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Old 08-23-2021, 06:55 AM   #1
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spare parts

Ok folks. the wife and I are heading out on our first big crosscountry trip since we retired. Iíve gone over the camper and my truck with a fine tooth comb. Any suggestions on spare parts or other things you will never travel without? Spare parts you wished you brought with you? Keep in mind weíll be gone for a couple months and maybe 3000 miles from home.
Gary G
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Old 08-23-2021, 01:19 PM   #2
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It's important not to get too paranoid; stuff doesn't break nearly as often as online forums would have you believe. We've travelled east, west, north and south (up to Mexico) to the end of the road and only had 2 relatively minor truck problems. You don't need new tires, but make sure you have 10 good tires and that the alignment of both vehicles is in spec. Poorly aligned trailer axles can wear a tire down in less than 1000 mi. We travelled to AK and up the Dempster Hwy with an extra truck and trailer spare, but didn't need them and haven't carried them since.

I pack a milk crate with a good bottle jack (6-8 ton), cross over lug wrench, and 2 medium size axle stands, and there are lots of 2X8 blocks in the trailer for cribbing. When I travelled with older trucks that got really toasty in mid-summer, I also carried a jug of pre-mix antifreeze.

I buy additional medium quality tools for the trailer as it is too aggravating to have tools spread between the trailer and house. You need a hammer, vice grip, small plier, medium size water pump plier, small wire cutter, small and medium size adjustable wrench, all-in-one screwdriver set (make sure it has the square Robertson bits) and a long heavy flat blade screwdriver for prying. I also travel with a large 1/4-3/8 socket set and a real heavy duty 1/2 that has the large sockets needed by the water heater drain and hitch bolts. I don't need nearly all the sockets, but hate to break down a socket set and they live at home when we're not travelling. I also have a couple of emergency warning triangles to place on the road. If you have the space, a traffic cone can come in handy too.

For parts I have several sizes of hose clamps (the gear type), teflon tape, duct tape, zip ties, coil of wire, heat shrink tubing, heat shrink butt connectors and a multi meter. I also carry an external drain valve that cranks onto the drain in place of the cap. Haven't needed it yet, and I wouldn't be happy if I did, but I'd be less happy if I needed it and didn't have it. You really don't need much more. The people who carry extra springs, brake sets, wheel bearings etc. are prepared to do much more on road repair than I am, but it can be handy to have the parts ready for a mobile tech rather than order them in.

Enjoy your retirement.

Henry
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Old 08-23-2021, 02:28 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips. I have pretty much everything you mentioned already. I was an RV technician for 30+ years and a pretty decent Auto tech also, so I feel I can fix about any problems that come up if I have the parts or some duct tape handy.
Gary G
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Old 08-24-2021, 03:31 PM   #4
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I would also suggest a battery impact wrench and sockets and a torque wrench.
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Old 08-25-2021, 07:44 PM   #5
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Hi Gary,

First off, congrats on your retirement!!! It's great.

Henry and Jim gave you some good ideas and it sounds like you may be well covered.

There are a few things I didn't see or may have missed reading, but consider these if you do not have already and they fit your situation.

1. A 1/2" drive torque wrench for the trailer wheels. If you have to change a flat, they need to be retorqued 3 times after changing the wheel. Even a $20 Harbor Freight one will work. Just make sure you an extension and a 13/16" socket.

2. While duct tape was mentioned, I'll go up to a specific brand/type as it gives more rugged service. A roll of 2" wide Gorilla tape. Since this product came out, it beats the normal run of the mill duct tape in about every way. Gorilla tape can hold a temporary patch in a rubber or metal roof tear for at least 6 months in the weather. It can deal with cracked skylights, ripped Darco, and most anything else that breaks on the camper as a temporary patch that tape will hold until you get home to fix it.

3. This next item is specific for you since you know how to deal with them. I carry a "fix it kit" of parts for my Dometic fridge. If there is one appliance that is going to die on you that can create great havoc, it is the fridge. The water heater, the water pump, the furnace, the range will all be a pain to work around, but if the fridge dies, that will be a big issue for us as we boondock on many of our long term travels and need to run on gas. I have a new dinosaur board, igniter, thermistor and the electrode. This all came about when my igniter died on a camping trip while boondocking and the fridge went out. While I have never since had to scramble to do a fridge fix on the road again, I now have the parts to overcome most things that will die that I can fix before the food thaws out. I know if I take those parts out of the camper, it will break down....

4. There is another one I'll mention. On your smaller camper this might not be a big a deal as on my larger camper. I always carry my Honda E2000 generator with me in the truck and a small 120 volt AC compressor capable of airing up a 100psi tire. My trailer and truck tires are 80 psi tires. I ended up with soft tire on the camper once at the campground and I had no compressor even though I had the genny. Well I'll tell you the short story, trying to find a gas station that can pump up an 80 psi tire that I can get my camper next to, is a challenge. After 5 gas stations I was ready to give up and then I saw a John Deere dealer. They bailed me out. Ever since, I bought and carry my own small compressor and the genny to run it.

5. For sure, make sure your trailer tire spare is in good condition. It too needs to be as good as the main trailer tires in age and build. The day you have a flat or blowout on the camper, you want that spare to be as good as all other trailer tires. Having a 7 plus year old spare is not worth much when you have to tow 100 plus miles to the next tire shop under full camper load. My spare gets changed every time I put all 4 new tires on the camper. After one deals with a blowout on the interstate, there is no question in your mind you have to have a top condition spare. The hope is, you never use that good spare, but the day you need it, you will be glad you have it.

6. I'll add one more thing, a hi reflective vest to wear in case you are on the side of the road fixing the truck or camper. Just fold it up and put it behind the seat. Dealing with a breakdown on the side of the interstate, you want to make sure all drivers can see you.

Your handy, and I'm sure will overcome all issues that fly up. Have a great trip and let us know how it goes. Remember, we like seeing pics of Sunlines in action!

John
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