Saturday, June 30, 2007

Clandestine carpet replacement

I'm struggling a bit with how to present today's update. That's because we're, umm, not really here.

What I mean to say is that we are parked at the new up-and-coming home of a business that is not yet open and therefore whose details I can not yet share. Suffice it to say that the owner is a long-time friend of ours and his new business here will involve RV renovations and updates, and he has graciously agreed to help us with replacing our carpets with a more durable flooring that will not retain pet fur as the carpet did. As soon as the business actually opens I will post the details here. At this point, I don't think I can even discuss the actual flooring material, other than to say that it is a woven vinyl material with a rubber backing that goes down very similar to sheet vinyl flooring, but is at the same time more resilient and more durable. We've chosen a weave that looks similar to a far-eastern woven mat of, say, rattan or bamboo, which complements our maple cabinets without being too close in color. We'll try to post some photos when it's done.

We arrived Thursday morning in the hopes that we'd be done by Friday afternoon, but various complications got in the way. Notably the fact that once we removed the carpet, we found areas that will need to be trimmed out in some way -- plush carpet over ten-pound pad hides a multitude of sins. Also, since the rough carpentry for the living room and penthouse assumed from day one that the flooring would be carpet, there were a number of spots on both levels that needed to be sanded flush, and corners that needed to be squared off or rounded off depending on which way the new material will run. So it looks like we will be here right up until the July 4th holiday, if not beyond. That's fine with us, as it gives us this weekend off to catch up on a few things, including posting here to the blog.

While the guys worked on getting the carpet out and taking their measurements, I squeezed myself into the right front wheel well to deal with the flaky ride-height valve. I'd done this before, so I was a little surprised when I had trouble squeezing my body in between the wheel and the fender (once inside, there is plenty of room to sit upright and work). And I know I've lost weight since the last time I was in there, dropping from a 36 to a 34 waist. Then it hit me -- we'd changed from 12R22.5 to 315/80R22.5 tires, and the extra girth was not mine, but the tire's. We had to run that wheel up on 2x6's for me to finally squeeze in.

Once I got the valve apart the problem was immediately evident: there was a hard clump of crud sitting right on top of the piston, perhaps 1-2mm in diameter. I'm sure just brushing that off would have cured the problem, but as long as I had the valve apart I pulled both piston heads and the spring, cleaned them and the inside of the chamber, and carefully put the whole thing back together. After half an hour in the confines of the wheel well I was more than happy to be done and squeeze back out. We aired the bus up and -- voila! -- the other valve (on the driver side) immediately began leaking. Harumph.

I had had enough claustrophobia for one day, so we decided to just let the air compressor run every few minutes, as the left side leak was much slower than the right had been. Also, I know that often this problem just goes away on its own after I drive a few miles, and whatever dust particle is trapped in there, keeping the piston from sealing, flushes out on its own in the regular operation of the valve. Sure enough, after a full day of compressor cycling the valve closed of its own accord, and I am hoping I am not in for another valve rebuild for some time to come.

Yesterday we got booted out of the bus while the flooring was being cut to shape, so we contented ourselves with sitting in the shop reading or surfing the net. It did rain quite a bit yesterday, and we were disturbed to note a continuing leak above the left Peninsula window -- I'm closing in on it, though, and have narrowed it down to an area of the front cap just below the rain gutter. I need to get out the compressed air gun and a bottle of soap solution to pin that sucker down.

Today's project was fixing an annoying squeak in the bathroom FanTastic. I spent a couple hours on the roof, pulling the fan/motor assembly out of the housing. After removing the hub set screw to remove the fan blades, I discovered that the fan hub was corroded to the motor spindle, and nothing I did would shake the two loose. Both the motor mount and the fan blade are plastic, which have likely become quite brittle in four years, and I was only willing to put so much pressure on either one before I gave up. I squirted some WD40 (yeah, yeah, I know -- it's a solvent, not a lubricant, but it's the only thing I had that would reach) as best I could in the general direction of the motor spindle and bearing, and put the whole mess back together. It squeaks a bit less, now, but I foresee a replacement FanTastic in my future.


  1. Hi. Long time reader, first comment. Love the blog. Missed seeing Odyssey twice as you passed through Greensboro just a few miles from my home. Back to the topic though. Fantastic Vent stands behind there products and will send you replacement parts for free. Take care. Paul

  2. You said the magic words: "more durable flooring that will not retain pet fur as the carpet did" at the beginning of your post. Whatever you do and as soon as you can without breaking confidences, let the rest of us with pets and carpets know what this supernatural stuff is. Please, please, please.

    Thank you.

    Robert in Houston

  3. Let the folks at Fantastic Fan know about the squeek, the will likley ship you the parts for free. 800-521-0298 Even if the fan is out of warranty. They are committed to customer service.


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