Here’s a new thing that I learned this week: Anti-freeze does not evaporate. At least not so quickly as to suddenly require 2 pints of new anti-freeze in the Hydro-Hot. I am sure that you remember the Hydro-Hot from my previous posts. It is my second most favorite piece of equipment on the RV. My favorite is of course our trusty, reliable, heated tile floors. But for quick heat and hot water the Hydro-Hot (hereafter referred to HH) usually, although sometimes reluctantly, does the job. When like a tantrum throwing Prima Donna the HH stopped working last week, Storm quickly determined that the failure was due to a lack of coolant in the system. We should have questioned the whereabouts of the missing coolant right then and there, put out an ABP and filed a missing fluids report. But we were off to St. Augustine to shop and sight-see and not looking for trouble. Instead we bought coolant replenishment while we were out and that night once refilled, the HH seemed to work just fine.
Fast forward a week when Storm opens the inverter bay to try and find a power source for our new wireless backup camera that feeds the RV GPS. There he discovers a pool of black, disgusting, used coolant bathing the inverter (not good!). At almost that same moment, I am on my hands and knees in the bedroom trying to figure out why the floor seems damp and where those little brown spots on the carpet are coming from. Ah-oohhh 🙁
I get Storm to show me how to remove the drawers from the dresser as the water problem seems to emanate from the space below the dresser. Sure enough once the drawers are removed we see a river of brown sludge flowing from the HH heat exchanger for the bedroom heater. Storm realizes that the exchanger itself has sprung a leak. We do the best that we can to staunch the flow until we can think, research and generally try to come up with a PLAN.
Storm decides that we need to get copper end plugs from the hardware store and stop the flow through the leaking exchanger but it is too late tonight so we pack it in towels and plastic bags as best we can and hope for the best. The next morning, Storm removes the exchanger and we leave to get the plugs. Storm can’t find a new exchanger on the web (specially made part for Country Coach – no longer available) so he posts to the HH forum he used before hoping for a solution.
Because the exchanger looks like a little, tiny radiator to me, I suggest that we stop in town and ask around to find the nearest radiator repair shop and guess what? Storm thought that was a great idea – hurray Sunny!! The NAPA store guy recommends Robbins Radiator Works in Daytona (40 miles away) and off we go. We leave the exchanger with Rick overnight and by 10am the next day, he has it repaired. When we left the part with him, Rick mentioned to Storm that he lives only a couple of miles from our campsite so Storm asks if we can pay a little extra for Rick to bring home the exchanger that night and let us pick it up at his house. He insists that he will be happy to deliver it to our RV doorstep saving us an 80 mile drive to retrieve our part. Storm reconnects everything and for a while at least, we seem to have the HH’s appetite for attention satiated. In the future we plan to strictly inventory our RV fluids for mysterious shortages. Also we offer this recommendation: If you find yourself in need of help with a radiator or radiator like piece of equipment in the Daytona area, be sure and go see Rick at Robbins – he was awesome!