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1696  Main Forum / General Discussion / RV (as an industry) Quality Re: Introduce Yourself! on: July 01, 2012, 11:22:29 pm
Hi Dave (and Peg),

Main question gas or diesel?

Boy this topic has seen many miles on many forums, this because it is a very good question.  I can only offer a personal opinion.

When it comes to economics, I feel chassis selection depends on how many miles a motor home gets driven annually.  We own a 2007 PC-2350, built on a 2007 E350-V10.  With 17,000 miles today, we average 3500 miles per year.  Doing the math, we spend roughly $400 more on fuel per year than if we owned a Sprinter.  Considering elevated annual maintenance costs of a Sprinter, the extra expense of $400 is reduced to at least $300, likely more.  So people like us dont drive enough to justify the added cost to purchase and own a Sprinter.

Regarding trade-in and resale, it seems linear.  You spent $12,000 more and get back that difference when reselling the rig.  Nothing gained, nothing lost.  There is the love & comfort factor with the Mercedes motor home, of which some people simply feel better about.  But that does not sell a used Phoenix Cruiser 2350 on a Sprinter any easier given the higher price tag to go with it.

Dave, you already know much of this.  I am simply confirming your thoughts.  The only thing I question is your fuel economy figures.  My E350 (not towing) averages just over 10 mpg, and just over 9 mpg when towing our 4300 pound Jeep Liberty.  This with top speeds near 70 mph.  We dont travel 55 mph given our limited vacation time.  People who track their Sprinter-V6 diesel 2350s have noted averaging around 14 mpg when not towing.  That is a 40% improvement.  I think people who say they get 18 mpg are taking snap shots of a days journey across the Great Plains.  Not trip averaging.  If I am incorrect, then I appologize, someone please correct me.  My E350 not towing will get 13 mpg doing 55 mph on the flats with no head wind, but that does not represent reality.

There are many debates on which chassis (E350 or Sprinter) is better suited for the task of motor-homing, and I wont go there in this post.  I will say that its all about trade-offs.  Each has pros & cons.

We tow the Jeep Liberty on all our vacations, usually 3 weeks at a time.  This is another reason why the motor home has fewer driven miles.  The places we go, mainly to national parks & monuments, the motor home would be difficult or impossible to park at some scenic pull-offs and trail heads.  Also, the 4x4 of the Liberty is used on day trips where a motor could never go.  Its really nice to leave home at the campsite, all setup waiting for our return.  We just keep a cooler in the Jeep and enjoy our extreme mobility.  If we find a day excursion better to have the RV with us, then we leave the Jeep at the campsite.  Places like Disney World is real nice to have the motor home waiting in the lot, a place to rest mid-day.

As far as PC quality is concerned, you won't find anyone here with a bad thing to say about that.  With that said there is no such thing as a "perfect" motor home made by anyone, and I think anyone who has owned any type of RV would agree.  PCs are designed & engineered quite well to take the punishment of the road, and workmanship is ranked high.  There is also something to say about general size.  The smaller, the stronger.  A small cardboard box is stronger than a big cardboard box made of the same cardboard.  It's the law of nature.  PC's are made lower and narrower than most other brands which helps in it's strength and integrity.
1697  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Our 2910 Single slide on: June 30, 2012, 07:35:02 pm
Oh So Nice there Gradygal!   Wink  I love what you had PC-USA do for you.  Are they going to offer that as a new model for 2013?

I have to get off my butt and get to buying that wire basket tray to replace our cutting board.  Where did you buy that one from?  I know I asked this question before.  Sorry.

I love your mirrors.  I really love them.  The factory was (maybe still is) installing mirrors next to the stove in the most common galley, but many people were not happy with it.  I never understood that.  I always thought a mirror there would be great for cooking splashing and twice the light from the hood.  Our 2007 2350 lacks that mirror but my wife didn't want to invest the money in one.   Cry   Ditto for leather seating for our cloth dinette.   Cry  Our cloth is okay, but leather would have been "tops".

I have to ask this question.
For those of us who require sleeping together, do you think there is enough room to work with in placing a double or queen  bed positioned sideways with night stands?  Even skinny nightstands, say 9" each, just enough to provide a place for personal things, and enough floor space to stand up at both sides.  Making up the bed would be so easy and like-home when you can drape the bedding properly on both sides.

Yes the one person would have to climb over the other to get out, but I would think it would be so much easier than our 2350 with cubby-hole double bed.  Not asking for myself becasue it just ain't gonna fit in our garage.  But I think there would be general interest in such a deviation.  Such a bed might even offer a pass-thru outdoor storage arraingement, even if the fresh water tank takes up some if it.

Is the fresh water tank or other mechanicals under your other bed?  What's under there?
1698  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Can I walk on the roof of my Cruiser on: June 29, 2012, 08:21:22 pm
I get up on ours when washing the roof very well which is once a year, sometimes every other year.  I really don't like the idea of 180 pounds of weight concentrated on a 3" x 8" footprint.  So I keep my time up top to a minimum.  Some years I'll use a brush on a pole and stay on the step ladder.  It depends how dirty it got, and how hard it is to clean off.  Stored indoors helps a lot with dirt control.

I do seem to be a bit extreme compared to just about every other PC owner.  I am simply afraid of damaging something because of the light weight and thin materials used up top.
1699  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: The Rally in Louisville and Our New PC on: June 28, 2012, 11:09:30 am
Both my wife and I do like the wood floor.  BJ's not too crazy about the twin beds though.  We have been married 50 years as of Feb 1 this year, and she is a snuggler.  The first morning when we woke up she sat up in her bed, looked over at me, and said, "Did you miss me?"
I am in no hurry, but whenever our carpet and vinyl flooring gets tired, I will be installing a wood or wood laminate floor.  It would have been nice to start with but "flooring" never came to mind.

I hear you about the "snuggling".  We are both snugglers so we are willing to tollerate the rear corner double bed.  Actually it wasn't much of an option for us either way given our 23'-8" long PC has only inches to spare fitting in the garage.
1700  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Mounting Solar Panels on: June 25, 2012, 09:06:20 pm
 
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I also like that he does not have the Wingard antenna.  That places the panels nicely between the front and rear tires for the least amount of road bump action.
1701  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Mounting Solar Panels on: June 25, 2012, 04:56:40 pm
The white rippled roof material is a thin sheet of fiberglass.

You want to make sure the feet of the solar panel are large enough as not to damage the roof through focused pressure points.  How large is large enough?  I don't know.  Hopefully the solar panels come with good size feet.  I would think something in the 1" x 2" range would suffice.  A little bigger would be better yet.  I advise to place full-covering stick-on rubber feet before screwing it down so there is no direct contact between the metal feet and the fiberglass itself.  You must screw into the ceiling joists to get a firm mounting, but do NOT over-tighten the screws as you run a risk of compressing and deforming the roof.  Screw down nice and snug and let your caulk act as an adhesive.  Caulk 100% around each foot and also the screw heads to prevent them from coming loose.

I don't know what caulk to advise using other than 100% silicone window caulk that is typicaly used on houses.  I see it a good choice as it seals well, is long lasting resistent to drying out, UV protected, and offers great adhesion.  Home improvement centers sell it.  It comes in white to match your roof.

If we were retired dry camping a lot in the desert, I would mount two large solar panels to the top of our 2350.  But we dry camp most often where there are shade trees, and we seek them out wherever we camp, rendering solar panels semi-useless.  Still a big pair on our roof would be nice to have.
1702  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Is there performance brakes for my e350 phoenix cruiser? on: June 24, 2012, 02:47:44 pm
Thank you Bob for that clarity.

Our 2007 E350 when not towing, could sure use a little help in the "Stopping" department.  Studying the changes made to the brakes for the 2008 model year, that extra 0.275" (0.55" dia) on the front disks (a tad more on the rear) would help, but I feel having the E450 hydro-boost would be more effective than the larger brakes.

I do question the power brake booster on my 2007 E350 because it is the exact same one used on the 2007 E150 van.  Same booster to stop 3 times the weight???  Admittedly I simply have to press harder which is effective, but a panic brake takes a lot of leg muscle, much more than is customary in other vehicles.  That is not good for a typical elderly driver with slower response time and weaker leg muscles.
1703  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Is there performance brakes for my e350 phoenix cruiser? on: June 22, 2012, 02:53:25 pm
I happen to have the Ford chassis specs with me for the 2007, 2008, and 2010 model years.  Here is what I compiled on the difference in brakes.  It would seem the E350 and the E450 of the same year utilizes the same brake components like calipers, disks & pads, but the E450 gets a more effective power braking system.  Instead of the typical vacuum assist power brake diaphragm that all typical vehicles are equiped with including the E350, the E450 has what is called a hydro-boost power brake system.  I wish I knew more about it and how it works.  I seem to recall it uses fluid and a pump spun by the serpentine belt, a similar setup as with power steering.

2007 E350 & E450
2.20" dia Dual-Piston Front Calipers
?   Rears are not specified
13.03" dia Front Rotors
12.90" dia Rear Rotors

2008 & 2010 E350 & E450
2.36" dia Dual-Piston Front Calipers
1.89" dia (Single or Dual) Rear Calipers
13.58" Front & Rear Rotors

The slightly larger pistons & rotors of the later model years should help with stopping power, though not a cure-all night/day difference.  It seems the hydro-boost of the E450 would be most influencial.
1704  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Is there performance brakes for my e350 phoenix cruiser? on: June 21, 2012, 07:34:47 pm
We improved the braking performance of our 2007 E350 PC-2350 by selecting the a Unified tow braking system for our Jeep Liberty.  When towing the Liberty and the driver-adjustable sensitivity is set to the top limit, it actually reduces braking distance as compared to towing nothing at all.

I realize it's not the type of answer you were seeking, but it is the only thing I know of that directly addresses your inquiry.

Here is the braking distance chart off the manufacture website.  The actual numbers would not apply given they are based off a different motor home, but the relationship does seem to be accurate based on our personal experience with the system.



Click Here To Read The Chart Better:  http://www.usgear.cc/utbstop.htm

If you had rear drum brakes (which you do not), I would have advised you adjust the rear brake shoes yourself.  If adjusted properly, the rear drum brakes will do much more for you than what they typically offer.  But even at their best, I think rear disk brakes out-perform rear drums any day.

Other influential factors are things like traveling lighter, traveling without any on-board water or sewage for example.  But then that defeats the idea of having a motor home in the first place.

Suspension upgrades would indirectly help in reducing stopping distance.  A well planted rig will utilize it's current brakes better.

I just don't know of any brake upgrade available.

Your 2007 E350, the brakes all around are a bit smaller than on a 2008 or newer chassis.  The quick indicator of bigger or smaller brakes is.....
If your E350 or E450 has the latest industrial looking front grille styling, than you have the bigger brakes.  All rotors, caliper pistons, and pads are a little larger.  Not much larger, but surely a welcome.  I think the rotors are no longer integrated as part of the hub.  They are more like a car is setup where the rotor slides over the lugs and hub, held in place by the wheel & lug nuts.

The 2009s also got an interior face-lift, an improvement in another category, with a glove box and two-tier door pockets, and a more practical dash board & center console.  Things like the 12V sockets are in better places to be out of the driver's way.  When my wife plugs into 12V, I can't use my gear shifter unless I hold it a certian way.  It seems a safety hazzard.

Sorry I got off-topic.

It would be interesting to know if you could install 2008-2013 brakes on a pre-2008 chassis.
1705  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Selecting The Right Full Body Color PC (& Friendly Advice To PC-USA) on: June 20, 2012, 07:37:20 am
Kevin, That is a safe bet for sure.....unless you are expecting your rig to be white, off-white, antique white, snow, cream, frost, egg shell, or some other flavor of white.   At least you didn't invest multi-thousands extra to get that color  Smile
1706  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Selecting The Right Full Body Color PC (& Friendly Advice To PC-USA) on: June 19, 2012, 01:31:17 pm
Very interesting Tom.  I suppose there is no easy way around the accuracy of color, especially given how one can get screen color variation so easily from one device to another.

Now if I could just be brave enough to suggest to Stuart that he should close the cab doors and walk 50 to 100 feet from the rig and zoom in before snapping any front & front angled view pictures.  Smile  I mean well with good intention, looking out for that guy and the rest of the gang over there on Marina Drive.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say we want PC-USA to continue to be financially successful.  I'm just trying to help a little here in the smallest of ways.
1707  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Selecting The Right Full Body Color PC (& Friendly Advice To PC-USA) on: June 19, 2012, 11:55:56 am
Okay.....Forget the paint chip brochures.  Smile  Too much $$$$ to make that happen properly.
I then vote for some better pictures of all the FB and LB painted rigs.  That should be cheap and easy enough to manage by whoever is taking the pictures.  Maybe the web page defining and illustrating the colors should say something about color inaccuracies.  Maybe Aimee states something already.
1708  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Selecting The Right Full Body Color PC (& Friendly Advise To PC-USA) on: June 19, 2012, 10:04:25 am
I agree with you Aimee on the whole subject of color.  There is no practical method without color chips.  And accurate chips might come at a hefty price of which has already been brought up.  Many of the big auto manufactures offer a color chip brochure that covers the entire line-up.  I don't know what the cost is associated in color accuracy, but it would be very helpful none-the-less in color selection for internet shoppers who order rigs sight-unseen.

Back in the day when I was at the factory in 2007, the only pictures they offered were copies of rigs printed on office copy paper.  Not even photographic paper.  Those printer copies were poor as well.  It was real tough back then to make a choice.  The only good quality picture of any kind was only one, a gray one on their 2007 brochure.  When we visited that day, there was a FB blue/blue-gray and a FB brown/bronze one.  Given our interior color selection, I thought the brown/bronze was worth consideration but my wife would have no part of it.

Of coarse the factory today has gotten much better since those days, or so I hope.  We have not been back since we picked ours up in 2007.  When I see the pictures on their website today, I think a little more effort (and I do mean just a little more) in picture taking would go a long way for customers to work with.  That was my point in all this.  Unfortunately my point seemed to come across offensively to some.  I can be a bit strong in my choice of words without even realizing it.

Anyhow, here an example of a color chip brochure for those who don't know what you and I are referring to.
1709  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Steering question on: June 19, 2012, 08:38:40 am
Hi ge_montana,

Internet suspension diagnosis is always to be taken with scrutiny.  With that understood here is my input.

You have a newer model 2551 on an E450 chassis, meaning that your chassis is about the least loaded as an E450 could be.  

Heavy duty front and rear stabilizer bars would reduce side-to-side rocking motion.  But if your rig is not doing that while you compensate, your compensation troubles might get resolved with a rear trac bar.  The trac bar reduces horizontal side-to-side motion referred to as tail-wagging.  Either type of such motion can require steering compensation as you describe.  Determine what type of behavior your rig has, rocking or tail-wagging.  Then consider the appropriate resolution.

You are correct to address the play in your tow bar through one of these (called a Quiet Hitch) and see if it helps.


Be sure your tow bar is horizontal.  If not, buy something like this to make it so, and get the right height as they are sold in different off-sets.  A tow bar on an angle greater than a 2" height difference between motor home and tow vehicle can create notable bucking.  The greater the difference, the greater the bucking action.
Though it is not the problem you describe, it is worth mentioning since you brought up the play in your tow bar.  Adding a riser will introduce a lot more play in the tow bar, so be sure to use two Quiet Hitch U-Bolts there.
1710  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Selecting The Right Full Body Color PC (& Friendly Advise To PC-USA) on: June 18, 2012, 06:36:14 pm
I didn't take Ron's post as bashing.  He's a big PC cheerleader, and he does take great photos. I'd like to know where you got that camera for $150 and how I could get one.
About 4 years ago Office Max had a sale on the Camon Powershot S5-iS for $150 and it included a free printer with a rebate.  They were the last of the disposable Alkaline AA battery powered type.  I think they were making room for the new models offered.  Now-a-days the cameras all take special rechargables.  My Powershot is old technology by today standards.

Thanks Aimee for the explanation on how they opperate there....."Quick, take some pics for that customer!"

Hey, I just looked on-line and see that same camera sells for more today than we paid back then.  What's up with that?  I should have bought out the store!  Actually I am surprised to see it for sale at all.
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