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RE: F250 upgrades

Again, interesting to see the strongly held opinions on the GVWR issue. Wonder how many of the folks asserting those opinions have been involved in a fatality or serious injury case where there was a colorable argument that the vehicle at fault was over GVWR? Not asking about tickets, warnings, pulling off the road for being unsafe: asking about a fatal or serious crash where GVWR may have been in play.
PA12DRVR 05/30/23 08:33am Tow Vehicles
RE: F250 upgrades

To the OP...have had both an F250 and F350. The article is simply wrong on so many fronts that I wouldn't pay attention to it. Your issue, it seems like, is the squatting. That can be fixed with bags, springs, any number of aftermarket options. You may have some slightly lower payload #'s than a comparable gasser, but your truck, even if you're a follow the numbers guy, is likely to have the GVWR, GCWR, as needed to carry / tow your trailer. If your truck doesn't have the GVWR to carry / tow the trailer, then you need to decide if you want to follow those numbers or not. Lots of folks don't and don't have any real problem. Others slavishly follow the #'s without any thought. Me? Even though I'm a follow the numbers guy, I'd probably just level your rig and carry on. As far as the legal effect of GVWR, interesting to see so many strongly held opinions on this forum. In the case of suing a commercial carrier for causing an accident, GVWR or exceeding it would be near the top of the list of causes of action. In a passenger / RV case (i.e. suing another passenger car / RV for damages), exceeding GVWR would certainly be on the list, but not the primary claim. In any case, exceeding GVWR would in most cases be exceptionally difficult to prove as either a fact (i.e. 10,001#'s vs. 10,000#'s) or as the proximate cause of the event...but as a cause of action to be alleged? Absolutely going to figure into a civil complaint. As far as "cite a case"....95%+++ get settled and settled cases don't get reported and are usually subject to confidentiality agreements.
PA12DRVR 05/29/23 08:21am Tow Vehicles
RE: Bad Experience at Little Dealer Service Department

I suppose it might be different in larger cities / more populated areas, but now that I'm at the handshake stage with my '70's, if I were to cross off every service (i.e. provides a service, not "just" service departments) entity who had an employee that crossed the line, I'd be struggling to find anywhere to shop for darn near anything other than groceries...and that's uncertain as well. I'd have a talk with, as suggested, the owner / manager / president and see what results...if it's not satisfactory, simply move on. It might prove to generate a good result, but if not, you've lost nothing but the time it takes for a short call.
PA12DRVR 05/26/23 07:16am General RVing Issues
RE: Dual tank fill-up to top

The fill necks are too low. The after market bed manufacture has them too low. Assuming this is correct - what is the fix? Thanks! Had a sort-of-kinda-like problem on my recently sold dump truck. First thing to look for is whether the fuel fill spot ("fuel cap") is higher than the tank(s). Second, if the "fuel cap" is indeed higher than the tank(s), does the fill pipe run between the cap and the tank in such a way as to allow fuel to gravity flow down or is there either an extended run of level fill pipe or does the fill pipe even run "uphill" from the fuel cap before dropping down into the tank. On my truck, it was the latter situation: there was a slight, very slight, uphill run between the cap and the first bracket on the hose. For whatever reason, it would fill fine until the tank was 3/4 full, then I couldn't get any more fuel in the would just come back out. I lengthened the bracket, had a local shop shorten and straighten the fill pipe (so it ran entirely downhill between the cap and tank) and the problem was resolved. Another option of course is to put the fuel cap at a higher location on the bed, but that's probably difficult with the aftermarket bed.
PA12DRVR 05/19/23 08:25am Tow Vehicles
RE: Denali Hwy 8

Paxson Lodge (east end junction of Denali highway) over the years was hit and miss for fuel availability - Open and maybe fuel available - Open and maybe NO fuel available Closed up for business Reopened for business and maybe fuel available Reopened for business but no fuel available Closed for business again, etc, etc.... The Denali Highway is truly scenic in every aspect as I have also taken on both directions of travel, and in my opinion it is a bit more scenic and enjoyable while viewing the trip enroute from east to west direction as you deal with the more rugged half side first and have more downhill and less ascend in the westbound direction from MacLaren Summit - the only minus grade from east to west direction of travel here would be if one were to commute during the time of 900pm and later, as the sun will be staring right at you for 2 to 3 hours until it lowers toward the horizon.... The Denali Highway route also has the least amount of general traffic and hardly any commercial traffic at all out of all the Alaskan "major highway" routes too, even less traffic busy than the Dalton and Taylor Highway remote routes as you get the least "I'm Joe blow and I'm in a hurry" type of drivers from behind to deal with. This posted message is from YOUR - 2023 Nenana Ice Classic Winner !!!! Paxson Lodge was closed (and appeared to be decaying) in 2018, the last time I made the trip from that end. I think it's done, but the summary quoted is spot on at least from 1974 - 2010 when I went through the area much more frequently. When I was driving across the Denali more frequently (granted, always in a pickup), I made a point to fill up at either Cantwell or Paxson and to fill the 20 gallons of gas cans in the back. In many parts of Alaska, the gentle ribbing us older guys get for always having spare gas and running of the top 1/2 of the tank is justified. On the Denali? Not so much....As noted, once you hit Paxson, you might have gas either on the highway or in Cantwell: Going the other way? Add 80 miles to the 135 highway miles before being at all certain of fuel. Definitely agree on the scenic status of the Denali and agree that (barring a late evening drive), it is somehow more enjoyable East to West. ...and the Denali has a way of karma-cizing the Joe Blow's who must pass you and blow your doors off. Congrats on the Nenana win. That's fantastic.
PA12DRVR 05/15/23 09:17am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Denali Hwy 8

Unfortunately, maintenance of the Denali Highway is not a priority for Alaska DoT/PF. That being said, most of the gravel roads get a fair amount of attention after breakup as the roads open up for the summer....and with the snowpack and slow spring much of the state is experiencing, the Denali might get scraped a time or two just in time to be relatively smooth for mid-to late-summer travels. The key (as it has been since my first trip across whilst dodging dinosaurs :) ) is to take it slow on that road. The couple of times that I've taken a leisurely drive across (either Cantwell >> Paxson or the other way), my least damaging trips have involved at least one if not two overnights on the road.
PA12DRVR 05/08/23 09:30am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Valve stem extenders for inner wheels (DRW)

I honestly can't remember the brand, but I used valve extenders on an F350 many years ago...used for about 5 years. No leaks. I'd check pressure about 1x per month or before a long trip and there simply wasn't any leakage. Again, don't recall the brand, but: they were SS braided hose (not a sheath); they had a mounting system that attached to the outer wheel to hold the extended stem; they were a PITA to put on (but that was more than made up for in the ease of use over the years); and I got them at the (then-local-to-Ewestun) heavy duty truck store (not walmart, not amazon, not an RV place, not CW, and not at ACE or even Tractor Supply). They were quite expensive (seem to recall $125+ in 2006 dollars) but it was a buy-once / cry once scenario. No duallies in the fleet today, but I'd get the extenders again if I had a dually.
PA12DRVR 04/27/23 09:53am Tow Vehicles
RE: time for a diesel?

Not sure where the Motorhome fits into the discussion of new / diesel pickup. In any case....I've used 2-3 diesels for a couple of TT's and a 5th wheel as well as the current F250 diesel for my non-RV towing. I'm not interested in being the 1st guy up the hill, but I do like to make it up the hill w/o seeing lots of flashing lights and warnings. So I'd recommend a diesel if you're getting a new tow rig. That being said, routine maintenance is more expensive on a diesel and the infrequent "catastrophic" failure (e.g. injectors) is very expensive. All this would roll into what a couple others have suggested: if your current rig gets the job done (and is paid for), probably cheaper to keep it rather than chase a new vehicle.
PA12DRVR 04/13/23 09:34am Tow Vehicles
RE: I Bought A Travel Trailer I Had Never Seen (in person)

I guess I have a lower financial risk factor, and less money, than many. :) There's no way I would spend thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars on any product "sight unseen". We negotiated for our last 5th wheel that was 800 miles away, but we reserved the right to refuse the deal if the trailer wasn't to our satisfaction. Locked into something with nothing more than pictures? Not a chance in heck. ^^^^ This. It's the OP's decision of course and I presume there was some sort of backout provision, but I can hardly bring myself to buy clothes off the internet, much less a capital purchase. I would have thought that between Dallas, Ewe-Stun, and San Antonio there were lots of local options that could have been investigated.
PA12DRVR 04/11/23 09:53am General RVing Issues
RE: New truck. How long of a trailer can I tow?

That was a pretty common conversion back in the day. Google “ pickup converted to aircraft tug” images, there’s a lot of different styles including some with no rear end. Yep. still see quite a few of them in various places up here. ...and to the OP's question "how long", I saw something very similar pulling a DC-3 the other 60-ish feet.
PA12DRVR 04/04/23 09:26am Tow Vehicles
RE: Question for TEXANS- Class A non CDL

The introduction to the Texas Drivers Handbook for 2023, just like the 2010 version that I eventually got around to reading, contains a very clear disclaimer that nothing in the handbook is meant to reflect the actual laws. In my case, back in the 2010 era, when I spent a couple hours with a DPS examiner, she and I both got comfortable with the idea that I needed a Class A non-commercial to use my fully rated F350 towing the 16,000 GVWR KZ Escalade...which I promptly ignored for the remaining few months before I sold the truck and trailer.
PA12DRVR 03/28/23 09:59am General RVing Issues
RE: Help making a decision on truck purchase.

Somewhere in the past 6 pages, the OP stated that he was looking at a replacement vehicle to get into 4WD.....and since he was getting into 4WD, he wanted to evaluate 1/2 ton options. - Having made a couple cycles of living in AK then Texas then AK and finally resting in AK, I consider 4WD a must have. With the steep driveway I have at the house, I wouldn't get 2WD out without tirechains and a freshly plowed path. FWIW, one fine January day a while back, I lost the TC on my little wrangler turning it into a poseur 2WD. Had to get a snatch and grab with the local wrecker service and the Wrangler wasn't under the "discount towing" insurance. So $185 dollars later, it was out of my driveway ready to drive under 2WD to the shop. Long way of saying that 4WD has at least the potential to save some big $$ hits and might offset a lot of fuel costs. - So if 4WD is something the OP wants, that may resolve the "buy or not" decision. - If's up to each person, but in my case, I'm a follow the numbers guy; If I was buying, I'd want to buy within the GVWR / GCVWR #'s. So confirm the weight of your 5th wheel (including pin weight) and use that for shopping. - As to what to buy, the market is still different than what it was but it may be getting back to normal. Dunno, but it still seems like prices and interest rates on new vehicles are pretty high. - Can't speak for CA or the mountain west, but up here, if one can get a good bargain on a used 4WD, the time to get that bargain is early summer long before even a hint of the coming winter.... - If that holds true elsewhere, it might be possible to source a good used 4WD 3/4 ton that would clearly handle the OP's trailer...and likely quite a bit below the cost of a new 1/2 ton. - Maybe that cost savings for a bit more competent truck would ease the pain of not getting any better MPG.
PA12DRVR 03/28/23 09:38am Tow Vehicles
RE: Vancouver, Seward, Anchorage and Fairbanks

Thank you, I’m getting some good info - don’t stop. Just to note, we are flying to Vancouver and taking a cruise to Seward. After Seward begins our road trip portion.. We will however be spending a few days in Vancouver before boarding ship. Although it depends a bit on the route / itinerary, have the supplies (film, cards, whatever) to take lots of photos on the trip from Vancouver to Seward. there are some cruises (I understand, haven't done it) that drop anchor in the panhandle cities (JNU, KTN, etc) in the early morning then depart in the evening (6 pm -ish) and sail at night...hopefully yours travels during the day so you can see the sights. Will you be renting a car from Seward / Los Anchorage? Makes it a bit easier to move around but a bit more dependent on open lodging. The earlier poster who noted the "boring" (my words) Interior is largely correct for "sightseeing". Not much to see / do in the Fairbanks area other than a riverboat cruise, a couple museums, and hunting trips. However, if time permits, a road trip to Deadhorse/ Arctic Circle gets into country that is different that any part of the L48 and the drive down the Richardson (i.e. the "Old Road") from circa Big Delta to Glennallen is pretty scenic. Mid-September (if you need lodging) will likely mean that you overnight in Los Anchorage, Talkeetna, Healy, or Squarebanks. Many of the lodges and so forth between those places will be closed by the time you get to that part of your trip. I believe McKinley / Denali Nat Park may still be open but the nearby lodging might take some snooping to find an open place. The "glitter gulch" compound just outside the park entrance tends to rapidly shutdown in Mid-September. If it's of interest, I'd begin inquiring sooner rather than later about available flight seeing options from Talkeetna / Healy / Denali Park for that time of year. Similar "tourist" stuff (riverboat cruises, etc) may be limited due to the late season. Fishing trips will still be in full swing (if that's your thing) but they should be looked into as well just to ensure there's room. Given your itinerary, I'd suggest (again...if of interest) you take your Seward time and slot in any wildlife cruises, fishing, or glacier cruises on that end. Leave the trip to Los Anchorage and Fairbanks for road-based sightseeing and any flight seeing.
PA12DRVR 03/24/23 10:45am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Question for TEXANS- Class A non CDL

FWIW....when I live in Ewe-stun, admittedly a few years ago now, there were vendors (for lack of a better word) that offered all sorts of driver training, from ordinary DL stuff for teens to full-on CDL with all the endorsements training. About the time I simultaneously realized I needed a Class A non-CDL AND decided to ditch Texas for Alaska, I found a couple of places that (for a fee) would provide, over the weekend, training and testing for the Class A non-CDL, including (they were a contractor of some sort for DPS) issuing the new / upgraded license. Fairly steep (recall it being $400 at the time) cost, but it was essentially a plug and play...set aside a weekend and $400, come out of it with a Class A non-CDL. Never attended and it might be only in the bigger areas, but something like that might be an option.
PA12DRVR 03/23/23 09:54am General RVing Issues
RE: Vancouver, Seward, Anchorage and Fairbanks

Speaking strictly for the Alaska's hard to make recommendations without a bit of narrowing it down: are activities (i.e. hiking, climbing, fishing, hunting ) preferred or observation? By mid-September in Alaska, the "tourist" attractions are beginning to shut down: many flight seeing operators, excursions, fuel/lodge infrastructure, etc. I'd suggest some variant of a wildlife / scenic excursion out of Seward into the Kenai Fjords Nat. Park. I believe they run those through mid- if not the end of September, but I haven't taken one in a couple of years, so can't be sure. Unfortunately, in mid-September, both bear viewing and whale watching (if either are of interest) are pretty sketchy or can always see resident bears or resident Orcas / porpoise / seals / sea lions, but the big bear gatherings or the gray whale migrations are over. Whittier (sort of on the way to Seward from Los Anchorage) offers glacier viewing tours through September. Focused on glaciers, so any wildlife is luck of the draw. If McKinley / Denali sightseeing is of interest, I believe there are still options in Mid-September from both Anchorage and the Denali area....and seeing Denali on a clear fall day is pretty spectacular. If you have an interest in fishing, while weather conditions get generically dicey in September, there are lots of options for saltwater (silver salmon, halibut...although tailing off, possibly rockfish, etc) and freshwater (Silvers, trout) fishing. Freshwater would be from Anchorage or the nearby Mat-Su area (Willow, Wasilla) or Kenai Peninsula (Soldotna, Kenai), while saltwater would be very do-able from Seward. Just for road sightseeing, even as a dyed-in-the-wool "there's nowhere like Alaska" guy, the trip on the highway past / through Kluane is incredibly spectacular. In Alaska, presuming clear days, the stretch between circa Trapper Creek to Nenana (on the Parks Highway) is incredibly scenic. Similarly, the Seward Highway from Los Anchorage to Hope can be very scenic. Not on your list, but the Richardson from Glennallen to Valdez is arguably one of the most scenic drives in AK and the stretch (on the Glenn) between Palmer and Eureka is also quite scenic. Lastly, in mid-September you'll be fighting the hunters (legit and lazy road hunters) but the Denali Highway (between Cantwell on the Parks and Paxson on the Richardson) is my favorite drive in Alaska.
PA12DRVR 03/23/23 09:37am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Question for TEXANS- Class A non CDL

Drove a F350 / 5th wheel combo that was well past the 26,000 mark for about 7 years based in Ewe-stun. Blissfully ignorant for the first 6 years, planning for coming back to AK in year 7, so never got the Class A Non-Commercial, but that was what was required. Never stopped nor ticketed nor in a wreck.
PA12DRVR 03/21/23 10:52am General RVing Issues
RE: F-250 vs F-350 srw

I bought my last truck (an F250) on a Wednesday and by Thursday was wishing I had spent the extra $1000 (closest I could get the dealer) for an F350 for no other reason than some weird mix of buyer's remorse and "I want the next step up-itis"....but that was buying new. If your current F250 setup works, why change it? If I were buying new, I'd buy within all the ratings, just 'cause that's how I like to do it; but if you've put the miles and time in on your rig and nothing's blown up, started to sag, drip fluids, rub, etc., I can't see a basis to change.
PA12DRVR 03/15/23 09:30am Tow Vehicles
RE: How To Set Up An F-250 For Towing? one of my iterations, I pulled a 34-ish foot long circa 9,000 # TT with a chevy 2500 diesel. All well within various ratings. I had (IIRC) circa 20% or so tongue weight and the truck didn't squat to any significant degree...and it pulled / stopped turned just fine. Nevertheless, I went ahead and got a weight distributing hitch (Reese something or other 2.0). What that did was not only put a bit of weight on the front end, but it entirely eliminated any issues with my doors being blown off by passing semi's...instead of the truck or trailer being pushed, it was like the entire 50+ foot long setup was being pushed as a unit, no swing in between trailer and truck. Without the WDH, it was not a problem, but with the WDH, I could essentially ignore the overtaking semi's...that was reason enough for the WDH for me. ...and FWIW, a good number of those semi's were on I35E/W, US 287, and I-40.
PA12DRVR 03/14/23 10:41am Tow Vehicles
RE: I Bought Too Much Truck

In previous chapters of the life, I used an F350 (DRW, 8' Bed) for my daily driver in Ewe-stun for a couple of years; does it limit you? Yes. Is it impossible? No. Wife and I parked in the same parking garage at work...she had her choice of spots with the Prius; I had to get there early to get a first floor spot, ideally one of 10 that pulled straight in from an entrance. Very do-able. If I wanted to see a show in the Theater District, it was either a cab / Uber / Lyft thing or take the Prius. Trip to Santone for the Riverwalk? Park where convenient and walk. RV trip from Ewe-Stun to points NW? I always enjoyed having "More" truck rather than less. I think a bit of driving / parking / maneuvering will get you more comfortable with the truck. I also had an F550 Dump truck for a plow business. Had to use that for a daily driver for a 3-4 month period up here in, that may have been too much truck for anywhere except Los Anchorage, but even that worked out fine. :) ..currently have an F250 with the 6.5' bed. Don't tow RV's anymore, but tow the boat, the sno-go's, the ATV etc....and I've repeatedly kicked myself for getting the 6.5 instead of 8' bed. Unless your life is strictly towing with an empty bed, I suspect that once you start outfitting the RV, there'll be times when it's nice to have extra room in the bed. ....and the longer WB does drive nicer.
PA12DRVR 03/13/23 08:32am Tow Vehicles
RE: Denali Hwy 8

Can't help on the camping spots (as I've only used a pickup / -12 / tent on this road). Only recommendation that I'd have it to go slow. As MORSNOW indicated, there's limited "big" spots....maybe plan on 2 nights on the road? Dunno. The Denali is, IMNSHO, the best of the road drives in Alaska for scenery and such. Of course, the Richardson down to Valdez is spectacular, the Haul Road can be very nice, and even the little old Parks (between Talkeetna and Clear) or the Glenn (between Palmer & Glennallen) offer some nice views, but for a road trip that is very do-able in summer, that is somewhat remote but not really, and that offers great vistas nearly everywhere, the Denali can't be beat.
PA12DRVR 02/27/23 08:57am RVing in Canada and Alaska
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