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Old 12-20-2009, 09:28 AM   #1
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Just checkin' in...

Well, two months in, our trip has been an interesting one. We've arrived to our winter destination of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, on the coast about mid-way between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco.

We've got our list of projects, of course, to be completed before we leave here in late March, and our list to do at home this summer.

Our two biggest challenges are figuring out how to stop the leaks on the aft end of the DS front and rear slides. The drenching rains we had in New Orleans brought water in, dripping off the slide into the space between the kitchen and the shower, then draining out onto the kitchen floor. And also, our water tank is still leaking--from the top side. Now that we're here, we've emptied the storage bays to let it dry out, then we'll climb in there and try to find out what's going on. I'm sure we'll be back for advice.

We're impressed with how the Alpine handled the weather and the Mexican roadways. One scary moment though...in heavy rain and fog, going up a grade, we kept loosing traction. At first John thought the road may be a bit icy but it wasn't quite THAT cold. We finally figured the road was just slick with oil, etc. We slowed from 45 to about 25 and were fine. There was a lot of truck traffic on that highway, the main route from Texas to Mexico City, and there were about 10 accidents involving trucks, mostly having slid off the road from going too fast for the conditions.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:07 PM   #2
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Location: Auburn, CA, Havasu, AZ & Mulege, BCS
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John- I've driven with and against the Mexican truck drivers of the Baja peninsula for some time now. I've found they are a highly professional lot, and road-courteous as well. However, economics being what it is, maintenance isn't always up to par on Mexican trucks, particularly brakes and tires run past the point of optimal safety. Sounds like there was one wreck involving spilled oil, probably followed by some more when the oil wasn't adequately visible.

In lower Baja there is a monster-steep grade heading down to the coast at Santa Rosalia (there is a ferry to S.R. from Guaymas, as a point of reference). There are two massive truck graveyards in S.R. with the remains of the trucks that don't make that hill safely. Personally, I've only seen two trucks tipped over on that stretch of highway at the time we were passing, and one over the embankment about 100 yards down. But that's a fair number for a 2 mile stretch out of our usual 630 mile jaunt into Baja.

I hope you made note of the mile marker where this happened for your return trip. ¡Buen Viaje!

As to the rain intrusion, you may find that a few partial solutions are needed, as the heavy rain problem finds any weakness and there may be more than one. Here is one theory- rain builds up on the roof, hits the roll off the top onto the topper/roof edge. The wind is blowing and pushing the puddle off the end of the topper, some of which is against that topper/roof seam. The rivulet heads down the face of the coach driven by the wind, to wind up on top of the slide, and now you have to defend against that water volume w/wiper seals (not the most ideal seal). In the vertical space between the topper and slide roof (about 6") you could install an 18" piece of RV rain gutter to catch this water & send it away from the top & side of the slide. It comes in white, black & at least did come in another color that is closer to the Alpine field paint color, but is harder to locate (might now be defunct). Last time I checked they are using a 3M peel & stick backing for long life.
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:49 PM   #3
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I have on occassion had water collect on the kitchen slide, resulting in water coming in when retracting the slide. What I try to do after a rain is to raise the coach on the opposite side and then bring the slide in. This sure seems to help.

My assumption is that either wind can drive water under the slide awning or maybe it has collected on top of the awning and as you retract the slide capillary action causes some of the water to go under the awning to the roof of the slide. I guess I should get a ladder out sometime and look what happens ; but who wants to get wet.
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:20 PM   #4
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Or you can just bring the slide in, take off slowly, then step on the brakes. Instant shower for the driver.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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Mike, while we did experience the loss of traction on a particular grade, we traveled about 400 miles total that day and there were wrecks all along our route. We crossed the border in Laredo, TX this time after being in New Orleans for Thanksgiving but will return north on Mex 15 from Mazatlan to Arizona. We agree about the Mexican truck drivers. They HAVE TO be good drivers here, and yes, economics keep trucks and cars from getting the "normal", by our standards, maintence.

We are familiar with Santa Rosalia. Have you ever eated salchichas (hot dogs) at the cart outside the church? They're the BEST! We spent some time there when we sailed the Baja 10 years ago but we hear the hot dog guy is still there. We might do Baja next winter so we'll have to chat about that sometime as we've never land-traveled there.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:32 PM   #6
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John & Lori, we also have the kitchen slide leaking issue. When we know it going to rain real hard or for a long time like overnight, we just put the slide in. I have talked to several owners of Alpines, and they all report the same leak. As EM quoted he has it, I have it, I believe Dale has it, and I have talked to one other couple here in Orlando who have it. The tech who diagnosed theirs, quoted 700 to fix it. I believe there is a design fault, and the wrong gasket/seal which might have been used on the top. The loseness of the toppers does not help in keeping the water off of it. And the older the toppers are, the more expensive it becomes, because they will need to be replace as well. I will learn more as I get through school, and that will be the first big project I take on. I then might change the inverter to a 3000 watt one. I did fix the leaking bathroom window which allowed a river to come in when it rained. Now it does not. I will have to remove it later and really do the job correctly, but for now it sealed up with caulk. The third project will be to redisign the Hydro Hot heating system so I get more heat into the coach when it's cold. I have some ideas, but cannot find the insulated ducting I want to use. Plus I want to go to 4" lines and one big output register flange to make up that size. That is what Tiffin does to there registers, and they mount one distribution box directly to the place where the grill is, so it's direct flow out of it. Have a Merry Christmas, and sorry we did not get to meet up in LA. See you at the rally in June.

In case anyone has been missing my comments, my internet connections have been very poor, and it's more important to get my e-mail and take care of business. Hopefully when we get to our long term destination, it will get better and I can get back into the habit of helping out more.
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