The RV Road Trip Part-Timer's Blog for August 2016

AUG
1
2016
We bought Cynthia's 2001 Toyota Sienna XLE van back in 2012 from a local used car dealer. I think it had about 74,000 miles on it at the time. It now has roughly 113,000 miles on it and it has been a great van. The only issues we have with it is the power sliding doors don't always work right and the passenger door power window will not always go back up. We are planning to get a new motor for the passenger window, but for one reason or another, we haven't done it yet. We just leave that window up all the time. The power sliding doors is a very expensive repair, so we just deal with it as it is. They work just fine in manual mode.

The other day, we were driving on the interstate and we had to brake suddenly. When we did this, we noticed that the front end vibrated. This is a sign of warped rotors. A quick call to the repair shop and they wanted over $500 to fix it. What a rip off! We logged on to RockAuto.com and ordered 2 new rotors and a set of new brake pads. Total cost was $71.03 delivered. We spent about an hour this morning removing the old brake pads and rotors and installing the new ones. It was a very easy job thanks to our Chilton/Haynes Repair Manual and some really great YouTube videos.

The van no longer vibrates when braking hard and it won't need a brake service on the front end for a very long time. We saved well over $400 by doing it our self. Who knew Cynthia was so handy! [95]
AUG
16
2016
Tomorrow we take the van to Hi-Tech Mobility in Hueytown, Alabama for them to put in a brand new wheelchair lift. They will keep the van 2 days to do the installation. The VA decided they would install a lift that picks me up while in the chair. From what we understand, the lift will be a Ricon Reliant. This lift has the same lifting capacity of our old lift, but the platform is a little bit smaller. It operates the same as the old one as well.

One change we are making is that the new lift will be installed at the rear doors instead of the side door. We quickly learned that there are very few handicap parking spots wide enough for the lift to the let out on the side. We often had to park way out in parking lots because there were no wide spots available.

Moving the lift to the rear doors totally messed up the bed layout in the van. So, we had to rip out everything we had built at the floor level! But that's OK... we will end up with a better layout and the new beds we build will be better because we learned so much building the old ones. It will be a hassle and expense to rebuild the beds and alter the wiring, but we'll get it done. And we have to get it done before October when we take a road trip to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky!! [96]
AUG
24
2016
It took longer than expected, but they got the new lift installed. We dropped the van off last Wednesday and got it back yesterday (Tuesday). They had to build a metal support frame then weld that to the vehicle frame. The stress from the lift goes into this frame rather the floor. The floor simply isn't thick enough or strong enough to handle that. They installed a switch on the left rear door so the lift has no power going to it unless that door is open. This way, the battery can never accidentally be run down. Below are a couple shots of the new lift and the chair in place. Now to rebuild the bed frames... [97]




 
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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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2008   The Beginning


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