and we begin another year

It’s December 31st, and we’re hanging out at the Unitarian church in Manchester, using the wireless DSL line and making ourselves available for the party going on downstairs. We’re working on New Year’s Eve.

We’ve been busy since October working on our new-to-us home, this 1987 Rockwood

Picture of our motor home.

Home Sweet Home

We bought an RV big enough to live in and work out of but we couldn’t buy one in the condition we wanted and the size we need so we elected to invest some sweat equity and bought an RV that had been sitting for about a decade. Most of the systems came back online with just a little poking and prodding. Cleaned the refrigerator’s burner and couldn’t get it to light with the electric start. Lit the damn thing with a match, shut the burner off and it restarted the way it was supposed to start in the first place. I don’t care why just so long as it works.
Since we’re doing what’s called dry camping, we needed to add a generator to recharge the battery pack and provide 110 VAC for the Sharp combination microwave and convection oven. And watch movies.

Photo of a 1965 Dayton brand generator.

First run of our new-to-us 2.5 KW Dayton

When we bought this time machine, Lynn said “you let me buy a generator too big to fit in the compartment?” well, yeah! The generator doubles as a starting motor and that’s just too cool to pass up. Plus the generator will trickle charge the starting battery. We can add a battery and cut-out relay and have a push button start generator. For the time being I start it with the pull rope and this old Briggs & Stratton starts on the first pull with air temperatures in the 20s.
The Suburban furnace has been giving us trouble since the outside temperatures have become seasonal. Mostly stopping in the early part of the morning say 2:00 AM. We probably should have pulled and cleaned the furnace before we tried using it but I’m a risk taker and it seemed to work o-kay. When we pulled the furnace we found mouse and hornet’s nests
Photo of an RV furnace with aq mouse nest.

Mouse nest in the fresh air side of our Suburban NT34.

The mouse nest nothing compared to the hornet’s nest we found in the combustion air intake and blower wheel.
Photo of a Suburban NT34S Combustion Blower Wheel

The blower wheel is pretty much plugged with paper from a hornet's nest in the intake plenum.

Luckily the blower wheel came off easily and we spent some time cutting up and vacuuming out the hornet’s nest. It’s amazing this furnace ran as well as it did. Alas, when 2:00 AM rolled around the furnace was idling away blowing cold air.
The next day we pulled the furnace apart again and isolated the problem in the electromechanical solenoid valve and regulator. Cleaning and testing the electrics made the furnace start and run great. Until 11:00 PM after watching two hours of DVD television. Sleeping bags!
This morning I fired up the generator (one pull!) and put our little 1.5KW heater next to the furnace. After 15 minutes no joy. After 30 minutes we have ignition. We let the furnace run until we had to move the house and the furnace ran fine. It’s ten minutes until 9:00 PM and in a few hours we’ll be home. Maybe the furnace will start, maybe it’ll start with heat and maybe I’ll be snuggling up in my Western Mountaineering Alpine Lite mummy bag tonight. Either way, I’m sleeping in tomorrow morning!

About Art

55 years old. By training, ability and experience I am a master toolmaker. My most recent projects include designing and building a process to grind a G rotor pump shaft with four diameters and holding all four diameters within plus or minus 4 microns of nominal. This was an automated process using two centerless grinders refitted to my specifications using automatic load and unload machines plus automatic feedback gauging. I also designed and built an inspection machine to check for the presence and size of a straight knurl on a hinge pin using a vision system for non-contact gauging.
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