Busy week of problems.

I was visiting mother on Monday to see how she was and to collect some parcels.  One of which was the tablet screen on the previous post.  I had finally got everything working again pretty much and was set for a week of doing some money earning work rather than catch up work.

Anyway my water pump has been a bit dodgy for a couple of weeks now and I occasionally have to bang the wall it is mounted to to persuade it to work.  I had looked at it previously and decided that it was the pressure switch that needed adjusting.   The reason I didn’t do it straight away was I was waiting until I was in a suitable location to do the work and that the water tank was empty.  When I built this van I built it with a fulltimers mentality and I didn’t put a drain valve in nor did I put a valve on the tanks outlet.

So back to Tuesday,  I woke up in the morning and went to the loo and as I sat down there was a clunk and the toilet came away from the wall.  Damnit was my first thought.  I finished up and went to flush and the water pump didn’t come on.  Double Damnit.

I was booked onto a campsite that day so I didn’t panic overly much.  I said my goodbyes and got to the campsite and set about stripping the bed down.  Now the hard bit of doing this job is that I have nowhere to put anything. My living space is 3.5Mtrs by 2Mtrs aprox.  So taking all the bedding off, then the two large bits of foam with nowhere to put them was tricky.

The adjuster for the pump turns out to be on the bottom of the pump which is not accessible because I have mounted it with this screw pointing downward and only 2″ from the floor.  So a major re-plumbing exercise had to be undertaken.  First job,  turn off the valve next to the boiler to stop all the water in the boiler flowing back along the pipes.  I installed this when I fixed the toilet last time.  Second job turn on taps and open the dump valve.  This cleared out about a litre of water from the pipes.  I then washed my hands and arms before dunking them into the fresh water tank and blocking the outlet with my thumb while with the other hand I used my pipe cutter to cut the pipe.  I then had to fit one handed the valve which was already in the off position.

So now I could remove the water pump without flooding the van.  This went pretty quickly and I re-screwed it to the wall on its side so I could access the adjuster screw.  As I used John Guest speed fit connectors and carry the proper tools for it I was able to re-plumb the pump pretty quickly.  I then turned on all the valves, closed the dump valve and turned the pump on.   Nothing happened which is what I expected.  I turned the adjuster screw by 5 turns in each direction and still nothing happened.   I tried this a few times until I had lost track of where I started.   I decided it was a lost cause with that pump.

A quick phone call to a bunch of dealers all told me they didn’t carry the spare pressure switches or the maintenance kits.  Only the full pump.   I then put the van back together and drove to Grimsby to visit my old friends at Magnum Motorhomes who had one in stock.

I asked if it was ok if I worked on their yard in case I needed any additional parts which they ok’d.   After taking the old pump out I got the new pump out of the box and fitted it.  It was at this point I realised what had happened.  The adjuster screw had shaken itself all the way out of the pump on my old one.   On the new pump it looked like it was screwed all the way in,  on the old one it was protruding by about 15mm.

Damnit and blast.  That was £53 I probably could have saved.  But the new pump was by now installed and ready to test so I didn’t want to start messing with the old one again.  It was almost 15:30 and starting to get dark already.

Anyway with the new pump installed, the bed reassembled and the van read to move I set off back to the campsite.  I then decided to fix the toilet while there was a little light left.  I tried rescrewing it but the screws just turned in the wood.  I pulled the toilet away from the wall and saw that the mounting blocks had rotted.  Bugger, that will teach me to finish jobs in future.   When I repaired the toilet I hadn’t redone the sealing and water had leaked into the gap and rotted the block of wood.  The reason I hadn’t resealed it was I was planning to take the sink out to extend the waste pipe and put a Y piece in so I could have two drains in it.  I didn’t see the point of wasting sealant just to redo it again later.

Anyway,  a new block of wood was glued and screwed and the toilet re-attached to the wall.  I then made myself a well earned coffee and sat down.

It was then that I noticed that my Battery Monitor was no longer working.  I must have knocked a wire off when I was doing the water pump.  More damnits and buggers were said but I am leaving that job for another day.

Here you can see the pump with the screw all the way out.  I will screw it back in and test it another day when I can be bothered.  It will make a handy spare.


It didn’t end there though,  the next morning I was up bright and early to get a load of work done and I couldn’t connect to the internet on my Three sim.  I tested it in 2 dongles and 1 Mifi.  This was at 4am so I couldn’t phone Three up for support as they were closed.  I dug out my EE sim card and in my befuddled early morning state pre coffee I dropped the damn thing and it went down a gap in the side of the van.

So at 8am I phoned Three, and had 45 minutes of excruciating support from an indian lady who didn’t know the difference between WAN and WLAN.  She eventually got the fact that the MiFi was working and I could connect to it via wifi.  However the MiFi wouldn’t connect to the local Cell Tower via 3G.  She couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t plug it into my Linux computer which she finally understood and told me that won’t work it’s not windows or Mac.  She couldn’t understand that I wasn’t able to go home to Sheffield to test it on my home tower.   After running round the house 30 times with her I finally got transferred to a gentleman who understood WLAN and WAN and asked me for the postcode where I was.  He went off to do some tests on my nearest tower (he said) and came back in 10 minutes to say the tower was being upgraded and wouldn’t be working till the next day.   Now here is the funniest bit.  I am parked within view of the tower and there was no one working on it.  He did however promise it would be working the next day after the upgrade was completed.  I thanked him and hung up.

The shops were all shut so I had to wait until 9am to get down to get another one.  My normal supplier in town told me he could no longer get data only sims any more.   As a last gasp effort I went into car phone warehouse where for once they came good for me.  They had 1 sim left in stock for EE.  £15 for 2GB.  I took it.  This is after just spending £50 on 2 x 7GB top ups for Three.  By the time I got back to the van it was close to 11am so I had lost half a days work and was knackered from all the walking.

Oh and on the way back from the shops I looked into the field where the tower was and there was no footprints or tyre tracks in the mud leading from the gate to the tower.  However as promised the 3 sim did start working the day after.