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    Flyfishing, genealogy, photography, gardening, filbert farming, motor home travel.

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  1. Obiwan, what are you doing about keeping the lithium’s warm in cold weather? I’m getting conflicting info. AM Solar suggests LifeBlue low-temp lithium’s, an “alternator-friendly” isolator bypass Victron Cyrix Battery Combiner, a solar controller upgrade Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30 (30A), and a “level 4” inverter, which I’ve yet to determine if my 2006 Magnum is or isn’t. This seems to not mesh with what my respected tech in Bend suggested... that my existing setup would work fine as is. It just might not charge lithium’s quite as quickly as a specialized charger would. That does mesh with what you’ve been told. So I need to perhaps contact Magnum regarding my specific model’s lithium compatibility. But the expense still bothers me, and AM Solar’s varies with what all they do, such as adding a 200 watt panel to my 100w one. With labor the costs heads toward $7000+ and the Virus has their service dates 3-4 months out. This has me thinking back to AGM’s as a far simpler endeavor. Recommended was Centennial (I think), but I found it was foreign made by US Battery. Then I discovered the comparable American made model US Battery USAGM2224 Group GC2. As intriguing as lithium’s may be, $1200 for 4 AGMs vs. $4000-$7000 is hard to ignore. I nevertheless will remain tuned to this thread for further discussion.
  2. I was heading for AGM’s to replace my four 14 year old original Interstate flooded 6v U2200 (GC2’s). But then I read how heavy they are. And 2 new maintenance-free group 31 chassis, and 4 AGM GC2’s would run around $1500 at Batteries Plus Bulbs. I had read, last year, articles in Motorhome and the FMC magazine about lithiums, and 31 lbs. @ sounded better than the 160 lbs. I’d heard AGM GC2’s weigh. But Battle Borns 100ah are $950@, and that’s $2300 more than AGM’s plus the cost of the two maintenance-free chassis bats. The deal breaker was having to change inverter and solar setups. Nope, won’t do that. But then a couple months back I read someone said you don’t necessarily need to change anything if your setup can charge AGM’s, because you just need to not use equalizing charge on lithiums. Just set your dipswitches and/or inverter remote panel for AGM mode. Okay, bad back, 31 lbs we can handle... not 160. And I’m not sure the battery tray, built for 360 lbs., would like the extra 400 lbs the AGM house ones would add. Regarding that tray, the Battle Borns are 2 inches longer than GC2’s, but when I looked, the tray has only a 1” angle iron backstop, with 3” or 4” more to the very back of the tray; all I have to do is drill new bolt holes and move the angle iron backstop a couple inches back. So then I check into different brands of lithiums. Be forewarned that there are cheaper brands out there, including some that others touted a great Costco deal. But that brand, though some $200 @ less on sale... well you get what you pay for. Made in China, it’s lighter weight is due to a less stout structure. That means it may not hold up well to the vibrations it’s case and internal mountings and connections will encounter on highways; they are made for use in non-mobile mass assemblies in backcountry and off-grid home solar setups. Battle Borns are built differently than that, perhaps of some Chinese components, but designed and assembled here with highway use in mind. Yes, the 100aH vs ~220aH notion seems troubling, but as others here note, taking a flooded or AGM lower than 50% is more than what’s commonly advised, if not plain abusive. Lithiums are not harmed if drained to nearly 0%. And they’ll supply full voltage the whole way, behaving much like any lithium cordless tools you may own... it just keeps going until it suddenly stops. Battle Borns and some others have monitors to check on their status. And consider also that in the field you won’t need to run your genset as long because they charge back up faster. Does it come down to longevity and weight? My Interstates went 12 years before giving me serious charge-holding issues. Those that only get 3-4 years must be regularly dumping theirs below 50% (at 12 volts it’s half discharged). The cold weather thing is bothersome, but we’ve rarely found ourselves boondocking in subzero conditions, so that is a factor that members who do may want to explore. I understand there are devices or mats that some use to gently heat the lithium bank. Where the energy comes from for that is your guess. 200 or greater aH models may be available, but their power comes from being larger. Those of us with the more common class A diesels that have trays designed for four GC2 house batteries can find that there are, like in my case, very minimal tray modifications to make 100 aH Battle Borns fit. This probably sounds like I’m a Battle Born salesman, but I’m still edgy about the value factor. Will it add to the coach resale? Maybe, but you and I know it won’t be as much as we’d hope. Sure, there’s a brand that offers an FMCA discount, but the numbers I saw still doesn’t make them competitive. I merely came here to glean more opinions and see what others have done and experienced, and ended up posting this long-winded expose. My apologies. I just know that although I have no great issue with having to occasionally add water to wet cell golf cart batteries, I’m sure as heck tired of the corrosion on the metal tray parts and having to replace “melted“ hold-down strap buckles every couple months. The older a wet cell gets the more charging effort it requires, the hotter it gets, and the more gassing it emits, resulting in more frequent water replenishment and acid gas metal erosion. Decisions, decisions.
  3. One member of the Beaver Amb. Club is currently reporting a possible issue with a Fusion Energi (same or similar towability as a Hybrid) slipping into Park while towed.
  4. Newer K&N brand filters are designed differently. They no longer require re-oiling after washing, and use a deeper media that theoretically removes finer particles. Previous oiled models had larger pores for the oil to work, but many respected voices denegrated that because the pore size put expensive engines in jeopardy from fine dust, I assume either from particles not trapped by the oil or because owners failed to inadequately apply the oil. Some technicians in the know have no worries about using the current generation of washable filters, although I've yet to find an independent test of them. Existing tests are from a decade or so ago, show very poor results, and were on the old models, mostly those used in automobiles. We certainly could use a new independent analysis that includes washable filters available for large diesel vehicles. If anyone here knows of such an animal, please advise. If you insist on a standard filter, then know that Donaldson is often touted as the very best, and engine manufacturers like CAT don't make their own air filters anyway. If you go washable, then as I recall the entire assembly is replaced, housing and all, not just the media core we normally change out, though I could be wrong regarding some instances. Regardless, extreme care must be used during removal and reinstallation, as other posters advised previously; the assembly area and fittings must be thoroughly cleaned and thereafter inspected to prevent contaminant particles from entering the air intake anywhere.
  5. Try this option: http://rvpe.com/carefree_awning_anemometer.htm Joel
  6. After several months on the road this summer, and a couple more months to go hopefully, we are breaking the bank in the park fees department. In Nebraska we helped the situation by trying to stay in small cities' parks when we found them adequate to our coach size, and at least 30 amps for AC if it was hot (it usually was). But for the last 10 days or so we seem to be out $30-$40 a night, regardless of park amenities or quality, and the $40 one in Hardin, MT, was the biggest Good Sam turkey yet. Together with the cost of diesel, we will be paying off credit cards well into next year at this rate, esp. given all the $50 nights we've had to cough up earlier in the trip. If we can scout out a potential city park ahead of time, with either the toad or by way of the internet, we sometimes can locate parks on our route that work well at very reasonable cost, or even no cost. However a lot of towns don't have info out there about their RV amenities, if any. And sometimes driving a big rig around a small town trying to locate a park that may or may not exist, or no longer exists, or has run down, is a headache in the making. So we are soon to be heading south or southwest from Killam, Alberta, to see my cousin who lives in Calgary. The RV parks I've seen online around there are typical RV tourist hotspots with inflated rates for what they are, or for what little we really need. Even the govt. or municipal parks seem high compared to what they were when we were here some years ago, esp. into the National Parks to the west in the Rockies. Can anyone suggest more reasonable accomodations, such as small town city parks circumfering Calgary that could handle a 37' diesel coach. Don't have to have water or sewer, but at least 20 amps would be helpful. We may spend a little time on the Banff Parkway to reminisce visits over the decades, but I'd like to revisit childhood fishing memories as well around Kamloops before heading back toward Missoula in a couple weeks. To avoid cutting all that short, due to fixed-income retiree funds drying up too soon, we need cheaper digs along the way. We also took a rock in the windshield over in Saskatchewan last week, and no one has yet replied to my inquiries as to competent motor home windshield repair shops. So if you can offer a reference to one around Calgary, that would be helpful as well. Thanks for any suggestions. -Hafcanadian
  7. Hi We are traveling in Alberta, tonight at the town of Hanna, east of Calgary. Yesterday about 6 pm going past the town of Kyle in Saskatchewan, on our way to Rosetown, a passing truck sent us a gift rock that chipped our one piece windshield good. Unfortunately there are about 4 spider cracks around the chip, so I suspect the fix will require full replacement. We've had trouble with the glass being incorrectly placed in the mount at the Monaco factory, and this is therefore the second windshield. I'd like to avoid the original problem, and if a replacement is necessary, get a well-done job of it. Can someone familiar with businesses around either Hanna or Calgary offer me a windshield repair shop recommendation? Its a 2006 Beaver Monterey. Thanks, Joel
  8. I dunno what the deal was. One time I tried jiggling the wires under the dash with no results. A minute later (after pausing to scratch my head) the ignition worked just fine. Ever since we left eastern Nebraska and the high heat and humidity, we've had no more problems with either the ignition or the TV coming on by itself. I gotta figure it had something to do with the climate, but then how do motorhomers survive in places like Florida? It's still hot here in the Black Hills, but not a sauna like where we were a few weeks ago, tho Chadron, just south of here, was not all that comfortable, at least not for an Oregon Beaver. I even tried to buy a beaver pelt at the Museum of the Fur Trade there, but the biscuit burner would have none of that idea; "the poor dead thing... and where are you gonna put it"? "Well, gee, I dunno. It'd just be cool for a Beaver to have a beaver pelt in his Beaver Coach"! No sale. Oh well. Joel
  9. Update. Today when the ignition wouldn't work, I went back and flipped off the A/V breaker, but the ignition still wouldn't work. Hot under the collar, literally, from an hour of breaking camp after a month-long stay in Tekamah, and doing it in 90 degree super-humid conditions, my brain flashed the obvious thing I hadn't yet tried; I reached a sweaty hand under the dash and fumbled the ignition wire bundle while turning the key. Bingo. And the ignition has since worked several more times today without touching any wires. Apparently there is a poor wire connection at the ignition, just sensitive enough to work or fail by the slightest electrical system change, whether it be the nearby A/V circuit or park power post, much like a low quality GFCI is too sensitive to minor electric pulses. The heat and high humidity may have something to do with it. In a cooler moment I need to sneak a peek under the dash and examine closely the ignition configuration for a bad connection or perhaps a partially cut or broken wire that's not allowing full current all the time. Could be a bad splice or crimp. It probably won't cause the engine to falter or stop, because I think the start circuit is seperate from the run current. But I'd rather not have to more and more regularly reach under and jiggle wires to get the rig to start, and perhaps get to a point where even that won't work. It would be nice to know which ignition wire was which when I get under there, so perhaps my coach wiring diagrams spell that out by wire color. At least the switch is at the very bottom of the dash front and to the right of the steering column, so relatively easy to get at for once. Joel
  10. Thanks Rich. Haven't bought a Nebraska license, though sometimes think I should, just as a tribute to my father's childhood fishing efforts here on the Missouri in Decatur. Kinda spendy for out of staters, and I usually buy annual cuz I never know how long I'm gonna be in any one state. My older brother tells me Dad used to tell of catching catfish that had to be winched out of the river. The outlet that the refer's icemaker plugs into behind the fridge looks kinda like your device; kinda funny looking small box with two outlets, only one of which is actually real, and a 120v cable going in and one coming out, plus a large red and a black wire going to it that I assume are 12v. If that box is the cutoff device, then it likely cuts out the entire circuit and downstream outlets, like the TV and components plug into. The box doesn't have a white identifying label on it though. Yeah, others on our Beaver club forum agree, it shouldn't work in reverse, where the TV shuts off the ignition. But no one had another idea as to what was actually going on that would prevent the ignition "On" prestart sequence from getting power, or why playing with that circuit breaker or the park power breaker at the park post would turn it on. Joel
  11. For a while we've had trouble with our overhead TV wanting to turn back on all by itself a few seconds after it's turned off. I attributed it to very hot conditions that likely have affected a circuit component in the off/on switch. To turn it off, we have to flip off the breaker in the bathroom, which also cuts off the fridge icemaker and dinette and A/V component outlets. Last week I tried to start the motorhome and no prestart would happen; no dash lamps, no Allison keypad readout, no prestart "clicking". Only the red "Wait to Travel" lamp came on on the dash. The batteries weren't low and everything else was normal. I wondered about the feature that cuts power to the TV when the ignition activates, so I turned off the TV breaker in the bathroom, and wahla, the ignition worked and the coach started. However it isn't consistent... turning off the breaker doesn't always do the trick, but usually does. Darned gremlins!. There is a 10 gauge black and a 10 gauge red wire going into the icemaker outlet behind the fridge, which is the first outlet on the circuit that includes the dinette outlets and the TV/A/V outlets in the overhead. Could my device that cuts out the TV upon ignition be in that first outlet box, controlled by the red and black wires? Or are they for something else entirely and not involved? Any ideas what's going on? -Hafcanadian
  12. We are probably going to Alaska after traveling east from Portland to our grandson's wedding in the mountains west of Ft. Collins, CO in early May, weather permitting. Have a guided flyfishing trip owed me in SW Montana, so will likely fit that in on the way to Kelowna, Calgary, and Edmonton where my maternal cousins live, and whom I haven't seen in decades. Then to Alaska, hopefully until September. Went to Seward from Vancouver on cruise ship with nephew in 2003, and spent a month gunkholing north and south of Anchorage before flying home. Nephew liked it so much he left his big Idaho farming operation and built a B&B cabin setup out of Kenai. Gotta love the sequential runs of Kings, then Sockeye (Reds), and then Silvers, then Kings again. And the 130lb halibut I caught out of Ninilchik wasn't too shabby in the fun dept. either. Basing operations out of Anchorage and Soldotna works good for us - take the toad on daylong or multi-day runs north and south out of those two places is a plan. Hope to sidetrip over to Skagway on the way up, as we enjoyed that town off the cruise ship one day; need more time to explore there. Fuel prices projected to skyrocket this summer, so expect $5+ for diesel, Guys; higher up North. Budget $4k+ for your tanks, plus something for potential repairs and parts and their shipping. Ouch. Carry extra fuel filters, belts, etc.. Get your Passports ready and familiarize yourself with the latest things the Canadians won't let across the border, including guns, certain foods, and even pepper spray - yup, pepper spray was found in a fellow Beaver's coach and he was hassled because they consider it a weapon, and when initially asked, he'd denied having any weapons. He had it for hiking in bear country. Big fine and he had to turn around back to the States. If you think they won't park you aside and search your rig, with great scrutiny and a nasty attitude, you are badly mistaken - it's happened to me and others I know. If we run into any of you along the way, maybe we'll join up for at least part of the trip, since the itinerary isn't fixed like commercial caravans. Their advantage is having guaranteed RV park space each night plus tailgunner assistance for breakdowns. But the disadvantage is being stuck with an agenda when you may find some other adventure you want to explore, so between that and the expense, our wanderlust agrees more with Tom Wentling's. If in a store or around a campfire I hear about a good nearby fishing spot, I'm gone for the next day, my friend . -hafcanadian '06 Beaver Monterey 36 ft. 400HP CAT '97 Ford Explorer Limited 4X4 27 yrs. motorhoming OSU Class of '73. Go Beavers!
  13. I've often wondered, Brett, why the industry still tolerates the manufacture and use of formaldehyde-based treatment products. Do we really have to get the state legislatures involved to pressure Thetford and others to stop making the stuff? Obviously there are plenty of RVers out there still buying and using it, or they wouldn't keep making it. Either a lot of us are still ignorant or just don't care, but pressure from both the demand and the political side may be what it takes to eliminate this scourge on the maintenance of dump systems, a cost we all have to bear one way or another. Joel
  14. Wow. I sure got slapped around for my contribution. No, I didn't read every single post in this long thread. I did relate what I'd experienced, including what I got from linking to the supposed official site, where it implied that one had to have 500 gallons purchased before Pump Start would activate; here is the pertinent direct quote from the current Frequent Fueler FAQ site: "I registered for Pump Start and my member card will not start the pump. What happened? Once you have registered your card for pump start privileges, you must purchase 500 gallons before your member card will start the pump. If you have purchased 500 gallons after registering your card, and your card will not start the pump, please check with the manager on duty at the closest Pilot or Flying J." This does not say you won't get the discount, and that is not what I implied, so perhaps you should do more careful reading yourself. If you are "tired of hearing about the 500 gallon thing", then get on Pilot Flying J's case about updating their website - don't bash around those confused by it. And I did not indicate it was unfair to have to register a card. The comparison to Pioneer Fuel is that once PF issues their card, you are already "registered". One card in to start a pump. Nor do you have to go in to pay following your fillup, no matter which pump was used. I am indeed sorry that my post offended anyone; that was not intended. I merely related my experience for others to glean from. Isn't that what a Forum is for? If everyone expressed exactly the same viewpoints, there would be little point to exchanging them.
  15. This has got to be the most fouled up program ever. I'm reading different things from different sources and forums, and Pilot Flying J's website is no help, because it is full of ambiguity. I take it that you have to "register" your Frequent User card, Loyalty card, or whatever it's called, (of which there are several versions) in order for the company to tie your card to a chargeable credit card account. But the website implies you have to have 500 gallons purchased before Pump Start will activate a Trucker pump. The info in this thread indicates otherwise. If the former is true, then for my first 8-9 trips to Flying J (I usually fill at reaching half a tank, requiring ~60 gallons), I have to (1) pull up to a Truck pump, (2) delay the annoyed trucker behind me while I go inside to get my charge card okayed and my FFueler card aknowledged and discount applied, and then (3) fill my tank, which at the high-speed pump will cause foaming at the finish, requiring my further delaying the "time-is-money" trucker while I (4) clean up the mess. Yes, I can pump at a slower speed to avoid foaming, but how is that gonna save time? I could always accumulate gallonage toward the Pump Start feature by using the RV Lanes, but the Flying J RV lanes I've been to are a chaotic, hard to access pain in the rear, sometimes hard to spot when first pulling in, and generally to be avoided. Thank goodness I signed up for Pioneer Fuel years ago - no crowds, no delaying anyone because there are always open lanes, no involved card program, easy-in and easy-out station access, and far more facilities continent-wide. And few if any customer complaints, unlike the many found in this thread re. Flying J. I really never want to see another Flying J "parking lot" again unless I'm out of other options. FMCA would do better by its membership to negotiate a program with Pioneer Fuel instead of Pilot Flying J. I know when we joined FMCA we were supposed to receive a Frequent Fueler or some such Flying J card as a benefit, but we were never sent one. Perhaps that was a good thing.
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