This morning I'll call Dometic with my model number and (hopefully) confirm that the a/c shroud I have bookmarked on Amazon is the right one, and order it. Two-day delivery, no charge. 3% discount if I use my Amazon card. Yes! I'm maybe kinda sorta planning a trip in the next few weeks to spend some time south and west of here, and I'd like to have the Beast shipshape if I do.
There's some maintenance I'm thinking about before I do that. The generator should have its oil and filters changed... at least the air filter. It doesn't have an oil filter. YouTube to the rescue: here's a detailed video of how to do that. The manuals for the generator are all on line, and I even have paper copies in the thick binder I got with the rig. I do mean thick:
I'm lucky: some people who buy used RV's don't get manuals, or service records. I got both. I'm hoping to maintain the records so whoever owns this rig next will have good info on what I did and why.
I digress. For some reason, messing with the generator doesn't scare me. I grew up with small gasoline engines on various lawn mowers and other gear. I can even gap a park plug, although I'm not sure anyone does that any more. But this idea of working on the generator, or "genset" as we RV'ers seem to call them, has led me into truly scary territory.
Why can't I change the oil up front? Mess with the Beast's most beastly parts? Whoa --
I can't think of a compelling reason not to. It's pretty simple; the process is about exactly the same as what I'd do with a small engine. And, mirabile dictu, there's a YouTube video which goes through the process for my exact engine: a Ford V-10 6.8L. What could go wrong? ;-)
The thing holding me back here isn't conceptual complexity. This is emphatically NOT rocket science. It's intuitions: how tight is too tight for that filler plug? How much force will it take to remove the old oil filter? The way to develop intuitions is with experience, right?
Why do this myself? I'd save some money. Not a lot, but with multi-thousand-dollar repair bills for stuff I cannot do, maybe saving a few bucks on stuff I can do makes sense. It's not the money, though. It's claiming ownership of this enterprise of RV travel, de-mystifying the machine I'm traveling in and dependent on. And hell, it's a few macho points, which have increasing value as the birthdays mount up.
If I do this myself, what I'll miss out on in is the inspection Buck's technician gives the rig when he's changing the oil and fluids. But I can take it in for that, from time to time, and they don't even charge for it.
We'll see. More coffee!