A Running List After Our First Inspection

Andrew reminds me often that he is not a mechanic.

He says he is “only an engineer” — as if his paid career is trivial.  However, the definition of the word ‘engineer’ means someone who designs, builds, and maintains things . . . and ‘things’ are what I’m asking him to complete at home.

Yet, he retorts back that he is not a carpenter or plumber or exterminator or even my doctor.

He is lying though.  I say this because he built me the most sturdy eight-foot tall bookcase, a four-foot tall frame containing a massive world map that he mounted, and an eight-foot tall cat tree for our kitten, just to name a few; he’s also repaired our sinks, toilet, and shower when they were spewing water in places and ways that they were not supposed to spew; he’s killed so many bugs that I’m convinced the world is a brighter place; and he’s advised me steady and true on more health matters than I can (or should) write.

I’ve backdated this post so I’m writing it three weeks into owning our Cortez and here, Andrew has already replaced wires and pipes; fitted a new starter motor, brake cylinders, and brake shoes; and he’s angle grinded heavy metal while sparks (read: flames and fire) were cascading down his chest.

Essentially what I’m saying is he is my hero.

And he’s my mechanic, despite what he or anyone else says because when it comes to Andrew, I’m of the firm belief that if he simply puts his mind to it, he can do it.  I mean heck, he’s proven that so far.

Before we get into all that Andrew has done — and taught me on — on our Cortez, I wanted to start at the beginning with, what we call, our motorhome’s first inspection.


When I told my mom this, she was confused.  “How did you get it to a mechanic?” she asked, knowing the brakes didn’t work.

“No, mama,” I told her.  “Andrew looked it over.”

The was a pause.  “Saying a ‘first inspection’ makes it sound as if a mechanic did it,” she said.

Well a mechanic did, everyone.  His name is Andrew.

Therefore, below is the running list of what Mechanic Andrew uncovered in our first inspection.

Full Exterior Inspection

  • Dead starter motor
  • Corroded engine wires
  • Faulty brakes
  • Cracked two window panes
  • Brittle and gaping, disintegrating, or missing window and doors seals
  • No underseal on undercarriage
  • Exhaust hanging by wire
  • Rust
  • Damaged body panels
  • Damaged paint
  • Cracked front grill
  • Cracked or missing bathroom vents
  • Fuel hose does not meet the filler neck
  • Missing headlight bulbs
  • Faulty door handles
  • Missing wiper blades
  • Ill-fitting engine covers
  • Missing support brackets on mirror arms
  • Faded chromework and bolts
  • Full clean


Full Interior Inspection

  • Faulty gauges
  • Outdated electrical system
  • Faulty heater and air conditioner
  • Knackered water system
  • Poor insulation and walls
  • Buckling ceiling
  • Faulty interior lights
  • Outdated living area, kitchen, sleeping area, and bathroom


In addition to this, I wanted to track our progress so below you’ll find important dates and upcoming plans.

What We Have Achieved

  • Monday, July 22: Cortez arrival
    Cortez shipped from California on a flatbed semi
  • Saturday and Sunday, July 27–28: Starter motor
    Worked on starter motor; Cortez starts for the first time
  • Monday, July 29 — Sunday, August 30 (off and on for four days): Brakes
    Replaced front brake shoes; replaced all wheel brake cylinders; cleaned all brake parts; painted all brake drums; bleed brake fluid
  • Wednesday, July 31–Present (on and and off): Engine service
    Changed oil; bleed clutch fluid
  • Saturday, August 31: Door locks
    Fixed door locks to enter, exit, and lock all doors
  • Saturday, August 31: Choke discovery
    Adjusted engine’s choke so it starts without starter fluid
  • Sunday, September 1–Present (on and off): Exterior lights
    Correct wiring on both reverse lights; correct wiring on front passenger indicator light; replace mounts and bulbs in both front top marker lights; remove paint on license plate light lens
  • Saturday, September 7: Alternator
    Replaced alternator; our Cortez starts again


What We Have Planned Next:

  • Currently: Prepare for state inspection (exterior lights, wiper blades and washer nozzles, anti-rollbar bushes, coolant)
  • October 2019: Replace cracked glass, treat rust, replace all window seals, reinstall all glass
  • November 2019: Get a state inspection
  • November 2019: Paint rims
  • December 2019: Treat exterior rust
  • Investigate suspension to raise Cortez
  • Remove interior
  • Replace and rewire all electrical
  • Investigate water, heat, and air conditioning system
  • Build inside
  • Remove engine and give full service (change coolant, change thermostat, flush coolant system)
  • Paint
  • Fit new door seals throughout

For more specifics on our overhaul, visit the above links, which will take you to the full posts, and these links: our master plan and our breakdown of costs.  We also have updates on Instagram and YouTube (including the video of our first inspection).  All of these will be updated continuously.

Again, thanks for your support — We feel like we’re in this crazy adventure together so you give us another reason to smile!

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