Friday, May 8, 2009

So, I picked up my RV from the speed shop...

Just before Arse-Freeze-Apalooza 08, I pulled Brownie the worlds greatest crappy old RV out of cryogenic storage in a town about an hour away from us.

I had shuffled him around the county for several years prior, parking it wherever I saw old RVs congregating and then checking on him on a semi-regular basis until parking tickets or "PLEASE REMOVE YOUR VEHICLE" stickers started to plaster the windows. Then I would clean him up, move him to the next location and the waiting game began again.

I hadn't actually intended to keep the thing actually. I was gonna fix it up and sell it for some extra cash, but as things turned out, after the last dot-com bust Tigger-cat and I ended up taking a sabbatical and traveling in it for about a year, writing music and traveling wherever the steering wandered. And I kinda grew attached to the vagabond thing.

Then when my melt-your-heart-girlfriend-not-yet-spouse finally convinced me it was time to get a real doorbell and a set of matching towels, I decided to hang on to it "just in case". Maybe even put a sign over the door that says "The Dog-House".

And so it ended up at first dominating our driveway, and then went to the RV-kennel for the last few years.

The time it spent sitting was not kind to it. When we picked it up to take to Thunderhill, it seemed to have flat spots in a few of it's tires. I checked them over for any signs of dry rot or cracking and found none, so I drove him. The adventure that followed prompted an email to my father one evening:

Hey Pops,

Thanks to the current economic crisis and meltdown, gas sank to 1.63 a gal last week down from a high of 4.59 just a few months ago.

That means it was finally time to dig the RV out of storage and fill the tank while I can afford it, and might as well take it in for a smog check too. I even drove it to work a few days just because I could. My co-workers loved it. Driving home from storage after I picked it up there was a steady bounce from the flat spots in the tires, which I figured would eventually either subside or destroy something.

On the way to work that first Monday the oldest tire (right rear outer, grey rim) decided it was past the "Use By Date" and elected to take the second path mentioned above of "Destroy something". Half the tread separated from the tire, which caused enough NEW noise for me to pull over at the freeway interchange.

Crap, I'm late for work... hey someone stole the tire iron... hmmm... it's a dually.... fuckit, this thing is old... I got back on the freeway in the slow lane and drove carefully on the shoulder another mile. That's when things got REALLY noisy.

I could hear the remaining pieces slapping the coach as they came loose, and quieting when they departed out the rear as seen by my mirrors... roar to a crescendo, and sudden quiet... roar to a crescendo, sudden quiet. Then finally a steady wire wheel (pun intended) whizzing.

I pulled over a second time and marveled at the inner construction of 6 ply light truck tires, and also how neatly the passenger side exhaust tip was sliced off, then continued on my happy way, taking the next exit and slowly making my way to work. The tire held amazingly, and looked like a used Brillo-pad by the time I arrived.

Interestingly I saved enough money on gas to afford the new tire I ordered from Discount tires. They even put the spare on for me, forgetting to check the tire pressure. This became apparent when I got it back to work and noticed that tire was just along for the ride. By the time I went to pick up the new tire the spare had separated it's bead from the rim. I mentioned this to the rocket scientist/tire salesman, and they nodded in understanding. They then put it back on the spare mount for me... still flat and loose... and still said nothing.

Say Hi to Ma.


After Thunderhill I got the surprise suggestion from changed-her-mind-spouse that we should keep Brownie. That set us off on a mission to find replacement parts at salvage yards, and on our way up to a breaker near Sac-O-tomatoes, the second tire gave up the ghost.

This blowout however was MUCH less amusing, as I had a lovely little "are-we-gonna-die-spouse" riding with me. Worse yet, as I shopped around they seem to have obsoleted the 8-16.5 tire size, and very few choices remain. I lucked out at a random Big-O tire store and picked up two more tires that only cost me a leg.

I decided to bite the bullet and order the last 4 online via tire-rack while I still could, and they had a list of recommended installers, including Goodie's Speed Shop. I chose the speed shop!

You should have seen their faces when I showed up with a 27 foot camper...

They hemmed and hawed, said they had never tried to do an RV before but they would try. And sure enough, they got-er-done. While I was there I asked about the zoomies on their awesome Dodge A-100 shop van, which they said it was done in house.

Excellent. I will be back with the RV/shaggin-waggin after the race, lol!

On the way home that evening the truck ran horribly. It sounded like it both had a vacuum leak and was flooding.

Again with the flooding? Sheesh!

Usually that combo indicates a cracked thermoquad. The thing had not run correctly since last smog check, but now it was getting bad.

Rather than mess with worn out Thermoquad any more, I ordered a Holley manufactured unit from Summit racing, and put it on last Wednesday night. There I found the basis of my vacuum leak which was a cooked and crumbling base gasket.

"Well there's your problem."

I was still tired from staying up late working on the Killer Bee the night before, so I decided to decided to call it a night, get some rest and test it out the next morning.

The next morning I went to fire it up and FLOODING! MORE FLOODING!?!?!? This must be my week.

I removed the carb and inspected it carefully. Turns out the plastic fuel bowl has a corner piece missing, that looks like it was sawed off.

Nice. I assumed they would have tested it before shipping...

So back on went my old carb, along with a new base gasket. Lo and behold, it actually runs pretty good, though it still tends to flood when you shut it off. I've got a rebuild kit on the way from Mancinni Racing and will just epoxy the plastic body.

But this will have to wait till AFTER the Reno race.

Holy crap... HOW many days are left???

The Killer Bee is still not running correctly. It still has "FLOODING ISSUES."

[Slaps forehead]

(Kittty Still Here)

Next: Lambo

Previous: Oh... DUH.

From the Beginning of this mess: The Hook... (Part 1)

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