Historically speaking, I am usually too lazy to wash Chuck. His tremendous surface area, combined with the astonishing amount of dirt and insect bits that find their way onto his paint, makes washing a real chore. When we put the stripes on, it was a kind of camouflage and an excuse to not wash Chuck, as the act of washing would remove the stripes.
All that said, Chuck was really dirty after 3 months without a major wash, occasional rain excluded. So we decided to break down, and scrub Chuck up. And though I know it will break many hearts, Chuck is now nekkid.
You will notice how nice and sunny the weather appears in the pictures above. Do not be fooled. Almost immediately after washing Chuck, the rain began. At first, it was a slow drizzle, then it was a light rain that went on and on for days. Did I mention it was cold? Cause indeed it was.
Now, rain is not normally something that causes Chuck much trouble, new weatherstripping, and a liberal application of sealants ensure that. But this was no ordinary storm.
First off, I had recently installed a new roof vent ( I know I haven't done a post, busyness and all...) and thus the related sealing was untested. So here I am sitting in the Walmart parking lot, trying to get some foodstuffs before we depart, and there it is, a cup-sized puddle on my table... 0_0 Of course, it only shows up once we attempt to leave...
Second, after mopping up the mess and stowing aforementioned foodness, Chuck refuses to start. It is important to note, that this is nothing new to us. Chuck for a variety of reasons has not started on the first try, on several occasions, in several countries as well. So as the British always say...
After about a minute of basic troubleshooting, which went somewhat like this:
Fuel pump not priming/running:
Ignition switch? New
Fuel pump? Replaced
Something Stupid I did? Probably
Apparently my brain had this figured out before I did, because it conveniently informed me that I had neglected to seal, and put a drain hole in my engine bay relay box. Why could it not have told me before it started raining?
So after about 15 minutes (10 of which were spent clearing the engine hatch of clothes and bedding. I had located my culprit.
You will notice that it is still wet, over 24 hours later. There was over an inch of water in the case. Somehow the angle of the van when parked had been perfect to allow water to drip from the side vents and into the tiny mounting holes in the top of the case.
And so our Central America trip has its first casualty. In case you have never seen what water does to an active relay, here is an autopsy. Notice the black goo of death, and general nastiness.
Thankfully, I had a spare relay under the driver's seat. So with a quart-sized ziplock bag (size is critical here) and a couple zip-ties, we were back in business. I always wondered why MacGyver Didn't carry more zip-ties with him?
On a tangential note, we finished our trailer removal process. We managed to get almost everything onto Chuck from the trailer. Our final step was to get a storage bag for our roof rack. There are very few that fit well, and are rain-proof. Amazon has a very nice one for around $50.
Hopefully, we can start catching up on posts this week. Look for a few more details on our route next week as well. We are tentatively thinking of taking the pacific coast route through Mexico on our way to the Yucatan.