Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Van to go please
It looks like the veggie van is back in business. Not to jinx it, but it looks like the fuel issues have finally been sorted out. All it took was time, money, a good mechanic, and more time and money. Good thing the van burns free fuel as buying fuel is not in the budget right now.
My mechanic knows that I plan on traveling south this winter so he's making sure it'll be able to handle long trips. The US is big. One suggestion is that I get the van's wheels aligned before we head south, but get the work down with the weight that the van will be carrying. Heavy loads change the wear patterns on the tires if not accounted for. That's something that would not ave occurred to me.
Right now my small solar electric system is powering a shed down by the lake. While it's been nice to have power down there, it hasn't gotten as much use as I thought it would. Because of that the 105 watt panel, battery, and electronics will be mounted on the van. It will be more useful there. Solar power will extend our ability to dry camp away from regular camp grounds.
I've a simple 12V thermoelectric cooler. They are not nearly as efficient as the ones with compressors. However, an efficient one would cost me at least $500, and the thermoelectric one was given to me. It is well insulated. Turning it off while stopped overnight didn't hurt the food any. That's fine when we are on the move, not so fine while staying somewhere for a few days. If campground power is available, we do have a 120v adapter, so it has worked out so far. Being able to plug it into its own solar electric system will save the starting batteries.
Another thing I'd like to do is improve the ventilation. The windows in the back don't open. It wasn't an issue when the van was in service as an ambulance. In its new life as a camper, better ventilation while stopped would be good. We've gotten by using a fan to circulate the air from the cab windows, but that didn't quite cut it on really hot days.
There are number of these little improvements that have been put off until the fuel issues were fixed. You don't worry about painting the trim of your house while the attic is on fire. Priorities.