Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday April 26

First, Costco replaced my glass frames at no charge. They happened to have one identical frame in stock. That was a blessing.

Tuesday is our 42nd anniversary. The day wasn't all that rainy so I got under the 5er and tried to sort out the brake problem. Everything, including the controller readout, was now totally normal. I couldn't duplicate the problem. That bummed me because of the risk of future failure. Murphy's law hinted the problem would surface again at the worst possible moment. Working on tracing wiring on one brake I notice the tire tread was separating. The tires had all looked fine at every stop on the way north. When I pulled the wheel off I noticed the tread on the next two tires didn't look right either. Those two were in early stages of separation. The result is three new trailer tires, an unexpected $450 expense. A verse crossed my mind. "Where goods increase they increase that eat them." How true.

I pulled the wheels to take them to a tire shop. I had been reluctant to pull a brake drum in the rain for fear of getting a bearing wet and/or dirty. But while a wheel was off and only a light drizzle fell I decided to pull the brake drum and see if I could notice anything in the actual electric brakes that looked suspicious. Sure enough. I found a wire with the insulation worn through where it touched a moving arm. The wear was not significant, but enough to show a bit of wire which would short out the brakes when it contacted the brake arm. I happily re-routed the wire and am optimistic that will fix the intermittent problem. Earlier I was bummed about the additional tire costs. After finding the worn wire I became grateful for the additional tire problems because they helped me find the probable cause for the brake failure. Tires are cheaper than a wreck. My prayer has been that any problems would surface now rather than on the remote stretches of the Alaskan Hwy. Thus no murmuring. It is now 8:20 PM and time to try to locate the anniversary card I bought for Paulette. I somehow misplaced it in the events of the past two days, and hers to me is sitting as yet unopened under my nose.

More Adventure Than We Expected

We are on the road and in Portland Oregon for a few days. A few problems materialized during our travel. On the way down the grapevine my trailer brakes failed. They would work about half way (according to the controller read-out) and then give up completely. Fortunately the brakes on the truck and a downshift kept speed under control. I was thinking the body shop removed the bed to do some body work where I crunched the cab, and perhaps didn't get some wiring hooked up solidly. I switched to the other connector socket on the truck and the problem seemed to clean up. Then, after leaving Dennis and Cathy the same thing happened again, only this time I got a SH on the readout, which I took to mean "short." I lost all braking on the trailer at that point. After two hours in a rest area troubleshooting and realizing the problem wasn't in the truck wiring I isolated the short on one axle and disconnected those two brakes. We proceeded to Portland on the remaining four trailer brakes. We took Hwy 97 to 58 to avoid all the up and down of the mountains on I-5. We did fine with four trailer brakes. Now I need to troubleshoot which wheel has the short and fix the problem (I now suspect a worn magnet?) before we head north again. Quite a bit of rain in Portland so I will wait a day or two and see if conditions improve before pulling the wheel apart. I am grateful it happened here instead of in the wilds of Canada where no parts are apt be available. I'd hate to be on any of those 10% grades without every brake working.

When we pulled into D&C's near Sacramento Dennis told me he thought a rear tire looked paunchy. I pulled out a gauge and sure enough, it was well down in pressure. I found a screw in the tread. We plugged it and saved that tire. Otherwise I might not have noticed until the tire came apart. Chinese trailer tires are junk, but the only one available today, so I walk around the truck and trailer at every stop to check for tread separation. I guess I should start kicking tires too.

When I reached up to adjust my glasses an ear piece fell off. I bought these frames at Costco so I could get them fixed anywere there is a Costco. I'm thinking the frame is unfixable. No screws came out. Looks like a joint where the ear piece glues together failed. I tried some JB weld at Dennis and Cathy's but it didn't hold.

I rolled across two different truck scales in Oregon. The first result showed 23,200 lbs.; The second 23,000. In spite of all my weight preparation we are about 800 lbs heavier than my home calculations. That means I have to leave some things behind in Portland because I need to pick up 700 lbs of windows here. Therefore 685 lbs of doors, soffit, and water softener went under the shed at E's.

Suffice it to say the trip so far has been an adventure of the unexpected. Gratefully I'm handy at fixing most things myself.

I ordered new tires for pick up here in Portland. The original equipment tires on the truck now have 95,000 miles on them (!) and probably have enough tread to make the round trip, but I don't want to risk tire problems on the Alaskan Hwy where towns can be 350 miles apart.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

36 Hours and Counting

Above are pictures of the back of the 5th wheel trailer pretty much packed to go. Note that I did get the two Kayaks loaded for Sherrie Jo to enjoy.☺ Our construction task this summer was to side the exterior to protect the cabin from weather. But a glitch in the amount of time needed to order siding nixed that. Instead we will
go with Plan B and focus on porch, plumbing, electrical, insulation, and some drywall. The goal is to get utilities operational in the cabin, and bedroom, bath, and laundry functional so we can live in the cabin in 2012. Next summer we will hopefully do the exterior siding.

The pictures don't look like the trailer has as much material as last year, but the back 16 feet contains washer, drier, refrigerator, freezer, seven windows, water heater, water softener, stove, six doors, a toilet, a dehumidifier, stair banister and ballisters, and just about every supply I can think of to complete the plumbing and electrical. Oh, and much to Paulette's delight she is taking her sewing machine! I still have to squeeze her bicycle in there somewhere. We are only slightly less heavy than last year. That makes me a little uneasy, but I was uneasy about the weight last year too and we did fine. We will be cautious, take our time, and by the grace of God hopefully not experience any breakdowns.