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RE: What ONE feature do you really like/want in your next RV ?

Way more efficient solar panels (current panels are in the low 20's on percent efficiency), so that most modern RVs when drycamping could have air conditioning powered by the sun. The best that money can buy are only 30%-35%. If you want A/C, you will need more panels, a bigger battery bank and a bigger inverter. Your above sentence is why my want list is for RV solar panels that are, say, 80% or more efficient ... so that a small motorhome, or TT, or 5th wheel could fit enough solar panels on their small roofs in order to be able to direcly run an air conditioner in the middle of the day without any contribution from batteries. For what it's worth - as I understand it plants are well over 90% efficient at converting sunlight into whatever kind of energy it is that they produce. P.S. Can you provide a link to a supplier of solar panels that are specified to be 30%-35% efficient in the common sizes suitable for installation on RV roofs?
pnichols 08/12/20 05:41pm General RVing Issues
RE: Unplanned Maintenance

Thanks a lot for the description on where the fuel filter is located! Our small Class C has the same model Onan in it (2005 vintage). P.S. Do you still have 3 Miniature Schnauzers? Our little people-dog RV'ing companion is an 8 lb. Havenese. (It took a few trips before we found out a way to play fetch with her inside a 24 foot RV!)
pnichols 08/11/20 07:42pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: What ONE feature do you really like/want in your next RV ?

Way more efficient solar panels (current panels are in the low 20's on percent efficiency), so that most modern RVs when drycamping could have air conditioning powered by the sun.
pnichols 08/11/20 07:16pm General RVing Issues
RE: Covid has not stopped the Off Road Motorhomes

If they were sold in the USA probably most people would buy them and drive on the Interstate Highways. Maybe occasionally take walk on the wild side and drive on a dirt road. We like to baby our toys. :) Yeah ... you're right on the money with that! I don't know about babying our toys, but one big difference between spending the big bucks for a rig to go offroad with in N.A. vs. in Austrailia might be related to the amount of land to do it on -> with very little other folks around you while you're doing it. Divide Austrailia's square kilometres of land by it's population and you get a real low density number to interfer with when and where one can go to get away from it all.
pnichols 08/11/20 05:48pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Unplanned Maintenance

We’ve got an older Class C, which has seen minimal use.....considering age! With our summer travels being minimized this year, we decided to use the motor home for our tri-monthly shopping trip! Figuring that it needs some fresh fuel, and a little exercise for the driveline and the ac. While in the store, we left the generator running for ac power....leaving the dogs camping out! We returned in about an hour, with the generator “not” running, and the interior getting warm A longer period of time or in an extremely hot region.... this could have been ugly! We have a fairly large project planned for our little class c this summer ( 4 panel solar system) but, generator repairs were “not” on the list! Once home, and trying to diagnose the problem.....the generator would start, run for a short while, then die! So, I started with the least expensive, easiest to replace and most likely culprit....the fuel filter. Problem Solved!! This long diatribe is primarily a bit of advice. A very simple thing (fuel filter) could cause you much discomfort and perhaps much worse will on the road. Changing your filter prior to starting your trip could save you some headaches. I recommend having a spare ( cheap, light, small) filter. As much fuel that we go through when on a trip, and never being certain about the quality of every fuel purchase.....a spare filter may save you some heartache! As many spare parts and tools that we carry ......we didn’t have this little item! memtb If your generator is an Onan unit, where is it's fuel filter located? We sometimes for a few hours in warm weather leave our Class C motorhome with our people-dog inside and the generator and A/C running. However as backups, we keep the roof vents open and the roof vent fan (set on high) in one of them pulling outside air through the length of the the motorhome. In addition, we leave a powerful 12V fan sitting on the floor aimed at the dog in her playpen so as to have air blowing right at her. This means that if the generator or A/C should fail, at least the interior air gets about no hotter than the outside air temperature and the dog has a blast of air directly on her at all times. FWIW regarding the heat-gain of our Class C in warm weather - the coach and cab are white color. P.S.: Once when parked way out there along the Colorado river in Arizona we came back to the RV and the A/C had quit with our people-dog inside. Luckily she was just fine (i.e. no tongue hanging out) - due to the backup fans.
pnichols 08/11/20 05:16pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Ford V10 vs Pending V8

Comparing the specs of the 3-valve V10 that Ford provided in trucks and Class A motorhomes (the less powerful 2-valve V10 was used in vans) and the new V8, I don't see a significant difference in maximum horsepower and maximum torque between the two. What I do think I see is that: The new V8 develops it's horsepower and torque within a lower RPM range, and that - more importantly for Class C motorhome use - the new V8 probably fits into the cutaway E350 and E450 chassis in the one and only stock horsepower and torque configuration as will be used in all other Ford vehicles with it. If the above is the case, then the folks who would not use the V10 to it's fullest by rev'ing it ... will be happier with the new V8 in whatever vehicle it's in.
pnichols 08/10/20 10:22am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Front Window Yes or No?

Yeah ... some folks might like that forward facing window up there in the cabover bed area ... until a flying rock from an approaching truck in the opposite lane breaks it and scatters tiny glass shards all over the driver and the passenger while going down the road! :E This happened to us 2500 miles from home and it was "fixed the first time", improperly, 2500 miles from home and leaked water from rain storms during the trip back home. Back home it took two more attempts by an RV repair facility to finally replace it right. Years later I finally got the rain water stains bleached out of the cabover floor. Our cabover forward facing window is now plastic coated on the outside to either deflect rocks, or at least contain the glass pieces - should it ever crack/break again.
pnichols 08/08/20 09:04pm Truck Campers
RE: Top models in Class C’s

There may not be a luxury Class C as such. But of all the manufacturers out there who makes multiple different models. What has been at the top of the quality models? Maybe not exactly what you asked, but do extensive research on Class C construction techniques and the chassis they're built on ... and I think you'll find that Coach House makes the best Class C (or is it a Class B+?): To eliminate "B+ or C" questioning, here's about the best luxury (true) Class C:
pnichols 08/05/20 12:42pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Suggested locations in Arizona's White Mountains?

Propane fire pits and BBQ’s were permitted but no wood fires of any kind, charcoal or even smoking was allowed. Sorry I was not more specific. The campgrounds were not selling firewood. We have a Campfire in a can and enjoy it often especially during fire bans. The White Mountains are as dry as I have ever seen them which makes for extreme fire danger. Usually by July first the bans have been lifted but this year the Monsoon is MIA.” Yeah ... it's getting pretty dry here, too. For weeks I've been removing 40 years accumulation of leaves to clear a big circular area around our home - just in case a fire should come up the canyon. :E
pnichols 08/03/20 09:55am Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
RE: Suggested locations in Arizona's White Mountains?

You will find everything you are seeking at one of the campgrounds near Big Lake. Reservations are a must, especially this year. Sounds like you are fine without hookups and if so try the Rainbow CG which has very large sites, flush toilets and water spigots throughout the very large campground {and no you can not fill your RV from the spigots}. Showers are available but it is a bit of a hike and cell service is next to nonexistent. There is a dump station just outside of the CG. There is another CG just down the road with hookups, I think the name is "Trout" check the Arizona Campground Map {Google it} for details and the reservation number. Both campgrounds are located at 9,000+'. We were at Rainbow a couple of weeks ago and there was a complete fire ban in effect. They have had some rain since then so it may have been lifted. Expect serious thunderstorms most afternoons but then that is part of the charm of the high mountains. :C I'm curious as to what a complete fire ban means? Does that include propane fueled firepits? We now carry along a large size propane firepit and a propane bottle for it. It warms folks sitting around it just like a live fire does, and you can roast marshmallows and wieners over it. We haven't built a good old messy, smelly, smoky, hard-to-put out and cleanup - wood camping fire in quite some time. It's the only way to go, IMHO. ;)
pnichols 08/02/20 08:49pm Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
RE: Best house battery?

My next set will be SiO2. They can withstand 620 cycles to stone bone dead. Self discharge rate is 1.6% per month. Don ... I just spent some time studying SiO2 12V batteries for drop-in RV use. They look ideal ... and less $$$$ and less "tricky" than using Li batteries in an RV. I may seriously consider them whenever I replace my two AGM RV batteries. Thanks for bringing this type battery to my attention! :)
pnichols 08/02/20 02:03pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Ford's 7.3L gas engine

New Ford V8This is one thread over on iRV2. There are some others. That appears to be a thread link to F53 chassis based motorhomes. Now .... for some thread links to motorhomes built on the E350/E450 cutaway chassis with the new V8. :)
pnichols 08/02/20 12:57pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Best house battery?

Hi Phil, My oem fuse was in a box inside the engine compartment, more or less straight in front of the driver, and 1/3rd of the way back from the grill. It is right on top allowing easy access. My unit is also an E-450 so yours may be quite similar. I do see over 70 amps--but because of the circuit breakers which I deliberately got at 50 amps the current is interrupted. When I first heated water, I kept the power on until the chassis battery was at 12.3. Then I cut it off until it had recovered. Hmmm ... my high initial charging currents from the alternator to a ~50% discharged coach battery bank don't suddenly stop as if cut off by a fuse. These initial currents merely taper down as the coach batteries charge up. There doesn't appear to be anything drastic happening like a fuse or circuit breaker opening up. :h P.S. Recall that I know actually what current is going into or out of my coach battery bank at all times via a shunt I installed in the battery bank's negative lead. The shunt voltage feeds an ammeter on the cab dash (actually a voltmeter interpreting voltage values from the shunt) - so I can see coach battery bank current flow at all times. I've never seen the coach battery bank's charging current make a sudden step-function change, as it probably would if a fuse inline from the alternator opened.
pnichols 08/02/20 12:25pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Best house battery?

I think that my coach battery interconnect solenoid connects the chassis battery in direct parallel with the coach batteries, so there's nothing to protect the alternator (?) from getting really hit with high initial inrush charging current if I were to drop in Battle Born Li batteries, from what I read about them I think your inrush argument doesn't hold water for several reasons. 1. my class c had an oem 60 fuse--so if inrush exceeded that, it would blow. 2. my class C had #8 wire for the oem charging path. That limits it to about 50 amps. I did replace the OEM fuse with a 50 amp automatic circuit breaker. I also added a 2nd charging path with #8 wire, switchable solenoid, and automatic circuit breaker. Anecdotally, my alternator is still OEM and I do push it hard--even so far as running the 1400 watt water heater via the inverter. I use a 1/3 duty cycle--20 minutes of heating and 40 minutes off. That lets me arrive at the boondocking site with hot water and lots of battery power. There is an excellent article on inrush at the smartgauge site. When I said "direct parallel" that wasn't including any OEM fuses that might be in place. For what it's worth, my 2005 Itasca (also on a model year 2005 E450 chassis) has at times shown over 70 amps going into my coach batteries, for a bit, when I first start idling the V10 to charge up ~50% discharged coach batteries. So if my chassis has OEM fuses somewhere after the 130 amp Ford alternator, then they're larger than 50 amp. Winnebago may have gotten involved in all this someway when they built the coach, but so far I can't find out how - with cursory poking around the chassis and from looking at the Winnie electrical schematics for the coach. :h
pnichols 08/02/20 10:29am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Best house battery?

The better question might be: If battery PRICE was no object for every RV'er whenever they bought batteries - then what would be the only battery type left on the market? (Actually, from my EE courses - an air super capacitor is the ultimate battery if one has the room for it ... can't be overcharged, can't be undercharged, can be taken to zero or any point in between every time, and not counting natural metal corrosion - will last forever. ;) )
pnichols 08/02/20 10:01am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Best house battery?

Ooooops ... Don, I apologize! I misunderstood SiO2 batteries to be lithium ion batteries. I prefer Group 31 size in any type battery I might use since two of them fit perfectly right under the step where Winnebago intended them to be, so why restrict myself to using only a couple of Group 27 size there? I don't think that the lithium ion brand I referred to comes in a Group 31 size (not sure on this though), so to spend the $$$$ for them in only Group 27 size would be not stuffing the available space with as many AH as possible. I think that my coach battery interconnect solenoid connects the chassis battery in direct parallel with the coach batteries, so there's nothing to protect the alternator (?) from getting really hit with high initial inrush charging current if I were to drop in Battle Born Li batteries, from what I read about them - but you're talking about SiO2 battereis, which I know nothing about. I rarely charge my big AGMs "fully" when camping. I rely on the drive home or RV storage at home to bring them to 100% using the low and slow method. The only time they see 14.XX charging volts is for a little while right after I start up a cold V10 alternator. ;) P.S. Why aren't SiO2 batteries talked about more in the forums?
pnichols 08/02/20 12:02am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Best house battery?

My next set will be SiO2. They can withstand 620 cycles to stone bone dead. Self discharge rate is 1.6% per month. Don ... yeah, I kindof agree ... if: 1. They were available in Group 31 size instead of Group 27 size, and 2. They could be charged directly by any good old run-of-the-mill engine alternator without burning up the alternator, and 3. They could be charged if you wanted to and without damaging them or the converter by any good old run-of-the-mill 13.8 volt converter that used to come in many RVs. IAW ... if certain SiO2 batteries were finally true 12V DROP-IN REPLACEMENTS for 12V deep cycle AGM batteries (the AGM batteries that charge good enough from a stock fixed voltage converter and don't ruin stock alternators) ... then I might consider the SiO2 batteries, eventually. IMHO ... I feel that Battle Born batteries aren't quite there yet unless you have plenty of $$$$ to spend AFTER spending the $$$$ for the BB batteries themselves. :S
pnichols 08/01/20 08:02pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Best house battery?

Well we don't use the motorhome that much. We vend at festivals, so we boondock alot. Sometimes we get electrical hook ups, it's rare though. The battery compartment is under the unit. And I guess I would rather not mess with checking water and stuff.I think the smoke/propane alarm runs down the battery, cause it's always dead after a few weeks of sitting. We don't leave the rv plugged in, as thats how our old rv caught on fire. Isn't there a maint free deep cycle? There are maint free liquid acid (non AGM) batteries - their tops are sealed so no access to their interior water/acid mix and no water needs to be, or can be, added. However, probably you're best bet for a maint free RV battery would be an AGM battery (there isn't any liquid inside them). Now regarding an AGM battery: A deep cycle type AGM battery is what you should use in your RV. That is ... a "true" deep cycle AGM battery - not a "combination" deep cycle/starting AGM battery that can be both a starting battery and (kindof) a deep cycle battery. AGM batteries come in both types. I have a "starting" type AGM battery under the hood in my pickup. In my RV I have true deep cyle AGM batteries not intended for engine starting use. Of course they are zero maintenance and don't even have to be on a maintenance charger for months at a time - if it isn't convenient when one's RV isn't being used. A true deep AGM battery will not be inexpensive, however. I had to get mine at a battery distributor. You probably can't walk into a Walmart or auto store and find these type AGM batteries. One source for them is marine supply stores. Other sources might be golf cart or industrial equipment battery suppliers. For instance, the ones I have in our RV are popular for marine use, but almost never commonly found in RVs. Mine are "standard size" Group 31 12 volt true deep cycle AGM batteries that are rated at 115 amp hours each, and weigh about 72 lbs. each. The two of these hooked up in parallel provide 230 amp hours of storage, of which only about one-half of that 230 amp hours should be used at a time before charging.
pnichols 08/01/20 04:15pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Recommend a TT (rough roads, no campgrounds)

Looking for suggestions for a new TT. A few years back, we owned a unit from Outdoors RV. It seemed well built but was too large for the places we like to camp. We camp as far in the back country that we can in CO/WY/MT. I need a trailer that can handle rough roads/forest service trails/etc. -need something that can sleep 6 WITHOUT using the eating table for a bed. -24ish feet box -outdoor kitchen -Our budget is only 30k or so. Recommendations to look at? Thoroughly search this website to see what TTs these expert folks use:
pnichols 07/28/20 10:32am Travel Trailers
RE: Celebrating 50 years while beating the heat...

My bride and I just returned yesterday from a great 9 day trip up to the White Mountains where we celebrated our 50th anniversary. {Yes, we got married when we were 12... we didn't want to but had to} :S We'd planned a an elegant party for 25 of our closest friends and relatives last January but of course had to cancel to keep everyone safe. Instead we sat beneath our awning drinking a nice bottle of 2008 Dom Perignon {courtesy of my very generous BIL}. Filet Mignon accompanied by a nice baked potato with the works and Cheese Cake for dessert rounded out a great night. We started out at the Heber RV Resort which is a nice facility about 30 miles west of show Low. The sites are a bit tight/close together but the amenities are very nice. We tow our cargo trailer hauling my motorcycle so we could ride the many great roads found in the White mountains. In six day of riding we logged 750+ miles over some of the most awesome bike roads in America. After 4 days In Heber we moved 100 miles east to the Rainbow campground at Big Lake located at 9,150'. Here is a shot of our site at Rainbow: Just 20 miles down a very twisty road from our site we reached the Devil's Highway {formerly AZ 666 but folks kept stealing the signs so AZ Dept of Transportation rebadged it AZ 191 - seriously, Google it}. We had ridden the DH from south to north a couple of years ago and the incoming Monsoon thunderstorms limited our rides to the northern half but it is still widely regarded as the finest motorcycle road in America... Over 1,100 curves in less than 120 miles and at least one quarter of those curves are first gear events. :E Most of the DH takes place at or well above 7 - 8000' and the views are nothing short of awesome. This was taken at the Blue Vista near the midpoint and one of the highest portions of the DH: We had Elk wandering through the campground and the Black Bears are seen on a regular basis. Afternoons usually brought spectacular Monsoon thunderstorms and we usually get up to Rainbow a couple of times a summer as when you are 9,150' the heat of Tucson is all but forgotten. Anywhere in Arizona {and probably most of the ret of the country} requires reservations this summer as all of the campgrounds are full or nearly so but we had no problems keeping our distance as did most of our fellow campers. Most of the sites at Rainbow are huge and very well dispersed. Out riding it is just my bride and I and we would pack a nice lunch for the longer rides as we do not eat anything that I have not prepared {that has been true for 4.5 months now but fortunately I love to cook}. :B DC ... congrats on 50 years together ... unfortunately IMHO that's getting rarer and rarer these days!! The DW and myself hit 50 years last spring but had to skip celebrating much due to her fresh knee operation back then. We were going to make it up this spring with a drycamping and fishing trip to the lake ... but alas we're having to postpone that now to due to you-know-what. We're just enjoying our stick house shaded by it's redwoods and oaks. We're keeping the Class C on hookups in the back yard to maintain it's batteries and run it's ventilation fan -> I did install a new high power warm LED outside light on it, though. P.S. No heat here at 1800 feet altitude along the coast. Nearly every morning coastal fog kisses our property and then dissipates around noon. The afternoons wind up with clear blue skies and temps in the high 70's to low 80's. ;)
pnichols 07/25/20 10:26am Class C Motorhomes
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