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Old 03-10-2009, 01:03 PM   #15
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I'm from Montana, Gene. In my experience, bears are generally retiring, though I've bumped into a sow with cubs... not as cordial as I had hoped. When my wife and I are on hiatus in a couple of years, we plan to spend a fair amount of time boondocking in my old stomping grounds near Libby, Montana. Bears seem to have become a bit more of a nuisance in the past 20 years. By the time we get the Overlander to Big Sky country, I would take a very dim view towards any bears who decided to eat it. Of course, my great-grandmother always contended that bear lard made the best pie crust so everything might even out in the end.
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Old 03-10-2009, 02:32 PM   #16
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Ken,

Isn't Libby the town with the vermiculite/asbestos problem? I hope you didn't play in that stuff when you were a kid.

The bears I have seen generally want to stay away from humans and that includes the grizzly and 2 cubs we saw when we were very near the Arctic Circle in '06. But when they're hungry, especially in early Fall or just after waking up, and if they are acclimated to humans, that's another story. The places people camp are full of food, toothpaste and shampoo, and the bears that are attracted to such a wonderful opportunity. Those are the bears to be scared of and we do have bear spray.

Another bear story: In 1959, I was at Yosemite with my parents and there are the bears at the dumpsters. Maybe 30 tourists are getting out of their cars to look at them and my father and I do the same armed with cameras. My mother is smart enough to stay inside. Some people get about 10 feet away from the bears. The bears are having such a good time with the garbage, they ignore everyone. But, what if someone angers a bear?—tourists are pretty dumb at times. We take some photos from about 20 feet away and then look at each other and say at the same time: "what the hell are we doing here?" We got back in the car and drove away. We did not hear of anyone eaten. This used to go on all the time in western national parks until the Park Service stopped it some years later.

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Old 03-22-2009, 06:01 PM   #17
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Careful or paranoid?

Since it's been in the low 60's all week, I finally got to my next Airstream project—putting vinyl tubing around the exposed propane lines. Strangely, the factory puts tubing (looks like PVC) around the line from a junction near the wheels to the furnace, but no where else.

For those careful or paranoid individuals, what to think about—

First comes splitting the tubing the long way so I can get it around the lines without removing them. I tried a utility knife, then pruning shears—the first was hopeless, the second, slow. Then the light bulb went off and I got out the carpet knife. Those things will cut almost anything. Most amazing—I didn't cut myself—but the slit isn't straight. Why isn't it straight?—ask the vinyl.

Crawling around under the trailer with gravel pressing into my back, bending clamps, and working tubing around propane lines has it's existential moments. Why am I doing this? Does it really matter? I'm too old for this —I should be in a rocking chair drinking heavily.

Some of the clamps holding the lines to the bottom of the trailer are screwed in and others are riveted. There are two sizes of propane lines—small and not so small (technical explanation). I had 3/4" and 1/2" ID tubing for each size. The clamps are all the same size. Squeezing the clamps around the larger tubing was very difficult, but with a channel locks, could be done. The screws are self tapping, but are only held by a thin sheet of metal, so it's possible to overtighten and start spinning the screw. Since the tubing comes in rolls at the store, it's difficult to straighten and especially hard to bend the opposite direction. It'll probably develop a new memory over time.

Where the lines are riveted to the body, there are two choices—either cut a piece of tubing between each clamp, or cut out a space on the slit side of the tubing for the clamp and run a piece for as long as you can (this easier method didn't occur to me until I was almost finished). For cutting off pieces of tubing, I used the pruning shears. I used stainless steel hose clamps to keep the tubing on the lines. I used a large clamp—sized for pipe from 3/4" to 1 1/2". I had to unscrew the clamp and only with a clamp this big is it easy to get the two parts back together in the space I had to work in. Trust me, I tried a smaller clamp. For the short pieces I used one clamp since otherwise I would run out of clamps. To hold the other end closed, I used aluminum tape. I was careful to place the hose clamps so the big part (the one you screw to tighten) was at the side so it couldn't be pushed against the pipe. I don't know whether the tape will hold over time, but it sure sticks to vinyl well, and it is aluminum. I did all the lines up to, but not including, the flexible rubber line under the tanks. The fittings probably could be done with a larger diameter tubing, but they are thick and may need tightening at some time, so I think it best to ignore them. I did find one leaking slightly last year, so it seems best to check them from time to time.

I bought too much vinyl since I just guessed how much I would need. I couldn't measure it because there was a lot of snow on the ground I could just peek underneath. Pre-slit vinyl for sale, cash and carry. It took 3 1/2 hours. Best to do this in the early spring before the grasshoppers hatch or I would have had them all over me, probably living in my hair.

Is it necessary? It would take something pretty nasty to damage the copper pipe, but the consequences could range from losing all your propane to a fire. It's one of those things where the consequences are very bad even though the chance of anything happening is small, that it seemed a good idea.

Gene
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Old 03-22-2009, 06:23 PM   #18
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Maybe a careful paranoid?
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:13 PM   #19
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Remember the old joke, "I'm not paranoid, I have real enemies".

Speaking of insanity, wait'll I write about trying to get metal valve stems for the tires out here. I wouldn't think that would be difficult. Wrong.

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Old 03-26-2009, 10:56 AM   #20
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A Stem Winder

I decided to repack the wheel bearings and adjust the brakes. Since I'd have the wheels off, I figured I'd get metal valve stems installed and have the balance checked. I found out the nearest (16 miles) tire place was only open on Saturday 'til noon, and I only had one tire ready so I rushed there to get this started. I knew snow was in the forecast in the next few days, I so wanted to get this project done quickly.

I was greeted by a boy about 16 who took the tire. I told him I wanted a metal stem and to check the balance. So he puts the tire on the machine, breaks the seal, pulls out the rubber stem, and then says "I don't know if we have any metal stems". He looks around and finds a few used metal stems (no, this isn't the Ozarks, but it sometimes seems that way), matches them with a new rubber seal for the inside of the wheel, but can't find the right size washer for the outside. He did find one combination that fit, but the stem would be so short I couldn't get my TPMS sensor on or possibly add air.

So along comes whoever is running the place that day and he can't find anything either. I realize I'm probably going end up taking the trailer on the 70-mile round trip to the nearest real tire store (Big O), but still trying to avoid it, ask: Can you get the right stems? Do you have a way to order them? The answer: No.

So the kid puts a new rubber stem on, fills the tire and rolls it out to my pickup. I suggest he not pull a stem until he knows whether he has the part. He didn't seem to like that advice, or maybe he didn't understand it. If they were planning on charging me for a new stem, I don't know because I left.

Next, on to the auto parts store in town. I ask if they have the right stem for the wheel. The owner (I think he's the owner) takes me to show what stems they have—"This is the only metal stem I have". I ask if he can tell me it fits the wheel. He doesn't know, isn't interested in seeing the tire, or opening the package to find out. I buy 4 cotter pins for 26¢ and leave.

I get home and call Big O and ask if they have metal stems. They don't, but can get them in a day. He tells me to bring in the tire or a photo of it next time I'm in town and he'll figure it out, order them, and I can bring in the trailer at my convenience. I might just bring the tires, two at a time, but maybe I'll take the trailer on a test run. I've ordered Centramatics, so I want to add those at the same time.

Rural America is interesting. I have found that a fairly large number retailers really don't care whether you buy anything and seem not to be interested in service. Since there's little competition, the choice is put up with it, or drive a lot of miles, or more and more, order online. If you think this is hard, wait 'til you need a good doctor.

Gene
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Old 03-26-2009, 05:54 PM   #21
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I can' believe you're having such a bad time w/ metal valve stems. I get mine at O'Reilly Auto Parts. They are a midwest chain but they don't have stores in Colorado.

Metal stem primer:
They come in 1" or 1 1/2" and others (for light automotive work)
The hole size in the wheel is either .230, .453" or .625".
These are good for pressures up to about 70 psi. There are clamp in and snap in models that go upwards of 200 psi if you're into hard rubber!

The hole must be on a flat area and not on a curve or they won't work.
These sizes don't work if you are working on a cast wheel--a special animal and are available but one needs to be concerned about the size of the recess (boss) in the casting.

This guy has a good selection and good descriptions.

eBay Store - aaiautomotiveaccessories: Valve Stems: 45 DEGREE CHROME METAL VALVE STEMS .453 HOLE NEWSINGLE

If you can't find them locally, tell me what you need and I'll get them sent to you. How many including a spare, size of your hole and the length you'd like to have and whether you want it bent in the middle? (insert own joke here:_______________________________)

Or you could wait until the new gov't enacts the Poor Boy Trailer Metal Air Valve Act of 2009. It will probably cost us 949 billion to provide every single one of us 20 of the wrong sized air valves but isn't that what gov't is for? __________________
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Old 03-26-2009, 06:19 PM   #22
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Thanks Larry fur yur offer. Out here on the fronteer we have to get them dang things brung in with the mule trane. Cus most of us have the truble with ritin' and reedin', them hardy valve stems are askin' fur trubbel. I jist no the guvm'nt gonna hep usen. Nun a youse busniss the size of my hole.

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Old 03-26-2009, 07:45 PM   #23
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Yee haw, frum down yer' in th' Ozark coun'ry...~G
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:40 PM   #24
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Photos!

Photo time.

1st and 2nd, the not very interesting underside of the Safari with vinyl protecting the propane lines.

3rd, LED bulb in one of the overhead recessed lights. The bulbs that replace the incandescent bulbs are on a square card, but I forgot to take a picture of them.

4th, Pendleton blanket replacing the standard Airstream bedspread. With the bed made longer, now we have a real queen sized bed and the space between the end of the bed and the wall still is plenty big, though the photo doesn't really show that very well. Actually it makes it look like it's just about against the wall, but it only makes the space about 3.5" less than it was originally. The Pendleton is reversible, so variety is easy. If you look up Pendleton's website, you can find out which stores have the discounted items (why go anywhere else?). The online catalog has some discounts too, but we wanted to see what we were getting and we had some patterns in mind. Of course, we knew we'd be in Oregon.

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Old 04-03-2009, 09:39 PM   #25
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Stem Redux

Today I took the trailer to Big O tires to have them put metal valve stems on. I got the Centramatics from Andy and figured they could go on at the same time. I also wanted to see how the wheels went round and round since I repacked the wheel bearings a few weeks ago. Not having done that or adjusted brakes in 30 years, I was kind of nervous about the whole thing.

Repacking the bearings is not all that hard, but it is a very dirty job. Cleaning the old grease out of the bearings means using lots of nasty solvent. A lot of grease can be blown out with a compressor. Despite all the pictures available of someone rubbing the bearings around in a blob of grease and it then coming out the other side, I didn't find that happened. I had to work the grease in from both sides and keeping spinning the roller bearings. I think the tolerances are better in these bearings and grease doesn't push through easily. Andy says his people can do four wheels and adjust the brakes in 3 1/2 hours (well, maybe that's per axle). It took me 3 1/2 hours for the first wheel, 2 1/2 for the second, and down to 2 for the 4th.

When I adjusted the brakes, I began to wonder if they had been adjusted at the factory or dealer. I turned that wheel a lot more than I expected before I could get them to grab the wheel. The shoes looked fine and appeared to have plenty left on them. I will have to check these much more often. There are Dexter backing plates now available that will self adjust, but the price is high and I don't feel like doing a major brake job.

I checked the bottom of the Safari for the jacking points and one of the plates that is supposed to be there, inboard from the steps, was missing. I brought some 2x10's to raise the tires. A lot simpler and safer.

The bearings didn't seize on the way to the tire shop. They had the new stems, took off a tire, tried out the stem, and it was too short! After one guy called a couple of parts store and found nothing, another went on the internet and found a long enough stem in a few minutes on ebay—probably the same ones Larry mentioned in Post #21. He and I spent a while measuring every way we could to make sure the new ones would work with the TPMS sensors I have from Doran. They were real nice and willing to help unlike the shop and parts place nearer my house who couldn't handle something so "difficult". And I found out they will match any other tire store on prices, so I'll be back for tires.

So, the trailer has one Centramatic installed. I checked the temps of each wheel when I got home and they were in the 60's, so no bearings are fried, only about 10˚ more than the air temp at the time. One side was 20˚ higher than the other when I got to the shop, but the sun was on that side. On the way home, winds had kicked up so much dust, visibility was poor and the sun was much obscured. Not sure whether we had Utah or Arizona or New Mexico in the air, but the light was really strange and a snowstorm is blowing in.

It was so comfortable towing the 70 mile round trip I was bemused by how I've become used to it. I remember the first times with the space ship tailgating and how I would look in the mirrors every 5 seconds.

Three weeks and we're on the road. We are starting to wonder how we're going to get it all done, but we always go through that and we always get it done, except for the things we forget.

Gene
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Old 04-11-2009, 11:58 AM   #26
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Working out on the road

Valve stems secured and installed! Centramatics installed. New tires ordered for the pickup. Money flowing out of my pocket stimulating the economy!

I never thought it could be so hard to find the right stems, long enough to secure the Doran 360 TPMS sensors and locks. They are long enough to be even more careful about avoiding curbs. But it's finally done. We drove the 35 miles back home and everything seemed fine as always. I assume the Centramatics do what they are supposed to do and we'll see if the cushions on the bench ("sofa") don't fall over as often.

I didn't like the way the OEM tires on the Tundra were wearing and was concerned they would be much too worn before our upcoming 5-6,000 miles trip was done. So, I ordered Michelin LTX A/T2 Load Range E tires. I can probably get a few bucks selling the OEM tires through the Shopper. Toyota puts crappy tires on some of their pickups, maybe because I have the SR5, not a Limited. For a pickup the size of the Tundra, why they used "P" (passenger) tires instead of light truck tires, is beyond me. Big O matched the lowest price I could find, but the price is still shocking. I've broken the one grand level for a set of tires. Hooray?

Got home, grabbed lunch, went to see a realtor/friend to list some property, came back, washed truck. Being mud season here, there must have been 25 pounds of the gooey stuff to wash away. Finished at 8 pm and we collapsed. Today the weather has changed again, back to late winter, been raining and sleeting. I've got this weekend to detail the truck, but it's cold and damp in the "shop" (local language for "big honking garage"), so I'm avoiding it. The temp is dropping, now down to 39.9˚, so the longer I wait, the worse it is.

13 days and we leave. This is a short trip in miles for us. We are used to much longer ones, but it'll be the longest with the trailer. They'll be some days for traveling fast and long on interstates, some similar as far as distance but on 2 lane blacktop, and a lot of days camping in the forests and alongside lakes big and small. We are used to covering many miles and seeing lots of things, so staying somewhere for a few days is different, but we'll cope.

We will bring weights with us and are going to create a workout program with them so we don't get sluggish and slothful as we usually do on the road. We also need to take long walks/hikes, something we tend to blow off. I do want to bring our combination weight machine with us, but am concerned with where to put it and whether it would be too much weight on one side. Perhaps I could treat it like CanoeStream's woodstove: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ink-49836.html A woodstove could balance the weight machine, balancing the trailer and save on propane. A good saw isn't too heavy and there's always plenty of wood in state parks and on federal land. Watching a roaring fire while working out in the evening is better than slothfully watching TV. The "sofa" could come out on the steetside for the weight machine and the woodstove could replace the Magic Chef on the other side. I think this can work with some small modifications.

If I can figure where to put the treadmill then we'll never have to go outside except to go back to the truck.

Gene
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:02 PM   #27
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Sounds great Gene, let us know how the centramatics work. Where is the first trip again?
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:09 PM   #28
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First to Jackson Center, get stuff done, try to not buy anything in the store, north to Mackinac Is., then west along the Upper Peninsula and into northern Wisconsin, to Duluth, up the Lake Superior coast almost to Ontario, go into Superior NF along Gunflint Trail, back to Lake S., then over to Ely, Minnesota, eventually up to Lake of the Woods, over to Manitoba, maybe drive up to Lake Manitoba (because it's there), west to Medicine Hat (so we can say "we've been to Medicine Hat and Mexican Hat"), south through Montana and Wyoming and home. A short trip, covering a lot of places we haven't been, and then we will have been to 49 states.

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