inicio mail me! sindicaci;ón

Maintenance day #1

We’ve been towed into the service bay for our maintenance review. The trailer was covered in snow and icicles, so it immediately began melting, which gave Emma some ideas. She spent the morning playing with the ice and then making snowballs and snowmen outside in the fast-melting snow.

Weatherford Emma icicle.jpg

(See, we really are prepared for cold weather if we find some. It didn’t take much trailer space to include these clothes. I’ll be posting on this subject in greater detail soon.)

I had earlier emailed a list of some of the things I wanted done, but in the morning I reviewed them with Robert and Denver, since David was stuck at home by the snow. Our list includes a safety check of several major systems (propane, electrical, running gear/brakes, hitch), a wheel bearing re-pack, installation of a refrigerator cooling kit, fix the leak in the front compartment, and maybe install an inverter. We’ll also throw in a few upgrades while we’re at it.

Weatherford original vent.jpg
The original plastic vent sitting atop some new stainless ones

The first upgrade was one of David’s new & very cool stainless stove vents. The original vent was gray plastic, and it had two disadvantages. First, it was not a great cosmetic match for the Airstream. Second, it had little plastic tabs on the outside which needed to be secured for every trip, and then removed so the vent could be used. Inevitably we would forget to either lock it or unlock it.

The new vent is all stainless steel, so it matches the upgraded furnace and water heater covers we installed last May when we were here. The stainless flap is heavy enough that it doesn’t need tabs to secure it for travel, and yet it doesn’t come open during towing. Very cool-looking too.

Weatherford new vent.jpg

The next item was a routine wheel bearing re-packing. It has been probably 18,000 miles since our last re-pack in May. No problems were found. While they were at it, the guys cleaned and checked the brakes, which they report look perfect. The new semi-metallic brake pads are wearing reasonably well (they’ve been on for about 2,000 miles) but I’ll still switch to ceramic when these are worn out. These will need to be checked very 5,000 miles, judging from the current wear.

Hensley paint before.jpg
20,000 miles of towing since install

Now to the Hensley. The hitch has been working perfectly, but I felt it was time to take a look inside and see if there was any wear. At the very least, it needs a repaint.

Hensley worn zerks.jpg
Nubs worn off the zerk fittings

Inside we found some significant wear in three places. The zerk (grease) fittings have an inner spring-loaded nub that is supposed to ride in a groove on the weight distribution bars. You can’t see this in normal operation. If the zerks are screwed in too tightly, the nub will wear off, and that seems to be what happened here. Compare the new and old zerk fittings above.

Hensley ovalized bushings.jpg

The internal bushings of the Hensley were worn too. We’ve kept our hitch well lubricated, so I would guess that this is not unusual wear. Another high-mileage owner has told me his bushings wore the same way, and that with wear the weight distribution on the tow vehicle changes. Obviously we’ll be replacing these as well — fairly easy to do.

Hensley stretched metal.jpg

Finally, note the stretched metal on the first hole in the picture above. This is a direct result of the struts on the Hensley not being tight. Properly adjusted, the strut bar (not pictured) should be under tension and pressing forward (left in this picture) in the hole. If the strut is loose, it will stretch the metal as has happened here. This probably occurred last summer when for a while I accidentally mis-adjusted the strut bars. When I realized my mistake, I re-adjusted them but the damage was probably already done. Fortunately, this is not a big deal to fix either.

The full Hensley repaint takes a while, so I don’t expect to have the hitch back on until Friday. But it’s a good thing we took it apart to examine it. With the miles we have put on, extra preventative maintenance is really important.

One Response to “Maintenance day #1”

  1. Rob Baker of theVAP Says:

    Hitch wearing is scary! Anoher 5-10 thousand miles, if you hadn’t stop to take a look, might have been something catastrophic. Wow! Glad you stopped to take a look at it.