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  1. If you're going to leave your jacks extended for months at a time, (I do when I'm wintering in AZ) it's also a good idea to put extra height blocks under the jacks, so that the retractor springs aren't fully extended for months at a time which can affect their tension. I place 5-6 pieces of 2" x 12" boards on top of each other and then the jacks only have to extend 4-5" (instead of 12-16") to level the coach, depending on the surface you're on. Also, I put 2' x 3' rubber mats under all of the tires and tire covers on whenever I'm parked for extended periods. This advice was from our service manager at our coach dealership and has served us well. I agree with the advice to NEVER have your slides out without your jacks down and the coach level. Greg Johnson
  2. UPDATE --- Re: Patriot braking system issues. I did finally receive a phone call from the President of Blue Ox in response to my complaints about the Blue Ox Patriot Braking system. (I assume that someone in the company read my complaint in the FMCA forum!). He agreed to send a factory representative to my home to verify the continual adjustment problems with the original unit and the tech replaced the Patriot system with a brand new unit that had updated software. Additinally, they provided a new prototype plastic spacer that attached to the unit with velcro strips where the unit presses against the front of the driver's seat when it activates. This seemed to help with the set up procedure. The new unit has worked fine in terms of set-up and adjustment for 2 long trips through both the Rocky Mtns and the Northeast states for over 9,000+ miles. The unit usually sets up and adjusts the first time now. Apparently, the original unit was faulty. The only issue since is that since the unit slides on the floor somewhat when the brake activates, one of the adjustable feet screws broke the plastic foot screw anchor points on the unit. I had to take it apart and 'super-glue' it back together and it has since held up. I do believe that there are some design issues that could be improved on this unit, (it's manufactured for Blue Ox by another company) but, as far as it working correctly, the new unit, with the new software, has seemed to fix the problem with set-up and adjustment that I was experiencing. On a different note, I've found that the Blue Ox Aventa 10,000 lb tow bar is excellent. Very stout. Very easy to hook-up. Attractive and very functional unit. I'm not sure if I would elect to
  3. Yes, after several emails and voice mail messages I left, I finally got some emails from the President of the company, Jay Hesse. After several emails back and forth, I explained that the unit I had was not able to be programmed / set up, like the suggestions that he made for adjustment. I was concerned, because we are about to take off on a 4,000 mile trip out West through the mountains. Mr. Hesse called me personally and agreed to send a factory rep with a new unit which was installed. My unit purchased and installed by my RV dealer in May of 2010 had software version 011. The new unit delivered, exchanged installed by their factory rep has software version 014. They also installed a prototype contoured plastic bracket velcro attached to the unit that goes between the front of my Tahoe soft leather seat and the unit. It still took a couple of times for the factory rep to get the unit to register "OK", ... but, 3 times is a whole lot better than 15-20 times to get it set! I appreciated Mr. Hesse's personal interest in making things right by exchanging the unit. I told him that I would get back to him (and to this FMCA forum) after our trip through the mountains and let him know how the new Patriot unit performs. As for the Blue Ox customer service,.... after my persistence through emails & voice-mails,... they did finally come through to attempt to rectify the problem. We'll see how things go with the new unit. Greg W. Johnson
  4. Although we do have a battery tray slide out for the 6 house batteries in our 2010 Tiffin Phaeton, it was still somewhat challenging sometimes to top off the batteries when needed (I check them monthly), due to somewhat cramped spaces and of course lots of cabling, etc. I discovered an easy way to do this without spilling distilled water when filling..... a common turkey baster, with a short piece of clear vinyl tubing attached to the end of the turkey baster. It's easy to siphon up distilled water from the gallon container, see it through the clear vinyl tubing extension, pinch the tubing with your fingers when full, place the end of the tubing in the individual cells of the battery and release the distilled water into the battery cell. I keep the turkey baster / vinyl tubing "tool" in the battery compartment for easy access when checking battery water levels monthly. Greg W. Johnson
  5. Gary, Thanks for the suggestion about having the steering wheel lock pin removed. I had this done yesterday by my favorite GM mechanic. Now, I don't have to leave the key in the ignition to unlock the steering wheel when towing and an added benefit is that I no longer have to remove one of the fuses for the electronic odometer, etc. Now, all I have to do is hook up the tow bar & lights, without the ignition key in the Tahoe. Great suggestion. My mechanic did the steering pin lock removal on my 2000 Tahoe for $ 80. Thanks again for the great suggestion. Greg
  6. We had a Blue Ox Patriot electric brake system installed by our RV dealer, along with a Blue Ox Aventra 10,000 lb tow hitch, the day we picked up our new 2010 Tiffin Phaeton 40 ft diesel pusher. Although the tow hitch is great,... we're VERY DISSATISFIED with the Patriot. We tow a 2000 Tahoe LT 4WD behind the Phaeton. The Patriot works 'OK' as far as braking capability,.. IF and WHEN you can get it adjusted, which has to be done each time you install it. The RV dealer who installed it took 14 tries the first time it was installed to get it to register "OK" ready. He finally had to put a board between the Patriot and where it pushes against the Tahoe's driver's seat. The Tahoe's seats are very soft leather and when the Patriot arm was set against it, apparently there was too much 'give', or inconsistent give. It has taken me a minimum of 3 tries and a maximum of 20+ tries (VERY FRUSTRATING!) to get the Patriot 'set up' correctly each time I tow. Even WORSE,...the Blue OX company customer service is 'NON-EXISTENT' !!! Even though their website states that they answer customer service phone inquiries within 2-3 hours and email inquiries within 6 hours,....; after 4 voice mail messages and 3 emails, I STILL HAVE HAD NO RESPONSES FROM BLUE OX WHAT-SO-EVER. My RV dealer said that they have only installed 3 Patriot systems and have had the same complaints about the difficulty in getting them adjusted by all 3 customers. I CAN NOT rcommend the Patriot brake system! Anybody else had this 'set-up' adjustment problem with the Patriot? Has anybody ever gotten a response deom Blue Ox customer service on any issue? G.W. Johnson West Des Moines, IA
  7. Thanks for the advice and recommendations, Brett & Gary. I really appreciate and value the help from experienced motorhome owners like you. I also agree with the advice of getting CG permission to use the device! Greg
  8. At an RV campground recently, with only 30-amp service available, I saw that a neighbor RVer using a device he called a 'Cheater adapter' that had 2 pigtail legs plugged into two separate 30-amp outlets (intended for providing power to two adjoining campsites), with his 50-amp RV cord plugged into this adapter. I've seen these adapters in some catalogs,... but, the alleged 'theory' of increasing the available Amps to the RV in this manner doesn't seem to make sense to me. I'm no electrical expert by any means, but doesn't a regular 50 Amp circuit actually have two (2) 50-amp legs? Does this "Cheater Box" adapter have any real merit or usefulness, or are people just kidding themselves? Before I shell out $65 to $85 for one, I'd like to hear from someone in the know. Thanks. G.W. Johnson
  9. You are CORRECT about disconnecting the battery. Not only would that mess up the computer codes, but that would also prevent any 12 volt electricty needed through the cigarette lighter receptacle needed for the portable Patriot braking system battery back-up, which needs to be plugged in. It's interesting that your 2003 GMC Yukon 4X4, nor your reference to your 2002 Tahoe NOT having a steering wheel LOCKING PIN. Unfortunately, my 2000 Tahoe 4X4 DOES HAVE A STEERING WHEEL LOCKING PIN. The steering wheel can ONLY be unlocked when the ignition key position is turned to "RUN" to unlock the steering wheel for towing. Perhaps they modified the steering lock in models after 2000, but that would surprise me. Greg
  10. David, The ignition switch with the key in the Tahoe HAS TO BE IN THE "RUN" POSITION TO UNLOCK THE STEERING COLUMN while towing (just like the instructions in the Tahoe manual under 'towing' instuct. The "accessory" position does NOT unlock the steering. Greg
  11. Thanks, David. No, I did not pull the brake light fuse, nor should I have to according to the Tahoe manual. However, there is totally separate wiring from the coach to the Tahoe, including new & separate bulbs drilled and placed into the brake light housing (separate bulbs from the Tahoe's original bulb sockets). Even if the Tahoe's brake lights do come on when the Coach's brakes are applied, no more than the few seconds that the bulbs would be lit during braking in the 2 hour Interstate trip, that wouldn't have been enough to drain the battery. I'll keep searching. Thanks for your ideas. Greg
  12. We recently picked up our new 2010 Tiffin Phaeton 40 ft diesel pusher. Driving it home towing our 2000 Chevy Tahoe, the Tahoe's battery was drained. We followed the Tahoe's manual instructions explicitly for towing it 4 wheels down, removing the 10 amp fuse marked "ING 0" (PRND21 Display, Odometer, VCM/PCM). The fuse has to be pulled to not drain the battery, since the ignition switch on the steering column has to be in the "on" position to unlock the steering wheel. Not only was the Tahoe's battery discharged, but the odometer still racked up miles on the 4 hour trip home. The dealer installed a Blue Ox Aventa 10,000 lb tow bar and used totally separate wiring for the towed vehicle running all the way back to the Tahoe's taillights, including separate bulbs. So, the battery drain can't be from the brakes, lights, turn signals, etc., since they're hooked directly to the motorcoach with totally separate wiring. The dealer also installed a Blue Ox Patriot electric brake system in the Tahoe. The only 12v connection from the Tahoe to the Patriot brake system is for a 'back-up' charge to the internal battery of the brake system. Has anyone else experienced a battery drain on their towed GM vehicle when the directed fuse has been pulled? Also, anyone experience the towed vehicle with an electronic odometer, still registering increasing mileage when towed, even with the fuse pulled? There are 2 other fuses in the Tahoe fuse box labeled "IGN 1" (Ignition, Instrument Panel) and "IGN 3" (Ignition, Power Seats) according to the manual schematic. Even though the manual doesn't reference pulling these fuses as well, I'm wondering if that would fix the problem the next time I tow the Tahoe. Any assistance / solutions, would be appreciated. Thanks. GWJohnson new member 2010
  13. Anyone have any recommendations for full hook-up RV campgrounds to accommodate 40 ft diesel pushers with full hook-ups? We're planning on a 'maiden voyage' trip to that area with our new 40 ft Tiffin Phaeton. Although we have several campground reference directories, we always put more credibility in 'first person experience' from fellow FMCA member's experience. Looking for recommendations for lakeside sites with lots of amenities. THANKS!
  14. Woodall's 2010 North American Campground Directory ($25.95 @ Barnes & Nobles) has an excellent reference section for state (and Canada & Mexico) regulations pertaining to maximum towing lengths, weights, sizes, etc. I haven't checked out their website (www.woodalls.com) to see if the same info is there, but it might be a start for you. gwjohnson52@msn.com
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