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Old 01-06-2005, 10:49 PM   #1
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2004 30' Classic Slideout
Fenton , Missouri
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A winter trip to the dealer

Well yesterday (Wednesday) was supposed to be the day to bring the Classic to the dealer's for warranty work. Little did I realize that in the midst of 5 inches of rain in 48 hours would my trip be delayed while I stayed up all night bailing water out of my basement.

After 38 hours the water stopped flowing and I run to Lowe's and find that every sump pump in St. Louis has been sold. Nobody has one within 25 miles. I go home use the shop vac for the hundredth time to pump out the last of the water and collapse to bed with hopes that I would get the trailer to the dealership Thursday morning. It looks like the rain and water has stopped.

Well the rain stopped but the cold came in its place. About 18 degrees this morning but luckly most of the water had evaporated off the roads before the cold came, so no problems driving. Nice dry roads.

I let a few hours go by just to be sure the roads were dry and headed up to the storage lot to pick up the trailer. The first obstacle was the padlock on the fenced RV area. The number combination wheels were frozen. With a little work I finally got the combination dialed in. I pulled on the lock. It didn't open. I hit it with my fist and pulled still no give. I went back to the van and got my rubber mallot. A few carefully applied wacks and the lock came open.

Then to the trailer. Open the door and turn on the disconnect switch. Oh oh, the lower door lock key hole is frozen over. I can't get the little metal cover to move. Ok just keep pressing and be gentle. Ah it starts to move, ok get the key in and slowly turn. Success. Now the upper lock, its frozen but I slowly get the key in. Good. Now open the door, ok latch seems frozen, pull easily....ok it pops open.

I feel lucky at this point since I don't smoke and carry no lighter to heat up a key, nor do I have any lock deicer. Lets hope the batteries still have power. The trailer has sat for 9 weeks without power. Lets hope we can get the jack up and down. Yes! we have power, the hitch starts to raise.

Now lets get that hitch lock off. The key goes in half way, no further. Oh crap....well it looks like I need to head to Walmart to get some deicer....but lets stop at the storage office before we leave. They have some lock lube that just might work. Back to the trailer and spray a little lube in the lock. Wait a minute and put the key in. Yes! Success again. Off comes the lock.

Ok we back the van and hook up. Oops I have to get the hinge pin. Oh yea, its in the trailer's lower side compartment that is secured by two small hanging pad locks. I'll just open these up. Each lock has a plastic cover over the lock opening so no ice here......uh oh, the caps are frozen to the bottom of the locks. I pry them off breaking them and find that the caps have held water and the entire lock bottom is encased in ice. I spay the lock lube and it does nothing.

So we go back to rear of the van and start tearing it apart looking for something to put in place of the hitch pin. I can't find a thing at first and then see my box of extra parts for my Equal-iz-er hitch. Extra clips and other goodies. Yes here is a big clip which will work.

Now to hook up the electrical cable. won't fit in the outlet all the way. No water in it (I keep it in the downward position in storage). I push harder but I just can't get the plug in enough so that the outlet cover grabs the plug (so it can't fall out). I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get out. I grab the lock lube and spray a little into the pin end of the cable. I try again and it finally slips into place.

I ask Patty to get behind the trailer and check the lights. Ok all is well, oh shxx. The continuity light on the brake controller isn't on. Back to the cable and I pull it out wondering whether I'll ever get it back in. I push it in again, it slips in and yes! the continuity light is on. We have brakes.

So we start off, but we first must stop at the office and give the can of lube back. I'm still not pleased with my makeshift hinge pin.... but, hell those locks are crap, I wonder if they have bolt cutters? I go in and yes they have a cutter. I go back out and cut the damn locks off the hatch locks. Now to open the door. Hmmm....the gasket is frozen to the body and if I force the door it will tear. Ok just push around the gasket and pull's releasing. Ok its open just enough to reach in and get the hitch pin.

So we bring the cutters back. I threw the ruined locks in the back of the van. Oh, don't forget to close the RV storage area gates and put the padlock back on. Oh crap now the gate lock won't lock. Beat on it some more, yes it finally locks.

Off we go to the dealer. Thank goodness the roads are dry and there is no salt on the road. Wait.... ahead a wet patch, no ice just water....yep the patch is salted down.

I get to the dealer's and and park. I get out and see my formerly clean Walbernized Airstream now with a white salt bath on the hitch and rock guards. Oh well I'll wash it when it gets home (assuming it gets above freezing). One of the techs comes out and tells me he can't belive he would ever see me driving a dirty van and trailer. He says he has a solution. I can trade it for a clean '05 that he has in the service area. Very funny I tell him.

I tell Patty maybe this was a good lesson regarding winter camping. Note to self, carry lock deicer, extra hitch pin, and reconsider hitch locks and locks for storage compartments.

Oh on the way home, I stop at Home Depot (about 40 miles from St. Louis) and find a new sump pump.


Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 01-07-2005, 04:40 AM   #2
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1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,644
Images: 40

sounds like a typical day at the power company dealing with frozen padlocks.

we use 3 methods

1 wd 40

2 self igniting propane torch

3 bolt cutters and new locks.

sounds like you have the program down!!


you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 01-07-2005, 05:42 AM   #3
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1968 24' Tradewind
Rural, blink and you'll miss it , Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 692
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We can sing along on the sump pump blues. We know that song note and verse. We have wet basement paranoia. We keep two portable pumps, hoses and extension cords (have considered the possibility of electrocution with this set up...) on hand. Then we have the sump and a deep cell battery-operated sump back-up. I really like the battery back-up sump as we lose power around here at the drop of a hat. Combine loss of electricity with about 2 inches of rain and we have a basement disaster. That thing is worth its weight in gold.
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