Once we left Texas we headed to Tucson to get some repairs. Unfortunately we don’t really have photos of any of these things so I’ll try to paint pictures with words.

The Hydraulics. First, you might remember a while ago (when we were in Carlsbad last year) we had some tire repairs, replaced the leaf springs, and they noticed we were leaking hydraulic fluid from our front passenger-side leg. So we had them replace that leg. When we went to pick it up, the folks at the shop said our hydraulics were acting funny and it was probably just air in the lines that we had to bleed out, but as we were rushing them at the end of the day, they didn’t have time to do it properly. So we said we could do that ourselves and took it back.

Our rig uses hydraulics for our six leveling legs and the two opposing slides in the main living space. We have a fancy function to “self-level” but we stopped using it a while ago because it was jacking up the legs really high and taking the tires off the ground. So we’ve just been leveling it ourselves. It’s also actually quicker for us to get it balanced manually rather than for us to wait for the auto level. Once we got that leg replaced though, this whole system went haywire. At first it seemed as though the hydraulic fluid just went to that front leg first as it was the first to go down and the first to go up. But then we realized it was a bigger problem. When we tried to put the slides out, the leg went down. When we tried to put the slides in, the leg went up. When we tried to put the back legs down, the front leg went down. It was like everything we did went to that leg first. We needed professional help. Scott talked to two mobile techs, one played with our system a bit and said it was beyond his ability. Another said he couldn’t work on it (the RV park we’re at doesn’t allow hydraulic work in the park) but suggested the lines might just be hooked up wrong. There are four lines that go in to each leg, two red and two black. I’ll get back to this in a minute.

The Floor. We have had a few soft spots in the floor since the beginning (remember we bought used). The biggest spot was in front of the fridge which we basically just avoided stepping on. After a few months the vinyl flooring there started curling up so we taped it down. The slides have some rollers to support them as they go in and out and apparently this spot was right in that path. For about a year it was fine, a bit squishy but not a big deal. THEN we drove from Terlingua to Tucson and the floor fell apart.

We were afraid we had water damage. The fridge didn’t seem to be leaking but there are a lot of water pipes running under the floor and apparently these can sometimes sweat and cause water damage. We had also noticed that there seemed to be white powder we could see in the vinyl split, underneath the vinyl flooring, almost like there was drywall rather than compressed wood. When we got to Tucson, there were all kinds of jaggedy bits under the vinyl between the fridge and the front door. We thought after sitting in hot Texas for several months it degraded the floor and when we had two long travel days, the floor fell apart. I was convinced the drywall had broken and those bits had pushed out under the floor closer to the front door (though I was confused as to why we had a drywall floor). Scott was convinced the floor had fallen apart and we were feeling screws and wood bits.

We scheduled an appointment to check the hydraulics and floor in front of the fridge. Turns out the mobile tech guy was right, the hydraulic lines were just hooked up backwards (the two reds flipped and the two blacks flipped) and once switched, the hydraulics worked perfectly. Yay! The floor was a different beast altogether. Turns out the prior owners had dropped something heavy in front of the fridge and then filled the hole with plaster. To do this they cut the vinyl and just squirted the plaster into the hole under the vinyl and glued it back down. Over time the plaster broke up and then started moving around under the vinyl. This is what I thought was drywall. The repair techs cleaned up all the plaster bits and filled the hole with Bondo. Because they had to cut out the vinyl to do this, we now have a patch of different colored vinyl covering that spot. We could have had them order matching vinyl but we’ve been considering doing a renovation in the main space anyhow, so we said it was fine to use whatever leftover they had for the patch. The floor is still a bit soft there but hopefully it won’t break up like that again. And the best news is that we didn’t have water damage. Yay!

The Fridge. We have been very dissatisfied with our fridge. This Norcold absorption fridge that came installed is nice because it can use propane or electricity, but when using electricity it takes 600W/hr which is why we ended up getting a third battery and all the solar panels we could fit on our roof. We’ve been debating replacing it with a Norcold compressor fridge that they’ve been installing on newer Solitudes (our model of fifth wheel). This Norcold compressor fridge is fully electric (only 200W/hr when cooling) and SO much more efficient than the absorption fridge. The absorption fridge can only cool a certain amount less than ambient temperature, so when we were sitting in 100 degree heat, our fridge was around 50 degrees. Ideally, fridges keep below 40. Last summer we purchased several Govee temperature/humidity sensors to monitor temperatures all throughout our home, specifically one for the fridge, one in the freezer, one in the main room, one in the bedroom, and one outside. Our average fridge temp in December was 34, max was 47 (outside temp averaged 52 with a high of 81). In May the fridge averaged 45 with a max of 54 (outside temp averaged 79 with a high of 102). Our food was spoiling a lot quicker. SO we decided to upgrade our fridge and have the technicians do the replacement for us because these things are so big and heavy the only way to get them in and out is to take off the doors and take them through the window. Not something we wanted to do ourselves.

We just got all this work completed today and are now back and ready to hit the road next weekend and head up to the Utah mountains and away from this heat. Several times tonight Scott has gone over and hugged the fridge. He says he’s just trying to hear it but I know he’s just super happy to have a fridge that will finally keep our food from perishing so quickly. The freezer should even get cold enough for us to keep icecream frozen (something the other fridge was unable to do). We’ll be celebrating this for a while!

2 thoughts on “Repairs

  1. terry penney

    Glad to hear you’ve got all those issues solved – it takes time to iron out all the little issues! Now on to cooler temperatures!

  2. Judi

    Loved the comprehensive report. Good to have things taken care of and that they weren’t huge fixes.
    Hope the love affair with the fridge continues with many helpings of ice cream.🍦


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