After two very productive days, we're heading down the home stretch in Repair Bay 4. The two Dave's have cleared everything they can and then some off of our list of things needing repair, and it's time to tackle the last big thing before heading to the specialty shops in the Tiffin Service Center.
Our melted wet bay.
For those who have been catching up on our initial troubles, we lost our exhaust extension and attached heat shield somewhere on I-85 in South Carolina (we think). Hot exhaust gases then found their way onto our wet bay, slagging it down and creating 3 holes to the open air. In addition, it melted insulation around electrical work, and the resulting plastic of the bay found itself melted around the hot and cold water drain lines. Our outdoor shower head was also slagged, and who knew what other damage lay behind the white metal cover of the wet bay controls.
But how do you replace a wet bay, something which the coach is built around after being laid on top of the chassis when it is bare?
Good thing the two Dave's have an idea.
Earlier in the week, they had ordered a 36LA wet bay from Tiffin parts. Don't know if they had to make one from scratch, or if they just happened to have one handy for a future build, but it arrived in Bay 4 Thursday afternoon right around end of shift. David showed Dave (and me) what he was planning to do, and we agreed to meet again at 7 AM the next morning with black and gray tanks empty.
Dawn broke with our coach heavily leaning to the drivers side, so that the most material could be drained from our tanks. After so many days trying to get our motor home to be level, it's a bit unnerving to deliberately raise the passenger side and lower the drivers side as much as we did. Once dumped, I leveled our 36LA in order to bring our main slide in, and it was off to Bay 4!
So, if you've never seen how these motor homes are assembled, there are basement bays on each side of the coach. They're one-piece molded to have one bay on each side, with a connecting pass-through floor attaching each bay. The bays are laid across a bare chassis, providing stability down the road and a sealed unit from the weather. But I only needed the wet bay replaced, and come to find out later, really only the lower tray of the wet bay at that. Disassembling the bay was relatively easy, but the rat's nest of wires and hoses take up a good portion of the morning.
Once opened up wide, the initial plan of dropping the bay on top of the old one was discarded due to the size of the new bay. While it mimics the exact size of the old bay, it's too wide to get into the enclosed bay area once the coach has been built around it.
Undaunted, the two Dave's come up with replacing a progressively smaller portion of the wet bay, finally settling on the bottom portion of the bay where all of the structural damage had occurred. Removing just the bottom, but keeping the upper portion of the existing bay allowed them to bend the new tray into the available space.
The bottom portion was inserted, screws driven into place to lock the whole thing down, and a black plastic sealant slathered around the inside and outside edges to smooth things out and further seal the new wet bay from wind and water.
A new water pump was ordered - another casualty of the heat when it's mounting bracket was partially melted, wires and hoses reattached, and our newly upgraded outdoor shower head installed. A hole is drilled for the sewer hose to drop through the floor, the cover plate screwed down, and we're good to go. It is a beautiful job!
So now we see if any leaks develop this weekend, and if not, our time in Bay 4 will come to a close on Monday morning. We have been blessed to have been assigned such a dedicated and talent pair of technicians in David and Dave, and can only hope our next forays into Mechanical (for exhaust extension and chassis weld checks), Woodworking (for two minor finishing problems), and finally Bodywork and Paint (to fix the softball-sized dimple on the driver's side front cap) will be just as successful. Sadly, these three areas might take an extra week or more to see.
More to come.
We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're planning the ultimate retirement experience - travel the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, play golf and stop at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.