Friday, March 6, 2015

When stuff breaks keep it simple!

After we had moved from NFS land a couple of weeks ago to beat the rain TLE mentioned that the right turn signal on the trailer was not working, and neither was the brake light.  I've been having trouble with those lights for a couple of years now, and just thought it was a ground issue.  However, when we were getting the Newell and trailer out of storage a few days ago I had her do a light check on all the turn/brake/running lights and found that the right rear brake light on the coach was not working that was very concerning.

Back in our first month of nomadic meanderings in early 2012 I had serious issues with all the rear lights on the coach and trailer, and it took me several days of trouble shooting to untangle the wiring mess in the back......but I did, and since then everything has worked well with the occasional trailer light issues now and again.  So, when TLE said the right rear brake/turning lights weren't working I felt that old sinking feeling creeping back......I don't know why, because I have become very competent at trouble shooting 12 volt electric issues since that time.

In addition to that the shower drain was not draining as fast as it should when we left, but when we returned Wednesday it was significantly worse.  In my mind I imagined having to disassemble the drain from the shower to the gray tank to find the clog......why do I do that?  It rarely ever is as complicated as I dream it will be, but I always seem to start out expecting the worst.

Since I always feel more at home fixing plumbing problems I started with the shower drain issue.  I opened up the driver's side water bay door to disassemble the 'trap' to see if there was a clog there, and quickly found it wasn't clogged at all.....the 'trap' is pretty close to the gray tank, as you can see, so it was easy to rule out any clog downstream from the trap, so next up was the shower drain itself.

I have known for a long time that the drain was clogging up, but it appeared I would have to remove the entire drain "assembly" (the dreaded "assembly" word).   I had a feeling there was a ball of hair just below that screen, but it didn't appear initially that I could remove it, so I devised a sort of wire hook to 'fish' out the hair, which worked to a degree, but then I discovered that I could actually remove that screen......:-/  It took less than 2 minutes to remove the hair clog.

Once again, a job that could have taken less than 5 minutes took me an hour and a partial disassembly of the 'trap' in the water bay.  Once it appeared I had gotten all the hair out I ran the water to be sure, and it drained wonderfully.......right onto the floor of the water bay because I had not reconnected the 'trap' before going I had to run outside, after turning the water off, and mop up the water that had flooded into the water bay through the disassembled 'trap'.  On a positive note the flooring of the water bay is much cleaner today than it was yesterday.

Then it was on to the electrical issue, which meant it was time to unlock the door to the dreaded rear electrical panel....

There are three relays that control both the tail lights on the coach, and the trailer.  As you can see the one on the right is not original equipment.  This relay was replaced by me when we were in Vancouver, WA about 2.5 years ago, and has worked well since then, but now we are once again having problems with the right brake/turn lights, so I'm thinking it has failed again......why do I always run to the worst case scenario in my mind?  Well, instead of removing it I began to troubleshoot as I have learned to do.    I tested each circuit on the relay and discovered it was receiving a signal and sending out a signal, so the relay was working!  I then began to test the wiring running from the relay to the tail lights and found a loose connection.  Once that was fixed the right rear lights on the coach began to work again.  However, the right rear lights on the trailer were still not working, so I began to test the wiring all the way to the rear of the trailer and found the signal was making it to the LED tail light, but the tail light was not working.  So, all I need to do is replace the right rear LED tail light on the trailer, which I found on!  It will be here at the park we are staying at Saturday.

While I was working on all that I discovered the LED strip lighting I had affixed to the driver's side undercarriage has ceased working, so now I need to delve into that 12 volt mystery, but decided to leave that for another day.

Next I began to remove some of the old rubber trim on the coach that had shrunk, and actually installed a couple of pieces.  It looks like it will be an easy process, but to make it easier to work with I need to let the replacement trim sit in the sun to make it pliable.

While all of this troubleshooting fun was going on TLE was out doing a 'big' shopping at the local Bashas.  She returned around 2:30 while I was deep into the weeds on the trailer wiring, but I did stop to help her unload the groceries from the VW.

Around 5:30 I got out the Sea-B-Que to grill some Ahi Tuna for dinner.  TLE made sides of cooked spinach, and wild rice, with sauteed onions/mushrooms, and then baked that concoction with a layer of Italian Cheese on top.  What a great dinner!

Looking forward to replacing more shrunken trim on Friday......thanks for stopping by!

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