Monday, October 2, 2017

Fall means it's rally season!

Saturday, September 30th

This weekend was the North Texas Chapter's Rally in Tyler, Texas. Last weekend was the Oklahoma Rally, but we were unable to make it to that one. This year, Dave and Nancy picked a new location, at Tyler Oaks RV Resort, just north of Tyler on Hwy 69.  Due to Tony's busy fall schedule, again, we have to attend without the rig. But that's ok, we really wanted to see our Heartland Family! I'll tell you more, but first, a few things....


First, we need to fill you in on some of our other RV adventures. As mentioned in June, we had MorRyde SRE4000 suspension put on in Elkhart, as well as new shocks. One shock busted on our way to Nashville, so we replaced it, and managed to get home to Texas.
Well, we finally got time to change the other three shocks, and found another was also busted (compromised so that it no longer rebounds), and the other two showed signs of leaking. We replaced them with standard RV shocks by AP Products.  Getting the old shocks off was harder than getting the new ones in. Hopefully, with the "standard" shocks, the MorRyde suspension will operate as intended.

Failed Bilstein shocks

 We chocked up the adventure to "a learning experience." MorRyde actually forgot to charge us for the shock install, even though I questioned the bill at the time. When I contacted them about the failed shocks and this came to light, they basically said "We installed what was provided", and they did not offer any assistance with our issue. I guess that's considered a refund on the install?

The shocks were only warranted from the eBay seller for 30 days, and it had been much longer than that. Bilstein warrants shocks for a year, but they must be purchased from an authorized reseller, which our eBay seller was not.

So we're left "holding the bag" -- the cost of the failed shocks, plus the new ones.


Another adventure was back in August. After a few days of cooler, rainy weather, we had a hot day, with temps close to 95. As usual, our AC runs nearly continuously to keep up with the afternoon heat.

Mid-afternoon, I started smelling something funny, like burning wires. I quickly found the source of the smell was coming from the AC ducts. I turned off the AC and began working to see if I could get a tech to come look at it, since I have heard of the Dometic ACs having issues in the past with poor quality parts from China.

I contacted a couple of RV dealers first that were listed under Dometic's authorized service centers. But none of them could get it to us in a timely fashion. I was recommended to call a mobile tech, Scott Paine Services, out of Abilene. I called, and he was very helpful, asking me to check a few things. We determined it was definitely something he needed to check out, (not a breaker issue, or a thermostat problem, or something simple like that.) Sadly, he could not make it out for a week! I went ahead and scheduled it, hoping I could get a sooner solution if I kept looking.

That weekend, we crawled onto the roof, hoping to find out more info to aid in the repair. Tony took an RV Tech class this summer, but they did not delve into the AC. We took the shroud off and looked for anything obvious, like a loose connection or burned marks.

Tony removed the panel where the control board and start capacitor is located, and voila! We found the source of the smell. The start capacitor connection was obviously discolored and melted.

Me "sniffing" for a burned smell. 

The small box here with wires going into it and the warning label is where the control board is located.

Here is what we discovered.

After finding the issue, we sent pictures to Scott Paine, and he said he would bring the proper part to replace it. 

The next week, Scott came out and examined the unit and tested it for proper amp draw and other issues to make sure it wasn't something else causing the problem, and replaced the start capacitor. He was here about an hour. I sincerely appreciated his professionalism and quick work! It just hurts the pocket book. :(

After Scott finished, we were back to 2 ACs. Halleluya! I then proceeded to collect the info that Dometic needed to see if it fell under warranty, and sent that to them the next day.

On September 26th, we finally got a check to cover the part and the labor cost, but not the service call or cost to ship them their failed part. Realize this failure was August 3, repair was August 10, and info was sent to Dometic August 11! Dometic's website says "Mobile Living Made Easy" and "Satisfying your essential needs when living mobile." Both of these, they failed to do for us. Hopefully, I will not need their "help" in the future.

Another upgrade was for our porch light. The original worked great, until it didn't. I am not sure how, but it seemed like water had gotten into the lens area, and affected some of the LEDs, causing some not to light, and others to flicker. I checked with Heartland, and the price of the same fixture plus shipping was too much. I could find other options for cheaper on Amazon.

Original light fixture

Prying at this tiny indentation is how you pop the outer cover off.

Cover removed, now you can remove the screws.

New fixture in place is MUCH brighter and has day/night on/off and motion detection.

We replaced the fixture fairly quickly, but it was daytime, and we could not make any adjustments to the settings. When it got darker, it would not motion-detect, so I said I would spend more time with it later.

The next day I tried adjusting the settings, but still didn't have much luck. It will activate if you put your hand about 6" from it! Well, we don't want to take it down to return it so I guess we just have a super-bright porch light now. If you're interested, here's a link but I cannot say much about the the motion detection.


OK, back to the Rally!
 We drove in from Cisco to Tyler in our SUV about 12pm Saturday, and met up with our friends, Stella and Jay. We talked to a few folks, but then headed to lunch with Jay and Stella, at a nearby Cracker Barrel. We had a good meal and lots of time to visit, since they were pretty busy. 

After lunch, we wondered over and visited with Nancy and Dave for a while, then decided we needed to go and check in at the hotel. We headed over to the southeast corner of Tyler to the LaQuinta -University Area, on the Loop at McDonald Road. It was a very nice new LaQuinta, with the new modern decor. We checked in and rested a bit, then headed back to the Rally. It was about a 15-20 minute drive.

We got back and walked around, visiting with a number of folks around the park, until it was time for the potluck and white elephant gift exchange. Of course, we had to do a picture first!

North Texas Chapter Rally attendees

We had a great meal with BBQ and all the sides typical with BBQ. There was some great peach cobbler, as well. We met some new folks from Louisiana,  Paul &  Cindy, and enjoyed visiting with lots of our old friends.

After dinner, we did the gift exchange.  We had a good time with that, lots of fun things were given. One included the "ice cream maker ball" that has been at every white elephant exchange  I've attended. No one wants that thing! LOL!

Audra M, new grandpuppy, and me with my "white elephant" gift, a cute Ty beanie bear. They could be related.

After the festivities, we enjoyed walking around and visiting with more folks. We hung out with Ted & Dee and their Margaritaville set up, its an EZ Up fully decorated with lights and decor that make you feel like you're in a little beachside cabana bar or something. FUN! They always bring the "outdoor living extravaganza."

We hung out with our friends Jason and Audra, and also met some "younger" folks like us, Pat and Jana Jones. They have a really good-looking Cyclone, with blue accented/ full body paint. We had a good time hearing their tales of dealing with their dealer, which happened to be our dealer (just a different location.)

We ended up leaving about 10pm, to head back to the hotel. We took a wrong turn, but managed to get back just fine. We headed to the room, and crashed. It was a long and busy and fun day, visiting our Heartland family!

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Today, we got up and got our bags packed. It was strange having an overnight with no kitties bugging us all night! I still tossed and turned due to the harder mattress, but we slept OK.

Tony got us breakfast from the hotel lobby - eggs, ham, and a muffin for me, biscuits and gravy for him. We ate, and finished getting ourselves ready, then checked out and headed back to the Rally.

We arrived about 10, and visited with more folks until 12.  We met another new couple, Kelsey and Pam, and had a good visit with them and some more folks that gathered around Kelsey's rig. Then we needed to hit the road. 

We first got some food, and made a stop at the Camping World that was close by the RV Park. We didn't think we needed anything, but invariably we found a few things, including butyl tape and a collapsible wagon, to help haul our rally supplies. (We had borrowed one from Nancy and Dave one time, and found it VERY helpful.)

Once done with Tyler, we were on the road. We had no issues going home, and made it home about 5pm. We unloaded and rested for a bit, then Tony decided he'd cook the (impulse buy due to good price) steaks that I bought on Friday. We had a great meal at home, and enjoyed some TV with cats in our laps. 

A fun weekend, we just wished it could have been longer!