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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Projection........

7:05 am - Sunday - February 10th - Wittmann, AZ - 30º F, 83% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the north......Sunny today with a forecast high of, get this, 62º F!

Saturday was our first full day back in the land of reasonable, moderate weather including almost NO wind.  I love how quiet it is here in Wittmann.....no road noise, no Interstate noise, no wind noise.  After weeks of traveling we are ready to sit still for a while.....really ready.

Of course, when we sit still for a while I have time to dig into a few projects that need my attention.  The more immediate project was to figure out why the macerator pump on my gray tank would not run when I flipped the 12 volt switch.  While we are here at our friend's property I run a garden hose from the macerator spigot to their sewer cleanout and then pump our gray water there using the macerator pump.  This is necessary because it is uphill to the cleanout and there is no way gravity will be sufficient enough to get that gray water up the small incline, so the pump needs to work.  I tackled that project first, and within a couple of hours I had the pump running once again. The second project was quite a bit more involved, so I saved it for the afternoon.

The gray tank macerator pump

Several months ago (back in September) we were dry camping at the Cabela's in Portland, ME.  I went start our 7.5 k Kohler generator and it started as it should, but then the engine throttled up and would not settle down to idle as it always has for the 10 years we have owned our Newell. I had started the big generator to run the block heater so we could fire up the big DD 6V92.  Since I was concerned about the genset engine running at near red line I shut her down, and got out our Predator 2000 to run the block heater.....this is one of the reasons why we bought the Predator....for just such a situation as this.  Our old Honda 1000 watt generator labored to run the block heater, and sometimes would overload and shut down, so we wanted a reliable backup to the Kohler.  Since we have been moving so much since then I never had a chance to dig into what the problem was, but suspected it was a 'stuck' throttle linkage, but to get at it is a 1/2 day job.  I tried the Kohler a couple more times over the intervening months, but it still throttled up too high.  

Finally, we are where I can get down and dirty......and I mean that literally.....and fix the suspected stuck throttle linkage, and Saturday was the day.   I can check the oil, and coolant levels in the Kohler without pulling the genset out, but to work on the engine (specifically the throttle linkage) I need to unbolt the middle section of the front bumper, then remove a bolt holding the generator slide in place, then disconnect the muffler/exhaust pipe from the generator in order to pull the generator out on its slide mechanism.  This is an involved process, especially the last part....disconnecting the muffler/exhaust.  To get at the 'quick' release I have to first raise the coach to ride height (here our front end is as low as it can go to make us level), then 'block' the frame of the Newell with large 6" X 6" X 24" wooden blocks so if the air bags suddenly deflate I won't be crushed.  Next I must shimmy under the coach on my back to get to the back of the generator where I can sit up, then kneel to reach the muffler/exhaust 'quick' release.

When I finally had the genset pulled out I immediately saw that what I suspected was true.  The throttle linkage/mechanism was a little rusty at the pivot points, and it was stuck.  That, my friends, is an easy fix.  I went to the trailer and retrieved my aerosol bottle of 'Blaster' (penetrating oil) and sprayed all the pivot points, and other moving parts.  Within 60 seconds the linkage was moving freely once again.  Now for the 'acid' test....turn on the Kohler and see if it idles properly.......I did, and it did......problem fixed!  The actual fix was 60 seconds, but the entire process of pulling the genset out, and then resecuring it, and putting everything back together and/or away took several hours, and resulted in me becoming completely filthy.....BUT IT IS FIXED!!!  I'm so happy it was so simple, and I'm so proud of myself for not over complicating it in my mind......I started with the simple, and never let my mind get beyond that until I had ruled it out.  Getting the genset fixed so we can use it is very important for our summer travels.

By the time I finished putting my tools away it was after 4 pm....I was basically outside all day working on these two projects.....that would not have been possible the last few months as it has either been raining, or too cold, rainy, and windy for such endeavors.  Once I was finished showering I went outside again to setup the Sea-B-Que to grill two filets TLE has been saving for a month, or so. While the BBQ came up to temperature I smoked a cigar, and sipped some single malt watching the sun slowly slip towards the western horizon once again.  It was a good first day in Wittmann, and I feel energized to take on a few more projects!

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