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Old 07-27-2013, 07:19 AM   #11
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Very interesting thread! I was riveted to the computer until I read everything. We have the generator prep, but no generator. Which model did you get and are you happy with it?
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:26 PM   #12
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Joe, Thanks for the feedback. Our generator is the factory installed Onan 5500 that runs on propane. So far we are happy with it, but when running both air conditioners it does get pretty thirsty. We like the fact that it is operated from inside and we don't have to deal with gasoline or diesel smell around our rig. The other day I used it to power a small electric chain saw at a dry camp. The chain saw motor pulls some amps, but the Onan never even flinched. We have had a couple times when running it for extended periods the vapor pressure from the LP tank it was drawing from got too low and the generator stopped. Ice formed around the little liquid in the LP tank at the bottom and when this happens, not enough LP can boil off the liquid to keep the thirsty generator going. With two tanks on, this does not happen. I would definitely buy the Onan if I had to do it over again. Keep in mind it is not a simple installation and part of the front bay floor steel has to be cut out to allow the air to come into the generator and for the exhaust pipe to come out. The pipe on ours is routed to the driver side. No bad exhaust smell and as quiet as a Honda.

I plan to purchase another pair of 30lb propane tanks and mount them inside the front bay in a sheet metal enclosure with an open bottom to the ground (for safety). These will be used to run the generator and I will use a non-auto change over regulator so I know when I have used up a bottle.

Enjoy!
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:07 PM   #13
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...continued...

So the day comes to blast off from our base camp, we prep everything we can the night before. We get out of town on a Friday at 7:30 am and head down our sneaky back road out of town. About 4 miles later, I look in the right mirror and see that big black stair handle sticking out. I pull over, have DW jump out and fold it back and off we go. First stop is a fuel station just south of Idaho Falls. It is fairly new and has an easy on, easy off ramp from I-15. They have diesel and a large place to turn around and, in our case, have some early lunch. Next stop, fuel in Twin Falls. I found a Sinclair just east of town on the way to Jackpot NV. They have a diesel pump for trucks with no awning and plenty of room to turn around. And best of all it is a right turn in and a right turn out. Next stop, Elko, NV. We arrived at the Iron Horse RV park about 5:30 pm and it was a good thing we had reservations - the sign read "NO VACANCY." The park was fairly new and sat right behind a Hilton Garden Inn. The good part was that it was down off the plateau that the I-80 was on so you didn't hear the freeway traffic. A nice pull-through met us after checking in. After using the Level-up, Auto Level feature, the rig didn't look level - it listed away from the door side. A couple of manual taps of the remote and it looked much better. Not sure how to adjust this, but it has been this way since we got it. The front gets level and the living quarters are about half a bubble off.

We met some very nice full-timers in the next space over. She was born in Elko and they stopped there about once a year. In his working days he had built a Machine Shop in Northern CA that his son now runs, and She had retired from selling O-rings in San Leandro CA. Since my Dad is a retired machinist it was very fun chatting about the Bay Area and high-end projects for research projects. They had a tiny little dog that enjoyed the attention my kids were giving it. It was also fun talking about the improvised repair jobs we had both been able to accomplish while on the road. We both agreed that knowing how things work and how to fix them had a lot to do with our enjoyment of RVing. The next morning we said "until we meet again."

We got back on the Interstate about 8:30am and headed for our next fuel stop. On the way there, we found a rest stop for lunch. Once fueled up in Boomtown - used google streets to plan all of our fuel stops - we headed over the Sierra Nevada on I-80. At the CA agricultural check station we were expecting to have to surrender all of our fruits and veggies, but all they were after was firewood. Onward we went. We arrived at our destination in the early evening in Walnut Creek at the driveway of some of our family. The City of Walnut Creek only lets you park on the street for 2 days with a permit, so we had to get our 41' condo on wheels into a residential 30' driveway. Luck for us it is 2+ cars wide. A little diagonal curb jumping and we had it wedged in about the only way it was going to fit and not be in the street.

Now comes the tricky part of getting the slides out. Jacked up the back end a bit and we cleared the door side bunks over some flower beds. Removed a piece of gate and the other bunk slide just fit. Hung a red flag from the pin box which was about 6 feet from the ground (slopped driveway) so nobody conked their noggin and we were good to stay for 5 days.

...to be continued.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:12 PM   #14
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Level Up Calibration/Zero point

Here are the basic calibration setup:


ZERO SETTING THE CONTROL
NOTE:
Middle stabilizers are not used in this process.
1. Turn “ON/OFF” button “OFF”
2. Push “FRONT” button 10 times,
3. Push “REAR” button 10 times
4. Control will flash and beep, LCD says “ZERO POINT CALIBRATE”
5. Manually operate the jacks to attain unit level condition (use carpenter’s level).
6. To memorize this level condition , press “ENTER”
7. LCD says “ZERO POINT STABILITY SUCCESSFULLY SET”
8. The control will then turn off.

9. Turn “ON/OFF” on to commence operation.



Online Manual:
http://www.lci1.com/images/Flyers/Ow...%20-%20Web.pdf


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Old 07-28-2013, 07:21 PM   #15
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Walter, Thanks for the help on the zero of the Level up. I saw something like this in the manual I downloaded, but it was not as complete as the one you posted. There was no indication in the one I found about using a level. Now it all makes sense. I will give it a try.

Thanks so much.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:00 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info on the Onan generator. We wouldn't use it much, but would like to have one, in case it is needed. I knew they would be thirsty when fed Propane. Diesel is probably the best option, but our RV's don't have Diesel tanks.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:44 PM   #17
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...Continued.

Well on the 5 day we said our goodbyes and headed for Westport RV just north of Fort Bragg. The toll on the bridge over the Sacramento river was $20 and the traffic was not too bad until we got across. We came to a crawl just before Sears Point. It picked back up and we headed north for Willits, CA. From there we took the twisty, windy 2 lane "road" over the coastal range to Fort Bragg and then up the coast to Westport, CA.

The CG is around a creek that flows through the campground across the beach and into the ocean. It is a fairly large campground and features full hookups a few feet from the beach. We have been there 3 or 4 times and try to get the coveted space 175. Full hookups on one side and the beach on the other side. I spoke with several people that make reservations a full year in advance to get this spot.

The first time we went to this CG it had just become a KOA and the last time we stayed it was still a KOA and had done a good job of working out the kinks. Sometime during the last year, they stopped being a KOA. Now they are trying to figure out how to get some basic things under control. They will get there - just need more help.

We had a great time on the private beach. Lots of professional level fireworks on the days past the 4th - it is strange how in a state that fireworks are illegal we saw some of the best private party displays. After 3 nights, we headed north up the coast. In Harbor OR we stopped for fuel at a great Chevron station with good roads on two sides of the station. This made getting in and out with a big rig very nice. To boot there were traffic lights one block each direction witch made getting across the street extra easy. The only trouble was that it was very popular with the RV folks. Had to double park on the back road until the attendant saw us and hustled the dilly-dallying rig owners at the pump out of the way. He waved us in and was very friendly. It is a treat to have somebody pump the fuel for us - Thanks Oregon!

We arrived in Florence OR (our destination) about 6:00pm and pulled into our assigned spot on the river in the Port of Florence campground. A very nice place I might add. We found Florence to be more than worth a visit and will go back again. Our neighbor in the campground was very friendly and helped us with our cable tv hookup - they had satellite and our pedestal's connection was broken. He gladly hooked us up on his connection. Then when I couldn't figure out how to get the signal to our tvs, he explained the amplifier switch to us and got us working. Really nice guy from Oregon.

The next morning we had an appointment at the Florence Historical Society. My Grandfather and Great Grandfather spent a few years in Florence when my Grandfather was a boy, and we had a search done to confirm the family rumor. The researcher found a photo of my Great Grandfather at work from 1915. It was a very nice museum and research facility. From there we were on our way to one of our very favorite spots on the coast, Netarts.

...to be continued...
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:34 PM   #18
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...Continued.

We had a relatively short journey up to Tillamook and having been detoured the long way several times, looked up the best way to manage the city's one-way roads. If you stay on the highway it splits into two lanes each way, a block apart. When you get to 4th street, you hang a left and it sends you right by the Safeway - parking lot on the right and the storefront on the left. As soon as you pass the parking lot, you hand a right and then an immediate left and you are on your way to Netarts. We got our favorite site and got there about 5 pm. The office is usually closed by then, so we went right to our spot and got settled. The view from our spot is of Netarts Bay with only a small 2-lane road between us and the shore. Looking out to the sand bar revealed by low tide, I could see a harbor seal having a nap after eating all day. I got out the field glasses and saw about the cutest sea creature laying there scratching its back on the sand bar by wiggling.

The park is fairly small, very comfortable and about a fourth are monthly renters. The best part is that they rent boats with crab nets for $75 for 3 hours. They put the boats in the water, take the boats out and then will cook your crabs back at the RV park. We have been at this for 4 years and have had enough crab for a feast every time.

And how could you go anywhere near Tillamook and not visit the cheese factory - free cheese samples and this time free ice cream samples. We spent another day exploring the various towns along this part of the coast. The Cedar Creek worked great and our neighbors who are there most of the summer ever year took a while to recognize us - our kids had grown, and our rig had grown. They really liked our new rig.

From there we headed inland to McMinnville OR. It is a short and scenic drive. We like to stop there and stay at Olde Stone Village RV Park. It is quite possibly the most clean, organized, and friendly park we have ever stayed at. My favorite part is it is a short walk to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum and home to the Spruce Goose. The kids like it for the airplanes, but love it for the indoor water park. The water park has a real 747 on the roof of the building. The kids climb up a set of stairs from inside the building and into the 747. Each of the 4 doors is the top of a different water slide which all end up back in the building. There is also a wave pool with a gigantic big-screen tv with fun facts, and short water related educational and aviation videos playing. Upstairs is a water education center with several interactive displays to teach people about water. All in all, it is worth a drive if you like aviation or need to drain some energy from the kids.

The next morning we headed for Idaho. About 5 minutes into our trip we pulled over to get something out of the trailer. DW was back there a while. It turns out the residential refrigerator door keeper (more on this later) was not put in and the contents of the fridge were migrating to the floor - luck for us we stopped before the contents were blended.

For those of you considering a residential fridge, this is the one thing we might have ordered differently. All RV Gas/Electric refrigerators have a latch that clicks every time you close the door. The residential fridge has a shaft with a big knob on one end and 12-24 threads on the other end. Sometimes this knob is hard to screw in, sometimes even when put it in, the door of the freezer hops over the knob spilling ice all over, and sometimes you forget to screw it in and you get to clean up a big mess. Besides the latch issue, there is the constant fan noise from the inverter in the hatch just above the battery box. That may not seem like a big deal until you realize that the head of the master bed is right over this and you hear the fan noise all night long - it comes on at random times and goes off at random times. I will fix this some how - not sure yet.

To fix the knob (really lame solution to keep the door closed) issue, I made a latch that pivots back and forth with some screws, some small pieces of aluminum, and a piece of black hard plastic. No machine tools used. A saw, a file and a drill press - a real handy man special. I may post this in the mod thread someplace - let me know if you are interested. It was a lot of work and problem solving (some still to come) to gain 6 cubic feet of refrigerator (from 12 to 18 cubic feet) and the privilege of running the generator every day to charge up the batteries.

...to be continued...
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:42 PM   #19
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...continued...

Once we got the galley back in order, we headed for Portland, OR. We had heard from a reliable source that the I84 down-town was closed the direction we were headed for resurfacing, so we diverted to the east and went around it - sometimes the GPS comes in handy. DW watched the navigation screen and between the two of us we made it into the Columbia River Gorge. Anyone that has driven this understands what a scenic drive this is on a beautiful day. Waterfalls, river/lakes, a steady climb and lots of cool things to stop and see. We were on a long-haul day so the only stop we made was to eat and feed the diesel tank. Arlington is a small easy-off, easy-on stop near the turn we make to head north to switch from I84 to I90. It is a small town with plenty of room to turn around a large RV and more importantly a diesel station that we can access. Right behind the station is a shopping center parking lot with nice shade trees to park under for lunch. We were the first to park there that day, but soon attracted 3 more large RV to the lot.

From Arlington, we headed for Blackwell Island RV Park in Coeur D'alene, ID. We have stayed there quite a few times before and like its location. It used to be a Good Sam park, but not any more. The price went up and the discounts went away, from the no vacancy sign, it is clear the changes didn't slow business. We had a great pull-through spot close to the beach. At the beach you can watch a million dollars in boats go buy in about an hour. There was an Allegro motor coach club there with about 20 members having a meeting - very nice folks. Blackwell Island is quite an RV showroom with just about every high end brand represented. Across from us was a Voltage toy hauler that I discovered was as big and fancy as they make them. At the end our row was a brand new DRV Mobile Suites 5th with some friendly folks enjoying their stay.

While flushing the black tanks, I saw a pretty strong trickle of water coming down some pipes into the storage bay. I ended up not flushing this tank. When I got home I discovered it was the vacuum break/backflow device had failed. More on this later.

The next morning we pulled out to complete our last let of our big trip. We made it home in short time. The big grade just past Butte we held 60mph going uphill - didn't want to go any faster. On the way down we held 55 mph with no braking required. When we pulled onto our street I looked at the stats on the computer. We had traveled 3250 miles and had an average of 10.5 mpg. Nothing to complain about given what we asked our Duramax to do for us. Thanks to the folks in Flint MI for making our truck!

We found a few weak points about our Cedar Creek that will need attention, but I have to say that overall we were a lot more comfortable on this trip than we have ever been. A week of mending, and then we head to the hills for 4 days of dry camping.

...to be continued.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:47 PM   #20
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... continued...

The 4 day dry camp. We had a visiting relative in town so we decided to take her up to our local reservoir - we had reserved a recreation.gov site a few months before and the spot we reserved was on a loop that was big rig friendly and backed up to the water. I had parked in the spot once before and managed to back it in without much hesitation. After a few folks looking our way - most folks are truly camping here and not parking a condo on wheels in a no-hook up space. We went up on a Thursday and got settled, I got up a little early and drove into work for my Friday - commuting from a high mountain reservoir is a true privilege. Stopped by our home on the way back up to pick up 3 kayaks and our electric chain saw. Got back to the campsite just in time to cut up some drift logs that had sun baked on the shore long enough to dry out. The Onan powered the chain saw - no problem and the logs split nicely.

Two things that came to mind while up there enjoying nature. First, having a third propane bottle to keep the Onan converting LP to Volts DC came in extra handy. I just bought a tank foot (about $10) and put it in the front compartment next to the generator cabinet. Second, 66 gallons of fresh water goes way too quickly, with 6 of us flushing, washing cooking stuff, and washing hands the tank went dry in 3 days. I used my spare 10 gallons to get us through the last day.

It dawned on me that the 36B4 has 200 gallons of waste tanks and 66 gallons of fresh water (if you count the 12 gallons in the hot water tank). I have verified that the outside kitchen sink has its own tank and that the half bath sink goes into the galley grey tank. If you never use the outside kitchen sink, the grey valve pull behind the axles will not drain any water. So with 3 forty gallon greys and 2 forty gallon blacks, you get 200 gallons of waste storage, but only have 54 real gallons of water.

I have a plan to buy a 40-50 gallon water tank and when dry camping, install it in the basement with quick disconnects for the plumbing. This way I can fill it up at the closest water supply to the camp site and then remove the tank when going on "full hookup" trips.

We headed home after enjoying some very nice campfires, kayaking, swimming and fishing. And the best part was having all the comforts of home up at the lake. Now we plan for our Glacier Trip - one of the KOAs that really deserves its success.

... to be continued...
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