Independence Day

This was an eventful Fourth of July week. My son just graduated from Western Washington University with a BS degree in Manufacturing Engineering after six long years. He started his career on Monday at Tool Gauge in Tacoma. And then my daughter just turned 21. She has one more year to go at the same school, majoring in Public Health Administration. Both of them visited for a while and were eager to help out with the RETROvan.

Last week, Steven and I removed the galley for hopefully the last time, fixed the 12V USB port and connected all the plumbing between the water tank, pump, sink, drain and faucet. This took all day, but fortunately the weather was ideal. Once buttoned up, everything worked except for leaks at the union connections, and as a result the pump kept kicking on and off. The wall-mount faucet only came with one rubber union washer, so I had to order replacements and they should be here Friday. We also swapped out the brass nipples with different ones from Ace Hardware that aren’t as tapered. We applied six rounds of plumber’s tape and struggled to get everything as tight as possible, then got it down to a single drip. So hopefully the new union washer does the trick.

I surprised Shannon with her first new car: A 2002 VW New Beetle in excellent condition and with only 58,000 miles.

We later had Car Toys install a Bluetooth-enabled Sony stereo and then we added a magnetic dashboard mount for heads-up iPhoning.

Shannon later helped remove all ten windows to put their final weather seals and screws in place. The seals are a closed-cell foam tape, double-sided, routed under the outside trim flange. This went smoothly except for the fact that on each window, four of the trim ring screws would not go willingly into the channels from the inside trim piece. I over-torqued and broke off a couple of screw heads so we had to start over on that window. The solution was to drill those too-tight positions out a bit and then put fresh screws in. I didn’t recognize the pattern until much later, but on all ten windows it was always the four holes leading into the corner radius bends. So that means it was a manufacturing defect — easily overcome, though.

Next we installed the back URL emblem and the remaining two safety reflectors. Getting the emblem straight was easy. It says The rear reflectors took extra effort because I had to chisel off the original screws that were rusted into the steel diamond plate.

But after giving Rosie the Riveter a few lessons in step-up drilling and with some creative attack angles, we got the old screw shafts out and the holes enlarged enough to accommodate our beefier screws.

The results look great and we’re very proud to have raised two fine kids in such a Graceless Age. I checked my RETROvan Task List spreadsheet and found that 207 out of 218 tasks are now checked off as complete!

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