Getting ready to venture to Seaside Monday. The day before usually entails packing and loading and the inevitable forgetting of some important item. The weather in Seaside looks promising, a little cooler than Seattle at the moment.
I’ll try to post as much as possible. May have to utilize public spaces for wifi. Fingers crossed.
A few weeks ago I purchased a retractable coach step from Etrailer.com. This particular model is made by a company called Lippert. This one has a piece of steel, which you can’t see, running between the two mounting brackets. That extra sideways support, I thought, would help stabilize the step. This was both a safety concern as well as a convenience driven modification. Coachmen, in their wisdom, did not think the coach entrance needed a step to enter and exit the coach. We have been using a foldable, plastic step the past two summers and it was a bit dangerous as well as a pain in the ……
After I bought this retracble step ( seen in the operating position) my nephew and I had to find a way to engineer it so it would actually be safe and work for some time. Most RV’s that come with a retractable step have a metal box just underneath the first coach stop so you attach the new step on top to the brackets and on the sides to the metal box it fits into. We didn’t have that box, so…..
What we did was get a piece of 3/16th steel to place on the top of the first coach step ( underneath the grip tape you see) attach the steel plate through to the step brackets underneath ( where you can’t see in this photo). Our thought was that the steel plate would carry the load across the step, making it strong enough to handle foot traffic. Most of the stress/load on the retractable step is downward, so using the galvanized carriage bolts and lock washers it seemed like it would be more than ample to handle the load or stresses we will put it through. The steel plate was painted with a black, matte primer to keep rust away as long as possible as well as the underside of the step. When retracted, the step you see locks into position so it doesn’t vibrate to the open position when traveling.
So, I think we are ready for the first voyage of this summer, coming up on July 9th, when we take two of our grandkids with us to Seaside, Oregon, about a five hour drive from our home. Hopefully both the new step and our sanity will be intact at weeks end!!
From The Mothership
docked in Seattle, WA.
Just doing some repairs before we launch this year. The step up on the drivers side of the cab had become dislodged from its bracket. My wife’s nephew was able to reattach it with a carriage bolt so that is ready to go. The next project, with the help of the same nephew, will be to install a retractable coach step. Coachmen’s design didn’t include a step up into the coach itself. We have bee using a small, foldable step stool. It’s small, not very stable, so I felt it was time to try some after market step. Most of the best after market items can be found on Etrailer.com. They are great to work with and have quite an inventory of parts. The step should be here in a few days as it comes from their headquarters in Missouri. The step will have to be strengthened with additional pieces of steel on each side to spread the weight of the load over the width of the bracket mount. Will post some before and after photos after it is done. Sometimes you have to get creative to make changes! Having bone issues, I’m excited to have a solid step to use to enter the coach.
From the Mothership
Docked in Seattle!
We’ve been prepping The Mothership for a few excursions this summer. Last Saturday we spent a couple of hours washing the vehicle from top to bottom. Lots of dirt on the roof, but now it is shiny clean. Recently, when the guy who services The Mothership came out to un-Winterize the systems, it was noted that all of the Michelin tires had cracked sidewalls where the tread connected to the sidewalls. I knew the treads depth was fine ( the Mothership has only 32K miles on it), but had never really paid much attention to the sidewalls. It really looked dangerous so I took some photos and went out to a tire store to get their opinion. As it turned out, Michelin did a recall on these tires in 2012, the same year The Mothership was assembled. I was taken aback as that meant the previous owner was probably notified about the recall and chose to do nothing. We had traveled all over the country in 2016 with defective tires! The good news was Michelin would replace all tires for free ( a cost of $1,200.000). My only cost would be the labor to replace the tires.
Yesterday I drove The Mothership out to Discount Tire ( great people) and had the new Michelins, defect free) put on. In addition to the labor costs I added an extended warranty that covers the tires for more than the usual-including sidewall and punctures. Driving home from the tire shop I noticed a difference in how the Mothership felt and handled.
Next on the prep-list is a repair to the drivers side step up. This part is made of aluminum and is prone to rust where it attaches to the coach. Wednesday evening my wife’s nephew, an ASE mechanic who does the oil changes, etc on the vehicle is coming over to asses what options we may have for fixing this issue.
Living in the Pacific NW and all of the rain we get is hard on vehicles. Just being parked in our driveway for most of the year can result in weather related problems.
We have two short trips planned this summer: One to Ocean Shores for 4 days, taking our grandkids and a couple of weeks later we meet up with our son and family, who are coming out from Brooklyn to visit. We’re taking a 4 day trip around the Olympic Peninsula. Should be fun.
I’ll keep updating this blog throughout our travels this summer.
from The Mothership
docked in Seattle.