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AndyShane

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Everything posted by AndyShane

  1. My next-door neighbor at Fredericksburg RV Park here in Texas has one, loves it. Lamented having to pay about $360 up front for a year's worth of data, but says it works great.
  2. Another binding/bending issue to help others in the future. I noticed a drip from the macerator pump outlet, nothing serious. Leak is shown in the video below. My guess is that the glue was still wet on the hose end when the pump was screwed to the flow while mashing the hose against the forward wall. Rather than drill additional holes, I reglued the inside and the outside of the joint with Black RTV, shortened the cuff by an inch. You can see now in the attached photo that the curve is not so abrupt.' Drip_from_Macerator.m4v
  3. I'm a brand-new Newmar owner, longtime RV'er. My wife noticed this during the inspection; technical guru giving us the orientation said it was inherent to DSDPs of our vintage. I missed his explanation, but noticed a lot of electronics there. Mine is hot, whether or not the Oasis is on.
  4. Here at FMCA, we prefer to fulfill the mission of information sharing, productive exchange of ideas. This thread is designed to help future Freightliner owners deal with installing trailer brakes, and I'd rather not stray from that. Along that line, Tekonsha Technical Support was indeed correct: even though suppliers indicate that the 3027-P harness is incompatible with chassis manufactured after 2016, the item I received today appears to function correctly. Note to installers: press the gray side tabs to release the OEM end; you'll notice right away that the 3027-P end looks exactly like the part that dangles from your panel. Mine kind of swung as it detached. In the end, you'll walk away from the project with the surplus part shown in the photo below. Again, thanks to the good folks who added something productive to this exploration; I trust it will benefit many owners in the future.
  5. Right direction, I think. 'Problem is, that cartridge is one fat item 😀 While I fell out of the WABCO Customer Svc phone tree, I'm guessing that I'll need a 7" wrench. Even the beefy Lisle 60200 has a small strap, only goes to 6 1/2" diameter. I ordered a Lisle 53100, I can manufacture extension arms to accommodate the WABCO girth and retain the offset -- you gave me this idea -- needed to cinch tight without binding against the dryer body. Most likely, I'll mount the wrench on the end of a 3' piece of square tubing and drive it from below. I believe it was a new Anthem on which I saw that the dryer cartridge was behind a basement door. That is ideal! Air Dryer Service Guidance.pdf
  6. You know, I'd always heard that; yet, the Beaver went through periods of some water on the wet side. In the last years of ownership, I drained all four stepcocks daily, to achieve perfect ops. Of course, the XC chassis has a dryer; it's just danged hard to reach. Bendix varies in terms of dessicant replacement interval; based on experience, I'm guessing that individual units' usage call for replacement inside the prescribed window. To answer your question, the XC can come with a Haldex PURest cartridge system or the WABCO System Saver 1200 we've always dealt with. I'll step away from the 'puter and do a little dawn spelunking to see which this has... 😉 ================================================= Well, the news is good and bad. It is our familiar WABCO unit, but upright high between the frame members between the tags. Owners have to reach over the slip joint to access, meaning it will become the dirtiest part of the chassis. A question: what tool is recommended to reach upward 24" through a narrow gap and muster enough torque to loosen the dessicant filter?
  7. Lest readers think I'm throwing rocks at Freightliner, let me tell you that my mechanical guru, FMCA member and pilot extraordinaire Captain Kenneth Marczak, steered me to Freightliner when I was pondering a new RV to replace my aging Patriot Thunder. I like the design of the XC chassis, love the factory support. But, I can visualize the chassis' experience, rolling along the assemblyline with you people dutifully slapping on their respective parts, layering on wires, tubes. No regard to how this tangle would age, interact, over the life of the vehicle. I dove into the front end initially to find the three air drain lanyards our friends at Freightliner suggest draining regularly. As a technique, I'd begun draining the air tanks daily: it was the only way to keep the tanks absolutely dry. To date, I've only found two: one behind and inboard of each front tire. So, along the way, I found wires that could be disconnected and routed more neatly and with less strain. One of the hood-release cables was drumming on the underside of the cockpit floor. The other was rubbing against the steering shaft dust boot. An air line was bent to accommodate a tank drain, crimping the nylon tube immediately outboard of the tank fitting and setting into motion material failure. One unclaimed electrical connector was dangling in the generator bay, and the control wiring for the generator was hanging loose. None of these affected the operation of the chassis systems today, tomorrow, next month. But, years from now, they all could lead to serious problems. Owners might want to equip themselves with some zip ties, dykes, a drop light. Take time and go over every inch of your chassis, securing and re-routing as you see fit. In the movie clip below, we address just one of these issues, easily securing two items that might over the years be damaged by normal steering wheel movement IMG_9089.MOV
  8. Richard, I'm so glad you're okay. This is meaningful to me, since we just bought a Frieghtliner XC chassis RV, a 2019, and I'm finding a chafe/strain/flex problem every two square feet. Your experience tells us new bus owners that it's critical to look for problems before they develop. Full disclosure: like you, I had a chafe issue during the last trip with my former bus, in August. A heater hose rubbed against another, developed a small hole. While it wasn't the biceps-building ordeal you suffered, I did get to glimpse the dreaded CHECK ENGINE & STOP ENGINE light combination. Thanks for sharing, good luck.
  9. I was introduced to Kimberly in February by a 2-decade airline buddy who bought his first coach from NIRV. Kimberly conveyed all of our information to NIRV's appraisal folks in Atlanta. To our mutual dismay, their trade on my Patriot (garaged and maintained to aircraft standards) was the lowest of 10-15 dealers with whom we were speaking at the time. Conversely, Jock Milton at Berryland Campers in Ponchatoula tied a west coast dealer for highest trade-in offer, back in February when we began this saga. Both Kimberly and Jock are stellar folks, working with either is a great pleasure. I recommend each, highly. As for the inspection fee, let's allow NIRV Center speak for themselves. I suspect yours was waived, since you were a consignment customer already. This is the email I received at 7:11AM CDT 22 February 2019. Your coach is listed on NADA for a wholesale amount of $140,350 and the retail amount of $190,500. The next book change on NADA I think is March 1st. The reason we bring older coaches in so far below book is that on an older coach we almost always have to put on new tires, batteries, engine and generator service, quite frequently we have to do something to the AC, and then there are typically a bunch of repairs we have to do to get it ready for the next person. NIRVC offers the next customer a 60 day warranty which usually ends up costing more once the customer drives off the lot and has an issue or two so they save a little money for those scenarios. Our inspection fee is $3544which also covers the walk through time with a tech for the next person and tech time while that customer is staying with us in the campground. We never know exactly how much we have to put into an older used coach until it gets inspected. Then NIRVC wants to make some money so a certain flat amount is set aside for the company to make, then if there is any money left over a salesperson gets a small % off that. The other piece of the puzzle is that we have to have a cash buyer for a coach over 10 years old so we are limited as to who we can sell to so it's a bigger risk. In this scenerio the company will make zero profit off the 18 Mountain Aire, so the only way NIRVC will make money is on your trade. Thanks for the info about the hookups. I've already interacted with their maintenance staff while working on my buddy's Entegra Anthem, and found them to be a good bunch. They are a prime candidate for getting warranty work done, if any is needed. So far the house portion is nearly flawless.
  10. I just took delivery of a new Newmar DSDP 4018 on the Freightliner XC chassis. So far, virtually no squawks for the house portion of the rig, believe it or not. Newmar fit and finish, in my humble opinion, transcends that of our hallowed Beaver Patriot Thunder! Several assemblyline glitches with the chassis are easily remedied but bear mentioning, so owners can watch for similar items on their own units. Two have surfaced during my initial crawl-under explorations. First, an air line was bent across a nearby drain valve between the front tires, crimping the line/tube. This would fairly quickly lead to an air loss and possible roadside stranding. The remedy: completely drain the system, remove the tube end and dress, reinstall properly routed tube, secure. The first image below shows the position, this defect. Second, the steering shaft below the floor line is pinched between a condensate drain -- I love the way Newmar engineered these -- and another tube, setting the stage for eating through the adjacent dust boot and possibly later claiming both tubes. Easily offset to protect the tubes and boot. Second image shows the defect.
  11. I have some official responses from Freightliner and Tekonsha: Freightliner - Most owners simply cut the wires off the plug, since if we sell you the mated plug with harness, the cost is about $200 Tekonsha - The 3027-P harness that shows applicable to 2004 to 2016 models will work on 2019 XC chassis Thanks to the magic of Amazon.com, I have the 3027-P ($20) and a blank Tekonsha plug (just in case, $4.30), arriving today.
  12. I found it! The requisite spelunking was a good exercise: lots of loose modules I need to secure. Probably, the easiest way for future readers to locate the connector is for them to remove the dashboard cover above the gages -- it is attached with Velcro -- for a light source, look to the left of the brake pedal, behind the plasic shroud that encloses the aft portion of the lower steering column. A photo is included below, to identify the plug, with its distinctive blue tabs. Barry at Freightliner Help (1-800-FTL-HELP), as mentioned earlier, sent a schematic, the colors and wire numbers are listed below. #1316 Red & White Brake Switch Input #1304 Brown Panel Lamp Input #1204 Black Ground #1105 Red 30A Fused Battery #1316 Red & White Trailer Brake Output #1102 Ignition Power One remaining catch that might trap unwary DIY owners: the harness commonly bought from 2004 to 2016 to marry the Freightliner XC chassis to Tekonsha pn 3027-P will supposedly not work on the 2019 chassis. I've got a request in to their Technical Support, who have Labor Day off.
  13. We were introduced to Kimberly at NIRV, chatted with the owner at the Fort Worth show. Good folks, highly recommended by others. In our case, they gave us a lower trade offer on our (meticulous) Patriot Thunder; plus, it is their policy to charge several thousand dollars to inspect potential trades before the transaction. They might have the honor of doing Warranty service, if any is required.* *Laugh if you must, but the only writeups I have to date are minor items not worth farming out. Other than two inoperative powder room shade motors, which our dealership in LA will either allow me to install or do when we stop by in October. Newmar's interior fit and finish quality actually transcends that of the legendary Beaver, which would cost twice as much, were it still around.
  14. Thanks for the suggestion. Indeed, we're on our way back to the dealer -- they are 9 hours away -- for an October club rally; I promised to return to them the booth half we removed to give the Patriot Thunder a viable aisle when we were hauling passengers annually. Special kudos to Dustin and Matt at Berryland Campers in Ponchatoula, LA. Awesome service pros, makes me walk a little taller, knowing that they will be the first to go over the rig, for warranty service.
  15. We've had this discussion over the last ten years; some folks are convinced people tied to manufacturers prowl the sites. Personally, I think they'd be loco not to 😏 Indeed, every new Newmar has a placard in the cockpit with two company reps' pictures, contact info. Freightliner has come to the rescue, as have old friends **** and Lois, Tiffin owners Dr. Mary and Captain Kenneth Marczak. Mr. Rogers was right: helpers are everywhere. When I unearth the connector, I'll share directions.
  16. I called 1-800-FTL-HELP, after learning about the helpline on YouTube. Barry answered, immediately offered to send me a wiring diagram. 'Turns out, the RV manufacturer deals with securing the harness. He said that Newmar might actually bundle it, that I might have to dismantle some secured wiring to locate the plug. Newmar, if you're listening... Having a technician isolate the brake controller wiring harness as a courtesy to installers -- most of us have brake controllers -- would be a great courtesy to customers, not add a cent to the assembly cost.
  17. We finally did it, and said goodbye to the Beaver Patriot Thunder my wife found and bought seven years ago. In its place is a DSDP 4018 on a Freightliner chassis. While a friend found the pigtail to connect a trailer brakes control on his 2018 Freightliner, I can't seem to locate mine. I can't call Freightliner or Newmar until Tuesday, and this is way too specific for Newgle's burgeoning database. Anyone deal with this, in their new rig? PS Newmar, if you're listening, a Class A with an MSRP of $460K should not have an array of loose modules dangling behind the dash, banging around and into one another. I'm not impressed.
  18. Well, that young man's tig welding repair lasted two years. Lately, I noticed a faint but ominous fogged area on the hydraulic cooler, made a mental note to check connections. They turned out to be dry, and meticulous cleaning followed by examining the repaired core/tank seam after driving confirmed wetness: the leak had returned. It was tiny, a mist from somewhere in the vicinity of his weld. Out of caution, I pulled the cooler and took it to Kirby Radiator in Fort Worth. Owner Van Smith actually answered a Sunday night email message sent to the company, invited me to bring it up for immediate repair. When I got there, he and son Riley were waiting, amidst a beehive of activity, with maybe a half-dozen workers busily working on units. The two seemed out of place, like we should be in Operations together signing in for the Japan trip, or out playing golf. Riley lept on the cooler issue, had it cleaned and pressure-tested. He lamented that their repair team wouldn't be able to clean up the weld, since my leakage was internal as opposed the where tank and core meet. I mentioned that a beach trip with our neighborhood RV club was in the cards, he said if I stabilized the area with epoxy, chances were it'd last until he could re-core it. It's a good time to mention that REV group cited replacement at $15,000. Riley took $60 for the cleaning and diagnostics, sent me happily on my way. That night, I used legacy JB Weld in the area, taping off a section and tilting the cooler on an incline in my shop. We all know that the "slow" original JBWeld thins as it cures; my hope was that it would wick into all of the nooks and crannies, arrest the seepage of hydraulic fluid temporarily. While the unit was curing, I noticed something alarming: The hydraulic cooler is conveniently outboard, an inch in front of the side-mounted radiator. Having graduated from a clog-prone rear radiator rig, I was anything but complacent with the side unit, using a pressurized bottle sprayer to shoot it with degreaser from outboard and from inside the engine compartment, each trip, followed by low-pressure spray. Well, "clogged" doesn't begin describing the mess that was packed between the two coolers. Fully a half-inch of black mud, mixed with grass clippings, coated the lower radiator. I'd patted myself on the back for maintaining a 190-194F window of coolant temperature no matter the slope or season; looking at the mess made me wonder how that could have been possible. I misted the surface in Zep degreaser, waited ten minutes, and then delicately shop-vac'd it off. Three vac full batches of muck later, it was looking like a radiator again. That left the condensate tray below, inside which cleaning revealed a rusty lower tank section that had been buried in a shipwreck atmosphere of wet mud and grass. After rinsing the trough, I treated it with rust converter. Since removing the outer hydraul cooler only takes five minutes, I'm setting up a 2-year maintenance task to repeat this critical "between the cores" cleaning, from now on. Sidemount owners might do the same: it looks spotless from outside, but is a clogged mess and corrosion time bomb, between the coolers! From the outside, this area appeared to be spotlessly clean! Rather than push the sludge deeper, gentle vacuuming followed by six or seven cycles of degreasing, did the trick. I let it sit for 48 hours and then put the cooler back into place. It looked leak-free, so we finished our pre-trip prep and joined the convoy Saturday afternoon, planning two, 200-mile legs. The first safety check an hour later showed some leakage; it was nothing serious. The second stop showed a little more. Still, minor. At our overnight stop, I dripped all the way into parking. Rather than continue, we said farewell to the group and returned home in the morning, monitoring fluid quantity and keeping to the truck-services-lined Interstate. An hour after parking, I had stabilized to a foot-round mark of hydraulic oil, beneath the cooler. The next morning, I dropped off the cooler with Kirby. They will send it to the big rig master of remanufacturing in Alabama; in a week, I'll have a new cooler. The cost: $700. As opposed to REV's $15K quote. Wow. To my surprise, servicing this unit is a Beginner Level task, for those of us who DYI our own maintenance. The hose from our hydraulic filter can be drained into a small pail -- it amounts to less than a quart -- and then a drip plan easily catches two cups that comes out when unhooking both ends of the cooler. Only four bolts hold the cooler in place. Loosen those, and you're carrying a thirty-pound unit with two quarts of oil remaining inside. It can be leaned against a tree and gently washed, and I've already described the cleaning done around the area revealed by the removal. Installation is just as easy. Oh. We cruise now at 10F cooler than before!
  19. In older Aqua-Hot systems, DO NOT attempt to "tighten" the boiler bulkhead fittings in response to an antifreeze leak. It is a real temptation, since a 7/8" crescent wrench can be laid against the stainless shroud and move what appears to be compression fittings. These are solder-on joints; the cause of dripping might be failure of the solder joint to begin with. Further movement can twist the boiler coil and restrict water passage while at the same time increasing the leak. The price of a boiler overhaul on the older models is about $8,000! I've put about ten manhours into removing our AHE-100-4S after noticing a persistent antifreeze leak. Rather than returning it to service with the obsolete bulkhead fittings, I upgraded to compression fittings at the bulkhead, re-soldered the original end fittings. Removed from the cabinet, the boiler can then be descaled, leak-tested. I also pressurized the hot water coil to ensure there was no leakage. Having the boiler out is a good opportunity to replace hoses, install a new insulation blanket, put stainless hardware on the feet instead of the rust-prone steel pop rivets used at the factory. Following Aqua-Hot Service Manual instructions, I also soaked the mix valve in diluted CLR. While applications differ, my coach needs about 10 gallons of antifreeze in addition to the 16 gallons held by the boiler. In our case, this whole overhaul process was innocently begun with replacement of the electrical heater element. The element is just like your home version, down to the wrench size. To replace the element, the boiler must first be drained. I dumped the non-toxic antifreeze, bought 22 bottles of Camco concentrate on line for about $8 each. It is important to use distilled water; a supersize IV rig fashioned from a plastic jug and hung on a ladder is a good way to execute the refill. Tracing leaks on the boiler bulkhead is made difficult by the snug cowling/shroud that encloses these units. Q-tips are handy for determining which fitting is the culprit. If either of the water In/Out fittings are allowing antifreeze to escape, the sole remedy is boiler removal. Did I mention that the cost of this is $8,000 plus shipping and taxes, if Aqua-Hot does the work?😏
  20. A national dealer whose name I'll refrain from sharing at this point recently proposed something I'd never heard before. Until I pull it from the market later this month, my 2007 Patriot Thunder is for sale.* On the way back from a trip to the east coast, we stopped at several dealerships and looked at replacement candidates. Largely, we're looking to downsize due to a persistent inability to agree that a low-slung 45' coach pulling a 20' enclosed car hauler can't be safely dragged into just any parking lot on the spur of the moment; or, that some parks are simply not in the cards for a big rig like ours. Our quest first settled in on the new Horizons, built in the former Country Coach facility; lately, we've segued to the shorter Newmar offerings. We either visited or spoken with nearly two dozen dealers. One of these has been corresponding with us and recently mentioned a $3500 "Trade Inspection" fee. It doesn't take a cynic to view something like this as profit-margin fluffing like we've seen from car dealers over the years, eg protective coating, transportation and area adjustment additions to invoices. I'd like to hear if anyone else has run into something like this. Meanwhile, I'm prepping the Beaver for an exciting 2019 season hopefully void of mechanical woes, other drama. I like the bus, and they certainly don't make them that rugged anymore. *At the request of my wife, I lowered the asking price until the Trade-plus-tax-advantage and selling price lines intersected; I don't see any sense continuing below that amount, will instead do updating until she no longer suffers from "new bus fever."
  21. I just reserved a spot for more than two weeks from now, since my mother-in-law wanted to see New Orleans. I was concerned about getting in and out of the park with a 45' coach pulling a 20' car hauler, but was told such rigs are common in the park. I swallowed and signed up for the $340 two-night stay, our most pricey in eight years of RV'ing. Four hours later, my guest's schedule changed, and I called the park well within the advertised 10-day cancellation period. The park told me that there is a $50 cancellation fee regardless of when it is required. Use caution, when making reservations here.
  22. It began as a common problem: cruise control would not latch. Lots of owners have commented about having to cycle their Smartwheel Cruise Control ON/OFF switches before latching can occur. Then, another oddity: turning the dash lights rheostat on would unlatch/disengage the cruise control. Later, the system stopped working entirely. I could, on occasion, get it to engage for brief periods. No single event ever defined the inevitable unlatching, the longest it went without disengaging was a half-hour, during Interstate driving on a recent trip. When I contacted our chassis tech support representative, he said such issues are usually a Caterpillar ECM problem. Since, technically, the failure was an intermittent issue, I suspected the old culprits of corrosion, broken wires or looseness that plague all older chassis. The ECM is connected by two complex multi-pin plugs, in an area prone to spray, dirt. On the 2006 C13, it is located just forward of the fuel filter. The aft of these two plugs, taking in yellow braided wires, handles engine sensors. The smaller attends to other functions, like cruise control. I crawled underneath, used a 1/8" allen key to loosen the smaller of these, sprayed it with electronics cleaner, carefully snugged the plug into place and tightened the hold down screw. Still, no cruise. "It's the chassis ECM, not ours," insisted the Caterpillar shop foreman, when I raised the white flag and called for an appointment. He added that, for no charge, he'd plug in the ECM and prove his point. I hastily agreed, hung up and started driving to Holt Caterpiller of Fort Worth. They are the same folks who replaced all of my intake solenoids, accessing the engine by dismantling the bedroom closet -- they reassembled the doorframe and rehung the doors without leaving a trace -- for less than $1800. To shorten the story, let it suffice to say the computer revealed the "Inactive" status of the cruise control, and the technician could get it latch, but only in the high-idle mode. We agreed to a road trip with me driving and him using the laptop. He threw the switches for Retarder modes, Adaptive Cruise enabling, experimented with some other ideas on the screen while I drove. Eventually, I had cruise control with unlatching anytime the engine brake power was ON or the dash lights were illuminated. For the life of me, I cannot understand the latter, unless it is an inhibit to prevent night use of VORAD, the primative adaptive cruise control with which the original RV was equipped, later decommissioned. Finally, the technician mentioned that my brakes were showing engaged on an intermittent basis. We opened the generator bay and examined the backside of the pedal assembly. Two simple pressure switches are there: the inboard attends to cruise control, the outboard activates the brake lights. I instantly found a wobbly spade connector on the former, and when I crushed the interior slightly and slid it back into place, that line on his screen obediently said "OFF" and remained that way. All the way home -- a trip of forty miles -- the cruise remained engaged. Now, with a long trip to Florida looming, I have the simple luxury of driving with my fingertips!
  23. I specifically requested Goodyear tires on a car-hauler trailer custom-built for me last year. It arrived with Goodyear Wrangler II LT tires, late 2014 manufacture dates. I shrugged off the age of the tires, and accepted the unit. My practice is to inflate to sidewall placard pressure, as we've discussed extensively at FMCA and iRV2. Additionally, I scan both tire and bearing temps during safety stops on a progressive schedule underway: first, third, sixth hour. With a year of use, and about 5,000 miles -- there was no visible tread wear -- my trailer tires began failing internally during a recent trip. Thankfully, the first two were caught during slow deflation by the TPMS; the third exploded and did some fender damage. To help users, I'll include a photo of the second tire failure, caught in progress. That way, you can spot what to look for. This particular tire was checked an hour prior to the incident and was running at 116F on a warm summer day in Georgia, inflated to 80PSI at 70F. There was no bearing or brake drag to increase wear/temperature. The combined weight of the car, trailer and misc contents divided by four barely exceeded 50% of the tire's load rating. In the case of this tire, I initally thought it was a false alarm from the TPMS: I entered a nearby rest area and parked on the end with the alarmed tires curbside for safety, soap-tested the still-inflated tire. No leakage was noted, so I tightened the TPMS transmitter, reinflated the tire and noted the pressure, fixed myself lunch. A half-hour later, I noted the pressure. The tire had lost something like 40PSI, so I removed it from the trailer and found these fissures between the treads. Research showed a pattern of failure in earlier Wrangler II LTs, some 200 injuries and 15 deaths have been associated with the model. However, Goodyear has paid claims and not recalled the tires. Three of these tires failed internally in three successive days of driving; so, I was at the Goodyear store in Marion, Mississippi, when it opened the morning after my third loss. The helpful salesman confirmed that Goodyear had not recalled that series, and explained that he'd have to order replacements. Since a Toyo dealer was nearly next door to our RV park, I went to them, next. Imagine my delight, discovering that the owner is a fellow Class A owner! He had indeed gotten the proverbial memo about Goodyear's quality/safety problems, and steered me to Toyo. We rummaged through his inventory, and he had me grab various sidewalls to assess their strength, an important characteristic of trailer tires. I noted that the light truck tires actually seemed to have beefier sidewalls than those designated for trailer use. His crew immediately swapped out all four of my tires. Counting the generic Chinese spare I'd bought in the wake of the first tire failure, I'd spent about $1,000. I reported the failures to the trailer manufacturer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and to Goodyear. Goodyear contacted me quickly, their representative stated that I'd been assigned a claim number. I submitted a debrief and receipts to them upon request and was just notified yesterday that they intend to give me a $267 rebate on a future Goodyear purchase. Given my experience with their product, I'm not sure if that option will be exercised, frankly. Consumers beware.
  24. I just got done "flipping" the right slideout toppers whose threads had rotted due to time and UV exposure. It should be noted that this rig has been garaged since 2013. This is a wonderful benefit of having symmetrical toppers: Let one third of the fabric do open-air duty, and then retire it to the roller side, doubling the life of your toppers! On a 4-slide rig, this technique can save up to $4K during a period of ownership. A standard 7/32" RV/patio awning spline will suffice. Lessons learned: Marine 303 UV blocker should be sprayed onto fabric at least biennially. Thanks to Ingrid at StoneVos for this suggestion. Much effort can be waved by removing the plastic end caps first, releasing spring tension, and then simply sliding the roller-end spline and the outer extrusion with the spline remaining inside the extrusion. The outer spline is easiest to remove on the floor/bench. Sew worn toppers, wash the fabric, and treat with UV shield. Allow to dry on flat surface. Splines can be fed into their respective channels, on the floor/bench. The best way to install spline is to line up two work tables end-to-end against a wall, have someone "feed" the fabric and spline at the far end, and pull the splined fabric in the groove, towards the wall. When tightening the topper spring, start counting to 14 half-turns after taking up slack with the aluminum cover raised. A standard Phillips screwdriver pointed straight up inserted between the endplate and roller allows for speedy tensioning. After three half-turns, "pin" the assembly with the Phillips thru the endplate and run to the other end. Make sure fabric is centered on the roller, and not binding against the over magnet. The endplates are prone to corrode, even in dry climates. Bathe them with a corrosion preventer before installing plastic endcaps. I use Boeshield T-9.
  25. I use the Treetops RV Resort near The Parks Mall in Arlington, every time I go to training at the flight academy. While I love The Vineyards, passing planes grate on me: I'm reminded of work every moment of the day. Treetops is a decent park that is a quiet oasis among trees in the heart of a busy suburb. You could Uber four miles to the north to the Bell Station of the Trinity Railway Express, use the train to go straight to downtown Dallas.
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