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Thread: Tiny House On A Steel Soldier…………….Expedition Notes.

  1. #21
    Sergeant Major BrandonBellrose's Avatar
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    May 3, 2017
    Break Down Scare in a Expensive City


    After spending several days in downtown Portland we headed towards the nearby town of Beaverton to have closer access to the zoo, museums, and parks nearer that area. Upon arriving and topping off with fuel I noticed when I turned on the battery switch nothing happen for a bit. Thinking I was crazy I tried flipped on and off the battery switch finding it harder and harder for it to turn on the truck. Quickly knowing this would be a really bad situation if for some reason I couldn’t start the truck being stalled on somebody’s private property, I jumped on SteelSoldier.com to research possible issues.

    With out to much trouble I found several post talking about Protective Control Box issues. After a quick read I knew I needed a PCB box, and while I waited to find/receive a box I couldn’t turn off the truck. I found a UPS store with out any issues and OshKosh military supply had the part, we just had to find a place to hangout and wait. Without thinking much about people seeing us as a nuisance parts were ordered and the waiting commenced.

    After getting permission from a business owner to park in his lot, not to long into the first night while parked a Beaverton police officer knocks on the side truck stating the truck is way to noisy and that complaints were being made. I explained to the officer my situation of not being able to turn off the truck, and his response was that Beaverton had a no idle law in place and if I didn’t turn the truck off or leave he would have to ticket me. The police officer stated the best place for us to stay was a truck stop some thirty miles away. He said that boondocking in Beaverton was frowned upon and if for some reason I were to stall the truck that the tow bill and storage would be devastating large. Being towed away and stranded with three kids and a dog was not a option and I had instant fears that this could snowball into a end of the adventure issue. At a truck stop if the truck were to stop running at least I could hang for awhile without the worry of a instant tow.

    So we headed for the truck stop to wait for the ordered parts, then that’s when I noticed that I was over charging. The gauge was way beyond the over charge side and I wasn’t quite sure why or what happening. The thought of boiling the batteries while waiting for the PCB stranded at a truck stop miles from where the UPS store was started feeling bleak. Not knowing what to do I started turning on everything electrical that I could to create some sort of drain on the batteries and jumped back on Steelsoldiers.com to trouble shoot. After hours passing and more reading I came across a post that said hit the PCB with a hammer, so I tried it. To my surprise the battery charging gauge went to the normal green.

    Thinking I had this issue beat we tried to have normal days waiting for the part. I taped the on/off switch with duck tape so I wouldn’t accidentally turn the truck off, and left the lights and heater on 24/7. While driving to get groceries at a not so nearby Walmart I hit several bumps in the road and quickly noticed that the battery charging gauge was back in the red. This time when I hit the PCB box with a hammer it wasn’t going back to the green. Not knowing if I was really over charging or if I was having a gauge issue caused by a PCB anomaly I decided just deal with it and let the truck run.

    I had shipped the PCB box for next day mail but with the weekend it was going to be 4 in total by the time I would get my hands on one. By the second day I started noticing a smell coming out of the heater vents, that’s when I realized that the heater fan was spinning to fast and was burning up. Before I could decide what my options were the heater filled the cab with smoke and abruptly seised up. Then the engine turned off. I had left my wife at a mall shopping center in Beaverton and the kids and I had gone to hangout at a local park some 10 miles away. Panic quickly set in as I jumped out of the smoked filled cab with hammer in hand to smack that PCB one last time hoping to get out of the park before closing and pickup my wife. After hitting the PCB several times with no results, I got up on the drivers side tire so I could really get a wack at it. Upon hitting the hardest I had done thus far the top lid flew off and the bottom fell down. With the innards exposed I figured this was the end of the road. When I turned on the battery switch the gauges came alive and the truck started. What a close call. So I duck taped PCB back together, picked up my wife feeling that not much more could go wrong before the package arrived.

    When UPS called and said the box was waiting the relief was astronomical. Install took about a half hour in the Beaverton's Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot and we were back to normal. Batteries seemed to have survived with the only casualty being the PCB box and the heater motor.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-05-2017 at 21:18.

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  3. #22
    dumpsterlandingfromorbit! gimpyrobb's Avatar
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    I don't know where the thread is, but you can make a plug out of 10g copper wire(folded over on itself) and it will by-pass the pcb. It is not recommended for a long term fix, but emergency situations...

    I'll try to dig it up and post a link.

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  5. #23
    Colonel av8or's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gimpyrobb View Post
    I don't know where the thread is, but you can make a plug out of 10g copper wire(folded over on itself) and it will by-pass the pcb. It is not recommended for a long term fix, but emergency situations...

    I'll try to dig it up and post a link.
    Rob, This works very well, carry one in my recovery kit.

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  7. #24
    4 Star General Jbulach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gimpyrobb View Post
    I don't know where the thread is, but you can make a plug out of 10g copper wire(folded over on itself) and it will by-pass the pcb. It is not recommended for a long term fix, but emergency situations...

    I'll try to dig it up and post a link.
    While your digging, see if you cant find that popcorn emoji Anxiously awaiting your search, O wise one...
    M925A2

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  9. #25
    Sergeant Major BrandonBellrose's Avatar
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    May 4, 2017
    Fuel Tank Problems Stranded Again in Beaverton, Oregon

    Having solved the PCB problem we quickly returned to normal life enjoying the many large flower gardens, museums, and parks in the Portland area. We chose to sleep between two different truck stops one being near the Portland airport the other heading towards Eugene. Not having a shower installed yet in the Tiny House On A a Steel Soldier and the fact that there is five of us in a small space. Showers and laundry become a daily unavoidable priority.

    Heading into the town of Beaverton after taking showers at the Portland truck stop we had found a unique laundry mat that had a great tasting Portland style food trucks out in its parking lot. Doing laundry while sampling each of the food trucks turned out to be quite a treat making washing clothing almost something to look forward too. After finishing laundry my wife wanted to head to the more ritzy side of town to hit a mall that had a Macy’s.

    A few blocks from the mall while idling in heavy traffic at a stop light, the M931a2 engine starts to die like it was running out of fuel. I quickly look seeing I had a 8th of a tank still showing on the gauge, I reach down to switch to the full tank. To my horror the truck continues to sputter then it dies in the middle of a incredibly busy intersection. Lucky for us there was just the slightest grade heading in the right direction that we were able to role into a parking lot. The truck was blocking a parking lot right of way, but people we driving around us without much issue.

    I knew I had a full tank on the passenger side, after double checking that I had the fuel valve pointed to the correct tank. I tried starting the truck with know hint of a chance of it firing. So I jumped out, opened the hood, loosen the bleed screw on the injection pump, and started hand pumping the manual fuel pump prime. After pumping for fifteen minutes with know luck of seeing any fuel coming out of the bleeding screw I gave up realizing that I must be sucking air. I decided the best course of action was to grab two of my diesel jerry cans and a taxi cab. I was hoping that if I could fill the empty tank high enough for the fuel line not to suck air so I could hand prime from the trucks opposite tank. After two trips to a fuel station I started hand priming again. This time the truck primed in seconds with fuel dripping from the prime screw by the 6th push on the manual pump. I had good feeling that the truck would start now on the full tank, so I closed the hood and jumped in. The trucked fired right up without issue so it was decided from now on we would never run a tank less then a half full.

    If anyone knows why I run out of fuel with a 8th showing. Also why the truck won’t run or prime from the full tank, if there is a tank that is empty on the other side. I would be greatly appreciated a possible fix. With the current fuel issue we never let either of the tanks get below half.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-05-2017 at 21:18.

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  11. #26
    dumpsterlandingfromorbit! gimpyrobb's Avatar
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    The fuel pickup does not go all the way to the bottom of the tank. It keeps sludge from getting into your fuel system.

    I'd get a "jiggler" hose to siphon fuel from the other tank if your in a pinch, till you get a new fuel line installed. ALSO, the tank selector valve is known to have the O-rings go bad and let air in, be careful using that.

    Finally, look into a "Zodi" shower. Best money I've ever spent.

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  13. #27
    dumpsterlandingfromorbit! gimpyrobb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gimpyrobb View Post
    I don't know where the thread is, but you can make a plug out of 10g copper wire(folded over on itself) and it will by-pass the pcb. It is not recommended for a long term fix, but emergency situations...

    I'll try to dig it up and post a link.

    Sorry it took so long, see post #21(edit, also see #26):

    https://www.steelsoldiers.com/showth...trol-Box/page3

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  15. #28
    Sergeant Major BrandonBellrose's Avatar
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    May 6, 2017
    EM5000is Honda Inverter Generator Stops Running

    At the beginning of the trip we didn’t have many luxuries but the one we did have was a Honda generator. Running the tv, computer, PS4 gaming computer, hair dyer, all my fabrication tools, so forth and so on was upmost important to us. The EM5000is Honda was over kill for the trip and we usually used it on our 40’ rv, but since we had it already it was put into service on this voyage. Already feeling beat up over the fuel tank and PCB box, when I went to start the generator and it wouldn’t stay running the whole family felt we had made a crushing move backwards. Every time I went to start the generator it would fire up run good for 60 seconds then turnoff giving a error code. So I looked up the error on the internet finding out that I must of fried the inverter on the generator which would in turn throw a fault code turning off the unit. Taking the inverter out was quite simple, finding a replacement proved to be way to expensive at over a $1000.00. I had bought the generator back in 06’-07’ adding up hundreds of hours on it over the years, so I just didn’t feel spending a grand was the right decision at this time. So the following day we headed to a Marine Supply Warehouse store in Portland and searched for a 24v inverter. I wanted to buy a 24v 4000watt inverter charger so if we were to ever discharge the batteries to far I could plug us into something to recharge. But since we didn’t have a generator anyway recharging was not a option on our own. So I ended up buying a 12v 400watt Kisae Prosine inverter which I hope wouldn’t draw the four batteries down to fast and would allow the kids to watch tv, use the Dyson power stick vacuum, and Apple I Pap’s. I had ordered a 400watt 24v to 12v step down before the trip began so wiring the Kisae to it was simple. It was not to long before the tv was back on and the kids Ipad’s were charging away. Plus side to using the inverter now we were running silent when we were camping giving us the ability not to have to worry so much about bothering neighbors and we weren’t burning fuel. So again back to normal for the most part, the inverter wasn’t strong enough for my wife’s hair tools or my fabrication tools. We figured we would work around these disadvantages at a truck stop pay electrical pole.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-05-2017 at 21:19.

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  17. #29
    Sergeant Major BrandonBellrose's Avatar
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    May 7, 2017
    Passenger side wheel on the M1101 trailer locks up…….Stuck again!

    Not even into the trip for more than two weeks having a PCB box failure, fuel line issues, and losing the Honda generator. I thought that would about wrap things up for having to pull out the tools. Spending another day reading hundreds of posts on the internet of others with similar misfortune, I felt I had earned my way into the clear. Well I was wrong about that.

    Upon waking up the day after the inverter was installed with a planned trip to Mt. Hood. We fired the M931a2 up and started to pull away from our boondocking site at a Fred Myer’s store parking lot. I immediately felt a drag on the truck as if something was wrong with the transmission. I checked what gear I was in and tried to pull forward again with the same results. Time saving for me a man standing near his car yelled at me through the passenger side window saying my trailer wheels were locked up.

    My perfect 2010 M1101 trailer that I purchased to pull behind my 95’ H1 Hummer was not the correct match for this adventure trip. Backing up the trailer was a major pain, you can’t see it and once you do the trailer jacks so quickly that once it starts turning it gone. I didn’t want to wait to bid on the appropriate trailer and the M1101 was sitting in the yard not being used.

    With the trailer having only a few hundred miles on it, I didn’t feel I would have lost a bearing already so I immediately assumed the hand brakes must of gotten set. I jumped out of the truck finding the hand brakes in the correct upright position. Inspecting the axles I found nothing out of the ordinary, so I pumped the hand brakes up/down and loosen the torsion cable on both. Jumped back into the m931a2 and pulled forward. Nothing solved the m1101 was still locked up. So I put the M931a2 in reverse and tried backing up the trailer. Reversing the trailer seemed to released whatever was locked up and the trailer started rolling fine.

    Thinking I must have had a rusty brake spring that must of set while we were stopped was my only conclusion. The rain the first two weeks was nonstop so I chalked it up to a wet environment and went on with my day.

    Not surprising this was not the answer to why the trailer was dragging a wheel.What had happen is the emergency brake pull pin had some how got tangled into the wire that started the Honda generator and had been pulled for emergency stop. Sadly while pulling the M1101 trailer with the M931a2 I never noticed that the brakes were engaged. This mistake on my part cost the trailer to destroy both the brake drums and pads.

    Yes I felt stupid.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-05-2017 at 22:24.

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  19. #30
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    May 20th, 2017
    Finally getting out of the city with the breakdowns becoming a memory we headed for high altitude. Portlands temperatures were raising to the low 90s which in turn caused our m109a3 box to become extremely uncomfortable. With a great snow year Mt. Hood waited for us with cool temps and great scenery. Driving the the "Tiny House On A Steel Soldier" to the top skiers parking lot at Mt. Hood was like driving into two movie plots. The Shinning being the first movie since our back drop was the actual lodge used in the movie The Shinning. The second movie being the outdoor movie "The Vertical Limit", since the parking lot vibe was like the base camp at K2 in the movie. We called the parking lot outdoor adrenaline junkie athletes "The Tribe", feeling like we were at some religious gathering worshiping nature at her finest. Everybody had their chairs or sitting devices point toward the peak, telling stories of past and future planned adventures. Camping next to these mountain people felt infectious even though we were parked on pavement, missing skis and climbing equipment.
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    Last edited by BrandonBellrose; 09-06-2017 at 05:20.

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