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About fagnaml

  • Birthday September 4

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  • Location
    Katy, TX
  • Interests
    LSU football, golf, fishing, gardening, family outings with grown kids and grandkids, running, weight training, soccer officiating
  • I travel

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  1. New Engine oil formulation question

    Let the "refining guy" jump in with a response. First all "current generation" engine oils meet requirements of previous generations but with improved additive packages. As a means to meet ever increasing EPA CAF (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, vehicle and truck manufactures are increasing performance requirements of engine oils i.e. improved lubrication means less power loss to engine friction which increases fuel economy. Engine oil manufactures are continually evolving engine oil formulations to meet vehicle manufacturer demands. Specific to Shell, they, like all engine oil manufactures provide three grades of heavy duty engine oils to meet vehicle manufacturers demands: T-4 15W-40 which is made from conventional base oil (i.e. derived from crude oil) for large diesel engines T-5 10W-30 which is a conventional / synthetic base oil blend -- developed for smaller diesel engines T-6 5W-40 which is a full synthetic -- developed to achieve slightly better fuel economy for large diesel engines All three Shell HD engine oils will meet the current API CK-4 specifications for lubrication, corrosion, etc. protection but that's we're the similarity ends. The "lower" the W number (i.e. cold weather performance) the "thinner" (i.e. lower viscosity) base oil that is used. By setting a lower "cold temperature" viscosity requirement, an engine manufacturer can achieve small fuel economy increases as a lower viscosity oil takes less energy to move around when the engine is cold. After the engine gets to operating temperature (i.e. the "40" spec), there is no difference in fuel economy as a result of the engine oil. A "5W" engine oil should not be used in an engine that specifies an "15W" oil as the engine manufacturer is expecting a specific oil viscosity/performance when the engine is first started at an ambient temperature of -5 F or warmer (which is the temperature used to establish 15W oil performance specs). "5W" oil is designed for cold weather temps from -5 F to - 30 F. I would not use 5W-40 oil in Texas especially when Cummins specifies 15W-40 oil for my 2007 ISB engine. The "30 and 40" numbers represent the oil viscosity requirements when the engine is at normal operating temperature. To achieve the high temp viscosity requirement, a viscosity improver additive is added to the base oil used in the formulation. The wider the spread between the W number and the higher number, the more additive required and the less the natural lubrication from the base oil. All engine oils "break down" over time due to heat from the engine (the large paraffinic molecules which provide the lubrication "crack" into smaller molecules). Conventional oil contains less paraffinic molecules than synthetic oils and thus breaks-down and loses viscosity rather quickly (hence the 3,000 mile oil change frequency for cars using convention oil). Synthetic oils are 100% paraffinic meaning their are more paraffins to "crack" over time. The time for synthetic oils to break-down is much longer than convention oils which is why oil change frequency can be extended to 10,000 miles for the highest quality synthetic oils. The huge "caveat" in oil change frequency is the amount of engine exhaust and its corrosive acids (sulfonic, sulfuric, carbonic, nitric) that enter the engine oil. These acids form from the products in engine exhaust -- water, carbon dioxide, sulfur oxides, nitric oxides. Carbon particulates are also in engine exhaust (especially diesel engine exhaust) as a result of incomplete combustion. All engine oils have anti-corrosion additives to protect engine parts from these acids and water. Engine oil also has additives to help carbon particulates 'filter out' better in oil filters. The amount of additives used presumes the amount of exhaust entering the oil is no more than what engine manufacturers specify. Over time piston rings and exhaust valves wear resulting in ever increasing amounts of exhaust gas entering the engine oil. As such, I would never let the oil change frequency extend beyond the time specified by the engine manufacturer. Personally, I change engine oil a bit more frequently than required. Also, the "volume" of oil used in an engine affects oil quality / changing frequency which is why small engine oil volume has increased from four quarts to five or six quarts. Large diesel engines will require 4 gallons or more to have plenty of capability to absorb engine exhaust products. Yes part of assuring good engine oil performance is 'solution by dilution'. Bottom line, if Cummins says use 15W-40 oil and change it at least once per year or every 15,000 miles (which ever come first), then do so to assure no engine lubrication problems.
  2. Best New ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch)

    To no surprise, my XtraRide extended warranty plan will only pay for a "like kind" replacement of my overheated Iota Engineering Brand ATS. Of the ATS's suggested by the RV Masters repair shop, XtraRide said the WFCO T57 ATS is the most similar to the Iota in terms of functionality. The other switches are an "upgrade" which XtraRide will not fund (especially switched with built-in surge protectors). So, I'll have the WFCO T57 switch installed. Over time I'll let the forum know how this switch performs. For surge protection I'll continue to use my 'portable' Surge Guard Protector --> https://www.campingworld.com/portable-surge-guard-protectors-50-amp Now a follow-up question -- What type of "torque screw driver" does the forum prefer? I need to purchase one for my tool box to use for what will now be an annual ATS busbar screw tightening party!
  3. A few days ago I shared my experience about my Iota Engineering ATS overheating and catching fire. Now I need a new ATS and need advice from the forum on the best ATS available. RV Masters in Houston gave me these three switches to consider: Parallax Power Supply ATS 503 --> http://www.parallaxpower.com/transfer-switch-50a-120-240v-ats503 --> $450 WFCO T57 --> http://wfcoelectronics.com/product/wf-t-57/#tab-5b071284d5eeb --> $230 Progressive Dynamics PD52DCS --> https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/automatic-transfer-switches/pd52dcs-pd52s-240-vac-50-amp-automatic-surge-protected-transfer-switch-the-silent-ats/ --> $390 The WFCO T-57 from a "cords in/out" configuration best resembles my Iota ATS with the shore line entering the bottom of the box with generator "in" and power distribution "out" cords on the sides of the box. While the WFCO ATS is the lowest cost, price is not the driver for me. I want the "best", most reliable ATS available to help assure I never experience an overheated ATS again! Reviews on Amazon for all three switches are generally quite good (each switch has one negative review) so if cost and especially ease of installation were the top concerns, I'd pick the WFCO switch. What advice does the Forum have for these three ATS's? Are there other brands of ATS's I should consider? Thanks for the help!
  4. Transfer Switch (IOTA-50R)

    Brett, KayP -- I'm totally confused !! If my Iota transfer switch overheating was the result of loose connections, why then the numerous discussions and safety recalls the last six years about the switch not being properly designed to handle a high electrical load (i.e. two A/C units plus curling iron) under high ambient temperature conditions? Are you saying "all" transfer switch overheating/fire incidents like mine are the result of poor maintenance by each motorhome / fifth wheel owner that has a power transfer switch? What about the hundreds of other 120 volt connections in an RV? Does each connection at each 120 volt outlet need to be checked and tightened? Does each connection in the 120 volt circuit breaker panel need to be checked and tightened? What about connections that are not obvious like those or can't be accessed? In all of my years being around my parents and their travel trailer, four years owning a travel trailer and now 2-1/2 years of owing a motorhome, I don't recall any RV maintenance shop, RV school, etc. ever mentioning the need to inspect/re-tighten 120 volt connections. Your thoughts and guidance please!
  5. Transfer Switch (IOTA-50R)

    I know this is an old "string" of comments, but I wanted to share that this past Saturday afternoon, 5/19/18, I experienced the same overheating / small fire incident with my Iota ITS-50R transfer switch in my motorhome (see attached photos). This past Saturday evening my son and in-laws hosted a surprise 30th birthday celebration for his wife (who is a great daughter-in-law!) in Lake Charles, LA. My wife and I took our motorhome to keep the party a surprise (staying with my son in his home would have ruined the surprise). While getting ready for the party, all power inside the motorhome suddenly went out. First I walked outside to see if the A+ RV Park near Sulphur, LA had experienced a power failure. Hearing lots of RV A/Cs humming, I next checked the power pedestal to see if the 50 amp breaker had tripped (answer was no). Next I checked 50 amp breaker inside the motorhome -- it was OK. So next I opened the left rear compartment where the shore power cable is stored and was stunned to see the burned power selector box!! My first thought was "what the **** did I screw up now ?!". My second thought was to say a prayer of thanks to God and my guardian angel that "only" the selector switch caught fire! After safely returning home yesterday, my Goggling yesterday evening found a lot of information including safety recalls for the Iota transfer switch. Thor Industries issued safety recalls for Iota switches used in their Keystone RVs which has me very disappointed, even angry, that Thor has not issued a safety recall for Iota transfer switches used in their Damon motorhomes! Earlier this morning I submitted my incident to Thor Customer Service requesting that Thor pay all costs for a new switch. I'll let the forum know how Thor responds. All I can say is if fellow forum members still have an Iota ITS-50R power transfer switch to get it inspected / replaced "now". Also, I had nothing stored in the compartment where the Iota switch resides except for two small rolls of coaxial cable and a 150 foot extension cord. That would be a good practice for everyone -- don't store stuff in electrical equipment compartments! Since this thread is years old, should I start a new post sharing my experience? The smell of burned electrical wires and burned plastic will stay with me for a long time....
  6. We have Progressive.... may be overpriced?

    I have Progressive insurance for my motorhome and vehicles and have been pleased with service and cost. My motorhome insurance cost is $1,375 per year in Houston. The value of your motorhome home ($235,000 on rvt.com) is three times the value of my motorhome ($70,000 on rvt.com) thus I would have guessed the "ball park" cost of your insurance would be about three times the cost of my insurance (your cost is actually 2.3 times my cost). From this simple comparison, your insurance cost from Progressive looks reasonable. Having said that, it is always worth shopping for the "best value" insurance available. "Best value" for me is not always the lowest price insurance. I have high appreciation for superb customer service and thus I when I do shop for insurance, I usually only look at insurance providers that have a good track record of exceptional customer service. I expect to pay a bit more to get that level of customer service.
  7. ATF in oil

    Here's a quick response from me the "Refining" guy. The "base oil" used in transmission fluids and gasoline engine oils (think 5W-30, 10W-30) is the same base oil know as 100 Neutral Oil but that is where the similarity ends. The additive packages are drastically different in that transmission fluids do not have "viscosity index improvers" to give protection at high engine operating temperatures. It would be OK to drive your motorhome a short distance (5 - 10 miles) to your favorite service center for an oil and filter change. There is no need to flush the small amount of "mixed oils" you now have in the engine after the oil is drained. That residual amount won't impact the 4+ gallons of new oil.
  8. Oil Drain Plug - Onan 7500 Quiet Diesel Generator

    Herman - I had the same thought about the Teflon plumber's tape but chose not to use it. My luck is a piece of the tape would break off and plug a small oil injection port for the crank shaft and wreck the generator. My level of luck is also why I don't visit casino's......
  9. Oil Drain Plug - Onan 7500 Quiet Diesel Generator

    The OEM plug is a 1/4" NPT plug. Here is an OEM plug from eBay --> https://www.ebay.com/itm/Onan-Genuine-Factory-RV-Generator-Oil-Drain-Plug-181-9227-HDKAJ-Spec-J-Newer/292557041724?epid=1140350417&hash=item441dc2303c:g:-zgAAOSwJ7RYWYTf&vxp=mtr The OEM plug fit nicely into a 1/4" pipe elbow at the ACE Hardware store to confirm it had pipe (not bolt) threads. Also, in my posting about the EZ Oil Drain valve, their website also shows 1/4" and 3/8" NPT pipe threading for the drain valves they manufacture for Onan generators. I don't think the new brass plug will "gall" in place as the oil temp should be ~220 F and the brass should not corrode -- Agree??
  10. As a follow-up to my oil drain plug woes on my Onan 7500 Quiet Diesel generator, I "googled" oil drain plugs and discovered a company named "EZ Oil Drain Valve" which manufactures oil drain valves for Onan generators and several large diesel engines --> http://ezoildrainvalve.com/rv--motorhome.html Does the forum have knowledge / experience with "permanently installed" oil drain valves on Onan generators? Having a permanent oil drain valve would be very convenient if it always works.
  11. This past Saturday (May 14, 2018) and last October, I struggled mightily to remove the 1/4" NPT oil drain plug from the bottom of my Onan 7500 Quiet Diesel generator. The small hex head on the plug had been somewhat "rounded" by the previous owner or whomever changed oil before I bought the motorhome (see attached photo). Knowing I had the chance of really "mucking-up" the small 1/4" hex head on the plug (which happened), I purchased a new 1/4" NPT brass pipe plug from my local ACE Hardware store that has a larger hex head --> http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=52439446&cp=2568443.2568452.2631237.2631262.2631279.2631288 This new brass plug is now in place on my generator. The larger hex head should make it easier to remove. The OEM drain plug has considerable hard "carbon" build-up in the threads which probably contributed to making the plug difficult to remove. I presume the build-up came from carbon in the generator oil or thread dope used by the previous owner. Any thoughts / concerns from the forum about using a brass plug as the oil drain plug?
  12. Galveston TX RV parks/resorts

    jleamont -- For a summer 2019 visit with your family, Jamaica Beach RV Resort is fantastic for kids of all ages (including parents as kids !!!) --> https://www.jbrv.net/ It is located on Galveston Island ~12 miles southwest of the City of Galveston on the "Blue Water Highway". Jamaica Beach RV Resort has lots of family amenities - pools, lazy river, splash pad, miniature golf, etc. Bathrooms & showers are clean and spacious. The beach is a very short drive across the highway from the RV resort. The summer rate for an RV spot is a reasonable cost. Weekend rates are quite high (but every lodging rate doubles or triples for summer weekends in Galveston !!). My grandkids ages 3 - 10 years old love Jamaica Beach RV Resort and the nearby beach itself and can spend their entire time at the RV resort or at the beach. An excursion to see the sites of the city of Galveston is a 15-20 minute away. If next summer will be your first time to visit Galveston take your family to Moody Gardens and the Pleasure Pier as they are quite good for the entire family. If you choose to stay at Jamaica Beach RV Resort, reserve one of the new, more spacious spots in the 900 numbered series of spots --> https://nebula.wsimg.com/c621eb08628739c0738dbdde2fd195d1?AccessKeyId=C7A122A8A63431C77D16&disposition=0&alloworigin=1 Reservations fill months ahead of the summer vacation season so don't hesitate reserving a site this coming winter. Hope this info helps!
  13. Diesel and Gasoline Prices

    Diesel (and gasoline) prices crept upwards a couple of cents per gallon during the last week and will increase again with crude prices near $70/bbl --> https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/ Here's a question for the forum. Gas Buddy (https://www.gasbuddy.com/) and Gas Price Watch (http://www.gaspricewatch.com/) are good "tools" to use to find the lowest gasoline prices in a huge number of locations across the U.S. I haven't found a similar website (or app) that provides similar "cheapest price" information for diesel fuel. Does anyone know of a "Gas Buddy" type site for diesel fuel?
  14. Diesel and Gasoline Prices

    The attached image shows the "components" of the average pump price for a gallon of diesel. The 'tax amount" at the top pump is the "slice" that varies by sate. The price of other "slices" stays relatively consistent. The crude oil portion of the pump price of course varies with crude oil prices.
  15. Diesel and Gasoline Prices

    And for those with gasoline engine powered motorhomes, here is the API map of gasoline taxes by state --> http://www.api.org/~/media/Files/Statistics/Gasoline-Tax-Map.pdf