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    Livingston, Texas
  1. For anyone who plans to be driving their motorhomes through the Livingston, TX, Congress, AZ, or Bushnell, FL areas, the Escapees RV Club has SmartWeigh locations specifically set up to weigh individual wheel positions on all RVs. SmartWeigh does not operate all the time at these locations. For event calendars and phone numbers to check on availability go to the Escapees web page and click on SmartWeigh. Assuming all the locations are the same as the one at Livingston, permanent scale pads have been installed to assure level weighing sites. You do not have to be a member to have your coach weighed at these locations, however, there are member and non-member prices for the weighing. Richard Goss Livingston, TX F329512
  2. rcgoss

    Tire Balancing

    I've never really had anyone actually call a tire balance problem "shivering". If that's what you are feeling it's not likely a tire problem at the speed you indicated. I can't speak to the expertise of the tire dealer who mounted your tires, however, if the dealership is an experienced Michelin truck tire dealer the service techs very likely would have checked the runout of the rim/tire combinations and would have indexed the tires if there had been a significant out of round condition prior to balancing - especially after you took the unit back to them with a complaint. You don't mention the size tires inolved or what kind of chassis you have - front engine or pusher. At the speed you indicated and the term you used to described the feeling you are getting, I have to wonder if the problem isn't actually in the driveshaft and/or the universal joints. If it's a pusher, it could be a ride height issue and/or lubrication issue affecting the universal joints. If it's a front engine, it could be in the driveshaft balance or lack of lubrication in the universal joints or in the slip joint (assuming there is one). These things will produce perceptable but relatively rapid vibrations, at the speeds you indicated, that might well be described as shivering. Hope this helps. Richard Goss F329512
  3. Maybe Occam's (or Ockham's) Razor should be applied here. (Employ the simplest solution.) As an old tire guy myself (at the dealer side of the business) I'm sure the the tire guy is right on, but if you want to stop the "squirm" now, my experience says "PUT MORE AIR PRESSURE IN THE TIRES", but do not exceed the max. pressure allowed by the tire manufacturer. What you sense as "squirm" should stop. With the new tires the tread is still all there and quite pliable, it's not yet seasoned (gets harder as it seasons). The new tires should ride just fine at the higher pressure. After a 2,000 miles or so sufficient seasoning should have occurred to reduce pressures a bit without the "squirm" returning. I put a set of new Michelins on our American Eagle last year and didn't experience any such problem, but then I tend to carry a bit more air pressure than absolutely necessary (still within the pressure limits set by the tire manufacturer). The ride has been fantastic compared to the Brand-X tires that they replaced and they are running great after about 15,000 miles.
  4. Hi Baglady, We have a 2000 American Eagle that sometimes does the same thing on the swing-up bay doors, especially the battery bay door. I recently discovered that the latch rod between the rear latch and the latch handle on that door was in a bind against a rubber gasket. Once I moved (bent) the rod to where it should have been, the opening problem has stopped. One other thing, once a door like that is down I need to hold the door latch handle in the open position and lean against the door with my leg to compress the gasket before I let go of the handle. Then I reach down and pull on each end of the door to assure that both latches are engaged. Often one or the other is not properly engaged. When both latches are engaged, I've not had a door come open. One other thing. When I first got the unit the left front bay door didn't seem to close properly. Upon investigation I found that the previous owner had installed the shelf in that compartment. The shelf did not allow sufficient clearance for the door handle housing, thus the door had to be forced closed. There is now sufficient clearance and the door closes normally, latches correctly and stays closed. Also I'm curious about the "cargo" that has been lost. Is there anything in the bays that is against against the doors when they are closed? Hope not, because if the doors are being impacted by items in the bays, it's possible that the latch rods are being moved, causing the latches to come open. Where possible I keep all my "cargo" in plastic storage boxes and I've never had one of them fall out after a door opened. Hope this helps.
  5. BillO Have been reading these posts with some interest and have a couple of comments. Not that he needs any reinforcement, but I'd second tireman9's suggestions/recommendations. However, I did not find any reference to specifically how much weight you have bearing on each tire on your motorhome, the maximum psi rating of the rims, or how much maximum axle loading is permitted. If you weigh the individual axles with both tire ends on the scale at a truck stop you do not know how much actual weight is being carried by each tire on the axle and that is extremely important to determine before you start going for a minimum acceptable tire pressure. Many motorhomes come stock with significant weight bias to one side or the other and then the way you load it can compound the problem. Only after you weigh your coach with independent wheel scales, should you start talking about reducing tire pressures. The weight bias on our coach is about 600 pounds more on the right front than the left front. It's significantly less on the rear axle. (Manufacturer said that was about normal and within legal limits). Thus, both front tires need to be aired up to the same pressure required for the heaviest loaded tire. On our coach that works out to right around 105 psi (minimum). I normally carry 115 psi in the in cooler temperatures and closer to 120 psi in the fronts when temperatures will be in the 80s and above. Why? I like to have a bit of tire loading cushion, especially should a tire develop a slow leak due to a road hazard or I have to drive a long distance on a crowned road with a left crosswind in the summer (seems to happen a lot here in south Texas). Bottom line, the psi margin is a personal preference. The pressures are well within the tire ratings, as well as the rim ratings for our motorhome. It's been my experience that "tire safety" has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone's perception of a comfortable ride. After seeing results of blown tires, (other peoples, not mine) I've come to the conclusion that if riding on a cloud is what a person is looking for, a motorhome might not the best choice of travel. My most comfortable ride is now one that ends up with us arriving where we were headed with no tire issues. The roads in this country, especially the interstates, are absolutely awful in some areas and you just can't let enough air out of the tires to fix that. That being said, I did find that when I took off my 8 year old Goodyears (Load Range H) and replaced them with Michelins (Load Range H), the handling improved dramatically as did the ride comfort even with near 120 psi in the front tires. About Michelin tire charts...be careful which one you are looking at. I'm not sure the charts are still current but when I bought my tires I found that they had two. One for commercial vehicles, including commercial buses, and one for RVs. The same tires and sizes are listed but tire loadings at various tire pressures are different in many cases (...I suppose because as a group we RVers tend to overload our vehicles and don't tend to visually inspect our tires or check tire pressures on a regular basis and then we often go and park them in the same spot for 6 months at a time, then crank'em up and head out without checking the tire pressures. (I've seen that done on more than one occasion.) As far as I know there is no reason to purchase an H rated tire if a G rated tire is specified by your motorhome/chassis manufacturer. While the H rated tire can carry more weight at its upper limit there may be no difference in air pressure to carry less weight than with the G, almost certainly not enough to make any ride difference. Thing is, it is the amount of tire flexing that causes the temperature to build up in a tire. Lower the air pressure and the more it flexes with a given load factor and the hotter it gets. Since the tire is composed of many different pieces/layers of rubber that were just vulcanized together (a process that bonds the various pieces and layers together with, among other things, heat). When a tire gets hot enough things can start to unravel. The harder a tire is made to work the easier it is to cause it to come apart. Hey Tireman9, if I stated any of this incorrectly, please don't hesitate to offer corrections. Keep the shiny side up...
  6. Dowdyl, Howdy again. Forgot to mention that many RV's have a weight bias that you might want to investigate before you load anything into the unit. Found our that ours has about a 450 pound bias to the right side on the front axle. (I don't know why, but it's there and it makes a sizeable difference in front tire air pressure.) Have the unit weighed with independent wheel scales. That will help you with weight and balance considerations when you and your's load the unit and it may help prevent tire problems down the road. Good luck. Keep the shiny side up.
  7. Dowdyl, Having purchased a used 2000 American Eagle a bit over 3 years ago I can say from experience that there are a lot of things that can go unseen. Our coach is riding on a Spartan Mountain Master Chassis with an independent front end built by Granning. The information you've received to date is all valid and should be strongly considered. Here are some more things you might be able to see: Look for rust stains below windows. (Ours had two rust streaks that would show up below the passenger window just aft of the entry door. Upon removing the window considerable rust scale was present on the steel box beam construction due to voids created during the window installation. All the scale had to be chipped away, surfaces cleaned, treated and painted, missing insulation put in and the window replaced.) If the unit you are looking at has a driver's window that goes up and down, be advised that water can and will leak past the lower seal causing rust scale to form on the steel structure in the wall below. Check the bay/compartment below for standing water/dampness. Assuming the unit you are looking at has a generator that is on a slide out at the front, check all the steel angle framing holding the front facia to see that it is not rusting. Look at hardware attached to the outside of the motorhome with specific attention to apparent condition of the fasteners. If rust is present there may be problems further down. (If a dealer has the unit, ask the salesman to remove a few of the questionable fasteners so you can see their hidden condition.) Check around windows to assure that the upper areas have been sealed and that the sealer is in good condition. (Leaks around windows do not necessarily cause stains inside, but can lead to delamination of the fiberglass shell and swelling of the interior paneling, not to mention rusting of the structure.) Check operation of the window awnings with attention to condition of the fabric. Also inspect the fabric covers over the slideouts. Roller tension is important here. It is not unusual for springs in the rollers to break. A unit that has had pets in it may well have carpet stains and urine smell that just will not go away unless the carpeting and carpet pads are removed and renewed. Check all the day/night shades for proper operation. The cords have a habit of breaking/coming adrift...just because...and they do not fare well under ham-handed operation. Now for the stuff that isn't so apparent: If the unit has a kitchen slideout, have the flexible PVC drain line checked. (The line loses flexibility with age. Ours kinked near both ends and the tubing wall cracked on each side of each kink.) If it has one, does the clothes washer function properly and is there an operating manual for it. Check for leaks after the cycle is completed and have the owner open the lint filter. (That can be a yucky surprise if not maintained.) Fire up the generator and turn on all lights, A/C units and electrical appliances installed in the motorhome to assure that the generator and breakers are up to the task. Then do the same thing just on 50 amp shorepower and check the shorepower cord for unusual amount of heat build-up near the ends and at the plugs. Look under the coach (or have an independent rv technician do it for you). If the unit has an independent front end assembly, is it said to be "maintenance free"? If so, it isn't. After a few years of operation (it was 8 years for ours), the boots on the ball joints have a strong tendency to disintegrate and allow the grease to wash out. With no way provided to lubricate the ball joints they will go bad, handling will suffer and it won't be possible to get a good alignment on the front end. (About a $3,000 repair job at Spartan - but they did ours right the first time.) You didn't say how much mileage is on the unit, but front shocks may well be about due too. Assuming the unit has pneumatic suspension, find out how long it takes for the unit to lose air pressure in the suspension allowing the unit to settle. It should take a little over a week for that to happen. Faster than a week then there may be system leaks that need to be dealt with. (Ours just involved tightening some fittings and cap screws on the leveling valves.) Determine how the previous owner has been maintaining the engine and chassis. That could be very important/expensive, especially if it's been done improperly. (For example: On our unit, Cummins has specific maintenance intervals for coolant, coolant filter, lubricants, fuel and oil filters, adjustments, etc. Transmission is an Allison and there are very specific fluid and filter change intervals that must be followed. The differential lubricant must also be changed on a regular basis as specified by the manufacturer. Likewise the ride height must be checked and maintained or damage to the universal joints could occur. There's lots more too.) If the unit's chassis was built by Spartan, get the chassis number and call them. They can tell you everything that's on that chassis and who to contact for maintenance information. In fact, they even have a generic maintenance list that they can send you. If there are Goodyear tires on the steering axle, are there wavy undulations in the outer ribs of the tread (referred to as rivering...I don't know why except it looks wavy)? If so, check the rear tires for similar wear patterns. If they have them too, the previous owners have been rotating the front tires with the ones on the rear. (Michelin tires do not get that wear pattern, at least they don't on my unit and the steering as well as ride was vastly improved.) By the way, I use to be one of those Marine Surveyors referred to above. Hope this helps too. Richard Goss Livingston, TX F329512
  8. If you have any curiosity about the Rand McNally RVND units, I have one of the 5510 units. We bought it last October in New Jersey and used it during the trip back to Texas as well as a trip over to to Tampa and back last month. It is more RV friendly than the TND 500 I've had for a couple of years. (I now just use that one in the car mode.) I have found the RVND 5510 to be slow on recalculations and that's a problem for me in city traffic. Also the pronunciation of words/abrieviations on road signs is often laughable, if not unintelligible. The campground database and the Walmart database is not as good as the apps my wife downloaded to her telephone, and it seems that the phone GPS works a lot better and quicker in many circumstances. I just got a major update on the 5510 that I haven't had an opportunity to try yet. Several new features have been added. The 5510 does a pretty good job of advising locations of viable truck plazas, and rest areas stops, as well as dump stations and propane locations. There are still several functions that I've not investigated fully. However, knowing what I now know I might just have opted for the data provided by my wife's phone and put the gps money in my fuel budget. I'm pretty good at reading maps and generally do a reality check before I head out anywhere using the GPS anyway. Have fun and keep the shiny side up.
  9. APATHETIC? That really tics off this apathetic soul. Partner, you need to get out more. If it seems to you that your FMCA membership is apathetic, it's because you and your bretheren aren't paying attention. I dare you to walk into one of our chapter rallies and call us apathetic to our faces (our chapter is growing continually), or put that in print in our magazine and ask for suggestions. You'd either get bloodied or covered up in paper. Year after year after year adnausium we are being presented with the same old tired defication. It's time for change and this "apathetic" rabble out here can't seem to make a dent in the firewall encompassing the executive board. Anything we say or want or do that's different than your line of thought seems to be disregarded because it's not in line with how it's always been done. So why the heck should we bother? Hey, what else to we need to say about the tired national conventions, what's the point? Same vendors, same seminars, same worn out entertainment, etc., etc. We aren't coming as a normal course. Doesn't that tell you anything? APATHETIC? We just told you how tired we are of wasting our money. Yep, you went right ahead and ignored us. If you want to charge more to attend, go ahead, but that won't solve the problem. If you want to keep taking money out of the reserve to pay for stuff we aren't using, go ahead. After the association goes broke maybe someone will have the hindsight to understand what this apathetic rabble has been telling you overblown potentates all along. The regional rallys seem to be a lot more fun (of course we are blessed to have the master of "fun" down here) and we are often surprised by new things. Heck, we had a demolition derby at the last 6-state rally (thanks to Charlie Adcock) and even though it didn't involve large farm equipment, it was enjoyed by all who attended. That was a positive suggestion in case you missed it. Hey we're going to be at Indianapolis this year. How many tours have been set up for the speedway. Have you bothered to ask how many of us would like to go to races in the area, with pit passes to see the cars up close and visit with the drivers. In fact, it would not be beyond the realm of possibility to get race car owners to bring some of their cars out to the convention grounds for a car show. It really wouldn't be that hard to set up and might be a great draw. Hey they have stock cars, sprint cars, midgets, super-modifieds and they all run in that area on the weekends. For most of us that would be something different. Frankly I'd whole lot rather go to a race than sit in a pavilion listen to some worn out entertainment. My wife loves to watch dirt track racing and she's been to the Indy 500. I'd bet the Indy Convention Bureau would be up to the task of setting up everything. Okay, how's that for APATHY? By the way, I do usually volunteer for any open positions that may be available for any rally or convention we may be attending. My wife and I have served on FMCA security at two 6-state rallys, we have been ambassadors for our chapter and I have volunteered for the unpaid parking crew at Indianapolis this year. Have never asked for anything in return. Thanks for calling us apathetic. That really gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling about what's going on with our directors.
  10. Okay, but didn't you just answer your own question? Why continue to insist on doing something that only 3% of the membership cares about at any given time. When you toss in the major losses the association has experienced over the last few years due to these conventions (though under Judy's leadership I am given to understand that we turned in a $2,000,00.00 profit to IRS for 2010), maybe it's time to retire the national conventions and concentrate on the regional rallies, some of them have actually seen an increase attendance. The savings to the association would be dramatic. Also, maybe it's time to stop paying for all dignitaries to show up and get their free golf carts. Let's see how many of them choose to come then. As far as the seminars are concerned, they are just done by vendors who are trying to sell their wares. Why not take the money spent on the national convention and create our own seminars on the website for all the members to see - and have it be the truth about issues we all face with our motorhomes. As far as vendors we could put links to their websites on our website. By the way, yes Allen we are already registered for this year's convention, but only because my wife told me to and because we can use the trip as an excuse to do additional sightseeing and visiting that we've been putting off for a couple of years. I've even volunteered for the unpaid parking crew, if FMCA needs the assistance.
  11. Have recently learned that trailers might be coming to our family reunion in Indianapolis and that they may be accepted in our membership. I don't know if that's true or not, but now I see that we are looking for a ...mascot? (How about some silly looking guy in a ring named Moron?) Instead of looking for just a mascot, maybe we ought to be having a contest for a new association name too. Hey guys, if it's a declining membership that you're concerned about,hear this - we (my wife and I) belong to FMCA because we have a motorhome and that's the only reason. At the same time we also have a membership to Good Sam/Camping World, but prefer going to the FMCA rallies. If FMCA rallies are going to be the same as Good Sam's, we won't need to belong to both groups. As far as rallies go, since we belong to a manufacturer's motorhome association we'll just attend more of their rallies. Times are tough and we are now on fixed incomes, so assuming the trailer thing rumor is true, guess which association membership dues and rally fees we won't be paying anymore? Does somebody (or some people) up in home office need a reality check? How about the rest of the membership. We'd sure like to know if we're the only ones who feel this way.
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