Thursday, December 19, 2013

Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Lagunitas California

Samuel P. Taylor State Park Campground is a short drive from Bay area. The campground is located within the state park and in close proximity to Muir Woods National Monument and Point Reyes National Seashore.

GPS Coordinates (Entrance Kiosk): 38.019266,-122.729944
Samuel P. Taylor SP website: Click here
Campground Map (Pdf): Click here
Campground reviews (RVparkreviews): Click here

Video tour of Samuel P. Taylor Campground (HD available).

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sandy Riverfront RV Resort, Troutdale Oregon

Sandy Riverfront RV resort is located close to the Columbia River Gorge  and about 20 minutes east of downtown Portland. It is a good camp base to visit the waterfalls, the Columbia river, and all the surrounding cities.

GPS Coordinates (CG Entrance): 45.5383,-122.379096
Campground Website: Click here
Campground Map: Click here
Campground reviews from RVParkreviews: Click here
 
Video tour of Sandy Riverfront RV Resort Campground (HD available).

Permanent Black Holding Tank Rinser


If you’re tired of dragging the garden hose inside the RV to flush and clean the black holding tank, installing a permanent holding tank rinser may interest you. There are 3 permanent holding tank flusher/rinser device on the market that I know; one is the “Tornado Rotary Tank Rinser”, the “No-Fuss Flush” unit and the identical “Camco Quickie Flush” system. I went and bought the “No-Fuss Flush” unit as it was available at my local RV store. The “No-Fush Flush” unit does not come with an extension hose unlike the “Quickie Flush” seen on Amazon here: Click here. All of the above mentioned tank flush unit has a built in check valve to prevent any contents of the holding tank exiting via the flushing unit. The supplied holding screws (x3 zinc coated) for the "No-Fuss Flush" unit were not used, instead I purchased 3 stainless steel screws for this project.

1. Before starting with this project, make sure your black holding tank is empty; you do not want any surprises when drilling the required hole.

2. Raise the driver side wheels on ramps for easy access to underside of the RV. For safety, chock the passenger side wheels to prevent the RV from rolling off the ramps.

3. The installation location of the tank flushing unit is limited on the Agile as the only exposed side of the black tank is towards the rear end of the vehicle; all other sides are either covered by a shield or frame. Although, installing the flushing unit at this location is ideal as it can spray at the area where most solid waste might accumulate. The flushing unit does not spray directly at the tank sensors and at the area where the tank drains due to the tank design, although it might indirectly. The uppermost portion of black tank is partially covered by a frame, the most I can install it is about 3 inches from the top of the tank an inch shy of the flushing unit requirement of 2 inches.

4. Make sure you are 100% positive where to make the hole, this is a one shot attempt and cannot be reverted. “No-Fuss Flush” device requires an inch diameter hole.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Replacing the Macerator Impeller

Before starting, make sure that the house battery is off or disconnected. Clean and empty both holding tanks. Some waste fluid is expected to drip when you start disconnecting the macerator inlet and outlet ports, so be prepared. I used a small bucket to catch all the remaining waste fluids in the line.

1. Raise the passenger wheels on ramps for easy access to underside of the RV. I made wooden ramps for these purpose. For safety, chock the driver side wheels to prevent the RV from rolling off the ramps. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Most Compact Portable Grill

For anyone looking for a really small grill, here it is... the Iwatani Cassette Gas Grill. I've been trying to find this here in the US for ages, it is now available on Amazon. It still shipped from Japan though, but I'm more comfortable buying through Amazon than from an unknown oversea online store. Here is the Amazon link: Iwatani Cassette Gas Grill.
  
The description from Amazon is misleading, it says "grilled skewers only", this is definitely not for skewers only, but its best use for skewered meat hence it's called "Yakitori" grill. I have tried grilling steaks, pork chops, burgers, hotdogs, veggies, etc. and it cooked nicely done.

I really like the grill because of its smaller footprint, saving a much needed storage space especially in a small class B RV's. It cooks great and evenly heats up, unlike my Coleman grill which gets really hot in the middle where the burner is located. For skewered meat, it's the best way to cook at the table while picnicking, the kids loved it.

The grill only measures about 15 x 7 3/4 x 4 3/4-inches (LxWxH). It uses an inexpensive butane canister as fuel source. One would ask, why butane? Butane don't work well in cold weather. The Iwatani grill has an ingenious metal heater plate that warms up the butane canister as it cooks, so cold weather is not an issue anymore. The heat is adjustable with the simple turn of the dial; it also has an auto igniter built in. The grid for the skewer is adjustable in 3 positions and it's easy to clean. The only thing lacking is a lid, which I don't prefer using anyway.

The Iwatani Cassette Gas Grill
 
I made a storage box for the grill. The box is air tight when locked to prevent the grill from smelling inside the RV when stored. 
 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Custom Hitch Cover with RT Logo


Our RT came with a plastic hitch cover from the RV dealer; it was printed with RV dealer info/advertisement. I figured out why not make it an RT Logo print for custom look. To do this, I first scuffed the surface using fine grit sandpaper; with a black spray paint specially designed for plastics I painted the base color. Next I searched online for an RT logo, resized it to proper size then printed on a regular bond paper. I then traced the RT logo into a masking tape, cut-out the details and then transferred it into the hitch cover, spray painted the red side, then the blue side. After the paint has completely dried, I spray painted it with several layers of clear coat for protection.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

City Water Inlet Replacement


At one point, things in the RV will eventually break and the city water inlet is no exception. If it starts to leak, try to reseat the rubber check valve first and see if that cures the problem. I have reseated the valve on ours on many occasions and lately the spring that holds the rubber check valve  just came off. I decided to replace the whole water inlet valve assembly with a different brand; the new one is made of brass vs. the plastic old one. One drawback is that the mounting holes is different as it has 3 mounting holes as opposed to 2 on the original one, so I have to drill new holes into the mounting bracket.

If you decided to replace it with a new identical one it would be an easy DIY, all you have to do is remove the two rivets that holds it in place, unscrew it from the PEX tubing pipe thread adapter, replace it with a new one and rivet it back in place.
 
Picture above shows the check valve is not properly seated causing water to leak out. If this happens, your water pump will repeatedly cycle on-off as water pressure starts to drop inside the pipes.