The RV Road Trip Fulltimer's Blog for December 2011
The budget worksheet for November has been completed and is available via a link in the left hand menu. This covers the basics of our full-timing costs but for privacy reasons, we do not disclose every little detail. The fine print on the budget page explains it all.
As everyone well knows, December is the month of Christmas. We hope that everyone keeps focus on the real meaning of Christmas and not the commercialization of it. As for Cynthia and I, it is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. We do understand that not everyone believes the way we do... each person has the free will to decide on their own. As long as you know what Jesus did for you, then the rest is up to you. And before anyone makes a negative comment, please keep in mind that we are not offended because you do not believe in Jesus, and we expect that you will not be offended because we do.
Did you notice that HEB brand cola was on sale this week? :)
It just isn't practical to carry a purse to many of the activities we do. The most she would need is her ID which easily fits in a pocket, usually mine. If she did take her purse, it ends up getting left in the Jeep and although we lock the Jeep, it is still susceptible to theft. She states that she might need something from her purse like a pen and paper, Chapstik, a Kleenex, her Glock 26, etc. OK, she doesn't really carry a Glock. Or does she? Hmmm.
Sometimes when we start to go out she instinctively grabs her purse. I ask her why she needs it, she pauses for a minute, then says "I guess I don't". More often than not, it ends up being something to keep track of rather than a useful carry all for Lord knows what. We very rarely see women carrying purses unless we are out shopping, never in a campground.
Scooter is such a sweet puppy. He loves to sit in your lap and always wants attention from you. If you go outside without him, he instantly jumps up in the dinette seat so he can look outside and see what you are doing.
We also discovered a leak in the transfer case and apparently it had been there a while. There was very little fluid left in there and what was left, was very dark and smelled burnt. We replaced a defective o-ring that we determined to be the source of the leak and refilled the transfer case. After a short test drive, we noticed the fluid was leaking out again. Upon closer examination, we discovered a hairline crack in the front housing. I sealed it temporarily with black RTV and we have begun the search for a replacement NP231J transfer case.
We don't want to get one from a junk yard as they are likely in no better shape than the one we have now. We have no way to test it or to look inside it for wear. We're looking at remanufactured units and the cheapest we have seen so far is $675 plus $180 to install it. Ouch.
CJ doesn't care for the rain and when he goes outside, he does his business then wants back in. Scooter, on the other hand, loves the rain and loves to get as dirty as he possibly can. Needless to say, Scooter needs a bath now. Oh well, we are thankful for the rain. The ground needs it and we love the sound it makes on the roof of the motorhome.
We took the Jeep to the local 4x4 shop to see about the transfer case problem. Since all these guys do is work on 4 wheel drive vehicles, we figured they would know better than anyone else. We explained the problem and they said they would fix it for $180 plus parts. That's cheap! We agreed and they removed the transfer case and opened it up. The only bad parts were the plastic buffers that ride on the shifting arm, and a crack in the front housing. Here is a shot of the Jeep raised up and they are about to pull the transfer case out. The next image is the unit removed.
You can readily buy a replacement rear housing but not the front, at least not around here. The crack appeared to be caused by someone over tightening the shift detent bolt and not a stress crack. We decided to seal it up with JB Weld from the inside. They disassembled the rest of the transfer case and cleaned it all up, replaced the necessary parts and seals and put it all back together. I took the Jeep home and noticed a very small drip from the drain plug but a few turns on it did the trick. This morning I drove to my doctor's appointment, which is about 5 miles away. I smelled transmission fluid, which is what goes in the transfer case. Sure enough, it was leaking. After I came out of the doctor's office, I headed to the 4x4 shop.
They put the Jeep up on a lift and found that when they put the case back together, the sealant between the front drive shaft housing and the main front housing did not seal properly in one spot. Needless to say they had to drop the entire transfer case again and reseal the whole thing. While they had it out, they put some JB Weld on the outside of the case where the original crack was for good measure. They wanted to let everything sit overnight to cure and then a test drive in the morning. Hopefully, all will go well and we will get the Jeep back before lunch time.
Almost forgot, while they had the Jeep the first day, I had them replace the front axle u-joints. I knew how to do it and probably could have but after watching them try to remove 12 year old rusted in u-joints then press in new greasable Spicer units, we feel that was money well spent! All in all, the transfer case repair and the new u-joints came to a total of $320.07. That is a heck of a deal!
We got a fair amount of rain a couple of days ago and it looks like we might get a little more this week. Cynthia got used to not having to worry about rain so she got careless. While out shopping it started raining hard and she didn't have a rain hat... so she improvised.
We remade the banner at the top of the page as the one we had seemed a little plain to us. We used a picture we took on the Blue Ridge Parkway as the background, added a shot of the Jeep on the left and a cartoon of the RV and us on the right. If you look closely at the RV, you'll notice Scooter is in the middle. CJ's eyes are in the lower right portion of the tunnel.
To respond to Dave's comment below, we decided it was time to get a regular vehicle instead of the scooter so we'd have a way to take the wheelchair without having to take the motorhome as well. We wanted something we could tow 4 down and the 4x4 allows that and the option to get off the beaten path should we want to. There are many other toad (towed) options and everyone has their own preferences. If it wasn't for the wheelchair, we would have kept the scooter.
Happy Birthday Dad!Today, my dad turned 71... err, I mean 39 with 32 years of experience. We don't waste money on cards and we don't send gifts but we always take the time for that all important phone call. It was good to hear his voice today and to know he is doing well. Sharie (his wife) takes good care of him... bless her.
On the 12th day of Christmas, society gave to me...
- 12 red lights a running
- 11 fingers flipping
- 10 shoplifters stealing
- 9 gifts re-gifted
- 8 random gift cards
- 7 tempers flaring
- 6 Chinese products
- 5 missing kids
- 4 stolen parking spaces
- 3 atheists protesting
- 2 eff you's
- and a pepper sprayer in the Walmart.
Now the day after Christmas, people will act like that is the only day you can return an item and there will be mile long lines at the customer service counters. Slow down folks... life is more fun without all the self created stress.
One gift we did give to someone this year was to our friend David and his wife Nancy. We won't go into the details for privacy reasons, but we gave them CJ. CJ has always loved them and they loved CJ as well and it just seemed like a really good fit. CJ doesn't have to share with Scooter anymore, he doesn't have to put up with Scooter pestering him all day every day and David has a golf cart so CJ gets unlimited rides now. To make Scooter a better behaved pup, we told him that the dog catcher got CJ and that he will get Scooter too if he doesn't behave. Here is Scooter begging us not to let the dog catcher take him away!
The leak is fairly small but audible, which is how we discovered it. And even as thin as the crack is, it causes the O2 sensors to give false readings thus resulting in pathetic fuel mileage, about 13 MPG instead of the normal 18 MPG. Luckily, this is a repair we can do, albeit a time consuming one. We estimate it will take about 3-4 hours from start to finish. We'll also replace the fuel injector o-rings and the fuel feed line o-ring. After we have the new header in, we'll take the Jeep to a local muffler shop and have them fabricate a new pipe that runs from the header to the catalytic converter. This piece is crimped from the factory and restricts flow, so we'll have a new one that isn't crimped. In this piece is where the upstream O2 sensor is so we'll drop in a brand new one when the pipe is installed. That should result in a smoother idle and better fuel economy. We'll drop in a new downstream O2 sensor for good measure. The header was $180, the o-rings were $5 and the O2 sensors were $38 each. Labor is free since we will be doing it ourselves, and we think the cost of the new pipe at the muffler shop will be about $30. So we get all this done for $291 instead of the $1100 the stealership, err dealership wanted.
The Jeep will soon be in showroom condition at the rate we're going, LOL.
So this is it... the end of 2011 and our second year of full-timing! We're eagerly looking forward to 2012 and more adventures on the road. We'd like to thank each and every one of you who reads our blog and supports us by supporting the advertisers we have and shopping through our Amazon affiliate store. We really enjoy sharing all the info on the site with you and are so glad that it benefits so many of you. We appreciate every comment and every email we receive and we especially enjoy the visits in the campgrounds. We hope that you'll tell all your friends about our site and mention us on your favorite blogs and forums. May God bless you and may you all have a very prosperous 2012!
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2014 We did our massive 22 state and 15 national park road trip.
2013 We dealt with Jerry's wreck and thyroid cancer treatment.
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2011 JAN, FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUN, JUL, AUG, SEP, OCT, NOV, DEC
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