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RE: RV for Central America Trip

Being in Central American countries from Mexico to Panama via cruise ship shore excursions and similar, I would think twice about driving from the USA to Panama. I would be concerned for our safety. Americans in a motor home with USA plates, will stick out like a ripe piece of fruit on the vine. There is a steady stream of illegal migrants walking north on major roads. Most people are good, but there are some really bad apples too. People in hard times can get desperate. It's not much different as buying a brand new Corvette convertible, put the top down, have $100 bills sticking out from my hat, crank up the stereo, and drive through the worst of neighborhoods in Chicago in the summertime. It's the perfect way to commit suicide without voiding my life insurance. Also, like others here mentioned, repairs will surface often, resources for replacement parts will be few, and reputable service centers less yet. Pending the type of repair and location, you could find yourself stranded for months. As much as I would love to RV all the way to the southern tip of South America, I will never take our motor home south of the border. Call me paranoid.
ron.dittmer 01/25/20 08:48am Class C Motorhomes
RE: 2020 Class'C' E-450 Ford V10 lacks power?

I assume reusable K&N filters still require that spray to capture the dirt more effectively. I found the K&N to be a high maintenance item that offers no gain under nearly all driving conditions. I am also concerned that the spray product may contaminate the sensor down-stream. That sensor is extremely sensitive to dirt. If so, your engine performance is compromised, and I think your Check Engine light goes on. You can clean the sensor, but I feel it is smarter to use a conventional air filter to avoid the condition. My advise is to change the standard pleated paper filter every 10,000 miles under normal driving conditions. If you found yourself driving in a severe dust storm or a forest fire area, inspect the filter when you have passed the condition. If it is noticeably dirty, stop off at the next town and replace it. We once drove our tiny little camper down into Monument valley on a windy day. The red dust ended up everywhere, all over the engine, and the air filter was a serious mess. That is one such situation where it was a-must to change the air filter after our visit. Oh, and don't forget my reply on October 24th about inspecting the plastic flap that if installed improperly, will block a serious amount of engine air flow.
ron.dittmer 01/07/20 04:09pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Winnebago Fuse

We are retired so the Fuse seemed like a great travel the country rv for just the 2 of us. Started looking at several dealers and after spending some time in one (1.5hrs) on the dealers lot the salesman insisted we test drive it before leaving. I was impressed with peppy little diesel. What turned us away was the wind noise coming from the coach entry door. From the drivers seat it sounded like the door was wide open.You owe it to yourself to check out a Phoenix Cruiser. Being in Wisconsin, you are not so far from the factory in Elkhart, IN. Pick your favorite floor plan on-line by CLICKING HERE, call the factory for a tour making sure they will have a finished one on-hand of your favorite, for you to inspect. They used to build on the E350, E450, and Sprinter. Today they build exclusively on the Ford Transit and E450 chassis. You won't hear a whistle from their main entry door. It is made very well, like no other I have ever seen. The door and door jamb are installed as an assembly. It is perfectly aligned, well gasketed, and also very solid, a reflection of their over-all workmanship. Outdoor compartment hatches are not up to the same caliber, but are still done well. Our 2007 outdoor compartments are well done but are more generic. Today they have compartment latching hardware like the best rigs have. You will pay more, but you get that much better. It depends on your in-hand, or cash in-rig. If you go with an E450 chassis and delete as many slide outs as the floor plan allows like we did, you will lower the purchase price significantly. We applied the savings into the full body paint option. You can see our 2007 Phoenix Cruiser 2350 by CLICKING HERE. We ordered our PC brand new nearly 13 years ago. We love our slide-less rig, so clean and worry-free for all the years still coming that we plan to keep it. Unless the floor plan absolutely requires a slide out, I always encourage people to consider deleting it to save money and avoid the rest that comes with any slide out. Keeping it simple keeps it cheaper, stronger, lighter, warmer, cooler, drier, cleaner, and most reliable. You even gain more linear wall space for bigger cabinets, or in our case a spacious and comfortable dinette.
ron.dittmer 01/06/20 07:23am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Dinette Cushions

Regarding the cracking vinyl, That has been a problem introduced into the RV industry soon after the recession of 2008/2009 when the supplier of much of the vinyl fabric material switched to China-sourced material. It breaks down similarly to those leather couches being sold that have 15-25% of leather impregnated into the vinyl. height=640
ron.dittmer 01/03/20 05:15am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Genny ok in ABQ?

Ron, you’re just lucky that that long of storage period with ethanol fuel hasn’t gummed up the carburetor on the genny once or twice at least.I guess I am lucky. What puts me at ease with my method, is all my lawn equipment and seasonally driven problems with any of them treated the same way for 31 years. Maybe the 10% ethonol helps rather than hurts. Who knows, I am no authority on this stuff. I only know what works with my gas powered things here at home. My worst case situation was a 1986 Pontiac Fiero GT I parked in the back of our garage for 3 years, on blocks with a full tank of gas. The car ran slightly abnormal until I burned off the old fuel. A fresh tank of gas and the car was back to normal.
ron.dittmer 01/01/20 07:22pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Genny ok in ABQ?

For us, the gaps between generator run-times is typically 8 months, and there has been twice of 1 year and 8 months. Practicing this for over 12 years and all remains well. The rig is kept indoors which likely helps, but I do feel that if your rig is stored outdoors in a dry climate, it's not all that different from our situation except for potential for rodent and large critter damage. I should also mention that I never use Stabel or other fuel additive for long term storage, nor any other type of fuel additive such as fuel system cleaners. I hear about Seafoam all the time but really know nothing about it. I store our rig with a full tank of regular gasoline.
ron.dittmer 01/01/20 12:49pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Down a truly rough road in my class C?

Here is an interesting related story with our little red Toyota MR2 Spyder shown. In Escalante National Monument, we drove the MR2 Spyder to a slot canyon trail head, a 7 mile long, very primitive road limited to 4x4 Jeep types. We drove in and out of deep river washes and a road surface that resembled miniature canyons. We parked at the trail head which had only Jeep Wranglers. The look on the faces of the few people we seen was priceless. With the MR2 Spyder, what made it work was having the tires close to the bumpers, reducing bumper over-hang. We never scraped the car on anything, even when entering and climbing out of those river washes. width=640 Though 100% successful including no damage of any kind to the car, it was back at our base camp that night when we decided it was time to get a 4x4. My wife loves her 4x4 Jeep Liberty. width=640 My point here is, you can do almost anything as long as you are very careful, and prepared to give up and turn back if the conditions call for it
ron.dittmer 12/27/19 10:55pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Down a truly rough road in my class C?

If you have heavy duty front and rear stabilizer bars and shocks, they will reduce side-to-side motion and dipping deeper down. You have rear air bags which should also help. I would fill them up to help stabilize. And as previously mentioned, don't drive, rather creep down the road....your speedometer needle might not even move. From your description, it sounds like you can do it.
ron.dittmer 12/27/19 09:57am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Ford E450 vs E350 under a Class C

Phil, That's real good data. I quickly scanned through it and see I had some E350 versus E450 comparison facts incorrect. Thanks for posting it. I agree with you. I would just go with the E450 regardless how small your motor home is. If the ride is too rough, let a truck suspension shop figure out how many rear leaf springs can be removed. Going down from having too much CCC is smarter and cheaper than trying to increase CCC. The base E450 chassis is more capable in other areas too so why not start there? The purchase price difference between an E350 and E450 is negligible.
ron.dittmer 12/23/19 09:46am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Ford E450 vs E350 under a Class C

Hi Desert Captain, You are right. Using air bags is another method, more easily installed and are adjustable too. For most people, that is an easy solution to address a marginal load limit. But I elected NOT to go that route for a few reasons. I had a very nice air bag system on my previous motor home. It was great with a dedicated on-board compressor pump and air release to adjust the air pressure while I drive. It was an awesome setup, but as that fancy air bag setup aged, the system developed a small air leak of which I just tolerated. This time around, I wanted to address the matter most simplistically, never to give a thought about such things again. This is more personal now. I worry that I would add lots of air to pump up the rear that extra few inches for a trip, get home, unload, and then forget the rig is now too tall to clear the garage door. I would be just one "senior moment" away before regretting the decision to go with air bags. But again, your point using air bags is well received.
ron.dittmer 12/20/19 08:01am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Ford E450 vs E350 under a Class C

And it's a good thread. Since the E150, E250, and E350 vans were discontinued, Ford made the E350 chassis with more E450 components and systems. This was done because of the severely reduced production numbers. What made them previously different has been reduced to a mere change in springs today, and a few other minors. This is actually beneficial for E350 owners because compared to years prior, the E350 today gets a wider stance, bigger brakes, and hydro-boost-brake instead of the conventional vacuum power brake booster like cars have. I believe the frame thickness is now the same between the E350 and E450, but I did not confirm it. I know my 2007 E350 steel frame is a tad bit thinner per the 2007 E-series spec sheet I found on-line. In years past, the E350 had a more fuel efficient differential gear ratio, but the latest transmission with the extra gear, compensates for that nicely. So if you are in the market for a new rig today, and you are considering a short E350-V10 & 55 gallon fuel tank, versus a short E450 with the same, the primary difference will be in the load capability, and almost no difference in the mechanicals. Keep in-mind that "EXTRA excess capability" will yield a much rougher ride. If you already own a short E450 rig with extra excess capability yielding an unacceptably rough ride, take it to a truck suspension shop and have them remove one or two or three leaf springs per rear corner to get the ride softer without compromising your actual load requirement. The right shop can figure that out for you. And for you with an E350 that barely handles your actual load, add one more leaf spring per rear corner to give you that edge. I am on-the-fence over adding one rear leaf spring per rear corner on our 2007 E350 because our garage door clearance is of concern. Right now, when unloaded, we have only 1.5" between the a/c unit and the top of the door frame. As seen in my signature picture, our original E350 front coil springs are significantly under-loaded which sets the front a bit high. I plan to replace them with one rating weaker to make our ride up front more enjoyable and also hope to lower it a bit. If the results also lower the a/c unit, then I will consider adding one more leaf spring in the rear. Once evaluated and determined to make an improvement, then comes new tires and a front wheel alignment. My new Moog springs are in-hand, ready for the swap. After 12+ years owning our rig I am getting a little more daring experimenting with these things, customizing the spring ratings to better match our actual load along with a little extra margin tucked in there. I enjoy the challenge.
ron.dittmer 12/19/19 11:17pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Entrance Door Strut mount torn out. 2020 JayCo GrayHawk

I should also mention that the longer rope for non-awning conditions shares the weld nut with the shorter rope. We simply grab the rope we want to use. Since then, I installed another weld nut lower on the door jamb opposite the door opening, to hang the bungie cords I use to hold the door open. This way everything is stored right where it is needed. One last point here. The longer rope does double duty as a quick dry cloths line inside the rig. If we have wet beach towels, a wet jacket, an item needing drying before stowing away, one of us will grab the longer rope and hang it on a cabinet knob on the other side of the entry door. Yes the hanging item(s) is sometime in our way entering and exiting, but it's very temporary. It is better to have it inconvenient, than not at all. Again it is quick to hook, and when done, unhook & let go, and it drops back hanging next to the door, so simple to use and put away.
ron.dittmer 12/18/19 07:12am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Models with Adaptive Cruise Control

2019 Transit chassis, 2020 Sprinter chassis, and 2021 E-series chassis all have it optional. On all of these, it is part of a package with auto emergency braking and lane-keep-assist but you can turn off the other assists if you don't want to use them.Let's hope Adaptive Cruise Control is an option on the RV prep cut-away. You would think such options would be standard equipment when considering the application.
ron.dittmer 12/18/19 06:50am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Generator in Class C Rental

Another consideration is if your 2 week vacation is a road trip traveling to a new dry campsite daily, or even every-other day. Your house batteries will charge nicely while the vehicle is being driven. You may never need to think about your house batteries. The only time you would run the generator is when you want to run the microwave oven or other 110V appliance.
ron.dittmer 12/17/19 04:22pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Generator in Class C Rental

Hi Jim, Louise and Sophie, As others have commented, 1 gallon of fuel per hour sounds quite high for a typical 4000 watt Onan which is the most common generator installed in class C motor homes. I estimate half that at 1/2 gallon of gas per hour. If your rental class C has two air conditioners on the roof, then maybe you have the larger Onan 7000 watt generator that consumes double the amount of gas. Regardless, a little 2000 watt Honda will have it's advantages if your plan is to run it 24/7. The noise from an Onan running for 2 weeks straight would make me nuts, but that would not be the case with a little Honda. The little Honda won't power up much though. You might be able to power a small microwave, or a small space heater but not at the same time. A little Honda is nice for battery maintenance, TV watching, computer and internet, low power activity like that. If camping remotely with no plan to move for the duration of your stay, plan on carrying lots of extra gas in gas cans. It's hard to say, but maybe four 5 gallon cans to keep a little Honda running for a 2 week period. I really don't know. The Onan running 2 weeks straight will require roughly 170 gallons of gas...Yikes! Are you certain you will need to run a generator for the entire 2 week period? Most people boon docking run the generator as needed which for us is less than 2 hours a day, but we don't hang out at the camp site all day either. You will have to run an Onan constantly if requiring constant air conditioning in the summer or space heat in the winter.
ron.dittmer 12/17/19 12:15pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Access to overhead bunk

Overhead bed....difficult for the older adult or senior?? Dang!! I don't think I'm quite that decrepit yet. I'm 65, 5'10", and 230 lbs....yet have no problem navigating the ladder in or out of our overhead bed whatsoever. It is my preferred place to sleep.Well....My hat is off to you. Good for you that it's works well. My reference considers the "typical" senior. There are always exceptions and you are surely one of them. I also think some of the limitations are relative to the head clearance in the upper bunk. The low ceiling in some rigs prevent the person from sitting upright, making it more difficult to get in and out from. Then there is the dinette or couch to utilize in some situations. There is no one statement that covers every over-head situation. My apologies for that.
ron.dittmer 12/16/19 02:48pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Access to overhead bunk

Oh yes, the over-head bed. It is free space. - great for kids - works for the younger adult - difficult for the older adult - seniors? you have to be young-in-body or you'll find yourself in the hospital with a broken hand or sprained ankle. As much bad press the rear-corner gets from seniors, it's challenges don't compare to an over-head. We owned a tiny class C with over-head bed for 24 years. That space was reserved for the kids and linen. At age 49, we replaced the rig with a rear corner bed B+. Getting a walk-around queen or full would have been ideal, but with a garage limiting our choices to 25'-0" in length, we opted for a rear corner double bed in a length of 23'-8" that fits in our garage with a little room to spare which has proven valuable. Having a door opening height limit of 9'- 11-1/4" limited our choices even further. We were fortunate to find a fully featured motor home that fit in our garage. width=640
ron.dittmer 12/16/19 11:41am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Entrance Door Strut mount torn out. 2020 JayCo GrayHawk

This is not addressing the original poster's specific issue with his door strut being torn away, but seems a good place to share my no-strut solution. We bought our rig new in 2007. Back then Phoenix USA did not provide a door strut or other type of door limiter. I wanted to limit the swing of our door in "soft stop" fashion for a few different reasons. 1) When the awning is setup, the door hits the support beam. 2) During exceptionally windy conditions, the door would rip out from my wife's hands, swing 180 degrees, and slam hard into the door stop. My Micky Mouse solution installed back then continues to work well for us. The rope limiter offers a very nice soft stop. It attaches easily, and in our case, can be attached or detached with the door open or closed. Also, it never is in our way when passing through the door way. We always make sure it is attached on a windy day. Admittedly, it does not work perfectly with the roll-up screen door. Sometimes the screen door will roll-up open when the wind plays with the door held open with a bungee-cord. The hardware I used is called a "weld nut". Google pics of weld nuts to see various types. I happened to find nice user-friendly thick round smooth ones at home. width=640 As the years have gone by, I added a second rope, a bit longer for non-awning conditions. When we want to keep the door open, I bunge-cord the door open, utilizing the rear view mirror. It's hoaky, but it works. I have thought of installing a conventional door strut limiter, but we got well used to this method and it's flexibility to fully open the door 180 degrees....exceptionally nice when the rig is parked at home in our garage. width=640
ron.dittmer 12/16/19 10:47am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Opinions Appreciated (yeah about tires)

Have you tried Request the search by tire size. Lots of good tires out there.That was going to be my reply. For our 24 foot long E350 motor home, I will be changing tires before our next big trip. My plan is to buy 6 of THESE TIRES from Tire Rack. I have a means of mounting and balancing them myself. I also plan to mount 4 of the 6 on new Alcoa alloy wheels I will purchase HERE. I am very happy with all the sets of Sumitomo tires I installed on a number of the sports cars I have owned from Corvettes to Solstices. This will be my first Sumitomo experience with our motor home.
ron.dittmer 12/16/19 07:01am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Motorhomes on Mercedes Chassis

Ron, I'll bet that the Sprinter's "narrow" chassis - along with that of some new U.S. small vans from Dodge, Ford, etc. - was designed primarily for more practical use in delivery/commercial vans to be used in the crowded and/or narrow streets in towns and cities ... especially for situations in Europe with respect to the Sprinter's design. As such IMHO they are marginal, if not bordering on risky, for use in RV's to be used on the open road in the widest possible variety of situations (such as in open windy country). I don't see how a stiffer suspension system will help to stop wheel lift on one side should a high power cross-wind hit one of these narrow-framed and tall motor homes.Sprinter offers a DRW cargo van to carry extra heavy loads. I believe MB had narrow European city streets in-mind when designing it. It appears that same narrow-stance rear axle (or something very close to it) is used on their RV cut-away chassis for the US market. It surely is not ideal on USA interstate highways and national parks and such. Concerning suspension upgrades....Because of "the Sprinter lean" I see them experiencing, I believe it will help stabilize Sprinter motor homes if owners replaced their stock front and rear stabilizer bars with stronger versions....if such upgrades exists. I don't fear Sprinter RVs would actually tip over on their side, but rather remain steady, under better control, and with improved stopping power. But I just don't read of Sprinter owners having any such concern. Maybe they don't realize what's going on with the house in back because it feels fine up front. My brother did not realize how bad his old 1998 E350 Starflyte leaned until I convinced him to install a rear Helwig bar. After we installed it together, he noticed a huge improvement in handling. But even with that, he didn't want to spend ~$200 more to replace his wimpy stock front stabilizer bar with worn-out grommet ends, thinking it can't get much better. If he did both front and rear stabilizer bars, his control and his stopping power while on the curves, would have been dreamy. He's had the rig so many years since. He would have enjoyed his ride for all that time. He's got around 140,000 miles on the odometer now. Sometimes you don't realize how poor something is until after it's been made right.
ron.dittmer 12/11/19 02:10pm Class C Motorhomes
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