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Introduce Yourself!

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mikeh

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1140 on: February 17, 2019, 12:35:52 am »

OK Guys-----although I’ve got some 40 messages already on the forum, I was waiting to do a formal introduction until I was an official PC owner.  I finally took delivery of my new 2552 at Elkhart on Tuesday, February 12 2019, and made it back to reliable computer connections at my home in Oklahoma today.  My name is Mike Henry and I live in a small town (but kind of a regional center) in southeastern Oklahoma called McAlester.  I’m 74 years old (gasp!), and this is my first RV.  I’ve been birddogging this forum and following Phoenix Cruisers carefully for the past 3 or 4 years, so I have a solid understanding of the background of the company and a pretty good feel for the background of most of the more frequent posters these days.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of you who have gone before on this forum for your thoughts, ideas, successes, regrets, rants and raves, advice and cautions.  Several years of absorbing all of this material enabled me, a total neophyte to the RV experience, to distill pretty much what I thought I wanted in my RV purchase, and put together the specifics and options for my build.  With the very limited few-day experience so far, I am absolutely delighted with the result.

While many, many posters over the years have helped me develop understanding of the RV experience in general and Phoenix units in particular, I would be remiss not to acknowledge Ron for his prolific output (I’ve read all of his 12,000 posts to the forum  :-D).  Jatrax’s thoughtful contributions on many subjects prompted me to PM him for advice, and his kind replies convinced me to move from my original target of a 2351 to my current 2552.  DoneWorking (a fellow Okie), was good enough to point me to some local support facilities in another PM response.  JJ Cruiser’s layout of his new 2351 put me on to the new Lagun table option, and he was kind enough to provide details of the installation which allowed me to duplicate it in my unit.  I could mention several other contributors by name who have demonstrated impressive technical understanding and advice in different RV systems whom I have relied on for some aspect or another to refine my thoughts on what I need or should have.  All I can say in response is that I will be glad to “pay forward” if and when my own experience supports it.

I do have a (somewhat dated) technical background in a couple of areas. After formal training and a stint in the Navy as an Electronic Technician in the late ‘60s, and an informal multi-year passion for drag racing that produced several race cars and numerous performance engines and drivetrains through the 70’s, I retain enough experience with mechanical and electrical systems to still be helpful.  I learned the basics of effective troubleshooting early on, and although I regressed into sedentary management positions for the rest of my career until my retirement in 2013, I am still pretty effective at analyzing and sorting through problems to the right solution.  The only thing impacting my traditional “do it yourself” approach on repairs and improvements these days is that I can’t deny I’m losing the war on my physical ability to get on top of, underneath, or down inside of the job at hand.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!

Ok, I apologize for the long-winded, self-directed post, but the title of this subject group is “Introduce Yourself”, so that’s what I wanted to do.  Once more, thanks to all who helped me reach this long-sought point successfully, and I’ll do anything I can to help fellow Phoenix travelers.        Mike       

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Sarz272000

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1141 on: February 17, 2019, 08:27:40 am »
Welcome Mike

Did you have any custom add-ones to your PC? What options did you get? Always good to see what owners are doing to their units.

Ron

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mikeh

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1142 on: February 18, 2019, 01:11:50 am »
Hi Ron!  See your tag on quite a few message strings on the forum!

As you might guess from my intro message, I worked hard to understand the models, options, and then the experience of other buyers, and think things through to spec out my build pretty carefully.  This was a major and almost surely one-time purchase for me, so I wanted to do my best to get it right to begin with.  I decided that although cost is a very important consideration, things like an RV have to fall in the category of a non-essential splurge in life anyway, so if you're going to spend that kind of money on something you WANT versus NEED, you should spend a little more to get the extras where the extras seem to make common sense.  As an example, my first intent after careful evaluation of available models was to buy a 2351.  That was because I thought my probable use of the unit would be to travel a lot--see a lot of country-rather than spend most of my time in RV parks.  The 2351 seemed to be a good compromise between a compact unit that could navigate nimbly in most areas, yet still offer comfortable accommodations during extended trips.  After making a trip to Elkhart in August of last year and actually spending time inside the units, I was torn between my initial assessment of the 2351, and the more spacious bath area, storage, and sleeping arrangements of the 2552.  During that visit, I actually initially wrote a buy order on a 2351, but kept struggling with the differences I'd seen.  When I got home and sat down and ran the numbers, I  was amazed to find that I could buy an equally equipped 2552 for only 6% more money than the 2351.  Still debating, I sought and received some excellent advice from Jatrax on his experience with his new 2552, and when he told me that he could take the 2552 anywhere that I could take the 2351, I called Phoenix and changed my order.  That's an example of being willing to spend a little more money to try to get a big purchase correct the first time.

I used the same approach in selecting options, and in most cases that resulted in spending more to get the capability.  I struggled a little bit with the full body paint and automatic levelers--both pretty high dollar options--but overall input from a lot of forum posts over the years was that both options added real value and were items that owners would purchase again.  It's hard to argue with that kind of experience from so many sources, so I included them. 

After living through many Oklahoma summers, I KNEW I needed 50-amp service and the second A/C unit (with both units upgraded to 15K BTU).  If you've never lived or traveled in the heat and humidity of the south, you may not understand how miserable even nights can be when the single A/C can't begin to handle the 90+ degree temperature with 80% humidity at 11 PM at night.  The same rationale dictated the insulated windows also.  I didn't even blink in maxing out the climate control capability.  I also upgraded to the Maxx Aire 7000K units for both vent fans based on the rave reviews on this (and other) forums compared to the Fantastic units (which are good fans themselves--I have that in the bathroom).  The 7000K are dual direction, 10-speed w/remote units, and have a built-in rain cover that automatically raises and closes, so they don't require an additional add-on hood like other units.

Adding solar was another expensive option, and one that could be excluded if the unit spends most of it's time sitting in RV parks hooked to power.  Since I expect to spend appreciable time on the road and potentially in remote areas, optimizing the battery system and inverter power to the coach is important.  Solar is a major ingredient for that, so I added the 300 watt system, along with AGM batteries, and the Timetric battery monitor and solar controller.  This isn't a "state of the art" system, but it's a good solid system that will contribute a lot to electrical capability while off the grid.  The Progressive "EMS" system to protect the coach power input from surges or out-of-spec input power completes the electrical. 

My biggest debate on the coach interior was between the dinette and the sofa/pantry option.  The sofa/pantry that forms recliners and and additional sleeping space was by far the most useful choice, but I didn't know how to compensate for lack of a fixed table for desk space, etc. I finally settled on the sofa and replacing the euro chair with the cabinet set in that spot that includes the fold-up table that makes a desk for the passenger seat. I figured I could live with that, but at the last minute JJ Cruiser posted some pictures on the forum of his new 2351 that had the new Lagun swivel aircraft-type tables fixed to the two recliners. WOW! That was exactly what I was looking for, and I was on the phone to Phoenix the next day in a successful attempt to get them added to my build. They are ideal for what I needed (more value from this forum)!  My other interior options included the power slide-out on one bed, adjustable shelves in the shirt closets, leather on the seating, and power on the driver's seat and heat on both.  Based on prior experience, I bypassed their in-dash navigation for my Garmin unit, but have the Bluetooth/Sirius capability, back-up monitor, and I did spring for the Automatic Satellite Dish (that one may have been a mistake--we'll see).

Beyond these major options, two or three more things fall into the "nice to have but probably worth it" category.  I mentioned before my technical background, so naturally I find accurate information and data important.  I  REALLY like the Timetric battery monitor--you know exactly what is going on with your coach batteries; amps going in, amps going out, and percent of charge from all charging sources (engine, generator, solar).  The SeeLevel Tank Monitor system is similar: rather than indicator lights at "thirds" of full, it gives you exact percentages of full of your water, black, and grey tanks, LPG, and battery.  It's supposed to be a very reliable, long-lasting system also (as opposed to the regular sensors that frequently read erratically-or not at all- after a period of time).  As a $500 option it's very much "nice to have", but if it holds up as advertised it will provide accurate important information over the life of the coach.  I mentioned the Progressive EMS system; this is more data for the user, since it provide a continual reading of exact system voltage, system amps and system frequency on each lead of the power input.  It also provides error codes for several possible problems with the input power.  I put the insulation and heat pad on the Sani-Con system, as an addition to the standard heat pads on the tanks.  I also added the rear docking lights to be able to light up the area behind the coach to deal with my tow vehicle connections or any time I feel I might need a light source at the rear the coach while parked at night.

Well, I feel like I've rambled on again, but you did ask about options and custom add-ons.  I think that covers most of the stuff that I opted to include.  Other than options commonly included on orders, such as the "Premium Convenience Package", the slide out, awning, etc, my personal options and customization came to about 20% of the total price.  That is obviously a substantial number that could have made a measurable reduction in the purchase price if I had eliminated all of them.  However, going back to my original premise: when one is making an expensive one-time purchase, hopefully he has done his homework and included the things (some difficult or impossible to add at a later date). that will allow that purchase to best return the value and the pleasure that one made it for in the first place.  Hopefully that's what I've accomplished with a very careful purchase process--but only time will tell.  With the very short period that I've had to use the unit and evaluate things so far, I'm very happy with the results.
All the best,  Mike

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Sarz272000

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1143 on: February 18, 2019, 08:29:27 am »
Mike
Thanks for the detailed description of your PC. That is an awesome unit. Now others can use your post to help them order a unit. That is the beauty of this forum.  You will not regret the full body paint. I love the toast color.That is a lot of solar. More power to you!

Enjoy life.

Ron

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1144 on: February 18, 2019, 09:57:05 am »
Hi Mike,

Congratulations on your PC-2552.  I was well entertained reading through all your details.

You remind me of my wife Irene and myself.  We bought our PC-2350 12 years ago with the mentality that "This is our grand finality so we'd better get it right", and we did real good.  We misjudged a few considerations, but were able to address the ones of importance in subsequent years.

Each buyer has their own list of priorities.  I am glad to read that your start is "on track" and like us, you plan to own it for as long as you are able.

I either missed it or you didn't state it.  Are you a solo-traveler, or is there a significant other to share your PC travels with?  Also, are pets involved?

It's great to have one more PC family member, and one who shares lots of detail.  Welcome!
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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mikeh

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1145 on: February 18, 2019, 09:54:24 pm »
Ron, thank you, and "fair question".

First let me extend personal thanks for all you have contributed to this forum over many years.  The "12,000 posts" comment was, of course, tongue-in-cheek--but you have certainly provided a tremendous amount of information to other forum members.  Your posts are always detailed, many with photos to help put across your point, and all of that takes considerable time and effort.  Over that many years, that body of work could only come from someone that has a genuine desire to help others, and you should be justly proud of your contributions.

Now--my status.  I'm afraid I'm a solo traveler.  I lost my wife of 49 years this past year so I'm adjusting to that transition, and am trying to proceed with some of the things that we had once discussed doing together.  Penny had been in poor health for quite a long while, and although we had earlier talked about RV travel after I retired, she was really in no actual condition for that when I did retire in 2013.  I am myself fortunately still blessed with reasonable health, and so decided that with my own years progressing, prudence meant that despite the circumstances I should probably move forward with any plans sooner rather than later.  I am sad about that, because I think she would have really liked the Phoenix, but we don't get to dictate what life passes to us--we just need to do the best we can with it.

I also don't anticipate having pets on the PC, at least initially.  We've always had dogs, and everyone of them has been a full-blown "member of the family".  Penny left her beloved Yorkie in addition to her macaw and two parrots when she passed away.  Fortunately, our daughter has helped me care for the dogs and birds for the past couple years, since Penny really wasn't able to, so she will continue to keep the stability in their lives whether I am at home or on the road.

In conclusion, I really value your welcome to the PC Family; on this forum you kind of feel like "it's official" when Ron Dittmer welcomes you.

All the best,     Mike   

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Sarz272000

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1146 on: February 18, 2019, 10:55:37 pm »
Mike
Thanks for sharing what I am sure is very difficult.  Sorry for your loss. 

The PC people I have met are outstanding.  They go that extra mile and then some.  You sound like one of them also.

Your PC is exactly how I would have ordered it! Great minds think alike!

We live in Michigan which is just a little more then a long “Big Bertha” drive away. LOL  Perhaps our paths will cross someday.  I retire in three weeks and the PC is warming up, ready to go!

Ron Sarzynski
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 10:57:23 pm by Sarz272000 »

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1147 on: February 19, 2019, 01:10:08 am »
Mike,

I am so sorry for your loss.

Irene and I are married over 40 years now.  I cannot imagine how much I would miss her if she gets to heaven before me.

I hope you find peace and comfort "in faith" for there is only one truth about that.  God bless you in your travels in your PC.

Ron Dittmer
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mikeh

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1148 on: February 19, 2019, 08:17:32 pm »
Ron and Ron,

Thank you both for your kind words and sincere thoughts.  There is a pretty big hole in my life right now of course, and I definitely continue in an adjustment period, but I think it's important to try to keep focus forward.

Ron Sarzynsky:  I'm really envious of where you find yourself today--retirement in three weeks!  That's a truly exciting time!  I remember my own retirement some six years ago now, and how it was one of those few "big transitions" that you make in your life.  I have enjoyed mine greatly.  It sounds as though you have plans, and that your PC is going to be a big part of those!  I hope we DO meet on the road in the future--it's possible.  And I know we'll stay in touch on the forum.  We share some common interests!

Ron Dittmer:  Thank you again for your shepherding of others.  I am in peace and comfort, although as you presume it is at times quite a challenge to cope.  I hope your 2350 serves you and Irene well for another twelve years times two!  With the careful maintenance and obvious capability for upkeep you demonstrate, I have no doubt whatsoever that it will!

I wish you both all the best, and we'll visit with each other periodically through the kind contribution of Phoenix USA.

Mike


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gandalf42

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1149 on: February 23, 2019, 10:40:41 am »
Mike,

I will add my (somewhat late) welcome to you and congrats on your new RV! I was curious about your mention of the seelevel gage as that is something I had really wanted but when I mentioned it to some seelevel customer reps and the fact that PC wraps the tanks with the foil covered wraps, they didn't expect they would work.

So..are they working OK and did PC still wrap the tanks?

Thanks!

..Mike
Mike & Pat Astley,

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mikeh

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1150 on: February 23, 2019, 07:55:22 pm »
Hi Mike, and thanks for the welcome!

I can give you an abbreviated answer on the SeeLevel system.  I traveled wet during the three-day trip back home, and all five readings on the system worked perfectly.  I drained and winterized as soon as I got here, since we're still having sub-freezing weather, so it was a pretty short test.  I can also verify that the tanks are foil-wrapped, but the weather has been pretty sloppy since I got back home, so I haven't crawled around underneath to see for sure how they installed the sensors.  I looked at the one on the fresh water tank, but of course that tank is just bare, and the sensor is just applied to the back.  I assume they may have trimmed the foil around the sensor application on the black and grey tanks, but I'll have to wait until I can get fully underneath the unit to see.

I hadn't seen too many comments on the SeeLevel system on PC's on the forum and elsewhere, but what I had seen was positive.  Of course I HAD seen a variety of complaints on the standard system--primarily regarding unreliable measurement and operation after a period of time, so considering that and the attractiveness of the exact percentage read-out convinced me to roll the dice for the system.  I'll be glad to update with better information as soon as I accumulate it.

Mike

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RoadToNowhereRV

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1151 on: March 11, 2019, 02:12:34 pm »
Hello,

We're Sarah Beth and Clayton, happy owners of a new to us 2006 2551 F450 PC.  We plan on being full-time later in the year with our two dogs, Junebug and Roxy.  We are currently located in Pensacola, Fl or Lawton, Ok depending on the day...  Our PC had been sitting for a few years so we got a great deal BUT it came with a lot of mildew and mold.  So I've been cleaning, getting ready to put flooring down, paint walls and probably the ceiling too.  Very excited to be apart of the forum for great ideas, help and friendship.  Safe travels to all of you!

-Sarah Beth

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mikeh

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1152 on: March 11, 2019, 07:25:17 pm »
Welcome, Sarah Beth and Clayton!!

Glad to have you as new PC owners and as forum contributors!  You will find friendship here, and whatever assistance the forum can afford.  I'm pretty new myself, but there are a lot of folks here with much more experience both in RV'ing (several full-time) and maintaining and updating their Cruisers.  Quite a few have an impressive understanding of the systems of these units and have completed major projects on their PCs.  All seem to be glad to pass along what they've learned and help any way they can.  Don't hesitate to float any questions.

All the best, and again welcome!              Mike

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1153 on: March 11, 2019, 10:20:27 pm »
Sarah,
Your closest friend on this forum will be Volkemon because you are now where he was 6 months ago.  You will learn a lot from his rehabbing of his 2006 PC.  He has been doing a great job including applying some unique & creative alternatives.  Most of us here including Irene and I bought new or like-new cream puffs.  But we have experiences in other areas, so be sure to ask your questions to the entire forum.

BTW:   (w)
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 10:25:47 pm by Ron Dittmer »
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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Volkemon

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Re: Introduce Yourself!
« Reply #1154 on: March 12, 2019, 12:56:53 pm »
Hi Sarah Beth!

Glad you made it here from facebook. Lots of good stuff, and very helpful patient people.