Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The StarChoice Dish Repair
We finally gave up looking for a carpenter’s shop to get a wedge of 2x4 cut to repair the StarChoice dish. We had been watching the side of the road for telltale signs like piles of wood, signs, etc. but had found no trace of any. Yesterday morning one of the hotel maintenance guys was working outside motorhome so I went to chat with him. I asked him if he would be willing to do a small repair for us and that we would pay him for it. He said “No problem”. I showed him the broken dish and a traced pattern of the required piece of wood, telling him we simply needed a piece cut accurately from a 2x4 and that we would do the rest. At home this would be a two minute job for me. He looked at it for a while, asked a couple of questions and then said he could not do it. I asked why and he told me he had no saw, knew no one with a saw and had no idea where to find a 2x4.
Realizing now that if the job was to ever get done I would have to do it myself, we made a trip to the local WalMart where I purchased a hand saw and a cheap electric drill. I sacrificed one of the 2x6 blocks I use to ramp up one side of the motorhome when parked on a slope, marked it and cut my piece out with the hand saw. It was as good a fit as you could get with a fifty Peso saw and I used some construction adhesive we had in the trunk for emergencies to glue the piece in place on the back of the dish. I then placed it under the motorhome for the night to dry. Please no comments from my Carpenter friends. Jim, this means YOU.
Three Days Later........
It took a few more days to complete the repairs to the satellite dish. First, for some reason the construction adhesive failed to harden properly and remained somewhat elastic for a couple of days, even after baking in the sun. When it finally became hard enough that I thought I could work with it, I squeezed “Crazy Glue” into all the tiny gaps and cracks between the fiberglass body of the dish and the small piece that had broken off with the arm when the dish fell forward. This piece had already been glued on with the construction adhesive but I thought that because I was unhappy with the way the adhesive had dried, the more glue the better. I then set out to find a long wood screw to pass through the arm and into the block of wood I had added. Well, I was reminded once again that this is Mexico!
All I could find were 1 ½ inch screws that, after passing through the arm and the adhesive filled void between the arm and the wood, only went into the wood about a half an inch. This was not enough to hold the arm securely in place. I tried it and, as I suspected, the arm sagged a little as soon as its own weight was applied to the repair. This would not do. Today in Chihuahua I found a Ferreira (hardware store) and purchased a two Peso (eighteen cent) 2 ½ inch wood screw! Now we’re talking! I rushed my prize back to the RV, put the dish together with my new screw, found the signal and it worked perfectly! We are now watching Obama on Larry King! Go Obama!!!!!
EDIT: This repair is still holding in Winter 2010. The dish is permanently mounted on the garden shed beside the RV parking spot at home.