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Old 01-24-2013, 03:10 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by GypsyFamily
Well so that's annoying, I just wrote this whole long post and my browser froze up...sigh.

Ok so Bottom Line Up Front, we got the rig out, and without cutting anything.

We had to leave the campground, I'm not going to get into why in this forum, but just to say, we had to leave immediately. We were not kicked out, quite the opposite, we just learned things that forced us to leave ASAP.

Ok so, today one of the tech's from LCI called and explained a simple way to retract the jacks to us non-electric types:

- Disconnect the two wires leading from each electric motor at each jack.
- Pull your vehicle around with jumper cables attached to your battery.
- Strip the wires back on the motors about 1" and attach the jumper cables to the stripped cables
- the motor should go either up or down, if you want to reverse the direction of the motor, reverse the jumper cables on the motor cables.

Easy? YES, but too late. We didn't do it this way.

We managed to heat the front landing gear enough so it would move, then spent about 2hrs jacking the landing gear up 2" so my F350 would fit under the front and dock. Which it did, and I litterally jumped for joy. Then we cranked it back down and lifted the feet into the jacks. As there is no descernable way to jack up the middle two feet, we took the tire jack out fo the F350 and jacked against the frame at each of the remaing electric jacks. This allowed us to relieve enough tension on the foot to pull the pin and push the foot back up into the jack. Middle and back doing this took about 2hrs. It would have been quicker but it was -55 with wind chill and I move slower in the cold.

At this moment the F350 blew a cooling line and I lost an injector (yep same time) now with coolant all over the ground the truck spuddered to a halt. I fired it back up, and now am the proud owner of a 2004 Ford F350 air cooled 6.0l V7 Powerstroke Even with only 7 cylanders firing it still managed to drag the 385 to Duluth.

To their credit both LCI and Forest River called all day Saturday and Sunday. Monday we got the rig to Bullyan's RV in Duluth, and, because they are awesome, it's in the shop now for a "few weeks" dealing with the jacks, leaking roof, fridge, etc.

What a drama.

The only horrible terrible thing to come from all this is that this little tiny hotel room is getting smaller by the minute we're probably going to have to, I can't even say it...move into a house.

Shame.

A house. With a foundation, and a roof, and it doesn't go anywhere. Ugh. Just sits there dumbly and can't move.

So I wanted to thank all of you for your words of support, for the tips, ideas, tricks. For all your PMs, Calls, emails. For those of you who challenged us, and supported us. Our journey is NOT over, even with this house thing. Though it looks like our winter is over in the rig, we'll be back in it in no time. And mabye now we can pull the ice castle out to where it belongs (on the ice!) and catch a 'pout or two!

Thanks again, and we'll continue this post as we learn more about what all went wrong with the camper, and what was done to fix the issues so we can all continue to learn something.

Thanks again,

Sam.
Glad you got in and taken care of Columbus will help you out. Hang in there!
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:11 PM   #132
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Good luck to your folks. For those of us that lead a rather cushy life compared to yours, I have a lot of respect for your ability to deal with the elements. I hope things work out for the best. Cheers!
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:21 PM   #133
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Sam & Family... you all have been in my thoughts with the cold (and mind you I am in Missouri) PROPS to all of you for the attempt!!! I have to say .... while sitting in my house -- it does just sit here dumbly.... the Earth Station calls me daily..... almost like Calgon.... Take me away!!!!
Thanks again Gypsy Family!
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:42 PM   #134
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Learned something today, granted this is from the dealer NOT the manufacturer, but we were told that the fridge is "not designed" to work in temps below 15deg F. Uh, that's a bit of a problem. Granted most of the camping community doesn't camp in below 15 degrees, but come on. I could maybe understand -15deg F, but 15 above zero? I have a chest freezer that sits in my unheated cargo trailer that doesn't have an issue, NOT to mention the fridge in the outside kitchen that was chugging away for a month in the MUCH colder than 15deg weather. So any of you that live north of Florida, you can forget about winter camping? I don't think so. Sounds like Dometic makes a crap product.

I think it's also worth mentioning that for years we had NO issues with our Norcold fridge in the Itasca for winter after winter in temps 15 degrees and colder. So, yeah. We'll be replacing that Dometic POS as soon as possible, just as soon as I can justify $5,000 on a fridge for the RV...Norcold Ultraline 1210MSSD. And just so you all know where my priorities are, I'd never even think about spending that much on a fridge for a building, but an RV? Yep, just need to save a little.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:56 AM   #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyFamily View Post
Learned something today, granted this is from the dealer NOT the manufacturer, but we were told that the fridge is "not designed" to work in temps below 15deg F. Uh, that's a bit of a problem. Granted most of the camping community doesn't camp in below 15 degrees, but come on. I could maybe understand -15deg F, but 15 above zero? I have a chest freezer that sits in my unheated cargo trailer that doesn't have an issue, NOT to mention the fridge in the outside kitchen that was chugging away for a month in the MUCH colder than 15deg weather. So any of you that live north of Florida, you can forget about winter camping? I don't think so. Sounds like Dometic makes a crap product.

I think it's also worth mentioning that for years we had NO issues with our Norcold fridge in the Itasca for winter after winter in temps 15 degrees and colder. So, yeah. We'll be replacing that Dometic POS as soon as possible, just as soon as I can justify $5,000 on a fridge for the RV...Norcold Ultraline 1210MSSD. And just so you all know where my priorities are, I'd never even think about spending that much on a fridge for a building, but an RV? Yep, just need to save a little.
I think I would verify that with the manufacturers of the refer rather than believe the dealer.

An RV refer is a completely different animal from a home type refer or freezer. They use compressors and freon, and your RV refer uses ammonia liquid that needs to vaporize to make cold. That is why they use an electric element or flame to make heat, vaporize the ammonia, and circulate through the coils to make cold.

Dometic, and Norcold both work the same way. Atwood has new technology out, that replaces the ammonia with helium.

Again, verify with Dometic and Norcold, both they both work the same way....
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:09 AM   #136
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A house. With a foundation, and a roof, and it doesn't go anywhere. Ugh. Just sits there dumbly and can't move.

maybe you could look at it as a blessing rather than a curse. winter isnt over, and this just might work out for the best as far as the rest of this winter season is concerned.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:17 PM   #137
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So some updates,

The problem with the jacks on the rig was, as stated, a malfunctioning remote sensor. This malfunction was generated (according to LCI) by the "massive" amount of water in the underbelly. This water was noticed by the dealer's tech when he removed the underbody panels, apparently the insulation was saturated. This surprised me, the amounts of water the dealer was talking about, I would have thought would be dripping through the bottom of the rig and forming ice. We were able to keep the underbelly heated, but not above freezing. Usually around 20-28deg F, which was always enough to keep pipes from freezing (plus leaving the water dripping in the kitchen). The biggest reason for the underbelly heater was to keep direct heat on the low point drains which will freeze in a heartbeat if exposed to outside air. (Speaking of the low point drains, given the heater, and the insulation pictured in a previous post, when I went to open them to drain the water out of the unit they opened right up and drained, so insulating them was definitely a good call).

So the upshot was LCI said this water caused the short in the system, and said that the whole deal was Forest River's problem. Which thankfully Bullyan's told me, as apparently I, the lowly owner, am not privy to this info. I was thinking the RV was being repaired, but infact all parts were cancelled for the repair by LCI pending Forest River taking the unit back to the factory. I had discussed with Forest River the idea of coming down to the factory, but hadn't agreed on a time, day, month, or even if it would be possible given my work schedule. Apparently that decision was made for me.

A couple of days ago we get a call from Forest River asking when we're getting the unit to them, my wife told them we can't anytime soon, and asked if they could pick it up, which they agreed to. So we've emptied the rig out of all our stuff, and she's sitting on the lot, waiting to return to the motherland.

So much has happened, and there are still a lot of questions we have about what all is happening, but oddly we're not upset. I never imagined this would happen, we knew we'd experience difficulties, and test the systems, but we never deemed the unit would be going back to the factory. That being said, we still love our rig. It is still our home. That rig may have some issues that seem pretty big, but to be honest when it was -30 outside we were warm, dry, and VERY comfortable. The fridge broke, and Dometic still hasn't answered me as to why they put a fridge in an RV that can't handle the cold. Perhaps they should stick to boats. The microwave was replaced, and honestly rarely used. Bullyan's didn't get into the roof leak, as it's going back down south anyway, so better Forest River look into that vice the dealer. Even given all this, and the annoying things we've repaired, we still love the 385BH. I love the way it looks, I love the floor plan, the bathroom, washer/dryer (when we get one), the bunkroom...there are still 1000 reasons to buy one of these. My only caution would be that you must be patient. Forest River has been great to work with, which reminds me of one thing, then I'll sign off.

In 2008 I bought a mountaineering tent from LL Bean. Now, NOBODY buys mountaineering tents from LL Bean, Big Agnes, North Face, sure, but LL Bean...no. Sure enough we're way out in the boonies and we see about 8" of wet snow, and the tent collapses bending a pole beyond use. We made due for the rest of the trip and call Beans on the way out. By the time I got back home there was a brand new set of poles waiting for me. No questions, no issues, just instant resolution. THAT is what we as the consumer want, at least that's what I want. I don't need a perfect product, in fact I don't want a perfect product, I like to tinker. What I want is manufacturers who take ownership of their products and stand behind them when they fail. It seems that so far Forest River is one of those companies that stands behind their product. If they continue to do so, these rigs are worth their weight in gold because if they fail, you can rest assured that Forest River will pull you through.

We'll see, I have high hopes for Forest River, they've been great so far. I personally think before you know it we'll be back in our rig, happy. Getting her ready to be towed out to Colorado for our bi-yearly sanity break to the Western Slope. And if someone at the factory should slip and fall and throw a generator in that there rig, I wont tell .

As always, thanks for reading.
- Sam
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:19 PM   #138
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Oh and we sold the fish house, so someone who actually goes ice fishing...
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:16 PM   #139
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One last thing (for now), I just got off the phone with my wife who told me about a phone conversation she had with our dealer today. They obviously konw that Forest River is coming to pick up the rig, and gave it a quick walk through. In doing so they noticed that we'd left some things behind, that we felt were honestly of little concern to us. So they boxed up all the stuff we left behind and have it safe and sound at their shop. They clearly didn't have to do this, nor did they have to hook it up to a battery charger to make sure we had enough juce to put the slides out to empty the rig, or pull it around so it was easy for us to unload.

I've been to RV dealers all over the country, and read on this forum and others about all the great and terrible dealers out there. So far in all my years of RVing this dealer is the best. They bent over backward to help us get out of our Class A and into the rig (even to the point of our salesman (Andy) and the owner driving from Duluth to Hibbing to look at our Class A because we couldn't realistically drive it down for an assesment), the bent over backwards when the rig broke, and they're still bending over backwards to lookout for us (and our crap) while our backs are turned.

Good on you Bullyan's! Andy you and your sales team were and are great. George you and your servivce team are beyond reproach. Keep it up, and thanks for looking out for us!

- Sam

RV Dealer in Minnesota | The Best RV Sales in Duluth Minnesota

Look them up, at this point I'd drive here from Colorado to buy and RV in the future.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:22 PM   #140
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Wow

I' m exhausted and am going to bed after reading this from the beginning. This is the first time I've read this post and I think it should be published.

Kinda like northern exposure.

What about a reality TV series called. Da frozen camper adventure, staring Sam and his frozen family. Really, it would be great.

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