Friday, March 31, 2017

Replacement of WH Gas Valve

Last year I replaced the control board and that solved the problem of no spark to ignite the flame. It did not address the gurgling noise made by the flame. It was not caused by the air/fuel mixture. I ordered a new gas valve from Amazon, installed it and the flame is quiet again. [I know describing a flame as quiet or noisy is not the correct, but it's the best I can do right now]

Installation is easy and I was comfortable doing it. 

Turn off the gas
Unclip the DC supply
Unscrew the gas feed line
Unscrew the single screw that holds the valve to the bracket.
Remove the gas valve.
Remove the gas jet with vice grips and put on the new valve.
Put the new valve in place, attach it to the bracket, put the supply line back on and plug the DC supply.
Turn on the gas and wait much longer than you imagine for the gas to get to the WH.
Fire it up.
Turn it off and check for leaks.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

DIY Solar Install




This is well worth reading for anyone considering a DIY Solar Install. Lots of pictures!

DIY Solar Install

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fogged Windows Repair at RV Glass Solutions

Review of the Phoenix location of RV Glass Solutions. Their main location is in Coburg, OR. 

We are having those three windows repaired. They also offer replacement with either insulated glass or laminated glass. We looked at a sample of the laminated glass and don't think it is as dark as the glass used by LD. They claim that the laminated glass would add about 5 pounds of weight per glass piece. However, only the Coburg location cuts new glass.

Cost to repair is $325 per window. The work is guaranteed for 2 years.

The facility looks good and they have a secure lot with three 50 amp hookups. We arrived last night.

They have just removed the first window in the living room and it was not installed with butyl tape but used double adhesive foam tape and then a bead of caulk around the outside edge. Based on my contact with various repair shops double sticky foam tape appears to be the standard. You can see an installation here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MuVSRpjGCA

No sign of water intrusion on the first one, at least.

It took all day to finish the job with two working on it. They used a black polyurethane sealant/adhesive completely around the circumference after installation. The windows look great and as an added bonus they are incredibly easy to open and close now. I can only assume that was from a cleaning of the interior of the frame.

Total cost was $975 so no additional charges for materials.

Now only time will tell how long the re-sealing will hold up.

Four months later we have been through plenty of rain with no sign of leaks. There was no damage to frames and we were happy with our experience.

Jim Cummings - 2016

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fogged Windows

[Note to Lazy Daze Owners Forum. Where to get windows defogged has come up more than once. I don’t recall anyone responding where they had their windows done. Perhaps none of them read or post to this forum? If there are positive or negative reviews, may I suggest this would be a good time to post them]

This a negative review on Suncoast Designs 


February, 2017 - We went to Hudson, FL to have Suncoast Designs clean five fogged windows in our Lazy Daze MH.  Before we made an appointment we asked if they had worked on a Lazy Daze before. We were assured they had and it would be no problem. When we arrived they said they had done six Lazy Daze in the last few months.


First, the good thing - the windows are clean and clear. Except for one, which already has condensation in it.


When we checked in, the short conversation was very terse. No nice to meet you. We had to pull the information out of her. Where should we park? Where is the dump? What is the WiFi password? etc.


The first thing the next morning, two young, trim, agile men came to remove the valances and shades. Mission accomplished they left. Two others were outside cutting the caulk on the windows with razor blades. This went on for about 90 minutes. The windows barely budged. The original team returned to find out what was taking so long. They said they it usually took 5 to 10 minutes to remove a window. The original pair, led by Austin, went into a frenzied physical mode using pry bars to remove the windows. At this point I did not know they were bending the window frames in the process. I would not know this until the windows were put back in and bulges in the frames showed where the pry bar was used.


After a window was removed, I could see why removal was difficult. The manufacturer put a bead of Locite sealant on the aluminum skin which bonded with the aluminum frame. Another rubber like sealant was used to prevent water from even getting to the Loctite. A belt and suspenders deal. One could argue it’s overkill. I am not so sure.


Before a pry bar was used, we should have appraised that they were experiencing difficulties they had never encountered before. And we should have been offered some choices. Such as:

1) Abandon the project.
2) Advise us the window frames would be bent if they continued.
3) That an additional charge would have to be made because of the extra time needed to remove the windows without bending them.

But they said nothing and we did not know the frames were being bent.


They sealed the window openings with plastic lined cardboard held on with painters tape. Remember the painters tape, this will come into play the next day.


The next day, they had us bring the rig inside to put the windows back in, as it was raining.

That’s when we heard a rubber mallet pounding the bent frames almost back into shape. They applied a bead caulk ONLY to the exterior. No caulk was put under the lip of the window between the frame and the aluminum skin. That means the caulk will have to be redone every 1/2 years due to deterioration from UV light.

This is when I find two places where the paint was lifted off where the painters tape that held the plastic lined cardboard on overnight. One of the men told us that they had told the manager/owner about this problem with the tape before. [Since the majority of rigs are fiberglass, this would not be problem]



Scapes from the pry bar

Paint lifted by the tape used


 Paint lifted by the tape used. You can see the only seal is between the window and paint


Close up of the previous picture

Another scratch from the pry bar

The day ends at 5. They did not do a water test because it was raining. Overnight it rained. One window, over a couch, was not sealed at the top. They sealed it.

We were asked to sign a checklist that said the work had been done. I noted the GM had already signed it, even though he had not looked at our rig. In fact, we did not see him out of the building the time we were there.


Now the second experience - not at all pleasant!  We go inside to pay and asked to speak to the manager. The customer rep, Taylor, says the General Manager has already seen the pictures where the paint was removed and they will take no responsibility for it. We think we should get some credit to have it repainted.  She is determined that will not happen, but finally admits she is authorized to give us $100 off.  After some arguing and then demanding to speak to manager/owner. He comes out of his office, walks down the hall past us and places himself behind the counter and proceeds to tell us off. He never introduced himself, but we found out he is the deceased owner’s son. 


The GM is arrogant. Nothing is their fault. It’s all Lazy Daze fault because they use cheap paint and are built on the cheap. Anyone that knows Lazy Daze, knows cheap is not a word that can describe any part of them. They have held a five-star rating for decades. The paint is a two part epoxy that lasts for over 20 years without fading. And get this, not only did the painters tape remove the cheap Lazy Daze paint, it also removed paint from the Hehr windows. Guess they use cheap paint also. 


Finally, he agrees to give us $150 off. Less than it will cost to have the paint touched up.


Suncoast states that we signed a document during check-in advising us that paint removal might occur. That is prima facie evidence that they knew of the problem, but silently concealed it. Talk about Buyer Beware. No one would knowingly sign something that said they were giving Suncoast the right to damage their RV.


Our Lazy Daze is nine years old and has zero factory defects. The paint is perfect, not a single bubble.


I was always taught that the customer is always right, whether they are or not!  Small businesses operate on the goodwill of customers.  This guy was a total jerk and we would strongly recommend not using them, especially if you own a Lazy Daze or any other rig that is painted.


BTW, I met two other owners in for service who were there as come-backs. Suncoast Designs claims the best warranty in the business, but what good is a warranty when you are thousands of miles away and the window is leaking. In fact, it is not much good if you park your rig next door to Suncoast Designs and do not check for water leaks after every rain.


In fairness to Suncoast, not many RV’s are built to the quality standard of Lazy Daze. Other windows can be removed in five minutes because they are barely sealed at the factory. They leave Suncoast the same way. Most RVs have fiberglass skins, so paint removal is not an issue. 


We are still finding screws that were not put back in. Even though I loaned them a hex head tool to put them back in. We found one window screw hole that was stripped out.


In summary:

The window frames were bent and show the bumps.
Paint was lifted off the exterior and the window frames.
One window was not sealed and is showing internal condensation.
One window was not externally sealed and rain soaked the bed.
At least a dozen screws were not replaced.
Nothing is the fault of Suncoast.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Replacing The Automatic Transfer Switch

Does your rig have a hardwired surge protector?  If so, you could have power at the source plug but nothing in the rig, it sounds like a bad ATS is a likely culprit.  While they usually fail in either Generator mode or Shore mode, I did have one that failed both ways.  If you can get the generator going and have power, but none with the shore power, it is almost certain to be the ATS.

Are your electrical skills up to working on the electronics?  If so, here are step-by-step instructions to check and to replace the ATS.  IF YOU ARE UNCERTAIN OF YOUR ABILITIES IN THIS AREA, DO NOT TRY THIS!

1) Cut the power. Check with a meter to be certain there is no 120v power in the system.

2) Remove the brown power panel cover using a Torx head driver.

3) There are 4 hex head screws going into the wood in the top left and right, and the middle left and right of the power panel frame. Remove them.

4) Slide the power panel toward you until it clears the frame and you can tilt it forward to see the ATS mounted on the back.

5) Open the top of the ATS.  This is usually done by loosening or removing 1 to 3 screws on the ATS cover.

6) Looking down into the ATS, you will see 3 bare grounds connected to lugs on the side, and you will see three white and three black wires connected to six lugs.  I will call them 1 through 6, left to right.  One, two and three are black and four, five and six are white. THIS IS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS!  Turn the power on and use your meter to check voltage on the wires.  Check between #1 and #6, between #2 and #5, and between #3 and #4.  On my rig 1 and 6 are the power from the ATS to the power panel, 2 and 5 are the generator and 3 and 4 are for the shore connection. If yours is wired differently, make a note of how your wires connect, so you get it right at re-assembly.  With your rig connected to shore power, you should find 120v on the Shore connection pair, 3 and 4.  Once you find power there, check 1 and 6.  If there is no power there, the ATS is bad.  If you have power at 1 and 6, the ATS is working, and your problem is probably inside the power panel.  You need a pro. If you have no power coming in from the Shore Connection, your problems lie elsewhere, probably in your shore connection cable or its plug, its socket, or the plug on the wall of the RV.

7) Turn the power off. MAKE SURE IT IS OFF!

I have worked on 4 ATS's, and all 4 attached differently to the power panel. In one case I had to remove the breakers, drill out rivets, and drill new holes for the self-tapping screws mounting the new ATS.  I found a Parallax link at http://d163axztg8am2h.cloudfront.net/static/doc/f6/f3/baa96cf1c020f6f561dfa1303f92.pdf that may be helpful.

The basics are, loosen the 3 white, 3 black and 3 ground wire lugs.  Loosen the strain reliefs.  Remove wires, then remove the old ATS from the power panel.  Attach the new ATS to the Power Panel.  Re-mount the wiring, doing the grounds first, then 1 and 6 for the power panel, 2 and 5 for the generator, and 3 and 4 for the shore supply. Follow the torque settings for the lugs.  That is important. [See diagram below]

Gee - I sure made that sound simple.  When I did it, it has NEVER been simple. If it sounds confusing, challenging or intimidating, do not even try.  Get a pro to do it for you. If you screw it up, you can fry your panel, fry your shore cable, burn up your rig, or fry yourself. I say again, if this is outside your skill set, get a pro to do it.

OK, put the cover on the ATS, slide the panel back into position, put in the 4 screws and re-mount the brown cover.  You're done.


Ken F in NM


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Replacing Refrigerator Seals

We noted this year that the refrigerator was not as cool as before. We had to set it to the coldest setting and then it was only around 42. Before this year, on the mid-range setting it stayed about 38. The DW thought to do the dollar bill test. That found the seals needed to be replaced. [It a bill slips easily between the seal and the frame, the seals need replacing] No complaints, the unit is nine years old and unlike the one in the house, it’s subject to both freezing and 100 degree temps. 

I found Dometic seals on eBay for less than direct from Dometic. We have an RM2662 unit and the replacement seals are part number 3108704374. Check your model before ordering. We ordered from hard2findrvpart. The cost was a pricey $117.

The kit ships with double sided tape and a small tube of food quality silicon. I talked with the PM at hard2findrvpart and he advised to toss the tape and get a bigger tube of silicon because they found the tape will release. Lowe’s has DAP Commercial Kitchen Silicone Specialty Caulk which should work.

To remove the doors, you will need two 10mm wrenches. There is a plastic cap topping the pivot pin for freezer door. When that is removed, the mystery of how the doors come off will be revealed.

Removing the old seals will take two hours with a razor knife. The factory seals are installed in a channel and you will have to remove them from the channel. They seals were installed before the two pieces of the door were snapped together. There is no way to unsnap them. Hence the long time to cut them out. Do not try to pull the seal out. You will probably break the thin plastic. And that would mean a new door.

The new seals lay flat on the door, not in the channel. Hence the need for a good sealant.

Monday, October 24, 2016

My Thoughts On Towing

I don't claim to know it all.

Why Tow

It's a life style choice. We would not travel without our Jeep. We take our Lazy Daze places many would not. We take the Jeep to the places the LD can not go. If your traveling style means short duration trips, full hooks and stopping at scenic overlooks. You should be fine without a toad.

What To Tow

Unless you intend to do some serious off-road wheeling, I would discourage getting a TJ or JK Jeep. They are special purpose vehicles for rock climbing, etc. If you want the convenience of a transfer case for towing, but don't intend to drive the Moab trails, you would save weight and money getting an older Grand Cherokee or a newer Renegade. 

If you don't need a Jeep, there are some other vehicles, such as the Forester, which can be towed four down with few restrictions.

Got to have a Jeep? Consider the lighter weight TJ model that was built through 2006. If you want a new JK Jeep, consider the lighter 2DR rather then the popular 4DR. Understand that the rear seat on a 2DR is only suitable for dogs and small kids, but it's lighter and turns sharper than the Unlimited. Our rear seat came out the day we brought the Jeep home.

The Hitch

An ongoing topic in the Lazy Days forum is towing over 4,000 pounds which is the rated maximum for the factory hitch. "Beefing up" the hitch is the common suggestion. What constitutes "beefing" is nebulous. How does one find a "good hitch shop". I am not willing to trust that just anyone knows how to do it. All I can say is that doubling the attachment to the frame might be the way to go. That seems like a simple task to me. Weld on two additional braces. Maybe that's all that's required.

We have towed a 4,250 pound Jeep for 95,000 miles on the factory hitch. Since 10% is a common engineering safety margin I am comfortable. I did upgrade the bumper bolts to Grade 8 with larger washers. I found several loose nuts in the process. I used blue Locktight when I put on the new bolts. The bolt upgrade may have increased the tow capacity? Whatever you are towing this is a MUST MOD. Thanks to Larry Wade for this excellent improvement.

September, 2016
I followed Ed Daniels into a hitch shop in Moab, UT. Ed has a TK. The shop owner, Ben Wilson, did not think it needed anything extra to safely tow a 2016 Wrangler. Ed said he liked to tow down rough dirt roads. So Ben added a corner gusset to "beef it" up. Ben looked at my MB and saw no way to add any structural integrity. He drew out the TK design and compared it to the MB design. Way different. He saw no signs of metal fatigue after towing 95,000 miles. No wrinkles in the paint that would indicate the metal has been flexed. I felt better. I asked him to tack weld the adjustable part of the hitch, so it could not move if the bolts ever came loose again. And left feeling better about the LD hitch. If you are in the Moab area and want a pro to check yours out, the man to see is Ben Wilson at 435-260-2044.


Larry Wade's backing plate


 Ed Daniel's TK mod
 Ed Daniel's TK mod

Our MB tack welded just to prevent any movement in case of a loose bolt

The Crux Of The Matter

If I were looking at a used LD I would be leery of one that had a beefed up hitch. I would wonder exactly how much they had been towing? There is not only the 4,000 hitch limit, there is the almost ignored 20,000 pound GCWR. That rating decreases as the elevation increases. I would wonder how the extra weight has affected the transmission? Did the owner monitor the transmission temperature with a gauge? How often was the fluid changed. I would look at the color of the fluid. 

Downhill, the extra weight is stressing two components, the transmission and the brakes. Assuming you are using Tow Haul and allowing the engine to partially brake the decent, the  extra weigh can spin the transmission toward the red line. Using the brakes more heats the rotors. Have you priced those lately? 2008 rigs come with larger rotors that should help. [Had I known Ford was going to make that change, I would have waited a few months to place the order]

It's balancing act to get the toad brakes to engage correctly. You sure don't want them coming on too hard and braking the Lazy Daze. The ability to set when and how hard the toad brakes come on are an advantage of systems like SMI makes. 

Important, But Neglected GCWR

You can move your rock collection from the LD to the toad axle, but all of the weight counts toward the GCWR. There is no free lunch. 

The GCWR is reduced 2% per 1,000 feet of elevation. This applies to ALL E450 chassis with the V10 engine.

An example:

We unhook, if we are going over 6,000 feet for any distance. Think of that long steep grade west of Denver. Our MB is 13,700 + 4,250 for the Jeep, for a total of 18,000 -  inside the max GCWR of 20,000 at sea level, but not above 5,000 feet. Folks, you should be just as concerned about the GCWR as the hitch limit.

Don't care for my example? Think you can load up the toad and have that free lunch? Here's what Wikipedia has to say on GCWR.

Bottom line, if your are towing much over the rated capacity of the hitch, it's a good thing to have it doubly connected to the frame. It's is important to weigh both vehicles, to monitor your transmission temperature and to not tow at higher elevations. And know that a informed buyer may see the beefed up hitch as a concern.

Don Malpas

See also http://www.lazydazeowners.com/index.php?topic=28840.0

and

http://lazydazearticles.blogspot.com/2011/03/strengthen-your-hitch.html