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Old 08-12-2007, 07:05 PM   #161
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Also, while I had everything ripped out of the counter, I found a tiny aluminum saucepan hiding behind the furnace. I was kind of hoping for a shoebox full of money, but that always happens to somebody else... It looks like a soggy waffle, so I wound up just tossing it in the recycle bin. Here is the saucepan sitting on the counter:
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:15 PM   #162
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And the grand finale for today:

Naturally, no project would be complete without a disaster, major or minor. We happened to be in Dollar General getting oven cleaner to dunk the stove in, when I found a set of saucepans to replace the heavy Corning saucepans we currently have in Bertha. I loaded them back in the storage area, rather than the Corning ware, and put the (glass) saucepans into the box the (aluminum) replacements came in. In case no one has ever told you, glass is significantly heavier than aluminum, as well as having the distressing tendency to break if you drop it. When I picked up the box to carry the glass saucepans out of Bertha, the bottom fell out of the box, with the predictable result of the (glass) saucepans hitting the floor, and the equally predictable result of the (glass) saucepans loudly smashing into a hundred pieces. Also predictable was my uttering several epiphets that blistered the paint off the walls.
Another 30 minutes of sweeping up broken glass, and running the vacuum cleaner throughout the area to make sure, the project was finally completed. We also now don't have to worry about what to do with those (glass) saucepans...I'll gladly sell the set as a kit, bring your own super glue...
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:39 PM   #163
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The fulltiming adventure begins

Terry,

We are cracking up, reading your story. Sure do admire your tenacity!!! When you get through, you will have a new trailer. Kudos to you & your wife!!

We've done some of the same repairs as yours. The batwing we let rest on the shroud. It's been a year and so far, no problems. Good reception!

Good luck in finishing your latest repair.

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Old 08-19-2007, 06:04 PM   #164
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And now for this weekend's festivities.

There is one advantage to having a category 4-5 hurricane in the neighborhood, it generates a breeze, and keeps the humidity slightly lower. Okay, 92% isn't low, but after 99%+ humidity, I'll take it.
I decided to perform more repairs to Bertha today, with it breezy (cuts down on the mosquitoes, too). I went into the tool room here, and picked up some aluminum colored spray paint to paint the stove control panel. After last week's oven cleaner treatment, we can now see where the stainless-looking finish has disappeared, and rust has formed. While I was rummaging around, I found a small can of dark red Rustoleum, and a small can of white Rustoleum.
Hmmm... I grabbed some small paint brushes, and the two cans, as well as the spray can, and headed for the storage lot. After painting the emblems on the sides, I noticed that the blue part of the emblems, as well as the letters that spell out "AIRSTREAM" pretty much had no blue left in them. Naturally there was no blue paint of a suitable color in the tool room, so off to Home Despot I went.
Wandering through the aisles, I finally found a gallon can of Royal Blue Rustoleum. Not wanting to be able to paint the emblems of a hundred of my best friends' Airstreams, I went looking for a store employee. I had heard rumors there had been one at that store some time ago, but, like Bigfoot, no one had really seen one. I caught a glimpse of an orange apron, and headed that way. Now, anybody that has been to Home Depot knows that the store employees are shy, and like to congregate where it is dark, quiet, and away from people (like customers). So, after getting in range, I quietly crept up to where I had seen the employee. There was a flurry of activity, and the sound of rapidly receding footsteps. Drat! Missed him! Undeterred by my early failure (when hunting store employees, one must be determined, and not give up easily), I quietly moved in behind another one.
"Excuse me!"
"Aack!!! I mean, how can I help you, sir?"
"Can you help me find a smaller can of this paint?"
(deer in the headlights look) "Umm, that's not my department, but if you'll wait here, I'll get someone to help you." I've been deceived by this before so my response is predictable:
"I'll go with you." The deer in the lights look, which had started to diminish, comes back.
So, he and I went on a tour of Home Depot (maybe he was trying to lose me), eventually winding up one aisle over from where we started.
"George, this guy wants a smaller can of paint," pointing to me.
George gets that same Bambi-about-to-be-roadkill look. "Uhh, I'll check and see." So, I now follow George around the store, and we wind up in front of a rack of Rustoleum. I have no idea why it's here, in the electrical section, but when he pulls out a quart can of Royal Blue Rustoleum, I'm impressed. I thank George, and head to the automated register to pay for my purchase. Not bad, only took an hour to get a can of paint. I'm glad I didn't need any lumber cut. I swipe the can on the scanner, and an alarm goes off. "Red Alert!" Now it's my turn to exhibit the panic-stricken deer look. A cashier comes over, and checks my driver's license to make sure I'm old enough to buy a can of paint. "Say what? I'm old enough to be your grandfather, kid."
She looks embarrased, and mumbles something about huffing paint, and departs the area nearly as quickly as her paint department counterpart earlier. I bag my trophy, er, purchase, and head back to Bertha.
When I get back, I paint the blue part of the emblems, and the letters front and back, and the blue trim around the taillights. Only 31 ounces of the quart left. What can I paint now? So, I notice the areas where the blue rubrails are would look pretty good painted blue, at least until I can get some of the vinyl insert for them. I spent the next hour or so painting the two that go around the trailer, from midway back, where the "International" emblems are. I painted those, they don't look bad. Maybe next weekend I'll paint the rest of the rubrails.
As I'm cleaning up the paint, Marie shows up, and says how good the blue stripes and painted amblems and stove control panel look. She suggests painting the tongue, and the rear frame where it comes out of the belly pan. As I'm doing this, she asked if I had remembered to get a piece of plywood to replace the damaged piece under her mattress. Oh, great. Back to Home depot I go.
I found the 1/4" plywood with no problem, now where are all the employees to cut this thing? Just shoot me now, I'm doomed. Suddenly, without warning, the store manager walks by, I immediately tackle him, and place him in a headlock. I only release him after he swears he will call someone to cut my plywood. True to his word, a few minutes later an employee nervously shuffles around the corner, and asks how I would like my plywood cut. I give him the measuerments, and he slices up the wood as directed. I noticed there were a few pieces left over, and asked him to cut two of them into pieces 35"x9", which he did. I then got two latches, and two pairs of hinges, and headed for the front again. This time, the sheckout proceeded without incident, and I was on my merry way after only another hour there.
When I got back to Bertha, I noticed the H-D employee had cut the plywood an inch too long, so I had to cut it to fit. After installing the new base for the mattress, I took the two pieces of scrap I had had cut, stained them with the stuff we had left over from our convection oven install, mounted the hinges and latches on them, and hung them up in place of the missing pair of overhead locker tambours in the bedroom. Naturally, one of the pieces was cut too long, and I had to trim it to fit. Not having anything to reference, the edge looks like a profile map of the rocky mountains, but at least it closes, and won't allow our stuff to dump out while traveling.
If anybody has a couple extra 35" long tambours they want to get rid of, let me know.
After all this stuff, I forgot the camera, and will have to take photos next weekend of all these things...
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Old 08-19-2007, 06:42 PM   #165
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The Home Depot Experience

How funny! Terry, your descriptive telling of your adventures is priceless. I'll bet the emblems and all look great.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:20 PM   #166
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The New Axles Are Here! The New Axles are here!

Well, most of the axles, anyway. Actually they are here, they just have a couple of missing/damaged parts. Hopefully the old parts will fit the new axles.
Anyway, I was busily changing the brakes on a fire truck, when I heard the telltale noise of air brakes being engaged. I crawled out from under the truck, and found Yellow Freight had arrived with Bertha's new axles from Inland (Henschen).
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:27 PM   #167
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I grabbed the nextdoor neighbor and his forklift (ours wouldn't start--it's the only thing in the shop older than I am), and he offloaded the pallets containing the axles. A quick exam showed that it looked like somebody had used the axles for a pair of battering rams. One dust cap on one axle was missing, and the grease int he bearing had a bunch of dirt in it. The other axle still had the cap in place, but it was bent and dented pretty good. I noted this damage on the bill of lading, and had the driver sign the damage note.
When you get items like these, it is important to look at the item being delivered, and note any damage on the bill of lading, and have the driver countersign. If you don't do this, and wait until later to try to submit a claim for damage, it will be an uphill battle.
Here is a photo of the damage (also important for documentation).
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:34 PM   #168
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I imediately put in a call to Henschen, and am waiting for a call back. The damage in this case was minor, at least for me with the facilities available to me. I disassembled the brakes on the effected side, and found no concealed damage. I repacked the outer bearings, and reassembled everything. I have a small steel can placed over the missing cap so no more dirt gets stuck in it.
Worst case scenario at this point is I have to buy a new dust cap for that one hub. This is obviously not a manufacturing problem, and from what I am told, this is how they regularly ship axles all over the country.
Here is a picture of the "good" end of the axles. I'll post more with the blow-by-blow account of the install:
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:04 PM   #169
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update

I contacted Inland Andy, and he is sending out two caps for me second day air. They should be here Friday, which is the absolute earliest I may be working on installing them, so it should work out well from a timing standpoint.
More photos, both of the painting efforts, and the axle install, after I get Bertha into the shop for the work. I haven't really paid attention, I hope the goobers that did the hacked up repairs ten years ago, didn't weld the axles in...
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:26 PM   #170
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I got a lot accomplished on Bertha today, thanks in part to having no other work to do. First, here is a couple of photos of the freshly painted emblems:
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:31 PM   #171
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Now, for the part you've all been waiting for (well, maybe not all of you), the axle installation.
I arrived this morning with Bertha in tow (the storage lot is across the street from my work, so it's not a long drive), and backed the trailer int the shop, out of the way of regular activities, if we had any. I dropped the trailer, and parked the truck outside, then jacked up both sides of Bertha, placing 3 leveling blocks under each front wheel. This allowed the rear wheels to hang free, and I popped off the hubcaps, and removed the lug bolts. About this time, I heard the rattle of a diesel engine, and saw UPS pull up out front, with the replacement grease caps from Inland. Talk about good timing!
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:39 PM   #172
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Now, I really got going. I unbolted the shocls, clipped the wires for the electric brakes, and removed the bolts holding the rear axle in place with my trusty air impact gun. I then walked across the shop to get a pry bar to help the axle come out of its 34 year resting place. About the time I grabbed the prybar, I heard a resounding CLUNK! from under the trailer. When I got back, the axle had removed itself.
I then dragged the old axle out from under Bertha. I made an important discovery at this point: the old axles are just as heavy as the new ones. Who'd of thunk it?
Here are pictures up to this point:
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:47 PM   #173
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Next, since I had trouble getting help with moving the axles, I got a good-size floor jack, and used it to lift the old axle, and roll it across the shop to its temporary storage location near the front door. I got one of the new axles while I was there, jacked it up, and wheeled it back under the trailer. Since I had no help, I jacked up the front of the axle with one jack, and used the bottle jack I use to jack up the truck and trailer when changing tires to lift the rear of the axle into position. I then inserted the bolts, added nuts and washers, and tightened them up. Total time to R&R one axle, not including wiring the brakes: 45 minutes.
I then wired up the brakes, and bolted up the shocks (it is important to install the axle end of the shocks before installing the axle, it is very difficult to install them after the axle is in place, unless you bend the bracket, something I don't want to do with new axles). I put the tires back on, raised the trailer up a little further with the jack, and used two leveling blocks instead of three for raising the trailer up for the front axle install.
Here are photos up to this point:
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:58 PM   #174
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I then performed the same task on the front axle, removing the tires and wheels, removing the shocks and snipping the brake wires, and unbolting the axles. Once again, after removing the bolts, a couple of minutes later gravity worked its weighty magic, and the axle fell to earth with the thud of finality.
I noticed something about the front axle, however. Bertha had a list to the right after a few trips, which is why I replaced the axles, the list was pretty severe after raising the trailer onto the front wheels only, and I found out why after removing the front axle. Turns out the right front assembly had fallen apart internally, and the right front tire/wheel/drum was just kind of dangling in space. The only thing holding Bertha up on that corner was the shock absorber mount.
Here are pictures of the axle, the funny cloth looking stuff in one photo is the pieces of the axle falling out of it:
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:06 PM   #175
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I then performed the same procedure to install the front axle, bolts, shocks, wiring, and wheel/tires. This one took about an hour to remove and reinstall, not counting wiring, the longer time was because this is the axle I had to dismantle the drum on, and inspect and repack the bearings, and reassemble, which took an extra 15 minutes.
I put the wheels back on, made sure the tires were fully inflated, and lowered Bertha down onto her new axles. I then installed the hubcaps, and secured all items inside for a road test. I then made another discovery: Bertha now sits significantly higher than she used to.
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:10 PM   #176
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I then took Bertha on a road test, which went very well. The trailer now rides very smoothly, sits level, and looks better than she did with the "low rider look". One thing I noticed, is that I will now have to chenge the WD settings, and let out one more link of chain so the back of the truck is not lifted.
Here are a couple pictures of Bertha visiting the house where we are staying, after the axle install, and test drive:
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:24 PM   #177
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The total time for the install itself was about three hours. It would have gone even faster if I had been able to get help. There was no drilling, shifting, welding, cutting, or other alterations needed to put these axles in. This is the reason I use OEM replacement parts whenever possible, it just makes life so much easier.
Something I have learned with this install, is even an old crippled guy can do an adequate job of installing axles by himself, if he has a few extra pieces of equipment.
The optional equipment I used, and recommend, are a good quality air gun for loosening and tightening the bolts and lug nuts, a good quality floor jack, at least 2 tons in capacity (for size, not capacity), a bottle jack, wire strippers, creeper, and a 100 ft/lb torque stick (or a torque wrench that goes up to at least 100 pounds).
I'd like to thank the people at Inland and Henschen for getting the axles out to me so quickly (we are still under the gun of time, we need to start living in this trailer in another 30 days or so), and Inland Andy for getting the replacement grease caps to me in time to get this job done this weekend.
Now, if y'all will excuse me, I am going to crawl into bed with a heating pad...
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:31 PM   #178
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Nice looking job, Terry. I assume you used the torque wrench to torgue the bolts holding the axle to the frame to 100 lbs?

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Old 08-24-2007, 09:19 PM   #179
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I have somehow missed this entire thread. Terry, I kept up with the accident thread but did not know about this seperate fulltiming decision. I have a question concerning your shower door. Marie mentioned in the beginning that you had a shower door. I am going to assume after looking at the pictures that you have the same shower door I had in my rear bath '77 Excella 500. If so, how are the shower door double rollers at the top and bottom of that door?
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Old 08-25-2007, 07:11 AM   #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
I have somehow missed this entire thread. Terry, I kept up with the accident thread but did not know about this seperate fulltiming decision. I have a question concerning your shower door. Marie mentioned in the beginning that you had a shower door. I am going to assume after looking at the pictures that you have the same shower door I had in my rear bath '77 Excella 500. If so, how are the shower door double rollers at the top and bottom of that door?
Craig, the shower door has a single slide on the bottom, hinged in the middle vertically, and hinged and attached bertically on the end closest to the bedroom. The two halves are a burnt orange frosted plexiglass (one piece is cracked--another repair down the road), with a towel bar on one side.
I like the rail only at the bottom, it means there is no bar to konk my head on. I figure I used up a bunch of my available konks during the accident, so I'm trying to avoid the rest.
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