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RE: 12v Refidgerators

All things considered, electric refers aren't the best idea for dry camping, but RV makers do everything possible to save money. If it's legitimately a 12v fridge, it's not to save money.
valhalla360 06/02/20 05:00am Technology Corner
RE: fifth wheel backing trouble

If You can drive it out you already have a road map for putting it in. Next time you pull out have the wife follow along right at the inside rear wheel with a can of spray paint. When you come back you should be able to follow that line with the trailer wheels and put it back in. Perfect idea...if it comes out in one shot, it must be possible to put it back in in one shot. I would give her a 2nd can of paint in a different color to mark the steering tires on the truck also.
valhalla360 06/01/20 03:15pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: 12v Refidgerators

If it's actually a 12v fridge (mostly made for marine installations), 400w solar should be able to handle it if you don't have other major draws. Boats generally don't have the option to use propane so they have put a lot of effort into getting these to run efficiently on 12v. If you really meant 120v (household fridge), it's not so clear cut. Either way, there should be a rated wattage draw while cooling and then you need to estimate the duty cycle. By multiplying out the wattage times the operating hours, you get an estimate of the watt-hrs used. Figure the 400w panels will put out about 1600 watt-hr per day but that presumes no shadows from trees or overcast. You can convert your battery bank to watt-hr by multiplying the amp-hr by 12v and assume 50% is usable without damaging the batteries. If it's a household fridge, you can do the same but add another 10-20% because it needs to run thru an inverter to convert to 120v AC power. You could just buy a $20 killavolt meter which includes a kwh option. (It's good to have a voltage meter anyway so you can see at a glance if you have low voltage.
valhalla360 06/01/20 11:23am Technology Corner
RE: Traveling substitute teacher in retirement?

Obviously, you need to check on the certification requirements but yes, it does seem viable. Your local district is likely easier as you have connections but if you meet the certification, requirements and will be in the area for a while, I don't see why they wouldn't hire you. Only question is would 3-4months be long enough for them to sign you up. As far as cost of living, don't get stupid on the cost of the rig and it's an inexpensive lifestyle. I would suggest a used truck and trailer until you are sure you like the lifestyle. Depreciation is a killer in the first 5yrs for both. Best if you are handy but nothing too complicated. Worst case find a mobile RV tech you like and pay them a couple hundred to go thru the systems and show you how to do basic trouble shooting. Obviously, it depends on the area but I also assume the pay in expensive areas will also be higher. To get a decent park, we figure on $500-800/month. You can find cheaper but it usually shows both in the condition of the park and in the clientele they draw. You can also find more expensive but I haven't been able to see the benefit if it's way above what the typical is for the area. Be careful of the vacation mindset where people will do 3000 miles in 2 weeks. That get tiring real quick. When you are full time, there is no need to do long travel days. Our preference is about 100-150miles leaving around 10am and getting in by 2pm and we try to keep travel days to 2-3 per week when on the move with longer stays after a week or two of being on the move.
valhalla360 06/01/20 09:02am Full-time RVing
RE: Should we buy a Ford 5th Wheel Hitch?

.... The UVW spec is 6,500# for the 7.3, eight foot bed and our options. The gross is 10,000#, producing a payload of 3,500#. The RAWR is 6,340# and initial pin weight is 2,800#. With growth to 3,100# pin weight, DW and I, we should be about 15.5K on the 19K, 22K on the 26K and about 6K on the 6.34K axle ratings. We can store any extras in the RV. .... Many years ago I was in Detroit and had friends who were Ford engineers. The Ford engineers create the 19K and 26K specification with unpublished but real safety margins. My numbers show added safety margins over theirs (about 3K or 4K under the towing and GCVR numbers). I understand safety and these two margins are sufficient. ... So is the intent to follow the specs or not? - If you are going to override the specs, there really is no point in this discussion...and people do this, so you wouldn't be the first (older trucks it really just was a different set of leaf springs between 3/4 and 1 ton SRW. newer trucks it depends on brand) - If you are going to follow the specs, you are still likely over on payload with 3100lb pin weight + 200lb hitch + people + after market add-ons to the truck + any other cargo.
valhalla360 06/01/20 08:52am Tow Vehicles
RE: fifth wheel backing trouble

I'd hate to have to switch to a slider hitch just to make backing easier in that one spot. I think the un-hitch, reposition truck and re-hitch idea is worth a try. I never have a problem getting out, or into any of the campground spots. It's just that one darn corner in my driveway. I don't think I have a good picture of that corner but I'll look. You can see it on Google Maps (satellite view). Just look for 1249 Dewing Ln, Walnut Creek, CA and zoom in. The rig in the picture (in front of the white truck) is my previous rig, a 30' Alpenlite. That one site probably represents 40-50% of the times you back into a spot. Not sure a slider is really the solution anyway. Might help a bit but it's still going to be a challenge. The S-curve won't work because you are backing around 2 90deg corners but you can still start it by hugging the southern side of the alley (you still need to leave a little room so you don't swing into objects on the south side) and then starting the turn early so by the time you get to the 2nd corner, you are already starting to turn. A slider will help a bit in this respect. A trailer dolly will be easier but they ain't cheap.
valhalla360 06/01/20 08:44am Fifth-Wheels
RE: Water heater newbie

1) Make sure the tank is full and the bypass is set so water goes thru the hot water heater. (failure to fill can burn out the electric element in under a minute) To check from the outside feel for heat and if cool, pull the lever on the pressure relief valve with the pump on. Should spit some water out at you. 2) Listen at the outside as someone turns on the heater (electric and gas). You should at least hear a click as it switches on. If not, use a multimeter to check for voltage. 3) If you put it on gas, you should hear multiple clicks as it tries to light. If it's the first time since propane ran out, it may take a few tries before propane clears the air out of the line (after a minute or two without lighting, it will give up to protect the unit). Once lit, you should feel hot air from the chimney. 4) If you put it on electric, you should still hear some noise as the heating element kicks on. Some simple potential issues: - Check the breaker is not tripped and the 12 fuse is not blown. - Make sure the switch is on (possibly an external one also). - Depending on brand, there might be a reset in the outside panel. - Make sure propane is turned on and you have propane (try lighting the stove burners to check) 90% chance one of these items fixes the issue.
valhalla360 06/01/20 08:33am Travel Trailers
RE: Water pump issue

Trace all the plumbing you can get to with the pump on. In many ways a small leak is worse than a big leak because big leaks are obvious and typically found quickly. A slow drip can go on for a long time and cause damage. This is one reason, we prefer to use the pump over connecting to city water. If we hear the pump cycling and no one is using water, it's time to find out what's wrong.
valhalla360 06/01/20 04:55am Tech Issues
RE: Security Bar over RV entrance door??

If they are going to break in, I'd rather they just pop the lock with minor damage. Unless you are going to extreme and reinforce the entire structure, it's still going to be a soft target.
valhalla360 06/01/20 04:50am Toy Haulers
RE: First 5th wheel advise

Depends a lot on the specifics of the truck what he can pull. Payload is usually the controlling limit for 3/4 ton trucks. Probably looking at 12-14k GVWR trailers depending on the truck payload limit.
valhalla360 05/31/20 06:22pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Security Bar over RV entrance door??

Are you putting bars across the windows too? If I was robbing trailers in remote areas, that would clue me in that something good must be in there and I should break out a window to see what I can find. Of course, you also have the problem that the walls of RVs aren't that strong. I'm betting any kind of bar could be removed in under 30sec with a crow bar or battery operated angle grinder. Just had to remove a padlock because I lost the key. Took me about 10min to find the angle grinder and hook up the cord. Grinder went thru the padlock like a knife thru hot butter.
valhalla360 05/31/20 06:19pm Toy Haulers
RE: Satellite TV .....pros/cons? Tired of tv infomercials!!

Used to do the satellite thing. We already had to have cell phone with unlimited plan, so internet based TV + some local channels with the antenna works out easier and better. About the only thing we struggle with is college football (and presumably other live sporting events)
valhalla360 05/31/20 06:15pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Should we buy a Ford 5th Wheel Hitch?

I appreciate the caution and have researched this quite a bit. It is rated for 19.2K on towing a 5th wheel, has 26K GCWR, 3.6K payload and scored 94.5 points on the IKE. It meets the weight specs. The Ford engineers are right on this truck. At 16.8k loaded, assuming 20% hitch weight (lower end of recommended percentages), that's 3360lb hitch weight. Add in a 200lb hitch and you used your full 3600lb payload before putting anything else in the truck. People, firewood, gas jugs, running boards, etc...all count against your payload. If it's nearer to the upper end of 25% you will be way over with an empty truck. Not saying it will be a death trap but if you can change the order, why not fix the issue now when it's simple and cheap.
valhalla360 05/31/20 12:23pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Tow vehicle advice

Unless you AND your DW are already experienced and comfortable driving a full sized pickup in city traffic and parking it in tight Walmart parking spaces, I highly recommend you consider a mid-sized pickup or large SUV rated for your TT. On vacation, you will spend more days driving to sightseeing and shopping places than towing your TT. When not on vacation, will you park/store the TV along with your TT? No, you will be driving it to work and shopping not towing. My DW and I have been VERY HAPPY towing our 30ft 7000# TT for more than 30,000 miles in 4 yrs with our Canyon. Highly recommend the opposite. Yes, you can get by with a compact pickup if spec'd properly but... When we first got the 4 door long bed 3/4 ton, the misses was concerned about driving it. Within a week, she got over it and it was her preferred vehicle. OP doesn't need to go to a 3/4 ton truck but 1/2 ton and midsize trucks cost about the same and get similar MPG. Having had midsize and 1/2 ton trucks, driving around town isn't much different. If you do get a 1/2 ton, make sure to get one of the higher payload options. Often, the payload runs out before the tow rating does with smaller pickups. The 1/2ton will set you up much better if in a couple years you want to move up to a 25-30ft trailer. And being a bit bigger and stronger, will tend to tow better.
valhalla360 05/31/20 12:12pm Towing
RE: Lightest slider hitch?

If you are concerned about 1-200# pounds you are cutting things too close and need a bigger truck! Bingo!!!! Either bigger truck or smaller 5er.
valhalla360 05/31/20 12:02pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: 6v vs 12v

If you haven't bought the 12v yet...make sure you are really getting deep cycle batteries. 6v golf cart batteries are legitimate deep cycle batteries. Most 12v dual purpose batteries are really just starting batteries relabeled and won't hold near as many amp-hr.
valhalla360 05/30/20 12:09pm Travel Trailers
RE: Arizona and AC

Another thing that can help when it gets really hot is to shut the vents to the bedroom & bathroom so all the cool air is focused on the main living area. A 2nd portable Air/Con can help but if you have a 30amp rig, powering it can be a problem. Do you have a second outlet on the power pedestal that you can connect it to?
valhalla360 05/30/20 12:06pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: fifth wheel backing trouble

Practice is really the answer. The other thing to try is an "S" curve on approach. 5th wheels are slow to start turning but once you get them started, they can turn sharper than a bumper pull. The S curve is as you approach the drive, you hug the side of the road with the driveway. As you pass it, you turn hard away until you run out of room then turn hard back the other way. You may have to play with it a few times to figure out exactly where to start the turn but by making the S curve first, it leaves the trailer angled toward the drive with the truck already at an angle to the trailer, so you can get into the sharp cornering very quickly.
valhalla360 05/30/20 11:51am Fifth-Wheels
RE: Good Wi Fi for RV: Is it Possible?

Upgrading your equipment and connecting to campground wifi, is like hooking up a fire hose to a garden hose with low pressure...you will never be happy with the results. Using your own cellular hot spot is much more viable.
valhalla360 05/30/20 11:48am Technology Corner
RE: Working on the road.

Unless you will be out in the boonies a lot of the time...just get a standard cell phone with hot spot (your current phone probably already has it). Then pick one of the unlimited plans...around $60/phone depending on provider. (or pick up a burner phone for $20) It won't stream 2-3 high def videos but will do standard def video just fine. And unless your work requires constant video conferencing, it's not a big issue.
valhalla360 05/30/20 11:45am Truck Campers
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