We need to get Marilyn mobile, again, so we are reaching out for help with a tshirt fundraiser.
After five months at my brother-in-law’s place, we are finally back in the Thousand Trails system. I have to admit it’s awfully nice having full hook-ups, again. You never realize just how nice running water is until you don’t have it!! It’s also wonderful not having to worry about what else is on if I want to use the microwave, or the toaster.
I “fixed” the charging issue. Well, at least for now. It’s not a great connection option, but it is working. I ran one of the field wires of the alternator to the battery and the other to the solenoid connection at the starter relay. We are charging but it reads 18.? volts, which is way too high so it won’t last forever before we either dry up the battery or burn a belt or ??? At any rate, we made it to our site in Monroe without the battery dying on us. We even stopped a couple of times and she started right back up…YAY!!
Now, for the not so great.
Our roof that we just sealed is leaking in multiple spots. Everything was done according to the directions on the buckets of material so we shouldn’t have any leaks what-so-ever, but we do. The worst? A bad leak over the bed. Ugh.
I hardly slept last night. I went to bed at 7:30-ish and got out of bed around midnight when I couldn’t handle sleeping around the wet blankets. I moved my foot, hit drenched blanket, and I was up. I’m going to have to figure out how I go about drying our blankets, though I have no idea what we are going to do about the leaking roof. We can not put a tarp on because we are in system (within the collection of campgrounds owned by Thousand Trails) and that’s a no-no.
The other leaks are annoying, to say the least, but at least most of them aren’t dripping on anything but the floor. This still sucks but, as I said, the bed is the worst. The dog bed/couch has a spot that is getting dripped on but nowhere near the quantity or water that is hitting my bed. It doesn’t look like its raining but…random ‘puddles’ of water to get your socks good and drenched…I hate it. Solve one problem, find another.
When we finally parked in our spot when we got here yesterday, and turned Marilyn off for the next week, she was steaming water from somewhere. Lance says it looked like the main upper radiator hose at the engine connection. I’ll be having to check that out. Downside: we are also not allowed to work on our vehicles, RV or passenger, while in system. Crap. Well, this repair is going to HAVE to be in system. We won’t get far without making this repair.
OH! To have unlimited funding, or at least adequate funding. Things would be so different. These challenges cropping up wouldn’t be so aggravating. Sure, they would still suck but taking care of them would be so much easier. There is definitely something to be said about just being able to take care of whatever unexpected event comes up. We figure it out, eventually, usually, but there is a whole lot of mental financial juggling and strategizing to make it happen, and sometimes the only option is to figure out a temp fix that costs little ($10 – $20) to no money and pray that it holds until the next solution comes along or there is enough money to invest in the right repair. Where’s my MegaMillion winnings, already?!?
Oh well. Progress made and experienced. New issues and old ones cropping up. That is the life…left foot right foot repeat.
Well, after replacing some wiring and re-doing some old connections that had corroded, I finally got Marilyn running, again. Unfortunately, we are still having the charging issue. The alternator starts out putting out 12 amps, which isn’t enough, and drops as things get warm under the hood. I’m starting to think I need to heat wrap all of the wires, which I don’t think is possible. I am sure I will find this out before I have this all taken care of.
We drove Marilyn to go empty the holding tanks the other day. Despite having all the same issues we had before, it was nice to at least have her on the road, if even for short bursts. I was beginning to lose hope with Marilyn and was really feeling stuck/trapped.
I think my next step is to replace the alternator wires and wrap them in heat shielding material. I think I want to pull the thermostat, too, and check that it is working correctly. I also need to flush the cooling system, again. We had it flushed when we had the front brakes done but the water was still somewhat rusty after running her a bit back then. I don’t think she is cooling correctly, although I know these tend to run really hot. In my opinion, I don’t see how Marilyn’s set up couldn’t run hot – 440 with a three speed transmission. I spend more time waiting for that 4th gear that doesn’t exist.
I also think our battery isolater – the part that separates the engine battery from the coach batteries – may need replacing, as well. I have taken out the coach batteries just to eliminate them from the charging system issue. Now, all of a sudden, our 12-volt lights work. This doesn’t really make sense to me, other than it sounds like things are hooked up wrong or something is not working right. A new battery isolater is around $100 so I’ll be needing to get one of those here soon, if for no other reason than to eliminate it as a source of problems, which so many of the old ones are, I’ve been told.
So, we are still sitting but progress has not only been made but experienced. YAY! We are now in fall, which means there are a lot of routes out of the Pacific NorthWest that either won’t be available or may be too sketchy to traverse, so it may be spring before we head out, again. Another winter here. Mixed emotions about that. Really ready to be done with the rain.
I had hoped to be writing a lot more by now. We are still parked so there’s not much change, so it feels like there isn’t much to write about. I’m having a sort of down day so bear with me.
We had the mechanic come at the beginning of August. It turned out the alternator wasn’t working so that was that. I took the alternator out and took it to O’Reilly’s, where I bought it, to have them test it and swap it out, if necessary. The bench test showed the alternator is in working order. Ok. Crud. Well, when I was taking it out of the RV, it had sort of looked like one of the connections may have been loose so that had to be it. Back home, put the alternator back on, triple check all connections then check one more time, tighten up the belts, jump the RV, let it run, completely confident that issue was solved and going through the list in my head of what needed to be accomplished next on the path to being mobile, again. RV dies about 10 minutes in. Crap.
I have to admit that I am feeling a bit defeated by Marilyn right now. When she died after reinstalling the alternator, I put my tools away and binge-watched on Netflix for the rest of the day. Yep, I accepted defeat. It’s not a permanent state. I’m just allowing myself to wallow in it for a bit. It gets tiring always having to figure out the next solution. Ok. That sounds whiney. I just want to get mobile.
We’ve made some progress with other things Marilyn needed. Here is Marilyn’s roof after scraping all the loose, old roof coating – what a job!!
And here it is as my husband is applying the final coat. This stuff is pretty amazing.
Ok. Its pretty obvious in the photo that we truly need a new roof altogether but this will get us through for now. Maybe one day we will have the ability to replace the roof. Fingers are crossed for that one. That’s down the road and there is much right in front of us.
I’ve painted the kitchen cabinets. I think they look a million times better, especially since I’ve since torn out the 39-year-old carpet – yuck.
I have some laminate flooring Lance was given off of a job he is doing for his brother:
It’s a bit darker than I had been thinking I wanted to do but its free and I’m sure it will look great once it’s in. I think I’m going to go with the Roberts 2MM Silent Warmth underlayment. I don’t have any expectations of it completely keeping the floor warm but a slight barrier from the outside is better than nothing.
This coming week, I’m just going to have to suck it up and get back in the engine. My next step is to trace the wiring. Hopefully (that seems odd to say) I’ll find one that is needing replacing and we will be up and running in that department. I’m still going to get some heat shield for the starter, but that’s fairly cheap and easy to do.
Well, that’s it for now. Keep your fingers crossed for us on this alternator thing. Thanks!!
I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at a bunch of other full time rv-ing blogs over the past few months and I’ve come to realize that the life they are living is not the same one I am. Sure, there are the similarities in areas but…well, we just don’t live like that. Our level of maintenance is much greater, income much lower, and over-all trudging through it all seems to be at a higher level for us. I’m not complaining, just recognizing.
One of the common threads in all of the rv-ing blogs that I’ve read is they chose full-time rv–ing. Many also had a house to sell, along with many other belongings, which, in the end, helped get them going in the RV life with a nice rig and a bit of fall back money. As much as I’d like to say that is us, it is not.
If you read the first post on this blog, you know that we had nothing when we ended up in our first RV, which was gifted by a stranger. I was grateful as ever for that 68 Winnebago but it truly was not in livable condition when we got it. She ran, was dry inside, the electrical worked, and that was about where the amenities ended. There were no cushions, no stove, no fridge, we couldn’t hook up water, no holding tanks of any nature, no toilet, and tons of black mold. The floors were dirty plywood and I remember walking into that Class A and thinking there was just no way. My other thought had been “what has my life come to??”
We replaced the paneling while living in it, removed and caulked all the windows, put in a vinyl floor, bought a camp stove, used a 5-gallon bucket for a toilet, and bottles of water for brushing our teeth. We settled into that RV and she became home. She never would have won any prizes for decor or anything, but she was ours, we made her comfortable, and we loved that 20 foot rv. It was a sad day when one of her rear tires blew since they were mounted on split rims, which NO ONE will touch anymore. Unfortunately, the photos I had of “Winnie” have been lost to online accounts that I no longer have the password to or the email(s) associated with them.
Anyway, that’s the level of full-time rv-ing I’m living. Sure, we are in a much nicer rig, now, but that has more to do with the fact that I have learned how to barter, search for trades, etc. in ways I had no idea even existed 9 years ago. I love reading the full-time rv-ing blogs I’ve found because it gives me ideas, allows me to hope, but I would really love to see more of that type of blog in our bracket of full-timing it. And that’s what I’m going to do here.
If you’re a full-time rv-er, what’s your set-up look like? How did you end up going full-time? What’s something about full-timing on the lower end of things that you’d really like to know?
Thanks for joining us!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
RV life started in 2009, right after the economy crashed. It was walked into (ok. dragged kicking and screaming into) with the thought this was temporary – merely a place to call home base. Well, 9 years, 3 RVs, a travel trailer, and a yurt later, here we are, still full-time RV-ing.
We have mostly been sitters (non-mobile) over the last 9 years since most of me believed we had a ‘home’ we were headed toward. Life has thrown the latest challenges down and we had to move from our latest parked spot, where we had been for just over 4 and a half years. I have come to decide that if I am going to be living on wheels, I’m going to see some things.
So, enter Marilyn (she’s the RV beauty pictured above). I found Marilyn on Craigslist for less than $600, with a last note in the add saying possible trade. I jumped on it and, after each of us devoting 5 hours of our labor, Marilyn became ours.
Marilyn had been sitting for the last 4 years, at least. One of her previous owners had been in a severe auto accident that had incapacitated her and her husband had settled in to care taking duties while she trudged the road back to health. This meant no time for utilizing Marilyn. Since their kids are grown now, they decided it was time to find a new home for the old RV.
Marilyn came with a set of problems, most of them from sitting. Mice had chewed through a lot of wires, including the spark plug wires, which left us on the side of an off ramp for about a week. Of course, it was more than the chewed wires that had us stuck there – alternator, plugs, belts, ignition ballast, distributor, distributor cap and rotor, ignition module. There were other things, along with the cost of mechanics (yes, plural) for the things we just couldn’t do ourselves or when we had reached a point where we no longer had any idea what to do next. That damn ignition module was what ended up being what was keeping us from getting going again. At least, it was what it was after everything else we replaced on that off ramp I have affectionately dubbed Off-Rampville.
Off-Rampville taught us much about Marilyn. Things like we don’t have her dialed in yet. She goes for about 20 miles, gets too hot (no not overheat), and stalls out. In order to get her going again, you must wait until she cools down so the starter will work again and she is going to need a jump, every time. With a new starter, battery, and alternator, I feel we should not be having this problem but we haven’t a clue where to go next with that. Once we come up with more funding for yet another mechanic we will hopefully get to find out what that is all about. As for now, we are taking a break from the engine.