Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Patsi and I went to a Water Wise committee meeting this afternoon and one of our friends scolded me for not updating the blog. So I apologize to everyone for not being more Johnny on the spot with the updates.

We have been busy except when the wind is blowing really hard or it was too cold to work outside. I did get most of the fluids changed on the Sun Bird. The alternator needed new brushes but I ordered a new one. Replaced the belts and got the anti-freeze changed only to find out that my surge tank had begun leaking. So, I had to order a new surge tank. They recommend when you switch from anti-freeze that requires an SCA additive (provided by a filter) to an anti-freeze that has the SCA additive already in it, to drain, add the new anti-freeze, run it til you get it to temperature, then drain again and replace with new anti-freeze for the second time. This process gets most of the old anti-freeze out of the system. The surge tank insured that I do that. Only a $250 additional charge. Ugh!

I went to Las Cruces to the dirt track races March 1 to help Toby & Tommy Herring with their race car. I'm not a great pit crew hand but I can change a tire and check the air. I took the Sun Bird out for the first time since I swapped everything and was hoping that I wouldn't have any issues. The trip to Las Cruces went pretty well. I'd ordered two new tires for the front but they didn't come in until Friday morning, so I decided to gamble and go on the old tires. They looked good but they were 8 years old. From everything I've read, once tires get 7-8 years old you better start thinking about getting new shoes. Older tires tend to separate the tread (which makes road gators), or blow out. Either one of these situation would not be a fun time in 30,000 + pounds of steel hurtling down the highway on three legs.

I was pulling the 4 wheelers on my trailer behind the bird. When I hooked up that morning I checked the lights. Much to my dismay....none of them worked. Not even the tail lights on the bird were working. It was early in the morning so I said the hell with it, and took off anyway. I guess they started working somewhere along the line because in Cruces I had a local policeman behind me and he didn't pay any attention to me. Whew!

Anyway, I made it to Cruces fine. The last time I came here to the races they were also having the Chile Challenge, a 4x4 wheeling event, and the fairgrounds where the race track is, was full of campers. We didn't get a spot with hookups that time, plus it was very cold. This time I had the pick of the place as there were only 3 other campers on the whole grounds and it was very nice weather. I got hooked up before I went out to the pits.

Toby raced that evening and qualified for the A-Main on Sunday. That meant that he wouldn't have to race on Saturday. For Tommy and I, that meant that we didn't have any work to do during the races and we could sit back, relax and enjoy the races....which we did. The only problem we had was Friday night when the races were finished we realized we didn't have any hot water in the coach. It was after midnight so I didn't want to try and figure it out.

I figured it out Saturday after we'd gone into town to Toby's room and got a shower. Turned out it was a low water reset but it took me a while to find it. After that everything worked pretty good. I checked all the lights in the rear and finally got them to work...sort of. LOL I think my biggest problem with the lights are the design and how much dirt and crud they collect because they aren't sealed from all the road grime that gets thrown up while going down the road.

Toby missed his setup on Sunday and didn't do so as well as he'd hoped. When I say missed his setup, it means he misread the track conditions and had the wrong tires on his car. But, in racing, if you get through the race and don't tear anything up, it's a good day. So, he had a good day. I drove home that night and made it home about midnight.

I changed the muffler on the coach to one that is a little more free flowing and doesn't hold as much back pressure on the engine. The old muffler outlet was offset to the driver side of the coach a bit and the new muffler was right in the middle. The exhaust tip wouldn't line up with the cutout in the rear hood panel so I had to fabricate an offset. I cut a 45 degree piece and created a small dog leg in the pipe so the tip would line up. I lucked out and didn't have to do it more than once.

The transmission temperature gauge hasn't worked since we bought the coach. I've been reading the manual, several rv forums, trying to figure out what might be wrong with the temp gauge. A few days ago I took the dash loose and looked behind at all the wires to the gauges but didn't see anything really noticeable. I built me some ramps to drive the bus upon so I could move underneath better but still couldn't see anything that looked out of the ordinary. I finally looked behind the dash again and tried to find out if I had power to the gauge. In doing so I pulled one of the wires loose to check it and notice that another wire wasn't connected, but I hadn't pulled it loose. Hmmm?? I got everything connected like it was supposed to be, fired up the bus, and lo and behold....the gauge worked. Patsi and I took the bus for a spin just to make sure everything worked.

Our first real trip will be in a few weeks when we take mom to Comanche to attend her younger sister's birthday party. It's supposed to be a surprise BD party but I'm not sure that is going to happen. We'll see.

Mom has been doing much better. She had a tough time there for a while. Blood pressure got too high, didn't feel well, and was just kind of generally messed up. But the weather got better, she began to feel better, got the blood pressure issue under control, and she's got new teeth on the way. So things are looking up. We've been taking her to the Senior Center 3 times a week to eat lunch and she's been meeting a few people.

This will be our logo that we plan to put on the front of the bird.....
The Zia symbol part will probably be a maroon to match the trim on the bus.

So, until next time....


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