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16  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Solar Panel Question on: March 19, 2016, 09:21:36 am
I was not as sophisticated or complicated as others that have commented.  

I simply bought two Renogy 100 watt panels, the Renogy wire and a simple controller from the same maker.  I installed the panels on top of my 2350, ran the wire to the battery compartment and installed the controller on a faceboard I made for the front of the battery area.  I also installed a small cheap digital voltmeter on the panel so I could make sure how everything is working and an automotive type on/off switch of 50 amp capacity.  I have now used this system for over a year, it works well and allows us to boondock for long periods.  Obviously, it would be better to have installed the meter and the controller inside the coach but that made it a much more complex modification and I just "country boyed" it.  

I bought all this gear from Amazon and the entire project was about five hundred bucks.   Now, this is on a PC2350 and the OP is looking at a unit almost exactly four feet longer, so I would conclude there is plenty of room for two panels on a 2552 model.

Incidentally, I installed the second panel a trip or two after the first.  I wanted to see from a practical standpoint how 100 watts and the system would work before I installed the second panel.  The cables I purchased also had Y connections available for multiple panel arrays.  Solar isn't rocket science any more.  The key I found was to just be sure to use adequate gauge wire and a controller which keeps the batteries from frying and overcharging.  

Paul  
17  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: towing. is it worth it for a 24ft? on: March 14, 2016, 08:48:26 am
We had Class Bs for years.  They can pretty much go anywhere and park most places.  When we got the PC 2350 a few years ago, we decided to change our style of camping and spend a lot of time at one site most of the time.  So, we got a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk to pull behind it.   We love the flexibility of having both vehicles with us.  Now, we are able to see a lot of things that we would not otherwise see.   We had never towed before (over thirty years of owning Bs and small Cs) and find the experience of towing rewarding.  We set up our camp (usually in NF campgrounds and boondock) and then see stuff for fifty or more miles around our location.  

Still, at times on short trips, we don't tow.  Sometimes we just go to some state park and camp three or four days and hike from the camp.  It all depends on how you use your rig.  We love the flexibility of having the Jeep.  AND, we love the additional room of having the 2350 compared to our Bs.  One big advantage of towing is that we have the Jeep to transport and stuff a lot of gear in on our way to these multiweek outings.  Put the backseat down and have a cave to fill full of our junk and maybe buy a few treasures along the way.

I suspect at some point in the future we may go back to a small Class B and just tour the country, staying anywhere we want or checking into a hotel every now and then.  As we have gotten older, we have gotten lazy and just hate "breaking camp" everyday and driving a couple of hundred miles to the next miracle.  So, for now at least, we love our 2350 and our Jeep combo. 

Here is the biggest danger for us and anyone once you hit your senior years:  you are running low on time.  If you want to do it, do it.  We no longer have the luxury of a twenty year time horizon.

Paul
18  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: PC on new Ford Transit 350 chassis? on: March 12, 2016, 07:23:47 pm
Great pictures, Ron.  Thanks for posting them.  That convinces me I am on target in my thinking posted above:  great opportunity to make a true, small Class B campervan.  When you look at those pictures and I think of what's under my PC, I really appreciate the "iron". 

Paul
19  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: PC on new Ford Transit 350 chassis? on: March 12, 2016, 11:26:25 am
I saw one of these new units at the Dallas RV show a couple of weeks ago.  If you go to the three announced manufacturers' website you won't find these units, except for I believe (?) the Winnebago.  It came out in January.  I have seen the Winne and the Coachman.  Yes, it can be done.  Many of us don't have a Sprinter based chassis because of service center concerns.  Most MB car places won't service Sprinters, apparently, according to other forums and my own inquiries.  If you plan on being out in the boonies of the West, that can be a problem.  For example, the MB site shows no authorized serviced centers for a guy like me once I leave Oklahoma City until I get to Albuquerque (570 miles).  From Albuquerque north, next stop is Denver, about 450 miles.   The appeal of the small Ford diesel will be that Ford is in most towns in North America.  And the price.

We are going to see a lot of changes in the RV industry for sure.  The new Ford and Dodge chassis are offering a whole lot of additional selection and have a market.  For folks like me, I just don't want to give up my tried and true V10 and the ability to load that baby to the gills with stuff and still pull a 4000 pound Jeep behind it.  These new Ram and Ford products will be really neat for a true Class B coach in my opinion.  We will know more in a couple of months, once the notoriously slow manufacturers update their websites to show their new products.  I have always thought that a rather strange approach to marketing in this day and time.

By the way, Gulfstream has brought back the BT Cruiser and I saw a 2016 5230 in Dallas that was identical in layout to the 2003 we bought new thirteen years ago.  Some designs are just successful and don't need to change.  That is my opinion of Phoenix Cruisers.....a small niche market for a cool, really slick looking, high built quality rv. 

The nice thing about going to three RV shows in the last few weeks is that I always leave smirking a bit because none compare to what we own for our use and likes. 

Paul
20  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Storage behind the driver's seat on: March 09, 2016, 08:36:45 am
My conclusion...........

I built a cardboard model of what cabinets would look like.  There is nothing like the reality of three dimensions to really make sure how something will work.  My model was a bit too large so I cut it down a couple of inches in width and depth.  I still had plenty of room for me behind the drivers seat and was able to recline the back adequately for my driving comfort.  Then, I compared this modified model to our current storage system we use behind the seats which is using some really neat canvas storage boxes with wire reinforcement for stability (wires are actually more like small steel rods about 1/8 inch in diameter in a folding arrangement).  I concluded that building the cabinet was "too much sugar for a dime" as the old expression goes.  We bought a set of these containers on a "one time special" at a discount store, probably seven or eight years ago and have never seen any others that were as nice.  The have a top that velcros to the sides and front and are very well made. 

What would be lost is the inherent flexibility of the current system.  Use how many of the containers you need for a given trip, or none and store our outdoor chairs and a few doggie supplies there when in transit.  Or, store nothing at all for short trips.  Flexibility won over building much more attractive cabinetry and an enjoyable project.

The most difficult thing about canceling this modification was the moment of truth of admitting that She Who Must Be Obeyed (aka as my wife) was right about this all along!   rolling on the floor

The upside was a nice bowl of soup and a nap instead of an afternoon in my shop.   Ahhhh....benefits of being "doneworking"!

Paul 
21  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Leak in Sani-Con hose on: March 04, 2016, 11:24:19 am
Pax, I think you are correct on needing a stronger hose going from storage to the pump.  On our previous rig (Roadtrek Class B) from the storage to the pump was almost five feet and exposed from the bottom of chassis for that distance.  Since a Roadtrek clearance from the ground is very limited (less than 8 inches), I put it up on blocks, crawled underneath and installed a piece of hose of the appropriate  interior diameter I bought at Tractor Supply.   It was thick walled and used for running from an agricultural spray tank to the pray heads.  It had a psi rating of 150  and the wall of the hose was about 5/32 thick, cord reinforced.  

Never another problem.  A permanent fix for sure.  About $2 a foot as I recall.

Paul
22  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Storage behind the driver's seat on: March 03, 2016, 04:23:22 pm
RheahNL, Barry & Sue......thanks to all of you!

Barry and Sue, that cabinet in your 2350 is exactly what I had in mind!  I can do it a couple of ways but I think I am going to use two pull out shelves behind a cabinet door and a six inch deep drawer at the top.  My total dimensions I am working with are 24 inches deep on the whole shebang, 16 inches wide for the first space, 12 inches  wide for the top two spaces.  In other words,  from the side next to the couch the measurement would be 24 deep by 30 high.  Next to the seat, the thinner top two storage areas would allow acceptable clearance for reclining the seat slightly.   So, from the front view it would be two smaller spaces on top of a larger space.  The top would have a hard surface finish just as shown in your pictures to make a table top 24 inches deep and 12 inches wide.  

I am going to cut out a paste up of this made from corrugated cardboard and make darn sure the dimensions work before I start cutting this out of (probably) birch plywood.  Also, I will calculate the weight of the finished creation before I cut a board to make sure that is acceptable as well.  

Man, it is great to be "doneworking" so you have time to monkey around with things like this!!  All I had to do was work forty years for the privilege Cheers  !!

Paul
23  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Yellowing Shower Pan on: March 01, 2016, 04:10:24 pm
I sure would be careful using any chemical compound on the plastic.  As has been suggested, try it in a non conspicuous area first.  Chemicals literally "melt" certain plastics and it is almost impossible to tell which will do what to a given situation.  Also, some chemicals will tend to etch a "matte" finish in the plastic, which may not be readily apparent from the small inconspicuous test area. 

Another consideration is surface safety.  Making the bottom pan super slick is something to avoid and some things tend to have that consequence.

Me?  I would go for the automotive rubbing compound mentioned earlier.  Apply sparingly with a sponge with a circular motion, let it dry, buff it with cheesecloth or a terry towel.  I used this stuff to restore old car finishes and the secret is to not be to aggressive with it.  It essentially sands off the surface with a micro grit suspended in liquid, although you probably won't notice the grit if you rub some of it between your thumb and forefinger.  It is that small a grit. 

Paul
24  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Storage behind the driver's seat on: March 01, 2016, 03:57:42 pm
Judi, I found the post!  That is a nice job and encouraging to me.  What I had in mind was a shorter cabinet so as not to interfere with the wall mounted controls.  The cabinet would have a hard surface finish which( with the slide extended) would make a nice reading table top to the left of the couch.  It would also come out as far as the right edge of the chair, therefore preventing the chair back from being reclined but ever so slightly, which is the way we use it anyway.  Our previous rig had a cabinet right up to the back of the top of the chair and I guess I just got used to it. 

I will play around with this a little now that winter seems to be pretty well over here (I am going to dewinterize this week) and I will post my conclusions.  I enjoy woodworking so this is not a particularly big project for me.  I suspect I will anchor it in the floor in a fashion similar to how the eurochair is secured when in transit. 

Paul 
25  Main Forum / General Discussion / Storage behind the driver's seat on: March 01, 2016, 11:25:51 am
Has anyone added any kind of storage cabinet or box behind the driver's seat?  

We stack a couple of boxes between the seat and the retracted slide.  They are used for canned goods and miscellaneous supplies when we are going to be boondocking for a couple of weeks or more.  The width is about 14 inches on our storage boxes, the depth less than 20 inches.  Since I like to drive with the seat close to the steering wheel, this creates no problem for driving or minor seat articulation.   I am going to see if I can figure out a more permanent storage arrangement there and wondered if anyone else had eyed that space for storage or a custom cabinet.   A cabinet would be rather odd sized and short but it seems a possibility.   I think I will make a mock up at of some paste board to get the fit correct and determine if it is worth the time and effort.  

Maybe someone has already done this?  

Paul
26  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: House Batteries for 2008 2551 on: February 22, 2016, 09:24:04 pm
We go to some pretty remote, off grid, off cell service places.  So, I don't try to maximize the life of the chassis battery on our PC or any vehicle for that matter.  My experiences with OEM batteries have been mixed over the century I have been driving (well, just a little over half that long).  Those of us of a certain age remember six volt vehicle batteries and generators, not alternators.  The faster you drove at night, the brighter your lights!

In any event, I replace the vehicle battery every four years.  Good battery, bad battery, questionable battery:  48 months and I go get a new one (usually at Walmart), put it in and I haven't had a battery failure in a long time unless I do something stupid and leave something on.  Also, we need to remember about parasitic draining on vehicle batteries.  Even when parked and stored they are discharging from clocks, etc.   Every four years, out the door.  That costs me less than two dollars a month to follow that procedure.  Could I get another six months or three years out of a battery?  Maybe, if I was lucky but it is just my little luxury of life for the price of a cup of coffee every month. 

Paul
27  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: House Batteries for 2008 2551 on: February 22, 2016, 02:14:10 pm
I think it is always a good idea when jumping from the house to vehicle battery to start the generator first, let it run a minute or two and then jump.  You are getting a higher voltage that way since the genset is charging the house batteries at the same time you are draining it for the chassis battery. 

Paul
28  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: cooper tires vs. michelin tires for PC on: February 19, 2016, 07:56:07 pm
Our rig prior before  buying the Phoenix Cruiser was a Roadtrek 210 P class B.  Now, that is built on an extended Chevy van chassis and weighs over 8000 pounds before you start adding all your stuff like 30 gallons of water (250+ pounds), camping gear, etc.  Remember, this much weight sets on only four wheels since it was a van conversion.  

The RT came with Bridgestone tires.  After five years, I replaced them.  I got very confused listening to all the chatter about tires and so I called the factory up in Kitchener. Ontario.  I asked what tires they recommended and they said they really don't recommend tires, but all they could say was they put the Bridgestones on all their RVs.  I asked why and got a response that it had to do with the stiffness of the sidewalls.  Wow!  That was interesting.  

Apparently, some E rated tires have different degrees of stiffness to respond, I assume, to torque stress from turning, etc.  In any event, I bought four brand new Bridgestones just like came on the rig when I bought it new.  All I know is that the vehicle rode as quietly and comfortably and was as stable as a car.  I talked to my tire guy I have used a very long time and he told me he didn't sell them but  would get them for me if that was what I wanted.  They cost fifty bucks a tire more (not just from him but from other sources I checked) and I paid it.  My tire guy said based on my conversation with the factory, he would probably have done the same thing.   Heck, I had never heard of "sidewall stiffness".   Seems there is a lot of science in  tires.  And to think I used to buy used Montgomery  (aka Monkey) Ward tires and put 'em on my 65 Chevy!! rolling on the floor

Paul
29  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: cooper tires vs. michelin tires for PC on: February 19, 2016, 09:02:33 am
Please consider reading up on what happens to tires over time, regardless of the remaining tread or conditions under which they are stored.  You will find that most chemists and engineers will tell you that the materials used in tires naturally change composition over time and weaken them. This change is not evident with the eye. 

I was educated a few years ago about this phenomena on the rv.net forum for Class B folks by some gurus on that forum, one of which was a retired chemist for one of the tire manufacturers as I recall.   I also talked to a local family owned tire and mechanic shop about this and they say it is really a problem because people just think you are trying to sell them something.  I figure there are only a few square inches of each tire touching the pavement and that is all that is between me and the graveyard.   After six years, I junk all tires on all vehicles regardless of appearance.  Also, you can talk to a state trooper about this.  They have seen a lot of things. 

By the way, I recently bought a set of Coopers to replace the Michelins on my Jeep Grand Cherokee.   They are perfectly acceptable to me, cost a little less and are highly recommended by my local tire guy that has taken care of me and all my vehicles (including motor homes) for almost forty years. 

Paul
30  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Generator decided to start on its own on: February 10, 2016, 09:01:23 am
Barry and Sue, thanks for sharing this information.  I would never have even thought about the possibility of it occurring or the cause.  Wow. 

I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee with keyless entry.  On three different occasions the remote start feature has activated unexpectedly.  Twice parked outside and once in our garage.  On at least one occasion, the rear hatch entry door has opened on its own accord.  The problem is, you push the key fob twice on those buttons (remote start and rear entry) in rapid succession and it happens.  Well, guys tend to carry more than one thing in their pockets and apparently other "stuff" like other keys, coins, etc., bounced against the buttons just right and .......started or opened.   This is dangerous and apparently without dismantling a bunch of stuff under the hood by an electronics guru, there is no fix.  It is amazing to me that there are not some steps an owner can take to disengage this remote junk. 

My wife has a 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk and carries her key in a small, hard sided plastic case to prevent this from occurring.   With at least two-thirds of a Walmart Super Center in her purse, it is probably a logical solution  LOL   Alas, I don't carry a purse but probably should given the stuff I like to carry in my pockets. 

In any event, I mention it hear as a cautionary tale to others that may have these keyless wonders. 

Thanks again for the post on the generator self starting.   Life was simpler when you started them with a rope, but sure wasn't as easy!

Paul
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