Simple Maintenance – Right!

We had some relief from the heat on Friday. The early morning cloud cover burned off, but it didn’t get too hot until late afternoon when the temperature hit the mid-80s.

I wanted to perform scheduled maintenance on the scooter and generator while I have the opportunity here at Jojoba Hills RV Resort. When we get to Mission Bay, they won’t allow me to do mechanical work there.

On Friday morning, I changed the engine oil and filter on the scooter. I also drained and refilled the gearbox with 75-90 gear oil. The Kymco maintenance schedule calls for these lubricants to be changed every 3,000 miles. We just turned over 6,000 miles, so it was due. Next week, when we’re in San Diego, I’ll have to find an air filter element for it – it’s time to change that too.

After I cleaned up, I took the scooter out for a test run, then I rode it to Temecula. I stopped at Best Buy and picked up another ink cartridge for the printer. The one we bought on Wednesday didn’t work. I forgot to bring the bad cartridge to see if they would exchange it, so I paid for another cartridge.

After Best Buy, I had a quick lunch at Subway. They had the six-inch sweet onion-teriyaki chicken sub on sale for three bucks. From there I rode to WalMart where I bought a few grocery items that Donna needed and three quarts of oil for the generator. I already had new filters for the generator on hand, but I didn’t have any oil for it. We have 544 hours on the generator now. The last oil change was at 400 hours. Onan calls for oil and filter changes every 150 hours. At 500 hours, I should have changed the fuel filter and air filter. This would be Saturday’s task.

After I returned, I kicked back and read while Donna was working at her laptop. We planned to go to a happy hour get-together at the pool around 4:30pm. Donna whipped up a plate of hors d’oeuvres and I put a few cans of beer in a small cooler and we walked down to the pool. There was a small gathering around a few tables that were pushed together. We were invited to take a seat and join them.

We met John Macon, a Jojoba member since 2010. He filled us in on some of the history of the place. He also scheduled a tour of the park for us to take with him on Saturday afternoon. Taking visitors on tours of the park is one of John’s specialties.

View across the pool at Happy Hour

View across the pool at happy hour

We finished the night off watching a movie – Rudy, the story of a kid who dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame. He didn’t have the size or talent, but he never gave up.

This morning, servicing the Onan Quiet Diesel generator was my main task for the day. Our generator is mounted on sliding rails that are hydraulically operated. I switched on the HWH hydraulics and opened the generator compartment, expecting a fairly easy job ahead.

7.5kW Onan Quiet Diesel generator

7.5kW Onan Quiet Diesel generator

Underneath the generator, there’s a door on the bottom panel to access the oil filter and fuel filter. I ran into a problem right from the start. The latches to open the door were jammed. I couldn’t get them to budge. I figured there was debris caught in the sliding latches behind the door. I decided to unbolt the hinge and see if I could get the door free. That was my next problem. The hinges were fastened with T30 torx head fasteners. I used to have every size of torx bit imaginable, but those Dirty Rotten Thieves took them when they stole my trailer. The biggest torx bit I had was a T20.

I jumped on the scooter and made the 15-mile ride to Temecula where I found torx bits at O’Reilly Auto Parts. I also bought a new strap wrench there. This time I remembered to bring the bad printer cartridge and receipt. I stopped at Best Buy to return it. I told the customer service girl that I bought the cartridge a couple of days ago and it didn’t work. I also said I bought another cartridge yesterday that works fine, confirming the first cartridge is defective.

She told me that printer cartridges are generally not a returnable item. They have no way of knowing if I used up all of the ink in it or not and had no way to test it. I showed her the test page from our printer with no black ink. She asked if I had the receipt from the second cartridge. I didn’t bring it with me. She asked how I paid. I paid with a Visa card. She looked up the transaction and said since I came back and bought another cartridge, she would make an exception and refund the cost of the first one. She said I should call the store immediately if I get another bad cartridge in the future or I wouldn’t be able to return it. Good to know. This is the second time we’ve had a bad ink cartridge.

I stopped at Ralph’s grocery store and bought a case of bottled water. I strapped it on the back of the scooter and headed back.

I crawled back underneath the generator and removed the access door. Then I loosened the oil filter. The filter is tucked up in a cramped space. I wanted to be sure I could get it off before I drained the oil. Then I decided to tackle the fuel filter.

I started by loosening the fuel supply fitting on the old fuel filter. Fuel began dripping from the line into a catch pan I had placed underneath. I expected a few ounces of fuel to drip. Once the dripping started, I saw my error. I should have removed the other filter fitting for the fuel line going to the engine first. I had to reach past a dripping line to access the other fitting. I started to remove the other fitting. It was very difficult because I couldn’t see it. With diesel fuel dripping down, I couldn’t get my head into position to see what I was doing.

When I started to loosen the second fitting, more fuel started dripping. It was running down my arm. I took a break and thought the fuel would stop dripping soon. After a few minutes, more than a pint of fuel was in the catch pan and it didn’t show any sign of slowing down. I came to the conclusion that changing the fuel filter was not a task for me. I’ll wait and have it done the next time we have the coach in for service.

I crawled back underneath to re-secure the fittings. I still had the same problem with fuel dripping and running down my arm while I tried to tighten the fittings by feel. I had fuel running down my arm for 15 minutes before I could get the unions tightened. That’s when I realized the fuel wasn’t running down to my elbow and dripping into the pan like I thought. It was running all the way to my shoulder and my shirt was soaked with fuel. Ugh!

I cleaned up a bit, then got on with the oil and filter change. I hadn’t paid much attention to the oil drain plug until now. That’s when I saw the drain plug looked like a pipe fitting with a square lug. There’s no room to get an open-ended wrench in there. I don’t have any square sockets.

I thought about it and came up with an idea. The square lug was 3/8″ across. I put a 1/4″ socket on my ratchet wrench, then put a 1/4″ hex driver into the socket. This left the square 3/8″ drive opening on the back of the driver. The 3/8″ drive opening fit perfectly on the drain plug and I removed it easily. The picture below is labelled – click on it to enlarge and you can see how I did it.

Driver set up to remove square drive plug

Driver set up to remove square drive plug

Tool assembled

Tool assembled

While the oil drained, I replaced the air filter. This was the only part of the job that went exactly as planned without a glitch.

I cleaned the latches on theĀ  access door. I couldn’t see any reason for them to jam. They seemed to work once I had the door off. After I screwed it back onto the hinges, it worked fine.

After I filled the engine with oil and did a test run for leaks, I poured the waste oil from the pan into the empty oil containers. I’ll recycle the oil later. I dumped my tools onto a rag in the trailer and cleaned myself. I’ll clean up the tools and put them away later. I took off the fuel-soaked shirt before I entered the coach and took a long, hot shower. This was supposed to be a fairly easy job!

I relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Donna cancelled our tour of the park since the generator job took so long. I wasn’t up for a tour after I finished.

Tomorrow the Chargers play in Buffalo, so they will be the early game at 10am. My plan is to kick back and enjoy some football!

7 thoughts on “Simple Maintenance – Right!

  1. esta gardberg

    Hi mike, i just joined escapees and we want to go to jojoba hills. How long can we stay. I understand they have a woodworking shop and my husband would love that. But more important, will i have to unhook our trailer, and where would we put it. Is the place really nice. Thanks in advance for the info.

    1. Mike Kuper Post author

      Hi Esta, as an Escapees member you can stay in Jojoba Hills as a visitor for 28 days per calendar year. They don’t take reservations, call ahead. We didn’t have to drop our trailer, some of the sites are configured as pull-throughs about 65 – 70 feet long. It’s a very nice park. Great pool and it has two shops.

      1. esta gardberg

        too bad we can only stay 28 days, it looked nice for about 2 months in the winter, they say the weather up there is pretty moderate in the winter months, what is the temp there now?

  2. Pingback: Generator Maintenance - Flying The Koop

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