Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The roof

Yesterday I hunted in vain for a tool to use with the compressor to blast the silicone sealant out of the affected seams on the bus. The plan was to use sugar as the blasting compound principally because its more available and cheaper than alternatives.

Proceeding gingerly along the roads, there was little to no sign of flood damage. Indeed, I had to make a detour to see any. Clearly although the flooding has been tragic, the areas I normally visit have been spared. One would not know this, given the constant media coverage. Indeed, I even saw some articulated trucks on the road. Clearly the fears of road instability have been greatly over stated. Indeed this is probably why so many people are ignoring roadblocks.

Visiting store after store, the story was the same at each one. They had grit blasting tools listed but none ever carried in the store despite what the company website claimed. The one place that would have them was Harbor Freight but as visiting them would involve crossing the somewhat suspect Lake Murray dam, I passed on the chance. Instead I shall investigate to see if small areas can be repaired and shall put tape over the affected seams. Maybe after the floods and danger diminish, I can visit Harbor Freight.

The alternative to Harbor Freight is either Northern Tool and a trip across the dam or heating the silicone and scraping it out manually. Had I started that yesterday rather than wasting fuel and hours driving, I could have been done. That would have been today's plan had I not had another fever. It seems I have some kind of rolling virus. I gather others complain of the same virus and how it lasts about a month. That must have been shy yesterday's shopping was do tiring and lackluster.

Today I purchased from eBay a battery powered shower head. The basic plan is to heat water, dump it into my cooler then use that water to shower with. Unlike other shower heads, this one is powered by 4 D cells.

The advantage there is that unlike the rechargeable shower heads with built in batteries, the batteries can be changed. Unlike the 12v plugin shower heads, it runs off a power supply with more possibilities. By that I mean that if I don't have freshly charged D cells, I can use alkaline D cells. Coincidentally, my LED lantern also uses D cells.

That all has me thinking about solar panels to charge AA and D cells. For simple small cell charging, the solar panel need not be gigantic nor expensive. Indeed, 4 D cells might be all that's needed to power my forthcoming front door unlocking system.

Looking at the solar panels available is pretty mind boggling! The whole thing seems vastly complicated. All I want to do is to put a small solar panel on the roof, connect it to a battery charger inside the bus and be done. It's not simple though. As ever, it seems that what I want to do is unusual and not catered toward.

A short term fix for my plumbing came to me this morning. Yesterday while in Walmart I noticed 5 gallon gas cans. My thought is to collect waste water under the bus in a bucket then decant to a 5 gallon gas can for subsequent disposal. For potable water, a few off the shelf camp water containers would work.

Needless to say, these are all inexpensive things that can easily be upgraded at a later stage. Even the cable compartment, rickety as it is, can be upgraded at a later stage. Consideration has to be therefore given to completing the shower plumbing and the interior soft furnishings.

Despite feeling pretty rough, I managed to put a few minutes in, painting the galley floor. It could probably stand more work to attain perfection but it's pretty good. The next thing will be to put a movable vinyl floor covering such as those that protect carpets from mauling by the wheels of swivel chairs.

There are pits and dents in the plywood of the floor. These are due to the plywood the hillbillies laid being of low quality. Still, those sections were in good enough condition not to have to redo which is why they were left. This is probably why they tiled their floor with such disastrous consequences.

Idly I considered visiting the roof. There is an area that needs more grey paint but the paint can is in the middle of the galley workbench which cannot be accessed due to wet paint! Grabbing the ladder, I leaned it against the bus more in hope than anticipation.

As tomorrow is also a non work day, due to the recent floods, I can leave roof stuff until tomorrow. I'll probably just tape the seams with aluminum tape if I can't clearly see any possible leak sites. At least then, it'll all be done. I did look online at a Harbor Freight grit blasting attachment. Online its $17.99 plus $6.99 shipping. Instore it'll likely be the same but a quick calculation showed that gas getting to and from the store was likely to be $4.30 plus a couple of hours time. I think the wear and tear on my car is more than the $2.69 saving. That is, of course, if I opt to clean out the seams instead of taping and painting.

That's what I was going to do. What I really ended up doing was to head to the roof anyway. It took one trip and a look to see the problem. What has happened is rust has lifted the silicone sealant and allowed water underneath.

The three affected seams aren't too bad. It puts paid to my idea of using a wire brush though. I need to get under the seam more than I can with a brush. This looks like it will have to be a grit blaster and the sooner the better! I'll have to hit Harbor Freight tomorrow. For the moment the seams are duct taped against unexpected rain. It looks like I need a lot of rust killing paint and probably some real baking soda since I don't need to blast out silicone. Oddly enough the hard to remove silicone came off easily with a razor blade. I'm glad I caught it before it became too bad. I have no idea what the other seams are really like though they seem OK. The good news is that where I applied rust killer before, without removing any rust, there was very little live rust.

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