Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Drying Out the Little RV

In my last post I wrote about the water damage to the front end of the Little RV. This morning the insurance inspector came and surveyed the damage and pronounced it "not covered".  I wasn't surprised but I was a bit disappointed.  

Water damage is not covered unless it is the result of something like a crash or a tree falling on the RV.  

I learned a lot from the inspector did have some good information for me about what needs to be done and how the water may be getting in.  

So, over the next few days we will be doing what we can to dry out, reassemble and seal her up.  

As for the overflowing toilet, we have good news.  Most of the fixtures and appliances seem to have a 2 year warranty.  The toilet is still covered.  I called Dometic, the toilet manufacturer, and they are sending us a new water valve.  We are expecting the valve on Thursday and are keeping an eagle eye on the water level.  It appears to be a very easy installation and we'll pick up an extra valve so we have one on hand should it ever fail again.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Water, Water EVERYWHERE in the Little RV

Friday around noon we started working on the repairs to the front end of the Little RV. You may remember a few weeks ago we noticed the front end around the 5th wheel hitch was sagging.  You can read more about that here.  

We did a ton of research and purchased all of the supplies we needed to repair the collapsed area around the hitch and to reseal the trim around that entire area. 

Those supplies included putty tape to seal behind the trim strips and stainless steel screws to replace the rusted and broken screws. 

We chose ProFlex RV sealant for all of the seams and edges of the trim to keep water out.     
We also knew we needed to replace some insulation because we pulled out some that was soaked.  

My Dad came over to help us with this project because it seemed awfully daunting.  Before he arrived we took some of the trim apart and I did a lot of cleaning so the new sealant would adhere to the fiberglass.   

Once we really got started it became clear that we were in way over our heads. 
There was much more water damage than we ever imagined and the fiberglass had delaminated from the backing due to moisture.
But here is where it got out of control. We discovered water in the front end cap. At that point there was no way for us to continue.  It takes a big shop and many hands to dig into that huge cap. 
We decided to leave the area open because we were expecting dry and warmer weather for the weekend and we hoped it would dry out.  After I regained my composure I went inside to call our insurance company to see if by some miracle they might cover the repairs.   They took my information and I am expecting them to call tomorrow to schedule a time for the inspector to come out and take a look. From the sounds of it, if the damage was caused by some kind of failure it may be covered but if it is from neglect like the sealant not being properly maintained it won't be covered. I feel like we have a 50/50 shot at insurance covering the repairs.  

We did purchase a extended warranty / service agreement but it does not cover water damage.  

So here we are with the Little RV's proverbial fly open waiting for an inspection with only 8 days until we are due to leave.  

This morning when I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom I got just outside the bathroom door and stepped in a very cold, squishy spot in the carpet.  I flipped the light on and discovered the toilet bowl was completely full and was slowly trickling over. The thick, fluffy rug I keep in the bathroom had soaked up a huge amount of the water but it eventually began to seep into the hall carpet. 

I was able to toss the wet rug into the shower and get the water stopped. 
Cleaning up the water in the carpet was a fiasco and it's still not completely dry. Thank goodness it was clean water.  

RV toilets only fill with water when you push down or pull up on the foot leaver.  
Apparently we have a faulty valve in the flush mechanism.  We are watching it closely to make sure it doesn't happen again until we can get it fixed.  I believe our extended warranty will cover this repair but I'll have to call them tomorrow.

I keep wondering what the lesson is in all of this but I just can't figure it out.  We can't undo all that we have done in the past two years.  We can't just go back home and pick up where we left off because this is our home now.  We just have to move forward and make the most of things and try to deal with whatever happens next.   

Today was the most beautiful day of the year so far.  It was warm and sunny and tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer. Let's hope we get good news from the insurance company.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Taking Care of Neglected Tasks in the Little RV

When we bought the Little RV we had a generator and four batteries installed because we eventually wanted to be able to boondock.  We have used the generator a couple of times while parked in Rob's daughter's driveway in Connecticut. 
I'll admit we haven't even started it for months and we have never opened the battery boxes to check the batteries.  

In preparation for our next trip we went out and tackled that little project today. After unplugging the RV from shore power and turning a bunch of stuff off in the Little RV we went back inside and pressed the start button on the generator.  I was sure it wouldn't start, but it started right up. We let it run for a little while.

Next we tackled the battery maintenance. I don't know anything about batteries or how to maintain them so I did some research online. This article has helpful information.  I didn't even know what kind of batteries we had. 

We don't have a pull out tray for our battery bank so you kind of have to bend over and squeeze your shoulders into the opening.  Not particularly comfortable but doable.  The cases were held together with zip ties. After clipping those to gain access I discovered these batteries.  

After removing the caps and checked the water level we found we needed to add more water. The article said to fill with water to the bottom of the refill hole so that's what I did.  They all looked clean and the connections were secure so I replaced the covers and fastened them with more zip ties.  

It always feels good to have accomplished one of these tasks.  Wonder what else we're supposed to be doing but don't even know.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Little RV Starts Another Countdown of Sorts

Since our Alaska plans have changed and we won't be going there until next summer, we're working on an itinerary for the more immediate future.   Rob is exactly 2/5 of the way through his laser treatments in both eyes.  He will finish those up on March 24th.  We have to be here for a check-back on April 22nd but that doesn't mean we have to stay here while we're waiting, right?  

The rent on our lot is paid through the end of the month so our current plan is to leave here on April 1st and spend a few weeks somewhere different.  We're thinking the Reno area but we really haven't decided yet.  

The past week has been awfully busy (and messy) around here.  We discovered a nasty mold infestation under the head of our be around the slide platform. Everything stored under the bed had to be removed and with very limited space, it ended up in the living room for several days.  

Next we completely dismantled the bed frame and removed some carpet from hidden areas under the bed in order to clean it up properly.  The picture above shows the top of the slide housing.  The plywood under the mattress had been removed in order to gain access and the mold had been cleaned up and the wood was drying.  This platform was covered with carpet which we removed and discarded because it was completely saturated and infested with mold.  

We did a ton of research about how to handle the clean-up mold and I read repeatedly that if the area is less than 10 square feet it is safe to do the clean-up yourself.  So we did!  I would normally use bleach to clean the mold but in my research I found that bleach does not penetrate wood and vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide are good choices for cleaning mold from wood.  Bleach is great for hard, non-porous surfaces.  

Having the whole thing open and exposed was rather eye opening. We discovered the materials used to build the bed were just not up to snuff.  The plywood platform the mattress sits on is 1/2 inch and sagging badly.  
Example of shoddy construction and materials
There was no support to speak of under the plywood and when we discovered and cleaned up our condensation problem at the head of the bed the water was pooling in the low spots on the plywood but had apparently also run down the wall onto the box around the slide mechanism. That is where the mold was growing.  It was pretty smelly and disgusting.  

After talking to my dad about the mold and the construction he showed up the next day with some cut to measure lumber and now I am happy to report our bed is sturdy and probably won't sag...ever!  
Thanks Dad! 

We have been drying the area with a fan for several days.  We'll have to keep an eye on it over the long haul but I am fairly confident as long as no more moisture is introduced to the area, we have successfully licked that problem.  

We are also working on an overall purge of unneeded belongings.  We had a donation drop off yesterday and I'm sure there will be at least one or two more.  I managed to cleaned the living room carpet last night too.  Do we have some fun around here or what?

I have to say, after sitting around here crocheting for several months all of this activity is causing me some aches and pains.  Time to go and see some new places and enjoy some sun!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Things Can Change Quickly in the Little RV

Our plans to head for Alaska in a few week have been changed.  Rob needs to undergo some additional medical treatments on his eyes.  These treatments have been scheduled but will put our departure date into June so we have decided to postpone our Alaska trip to next summer.  We're both disappointed but in some ways, the delay is a good one.  It will give us more time to prepare and plan. We'll also have time to experience and become adept at boondocking.  

We haven't decided where we will go once we get the green light but we're working on a plan.  I think we'll have to a few weeks in between the end of Rob's eye treatments and his final check back. That will give us time to make some shorter trips. There are places we especially love like Montana and Wyoming and we've discussed Reno several times. Wherever we go I'm sure it will be a grand adventure. 

Last Saturday my Mom and I drove down to visit my daughter, Christina and her family in Portland.  It was so nice to see them.  

Little Clementine is nearly six months old now.  She is truly the happiest baby I have ever met.  Obviously her brother adores her.