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  1. Here's something to check if everything else has failed. If your rig has an exhaust retarder brake, and most diesel pushers do, make sure it's working correctly. If it does not *release* completely when the brake is off, you will have an exhaust restriction. This is bad when your engine needs to produce a lot of power, such as on a hill. Overheating is a sure bet, along with possible turbo damage.
  2. N8VTXN

    Fuel Mileage

    Are you using any of that BioDiesel added fuel? Biodiesel has much less BTU content than regular diesel fuel. When they add biodiesel to fuel to make it "green", it mostly just adds green to their bank account. You will actually burn more fuel per mile, so any "over all" pollution mitigation or "green" aspects are highly questionable. I have a CAT turbo 300 and get around 11 MPG towing a Jeep on level ground with no wind in economy mode on the tranny. A lot can be said for large engines and fuel use. That extra power comes with the penalty of reduced fuel economy. Big engines have a lot more "internal friction" and losses than smaller engines and need more fuel just to idle. Also watch your RPM's, diesels get the best mileage at around 1500-1600 RPM's on the highway. Hills always kill fuel mileage. I never buy fuel with added BioDiesel. Synthetic oil always helps too. Tire pressure is one of the worst fuel mileage offenders, aside from the headache of more frequent blowouts. If you smoke at the tailpipe, your wasting fuel. Avoid that as much as possible.
  3. One of the best fuel saver devices is a good working and often used tire pressure gauge!
  4. N8VTXN

    K & N Air Filters

    Hey, I've seen some topics that talk about these K & N oiled reusable air filters not being approved by a lot of OEM engine manufacturers, especially in the diesel forums. The claim is that these filters let in more dirt with the improved air flow. I am under the impression they are blowing this way out of proportion severely and here's why: I have a gas burning light truck that has had a K & N in it since before I owned it. Now it has almost 200,000 miles on the engine and it doesn't even burn oil! That's a lot of miles for a gas engine! I've overhauled lots of engines in my days and have never seen any engine last anywhere near this long that has been getting much of any amount of dirt in it! On top of that, I don't even clean or "regenerate" this filter near as much as it is recommended. I think K & N has been getting a major bummed rap here. I know that getting the sulfur out of the fuel has had a major impact on engine life, but dirt is dirt and no engine will last long if dirt is getting in. I also use full synthetic oil, but that won't save you either if dirt is getting in. I need to make a post on synthetic oil, I'm a firm believer in it and with good reason. My late father was a chemical engineer that designed many refineries and chem. plants. Hydrocarbon science has progressed considerably in the last 40 years. Speaking of that, where did that 26 cents a gallon gas go! When I was in high school, I could fill up for less than $5. Now days that will just buy a gallon.
  5. I was surprised when I was checking out the forum topics that there was no topic headings for things like Cooking, Weather Issues and Boondocking. These are usually hot topics with most motorhome vacationers, weekend campers and full-timers. As for Boondocking, I'm not talking about an occasional night at camp "Wally" (Walmart), but camping in some of the more scenic parks that have no hookups, such as the National Forest Service parks, the Smokey Mountains, etc. Thanks!
  6. Big Bend NP can be a spectacular visit, especially when it rains in the mountains. Not often, but a spectacular view, sometimes you can see the rain evaporating before it hits the ground. Unless you like heat, or have real good AC in your rig, stay away in the summer. When I was young, our scout summer camp, in Fort Davis, averaged in the 110's during the day, more like Arizona than anywhere else. Know know the old saying; but it's a dry heat! <rolling laugh> Plenty of rattlesnakes, and oh yes, there are mountain lion's. You can hear their unique sounding cries at night. There's the "Ghost Lights" in the hills and mountains near Marfa. There was once a huge scientific telescope near Fort Davis, don't know if it is still there, and there is the old restored fort itself. There is Alpine, a unique town, along with valleys and spring fed creeks in the middle of a desert like hill and mountain environment. If your very brave, and have a wild side, there is the Terlingua chili cookoff in the first weekend in November. It's the "Superbowl" of all of the chili cookoffs in the Nation. They actually have it on a ranch 50 or so mile from Alpine near a tiny "one horse" town named Study Butte, TX if I remember my directions correctly. There is no such thing as a town named Terlingua. Be forewarned that the event is more like a motorcycle rally, or a Texas "Woodstock", than a formal cooking contest. I was very young last time I went. On a last note, be careful, you are very close to the border and there are a few serious outlaws wandering in the wilderness in that area. Most are illegals that have crossed the border. It has always been that way since the days of range cattle, no fences, and cattle rustling before Texas was a state, and now days, probably worse due to the drug smugglers. We once had a good friend that was a border patrol agent in that area, he passed on due to illness quite a few years ago. It's perfectly OK to "sight see" but don't linger too long in any one area, especially if you are in a really nice rig, just keep moving. Be careful of strangers that can't speak english. If there is a well protected RV park available, you will be OK. Since I have yet to RV cruise this area, I don;t know the campgrounds. We grew up traveling that area almost every month as my father was a competition marksman and most of the competition events were in Marfa or Presidio. I do look forward to returning and making an RV cruise through the Big Bend area and mountains around Marfa, Presidio, and Alpine someday.
  7. Here is a different solution to staying connected literally anywhere. Go to this web site: http://www.mobileinternetsatellite.com These folks are easy to deal with and honest. I am actually posting to this blog from the system they provided! The service I am using from the available set up's offered by these folks is Starband. Starband is similar to the Hughs DirectWay satellite internet system but they don't cut you off if you use too much. Starband just cuts your speed way down for a few days, but you can still connect. So far I have never crossed this threshold, they seem to be very easy to get along with. They play straight and are not manipulative like the cell companies are. You simply just take a test and become your own certified satellite installer. Takes a little learning at first but once you get past that the rest is easy. You could install for others if you wanted some extra income but it's not required. While they do offer the more expensive fully automated systems, I have had great success with nothing more than a manual tripod dish much the same as TV satellite. The reason you must become certified is that the dish actually transmits to the satellite. TV satellite systems cannot communicate with the satellite, they are one way signal receivers only, and hence require no license or certification. This has really become a pet peeve of mine. I just plain got fed up with all of the cell phone companies and they're just plain LOUSY service, and endless consumer manipulation strategies. Tried three different providers, directional antenna's, boosters, and hours upon hours of time fiddling with pointing antenna's and trying to finding decent reception with that type of service. Sometimes I would get great service, but usually very poor service. On one CG spot, good service, another pad in the same park, almost no service. Trees in the way, blind spots, and oh yea, "Agreed Blind Spots". These are spots that are intentionally designated blind spots. I have found that a lot of Corp of Engineers CG's want the cell phone services blanked out in the area or the park. You see, the cell phone antenna's know where you are located with amazing precision. If you happen to be in one of those agreed blind spots you will see a connection start with a high mark, 4 or 5 bars as the modem or air card looks for valid signals, then suddenly revert to 1 or less bars when the cell towers computer system locates your exact position to be in the "no service" zone. Being an "extra class" licensed ham operator, having built my first radio transmitter back in the late 60's I am not new to radio and computer technology. Now days, it only takes one cell tower to locate your position using phased array technology. Triangulation requiring 3 towers is old school legacy technology, still fun on ham fox hunts though. Now, with the dish, it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to set up and lock on the signal, and I'm done! Great speed and an extremely reliable connection. I used to take 1 to 2 hours fiddling with the directional antenna's, boosters, etc., and then in many spots I might just get barely tolerable service. With the dish I do use a meter to lock the signal and highly recommend that, it's a lot faster than giving your wife the walkie talkie and her waitng for the signal strength to show on your computer so she can tell you how you are doing with the dish aiming! Now days, all I need is a hole in the tree just big enough to beam the dish through, and I have yet to land in a spot where I could not do that. Anywhere, in any state, there is always a great internet connection. One last note, with a dish, the signal is beamed straight to the satellite, not very easy for some low life to listen in on your signal like WiFi or cell phone signals and hack into your data. Security is much better. The only downside is that you do have to park somewhere and set up the dish. If you preplan your route from stop to stop this need not be an issue. Just use a notebook computer with WiFi next to a McDonalds or Starbucks or some similar place if you need to connect while in route between stops. For phone service, we just use plain old prepaid cells now, simple, no hassles or manipulations, and you can buy airtime at any WalMart anytime you like, although we don't really use that much airtime. Hey this is my first post here, I'll take more time to figure out the bells and whistles of this blog editor later!
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