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Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/1/21 5:41 p.m.

I got the fridge compartment leak & hopefully bug-proofed. 
 

 

And I think I have a general plan for where to put the inverter & transfer switch. I'll need to install a grate by the inverter to ensure it has plenty of airflow, and I need to do a bit of research on the wiring before I can get to work here. 
 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/3/21 9:16 p.m.

It took a couple days, but I got the inverter & new transfer switch wired up & installed. It's not the prettiest installation, but it wasn't when I started either. I tested it out & it'll actually run the AC(at least for a few seconds), though I need a WAY bigger battery bank for that. 
 

Apparently standard setup gives generator priority over shore power, so I followed that trend & set it up as generator -> inverter -> shore power. 
 

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
9/3/21 9:22 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

It took a couple days, but I got the inverter & new transfer switch wired up & installed. It's not the prettiest installation, but it wasn't when I started either. 

I always plan to do nice looking wiring... so far, it has never worked out that waycrying

Um, Does the roll of electrical tape mount there for future need? cheeky

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/4/21 5:51 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I'd posted on the Forest River forum asking for guidance & got zero replies, so I posted the finished project as a guide for anyone in the future. I set the tape there to point out where the factory transfer switch is. 

Of course I also realized when the inverter is on, that means it's also trying to charge the same house batteries it's drawing from... Fortunately the primary & initial purpose of this is to run the new fridge while driving, so the alternator will be charging the batteries then too. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/6/21 6:58 p.m.

I made a bit of progress over the weekend. First, no pic but I got a tote to keep the E36 M3ter hose in. It was actually pretty tricky finding one to make the most of my 44-1/2 x 16-7/8 x 7-1/2 storage compartment, but eventually I gave up & went to Walmart, where I found one the correct width, 6.5" tall, but only 32" long for under $10. 
 

I ordered a bunch of little things we need too, but none of them will be here until Friday - which is when the fridge finally should arrive. If it doesn't get lost again. 
 

I changed the oil & air filter on the generator(it doesn't have an air filter), resealed a few more seams around the outside, and worked on tortoise-proofing the interior.
 

The first step was making sure no one could sneak into the cab. The driver's seat is blocked underneath, but not the passenger's. There's also enough room for Nora to squeeze between the doghouse & front of the seat too, so I cut & stained this board to block it off. 
 

 

Next I cut & stained a board to fit the doorway, so neither of them falls down & gets trapped while we're driving. 
 

 

Lastly, because Mr. O is such a messy eater we needed a way to contain him & his food. The shower seemed the most logical, but I needed a way to keep him from just climbing out. The board is removable though, if we discover it's a pita while showering. 
 

 

I'd discovered a faint, intermittent buzzy/squeaky electronic noise a few nights ago, & though it was the thermostat. It was cool enough tonight or have the AC off, so I was listening for it & finally realized it's the smoke detector. A new battery didn't fix it, so that's one more thing to add to the list. 

ShawnG
ShawnG UltimaDork
9/6/21 7:09 p.m.

You travel with sugar gliders and a tortoise?

Now people can stop looking at me weird because we have two giant dogs and a cat with us.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/6/21 8:54 p.m.

In reply to ShawnG :

5 gliders, a gulf coast box turtle(they're larger than other box turtles, though not "big"), a Sulcata tortoise(though he's only about 6lbs so far), and if we have to evacuate we'll be bringing the rabbit too - though the stress of travel is pretty hard on him & he's easy enough to care for that one or more of our kids can take care of him if we're just on vacation. 

Our last 2 trips to NM(2-days each way) was no fun finding a hotel for our traveling menagerie - I eventually quit asking how many pets they allowed(FYI extended-stay places are generally much more pet-friendly). Plus the 8-trips upstairs upon arrival, and 8-trips to load up again in the morning, were no fun at all. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/7/21 8:26 p.m.

So I discovered a random toaster oven in the RV. 
 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/9/21 8:42 p.m.

The fridge showed up today. From the Amazon reviews I was expecting damage, but fortunately it was all minimal & will be hidden once installed. 
 

I did have to remove 1/4" from the top of the fridge cubby and remove the feet & rollers for it to fit, which was somewhat expected. Unfortunately the published dimensions aren't accurate & while I was expecting about 1-3/4" gap along both sides combined, it's actually 3-3/4" total. So the trim moulding I picked up isn't big enough. However, I did find a use for a couple of the pool noodles I picked up on clearance a few weeks ago. 
 

They fill the gap on each side nicely. I also went around the top & bottom of the front with Great Stuff to help insulate the interior of the RV & keep critters out. 
 

I got the doors hung this evening, plugged it in, and working an hour it was already nice & cool!


 

The only minor issue is the top of the freezer door barely catches on the knob for the AC unit. I'll leave it as-is & it'll probably self-clearance eventually. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/10/21 7:46 p.m.

I pulled the battery out earlier to investigate(and eventually dissect) the questionable meth/hydrogen/whatever system & discovered this snake shed underneath it. More proof that this thing sat unused for an extended period. 
 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/11/21 1:20 p.m.

I got the trim for the fridge installed I loathe & suck at fiddly stuff like this, but it fortunately doesn't look any worse than the old fridge. 
 

 

I tried out the microwave & confirmed it works. I still need to test out the water heater & furnace, though that last one will need to wait a few more weeks for the weather to cool down a bit. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/17/21 7:39 p.m.

Earlier in this saga I mentioned that the battery wasn't anchored & as I discovered while attempting to remedy it, that the battery tray was MIA. Well the new battery tray arrived today, so I installed it at lunch only to discover the battery doesn't fit...

My best guess is the battery died 5-years ago, but the correct one wasn't available, so they bought this one & tossed the battery tray in the trash. So I spent $200 on a new 850cca battery tonight to replace one that was still working fine. Thought at 5-years old & having spent much of that time parked it probably wasn't long for this world anyway. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/18/21 7:52 p.m.

The backup/dash cam setup arrived today  & I finished installing everything a bit ago. I have to say for under $150(with $15 coupon currently) shipped im pretty damn impressed with it. I'd read the reviews which were generally positive, and watched a few YouTube vids about this model & My initial impression is it lives up to the hype. 
 

It's a Pormido PR996 & here's the Amazon link.

One reason I chose this system is because it has a 32.8' cable for the rear camera. It also included a 32gb SD card & GPS puck. 
 

 

 I ended up mounting the rear camera under the roof overhang. I still need to take it for a drive & see how it looks though. I can already tell it won't be much assistance for hitching up the trailer, but it should give me good visibility of traffic behind me & I think I'll even be able to see over the box on the front of the trailer. 
 

I may need to add a hitch camera at some point too though. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/24/21 3:20 p.m.

The weather has been down in the 50's overnight this week, so I went out early yesterday morning to try out the furnace & it worked fine. 
 

Next up was a little issue that had been really bothering me. The height difference between the brake & gas pedal in the RV was a lot more than in the van, so I measured them & discovered the RV's gas pedal is 50% further down than the van's - 3" vs. 2". I quickly discovered it was due to slack in the cable. 
 

 

 

I followed the accelerator cable under the hood & discovered someone took a E36 M3 on the fuse box...

 

I couldn't see anything from under the hood, so I pulled the doghouse off, but the TB had a plastic cover all the way around it that would have required way more disassembly than I was willing to do. Fortunately I'm a hoarder, and remembered I've had this bicycle brake cable ferrule for ~30-years that turned out to be a perfect fit. I taped it into place so it can't fall off/out & now the pedal distance is much better!

 

Unfortunately while I was under the dash I discovered the brake MC is leaking around the shaft into the interior, so that's $180 for a (brand) new one, plus whatever the mechanic charges me to replace it plus flush & bleed the entire system...

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/16/21 9:01 p.m.

Had my first outing with the RV today. Drove it to the Nola autox & back, not quite 200-miles round trip. 
 

 

Other than the wind, it drove & towed fine. Although it doesn't stop as well with the trailer(no brakes) as the van does. Fortunately I didn't need to test the absolute limits. 
 

The Sangauge showed between 6-7 mpg regardless of whether I was driving 70 or 85, so I guess that's what I get towing lol. 
 

It was nice not having to wait in line for the restroom, or to get food at lunchtime, although the power inverter freaked out on the drive there & just kept cycling off & on. I think it might have overheated, because o tried it again before I headed home & it seemed to work. So that's a project before we head to the Challenge on Thursday. 
 

There's also one other project...

 

It seems the fiberglass cap above the cab was trying to separate its self. Fortunately I think I can bolt it through the cab roof & reseal it, but I'll find out tomorrow. 

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/16/21 10:00 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

The weather has been down in the 50's overnight this week, so I went out early yesterday morning to try out the furnace & it worked fine. 
 

Next up was a little issue that had been really bothering me. The height difference between the brake & gas pedal in the RV was a lot more than in the van, so I measured them & discovered the RV's gas pedal is 50% further down than the van's - 3" vs. 2". I quickly discovered it was due to slack in the cable. 
 

 

 

I followed the accelerator cable under the hood & discovered someone took a E36 M3 on the fuse box...

 

I couldn't see anything from under the hood, so I pulled the doghouse off, but the TB had a plastic cover all the way around it that would have required way more disassembly than I was willing to do. Fortunately I'm a hoarder, and remembered I've had this bicycle brake cable ferrule for ~30-years that turned out to be a perfect fit. I taped it into place so it can't fall off/out & now the pedal distance is much better!

 

Unfortunately while I was under the dash I discovered the brake MC is leaking around the shaft into the interior, so that's $180 for a (brand) new one, plus whatever the mechanic charges me to replace it plus flush & bleed the entire system...

Zip Tie Turbo style there, although I'm gonna remember that because it's way less bodgy than stacking 5 zipties

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
10/17/21 6:27 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

 

I followed the accelerator cable under the hood & discovered someone took a E36 M3 on the fuse box...

 

Well the E36 M3ter was full so ...

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/17/21 11:15 a.m.

I went out this morning & got a better idea of what's happening with the cab cap. I was concerned that the fiberglass cap was separating its self from the cab roof, and may decide to eject at highway speeds. Fortunately, that's not what's going on at all. 
 

On the passenger side it's more obvious that the gap is bigger at the windshield than at the rear of the cab. However there's also a small tapered gap between the back of the cab & the body at the very top. 
 

 

So I realized what must be happening is the cab has tipped slightly forward, likely due to failing body mounts. I checked the ones on the front frame horns and they cracked & dry rotted, though aren't noticeably shorter than the ones on the van. Tom had replaced several of the mounts on the van, and gave me a couple extra, but I don't have time to replace them before the Challenge. I'm just going to pull out the old sealant & redo the whole perimeter of the cab to body interface, and worry about the mounts later. Maybe. 

jh36
jh36 HalfDork
10/17/21 6:33 p.m.

Looking great!  I really like the fridge. I will be following in your footsteps soon. The 40 year old unit in mine has lost the electric side so I'm operating on gas only. Rather than mend this unit, I plan to replace. 
I like the size of your RV a lot. It's pretty tasty!

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/17/21 8:52 p.m.

In reply to jh36 :

Thanks! We're looking forward to using the Challenge as a shakedown trip for us & the critters. I'm sure there will be more changes afterward, but I think what we have now will be workable. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/23/21 8:21 p.m.

A post-Challenge update. Though actually I'll start pre-Challenge. 
 

After discovering that the inverter was cycling on/off driving to the autox the previous weekend, I decided to see if adding more airflow would help. So I stole the 12v fan from the back of the van, cut a hole, made a screen to cover it & cut a couple slots so I could mount the switch outside. 
 

 

Unfortunately I didn't realize the fan bracket wasn't flush with the top & it started digging out the bottom of the bed platform. So I added a couple pieces of UMHW plastic, which improved it, but I think I need to go all the way around it. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/23/21 8:44 p.m.

So the trip to Gainesville Wednesday was going ok, except my cooling mod didn't help, so we were running the generator to power the fridge. However at our last stop for gas 80-miles away, the was running like crap & had a miss when I pulled off the interstate, then didn't was to restart after fueling. I'd noticed at the 2 previous stops that the gas pump was shutting off even though it wasn't close to full, but at this stop it didn't want to fill at all. 

There were no codes, and without running the genny it ran fine to the hotel. My hunch is there's a blockage in the filler neck vent(probably a mud wasp's nest), and the consumption from both the genny & engine(possibly compounded by driving 85) was causing a slight bit of fuel starvation?

Thursday night was my first time ever doing any type of camping. We parked on the dead end street outside the hotel lot, and it was fine other than the noise of a couple trucks parked nearby. Fortunately our generator mostly drowned them out. The bed was reasonably comfortable. The bathroom is barely large enough to be functional, but the hot water for the shower lasted longer than I expected - I never ran out!

Once again, it was great to have it as a trackside home-base on Friday & it was cool enough that we made it until the afternoon before firing up the generator. I parked at the far end of the lot, both to be out of the way & also so we wouldn't be blasting anyone with the generator's noise. 

By the time we got back to the hotel the end of the street was filled with trucks, so I reluctantly parked in the hotel's gravel lot. There weren't any other rigs there, and it was a much quieter night. 

The drive back home today was uneventful, other than having to manually hold the gas nozzle trigger as lightly as possible for 10+ minutes until the tank was full, but that technique worked. I calculated 7mpg over 2-tanks keeping it at 80mph or less. 

So my next project is to rewire the inverter's transfer switch from the main AC line into the fuse panel, to instead run the refrigerator's circuit only. I also need to build/buy a small shelf for my side of the bed, as there's no place to put my phone & glasses except in the closet/drawer space at the foot of the bed - and as I discovered this morning it took 15-minutes before I heard my alarm. 

Our two torts seemed to really enjoy the RV vs the van too!


 

I'm glad I buil this cover for the stairwell, Nora really enjoyed watching the commotion of the team next door  

 

Meanwhile Mr. O was just soaking up the sun, which there really isn't any of inside the van  

Our sugar gliders are nocturnal so they don't really care about anything other than dinner time. 

jh36
jh36 HalfDork
10/23/21 8:51 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

The ability to run an RV at 80mph+ is a heavenly thought. I cannot relate to that...jealous!  Sounds like a great shakedown run...congratulations!  

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/24/21 5:54 a.m.

In reply to jh36 :

Thanks!

At somewhere around 2x plus the weight of the van I didn't expect it either, but the V10 has enough torque that it doesn't care. 

It seems to be way more planted with 50 gallons of water & 40 gallons of gas(plus all our stuff) than it does empty. That surprised me, as it's the opposite of my experience driving box trucks. 

jh36
jh36 HalfDork
10/24/21 7:05 a.m.

Also, if you have a thread on the sugar gliders somewhere on here, point me. They are intriguing. 

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