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Old 08-23-2016, 01:45 PM   #71
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Therefore I ask the question: What's most prudent to replace pre-emptively and at what age? I'm not necessarily talking about items on a regular maintenance schedule here. I mean, what should I be trying to cut off at the pass before it eventually fails because it can't last forever?
Carrying spares is prudent. Buy two belts, install one, carry the other. If you break one, you've got one ready to hand so you can get back on the road with minimal delay.

But to answer your question, any rubber in the engine compartment will suffer over time due to the heat in the compartment. Volatile compounds evaporate from the rubber, causing the rubber to crack and then break since every crack weakens the rubber. Belts are the worst offenders because they're under tension and constantly moving. Radiator hoses are next because they're under pressure when the engine heats up even though they experience less movement. Vacuum hoses are least likely to fail and usually easiest to replace, but not immune to failing.

Also carry a spare oil filter and fuel filter. A clogged oil filter puts the filter into bypass mode so that it passes unfiltered oil; it's set up that way because damage from circulating unfiltered oil is less severe than damage due to no oil at all. But whatever clogged the filter is doing the engine no favors when the filter goes into bypass mode and the contaminants keep circulating.

And nothing will put you into "limp home mode" faster than a clogged fuel filter. Which is better than requiring a tow like a broken belt will do to you, but will still ruin your day.

Side note, I also carry spare wiper blades. Sprinter wiper blades aren't always easy to find in a pouring thunderstorm in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:35 AM   #72
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Carrying spare parts is a sound idea in most scenarios. The problem is that I will still be at least 300 miles away from the nearest individual who has the skills to install such parts.

That's why my thinking is gravitating more toward a less conventional, more conservative paradigm of pro-actively identifying what could go wrong and minimizing those chances at the outset. There's a sweet spot of risk management in there somewhere. It's difficult to find, though, because our default paradigm incorporates different assumptions on the response end of the equation (namely that truck services are reasonably attainable).

When I asked my husband what he thought of my travel plan, his mixed feelings were obvious. He said, "I think it's fine. Now I just have to make it bullet-proof."
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:08 AM   #73
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And, you know, the truth is that you cannot absolutely anticipate and plan for any eventuality, only do the very best you can and be mentally prepared for the possibility that you might find yourself stuck....a very long way from home.

If you are going out of the country, I would look into insurance policies to get you and hopefully your rig home in case of an unforeseen emergency of any kind.

Me, I think I will pre-emptively have all belts and hoses replaced the next time I am in for service...just because this is a 10 year old rig, with 175,000 miles on it.

I think that's an excellent idea.


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Old 08-24-2016, 09:18 AM   #74
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I do have one of those policies. I bought it after another 2007 Interstate owner described having to be flat-bedded out of a remote geographic location. The bill paid by Good Sam on his behalf was something like $1,500. That was just for the towing - not the repair.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:32 AM   #75
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The ones for out of country are different, I think....


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Old 09-03-2016, 12:28 PM   #76
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Couple of question regarding maintenance...

For engine oil changes (which I'm confident we can do ourselves, but our local BP guys up the street said they'd be more than happy to do so for FAR less than what Mercedes charges), where do you purchase your filters? Do you go with original MB filters, or have you found reliable aftermarket parts from a specific retailer?

Also, for resealing any roof vents that the sealant is cracking over time, what product do you recommend for interim repairs on the road? It seems that with the movement and weather, sealants tend to dry out and crack pretty quickly (at least they do in the South), so regular inspection and a few pumps of a caulking gun can keep minor issues from becoming major while on the road.
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Old 09-03-2016, 12:37 PM   #77
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Not sure about resealing the roof, but for maintenance parts I've always used http://europarts-sd.com/ for all my Eurovan needs, they also have all maintenance parts for Sprinters.

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Originally Posted by glfprncs View Post
Couple of question regarding maintenance...

For engine oil changes (which I'm confident we can do ourselves, but our local BP guys up the street said they'd be more than happy to do so for FAR less than what Mercedes charges), where do you purchase your filters? Do you go with original MB filters, or have you found reliable aftermarket parts from a specific retailer?

Also, for resealing any roof vents that the sealant is cracking over time, what product do you recommend for interim repairs on the road? It seems that with the movement and weather, sealants tend to dry out and crack pretty quickly (at least they do in the South), so regular inspection and a few pumps of a caulking gun can keep minor issues from becoming major while on the road.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:18 PM   #78
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I go to the dealer (MB of Long Beach) for oil & filter changes because it worked out cheaper than if I had done it myself. The dealer can get the 13.2 quarts of Mobile-1 ESP Formula M 5w-40 for less than what Pep Boys were charging. It cost me $190.35 total for the oil and filter change at the dealer. They told me that they indeed use the Mobile 1 ESP Formula M oil, but I can only take their word for it.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:38 PM   #79
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Not sure about resealing the roof, but for maintenance parts I've always used http://europarts-sd.com/ for all my Eurovan needs, they also have all maintenance parts for Sprinters.
I saw parts on eurocampers.com as well, and they're in the midwest, so shipping will be faster...looks like they're also MB parts resold through them.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:41 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by glfprncs View Post
Couple of question regarding maintenance...

For engine oil changes (which I'm confident we can do ourselves, but our local BP guys up the street said they'd be more than happy to do so for FAR less than what Mercedes charges), where do you purchase your filters? Do you go with original MB filters, or have you found reliable aftermarket parts from a specific retailer?

Also, for resealing any roof vents that the sealant is cracking over time, what product do you recommend for interim repairs on the road? It seems that with the movement and weather, sealants tend to dry out and crack pretty quickly (at least they do in the South), so regular inspection and a few pumps of a caulking gun can keep minor issues from becoming major while on the road.
(1) I think my husband bought the filter at the local auto parts big box store (he prefers O'Reilly). Blog post here on oil change DIY.

(2) Great minds think alike today. I recently noticed that our sealant, now at least 2 years old, is looking sketchy. We keep our Interstate garaged but the heat alone tends to degrade everything quickly here, even if most UV light is taken out of the equation.

What we have on hand right now is ProFlexRV flexible sealant. That's in the caulking gun probably because it was readily available when we were doing the solar system. I haven't yet researched what I might want to use for re-doing the entire roof appurtenances once the weather breaks here and it's cool enough.

Far more concerning to me is how on earth to strip the old sealant off when the time comes to do the job properly. I know from having prepped the fridge roof vent for the solar wire feed that it's like trying to chisel concrete. It cracks and makes a mess that won't hold waterproof, but at the same time, it's very difficult to remove entirely. The last time our whole roof was done, which was either by the original owner or more likely the flipper, the lazy route was taken and the new was simply slathered on over the old. That can't happen this next time. I don't have a strategy for this part yet.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:52 PM   #81
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(1) I think my husband bought the filter at the local auto parts big box store (he prefers O'Reilly). Blog post here on oil change DIY.

(2) Great minds think alike today. I recently noticed that our sealant, now at least 2 years old, is looking sketchy. We keep our Interstate garaged but the heat alone tends to degrade everything quickly here, even if most UV light is taken out of the equation.

What we have on hand right now is ProFlexRV flexible sealant. That's in the caulking gun probably because it was readily available when we were doing the solar system. I haven't yet researched what I might want to use for re-doing the entire roof appurtenances once the weather breaks here and it's cool enough.

Far more concerning to me is how on earth to strip the old sealant off when the time comes to do the job properly. I know from having prepped the fridge roof vent for the solar wire feed that it's like trying to chisel concrete. It cracks and makes a mess that won't hold waterproof, but at the same time, it's very difficult to remove entirely. The last time our whole roof was done, which was either by the original owner or more likely the flipper, the lazy route was taken and the new was simply slathered on over the old. That can't happen this next time. I don't have a strategy for this part yet.
Interblog...we had to do extensive repair to the seams on our last RV (a 1995 Safari Sahara 35') and we used putty knives and chisels. It eventually was scraped off pretty well. If it's old enough, it comes off REALLY easily! Alas, your roof also has been leaking like a sieve for quite awhile at that point (oftentimes, unbeknownst to you). I did use a heat gun for the final part, as it was still somewhat sticky. I then used some sort of special cleaner recommended by the people who sell the Eternabond tape (though we didn't use Eternabond). The roof wasn't a rubber roof, so working with it is similar to what's on the Airstream.

We just had the edge of Hermine roll through here yesterday, so we had a LOT of rain in a 12 hour period and saw a leak coming through the power vent (Fantastic Vent, I think it is). Today was sunny, so we climbed up and the caulking around the vent was pretty bad. Scraped it off the best we could, and did a quick run to the RV place nearby (we, too, picked up the ProFlex caulking--I think that's what we used last time, but some guy in the store said that the R-51 you can get at Lowe's works better). Recaulked for now and will carry a tube in the RV somewhere. They're heading out for 4 more weeks on the road and then will be home. In time, we'll have to pull the vent/fan and double check the wood underneath it. It may need some repair and then we'll reseal at that time.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:09 PM   #82
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We were told to use Silkaflex for roof caulking, and that the roof should be scraped down and caulk replaced every year.

Doug always just scraped it down with a plastic putty knife.

We have not done every year, but every couple of years.

The Silkaflex has held up well, no leaks.


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Old 09-03-2016, 02:19 PM   #83
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We were told to use Silkaflex for roof caulking, and that the roof should be scraped down and caulk replaced every year.

Doug always just scraped it down with a plastic putty knife.

We have not done every year, but every couple of years.

The Silkaflex has held up well, no leaks.


Maggie
I didn't realize Sikaflex made products outside the concrete industry. We would use a Sikaflex product (it literally looked like a snake sized piece of black putty that was about 3 feet long) when we were pouring concrete walls in sections. You put the sikaflex between the older concrete and the wall you were going to pour.

I'll have to look into their products designed for RV usage.
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Old 09-03-2016, 03:35 PM   #84
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Sikaflex 1a is widely regarded as one of the best caulks around. It's all I'll use on the exterior of my home, and I'm sure that it would work well on an RV. Data sheet is here: https://usa.sika.com/dms/getdocument...aflex1a-us.pdf

Some people worry about skin exposure to uncured polyurethane caulks. It would be wise to wear nitrile gloves when applying.
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