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RE: RV Magazine

Agree, junk mail trash now. They may still send it to me for free after I cancel, but even for free its not worth reading and will go straight from the mailbox to the round file. So many good magazines from years ago have completely gone to ****. Get on Google books and look at a Popular Mechanics from 40ish years ago. So sad those days are gone.
PatJ 01/23/21 06:40pm Beginning RVing
RE: Adding Heat Strips

I added a heat strip to my 2019 Coleman roof AC and in my opinion it was totally worth it. Was a very simple plug and play install, the wiring was all there already from the factory. If you have a newer rig you don't need to mess with wiring or breakers or any of that, it is a simple plug-and-play to existing wiring/plugs with stupid-simple instructions and will work with your existing thermostat. It does not blow out "hot" air to the touch, but if it runs for a short while your rig will be warmer. If we have hookups, we use it as our only source of heat down to roughly 40f OSA and it easily maintains that temp. In my opinion it is superior to portable electric heaters (which we carry in case of emergencies) because it is the same heat power yet it works with the existing hard-mount thermostats. Also, we often ran our roof air fan at night for background noise anyway, so adding heat was a no brainer. Just my experience. It works great for us.
PatJ 01/21/21 08:43pm Tech Issues
RE: Honda 2000i tips and tricks for changing oil.

Have a pair of EU2000 since 2005 with a bazillion hours and oil changes once annually each fall. I put the gens on 2x4 blocks on edge (which I have laying around) and tilt to drain into a dollar-store cat litterbox (basically a roughly 9x12x3" plastic container.) The EU2000 already has the little trough to direct the drainage. No extra parts purchased. I use a tiny (cheap) funnel to refill, I think it was from WalMart or similar. I tilt it to the non-fill side and grossly overfill, then tilt level and drain the excess in to the litterbox via the built-in trough. There is very little waste overall but it works well for me. I am over 1k hours for both EU2000 gens and they run like new. You're overthinking it.
PatJ 01/21/21 08:25pm Beginning RVing
RE: Best tire inflator for dually tires

I used the Milton inflator tool on the right for a couple of years until it started leaking air. I have the same ~10" straight dually Milton tool I've used for my last two class C's (17 years-ish.) It has and does work great. I had to replace valve stems with longer units to be able to check pressure and add air with the cheap simulators in place on the rear, but it was worth it for about $20/wheel, one time expense. Extensions would probably work too.
PatJ 01/18/21 06:45pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Changing Spare Tire

Seems the best advice is to have a spare and the tools required to change a spare and decide whether to do it by yourself based on the situation. I agree with this 100%. If I get a flat in the real world, I am going to drive slowly to somewhere safe if at all possible (even if I ruin a rim.) I would then call roadside assist and let them place my mounted spare. But I go too many places with no cell phone service, so I carry a ~$40 HF bottle jack, 4x cheap HF rubber chocks, a 30" HF breaker bar, extension, and socket; and a Autozone 4-way. This past summer I picked up a nail for a slow leak in the driver's side inner dual. At the end of season I swapped with my spare in my driveway before taking the leaker to the tire shop for repair. I also practiced pulling/swapping the front. I feel more confident having installed the spare in both front and rear position using tools I carry, a worst-case-scenario tire situation. It was not physically difficult in the driveway, but would be very stressful to do on the side of the highway.
PatJ 01/02/21 06:53pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Reliability of older Class C’s?

I'll comment as someone with 120k+ miles experience with "older RVs." Search my posts for more info to validate. I LOVE older RVs. 1st - I'm jealous of your trip and wish I had the guts to do it when I was your age. IMO you will never regret it regardless of any mechanical issues you may have along the way. Don't forget that. 2nd - IMO The most likely thing to leave you stranded is tires. Other rotating things may fail (alternator, tensioner, idler, etc) but they are less likely to fail catastrophically without warning and leave you stranded. So in my opinion I would focus on tires. Other rotating thing will most likely give you some warning (noise, slop, etc) as they fail. Listen for that whenever possible. Make sure you have a good spare with you as well as the jack/lug wrench/compressor required to replace if needed in the middle of nowhere. If you have 16.5 tires make sure you understand they are rare these days and most tire shops will not stock spares. 3rd - I've been doing this for a while and I wouldn't hesitate to take a well-maintained older class C across country, any day of the week. Good luck!
PatJ 11/25/20 09:54pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Rear gear ratio

I'm on my third RV which is a 2019 Ford C with 4.56 and a 6 speed with double overdrive, so NA. My previous RV was a SB Chevy with 4.56 axle and a Chevy TH400 (the GM version of a C6.) It was exactly as you describe. It did really well at 55 MPH (even with light towing,) but dropped off hard above or below that speed. When I had that rig I fantasized about re-gearing or adding an OD trans, but in reality I probably didn't have the power to support it (stock SB Chevy roughly 175 HP.) My first RV was also a small block Chevy but 3.73 axle. IMO this was the ideal ratio for a non-lockup 3 speed trans with 3rd direct. This was my shortest and lightest RV of the three, but also was the oldest (1975) had the least HP of the three. But still it did very well on the highway 60-65 MPH and was a joy to drive even by modern standards. If you re-gear keep stock size tires and a direct-3rd trans I would shoot for 3.73ish. That's with me assuming Ford and Chevy from the same vintage are roughly equivalent. Just my opinion
PatJ 11/09/20 07:43pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: RV sitting for two to three weeks in 10 degree weather

I respectfully disagree about blowing out the lines being insufficient for 10 degree weather; if done properly, it's every bit as safe as pumping antifreeze, as air doesn't freeze and expand. My neighbor, who has lived across the street from me for many years, and whose RV has experienced the exact same conditions as my RV for many years, would agree with Drew 100%. My neighbors success with blowing out is 100%. His toy hauler is much larger, "fancier," and more complex than my class C, and he has more plumbing fixtures. And we get very cold here, -20f nights with 0f days is not unheard of. But my neighbor still buys two gallons of pink antifreeze to pour in all his traps. I winterize my entire rig with the same amount, so zero additional cost for me to be 100% certain. Two gallons of the pink and after pumping through the system, it flows in to the traps to protect them as well. It is all personal preference. But if you flow pink through everything you can't go wrong IMO.
PatJ 11/04/20 10:06pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: RV sitting for two to three weeks in 10 degree weather

I agree with those that say do a full winterize with pink antifreeze through each fixture, hot and cold and in the traps. "Blowing Out" has its place, I do it after each spring trip for those nights where the temps dip down to ~30f overnight low (and maybe 55 daytime.) You are talking about 10f and I assume possibly not warming above freezing during the day. Unless you are planning to leave the heat on, blowing out alone won't help you, you need a full winterize with the pink stuff in my opinion. You shouldn't need to pour it in the fresh tank if you have a place to hook up to winterize. Make sure to bypass your water heater. I can do my whole rig with 2 gallons. Don't forget the outside shower and low point drains.
PatJ 10/29/20 10:27pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Class C Chassis

I am life-long Chevy guy. My family currently has 4 vehicles, three Chevy with V8 and the RV with Ford V10. My wife and I have owned three RVs since 1996, the first two were Chevy based and our current is a 2019 Thor 23' Class C on Ford chassis we bought new in April 2019. So I am not exclusively brand-loyal but I definitely lean Chevy. That being said, our Ford V-10 based class C has been fantastic in every way. I am happy to go on and on about how much we love this rig or answer any specific comparison questions if you like. But for now I would like my #1 takeaway for you to be: please do not focus on brand for the sake of brand. I know Ford went through a pretty major revision in 2016, so the 2016+ rigs are vastly different than the 2016- rigs. Not sure when (if) Chevy did a similar update in their van chassis, but be sure to compare apples to apples. A 2017 E350 would be vastly different than a 2015 E350, for example. Have fun in your search!
PatJ 10/29/20 10:17pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Thinking about buying a class c

I am going to disagree with coolmom a little bit and lay out the decision process in my opinion: #1 floor plan. This is one thing you cannot change after purchase. Basically all RV manufacturers are making the same floor plans with subtle differences, so pick floor plan first regardless of brand. Corner bed/walk around bed, slides/no slides, cabover/no cabover, basement, etc. #2 chassis. Now that you have chosen your floor plan, you pick chassis brand and wheelbase. Its important here to throw any brand loyalty you may have out the window and focus on your specific needs in this specific situation. I am a hardcore lifetime Chevy guy, but have a Ford based class C I bought brand new in 2019, my third RV (after two Chevy based rigs over 25 years.) I am not endorsing Ford over Chevy here (even though it works fantastic for us) just using it as an example to show its important to disregard any chassis brand loyalty here and focus on the facts to find the best fit for your specific situation at this moment. #3 Model - once you have your floor plan and chassis brand you should shop model. Since every manufacturer has the same floor plans, and you are past that now, you are now looking at details. Interior layout, cabinets vs drawers, carpet vs vinyl, LED vs incandescent, tank sizes, porcelain vs plastic toilet, etc. Always remember that there are a zillion RV manufacturers making a zillion RV models, someone somewhere is making the exact RV you are looking for. Don't rush or sign anything and with patience you and your perfect RV will meet soon.
PatJ 09/27/20 09:32pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Vintage RV upgrades

Congrats on the 150 miles and hope you have many more to go! Does the fridge's pilot flame run all the time, but the fridge does not cool? Do you see any sign of yellow-ish powder residue in the area of the fridge coils under the outside fridge access door? A friend of mine once had a fridge die in a small 1977 trailer, that's the only one I'm aware of personally that had an ammonia fridge die of my many friends with older rigs. That friend had a good flame, but no cooling (after 24 hrs) and yellow flaky/powered residue under the tubes in the outside compartment. I hope you don't have that issue, because the fix is a new fridge. Good luck. As for the exhaust leak, I don't know anything about Dodge, but for Chevy an exhaust leak between the manifold and the down pipe was very very common. So common that as a hobby owner of multiple 73-87 pickups I've actually memorized the Fel-Pro part numbers for the "doughnut" to fix it 60985 or 8194. I think that part number is good for something like 1930-1990. It is so common that they make common kits to address the issue and it is a common wear item. I assume Dodge is the same as this common Chevy issue (but I don't know the Dodge part numbers.) For Chevy you would also visit the "help" section of the store and pick up a set of exhaust studs and brass nuts for $5 to complete the job. Again, I don't know about dodge but assume it's similar. I love older rigs and smile when I hear of people putting the effort in to keep the on the road. I wish you luck and let me know if there is anything I can do to be helpful. Good luck.
PatJ 09/14/20 11:01pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Class C Specifications

It would be nice to hear from an expert on this subject matter. Sorry Ron, but like it or not, YOU are the expert on E350 & E450 chassis on this forum, in my opinion anyway. I agree with all that say the yellow sticker wins. I purchased a brand new from-a-dealer class C in April 2019. It was my third RV over 25 years so I wasn't born yesterday and I shopped and researched hard. It was shocking how much the GVWR/GCWR varied between brands for very similar rigs of similar floor plans and identical lengths as per the yellow sticker. What I learned was there are many subtle options for the Ford chassis C to be aware of that all affect GVWR and GCWR. If you are going to drop $70k-100K on a new rig, take the time to learn the differences and pay attention to the yellow sticker as one of many things to consider when you are comparing models. Just my opinion. To contribute to the weight conversation; my 2019 Freedom Elite 23H which is the same as a Thor 23U is: GVWR 12,500 GAWR F 4600 GAWR R 8500 GCWR 18,600 In July 2019 I went through a weigh station mid-1-week-trip. At the point of the weigh in fresh water tank was full and both waste tanks were about 1/4. Everything was loaded, and my wife and one child and I were in the rig, as well as two coolers, all of our bikes, a grille, a 5 gal propane cyl, groceries, two dogs, >3/4 propane, >3/4 fuel, etc. Nothing towed. Weights: 3560 F 7800 R 11,520 Total Fully loaded I am still 1000 pounds short of GVWR, and similar on each axle. Also, I very often tow a double axle "car hauler" 7K GVWR trailer (2k# empty) with a Polaris RZR and two quads on it (4k# loaded.) My Thor has a GCWR of 18,600 and a hitch rating of 8k#. The RV tows the trailer fantastic with zero issues with about 650# on the hitch.
PatJ 09/11/20 09:33pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Ford 7.3 v8

I am not brand loyal, I currently have a 2019 V10 class C I love. For years my daily driver was a 4.6 Crown Vic which was probably the best car I've ever owned. For the last 10 years my daily driver is a 5.3 Tahoe which has been fantastic, and one of my many Chevy LS. Again, not brand loyal. I remember when Ford came out with the "modular" V8/V10 their ads basically said how only a stupid cave man would stoop as low as to drive something as crappy as a prehistoric push rod engine. As I recall the ads compared the LS to the WWII jeep or a lawn mower due to the pushrods, while their modular had the super high-tech OHC (and in Lincoln, DOHC.) Here we are in 2020 and as I understand it the Ford 7.3 is a single cam pushrod motor. I'm sure its great. But its kind of funny. I can see why people are saying Ford copied the LS. The LS is an amazing engine I don't blame Ford for trying to duplicate its power/weight/cost ratio as well as its long life.
PatJ 09/06/20 09:19pm Tow Vehicles
RE: 1978 Chevy Itasca for $4800

Let me clarify on the tires, learn to read the DOT date code on the tires (google it.) Tire manufacturers put the week the tire was manufactured on the tire in a code. If the tire is more than 7ish years old the tire is trash (opinions vary but most manufacturers say 7 is end of life.) I replace my tires every 5. This person says new tires but is probably basing that on tread life which is totally irrelevant. My 5 year old tires usually have very good tread left when I trash them. 10 year old tires I wouldn't drive it around the block.
PatJ 09/01/20 07:41pm General RVing Issues
RE: 1978 Chevy Itasca for $4800

As someone that has owned a couple older RV's including a 1984 Chevy C very similar to what's pictured (we put tens of thousands of miles and many nights camping into it and loved it, it was a great rig) here are my thoughts: -Everything about the chassis is fixable, parts and knowledge are out there common and available. If it starts, runs, and drives (shifts through the gears;) the chassis probably doesn't need anything super expensive. I would plan/budget for full service including belts/hoses/filters/fluids/anything else suspect. Post says it was recently done but I would do it myself/have it done with anything used. -If it has ever leaked in its life (and that's very likely) then there is almost certainly wood rot and compromised structure on the house portion. There really isn't a lot super-expensive about repairing this but it is a TON of work to repair! Be realistic about your carpentry abilities as well as your tools/work area. This is a lot of work. Many rotten rigs have repairs started but never finished. If you are a skilled carpenter with a big fully-equipped shop with 12' doors, have at it! -RV's are high maintenance, even new ones. Older ones are A LOT of maintenance. This is not a big deal for some, but is a deal breaker for others. Be realistic. If you are set up for it, you can get a nice rig and save a ton of money. -If the tires are old as far as date of manufacturer (I bet they are) then you need new tires before you even get it home. ~$1200 right off the top. Visible tread depth is irrelevant if they are 20 year old tires. Old tires can fail catastrophically without warning, possibly causing an accident. If they are 16.5 rims (likely) be aware its very possible no one in town will have the tires in stock, they will be special order. Options are to order (be sure to get 7 so you have a spare) or switch wheels to 16". -$4800 is way too much in my opinion unless it is rock solid, runs good, never leaked, with 1 year old 16" tires. No one will loan on that rig, so cash talks. I love old RV's, so I hope you pull it off and good luck!
PatJ 09/01/20 07:36pm General RVing Issues
RE: 24 ft ClassC MH downsides

what is the difference between the 350 and 450 chassis. Is it just suspension, or is transmission, rear end, and frame upgraded also. Newer than 2016 there is little difference between 350 and 450. Once Ford stopped making the E series van as a standalone vehicle, much was consolidated. They essentially threw all the HD parts on all E series to eliminate options and simplify build sheets among upfitters. As of 2019, drivetrain is absolutely identical; engine, transmission, axle ratio, etc. Brakes are identical all around. Cooling system is identical. 450 rear axle is a different PN and slightly different measurements (to accommodate different springs) but ratio is the same (4.56 for all.) Both have hydroboost. Both have the 6 speed. The biggest difference in my research: Frame thickness and dimensions, springs, and sway bar specs are dependent on WB and GVWR for both the 350 and 450. As the 450 has higher GVWR for longer floor plans it is generally thicker frame/springs/sway bar in 2016+.
PatJ 09/01/20 06:59pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Vintage RV upgrades

I have great memories with my previous class C which was a 1984 Chevy, very similar. I also had 16.5 wires which I replaced three times in the years I had it. The last time they were harder to find but were still available by order, glad you got all 7. You were smart to go to the 8.75, that's what we did too. I've never heard of them not fitting a class C. I agree with replacing the convertor, I did a progressive dynamics PD 9260 because the convertor was stand-alone then (not part of the fuse panel like today.) It was a good upgrade. Also add hard-wire CO and propane leak detectors. Keep up on all the maintenance like you said, belts, hoses, filters, fluids and it should be good to go. Keep an eye out for house leaks. With proper care and maintenance there's no reason it can't be as reliable as anything out there. The rig was built during 55 mph speed limit so regardless how much power you have you may run out of gearing much above 60, which is fine as you will get much better mileage at 55 then faster anyway. I would pass on the headers, the engine compartment is cramped and hot already and headers would make it much worse for not much if any gain. That smog-era engine's heads and cam are not going to flow enough to take advantage of headers and may actually make performance worse. I'd focus on maintaining what you have and keeping stock if possible. IF your manifolds are cracked get some new from LMC truck or something. You shouldn't have cat convertors but if you do I'd consider removing those. I don't think you will be able to run the fridge long through an inverter especially with one house battery. When I am on the inverter the fridge itself draws 55 amps at 12v if I leave the fridge in auto. Compressor fridge will be less but I'm not sure how much less. We put many miles in our old 84 all over the country and have many great memories from that time. We've upgrade since and yeah its nice to have 2x or 3x the horsepower from a new rig, but once your parked they are all still pretty similar. You might have to go outside to light your water heater instead of pushing a button, but I'm sure you can handle that :) I'm excited for you. Good luck.
PatJ 08/29/20 09:54am Class C Motorhomes
RE: 24 ft ClassC MH downsides

I think most models with the corner bed has the large storage container. The outside storage was very important to us which was one of the reasons we went with that floor plan, but I think every manufacturer has that plan. We also went with a no-slide plan for several reasons, one is the slides really cut into outside storage. We went with a Thor 23h (24'10" by tape measure) and one reason was because it has the largest outside storage we could find. It holds the mounted spare tire/jack/lug wrench, all the chairs and tables, a Yeti 45 and 35, 20" kids bike, cornhole boards, portable fire pit, Coleman Road Trip, full-size 5 gal propane cyl, two milk crates full of sewer hoses and fittings, 120v 2 gal air compressor, and all the spare tool bags all at once. And I'm sure I'm missing some things. With this length you should have no issues with overloading. We are 2200 below GVWR when fully loaded for a trip, and the front axle is closer to the limit than the back.
PatJ 08/29/20 09:38am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Change gear ratio on 454 class C

I've got 98 coachman class C 454 with 4:11 rears. I want to improve mileage by going to 3:23 gears. Will this work? Thanks I think you would probably end up with worse mileage in the end if you did that, in additional to terrible performance and short transmission life. Don't do it, especially if you have overdrive. I'd switch to 4.56 if anything. Improve the mileage with a good solid tune up new filters and ignition wear items. I admit I don't know a lot about 98 454 in the van chassis, is it TBI? If so make sure you have good coolant temp sensors and it is showing it is warmed up correctly as per the computer. With TBI everything is based on coolant temp. Make sure you have 195 tstat. Make sure no vac leaks. Make sure fuel pressure is to spec. If you need to do anything with fuel or ignition make sure to use OEM GM parts not cheap ebay stuff.
PatJ 08/27/20 11:10pm Class C Motorhomes
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