I might have Pegasus #1

I knew my coach was old when I bought it…. and unique.  I am beginning to think I own Pegasus #1.  Here’s why:

  • Body is 1984
  • equipped with custom logo’d gauges in load center.  They have the Pegasus logo printed on them from the factory in the same ink and finish.  They are date stamped on the back Jan 1985.
  • Custom Logo’d VDO running gauges as well.  This is typically done by the factory.  It’s possible to do after market, but it requires disassembly and reassembly and recalibration… which often costs more than the gauge.
  • It appears to have been wired for a hot tub at one point.  There is a breaker labeled this, but behind the breaker there is some hand written wire markers that are the same style as the rest of the wire labeling.  I’m thinking it was something portable/inflatable that tethered to a bay.  No trace of it these days.

The hot tub is interesting…. I thought it was a recycled panel/joke initially… but I think it was real.

There is also a circuit for an ice maker and liquor dispenser…. No sign of either device today.  There are also circuits for front, center, and rear air as well as front, center, and rear roof air.  3 AC’s is really plush…. 6 would be crazy.  My guess is that the coach was refit with roof airs at some point.  They are all Coleman roof air units. They all work well.

Saturday update

It’s been an interesting week.  I figured out what was wrong when I plugged into shore power.  The transfer switch was connecting the genset to shore power.  With the genset not running it was throwing a breaker.  I guess it was trying to start the genset through the generator head.  Bad juju.  In theory the transfer switch isn’t bad, it’s just sorely miswired.

I talked to Mike with Strut-Your-Stuff, he is my go-to source for gas-springs in the USA.  I bought my replacement gas-springs for the luggage bay doors and other doors from him.  He was able to track down replacement gas-springs for the engine bay door as well.  They are 9.25 inches long with 1200N of force!  1200N is like 300 pounds each.  There are 4 of them!  Turns out they are normally like $90/ea or something and he cut me a bit of a break because I have spent so much with him.  He’s great about helping you measure and get the right replacement.  Very nice US made struts.  If you order from him, please tell him Brian with the Neoplan sent you.

I also ordered my LH (reverse) M16 DIN 71802 ball joints for the tie rod ends.  While Mike is knowledgeable, he said he had never seen a LH thread ball joint end.  🙂  I explained that they were DIN 71802 spec ball joints.  I ordered my M19 DIN 71802 ball joints as well.  Those are coming from Germany.  The door project is shaping up to be another $1500 project.  All of the existing ball joints are rotted out.  They use a rubber cup style ball joint and the rubber is rotted after 30 years.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I also bought the replacement tracks for the track lighting from Home Depot.  They didn’t have all the parts I needed in stock, so I had to order some online and wait for them to come in.  No big deal.  I’ll get what I have installed.  I ordered some fixtures from them as well.  The coach is currently equipped with Phillips Capri lights which are commercial/industrial 120/240 capable fixtures.  Neat, well built, but an odd size and luminairs (fixtures) are stupid expensive to get.  For the price of a few fixtures I can get all new track and fixtures from Home Depot.

I also ordered light bulbs from AliExpress.  I’m getting dimmable LED bulbs in a couple of different formats.  We’ll see if I like what shows up.  It wasn’t much, so if I don’t like them I’m not out much.  The current bathroom lights are E26 base (candelabra size) Globes….. G16.5 or G25.  They do a great job in a makeup mirror style… but they put off some heat and use 240 watts combined.  There are 8 lights and the new ones will use 16 watts combined.  Alot less power and less heat.

I’ll post some pics as I install some of this.

Pandora’s transfer switch aka electrical flucker custery

Ah yes, flucker clustery….a  level beyond cluster fuckery!  So here are some pictures of Pandora’s transfer switch.

First the lovely electrical bay.  Chafe violations, explosion hazard, unsecured batteries, improperly secured wires, no battery disconnect, no fusible links, poor use of storage.  So much opportunity!  So charging batteries gas off hydrogen gas…. and should never be near electrical relays (gray box) because they spark when they open and close.  They should also be vented so that gas cannot build up inside the enclosure.  Hydrogen is explosive!

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In the gray box (upper right) is a cluster fuck of a DIY 3 way transfer switch that should automagically choose shorepower, generator, or inverter.  No fucking telling if it ever worked right.  Uses Grainger / Dayton automagic delay controllers.  Loose wires, nothing labeled, probably improperly sized, some hack job relays.  A real mess.  Genset did work, but something doesn’t work hardcore when it’s connected to shore power.

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Close ups
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there is a nice 50 pound battery charger behind the panel.  I think the water tank is under that.. . or at least one of them.  Lots of improperly secured wire and a whole bunch of it coiled up.  No idea what it does.

 

A nice Vanner 50Amp 24 to 12v voltage converter.  I can get a modern one for $50 these days.  This one isn’t regulated, it just cuts voltage in half.  There is a second one back by the coach batteries.IMG_2946

More quality wiring

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And the genset is a 50A generator, protected by a 100A breaker…… fire hazard much?

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Lots to do here in reworking the electrical.

First Trip Report

I had a chance over the weekend to take the coach out on an overnight trip to Cameron, Texas.  The good news is that replacing my air filter and using a target speed of 65 mph yielded an increase in fuel economy to 7 mpg from 4.5 mpg.  That is a huge improvement and probably paid for the filter on the first trip.  Total round trip was roughly 270 miles and I put 38.13 gallons of diesel in.  The method used was to top it off before leaving and then return to the same station to top it off again when I returned.  The calculation is approximate because I forgot to document the mileage before leaving.

I also discovered that something is wrong with the shore power connection.  When I connected it to the power it tripped the breaker and I heard a buzz from inside the bus.  I suspect that something is trying to charge the battery bank in the bus and pulling too much current.  I was using a 30A to 50A adapter as the location I was at only had 30A power.  I opened the grey transfer switch box and observed significant fucker clustery (worse than cluster fuckery).  It appears to be an electromechanical 3 way transfer switch.  The coach can be powered by shore power, genset, and inverter/battery bank.

I did not have time to analyze the configuration in the field and will need to spend some time trying to figure out what is going on and how it is configured.  Then I can figure out how it should be configured.  One thing I did not like for sure was the electrical gear adjacent to the batteries with no venting.

Replacing roof vents

Last weekend I replaced the two van-air roof vents and the central roof vent.  The van-airs were installed in the kitchen and bathroom.  They were just 32+ years old and had disintegrated.  They did still work, but not well.

The good news is that the replacements were $45/ea on eBay.

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I used a ladder to get up on the roof and there are a couple of photos of what I was replacing.

The central vent was a strange / obsolete vent.  I replaced it with a Fantastic Vent with a thermostat and a rain sensor.  This required a small enlargement to the hole.  I was nervous about the enlargement because there was structural framing on one side.  I consulted the parts manual and realized it was okay to modify.  The “skeleton” section from here.

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I had to take the vent apart in order to trace it’s outline on the roof.

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It also involved taking the vent apart in order to trace it’s outline.  It’s sealed with a good heavy duty sealant, OSI Quad.  I believe this is a one part polyurethane rubber, but Henkel doesn’t say.  I know it’s the best stuff to use on Hardie Siding and it has a 25% stretch rating.  A bus is hardly hardie siding, but it is a tough thing to seal up.  I’m happy with the results and it did not leak when it rained recently.

I picked up the Fantastic vent on eBay as an open box return.  It was in perfect condition.  $300 vent obtained for $120 including shipping.  🙂

Licensed and Costed

On Friday I took the coach for inspection.  It went smoothly and I then was able to go to the Harris County Tax Assessor’s office.  Registration fees were $390.  Ouch!  But it is what it is in terms of costs.  The coach is now licensed.

I did opt to have them issue Amateur Radio Operator plates.  This gives me the joy of having the same license plate number on all 3 of my vehicles.  It took the tax office 30 minutes to figure out how to put the coach in due to it’s weight.

Never to be outdone, HCTRA our friendly toll road authority required an in-person visit and a few explanations to get an EZ Tag issued and all my vehicles updated.  Their website errored out when trying to assign the same license plate to multiple vehicles.  I’m a little afraid to go back into the portal now.  It’s good to have an EZTAG though because I can take the toll roads when I need to do so.  Houston traffic is especially irritating most of the time, so the toll roads are just one of the many tools used to deal with it.  They can be a huge timesaver if there is an accident on one of the freeways.

I also decided to start keeping a spreadsheet of my costs.  It was a little sombering.  The LED refit was about a $1500 project.  Not cheap, but that should be the last of it.  So far I’m at just under $11K including purchase price and excluding operating costs like fuel.  I don’t think it’s fair to track fuel or lodging as an ownership cost.  Repairs on the other hand are fair game, as is CoachNet, Insurance, Registration, etc.

I often say that if you should run like hell if you are worried about the fuel costs or ownership costs.  However, I’d like to be able to know if my grand experiment was financially stupid or not at the end of the day.

82, 162, 310, purple, black, white, open close

They read like the sequence for a code or a football play.  These are the critical wires involved in controlling the air solenoid under the stairs that opens and closes the coach door.  The coach is equipped with a really neat aircraft style door that swings open and shut at the press of a button.

82 and Purple go to the dash.  Purple is the power source and was set to work when the key was in.  I rewired it to always be on.  If someone has access to the button on the dash they are going to open the door anyway.

310 and 162 go to a button.  Black and white are an extension to serve the stairway button.  They hook into 310 and 162.

Interestingly, 162 was disconnected and labeled, WTF?  I had disconnected it while I was working on the lights.  I put it on it’s own circuit breaker with purple.

All the wires are now labeled and working.  At some point I may add a keyless entry to the motorhome.  They aren’t that expensive and it would be nice to have.  My only hesitation is making sure I have a backup way in if the keyless misbehaves.  The coach is something of a fortress when you get right down to it.  If you lock yourself out you have to pick a window to break…. 🙁

I should be ready for an inspection on Friday and license plates!