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Parked in the desert just north of Quartzsite, Arizona, 2015

D o l p h i n 6342 LX
"Miss Dory"

Return to Winter 2015 - 1016
 
Replacing the marker lights Sunday, March 12, 2017: Several weeks ago I noticed that all five of the marker lights above Miss Dory's driver and passenger seats were filled with water drops. I chose to replace the marker lights with LED lights. These new light fixtures are completely sealed so no chance of water leaking inside these fixtures. The hot wire from the old fixture is very short making the connection to the new fixture tough. I decided to solder the connection as well as wire nut. There is enough space under the fixture to fit the two wirenuts. Solder and wire nut the connections

A new backsplash installed

Tuesday, February 7, 2017: When we purchased Miss Dory it came with a mirrior backsplash which Gwen did not like. A few days ago Gwen purchased a "natural rock" backsplash which is a peal and stick tile. The total investment was $75 so I've got to do this right the first time. The tough part of this job was removing the mirror and the double backed tape which did not come off with the mirror. The peal and stick tile went on easily. I was worried about cutting the tile but a utility knife did most of the work. The final edge I cut using my tablesaw which worked well, I was surprised. A few days ago I bought and "action camera" like a GoPro but much cheaper. It was rated at 4.5 stars so I took the chance. It came with ALL the accessories, I just had to add a 64GB SD card. Here is a link to the camera. I used the camera for the second time to create a video of this project. Take a look at the HD quality of the video while you watch me complete this project. The video is only about three minutes long for a job which took me five hours. This is only my second time to use this camera and I've gotten much better from the first time. I expect to be an "expert" after I've done this a few more times.

The original paddle handle had to be removed Inside face is removed Comparing the replacement to the original
Tuesday, November 1, 2016: It seems something is always going wrong with an RV, at least that has been my experience over the last ten years. Some fixes are easy and some are difficult. This one was difficult. When investigating the paddle handle (I learned the proper name for this part by searching the TriMark Internet site for the replacement) I learned the metal slide which pulls the latch to open the door had broken. The latch would NOT retract and there was no way to open the door. I climbed through a window for access to the inside portion of the paddle handle and struggled to remove the plate. I had to drill a hole through the screen door to give me access to one of the three screws which had to be removed. Somehow I needed to retract the latch so I could get the door open. Click the left photo to see my improvised tool. I reached between the screen door and main door with the allen wrench and twisted the allen wrench to push against the latch. After many tries, I finally got it to work and the door popped open. I would hope a locksmith might have a tool made specifically for this purpose. After research at TriMark I found the paddle handle replacement at Amazon and was able to get one day delivery. With much trial and error I was finally able to get the new paddle handle installed and working well enough. I would like to make some fine adjustments but will wait to have access to all my tools back in Oregon in a couple weeks. Click all the photos for additional views. This is what the new paddle handle looks like installed. The new handle looks better made and I hope it never breaks. It would be very difficult to remove with the same problem because of the better housing.

Gwen climbs into Miss Dory

Sunday, October 30, 2016: We had a surprise today when I tried to walk into Miss Dory. The door seemed locked but it wasn't locked. There was no way the door was going to open. Gwen climbed through a window to learn if she could open it from the inside. But NOPE, it would NOT open. I got my tools and climbed inside to take the catch mechanism apart. I eventually learned the latch would not retract. This turned out to be a difficult removal and repair. I'll give more detail when I get the replacement parts.

50 cents off at Raley's

Tuesday, October 25, 2016: Lots of errands today. The first was to move the motorhome from Verdi to the nearest Raley's Gas station because Gwen purchased enough at Raley's grocery to get 50¢ off per gallon limited to 30 gallons. That made the fuel $2.20/gallon and I couldn't fill the motorhome with only 30 gallons but appreciated the $15 in savings.

While I had the slide in I replaced another hatch latch which had broken. I took four replacement latches with me to Alaska and didn't use any but have had to replace two since the return. Note the clips on the aluminum shafts. The push nuts are very difficult to replace in this tight space so as I replace latches, I drill the aluminum shaft and insert the locking pins. No problem to replace the pin but impossible to replace a push nut. Click the right photo for a view of the latch which breaks all the time. I need to remember to gently close the hatch doors with the latch in the open position.

Replacing a latch AGAIN

Windshield replaced

Friday, September 23, 2016: Last May we tried to get the driver's side windshield replaced due to 18" of cracking in the bottom left corner. This time the windshield was sent to a company in Roseburg and they completed the installation in half a day. It was interesting to me that we drove some rough roads in the Yukon and Alaska and the cracks did not grow.

Beginning the installation of  Steve's invention to improve the refrigerator performance The screen is there for a reason, I reinstalled the screen on top of the fan complex Interior fan power wire fed through drain tube
Tempature sensor switch turns on all fans when the refrigerator is on Monday, September 12, 2016: Miss Dory came with a Norcold 1200 four door refrigerator. Before the purchase I searched the serial number and learned it was on recall. Currently Norcold is involved in a class action lawsuit for multiple reasons. I honestly did not expect it to last even a year because our Cameo refrigerator failed at 7 years. However, my friend Steve who is in the park during the summer but an RV mobile mechanic in Lake Havasu during the winter, testified that it is in good shape and should last ten years if I take care of it (never let it run when not level). Interior fan power wire fed through drain tube then slit is healed with GOOP
When we first purchased Miss Dory, I noticed when on propane it burns propane for 4+ hours then turn off for 20 minutes then burns again for another 4 hours. Very poor efficiency. Steve has invented a series of fans to greatly improve the efficiency. I installed his invention today. Steve says the trick is to get enough airflow through the back of the refrigerator. Three fans are installed at the top of the roof vent. The power for the fans comes from below and is switched on as the heat passes from the boiler tube. Two interior fans are also installed to pass air over cooling fins. The power for these fans comes from a wire passed through the drain tube. I'll be paying more attention to the refrigerator operation hoping to burn less propane and electricity when it's on. Click all photos for additional views.

Valence and shade removed from window
Gwen puts the driver and passenger side curtains in the trash
Sunday, September 11, 2016: One of the missing features of Miss Dory, no blackout shades. Gwen improvised some blackout coverings for our trip to Alaska but something more permanent needed to be done. We measured and ordered blackout roller blinds after seeing those in our friend, Ray's coach. I removed the existing coverings today and replaces with blackout roller blinds. Four in the living area and three in the bedroom. All are blackout but the living area blinds are ivory while the bedroom blinds are dark brown. All the blinds are operated by a chain loop. Pull one side of the loop and the blind comes down, pull the other side and the blind goes up. We also removed the passenger and driver's side curtains so Gwen is tossing the ugly curtains she never liked. The blackout blinds really work. Click each photo for more views.

Refrigerator recall heat sensor

Tuesday, September 6, 2016: Back in January, a few weeks after our purchase in December, we were in Tucson, Arizona and decided to have a mobil repairman complete the Norcold refrigerator recall. The Norcold refrigerators have been recalled because of a chance they will overheat and start a fire. A sensor is added to shut the refrigerator off if it overheats. We thought no more of it until the sensor activated and shut down the refrigerator and would not reset during our Alaska trip. I put the wires back as they were before the recall installation. Today I had Steve inspect what was going on feeling the need to protect us from a potentially defective refrigerator. He showed me that the sensor could be reset, I had to wait for the pipes to cool for the reset. He also showed how the January installer had made mistakes in the installation of the sensor unit. He made the corrections so the sensor is again in operation. Steve has also invented a vent system to make these refrigerators more efficient. I plan to install his system in the next few days. Steve feels this refrigerator could last another ten years.
I install the Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer Safe-T-Plus installed and pressure washing the fifth wheel roof

Friday, August 26, 2016: This is a busy day with washing the fifth wheel with a pressure washer (click the right photo). While we are away for months, all sorts of things grow on the roof and the north side of the fifth wheel but fortunately a pressure washer takes it all off and it looks like new again.

After driving 11,000 miles in the motorhome since the purchase in December, it has been a learning curve to keep it headed down the road in a straight line. It wants to wander so needs continual redirection with the steering wheel. I contacted the Workhorse chassis forum for help and was told to install trak bars which I did before the Alaska adventure. It made only a very subtle difference. The forum continued to recommend the Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer. It was easy to install and fine-tune. Once tuned, the motorhome now self-centers steering and I drove for 300 yards straight down the road without holding the steering wheel which wasn't possible before. I expect the Safe-T-Plus to stop wandering and bouncing to one side or the other due to potholes or passing vehicles. I'm hoping Gwen will be able to drive now too!

Removing the satellite dish Wednesday, August 24, 2016: Our Dolphin came with a dome satellite dish which actually worked to find ONE satellite but gave very poor reception using our DISH network receiver. I called to talk with Winegard the manufacturer of the dome. After much discussion, it was decided the dome was too old and out of date to work for any current receiver. I decided it would be silly to continue to carry the dome on top of the motorhome. Beware when you purchase a used motorhome if a "dome" is advertised as a "feature" make sure the model will work on current receivers. We carried our own satellite dish which I manually set up but I don't want to do that any longer. Instead, we will learn what is available by simple antenna. I did save the dome and base thinking it would make a great storage unit for something ... I don't know what, yet. Click the photos for additional views. All parts removed
Finding "rough cut" lumber
Why the blocks?Thursday, July 21, 2016: Today was a "down day" in Seward where we dumped our gray water, caught up on the Webpage, visited with friends so I have this to report from a while back. I have been convinced by several of the Trek guests, it is not a good idea to jack the wheels off the ground for leveling. Instead, one should drive onto blocks to keep the wheels supported before jacking with the hydraulic leveling system. When in Fairbanks, I found a lumber mill selling lumber retail and they had "rough cut" lumber to sell. Once planed, a 2 x 6" board is no longer 2 x 6" but 1-5/8 x 5-1/4". A rough cut board measures an actual 2 x 6" so that's what I wanted. It is stronger, besides being thicker and wider. Rough cut is hard to find but Fairbanks, Alaska has several mills ready to sell to me, happy to find them.

Drilling holes for eye bolts
Two eye bolts on the Subaru Four eye bolts on the motorhome
Rock Guard mounted to the motorhome Sunday, June 19, 2016: I ordered and installed a "Protect-a-Tow. Although we have a "brush" guard under the motorhome, rocks still get through to damage the towed vehicle (we learned this when towing the Samurai). The Protect-a-Tow should protect the Subaru from rocks the motorhome may throw but not from rocks thrown by on-coming traffic. We do have a pad to cover the windshield but the rest of the car is at-risk. I'm hoping the motorhome will deflect all debris from on-coming traffic. Rock Guard in place, takes 1 minute for installation
Figuring out the Miss Dory to Samurai wiring Tuesday, May 17, 2016: On our last trip with Lesa and Mark following us, they reported strange things happening with the lights on the Samurai we were towing. I finally got around to investigating the problem with the lighting today. With a few interruptions, it took me Incorrect wiring  on the Miss Dory plug
all day to identify the problem. I originally wired the plug to Miss Dory last December when we pickup up the motorhome. It was a quick wiring job but the lights seemed to be working properly at the time. Today I learned that only ONE of the four wires was done correctly. If it ever worked correctly, I'm not sure HOW. It is now wired and working correctly. I also learned today that BOTh the Miss Dory plug and the Samurai plug were either broken or worn out so I replaced both. Click both photos for a larger view.
CB radio installed Saturday, May 14, 2016: We got word a couple weeks ago that we should have a CB radio as "tailgunners". Fortunately, we own two but neither have been used in several years and I have not antenna. I drove to Roseburg and talked an hour with John at Cagle Communication. I learned what it would take to get a CB working and the best place to mount it on Miss Dory. I purchased what was needed from John, returned to Miss Dory and completed the installation. Originally, I planned to run the antenna wire out the window for a temporary installation. However, thinking ahead, we are training to be "Trek Masters" for future trips so I changed my mind and drilled Antenna support installed
through the side wall for the installation. My neighbor, Mark, has a working CB so we tested my installation and it works fine. I do need to optimize the antenna to the radio but need to find someone with a SWR meter to do that. Click the right photo for a view of the final installation.
A flip up step for comfort

Friday, May 13, 2016: Our Lazy Daze had a peculiar annoyance, the toilet was installed on top of a wheel well which made it too high to be comfortable. It really needed a stool under the feet or the user would have to be on tip-toes, not comfortable.

When shopping for Miss Dory apparently neither of us sat on the toilet because we did not notice Miss Dory had a toilet on a platform similar in height as the one in the Lazy Daze. But this platform was built to carry a heater hose which made it easy to construct a flip-up step so the user has a comfortable place for feet. When not in use, the support leg is moved to the side and the step hangs down. Click the photo to see what I mean.

The hold up bolt is bent Wednesday, May 11, 2016: I have used the Blue Ox to tow the Samurai for the last two trips, it is wonderful compared to the heavy tow bar I got with the Samurai. However, the hang up bolt is bent. This is a heavy bolt, it is hard to imagine how it got bent. The replacement bolt was only $10. I knew I would take the Blue Ox apart so decided to order the replacement nylon washers. The nylon washers also came with replacement locking nuts. Click the photo at left to view the parts I received. I have left-over washers and nuts to replace those to match the Blue Ox connection to the Forester. That will happen after we return from Alaska. The hold up bolt is replaced.

The rear TracBar installed
The front TracBar installed
Tuesday, May 3, 2016: Any vehicle which sits on springs, in this case, leaf springs, will wander from side to side because of the flex of the springs. TracBars prevent the wandering by tying the leaf springs to the frame. This helps with stability and steering control. Click the left photo for another photo of installation progress.
Miss Dory gets her shoes aligned Thursday, April 21, 2016: Today is a busy day for our vehicles in Eugene. While Ebony Shadow gets fitted for towing we've taken Miss Dory to Kaiser Brake and Alignment for a front end alignment. My complaints are uneven wear on the original tires and difficult steering in some road conditions. I had already made an alignment appointment with Les Schwab but both Schwab and my mechanic reported only "toe" could be aligned on the Workhorse chasis. Kaiser said they could align "toe", "camber" and "caster". Kaiser has a lot of impressive equipment. After two hours and two test drives, Miss Dory was given back to us. I could feel the difference right away and on the drive home, Miss Dory felt like a different motorhome. Waiting in the sun for Miss Dory's alignment
The beginning of a retaining bar. Tuesday, April 19, 2016: There is a corner in the bedroom which once was home for the bedroom TV. We didn't want a TV in the bedroom so I gave it away and have been wondering what to do with the space. We soon discovered without something to hold items on the shelf, they would end up on the floor when traveling. So I found the old refrigerator front and took the left frame for the rail. It was already finished and I wouldn't have to dig out my router to finish the edge, it was already finished. The shelf is at an angle to the wall so I set my table saw blade at an angle to accommodate the wall. I glued the rail to the support blocks so no screws are showing. Fortunately, the finish is close enough to the existing cabinets. Click the photos for additional views. The final steps

Another storage latch is broken
Handmade push nut tool
Monday, April 18, 2016: I was working on my list, flushing the hot water tank (click the left photo) when I found another broken latch on a storage door. This is the third replacement in four months. It's a good thing I bought extra replacement latches. I've ordered more tonight. The latches use push nuts on the end of aluminum shafts to connect the handle to the latch. I've always had difficulty replacing the push nuts so I made a tool to help. It worked for the push nut on the workbench but still had lots of difficulty with the push nut to the handle. I used vise grips, needle nose pliers, and a flat blade screw driver to finally get the push nut installed. I had so much difficulty, I searched online for a "push nut installation tool" and found many but all are designed to work on an unobstructed shaft. I must fit the push nut into a small space. Only a special pliers would work. Not finding anything, I used what I had. Click the latch photo to see my tool.
New tires from Les Schwab Friday, April 15, 2016: After the visit to Oregon Light Truck and a discussion with Dave, it is time to replace all six tires because of their age not loss of tread. According to more than one tire shop, most RV tires rot before they wear out. I responded that hasn't been my experience but these were the original tires with plenty of tread but 11 years old. With a trip planned to Alaska, I don't want to drive there on eleven year old tires. Click the photos for a nice view of the front and rear axles. New Toyo tires
Fixing the door jam

Thursday, April 14, 2016: I'm still in Central Point. The Miss Dory maintenance was finished mid-day. I spent most of the day building a simple Webpage for Dave at Double D Window Tinting in Klamath Falls. Now the ball is in Dave's court, I'm waiting for photos and text for the last two pages.

I learned two things today from Oregon Light Truck and RV. I asked how to fix the door jam since the aluminum frame was worn badly and has barely enough metal to hold the jam. I was told to use star washers, change the phillips head bolts to hex head to allow more leverage on the bolt and use Loctite on the bolt threads.

The serpentine belt was replaced. I was asked if I wanted the old belt. "No", I answered. Katie told me I should keep it as an emergency spare, especially for the Alaska trip. "Good idea, I'll take it.", I said.

The old serpentine belt
Miss Dory has a brake recall Wednesday, April 13, 2016: Gwen drove Ebony Shadow while I drove Miss Dory from Klamath Falls to Central Point, Oregon. We have made a list of maintenance items for the very excellent mechanics at Oregon Light Truck and RV in Central Point. We've known of a brake recall since the purchase of Miss Dory but saved the work for Oregon Light Truck. We also got very few maintenance records so must assume the transmission fluid has never been changed so that must be done. Then there are a few minor things like the windshield wipers not turning off when they get wet (yes, that's funny) and replacement of the serpentine belt and the hydraulic jacks alarm when we hit a bump in the road. Well, this will take two days so Gwen has gone on to Sutherlin while I stay with Miss Dory in Central Point (it's a two hour drive between the two). This rig must be in tip-top shape for a trip to Alaska this summer. Click the photos for another view. James is my mechanic completing the maintenance

Time to shampoo the carpetMonday, April 4, 2016: Tomorrow I plan to drive to Sutherlin, Oregon in the Samurai, basically to get the Cameo ready and to bring our Prius back to Klamath Falls. I've made a maintenance appointment for Miss Dory the middle of next week and I want Gwen to have the "good" car to drive home to Sutherlin. Also, we are in the process of selling or trading the Prius for a vehicle we can tow easily behind Miss Dory. Of course, the Samurai is ideal for towing behind the motorhome. It's lightweight, holds two occupants and our dog easily, gets good fuel mileage, it's reliable even though it's 29 years old, and is inexpensive. We intend to tow the Samurai to Alaska this summer, we wouldn't want to tow a new car on a trip with so much potential for damage. So why not stick with the Samurai? Well, it is very uncomfortable, has NO safety equipment (like air bags), and will do the speed limit on a freeway only with a tailwind.

So ... on my TO-DO list before driving to Sutherlin is to shampoo the carpets in Miss Dory. Lesa happened to buy a new carpet cleaner for her own house so I will be the first to use it. Click the photo to enlarge.

Adding a Corian countertop

 

Thursday, March 31. 2016: Today was tax day for us, I worked on our 2015 income tax and finished the forms. What a relief.

When we purchased Miss Dory we noticed the wooden cutting board which swings up at the end of the Corian countertop. Apparently the original Corian extension must have broken and was replaced by what the previous owner had on hand. I was surprised to find a countertop service store in Klamath Falls with a piece of Corian matching Miss Dory's counter exactly. The store cut the Corian to size and gave me instructions of how to attach. I was instructed to use silicone on the cutting board, place the Corian onto the silicone then add weight overnight. That seems to work, as Gwen suggested, "we will know after hitting our first bump when traveling". Click the photo for another view.

Dave is completing the window tinting in Miss DoryWednesday, March 30, 2016: One of the unexpected expenses for Miss Dory is the window tinting. Virtually all of our previous RVs had well tinted windows so we know what we want. Unfortunately Miss Dory came with tinted windows but a very light tint. We want both privacy and heat reduction from our window tinting. We called our favorite window tint store in Roseburg, Oregon and he would be happy to do it for us. However, while we are camped in Klamath Falls, Dave was recommended to us from Double D Window Tinting. He was able to fit us into his busy schedule. After listening to Dave explain the different window films we decided on a film which cut the heat transfer by 90% and blocked the view from the outside. One of our restrictions on choice had to do with the double pane windows in our rig. Some of the films would heat the glass on a double pane window so were limited to the lighter tints. Others were reflective and had no such restrictions. There are positives and negatives to window films. One of the negatives is a reduction of brightness inside but the sacrifice is worth the heat reduction and privacy. Click Dave's photo for another view.
Miss Dory becomes official Tuesday, March 29, 2016: Cross off another item on my To-Do-List. We've given names to all our RVs and I like putting official looking vinyl lettering onto the RV for more than one reason. Here is the last RV we added lettering. I missed adding lettering to the Lazy Daze because we owned it for such a short time and because we just couldn't come up with a name we liked. "Miss Dory" was named by Gwen and her daughter and I agreed to "just get-er named". I suppose we can always give her another name after we learn more about her personality. Lesa, Gwen's daughter says "Dory" is the name of a Dolphin cartoon character. Do you see another reason I put the lettering onto Miss Dory? Click the photos for another view. Vinyl lettering is professional and inexpensive
Trading #10 wire for #8 Friday, March 25, 2016: On my To-Do list is to improve the wire size on my solar charging installation. Last January I installed my solar charging system but the wire size has been bothering me ever since. The solar parts provider talked me into #10 wire for a pretty long run. I knew I should have used larger wire (#8) but he insisted the #10 was fine. To be fair, I DID get a full charge everyday, normally before noon. If that's the case, why make the change? Well, I never saw 100% of the amps coming from my solar panels I should have seen, I was seeing about 90%. I won't know if the larger wire will make a difference until I can point the panels directly at the sun. Changing the combiner box
Additionally, I never liked the idea of wire nutting the panel wires in the combiner box. Again, the solar parts guy told me to do it. Later, when helping Gary and Jeanne with their solar charging system, we were shown a different method to combine all the panel wires. It involved adding crimped wire loops to the end of each wire then combining all onto a single bolt for positive and single bolt for negative. So I removed the wire nuts and combined as I did with Gary and Jeanne's system. It wasn't hard work but time consuming so it took all day. Click the photos for additional views.
Time to change the oil in the Onan Generator Wednesday, March 23, 2016: We purchased Miss Dory in December, 2015 and got NO maintenance records so we don't know when the generator oil was last changed. That was today's item to check off the To-Do list. It's my first time to change the oil in an Onan generator. The Onan 7000 maintenance manual says to change the oil every 150 hours or once each year. It has only 148 hours of use. The oil filter I removed was not the original filter so I know the oil was changed at least once. The oil drain valve is easy to access (see the right photo). I did need an oil filter wrench to remove the old filter. I used a pan from the dollar store to collect the old oil then poured that back into the quart containers to recycle. Click the photos for additional views. After reading the online forums, I chose to change to synthetic oil. Oil drain valve is easy to access
I pumched a hole in the Fantastic Fan screen. Tuesday, March 22, 2016: On my to-do list was to repair or replace the Fantastic Fan screen. I accidentally punched a hole in the screen a couple months ago. I first took the screen to an RV parts store and got no help. Then I thought of just patching the screen. I learned the patch kit was $10 but replacement screen was only $1.69. I cut out the old screen and replaced with new screen gluing the new screen to the frame. The repair is complete. Screen is repaired
Rewiring the entertainment centerMonday, March 21, 2016: This is a stormy day so time to work on inside projects. That required removing the TV. The TV would not work when connected to the Blue Ray player on my laptop. It would also not work from the DVD and VCR player which came with Miss Dory. Finally, there is no power into the cabinet where our printer is located. All these need to be fixed. Once I got the TV removed, I also noticed a sag in the cabinet and that needed to be repaired too. Finally, the wires were a mess, they needed to be untangled. This project took all afternoon. Click the photo. We now have power to the printer on the left of the entertainment center. The DVD and VCR player now show on the TV. I found an extra HDMI cable leading to the TV so the laptop connection to the TV would not work because I was connecting to the wrong HDMI cable. I've also connected the audio from the satellite receiver directly to the DVD/VCR player where the sound is amplified then broadcast to the four surround sound speakers located in the living area of the motorhome. That's very helpful in hearing the TV which has only small speakers at the bottom of the TV cabinet.
A path to the top of Miss Dory for the antennae wire Friday, March 18, 2016: Finally installed the Satellite Radio receiver (it's a long story). Miss Dory came with a high quality Jensen radio with a 10 disc CD changer, however, it's ten years old so no Bluetooth. Without Bluetooth we can't wirelessly play music from our phones nor can we answer or make phone calls through the radio. So I decided I'd get an Alpine radio just like I did in the Lazy Daze. I visited a local sound shop in Klamath Falls and made a deal for them to install the Alpine radio with a new satellite receiver installed behind the radio. I've always chosen my external radio because it has a special feature making it possible to "rewind" a radio broadcast. I learned the new satellite receivers are now able to "rewind" so chose the "cleaner look" of a hidden receiver. Overnight I remembered that I MUST be able to listen to satellite radio via Bluetooth so I returned to the shop to be sure I Power cord for the satellite receiver
could do that with this new receiver. I couldn't. It was decided my external receiver would have to be installed so I could use Bluetooth. The original installation fee was to be $80 which was barely tolerable, now the shop wants $150 installation fee to install the radio AND my external satellite receiver (I paid $50 to install both in the Laze Daze last year). "I'm not paying that!", I said. "I'll install the satellite receiver myself." Now the shop decided they would charge $60 (including parts) to install the Alpine radio. So I made another appointment for the radio installation. I ordered the parts I needed for the satellite receiver installation on Amazon. Those parts arrived today. In the mean-time, I decided to KEEP the Jensen radio system and postpone the benefits of the Bluetooth radio. I CAN play music from my phone and from Gwen's MP3 player, wired, not wireless so I'm only losing the radio phone call application. I cancelled the Alpine radio installation. I had a plan to install the satellite antennae on the roof but discovered I was getting good reception inside since I don't have a metal roof. Due to the size of the plug, I would have to drill a 1/2" hole in the roof which I hated to do. I found a path to the top of the motorhome next to the windshield then installed the antennae next to the ceiling fiberglass. The receiver shows three bars of reception. I hope I'm not sorry I didn't go to the roof, it would mean doing all my antennae work over. The receiver is installed and working well. Click the photos for additional views. I stepped out of Miss Dory for only a minute and Gwen changed the station to COUNTRY! "I didn't install this receiver to play COUNTRY!" That's the text message I sent to my friend Gary. "Next time install the Jazz/Classical ONLY receiver!", he replied. "You mean, Jazz/Classical/ROCK/Blues receiver, right?", I answered. We agreed! (Note about the photo of the power plug: I chose NOT to hard wire power to the receiver. I just didn't want to take the chance with the power cord knowing I'd have to order another if I screwed up.)

Being proactive, keeping these on hand

 

 

Thursday, March 17, 2016: Today I washed all the road crud off the Samurai and Miss Dory. I didn't take a photo of myself at work so I'm posting a photo of Baggage Door Latches.

Last December when we purchased Miss Dory the dealer had to replace two broken door latches before delivery. While in Arizona, we broke another door latch. Apparently, the door latches are easily broken so I purchased two to have on hand. I think that's called, "being proactive".

Installing an adjustable shower head rod Wednesday, March 16, 2016: Gwen says, "We've got to have the adjustable showerhead like we had in the Lazy Daze." Now that we are in Oregon and we DON'T PAY SALES TAX, I've begun to order things on my to-do-list. Today, I install the showerhead rod. We both like it! Click the photos for other views.
Almost done

Rebuilding a ladder hanger

Tuesday, March 15, 2016: Fortunately, Miss Dory has basement hatches with an open shelf between both sides of the coach. This allows me a place to put my folding step ladder. However, I want to save space in this location for other things so I decided to make CPVC hangers for the ladder. This is not the first time I've done this. I use CPVC because of the strength of the pipe, the small size of the pipe and the ease of assembly. It's not easy to find, just ask a clerk for "CPVC". Now the shelf is still available for other things. Click the photo for another view.

Changing florecent to LED
Easily connecting the LED to power, a plug-in is provided
A snap clip is provided for easy installation Saturday, January 16, 2016: This was LED light day. I removed the LED lights from the Lazy Daze to place them into Miss Dory. I have the under-the-cabinet, over-the-sink strip lights which you can see here. And I have the one (very expensive, $60 per tube) tube LED, one tube replaced two florescent tubes. In the case of the strip lights, I clip the wires to the ballast and use the switch for the florescent fixture to switch the strip LEDs. In the case of the tube LED, again the power wires to the ballast are clipped and redirected directly to the tube LED. I became Almost finished
Cover is replaced friends with the gentleman selling the gooseneck reading LED light. He was very kind to send me some LED florescent replacement bars which I installed for the first time in Miss Dory. Again, power was provided to the bars by clipping the power wires to the ballast. A very handy plug with attached wires was provided. This I wire nutted to the power wires then plugged into the LED bar (very easy). I could have screwed the LED bar to the florescent fixture but decided to use the clips provided to just snap the bar to the fixture. Again, very easy. The rest of the installation was to replace the metal guard in the center and the light cover. Click all the above photos for additional views.

A great find for the rear window.

 

Sunday, January 10, 2016: While shopping in a nearby "trading post" I came across this wall hanging. The clerk said it was from Ecuador. It is obviously a hand weaving. The price was only $10.50. I have mixed feelings about that since I know the artist did not receive much for their work. I have proudly hung the scene in the rear window of Miss Dory. I did an Internet search for imports from Ecuador and other countries and found 10,000 Villages. Click the photo for a closer view.

Faucet hole must be enlarged Drain pipe (which must be replaced) and plumber's putty
Completed replacement of  bath faucet
Saturday, January 9, 2016: We had tourist plans today but those were delayed. I decided to complete what I thought would be a quick and easy project. The old faucet was removed easily. That's when I learned the hole in the Corian countertop was not large enough for the new faucet. I had to tools to enlarge the hole so off to the hardware store where I purchased a rotary file at the recommendation of the clerk. It worked so I thought my problems were over. The center photo shows the sink drain pipe designed for a ceramic sink with an overflow channel. Since our sink is stainless steel, no over flow drain and this drain will not work. I didn't realize that until this moment so off to the hardware store again. With two trips to the hardware store, this project took three times longer than I had planned. The project is complete and we like to new faucet. Click all photos for additional views.
Time to fix the two holding tank roof vents Wednesday, January 6, 2016: What a busy day. We were up early because the dealer who sold us the Dolphin learned we needed a "Level 1" inspection at the MVD (motor vehicle division) and I wanted to be arriving early. It didn't take long so we filled up with fuel at Costco, then filled our small propane tank. Last, we delivered Miss Dory to Tucson Mountain Motors for it's first oil change. I chose to switch to synthetic oil after a short discussion with the mechanic. I This is what the vent pipe looks like without a cover.
told the mechanic I expect an average of 10,000 miles each year so he suggested synthetic oil which needs changing every 10,000 miles (once each year). After the morning errands I received the Amazon shipment containing the new holding tank vent covers. The original covers are falling apart and with rain predicted again tomorrow, they need to be repaired. I chose a style with a shape which helps to remove odors. Click the photos for additional views.
Connector box to join all panelsTuesday, January 5, 2016: Pretty good overcast today but I still finished the solar panel wiring. Doug, the fellow who sold me the parts wanted me to just wire nut the panels together without a connector box but I decided I wanted the connector box. It fit nicely beneath the panel next to the refrigerator vent and has a waterproof cover. I also found the self sticking wire secure squares just like the square which were on the Lazy Daze. No screws needed with these and they help to make everything very neat. Click to see the panels lowered and job complete. Next, I must replace all fluorescent and incandescent lighting and we will be ready for desert camping again. Yes, when you click the photo you might notice that both holding tank vent covers need to be replaced, hopefully that will happen soon, the covers will arrive tomorrow but rain is forecast for tomorrow.

Our screen door, "crash bar" just as the one we installed in the Lazy Daze

 

Monday, January 4, 2016: I began the day hoping to finish the solar installation however, the noon time prediction of rain was off an hour so the rain came an hour early so I abandoned the roof and switched to another project. I installed what we call a "crash bar" onto the screen door which makes it much easier when entering/leaving the coach. We first learned of the "crash bar" when attending a Lazy Daze rally. So we ordered and installed one in the Lazy Daze. We enjoyed the crash bar so much, it was one of the first things we decided to install in Miss Dory. Click the photo to view the installation.

Using a template for the charge controller cutout Under refrigerator ventilation lid
Wire from the roof into the refrigerator compartment
From the refrigerator compartment to kitchen cabinet beneith the stove then through the floor into the storage compartment Sunday, January 3, 2016: I continued with the solar installation today. My first solar installation was in 2009 in the fifth wheel (about three times what today's solar costs). That solar was moved to the Alumascape in 2013. My third solar charging system was in the Lazy Daze which came with 300 watts of charging installed. The solar system I've chosen for Miss Dory will have 420 watts of charging for the four batteries already installed. Miss Dory also came with a 2000 watt Xantrex inverter so my only expense comes from the Charge controller installed, behind: panels installed
panels, charge controller and wires. Total expense so far, $900. Compare that to the cost in 2009. I'm not done with this installation. Everything is done except the wiring of the panels on the roof, I hope to complete that tomorrow. Even though this is my fourth solar installation, there were still some firsts with this install. I have never come from the roof through the refrigerator vent into the refrigerator compartment. I watched a YouTube video showing the solar wire going through the refrigerator vent and learned to clip the screen rather than drill through the sidewall of the screen housing. I want the shortest route possible from the roof to the batteries to avoid voltage loss. The roof wire must first go to the charge controller THEN to the batteries. So the logical charge controller location is the side wall of the refrigerator. I discovered a bundle of wires already traveling through the backside of the storage compartments moving toward the battery compartment. I passed my solar wire into the backside of the cabinet under the stove then into the compartment below where I joined that bundle of wires. What I did today was to secure the panels to the roof. They are installed to allow them to tilt toward the driver's side or passenger side of the coach so during the winter months, I must park facing either east or west to point the panels to the south just like my other installations. Click all photos for additional views.
I tapped into the copper propane line leading to the stove.

Saturday, January 2, 2016: I worked the entire day installing solar wiring but had to delay because I needed a 7/16" drill bit which was back in Sutherlin. I did purchase a bit later but during the delay I installed the propane line needed for our stand-alone propane heater. We need this heater when boondocked, the furnace pulls too many amps from the batteries. The easiest access to propane is the copper line leading to the stove. The line I'm installing is the same line I installed in the Alumascape then transferred to the Lazy Daze. The heater is a 10,000 BTU heater which was fine for the Alumascape and Lazy Daze but it may come up short for Miss Dory since it Miss Dory has a lot more cubic feet to heat. On the plus side, I believe Miss Dory has more insulation so we'll see how it goes. Click the photos for additional views. The wires to the left of the photo are for the solar installation.

Annie is the first to appreciate the new heat
Old faucet to be replaced Wednesday, December 30, 2015: This is the page where I will detail the changes to our Dolphin 6342 LX we traded our Lazy Daze for. I plan, at some point, to explain why we felt this RV was right for us. If you've been following our story, you know we always make our RVs into something which works for our lifestyle. We may do more with the Dolphin since our plan is to keep this RV for lots of years. We aren't home in Sutherlin, we are traveling so that means changes are more difficult. You already know, we ALWAYS change the faucets, usually because they are of poor quality but in this case, because the faucet is worn out. Gwen likes her faucets high off the sink so I installed a new kitchen faucet today. The countertops are Corian so easy to work with and installation was easy. Click the photos for another view. New faucet installed
 
 
 
 
 
     
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