Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tires, air compressors and generators

This will fill you in on the last few days in Tortilla Flat, AZ

Just like with real estate,  things wear out on "wheel estate." 

We bit the bullet and got six new tires for Moose in Cottonwood on Thursday April 8 (only $2400 plus the $20 I slapped on Joe, the tire guy, who did a careful job and used the biggest wrench I’ve ever seen to ensure that each lug nut was hand tightened to the Foretravel specs of 450 foot pounds of torque.

The next day we had a new slide out motor ($707 with labor) installed at Al’s RV Service in Glendale. In keeping with the theme of taking care of the coach, we decided to use the next few days to hang around the coach and do some maintenance.

The twisting mountain road to and from Tortilla flat has some tight turns with tree branches too close to the side of the road and our poor coach has picked up a few scuff and light scratches. Some of them run the full length of the motorhome. I‘ve never been fond of the hard work of using rubbing compound and the job was almost overwhelming until I decided to buy a hand-held electric buffer at Walmart. Another tool for me, Yeah! I can use the buffer to apply the rubbing compound as well as to do the finish buffing. Those scratches disappeared like magic. It’s a good thing the clear coat applied over the paint on our coach is extra thick and so far (knock on wood), scratches have not gone into the paint.

My next chore was to change the oil and filter for the diesel generator. I had never done this, so I consulted with friend Gary Omel, who owns the same coach as ours and used to be a technician at the Foretravel factory. Gary gave me a few tips that were really helpful. I spilled less than a teaspoon of old oil. Sandy helped me add the oil and to pour the used oil into the same plastic bottles that held the new. Walmart gladly accepts used oil, which makes for total recycling.

Then very early Monday morning before the sun started to heat up the tires I checked the pressure in all six tires and made adjustments. The two tires on the front axle carry a little over 13,000 pounds so we run with 120 psi in those tires. The four tires on the rear axle carry about 20,500 pounds, but since there are four tires to support this load we only need to fill them to 105 psi. Getting the correct pressure in the tires is a real challenge. Between the gauge on the portable air tank, the gauge on the Pressure Pro tire monitors and a high quality digital pressure gauge I picked up at the Yuma rally, I find a spread of five pounds. Correct tire pressure is critical in a heavy motorhome, so when we were getting new tires I checked my digital gauge against the gauge used by the dealer. The reading was identical. So my standard of reference is my new digital gauge. I can still use and rely on the tire monitor inside the coach that monitors the pressure in each tire as we motor down the road, I just keep in mind that gauge reads about 3 psi lower than actual pressure. Is your head spinning yet?

Cleaning Day -- Monday

Our preference is to give the coach a thorough interior cleaning the day before we travel. That way when we set up at our new location, we start with a clean house. Once the coach was clean, we showered and drove two miles over to Canyon Lake for lunch. We sat on the covered patio and enjoyed a million dollar view of the lake and flower covered mountains. A cool beeze added to our enjoyment.

The old western town of Tortilla Flat is charming but rundown. There are three establishments: a small store that does most of its business selling ice cream cones, a big bar/restaurant with live music several days of the week and a mercantile with more tacky souvenirs than most people collect in a lifetime. But it was nice to have it within walking distance as a reminder of civilization.

It has been a good campground and we have enjoyed our two weeks here, but we won’t be coming back. We have discovered that internet and cell phone service is really important – especially when issues with the motorhome arise.

Stay tuned.


  1. Just what every man needs - another tool! It's amazing how much less our coach would weigh without the "tool kit". But they sure have come in handy out on the road.

  2. Before I read this article, I was a novice when it comes to air compressors but now I know exactly what to look for. Very helpful article even for a novice like me. Anna D. Pritchett