I spent the night in the coach at Coach Supply Direct, in the fenced in parking lot, next to the train tracks that run parallel to M-62 through Edwardsburg, Michigan. I was up late and went to bed tired. The trains did not bother me (they run at every hour of the day and night) but aching knees and joints in my hands, especially the base of my thumbs, made for a less than sound sleep. I had also not leveled the coach when I arrived yesterday but it was slightly low to the front passenger side so it did not bother me as me head was higher than my feet, the head of the bed being on the driver’s side of the bedroom.
I had granola for breakfast, checked my e-mail, and was just settling in to start today’s post using my iPad when Josh showed up at 7:30 AM. He opened the building and retrieved a small desk/cabinet and loaded it into his car to take back to the cabinet maker. A portion of the back needed to be finished as it will be exposed when installed. Having just been through the process of designing built-in RV furniture and interacting with a cabinet maker I understood how a detail like this could easily be missed. We were fortunate in our choice of Jarel Beatty, as recommended by our friend Butch Williams, to build our pieces. Jarel’s meticulous attention to the details of how something would be constructed, installed, viewed, and used, resulted in our not having any post-construction issues.
After Josh left I checked the status of the house batteries. They were at 81% SOC (State Of Charge). Not bad after 11 hours of use. Extrapolating, it appears that given some reasonable energy management we could go 24 hours without recharging before hitting the 50% SOC level. I did not, for instance, use the microwave oven. That is much better than before we replaced the refrigerator so it appears that the new one is clearly more energy efficient than the old one.
I also checked the coolant levels in the Aqua-Hot and generator expansion tanks. The Aqua-Hot tank was still above max cold but the unit was also still a bit warm to the touch. The level in the generator tank yesterday was very low with the engine fully warmed up and operating under load so I added antifreeze up to the “hot” mark. If was slightly above that level this morning although I expected it to be lower as the system cooled off and drew the coolant back in.
Tyler showed up at 8:15 AM and knocked on the door. He had stopped at McDonald’s and bought me a large coffee, half regular half decaf. He had asked about this before leaving yesterday and remembered it this morning. I was impressed with both his memory and thoughtfulness. He got right to work on the cockpit seats, starting with the driver’s seat. Before installing it, however, I had him repair the swivel plate.
That plate has always wobbled which was an uncomfortable and annoying sensation while driving. Now that I had a clear view of the top of the plate it was “obvious” that there was once a washer under the retaining nut but it was no longer there. Tyler removed the retaining nut, found a large washer with the correct hole size, put it on the threaded shaft, replaced the retaining nut, and tightened it. No more wobble.
I am always trying to deconstruct the details of how this coach was built or serviced. My best guess is that old seat was removed when CMI installed the tile floor in the cockpit area right after we bought the bus. The installer probably removed the seat from the swivel plate in order to have better access to the pedestal and the area around it to lay the tile and either did not replace the washer or failed to recognize that it was missing and needed to be replaced. I will never know for sure, but that’s my best guess.
I connected the chassis batteries so Tyler could connect the 12V DC power to the seat and reposition it. The outside rear mounting bolt was particularly difficult to reach but with the power on he was able to slide the seat forward and swivel the front to the left creating better access to the left rear. Once it was bolted down he had me sit in it and make sure all of the adjustments worked. They did! The seat is comfortable, fits better in the available space, and has a range of adjustment that should allow either of us to position it comfortably. It is still a little tight on the left side, but not like the old chair, and the only control there is a manual level for adjusting the back tilt that I can reach it without difficulty and generally do not change once I have it adjusted.
When Josh returned at 10 AM with the parts for the living room slider bases he and Tyler got busy prepping them. Linda texted me around 10:20 for a status update and I suggested that she not leave before 1 PM. There was more custom work required to get the chairs assembled and mounted than I thought there would be, but as I was able to watch every step of the process, and talk to Josh and Tyler as they worked, I could clearly see what the problems were and what they were doing to solve them. They were on task and focused on getting it done correctly.
The problem this morning was getting the swivel release cables on the cockpit seats to stay in place when the swivel tang was released from the detent in the base. The reason for the problem is that we are reusing the old swivel bases because they have base plates that match the mounting bolt locations in the floor. The way the swivel release cable is retained on these bases, however, is different from the attachments on the ends of the new cables. Tyler was able to figure out a solution but it took a little time. I don’t mind paying for that kind of experience and problem-solving.
I texted Jarel to give him a status update and indicated that we could come down Thursday, Friday, or Saturday to pick stuff up. He texted back that any of those days would work. I checked the Magnum remote and the SOC status had gone back to “Think’n”. Nuts. This has happened before with the Battery Monitor Kit and I think it has to do with the 4-pin connector that plugs into the bottom of it. Whatever the case I need to investigate and fix it if I can.
With the driver’s seat installed I sat and tested its various adjustments and found a position that I liked. Next came the two class C captain’s chairs for the passenger side of the living room. Tyler and I worked for quite a while using a base with no chair on it to determine the correct location for the bases. The seats needed to be far enough from the passenger side wall, the desk, and the co-pilot seat to swivel without interference but no farther as we did not want them to encroach into the center isle one inch more than necessary. We also ran them through their full range of slide and swivel motions to make sure we could pull them up to the table.
We ended up with the edge of the front seat 16″ from the front edge of the main floor and 16″ from the HVAC duct. We checked it for square and marked the holes. Tyler drilled pilot holes using nuts to limit the depth. We set the chair in position and secured it with four lag screws. We measured 36.5″ to the front edge of the second base and positioned the base 16″ from the HVAC duct. We made sure it looked right and then Tyler marked the hole locations and we removed the temporary base. He drilled the pilot holes, we set the chair in place, and lag screwed them into floor.
With the captain’s chairs installed in the living room Tyler installed the co-pilot seat. Once that was done the job was finished except for the cleanup and paperwork. Josh and I chatted some more about the Corian desk top. He had inquiries out to three suppliers but was having trouble getting replies from them. We needed a temporary desk surface, so Tyler cleaned off the 4’x8′ piece of 1/2″ plywood that had served as the workbench for integrating the seating components. He marked and cut a 72″ long x 24.5″ deep piece. I notched the center of the back edge 18″ wide by 3″ deep. Tyler and I installed it while Josh totaled up the bill. I wrote him a check for the balance due, prepared the coach for departure, and left a little after 2 PM.
I could have titled this post “Edwardsburg to Elkhart” but I like to keep my titles short. The trip from Coach Supply Direct in Edwardsburg, Michigan to Elkhart Campground in Elkhart, Indiana was a short trip of approximately 15 miles that took about 25 minutes. Upon arrival I parked the coach to the side of the entrance road and went in to the office to register.
We have been to this campground many times before but I managed to miss the turn for the row with our assigned site so I had to go all the way around a second time. Once I had the bus in the site I leveled it and then shut it down. I texted Linda our site number and then chatted with other GLCC chapter members who were already there and parked.
While I helped set up tables in the meeting room Linda arrived and got the cats, litter tray, etc. on board our coach. After settling in for a few minutes I called Terry at A-1 Upholstery. She was there so we drove over to pick up the sofa cushions, wrote her a check for the balance, and drove back to camp. We were unloading the cushions when Dan stopped by. He had retired at the end of July and bought a converted GM4104 a couple of weeks later. His wife Kathy and son James had made the trip up from Huntsville, Alabama just for this rally. They planned to join FMCA and GLCC but wanted to check us out first.
Linda had cleared the sofa earlier and put stuff away under the bed. By the time I came in she had the new sofa cushions in place. They were a tight fit but they looked nice. We might make a small adjustment to the depth of the plywood seat but I think they are going to work out OK.
Linda went to the meeting room to help prep dinner and heat our vegan chili. I took a short nap and joined her at 6 PM to eat. We went back to the coach and gave Ed Roelle the tour and chatted for a while. We then went back to the club house, met up with Vickie, and went for a walk. When we got back to our coach I opened the box of Franzia Moscato and poured two glasses of wine. We took two lawn chairs over to Scott and Tami’s bus to sit and chat. Scott Crosby of www.busgreasemonkey.com was also there. He arrived after I did in his 1948 GM 3751 “Silverside” bus. It eventually got chilly so we went inside and went to bed where I worked on blog posts for a while on my iPad.