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61  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Remote Communications on: December 28, 2015, 08:33:22 am
Throughout some of our trips we've been in some isolated areas with no cell service, wifi or other means of communication.  Recently, we saw a handheld device that uses satellites for two way text communications and decided to give a try, mostly for potential emergencies.  It's a Delorme Inreach (model SE) and costs about $250, plus service subscription.  The plans range from about $14/mo to $100/mo depending on features.

Our unit works as advertised and purportedly has 100% global coverage.  It even worked in the house.

It has an SOS button which sends a verified message directly to Search and Rescue, syncs with your mobile devices, sends messages to multiple email addresses or phone numbers, allows others to 'ping' your location, has a trip mapping feature, topographic map capability and optional route guidance.

When we are on the road we usually blog daily and if family or friends don't see the blog posting they tend to get a bit concerned.  This device would allow us to send out a message to them all at once saying that we are out of cell/wifi service range.

For us it looks like it will be worth it for the peace of mind of the SOS feature.  Thought others might want to know that such a device is out there....especially all you hikers.

    - Mike
62  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: AC not cooling on: December 25, 2015, 03:00:36 pm
It's kinda nice that it failed when the outdoor temps are around 70 and you'll no doubt be heading into colder weather on the way back to PA!  Sure beats losing a/c in July in Phoenix or Havasu!

   - Mike
63  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: AC not cooling on: December 25, 2015, 11:03:00 am
Dave:

Could be many things....some more likely than others; however, when I had an issue with our a/c it turned out to be a loose wire nut in the control section of the rooftop unit.

Other possibilities include:

- iced up due to fan not working or a clogged filter/fins
- lack of freon (leak somewhere?)
- bad/stuck compressor
- burned out component like a capacitor
- frozen/stuck reversing valve (if your unit is a heat pump)
- a/c compressors use a lot of power, especially on startup....are you on generator or shore power?

I would take a quick look at the rooftop unit and see if there is any obvious problem (burned areas, loose wires, unusual noises)

Many a/c problems can be identified with a volt-ohmmeter and a troubleshooting guide, if you have access to those.

The good news is that an RV a/c unit is like any other and any HVAC company can help you out.

Strange problem to have on Christmas!  Happy holidays!

    - Mike
64  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: New transmission on: December 18, 2015, 08:30:23 pm
Congrats and welcome!  Good to hear the new transmissions feel right!

  - Mike
65  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Water pressure on: December 18, 2015, 06:43:15 am
Sorry, Paul....I was responding to Janey who has a 2014.  The 4-way valve wasn't installed until 2013 on the 2014 models (I believe), so you wouldn't have it on your rig.  In a nutshell, this valve is installed on the drivers side and has a hose connection to hook up to city/campground water supply.  In essence, the four positions on the valve are: Use City Water, Fill Tank With City Water, Use RV Water Pump, Winterize. Here is a schematic from the manufacturer as to how different portions of piping are engaged when a selection is made...

66  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Water pressure on: December 16, 2015, 10:23:13 am
And is your four way valve (next to where the hose is attached) turned to the proper setting?

   - Mike
67  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: New transmission on: December 05, 2015, 07:48:21 am
I've also been reading about the new 2016 E-Series and noted some interesting stuff.  First, apparently Ford has stated that they'll continue the E-Series for a while yet.  Responding to if they would be dropping the E-Series in favor of the Transit:

"According to a report from PickupTrucks.com, however, that's not the case, the report claiming that the highly modifiable E-350 and E-450 stripped chassis and cutaway versions will continue being produced in Avon Lake, Ohio until near the end of the decade.
Being decades old, the be-cabbed E-Series platform has found its way under an army of heavy-duty shuttle buses, work truck and ambulances. Ford spokeswoman Jessica Enoch verified the production horizon, telling Autoblog that the continuing E-Series configurations "are a higher GVWR than the Transit chassis cab and cutaway (available this summer), which is more Class 2 and a new segment for us." So there you have it."

As for the new E-Series....

The 2016 E-Series Cutaway Brochure:
http://www.fleet.ford.com/resources/ford/general/pdf/brochures/2016/2016+E-Series.pdf

Ford site now listing the motorhome packages for the 2016.  Interesting items include: Ford Sync, User Defined Upfitter Switches, Telescoping Trailer Tow Mirrors, and Trailer Brake Control System.

The available factory-installed integrated trailer brake controller (TBC) works in conjunction with the Anti-Lock Brake System and synchronizes the vehicle and trailer brakes for seamless braking while towing even the heaviest of loads. (TBC is compatible with electrically actuated trailer drum brakes only.)

The Upfitter switches make it easy to use add-on systems.....
Four switches can operate high-power relays for accessories
Two 30-amp, one 10-amp and one 15-amp circuits provided
Smartly integrated into the instrument panel
Prewired and ready to go
Requires optional alternator

The 2016 line also has available alternate fuel packages like propane and CNG.

It seems the new Triton engines in this line have also been detuned and are now at a lowered 305 hp? 

Lastly, I don't know if it was available prior to this or not, but the 2016 has a factory option for 40 gallon gas tank (vs 55 gal) which would possibly free up room for increased fresh/black/grey tank capacities, or at very least allow greater carrying capacity.  Unsure if this option is only on the E350 or not.

All that together with a better-gas-mileage-transmission and the future looks hopeful!

   - Mike
68  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Full Timing? on: November 29, 2015, 09:26:28 pm
While crawling under our 2552 I did notice quite a bit of space on the passengers side just to the right of the electric step.  Might be too far from the water plumbing to be of use though....

   - Mike
69  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: PC 3100 and PC 2351 Owners ... purchase dilemma on: November 29, 2015, 09:22:55 pm
Steve / Jennifer:

Joni and I have neither model you are considering (we have a 2552), but I don't think you mentioned if you previously owned an RV and if so, if you ever towed.  Our PC was our first RV and (obviously) the first time towing.  We went back and forth about whether to tow or not, and whether renting in certain cities would be more beneficial.  We opted to tow and are glad we did.  It didn't take that long to streamline the process of setting up at a campground/park and conversely buttoning things up, however we now know we would not want to do it on a regular basis to go sightseeing, the grocery, the RV parts store, the restaurant, etc etc.  Also, aside from the setup and tear down, there is the additional gas expended in a low MPG vehicle using the RV for those side trips. One other benefit of towing for us has been the ability to stop much quicker, since there is an auxiliary braking system in the tow vehicle.  This comes in handy much more often than I would have imagined.  Last positive aspect of towing is the additional space you have in the towed vehicle for 'stuff'.  We generally keep beach-gear, chairs and our home-made dog anchors in there which is helpful given the finite storage space in a class B+.

The down-side to towing (for us) has been additional gas expended while normally towing (and especially uphill) and the additional expense for the gear (aux braking system, tow bar, brake/turn signal system, baseplate, etc.)  I guess we should include wear and tear (tires) but no additional mileage racks up on the odometer.

Lastly, we've really become proficient at connecting and disconnecting our tow vehicle.  Takes us about 2 minutes.  This is with a Blue Ox tow bar/baseplate on a Ford Edge LTD.

Of course, the towing option is always available to you later if you find you'd really like to have it.

- Mike
70  Main Forum / Adventure Anywhere / NY and New England on: November 23, 2015, 12:35:55 pm
Not much being posted so I thought I'd post some stops we made on our first cross country trip from California.  We had a limited amount of time to make it to the east coast and back, so we missed out on tons o' stuff, but this was a particularly memorable portion of our trip (in June)

--- Wilson, NY (Daisy Barn Campground)  This was our first stop in New York traveling east.  Daisy Barn is a very small RV park located right on Lake Ontario.  It is a quiet place with beautiful grounds, large enclosed dog park, huge lawn area, gazebo and firepit right on the lake, great sunsets.  The small town of Wilson is very quaint with some nice restaurants.  We used this campground as a base for visiting Fort Niagara (built originally in 1678 where the lake and Niagara River meet, now has historical reenactments and is a living history site), Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Lockport (historic Erie Canal town with famous 'flight of five' locks)

--- Macedon, NY (Mid-Lakes Navigation Canal Boats)  We spent an amazing week on the Erie Canal driving and living in a very nice canal boat rented at Mid-Lakes.  These are like RV's on water, very well maintained, very easy to operate (7 mph max I think) and a totally unique experience.  We had no issue parking our rig at the marina and it was fine when we returned.  They provide a half hour instruction on operation of the boat, how to operate the radio, and how to go in and out of the locks (and how to have bridges raised for you). Many nice towns along the canal have parks/docks to tie up to and provide power/water free (or nominal fee). Dogs are allowed on some of the boats. Highly (really) recommended!

--- Watertown, NY (KOA 1000 Islands at Association Island)  Private island located on Lake Ontario once owned by GE for company retreats and later the YMCA for summer camp.  While it is a bit worn and could use updating, you can't beat the location with sites right on the lake (choose windward or leeward side of island)  Nearby towns have great restaurants and shops, but we stopped here to get restocked and ready for the Adirondacks.

--- Lake Placid, NY (Lake Placid / Whiteface Mt. KOA)  The drive through the Adirondacks was easy and beautiful.  We don't seek out KOA's to stay at but we don't necessarily avoid them, especially when they are highly rated, as this one is.  Beautiful heavily forested grounds and very well kept.  Close to Lake Placid, Olympic Village, Whiteface Mt., Ausable Chasm, Ausable River (fly fishing!) and not that far from Lake Champlain. Town of Lake Placid is very nice, quaint, great shops and restaurants.  Lots of wineries nearby as well.

--- White River Junction, VT (Quechee / Pine Valley KOA)  We took the ferry from Port Kent, NY to Burlington, VT across Lake Champlain.  Very easy, unusual (for us) experience.  Lots of nice comments about our PC from passengers and boat personnel, most of whom were surprised to see California license plates. Another well rated, nice KOA.  Very close to Woodstock, Killington, Connecticut River, many covered bridges, New Hampshire.  Don't miss Simon Pearce Glassworks and Restaurant (beautiful setting on river at waterfall, great glassblowing demos, superb meal) and the Quechee Gorge.  Nice antique shops and many beautiful diners closeby. Gotta love the fact that billboards are outlawed in VT.

--- Littleton, MA (Minuteman Campground)  Nice forested park near Harvard.  Well run, well kept, decent space, good amenities. Close enough to Boston, Salem, Gloucester to easily drive or take public transport.  Harvard Kennels and Vet Clinic nearby (great groomer and nice being able to drop off the puppies for an extended period while visiting the Boston area)

     - Mike (transplanted New Englander)
71  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Question For 2552 Qwners on: November 09, 2015, 11:14:33 am
Marcia:

Although I'm not at our rig and can't do the measurements right now, I think there is enough room behind the passenger seat for the cages if you remove (or eliminate upon ordering) the barrel/Euro seat.  I think that way you'd be able to set them up and leave them there.  You'd want exact measurements first though...

The other possibility is to have the cages placed in one location during travel (strapped to the sofa or bed?) and move them to a better location when you are parked and the slide is out (behind the drivers seat?). The only other spot I can think of is right in front of the fridge when the slide is out, but you'd have to slide the cages out of the way to access the fridge.

- Mike
72  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Modifications & additions to PC 2350 on: November 08, 2015, 11:32:29 am
Great job!  Covering the DVD player has been on my list and your solution looks perfect.  We have a similar ottoman (from QVC) and use it as a trash container/footrest/extra seat.  Your idea of taking out the cutting board made me think that one could also replace it with a slide out spice holder.

  - Mike
73  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Phoenix Cruiser sighhtings on: November 07, 2015, 11:45:18 am
Ah!  That's just the book I've been looking for!  Thanks!

  - Mike
74  Main Forum / Adventure Anywhere / Re: Death Valley on: October 31, 2015, 03:23:53 pm
Thanks John...great info.

   - Mike
75  Main Forum / Adventure Anywhere / Re: Death Valley on: October 29, 2015, 09:37:25 am
Thanks folks!  Wife frequented the area with her family when she was young and really wants to visit there again.  Sounds like a plan!

   - Mike
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