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Video: STRANDED! & Broken Down Van Life


3 min read

I am on an adventure today. It’s the second day of full on van life and I’m headed up to South Carolina to visit a friend and to try and escape some of this Florida heat!

But what perils lie before me? Stay tuned to find out.

My first night out on the road. And now my first cooking breakfast on the road. If it looks messy around the cabin, then that’s because it is. I pulled out all the ingredients I’d need for breakfast and am still figuring out the work flow for cooking and cleaning.

First night I spent was the visitor center between Florida and Georgia, on the Georgia side. There were families driving by most of the evening and two RV’s parked near by. You can normally tell it’s a good place to park if there are a few other people there. Safety in numbers and whatnot.

Then we’re free again to feel the wind rush by as we listen to audio books and podcasts at 1 and a half speed. Which is a helpful way to listen to a lot of books more quickly. I’m trying to read 75 books this year. I think I’m 8 behind schedule.

The rain can’t keep me down. I’m heading to the gym to do my workout and to take a shower. Planet fitness is my go to since most of them are 24/7 and they all have showers. No bar bells though and that’s a bummer. BUT, it’s only $20 a month. Also my favorite color is purple.

Now, I’ve had problems with starting the van before back in Florida. One time it was because I messed up the wiring for the door lights and they got left on all day. And another time was from the starter. I fixed the wires and I replaced the starter. Not quite enough material there for a whole video, but this is the gist of it:

The starter is a small electric motor. When you turn the keys it turns the engine over allowing it to suck in air. On the starter, there’s a gear designed to fit the grooves of the ring gear so when you turn the switch, the starter is energized. There’s an electromagnet inside of it that then pushes out a rod to meet the flywheel and boom, your starter is turning. This spins the engine over, sucking in air and fuel. Which is then lit up by the spark plugs. Combustion engines are cool, but that’s about the depth of my capabilities to explain.

You can know it’s your starter going bad if when you turn the key and you keep hearing a click click click noise and it doesn’t start.

This is going to sound like a joke, but like with most things in life, you can sometimes fix a starter just by hitting it with a hammer. The small cylinder on the starter is the solenoid. That’s the electromagnet. The easy way to explain it is sometimes when it’s old it can get “stuck” so you can jar it loose with a few good hits. Then try starting the car again. It’s worked for me many times.

Luckily, today all I needed was a jump. Thank you again for that jump.

Next time we’ll look at the actual city, instead of the view under the van.

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