Friday, October 16, 2009

RV repairs

You remember when I was carping about the RV dealer not ordering my parts?  Well, yesterday while I was home in between the doctor office visits, we got a voice mail from the RV dealer that the parts were in.  But Redbay, Al said they didn’t have them on order!

Then in another little while the UPS guy came and delivered the trailer hitch.  But also he delivered a little box too.  And as you have already guessed, it was the parts from Tiffin mailed directly to me.  Suddenly I had two orders of parts.  Now what?

The dealer didn’t know that I had ordered the stuff direct, so I acted like I didn’t have the message yet.  Let’s see how I get along installing these parts, before we tip our hand that I won’t need the parts in Des Moines.

Today I drove the coach over here and started in on the repairs.  Disassembling the dash to get at the windshield wiper controls is not for the faint of heart.  There are wires that go everywhere, and the heat/AC ducts are short and needed to be disconnected, but after a little while I had it all opened up.  Installing the new part fell into place, but I struggled to get it all back assembled and keep it that way, while I drove in the 12 screws that held the dash panel on.   IT WORKED!!!  The wipers have intermittent now.

So with confidence built up, I started into the vacuum remote panel.  To my surprise, it came right off with a few screws.  But the screws the factory put in were wood screws.  Into a sheet metal backing plate!  The screws that the factory sent with the dirt devil part, were too short, but were sheet metal screws.

So I thought let’s do this right, and went to Lowe’s to get the right number 10 sheet metal screws in the longer size.  It went together fairly quickly, and worked as well.

At that point I decided to call the dealer and confess that I had ordered parts myself.  They took it well, understanding that it would cost two days and $200 to buy fuel and camping, to have them install the parts.  He said he was going to mail the parts to me, if I hadn’t called.   Uh, OK, sure you would have.

Now for the real problem, their mechanic had fixed the broken cigarette lighter socket when I was up there last week.  But, when I plugged in my cell phone, the dash lights came on.  Ooops!  maybe not too fixed huh.

So since I had the coach here and all hooked up to the electric and the electric heater going, I thought I would see what I could do about the lighter socket.

This proved to be the worst problem of the bunch.  Plugging my GPS into the socket caused the unit to beep madly.  Measuring the voltage showed 12V.  Measuring the voltage with the fuse out, killed the voltage.  Hot line works.  Measuring the ground for continuity measured zero ohms.  So why does the GPS go into a panic?

Then I remembered a test that I watched my dad perform years ago.  With the GPS running (beeping like crazy)  I measured the socket ground above the chassis ground.  I got three volts.  Ground is ground, there shouldn’t be any voltage on the ring side of the socket.  Bad Ground!

To shorten the story, I found a place under the dash where Tiffin had mated about 6 wires together connecting one of them to the chassis.  It was just a compression fitting smashed with a wiring pliers.  There’s the problem.

I cut it all apart, and stripped the wires again and wrapped them tightly and soldered the bundle.  I taped the whole mess and reassembled the dash.  This repair took all afternoon.  Half the time was to figure out the trouble.  Thanks to dad’s training, I knew what to do.  He’s been gone since 1994, but still influences my life all the time.  Dads are like that!

Retired Rod


  1. Rod I like what you said about yor Dad. Sorta reminds me of things my late Dad taught me but I don't always remember them.

  2. It sounds like you really accomplished a lot, and the tribute to your dad is beautiful.

  3. Good job on those fixes Rod. It's funny how Dad's get smarter as we get older!

  4. Awesome work Rod, I bet you feel great after a day like that!


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