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31  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Trik-L-Start installation on: January 30, 2015, 07:44:08 pm
You hit sensitive topic for me. Like you I used Battery Minder on my Winnebago View with great success.  The engine battery was over 7 years old when we traded and still charging around 95%.

I of course used it on the PC for a while but had to stop last summer because of endless failures to start.  The battery clamps were not making good contact.  The terminals were pitted, groved and out of round so the surface area was reduced to the extent high current could not be carried. 

The thing that is different from the Sprinter is that Ford does not use lead clamps on lead terminals. Instead they use plated copper.  The plating wore off and apparently the galvanic action of copper against lead caused the pitting.  Before this became apparent I put in a new battery.  I was absolutely stunned to find it also began to not start. It became pitted almost immediately while just sitting beside the house with the Battery Minder attached.  Because no high current was involved and because there is a high frequency desulfation component superimposed on the charging current, I speculate that this could be why the loss of plating to expose bare copper. 

I contacted the Battery Minder tech people expressing concern that the desulfation feature might be part of the problem.  They recommended replacing the plated copper clamps clamps with ordinary lead clamps.  This turns out to be extraordinarily difficult and my inept effort could only made to work by attaching an extra wire and clamp to the positive terminal.  A laughable kluge that works.

As it stands now, I will only attach the Battery Minder clamps in direct contact with the lead battery terminals after I remove the Ford clamps for storage.

32  Main Forum / General Discussion / Born Free situation on: January 29, 2015, 10:02:47 pm
Following is the article in RVBusiness:

Humboldt, Iowa-based Dodgen Industries Inc., manufacturer of Born Free Class C motorhomes, has been sold to HBF Investments, Des Moines, Iowa.
The companys new president is Jeff Butler, former head of engineering for Forest River Inc. subsidiary Dynamax, who took over Tuesday (Jan. 27). The sale for an undisclosed amount closed Jan. 14.
We were looking for an investor to take us to the next level and grow the business, said Brandon Dodgen, who formerly served as Born Free general manager and is staying on as product manager. An investment turned into a purchase.
Born Free, founded by now-retired John Dodgen in 1946, builds traditional Class C and Super C motorhomes as well as police command centers and ambulatory products.
In 2014, Born Free ranked 13th nationally in Class C sales with a .26% market share having sold 36 motorhomes, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Brandon Dodgen said the new owners hope to increase Born Frees market share.
We want to produce a bunch more units and grow our dealer network, he said. Our 2016 model year change happens in June. We are gearing up for that. There definitely will be some changes, but we dont know exactly what they will be yet.
33  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Electrical ? Issue on: October 27, 2014, 12:30:27 pm
The Ford battery connectors are not Lead but coated (zinc?) copper.  When the coating wears the connection corrodes and looses the ability to carry the high current load needed for starting while still functioning normally for all others needs.

To test if this has happened with your connectors use a separate short, heavy wire to connect the battery post to the Ford battery connector.  Leave the battery connector in place. This just provides another path for current. Spring clips work well.

34  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Cabinet door latches on: October 12, 2014, 07:41:32 pm


35  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Future newbie with a couple questions on: October 10, 2014, 07:34:10 pm

I also have been considering towing so Item 4 is a concern.  Now that I have weights on all four corners, I can not bring myself to adding more load to the already maxed out left-rear dual. On the road all movable weight is place right-front and we always travel with empty holding tanks and only a few gallons of water in the tank under the bed.

If you go 2910D, verify that they have had body shims added to the driver side to compensate for the side weight. It will save a trip back to Elkhart.

Let me add, we very proud of our 2910D.  We gloat a lot over the comfort, good looks and interest it creates.

36  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: 2013 model 2551 12 volt batteries OK? on: October 08, 2014, 07:40:22 pm

The problem I have had with 12v batteries is they at times can not last through the night running the electric fan on the gas heater.  Changing to 6v batteries solved the problem. 

The first thing I did on our PC was have them install a battery tray suitable for the taller 6v batteries.

As for your solar panel charging issue, my first thought is charging voltage.  For 12v batteries a charge voltage is around 14 v.  What do you get from your solar setup?

37  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Help! Fuse for Sanicon? on: September 15, 2014, 07:38:39 pm

This annoying situation turned up our second summer trip.  It was so common that i carried both a flat blade and phillips screwdriver in the Sanicon compartment.  At the end of our third summer trip this year I swapped them for a single double-end offset screwdriver.

38  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: REAR AXEL OVER LOADED on: September 11, 2014, 01:44:38 pm

See my post of 10 Feb 2013 about overweight on the rear left duals after a shock from the results of weighing all four corners.

This is a real concern for me such that I NEVER FILL MY WATER TANK!  We run with only a few gallons enough to get us to the next campground.

My first clue should have been the sticker on the driver door saying 85 pounds tire inflation which is 5 pounds over-inflated according to Michelin. 

The second indication was the lean to the slide-outs (2) side which was compensated by adding shims to the springs.

I also note that my front-rear weights were within the front-rear limits.  Yours being out of limits gives me considerable concern.

39  Main Forum / General Discussion / 85 Octane on: August 20, 2014, 01:15:13 pm
Last summer I commented to the group about encountering 85 Octane "regular gas" at Cody, WY.  My feeling then was that this was a marketing gimmick to increase profit.

This summer driving coast to coast I encountered both 85 octane in the mountains and 86 octane gas in high altitude areas.   Curious, I found the following in Wikipedia so I guess this gas is legitimate.

"United States: in the US octane rating is displayed in AKI. In the Rocky Mountain (high elevation) states, 85 AKI (90 RON) is the minimum octane, and 91 AKI (95 RON) is the maximum octane available in fuel.[38] The reason for this is that in higher-elevation areas, a typical naturally aspirated engine draws in less air mass per cycle because of the reduced density of the atmosphere. This directly translates to less fuel and reduced absolute compression in the cylinder, therefore deterring knock. It is safe to fill a carbureted car that normally takes 87 AKI fuel at sea level with 85 AKI fuel in the mountains, but at sea level the fuel may cause damage..."

Because my mpg was lower this summer and the engine lugged on hills and downshifted more than usual when using this gas, the following is of interest:

"Many modern engines are equipped with a knock sensor (a small piezoelectric microphone), which sends a signal to the engine control unit, which in turn retards the ignition timing when detonation is detected. Retarding the ignition timing reduces the tendency of the fuel-air mixture to detonate, but also reduces power output and fuel efficiency. Because of this, under conditions of high load and high temperature, a given engine may have a more consistent power output with a higher octane fuel, as such fuels are less prone to detonation."
40  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Phoenix Business Cards and Brochures on: June 25, 2014, 12:38:45 pm

This is my third summer carring the brochures and cards.  Of the constant stream of visitors I think only two have accepted my offer of a brochure.

41  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Sub-alpine dry camping on: June 21, 2014, 07:46:18 pm
Dry camping in the high sierras is cold at night... 30's and 40's. We learned three things:

1.  There is something plastic like drill chips in the furnace.  Last year it smoked us out so we did not use it. This year we ran it during the day until the burnt plastic smell got down to tolerable.  Gradually over a week the smell diminished to where it no longer caused your nose to stuff up. By the second week all the plastic had burned out and the furnace was ok.

2.  When it was coldest we ran the two coach batteries flat using the furnace at night. In the morning we could not start the generator the batteries were so low.  Even the propane/carbon monoxide detector was showing a red light for low voltage (9v threshhold).  The solution is to start the Ford engine.  When the the alternator charge rate got to 13.4v., there was enough in the coach batteries to start the generator.

3.  I noted also that when the temperature is near freezing at 8 to 9000 feet elevation, it was best to prime the generator with a short (3-4 second) crank, wait about 2 minutes for the gas to become vapor, then the generator will immediately pop off on the next try.
42  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: New 7-Pin Connector Location on: March 22, 2014, 12:03:23 pm

Completely clobbered it last summer.
43  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: slide problems on: March 19, 2014, 07:10:29 pm

Based on past 100,000 miles I expect problems with slides, steps and batteries. 

With our Phoenix, water intrusion from the front slide has been the only problem so far. The situation where a slide will not come in I will handle by by-passing the coach and controlling the motor directly from battery. Otherwise, to do it the hard way I estimate maybe 300 cranks based on 6 turns per inch and 24 inches to go.

The steps only have had only switch and spontaneous deployment issues so far. When the steps eventually will not come in I have installed pull-pins to free the control arm.

The engine battery was replaced under warranty last month.  That is unusual.  The coach batteries are the usual problem.  I am ready for that with a desulfation and equalization type of charger and the battery tray having been changed to hold golf cart 6v kind.

44  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Decisions Decisions on: March 05, 2014, 12:24:52 pm

There is one more thing not mentioned... looks.

When we were down to three on our short list, the stand-out beauty of a Phoenix Cruiser was the deciding factor.  This fact has been reaaffirmed endlessly by people we meet on our travels.
45  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Starting engine with house battery on: March 04, 2014, 06:25:29 pm

One of the first things I noticed when we got our new PC was the periodic high current draw from the engine computer as it checked stuff when you were not using the engine.  From various Ford forums it was clear this frequent drain would bring a battery down to unserviceable levels in a few weeks.  Accordingly I added a cut-off switch directly onto the negative battery post.  When we are not using our PC it sits at the side of our house so I have shore power.  That way a trickle charger keeps the engine battery happy.  However,  if we were to leave our PC say for a cruise, I can disconnect the battery.

Please never try to start the engine by use of the coach battery switch on  the dash.  This is solely for charging the engine battery.  The wiring is unsuitable for the very high current needed for jumping the engine battery.  For this emergency, carry jumper cables that will reach your house battery.
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