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Posts posted by andyshane

  1. A dentist buddy raves about his old Pace Arrow, I had a good experience with my diesel Excursion, a 2005 model.

    There is a oft-repeated rule of thumb: infrequent drivers pick gas, frequent drivers should opt for diesel.

    Check the NADA RV listings for model hierarchy, prices. Among the Pace Arrows, there are many different models and some variation in values. In this market, you should be able to get a pristine rig at the listed wholesale price. One in need of tires or batteries, or a rig that is not in showroom condition should sell for less.

  2. Life imitates art, Larry! :P

    There's a new movie out about a guy who hires a "family" to accompany him on an RV drug-smuggling trip. It's called We're The Millers, and it is supposedly pretty bad. I couldn't help think of it, when you described your experience.

    If I may suggest, try introducing yourself before you look up the FMCA number. I imagine the encounters will become much more pleasant, for all parties involved.

  3. A brief followup: the city is struggling to control traffic, mitigate the fire danger by enforcing an outdoor smoking ban which has now been lifted, thanks to a week of rain. Now, they can focus on widening noise enforcement from relatively quiet tractor-trailers to the M60 machine gun-level open pipe cars, trucks and bikes that descend on the city like deafening locusts, each summer weekend.

    When I made the original post, I didn't understand that this battle has been ranging in various cities, and is the talk of the bike world. In fact, we're getting ready to do our 40th consecutive Myrtle Beach week next month, and that city has effectively fought against the tiny minority of car and cycle enthusiasts who try to drown out everyone else with engine noise.

    In the other forum, a member wisely counseled not to write off Ruidoso just because of a few miscreants; I can't help but agree. Along that line, we scoped out an impressive place, the Eagle Creek RV Resort outside of town, and are taking our business there, next time.

    That'll put us near Pena's Place, our favorite breakfast haunt, on the north side of town. If you visit on a weekend, get there early for Jimmy's world-famous eggs benedict. And, since both the park and Pena's are at the north end, it's easy to avoid getting your ear drums shattered by the Viagra-denied weekend pestilence terrorizing mid-town, downtown Ruidoso. :D

  4. I just published this in another forum. We're visiting Ruidoso at the moment, and the traffic and noise really stands out, compared to other cities. Others have made the same complaint, a brief online search reveals. I contacted the Chamber of Commerce, and asked that they convey the information to the local government.

    Of course, such things affect the RV community. We don't need to spend money on fuel, provisions and campground reservations, only to discover that the destination leaves much to be desired.

    For years, the wife and I have visited Ruidoso with friends; this is our second trip in the motorhome.

    While there are many RV parks here, they tend to be relatively modest. One exciting development is a big hillside resort being built near the Best Western on Route 70.

    One thing we've noticed, is the slow onset of what is best described as "road anarchy" here. Ruidoso, like some other small towns scattered across the country, is becoming a haven bikers and off-roaders. Of those, there is a small minority for whom it is important to make the same level of noise inherent to a 747 on takeoff roll. Don't ask me why; my personal opinion is that it is loosely associated with dysfunction below the belt. Further, people are in a hurry, drive with their hair on fire. Signs that the community struggles with traffic calming are everywhere: speed bumps, special enforcement zones, flashing markers, the like.

    It is a war they are clearly losing, at the moment.

    The problem is severe enough to make us re-think our travel plans, as I conveyed to the Chamber of Commerce. They have a Facebook site, as do other towns' chambers and administrations. All of us can make ourselves known via that avenue, when we wish to praise or criticize our travel destinations.

    The Chamber immediately replied, and I assure them that I'm not just in the business of complaining; that my wife and I had played tennis for two hours at the same downtown spot that was shattered by explosions of noise all weekend, and that we didn't hear a single open-pipe or bypassed vehicle the entire time.

    'Turns out, the village adopted uniform New Mexico traffic ordinances in 2010, and there is one that specifically forbids open-pipe operations. So, it's just a matter of refocusing enforcement efforts from being aimed at truckers to what the ordinance dictates: all vehicles are supposed to have functioning mufflers.

    As for the aggressive driving, Ruidoso has already exerted a large effort; they simply need to dial it up a bit, on weekends and during special events.

    FMCA members wishing to add their two cents' worth can visit the Chamber of Commerce page or the Ruidoso Police Department page, on Facebook.

  5. Sure, the window awnings are the lesser concern, if installed, but their failure can wreak all kinds of havoc.

    I grabbed my iPad and shot a little clip for folks who have Bruster awnings, now that I've seen my biggest one fail two different ways, in the course of our first six months' ownership...

    The YouTube video is

  6. You didn’t say which generator you have but I will assume it is a diesel. One thing I have learned the hard way is to change the coolant regularly and use low silicate antifreeze. There seems to be a problem with the silicate precipitating out of solution causing blockage in the radiator. As always exercising your generator properly will reduce or eliminate a lot of problems.


    Thanks, Wilde Bill! Yeh, the overflow looks like harbor water despite the dealer's assurance that all "fluids and filters" were changed. It's on my list. My generator has a paper tag that flutters whenever the bay is open denoting exercise dates. My policy is every 30 days, twenty minutes.

    In the summer, that's no problem: Momma schedules monthly vacations in the rig, and I ain't rollin' down the highway without house AC running, full cold...

  7. I posed notion of just replacing the steers at 5 years, running the drivers/tags for another year or so and replacing them incrementally.

    He said that was a bad choice.*

    His logic: that while a blowout in the rear is not likely to send you careening into oncoming traffic, it is likely to cause a lot of damage. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm on vacation now with 2006 Goodyears on the rear tires, brand-new Michelin XZE Energy tires on the steering wheels. New XZEs for the tag and drivers are on back-order.

    *Manufacturers' recommendations reign supreme, tempered by UV exposure history. I was running 2006 Goodyears with pristine sidewalls and 50% tread depth, which the company says are fine to keep, but my tire pro buddy didn't like. Goodyear won't give a specific age for recommending replacement; conventional wisdom is that the blowout rate in Goodyears leaps at the seven year point. They address the many factors that affect tire longevity HERE. Michelin, on the other hand, says tires can be used up to a decade if they are inspected annually after the first five years.

  8. Oh, you stood by the net and tossed the ball up... pardon me for racing in and making the spike.

    Quite important, if the road is anything other than straight :D

    Okay, I hear what you're saying, faced the same thing with both our rigs. After seeing the news of a fatal Louisiana bowl game Fleetwood crash at the hands of a retired bus driver who sadly perished along with one of his many passengers, I said "Very."

    On my Beaver, the front axle bears 14,500 lbs of weight, I regard those two tires the same way NASA did the nozzles of the Space Shuttle. If you lavish care on one aspect of your rig, this is it, IMHO.

  9. There is a spray coating by 3M called Defender that you spray on and it will peel off relatively easily in a year or so.

    I dunno... is it less than $1,000 a can? :P

    Hey, timely discussion. My neighbor here at Port Aransas' Tropic Island Resort has a 3M shield on his otherise lovely Holiday Rambler; it is stained and crackled, reminds me of the Cistine Chapel.

    My bare nekkid Beaver nose looks factory-new by comparison, even with its dozen or so tiny rock chips.

    I'll opt for the once-every 60K miles nose repaint...

  10. I'd put checking up on my generator low on the maintenance priority list of our new-to-us coach.

    After all, the dealer in Tucson had assured me that "all fluids and filters" were freshly changed when we purchased the Beaver Patriot Thunder in January.

    Nonetheless, the generator started as if its battery were nearly dead. In fact, a few times, it turned so slowly I had to initiate a second start cycle.

    Then, it began shutting itself down 15 - 30 minutes into its operation. The fault code was the eclectic "36", derived from holding down the Stop switch and then reading the next two sequence of flashes: tens at first, and then second digit next.

    Following the Onan guidance (their manuals are available on line), I replaced the air filter and changed the oil.

    Neither seemed tragically overdue, but were dirty. The Hobbs meter says the unit as accumulated 264 hours in its seven-year lifetime.

    Well, I should've filmed a "before" start and an "after"!

    It runs like a brand-new unit!

    So, don't despair if your generator is sluggish. The problem might not be an inherent mechanical condition; instead, it might be the fault of improper routine maintenance.

  11. I've heard from no less than 200 people who own Newmar products, rave about them. One of my closest friends grew up in a motorhome family, his father's final "dream coach" was a loaded LondonAire. My buddy is now in his second year of owning his own retirement dream machine, an '05 Essex, he loves the coach. I've helped work on it, have ridden in it with him, an rank it up there with my own 2007 Beaver Patriot Thunder.

  12. David,

    Welcome to the Forum. Give Paul Davis a look. His company is Mr Olivers. Check out his web site: http://mrolivers.com/ He has quite a few coaches to view.

    Also check out Motor Homes of Texas: http://motorhomesoftexas.com. David has some really nice coaches. Your will have a hard time finding two better dealers.

    Paul or David.


    One of my closest friends is a close friend of Paul's. Howard says Paul is the best for finding a good rig.

  13. I was pulling out my hair, suffering sporatic blown flasher fuses, on a recent trip. Then, the flasher unit itself failed. It was a maiden voyage with our new-to-us Patriot Thunder, our guests rolled their eyes every time I slid open the window to signal with my arm, got honked at, pulled into a truck stop to change yet another set of fuses.

    Finally, I unplugged the dolly lights and didn't blow another fuse.

    Today, after three hours of diagnostics and disassembling the dolly electrical system, I finally spotted the culprit: two tiny bites on a pair of wires going through a brand-new finder to the light assembly bolted to the outside.

    Yes, after catastrophic blowouts on BOTH sides of the dolly due to inferior OEM tires, I had to install new fenders. They arrive prewired, are simply mounted and plugged in. Turns out, at the factory the person who installed the lights put so much pressure on the wiring where it passes through the 1/4" hole that the insulation was severed inside of 2,000 miles of use. Of course, none of the pass-throughs are engineered with a 20 cent rubber grommet to protect the wiring; so, this kind of failure was bound to be repeated, had I not wrapped the wires in thick rubber tape.

    It seems dollies are designed to sell, rather than to last.

  14. You all have put the Fear of God in me... I've already put XZEs on the front, scheduling the rears as soon as she gets in off the road.

    I just parked next to a 2007 Scepter owner -- he hates the bus* -- here in Galveston, and he opted to put XZEs on the steering axle and installed a full set of Wanli tires on the rear axles.

    His argument: that casino bus operators have deemed the Chinese Wanli as a favorite, "...they cruise 80 mph loaded with people..."

    Your thoughts?

    BTW, my tire guy re-torqued the steering wheels after 100 miles of driving, said that one lugnut was indeed loose. Remember to do a second torque!!

    * His is plagued with electrical woes, I was saying that I've signed off my 60th writeup prior to the end of my first trip, and that some stem from improper rigging or hardware on the assemblyline.

  15. We're using a dolly, and I'm not certain to what extent I can recommend the practice. In the past, I've been a strong advocate of dollies, but now think they fill a specialized niche in the RV community.

    Yeh, you can haul different vehicles (guests arrive Wednesday with a rented* minivan that'll go on it for our upcoming trip). And, storing it at campsites or event venues has never been a problem. But, the dolly requires special considerations absent in 4-down towing.

    The engineering of our Roadmaster is anything but optimum: its Load Range C tires are marginal, and the OEM Carlisle tires -- I dare you to Google "Carlisle" along with "failure" or "dangerous" or "blowout" -- are notoriously dangerous. Two have exploded on ours, destroying the fender each time. I'm using Karrier Loadstars at present, but plan to upgrade both tires to Load Range D models.

    However, even if the dolly came with good tires that possessed a large weight range margin, the it must be maintained at regular intervals. The suspension as designed is ridiculously sloppy, making precise alignment impossible. After experiencing uneven wear of my new Loadstars, I've modified the steering arm, and have dialed in the alignment to perfection. It requires a complete re-torque, alignment and lube every 3,000 miles. Not a challenge for even a modest home shop, but daunting to many RV'ers.

    Most people gripe about the effort it takes to hook up and unhook the vehicle, but I don't regard that as a problem. Most of the time, I'm loaded or unloaded faster than a 4-down unit. My wife easily mounts the car onto the dolly, has made several solo trips towing her car.

    And, dolly use doesn't leave its mark on a car: no excessive mileage, holes in the bumper, wear from the braking unit, etc.

    In all, I'd say that dollies are a bad deal unless you meet all three of the following conditions: you wish to tow a variety of vehicles, bending and crouching aren't problems, and you have a shop. If any of those are missing, spend the extra money and give up a little flexibility; tow 4 down.

    * All applicable legal and safety precautions have been addressed

  16. We opted for the Roadmaster dolly, I've got mixed feelings.

    After the first year of use, I've come to some conclusions.

    Foremost, I feel that the OEM tires are dangerous, not appropriate to the dolly.

    Carlisle has settled with me after two catastrophic failures that have destroyed fenders each time; the blowouts join thousands of others in online reports, I've debriefed the NHTSA.

    To their credit, Carlisle paid me for the lost tires and damage to the dolly.

    Honestly, I think the solution might lie in opting for a higher load range tire -- that is what the tire professionals seem to believe -- since the Load Range C is asked to support a considerable portion of its allowable load. The tires are rated to carry 3,520 lbs and the dolly itself weighs 620 lbs, and you can haul a 4,380 lb vehicle on the dolly. If 2/3 of the weight is focused on the front axle, as if the norm for front wheel drive, my math shows you've arrived within 10 lbs of the tires' load limit. Legal, but not smart. So far, my new Karrier Loadstars have stood up to the challenge, but it is my plan to put beefier tires on the dolly, for peace of mind.

    Roadmaster said they were looking into the tire problem. But, I believe they are still distributing dollies with the Carlisle tires, which reportedly (and by my experience) blow out before reaching 3,000 miles. Google the topic for yourselves. You'll be horrified.

    There is too much play in the steering of the dolly as designed, making it impossible to precisely align. After noting abnormal wear in my new Loadstars' tread, I added washers beneath the balljoint to stabilize the steering, allowing me to align to factory specs.

    Otherwise, it is an impressive and strong dolly. I certainly prefer the flexibility of dolly use, and it is ultimately cheaper.

    Hello all.

    I am considering a dolly for my '13 Winnebago Vista 35B. Please do not turn this into a dinghy -vs- dolly, because I am set on a dolly...

  17. Hilarious! I learned something new, will reciprocate.

    KayCee and I were in your position 2 1/2 years ago, albeit starting RV'ing as an alternative to staying in pet-friendly hotels while doing dog competitions.

    Unlike you, we wanted to start small to determine if we'd even like being alone in an RV for extended periods of time. I mean, it isn't for everybody. We were going to cut our teeth on a 30-some foot gasser first, then upgrade. Along the way, my wife's tastes got pricier and then our neighbors discovered they couldn't sell their RV. After they bought a Newell. We rode to their rescue, and went from knowing nothing to rolling down the road in a 40 diesel pusher, in a flash.

    One pearl I can offer (other than not including the Hash gig in the Teamwork/Followership block of your EPR), is to think about the value-added aspect of buying used.

    If you get a new coach, that $300K should purchase you about $360K of RV (buyers are paying at least 20% under invoice, normally). Within five years, your lovely home will ring in at about $180K.

    Plus, that first year of ownership normally involves lots of break-in challenges, trips to the dealer, and maybe even a couple of trips to the factory itself.

    If you buy a 2 or 3 year old unit that has been carefully maintained, that process will be finished and your $300K might buy a $500K coach. Better yet, get the one that MSRP'd for $360K for $210K and invest the remainder for a rainy day.

    I have mixed feelings about driver training. You can read your way through most of it, give it time to sink in. Getting the appropriate license in itself is part of a decent orientation program for stepping up to the bigger vehicle. Here in Texas, I'll guess that 85% of RV owners are driving on the wrong license. I'd fill that square ASAP, before you're swamped in the challenges of learning a new RV.

    Really, long discussions with RVers and maybe a mall/church/school parking lot stint with a friend who owns a DP might be as helpful as trying to drink from the proverbial firehose during a short comprehensive course. The wife and I bought a dozen orange rubber cones and murdured many in several sessions spent practicing in a school parking lot.

    My wife and I joined a convoy of friends for our first trip, they helped us navigate our first KOA after a three-hour state highway journey together.

    The act of driving seems to boil down to a few simple basics: stabilize in the middle of the lane and develop a sense for the space you take up by watching other vehicles. Remember that all turns are squared, meaning that you're cognizant of where both of your back corners are. A hard 90 degree right in traffic is the most challenging; there will be times when you either stop until that guy in the left turn lane backs up, or you opt for aborting the turn and going either straight ahead or left. Be mindful of clearance top, side, bottom. And, allow room for starting and stopping.

    As a newbie, restrict your driving environment. Start out daylight only, no heavy traffic, no city driving. Heck, you can do a whole vacation inside those three parameters. Read up on how to set and use mirrors, how to work as a team when backing into sites. We even extend slideouts as a team. And, we treat the act of anyone other than the two of us offering marshalling/directions as a high risk venture to be avoided. One recent trip, I resisted a staff member's impatient waving for me to keep turning, coming into a site. Unbeknownst to him, he was trying to talk me into creaming a golf cart that was hidden from his view. Take everything slowly, and use your partner. I'm generally the one outdoors in the elements, the wife does all the delicate maneuvering. The most critical hand signal is "Stop!" Everything else is icing on the proverbial cake. If my hand signals fail altogether, I raise a single index finger and make a slow circle. That's a manual reversion of sorts: she mirrors my motion with the wheel, so that in essense I'm operating the rig by remote control. We also use checklists. Both our former Fleetwood Excursion and the current Beaver Patriot Thunder have 39 items to complete after the manufacturer's pre-trip chassis check, before being in motion.

    There. That's pretty much it. Now, there will be a tsunami of other stuff, like pre-trip planning, checking systems, tracking maintenance, using a truckers' atlas, avoidance of night docking at first, learning not to make spontaneous diversions from your planned route, etc. But, no driving instructor can cover all of that. You'll scrape a street sign, maybe settle the steps onto a rock, drag the belly, or pull a lake that's formed atop a slideout into the coach with you. There are a million lil' gotchas, reading people's accounts of experiencing them is about the only way to learn aside from having it happen in person.

    You've probably already begun watching truckers' techniques, and have maybe ridden with an experienced RV'er. As you drive your car, ponder what you'd do with three times the stopping distance and a 25 foot wheelbase, an 8 1/2' width not counting mirrors. Get in the habit of looking for low-hanging wires, overpasses less than 14', tree limbs. I'd say habit pattern formation reigns supreme.

    Best of luck. Make sure you share the details of this great adventure with your FMCA friends!

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