Fixing those little problems

Recently I wrote that it was 5 weeks before I left on my Perth trip and that I had many things to do. It is now 2 weeks and I have found that “fixing those little problems” list had grown after a week away over Easter.

Even though I have camped many times there is always something to learn. One of my pet activities before a big trip is to take out the equipment about 3 weeks before I go away to test everything.

So glad I did that this time, here is what went wrong and a fix:

  • A new 50 amp fuse failed; re-wire the connection and add on an Anderson plug.
  • Didn’t release the handbrake on the camper trailer; re-pack the wheel bearings and check the brakes.
  • Clamp on the gas cylinder holder failed; re-pair the bracket.

Where did I go to cause such problems?

Easter Holidays in Australia – BIG 4 style

My Easter camping experience was in a BIG 4 caravan park, great facilities and no actual testing of mechanical equipment involved as everything was on sealed roads! But I still found a problem, and it took me all day to resolve the problem!

After Easter, I went up to a friends place “in the bush” but not that far out of civilisation, I cannot show photos of his place out of respect to my friend.

Suffice to say, he is deep in the bush, there were 7 small creek crossings which caused no problems at all and the road into his place ends 100 metres past his house.

Being a narrow bush track, there was little room for “turning around”, there-in begins Lesson 2!

One of the things that I like about being in the bush is the peace and solitude that you can obtain, my friends place certainly has that in spades and being a house, there was no need to get the camping gear wet!

The lessons learned

Lesson 1

Always take spares for all fuses!

There I was preparing the food on night 2 and I noticed that the food was not as cold as I had expected. Damn!

Out comes the multi-meter, batteries fully charged, that was nice but how? Fridge running all day and night, no driving therefore no charging from the car and I couldn’t believe that the solar panel would keep it topped up, if the fridge was running.

It was then that I noticed there was no charge going to the batteries from the charging device, this is not good, was my initial reaction. And it wasn’t all that good, after testing and checking I found that the fuse from the charger to the batteries had “blown”!

Similar 50 Amp Fuse to be Installed
50 Amp Fuse similar to this to be Installed

I did wonder how, as it is a 50 amp fuse but it was the manner in which it was blown that caused me concern. As this fuse was a glass type where you can see the actual fuse inside, then when “blown” it should be obvious, it is usually broken in two.

Not on this occasion, it had come away at the end where it was soldered to the cap, allowing some charge through but not enough.

I did not have a spare. It was Easter, nothing was open except for all the usual tourist type shops, I needed a fuse and these shops don’t sell fuses.

I had a spare for every other fuse, but for some reason I had overlooked this fuse!

I had to re-wire the entire charging system for the fridge so that my food didn’t spoil. And my job, now I am home?

Get a new fuse and some spares!

Lesson 2

As my vehicle and camper trailer measure some 11 metres turning around is not easy, even with power steering, yes my old Landcruiser does actually have power steering – it is not that old!!

Turning an 11-metre rig around on a track which is 2 metres is IMPOSSIBLE unless you unhook the camper trailer.

Creek CrossingI need to explain the scenario a bit more. The road is not that narrow near the house, but it is on a steep hill, I needed low range 4wd gearing to get up the hill, and it wasn’t even wet. Also, of note is that the camper trailer with all the equipment in it that I need weighs in at around 2 tonne, so it is not easy to manoeuvre at the best of times.

An hour later, we are turned around, hitched up and ready to go.

The lesson here is simple. Friends are friends but do they really know the answers to your questions about access with an 11-metre vehicle.
There is another lesson to be learned.

Lesson 3

Be more vigilant in using my equipment.

I say this because I drove the 20 kilometres from my friends house to the sealed road with the camper trailer handbrake “locked on”. Suffice to say that the brakes on the camper trailer were hot!

If I had not stopped to “unlock the hubs” and go back to two wheel drive on the sealed road, my first knowledge of the problem may well have been smoke pouring out of the rear of the camper trailer.

Back to my trip preparation

Fixing those little problems list is now becoming an issue which I did not expect. I had spent the best part of three weekends fixing a variety of problems before the week away. Admittedly, some of these so called “problems” are not really that as such, rather they are tasks I wanted to complete to make life a bit easier.

Here is the “must do” list, including things I listed above:

  • wire in inverter, for laptop charging etc
  • re-wire the cabling at the trailer for charging trailer batteries
  • add in new connections for 12 volt accessories
  • install a new fuse, re-wire the connection and add on an Anderson plug.
  • re-pack the wheel bearings on the camper trailer, checking the brakes as I do this.
  • repair the gas cylinder holder, the welding broke away.

Even though I started my trip preparation around 5 weeks ago, fixing those little problems has now become a more urgent issue.  Each task listed above will take me around half a day to complete.

Good thing I have the week off before I go away!

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