy is something we simply cannot put off any longer.

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Both of us have always liked Arizona so we took advantage of a Cal-Am promotion which allows us to stay in three parks we think we would like for only $995. That allows us to stay in any Cal-Am park on the list of the offer from September 1 to December 31st. We came down here in September to experience the 110+ heat to see if we could tolerate it.

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Short answer is – We can’t. We are outdoor people and 110+ means little of that beloved activity occurs. However, it is all part of the grand experiment of looking for future homes… We understand it will be a process.

NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Hiking the Dells at Watson Lake, AZ…

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One of the most intriguing trails we were interested in undertaking was the Watson Lake and Flume Trail. One challenge was that it is a a 4 to 5 mile moderate loop trail near Prescott. The biggest challenge was that we were still experiencing occasional monsoonal showers. Therefore we decided we would just hike part of the trail with an eye on the weather.

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We pulled into the Overlook Parking Lot and were expecting to pay a parking fee but this park had no fee associated with it. We started down the hill from the overlook and in a short distance we were at a little county park.

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While we aren’t normally happy to see a concession stand during our hike we were this time because we had forgotten most of water for the hike. We happily bought some additional water to allow us to hike further than we would have been able to with our limited water supply.

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The trail then continued along a relatively flat section alongside the lake. Lake Watson is s large and scenic so the lake views along this stretch of trail were spectacular. It was also a treat to see lots of late season wildflowers in bloom as we made our way down the trail.

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Continuing on the trail while enjoying gorgeous views of the lake the vegetation got thicker and the trail rockier. Soon we were on mostly solid granite and the trail was marked by faint white dots painted on the rock. It was a bit of a challenge locating the dots but we were glad they were there as we sometimes found we had wandered off the path.

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Soon we were doing a lot of climbing around the rocks and up some steep parts which were somewhat overgrown with vegetation. It was a very hot day and we were taking water breaks a lot as there were many parts of the trail without shade. Yet we found this was where the really scenic part of the trail begins.

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We were now in rolling granite dells. What is a a dell? Simply put a dell is a geographic name for a small secluded hollow. The dells are super cool and somewhat otherworldly. We found ourselves many times in small hidden coves with reflections of sky, water and stone. Fabulous!

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We noticed rains had begun just south of us so we headed back and when we got back to the car we had hiked about 2.5 miles but man, oh, man what a beautiful place this was…

NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hike to Cathedral Rock and Exploring Sedona AZ…

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Another hike we had in mind to do while in Sedona was Cathedral Rock as it is one of the sites that are known as vortexes. What is a vortex? It is a place known for its centers of energy conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. Sharon and I wanted to experience one of these hikes.

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As I mentioned before parking is always a challenge at Sedona trailheads where if you are lucky enough to find a spot you can purchase a daily pass for all Sedona trails for $5.00.  However we have the Senior Lifetime Pass and it along with the America the Beautiful annual pass can be used as well.

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Cathedral Rock towers over the surrounding landscape within the Coconino National Forest. The trail itself is about 1.5 miles round trip which isn’t very long, but the nearly 750 ft. of elevation gain makes it a moderately difficult hike. I read about the hike and thought Sharon might be able to do this one even though there would be some height related challenges.

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The trail started off easy as we walked along a sandy bottomed trail which eventually gave way to a rocky trail. We were in a scattered forest of ponderosa pines and white fir. As we began to climb we could easily see where we needed to go because of the large basket cairns marking the trail.

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As we continued we came to a large crevasse in the rock we had to scramble up. We got through a few of these with me inspiring Sharon that “she had this” as we continued upward. Well that all ended when we came to a section of the trail that required near vertical climbing along a crack in the rock some 40 to 50 feet straight up. Sharon decided that this hurdle was a deal breaker for her. She encouraged me to finish saying she would soak in the sights while she waited.

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With Sharon waiting below I headed on up the crack in the rock and continued hiking steadily upward until I hit the final steep rocky ascent to the saddle. Once atop the saddle the views of the expanse below including parts of Sedona were in clear view. What an amazing view it was! There were some rocky outcrops at the saddle which may have been climbable but were beyond my skills so I headed back down to find Sharon.

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Reunited we headed back down the trail and talked about the vortices in the area. While neither of us experienced anything out of the normal we both agreed that the beauty of this area warranted it as worthwhile hike to undertake. They recommend doing this as a sunset hike but I am not too sure the hike down would be pleasant without full light of day to go down.

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On the way back we stopped to see Bell Rock which is known as another one of the vortex sites. We hiked partway up the trail but it was already too hot to finish this hike especially after doing the one earlier.We snapped a few photos and headed back home happy with the memories of beautiful Sedona Arizona.

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NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Hiking the Fay Canyon Trail, AZ…

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Staying close to Sedona AZ we planned a few hikes but would have to do so between monsoonal rain events. One trail we wanted to hike was the Fay Canyon Trail. However hiking in a canyon meant making sure it would not rain and one day the forecast was favorable so we headed to Sedona.

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The Fay Canyon Trail is about 2.6 miles roundtrip on an in and out trail with modest elevational change. It was going to be a warm day so we were glad to find this somewhat shorter hike through the red rock country of Sedona AZ.

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Once we arrived at the trailhead parking lot we were pleased to see this lot didn’t charge a parking fee. Several lots do charge a fee but we later found out that we could use our Senior Lifetime Pass in many of the lots to park for free. We parked and donned our boots making sure to pack plenty of water.

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Looking for trails in the area I came across this quote: “Fay Canyon is a hidden gem. The Fay Canyon Trail is an easy, scenic hike that takes you through this lesser-known Sedona canyon. You won't see majestic open views like those of Bell Rock, but you will find gorgeous views, without the crowds.”

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There were quite a few cars in the parking lot so we assumed we might see more people than we had planned but as it turned there are many different trails from the parking lot so we only encountered a few other hikers on our trail.

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The trail is a mix of having some sandy parts along with mostly rocky spots. We found ourselves hiking in and out of the drainage since thee was still some standing water from recent rains. As we were hiking I was keeping an eye out for escape routes from the canyon should the weather suddenly change.. Fortunately storms weren’t an issue on this day.

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About halfway through the hike there was a reported natural arch we somehow missed on the way in. The hike was a steady uphill trek which ended abruptly but there were several areas where adventurous souls continued by rock scrambling up the steep slopes. We chose to stay and enjoy a light snack while taking in the views.

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One nice thing about canyon hikes that are in and then out is that the views are strikingly different on the return hike. We were also fortunate to spy the natural arch and stop to enjoy its beauty. All in all this is a nice hike to see magnificent red cliffs ,an arch and some interesting pinnacles. Even though it was hot this day we were able to find an occasional remnant of shade and once back to the car we were glad we were done as it sure was getting hotter…

NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…