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About MarthaChuck

  • Birthday 09/17/1949

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    Where we park
  • Interests
    Photography, museums, local life, micro-breweries, oceans, mountains and deserts.
  • I travel

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  1. Yes, we had a transfer switch failure over two years ago. It was the result of a an unbonded neutral. (transfer switch was mentioned in the last sentence of my write up)I have been doing semi-annual inspections since. This one eluded me though. And, it just started acting up even though it appears to have been a 15 year old factory mistake.
  2. Just a heads up. Possible electrical issues for you to check. (Sorry, this is so long winded) Check your load center (electrical panels) terminus lugs for tightness at least annually. I do this for my basement lugs twice a year. Here is a prime example as to why you should include the load centers. (Our Northern Star is an '05 model). The last two days our coach has experienced electrical issues. One of our appliance circuits would shut off and then turn back on at random. At first I thought were related to our coffee maker (it's older and I thought it might be going bad and shorting the breakers and tripping them). Next up, I considered that may well be the GFI outlet that the coffee maker was plugged into. I tested it and then reset it. It worked fine. I plugged the coffee maker back in and it worked for a while and then turned off again. I then tested the voltage at the outlet. 123 volts. While I had the test leads in the outlet sockets we lost power again. Then I thought maybe the outlet had a wire loose but upon removal and inspection everything was fine. So, onto the load centers. I pulled the covers off my two load centers, located the breaker that feeds that circuit. My thinking at this point that is was possibly a weak breaker. It happens with age. The breaker was functioning perfectly. I turned it on and started to put the load center cover back on when I noticed two things that stuck out like a sore thumb. First, I noticed a ground wire that was meant to ground one of the two load centers was not terminated to a grounding point. Second, one of my neutral wires looked odd. On close inspection I found that it was blackened and the white insulation where the wire entered the neutral bus was brown from the bus out and up the wire two inches or so. I was lucky to have found both problems but the neutral wire could have easily caused a fire. What happened? This is just a guess but it sure appeared that the neutral wire was incorrectly tightened down at the factory. The lug (screw) that holds the wire into place was cross threaded. It was visibly crooked in the neutral buss and wasn't visibly tightened down far enough that it matched the other lugs for being flush with the bus. I think whomever wired it, placed the wire in the bus, tightened the lug, and when it got tight they thought the lug had engaged the bare wire when in fact it just tightened because it was cross threaded and left the lug just sort of the wire which was floating inside the bus itself. I had to cut the wire back two inches to find un-burned copper and then re-installed it correctly. Second, my load centers are side by side. When the smaller of the two was installed the ground wire was fun from the small box to the larger one without ever being terminated in the ground buss of the larger one. Once these problems were fixed the problem stopped. Check your load centers, transfer switch, bi-directional relay and battery shut offs. It will pay off.
  3. I just had this happen to me. With the actuator loose and separated from the drive motor you should be able to manually lift the step cover. I just pulled mine up and used a block of wood to hold it there so I could unbolt the actuator piston from the step cover (the bolt and nut at the front right of your photo). Mine was repairable once I got access, two of the four bolts just worked loose and then the other two broke off (presumably from the stress of misalignment). When the two parts separated it also ripped some wiring from inside the case (also repairable) if you can solder. Checking the voltage is a good idea but based on the photo it is likely still getting power to the motor portion of the assembly. If it is like mine, it was a mechanical failure followed by minor wiring damage when it separated.
  4. I need some help with a CAT 350 C7. This not the place obviously. What part of the FMCA website would I find the CAT gurus? Thanks
  5. I downloaded the app and registered it. My problem is that the maintenance items I am installating do not stay there meaning I put in for instance battery maintenance and when I click save it places me back where I started without saving the item. Another problem is that there is no on-line version for use with a PC or MAC that will sync with the mobile app. It would be so much easier to itemize our maintenance lists via a full size keyboard and have it sync to the mobile app. (if this exists, I haven't found it). As for the developer needing information, that's nothing new. I would wager that hundreds/thousands of us are on a database somewhere. For me that isn't a big deal. Screen Shot of the Apps opening page deal.
  6. When we bought our Newmar Northern Star three years ago I decided that I was going to add some cabinetry, a television lift, and an electric fireplace. The idea was to get this portion of the project installed then eliminate the head banger TV and cabinet at the front of the coach. This is the first phase of that project. The couch on the left side of the photo below is what we removed. When we left our sticks and bricks home we had a very nice 42" TV that we brought along for this project. I just needed to purchase and install a television lift, electric fireplace, cabinetry, and countertop. Piece of cake right? So, I ordered the lift which is a model "30003 Valueline" Touchstone lift and a 30" Touchstone Electric Fireplace. I got two 12"X12"X30" unfinished base cabinets from Menards and the necessary lumber to build the rest of the cabinetry. This is the lift and cabinetry build in the early stages of the installation. We opted for this arrangement so that we could utilize our window in an unobstructed fashion when the TV was not being used. The framing and support for the counter top was fabricated from 1"X4"'s . The counter top itself was fabricated from 1/2" clear plywood. We were very fortunate to find a plastic laminate that almost matched our Corian counter tops in the galley. This is the project just prior to staining the cabinets and installing the finished counter top. Installation of the countertop. It is glued and screwed to the newly installed cabinetry Finally the finished project (I still need to re-staing the baseboard with another coat of brown stain)
  7. The trip was quite nice, great scenery, no big long uphill pulls and not much traffic. Thanks everyone.
  8. Thanks everyone, we leave tomorrow and we are taking Hiway 380
  9. We are leaving Elephant Butte, NM for Cleburne Texas on Tuesday morning. We are considering taking Hiway 380. Does anyone have experience traveling Highway 380 from San Antonio New Mexico (at I-25) to the Texas border? Is it big rig doable? Looking to avoid steep elevation changes or any condition that makes it a big rig unfriendly route. TIA
  10. Riding in the Wilderness -Sonoita Arizona – ATV tour visiting the Empire Ranch Martha and I decided to do an ATV Tour out of Sonoita, Arizona. We opted to take a cross country 4 hour tour which took us through the vast Empire Ranch. It was a lot a lot of fun. Our tour guides were Apache ATV Tours and their website can be found here: http://www.apacheatvtours.com/ The Empire Ranch is located on East Empire Ranch Road, three miles east of the intersection with State Highway 83 (between mile markers 39 and 40). It is 36 miles southeast of Tucson and 31 miles north of the Mexican border. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the nomination included only the main building of original ranch headquarters which was 160 acres in Pima County Arizona. The Empire Ranch House and facilities circa 1900 (Source Wikipedia) The Empire Ranch represents one of the most successful, long-lived, cattle ranching enterprises in the Southwest and has been in operation for over 140 years. The ranch is located in the ecologically rich Cienega Valley in Southeast Arizona, Ranch owners made full use of and, husbanded well, all of its natural resources – grass, water and soils – in support of their livestock business. The landscape retains a remarkable degree of integrity both of its natural resources and its built structures and features. Those ecological and historic values were recently recognized by Congress when the landscape was designated as the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area in 2000. Now administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Empire Ranch landscape still functions as a working cattle ranch and its headquarters are being stabilized and preserved. (source Wikipedia) Vaquero’s mounted and ready work on the Empire Ranch (source Wikipedia) The Empire Ranch was originally established in the 1860’s as a homestead ranch of 160 acres with a flat topped four-room adobe ranch house and adjoining adobe-walled corral. In 1876 the ranch was owned by Edward Nye Fish, a Tucson businessman, when it was acquired for $2,000 by Walter L. Vail, a native of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and Plainfield, New Jersey, and Herbert Hislop, an Englishman. John Harvey, an Englishman from Bermuda, joined the partnership a few months later. Circa 1890’s The economic and financial success of the Empire Ranch was dependent upon the ingenuity and determination of two ranching families – Walter L Vail and relatives and, later, Frank Boice and his descendants. Walter Vail expanded the original homestead through a series of strategic acquisitions of land parcels and water rights and effectively secured control of several hundred thousand acres to support over 40,000 head of cattle. Possession and control of these valuable lands and water sources allowed the Vail family to protect the ecological integrity of their most important natural resources – soil and grass – when other ranchers regularly overused and ultimately damaged theirs. Like other entrepreneurs of the time, they invested in other resources and land uses. The discovery of silver at the Total Wreck Mine provided additional financial support for the Vails’ cattle empire. This lead to the growth of the ranch to an eventually the ranch grew to 115,200 acres, or 180 Sections which made the ranch 180 sq. miles. Today it still remains large by any standard at 46,000 acres owned and operated by the BLM. It is open to recreational activities of all kinds. Ready to depart on the tour Scenery that just won’t dissapoint Ranch resides amidst rolling grasslands at the transition between the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. The Valley is surrounded by the Santa Rita, Huachuca, Whetstone, Mustang and Empire Mountains. The Santa Rita’s are in the background. That ain’t a cow! Lunch break under giant, old cottonwoods More, “not cows”
  11. I hope this helps others that find themselves up against not being able to purchase a "one year" RA policy two weeks after joining FMCA. I was given this phone number to call and get our policy in force 877-581-8581. I called and signed up in less than five minutes, no extra year membership into FMCA required. Have your VIN# ready when you call. Overall it wasn't the big deal I thought it was. And, that's a good thing.
  12. I received an email from FMCA this afternoon. They said to call the RA program direct and that would circumvent the problem I was having. I will call tomorrow and post up the results. Ross my whole gripe was that I had no inkling of what to expect from FMCA when I joined. I would like to be a member a year and then evaluate whether I want to re-up rather than be forced to re-up just to get RA. On the flip side I have already received more value in the way of correspondence from FMCA than I ever did with other clubs. Thanks for the advice though, it seems sound. Maybe I will do that next December.
  13. Here is my rant about RA from FMCA. I am a new member, joined the last week of December '18. I just got around to checking about RA from FMCA. After reading about the service I decided to take it for a year. Our rig is getting older and we wanted to make sure we could get help if something went wrong. So, I go to the FMCA RA link and input my information and get ready to pay and I get a pop up that says they cannot insure me because the period of coverage would be less than a year? I mean come on, new member, first time member and they want me to flip for another membership year before I have experienced the first year? Not kosher. I find this sales tactic divisive. It is also a "bait and switch" tactic. Come on FMCA get your act together.
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