Ceramic (Graphene) paint protection

Ceramic coatings are the in thing for cars and motor homes. They’re super shiny and shed dirt. But they require a lot of prep work to apply, so a typical motorhome done professionally would cost somewhere around $5,000. It is claimed this will last 5 years, although annual maintenance applications are recommended. Too costly for me.

Then I found a type of ceramic coating called Graphene. It is a different chemical mixture than pure ceramic, but claims to be just as shiny and protective. And one application is good for one year. Although some serious paint prep is required, it is easier to apply than the pure ceramics.

So I had the coach professionally detailed, from the roof down to the tires. Once this was finished, I applied one coat of Graphene as recommended. Not too hard, but requires quite a bit of elbow grease. And I must say I am happy with the result. Super shiny, and moisture beads off nicely. Now we’ll see how long it lasts. Initial results very positive.

New rock guard

Driving along we noticed something happening behind us so we took a look. Found that the rock guard mounting had broken and let it drag, damaging the stainless name plate. Don’t know why Entegra used such a poor mounting (only 1/4” hardware) but that’s the way it is.

Ordered a new rock guard and when it arrived I was pleased to see it included mounting hardware. And much stronger, all hardware was 1/2”. Simple matter to mount the new rock guard but I used Loctite and will wire the two clevises so it will never come loose again.

A shock purchase

I’ve always thought the Aspire drove well. Some people complained about porpoising when going over road humps but I never noticed anything objectionable. However, it is about time to change the front shocks so I though I might as well get the best.

Everyone who put Koni shocks on their Entegra loved them. Sure, they are more expensive, but if it’s the best… so I got a set and had them installed. At first, I didn’t like them. I was not used to feeling more bumps, mainly because the old shocks were so weak they absorbed every road bump. But once I got some miles on them I could see why they have such a superb reputation.

The ride is much more controlled. The slightly stiffer ride gives more road feel, making the ride much more manageable. But what really surprised me was how much they improved my steering. Even in crosswinds the coach steered straight and true. I wouldn’t have thought shocks would be that much of an improvement in overall ride quality but I’m glad I have them on the coach.

Annual service

Well, its that time of year again… get ready for another travel year. So that means a complete annual service. That includes chassis lube, inspect, oil and filter change, air filter change, generator service and whatever else needs to be done. The coach will get a complete going over at NIRVC, best in the business. Not cheap, but it helps prevent troubles on the road .

As long as we’re at it, sanitized the fresh water tank, replaced the filters for the whole house, the drinking water fixture, and the fridge. Refilled the fresh tank with good water.

Here is a picture of most of the filters that will be used for the chassis.

Updated TV

Nothing wrong with the original Samsung TV but it time for a change. As a 2015 model it had limited streaming capabilities, and technology changes so fast… so I changed it out for a brand new Roku TCL 40″ TV. It fit perfectly but I did have to modify the mounting bracket for a different hole pattern. So now one small remote controls all: OTA, TIVO, and other streaming sources.

New microwave

Got up one morning to find that the microwave had just flat out quit. No lights, no clock, nothing. We bought an air fryer until we could figure out how to get the microwave fixed.

Fortunately, it is covered under our NIRVC extended warranty. More fortunately, we would be going by their Las Vegas facility soon. But most fortunate of all, we were able to find an exact match (just a newer edition) so it would drop right in.

National ordered the convected microwave and it was there after the Kanab AIM rally. So now we can microwave again as much as we want.

New Samsung converted microwave, installed

Tire re-tire

For safety reasons, we changed the steer tires two years ago to the best Michelins we could find (X Coach Z). This was purely for safety as the Goodyears were known to be prone to failure when used as steer tires.

The build date on the back tires were mid 2014. That made them some 6 years old and time to replace them. We could have gone another year or so, but since we were in Oregon where there is no sales tax this was the best time for us.

We selected BF Goodrich Highway Control tires. They are manufactured in Canada by Michelin and come with a three year road hazard policy, a Michelin OneCall Breakdown policy, and a “satisfaction guaranteed” policy. Manufacture date was July 2020 so about as fresh a tire as you can get. Installation was by Superior Tire in Salem OR.

So we’re good to go for rear tires for another 6 years. A bit of a shame as the old Goodyears looked perfectly fine with no issues but oh well, safety first.

A near miss

Because of COVID-19, we are pretty well rooted to our site in Sanger, TX.  It’s an OK site, although a bit muddy when it rains (like right now).  We’re only 10 minutes north of Denton so we have access to all the stores, restaurants and medical facilities we need.

We have plenty of shades trees, including a nice big one in front.  Except yesterday we had a sudden storm come through with wind gusts up to 70 MPH.  One came through here when we were outside.  Almost blew us over, and blew a lot of dust and debris around.  And it snapped off a big branch on our front shade tree.

Fortunately, it totally missed our coach.  Close, but no damage at all.  We could use some good luck, and we got it!  The park owners were right on the spot and removed the branch so that won’t whip around on us.  But I got picture before it was removed….

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New TPMS, added Waze

It’s not often that you need to have a tire pressure monitor, but when you do, it is critical.  I had three times in the past 12 years when it saved me a lot of trouble and expense.  But my system was getting old, so I replaced mine a new one.  You don’t need to remove valve caps to add air, and the display is much more readable, even in direct light.

And although my coach has a very fine GPS built in, I’ve gotten to really appreciate Google maps and in particular Waze.  It gives much better info as it is updated constantly.  So I used one of my old phones which had a big screen and dedicated it to navigation.  Now I use the dash navigation for the overall picture and Waze for immediate surroundings.  Even warns me of objects in the road, and pending traffic issues.  Cool!

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Another year, another service

We happened to be near Nacogdoches, TX and scheduled a full service at Motor Homes of Texas. Not cheap, but these guys know motor homes and how to maintain them. Had the full service, including oil change and filters, all fluid levels, new timing and AC belts, setting ride hight… we got it all.

Must admit, when we drove home it sure rode nice…