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About andyshane

  • Birthday 11/18/1956

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  • Skype

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Pecan Plantation, Texas
  • Interests
    Vintage aircraft, seaplane flying, cycling, tennis, scuba, gardening, language study, attending AKC Agility competitions with KayCee and "The Girls."
  • I travel

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  1. I've had both Spartan and Freightiner, an engineering buddy and fellow airline pilot on his third DP passionately argued in favor of Freightliner. In retrospect, the chassis work we've had done proves his point: Freightiner dealerships are like 7-Elevens, dotting the landscape. I have yet to spend a cent and still have two years of warranty remaining. When our Def head went out -- a problem common to both Spartan and Freightliner -- I was stranded 18 miles from Empire, the flagship of Freightliner service centers, and they sprang for the wrecker. When I caught sight of a balding tag tire, the factory was only two hours away; they gave me a free hookup and aligned all axles in addition to giving me a new tire. This weekend, I was parked next to another 2019 DSDP at a San Antonio resort. He was Spartan. We'd bought our rigs the same month. We'd suffered a similar number of woes, with our chassis. But, his experience was completely different from mine: shops were hard to locate with long wait times, he'd just had a freshly-detailed bus returned to him muddy and filthy from a local shop that shrugged off his protests. A buddy with an Essex on Spartan had the ultimate experience, though. Simple ball joint replacement. At Freightliner, the parts would be on-hand, the job would've taken a morning. His bus was at a truck shop for five weeks, waiting for parts from overseas. It should be noted that of the myriad Freightliner shops, many are "Oasis" locations, meaning you can overnight on-site. No truck shop that is registered as a Spartan dealer can make that claim, to my knowledge.
  2. Followup We'll never know the cause. They went in to Kennedale Campers south of Ft Worth to buy the rig and the wheels came off at closing. Apparently, the dealer doesn't handle the notion of independent financing very well. Briefly, the sellers planned to come back with cash, but the dealer's refusal to hold the unit and their change in demeanor scared the couple away. It should be noted that this seemingly pristine Tiffin remains unsold. Stay safe, y'all. No blowouts, no wreckers, and keep clear of that 4th Covid wave. Who ever dreamed we'd be white-haired and facing the risks of being teens again? 🤤
  3. Thanks, all. It feels solid, pressing on it. Very slight bend. I think there is a layer separation on the other side of the plywood to which the vinyl is attached. As you wisely pointed out, moisture of some sort is the likely culprit; but, my nose was happier entering this rig than any other pre-2018s I've ever been in. Honestly, it smells garaged and dry, not baked. And, I think my nose is good enough to discern fake-showroom scents from the real deal. The punchline: it is a 2012. The lot had rain all night, I'll direct the buyer to have an inspector go and use a moisture meter. No AC unit or other likely ingress point nearby. But, we all know that leaks can travel long distances... This one is a real mystery.
  4. After helping a neophyte couple locate a good candidate for first purchase, about the thirtieth motorhome we looked at was nearly perfect. Honestly, it smells nearly showroom new, is spotless. Vents were continuously cleaned, fan shrouds and screens sparkled, the basements were kept clean and dry, there is no evidence of leakage, all glass is good and furniture is perfect. Even the bed linens still possess a showroom scent. The mechanicals look fine and it has new tires. The exterior tells me it was garaged. But, about mid-cabin, the headliner is about 1/2" lower at centerline than at the sides. No other sign of water ingress: no residue in or around light fixtures or HVAC vents. The roof has no soft spots, no apprent low areas. I scanned the roof from atop another rig in rain; it seems to have perfect crown and sheds water. Any ideas?
  5. I had some leakage in this area last trip, turns out someone at Newmar got a little hamfisted and installed the ABS pipe elbow that feeds aft sink and shower drainage into the gray tank. Since the black and gray tanks are above the fresh and hidden behind the pegboard in Dutch Stars, I installed a two-sensor water alarm and put a second cutoff switch next to the one featured in this entry. Owners might consider checking the carpet and adjacent pegboard in this compartment as part of their pre-trip inspections.
  6. Thanks! The mysterious 101% quantity guage reversion whenever the DEF is conjuring up false alarms might be helpful to those who haven't yet experienced trouble. One gem gleaned from an attendee of Camp Freightliner is, use the gauge to deplete DEF before replenishing. Apparently, the fluid gets old and can degrade system performance. By using it up prior to refilling, it stays fresh(er). [We had an uneventful leg from Mississippi back to Texas. Gassed up alongside a beautiful Tiffin at Buc-ee's east of Dallas and asked if he was rocking a Freightliner, just to share what'd I'd learned. 'Turns out, he had a Powerglide chassis, two minutes into our conversation it came out that he was a fellow KC-135A pilot in my squadron at Carswell, 30 years ago... Small world.]
  7. I enjoyed the tour of the property! Lots of fun, all around. Thanks for sharing.
  8. So, here we are 10 months later, I had the same thing present en route, spontaneously. At first, the display showed these same warnings except the DEF quantity was 56%, visually verified. Then, it showed the 101% which commonly means the DEF has been topped off and all warnings will disappear once the quantity goes down to 87%. Of course, after the February experience, I always verify radiator coolant level, too. Ignoring it like the last haf-dozen times, we pressed on. Eventually, we got the dreaded red STOP ENGINE and VERY LOW DEF lights. At that point, I pulled over 8 miles short of my destination, shut down and went to investigate. Sure enough, both radiator and DEF tanks were fine. Here is the sticker: I shut down. Upon restart, my engine latched into a deep derate, and I was now capable of 5 mph. The good news: McElroy Trucking's main campus and driver school spread out in front of me, like a luxurious Kentucky equine estate with immaculate red trucks instead of horses. I called Freightliner and all of the local truckstops. No one could come do a computer reset. One suggested disconnecting the battery for 20 minutes. The Freightliner help desk said there is a bootleg method: turn the ignition key to ON for two hours. I tried both to no avail. Thinking it'd be a nice courtesy to alert folks at the trucking company I was there, I tried to gain entry. All doors were locked. I called, the phone picked up immediately. A foreman greeted me, said they saw me enter and that I was free to park as long as I needed. Later, he came out to check on us. When I told him about the DEF, he rolled his eyes and said that was his Freightliner superpower. Indeed, at one time, the company owned 400 Freightliners but had since weaned themselves from the brand, with 700 trucks presently, most International. He gave me a number to call, Empire Truck Services of Meridian. He even looked into rummaging around in his parts room for a head that would fit. They were all the wrong part number. Checking back in with Freightliner -- I'm becoming a big fan of these folks -- the operator said not to bother mobile service folks any longer. "You've done what you can, and them coming out will just be a waste of money." He suggested calling the nearest dealer, Empire Truck Services. I did, and they immediately ordered a new DEF head, having found one in Atlanta, another in Amarillo. With all of the failures I'm hearing about, the notion that only two could be located in stock is alarming. They offered to overnight it with a Tuesday morning arrival, I agreed. When I called to report this to Freightliner, I asked if they'd like to set up the wrecker. They did; and, a few minutes ago, after a flawless 20-mile tow, the driver was instructed to visit with the Empire office to take care of the bill. This Freightliner dealer in Meridian, Mississippi is a huge, new facility. Very impressive. I arrived by wrecker at noon, at 2PM the DEF tank is being lowered from the chassis. I'll post updates as they develop. [8PM Update: We did a good leak check, the computer triggered a regeneration cycle, said by techs to span as long as 1 1/2 hours. Sure enough, at five minutes short of that time, the 1,100 rpm regeneration suddenly dropped 300 rpm, signaling completion. But, an attempt to clear the codes was unsuccessful. The laptop demanded a software update, and by then Cummins was closed. For the first time in our 10-year RV career, we found a hotel room. Let's see what the morning brings.]
  9. I had mine gouged by the dried stems of a bush growing alongside my driveway. One of 14 different pieces. Replacement cost: $528 for that small section. That's just the pre-cut section, uninstalled.
  10. Thanks, Doc. I span the distance between here and Japan, have had a ringside seat to both nations' responses. The wife sliced her thumb the other day, went to ER while I sat in Tokyo; here, in rural TX, she was treated in the hallway because no rooms were open. But, she saw no one. Of course. Doc revealed to her we have fifty being isolated with COVID, just in our little hospital. BTW, I had the dubious honor of being the first to report exposure, in February. Positive for antibodies, which along with a dollar could worth a cup of coffee; but, I'm preaching to the choir. 'Will stick to aviation, trust your expertise. So, the wife is desperate to escape the TX heat, swung her sights to Ruidoso. The governor's letter exempts aircrew, but I don't want to play that card. In practical terms, do you all think isolated camping, sitting by the rig after sunset, hiking and biking qualifies as "Quarantine?" We can upload all provisions before departure, encounter no one face to face both enroute and during our stay. I won't enter a restaurant or bar, no matter where I rest my head. Johns Hopkins hasn't identified black water as an epidemiological threat. lol Thoughts?
  11. It seems that this warning can also be a harbinger of an impending LOW COOLANT annunciation. We got the LOW DEF warning as the first indication of a leaking heater hose union, in a new 2019 Freightliner XC Class A. 'Turns out, Freightliner ships to the coach builders with heater hoses capped. Newmar, Tiffin, et al then remove the caps and link their dashboard heater cores via more hose. In the case of my Newmar, a brass union was shoved into the hose-ends and a small worm-drive hose clamp was installed on each side of the union. In tightening the forward clamp, the wall of the hose was cut, a leak developed. It took nearly 8,000 miles to work its way up to a noticeable rate, the enclosure into which the hose was laid caused fluid to drip at the engine compartment and at the front of the coach. Owners are cautioned to find where this union is, monitor the location for leakage. I've now owned three RVs, and two have developed leaks at this location.
  12. This is a new rig, and I've had this problem, twice. Others have reported the same thing happening, with their Dometic 8700 mascerating toilets. Once the Black tank reaches 75%, the common recommended minimum prior to dumping, one or both toilets can quickly "go Red," meaning the Red full tank icon illuminates and electrical power is inhibited. Putting a finer point on it, if one toilet has a red icon and the other is still yellow, the latter is still for the moment functional. 'Problem that owners are having is, the red light remains on after a Black tank dump and it often will remain on, following dump and rinse. Same deal, however: if one toilet was yellow prior to this condition, it will revert to a blank display and work normally. But, there is some glitch in this design and/or programming that can leave one or both toilets "stuck" on Red despite an empty/clean tank. In our case, we are a new rig, a 2019 Newmar DSDP 4018 purchased at the end of summer. We have no children or teenage girls, and eat lots of fiber. No, seriously, we use the toilets delicately, ie a two-flush system, modest paper usage, no wet wipes, etc. The fix for this condition is relatively simple: find the control module for the affected toilet -- it looks like a black deck of cards -- and clip the yellow wire. That defeats the Full level sensor, restores normal operation. The caveat of course is, you've now defeated the Full inhibit function and can overflow. In the aft-bath DSDPs with their novel escape door (a handy way to converse with neighbors while attending to business), the process is painfully easy: open the escape/socializing door, reach into the now exposed toilet cavity from outside and unclip the yellow wire. For the powder room and many other applications, the module could be anywhere on its 6-foot harness, like under the sink or inside the wall. For DSDP owners, some have found the powder room module located behind the "Newmar pegboard." In our case, it is mounted above the pegboard and behind the adjoining plastic fairing. I took a photo, for reference. Having endured this condition twice in our first six months of usage, I'm creating a simple fix: each toilet will have a nearby guarded emergency-use-only switch labeled SENSOR OVERRIDE to restore operation when flushing is inhibited by a false Full indication. I'll save this with lots of tags, to shorten the learning process for those who'll encounter this problem, on the road.
  13. Ray, I just got back from the autoparts store. Both batteries checked out fine. I'm guessing it is a sticky BIM, since connections and battery cells have been eliminated as culprits. It should be noted that Newmar is putting a Battery Isolation Manager in its late model DSDPs that has been discontinued by the manufacturer. (Herman, thanks for your input. Kenneth Marczak is a longtime RV'er and fellow heavy equipment operator with the airline, a degreed engineer. I trust his judgement. He agrees with you. Of course, Huffy is also 100% right, when it comes to cold storage and future readers should appreciate that distinction: there are times when we'd de-power the inverter. But, for those of us who garage these rigs, Inverter and Charger are left running. Tiffin, Newmar and Forest River now all concur. Super thread, of value to people researching this topic, later.)
  14. I haven't talked to Newmar, but an engineer who owns a new Freightliner Tiffin confirmed that the Inverter and Charger are to be left On for 50A garaging, neighbors with a new Forest River got the same verdict from their dealer.
  15. I don't like what I have this AM: 11.65 on the Chassis, 12.4 for the House. I'll pull the batteries, load test after an overnight of resting.
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