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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. 2018 East Coast Rally.

    Stopped for the night at Pioneer Village at Max Meadows VA. Nice stop-over on I-81S. 263 miles to go tomorrow. Should be there by 3 p.m.
  2. Boondocking for HDT with 40' plus RV

    Ask Dirt........ His rig was stolen with the slides out. I think the awning was out too.
  3. Volvo engines

    I consider my Volvo D12D to be a rock solid engine. In slightly different renditions it has been around for decades - mostly road proven in Europe and then the USA. If I were shopping for a newer Volvo I would not hesitate to latch onto a D13. Internal parts like fuel injectors are considerably less expensive and easier to replace than the D12. Volvo has done a lot to consistently improve their engines. Yes, the network of Volvo service locations is smaller than Cummins but the cost to buy parts or pay for labor to fix something is pretty much equal. Like Jeff noted, all the added emissions hardware of newer engines is something to ponder. My D12D has EGR only. It may be dirty, but it is dependable.
  4. Purchase HDT Tires

    Chinese tires got a really bad rap around the turn of the century when one of the off-brand manufacturers decided to leave out an adhesive layer that prevented tread separation. The proliferation of "China Bombs" put on many camper trailers did not help their image either. The biggest problem was there was no oversight of the materials and manufacturing process of these tires - they were made cheaply because they could be sold below the competition from name-brand tires. Fortunately, we now have some Chinese built tires that consistently meet the manufacturing standards of more expensive tires. I have a set of Sailuns on the rear that I bought at TA. They have performed very well. Buying from a supplier like Truck Stops of America also means that the warranty will be honored at any TA or Petro coast-to-coast should a problem occur. I am running the Dayton's in the steer position and have also been happy with them. IMHO, don't be afraid to run one of the Chinese name brands that have shown a good track record available from major national truck stop tire shops. While some "China Bombs" still exist it is extremely unlikely that you will be sold one of them for an HDT from these major suppliers.
  5. We have some really nice folks on the HDT forum. Chet recently spent a lot of time refurbishing the Binkley head off of the destroyed Trailersaver hitch from his accident last fall. He has devised a way to make the pivot pins that wear and are said to be non-replaceable so that they are indeed replaceable. So when Nancy and I drove to his place to pick up the head we were also gifted with a large 1/2" steel plate for mounting and an 88" piece of 4x4x1/4" angle iron. Chet could have easily sold these items but he choose to give them to me so that we could assemble an air ride hitch for the fire replacement Cambridge. Roger is bringing the base to the ECR, which was gifted by Toyhauler. SClord2002 and (Charlie & Sandra) have been there since the night of the fire giving much-needed cleanup and emotional support. I am honestly overwhelmed with all the help and kindness extended to us after the total loss fire of our Cedar Creek. So many people have either helped or offered to help. Without them, I am not at all sure what we would have done. We have always tried to give to others through volunteer work and such but have never had such compassion returned to us. BTW - the guy in the background is Chet and in the foreground is the Old Sailor. Ironically, both have experienced a total loss of their trailer in the past year. We make up "sort of" a sub-club, I guess. The Cambridge is beginning to shape up nicely. There is so much I need or rather want to do to make it right for us. I never thought I would have to start all of my upgrade projects over again. I won't do as many and those I do decide to take on will be done differently. You always learn from your mistakes!
  6. '18 ECR Flea Market

    If anyone is interested please let me know so I can bring to the ECR.. Hydrostar electric to hydraulic disc brake master cylinder - 1 year old - working. 3,000 watt MSW inverter. That is the base rating, surge is 6,000 watts. Rarely used. RV size front loading dishwasher. Requires same space as an RV oven without cooktop. Can also be set on a counter top. These were removed from my RV that caught fire but these items were protected and not damaged by heat, water or smoke. Guarantee all to work as designed. Pricing about 50% below street price, Negotiable. Always interested in trades for whatever........
  7. Insurance Exclusions

    That is good news. Not that I intend to switch back, but after losing companies willing to write policies on our HDT's one is coming back rather than leaving. Rick, yes..... collision is a gamble and an option. I began to get really worried as my camper aged if I would get any decent coverage if something physical happened to the camper. The truck is getting on up in her near senior years. Book value is less than $15K, agreed value adds another $25K to the coverage. We put so much "extra" in our vehicles - usually money we can't recover even if we sell the rig. That is my biggest gamble as my time and the materials used are a matter of years of work, not hours. One thing NG asked for on the trailer were receipts for all the upgrades. OK - most of them were done by me using surplus parts. Stuff like hydraulics, new carpet, kitchen floor, axles, disc brakes, and repaint. They wanted to know how long ago these were done and the cost. Of course, what receipts I have were in the camper and destroyed by the fire. But the need for receipts to prove upgrades pretty much left my head spinning. Still, we did get $7,500 more for the camper than Kelly Blue Book or NADA based on photos. Not nearly enough to cover upgrades but I expected that when I did them. Any insurance coverage is a crap shoot. But, in my case it has paid off to my benefit over the years when we experienced unexpected property loss. Health insurance has saved us well over $150,000 recently as our claims have reached over $20,000 the past few years. We only pay $120 a month more than regular coverage for a Medicare Advantage PPO. Several on this forum have been very glad to have collision or comprehensive coverage (Chet, Rocky and JPL come to mind) while others never have a claim and pay the same premium. I personally consider the added cost of full coverage on the truck and trailer (agreed value on the truck) just part of annual maintenance like oil changes and a dead injector.
  8. Insurance Exclusions

    But Jim, Blue Sky is out of the RV business. Too bad too. I had reached the zero deductible and had replacement value coverage. I've got to earn it back with NG and no longer have the replacement value coverage - paying for a similar make and model regardless of year. Looking back at Rick's question I believe he feels like me in that an insurance policy reads like something a lawyer would write up rather than everyday language. I'm one of those guys that just says, "Give me everything". These days comprehensive, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, and high liability coverage are a must. Medical pay, collision and towing are an option. Medical pay is only needed if one does not have medical insurance or has a super high annual deductible medical insurance. The language of the policy where it is stated about the fiver and truck having to be connected to get coverage for the truck is tricky. I have read where some folks can only drive the truck bobtail for fuel and service. They limit you so that the truck cannot be a daily driver. My NG policy allows me to use the truck as an anytime grocery getter but they did want to know if I owned another vehicle. While I did not receive a "no way" answer it appeared that if I did not own another vehicle they were not too interested in writing a policy that allowed me to drive the HDT without the fiver hooked up. No, I could not find a clause about "other trailers" when I skimmed my policy exclusions. I would venture to say if your policy is linked with the HDT and fiver and you were involved in a wreck that damaged a trailer other than the one you insure the first insurance to give coverage would be the one on the foreign trailer. I'll need to read the small print on my policy more carefully to be sure.
  9. Insurance Exclusions

    I now have National General. When Blue Sky quit writing I contacted Miller. They told me that National General would not insure me because my Volvo was titled as a motorhome and thus it was a toter home if I hooked a fiver to it. I considered this crazy and called National General directly, which I encourage anyone interested in this company to do. You do not need a middleman like Miller. My policy is for full-timers. No exclusions on what I can pull as long as it is non-commercial. I can bobtail anytime as well. The full-time coverage I bought directly from NG was only slightly higher than what Miller quoted me on a "camper" policy during the first go-around. But the coverage and options were much better for full-time. I was surprised to learn last week that my homeowner's policy also covers the personal items lost in the fire. Our list of items is over $14,000 and the deductible is $1,500. My personal property coverage under my homeowners is $200,000 and that amount is the cap for what we lost in the fire. Very interesting - we will need to wait and see what actually happens. If you have a brick and sticks home you also insure you may not want to pay the extra for personal items coverage on your rig. I had elected $7,000 coverage on my NG policy, which was $5,000 over the normal RV coverage of $2,000. The premium difference was small but does add to the cost. BTW, the trailer was covered by comprehensive and was a total loss. NG didn't pay me what I had invested but did offer a fair amount which was over NADA book. If I had elected not to have comprehensive I would have gotten nothing for the fiver. Obviously, it is important to keep comprehensive on both truck and trailer. I've been pleased with NG's response to my claim.
  10. Older batteries in a 2013 truck

    Unlike deep cycle lead acid batteries a complete discharge of starting batteries rarely damages them unless a complete discharge is repeated frequently or the batteries are simply wearing out from age. As suggested, charge each battery individually with a 4-stage intelligent charger that has a boost cycle to remove sulphation that builds up on the plates. At an age of 5 years, it is expected that your batteries are declining. As for the oxidation of the terminal connections, this is normal but increases when a battery starts "gassing out", which is an indication that the batteries are beginning to weaken. Remove the terminals and clean with baking soda and water. Apply a corrosion inhibiting coating of wax, grease or coatings specifically made for this purpose. Start saving for battery replacement soon.
  11. Trailer Fire - need some help please.

    I really don't want to share a schematic at this point. I can tell you what I built limited current to no more than 15 amps and shut the charger down at 49 volts. In the golf cart there was no low voltage shut down device, only a digital meter with an alarm for both high and low voltage that I had to react to accordingly. I had built a temperature sensor circuit that would disconnect the charger from the batteries when being charged but had not installed it. Checking voltage on individual cells was done with a single digital meter and a multi-contact manual rotary switch that was plugged into the battery as needed. It was not connected at the time of the fire. Keep in mind these were batteries that were totally disconnected from anything. There was no charger involved and nothing active that could pull any current. While having no load at the time, all circuits were properly fused with the correct gauge wire for the buck converter, lights, horn and solenoids. There was even a 300 amp fuse on the main positive line that went to the controller and eventually the motor. I've thought about this for hours trying to come up with an answer as to why. It doesn't follow logical failure patterns as the two batteries were completely disconnected from any load or charging device. The failure mode is speculation - If you or someone else has another idea I would really like to hear it. Yes, items designed to prevent failure can fail. But short of someone getting hold of my propriety key needed to energize the two DPDT continuous duty solenoids that controlled reverse and forward while at the same time finding the red plastic key that cut off all battery current is even less logical. While someone intentionally starting a fire externally cannot be totally ruled out such an action does not fit the location or time.
  12. Trailer Fire - need some help please.

    Don't know, carl. My knee-jerk is to have batteries as far away from exit door as possible. A steel heat shield couldn't hurt either. As Sehc just noted liquid heating and cooling tubes were not used in my GC application. I was playing outside the engineered safety parameters of the original design application with my install. In retrospect, probably not a good idea. There is a risk factor for any battery be it flooded, Gel, AGM or whatever. We know the rules for proper venting and placement for each of the above. Hydrogen gas explosions with lead-acid batteries are known to be commonplace if they are not properly vented. Those rules are not entirely applicable to Li-Ion - that is where I screwed up. You know what ASSUME translates to . There evidently is more to all the new airline restrictions on Li-Ion than media hype. We still have a lot to learn about the safest way to incorporate used Chevy Volt batteries into our rigs. I still contend knowing the donor for used batteries is important so we can avoid incorporating units from a damaged pack. I let my mind wander into "what if" mode last night - like "what if" what I believe to be an internal short in a damaged battery had developed while the cart was on the back of the Volvo running down the road at 60 mph or simply parked with no one around? What are (were) the odds of this happening? (for me it was 100%). How many other similar known cases do we have to develop a statistical analysis? I don't have those answers (yet) and can only speculate at this point. It would be nice to discover that this was just a 1 in a billion fluke.
  13. Trailer Fire - need some help please.

    Jack, having experienced first hand the explosive power of a lithium chemistry battery and the extreme heat instantly generated I have serious doubts that any of the available fire suppression systems you mentioned would put out the "battery". Any of those systems would be beneficial in slowing the spread of fire to other flammable materials. One must keep in mind a large Li-Ion battery that develops an internal short that avalanches between adjoining cells will instantly explode into a ball of fire like a military incendiary bomb. The results of the instantaneous current flow make an electric welder look like a wet match.
  14. Trailer Fire - need some help please.

    I plan to get another golf cart but will not use batteries from a wrecked Chevy Volt unless I can see the car they are coming from and the overall condition of the entire battery pack that holds the 48-volt batteries. No rear or side collision and the entire battery pack must be intact and undamaged. I bought both of my batteries on eBay and have no clue how severe the wreck they came from was or where the impact that totaled the donor car was located. I now believe any of us that want to use the Chevy Volt batteries should know more about the car they come from. They were safe in a car before a wreck but may not be after a wreck. Damage to a battery from a wreck could be sort of like a concussion suffered by a football player.
  15. Truck bed install

    IMHO I see no advantage of using rubber between the bed and truck frame. Rubber can compress and deteriorate which would make your bed less secure. Your project sounds really neat. I would enjoy seeing some pics or hopefully the real thing.