Sunday, October 4, 2015

Electrical, Fumes, Molding & Hubs

Breaker Box

During our trips to Washington and Utah we came up with a short list of items that needed to be taken care of.  Number one on the list was with our breakers in the motorhome.  A few months ago we had our 30/20 breaker act up on us when we had the microwave going at the same time we had the air conditioner going.  It did not take long for the main breaker and/or the A/C breaker pop on us.  In our unit, this happens to be a dual breaker.  Sometimes only the A/C trips, sometimes they both trip.

BD3020 Cutler-Hammer Breaker

As time went on, it started to trip with just the A/C going.  As breakers get hot, and as they trip more and more, they degrade.  The last few times it tripped, it felt very warm.  The heat is a sign that the breaker was showing signs of internal arcing, which creates a situation where it trips very easy.

Old breaker showing arcing signs

This picture above shows the top back of the old breaker, where it plugs into the electrical pole of the breaker box.  The nature of this double breaker is that it has a single pole for both breakers.  In the previous picture you  can see where the wires are screwed into each of the breaker at the bottom.  The 30 amp (left side) has a much thicker wire than the 20 amp (right side) has.  It is hard to see, but in that hole where it connects to the breaker box there is obvious signs of arcing.  As the connection becomes loose, due to the movements of the motorhome as it goes down the road, the electricity will start arcing through any gaps…which causes heat…which causes further breakdown in the connection…which causes more arcing….(I think you can see where this vicious circle is going…)   It is an easy fix, we had to order the new breaker, which cost $22.  Amazon has them, but we got it a day earlier going through a local electrical shop for basically the same price.  If you have never changed a breaker before, you might want to ask someone who has to show you how, or watch a few YouTube videos on it…it is not easy, and safe if you are sure you are unplugged from the electrical box outside AND you keep your generator off and your inverter off.


Laptop Power Supply Melted

While we were in Truckee before our emergency run to Utah, we were both using our computers and almost the same instant we go, “What is that smell?”  I quickly found that it was my electrical cord to my laptop, which was a twelve volt adapter instead of the standard 120 volt.  In all my years this is the second time I have seen one melt like this…however the first one was a 120 volt type.  I feel that much of the fault is with me since I had the aircard and the Wilson Signal Booster each plugged into a USB line.  This was probably a bit much for the 12 volt cord to handle, it got hot and melted.  Thank goodness we were here to stop any damage from being done…and thank goodness it wasn’t lying on the carpet which would have melted too.  Easy fix by ordering two new ones, just in case I have a problem again.  If you are using a laptop, please check the cords for heat…they are usually at the power block, or at the connection to the laptop.  Had a Sony laptop once that melted at the connection to the laptop…not a fun thing either.


generator exhaust

Above is a picture of our slide out, the driver’s door, and the white arrow which points to the generator exhaust.  Although we try not to run the generator very often while camping, there are times that we must to charge up our batteries, make coffee, run the microwave, etc.  When we do, I have to shut the windows of the slide, and the kitchen, and just have the vents open…one pulling in air with the other pushing it out because Marcia can smell that exhaust way more than I can. 

Exhaust Tubing

Today I ordered this flexible exhaust tubing.  It is 1 1/2 inch, while the exhaust pipe is closer to 1 1/4 inches.   The length of this exhaust tubing is 25 feet….most like closer to 16’ before it is “expanded”.  I figure this 16’ will give me enough length to keep exhaust smells away from our window.  It is something I will put on and take off as needed, and for short “rest stop” uses of the generator, we just won’t open the windows.  I have not tried this yet, and will try to give an update as to how it works.  To me, it is better than running a pipe up into the air like I have seen some motorhomes do.  One must be careful because the exhaust will heat up any type of pipe like this.  Won’t be able to use it on grass or weeds, and I must keep it away from the tires.


Entry Door molding

This little black molding which goes around our door entrance has been giving me fits for a number of months now.  This time I tried some Gorilla Glue, and it seems to be holding.

Entry Door

Here you can see it with the door closed.  I think it is a combination of the screen portion of the door catching it, and also we both have a tendency to grab the door frame as we enter and leave, and this naturally puts pressure on this molding. 



Marcia has this nice box that she stores her Vitamins and Herbal pills in.  She uses these to combat her M.S., as she is on “NO” M.S. medication, and on only two medications to fight the physical manifestation of what the M.S. has done to her body. 

Hing fixed

The hinges have been coming off this box, and Arny had just the perfect screws to fix both hinges.  I will be looking into a good, sturdy plastic box with a good solid lid for her to use on future trips…a box like this is just not up to the rigors of travel and storage behind our La-Z-Boy chairs. 


Old Hubs     Old Hubs

The last little fix was dealing with our HHR, the tow car.  All four hub caps have shown the wear and tear of many miles and car washes.  The front drives side hub cap had been partially damaged ever since the tire shredded in Florida on our way out to California.  Ever since then, we have heard a vibration while driving with our windows open…especially at slow speeds.

New Hubs

Again, Amazon to the rescue….ordered four new hubs for around $35, with an extra $7 for four Chevy stickers to stick in the middle of the hub, and….

New Hubs

…there we are, four new hubs, and guess what?  The mystery sound is gone.  The old hubs were rattling and were the cause of the noise. 

All that fixed, and I didn’t even hurt myself!  Well, they were easy fixes…those nagging little things that seem to build up until you just knock them all out.  Or, another $100+ down the drain…and the start of new, fresh list. 


  1. I love that you show all this stuff on your blog. I need all the help I can get, and find your fixes very informative. I've had my phone cord get hot, but never knew why and there's a piece of molding I need to glue. Thankfully no breaker problems ..... yet ... but I have dealt with generator exhaust!!

    1. Gotta watch how hot that laptop cord gets, that's for sure. Your rig is so new that your breakers will be good for many years. Ours is ten years old, and that is a lot of use. I will let you know how the generator exhaust works out...very hopeful about that.


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