Harvey the RV catch-up maintenance

scurvy

New member
We've begun the process of catching up on maintenance of Harvey, the 1989 E350 based Lindy 2600. He's got a stone age Ford 460 V8 under the hood coupled to a C6 transmission.

First, on my drive back to Illinois, I found it seemed to be running hotter than I would expect, even on relatively flat ground doing about 60 - 65 mph. Discovered the radiator was low the next morning, so I topped it up. No idea how well it has been maintained, so I have a new set of radiator hoses, thermostat (180F instead of 195F) and gasket on their way so I can do several flushes and refill the cooling system with original green antifreeze.

Transmission fluid will replaced after dropping the pan and refilling with Valvoline MaxLife, the rear differential (Dana 80) will also get a fresh fill of 75w140.

And in the interior we’re remodeling the rear bedroom and repairing some water damage likely from a leak in the rear window.

F0CE441D-80FC-40D7-A7B8-A81224207A07.jpeg
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
This looks like a fun project and you can make it the way you want it. There are so many folks out there that have customized their rig to suite their wants/needs. Can't wait to see the pictures as you progress!
 

ls1mike

Member
I too had a Harvey the RV years ago. A 1988 Fleetwood Southwind Class A motorhome.
Nice project!
 

scurvy

New member
Thread starter
The interior renovations are still ongoing (but thankfully coming to a close this week, or shortly thereafter) so here's some progress.



The back bedroom was effectively gutted, and we discovered several water leaks around the back window, the rear running lights and from the foot of the roof rack. All the bad framing was removed (it was crumbling) and new framing (PT 2x3) was pocked screwed into place. The old itchy fiberglass insulation was removed and spray foam done in its place. We reskinned with 1/8" hardboard, mudded, taped, sanded (repeat as necessary). Windows were removed and the old shrunken weatherstripping replaced with new stuff from Pelland Enterprises, reinstalled with fresh butyl tape and a coat of Dicor. Paint going up today, new bed frames being assembled probably tomorrow.
7D681389-506B-482E-90FA-B4A77FF94257.jpeg

C9AD00C3-3AE5-4967-A1E1-5379980DD03D.jpeg


6B30AAC8-83A1-42DE-86A1-1ED3FD585560.jpeg

The roof leaks required some careful caulk removal, three coats of elastomeric white roof coating and a full tube of Dicor lap sealant, possibly my least favorite material to work with. But no leaks now! Probably will have to go back over the entire roof, stem to stern, in the spring. I put a coat - coat and a half on the rest of the roof since I had the stuff out.

ABE34FFE-BE77-4199-83EA-96C882407141.jpeg


E875AAAA-66F9-4CD5-B073-D01591FE9C26.jpeg

Two 24V, 200W solar panels went up on the roof on some aluminum tubing installed across the roof rack. There's enough room for a 3rd panel to go up easily in front of these, possibly a 4th further up the roof. I picked up ten of these panels - factory refurbs, UL listed - for less than I could buy two new ones.

D92DDC64-2321-431C-A079-FF8542DAF4F1.jpeg


Mechanically, the only thing I've really done is the cooling system flush. It was full of all makes/all models/all colors Autozone coolant (likely a Dexclone with 2EHA). I'm used to vehicles with expansion tanks so this is a new one for me. Drained the system, pulled the old thermostat. Refilled with pure Chicago tap water, the finest in the land, ran it until it was warm, let it cool down, drain. Repeat 5x, so on the 6th time it was running crystal clear. Reinstalled a fail-safe 180ºF thermostat & gasket, new OEM radiator cap and refilled with conventional green coolant.

13FEE18E-766E-48C2-84ED-58A3D6251FBD.jpeg

C7C42AF9-12B3-4478-9763-C0001033EC82.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Wow! Impressed with the amount of work you put into this project.

How did you smooth the spray foam to be flush with the inside of the wood framing, so the hardboard fit snuggly?

Is the Dicor sealant the "self leveling" caulk? I think we'll all have to recaulk every few years to keep the leaks out. I'm planning on inspecting our roof this winter and would like to hear your advice, since you've done this recently.

Do the solar panels charge the chassis battery, or do you have separate coach batteries? What controller/converter/inverter do you use with the panels? Any internal display to monitor the panels?
 

scurvy

New member
Thread starter
The spray foam was trimmed with a hand saw, and after doing that for one of the side walls, we were more judicious when putting it in to not have it poke out as much. I think I still have tiny bits of foam "sawdust" in my ears...

This was not the self leveling type, which is truly not self leveling at all, but I have since purchased some.

Right now I have 2 coach lead-acid batteries being charged by the panels through a 40A MPPT solar charge controller and a small 400W inverter to run my CPAP (although it should be possible to run the fridge off this setup, need to do some more wiring). But we will be adding LiFePO4 battery capacity and a larger inverter, battery monitor, etc... most of that stuff is on its way.
 

scurvy

New member
Thread starter
Had an interesting issue today, while on shore power from my garage, the GFCI would trip almost instantly. Did the requisite troubleshooting starting on the offending circuit at the farthest point only to work my way backwards and find the arc fault breaker itself was bad. $36 at Menards later it’s working the way it should be.

I was afraid there was something related to last night’s heavy rain that could have contributed, but it truly looks to just be a coincidence. The back bedroom was dry as a bone as well, looks like the work we did is holding well.

6CA0CE08-CA3E-4094-90B9-37E94D63DA6F.jpeg
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
I recently had a GFCI go back in my kitchen. Same thing, it just went bad. I can imagine they aren't built like they used to be.
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Right now I have 2 coach lead-acid batteries being charged by the panels through a 40A MPPT solar charge controller and a small 400W inverter to run my CPAP (although it should be possible to run the fridge off this setup, need to do some more wiring). But we will be adding LiFePO4 battery capacity and a larger inverter, battery monitor, etc... most of that stuff is on its way.
What online resources did you use to do your research and who did you buy the products from?

We are interested in solar for the Airstream, but I need to learn more.
 

scurvy

New member
Thread starter
What online resources did you use to do your research and who did you buy the products from?

We are interested in solar for the Airstream, but I need to learn more.
I've done a lot of reading up on solar over the years, but two of the most comprehensive resources I've found are:

1. DIY Solar forum: https://diysolarforum.com/
2. Will Prowse's youtube videos - here's a very basic one to start with:

Keep in mind Will gets several of his products for free to test out on his YouTube channel, but his advice and information about sizing components, what kind of wire or fuses or breakers to use, etc... is still sound, even if you decide to not use any of the brands of components he discusses.

I purchased my solar charge controller on Amazon, as well as the MC4 connectors I'm using. The solar panels came from a small solar panel manufacturer in Michigan City, IN - Hightec Solar: https://www.ebay.com/str/hightecsolarinc . They are factory refurbished panels, UL listed, with a warranty for only 19 cents/watt, so I was able to pick up ten used panels for what I was going to pay for two new ones. Most new panels are in the $1/watt range.

There's another outfit that sells tested, used solar panels on ebay that I considered, Santan Solar: https://www.ebay.com/str/santansolar and they also have some very good deals. But shipping would have made these closer to 40 - 50 cents per watt. Really the only reason I went with the panels I did was that I could take a short drive and pick them up for free.

One thing many people don't really understand (myself included until recently!) is that glass solar panels have a lifespan of decades as long as the weatherproofing is intact. So even though these may be 5 - 10 years old, they still output 95% of their as-new rated voltage and will do for another 20+ years. Used solar panels can be an outstanding deal.

The other thing to keep in mind is that making the electricity from solar is only half the battle - you need to store it for when you want to use it. Learning about the advances in lithium battery technology, especially with what is essentially a drop-in lead acid replacement but gives you thousands of cycles down to extremely low voltages is a game changer. These are lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry and have tremendous advantages over lead acid in all its various schemes - flooded, sealed, AGM, gel, etc...
 
Top