Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mom Passed One Year Ago Today

Today marks 1 year of the passing of my mother. Wilma and I took a ride out to the Cemetary this afternoon. Shed a tear, and had a little talk with mom. Like my cousin says, think of it not as a date of moms passing, but as a birthday of her enterance into heaven. Pretty nice way of thinking of it that way.

On the way home from the Cemetary, Wilma spotted an estate sale. We went in looking at all the good deals

Yesterday I measured the distance between the bottom of the mud flaps and the ground. This morning it showed the same, didn't drop an inch. That's great!

Wilma and I decided to take the MH out for a short drive on a winding road to work the leveling valves. After our short drive we arrived back home and I took another mesurement. In a few days I'll check it again. Hopefully it will be at the same height.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Leveling Control Valve Installed

This morning the weather didn’t look to great for working outside. At 7am it was already up to 78with what seemed like 100% humidity. Clouds passed dropping a light sprinkle for about a half hour, then clearing up again. Soon within an hour it sprinkled again.

I was anxious to get as much done on the replacement of the leveling control valve as I could today. Reading the instructions, and comparing the new with my original valve, I noticed the new valve is reversed of the old. A phone call to the parts counter where it was purchased verified that they only come one way and you must create a bracket system for the install. I expected this for an answer, but just wanted to make sure before I start to pre-fab a bracket.

Around 9am I headed out to the Credit Union, Gas station, and finally to Lowes to pick up some angle iron.

IMG_0059

This is how the Original Valve looked with soap bubbles sprayed on it to verify  leaking air. The bracket it hangs from is located directly between the valve and the air bag.

 

 

 

IMG_0001
This shows the original valve removed along with the bracket. You can still see the mounting bolts of the bracket just to the right of the red air line.

To the right of the axle differential sticking straight vertical is the linkage that will be connected to the new valve.

 

Careful measurements were taken many, many times, comparing the old valve set up with the new valve. It seemed like an hour went by before I started cutting the angle iron to the length I figured I needed. Two pieces were needed, one 7 inches long and the other 4 inches long.

I determined that I could use the original bracket by bolting the 7” angle iron horizontal from it, then bolting the 4” angle iron vertically to the 7” piece. The new Valve would be bolted to the 4” angle iron. More measuring was done because I didn’t cherish the thought of making a mistake and cutting the angle iron by hand any more times than what was needed. Like the saying goes, measure twice cut once. Well I believe I measured a dozen times and cut once. Better to be safe than sorry.

IMG_0006

Here I am installing the new valve. Wilma stayed along side of the MH in case I needed any tool or items. It turned out I did need several different tools that she retrieved for me, along with handing me the camera so I could take these under the MH shots.

Thanks Hon…you made this job much easier for me.

 

IMG_0009

The new valve installed showing the new angle iron bolted together with red painted bolts and lock washers.

The red air line is the supply air to the valve. The pressure is around 110lbs per square inch. The center port is the air that goes to the air bags. The top port is the dump line, used when there is too much air in the bags and needs to be relieved.

 
IMG_0010Here you can see part of the original bracket, with the new angle iron extending from it. The new valve is mounted above this angle iron. The linkage on the axle had to be adjusted for proper height of the air bags prior to airing up the system. I thought this would be tricky, but I just disconnected the other linkage and measured the space from the top of the linkage to the arm of the valve. Adjusted both sides to be the same and crossed my fingers. Then re-attached both level control valves.

 

IMG_0012Here is the new valve completely hooked up. Just below the new angle iron is the original mounting plate. The two holes drilled into it is where the original valve was mounted.

I completed this project around 4pm. stopping a half hour for lunch. Man O Man, I don’t work this hard at work! But it’s more fun when you are doing work for you, not the company.

Hopefully my new installation will not give us any problems. Tomorrow morning I will go out and measure the distance between the mud flap and the ground. Hopefully it will measure 7 inches. If it’s less than 7 inches then I still have an air leak in the system Sad smile

It’s now 6:30. All showered up, fed a great supper prepared by my great wife, looking out the window and the sun is shinning, and a great feeling of having completed this job, Life Is Good, knocking on my wooden desk as I write this blog so I don’t jinx myself.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Work on MH, weather permitting.

Last Friday, July 16th. I first blogged about the repair of our MH’s self leveling valve. It has been a long week, with 5 days of waiting for a response from Terry of Mobility RV.

Steaming madNeedless to say the least, I’m pretty upset with this guy!

Last Friday I first placed the call to him. Explaining what the valve looked like and all the information he asked me for about the MH. I even sent him via email a few pictures of it, hopefully making his job a little easier. He informed me that he had a few orders ahead of me and that he would phone me as soon as he had a price and availability. So I presumed I would not hear from him over the week-end.

Monday came and I was pacing the floor by noon. Wilma suggested I take the faulty valve to the heavy truck repair shop and see if they might have a replacement. I kind of blew her off suggesting that Terry would be calling me today and he probably would have an exact replacement. So I waited, and waited some more. Finally at 5:15pm I phoned Mobility RV. Being in Iowa, I figured they were 2 hours behind us. But I got a recording about their business hours and that they were closed. So I missed them by 15 minutes.

Tuesday came and at 10:30am I placed another call to Mobility RV. A woman answered this time. I explained that I talked to Terry on Friday, he should have found my part by now and phoned me. She took the information and said she would forward it to Terry. I waited again for a phone call. None was made to me.

Wednesday came and now I’m getting furious that Terry hasn’t called to at least tell me his progress. I call Mobility again around 1pm. Talked to the same woman as yesterday, explained the situation. She informed me she had forwarded the information to Terry and would do it again. I told her no thank you, I didn’t want to do business with Terry, I needed to talk to someone else who could help me. She then said she would look into it and get right back with me. An hour later she phoned me and told me the two venders could not match the item in need. She suggested I take the part to a heavy truck repair shop, as trucks all have this type of valve on them. I thanked her for her work and expressed my displeasure about the way I was handled by Terry again, suggesting the management be notified of this.

I should have listened to my brilliant Wife Wilma!

Thursday, on the way home from work, I stopped at home to pick up the valve. Headed for the the heavy truck repair shop nearest my home and presented the parts person with my faulty valve. Within a half hour he produced a new one, made by a different company than the original, but looked as it may work. He assured me it would work and gave me the price of $74.00 for the new one. I paid for it, walked out and had a happy feeling that I would be able to repair our MH.

Here it is Friday a week since I first worked on the MH. We had a strong thunderstorm around 2pm this afternoon. Lasted about a half hour. Then the sun came out again and the humidity is around 90% with temps in the high 80’s. More severe storms are forecasted for later this evening. This is why I’m sitting in our air conditioned home, writing this blog, instead of under the MH. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be nice enough for me to get this repair done.

I’ll post again with the outcome. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

 

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Monday, July 19, 2010

132nd. Annual Family Reunion

Yesterday was the Hagedorn 132nd. consecutive family reunion. What a great time we had seeing so many of the cousins and their families. I have to say though, there are more “family” members that I don’t know than I do know.

DSC_0380

 

The eldest in attendance, my fathers’ sister, Aunt Ella, at 93! 

 

 

Aunt Ella is a spitting image of her mother, my Grandmother. My Grandmother lived to her 88th. Birth year, and didn’t have problems with her spine like my Aunt Ella. But other than that they, in my mind, are identical.

DSC_0387 

The shallow river running through the park is a favorite place to catch minnows, crayfish, and snails.

DSC_0389

Grand Daughter Haley shows that she isn’t afraid to pick up a crayfish, or is it a crawl daddy?

DSC_0390

 

My 3 ladies.

Daughter Angel, Wilma, and Daughter Tina.

It is customary that Grace is said before the pot luck dinner at 1pm sharp. This was the first year that I can remember that Grace was said about 20 minutes after 1pm. I believe the reason is the extra large gathering of family members this year, as there were many looking for a place to sit at the available tables.

The table with all the assortment of every kind of food was actually 24 feet long! There wasn’t any room left over to place even a single plate. Plenty of food for everyone, even though it took almost 45 minutes for everyone to get their plate full.

DSC_0406 

After dinner, most gathered under the shade of the trees, while the kids played organized games according to their age groups. Prizes awarded to the winners!

In years past, as a small child, I could remember that after dinner and the games, the “men” would get a soft ball game going. This is not the case today, as I believe most of the “men” of today carry just a little excess more weight than our for fathers. But the organized games are still a big hit with the kids.

DSC_0395

Tina and Grand daughter Savannah pointing to a picture taken of her a few years ago at a family reunion.

A tradition that has been kept alive is the taking of pictures at each reunion. They are then placed on a poster board and displayed each year. It’s amazing that these poster boards and pictures go back to the early 1900’s. Seeing my dad as a small child is fascinating for my grandchildren.

DSC_0443

Sitting around talking about the reunions of the past with cousin Larry, Dad, and brother Ken.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Repair MH Air Bag System

Yesterday I made plans to work on the MH today. We have a small air leak in the Axle Air Bag system that really needs to be found and repaired.

IMG_0052

IMG_0054

On the left is how close the mud flap is to the ground with the air system empty. On the right you see the increase of about 5 inches with the air system at full pressure.

 

When the MH was new the system would loose about half it’s pressure during the winter, or about 4 months. Now it looses all it’s pressure within 24 hours!  This much leakage causes the small air compressor to continually run while we are driving down the road. Not acceptable at all.

We have Main Air Bags on the drive dully wheel axle, one on each side. Plus the Tag axle has a smaller air bag on each side. The Main and Tag air bags on the left side of the MH are supplied by a single 1/4 inch air line and hooked together in series. The same for the right side of the MH.

IMG_0055

IMG_0056

Left picture, the Main Axle air bag, the picture on the right, the Tag Axle air bag. Both are supplied the same amount of air by a “leveling control valve”.

 

 

Each side is of the MH is controlled by a separate “leveling control valve” that is mounted on the frame. The movable arm on the valve is connected with linkages to the main axle.

IMG_0059

IMG_0060

When turning, the MH will lean in the opposite direction of the turn. So when the lean starts, the valves, depending on which side of the MH, will either raise or lower. This will in turn raise or lower the arm on the leveling control valve.

Let’s say we are making a right turn. The MH will lean to the left. The control valve on the drivers side of the rear axle will be moved closer to the axle, thus moving the arm up, thus opening the air to the bags on this side inflating them. Just the opposite happens on the other side of the MH axle, thus dumping air from those bags. This unison operation of adjusting the pressures helps to keep the MH level at all times.

So after much “belly flopping” under the MH with a spray bottle of “bubbles soap” I found the leak! It only took a couple hours, ;(

IMG_0063

 

The Leveling control valve on the passenger side had a leak. So another hour went by to disconnect linkages, air lines and un-bolt the mounting plate the valve was bolted to, before I had the valve in my hands.

 

The internet proved handy once again, as I located a Winnebago parts company in Iowa, click here for their web site. Explaining to the parts man on the phone what I needed, and giving him the VIN and Serial Number of the MH, he felt he might be able to locate a new valve. He did say that he had a stack of orders ahead of me, so he took my phone number and will call me when he has more information.

So now I wait. I really hate waiting, but I don’t have much choice as I called the MH Dealer’s parts person where I purchased our MH, and he was certain he wouldn’t be able to find the part I need. So much for the dealers that you buy your RV’s from!

Wish us luck on our venture to repair our MH.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Our Mackinaw Vacation

We arrived at Mackinaw Mill Creek RV Resort around noon on July 2nd. Didn’t do much after setting up but sit and relax after the 5 hour trip. Of course we had to stop at the famous Crackle Barrel restaurant on our way there.

DSC_0200

We asked in our online reservation last January for a site where we could see the Mackinaw Bridge and Mackinaw Island.

Wilma was up bright and early to capture the Sunrise from our campsite.

 

                            DSC_0202                                 

We were pleased with our site with a perfect view, abit a little tight between sites. The neighbor on our patio side was from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. A great couple with 2 teen age kids that were well behaved. Actually we didn’t have any problems with any of our neighbors, as they all were very considerate of their neighbors.

The next day, July 3rd, and Wilma’s Birthday, we decided to go to the Island and do our bike ride around the entire Island. It’s a well maintained black top, two lane road that encompasses a total of 8 miles from start to finish. As many times as we have been to the Island, this was going to be our first bike ride.

DSC_0217

DSC_0244-2

DSC_0238

 

 

 

 

A heart shaped cave on the North side of the Island.

We packed a small lunch with 4 bottles of water and some fruit and sandwich that we planned on eating at the half way point. Perfect timing as there were a few picnic tables set up just for that reason.

DSC_0256

We walked up main street after the bike ride, taking in the sites. We, or should I say Wilma noticed the price of the fudge was more expensive than on the main land in Mackinaw City, so we didn’t buy any fudge on the Island. Call us cheap, but we like to think “thrifty”.

 

DSC_0265

We sat on the very top deck of the Star Line Ferry Boat. The Star Line Ferry is known for it's large Rooster Tail. It gives you the impression that you are on the “fastest” of the three ferry companies. This was proven wrong though as we were passed by the Catamaran from The Arnold Ferry Company. Here you can see the top of the rooster tail from the top deck of the boat.

DSC_0268

 

At the end of a perfect day, Wilma captured a perfect Sunset from our campsite.

 

 

The next day, July 4th. we window shopped in Mackinaw City and bought our Fudge for family and friends. Checked out the beach at the RV Resort but decided it was just too hot for us to go to the beach. We would be French fried within minutes!

DSC_0277

So we decided to set up our lawn chairs for our fireworks viewing later that evening. Mackinaw City put on a terrific fire works show, and from our view point we could see St. Ignace and Mackinaw Island fireworks also. So everyone at the RV Park felt they had the “perfect” seats for the fireworks show.

 

The next day, July 5th, we roamed around Mackinaw City and around the base of the Bridge. The weather was hot and humid, so humid at times there was cloud cover on the Bridge.

DSC_0315

 

Here is the Underside of the Bridge looking North. The fog had gotten so thick that we could hear the freighters blowing their fog horns. Even the Ferry’s to and from the Island were blowing their horns.

DSC_0319

 

You can just see the top of the pillars of the Bridge just above the cloud layer in this picture.

 

 

DSC_0340

July 6th. we took a trip to Alanson, MI. to visit with my sister Catherine and her husband Scott.

We sat on the shore of Burt Lake which they have access to.

 

 

DSC_0345 

Wilma took this shot of us walking back to their home. And a beautiful home it is indeed!

 

 

DSC_0347

July 7th. we woke up to more fog. This time it was so thick we couldn’t even see the lake. As this was our day to leave the RV Park, I just had to take the opportunity to kid with Wilma a little. I asked her if she would like to take a drive across the Bridge to St. Ignace today?  ;-)   Of course you know her answer….NO WAY! ! !   She just hates bridges.

DSC_0359

So we headed for Denny and Kathy’s home in St. Helen where we had made arrangements with them to stay a couple days. What fun we all had. First starting out with a Pontoon Boat ride on Lake St. Helen, where Denny pointed out the three lakes that form one. They also pointed out to us, two Bald Eagle nests in different trees around the Lake. What a great time we all had.

DSC_0361

We enjoyed sitting on their covered porch listening to the peace and quiet of the country. No sirens, no trains, no traffic! You gotta love it. Denny also made a lamp out of tree limbs! When finished he gave it to Wilma to put in her family room. What a great surprise! Thanks Denny!

 

DSC_0365

Our last evening we bought the steaks and Denny did the grilling. A delicious meal was prepared by Kathy and Wilma and we all enjoyed it. Afterward we played a game of “Mexican Train”. What a great, fun, game. I just know we are going to buy the game so we can enjoy it with our other friends.

 

We arrived safe and sound around 4pm on July 9th. We had a terrific time and had terrific weather!

So until next time, be safe and God Bless.