The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #39 in VA, MD
155 miles this trip, odometer now 50,637. Total miles this year 18,602.

From MD, Hi Everyone!

Not many miles this time, just from Virginia Beach, VA to Salisbury, MD. My adventures this time have been in giving my old GMC an annual physical and some badly needed TLC. I started with the normal service, oil & filter, check tranny, final drive & power steering, tires, check All batteries & radiator.

I had to install the front wheel bearing temperature monitor I got from Horst Becker at the rally in Forest city, IA. This called for re-doing the dashboard to accommodate the monitor and drilling a small hole in the bearing housings to accommodate the senders. I figured this would be a good time to re-pack the front wheel bearings and I found a race had been turning on the drivers side, the bearing felt OK so I packed it and put it back together. It will be interesting to see the difference in temps. on the way to FL after Thanksgiving. If it looks bad I can have it repaired in FL.

This old GMC dislikes sitting still about as much as I do. It was running good when I came back here but after just a few days of sitting still and strange things started to happen. First it was the starter on The Onan generator. When I bought the coach in 89, it only had a few hours on it after being rebuilt. I had installed the electronic ignition system on it several years ago and had cleaned and sealed most of the electrical connections to it. I hadn’t used it very much. It always started easy and ran good but no more. I think it must have caught something when my son Mark showed up in an old Toyota (240,000 miles on it) that had starter problems. We took the starter off the Toyota, took it apart and decided it needed to be rebuilt. We replaced it with a rebuilt starter and sent him on his way. I went back to work on the coach and when I went to start the Onan, the starter just clicked and that was all. I thought right away that it was a bad connection so I went to work and re-cleaned all the connections, tried the starter and nothing had changed. I then thought that something must be wrong with the starter so I removed it, took it apart, inspected it and cleaned it and lubricated it. I bench tested it and it ran like a new one, re-installed it and nothing had changed. I checked the voltage to the starter solenoid, it read about 13 VDC. The terminal to the starter showed up as ground. I shorted across the terminals of the solenoid and nothing happened. This just can’t be, the starter didn’t run, there were no sparks. I found some bad connections on the circuit board, repaired them and still no starter. I guess I’ll just wait till I get down south and do some more checking when the temps. are back up in my comfort zone.

The second unbelievable event took place when I was on the computer and noticed that the amplified speakers were not working. I need these speakers to hear my navigators give me directions, I can’t run without them. They had always worked, now they were dead. They are supposed to be powered by 6 VDC, either four dry cell batteries (1.5 VDC X 4 = 6 VDC) or a 120 VAC to 6VDC converter. I have run a wire from one of the 6 volt golf cart batteries at the rear of the coach up to a relay at the front of the coach. The relay is energized when the computer is turned on and the speakers have the 6 volts they need. I put a 6 volt zener diode in the circuit to limit the voltage to 6 volts when the engine is running and the alternator is putting about 7 volts across the 6 volt battery, up till now this power supply had worked very well. I checked the voltage to the speakers and it read 6 volts, but the speakers would not work. I got a set of identical speakers from Jeff, thinking this would solve the problem, WRONG, they would not work. I plugged the 120 VAC to 6 VDC converter in and plugged it into the speakers and they worked. I checked the output voltage from the converter, it read 10 volts with no load on it. I figure it drops to 6 volts with a load on it. I finally found the problem when I checked the in-line fuse in the 6 volt wire back in the battery compartment. The nasty environment there had done a number on it, it was allowing 6 volts to show on the meter but it would not take a load. I replaced it and sealed the new one to protect it from the environment back there and I now have my speakers back.

The cell phone is another problem. I use it only for emergencies and most of the time I have the hand set unplugged and stowed in a cabinet. I got it out and plugged it in and it was dead. I checked the fuse, it was OK, I checked the voltage going into the unit. Every thing seemed to be OK but nothing comes out. I called and cancelled the service and will look for a shop to fix it when I get down south. It may be time to up-date it with a digital phone, I have been waiting for the cost to come down.

Another problem was the macerator pump that pumps out the holding tank, a few years ago I had to replace the switch. I guess it pulls more amps than I thought so this time I installed a heavy duty relay to carry the load. I also cleaned and sealed the in-line fuse so it should be OK for a few years.

I have not yet had a chance to work on the sun visor that I have had for about three years. I’ll give it a high priority next time I’m here. Next weekend my son Mark wants Jeff and me to help him put a new roof on his house. I have made an appointment with a cardiologist in Kissimmee, FL to check my defibrillator on the 1st of Dec. and I’ll sign up for the GMC rally there on Dec. 4 ­ 5. It looks like I’ll have to hurry after having Thanksgiving turkey with my daughter Jenny and then down to VA Beach for another Thanksgiving on Saturday with my niece Susie with the fried turkey, it looks like I’ll take a belly full of turkey to FL. I see it’s been a month since the last letter so I’ll get this one sent and should have some travel adventures to write about next time.

Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.


Me & My Shadow, with Gertrude, Gus & Keith on the road.

Back to Directory