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Author Topic: DIY fixes while traveling.  (Read 1765 times)

garyb1st

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DIY fixes while traveling.
« on: March 05, 2018, 01:30:58 PM »
While reading Sarges Alaskan trip journal it occurred to me there are a number of checklist items that I'm missing.  Things like Pex fittings and        cardboard.  Seriously, Sarge used cardboard to keep the elements out of his Jeep after a rock from a passing vehicle blew out the rear side window.  Who would have thought?  Then if I recall correctly, Tim, of Tim and Marsha fixed a motor that had a bad solenoid.  Personally I wouldn't know a solenoid from a (fill in the blank).  Actually, Tim is an engineer so solenoids are probably in his bag of tricks.  They're not in mine.  I mention that because while I'm looking for information, stuff to have in the motorhome, I don't want to weigh the motorhome down with stuff that in all likelihood will simply act like ballast.  That said, what are some of the problems you've encountered while traveling and what tools and parts do you carry to make the repairs.   
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler

SeilerBird

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 01:50:42 PM »
I never get anything until I need it. Weight and space are too much of a premium in an RV.
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garyb1st

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 02:12:13 PM »
Couldn't agree more Tom but when we're miles from civilization, I'd like to be somewhat prepared. 
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler

HueyPilotVN

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 02:36:07 PM »
I guess I need to follow you around with the Stacker full of parts.....LOL
Bill Waugh
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Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road

Corky

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 02:40:30 PM »
It's not what you have on hand, but how you use what you have.
Need to be inventive and resourceful, which is not a frame of mind but a way of life.

Corky
'05 Itasca Meridian 36G
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Alpena Jeff

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2018, 02:55:46 PM »
I guess I need to follow you around with the Stacker full of parts.....LOL
How long will it take you to get to Cape Coral Florida Bill?
Jeff & Judy
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NY_Dutch

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2018, 06:06:24 PM »
For possible broken windows, larger roof patches, etc., I have a roll of clear 40 mil vinyl that's large enough to cover any coach window except the front windows. Combined with a roll of EternaBond, it could be used for many temporary situations. I also have a selection of Watts/SeaTech push on PEX fittings, including a couple of inline valves that can be used to cap a line or couple a new piece in, or as a temporary shut off to isolate a leaking faucet, etc. And of course I have the requisite supply of duct tape in a few different colors on board.

I also normally keep a small format Dinosaur universal ignitor board (UIB-S) on hand that can be used as a replacement for a failed furnace, water heater, or refrigerator ignitor. But proving once again that Mr. Murphy's law hasn't been repealed, I used my spare board a couple of weeks ago to fix a neighbor's refrigerator, and a couple of days after we arrived at Midway Campground on the Tamiami Trail about halfway between Miami and Naples last week, our Atwood propane only water heater ignitor board quit. To avoid a ~3 hour round trip to get the part, I  borrowed the ignitor board from our bedroom furnace to use on the water heater until we're near Tampa and several RV parts sources at the end of the week. The only difference in using the furnace board in the water heater is the ~20 second ignition delay the furnace uses that the water heater doesn't need. Even with the current cold spell dropping temps down to ~50 at night, our remaining furnace is more than enough to keep us comfortable. Works for us...
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
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Heli_av8tor

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2018, 08:24:09 PM »
Gary, thatís a question I asked myself before starting this five month trip. Iím used to having most every tool known to man along with a fairly complete machine and welding shop. It was difficult for me to assemble a mini version to take on the road.

I tried to envision what type of repairs I could expect to have to make, what repairs I could reasonably handle, and assemble the tools to accommodate same.  Iíve had to purchase a few small tools and have a list for the next trip.

Dutch is carrying stuff I never thought of. LOL.

Tom
Currently in Biloxi, MS
Tom & Theresa
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Lou Schneider

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2018, 09:42:28 PM »
While reading Sarges Alaskan trip journal it occurred to me there are a number of checklist items that I'm missing.  Things like Pex fittings and cardboard.  Seriously, Sarge used cardboard to keep the elements out of his Jeep after a rock from a passing vehicle blew out the rear side window.  Who would have thought?

That's the key, Gary.  It's not a matter of trying to carry everything you may need to make a repair, but being able to look at the situation and improvise a fix with what you have at hand, enough to get by until you or a shop can make a permanent repair.

My ex-wife's Uncle Tom liked to tell about the time he was in Korea and the chopper he was riding in was shot down over enemy territory with about 6 ft. missing from one of the rotor blades.  Once they were on the ground, he took his rifle and shot off a matching 6 ft. piece from the remaining blade, restoring the balance close enough to let them take off and get back to the base.

A lieutenant who was on the flight was livid and wanted to bring him up on charges for destroying government property (the second $10,000 blade).  The base CO overrode him and instead gave Tom a commendation for the emergency fix that let the chopper and crew get home.  It just depends on how you look at the situation.

That's the mindset you need to develop.   If you have a water leak, you can either turn off the water, cap off the line, or use a pair of vice grip pliers to squeeze the line shut until you can make a permanent repair.  A busted window can use a piece of cardboard or some plastic sheeting and duck tape to seal the opening until you can get the window replaced.   I wouldn't use Eternabond for a temporary repair, that stuff sticks forever.

A few days ago my motorhome's 24 year old water heater stopped lighting.  After some troubleshooting, I found the gas valve was getting the proper turn-on voltage, but wasn't letting the gas flow to the burner.  I removed the valve and was able to partially disassemble it and use some rubbing alcohol to dissolve the gunk that was jamming it closed.  It probably came from the mercaptin oil that's added to propane so you can smell a leak.  I've since ordered a replacement online and with luck the old valve will continue working until the replacement gets here.

Same for a hole in the roof - I tore the edge of my motorhome EDPM roof on a tree branch about 5 years ago and there I did use Eternabond tape to patch it ahead of some arriving rain.  It's still holding fine.

« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 10:54:20 PM by Lou Schneider »

Sun2Retire

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2018, 10:39:17 PM »
I would try to think of things that could be a real problem if they broke. I have a spare fresh water pump. I carry a 15a battery charger now because recently my battery charger died and while I had 120v the batteries werenít being charged. The battery charger carried me until I could get the onboard one fixed. Single burner stove (or propane BBQ) that attaches to small bottles (backup for stove). Headlight bulbs. A tire kit plus a compressor. I carry cardboard also but hadnít thought about broken windows - itís great for when you have to lie under the rig. Medium gauge wire , connectors and crimping tool. Dicor. A good sized tarp (good for lots of things) plus bungee cords and a couple of new 100í clothesline in case you suddenly have a leak. 2-3 of every size fuse. A couple of hand crank flashlights. Wood glue and a box of matchsticks- great for when a wood screw strips out. A variety of small wood screws and small bolts and nuts. Radiator hose patch tape. Spare belts. Volt/ohm meter. 12v ďice pickĒ test light. Square and star drive tips for a screwdriver. Bottle of daily shower spray. Itís just soapy water, great for checking for tire and propane leaks. Dutchís ideas for the board and Pex fittings are great, need to add to my list.


None of this requires knowledge of solenoids but might get you back to civilization.
Scott
Fulltiming in a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
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2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab toad
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DearMissMermaid

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 06:16:29 AM »
Having been a live aboard boater in far flung ports, I am used to patching thing up on the fly until a proper repair can be made.

Last year I discovered having some of that 2 part underwater epoxy putty weld is sheer magic. It can repair a leaky hot water tank (non toxic) as well as a holed oil pan, it can patch any water line, fuel tank, water tank. Cures in under an hour and the cost of a tube riding around with you is only $5 that can save you thousands and get you up and running again.  ;D
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Sun2Retire

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 06:23:34 AM »
Last year I discovered having some of that 2 part underwater epoxy putty weld is sheer magic. It can repair a leaky hot water tank (non toxic) as well as a holed oil pan, it can patch any water line, fuel tank, water tank. Cures in under an hour and the cost of a tube riding around with you is only $5 that can save you thousands and get you up and running again.  ;D


Whatís the name of this magic stuff?
Scott
Fulltiming in a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 970W Solar, Tri-Metric Battery monitor
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab toad
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster toad braking system

kdbgoat

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 06:38:51 AM »
Pig Putty, JB Weld, Conapoxy, and PC7 are a few. Conapoxy and JB Weld is a bit runnier, PC 7 is pretty thick, and pig putty comes in a stick that you cut a chunk, mix with your fingers and apply. Conapoxy and JB Weld can't be used underwater, and I'm not sure about PC7 underwater. Pig Putty can be used to stop gasoline leaking out of a foot tub from from the inside, it's just that good.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 06:40:53 AM by kdbgoat »
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2016 Leprechaun 319DS

whokares2

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 06:51:30 AM »
I have an o!set rig with AUTO PARK system, I carry a spare RGS (rotten green switch) due to its failure consequences.
1994 Fleetwood Southwind 30,000 mi.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2018, 08:23:00 AM »
Murphy's Law assures that  whatever spare parts you carry will NOT be needed, but that in itself can be helpful in avoiding problems.  ;)

In most cases there is little point in carrying parts that you don't the skills or willingness to install, but occasionally a rig has a known weakness like the notorious older AutoPark mechanism. In that case it may be worthwhile to have the part even if you have to hire a mechanic to install it. At least you avoid several days of wait-for-delivery time  if you are out in the boonies somewhere.

Mostly I agree with Corky - carry stuff you can improvise with. Stuff like hose bandages (self-vulcanizing tape), a 3-4 feet of of Eternabond (can temp fix many leaks or tears or even broken glass), a roll of 100 mph tape, some rope & some wire (plus wire connectors), etc. That sort of thing plus basic hand tools can get you going until a permanent repair can be made.  But all that assumes you have some knowledge & skills to figure out how to employ them.. Many people cannot.
Gary
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blw2

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2018, 10:18:29 AM »
I've been reading some backpacking forums lately..... discussions there about not packing your fears.

I'll second the earlier comment about most of this depending on what YOU know.  No need to pack tools or parts if you don't know how to use them....

I've stopped at a hardware store while on the road a few times for things

personally, I have
a spare tire-- but no tools to change it.  Usually Easy to get a roadside service but maybe not to find the right sized tire on a Sunday.
a small air compressor
a basic tool bag that includes multi meter, screw drivers, a few different types of pliers and cutters, combination wrenches, nut drivers, a few misc wire nuts and things, a cordless drill/driver and bits, a small mirror, utility knife, etc...
a small collection of screws (tapped into these a lot when the rig was new....)
electric tape
silicone repair tape
small roll of eternabond for emergency repair

That's about all I can think of.
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
í13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

_Rusty_

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2018, 10:55:31 AM »
This has been a really good thread for me (super newbie).  I spotted a user on the Tiffen network with the same rig specs that I am looking at so I asked him of anything I should watch for. (2004 unit)

He said his worst experience was a fuel filter plugged after maybe bad gas on a trip once.  Had to be towed to a service garage and wait for a delivery.  Now he carries a spare fuel filter.  I will too!
bill & ilean
2004 Tiffen Allegro Bay 37db
Workhorse 8.1/Allison 1000
Near Punxsutawney, PA
(for now)

kdbgoat

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2018, 12:16:22 PM »
I've also heard of folks with the 5.9 Cummins carrying an extra lift pump, and the tools to change it out.
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2016 Leprechaun 319DS

NewmanRacing

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2018, 02:14:30 PM »
I never leave home without my hydroelectric seal.
1993 Fleetwood G30 21' Jamboree
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garyb1st

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2018, 05:37:29 PM »
Lot's of great info.  Thanks for the responses.  To clarify, I'll be traveling through the Yukon Territory and Alaska.  Based on what I know, there can be significant distances between communities and then those communities may not have parts.  I know I can't be prepared for every problem.  But some, like broken pex connections, can be relatively easy to fix.  It  just never occurred to carry parts like that.  Other things that were mentioned like hose bandages.  Never even heard of those.  That's what I'm looking for.  Things that can be used to tie something together etc.

Gary 
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler

msw3113

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2018, 06:54:52 PM »
"Hydroelectric seal."  Made me look.  That was laugh-out-loud funny!
09 Carriage Cameo 32 SB2
11 Silverado K3500 HD LB DRW

_Rusty_

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2018, 07:48:57 AM »
I never leave home without my hydroelectric seal.

you should patent that!  ;D
bill & ilean
2004 Tiffen Allegro Bay 37db
Workhorse 8.1/Allison 1000
Near Punxsutawney, PA
(for now)

Drifterrider

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2018, 09:45:10 AM »
Murphy's Law assures that  whatever spare parts you carry will NOT be needed, but that in itself can be helpful in avoiding problems.  ;).  But all that assumes you have some knowledge & skills to figure out how to employ them.. Many people cannot.

Not an RV yet but extensive travels on M/C.  If I don't have the skill, someone passing by just might.  But, he certainly won't have the parts (or the manual).

I try to always think "What would MacGyver do"

Fogetty

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2018, 02:02:32 PM »
I try to always think "What would MacGyver do"

Gotta have one of those little red knifes!

Universal Repair Kit:
1 roll duct tape
5 to 6 feet bailing wire
3 lb. sledge hammer (for precision adjustments)
2 cans chicken noodle soup (solvent/lubricant)

Haven't found something to fix electronics, though...

_Rusty_

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2018, 09:19:36 AM »
Gotta have one of those little red knifes!

>
>
>

Haven't found something to fix electronics, though...

I thought item 3 above would work well on the electronics... ;)
bill & ilean
2004 Tiffen Allegro Bay 37db
Workhorse 8.1/Allison 1000
Near Punxsutawney, PA
(for now)

Drifterrider

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2018, 01:36:15 PM »
Gotta have one of those little red knifes!

Universal Repair Kit:
1 roll duct tape
5 to 6 feet bailing wire
3 lb. sledge hammer (for precision adjustments)
2 cans chicken noodle soup (solvent/lubricant)

Haven't found something to fix electronics, though...

I take the soup but that is in case I can't fix it and have to wait or walk.  In case of the latter, I also have a pair of comfortable shoes handy.

Sun2Retire

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2018, 08:12:53 PM »
I also have a selection of Watts/SeaTech push on PEX fittings, including a couple of inline valves that can be used to cap a line or couple a new piece in, or as a temporary shut off to isolate a leaking faucet, etc.

Nice going there Dutch, no sooner do you suggest this and I discover the first Pex leak I've ever had. Appears to be an elbow under a sink penetrating down to the basement. Freezing wasn't an issue, nor pressure as I have one of the expensive regulators with gauge (plus city water where I am is low pressure anyway). Guess the fitting just gave up. Fortunately relatively easy to get to, will require two couplers, some Pex line and an elbow.

Have never played with Pex, I assume I can get what I need at Lowe's. You mention "push-on" fittings - all of the fittings in the coach are banded and compressed with a tool I presume. Are the press-on the latest thing or simply an emergency method? I don't mind buying a tool to do it the OEM way if that's better.
Scott
Fulltiming in a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 970W Solar, Tri-Metric Battery monitor
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab toad
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster toad braking system

NY_Dutch

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2018, 08:33:12 PM »
The push-on fittings have been around for years, but they are more expensive than the crimp banded fittings the RV manufacturers use. The crimping tool is not too expensive, and worthwhile if you expect to use it a lot. Otherwise, the push-on's are easier to use for a quick yet long term fix. I'm not sure which of several brands Lowe's carries, but I'm sure they have them. The only tool needed to use the push-on fittings is a sharp knife.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Sun2Retire

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2018, 08:43:35 PM »
thx
Scott
Fulltiming in a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 970W Solar, Tri-Metric Battery monitor
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab toad
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster toad braking system

Sun2Retire

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Re: DIY fixes while traveling.
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2018, 09:05:03 AM »
Success! Cut out the bad fitting added a new piece of Pex and two fittings, whole job took about 15 minutes

The push-on fittings have been around for years, but they are more expensive than the crimp banded fittings the RV manufacturers use.

No kidding, $8 each. But boy are they convenient

Quote
The crimping tool is not too expensive, and worthwhile if you expect to use it a lot.

Well, Lowe's gets $80 for theirs! Figured I didn't need an $80 crimper and just bought a couple extra fittings and some Pex line as spares

Quote
I'm not sure which of several brands Lowe's carries, but I'm sure they have them.

Sharkbite

Quote
The only tool needed to use the push-on fittings is a sharp knife.

I used a ratchet PVC cutter - cut the Pex like butter, nice and clean and straight
Scott
Fulltiming in a 2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 970W Solar, Tri-Metric Battery monitor
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab toad
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster toad braking system

 

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