Thursday, July 23, 2020

RVs ALWAYS Have Upgrades and Fixes

Anyone who has or does own a RV, be it a trailer, 5th wheel, van, or motorhome of any size knows that there are ALWAYS some upgrades and/or repairs that you have to do periodically through the year.  The more you use it, the more you is the way of life with these things.

Sometimes the 'FIX' is larger than your ability...and there is nothing wrong with the repair guy and get out your pocketbook.  The more you are able to do yourself, the less money it will generally cost you...unless of course your 'FIX' ends up causing a major 'BREAK', and then you need to call in the experts to fix, and you pay for that mistake big time.

I was the type of kid who, at a young age, loved to open up the phone and see what makes the ringer ring, what the speaker and the microphone looked like, even electrical outlets and switches just to see how they were wired up.  Watching dad work on the engine of his old Ford Anglia, or to fix the lawnmower, and of course figuring out which tube had gone out in the television was all fascinating to me.  Made it easier for me when we (dad and I) needed to take the engine out of my first car, an Austin Healey Sprite...just to take it apart a second time because the rings we got for it were just barley too small allowing oil to pass through to the exhaust and not being able to pass the exhaust test that the CHP (California Highway Patrol) required because I got a fix-it ticket due to exhaust smoke coming out.  I took most of the engine out by myself this second time in anticipation of dad and I fixing that first 'fix'.

So today was the day to tackle the new KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Directional Over-the-Air  TV Antenna.  The weather was very cooperative with a high of only 88...mid 70's when I started at 11 am, and around 85 when finished around 3 pm.  I wanted to go up onto the roof only once, then convinced myself that two times was more realistic...but it ended up being four trips up and down.  The hardest part of the job, outside of climbing up the ladder four times,  was taking the old antenna off and getting rid of all the old Sealant. 

I was so concentrated on what I was doing, that I got ZERO pictures of what I was doing.  However, I found this picture which pretty much show what I went through.  Scrape off the sealant to get to the screw...remove the screw...move on to the next screw and scrape some more.  Once all the screws were out, it was a matter of getting the blade under the base of the antenna and loosen it until I was able to pull it off.  Having a fiberglass roof made it easier, no need to worry about ripping a rubber roof that many RVs have.  I then got rid of all the remaining sealant so that the new antenna base will lay flat on the roof.  It was tedious...but the hardest thing was sitting in the small area available by the antenna for over an hour.  That was trip number one up and down the roof.

I am glad that I bought the optional base for the antenna to sit on.  The base pretty much covered the old base area, covering all but one of the screw holes.  The antenna (left) sits on top of the base (right) and is connected by six screws with self-locking nuts.  The large hole on the base corresponds to the hole in the roof of the motorhome.  On the inside of the motorhome is the turning device which lights up letting you know how strong the TV station signal is so you know where to turn it to for best reception (picture of that later).  That base itself needs to be screwed onto the roof of the motorhome...and they don't provide these screws.  However, the screws I took off were more than adequate for the job, once they got cleaned up from all that old sealant.  HAD I brought them all down off the roof instead of just one of them, I would have saved trip number two up and down the motorhome roof. 

The third trip was to install the new antenna.  This required a lot of the new sealant.  I used ProFlex RV Flexible Sealant, the same stuff I sealed the side of the roof with a number of months back while it was in storage.  I first sealed all the old holes from the old base, then sealed the antenna to the base, sealed the base to the roof, sealed the antenna wire hole which connected under the new antenna just above the base, and then screwed the base into the roof.  At this point I thought about sealing all the screws I used, and the outside area where the base and antenna meet, and where the base and the roof meet...but I thought it might be wise to make sure the new antenna was going to work before I went that far.

Off the roof for the third time and went inside the motorhome and hooked up the signal finder and antenna turning dial (pictured above and yes, that is picture of ours).  The dial connects to a plastic post-like device that comes down through the roof from the antenna and essentially allows you to turn the antenna about 375 degrees, giving you the ability to see how the signal is all around you.  They provide a wire which connects the antenna to the signal finder which lights up.  There are four blue lights and one red light.  The red light shows you have power, the blue lights show the signal strength.  We are getting three of four blue lights, which is a good thing with the main TV Towers being 35 miles away.  Back on the roof for the fourth time and I finished sealing all the screw heads, all the seams, and making sure everything is watertight. 

Overall I was on the roof for about 2 1/2 hours.  The other 90 minutes was used to rest and clean those mounting screws.  Little Indy went nuts trying to find a way to get up on the roof with me.  She would go out on the grass where she could see me, and at one point she laid down on the running board outside the passenger's door.  The first time I came down she went nuts...the next three times it was like I was stale bread...she just couldn't understand why I kept going up there without her and she let me know how upset she was.

Other things I fixed since we have been here...

Our bathroom fan motor which moves the lid up and down needed to be was about a 5 minute job.  The old one would allow us to push the button which put the fan up, but when we tried to put it down the gears just would not engage.  To put it down we had to use the black knob, pulling on it to disengage the electric motor, and turn it to close the fan lid.  Now, it all works again as it should.

In Albuquerque the power cord connecting the motorhome to shore power had worn out, and I bought a new adapter at Camping World which was right next door to the RV Park.  I bought this plug to convert the old cord into a RV Extension Cord.  This took about 15 minutes.
In Bakersfield I realized that one of our sewer hoses had sprung a leak, so I ordered this Thetford 17854 Titan 10 Foot RV Sewer Hose.  It is suppose to be one of the best sewer hoses...I guess time will tell.  When they tear, it is very embarrassing, and you normally don't even know until you take a shower and see the water standing outside.

My next fix will involve Arny.  Our 12 volt 'cigarette lighter' outlet on the dash, which we rely on for charging cell phones, charging the Tire Monitoring System, and Marcia's computer while we drive, has lost power.  There is an auxiliary plug right above it which has not had power since we owned it, probably because the folks who installed the satellite radio took that power source to run the Sirius device...which we took out when we bought it.  Another upcoming fix is to replace two of our florescent fixture bulbs in the living area with LED lights.  This will require the removal of the ballast/starter, and that should be a fairly easy fix and I anticipate the lights to be brighter.

As I said...there is always something...


  1. You are SO lucky to be able to do these repairs yourself. All that would probably have cost me $500 or more!! That's funny Indy didn't want you up there!! Generally I have no problem getting up on the roof .... it's getting DOWN that's scary!! My latest repair will be the dash air. It's blowing hot instead of cold.

    1. Our motorhome did not come with an attached ladder, and I have a folding ladder which looks like a large step ladder until you hit the lever and un-fold, then extend the legs out to become a long ladder to lean up against the backside of the motorhome...loads of fun! Here is to hoping your AC just needs some Freon.

  2. Oh I only wish we had the money we spent on upgrades to RVs (including new ones) while fulltiming. I figured we'd be at least 90K richer if we stuck with the 2009 Montana.

    1. No doubt that fulltiming cost, but those memories are priceless.

  3. Totally know what you mean about saving $$$$$ by doing Upgrades yourself.
    The 12 Volt Power Plugs were probably messed up at when the Sirus Radio was installed. Most times companies have kids that don't know what they are doing hook them up. You'll probably find the problem in the Dash.
    Indy probably thought that you were playing a game with her.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your new King Antenna.

    It's about time.

    1. Arny is going to help because he is an expert at automotive stuff. So far the Antenna is working like a charm, we are getting stations that would come in and out previous, so we are happy "over-the-air" watchers.


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