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As usual, I’m months behind on an update of where we are and what we’re up to. In our last post we had just installed solar and left Oregon. We’ll cover multiple months with this post, it’s been an eventful spring/summer. I’ll try to keep it short on words and add more pictures.
We moved to a park just outside of Chehalis, WA so we could visit Mt St. Helens and Mt Rainier. We had the best weather imaginable for our days visiting Mt St. Helens. We were treated to some of the best views of all our travels (so far). Many areas were still closed due to Covid but we still managed to hike multiple trails and drive through the park to soak in the views.
While hiking along the lake I looked up and noticed a rainbow halo around the sun! How crazy is that?! Unfortunately the mountain is hiding just on the other side of the hill, it would have been awesome to get it in the shot as well. The halo didn’t last long though, it was gone by the time we got back to the trail head.
We weren’t as lucky with Mt Rainier, the weather didn’t feel like cooperating during our visits into the park. The forecast for our last few days in Chehalis was rain and clouds, which didn’t stop us from going into the park. But, we weren’t able to see Mt Rainier at all, it was cold and just kept raining. Maybe next year!
After leaving Chehalis, we headed back to visit family and start doing the yearly RV maintenance. This has been a larger than normal maintenance year for the RV. As with most of our RV related projects this year, the project seems to have doubled in size.
We went to do the regular Aquahot maintenance of changing the fuel filter and the fluid tip, a two hour job. But, we found a very small leak in a corroded fitting. Luckily, we were able to find some Shark Bite fittings in town that would replace the old corroded fittings that were leaking.
The worst part of this job was where the fittings were located, there isn’t much room to maneuver in the Aquahot bay.
After fixing the corroded water line connections we got back to the original job of changing the fluid tip, diesel filter, and cleaning the combustion chamber.
This project went smooth and we should be good to go for another year of use. The Aquahot is amazing for heat and hot water, we need it running in tip top shape for dry camping during the winter. It even kept us toasty warm when it was 25°F and blowing like crazy in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains this last year.
Next was my most hated job ever on the RV (so far), the Haldex Pure Air Plus air dryer filter. This filter should be changed every 2-3 years with minimal use in dryer climates (like an RV). We hadn’t changed this and had no record of the previous owner changing it and they kept excellent records. This filter is in an unbelievably horrible spot, right behind the rear axle and up near the bottom side of the floor. I had to wedge myself between the frame and the transmission, it’s really tight. First, I broke one of the 2 rubber strap wrenches I was using to try and turn the filter with. Then, after finding a regular metal filter wrench, I was unable to turn the filter, every ounce of strength I had couldn’t budge it. I had to order a heavy duty 1/2” drive filter wrench, it’s time to bring out the big guns.
The filter wrench arrived a few days later, I paired it with the longest 1/2” breaker bar I could find. My first attempt was a failure, I still couldn’t turn it. Leverage is difficult to find in this tight of a space. Luckily, my brother had some cheater pipes and long extensions to choose from. Given the space, after the flex in the extensions, breaker bar, and cheater pipe, with every ounce of strength I could muster, I was able to turn the filter about a millimeter of two. This took me around 6 hours or so to turn the filter off. But, it’s finally off!
If you think the air dryer story is over here, you would be so wrong. I wasn’t turning the filter off the threads of the air dryer, the filter was locked onto the thread nipple of the air dryer housing. No wonder it was so difficult! I’m sure you can imagine how happy I was at this point, what a kick in the teeth. After putting the filter in a vice, I still couldn’t turn it off the thread nipple and needed to cut it off. In the process, I hit a few of the threads with the cutting wheel and decided I needed to replace the thread nipple and NAPA claimed they could get one and had it listed on their website. Long story short, they didn’t have it and couldn’t get one. After calling multiple trucking repair places and being told they can’t get only the thread nipple, the only option was to replace the whole air dryer. I’m really regretting touching this air dryer at this point.
It’s around $300 for a remanufactured Haldex Pure Air Plus air dryer. But, like everything else with this air dryer, the fittings aren’t going to come off easy. We got it done and we have a functioning air dryer again. I’m sure glad this project is done!
While I didn’t get pictures of most of these jobs, I did a large number of other maintenance items also this year. Such as; cleaning the air conditioners on the roof, adding r134 to get the dash ac cold again, changed the engine oil, replaced the coolant filter, air filter, fuel filter, greased the chassis, repaired the generator, changed generator oil, replaced generator fan belt, repaired the Weboost OTR antenna on the roof, added new magnet door catches to the fridge doors, replaced the fabric guard on all the awnings, replaced the ATF in the generator slide, and replaced a leaking o-ring on the hydraulic pump for the generator slide. Apparently we’ve been rough on the RV this year, at least judging by the required repairs and maintenance. Whew, that was a long list! I’m probably forgetting some stuff too.
With all the maintenance finished it’s time to get working during the wheat harvest. Harvest will be a story made of pictures, enjoy!
It’s time to head toward Montana for some down time and National Parks!