Monday, December 15, 2014

Mammoth gets new "joints"

Saturday, October 25-Sunday Oct 26, 2014

Once we returned from our trip to Colorado this summer, we knew we needed to replace our shackles and equalizers. Recall that we had one break in Colorado, so we knew the others were in need of service. 

Well, I purchased the parts we needed via Amazon, and they had arrived a few weeks before. We purchased a complete shackle, bolt and Never-Fail bushing set, as well as a pair of 6-8K Trail Air Equalizers. Both were sold under the "Mobile Outfitters" brand, which was a division of Lippert, targeting Aftermarket sales. Lippert has since disbanded the "Mobile Outfitter" idea.  

We knew this project would likely take t least two days. We started by pulling all the slides in, hitching the coach up to the truck. Tony pre-loosened all the bolts before jacking the rig, using penetrating oil and a lot of elbow grease, so they would remove easier.

We raised one side to remove the tires. We added plenty of backup jacks and blocks to make sure the rig was safe to be under.

We removed the wheels, then went to work on removing the bolts. Some took far more effort than others, including some help from a 5lb hammer. Removing the bushings was also a challenge, but not as hard as we thought. We had a metal punch to help remove them. Reassembly took longer, as we had to work to get things properly aligned so the bolts would seat correctly. It was also hot and we were in the sun, getting hungry and thirsty, but did not feel safe to go inside the coach with it being suspended as it was. Tony ran and got us lunch, and we had access to the park facilities for restrooms. 

Coach is raised using our Ground Control system, but a jack under the axle helps support it to take pressure off the suspension.

Tony preps the bolts with lubricant and works (before the rig is raised) to get the nuts free.

Removing the bolts requires some hammering, some wrenching, and ultimately some pulling.

Yay! It's installed! Just need wheels! 

He finally had everything back together about 5pm (we had started about 10am). He was very happy!!

The next day, we began about 10 with the other side. It went a little faster since we knew what to expect. We had more challenges getting things aligned, but we got done about 2:30.

Using the punch to remove the bushing.

Adjusting (jacking) the axle height to align the spring and hanger.

We reassembled this side and then proceeded to "settle in" again, putting outr blocks and stabilizers in place, extra jacks for stabilizing, wheel covers, etc.

At least now if we want to go, we can feel safe doing so!

Top is new, Never-Fail bushing. Two middle are old bushings, bottom is standard nylon bushing (like the two worn ones.)
Old vs new-- you can see how worn the shock-absorbing rubber is.

Old vs new -- there should be a lot less "play" in the suspension now.

Old shackle vs new. Notice the elongated holes!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bringing the Rally to us

The October Thursday 2-Wednesday 8, 2014.

I failed to blog about this when it happened, and for that I feel bad. Life's just been busy!

Since Manmoth is now our home for the time being at Solid Rock, we are unable to "pack up and go" for RV trips like we once did. It just so happens that a Heartland Rally was coming up in Bullard, TX, October 11-13. We had originally hoped to attend when we were in Terrell, and Tony would have just driven back and forth for part of it.  Now at Lake Leon, we were not able to attend. However, some of our Heartland friends would be attending, and droving right by us on the way. 

Dan & Ann, our friends originally from Austin, TX, would be passing through from Breckenridge, CO headed to Bullard, TX. They agreed to stop in and visit for a day. Also, our friends Malcolm and Valerie, were actually not going to the rally, but decided to stop and visit as they headed from Nashville, TN to Wichita Falls, TX to see their son, in the Air Force. Also passing through were Amy and Dave, our friends from Cody, WY that decided to take their vacation down to TX just to see their HL friends. How cool is that? They stopped by and stayed a few days, too! We were very blessed to have them all visit. We took Val & Malcolm and Dan & Ann to attend a Cisco High School football game. It was a little chilly, but we all had a great time enjoying the band and the good game.

The next day we did some running around at WalMart, had an impromptu potluck, sadly Tony had to work. 

Sunday we said bye to Dan & Ann, and Monday said hello to Dave & Amy and their dog Tucker. 

Monday night we had another impromptu potluck, and Tony got home late after practice and joined us to visit a little.

Tuesday we said bye to Val and Malcolm, and had another great meal visiting with Dave & Amy. They left Wednesday AM. 

First there were two...
Enjoying the game with Ann, Dan, Malcolm, Valerie
Three rigs!
Now a different one!
Enjoying the Heartland family! Malcolm, Valerie, Amy, & Dave.
Bye Dave & Amy!

After they all left, I ended up heading to Terrell. I attended the Heartland Rally with Tony's sister, Tori, and staying with her during Friday and Saturday nights, as she lived in Tyler, just 10 minutes away. It was great to see other Heartland folks there as well. Too bad Tony could not attend, but I know it meant a lot to him that folks would stop and visit.