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  1. I see that you don't want to drill into the back of the tail lights to add a separate bulb, but that would be my (only) recommendation -- along with a full wiring connection that includes a ground back to the motorhome circuits. I did not review the links that you offered, but every setup that I've looked at involving diodes grounds to the towed vehicle. That, in turn, requires maintaining a decent electrical ground connection back through the tow bar assembly to the MH. Given the grease, grime, road dirt, etc. to which the tow bar assembly is exposed I see that ground as a dubious connection. Adding to my ground concern is the fact that diodes can fail in a short-circuit mode potentially backfeeding into the car's electrical system. With those two concerns, the only light set-ups that I've put in my tow vehicles are completely independent of that vehicles electrical system with the exception of the extra bulb in the tail light housing.
  2. I just switched from Roadmaster to Blue Ox when I bought a new toad. I think that they both make good products but, like foretraveler above, I really didn't like all that hardware of the Roadmaster hanging off the front end of my small car when not towing. Now, the Blue Ox hook up is nearly invisible once I pull the attaching pins. That said, I prefer the Roadmaster tow bar for the sleeker design and slightly simpler operation. If I could have arranged it more expeditiously, I think that I would have bought the Blue Ox base plate and a Roadmaster towbar with Blue Ox ends. Since I have a coach with air brakes and a new car on the M&G fit list (actually a purchase criteria) I will shortly be installing an M&G auxiliary air brake in the new car.
  3. If you know the specific tire that you want -- model, size, load rating, etc. -- you can find the actual item number on the Michelin website. Then, you should be able to call the current FMCA program coordinator to get the base price plus federal excise tax in the program. You will have to add in the local taxes in your location. With that information you can call a couple of local Michelin dealers that participate in the national accounts programs to find out what their prices are balanced and mounted versus what they would charge to balance and mount under the program and add tht to the FMCA prices to compare. At the same time you can query the age of the tires are if they have them in stock. I was fortunate to find a cooperating dealer in my area who also had to order the tires from the nearby Michelin warehouse. As a result, the tires I got were all less than 3 months old. In talking with the dealer during installation I discovered that he couldn't buy the same tire for the price I paid, so I figured I saved at least $100+ per tire. Also, consider asking if they will give you anything for the tires they are removing. In my case the old tires looked good and had plenty of tread so the dealer gave me $80 credit for each which paid for the balancing, mounting and a front end alignment check. The dealer said he could make a few dollars selling them to the gravel haulers.
  4. Why not try the FMCA Magazine classifieds. I often see several of the old '70s era GM's there and those are surely collectibles by now.
  5. I agree with many of the comments above. Points that I've not seen mentioned above: I've been in too many parks where the sites are laid out exactly 90 degrees to the access roads so that you need almost 3 lanes on the access road to turn it in one swing (i.e. without unhooking, and backing to and fro to line up). Consequently, I really appreciate a park in which the sites have been laid out on a bias (like 45 degrees) to the access roads allowing an easy swing-in (both pull-throughs and back-ins). I also appreciate parks that have given some thought to actual utility use for a variety of different rigs. Placing all the utilities in the center of the site seems to me the best compromise (I really don't like those parks in which I need to run 30+ feet of sewer hose, or disconnect the car, move it to the front and back up to reach electric or water because all they expected were 5th wheels). Trees are a good thing for shade, but give some serious thought to how they might be in the way of turning or backing when they grow up. If there is a good RV service business in the area, making arrangements with them to do reasonable on-call service would be beneficial. I can't count the number of times I've seen people get ready to leave a CG and slides wouldn't go in or air build-up right or tires hold pressure, etc. For attracting Northerners (mostly from a male perspective): You might want to see what arrangements that you could make with golf courses/clubs in the area (discounts or day passes at private clubs). Two examples: In Albuquerque, NM the park had tickets for resident rates (significant discount) at the U of NM championship course. At a park in Edinburg, TX they had arranged for a "winter Texan" membership at the adjacent private country club. For evenings a small recreation room with a couple of good pool tables seems to be a pretty good draw. For me (a former Yankee) the neatest park I stayed in had a clays shooting range organized at the far recesses of the RV area within a county park. The layout and machines had been provided by a group of winter visitors from Wisconsin. Not suggesting that you put in something similar, but arranging access to skeet/trap/sporting clay ranges in the area could be a plus. Other things that might be of interest if they exist around the area would be tours/access to a Long Horn cattle ranch (maybe even some buffalo), dude ranch, western dance hall and western wear store as things they're not going to run into back home.
  6. Brett, I finally had the chance to dig out the manuals that I received from the previous owner to check the section on Rockwell axles and cam brakes. In all cases, save one, they list both clay-based and lithium complex greases as acceptable for cam brakes, including the automatic slack adjusters. I'm not sure why, other than historical sequence, but in each section they list the clay-based product first followed by lithium greases and then clay-based synthetics. The one exception is a part, rather than a complete brake. They suggest lubricating the cam shaft spline with a calcium-based grease for it's anti-seize properties. I would assume that the calcium product would be applied during a rebuild. My brakes only have two grease fittings and both areas are identified by Rockwell as the same grease. I can't see how to stage different greases in one of them to get at the spline and the manual has a footnote warning not to mix the calcium grease with other greases. To complicate matters, I finally downloaded the Meritor manual that you had referenced in another thread and looked through that for lube recommendations. For one cam brake they start with "lubricate the automatic slack adjuster with a calcium-based grease". So, while I now have functioning brakes again I'm back to another level of confusion. As a curiosity, how were you able to identify the non-clay grease in that Foretravel? I bought a tube of the clay-based at MHOT and it is the same deep red color as the lithium grease I'm now using on the rest of the chassis fittings.
  7. Wolfe10, This was for my older Vogue Prima Vista which has drum brakes, so it would appear to apply to all air brakes. The MHOT service people were the two Kieths (younger service writer and older mechanic) whom I suspect that you know. I don't know if they are simply extrapolating from Foretravel disk brake experience, but I think that the older Kieth has been around Foretravel and/or MHOT since before disk brakes were invented . I have been tied up with some other work on my coach so haven't gotten to it, but I vaguely remember a mention of clay-based grease in the rockwell axle section of the owner's manuals that I received from the previous owner and plan to revisit that.
  8. I recently had a scary experience with the air brakes on my older (1995) coach. On a fairly heavily traveled Texas secondary road (speed limit 55) I came to a traffic light turning yellow while I was about 300+ feet away. I hit the brakes hard and only decelerated very gradually, coming to a stop with my nose in the intersection just as the light turned red. I cautiously, and very slowly, made my way to a shop that I knew to do HD truck brake work. The mechanic inspected the brakes, but found no obvious problem. He then liberally greased the two lube points (slack adjuster and S cam) with standard chassis grease and sent me on my way. The brakes seemed to work better after that, but still not really well. I found that if I applied them really aggressively a couple of times it improved performance to an almost acceptable level but with some delay and grabbing. I was not really satisfied, so managed to get the coach to Motorhomes of Texas and a mechanic I respected. When I described the problems I was having with the brakes both the service writer and the mechanic had the same response -- "you've been getting lube at truck stops right". The mechanic went on to explain that most truck shops use the same grease (typically a lithium base) for all chassis points, including the air brakes and that's OK for trucks because they're used daily. However, with the more typical coach operating cycle -- run it up hot for a day, or a few, then sit for weeks, or more -- the typical lithium lube with an oil carrier starts to separate and congeal, especially in the fairly intense heat area of the brakes. The mechanics solution was to displace all the lithium type grease with a clay based grease with which they have had good experience. This necessitated a minor adjustment of the brakes for the different lube characteristics. After these steps I went for a test drive with the mechanic and there was a dramatic improvement in braking performance with him driving and I could feel it, as well when I finally drove away from the shop. The mechanic's parting advice was two points: 1. If you get chassis lube with your regular oil changes don't let them touch the brakes, and 2. the brakes do not need a lot of grease so only relube with the clay based product every 2-3 years. I am gradually getting an education in the maintenance and operation of these unique vehicles called motorhomes and pass this on for information and comment.
  9. BillO

    Algae In Fuel

    Many farmers with diesel equipment face the same issues. As a result, I've had good luck finding it at Tractor Supply stores around the country for a reasonable price.
  10. DD69, The NAPA inline filter/drier that I use is a 90-729-2 which is actually sold under their tire hardware line. NAPA specs say it is rated to 125 psi. I think I'm OK since I set the output side of the compressor to 120.
  11. I understand where the OP is coming from. My old coach has an air system that tops out at 110 psi -- exactly what I need for my tires. Trying to bring a tire up to 110 psi with a source of the same pressure is a real pain. I found an inexpensive compressor at Home Depot that goes to 135 psi. It's their house brand -- "Husky" -- and probably made in China. However, at the time it was only $100 and serves the purpose for intermittent use. Like most small compressors it does not have an air drier on it, but NAPA had some inexpensive in-line driers designed for painters that can handle the pressure. That gives me a decent dry air source for topping the tires at CGs with little effort. This particular model is a bit bulky so it takes up more bay space than I'd like and it does require that I bleed some air from the small tank to trigger the compressor start before filling the tires because the low pressure trigger is a little too low. Even with those drawbacks the price/benefit work for me.
  12. I would definitely second the suggestion of Wolfe10. I too looked at Bridgestone when I was shopping in Texas. For the same level of tire I did better with Michelins through the FMCA program. It should be the same for you unless you're also getting a preferential price due to the fire engine connection. I've no experience with Bridgestones to compare ride quality, but can say the Michelins were a dramatic improvement over the Dayton bus tires they replaced. I would confirm tire sizes between the different brands, but I also wouldn't be surprised to find that 275/80 and 295/75 are identical. There is something weird in that particular size (and some others, I suspect) that gets labelled differently depending on some US vs European convention. I also found that there were some decided inconsistencies between tire pressure versus load on different tire ratings in that size. Some companies maintain the same load/pressure curve for both G and H rated tires' while other companies (including Michelin) have separate curves with lower required pressure for the same load on their H rated tires. I started a thread on that inconsistency which you could find in the history of this section, although the results were inconclusive.
  13. I suggest that you probably need to do a little research with Cummins (or other Tiffin owners with comparable power plants) to find out specifically which engine is in that Phaeton and what torque it produces. If you have a specific Phaeton in mind, then a quick call to Cummins with engine model and serial number should give you the torque. You can do the same with your CAT engine at the CAT hotline and compare the two, making allowance for differences in MH weight. The engine makers play so many games that horsepower isn't much of a measure (i.e. smaller displacement and torque at higher RPMs yields the same HP as big displacement/torque at low RPM). They can also rate the same engine in a range of HP without significantly changing the torque. I took a quick look at the Cummins MH page here and see a couple different engines that could be rated at 360 HP with torque between 800 (ISB) and 1050 (ISC) lb-ft. The ISB would be at the high end of HP rating as would the older ISC. The newer ISC8.3 (EPA 2010 rated) would be at the lower end of potential HP rating. I couldn't find a similar page for CAT engines, but a brief internet review suggests that your C-7 CAT is at the high end of HP range and similar to the ISC (the older one I'm guessing). Just by way of illustrating the HP fallacy, my old coach has a CAT 3176 (loosely, the grandad of the C-12) that is also rated at 350 HP, but produces almost 1400 lb-ft of torque. From the stats that I've seen, newer Cummins MH engines need to be in the 450+ HP range to match that torque. That results from the fact that my engine is an older big block at the lower end of potential HP ratings that went up to around 400.
  14. I would tend to agree that $60 just to change the tire is a lot of money. However, if that charge also includes new stems and spin balancing before mounting it's not quite as bad. The other thing that you might ask, or try to negotiate with the dealer is a credit for your old tires. In my case the dealer gave me sufficient credit for the old tires to cover all the stems, balancing and mounting, as well as a front end alignment, but not the taxes. Even though the take-off tires were old and not so safe for an RV they still had plenty of tread and the dealer made an off-hand comment that he could make a little selling them to gravel haulers.
  15. The cord that I referenced above is 6/3; 8/1 SEOOW. Except for the slightly lighter gauge ground wire the difference is in the sheathing. I believe that the "J" stands for some variant of PVC, while the "E" is for this newer TPE plastic which is also billed to be flexible into freezing temps. While I have no real intention of discovering the depth of cold under which the cable will remain flexible , we did have a freeze here a couple nights ago and when I reconnected the water in the morning the cord was plenty flexible.
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