Saturday, February 15, 2020

Day 8, 9, 10 - Medina Lake, TX - TT

It’s been almost half a year since I left Fairbanks in the Prius. I’ve been through twenty one states, Canadian provinces and Territories during those 181 days.
Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico, and Texas. 
Granted, some of those I just passed through.

Thursday (8) - Some maintenance today. I checked the water level in the house batteries. All cells had plenty of water. I added maybe an ounce of distilled water to each cell. The Magnum inverter/charger has an equalization mode but it applies to the chassis batteries as well which are AGM. I’ll need to disconnect the chassis battery cable before running the equalization cycle. It was already late afternoon when I looked into this.

I had stopped at an ACE hardware store and picked up a small hose clamp to fix the small 12vdc air compressor. I know that the left inner rear tire needs air but I don’t have a long enough 12vdc power cable. I need to move the coach first. Or start the engine and use the chassis air.

I found the procedure to test the grid heater on a Cat 3100 series engine. This is what the C7 used to be so I’m hoping the procedure still applies. There is a real shortage of information on this engine on the Internet.

Friday (9) - We visited the Guadalupe River State Park which is northwest of San Antonio. There was a nice loop trail that was about four miles and modest hills. I guess this area is referred to as “Texas Hill Country” so some hills are expected. After the hike, we went to the end of the road where this picture was taken. Then on to the Discovery Center. It was sunny but not very warm with a high of 52°F.

The trail walking might be my favorite activity these days. On the sections with no mud or loose rocks, I even got in a little jogging to try and raise my heart rate a bit. The good thing is that my knees and ankles no longer hurt when running. Since I’ve lost some weight, it helps.

This info graphic made from Apple Watch data does show what can be collected. I’ve found that unless I can get my heart rate above about 145, it doesn’t feel like I’m getting any exercise. This is from the HeartWatch iPhon app from AppleWatch data. After arriving back at the campground, I sat in the jacuzzi for a while enjoying the 60°F temperature and sun. There was a full-time couple and family at the pool. Interesting conversations.

Saturday (10) - This morning, we headed to New Braunfels, which is east and a little north of San Antonio, to meet an acquaintance from Fairbanks. We also stopped at the Camping World to pick up a new latch for the medicine cabinet. One of the hinges is bent so I’ll fix that as well. Hopefully, I’ll have time to check out the grid heater circuit on the engine. This preheats the intake air when the engine is cold both before trying to start as well as after starting. The grid heater draws a lot of current so the chassis battery voltage should drop quite a bit during the preheat cycle (Wait to Start) and I’m not seeing the drop. On the Dodge truck, the battery voltage drops to about 11 volts before starting.

Right now, we are at a boba tea shop and I’m having a delicious Vietnamese coffee. It’s been a while since I’ve had one. I don’t think there is anything planned for tomorrow besides getting ready to leave. We’ve been really conservative on propane usage as I didn’t want to need more until we leave on Monday...


  1. So this "Grid Heater".....same function as glow plugs on a diesel engine? I remember, on Army vehicles, that one had to switch the glow plugs on first, before cranking the engine.

    1. Yes, sort of the same. Glow plugs are used in Diesel engines with a pre-chamber as part of the combustion chamber, The injector sprays fuel into the pre-chamber where it starts burning. A grid heater is an electric element in the intake manifold which pre-heats the air before it goes into the engine.