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Rusty Roadtrek: Part Three

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“Cheer up it could get worse” It did…

I am not posting this to “Bitch and moan”. I am very sorry that I didn’t investigate better before I paid for the van. Water over the dam. I want to document my discovery and my attempt at correcting the problem.

I took the van to one shop “Gene’s Frame Repair” and had a terrible result. I later found that this company was definitely not the best one for the work. If you are interested in what I found click here for the WINK TV “Call for action”.

Next I spoke with Doug Martin “Beach Fender Mender”. After a series of unanswered voice-mails and messages left with his wife Daniel, I decided it was time to move on. If the man doesn’t keep his word on “Call backs” I would have expected the same results on my project.

On to the reason for my huge repair problem…

Passenger side frame rail. Extensive rust damage. Crap! Looks like I shouldn’t have bought a “Pig in a poke”. Needless to say, I was heart broken when I saw it. This was supposed to be the vehicle that Lucy and I would travel in for the rest of our vehicle expedition lives. Well “cry or try”… I am not one who quits in fear or gives up without a good fight. There has to be a way to make it like new.

My first order of business was to find a suitable frame section from a donor vehicle. I made twelve phone calls with “Sorry no” results. My thirteenth call struck pay dirt. I spoke to Steve at Jim’s Auto Parts in Sebring, Florida and he said “Sure. I got what you need right here.” I asked how much and he said “Buck and a half” standard salvage yard jargon. I said “How much for freight?” Steve replied “I run my own trucks. That price includes delivery.” Amazing. A perfect donor frame deliver to my door for $150.00. Next morning I had my frame. It looked great. No rust or damage at all. I wire brushed it, painted on a coat of Ospho and then a primer coat of zinc chromate. The frame is ready for installation…

I have an appointment with Pam’s Motor City on Thursday. She has a complete body shop as well as engine and regular mechanic service. I am very optimistic that she owns the right company for the job…

I removed the grille and bumper to make it a little easier for her to get to the problem. In the process I discovered more rust damage underneath. Good thing is, the damaged parts are all in good shape on the donor frame.

I am bound and determined to complete the repairs and have this gorgeous Roadtrek back in fighting trim. While it is in the shop I will replace all front end bushings, tie-rod ends, sway bar links and front shocks. In addition; new rear main seal, timing chain, complete tune-up and replacement of passenger side exhaust header will be completed.

Lucy and I can’t wait to get “Voyageur” back on the road and back to doing what it does best. Carrying us on another great adventure creating wonderful new memories… I will keep you posted on my progress.

Party hardy,

Dave the “Spokesman”

Part Two: It’s gonna cost how much?

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The Voyageur saga continues…

I got safely back to O.O.C. and breathed a sigh of relief. Still knew I had a lot of work to do to put our ‘Trek in shape, but unaware of the real problems that would be revealed.

Lucy couldn’t wait to give her a bath. We had fun washing off the “Trail Dust”. Once we finished the “spit and polish” she shined like a new dime. While I finished the outside work; tires, wheels and chrome polish, Lucy grabbed her basket of cleaning stuff and started on the interior.

She fell in love with the roomy interior and remarked that she could live in the Roadtrek with no problems. It was a hot day and as you recall the air conditioner did not work. We decided to resume our interior clean-up and outfit the interior for camping, in the much cooler morning hours…

Out with the old…

The time had come to replace the old Fedders AC. First task was to find an air-conditioner with the correct dimensions to fit the existing space… I found a remote controlled “LG” unit that was just the right size and it was Energy Star Compliant

Getting the old unit out was a chore. I wound up having to use a 2X4 up against a tree to assist. I had Lucy hold the 2X4 between the tree and the rear of the air conditioner, through the hole where I had removed the rear AC vent. Just backed up a little toward the Oak tree and the unit finally slid out.

When I removed the old unit I found extensive rust damage in the AC area. The condensate had actually caused two holes through the sheet-metal of the compartment. I sanded it all down to bare metal and coated the affected area with “Ospho” rust inhibitor. It was allowed to dry overnight. Next morning I applied fiberglass resin to the entire interior of the AC compartment and used two layer of glass cloth to reinforce and close the holes. Another overnight curing time and I was ready to install the new “LG”. I fashioned new Oak trim pieces to cover the opening left by the slightly smaller new AC. Once I was done she fit like a glove…

Next day we left for our first real RV camping trip. We headed to Peace River Campground, happy as clams, still unaware of the real perils that had not been revealed. Another project complete but oh brother, we had no idea what was in store for Voyageur.

Peace River Campground – Hunkered In

Watch for Part Three: I’ve been framed!

It only gets WORSE.  ;o(

Spokesman Dave

I’m a little RUSTY

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Lucy and I decided that of all the RV’s we have owned in the past, a Roadtrek would be best for our future travel plans. Fully self-contained, good gas mileage and easy to drive and park. With that thought in mind I began my search… In the past I have had excellent results both buying and selling on EBay. This time was a little different. I bought a “Pig in a poke” and some problems ensued…

I bought the Roadtrek “Sight unseen”. The few photos on the ad looked okay. The seller said she didn’t know much about the RV. She had taken it as payment on some land. I flew from Fort Myers to Kentucky to take delivery. She had dropped off the RV at the airport so we never met. I got the key from the parking attendant and stepped aboard.

It looked good inside, but nothing worked. Generator would not turn over, no water flow from the on-board 12 volt pump, Fedders air-conditioner was in pieces and none of the interior lights would come on. No pump meant no toilet flushing. I started the engine to begin my 1200 mile trip back to Florida and it ran smooth. Smooth but VERY loud (more on the LOUD later). Ready to pull out of the airport I switched the dash-air to “MAX” and waited for the ice-cold air to begin cooling my body and the rest of the interior. You guessed it – NO COLD AIR. Oh well… The stereo sounded great, the power windows went right down and off I went. Still happy, but somewhat disappointed…

I had gotten a late start, was driving an unknown vehicle, so I  planned a short first day. I pulled into a “JIffy Lube” and had an oil change and lube. While I was there I had all tire pressure checked; rear 80 psi Front 55 psi. The wiper blades were shot, so I had them replaced as well. (As it turned out, that was a great decision) Off I went in search of a convenient campground for my first overnight stop. There were very few (none) on my route until I finally approached a motel with RV spaces next door. I rented a shady spot (no air-conditioning) plugged in my power cord and got ready to enjoy my first night in “Voyageur”. There was a nice restaurant just across the street so I splurged on a nice meal. I was wide awake from nervous energy, first-night jitters and an unfamiliar bed. Oh yes… I also missed my Lucy. I finally fell asleep lulled by the sound of the diesel trucks roaring by on the Interstate…

Up with the chickens I resumed my trip. Quick stop for some hot coffee and I prepared to enjoy the winding, narrow, undulating roads, that took me on the back roads leading to Cumberland Falls State Park – Gorgeous! I stopped in the park and enjoyed a very relaxing hour long hike along the Cumberland River. The falls were spectacular… Turned out my “peaceful”, meandering ride was about to come a little less “peaceful”…

CLANK, BANG, RRRRRROAR!

What the heck happened? I looked in my rear-view mirror, as I began slowing down and saw bits and pieces of my exhaust system, skidding and sparking, as it slid down the pavement behind me, spewing dust particles everywhere… (Never buy a pig in a poke) Well, guess that explains why she sounded a little loud, when I first started her up. A quick search on my Android phone and my GPS brought me to a nearby muffler shop. Turned ot the had an open bay and the took me right in for repairs. Brand new everything and the total was $374.00 and only an hour lost… The mechanic even welded a new bracket on my broken generator exhaust and was kind enough to show me exactly what he meant when he said “She’s rusted all to HELL under here!. You got BIG problems!” Turns out……. he was exactly right…

My propane system has been totally compromised by rust (Never buy a pig in a poke). The replacement system; storage tank, brackets, regulator, valve, hoses and fittings, will cost me around six hundred dollars.

“While yer down here, take a look at this…”  (Never buy a pig in a poke) He said “No wonder yer genny won’t crank, she’s rusted all to HELL!” Sound familiar? Looks like another grand for a new gennerator too… And…. I a STILL happy I bought this Roadtrek…

I finally resumed my trip still hot, windows open but a whole lot quieter. As I drove along I did a lot of thinking and planning about how I would complete (and pay for) each of the many repairs. I drove until I was just too tired to continue and after a light dinner in a truck stop diner, shut her down in the parking lot and spent a fitful night. I wanted to be home and back with my Lucy. As I said my evening prayers I prayed, “Please Lord no more surprises. Just get me home safe.” I kept remembering what my mom used to say “Cheer up. It could be worse.” Turned out she was right…

I cheered up- it got WORSE…

Continued in part-two “It’s gonna cost how much!!!”

Cheers, Spokesman Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Jacket attack…

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This morning we woke to a wonderful, drizzling rain. Just right for our thirsty lawn and landscaping. Our honeybees, however, do not like working in the rain. Guess you just can’t please everyone…

Lucy and I normally take a nice “exercise” bike ride in the morning and we didn’t want the wet weather conditions to stop us. She rode her hybrid “Giant ATX 870” “Grocery Getter” and I rode my full-suspension “Jamis Dakar”, .  I wanted the benefit of the disc brakes in the inclement conditions… We had originally planned to visit nearby Franklin Lock – one of the five on the Caloosahatchee River portion of the  ICW – and enjoy a healthy snack, while we watched some of the pleasure craft lock-through… It was even more enjoyable in the cooling rain.

Lucy’s Indian pose – “Chief Rain in Face Yellow Hood”

We made a brief stop for snacks at our famous “Olga Mall”. Cheese crackers and a couple containers of fruit juice to wash it down. Turned out there were several vessels lined up to transit the lock. It fascinates me to see all the different boats that people choose as their “Floating Homes”. The Shag Bark Sycamore trees were gorgeous. There were even some huge blooms on the Magnolia trees that were so perfect they looked like porcelain china…

We left our observation post at the park and set out to do some grocery shopping. Had a bit of a problem stuffing all of our purchases into our small trunk bags. In the end, “Bob’s your Uncle”…

On our return trip we stopped at Sherry’s “Full Belly Deli” and bought a couple of her delicious, freshly made, “Veggie Delight” sandwiches. Avacado, cucumber, Alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce and mozzarella cheese. She puts on a little Italian dressing to make the perfect combo. Deeelicious! We got back to O.O.C. just a few minutes ahead of Charlie, from Hawke Enterprises, LLC. He had come by to pull the generator out of our new (pre-owned) Roadtrek.

NEW Generation…

Charlie is an exceptional Generator service Technician and a licensed electrician. They do a lot of upscale, standby power stations, as well as all types of commercial, high-voltage, design, installation and repair. I have found that the work they do is always first rate, at a fair price. I truly believe they treat all customers, large and small, with the same polite, caring, attitude.

It only took Charlie a few minutes to have all the fittings unhooked, fuel line capped and the little 2.8kW, Onan “Microlite”generator removed.

We teamed up on getting it to his tailgate for the short ride to his machine shop. The little genny will receive a complete overhaul and a facelift. The generator case – like many of the components under the RV – has been negatively impacted by a severe case of “rust-itis”. She will be reinstalled looking like new running like a Rolex. We will think of Hawke Enterprises, every time we are “boondocking” and enjoying  the cool air conditioning. The little Microlite will provide all the AC power we need…

When Charlie left I joined Lucy in our spa. A wonderful climax to another fine day at O.O.C.

Some of our readers enjoy the occasional “Rainy Day” and other say, “Crap” bring back the sun. What’s your preference?

Warm wishes, Spokesman Dave

Chaza a whatski?

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Now I am getting excited…

Lucy was browsing Kevin Mim’s website “Visitflorida.com” and she decided she wanted us to do a nice camping trip to Chassahowitzka River campground. We will drive our Roadtrek “Voyageur”, towing our little Gheenoe, “Camo-Tow” . It will be the perfect combination for cruising and fishing this gorgeous central Florida river…

“VOYAGEUR”

Our Roadtrek, 190 Popular,  is compact, fuel-efficient and fully self-contained. After previously owning many different sizes and models of recreational vehicles we decided that this one would provide the most bang for our retirement bucks… She will pull “Camo-Tow” just fine…

“CAMO-TOW”

The little, thirteen foot Gheenoe, is extremely stable and moves along nicely when powered by a single gas-sipping, 6.6 horsepower, Johnson outboard…

She also handles extremely well when paddled with a pair of double bladed kayak paddles. Camo-Tow floats nicely in as little as six inches of water. Narrow enough for the; creeks, estuaries and rivers we prefer and yet stable enough to allow the male occupant to safely stand for any personal needs.  ;O)

Perfect platform for preparing some of Lucy’s healthy, delicious, waterborne snacks…

“SIERRA”

Admiral “Sierra” gives it two paws up”… She is right at home in the bow, or lounging midships.

“Camo-Tow” is so well camouflaged the hardest part is often, finding her for our return trip home…

Have any of you camped or boated on the Chassahowitzka River? Any other Gheenoe owners out there? I would love to hear about your experiences…

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