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Everything posted by alltooledup

  1. I had some problems trying to buy batteries at Sams Club. My group 33 starting batteries come as a pair. Sams had a split pair with an 9 month difference in the date code. Paired batteries should always have the same date code or just call it age. When I asked about it they said that they could not get anymore batteries until they sold the ones they had. Then when I looked at the golf cart batteries ( wetcells) they were on a rack that had them tilted about 15 degrees, were some of the plates left high and dry? I was in a small town in AZ. I wanted to get AGM's from AutoZone but they did not stock the deep cycle. Finally went to Batteries Plus and they ordered everything with the understanding that the dates must match. They followed through and it all came out well. The X15 AGM's that I got were heavier than equivalent Duracell so I took that to mean more or heavier plates. They have gold plated terminals (marketing hype IMHO) and came with stainless nuts and washers. Their guarantee is better than Duracell or the AutoZone AGM's. Sams is charging for the warranty so if comparing them find the cost to make an accurate comparison. I agree that buying from a vendor with a lot of locations makes good sense. I was fortunate that I did my change out while some rebates were going on as the AGM's were pricey. If you don't like watering and cleaning terminals and fighting battery box corrosion AGM's seem to be the cure. After 10 months of use they are still corrosion free. My Intellepower converter with the charge wizard is fully compatible for AGM. I am a firm believer in Rustoleum damp proof primer for rusted or corroded metal and applied a quick coat as we were in a campground and did not want to bother my neighbors.
  2. In a former life I was the lonely Maytag repair man When the convection ovens first came out, they bragged about faster more even cooking. They also stressed if you were baking some thing covered like a potroast conventional baking, not using the fan was just as good. So for cookies, bread, pizza a convection oven will excel. We have the drop in oven and 3 burner range. Most of the time the oven is for storage and a bread keeper. We made some casseroles that came out good enough for people to want the recipe. This was in winter so the added heat was welcome. Propane does generate H2O while being burnt, more than most would imagine, 1 gallon per 100 cu ft of gas. Unlike your furnace all combustion by products are vented inside. So if your using AC the vented to the outside electric convection oven is a big plus, in winter the LP gets the nod unless you have moisture problems causing condensation on walls and windows.
  3. A good place to buy wiper if in the midwest is the home center chain, Menards. They handle Bosch and Rainex brands. I bought the Rainex Lattitude as it is a single beam very streamlined and less likely to hold ice and snow. The 28 inch blades were cross drilled and I used the existing screw. I have no connection to the merchant or Rainex. Those that dont treat their glass with the rainex treatment are really missing out on some amazing technology, wipers dont really need to be run unless you are stopped or in a cloud burst, that being said I usually do run mine.
  4. Well, unless you are an cross country truck driver or a farmer with big equipment, driving a motor home is new territory. I had driven trucks to 5 tons and semi cabs as a vehicle repairman in the Army and then did a few sprints in a 2.5 ton delivery truck but camping is something different especially after a 40 year lapse of driving anything bigger than a van or pickup. Last fall went to a KOA in LR Ar. and could not believe how tight it was. Maybe an old campground, it was raining cats and dogs we were late, others took our site as the only one left was flooded, could barely cut the turn, a pull through with a $50+ fee had to unhook the toad to get in. So there are always things going on that are out of your control. One thing I feel is going on is a lot of fearmongering by people who would do most anything to sell you insurance. I know there are equipment failures, I know there are unscrupulous people that repair motor homes but there are unscrupulous people that repair everything.Many other repair shops are so friendly and helpful that it brings home the concept that people are people and will behave as they will. Some tire manufacturers are recanting their 7 year limit for tire lifespan, The original poster storing their coach indoors and using it infrequently would have a different tire condition to full timer out and about 365 days a year. A willingness to learn can go a long way to avoiding the unforeseen. When that oil soaked AC hose would blow out if ever is not known but your inspection and corrective action has stopped what might have been a nuisance or if crossing Death Valley a problem. Look for the excellent video on U-Tube Produced by Lazy Days about parking your rig. Then follow through with the marks on the mirrors. There system works very well if implemented but it is so easy to watch the video and not do the rest. Count me guilty on the mirror marks, so simple but so easy to put off.
  5. We bought a new Thor class C in 2011. We had many issues including a non working water heater and the coach was in the shop for months. Items were not repaired when we got it back. We complained to Thor and they sent us to another shop. Everything was fixed and we had no other trouble other than the gen would sometimes not start from the panel inside. It was an intermittent problem. One of the tabs that hold the spade connector into its insulation had bent and the spade was not contacting the switch. It was out of warranty by then so I fixed it myself. Need less to say motor home problems can take the joy out of this hobby. If my memory serves me right the federal lemon law does not apply to motor homes just automobiles. I was considering that avenue before Thor sent me to a dealer that actually would fix things.So from my experience the place where you buy your coach is important for the reliability of their service department. Some have recommended buying a used coach from a premium manufacturer. We did trade in our C on a class A but many do look down on the brand we bought as not being premium. As motor homes are essentially custom built from purchased components and the flyers always state that specifications are subject to change coaches of the same model could perform differently due to different components. The windows and doors, water heaters, refrigerators, slide out mechanisms, leveling jacks, generator, charger maintainer, and much more are all made by someone other than the manufacturer of the coach. The coach chassis might be outsourced. Now comes the interesting part who ever made the component has to approve the warranty work so there might be a little or a lot of time lost in getting approval for repairs. This last item was the explanation for the coach being tied up for a month. It was summer maybe they put the paying customers to the head of the cue thinking I did not need the coach as I am local. I agree with those that say buy older and get a quality brand. My observation is that an A is higher quality than a C but I must confess I did not consider the ultra premium Super B a C motorhomes due to their price point. When we bought in 2011 you couldn't touch a Class A for less than $100,000 now 2015 C&A are equal in price. So far I am delighted with the fit and finish of our new old 2006 Damon Astoria. The way they did the mechanical and electrical systems looks to be workman like, and they seem to have made a good effort to balance the weight with the gen, propane and fuel, leveling hydraulics mounted in the front. The fuel and propane are inside the frame so that appears to be a plus for safety. There is some wind noise from the driverside window but we can speak in a normal voice and hear what is said which is very different from our class C. The original poster was having lots of trouble with Fleetwood but my cousin just bought a 40' Fleetwood and has had almost no problems. He had a list of small items and made an appointment to have them fixed at the Decatur In. factory while he was here and it all worked out great. Here is a link to some bloggers that are partnering in some way with Fleetwood. They used to blog from a HR FED. http://www.fleetwoodrv.com/gonewiththewynns/. I thought when they were first negotiating with Fleetwood it was a gasser but now they are showing a 33" DP. So it is not the same beast as the OP in this topic. Earlier gone with the Wynns blog posts show the same couple showing off their HR. So it is fun to watch a starry eyed just in love Motor homer talking about their new coach. Sorry for rambling on an old topic but thought my ideas might be helpful to others than the original poster who seems to have moved on and not closed the topic.
  6. Indiana has an excise tax on motor vehicles. The powers at be gave a tax cut to cars and trucks but not to motor homes Our first motor home $60,000 purchase price new tags were over a $1,000 and state sales tax of 7%. This is the state where most motor-homes are born but we have a punitive state excise and sales tax for motor home owners. Sorry to see that Arizona is also of the same mindset. I guess they feel they own you cause of the warmer weather. Indiana has no excuse to not be Motor Home friendly in every way. The state government makes claims about being job creators and business friendly but has no credence with their tax policy concerning ownership of RV's Travel TRailers and Motor Homes as that is the North Eastern Indiana economy. . One thing That Indiana does that is friendly to vehicle purchasers is allow a deduction for trade in to lower the purchase price as concerned to sales tax. This of course is a major consideration for Indiana purchasers. If you can get this deduction as an out of state purchaser or buying from a private party I do not know.
  7. Powerstroker, there are some amazing deals on high end coaches. Seems like the rich and famous get tired of the same thing in a short while. They are busy so cant use it or what ever but there are some apparent good bargains for some one with the moolah to go top end. There might be something said for a coach that has been lived in. Problems might not show up right away and a slightly used coach might have all the little stuff and maybe some big stuff taken care of. Being time limited in your use could pose problems with servicing. My original coach dealer did'nt think 2 or 3 weeks wait was a problem. We are in an area that has about 6 months of comfortable weather. Plus we were burning up our warranty with the coach in the shop being un used just waiting for something to fail. I have come totaly full circle from wanting new to buying used from a reliable seller. Lots of stuff happens right off the git go and if you buy used hopefully it will all be fixed. The other side is that it may not be fixable and the original owner is bailing out I would not dismiss looking in Elkhart In. where most of these coaches are made. The dealers are quite familiar to dealing with buyers from everywhere. My most recent coach was purchased at Total Value RV and I found them to be reliable Dave Olson was my salesman and he has broad experience in the coach industry 1-574-262-4460. Realize that a coach made in Elkhart has to go 1000 miles to Fl and you will pay for the trip even it you didn't get to go along. A used coach is totally different and the bargains are where they are. An inspection of any coach might be prudent or a waste of money depending on the outcome. . So you have a lot to think about. One coach offers 2yr warranty for new purchase . Good luck with your purchase
  8. Thanks, Tom and Louise. Bought a used coach so it is good to see what your cost were after some years and some miles. So did you have a long term warranty policy? If you did is that factored into your spread sheet? Thanks again for providing your experience of your cost for such an extended period and the spread sheet printed good on this end .
  9. We just moved up from a 29 foot class C to a 37 foot class A. Before we bought our previous coach we had read a lot about 27' limit to coach size in national and state parks. Then when we got there there were all these behemoth 5th wheels and coaches . When we were hooked up with the toad we had to uncouple only 2 times in 12,000 miles once for a GPS error on a deadend road that was supposed to go to a campground and a Loves Travel Center much smaller than most. We were just lucky with love for a while but then like many loves it fell apart At BadLands NP there was a semi cab pulling a toy hauler that garaged a smart car! So I am hoping and betting as we have moved up in length that campgrounds are going have larger sites. Our local campground Indiana Dunes State Park remodeled from a mostly tent facility to a large motorhome friendly park just last year. Clifty falls and Brown County also can handle big vehicles. Custer State Park in SD has campgrounds for everyone no matter the size. Cave of the Winds NP in SD had very large sites we just drove through to look and as is the case in most every camp ground there are massive 5 wheels. Some of the Escapees parks have a 40' limit but by looking at the photos a larger coach or trailer would fit. So this is just what I have been seeing in IN, Mich, SD, NM and it is possible there are more smaller sites so the smaller the coach/camper the easier it is to get a spot. One other thing that I noticed on our 2014 SD trip is that there is often a private campground very close to state and national parks with lots of campers. This may be due to the private campgrounds offering full hookups which the NP system does not favor or it could be a blanket size limit at the park. Pictured Rocks NP in Michigans entry road was a 2 track so they were not kidding about the size limit.
  10. Nursing home and assisted living Yikes LoL. Agree with Brett cracked case you would have a bigger spot and need to fill the batt. Maybe you just overfilled and the cold caused an overcharge on some cells and created a boil over. Your nose will give you a hint that you might be overcharging ie acid smell. A long time ago we used to take the caps off of batteries that we charged with a high amperage dumb charger. If you did not you might have acid fountains through the vent holes in the caps The converter on my coach (2006 Damon) Intellepower is supposed to be a smart charger as it has a plug in module "wizard" that will desulphate a battery periodically to prolong its life. If your coach has this smart converter it may have done a little boil while it is desulphating. My converter is hidden away on top of the fresh water tank. I just discovered it by accident. It is one bay away from the batteries in a high and dry location I just bought a smart charger for use at home and it has a reconditioning mode that also will desuphate a battery. After reading many reviews of my Stanley smart 15/2 charger maintainer on Amazon it seems to have helped some and others were not so fortunate. I tried to recondition my snow plow truck battery that sits idle 99% of the year and it did not survive. The battery was weak but after the recondition it was la morte Kind off topic but maybe useful to others, the reason I bought the smart charger was I did not realize my Blue Ox Patriot brake had a wet cell battery in it. So it sat around not connected to power while we were not traveling. It would no longer work giving low battery warnings on its display. The helpful people at Blue Ox explained that the low battery was in the brake not the toad! (cant tell you how many times I started the toad motor to charge the low battery. It always did seem funny that a low battery could start the engine) I tried to charge it with the smart Stanley charger but it would not take. A completely dead battery cannot be charged with a smart charger. Then I paralleled the brake power cord with my lawn tractor battery and did a recondition cycle with the Stanley smart charger, which can take days. So the Patriot batt came back to life and the lawn tractor battery seemed more powerful also. The smart chargers can put out high frequency voltage to the battery to knock the sulphate off the plates. I have had some sucess but I also have smelled a strong acid smell from my Damon motorhome with the charge wizzard module and it did have lots of acid buildup on the terminals. I just got it so have no idea how old the batteries are or how they were maintained. The dealer said they had serviced the batteries but a month later they had acid flowers all over and were very low on water. I am hoping that the strong acid smell was from a normal desulphation cycle from the charge wizard. I am also hoping the smart converter with its wizard module will not overcharge and am keeping the coach powered up during storage. I have considered Brett's idea of using a timer but with this past weeks subzero temps I am leaning to keeping the coach powered when in storage to protect the batteries from freezing. I have seen battery cases that cracked from freeze expansion. Hope this was helpful to someone Akadeadeye keep us posted on what you find out..
  11. That seems like a really good price. Where did you buy them?
  12. Freestoneangler, I just finished a search with nearly the same ideas that you have. We wanted to keep it short for SP and NP camping and I thought that a smaller coach would get better fuel economy. We had a 29 ft Thor on a E450 chasis. We liked the floor plan but I was bothered by the inability to get any use from the cab area when camping. So a class A with revolving seats seemed like a good idea. We loved the 30' FR3 floor plan but I was apprehensive about the f53 chassis handling. We met people that had a 29' Winnebago that had the heavy duty stabilizer added and the Bilstein shocks and it was still a handful in winds. My cousin bought a new Fleetwood 40' and he was getting 9 mpg towing a Honda CRV. That got me looking at how much difference in weight there is between a 35 and a 38 or 40' MH. It is 605# in the Damon Astoria 3465 vs 3595 models so there is not much difference for the extra 3 feet. We ended up getting a 2006 Astoria 3595 which is 37'9". Longer than I wanted but the floor plan was perfect for our needs. We have the swivel cockpit seats and a lounge chair that is kind of not needed. This coach may get 9-10 mpg but it is diesel with the higher fuel cost and other higher cost for maintenance. The handling is superb and grades do not seem to bother it. I have seen many clean low milage DP coaches many stored under roof so they are out there but you might have to pay more for a shorter coach. As Brett pointed out by the time you get the wheels and the engine in there you are over 30 foot. Check out the Wynns web site they went from a 35' HR to a gas drive. Good luck in your search.
  13. Drove it in Scion XB before we started motor home travel. The road is good but there are drop offs in a lot of places. My wife does not like the drop offs and she held her breath in some spots. :-) Picturesque names like Devils Back bone kind of give you an idea of what to expect. This was a CCC project if memory serves me right. Don't miss the Kiva restaurant if you can get your rig parked but that may not be possible.
  14. Thanks for the info and the link. Guess I was over reacting. I usually dewinterize and sanitize the FW tank at home and drain it onto my gravel drive way. Our neighborhood is on city water so there is no risk of contaminating someones well.
  15. So we hope to be able to travel to a warmer climate than Indiana. Just got the coach and it got cold so had to winterize to protect the plumbing and FW systems. I used two different antifreezes one was polypropylene and the other was possibly a mixture of glycol and alcohol. They can just state that it might have both on the label! I hate to do this and blow everything out first but feel I have to do it here in our below zero climate. So going to FL or AR or NM what do we do to sanitize our FW? Seems like if a bunch of people were dumping their contaminated drain tanks the ground water in a septic system would be in danger. So what do late travelers to the sunbelt do with their winterized systems? So due to the late purchase and early winterization our unit has not been sanitized but due to adding all those chemicals I thought what was the use. I know the FW is dirty as there are black spots on the inside of the tank. The coach was not used for a number of years I am giving a heads up to Brett about filling through a particle filter but not charcoal that would remove chlorine. Point of use seems to be the way to go. Thanks ahead for any advice.This must be an old topic but I can't find anything in my searches.
  16. We camped at the park 2 years ago. It was a nice place and as we had never seen wild turkeys close up it was quite a thrill to watch them foraging in the campsites. We camped in a 28 ft class C pulling a Jeep Patriot and thought the site was more than adequate. The hiking trails are good from my limited experience, Lighthouse trail was fun but I did not go all the way there. Don't miss going into Canyon City and the University Museum. Has everything you could imagine and a Georgia O'Keefe wing or room. I think we did three days at the camp ground which was a little rushed. Yes the road into the park is somewhat breathtaking. If you have been driving around the western mountains or West Virginia you can probably do it OK. It is a steep grade to the bottom of the Canyon. Maybe a little tighter turns and steeper grade angle but my Ford E450 did not complain and the toad dutifully followed us to our campsite:-) It is a great park that we just went to on a whim but would go back again. The town Canyon is quite nice and urbane so you can have your wilderness experience and see a world class museum all in the same day.
  17. I also am concerned about the cold weather and freeze protection. Our 2007 Damon Astoria that we just purchased utilizes the propane furnace to supply heat to the tanks and plumbing in the storage areas. I was looking at supplemental tank heaters and was shocked at their amperage draw for the 12 volt ones as TButler guessed they would drain the batteries in a short time. So I have been looking at supplemental heaters and found a Honeywell Heatbud that draws 170-250 watts and a Thermo Cube which is a plug adaptor thermostat with 35 degree on and 45 degree off. Have not tried this setup and am kind of apprehensive as the heater has lots of disclaimers for distance to combustible material. Just figuring this for if and when we get caught in a cold snap. We were at Custer State Park in SD and got caught in a once in 100 years cold snap with snow this past October. Then the power failed and our propane was gone:-) So while it ai'nt really camping it can be kind of like roughing it.:-) Interested to hear what others are using to fight freezing tanks and plumbing. Thanks Dennis
  18. This topic is kind of where I am right now. We just bought a 20007 Damon Astoria with 10,400 miles and 175 hrs on the genset. I did not get any mintenantce records so I went with the full 15,000 mile mtintenance. I had all the engine oil, air, fuel, transmission spin on cartridges replaced and new Rotella T5 synblend oil. The Allison tranny uses synthetic oil Transynd. I also had the Genset oil, air, fuel filters and oil changed. The gen is a diesel so we used the same Rotella T5 oil. I also had the chassis greased and the same as a DOT inspection which our state does not require for a Motor home. So while our coach is seven years old the hoses and belts were good. I had them take the drain plug from the fuel tank and check that there was no water or algae in the bottom of the tank. All systems checked out good so I am happy that no major problem were present. Now I know where the maintenance is at on the coach. Allison wants the transmission spin on changed at 5,000 to remove manufacturing debris now it will require no filter changes until rebuild. It should outlive me as should the engine:-) As Herman said guess and double the number. One filter was $200 not sure which it was but we did have the air brake cartridge replaced which might be the pricey one or the Allison but it came out at $1011, with me providing the engine oil.The oil was $12.99 a gallon and it took about 5 gallons. So it was indeed double what I expected but the price of peace of mind and safety for the air brake systems and chassis made cheaping out not worth while for me. I originally tried a Freightliner Oasis shop that is supposed to cater to motor homes but when I told him what I wanted he never called me back. We went with an independent servicer Carl's Truck and Trailer and I am confident they did a quality job. Our coaches tires were age cracked on the rear and the front had been replaced. Part of our deal was for new rear tires which we were told was a $2,000 value. They are Michelin and they don't come cheap Dbdreamers they had a DutchStar with 5,000 mile on it at TotalValuerv.com tell Dave Olson that Dennis sent you:-) . So now we just need to learn where to go to find the nice weather.:-)
  19. Newbie here, Continue to tell us how it works. Thanks for sharing especially about fuel, well actually everthing you said was good to know Thanks again Dennis
  20. Hi, We just changed from an 11 class C Thor to an Astoria 3595 06 model. I had heard that the coach was entry level and used many things found in lesser coaches.There are some light fixtures in secondary areas, windows and shades are the same. Bearing in mind that we just got it I am not seeing what people were saying for the most part. There may be some things that are not better but our class C was well equipped (we lost our power awning) A few things that look good to me on our Astoria besides the great floor plan for our use. Smart charger converter, High quality dinette seating, comfy recliner chair, High quality sofa bed (for sitting we have not slept in it as a bed), Fit and finish is much better than the C, great storage areas with pull out drawers, comfy bed, better fixtures in galley and bath. We don't think much of marble or Corian so the laminate counter and vanity are great for us. Looking at the above weight of 42,4000 our 06 at 31,800 is a different beast. We have a 5.9 ISB which might be some of the difference, Probably the newer Astorias are more upscale in their appointments but we are glad to move into a Freightliner, Cummins diesel at this price point. Talking about engines I was surprised that our 359 cubic inch engine is producing 300 HP so it is tweaked pretty good. The 61 Corvette broke the horsepower versus cubic inches ratio for a production engine at 283 cu in and 315 HP. That was followed by a 327 cu" at 360 HP. That was a milestone in engineering. So these Cummins are tweaked and working hard to pull the weight. Not been out west yet but itching to do Raton pass on I 25 with our new old coach:-) FWIW someone said Wards rated the ISB as the 4th best engine of all times. Hope this was helpful in some way:-)
  21. Hey, I just bought a used coach 2006 Damon Astoria a 5 year policy with XtraRide was about $6k. I like you am wondering if it will be of benefit when something goes wrong. My deciding point was that the engine and tranny both have electronic controls, the leveling system is hydraulic, and it kind of goes on and on. I am handy but not a diesel mechanic but could do a lot on the coach but for piece of mind i bought in to the contract. Sorry to hear that GS was hard to deal with. I am a GS member but have not used their insurance policies at this time. Their whole biz approach is sort of manipulative in my view and that is a turn off to me. I am not endorsing the XtraRide policy as I have never used it. They are explicit that they have to approve before the work is done. I don't like that much but it seems to be the norm for service contracts. The magazine Motor Home has a help column for people done wrong but there is never a complaint against any GS products well that is for the 3 years I have been reading it. There are plenty of complaints against other warranty and road service insurance policy issuers. Good luck with your decision.
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