Go EAST young man. Near Sandusky, Ohio

Our trip was intended to be short…to see what else we could break — and then hopefully fix. Just to a State Park near Sandusky Ohio, to meet our good friends the McDowells.

The trip did not start well. Even BEFORE we started the bus. In fact, even before we went to get the bus. Already something broken. And NOT THE BUS!!!

Last week we had installed a new high-tech boiler and hot water heater. This to replace a 60+ year old one AND move all the “stuff” to the back of the basement. THAT all in preparation for constructing our new living unit. Anyway, the project has not gone very well. The boiler was finally working last Friday night. (Technically, Friday was the deadline, so not a “miss” yet.). But Sunday morning no hot water. Boiler would not start. The installer came back over and we discovered two things: Water pressure low (he fixed that) and programming set to turn on the boiler – NEVER (I fixed that!). So, In a way, every trip starts with something broken and something fixed! Boiler worked to heat the tank – hot showers all around!

But wait, we are still not out of the woods and ready to leave!!!

Sunday later, As I was walking through the basement to get some tools (we were leaving to get the bus), I notice a “Fault code” on the boiler. It said to press “OK” to clear and then “R” to reset. I did. Then “BOOM”. Three times “BOOM.” Now, I am not a boiler expert, but I am pretty sure that “BOOM” is not a good sound for a boiler. So I turned it off and called the boiler people. Well, being Sunday, they came right over. But being Sunday, the Mfg.s Tech Support was CLOSED. Good thing this is August and not January. The initial theory: an elbow on the Flue had come off (not properly secured!), and the boiler swallowed a load of water (it rained REALLY HARD for about 10 minutes Sunday). But they CANNOT get the boiler running. Will come back first thing MONDAY.

First thing Monday is when we were to leave in the Bus!!!

First thing Monday. Still “BOOM” when you start the boiler. The techs do not seem concerned about the “BOOM” being dangerous. Despite the fact that the sheet metal visibly expands, they stand right in front when it is farting thusly. But never-the-less, the boiler does not stay lit. So, they are troubleshooting several possibilities. Some related to water some not. Related to water: the combustion area in the boiler is a steel mesh. If that mesh gets saturated with water, the boiler does not light properly. Unrelated to water: Gas pressure, bad electrodes, etc. etc. etc.

At this point, we are CLEARLY not leaving MONDAY for anywhere. No worries. Retirement Rule #1: If you don’t have to be anywhere at a particular time, you cannot be late. We are now planning to depart TUESDAY.

The boiler issue seems to have turned out to be one of the “ETC’s.” An apparent foreign object in the combustion chamber. Perhaps installer dropped a screw driver in there when installing the flue? Sheet metal remnant since the factory?? Something loosened by the “BOOM?” Tech could feel it, but it was too big to remove through the observation plate. Needs more disassembly. When the object is removed, we shall see what it is! For which the tech needed a HUGE torx wrench (one he did not have). So he is off to Home Depot to buy a large Torx. Good thing Retirement Rule #1 is in overall control of the situation.

Once the cover was “Torxed” we could see the object…it was the end cap of the combustion chamber. Clearly dislodged in transit. Put it back on and the boiler started. Unfortunately, after about 1 hour it failed again (“BOOM.”). Same problem: cover popped off. After waiting for the whole assembly to cool (as you can imagine, boilers and all associated parts get fairly hot) we again put the cap on. This time we “persuaded” it into place with a 2×4 and a hammer. This seated it fully and properly. The boiler started and was still running 24 hrs later!!!!

So, we left TUESDAY instead of MONDAY. See Retirement Rule #1.

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