10th year wash, wax and treat!

This is the tenth year that our 2007 Airstream Safari has had a thorough washing, waxing and treating (filiform corrosion control and prevention), which has preserved its iconic beauty, even though it lives with us along the San Diego coast.  (Note: we routinely cover our trailer tires for sun protection.)

DSC_0061 Safari awaits 10th annual wash, wax & treat

As it awaited its big wash and wax job, it proudly flew the flag of the United States and the United States Navy.  I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman 1971-1975 and June 17 was the 119th birthday of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps!

DSC_0030 United States Navy flag

Last week I donned sun protection for my skin and eyes and climbed the step ladder to begin the attack.  A full report on how I wash and wax the trailer, along with a list of my tools, strategy, procedure, and the benefits, is seen in my post, “Wash, wax and treat II.”

DSC_0092 10th annual Airstream washOur three awnings were then deployed, washed and lubricated. See awning operation, safety, cleaning and lubrication in my comprehensive post, “Trailer awnings.”

DSC_0099 Awnings opened & washed

DSC_0101 Steet-side awning washedThe phenomenon of newer Airstream trailers (2001 through current year) being susceptible to filiform corrosion continues to be well documented in the AirForums’ 170+ page thread, “Corrosion problems with new Airstreams.”  The clear coated aluminum sheets can corrode beginning at the cut edges, rivet holes, and scratches where salt, water and air can enter. Early on, we limited the spread of filiform corrosion by washing and waxing the trailer regularly with a good quality wax and using corrosion retardants and protectants such as Boeshield T-9 and CorrosionX.  (See my comprehensive post Filiform corrosion.)

DSC_0114 Minimal filiform corrosion overallThis is the 10th year we have relied on Meguiar’s M20 Mirror Glaze Polymer Sealant wax to provide a beautiful sheen that feels silky to the touch while protecting the trailer. (See photos and details of the trailer’s first wash & wax job, June 2007, in my AirForums’ posts #182-188.)

DSC_0118 Beautiful wax shine & protection

DSC_0109 10th Annual Wax job!The Safari shine is an eye-popping, riveting experience!*

DSC_0130 Safari shine, an eye-popping experience!Airstream Travel Trailers: A Lifetime of Adventure*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Our Airstream Safari systems review

Our 23′ Airstream Safari Special Edition trailer was made in December 2006, Airstream’s 75th anniversary year!

DSC_0080 Our Special Edition Safari

Our custom order through our local dealer included our Airstream factory installed solar charging system with two solar panels and AGM batteries.  Our records show that on most non-hookup days our AGM batteries are back to 100% by midday.  See how I changed our Lifeline AGM batteries.

Our Solar Panels curbside.40

Also see how I replaced the failing OEM Parallax converter with the Xantrex XADC 60A converter/charger.

DSC_0100 Our Xantrex converter

See how we changed out our hot Halogen lights to cool LED lights that use less energy.  Our LED lights are seen below, along with our new 10-year sealed battery smoke detector that I installed last January.

DSC_0211 Our LED lights

Last year I replaced our Dometic refrigerator’s brittle plastic drain hose with a more durable, vinyl hose.

DSC158 Drain tube top to bottom  DSC_0032 Dometic 5 cu ft RV refrigWe use neither sharp tools nor a hot air blower and yet easily and routinely defrost the Dometic RM2551 RV refrigerator (5 cu. ft.) in less than 30 min.

We are now on our second set of Goodyear Marathon ST215/75R14 tires, which have served us well with only one flat (due to a screw).  We monitor our tires with sensors and rarely travel more than 62 mph.

DSC_0213 New Marathon tires  DSC_0015 I" machine screw in tireOver the past 10 years, we have taken our trailer on 86 200-mile or less round trips for a total mileage of no more than 17,200 miles, which contributed to our good marathon experience!

DSC_0113 Wash, wax & treat tools

Modern Airstream trailers*, such as ours, have an exterior body of clear coated aluminum sheets that can corrode beginning at the cut edges and rivet holes where salt, water and air can enter. In our experience, the spread of filiform corrosion can be limited by washing and waxing the trailer regularly and using corrosion retardants and protectants such as Boeshield T-9 and CorrosionX.dsc_0052-annual-trailer-wash-2016

 

Additional improvements:

Strengthening L-Lounge

Cleaning & adjusting brakes and repacking bearings

 

DSC_0290 Safari awaits next safari!

This Safari celebrates Independence Day* as it awaits its next safari!*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

10-year sealed battery requirement for smoke alarms!

More cities and states are now requiring that “new smoke alarms that are solely battery powered must have a non-replaceable, non-removable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years.”  Kidde lists the following states and cities with 10-year smoke alarm laws: Oregon, California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Phoenix, New York City, Madison WI, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Louisville.  Although many of these laws, such as California’s smoke alarm requirements, apply to dwelling units intended for human occupancy and not to mobile homes or coaches, the laws impact RVers by limiting the selection of types of smoke alarms locally available when it is time to replace a 10-year old alarm (its life expectancy).

Our 2007 Airstream Safari is now 10 years old and like clockwork, its OEM Universal Security Instruments SS-775 smoke and fire alarm installed by Airstream (seen below in upper left corner) stopped working and required replacement.

DSC_0035 2007 Airstream Safari interior

My first impulse was to replace it with the same or similar model so that it would be easier to install in its original mounting bracket.  But as I did more research, I thought it would be best to comply with the growing national trend requiring 10-year sealed batteries… and would be a selling point when we sell the trailer (see CA smoke alarm law video).*

Once I decided on getting a smoke alarm with the 10-year sealed battery, I had to choose the sensor type: ionization, photoelectric, or a combination of both.  See the excellent video “How do Smoke Detectors Work“.*  This video explains that photoelectric sensors are better at detecting slow, smoldering, and generally smokier fires, whereas ionization sensors are better at detecting smaller amounts of smoke that come from fast flaming fires, and are more common and less expensive.  Our OEM smoke detector used an ionization sensor.

I found and installed an economical, ionization smoke alarm with good reviews: Kidde i9010 model (aka Code One 10-Year Lithium Battery Smoke Alarm at Home Depot for $17.97).  One of its features is that it has a Hush Button that allows nuisance alarms to be quickly silenced, as required by California’s Updated Smoke Alarm Requirements.  For example, if the alarm goes off when cooking and the hush button is pushed, you have about 8 minutes of silence, permitting time to open the door, windows, and turn on exhaust fans to clear the air!

Our new smoke alarm (seen below) is about an inch wider and was placed in the same location as the OEM model.

DSC_0211 Newly installed smoke detector

I reused one of the original alarm ceiling holes and started a new hole with a smaller drill bit for the other screw.  I used the original OEM model screws since they were shorter than the ones supplied with the new alarm (and I didn’t want to risk puncturing the exterior aluminum panel)!  The mounting bracket was screwed in place and the alarm was placed on the bracket and rotated clockwise until it ratcheted in place and automatically activated as indicated by an audible beep and confirmed by pushing the test button.  The sensor was tested by blowing out several votive candles under the unit, which then elicited its signature sounding of high pitched triplets.*  This unit is equipped with a red LED indicator light that flashes about every 40-45 seconds in the standby mode indicating it is receiving power.

DSC_0218 Kidde i9010

Walter Kidde founded the Walter Kidde Company in 1917 and “produced the first integrated smoke detection and carbon dioxide extinguishing system for use on board ships in 1918.”  Kidde is now a division of United Technologies, “built on the pioneering innovation of our founders [such as Walter Kidde] and the industries they created.”*

Smoke Alarms Save Lives*                           Smoke Gets In Your Eyes*                          Learning to eat fire*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Airstream torquing tendonitis

Before every trip, I follow a checklist of procedures that need to be done and items to include, which are spread over a 4-day period.  Critical items that must be done are checking and adjusting tire pressures, and checking the torque of the trailer wheel lug nuts to lessen the chance of a tire or wheel failure (See Outside Interests‘ “Tire Tips – Part 2″).  I lug around a rather heavy air compressor to each tire that needs more air and then I apply a torque wrench to each lug nut in a star pattern* to the specified tightness of 110-120 ft-lbs two days before departure (See “Carry a Torque Wrench for RV Maintenance“).*  See and hear Colonial Airstream’s Patrick Botticelli’s video, “Airstream Tire Safety,”* which includes information about tire inspection, tire pressures, lug nut torque, DOT (Department of Transportation) Code for manufacture date, and when to replace tires.

dsc_0022-torquing-airstream-lug-nuts

Last month, two days before our first trip of our fall-winter-spring camping season, I checked the tire pressures, placed PressurePro tire monitoring sensors on our ST tires* and checked lug nut torque.  I am right handed, so I lugged the air compressor and checked the lug nuts mostly with my right arm.  Our aged air compressor seemed to struggle at times with the job, so at the end of the day, I went to Home Depot and got a new compressor and then went to Costco and picked up a half-gallon of ice cream and a large apple pie, mostly with my right arm.  That evening, I felt my arm ache, which interrupted my sleep. The day before departure, I continued with my checklist and the ache became pain and burning that persisted throughout the night. I awoke on departure day realizing that hitching up would result in further injury, so we reluctantly canceled our November trip to the desert.

Ten years ago, we first bought this Airstream Safari just before Thanksgiving when I was 69 years old [actually, I was 59, as caught and corrected by my dear Dr. C., whose sharp eye, insight and wit are evidenced in his comments below]. By the way, November is a great time to shop and haggle for a new Airstream.  Next month will be the 10th year of our camping with this Airstream travel trailer, and I will be 70 in March.  As Willie Nelson sings, “Gee, ain’t it funny how time just slips away.“*

It seems this Airstream is holding up better than my body parts, as my Kaiser Urgent Care diagnosis of right arm tendonitis* confirmed.  Fortunately, after a 2-week course of Ibuprofen (Motrin) 800 mg q8 hrs and most importantly, mindful rest,* I feel up to preparing for our return to the desert this month.

Whether this incident is a fluke, or a sign of things to come remains to be seen.  We have reservations for camping sites through next April…

Meanwhile, we are attending the fun events such as the Harbor Walk at Oceanside, CA, put on by  San Diego Corgi Meetup.

hpim2972-larry-mac-tasha-at-oceanside-ca

Happy Holidays to all, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you believe!*

Wait, wait, there’s more:  A Dr. C. inspired encore video selection: James Cluer’s Wine Route – Bordeaux Part 8: Cháteau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Wash, Wax and Corgi Day at the Beach!

While some are winterizing, we are washing and waxing our Safari Airstream travel trailer for the beginning of our fall-winter-spring camping season in the wonderful mountains and deserts of Southern California, popular with snow birds as far away as Bigfork, Montana.  A full report on how I wash and wax the trailer, along with a list of my tools, strategy, procedure, and the benefits, is seen in last year’s post, “Wash, wax and treat II.”

dsc_0052-annual-trailer-wash-2016

Once again, I wore my “Ridin’ with Biden” hat, especially because I am on-board with his efforts to accelerate progress in preventing, detecting, and treating cancer with the goal of ending cancer as we know it.  As a retired RN, I appreciate Joe Biden’s passionate tribute to the nurses and all who fight cancer, as seen in the video, “Vice President Biden Delivers Remarks at the Cancer Moonshot Summit.”*

dsc_0054_2-still-ridin-with-biden

Seven years ago, I had Mohs surgery to remove a skin cancer lesion from my face, so as the sun broke through the marine layer, I put on my trusty wide brim hat for better sun protection.

dsc_0056-meguiars-polymer-sealant-20

Our annual washing and waxing the trailer was completed ahead of schedule, so we took a day off and rewarded ourselves and our corgis Mac and Tasha with a day at the beach!

hpim2955-larry-tasha-mac-at-the-beach

But it was not just any day, it was the 2016 Fall So Cal Corgi Nation Beach Day at Huntington Beach, California!

dsc_0005-corgi-nation-beach-day-towel

One thousand people with their corgis flocked to the beach for a day of excitement and sensory overload!

hpim2954-fall-2016-corgi-day-at-the-beach

It is billed as the “THE BIGGEST CORGI PAWTY ON THE PLANET !!!

Corgis played in the surf and on the beach.

hpim2958-larry-corgis-on-beach

hpim2964-corgi-play

Ryen, a popular vlogger, drove down from the San Francisco Bay Area with his famous corgi Gatsby* dressed as Batman for this event!

hpim2951-ryen-and-corgi-gatsby

And fans lined up to meet them.  See Ryen’s vlog, “How Corgi Dog Changed My Life.”*

hpim2953-ryen-gatsby-bill-tasha

See Ryen’s video of the 2016 Fall Corgi Beach Day at Huntington Beach: 1,000 Corgis In Costume – World’s Largest Corgi Party!, Life After College: Ep. 516.*

By the end of the day, we were all dead… tired… but with wonderful corgi memories to dream about!*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.