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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. Any of the following will be helpful. I will have a collection of these to share but the more we have the faster things will go. Hot glue gun - preferably with 7mm clear sticks Low wattage soldering iron Phillips screwdriver Small wire snips or toenail clippers 7/32" drill bit (and drill) Butane lighter for heat shrink tubing Small long nose pliers Sharp pocket knife Your reading glasses
  8. Yes, it will be online with Carl's recap info after the rally.
  9. Additional expenses are insignificant and I do not want "donations" - I just need to know how many are interested so I can prepare properly. Sincere thanks to those that offered anyway.
  10. It would be extremely helpful for me to have some sort of headcount for the build-it project at the ECR. I have asked those who want to participate to bring a 50 amp plug. I will be bringing the remaining materials and knowing if I have enough or too many will help as I get things together. The following is an edited repost of what was put up earlier: Posted March 6 (edited) This is the preferred 50 amp plug. Clicking on the above link to Amazon will allow on-line ordering. Plugs should be available at any RV parts store and selected WalMart stores. The quick check tester will include these functions: L1 to neutral pedestal wiring OK L2 to neutral pedestal wiring OK L1 to ground pedestal wiring OK L2 to ground pedestal wiring OK The correct phase relationship between L1 and L2 No reversed hot or neutral connections Bonding of ground and neutral at the pedestal Failure of select lights to illuminate will indicate a possible fault in the pedestal wiring. This is a simple low-tech project for those that do not have a commercial EMS or want to do a quick check of any 50 amp park outlet. The indicator lamps are neon with resistors pre-attached. Extension wires will need to be soldered and attached to the appropriate points inside the plug. The device replaces the sometimes awkward testing of the park pedestal with a VOM. I will bring the additional components needed with me. There is no additional cost for components used to complete the project.
  11. RandyA

    Fuel spill insurance

    Back in the "Old Days" gasoline tanks in cars/trucks could rust quickly and small holes would frequently appear. There was little or no protection from flying road projectiles that liked to pierce the exposed bottom of the tank. Our cure was to rub over the hole/leak with a bar of Ivory soap. The leak stopped instantly and would stay sealed until the next big rain storm. I do not know if it would work on diesel fuel but suspect it would. Whatever is used to seal a fuel leak cannot be dissolved by the fuel and must displace the surface tension around the tank so that it can adhere to the tank material. A bag of kitty litter can come in handy for soaking up an oil or fuel spill as well as adding traction on ice. I don't know what the EPA or locals would do about covering the cost of a big diesel spill from one of our trucks but I do know that it can become a serious issue if the spillage can get into even a small creek, stream or drainage ditch that flows into a significant waterway. I need to talk with my insurance underwriter because I can find nothing in my policy that addresses the possibility.
  12. Many questions need to be answered to determine full-time or seasonal. What climate zone will you be in? A "recreational" fifth wheel can be mighty cold in the winter without good slide seals, insulated glass, high R value in walls, ceiling and floor. How much travel will you do? Alaska, cross country, back roads? Look at frame strength, suspension, tires, brakes, pin box - there are only a few currently built fifth wheel trailers that have the structure for extreme travel. If all you do is go to Florida for the winter all of this is moot. Often, the quality of the inside materials and their susceptibility to moisture and wear determine a full-time or part-time rating by the manufacturer. Furniture, carpet, bedding, cabinet construction, plumbing fixtures and venting selection determine how well a fifth wheel holds up with full time living. In today's market, you often don't get what you pay for! When your full-time home is down for frequent repairs due to stress on marginal parts and materials you quickly find yourself homeless or having a motel for an address. Glitz is nice but it is not an indicator of overall quality for full-time living unless you plan on only using the trailer for a couple of years.
  13. RandyA

    HDT in Virginia

    I had no trouble getting a "Converted RV" (aka MotorHome) title and registration in SD. The reported issues with a title roll back previously discussed never reared their ugly head. It has been 10 years now. No issues with insurer either.
  14. This is the preferred 50 amp plug. Clicking on the above link to Amazon will allow on-line ordering. Plugs should be available at any RV parts store and selected WalMart stores. The quick check tester will include these functions: L1 to neutral pedestal wiring OK L2 to neutral pedestal wiring OK L1 to ground pedestal wiring OK L2 to ground pedestal wiring OK The correct phase relationship between L1 and L2 No reversed hot or neutral connections Bonding of ground and neutral at the pedestal Failure of any LED to illuminate will indicate a possible fault in the pedestal wiring. This is a simple low-tech project for those that do not have a commercial EMS. It requires drilling five holes into the outer case of the plug for the insertion of colored LED's. Diodes and resistors will be soldered to the LED leads and attached to the appropriate points inside the plug. The device replaces the sometimes awkward testing of the park pedestal with a voltmeter. If desired the plug can be used on the end of a 50 amp supply cord. MOVs may be added for surge protection if the plug is used as part of a supply cord. I will bring some of the needed size items with me. Their cost is $1 each - 2 will be needed for each tester connected to a supply cord.
  15. Again, in my opinion, and from my perspective, Lippert has virtually taken over as the primary component supplier for the towable RV industry. Dexter sold their slide-out division to Lippert "about" six years ago so Lippert is now the only one making the prior assembly. Since buying this particular Dexter division they have reduced the size of the slide support arms containing the rack gear from 2-1/2" to 2" in the name of saving weight and materials cost. Some problems have been reported on various forums of distortion (bending) in these downsized arms with resultant damage to gear packs. I am surprised that your 2002 has a Lippert frame. It wasn't until 2004 that they began to make their way into production trailers big time - primarily Fleetwood, which has since left the towable market. I suspect the one on your 2002 may be of better quality than those today. By 2008 they were used almost universally in the "blue collar" models with a few hold-outs like Sunnybrook that still built their own frames until its acquisition by Winnebago. IMHO, we lost a lot of quality towables with strong frames and superior construction in the 2006 RV industry meltdown. Many of those models are in strong demand for renovation and re-use due to their structural design. By 2006 it was hard for manufacturers to remain cost competitive without switching over to Lippert's components. Buying these mass produced frames was less expensive than building their own or purchasing from a few small volume secondary suppliers. While DRV used Lippert frames even before being purchased by Thor they apparently realized the possible structural issues and either spec'ed a heavier frame or added their own needed structural bracing. The major issue lies with the so-called standard "fits all" frame used by various manufacturers that do not add or specify additional structural bracing or bother to examine the quality of the welds - many of which do not look any better than those made by my 8th-grade shop students from many years ago. Again, in my opinion, Lippert was (and is) a growing octopus that extended its tentacles to suck up, copy or buy out numerous RV component manufacturers increasing their named presence in the RV industry. I have reason to believe they "may" be improving some of their products as a result of frequent failures on the front end of their growth, but other components appear to have suffered from even more decline in quality and durability in the name of weight saving and cost containment. A Lippert frame can be modified to be "acceptable" but there are cost and time involved. The major weakness is with the piddly little leaf spring hangers and the lack of adequate cross bracing in the axle area. One fix is to abandon the stock suspension and install a MorRyde IS which adds significant cross bracing. The other is to add an external "window" shaped subframe made from 2"x 2"x1/4" steel tube crossing the frame at the spring hangers with new, heavier, wider spring hangers welded to the new subframe. Welds in the pinbox area need to be carefully examined, often by removing some plastic molding, and if they do not meet professional welding standards they should be repaired by a professional welder. If not, frame cracking and pin box failure are imminent. A prominent clue for excessive flexing in front of the Z frame on fifth-wheel towables is the separation of the connecting molding across the front outside wall edge. The I-beam frame extensions behind the axles in numerous cases are not strong enough to maintain the original frame camber. Therefore, the back of the frame can sag - especially in rigs with rear slid-outs or those that have a little too much weight in the back. This will be evidenced by hairline or larger cracks in the fiberglass exterior at the top of the side corners of the trailer wall where the slides go in and out. Alignment of the slide-outs will become difficult if not impossible. Lippert's "fix" for this issue is to heat the frame with an electric welder causing it to bow and restore proper camber. Often this defect can be prevented by adding additional 2" square tubing to the frame aft of the axle. Personally, I see all of this as a sad state of affairs. The saying "They don't build them like they used to" is true when it comes to frame integrity in the modern towable industry. Unfortunately, unsuspecting buyers or those unfamiliar with the necessity of a strong foundation for any towable overlook this all-important factor. A significantly large majority of these owners may never experience a problem as they only tow their trailer a 1,000 or so miles a year on smooth(?) highways when vacation time rolls around. Those of us that live in our towables with these "standard spec" Lippert frame units full-time or long-time and tow thousands of miles cross country will surely come face-to-face with problems from these structural shortcuts. Note: While the opinions expressed here are strictly my own, I have found many others that share the same opinions. I have personally experienced all of the stated failure issues (and more) on either one or both of my previously owned towables - each from a different manufacturer using Lippert frames. I have observed the identical problems on other towables. I believe I have enough engineering knowledge and experience to clearly see what is happening in today's towable industry. Costs must be contained to remain competitive thus "something" has to give or go so that the glitz that sells can be included.
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