It’s The Little Things

The bus sat in the shop this past weekend, I had wanted to take it out and run it awhile, but that did not happen.  Not long ago, one of our heaters had stopped working, so we (we being me) took it apart and did some maint. on it and got it back in running order.  The on/off switch on the thermostat is kind of tricky, that is to say, it is hard to ascertain whether it is on or off on just about any given day.  At that point, I turned it off (or at least thought I had turned it off) and went about my business.  This was about sixty days ago, the last time we used it.

It now appears that it was in the “on position” and therefore, was coming on and running for who knows how long each night, when we were in bed.

Over the past few few weeks I had been experiencing problems starting the bus, it seemed like it had some kind of battery drain or reluctance to start on just about any occasion.  It also had been driving me nuts, or as my wife would say, “short trip” on several days trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem.

I pulled the dash and checked the ground on the starter switch, I pulled the drivers panel and checked the aux. start switch (helper).  Located the starter relay, crawled under over and all around the thing.  I jumped the starter, I hot wired in new switches, I tried every possible senario, even to the extent of pulling the batteries, a two hour job in itself.

I crawled on and over this thing like a monkey on a jungle gym without much success at all to put it bluntly.

Then one day, quite by accident, I am walking by the drivers side of the coach and as I pass the heater box I hear a click, the thermostat comes on and then whirr, the heater fires to life!  I turned and looked at it and then said, “What the —-?” and by pure luck (not reasoned deduction) the problem had been located.

This might be where the old adage, “even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then” would apply.

I went inside the bus and checked some gauges on the inverter, and low and behold, the batteries were down to 10 volts.  So this weekend, it has sat with the battery charger.

A small thing, a little detail, but it shut me down and put me in the foot patrol.  It also chipped away at my fondness for my pig iron pony and kind of depressed me during my waking hours.

Here is another, this one cost me over a hundred bucks.

Wanting to charge up the batteries last week (before I had discovered the cause) I ran it out about 100 miles or so and then back to the shop.  During this trip, I also wanted to pull down the aux. fuel tank (65 gallons) to a smaller number of gallons (in order to reduce weight) and lower the gallons inside the tank.  Misreading the bus fuel gauge at 3/4 of a tank, I started the pump (the main tank it turns out was already full) and I begin transferring fuel.

Shortly thereafter, we started smelling diesel.  I thought two things at this point in time.  #1 was “Uh Oh?” and #2 was what my granddaughter is fond of saying …. “Uh Oh’s are never any good Grandpa.”

The smell of diesel now strongly permeates the interior of the coach.  This was because we were actually pumping it out the overflow and right onto the ground!  Yeah I know … At almost $4 per gallon.  (You will never hear me brag about how smart I are … No sir.).

Later on, over some cold beer and ribs, I try and explain to the little woman the nature of the beast and why it is taking so long to fix all of these “little things,” and she just nods her head, smiles in what I believed was total agreement, and then said to me in an understanding fashion …. “I hate my kitchen.”  She has heard it all before and frankly, there isn’t much here that she would consider news.

So after supper, I turn it around and drive it back home, later I slink out to the shop to once again, try and figure this out and I attack the problem.  They say Edison did over 10,000 experiments before he got the light bulb to work, and using that for a model, I am sure that I will find the root cause of my issues also (sadly it may take 9,000 attempts).  Late into the night, from the corner of the shop you can hear a small little voice saying over and over … You can do this, you can do this, you can do this …. dummy.

Later on, much later on, when most sane and reasonable people are tucked away for the night, I discover the problem and I fix it.  Once again, just a little thing, but it caused a lot of problems and expense.  That is often the way it goes …. first your money and then your clothes.

Earlier in this same week, I am wiring up our trailer and nothing, absolutely nothing, is working.  No matter how it is that I try to do this thing … this dawg isn’t going to hunt.  Over and over, day after day … one day … two … three days later I find it.  Once again, after applying the Edison principle to the problem (You can do this, you can do this, you can do this …. dummy.)  Stripping the wire covering on the trailer wiring harness, I find that the manufacturer of the trailer had apparently ran out of “blue wire” so in the middle of a run, he switches it over to “white.”

Which is as most of us already know, most always 90% of the time, a “ground” wire.

Dutifully after cursing his first born male child and implying that his parents were never married to begin with … I change out the wires (switch them around) and walla boys & girls … we now have trailer brakes!

Perhaps I am just doomed and do not know it?

One time in Utah, I missed the turn, when my bride said to me, “you missed the turn” I replied, “it’s no big deal.”  I then drove into a box canyon, thirty-seven miles in … and yes … thirty-seven miles out.

A little thing, but then again, it is always the little things in life that are going to get you.


5 thoughts on “It’s The Little Things

  1. So, did you change out the kitchen? Ain’t life Grand! lol

    Nope, I bought her a house and it has a kitchen. Don’t go there Don, don’t go there Don, find your happy place, lie down … play dead.

    Yank the motor yet?



  2. I had NO idea you were an RVer too! Fabulous. Maybe one day we will meet on the highway.
    We have a 38 ft Winnebago
    Yes, we are bus people (you never saw the links, Bus Life, Eagle project page on the home page?) and we might find you out and about traveling this great land (or in the Walmart parking lot, who knows?) … There are a lot of things that people have no knowledge of about me, for instance, “I am my perfect weight” (If I were say seven feet tall).

    Thanks for stoppin by



  3. Ahhh…the old Utah box canyon adventure. It’s a common problem around here. We’re tricky that way.
    Cannot remember where it was exactly, south of Provo I think. We were trying to go to Colorado … Uh huh, sure.



  4. We’ve had a 1983 RV for about 10+ years now and had a 1969 model for 7 years before that one. Never once in those 17 years was either one working 100%. I don’t know much about motors and engines but if I remember correctly there was a problem with the carburetor so my husband kept a spray bottle with gasoline in it to spray directly into it upon starting the darn thing. When it got to the point that it was “spray, spray, drive, drive” I put my foot down and said no more! Luckily we were only going 6 miles that day. I think it would have cost less to tow it there. Anyway – all of that reminds me of my husband’s definition of a boat which can definitely be changed to RV’s: A boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into.” Best of luck to you!
    As you have more than likely guessed by now, I know of what you speak of. If it were not for the fact that I am somewhat handy or mechanically inclined, I would be broke. They are for the most part, troublesome. But when they are running right, and you are tooling down the road, it is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

    Kind of like flying a Lear Jet to Paris for breakfast or something like that.

    I have seen guys crawl into the belly of a $900,000 bus with tools to fix something, it isn’t just RV’s, it is all of them. Here is one for your husband: “The owner of a second hand RV knows how hard it is to drive a bargain.”



  5. If you would have only given Yoko the new kitchen she so deserves – maybe just maybe everything would work out fine for your bus. Always remember first things first where a woman is concerned.

    Loved the picture under the bus. Would have recognized you anywhere.

    PS: Loved this article. It was quite entertaining material inspite of being a poor Okie who can’t afford a bus or an RV or a camping trailer – just a tent, but hey the maintenance is minimal. hahahaha
    Poor Okies indeed, if I had YOUR money, I would BURN mine. Yoko is okay, she gets what she needs, don’t think for a moment that she doesn’t, if she doesn’t, then I eat tuna fish sandwiches for a long, long time. I spend a lot of my time under the bus, as a matter of fact, I spend MORE time under it, than I do driving it.



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