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Old 05-26-2014, 07:27 PM   #51
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Hydraulic Emergency Kit

This is more preparation than mod. If the hydraulic pump motor or the electronics die, there is no screw connection on the side of a slide or jack to get it retracted. You need to move the fluid.

My emergency kit started life as the least expensive Allen wrench set I could find on Amazon that had the two sizes I needed.
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You need the 5/32" and 1/4" Allen wrenches. You have to cut off the short part of the 1/4" wrench so you can use it with a drill to operate the motor. Here are my two emergency tools. The Allen wrench is hardened so it takes a bit of effort to cut it without power tools. Once you have it mostly cut through, you can just break it from there since the metal is also brittle. I made it at least 2" long since that is the depth of my drill chuck (1-3/8") and the motor socket (5/8").
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In an emergency when you have to operate the system, the first thing you have to do is manually override the Hydac valve for the component you want to operate. You do this by hand with a 5/32" Allen wrench. The by hand part is important since you can damage the valve if you crank on it too much. They are precision parts, so hand snug is sufficient. Here is a close-up of a Hydac solenoid operated valve.
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The Allen wrench goes in the left side of the valve in this orientation. It takes about three turns to override it to the open position. With the hydraulic path open. It is time to move fluid.

You do that by using the cut off 1/4" Allen wrench which is now just a hex bit. Put it in your drill chuck and then insert that into the end of the hydraulic pump motor. If you still have it, peel off that sticker at the end of the motor to access the manual operator socket.
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Run the drill forward (clockwise) to extend and reverse (counter-clockwise) to retract. To help myself remember, I posted a short procedure in the hydraulic space.
Quote:
Pump Override - 1/4" hex bit
Extend - Forward or CLOCKWISE
Retract - Reverse or COUNTER-CLOCKWISE

Hydac Override - 5/32" Allen wrench
Override Open - CLOCKWISE by hand about three turns
Normal - COUNTER-CLOCKWISE by hand about three turns
I am sure would forget the process if I needed it. Now I do not have to be concerned about what to do. To retract everything, override the first jack Hydac and retract the slide/jack using the drill. When retracted, remove the drill from the pump motor and reset the Hydac valve to it normal (shut) position. If you are moving slides, just keep going until everything is retracted. The process will take longer with a drill, so you may want to have a second battery handy.
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:31 PM   #52
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Maintenance and Fixes

I added almost a pint of distilled water to battery in the first maintenance since we got the trailer in February. That seemed a little much to me, so I guess it has been low since it was initially filled. I have no experience with deep cycle batteries.
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I also added a gasket to water compartment cable hatch. I could not locate other suitable material at Lowe's so I used foam outlet sealers. They are precut for a wall outlet so I had to take care trimming it to fit the flange. I glued it to the flange, taking care to seal the outer edge, screw holes, and hinge holes.
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Other work: I got the skylight insert reinstalled. I did get around to correctly labelling my slide hydraulic isolation valves, though I was unable to get the shower drain leak fixed. I got the drain trap and tailpiece off, but I had the wrong tool with me to get the locknut off. When I get that fixed, we'll be ready for the next trip.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:24 PM   #53
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TV Power

As I was poking around the trailer Sunday I opened up the pin box electrical junction box. Not surprisingly I found lots of wires jammed in there. When I pulled them out I found this electrical component.

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That is a 12 VDC 30 amp Pollak thermal circuit breaker. I did not expect it, but once I thought about why it was there it made sense.

My truck has a 40 amp fuse under the hood to feed the hot wire to the trailer. In the picture, the other end of that power supply is that bigger black wire connected to the breaker's lower/T1 terminal. On the top terminal, the big red wire goes unfused directly to the trailer battery. The orange/black wire goes to the breakaway switch for the trailer emergency brakes. That's a nice and simple arrangement with the minimum wiring

That 30 amp thermal breaker will cycle under a heavy draw (assuming the wires will let that much current flow for the voltage drop) and prevent the 40 amp truck fuse from blowing. If the truck wiring gets damaged, the 40 amp fuse blows and protects the truck.

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Note that the wire nuts are also taped to prevent them from loosening due to vibration.
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:35 PM   #54
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One other factor about that 30 amp thermal breaker on the trailer feed. Obviously the ambient temperature plays a factor as to when a thermal breaker opens and recloses. The curve for this particular type of breaker (viewable in this PDF) shows that when the device is slightly above its rated current there can be a significant time delay (30 seconds or more) before it opens. Reliable opening after about 30 seconds will occur at around 120% rated load. For a 30 amp breaker, this implies opening at around 36 amps, which is satisfactory for the 40 amp truck feed fuse. For a 40 amp load, the curve shows it will open after about 15 seconds. This means that you can blow the truck fuse in the event of a fault in the trailer.

For that reason, I carry spare fuses of all sizes. GM uses a 40 amp J-case fuse for the trailer feed. I got my spares for free while crawling around a recycling yard, formerly known as a junk yard. I paid for the components I pulled, but they did not care about a bag of fuses and bulbs.

I got a few other things done this past weekend like these wall-mounted holders (towels and tissue) over the galley counter.

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One thing the DW and I agree on is that those green glass wall tiles need to go away. I have no idea who decided an entirely brown trailer needed green glass backsplash tiles. The 45-degree ends are on either side of the stove too and make no sense since they were convenient for the installer and not protective of stove splatter.

I think I have found a candidate replacement, but that will have to wait on finding a new storage lot since ours got sold to a developer for yet another strip of shops -- as if we needed another one of those.

I also added an interior fan to the refrigerator powered off the light, and hung up my emergency tools next tot he hydraulic pump. Now that I am ready, I will never have a hydraulic emergency.

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At this point I have removed most of the ATF-soaked wire loom and wiped down most surfaces. After I clean up the wiring (ATF dissolves electrical tape adhesive), I will look at troubleshooting my hydraulic weirdness.
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:58 PM   #55
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Keep on posting please. I have learned a lot so far. Thanks.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:29 PM   #56
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Battery Box

When I pulled out the battery last week, I found the expected amount of construction debris in the bottom of the battery box. I also found a package of screws under the battery. The battery box has identical upper and lower pieces so they fit together tightly. At least they would if the battery cables were reasonably mounted. I will get around to fixing that when I have time to rewire the electrical.

The upper half of the battery box has the vent with the attached hose. The lower half is inserted in a cutout in the floor of the utility compartment and is visible from outside the trailer. The bottom half vent acts as a drain hole in the battery well.

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I am contemplating adding a second battery since our storage area has no power. I will see if I can duplicate the first battery installation beside the existing battery to make venting easier. The current issue is that I can only find a white version of the battery box online. I may go with that and break out my spray can of black Plasti Dip. Here is the only version of this box I have found online.


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Old 06-10-2014, 03:26 AM   #57
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When I added my second battery I could only also find white. I also bought some sub pump hose and added a tee to the exiting black vent line then connected both to the exiting vent. The outside vent that comes with the box was round and not square like installed on the original. Also I didn't want to cut a new hole in my trailer.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:58 AM   #58
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I drilled two holes to run cables, was then able to fit box properly. Cables were long enough to run through sides to open for water checking.

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Old 06-11-2014, 09:52 PM   #59
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Room Darkening

I moved the trailer to a new storage lot on Sunday after a classic Florida thunderstorm -- happily one without hail. When I leveled it at the new facility, I got no Level-Up system weirdness like is described here. I will defer any further troubleshooting until it misbehaves again. I did manually cycle the slide Hydac valve a couple of times and we have operated the slides a number of times since. As a reminder for people who did not go to the linked post, when I hit the AUTO LEVEL button, the pump sounded different and I saw no landing gear movement. Instead the bedroom slide above my head started to open. That did not happen Sunday.

Plenty of people have done this so it is not new. I resolved a DW complaint that the bedroom windows were not dark enough by adding pieces of Reflectix insulation behind the shades.

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It is easily removable if we want light or to open the windows. It is pretty much invisible inside with the shades down.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:42 PM   #60
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Rear Bumper Bike Hitch

We put a down payment down on our trailer during the Florida RV Super Show at the Florida State Fairground in Tampa. It was quite a process as we managed the kids and tried to extract info from the sales reps and negotiate price and extras.

I have written about this before, but one item on the invoice intrigued me. For $217.50 list, FR had added a "BIKE HITCH" to the trailer. I saw none when I looked at the show. Here is a picture I took later on the dealer lot.

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I had seen fold down racks on other trailers, but ours had no foldable roof ladder. Nothing was mounted on the bumper. I asked the dealer where the bike hitch was. It took them awhile to tell me this was indeed my $217.50 bike hitch.

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Really? I recognize the bumper has the hitch tube, cross support, and extra welding but that price seems excessive. It turns out to be a standard Class 2 hitch. Here is another view.

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Verdict - not really worth it. I am glad I did not place the order for this thing expecting a real rack. At least any hitch weight is supported by the vertical welds under shear loads vice tension. Also, check out this warning sticker placed on top of the bumper. "NOTICE Addition of any non-factory installed components to bumper assembly is prohibited and may void chassis warranty."

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Nice. When I looked closer, I saw the entire bumper assembly is just welded to the bottom of the frame beams, and not even with a continuous bead. This is probably good from a repair/replacement perspective. It was added after the frame was coated, so the welds are rusting already.

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