Friday, September 28, 2012

More Tweaking

Gary has been SUPER busy with his projects lately, but he managed to spend some time with me yesterday. As I predicted earlier, I just knew that he wouldn't be happy with my nicked up wheels. After all, they can be seen more now that I sit up higher on my new axle. He's actually looking for brand new wheels for me, but for now, some fresh paint on my old ones will do just fine. My wheels were previously painted on just the outside, but Gary decided to paint BOTH sides this time. They do look better this way, even if I'm the only one that really can see the inside of them. One thing always leads to something else when Gary works on me. Even though my wheel bearings are brand new because they were included with the purchase of my new axle, they are no-name bearings made in China. No offense to our Chinese friends, but Gary has always been a fan of Timken bearings that are made here in the USA. None of this matters to me, but we all know how picky that Gary can be sometimes. His pickiness always benefits me, so I'm not going to complain. Anyway, the Timken bearings in my old wheel hubs were the same part numbers as those in my new hubs, so they were cleaned, re-packed with fresh grease, and installed. My brakes are getting adjusted again too. And to put the icing on the cake, so to speak, I'm getting a brand new pair of baby moon hubcaps. Sweet, huh? I'm hoping to get out of the garage for a test run soon. It's been a couple of weeks since my last trip out of the garage, and I want to GO somewhere! When and if it happens, you'll read about it here. Check back soon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Out For A Cruise

Gary got all my wiring done on Monday. I now have a nice and strong 7-blade trailer connector instead of the wimpy little 4-wire connector I previously had. Only 5 wires are actually used with my 7-blade connector, but that's alright. Better to have spares, right? Poor Gary spent all day yesterday (Tuesday) mowing and working in the yard. He was so tired he could hardly move when he was done for the day. Normally, he comes out to see me before he goes to sleep, but he was too exhausted to even do that last night. After a good night's sleep, I just knew he would come out to see me today, and I was right. After lunch, he came out and hooked me up to the van for a test ride. It was REALLY exciting to be riding atop my new axle for the first time. A couple of laps were made around the block to test the combination of the brake controller in the van, and the new brakes on me. Once things appeared to be working properly, we hit the interstate for a test at speed. We went south for about six miles to the first exit, then turned around and came back. I'm happy to report that everything went very smoothly. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I was cruising down the interstate sitting level on BOTH sides. No more saggy old axle for me! The only thing that Gary will change is my overall ride height. I'm a little bit too tall to be sitting level with the van when hitched up. I'm close, but Gary figures a few degrees less pitch in my trailing arms, and I'll be all set. I think I look pretty good the way I am, but Gary can be picky about stuff like that. Don't tell him I said that. So, I'm back in my garage for now, but I know that once Gary makes the adjustments he wants, we'll be back on the highway for another test run. Bye for now.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My New Axle, Day #3

I was hoping that work would continue on my new axle installation yesterday, but Gary was busy with other things. That's alright. At least it's on, and there isn't a whole lot left to do. When Gary came out to the garage in his grubby work clothes today, I just knew he was going to work on the axle....and he DID!!! One by one, he pulled each wheel off, adjusted the brakes, and tightened any loose bolts. Then he ran ground wires to each wheel, and a "hot" wire between both wheels and my tongue. When he has time, he will re-wire my trailer connector to include the additional wire for the brakes. My tires and wheels were put back on, and the new lug nuts that came with the axles were used instead of my old ones. The red paint on my wheels is a bit scratched up from trying to get them out from under me when I had my old axle. My wheelwell openings are small, and I sat so low, that Gary always had a hard time getting my tires and wheels on and off. Believe me, on more than one occasion, I learned a BUNCH of new swear words because of the difficulties involved. That won't be a problem with my new axle. I'd REALLY like Gary to re-paint my wheels. But he's done so much for me already, I'm afraid he will get mad if I ask. I guess I'll leave well enough alone, and maybe he will notice that my wheels don't look very good, especially now that they are exposed more than they used to be. He's usually pretty picky about details, so we'll see what happens.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My New Axle, Day #2

Gary installed the trailing arms for my new axle today. The arms have the brake assemblies attached to them. The arms can be adjusted to raise or lower me fairly easily, and that's the cool thing about this axle compared to others on the market. Gary went to a lot of trouble and expense to get this new axle for me, and I will be forever grateful. Being saggy is not fun or appealing. An angle gauge was used to adjust the trailing arms to the same degree on both sides of me. This stuff baffles me, so I'm sure glad that Gary knows what he's doing. I had never seen or heard of an angle gauge until today. Just as a starting point to see how high I would be off the ground, Gary adjusted the arms to approximately 34 degrees. He was shooting for 30 to 35 degrees, so he hit it pretty close on his first attempt. The only problem of the day occured when Gary tried to install my left tire and wheel. The bolt pattern on the new drum was the incorrect size. After measuring the bolt pattern on my other brake drum, and the two drums on my brother Scotty's new axle, Gary determined that only the one drum was wrong. He called the place where he bought the axles, and they are going to ship us a new drum with the correct bolt pattern. In the meantime, Scotty was nice enough to loan me one of his brake drums, so that Gary could finish putting me back together. He's a good brother. There were no other glitches after that. With my wheels and tires on, and with me off the jacks and back on the floor, Gary sat the angle gauge on my rear bumper to see if I was level. As you can see, I am nearly spot on. He then leveled me front to back, and measured how much clearance there is under me. There is almost twelve inches of clearance under my drop-down floor, which is more than enough. It might even be too much clearance, but Gary is going to see if he's happy with it before making any changes. As long as I'm not saggy anymore, I'm perfectly happy with whatever he decides. The next step is to tighten up all the loose bolts, adjust the brakes, and run the wiring for the electric brakes. A wire broke off of my 4-prong flat wiring connector on the last camping trip, and now that I have brakes, Gary will be changing me over to a 7-prong round wiring connector. These are the biggest upgrades I've had since Gary renovated me. This is AWESOME!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My New Axle, Day #1

As I thought, it wouldn't take long for Gary to begin installing my new axle. Less than two days after returning from our latest camping trip, I was being prepared for the work to begin. In less than an hour, my old axle was out from under me. Look how wimpy it looks compared to my new axle. The new one is much heavier, is fully adjustable for height, and for the first time ever, I'll have BRAKES!!! To help with getting the new axle in place, Gary used a wooden jig attached to an old floor jack. He built the jig many years ago to help with installing an axle in an old car. Once again, it would come in handy for installing an axle, but this time in a travel trailer. As easy as it was to remove my old axle, installing the new one was more of a challenge. During the first test fitting, Gary found out that there was a piece of angle iron on my frame that was in the way of the mounts for the new axle. After lots of grinding and several test fittings, that problem was eliminated. The next problem was that two of the four mounting holes in the new axle needed to be enlarged to fit over the bolts in my frame. With all of the problems fixed, my new axle fit like a glove. It is now bolted in place, and ready for phase two of the project. Tomorrow,(hopefully), Gary will install the trailing arms, and adjust them for height. I suspect that there will be multiple test fittings of the arms to find the height that Gary wants me to be. I think he said that I was going to sit about two inches higher than I used to. That will give me enough ground clearance to not have to worry about bottoming out. That REALLY hurts! It will also make it easier for installing and removing my tires. That has been VERY difficult to do with my saggy old axle. So, depending on what Gary has on his plate for projects, I may be rockin' a whole new look by tomorrow night. I am SO excited!!! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back Home Again

Gary and I left our campsite at Lake Griffin State Park this morning, and headed back home to the Green Acres Garage. We had a good time, even though it was VERY hot and humid. Our campsite was much better than the one we had when we were at Lake Griffin in January. When we go back again, we'll try to reserve the same spot. You can see how it looks without me in it. Nice and secluded with a good shade tree. Our 121 mile trip home was uneventful. Our only stop was at, you guessed it, a Wal-Mart. Gary LOVES Wal-Mart. He often says that he would prefer going to a Wal-Mart than going to Disney World. Sounds good to me! This was my last trip on my saggy axle. You can tell how much I lean by the picture of me in the garage. I'm not sure how long it will be before Gary starts to work on me, but I don't think I'll have much of a wait. He rolled me back into the center of the garage where there will be plenty of room to work on me. More news as it happens, so check back soon!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Flea Market Score And More

This is our third and final day here at Lake Griffin State Park. Gary headed out early this morning enroute to the Webster Flea Market, and I, as usual, took it easy here at the campground. Since this is a holiday, and many people have to be back at work tomorrow, the campground really cleared out today. I doubt if there are over a third of the campsites occupied. It sure is quiet. Gary was gone about 8 hours again today. I totally expected him to come back with a van load of flea market goodies, but he only bought two things. He got some woodworking clamps that will come in handy during the future rebuild of my brother Scotty, and this cool little travel trailer Christmas ornament that I've included a couple of pictures of. It's a Hallmark ornament from 1988. Gary isn't that thrilled about Christmas, but you know how much he LOVES travel trailers. For $2, he HAD to have it! Gary has been a packrat for most of his life, but he's doing well at cutting down on his non-essential purchases. I think he's getting a little tired of the endless clutter, and he's been selling off a lot of odds and ends on eBay. The more junk he gets rid of, the more room there is for me in the garage. I'm lovin' that! I have mixed emotions about having to go home tomorrow. It's been a lot of fun here at the campground, but when I get home, Gary will install my new axle. And as you know, that new axle is something I've been wanting FOREVER!!! So, I'll sign off from here at Lake Griffin, and I'll post some pictures of the axle replacement project soon. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Day Of Rest...For Me That Is

It's been a lazy day here at Lake Griffin. Gary was up early, and left around 6:30AM to head to the car show. I went back to sleep for awhile, then got up when I heard some activity going on nearby. A few people headed home, and a few new people came in. Gary was gone for nearly 8 hours. When he got back, he walked through the campground to see if there were any more vintage trailers here. As usual, I'm the only one. I never thought I'd say this, but it's cool being old. People come by and say hello and are interested in me. Those same people walk by half-million dollar motorhomes, and show no interest in them at all. All I can say to that is HA-HA!!! I'm loving life, and I guess it shows, because I always seem to bring a smile to those that see me. A rather unusual trailer is next door to us. It's a cargo trailer, but it has a panel on the side that folds out like a pop-up camper. I've included a picture of it. It's definitely different. Gary's BIG score at today's car show was the pair of Yankee Turnflex taillights that are shown in the 3rd picture. As you probably know, those are the original taillights used on old Serro Scottys like myself. Other than being dirty, they are in good shape. And the best part is that Gary only paid $4 for the pair of them. He knows a bargain when he sees one. I was one of his bargains a few years ago myself. Tomorrow, Gary will be going to a HUGE flea market with antiques and collectibles. It's always fun to see what he finds. I'll be holding down the fort, so to speak, and probably doing what I do best...absolutely NOTHING!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

LIVE, From Lake Griffin State Park, It's Toaster And Gary!!

Hi Everybody. For the very first time, I'm blogging LIVE from the road. This modern technology is AMAZING!!! Gary and I are spending three days here at Lake Griffin State Park. We have campsite #5 which is mostly shady, but it's still 90 degrees and the humidity is VERY high. We were here for three days at the beginning of the year. We had campsite #6 last time. It was a little bigger than the one we have now, but there is very little shade. We'll take all we can get on a day like this. Needless to say, Gary brought along the air conditioner. It's nice and cold in me, just the way Gary likes it. I don't think he's going to be spending much time hanging around outside on this trip, at least not here at the campground. He has a couple of places to go over the next two days that will keep him out in the hot sun, but I'll be here with the A/C blasting, waiting for him to return. It's been 5 months since we were on a REAL camping trip, and I have REALLY missed it. Gary camped with me inside the garage when the weather was cooler, but there's nothing like the sights and smells of being in a campground. The fresh air and the sunshine feel good to me, even though Gary isn't a big fan of either. The flamingos came along with us this time. Like me, they wanted to get out of the garage for awhile. I always liked flamingos until Gary told me how stinky they are. Did you know they stink? To keep cool, they pee on their legs. YUCK-O!! That is NASTY!! I'm glad they're riding in the van with Gary and not with me. I sure hope they pee somewhere else rather than close to me. That's DISGUSTING!! It's great to have this laptop computer and cellphone with mobile hotspot so we can keep in touch more often. Just makes camping a whole lot more fun. I hope you all have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend. This is Toaster, over and out.