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166  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Our Oops discovery on: January 17, 2017, 06:50:22 am
We learned that lesson shortly after getting the Phoenix. We were showing it off to family and someone left the shower door open then closed the bathroom door. The two locked together at the wall. We are lucky that we have jacks. Hold the bathroom door all the way open when the partner lifts the front and driver's side of the rig and, VOILA, gravity swings the shower door back enough to get in and lock the shower. You can also use a very small child. They have to be small enough to fit through the gap but big enough to follow directions. You might have to borrow one of those. If only you could train the cat.

We traveled with a cat who loved her Drinkwell fountain at the old house but we wouldn't take that huge thing on the road. We SWORE we would . NOT . buy . a . fountain . for . the . cat... So, here's a link to the fountain that we bought that works really well in the Phoenix It sat against the short wall in front of the stove and plugged in to the outlet for the passenger bed. It is short enough that cabinets and drawers open above it. The cat can drink from the open reservoir or the sliding water or the bubbler. It is not overly loud and has a pleasant sound. We put a little rectangle of rubber backed carpet under it to keep her from licking it across the floor. We dumped and stored it for travel.

We also had a spill free pet bowl that has velcro on the bottom so it stuck to that little carpet This bowl was used in the same place in the rig during travel and on the floor in the back seat of the car when the cat rode with us there.

The carpet was recommended by Ron Ditmer for our interior step. Home Depot has it on a big roll and sells it by the foot. It is ribbed gray on top and black rubber on the bottom. We had it on our interior step, under the cat bowl and under our trash can. It didn't stop the can from falling over on hard turns but it did stop it from sliding up to visit us in the cab on downhill drives or quick stops.  

Enjoy travelling with your cats. Our senior kitty adapted quickly and was truly the Camper House Queen. Her servants were ever at her beck and call.

167  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Introduce Yourself! on: January 13, 2017, 07:37:15 am

We did the same as Polish Prince and rented a "bucket of bolts" for two weeks to see if we could live in the space (no problem) and to figure out what modifications we wanted when we ordered a rig. It was incredibly helpful for us as people that had never used an RV.

We are lifetime campers, Boy Scout Leaders for 18 years, hikers, backpackers, rafters and so on. Our "big" tent was a 7x7 Coleman dome. Our Phoenix was a HUGE step up and we never want to go back on any regular basis. We full timed for a year and a half in our 2552 and it's perfect for us. We tow a standard shift, AWD Subaru Forester and have bikes on a SwingDaddy rack on the back of that. We do carry extra gear in the Subaru and the car top carrier but most people don't need backpacks and backpack gear, winter clothes and river clothes and grandchild clothes and a full office set up and so on. We worked half time from the road for the first year out. If we did normal a little better, we wouldn't need all that and are actually cutting some of it back now. We are temporarily stuck in Maryland and are selling off everything from our stick and brick house because we are so happy with our new life, we don't plan to settle down until we can't RV anymore.

I also spent years reading, researching and dreaming and thought this forum couldn't be true and that Ron had to be a paid company shill - I mean, seriously, who is that enthusiastic about their rig? Well, Ron is, and now I am and many others that we have met in person. Phoenix pretty much leaves this forum alone. I have seen one posting pulled. It was a negative posting on a Sales Rep that had left. While I agreed with the sentiment, if I was in charge of the forum I would have pulled it also to avoid a potential slander lawsuit. There are some things you can't leave online for legal reasons. I can't guarantee they haven't pulled other posts but if they were cutting all the bad comments, they would have taken down some of mine on the problems we had the first year. We had a lot of problems but it was a weird Bermuda Triangle deal where quite a few defective components merged into one motor home - ours. I should say that this is my standard run of luck. The only Phoenix problem was our leaky slide and even that was more a design issue on a new style they were using and not their install. Phoenix bent over backwards and went above and beyond to fix it for us. They also stood behind us for all the repairs that were under other manufacturer's warranties. This is also why we purchased new. We didn't have your background on towing and trailers and portable living space and we are seriously not fix-it people so we wanted full warranty on everything to get us past the clueless newbie status (it took us a while but we made it... mostly). Kyle will occasionally pop onto the forum if we ask for his input and Amy, the webmistress keeps an eye on it but doesn't interfere. It's not Kermit's thing.

I had the same concerns about Kermit's longevity when we ordered the rig. I figure he might be old enough to hit Social Security but definitely isn't in geezer mode. I worried over the small business aspect and finally decided there are no guarantees in life. Big RV manufacturers went belly up some years back. Dealers went under. Solid companies ceased to exist. Little Phoenix survived and eventually thrived. I have come to realize that when Kermit is not available, others in the company have the same dedication to taking care of the owners. I don't know if they have a formally designated "heir" but they have several other people there that manage operations and keep things running on an even keel.

Phoenix knew we were going full time when we bought the rig and had no concern about warranties. Due to my Bermuda Triangle luck, I can attest to the fact that they stand behind their product 100%. Our full time status was never an issue. And as an extra feather in their cap, our stupid questions were never an issue either. The forum usually took care of us on that but I did hit Kermit and Bobby with a few goodies and they treated me like I had a brain and didn't just ask something that dumb.

If you want to correspond or talk directly, send a personal message and I'll get you my contact info.
168  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Stripped down PC on: January 13, 2017, 06:53:12 am
Seriously Mike! Give up my toilet? At my age? Go back to wandering in the dark to pee in the middle of the night... or drop trou in the snow and wind... sometimes twice in one night??? Build a fire or light a stove to make my coffee???

Noooooo! You have struck fear into my heart. I am not giving up my luxurious Phoenix with all the simple push button functions unless I absolutely have to. Home is where the heart is and my heart is definitely in my Phoenix even when I'm not in her. And that includes my bathroom!
169  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Radio wiring and control on: January 13, 2017, 06:46:52 am
I suspect the resistance to changing the wiring in the Ford cutaway has to do with Ford warranties. If Phoenix messes with the Ford parts, the finger pointing can start and Ford may deny future warranty claims by stating that Phoenix did something that caused this, then that, then the other thing and it's not their problem anymore. This is not an attempt to ding Ford. It's the way it works. Especially with an RV.

Think of all the things that interact with that Ford wiring harness. I'd hate to have Ford question every item that might go wrong.

I can understand the concern but have some difficulty reconciling it with the standard option of replacing the radio with the gps/monitor/radio. i believe that's a PC installed option not a Ford one.

Swapping radio systems is more of a plug and play and the Ford is pre-wired for that. Swapping power sources is a different animal.
170  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Radio wiring and control on: January 12, 2017, 07:17:54 am
I suspect the resistance to changing the wiring in the Ford cutaway has to do with Ford warranties. If Phoenix messes with the Ford parts, the finger pointing can start and Ford may deny future warranty claims by stating that Phoenix did something that caused this, then that, then the other thing and it's not their problem anymore. This is not an attempt to ding Ford. It's the way it works. Especially with an RV.

We have had several warranty issues with systems that are not built by Phoenix and most of them tried to first dump the repair on the Phoenix when it was 100% their equipment. Once it is determined that Phoenix installed things correctly (which in every case they did), we fought the claim back to the manufacturer. If Phoenix had modified these items, they would not be covered under the original manufacturer's warranty.

Think of all the things that interact with that Ford wiring harness. I'd hate to have Ford question every item that might go wrong.
171  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Introduce Yourself! on: January 06, 2017, 10:07:01 am
Awesome! You are going to love your factory visit AND your Phoenix once she's built. Enjoy your trip and don't hesitate to ask for help on the forum. The people here have always been fantastic in their response time and help. I'm sure my idiot questions are still on the site somewhere but everyone was very patient and helpful with me as I'm sure they will be with you, so don't hesitate to ask.

The online videos that Earl and Kyle put on the Phoenix Site are also great.

The wait from order time to pick up is excruciating but we all lived through it and had an awesome time equipping our rigs. The weather should be better by the time yours is built so you should be ready to go. Enjoy the adventures!

172  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Correction Gtng 2 Trailhead , & former Lazy Daze, Born Free, & Camper Owners on: January 05, 2017, 09:43:52 am
Michelle, we are also in our 50's and 60's and reasonably active. We've hiked some pretty awesome trails and plan to keep on going until we can't do it anymore. I was walking my son's dog a year ago and she pulled me around and tore out my knee. I intend to have knee surgery as hiking with any twist or turn to the leg is painful but that apparently soon brings arthritis in the joint. So, we are looking at restrictions far earlier than expected.

I'm just saying that your age is not always the determining factor. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. If you don't plan to trade in your camper house for a long time, it might be best to get something that is adaptable. Luckily the Phoenix will still work beautifully for me even if I get gimpy in one leg a few years down the road. I would probably not be able to handle a cab over bed at that point. I just need to be able to get in and out the door and with only three steps from ground to interior floor, I can do that readily enough.
173  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: RV Wind Generator on: December 31, 2016, 08:34:59 am
The first link gives the interview and includes the output. There is no controller. It states the charge is too low to damage the batteries. Here are the quotes on that:

"TCM: The Windwalker 150 generates 5 amps with 6.5 to 35 mph wind.  The Windwalker 250 generates 8.5 amps with 8 to 30 mph wind.  How do you monitor the charge?"

"Jack: The Windwalkers are designed to be wired directly to your batteries, like a trickle charger.  You could connect the leads from the wind generator to a tester to see the charge.  I use a weather station mounted on the wind generator mast that tells me the wind speed."

And now for Holly's two cents worth. I absolutely LOVE alternate energy solutions, however, mounting a wind generator to a building or camper causes all the vibration and noise to be channeled right through the unit. I've spoken with a guy that makes his living doing these things and he said he would NEVER attach a wind generator to his home again or even have it within 30 feet of the house due to noise. Contrary to the statements in the article, wind at 14-15 feet is NOT clean and undisturbed. It is swirling around the hills, the trees, the camping units. These wind generators have very specific wind speeds for "optimal" output so if you are not getting STEADY wind at those speeds, you will see little energy gain. The article states that the units have to be pulled down if wind or gusts go over 35 mph or your motor is toast so there is no built-in break-away to protect the unit like they have on big wind generators. And last but not least, the argument that these work better than solar panels because they pull in power day and night; unless there is a storm, night is the quiet time for wind. Once the air has settled after the sun goes down, there is little wind movement, certainly not enough to steadily power a wind generator. Besides reading this in many books, I have experienced it while sweltering in hot tents at night.

I'm not saying you won't get some power. I'm just saying there are a lot of drawbacks to consider. Personally, I'm planning on solar with proper controllers for when we return to the road. We'll just deal with the added weight by ditching more stuff we thought we'd use - but don't. You ALL know what I'm talking about there.

For those interested in alternate energy, I recommend hitting the Solar Decathlon if you have the chance. We were regular attendees up until they yanked it out of DC and moved it to California and other venues with actual sun... go figure. The 2017 decathlon is in Denver next October.

If we get free of this area in time we might have to hit the PC Rally in Oregon in September then slide on down to Denver for the decathlon in October. Just to clarify, the decathlon is a competition where ten college teams build energy efficient houses, not RV's but you can see all kinds of creative ways to live small and be energy efficient and some of those can transfer over to an RV. Besides, I love this stuff. When we finally quit the road our plan is to buy or build the most energy efficient house we can come up with so that our money is used for playtime and is not sucked down the black hole of utility bills. If Dan Chiras could live comfortably at 8,000 ft up in the Colorado Rockies with total utility bills of under $50/month (with half of that the delivery fee for propane), so can I. I just need an extra carport or shed for the PC.
174  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: More PC questions on: December 31, 2016, 08:05:09 am
The size of the tank is also determined by the model/location of the bath, etc. Sometimes the black and grey are swapped. The online specs for each model will list the size of each tank. We frequently equalize as stated above by opening the valves as our black fills far slower than our grey. I also do dishes in a Tub-Trug and dump that water down the toilet so it goes into the black tank. If you do this, be VERY careful and make sure you don't dump utensils or other non-macerator friendly items. I like to dump into the toilet THEN open the blade to allow the water to go down. Just one extra chance to catch something I missed and it adds a little soap to the toilet bowl. Our 2552 with rear bath has a smaller grey water and larger black water tank. If we are on extreme water restriction, we also do bucket baths and that water goes down the toilet and into the larger black tank. We haven't camped anywhere we could let the grey water trickle. That would be a nice solution but so far we have had to keep everything in our tanks.

175  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: New to forum on: December 24, 2016, 09:57:52 am
I suspect the unloaded RV weight will be different for each rig as so many of us have custom modifications done. Our 2552 has custom built cabinets with a lift up desk behind the passenger seat because we were both working half time from the Phoenix when we first set out full time. We needed computer space for bad weather days (otherwise we set up outside at the picnic table). We also added cabinet doors here and there, extra shelves, extra propane line, cell signal booster with antennas and cables and so on. While some of these items are nominal in weight, I'm sure if you put all the pieces in a pile and weighed it, it would be a good bit.

Our 2552 with slide has the electric memory foam couch and pull out pantry. We find the couch comfortable and I slept on it for 6 1/2 weeks one summer while the granddaughter was traveling with us. We traveled for 3 1/2 weeks another summer with our granddaughter without towing and did fine but we prefer traveling with our tow vehicle. It gives us a bit more freedom and we don't have to break camp to run off to hiking trail, the store, dinner with new found friends, etc.

Everything is a trade off and everyone uses their RV differently so it is a matter of preference... which doesn't make the decision any easier. So many cool things to decide on. Enjoy picking the build of your perfect RV.

176  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Slideout or not and Mercedes vs E-450 on: December 23, 2016, 08:48:17 am
The 2552 is the only RV we've ever owned but we love it. If you are considering the 2551, I suggest seriously considering the 2552, especially if you go with the dinette. The euro chair is John's favorite spot to sit ANYWHERE. If either of you has a favorite chair at home, you'll want that "favorite" chair in your motor home. I lounge on the couch facing whatever direction to read, watch TV, stare out the window and so on. Sometimes it is fully upright, sometimes partially reclined, sometimes the footrest is pulled out then rolled back flush with the couch so it holds my feet but takes less floor space. John moves the recliner to wherever he wants for reading, eating, watching TV. It has a flip up footrest so he is all set wherever he goes. The length between the 2551 and 2552 is nominal, both still under 30' but the extra space in the main living area and the euro chair is awesome.

I suspect that extra length will make a difference in your dinette also.
177  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Thanks to forum members. on: December 21, 2016, 06:42:41 am
Beautiful!! (the PC, not the snow - brrrrr) Congratulations on your new baby. I know you'll have many wonderful adventures together.
178  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: PC 3100 - What's not to like? on: December 20, 2016, 06:41:02 am
We were full time for almost two years and will be again after family issues resolve. We were RV newbies and I agonized over the choices. We love the rear bath and the twin beds that allow us to carry myriad people without making strangers sleep in the same bed. We manage fine with the space though if our granddaughter travels long term with us, it will probably feel tight. There are trade offs no matter what. For us, the final deciding factor was the payload. Add the extra weight and extra slide of the longer rigs and you lose about 1000 pounds of payload. The 2552 has about 3k to start with depending on options chosen. The longer ones have about 2k. I calculated the weight of water, gasoline, propane, people, pets, food, clothing, tools, toys, kitchen gear, outdoor gear, office equipment (we were working from the road), and just general "stuff" and quickly locked in on the 2552. We tow a Subaru Forester with a car top carrier and it acts as our extra gear wagon as well as our transport shuttle. We don't load the inside of the car too much because, again, we want to be able to carry extra people to the store, dinner out or just to a remote hiking or biking trail.

Ron, those blow outs are frequently due to overloading. I know a snowbird couple with a fifth wheel that blow out tires damaging their rig just about EVERY year. When they told me the story and I saw how much stuff they hauled I asked what their weight limits were and they had no clue. I can pretty much guarantee the weight they hauled was way over what those tires could handle.

Another note, the rear tire was dropped to qualify for some Ford specification for the extended frames. I assume it has to do with weight balancing but I don't know the specifics and can't speak on that. By dropping that spare tire, the Phoenix will get some "blessing" from Ford they didn't have before. I further assume competition has it and touts it so you may be able to find a reference and figure out the specifics by checking claims that way if you so desire.
179  Main Forum / Adventure Anywhere / Re: Shake down tour on: December 19, 2016, 08:30:10 am
Hello Garmp, I have no personal RV experience with that area (other than being military over at Fort Knox for a few years - no play time at the lake though.)

It looks like the COE built the lake but the campgrounds and land around it are run by the Forest Service - Daniel Boone National Forest. I pulled your lake up on Google Earth where you can see the camp loops and most of the sites, the beaches, some of the topography around the area and location of services. Zilpo is out there while Twin Knobs is a hop, skip and jump into town as well as close to a marina. I didn't check in depth but a lot of Marinas offer tours of the lake or boat rentals if you are into that. The one with easy access will see heavier use.

I then pulled the campgrounds up on and linked to the USFS site for Zilpo which is open Mid April to Mid October and Twin Knobs which is open Mid March to end of October Your pick-up date might determine your campground since you may be too early for Zilpo. You can link to reviews from Allstays also but be aware Allstays simply does an internet search for that name and random stuff occasionally comes up. Make sure you're looking at the right campground. I like reviews from RVparkreviews and tripadvisor but sometimes check other sites that come up. Remember there are all types of RV'ers so a one star review from someone that doesn't want their feet to ever touch soil may not be a negative for you. Some people are comparing the campground to a resort hotel. We compare it to a tent in a primitive area.

If I have a good internet connection I like to look at the Allstays map for the state and zoom into my chosen area. Sometimes I find another campground nearby that I prefer. In this instance, I'd be in the forest where you're looking but many people would want the full hook up campgrounds nearby. It just depends on your kind of camping. I also use the map to track along my planned route. Sometimes we don't make it as far as planned and sometimes we decide to just keep on driving. Early spring will narrow your choices though.

Good luck on your planning and enjoy your shakedown. I know when we first hit the road, John needed to know where we would be staying every night for the next few weeks out. But it didn't take us long to start winging it. Many campgrounds have first come first served sites for those without reservations. We call the park and usually get in somewhere. If not, there's always Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Sam's Club, REI, etc. We call ahead, ask if we can stay and they tell us where to park. Not ideal but works as a back up. Many parks have overflow lots also but if it is really cold, you'll be running your furnace and draining your batteries at night then running the generator to recharge during the day... or driving, or plugging in. It's nice to have electric hook ups in cold weather.

We love our Phoenix; it's truly Adventure Anywhere. We were campers also and absolutely love the luxury "camping" we do now. John swears he won't sleep in a tent again (but we carry one just in case we decide to go where RVs can't go.) So life is about to get incredibly sweet for you - ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY!!!!
180  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Water filtration for our PC on: December 13, 2016, 09:12:43 am
We do the same: Slim Brita pitcher in the fridge, Camco inline water filter between hose and rig, pressure regulator at the spigot (need a new one, ours died) AND we spray bleach on the spigot then flush prior to hook up. Critters like to lick the water out of the spigot and I prefer my water to be spit free. We have hit campgrounds with nasty tasting water once or twice and resorted to buying bottled water then but we normally do not use bottled water. We also have collapsible water jugs we fill if we are going to camp without hookups and haven't bleached our holding tank in a while.

Just a reminder that you want to regulate your electricity also. We use Progressive Industries 30 Amp portable EMS hooked at the post and lock it on with a bicycle cable and padlock (when possible).
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