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The down side of taking off with a van that is an unknown quantity is that you aren’t too sure quite what works and what doesn’t.

So I’vimagee been amateur caravan repair man for most of this trip as I’ve discovered what does and doesn’t work, or what did work when we left but has since come unstuck!

First there was the smelly toilet incident… where we discovered that wee was leaking into the compartments below. Ech… After a couple of false starts thinking it was just the toilet overflowing (and where I spent a lot of time cleaning), I discovered it was the seal that had gone and the local caravan guy had one in stock so I attempted a fix. All good now and $200 saved.

Then there was the exterior light that wouldn’t work so I was about to replace it. I found one of the right size, but in the fiddling with it trying to get it off it started working again. Loose connection?… It works fine now so I didn’t buy the new one.

Then we arrived at our site to discover water leaking out of our main water input. Weird… It meant that when in 12v power the water pump would kick in for a second or two every few minutes to replenish what was being lost. Annoying…. Eventually I traced it back to a leaking non return valve by the water pump. So my knowledge of solenoids suggested it may need a bit of jiggling – technical term I know…Again a bit of fiddling – opening and shutting it – sorted it out – for now at least. It may need replacing in the future but one less issue for now.

Then… Yep more…

Danelle announced one morning that ‘this piece of metal just came off in my hand’… as they do… It was the handle to a small ‘scupper’ roof vent. It was a piece of cast aluminum that had cracked and the caravan guy wanted over $200 to replace the whole vent. Fortunately I had my cordless drill and was able to duck down to Repco to pick up some suitable fixings to repair it. I don’t think we will need a replacement as this has got it sorted.

This caravan came with a slide out bbq – which was really useful until the gas burner stopped working. I don’t know how these things work and the screw holding it together had been damaged so I ended up drilling it out and disassembling it. Once I cleaned out the crap it flamed up beautifully.

And then there was the planned and intended repair of the kitchen wall. The previous owner had taped up a vent only to discover when he pulled it off that the material around it wasn’t laminate after all… So it left an ugly mess and I managed to get the van cheaper because of it. One morning in Broome while the kids were schooling I spent the time painting over the mess and now it looks great – better than the rest of the van in fact!

There was the faulty 12v outlets which turned out to be a blown fuse caused by a dodgy 12v appliance. The fuse looked intact so I spent an hour tracing wires only to go back to my starting point.

The upside is that I know the van pretty well now and reckon I can fix most stuff that goes wrong.

The car has run really well, except when punching into the wind but as we left Broome we discovered the air line to the Poly air bags had come loose and the bag had been squashed between the springs. I removed the wheel and reattached the line while getting mauled by sandflies out at Port Smith. After pumping it up I discovered it had a slow leak so once we got to Exmouth I pulled it all down and immersed it in water. It turned out the leak was a dodgy connection right at the nipple. That was a relief as the air bags have really helped balance the load on the old girl.

I’m not sure if it’s Jayco quality control that is the issue or just that it’s an 8 year old van, but I do seem to have done a lot of fix-ups while away. Either way it’s all good until the next problem 🙂

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