Pickleball and Projects

Another week of pickleball and projects has flown by here at Viewpoint Golf and RV Resort. The weather has been fantastic, other than the high winds we experienced on Monday. The overnight low temperature has been around 50 degrees, while the daytime highs have been around 80 degrees.

On Monday afternoon, Donna took an Uber ride to the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Phoenix. She stayed the night there to speak at the American National Cattlewomen meeting on Tuesday morning. After speaking, she was dropped off here by an Uber driver by noon. Her topic was “What Your Clutter Would Say If It Could Talk – and How to Give It the Boot!”

On Tuesday, I took care of a project I’ve been putting off for a while. A few of the rubber weatherstrip seals on the basement compartment doors were loose. They were originally installed with a double-sided adhesive tape. Time and temperature had taken a toll and some areas of adhesive were no longer holding.

I pulled what was left of the tape off on three loose seals and cleaned the rubber and corresponding area of the doors with rubbing alcohol. I like to use the 91% stuff, the 70% alcohol doesn’t work as well. I re-secured the seals with 3M Weatherstrip Adhesive.

3M Weatherstrip Adhesive

This is a type of contact cement that will stick to just about anything and creates a strong bond. I smeared a thin bead on the rubber seal and on the metal door. I let it dry and get tacky for about two minutes, then pressed the seal in place. The adhesive bonded immediately and the weather strips won’t be coming loose anytime soon!

On Tuesday evening, Donna made a new recipe. It was shrimp in a tomato cream sauce with brown rice and quinoa fusilli pasta and it was so tasty.

Shrimp in tomato cream sauce with pasta

I put off my projects on Wednesday and played the 3.0-3.5 round robin games on the pickleball court. I stayed off the courts on Thursday to tackle a couple more projects. The first was pulling the anode rod out of our 10-gallon Suburban water heater. Anode rods are sacrificial devices and need to be changed periodically. I wrote about it in this post.

The first time I changed the anode rod, I didn’t know how long it had been in water heater. It was totally corroded and I replaced it with a magnesium rod.  I changed the magnesium rod after 18 months, but it looked like I could have left it for another six months. I replaced it with an aluminum rod. The aluminum rods don’t corrode as fast as the magnesium rods, so I left it in for 22 months before I pulled it.

Aluminum Suburban water heater anode rod

I shut off the breaker for the water heater so the electric heating element wouldn’t burn out when I drained the tank. Then I shut off the fresh water supply to the coach.

Our water heater lives behind this vented panel

I cut a plastic grocery bag and taped it in place to create a “curtain” for the water to drain over. I knew the water coming out of the tank would likely have some heavy mineral deposits.

Water heater – anode rod in lower center

Hot water draining over “curtain”

As I expected, several chunks of calcium deposits and sandy mineral deposits came out with the hot water. To my surprise the anode rod was still in good shape. After I cleaned the tank out, I reinstalled the old anode rod and I’ll give it another 12 months before I change it.

Old anode rod still in good shape

After I reinstalled the anode rod with teflon tape sealing the threads, I opened the hot water in the bathroom and kitchen faucets. With the hot water faucets open, when I turned the fresh water supply back on air could escape from the tank while it filled with water. Once I had water flowing out of the faucets, I shut them and flipped the breaker back on for the heating element. Even though I didn’t need to change the anode rod, it’s a good idea to drain the hot water tank every year or two to clean out the mineral deposits.

After I finished the water heater project, I saw a mobile RV tech installing a new pressure relief valve on our neighbor’s hot water tank. I mentioned how our anode rod looked good after 22 months. He told me that aluminum rods are usually good for three to four years. Good to know.

After taking a break for lunch, Donna and I went to the pickleball court. I set up the ball machine so Donna could work on some drills. She’s getting more power into her shots and we worked on shot placement as well. After an hour of drills, I had one more project for the day.

I wanted to grease the wheel bearings in our cargo trailer. Our Interstate trailer is equipped with Dexter axles. The Dexter axles have what’s called E-Z Lube bearings. This system had the axle spindle drilled creating a passage that extends to the rear of the hub where it intersects with another drilling at 90 degrees. This passage opens just behind the rear wheel bearing in front of the rear bearing seal.

This makes greasing the bearings easy. You don’t have to remove the drums and pull the bearings. You just put a grease gun on the zerk fitting in the center of the spindle. With the wheel spinning you start pumping grease into the fitting. Spinning the wheel allows the grease to exit the passage behind the rear bearing all the way around instead just pumping through a small portion of the bearing.

The grease is forced through the rear bearing, then through a small clearance to the front wheel bearing. The old grease is pushed out of the bearings and comes out the front of the hub. When clean, new grease starts coming out, the bearing is repacked!

E-Z Lube wheel bearings

Of course I had a couple of issues to contend with, so it didn’t go quite as smoothly as it could have. First, my jack wouldn’t extend beyond a couple of inches. Apparently some of the hydraulic fluid had leaked at some point and the level was low. I had some automatic transmission fluid on hand, so I was able to remove the stopper and top up the fluid level.

The grease gun I had was a cheap unit I bought at Harbor Freight. It’s poorly constructed and there’s too much clearance between the plunger that pushes the grease out and the walls of the grease cartridge. This allowed grease to flow back behind the plunger instead of coming out the way it should. I had to play around with it to get enough grease to pack all four wheel bearing sets. Eventually I got the job done. Last night I ordered a new grease gun from Amazon – hopefully it’s a better quality tool than the one I used. I also found two of the rubber dust caps on the hubs were cracked so I ordered replacements.

The great weather is forecast to continue through the weekend and into next week. I’m playing in a pickleball tournament tomorrow morning, then Donna and I might join Howard and Sara Graff for an afternoon at the PGA Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament.

*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to purchase anything, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

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