Archive for the ‘camping’ Category

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We just got back from a fortnight trip with out Spartan Manor to Pennsylvania and Mid Ohio, to test the A/C and fridge in hot, muggy summer weather.  The A/C passed with flying colors, the fridge, not so much.  We used it last fall, in cool temps, and it did fairly well, but it struggles to keep it’s cool in warm weather.20728230_10214593978665809_5666013374635989023_n

These gas/electric fridges need air flow over the cooling unit in order to operate, and the consensus was that I didn’t have enough airflow.  The exhaust stack was a 4″ vent through the roof, to which I added a small fan, which helped a little, but still left us with temps in the fridge cabinet in the low 50’s.  Then we added a fan to the cabinet, which makes noise but doesn’t seem to help at all.  In a last ditch attempt, I took the freezer door off the interior, which made the fridge compartment a little cooler, but a freezer that wasn’t below freezing and frosted up.

Yesterday I took the back of the cabinet off again, and made a new exhaust plenum.  This one is 3 1/2″ x 14″, three times the size of the old 4″ flue, and I kept the little fan, which is on a thermostat.  It turns on when the stack temp is greater than 100 F.  It certainly LOOKS like it should work better.

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This morning, after running all night, and with a case of (cold already) soda and 6 pack of beer inside, the interior is 46.  The freezer compartment is cold, the partial bag of ice and  inch of water that had melted from that is frozen solid  again in the Tupperware container I put it in, so the freezer is once again below 32.  I’d be happier if the cabinet temp were 40 or slightly below, but if this is as good as gets, we can live with it now.  We may resort to keeping a block of ice in the freezer, and one in the crisper drawer to help with getting the fridge cold, if we have to.

In retrospect, I’d have left the original compressor and coils in the fridge and simply run it on 110V, as I just got a 2000 watt inverter which would easily power the fridge while traveling.  Which was the only reason we had it converted to gas in the first place.

So, live and learn.  It has given me something to do this past couple of days, as opposed to working on the roadster, which I wanted to have ready for next weekends “Relix Riot” car show, but there’s always next year…

Addendum:  I discovered, via a Google search, and You-Tube video that there IS some temp adjustment these “automatic” control RV fridges.  Inside, on the fins of the cooling unit, on the fin next to the right hand wall of the fridge, is a little plastic clip.  In the clip is a little gizmo called a “thermistor”, which, by sliding the whole thing up, or down, the fin, lowers,  or raises, respectively, the cabinet temp.  This one was just over halfway up the fin, so I slid it all the way to the top.  If I’m fortunate, and have said the correct incantation, the fridge should get colder.  Or, I’ll be drinking warm beer…

One by one, the seemingly endless list of tasks is being completed in the Spartan.  Yesterday I replaced the grungy, noisy clock/timer in the Dixie stove with a little battery clock from my least favorite store, Wal-Mart.  It fit perfectly.

The counter top edging is DONE, and I used the rest of the Marmoleum to make a backsplash behind the sink and stove.  The effect is stunning.

Next up, Kim is doing the upholstery for the booth, and I’ll acid was the exterior.  It’ll ultimately be polished, but for this fall, that’ll suffice.

I’m happy.

More progress on the Spartan.


At this rate it may get done.

My friend Bill McGuire reminded me gently that I hadn’t updated my blog lately.  Indeed it’s been a while, I guess I felt as though I hadn’t gotten anything done worthy of writing about, but several of my hot rodder buddies this weekend at “Relix Riot” told me they don’t know how I get so much done.   So, here’s the latest:

I’ve gotten the counter tops and shelves all banded in aluminum edging done.  It looks great.  Unseen, the dump valves are installed on the grey and black tanks, and the inner door panels are back on.  Kim, my wife, has the curtains done and is starting on the upholstery for the dinette.  

We’ve been busy helping our son and his family with some home improvements in thier new home and moving, and spending quality grandparenting time with our grandson Milo, more important than working on old trailers and cars.  

Taking time out for some fun, we hung out at the Gilmore car museum this weekend with friends at “Relix Riot”, the biggest little car show around.  We got to combine that with some “Milo time” as well, it was a great time despite a wet Saturday afternoon.   Lots of folks attending the show have vintage campers, we combine hot rods and camping, and had a private party after the show with music by the “Moonrays” last night after the clouds departed. 

I guess I do get a lot done.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Cool McCool’s Garage, where we don’t just wear green, we DRIVE it!

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Good day of progress on the Spartan. Had an issue with the GFI devices, but with the help of my friend Butch Starner, figured out is just wired them wrong. Dinette booth done, wiring done, bed frame and its storage drawer done. Up next, plumbing, and we’re going to order fabric and counter tops.

I have been stressing about whether I ‘ll have the Spartan done for this summer,  feeling frustrated that I can’t seem to get anything done.  Then, it occurred to me, as I drove the GMC to the hardware store, that I DO get things done, it’s just that some of the things I do are silly and and take up too much time, and that I may underestimate the time and expense a project will gobble up.

A case in point, and one of the reasons the Thunderbird  and Rivera aren’t  done, and that my Hot Rod Fund is now empty, is my ’76 GMC dually.  This thing has eaten up spare time, project money, more time, and more money, than I care to think about.

It started 4 years ago when I sold my rusty ’00 Silverado, and decided to unearth the GMC from the barn at my dad’s where I’d abandoned it 20 years ago.  We bought the truck, with a 23’ Diamond REO camper on the extended frame when I was selling cars in ’83.  Some guy traded it in on an Escort, and I bought it.  We camped in it, my folks drove it to Florida, but we stopped using it in the mid 90’s, and it had been driven in the barn and forgotten about.  I needed a pickup, to haul stuff in, pull things with, and here was one, all I had to do was dust it off and go

Easy, right?

When I got it out, it started on 20 year old gas, although it ran pretty poorly and smelled awful.  The camper came off, the frame was shortened, I bought a box from Texas, a new hood, patched up the cab corners and shot a unifying coat of Arctic White enamel.

This summer,  after three years of abuse, it got 6 new 16″ tires, new wheels, stainless hubcaps, a new stainless exhaust, and a 3.75:1 rear end to replace the 4.56’s (in a futile attempt to help the abysmal fuel consumption).  The 454, with 22,000 miles runs like a watch, the transmission (after a new governor gear) shifts crisply, I’ve got a plow for winter and camper for summer, so I should be all set for a hauling needs for another 2 or 3 decades.

Maybe now I’m done spending money, and it’ll last another 2 or three decades…