Last week was an eventful week. We went to Casa Grande, AZ for the week. Broke a slide gearbox. Learned a lot.
Now, let me start from the beginning. I’ve been hearing and reading about a product called RV Armor for a few years now. So after looking into it and liking what I was reading and hearing, I decided to see if I could become an installer for this product. As luck would have it, they were having a training session in Casa Grande, AZ. So I decided to take the course.
For those of you that don’t know about RV Armor, it is a lifetime guaranteed roofing system for your RV. Certified and trained installers come to you and your RV and install the product on your RV roof. It can be applied over existing rubber, fiberglass and metal roofs. It can also be installed over the bare roof decking if need be. Once the RV Armor system has been applied, you will never need to go onto your roof and reseal it! Feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) if you have any questions. If you are interested in RV Armor for your RV, I might be able to hook you up with a Promo Code for $100 off 😉
Since we are wintering in Quartzsite, we had to pack up and “move” to Casa Grande for the week. We stayed at the Casa Grande RV Resort, where the course was taking place. After we arrived at the resort and started to setup, there was this nice little BANG, BANG and then the unmistakable sound of gears grinding when we tried to put the big living room slide out. Hoping that it was the motor and not the gearbox, I tried to extend the slide manually. No dice 😦 The gearbox was broken. Luckily I know a good RV tech who seems to be where ever we are 🙂 We eventually had to physically push the slide, mostly, out while a neighbour held the slide button for us. At least we could now get everywhere in the camper.
Tuesday was the first day of the RV Armor installation course. So while I was doing that, Trish got on the phone and got us a new gearbox. I figure that it would have cost us north of $400 have the gearbox replaced by a mobile tech. Instead, it cost less than $100 for parts and shipping. Thanks again to the RV Maintenance Training Course offered by the Mobile RV Academy. The course has now more than paid for itself in repair savings, let alone the new business opportunities (NRVIA Certified RV Inspector and Campground RV Technician) it has brought to us.
The first day of the RV Armor course, we got to meet our clients, Chris and Kimberly Travaglino the founders of Fulltime Families and their 42′ Cyclone toy hauler. We learned how to prep the roof for the application of the RV Armor roof system. Then we put that into practice. The solar panels, roof vent covers and satellite dish were removed. The roof was scrubbed as clean as we could get it. The old dried-out cracked Dicor removed. The problem areas were opened up to investigate and then repaired. The problems included the radius flashing pulling away from the roof along the entire length on both sides, damaged plumbing vents and a skylight. Once all the repairs were made, all the holes were repaired. That was a long hot physically demanding day.
Day 2 was finishing up the prep work and then priming the roof to accept the system over the existing roof material. Once the primer was done we built a mockup roof on the ground so we could learn how to install the RV Armor system on a bare roof. Sometimes the existing roof material is so bad or there are so many repairs that need to be done, that the best course of action is to remove the existing roofing material and install the system on the bare wood. It’s not extremely different, just different enough that we needed to learn how to do the different steps.
Day 3 was all about sealing up everything and putting the base coat down. Once we sealed everything up and had the base coat down, the roof is now water tight.
Day 4 was installing the finish coat and reinstalling the components we took off. Installing the finish coat wasn’t hard. Getting the finish coat down where it needed to be down, but leaving unfinished areas so we could work and reinstall the components was the tricky part. Lay the finish coat under the satellite dish. Install the dish. Lay the finish around the dish. Move back and lay the finish around the vents. Reinstall the vent lid covers. Lay more finish around the vents. Move back. Lay finish under the first set of solar panels. Install 2 3′ x 6′ solar panels. Lay finish around the installed solar panels without getting it ON the solar panels. Did I mention that it was windy? No, well it was windy and when we pulled the paint brush or roller out of the bucket we had to time it for when there was a lull in the wind otherwise we’d be cleaning up a LOT of product off the side of the RV and neighbouring cars and trucks. Hopefully you get the idea of what it was like. 42′ of RV roof now has a fully installed RV Armor system on it.
Now that the course is over and the slideout gearbox arrived, I got to spend Saturday morning replacing a gearbox. We have the BAL Accu-Slide cable slide system, so the motor and gearbox are above the slideout roof, behind the fascia board. Luckily there was enough room, just barely, between the top of the fascia and the ceiling to give me access to the gearbox without ripping everything apart. To get the gearbox out I needed to loosen off all the cables so that I could disengage the chains from the gearbox. Once that was done and the chains were off, there were only 2 bolts holding the gearbox in, so out they came and the gearbox was free to be replaced. I took this time to make sure that both were the same size, same hole patterns, etc., etc. Low and behold, they were with one little difference. The new gearbox had a Zerk fitting on it so that it could be greased periodically. Great idea. So time to reverse the process. Gearbox in. Bolt #1 installed loosely. Bolt #2…. Bolt #2 won’t go in. Take out Bolt #1. Install Bolt #2. Reinstall Bolt #1… Bolt #1 won’t go in now. What is going on? Out comes bolt #2. In goes bolt #1. Bolt #2 won’t go in again. Grrrr. Time to twist and contort my body, head and neck to see what is going on. Do you that small difference between the 2 I mentioned? The Zerk fitting? It turns out that it is on the INSIDE of the gearbox against the mounting bracket and won’t let both bolt holes line up.
Well, as my youngest daughter would say while trying not to swear, Flippy Yippy Yo Ya! What to do now? I can’t get a drill between the fascia and wall where the mounting bracket is mounted, so drilling a hole to allow the Zerk fitting some place to go is out of the question. I guess it’s time to head to Harbor Freight, Home Depot, Lowes, somewhere to get a short bolt that has the same thread as the Zerk fitting so I can take it off and plug the hole. So I hop in the truck and head out.
Since the dumpsters are on the way out I figured I’d take the garbage out on the way to the store. After tossing the trash out, I had a brain flash! Take the mounting bracket off and drill it out on the ground. I know, that should have been obvious, but it wasn’t. Not at first anyway. So I hurry back to the camper, pull the bracket off, drill a couple of elongated holes, reinstall the bracket, then the gearbox, then the chains, then readjust all the cables. Now we have a working slideout once again. The best part, I saved probably $300 in the process of doing it myself.
It was a long eventful week, but all’s well that ends well.