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About RandyA

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    Major Contributor

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    Mechanicsville, VA - Souix Falls, SD or whever we park.
  • Interests
    Fast cars, electronics, big trucks, RV's, boating and my family.

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  1. Ahaaaa........ Tennessee. Yep, I was born and raised there. We bought a new TT in 2005. I decided to register it in Tennessee using my mom's address. Sales tax would be higher but I would be free of that &X%! yearly 4% personal property tax assessed here. A letter came back telling me I could not register the TT in Tennessee because I did not have a Tennessee driver's license. Uh.... wait a minute here. You cannot drive a travel trailer because it has no means of self propulsion. Why would I need a driver's license? Maybe I was just planning on parking it. So, I thought I would try my defense and wrote a letter asking why I needed a TN driver's license for something that could not be driven. The answer was simple - because that is what the regulations say. Try to make a DMV rule make sense and it won't happen because it is in "the book" or what the "computer says". It is like trying to buy something with an obvious $1.00 price tag at Lowe's that is missing a bar code. Here is another one that makes my head itch: Buy a big full featured slide-in camper for your pick-up that is more expensive than a TT - but it has no wheels. Unlike the TT you do not need another tag, additional liability insurance, pay personal property tax, have State inspections or anything extra beyond what the PU requires. In fact, it doesn't even require a title! Moral? It is best if your added mobile abode doesn't have wheels.
  2. In Virginia you cannot just register a semi as a motor home. You have to apply for a custom conversion and do all the DOT stuff. If it passes you are given a new title as a motorhome. When I did mine all was going smoothly until the agent noted the actual tractor weight was listed as 26,500# on the title. For some "strange" reason Virginia will not do a custom conversion on any thing over 26K. (bus, truck, train ...........makes no difference). I can not tell you why or how some folks get a Greyhound bus' title changed..... or maybe they don't? Things are a little different in the bus world. I was dead in the water with this news. (stupid) DMV rules do not allow a title's tractor weight to be changed unless you are a certified or registered body builder. I arrived armed with a photo of the door sticker showing under 26K, a CAT scale ticket showing under 26K and a piece of paper like a cash register receipt that showed the truck to be 18,000# when it rolled out of the factory door. Those papers did nothing to convince them to change the title. The agent apologized and agreed the title was wrong, but she could NOT change it. BTW, the issue was taken to several higher-up's at DMV that gave the same answer, So..... here I was back in 2009 with a truck I could not register in Virginia as anything other than a commercial vehicle due to a mistake on the title that showed the tractor's weight as being 26,500#. The "computer" would not allow changing and if a DMV employee tried their job was as good as gone. That is how SD got into the picture. No problems getting a custom conversion RV title for a motorhome and tag. (NOT Private Truck!) I have since heard of a similar incident on one of the FB pages where a guy in one of the NE states had an almost identical problem. His solution was to sell the truck and forget an HDT conversion. The post was simply a "stop and look" warning if buying a new or used truck to check your title and the Licensing authority before you finish the purchase to be sure there are no weight mistakes on the title. Everything differs from state-to-state.
  3. RandyA

    50amp ecr project

    Neon lamps like we used in the project are not prone to burning out. One of two things if the top two lights are not lit- the wires inside the tester may have not been soldered well and have broken loose OR the two legs bringing power to the RV are both of the same phase differential meaning the 120 - 120 legs are on the same wire. The danger here is if you are pulling a lot of power like two AC's, converter water heater, etc. at the same time you will burn the neutral wire or contact. You are also most likely to to have a single 50 amp line rather tan two 50 amp lines. If both lights come on E1 and E2 have a phase differential that is 180 degrees. You will have 220 across E1 and E2. All is good.
  4. Was the inverter supplying a load at the time? All but the cheapest models cut off at 10.5 volts which is, BTW, considered a dead battery. If there is no load on the output of the inverter the loss is minimal, usually one amp or less and the time required to drain the batteries could be days - but combined with additional loss through the truck electronics that stay on even when the key is off - the the time period could be shorter - much shorter. My take is the truck batteries would have shown about 10.5 volts if you had checked them with a voltmeter. Low enough that anything but pure resistive loads (like a filament lamp) would have stopped functioning. While it is true that starting batteries like we have in our truck are more quickly ruined by full discharge than deep cycle batteries they are durable enough that a few dead cycles will not appreciably shorten their life span. I am in total agreement that it would be beneficial to hook the batteries up to a 4-stage external digital charger for a couple of days being sure you have at least one boost cycle during that period. I too have started my Volvo from a golf cart, but I was throwing 16 volts at the starter from two 200 Ah 8 volt batteries. The battery in the lawn tractor would not do the job 😃. As far as future battery discharge prevention - here is an idea. Rather than try to switch the high amperage supply cables tap into the inverter on-off switch. While some inverters have a RG-11 telephone wire type connection for on-off it works better to go inside the inverter and solder some wires to the inverter's switch to make your own remotely located on-off switch (leave the OEM inverter switch off). This switch can be in the form of a N.O. relay that closes when 12 VDC is supplied to the coil when the ignition is on. The same type of Bosch relay used throughout your truck works great and you can get them on eBay or Amazon with a pre-wired socket for just a few bucks.
  5. RandyA

    Rear Leveling Valve

    Bigredhdt, When I left the ECR in 2018 I stopped at the first rest stop on I40 and noticed the rear of the Volvo was hyper extended from the tires. When we got to the CG in Oliver Springs I crawled under the truck and released the leveling rod - nada, nothing. So I called NAPA and gave them the part number of my valve. They had the valve the next day. Once installed (easy job) ride was normal again. BTW - previously I learned that the rubber pieces on the end of a leveling rod can deteriorate over time to a point where the rod does not actuate the valve properly. If the rubber rod ends move sideways on the rod you need new ones - that can make the valve appear bad. The thing is when the height extends or lowers the leveling rod moves a lever attached to a valve that either expels or adds air. Through the use of fairy dust and magic oil some valves have a delay on movement so you do not go down the road like a basketball. ................................................................................................................................................ Glen, When I put a valve on my TSLB I also included a cut-off and evacuation in-line valve as part of the plumbing. What I had noticed was that when I unhooked the fiver the hitch would go up as you described. But, even with the valve lever up in the exhaust position the hitch tended to stay up (it would eventually come down, but it took several hours). I could lower the hitch by opening my added evacuation valve. What I determined from hooking up and unhooking was that the valve didn't do much without the added weight of the trailer pin. Apparently it needs x amount of weight to work the way we want. I have found for me that hook-up and unhook is easier when I close my supply valve and then open my exhaust valve so the air bags are completely empty. So, my armchair guess is nothing is actually wrong with your ET and valve. That's just the way it is.
  6. For those at the 2019 ECR you may remember that I was hopped up on steroids and pain killers for sciatic nerve pain in my legs from a ruptured disc pinching a nerve so that I could do my presentations. Well, the steroids are no longer helping and the pain killers are not strong enough to get rid of the discomfort. Truthfully, I am miserable and totally bored not being able to walk without pain, lift or work/play with anything I consider important. Pain currently oscillates between a 7 and 9. Both the camper and truck are just sitting and not getting any summer use. Back surgery is now scheduled for early July. Once the surgery is over it will be six weeks in a brace with no bending, twisting or lifting. I am sure I will go completely crazy during that time. I'm not positive what caused the ruptured disc but I will bet two dollars to a doughnut that it had something to do with working on the Volvo. I did a lot of heavy lifting singling, moving tires and wheels and building the bed. I can't think of anything else that would have caused the disc to rupture. I know several of you reading this have been down the same road with your back. Please, be careful about what and how you lift. It really doesn't take much to rupture a disc - especially if you are a member of the "Over-The-Hill" gang.
  7. This is especially true if buying a HDT: Your title should have two weight sections, one for Empty Weight and another for GVW or your maximum fully loaded weight. Commercial owners really don't care what the empty weight is - they only concern themselves with GVW. Unfortunately, mistakes are made when a title is first registered and the EW may be recorded as equal to the GVW or over 26,000 pounds. You know, DMV folks are not perfect and can make mistakes. Anyway, if your EW should be recorded incorrectly (over 26,000#) you might play HE double toothpicks getting conversion approval for a motorhome or RV designation. You may find that your DMV will refuse to correct your title. (Yes, different rules in different states.) I ran into this problem when I bought my VNL670 and the EW was reordered as being 26,500#. The factory build weight ticket was 18,400#'s, the CAT scale tickets were right at 21,000# with a bed and fuel, the door plate was 24,000# but DMV refused to correct the mistake saying it should have been done when the vehicle was first titled/registered. Just something to check for before laying down cash for a used truck you intend to get motorhome, rv or custom converted vehicle certification for.
  8. RandyA

    Rear Leveling Valve

    Many leveling valves have a built in delay, but I am not aware of any that are as long as 90 seconds (I did some research on valves & delay when I selected one for my hitch). If at all possible, get the manufacturer and model number of your valve then look up the specs. If that is not feasible ask Scrap - the man is a living legend for knowing about such things.
  9. Jkennel's advice to just hook um up and let them run together is the less complex approach. Like he wrote, (or did he?) one of the charging sources will become dominant depending on the top voltage to the battery bank. For example, one charging source may cut off and float at 12.6 while the other kicks in a bulk mode occasionally at around 14.5. That's fine - the same as with just the single source charger. Remember a charger does not "push" anything into a battery, the battery condition determines how much it takes from a charger. It is a voltage thing at the battery plus the internal resistance of the battery followed by the current limits of the charger at the said voltage (I = E/R). Scrap also has good advice if you want to take one charger out of the equation, but it will require the additional wiring you said you dislike. Just for info I now have my MPPT solar, the Progressive Dynamics 80 amp 4-stage converter/charger and the Xantrex RS2000 with a 100 amp converter/charger I got from Henry all combined at my 300 Ah battery bank. The PD converter is the dominant charger. I had to do something similar to what Scrap outlined to cut off the PD when the Xantrex was in inverter mode. You don't want to charge the batteries from the inverter you are taking battery power from! Oh, be sure your wire gauge is appropriately sized for the expected maximum current. Anything less will cause a drop in charge voltage to the batteries.
  10. We did not have any orange hoses on this camper. Our Cedar Creek did have orange hoses on the low-pressure return lines. I feel like Lippert may be pushing the rating on their hoses at 3,000 psi - maybe so but compared to the replacement 3,500 psi hoses like you used.....well, there is no comparison. Lance, Yes, the Surplus Center is a great source. But, time waiting and added shipping may equal the cost of locally sourced hoses like I got at the Parker Store. I have ordered hydraulic hoses from the Surplus Center previously and they were of good quality.
  11. After living with a prolonged leak from the horizontally positioned hydraulic pump on our fiver I decided to replace it with a vertically mounted pump and tank that I had robbed from the Cedar Creek after the fire in February 2018. Of course, this required cutting off the original steel pump pedestal and a whole lot of other stuff that was in the way of a vertically mounted pump. After a full day of effort, the new pump was in and replumbed. Time to test! As the front hydraulic landing jacks started to lift the front of the trailer I was greeted with an unwelcomed spray of red Dextron hydraulic fluid. The hose leading from the pump to the right landing gear cylinder had ruptured. I had a used hose from the old camper in the barn that was long enough to replace the ruptured hose. Once again I attempted a test. Hooray! Both landing jacks descended and lifted the trailer off of the supporting cribbing of 4 x 4's. Now to open the slides - bedroom, OK. Kitchen, OK. Main curbside slide, OK. Entertainment Center slide....... it came in halfway and stopped. The hydraulic line to this slide had ruptured. It was 35 feet long and ran under all the very well attached and sealed belly panels. (The center leveling jacks recently received new 5,000 psi hoses) After yet another day's work opening the underside and determining that ALL the hydraulic lines were in poor condition I pitched them in the back of the PU and took off for the Parker Store. Upon arriving, Barry told me they no longer stocked the plastic and fiberglass wrapped hose common to RV's. My only choice was a rubber and steel jacketed 3,500 psi hose, which was OK with me. Barry made all new hoses by matching lengths from the old, rotted hose. Of course, I had neglected to drain the old hoses completely which resulted in pools of red Dextron all over his shop floor - which he had apparently just cleaned. I offered to clean the mess up but he refused and proceeded to put down Oil Dry and wipe up spots with cotton towels. There was nothing he could do about the red oil on his shirt and down his pants leg. I thought this was probably going to cost me more in the end. Fortunately, it did not. It took a little over an hour to make up the needed hoses. Even with the discount given to commercial business, I ended up paying $819.32. This included a few extra fittings and a liquid filled pressure gauge to insert in the pump line. Another day was spent putting the new hoses on, sealing up the belly panels and cleaning up. This was three days that I had intended to use cleaning up the HDT. It will arrive at the rally very dirty and without shiny polished wheel rims. My point in sharing this? Most all towable RV brands now use a Lippert pump, cylinders and hoses. The OEM hydraulic lines in the majority of our fivers are the cheapest possible type or grade that Lippert could find. They rot. If kinked they are toast, the pressure rating is 2,000 psi. My new gauge ticked over to 2,200 psi when I raised the landing jacks. Be aware that these hoses are prone to failure - especially as we add on the years. I shudder to think what I would have had to do if the failure happened somewhere other than back home. Proactive replacement might be a good idea for fivers accumulating a few years of age. One of the first signs of failure for these hoses is cracking of the outer plastic jacket. I will bring a hose to the ECR for those that may want to see what I am sharing.
  12. RandyA

    '19 ECR Flea Market

    I should be able to bring both of them. The washer & dryer are centered in the Cambridge and for other reasons, we have no shake on the front. I also have a set of JT Strong Arms that I had on the Cedar Creek I am not going to use if anyone is interested - make an offer. The Cambridge sits solid as a rock! I would be interested but would like to know your bottom line price before I open my piggy bank. Please PM me.
  13. I’ve had some recent questions about the ECR Project Build of a 50 amp RV outlet tester that hopefully I can answer here. I have made some changes in the design and materials, all implemented to make the project more useful and easier to build. It is designed somewhat after the traditional 3-light 120-volt tester I believe we are all familiar with but is expanded to include the second 120-volt wire on the 50-50 amp RV outlet. THE TESTER WE WILL BE BUILDING LED’s will not be used. In their place are either green or red Neon lamps with the voltage dropping resistors in place – easier, fewer parts and more accurate. Revised tools needed list is: 7mm high temp glue gun Low wattage soldering iron solder Drill with #12 or 3/16” bit Small side cutters Needle nose pliers #2 Phillips screwdriver Pocket knife or Exacto Knife Glasses The tester will be built as a go or no go tester. In other words, if all six neon lights are not illuminated it is best to find another outlet that passes. It is not your place to open the PARK outlet box or tell the owner what is wrong. A licensed and qualified electrician needs to do this. While there is no voltage read-out the illumination of the neon lights is a good indicator of low or high voltage. Proper outlet wiring with the following is tested: Ground and neutral present and contiguous 120-volt power between E1 and Neutral 120-volt power between E2 and neutral 240-volt power across E1 to E2 If there are errors in the outlet wiring like reversed power and neutral, missing grounds or improper voltage from E1 to E2 certain lights will not illuminate. All materials other than the Camco Plug are provided – you will need to bring a plug to complete the project. BRING THIS PLUG - IT IS NOT PROVIDED It is available on Amazon and at most all RV supply stores for $12 to $15 dollars. I will have the above tools available but depending on how many participants we have they may have to be shared. If you have any you can bring it will be helpful. It is not too late to sign up. Letting me know you want to participate will be helpful to assure enough neon lamps and tools. If you do not sign up in advance you are still welcome. Just be sure to have your Camco or equivalent 50 amp plug so you may complete the project.
  14. Volvos may have a Cummins or Volvo engine. IMHO, don't be afraid of a Volvo engine. Maybe not as many places work on them, but there are thousands on the road owned by virtually all fleet brands. I really like the D13 but have a D12D in my truck. All other things equal, a truck with a Volvo engine will sell for less than one with a Cummins. Even trucks with EGR like my 2004 are easily maintained. EGR is not as bad as some folks make it out to be.
  15. RandyA

    '19 ECR Flea Market

    I could bring several complete Dexter easy lube drum brake assemblies for 7K axles that have very little mileage - either or both right and left side. I also have a drive motor and gear pack for electric landing jacks, two pin box tripods, a set of new Dexter center points (no shackles), a rear electric jack assembly, a couple of very nice nylon tents (big), a 3,000 watt modified sine wave inverter, and a 30 amp voltage regulator/booster module. I will only bring if someone wants them. The price will be right!
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