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stuartw's Achievements


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  1. The stock batteries are 12V and not true deep cycle batteries. They are cheap, but I don't know if they have the capacity we need. I am wondering if two 6V golf cart batteries would not be a better compromise between availability and cost. I am concerned about the stock converter/charger. I am not convinced it is a true "smart 4 phase charger." I guess I can give it a try and see if it works for us. An upgrade could rather easily be added later, according to Robert. Any advice or comments? Would I be smarter to go with an upgraded, more expensive, true smart 4-phase battery charger? 1) I'd suggest that you go with the golf cart batteries. They are more rugged, are designed to be discharged very deeply without damage, and can withstand many more charging cycles than a standard battery. Going with 'cheap' batteries is a false economy. Note that Trojan literally owns the golf cart battery market for golf courses throughout the country, so in the unlikely event of failure there should be any number of sources available to you. 2) I'd suggest that you go with the generator prep wiring. You never know when you might need it, might want it, or wish you had it when it comes time to sell to the next guy. It's easy to do now, harder to do later. 3) Whatever battery charger you choose, make sure that it's got sufficient capacity to recharge your chosen batteries in a reasonable time. I wouldn't get hung up on the "4 stage" hype; most chargers in the marine world are just 3 stage (bulk/absorption/float) with a manual capability for equalization if really necessary. Buy the best charger that'll fit in the available space and have the factory install it so that it's covered under your warranty. Just my $0.02. Stuart
  2. That's some fish! Thanks for the videos / picture ... This reminds me of two bumper stickers that I used to see at one of the local marinas (both on the same car, a Jaguar convertible) : "Practice Catch & Release : Get A Divorce" "I Still Miss My Ex, But My Aim Is Improving". Been married 23 years to the same DW, so I don't subscribe to either these. Cheers, Stuart
  3. I run Odyssey batteries in all my rigs and have had perfect reliability from them. Yes, the Odysseys are good batteries - I've always heard positive things. Unfortunately when it came time to outfit my current rig there wasn't a dealer nearby that carried them so I went with the Trojans. They seem to have a stocking dealer in just about every town due to their commanding share of the golf cart market, so I figured that if anything ever went wrong I'd be able to easily get service or replacement as needed. Of course this is all a moot point if the batteries never fail, but you never know!
  4. For what it's worth I've got a set of 4 Trojan T-125's on the nose of my current rig. They are stored in GC2 battery boxes from Allied Battery on a custom-welded rack that is bolted onto the top of the A-frame (instead of inside or under) for maximum support. Web straps with tensioners hold everything in place but make for relatively easy access for servicing or end-of-season removal. The batteries have been great and have survived harsh Utah winters (down to 24 below at least twice) and hot Virginia summers (100+ and humid). The self-discharge is very low from what I've seen regardless of conditions. I charge them carefully with a smart 3-stage charger (built into my inverter) and have only had to add water once or twice, and even then not much. Yes, they are heavy but given that I just hoisted a lead acid 8D out of my boat (160+ pounds!) I'm not complaining about the Trojans ... at least not too loudly. In retrospect I probably should have bought the T-145's (there's room in the GC2 boxes), but since I never discharge too deeply it's really just shades of gray ... Whatever you decide on, be sure to invest in a good battery carry strap for moving the batteries around - your fingers and toes will thank you! FWIW Stuart
  5. Yes, as you were saying, the quick disconnect delivers full pressure. So does this mean that it's tapped off the propane tanks before the main regulator / changeover assembly? This would be rather unusual based on other approaches that I've seen ...
  6. Stuart, The terminating end of the gas line that runs down the centerline of the under-belly of the Oliver is a plug. You could easily remove this and run your own gas line to any place you wanted. The company has made it easy to modify their product to any degree of customization you might desire. That's good to hear but I would still have the factory do it so that it would be covered under warranty. I'd also want to have the rig as close to turnkey as possible at the time of delivery ... if I were building a rig to my specifications and were to pay the rapidly inflating price for the Oliver I really wouldn't want to make any mods any time soon!
  7. Stuart, I lived in Utah for several years and visited often for many more. My idea of a challenge is pulling up that loooonnnnnggg climb from SLC to Park City. I figure if I get a vehicle that can tow the trailer up that comfortably, I can do whatever I want. I also want to be able to cross the Rockies. Keep in mind that I don't plan to go off on little back roads, etc. Do you agree with my assessment of that climb, or do you think it's not such a big one? Hi CarolAnn, The climb up Parleys Pass on I-80 from the valley floor in SLC at 4200' to Parleys Summit at 7200' was definitely a test of driver and machine. We did that round trip every day commuting to work in SLC because we lived in Park City - if the snow didn't get you the moose would! We'd see snow falling as late as mid-June and as soon as early September. The first time I towed up that pass was with a 31' Carri-Lite fiver ('Lite' being an advertising word and having nothing to do with actual weight!) and a Dodge V-10 2500 ... by the crest I was down to about 30-35 MPH with the flashers 'on'. Not fun. With our current rig, a 3500 diesel and a 26' TT, I was able to crest the hill with the cruise set at the posted speed limit with the overdrive off. *So* much better! We did most of our camping out in the Uintas, over towards Strawberry, down in Moab, in Yellowstone/Grand Teton, etc. so we usually left straight from Park City and headed east on either Rt 40 or I-80. If we went north (like up to the Sawtooth in Idaho) we'd go the back way via I-84 down Weber Canyon to Ogden. If we went south towards Bryce or Zion we'd go the back way via Rt 189 through Provo Canyon (another fun one!). Only rarely did we go up or down Parleys with the rig ... probably only once or twice, actually! Just for grins, here's a picture of our rig the day we picked it up in mid-April 2005. You can see the snow squall that just chased us over Parleys - normally at least half of what looks like sky here would've been mountains. So much for Spring! Cheers, Stuart
  8. Well, this isn't *the* Continental Divide but it was taken somewhere very close to the *Eastern* Continental Divide during our recent excursion to Asheville NC, Smoky Mountain National Park, etc. The ECD marks the separation of watersheds that flow to the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of St. Lawrence vs. those that flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean. And no, I have no idea why I took this picture because I used to live at 6,850 feet elevation back in Utah and regularly pulled our rig over the 8,000' Daniels Pass on Rt. 40 east of Park City ... now you know why I drive a diesel! Cheers, Stuart
  9. However, I doubt you will use if much for a BBQ grill, due to the limitations of where you can put your grill (within range of your hose). You will want to put that grill on a camp site picnic table and your hose will likely not reach. Extensions are readily available - I have one that's 12' long that was bought at Camping World but I'm guessing that you could have just about any length made custom by your local propane distributor. I have a free-standing grill so placement isn't all that critical. The only trick as mentioned earlier is to make sure that your auxiliary device (grill, etc.) has the proper regulator and fittings. I've had the additional propane outlet on two of my past rigs but there isn't one on my current rig and I miss it. I don't like carrying around the little bottles so I've been connecting directly to the 30# bottle each time I use the grill. This is a real pain, so I'm probably having a permanent connection added this winter. The bottom line is that things like the extra propane connection or the solar prep wiring are EASY to do at the factory when everything's just being assembled but are HARD and sometimes impossible to do later on. Even if you don't think that you might use these things you should get them either just in case you eventually want them or for re-sale purposes - there's no need to give the next guy a reason to not buy your rig. Good luck, Stuart
  10. Jam49, I've sent pm before but it was mostly by accident. If I click PM under your message, I get your message again. Not sure how to reply to it. I'll keep working on it. This interface is pretty intuitive, but there are some glitches.... CarolAnn, The forum is working as designed - it just pre-populates the PM box with the original message's text as a quote (just like I've quoted you here) so that the recipient will know why you're contacting them. You can either select and delete the quoted text if you want to start from scratch or scroll to the bottom of the box and start typing if you want to leave the quote there. Either way it's not much different from the messages you've been posting here all along. Go ahead and give it a try - you can't break it, honest! Stuart
  11. I've had good luck pulling a variety of trailers with Prodigy controllers ... there are other more expensive and/or flashier controllers out now, but this one's proven. And if there's a custom harness for your TV spend the few extra bucks - it will greatly simplify your installation and in many cases make it plug-n-play. My only general recommendation is that you mount the control unit somewhere along the centerline of your dashboard and not tucked away to the left of your steering wheel. The reason for this is so your co-pilot can reach over and access the manual trailer brake lever in an emergency. Application of the trailer brakes (but not your tow vehicle brakes) can be an effective way to pull your rig back into line in the event of sway. Odds are if that ever happens you'll be busy with both hands on the steering wheel, so it's good to have the controller somewhat easily accessible to the passenger seat ... My $0.02.
  12. Hi Frances, OK, buckle up. Here we go with my $0.02 on the subject! At a very minimum if you are buying a used car you need to pull the CarFax report on that vehicle - see http://www.CarFax.com. You'll need the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car/truck in order to do this. You can buy just single car reports, but if you plan to do much shopping you can get a 30 day subscription to the service that allows for any number of reports to be generated. Understand that these reports aren't perfect, but they will give you a good idea of how many owners the car has had and for how long, what the real mileage is, and a reasonably good idea of whether or not it's been in a wreck, salvaged, etc. Numerous owners, major accidents, salvage activity, a series of dealer swaps, and any sort of mileage discrepancies are things that I would consider to be red flags about any given vehicle. It's possible that the report somehow doesn't include accident repairs (for example if the owner made the repairs themselves) so always have a qualified mechanic check the vehicle for any signs of body or frame work even if the CarFax looks clean. It's just my opinion but clean, low mileage, one owner vehicles bought from a dealer that specializes in that brand are *probably* your best bet. The optimum would be a local trade not bought via some form of auction. If you can actually talk to the prior owner so much the better! Obviously just about any kind of warranty, especially CPO (Certified Pre Owned), included with the purchase is a good thing. Be wary of expensive aftermarket warranties that may or may not be a good value, though ... Find a good local mechanic, whether the dealer for that brand or an independent, and pay for a pre-purchase inspection (PPI). This won't be terribly expensive but is very worthwhile if you're serious about a vehicle. This should NOT be a mechanic employed by the selling dealership! This PPI should include a compression test on the engine given that you'll be towing (and the former owner of the vehicle may well have towed as well). If you're really paranoid you can pay for an engine oil analysis to see if there are signs of internal wear or failure. I hate to say it, but consider buying an on-line subscription to Consumer Reports and check out their vehicle reviews and reliability rankings. I generally don't see eye-to-eye with these folks but if you're new to this game the information presented may be helpful. They'll tell you straight up if there are certain brands/models/years that should send you running in the other direction ... Check out the towing guides published for that model and year (usually available on-line from the manufacturer but also published by Trailer Life on an annual basis) to make sure that it has sufficient hitch weight capability and towing weight capability. I know that it sounds like vegetable soup but you need to make sure that you're within limits for both the GCWR and GVWR for the tow vehicle. Gross Combined Weight Rating is basically the maximum weight allowed for the loaded truck plus the loaded trailer ready to roll down the road. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is basically the maximum allowed weight for the loaded truck (truck + occupants + stuff + hitch weight from trailer). These ratings are a function of engine power, cooling capacity, transmission, tires, brakes, frame, etc. and are assigned by the manufacturer (and their lawyers). These ratings are not easily changed once a vehicle leaves the factory. The Oliver is relatively lightweight, so I doubt that you'll see any issues here for a tow vehicle of any substance. When all else fails, trust your eyes and your nose ... I'd rather have a vehicle with some signs of good honest use vs. one that's been dolled up by the seller in order to hide a problem of some sort. Steam-cleaned engine bays, for example, are one sign of recent major engine work. Overly perfumed interiors might be hiding a water issue or a smoking PO (prior owner). Fresh paint could signal a major accident. And so on ... Happy Hunting! Stuart
  13. I thought that this might be an interesting topic of conversation ... I've been around RVs all my life starting at about age 4. This photo was taken in 1966 at our house in San Antonio. The fine rig you see in the background is a 13' Mercury that my Dad re-built inside to hold two adults, three kids, and a cat (which you can sort of see in the crook of my Mom's right arm). Those sawhorse stab jacks are state of the art, eh? That's me standing on the step and holding my head, which happens to be my usual reaction whenever anything goes wrong with one of our rigs. My wife cracked up when she saw this picture for the first time and said "Nothing's changed!". My parents went on to have two other travel trailers and then a series of eight (yep, *8*) motorhomes. They just sold their final Class A at the ages of 80 and 83 after having made it to all 48 lower states and all of the bordering provinces in Canada. We're sad that they're no longer the nomads they once were but are glad that they're home and safe given their health. Neither my older brother or older sister got the bug, but I sure did. I'm now on RV #4 (three TT's and one fiver) and scratching my head about #5, thus my activity on this forum. So how about everyone else? Stuart
  14. Though why use wheel chocks? Couldn't you just lower the stabilizer jacks to prevent the Oliver from rolling? I really wouldn't count on those stab jacks to do double-duty as anchors, especially because it looks like their landing pads are just flat metal plates with the edges rolled upwards. Not much friction there from what I can see in the pictures. I suppose if you're using the stab jacks more as levelers and actually have the tires off the ground while you're camping you wouldn't be very likely to roll, but that's a whole 'nother discussion! Remember that fully loaded with all of your worldly possessions your new Oliver will be pushing two tons. It doesn't take much of a slope or much of an accidental nudge from your TV (yes it happens occasionally!) to make things start moving. I've seen a trailer, admittedly larger than an Oliver, drag hard enough on a sloping site for the nose jack tube to dig a long gouge in the asphalt campsite paving ... The chocks don't have to be anything fancy, just rocks or pieces of split firewood (a personal favorite) if you don't want to buy anything official from Camping World or elsewhere. For what it's worth I always 1) place chocks on each side of the rig 2) separate the hitch / ball 3) disconnect the safety chains once I'd sure that everything's stable and then finally 4) disconnect the breakaway cable. I figure that if all else fails and the trailer starts to move I could always yank the breakaway and activate the trailer brakes, so it's the last thing I remove. My $0.02. Stuart
  15. Well since you asked here's three more! This was our firepit and the view beyond ... the bright area you see just over the fence post is the French Broad River. Not about to guess how that name came about. This was the view out of our TT's door - ten steps and you're over the edge, so use a flashlight at night! And this was the sky after a big storm complete with 50-60 MPH winds blew threw. Oddly enough the winds blew up and over the ridge such that we barely felt them, but the trees on the other side of the park got thrashed ... Cheers, Stuart
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