Friday, September 17, 2010

The factory is up and running, full tilt!

My job has ended.  That's not to say doomsday approaches because my next job begins in October and will carry me through June.  The good news, though, is that the line has ramped up production and there's no stopping me, now.  In just three days I've managed a great deal of progress. 

For starters, all three fans now grace the ceiling of the Roving Home.

The Roving Gnomes have begun an early Christmas preparation by rolling out the pre-holiday sparkle via some brand new insulation.

Which leads me to another topic -- crappy tools.  Santa will definitely get a bit of the cold shoulder for the disappointing gifts he left me last year.

My drill...?


My jigsaw...?

And, that thing had to die right in the middle of a large circular cut on the rooftop, under a blazing sun, no less.  I had to stop the presses and bolt to my neighborhood Ace Hardware! 

But...this is what I got. 

Like butter!



But can you believe it that two integral tools poop out within 24 hours of one another?  I'm not a tool beater, I promise! 

So, back to business.

I finished the galley framing, including the water heater placement. 

I carved out some nice little holes in the water heater box for the propane and water lines.  I was going to leave them rough, but then decided that not finishing the holes would be a classic slacker move.  So, off to Home Depot at 9:30pm to get a few short threaded pipes and some collars.  Now, that is a proper finish. 

Here's another view of the heater.

That hole to the outside is comprised of two elements.  I purchased a stainless steel bushing that's made for trash, similar to the hole in the counter top at Starbucks.  You know the metal rim that rings the hole where you drop your straw wrappers?  I bought one of those from a restaurant supply place and found a drain strainer at Bed Bath and Beyond completely by happenstance.  I breezed passed the strainer hanging on a display, while at the very same moment visions of the Roving Home flashed before my eyes.  It was like a deja vu or a stranger calling from a past life.

Or not.

But it sure is cool!  It fit perfectly!  I mean -- like factory made!  I glued the stainless steel strainer to the stainless steel grommet.    

Virtually non existent.


Like they say in Mission Impossible:  "Your mission, Jim, should you choose to accept it..." 

I brought home a chassis-mounted propane tank.

"Your mission, Jim, is to take that tank and put it...


My first question was whether or not the mounting brackets would actually lin up with those cross beams.  The odds were slim.

A test was necessary.

So I cut some wood to make a template.

Believe it or not, that board aligned perfectly with the cross beams.  No extra supports or metal brackets  were needed.  And the clearance from left to right on either side of the tank was about 2 inches.  Who would have thought?!

The next hurdle was getting that tank suspended in the air so I could fasten the bolts. 

I saw this on another guy's blog.  I'd like to take the credit, but I just can't.

Grabbed the bolts!  Automotive grade!

And, voila!


This angle makes the tank appear to hang sort of low, but it actually doesn't.  From the side, you can't even see it.

And, the coolest thing, once again, is that there was already an access hole in the body. 

Below that silver rectangle is a tiny square that was cut out of the body. 

And, look at what lies just behind that cut out square?

The propane fill valve!

The square was fastened with rivets -- probably designed for access to either a waste tank, generator or maybe propane. 

I fastened a little piano hinge to the plate, once I drilled the rivets out.

Propane tank...done!

Luck was on my side, today. 


  1. Wow! You're really moving along! It's so nice when things work out, isn't it? Looking good.

  2. Hi,

    OK, this is one of those deals where it's a no-win situation. I either speak up and I'm a doomsayer or I keep quiet and feel badly later perhaps if you have to make big changes that would have been easier to change early on.

    So...take your rig a few places where you might get propane and see if they'll fill the tank where it is. I know based on the nozzle that's always been attached to my Roadtrek's propane tank when I go for fillups that it wouldn't work through that door, the nozzles are just too large and the hoses (2 of them) are heavy and won't likely make a 90 degree bend in the space available.

    In addition the tech filling the tank on the van has to be able to reach and see the fill relief valve on the front of the tank to open it up when filling and close it when the tank on the van is full.

    I can't imagine any tech willing to slide under the side of the van to hook up the hose and if they can't monitor the relief valve they can't safely fill the tank.

    I hope I'm wrong, wrong, wrong but I'd far rather have you tell me that than to see you get everything hooked up then find out afterwards that you can't get the tank filled.

    All the best,

    Les Lampman
    Whidbey Island, WA
    '92 Roadtrek 190P

  3. Wow, Rob, you have been a busy man! Looks good! Love the way that side vent came out! What Les is saying about filling the LP tank is very true, but there are ways around it. I can get you a picture of my setup if you like. There is a pigtail that was installed before I bought the RT which makes filling the tank much easier for the attendants. Everyone of them has mentioned how much they appreciated it. A very similar one could be used on yours to make it easy for them. I do think they could reach the relief valve depending on how far in it was. As long as they could see it, shouldn't be a problem. Let me know if you want me to grab you a pic.

    97 RT 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  4. Les -- Thank you very much for that info. Before I go any further I'm going to look into this. It most certainly can be moved. Of course, that would limit a bunch of other things, but so be it.

    Mike -- I would love to see a picture. Email me at

    Thank you both for chiming in. I'm at the stage where I can definitely change things. Much appreciated!

  5. Oh that's the worst when tools junk out right in the middle of a project. Glad to see you're not letting any setbacks like that get you down. Great work so far. Lookin' fancy!

  6. I'm not one to arbitrarily lavish praise on a person, but wow! You've got a great thing going here! Beautiful, seamless design! Color me impressed. Incredibly well-designed.

  7. Barbara -- Thanks for the nod, and of course, your patronage. :)

    Merikay -- Welp, it's not over 'til the fat lady sings.

    Anne -- You know it! I hope fancy is the word I'll want to use when it's all finished. Fingers crossed.

    Sarah -- I appreciate your appreciation!