Thursday, January 28, 2010

Portable Macerator Pump

My son owns a 2006 Fleetwood Discovery Class A motorhome. A while back he had me purchase a Jabsco macertor pump for him on Ebay. When asked "why?" he replied he was tired of having to find a place to empty his holding tanks, and was going to take care of it at home by accessing a sewer cleanout in his front yard utilizing the macerator pump. I'm generally a little slow on the uptake, and usually a year, or so behind on technology, but this seemed like a really good idea. However, I'm also a procrastinator. Finally, after a number of my Newell friends announced they were assembling their own portable pumps I decided to get on with it. You can buy these portable units online for about $ is a link to one such system:
Instead of buying a ready made system I decided, like others, to purchase the parts individually and build my own portable system. I acquired a slightly used Jabsco self priming macerator pump on Ebay for around $46. In the pictures below you will see the assembled unit. I already had the Theftord connection (the white fixture at the top of the assembly--most Newells, and older Airstreams utilize Theftord fittings as opposed to Valterra. The Thetford fittings are much beefier, and have a slightly bigger inside diameter). I had to buy a couple of rubber connecting gaskets, a PVC elbow and a length of 2" PVC pipe to make connecting nipples. Additionally I utilized a rubber connecting gasket made for connecting garbage disposals to the under sink drain pipe. Finally I bought a Contractor's grade 3/4" inside diameter 50' hose to connect the pump to the sewer cleanout (most hoses are only 5/8" inside diamter). All told I spent less than $85!!
Since I just finished acquiring the final pieces today I haven't had a chance to test it out. The next time I bring the coach home I will fill up the black water tank with clean water for the test dump...that way, if something fails I won't be standing in 2 inches of poop...LOL!

This the the pumping unit fully assembled.

The white fitting at the top is the Thetford fitting I must use to connect to the sewer connections on my coach.

I was able to utilize a garbage disposal connector to afix the brass female hose connection (near the switch).

Contractor grade hose

The hose is used to connect the macerator pump to this threaded cleanout fitting shown below.

The ubiquitous sewer cleanout

The hose connected to the pump.

The hose connected to the threaded cleanout connector.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Details, details, details......

Carmello Montoya of Integrity Mobile Detail

For the past year I have been using a mobile detailer, Integrity Mobile Detail, to keep our Newell looking her best. I found Carmello and Tom Montoya through Craigslist, and have really enjoyed working with them to keep our Newell in great condition. They wash our motorhome once a month, and wax and detail it every 6 months. I used to wash it myself, but it took me about 4 hours and it was exhausting. Their rates are very reasonable, and they are incredibly reliable. They show up when they say they will. They are headquartered in Corona, CA and will travel. They wash our Newell right in front of our home, and they have come to our storage facility on occasion. If you are reading this blog and live in the Inland Empire area please consider them for either a wash, or wax/detail for your RV, car, trailer, truck, etc. Check out their website at:

They have their own trailer with water supply, generator, pressure washer, ladders, etc.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Into the rain....

Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 10am

During the winter I travel to soccer venues around Southern California to officiate youth soccer matches at various tournaments. In past years I have just driven my car to the venue, officiated 3-4 matches, and then driven home. This year Elaine and I decided we would use these weekends as mini-getaways. Most of the venues offer overnight RV parking. This weekend I had signed up to do matches at the John Blanche Soccer Complex in Temecula, CA, about 45 miles south of our home off I-15. As many of you most likely know, we in Southern California have been treated to Biblical proportion deluges for about 6 days this past week.

Elaine drove me over to the storage yard to pick up the Newell this past Wednesday. The coach had been sitting for about 5+ weeks. I am always concerned about the condition of our four 8d batteries, and with good reason. The first year we owned our coach 3 of those batteries went south. After discussions with numerous friends on the Newell Classic website I determined the cause of the failures was my 27 year old single stage charger/converter which I have renamed the "battery boiler". I bought an Intelli-Power charger/converter to replace the "boiler". The Intelli-Power unit has 3 charging levels, and also a de-sulfating mode. In the 12 months since its installation not one battery has passed from this life. At any rate, I am still a little paranoid, and expect dead batteries after several weeks of sitting idle. Not one time in these past 12 months have I not been able to turn over the 6V92 Detroit Diesel, and this past Wednesday was no exception!

After a short 20 minute drive home in the RAIN I plugged into shore power and turned on the water water pressure?! The lights that normally illuminate indicating the pump is on were dark. I first checked the fuse panel in the closet and found the water pump fuse had been fried. So, I replaced the fuse thinking "cool, that was simple".....uhhhh, sorry, to soon to celebrate.....the pump lights came on, but still the pump would not start pumping...ugh! I then checked the inline fuse at the pump and it was fine. I pulled out my multi-meter and stuck the red probe into the hot wire, and the black probe into the ground wire and showed 13+ volts....OK, that must mean the pump has "passed on". The next day, Thursday, I was able to locate the same model pump in Azusa (about 30 minutes from home), made a quick trip there in rain coming down so hard the freeway slowed to 25mph!

I was able to remove the old pump in about 10 minutes, installed the new pump in about the same time, and flipped the switch.........nothing! Then I decided to take the old pump and hook it directly to one of the chassis came on.....hmmm, the pump is not bad....what this time it was early evening...about 7pm, and the rain had started up again. I decided to "think" on the problem overnight......nothing more un-fun than sitting the rain working on something!

I awoke around 3am and started thinking about how trouble shoot the problem. After about an hour of tossing and turning I decided to recheck the ground wire. I got up around 7am, and went outside to coach to run the ground wire directly to the battery ground in the next compartment....the pump fired up immediately.....OK, that was way too simple, but sometimes the solution is just that simple. Apparently the ground connection began to fail at the end of our long trip.....that would result in a reduction in voltage to the pump, which meant the pump would pull more power, thereby increasing the amperage, and therefore, blowing the fuse.....mystery solved! I buttoned everything up, added water to our 160 gallon fresh water tank and left around 2:30pm for Temecula....I arrived at the soccer complex around 4pm to find the fields under water, and the complete absence of any vendor tents. Now, what to do? Head way. I made a call to the local Indian Casino RV park called Pechanga and they had plenty of spots, so I headed over to snag a spot.....I had barely set up and I got an e-mail from my soccer assignor advising the tournament had been postponed due to unplayable conditions, so now I have a weekend with my wife and no obligations....I think we'll head over to the wine country and do some wine tasting later today, and maybe head out the theater and see "The Book of Eli".

This park is nestled against some low lying mountains on the south side of Temecula, CA sky again! Things are drying out now!

We have a pull through through spot next to the Club House and pool....

I'll post more later today about the wine country.......

Monday, January 18, 2010

Another ride.....

The girls......

Elaine and I have been making more of an effort to take bike rides on the weekends. This past weekend we decided to take the Cannondale tandem out again (that's twice this year so far) on the SART (Santa Ana River Trail). We were joined by good friend, Brenda Wendt, for a ride from Anaheim down to Newport Beach. The weather was perfect at 68 degrees and partly cloudy. We had a slight headwind as we pedaled westward toward Newport Beach, which slowed our average speed, but I think we still averaged around 12mph.

At Huntington Beach...

We stopped at Newport Burger for lunch....Elaine and I had BLT's, and Brenda had a Cheese Melt. Newport Burger is a Newport Beach institution. They serve breakfast and lunch. Their burgers are amazing, and they cook a mean omlette!

Newport Burger

After taking a couple of pictures at Huntington Beach (the Santa Ana River is the dividing line between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach) we merged on to the SART northbound trail. Much to our delight we now had a tailwind pushing us home. Our average mph bumped up to 15 on the way back. We arrived back in Anaheim around 3:30pm....what a pleasant day!

Staying fit while fulltiming is a major concern of ours. Outdoor activities have been a big part of our lives the past couple of decades, and cycling has been the major contributor to our fitness. In addition to cycling we also have a home gym consisting of a Stairmaster 4000pt, an Ablounge, Roman Chair back machine, and a Bowflex. How to convert the gym to the road can be done. We have found there are manufacturers of portable exercise equipment. We're looking at the Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper and the INstride electronic stepper (see pictures below) as portable alternatives to the Stairmaster, which is way to large to take with us.

Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper

INstride Electronic Stepper

At anyrate, this is an ongoing research project, but we are making progress and feeling more comfortable with being able to acquire portable equipment to continue our exercise program!

Looking to get out this weekend in the Newell. Can't believe it has been 5 weeks since we arrived home from our last trip. I'll be officiating some soccer matches down in the Temecula area each morning, so we'll head out for some wine tasting in the afternoons. We'll have rain for 5 straight days this week, but it is supposed to clear by Friday evening and be partly cloudy over the weekend with no rain forecast.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another County Park!

On January 2nd we decided to drive out to Yucaipa Regional Park (, another San Bernardino County Park, to check out their RV facilities. This is a large regional park offering 3 fishing lakes, a 1 acre swimming area, and a water park with water slides. There are also boat rentals. There are 42 full hookup RV sites, which includes several 200 foot pull throughs with up to 3 hookups. These long pull throughs must be rented as a whole. The RV park is walking distance to the swimming area, and water park.




This place books up fast! We usually go some place on the 4th of July weekend with other family member, and extended family. After our visit I called my daughter-in-law, and we decided this was the place to go this year. More for the kids to do. I went online and found that out of 42 sites, only 3 single sites were left. This morning there was a cancellation, so the 4th member of our group was able to reserve that site. Now there are zero sites available 6 months in advance! reviewers give this park 4-5 star ratings out of a possible 5. The cost is $35 per day, $45 per day on holiday weekends. If you are 62, or over, the daily cost goes down $5.

There is a security entrance where RV's and cars entering the park must show current registration, and insurance, and must pay either a day use fee, or have a reservation for camping.