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  1. Forgot to comment on the diodes for the tail lights, it was an easy install and works great. On our 2017 I didn't have to remove any body panels, just pulled the tail light housings and ran the wires to them, the diodes fit inside the tail light housings. You really need to check the flat tow procedures for your specific year, model and transmission. The procedures for getting the transmission into true neutral are different from year to year, etc. and some models can't be towed at all. For example, the procedures for the 2016+ models clearly state to follow the steps sequentially EXACTLY as described in the manual and disconnect the battery. I understand some people do not and have not had issues (i would guess older models). The battery disconnect on the newer models is not so much about keeping the battery from discharging, more importantly it keeps the ABS and ESP from kicking in and keeps the transmission from pulling itself out of the neutral state. These cars are "Fly By Wire" and everything is controlled by the computer, the driver really just steers (sort of, the ESP can override driver input) so disconnecting the battery at least on the newer models is critical. That said, if you follow the instructions to the letter they are great tow cars!
  2. Towing 4 down is OK for SOME smart cars. Ours is the newest generation (453, 2016 or newer in US) 2017 gas engine with the DCT transmission. As far as I know on the 2016 and newer models you can only tow the DCT transmission (automatic) 4 down, not the manual transmission and not the electric drive. I know that defies logic as you would think the manual would be OK. As I understand it the manual transmission doesn't have the type of internal lubrication required to tow 4 down, at any rate Mercedes says only the DCT transmission. There is a specific procedure that is printed in an update to the owners manual (not in the original manual). The update is available on the smart website or at the smart car of america website : https://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f497/453-official-flat-tow-instructions-126105/ We use the ReadyBrute Elite tow bar with Blue OX baseplate and light diodes. The install can be done DIY but it takes awhile as the entire front body panel has to be removed to attach the baseplate to the frame. It was a little intimidating at first but just follow the instructions and you will be fine. The baseplate attachment points are 14.5" from the ground so we didn't need a drop hitch as our RV hitch is 15" off the ground.
  3. I went with the Verizon hotspot because I signed up before FMCA negotiated the Sprint deal and I thought that the Verizon coverage area would be a better compliment to the T-Mobile service use on our phones. Now that I hear the Verizon plan isn't truly unlimited I'm wondering if I made the right choice. Has anyone done a comparison of the two plans including coverage areas? So far, in the west and south my Verizon hotspot usually has a signal when my T-Mobile phone does not. More often the Verizon HS has a better signal. However, coming up through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan the T-Mobile signal was much better than Verizon. So, long story short I like that I have the redundancy the I was looking for. I am concerned that I would lose that redundancy if I went to Sprint because i thought I had heard that Sprint is on the ATT network like T-Mobil?
  4. Update - Dan Ball, Director of FMCA Membership got me in touch with the FMCA rep at Verizon (Steve) who was able to solve my concern within 5 minutes. What Steve told me that no other Verizon Rep before had is that after you get the MiFi activated and have a number assigned you need to go back into the FMCA portal where you originally signed up and register your line to be eligible for the discount. Once I did that everything was fine.
  5. I would only use one provider at a time. Right now it looks to me like Dish month to month no contract plan is the way to go. However, the providers keep changing what they offer so I'd like the ability to switch if a better plan comes down the road without buying a new antenna. I like that the King antennas can be used as a roof mount or portable without having to have two antennas.
  6. I got the MiFi and set it up with no problems. However, it's been over two months now and Verizon still hasn't been able to get me on the FMCA plan. The first few attempts to have it fixed resulted in me spending literally hours on the phone. I'm so tired of calling Verizon every month to have my bill manually adjusted that I'm probably not going to renew the service or my FMCA membership when they come due.
  7. Another month went by and I still don't have the FMCA plan. The Verizon Reps just don't seem to know how to put me on that plan. I even gave them all the correct numbers. etc. that I've found on the FMCA forums and site, they were finally able to locate the plan but can't seem to get me on it. They have manually adjusted my bill each month so I guess I can call them every month until my two year contract is up and then cancel (what a pain). I'll probably not be renewing my FMCA membership if the benefits are all this difficult to access...
  8. I'm looking at the King Quest for Direct TV with the added Quest Controller that allows if to use Dish and Bell. I prefer the flexibility of being able to switch providers without changing out the dome. Is anyone using this type of set up and does it work well? Any drawbacks? Thanks
  9. Most of the conversations that I've seen comparing Satellite Antennas are comparing the Winegard and King models. Does anyone have any feedback on the KVH line? As a reformed boater I'm more familiar with their products but not how they fare in the RV world.
  10. Just wanted to let folks know that T-Mobile launched a new data plan in October that I think is a good deal. The plan is for people 55 and older and gives you two lines of unlimited everything including using the phones for mobile hotspots for $60 per month including all fees, etc.. While T-Mobile doesn't currently have the coverage that Verizon has, I've been pleasantly surprised at how good it is.
  11. Sorry, forget to say that I really do like the administration software the Winegard uses. It's very slick, intuitive and works great with my Apple devices. Not all wifi boosters have Apple figured out. The last one I had could not be set up at all using iOS and even on my Mac I had to download Chrome to get it to work.
  12. Our new RV came with the Winegard Connect+ 4G. The Wifi booster appears to work about as well as the Radio Labs unit on our previous RV. The range is enough to boost a signal within the distance of most campgrounds but not enough to pull in hotspots that are farther away than maybe 1/4 to 1/2 mile away (at least not with any signal strength). I have never activated the 4G as it requires you to purchase a data plan through Winegard and you cannot (as far as I know) use a SIM from another provider. The Winegard plan looks expensive to me and I don't know how the coverage is. I'm sure they use a major carrier but they don't tell you which one. One thing that I don't like about the Winegard unit is that it uses a 120 volt to 24 volt converter. If not connected to shore power the unit requires the inverter. Seems really inefficient to me to run the inverter just to get wifi. I contacted Winegard and asked about running it directly off DC power and was told that is not an option at this time. Why a company that markets itself to the RV community would make a unit that can but doesn't run on DC power is beyond me. The strange thing is that Winegard makes a unit for truckers that is run on DC?? So I just cut the converter brick off and ran 12 volt power through a 12 to 24 volt step up converter and the unit seems to work fine. However, I probably voided my warranty...
  13. BTW, I got the Hotspot because we used the T-Mobile Senior plan (2 lines unlimited for $60) which is great in urban areas but not usually great in remote areas. Allegedly Verizon has the best coverage and based on the research I've done that appears to be true. Ironically, The first trip I took was to Lake Pleasant just outside of Phoenix. My T-Mobile phone worked great and the Verizon wifi barely had a signal. I know that doesn't usually happen but maybe the stars are trying to tell me this was a bad idea?
  14. I'm having the same experience. Signed up as a new customer, got the jetpack but not the $49.99 deal. No one at Verizon seemed to know about the plan and the order number sent to me wasn't a number that the customer service people could use (not sure what that was about). I must say that after several hours of frustration I finally got a rep that was determined to help me. I forwarded all the emails I had regarding the subject. She contacted her supervisor and adjusted my bill to reflect the proper amount while they tried to fix the problem. This was in November, it's now December 16, I just got my January bill and I'm still on the $65 per month plan. I emailed the Verizon Rep that was so helpful and asked that she adjust my bill again. If this can't be fixed I would like to cancel. However, I suspect that too will be a nightmare as they will probably want to take the position that I signed a two year contract. I guess as long as the rep keeps adjusting my bill I can make it through the two year contract and then cancel. What a hassle and a complete fiasco...
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