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31  Main Forum / General Discussion / Subaru Class Action on: May 31, 2016, 04:02:30 pm
We tow a Subaru Forester standard transmission and love it... except it kept asking for oil and smelled a bit like burning oil on occasion. We checked what we could and had it checked at several service centers and they all said it was fine, these cars use more oil. Well, not so much. We received a class action notice and had Subaru check it out (again). They checked it over and did an oil change and told us to track exactly how many miles we drove before the oil light came on, then bring her back in. We did that today and they determined that our oil consumption is outside the acceptable range (by almost half again) so we have to do the expensive repair to fix it (which we are going to double check is totally on Subaru's dime). They have to pull the engine and replace seals or some such in the engine block. It will take at least a week but they will give us a loaner car for that time frame.

This affects several models from 2011-2015; Forester, Impreza, Crosstrek, Legacy, & Outback - both Automatic/CVT and Manual Transmission. The oil issue is not caused by towing but is a problem in the engine itself. John said they also give us a three year extended warranty which will hopefully cover any issues caused by gutting the car. Here is the class action website:

http://www.oilconsumption.settlementclass.com/
32  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Norcold Class Action on: May 31, 2016, 08:18:07 am
George, did you have visible leakage or just verified your model was included in the suit? I found this article by the RV Doctor for those looking to see how their refrigerator works - there are some great photos showing cut away tubing and typical problems: http://www.rvdoctor.com/2001/02/rv-absorption-refrigeration-cooling.html     

We'll be pulling the exterior panel off the refrigerator to check for leaks on ours and will take pictures to post. I don't know yet how many of our coils are hidden in insulation.
33  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Side Slide Window on: May 26, 2016, 05:43:41 am
Judy, a ranger told me that some of the best tide pooling is on the Schoodic Peninsula BUT it is very "cliffy" and you have to watch the tides as they come up quickly and can trap you out on the rocks. So, if you guys are shore walkers, go early (follow the tide out), enjoy, and take pictures to post if you find really cool stuff. We didn't make it over to the Schoodic so I guess we have to go back sometime.

As for the side slide window, please keep us posted. I've also seen them in other motorhomes and it has a mini-sunroom effect that I like. The Phoenix slide doesn't go out very far so the window might have to be relatively small and located close to the outside wall. We also have those "scissor" supports on the side that may get in the way. I don't know, I haven't checked it out yet. I suggest cutting a paper window to see how big it could be. Once you align it inside, do the same outside (spacing in enough for the outside wall) and see where it all hits. A window on each side of the slide would give you the ability to look back toward your hookups without having to run back to the bedroom windows to check on noises and problems (and your spouse while they hook up or unhook).
34  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Give the gift of Science on: May 10, 2016, 06:12:34 am
BUTTERFLIES - This is to all the parents and grandparents out there (or the curious). Amazon has a special today on Insect Lore kits - both butterfly and ladybug. I just paid $16.00 for a refill cup of caterpillars direct from InsectLore. Our 5 chrysalises have been hanging for a week so we will have butterflies any day now. On Amazon you can pay $15.00 and get the kit with the pop up habitat OR pay $18.00 and get the habitat set with two cups of caterpillars (5 in each). My granddaughter LOVES raising butterflies. They are painted lady butterflies and can safely be released anywhere in the world. I highly recommend these sets. NOTE: there are two types of set; one has LIVE caterpillars so the cycle starts immediately; the second is a voucher where the receiver sends in for butterflies when they are ready. It costs an extra $8 to redeem that voucher so the live kit is best if timing works. The caterpillars are in a self contained cup so no random critters wandering around. You don't open it until a few days after they all go into a chrysalis. Then you move the lid with the chrysalises into the habitat - again, all is contained. It takes 7-10 days from receipt to chrysalis and another 7-10 to butterfly. They recommend releasing after three days of observation.

This is an awesome gift to ship to a child. Just make sure someone will be there to receive the caterpillars or they leave them on the porch. They are insects but they can only bake in the sun so long.

The ladybug habitats are also on sale. I bought one years ago but it went to her daycare so I don't know how it went. I'm considering buying a new kit since it is cheaper than the refills.

We raised butterflies once and put host plants and flowers into the habitat for the butterflies instead of releasing in 3 days as recommended. The butterflies laid eggs. LOTS of eggs. Once the thread-size caterpillars hatched, we cleaned their waste daily with a tiny paintbrush and fed them host plants until they grew up. We built a big habitat out of a clear bin and had almost 100 chrysalises. This was a huge amount of work but we enjoyed watching them grow through every life cycle stage. Chloe wants to do it again. (Note that if you do this, you have to use flowers and leaves that have not been sprayed with pesticide).

So, give the gift of science and raise some pollinators today and enjoy your butterflies!
35  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Emergency preparedness on: May 08, 2016, 07:27:26 am
One more important item. Once you figure out what should be in your kit, make a list - clean, concise, easy to read - and tape it to the inside door of a cabinet or some other easy to grab place. If you have specific "Go Pack" put the list in there (preferably in a zip lock baggie). Panic time is NOT the time to count on memory to make sure you have everything you need.

In a perfect world, all your stuff is already in a ready to grab kit. In the real world, your cell phone, charger and other items are in use elsewhere or were pulled out to show someone or to use for some reason. Use your list, grab your stuff, and roll out.
36  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Emergency preparedness on: May 08, 2016, 07:20:53 am
I'll be honest and say we don't have a set kit put together but when a tornado was bearing down on us on the Natchez Trace, we did quickly grab basic items that we always have handy. John and I have had survival training so it's kind of funny but after the bare basics, most of what we brought was to keep the cat happy, or as happy as a cat can get locked in a stinky cinder block bathroom with a bunch of strangers while a storm screamed through.

Part of what you need for your kit will be determined by your own skills and where you are. Short term the cell phone, charger (solar charger is even better), weather radio, cash, passport and/or driver's license, credit card, check book, flashlight, first aid kit, water bottles etc. are great. Several of these assume you are somewhere with signal or power or stores where you can use them. That night on the Natchez Trace, we knew there might not be a Phoenix to go back to. The tornado swung overhead and touched down just a few miles away... but it WAS a few miles away so all was well.

Remember that if you need medications, those have to be with you. You don't know when you will get more. Never let your prescription run down too low.

If you are in a MAJOR disaster, you should be prepared for basic survival. You can go several weeks without food. You can only go three days without water. You need shelter. I recommend everyone tuck contractor weight trash bags (2 per person) into vehicle glove boxes or emergency kits. You can wear one to keep in heat and keep out rain, you can tie a string between two trees and make one or two into an A-frame tent, you can use one as a sun shield. Quick, easy, light weight shelter. They can also carry water or capture water when it rains. A mylar emergency blanket can do many of the same things as well as being shiny enough to attract attention from rescue teams.

Water. If you remembered your water bottle and are not in the arid desert (different skills needed there), you only need one more item: iodine tablets. I have strained pretty murky water through my bandanna (or t-shirt), treated with iodine, and drank it. I'm not dead. They sell a two bottle set that has iodine tabs and something that makes it taste less nasty. I find that worth the extra cost. Another option is a Lifestraw that will clean hundreds of gallons of water. We have a full fledged backpack water filter but these other items are better suited to a go bag. Whatever you get, make sure you know how to use it. The iodine tabs are tiny, the Lifestraw is super handy but takes more space.

Next up is fire. Get some of those magnesium sticks that shoot awesome sparks and stick one in each kit. Make sure you practice with them first. You need dry tinder (tiny burnable stuff, pine needles, cotton pocket lint, little strips from inside broken sticks (when it rains, wood is wet on the outside, dry on the inside). Get out your pocket knife and learn how to make wood shavings. Then build fires. Small, hot fires are best. Practice the skill before you need the skill.

I have a Boy Scout cap that says "Attitude, gotta have it." This is so true. The most important thing you can have is a good ATTITUDE. The best way to get a good survival attitude is self confidence... which you get by knowing what you are doing. There are classes, books, internet sites, etc. that can get you to that point. Hands on is the best way to get it into your brain. Challenge your friends and family. Have contests and build fires, purify water, build shelters using the items in your survival kit. Test different ways to do each thing. Then put together your kit, kick back, and enjoy the world.



37  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: questions to ask during walk-through of new PC on: April 26, 2016, 07:45:01 am
Take her for a drive on the highway AND on the back roads. There will be some little rattles and squeaks which is normal when you have what Ron calls a rolling earthquake but by getting her up to speed and also taking some curves and bumps you will quickly know if there are extreme noises that need to be addressed. Sometimes it is as simple as a screw missing somewhere or loose latch but KNOWING what it is and having Phoenix quickly fix it makes a world of difference. As someone stated, there are a whole lot of different parts from different manufacturers all knitted together to make your new motor home. Phoenix does an awesome job but there will always be little adjustments that need to be made and it is better to get them done up front. We had no idea why a few things weren't working right, but Bobby at Phoenix knew right off what needed to be tweaked. For example, the sliding "curtain" door in our 2552 snagged part way and you needed to exert extra pull to run it across the hallway - simple fix was to back off the screw mid-track as over tightening caused the track to fold in or crimp. I had no clue it was that easy but Bobby immediately identified and fixed it. 

You must be getting really excited. Enjoy your new Phoenix, we are sure you're going to love it!
38  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: House battery's on: April 24, 2016, 06:11:13 am
We ONLY turn our inverter on if we have no other power source and need 110 power. The converter automatically charges our battery when plugged into shore power. We don't touch the inverter switch. As stated above, the truck charges the battery when we have it running and we can always charge with the generator - again, without turning on the inverter switch. The magic inside the Phoenix handles all that charging stuff without our help... thankfully!

My understanding is the INVERTER takes battery power and transfers it to 110 power, so always going from battery to outlets with nothing to do with power going INTO batteries.

Ron's Trip Lite works differently.
39  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Batteries - AGM, LFP, and Flooded Cell on: April 19, 2016, 07:14:18 pm
The only thing that you have to watch is the propane isn't  very efficient at those temps and if your tank falls below 1/4 you will run out of propane.

I'm not sure this is pertinent or works the same but we discovered on Boy Scout outings that the propane froze in the line between our 5 or 10 lb propane tank and camp stove. We started turning the propane off at the tank and leaving the stove or lantern run until it "burned out" from lack of propane. If you are not using your propane heater overnight, you could try that and then open the tank in the morning when you want to cook. If you are running on electric space heaters, this might keep your stove alive during daylight hours.

We also learned to fill a pan with water before bed so that once we got that stove going, we could melt the water and make coffee since the water jugs were all frozen. Ah, the memories. We are sooooo happy we have the Phoenix and have agreed that we don't ever want to camp in a tent in weather that evil again.
40  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: A couple of hot water heater questions on: April 15, 2016, 06:19:30 am
I also agree with the wicked hot 152 degree concern. I suggest you call the hot water heater manufacturer and ask what the preset temperature is supposed to be. Yours might be out of wack. Your post made me wonder about the effect of that temperature on the plumbing but a quick check of the internet pulled up this information (http://www.doityourself.com/stry/what-is-the-maximum-safe-pex-tube-temperature) on PEX tubing which is what I THINK Phoenix uses:

Maximum Safe Temperature

The tube can withstand a maximum heat temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit for applications for heating. In a plumbing project, the PEX is able to stand a maximum heat of up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually, the highest temperature limitation is listed on the PEX tubing in small prints. All of the PEX tubing systems are tested, and you can use them with the standard P and T relief valves, which are able to be used at 210 degrees Fahrenheit.


The corners and connections are brass piping so no worries there.
41  Main Forum / Adventure Anywhere / Re: Utah - Zion and Bryce Canyon on: April 15, 2016, 06:13:08 am
We have several postings on Capitol Reef on our blog (see below). Just search "Capitol Reef"

This is a first come, first served park and you have to get there early. Sites were filled by 10 when we were there. They do have overflow on BLM land that the rangers can direct you to. There are no hook ups in the park but they have nice bathhouses, generator hours to recharge batteries and convenient water fill and dump station area. We rolled in for a night or two and stayed the maximum allowed. It is an awesome oasis in a sea of gorgeous rocks. If you hit the right time, the apples are ripe in the orchards and you are welcome to go in and eat your fill or pick a bunch, weight and pay at the honor box and head home to your RV just a few steps away. Many of the sites were shaded and we were there when it was cool so we were fine tucked into the beautiful campsite without AC.

If you have to have hook ups, there was at least one full service campground in town right near the very nice visitor center (free wifi at the visitor center and cell signal). Just keep in mind it is a longish drive from town to the park if you are planning any early morning hiking.

This is the one park you really need to load the supplies for. The little town is nice but VERY small and since we hit at the end of tourist season, we were met with VERY empty shelves (not too many grocery shelves to start with - townies make a once or twice a month drive to hit the bigger cities 250 miles away to stock up, do doctor and dental visits, car repairs, etc.)

Some don't miss items: Fremont Petroglyphs, a drive down Capitol Gorge and short walk to see the Pioneer Register, Panorama Point, and pie at the Fruita store. If you can pull off a hike to experience the view from above, do it.

As a side, some of the parks out there sell water bottle slings and I recommend you snag a few. We didn't go anywhere without water. We took more on hikes but we wore those water bottle slings even on car trips. I felt like all the water was sucked out of my body out there and we were there in the cooler season. You have to keep rehydrating or it hits you with headaches, muscle aches, nausea and overall tiredness. 

So, as Bruce and Sharon said, put Capitol Reef on your list. It is one of the places we plan to return to.

42  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: A couple of hot water heater questions on: April 09, 2016, 08:18:13 pm
Having the water heater temp set higher in the RV gives you more bang for your buck. I could probably shower at close to your 125 degree home water temperature. If the water is hotter, you mix in more cold and use less hot; which works best with a smaller water tank.
43  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Which Trip Planning software for 2016? on: April 09, 2016, 09:20:12 am
We also have a Garmin GPS with lifetime updates but as you implied, you have to download the maps by area. When we were touring the Vicksburg, MS area, we spent some time in a campground across the river in Louisiana. As we crossed the bridge over the Mississippi, the Garmen blanked out and showed only the main highway and a couple larger city names. We thought it broke but eventually figured out we had crossed the Map downloaded/No map downloaded line. Since the next area was a huge download, we couldn't afford the data hit AND we weren't planning to stay in Louisiana long, so we reverted to paper maps and spent some time lost wandering back roads of Louisiana. Granted we had gone off the beaten trail to visit the Poverty Point Indian Mounds so we were on quite a few farm country roads out there but we eventually made it back to camp. We played Gypsy at my son's house and used his unlimited internet to download the maps so we will be good to go next time. We bought a memory card for the Garmin so it can hold more maps.
44  Main Forum / Adventure Anywhere / Re: Curious PC lookers! on: April 09, 2016, 09:07:55 am
I see you just got your Phoenix this year so the "Phoenix Cruiser Admiration" is new to you. Get used to it, and continue being cautious. We've had people approach us at gas stations, restaurant parking lots and campgrounds. We often return to the RV and find people walking around it, checking it out. My best story is from a campground in Tennessee. I was cooking and cleaning up one day and saw a man walk his dog past several times within just a few minutes looking our way every time (almost like he was on sentry duty - back and forth, back and forth). Since I was busy, I didn't go out to greet him... until I realized he was standing just outside the camp site "property line" - just standing there with his dog watching our door and waiting for someone to come out. We gave the tour to him, his wife and another couple they were camping with them. The second couple had just spent one night in their brand new class C and loved it so little that after seeing ours, they swore they were taking it back that day and were going to check out the Phoenix. We were also approached by owners of a new Lexington at the same campground and after they told us how much trouble they had with its handling, they headed off to check out the Phoenix also.

As for caution, my parents had a tiny Class B and my mother loved showing it off... until one half of a couple stole her purse from next to the front seat while she was  showing the back of the van to the other half of the couple. They were a good bit down the road before she realized. Luckily only one gas charge went on her card before she shut it down but then they were on the road with cancelled credit cards. I am always careful to have valuables tucked away before inviting someone in or we have one of us stand in the cab area, smiling, answering questions and keeping an eye out - friendly, but cautious.

Enjoy your PC!!
45  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Woodalls/AAA campground guide on: April 08, 2016, 06:30:49 pm
Awesome! We belong to AAA and will be checking that out. Thank you for the info.
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