Thursday, 12 November 2009

End of the season

Here are the last few additions to the Travco that Dad worked on lately. They really are add-ons, rather than repairs or restoration projects.

Seat belts

Dad replaced the old style 2-point seat belt with a modern 3-point belt on the passenger side. The driver side will also be converter to a 3-point belt later. Those "new" belts came with the "new" seats bought 2 years ago to replace to old original Travco seats. They are from a Dodge minivan. The motorhome only had lap belts, so Dad had to find some place on the side wall to anchor the shoulder belt.

Easier said than done. Dad didn't want the bolt to be only held by the fiberglass. The achor would rip off in an accident. There was a steel beam under the fiberglass at the right place, but then there was no way to pass a bolt through it. In the end, Dad drilled a hole through the entire wall and passed the bolt from the outside. Very strong attachement, and the head of the bolt is not too visible from the outside.

Water pressure tank

Dad installed a small water pressure tank on the plumbing system of the motorhome. What this tank does is store a small amount of water under pressure, so the water pump doesn't have to start everytime water is used, and the water pressure is more stable.

Sewer hose storage

Dad was looking for a convenient way to store the sewer hose. So he made this metal storage tube, installed under the Travco just in front of the black water tank. But this is no ordinary storage tube, it's got pretty unique features (remember: you saw it here first!).

The storage tube is mounted on a slide that allows the tube to recess under the Whale, where it is barely visible and is well protected. The metal slide, in fact an old car seat track, has the inside end mounted on a swivel, that allows the storage tube to raise up once it is pushed inward, in the traveling position. A big spring holds the tube in that upward position. To get the sewer hose, all is required is to pull downward and then outward on the storage tube, wich will smoothly slide out.
View from under the motorhome, storage tube extended, then in travel position:

The hinged lid is made from an old plastic hubcap (still shows Nissan on it!).

Traveling position:

Backup lights

Nothing worst than having to backup the Whale on a campsite at night. Rear view is quite limited, one can hardly see around during daylight. So Dad installed two large and powerful backup lights, mounted on each side of the Travco. They are actually headlights, so they are very bright, and not to be used like ordinary backup lights: they have their own switch and wiring and they don't come on when reverse is selected.

In order to provide the best possible lighting while backing up, Dad installed the lights on each side of the motorhome, just behind the front wheels. And since they will not be used very often, and to protect them from damage when not is use, the lights are retractable, Dad mounted them on metal slides. The lights can be extended when required, and then retracted when not in use or when travelling. Dad put a nice plastic handle on each light. The slides are made from old car seat tracks. Strong, and works pretty good.

Dad always get out the vehicle anyway to inspect the area before backing up in a tight, dark spot. A simple pull on the backup lights handles while he's out there, and he's ready to backup safely. When retracted, the lights are almost invisible.

Curb side (on the photos the retractable step is extended and interferes, but when retracted the light is not blocked):

End of the season

As you've noticed, the Whale is parked on a blue tarp, resting on wood blocks. This means the end of the season up here. Dad has started to winterize the Travco. The last trip was in mid-October, under a dull gray sky and a cold mix of rain and snow...
So this will be my last message for this year, and although we'll keep reading your comments, the Blue Whale blog will also enter hibernation until next spring.

Thanks you and see you soon!