Category Archives: RedneckRepairs

A merry little dumpster diving year-end adventure

Hi readers:

When I left Andrews on Christmas Eve morning a cold fog wrapped the RV and a tasteful bow atop kept it all together for the felines and me until I reached Big Spring.  That’s where the brakes on the RV failed.  Roughly 100 yards before the entryway into the parking lot for a chain store for auto parts.

Great, helpful folks there while I was diagnosing the cause of the problem, feeding brake fluid to the pre-Christmas Universe.  Determining the next best guess to be a failed master cylinder.  And me with almost no tools along.

Ordered the master cylinder inside the store, arranged with them to park in their lot until it arrived the day following Xmas.  They showed me an electrical outlet where I could plug in to keep the heater and lights modern.

Hydrox, Tabby and I watched a store employee carrying boxes past us to the dumpster straining to get them over the side.  One plastic box appeared to be a great possibility for a litter box, so I went over to retrieve it.  I was astonished to observe the dumpster was home to several boxes with taped label, “Manager Disposal”, the contents scattered among the lowbrow cartons and candy wrappers.

The contents:  open end wrenches all sizes, box end wrenches, socket sets, miscellaneous other tools, a couple of which I’d surely need for the master cylinder replacement.  So early Christmas morning I climbed down the chimney of the dumpster and began digging out every tool I could bring myself to save from the landfill.

Finished in time to have myself a nice Christmas dinner of something-or-other, cuddle a cat, watch a vintage movie.

Next morning the master cylinder arrived, I installed it with the dumpster-tools, ran the RV around the parking lot a bit to test the brakes, and headed off to points south.

Easily the weirdest Christmas I’ve ever been blessed with.

Old Jules

Turnbuckles – The Final Solution

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

carrier and box 1

A guy over in Rock Springs built this platform to fit into the hitch receiver out of scrap iron for me.  Another guy threw in the junk toolbox and bolted it into the platform.  Cost for the whole shooting match was too insignificant to believe.

And once I had it I could carry an el cheapo 2.5 ton floor jack to ease my concerns about future blowouts.  But carrying that floor jack home in there showed me the hitch receiver doesn’t have the moxie to keep the thing straight and level.  By the time I got home it was listing a few inches on the side the floor jack was riding.

carrier and box 2

I studied on it for a day trying to think of every possible solution.  I had a set of tiedown turnbuckles and clamps from a roof rack carrier I knew someday I’d find a use for.

carrier and box 3

Voila!

carrier and box 4a

Ran cables across the top of the bumper and attached them to the RV frame.  Pulled that mama back up level with the bumper slicker than greased owl-scat.

One of the nice things about this thing is that I can trailer it, along with other containers when I want to pull a trailer, leave the trailer behind and put this into the hitch receiver when I want to slum and go spartan.

And always have a floor jack along to do the heavy lifting.

Old Jules

The Rube Goldbergism Field

non electromagnet

Hi readers.  Thanks for the visit.

Every five-year-old knows you can create an electromagnetic field by wrapping a copper coil around a soft-iron rod and introducing a current.  But along about my 67th-or-so tip around the sun I began wondering what would happen if you wrapped a copper rod with a soft-iron wire and introduced a permanent magnet to the wire.  Surely, I figured, it would create a field of some sort, not necessarily an electric one, but something.

I tripped around the web trying to find out what people have found it does, didn’t find anything.  Asked my more smart-alec friends, and they only shrugged.

Finally I decided if I want to know, I’d have to try it hands-on.

The front part of the rod is as described.  The back part with the larger coil is iron, more likely steel wire with an anodized copper coating.  Figured to try it both ways, the anamagnetic coating on the copper coated wire allowing it to simulate ‘insulation’ between the wraps of wire.

Well, friends and neighbors, I don’t know what all that damned thing does.  Though I’m getting some fair indications of a couple of unlikely things it seems to do.  Along with it seeming to attract one-hell-of-a-lot of a particular kind of bug.

But their ain’t any point for me to make any claims about it one way or the t’other.  Some of you already know so much you’d already know it doesn’t do what it seems to.  And others wouldn’t, but would know it doesn’t put any food on the table.

So instead of me telling you what I think it does, I’m going to suggest if you’re interested you give it a try.  And listen really carefully with your eyes, ears, and complete attention to what goes on around you when you do it.

Meanwhile, this damned thing’s going with me, where ever I might go for a while.  Hasn’t entirely satisfied me I know everything I want to know about it.

Old Jules

The basic idea’s sound enough

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by.

shaker drywasher

Most of you probably won’t find this of interest, but possibly Eddie and Keith might.  Keith saw earlier efforts directed to a similar end back during the early 1990s, and I described something similar to Eddie last December.

The idea here’s to have a portable enough contraption to be light and easy to manage through some walking distance, fast enough in the assembly, unstable enough to allow a lot of shaking.  The whirlygig on the weedwhopper needs to be out of balance enough to provide the vibration.  But the bearing will be side loaded, so it might self destruct before enough use to justify it.

The next frame will be an aluminum golf-caddy on wheels, which is capable of being as unstable as the chair frames.  That would also allow it to be rolled instead of carried where it’s to be used.

There’s going to have to be a grizzly up ahead of the platform/table, which might cause too much weight for this method to allow enough shaking of the table/riffles to do the job.  Might also need a counter-balance at the bottom to keep an angle on the table, which will also need to be tested.

I don’t know how much adjusting will be needed on the table to keep things moving, but slowly enough so’s it doesn’t move too fast.  Also don’t know how much classifying would be needed ahead of the thing, how large the material could be for it to work.

You can see the two front legs on the frame are off the ground.  That’s so it can be rocked forward, both to provide instability, and to allow adjustment of the table angle.  Naturally it has to have a bottom surface on the riffle/table.

But the whole thing as the huge advantage, provided it works, of not throwing up a mile-high cloud of dust.  I doubt it will move as much material as a store-bought portable drywasher, but it lacks a lot of the disadvantages, and it is an inexpensive alternative.

Might be worth trying, anyway.

Old Jules

Teetering on the brink of a Christian Era here

Hi readers.

Whoopteeedoo!  Something finally worked as planned.

Escape route 2.51 storage

It’s been troubling my mind for some while, that huge storage box I couldn’t access because the ladder was wokkyjaw damaged, one leg at the top swinging loose, kinks and bends, supports pulled through the RV skin.  Not one thing about it caused a man to wish to climb it.

RV ladder repair 5

I worked most of the day crossing my fingers and knocking on wood as I went.  Cut about three inches out of the section toward the top, slid an undersized piece of tubing inside and spliced it together. 

RV ladder repair 3

That allowed the end that’s supposed to  connect on the roof to come down enough to touch, anyway.  There was a piece of rusted 1/8 inch steel rod, threaded, sticking out of the roof.  Supposed to go inside the ladder connected somehow, I reckons.

RV ladder repair 4

Couldn’t think of any meaningful way to replace it, so I whittled down a piece of broom handle to fit inside the tubing, drilled a 1/16th inch hole lengthwise through it and gorilla-glued the hell out of it.

RV ladder repair 6

Couldn’t think of much anything to do with the tools at hand about that kink, so I just hose-clamped a step on top of it.

RV ladder repair storage2

Now that I can get to it, that box is going to carry a sleeping bag, coleman stove, small tent, pick and shovel, gold pans and classifier, backpack and a number of other essentials I’d been gnashing my teeth wondering how to carry along.

Life wasn’t bad yesterday, but it’s better today.

Old Jules

Solar Shower – Overdesigned under-utilized

Shower

This was briefly my smartassed solar shower.  Lasted through one, count’em: 1 each of those 8 gallon water jugs.  Getting 60 pounds of water up there in a way so’s it will stay decided me the showering I got wasn’t worth the hernia I almost got.

So next time in town I went to Walmart and bought a 2 gallon insecticide sprayer.

Smug Self-Congratulation and Slow Rapid Advancement

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

When I brought up the screen to post I noticed it’s November 18.  Old Sol’s muttering to me that he’s becoming bored with all my scurryings and goings on every time I go around him again without becoming a bit wiser in any way discernable by alert human beings.

But tomorrow I’ll have gotten by with it 70 times despite a persistent, continuing foolishness and determination to smack head-on into heavy, solid objects.  One such object I’ll be telling you about here, but that’s later on in the post.  But first, a few other matters. 

My friend Rich and his wife Lisa came to visit a few days recently.  We spent a lot of time just savoring the company, hours and days flashing by in such rapid sequence I’m reminded of those strobes a person used to have a to deal with on dance floors during the 1980s when I try to remember the details.

All I can say for certain is the time passed more as a pleasant dream than some feet-on-the-ground experience anchored in reality.

But somewhere during all that Rich fixed my computer so’s it connected online through WIFI.  When I left one evening he was downloading several years of updates to Windows Vista and AVG, which turned out to be a considerable task.

Rich has an amazing music collection and he brought along an 8gb flash drive loaded with some I didn’t have.  Took a T-drive back with him I’d freed up 600 gb from and he’ll be sending me the rest of what he has.

Amazing times we live in, where a thing such as that can happen.

Reality did rear up and whinny, however.

The second night I was driving home, moderate speed, and saw a dim shape in the oncoming lane ahead.  Thought it might be a deer and moved my foot to the brake, but before I could press the pedal it became a frightened, full grown buck.

I stood the RV on its nose while the deer ran in front, reversed himself, ran back, then back again before the WHACK.  A catastrophy for the deer, but a wild stroke of luck for me.

The incident revealed all the cabinet doors in the RV suffered from metal fatigue.  Every item I’d carefully arranged in those cabinets, securely stored, came down, forward, cans of cat food hitting the back of my head, all manner of articles filling the floorboard underfoot.  A crucial piece of knowledge I’d hate to have learned under different circumstances.

So the past few days have been spent scratching my head about the best ways for securing belongings in a vehicle destined to travel at highway speeds with the potential for sudden stops.  Studying those cabinet doors for ways to lock them shut. 

Trying out cargo nets as an option.

Installing recycled refrigerator shelves and ways to secure what’s on them, along with a platform from a grader-ditch cooler-top for the comp to sit on when I need it as a GPS, a place for incidentals the rest of the time.

Which is all to say, these are things I needed to know, bought at the price of minimal damage to the RV, the life of a buck deer, and enough expense making repairs to cut into the gas money I’d been hoarding.

Well worth the cost of setting back departure clock enough to accomodate it.

I’ve been waiting almost 70 years for this trip and the cats assure me a few more days won’t matter.

Old Jules

Escape Route [or Rout] Projects and Such

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I suppose any vehicle as old as this one and built as this one was built would inevitably require some fixup before becoming a cabin on wheels.  I mentioned in an earlier post about the springs sagging, and the springs have arrived, waiting for the new shocks to get here.

But I’m going to remove that AC unit up there to get rid of the weight, replace it with a roof vent, which is in transit.    That’s a lot of weight up there to be carrying around for something I’m unlikely to use much.  And there’s evidence the roof structure doesn’t need the challenge it provides.

I covered that crack in the front window with Gorilla tape for now, but ultimately I’m thinking I’ll cut a flat piece of panel to place behind it and fill in the bubble-void with insulation foam. 

Probably put a compartment in it for a GPS receiver with a better view of the sky than I’d get from the dashboard.

I’ll run Delorme Street Atlas on the laptop when I’m trying to navigate around towns, but I truly love Terrain Navigator where there’s enough variation in the terrain to justify using it.  I’m rigging a stand for the laptop to swivel from one of the passenger-side neck-support posts.

This thing just posted by itself.  I’m just going to finish it, editing in the rest, I reckons.

Anyway, once I get the AC off I’ll do a complete over on the roof with this stuff, and new caulking anywhere my imagination leads me.  The critical path on this part is that I can’t pull off the AC until the 14×14 roof vent arrives to replace it.

I’ve been feeling the walls and ceiling inside and out, drilling through and squirting in a lot of that Great Stuff foam where I find a void, of which there are a sufficient number to allow me a sense of accomplishment.

Then there’s the matter of the cats.  I’m making that overhead into a travel space for the cats to enjoy themselves in while we’re on the road.  A place where they can’t contrive to get underfoot, or jump out at a gas station to find a new life for themselves.

Once we’re parked somewhere it will go back to being a bed, whatever, but on the road it will be a cage.  They won’t like it, but they’ll like it better than all the alternatives they’d find in the alternative Universe they’d be choosing for themselves if they got loose.

And against the advice of people who know a lot more than I do about these matters, I’m going to find, or construct a small trailer to pull behind for large bags of cat food, tools, extra clothing, and probably some prospecting gear.

This thing’s for sale in San Antonio [Converse] on Craigslist for $100.  If I weren’t so far from SA I’d snap it up, gut it and convert it to a light haul trailer with a top to pull behind the Toyota.  Might be a ragged out popup is sitting behind someone’s house within a 40 mile radius they’d part with at a similarly righteous price.

But I’ve messed this post up enough for now.  Maybe I’ll go into this more later on a post I haven’t already posted.

Old Jules

The Fantastic Foreign Flip-Flop Flim-Flam

There’s a grave crisis looming, readers.  Time was when good American foots were protected by good American-made flip-flops.  They never failed.  Those old timey flip-flops lasted until they’d absorbed so much foot odor a hog would turn up its nose at them.  Normal landfills rejected them, demanded they be treated as hazardous waste.

But that’s all changed.  You see how those straps come out?  See how the layers of soles separate, sneakily intended to render the entire thing useless?  That’s the Asian plan for taking over the flip-flop world.

They think there’s nothing a good American can do about it, but they’re wrong.   If you can remember to pick up some Gorilla Glue you can make those babies run until they stink, just like the good American ones did.  In the top pic you can see those had been glued, but not sufficiently and the soles peeled open elsewhere.

I ran out of glue in the process, so I’ve had to store up my flim-flammed-flip-flops until I can remember to pick up another bottle.  Which is going to need to be soon, because I’m down to two [2] intact flip-flops, both for the same foot.

Next trip to town for sure, I’m getting me some Gorilla Glue, get my foots back into some respectable footware for two different feet.

Old Jules

Thoughts on the 1977 School Bus as a Cat House

I’ve been scratching under my hat over a number of issues regarding that old school bus as a potential escape route, studying pictures taken last time in town.  Wondering how a person might get around various problems.

One that jumps out immediately is the fact there’s no way of locking the doors, either the front, or the emergency door.  So a person who didn’t fix that problem wouldn’t want to be a sound sleeper.  Or go off out-of-sight of it if he had anything inside he wanted there when he got back.

Another is that no obvious place to mount a spare tire seems to be included in the design. I suppose a person might rig a way to keep one on the roof if there’s no place underneath to hang it. 

Those wheels appear to weigh 75 pounds or more, though, so getting them up there would be a growth experience.

Interestingly, there appears to be an old Volkswagen living underneath there.

Evidently it was retrofitted to power a huge refrigeration air conditioning complex above the rows of seats, both sides.  My thought is that the shelves are nice, but the refrigerator is gonna have to come out.  Maybe the VW engine, too, so’s to make room for a spare tire.

Meanwhile, the windows don’t lock shut and some screens would have to be rigged to keep insects out and provide a disincentive for cats jumping out open windows to explore the highway.

I’ve always wanted something with a lot of switches to try to figure out as I drive along.

Nothing about it, I reckons, that can’t be overcome, but a challenge or two if the thing decides to jump into my life.

[I was watching for a place in here to use the word 'footfeet' because it's such a novel piece of language history involving automobiles.  For the unaware, people used to call the brake, clutch and throttle pedals 'footfeet'.  But there's not a lot I can think of to say about the footfeet of this bus.  Hmmm, except,]

The footfeet appear to be intact, adequate and functional.

Old Jules