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chucknewman

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    Where I hang my hat!
  • I travel
    Full-time in my motorhome

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  1. chucknewman

    Motorcycle Carrier Recommendations

    First off let me add to Herman's comment, Thank you for your service! My experience carrying 300 pound and 850 cycles has shown me several things. First off, at 330 lbs you may need supplemental rear suspension so the coach does not look like a low rider. But it depends on the type of chassis you have. If the coach already has a 2" receiver on the back, I would focus on getting a carrier, whether fixed or a lift type, that fits your bike size and weight and you are comfortable using. Particularly from a personal safety standpoint. Load the bike and check level of the coach. Before and after. Use a measuring tape from a fixed point to ground. I carry a 280 lbs scooter on the back of the van. But I put 3000 lbs Firestone air bags on the rear suspension because a 800 Harley would be back there from time-to-time. I do find the bags make the van more stable with or without a load on the rear. Never any steering issues. The Harley on the coach was another issue. Long distance from rear axle as Brett mentioned, plus four times the weight. That caused issues with the Torsalastic suspension and the extended carrier, itself weighing an additional 300 lbs. That plus some "expert welder" issues and we sold the Harley after 500 miles of fulltiming. Can't offer specific recommendations for a carrier because they come and go on the market in many different configurations. You can pay from $100. to almost $5000. new. Less used. Check Craigslist. I would google search for "motorcycle carrier" and take some time to see the market offerings for different size and weight bikes. Get a feel for the size and type you need/desire and then shop for the best deal. My scooter carrier is rated to carry 500 lbs, but only weighs about 30 lbs so I don't have to break my back to install it vs the 300 lbs pneumatically lifted carrier for the Harley that had casters to move it. Being an RVer, try to find a carrier that will accomodate the bike ramp being attached to the carrier when driving. Otherwise you end up with a fairly large item to store when moving.
  2. chucknewman

    House Battery Blown Up

    Keep in mind a couple things with wet cell batteries: 1. The water level in the cells will be somewhat higher when fully charged vs when the cells are in a discharged state. Measure water level only when fully charged. 2. As wet cell batteries charge they produce hydrogen gas that is vented to atmosphere via the caps. Regardless of the electrolyte level. The heavier the charge, the more gas produced. As you should know hydrogen gas is very explosive when exposed to an ignition source. Cracked and bulging batteries are caused by low electrolyte, over charging, aging, poor quality, etal. Batteries that "blow up" are due to excess hydrogen gas built up in the battery vicinity due to poor, or lack of, proper ventilation. There may be excess gas in the compartment due to overcharging conditions which is also slowly destroying your batteries. But I have seen batteries literally blow the top off due to excess hydrogen gas from insufficient air flow in the battery area, under normal charging conditions. A tech switched off a circuit breaker. This caused a small arc in the CB, which was the ignition source. The top of the battery hit him in the side of his head. I resolved the problem with the addition of continuous fans in the battery area. I've had RV's, and have seen others with totally inadequate ventilation around the house batteries. I'm not saying everyone should run out and buy fans to install on the INTAKE side of the battery ventilation, but a couple little 3 inch vents for 2 or 4 batteries won't cut it either. You need to check your own coach. Don't assume the coach designers did everything right. Most of us have seen too many failures in that philosophy. Keep in mind the OP said his house battery "litteraly exploded" [sic] while sitting parked. Most likely due to a combination of over charging, excess gas venting, minimal ventilation, and an arc from any one of numerous sources inside or outside the coach. And when working around batteries, always wear safety glasses or a full face shield. I use both. Also keep in mind the "sealed" or "non-vented" or so called "dry cell" or "gell cell" type of battery is designed to vent gas, and will vent gas, when excess pressure occurs due to some mentioned conditions.
  3. chucknewman

    Unusual Electrical Problem

    Dshagen posted "...so, put it back in with a full charge, reading the volt meter at the very same output location on the back of the alternator would go back to a 14.3 reading. Then, just as before, it would slowly start dropping. This is what confused me. I thought the altnerator should have still been reading the same output...." Keep in mind the alternator output is connected directly to engine battery + post. If the alternator is not charging the battery, the slowly reducing battery voltage will be seen at the alternator output post as well as the battery post. I've had this same issue before. The alternator brushes lose normal contact with the commutator when it warms up. In my case it was due to worn down brushes, but it can also be caused by weak brush holder springs. I would take the time to inspect the brushes condition and alignment on the holders. Much cheaper to replace than entire alternator, depending on brand and design. Note that when a diode or other solid state component fails, they usually don't recover. Once the junction opens or shorts, they stay that way. I don't see any connection with your problem and the electric automatic choke. If the electric element in the choke shorted to ground it should be protected by a fuse or a fusable link.
  4. chucknewman

    Refrigerator Vents

    Why would you automatically assume a device designed and manufactured for a specific purpose will probably damage or impede the operation of the device it is intended for? Let's be factual instead of assumptive. The screens I used are manufactured by a major RV accessory manufactured and blister packaged with the name and logo. It may have been Camco. I don't remember. They are not a home brew concoction made on a weekend. They are stainless steel with a grid of 4mm square. This allows something close to the original 60 square inches from the three openings on my Norcold wall vent. Much larger than a fly screen. But then these screens are not designed to keep out flies, ants, fleas, or ticks. Their purpose is for hornets (as originally posted), yellow jackets, etc. that create large mud nests that imped air flow, cooling, etc. They also work well for rodents. Actually fleas and ticks require a biological host to survive. Unless you have rats, squirrels, or others in the rodent family for a pet in your refer compartment, or a small dog or cat, a flea and tick collar won't be necessary. My Norcold 1200 stays at 38 to 39 degrees F on the middle shelf of the refer compartment. It is monitored 24/7 with outside temps from 15 F to 105F. The fans don't come on any earlier than they used to.
  5. chucknewman

    Refrigerator trips GFCI

    "It is not uncommon for the 120 VAC heating element in the refrigerator to make contact with part of the coach ground (refrigerator metal). That will (and should) trip the GFI." I would agree if the heating element is defective by leaking current to ground. But it is a sealed unit like that in an electric hot water heater, and the outer tube encasing the heating element should normally be at ground potential. At least for my Norcold heating elements I recently replaced, they are sealed and not an exposed resistance wire type heater element that would have exposed voltage potential. Gerald, my Norcold 1200 has two heating elements, both have what appears to be 12AWG wire going to the circuit board. On my refer one wire is yellow (line 120vac) and one wire is black (line ground) for each element -- four wires total. First unplug the AC cord for the refer. Then pull the +12vdc wire from it's spade connector on the circuit board. Disconnect the hot and ground heating element 120vac wires from the circuit board spade connectors and check with an ohm meter on a high range from one element wire at a time to refer ground point on the back of the unit. Make sure the other pulled wire(s) is not touching anything. It should read infinite resistance (open circuit). If you have a reading the heating element(s) needs to be replaced. If you get no reading (as you should) from the above test, you may have a "current leak" to ground on or behind your circuit board. Unscrew it and check the top and botton (trace side) for dirt, moisture, dead bugs, etc. Also look for poor solder joints and any bridging between circuit traces of solder, residue, etc. Brush clean and follow with compressed air if available. "I also connected to another GFCI circuit and it tripped it also. From these results I surmise the problem lies either in the fridge circuits or a faulty/weak GFCI." It is doubtful you have two faulty ground fault receptacles (GFR). If no shorts to ground exist on the above heating element testing, and no obvious issues while viewing the circuit board, the board, power cable, and plug will have to be tested to determine the location of the short. Keep in mind this is not a "direct short" to ground that would trip open the 15 or 20 amp circuit breaker. GFR's will trip open with currents to ground as low as 7 to 10 milliampers (.007 to .010 Amp).
  6. chucknewman

    50 Amp From 30 Amp And 20 Amp Circuits

    Yep! It is what it is.
  7. chucknewman

    Refrigerator Vents

    I forget the brand name but a set of three pre cut vent screens are designed to fit the three open slots in the vent cover. They make models for both Norcold and Dometic wall vents. No cutting or fitting required. They attached with supplied tie wraps. Put mine on about two years ago. No more mud dauber nests behind the refer. Note the roof vent should already have a screen inside it. Got mine on ebay for a few bucks.
  8. chucknewman

    Dash Heater Will Not Switch To Floor

    Brett's suggestion is the easiest way to start troubleshooting this. If you have good battery voltage at the pump, whether running or not, since the pump "runs in spurts" that would indicate the pump is over temp cycling or, more likely, you have a small leak in a vacuum hose. Or both. That is because most of the small vacuum pumps are not designed to run continuously or very often. A leak will cause the pump to run more than normally required and may overheat the pump motor resulting in internal thermal cut out. Until it cools then the cycle begins again. The rate this happens depends on the volume of your vacuum tank (if you have one), and the size of the potential leak. If you don't have voltage issues, I would get a new piece of hose about a foot long at the local automotive store. Securely clamp one end or preferably put some silicone sealant in and around one end and let set for 48 hours. Then attach the open end of the new hose securely to the vacuum pump. If it does not run in spurts that indicates you have a leak somewhere in the hose system -- not uncommon. I would also get a vacuum gauge and plumb it into the line using a plastic ribbed tee adapter to see what is going on. You should have 10 to 30 inches of vacuum for the control valves to work. Brett may know a good number to advise. If the pump still runs in spurts with the new hose piece, I would replace the pump.
  9. chucknewman

    50 Amp From 30 Amp And 20 Amp Circuits

    What desertdeals69 says is correct. The mod is fairly simple and can be done per ANSI RV code. I did so in a bus conversion. But would not do so in someone else's coach. The key is you are not splitting or combining anything at the post. You're splitting one AC feed or other loads away from the coach's sub-panel distribution -- when necessary. Hence no differential current imbalance to trip a GFR at the post. On our present coach we just don't need it. If we spend one or two nights somewhere 30A is fine. But most of the time we stay somwhere two to six months or more. And we may be running one AC, the microwave, coffee pot, washer-dryer, electric HWH, and/or one or two space heaters if it's cold. If they don't have 50A we go and spend our money at a park that does. I built a dual 30A plugs to a 50A receptacle in a box and have never used it.
  10. chucknewman

    20 Year Loan At Age 60

    dowdyl, I have to agree with the other posts here. You have no guarantee that you will be around in five years from today. At our age we have to enjoy life any way we can. Whether you're still working or not. A recommendation: Don't buy new, particularly in this economic climate. Purchasing six coaches over 30 years this was our first pre-owned unit. And it has given us almost zero problems compared to the new units we've purchased over the years. We paid only 32% of the original MSRP for this coach which was ten years old at the time, but had only 35K miles on it and was kept inside a barn. That may sound like a lucky purchase. And maybe it was. But it didn't come easy -- we spent four months and traveled 5 states looking for a very well maintained coach. They do exist; we sold five of them. Our preference was to find a well cared for coach to make it easier for us to keep our "no debt" status following retirement. From our experience during that looking jaunt, we found you really don't want to invest in a coach that had 3 to 5 owners before you saw it. Think of the word lemon. And we saw many at great prices.
  11. chucknewman

    2001 Safari Zanzibar Porpoising

    Bill, What Brett said is right on. Unless someone redesigned and modified the chassis you do not have air bags. You have no air system at all. We had Ralph's dual mounts added to our Serengeti and replaced all shocks with Koni's. Major improvement. You might also ask him about his Tiger Trak enhancements. Well worth the money. In addition, be aware that Monaco started building the Safari line circa 2000 and put the wrong (too short) torsilastic springs in the front of many coaches. Ralph purchased all the spare stock of Velvet Ride components from Monaco a few years ago. He can help you with that issue also. Friends of ours damaged some components on their '01 Zanzibar due to this issue until they had the front torsilastics replaced. Around about 2003 Monaco stopped using the Magnum chassis and went to something else. From then on the Safari coaches did use air bags. Why not join Safari International . You will surrounded with years of knowledge about the Safari line of coaches.
  12. chucknewman

    97 Holiday Rambler Circuit Board

    Originally posted "...a diagnosis of a burnt circuit board." and "...they where running lights and a brake light." Sorry, this does not compute. LED light assemblies do have circuit boards. And if they have water intrusion they can burn out. But you replace the entire assembly, not just the board. To my knowledge most of the vehicle DOT approved LED light assembly manufacturers still are in business, whether the coach manufacturer is or not. As stated, are their any names or numbers on the boards? And where are these boards in relation to each specified light assembly? Are they remote or an integral part of the light? All that said, you can't just replace most circuit boards with a single relay. I think there is more than one issue here. And you are right. When it comes to electrical repairs most dealers can only R&R -- remove and reinstall (new).
  13. Herman, you said "The minute you state a fact about a M/H that is the one that is different." Boy, you got that right. But there is one thing you can rely on if you can get accurate dimensions of your tanks. Multiply the length x width x height, all in inches, and divide the answer by 231. That will give you the gallon capacity of the tanks. If the tank is irregular shape, use the aforementioned formula in segments and add the results. Also, keep in mind RV manufacturers round their tank sizes to the nearest convenient (for marketing) number. A "50 gallon" tank may be anywhere from 45 to 55 gallons. Also, a common "100 gallon" tank used in bus conversions is actually 119.68 gallons.
  14. chucknewman

    Extended Warranties

    A couple of points. Peter's comments above about these contracts not being insurance policies are right on. The second point is it is well known in the business world an "extended warranty" of any kind is nothing more than an added revenue source; whether for the manufacturer or the dealer. And just like vehicle financing, dealers get monetary incentives from the warranty company to sell their product. I don't care how many post about how much they saved on a repair. In the real world, they are a drop in the numbers bucket. Do you really think these companies stay in business by paying out large claims on the majority of their clients?
  15. chucknewman

    Coolant Temperature Guage Reads Low

    Herman made an important point I totally forgot about -- multiple temp (or other type) sensors. My Safari has three coolant temperature sensors. One for the ECM. One for a dash light. And one for the mechanical gauge. Two of the sensors are analog type with a variable voltage that changes with temperature. These are for the ECM and gauge inputs. The third sensor is a switch type that closes contacts upon reaching a certain temperature. Both types are common in all vehicles I've worked on; large and small. The point being a shared sensor of any kind (temperature, pressure, flow, etc.) is an engineering problem of divided currents, multiple shared impedances, etc. It is much easier, cheaper, and more reliable to have a single transducer feed a single input load; be it a computer, a relay, or a light. These devices are installed by the chassis maker, not the engine maker. The engine may come with one sensor for oil, coolant temp, coolant level, etc. for the engine ECM. But the sensors for the gauges and dash lights are installed by the chassis manufacturer and in my experience typically are not "grouped together" in the same place on or around the engine. This is information for someone initially trying to troubleshoot a gauge issue. In your case you have already determined the correct sensor by grounding the sensor lead and noting the full scaled gauage. Let us know how it turns out.
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