Diversity And RV Ownership
Don Eversmann was right on with his “inaccurate perceptions” commentary in the November 2007 issue (“Diversity And Perceptions,” page 14). I’ve been there!
Years ago we bought our first RV, a used type C. I wanted to get the FMCA magazine so much I couldn’t stand it, but I didn’t think we qualified for membership. I finally signed up with a little “white lie” about what kind of coach we had. I enjoyed the magazine and started to feel better as I saw some smaller coaches and type Cs in the pictures.
That was four motorhomes ago, and now we have an older bus conversion, are active members of the South Central Bus Nuts chapter, have been to numerous international conventions, and still look forward to the magazine each month.
Richard McKee, F159358
Flower Mound, Texas
Tech Tip Saves Money
I’m writing to express appreciation for a “Tech & Travel Tips” segment in the July 2007 issue titled “Duo-Therm Control Center Repair” (page 32). It was submitted by Roger Kittelson and described how to restore functionality to a four-button Duo-Therm Comfort Control Center. Following his example and directions, I was able to restore the same four-button thermostat in our ’98 Country Coach Magna, saving several hundred dollars in parts and a day or two of my labor. Many thanks, Roger, and FMC magazine!
I would only comment that the relevant part illustrated in the article is very small, about 3/16-inch by 1/8-inch, so one needs to be careful not to displace any of these small parts. Each of the four buttons contains two of them, plus a small spring. I was aided by having a craftsman’s head-mounted magnifier, a small hemostat, and jeweler’s pliers. It took about 1 1/2 hours of careful effort.
Steve Brown, F379556
If fellow members are ever in the state of Kansas and need medical care, we do suggest they seek Hays Medical Center in Hays. They have one of the most up-to-date, well-run hospitals we’ve ever been in. We were visiting a friend in northern Kansas when Bill suffered a heart attack and was airlifted to their facility. They were extremely caring and made us as comfortable as possible in such a situation. He had a three-way bypass and needed to be in the hospital for one week. They generously let us park our motorhome in their lot and hooked us up to power so I could be there within walking distance.
We will never think of Kansas quite the same again. They are truly the heartland of the country and offer their hospitality to those they serve.
Bill & Caroline Hanni, F75768
Welds Count, Too
I have been reading the recent FMC articles about auxiliary braking systems with interest and some trepidation. I have confidence that these systems meet their claims, reduce accidents, and save lives, but a recent experience has caused me to rethink how I will use my system in the future.
We have towed for nearly 200,000 miles over 39 years without incident. However, in October, the welds on the hitch on the rear of our Beaver Marquis motorhome failed while we were traveling at highway speeds on Interstate 80 in Iowa. This set our Jeep Commander towed vehicle free, and it continued driverless for more than a mile down the interstate. Ultimately, it left the highway and parked itself in the median without hitting anything. We felt as though we had won the lottery.
For the past seven years I have used an auxiliary braking system, with the breakaway setup and safety cables, and I have complete confidence in these products. The problem is that when a receiver comes off, none of these controls the towed vehicle, because the safety items stay attached to the receiver. Although we check our tow bar and all connections at every stop, we are unable to inspect the welds on the receiver.
Thanks to some great folks at East Side Body Shop in Belle Plaine, Iowa, who repaired the damage caused by the tow bar flipping under the front of the Jeep, I now have a new hitch that I would rate at about 20,000 pounds, rather than the 5,000-pound ones on many coaches.
In our travels we see more and more motorhomes towing full-sized pickups and large SUVS and wonder how many owners have truly checked to see whether their hitch is sized to pull these heavier vehicles.
Jerry & Joan Cooney, F283006
Editor’s note: Indeed, motorhome owners should make sure their receivers are rated to handle the vehicle they plan to tow. Also, the welds on the receivers should be checked periodically by the owner or a professional, especially before towing for any length of time.
Battery Fluid Levels
I saw Bill Hendrix’s response in the November “Readers’ Forum” (page 18) to Peter Morse about the correct fill level for flooded-cell lead-acid batteries. I think if you check further, you will find that Mr. Morse was correct in that batteries should never be filled to the bottom of the “split ring.” You referred to this as a “fluid level indicator,” but it is not. Every battery manufacturer’s instructions that I have seen have specifically said to fill the battery to 1/8-inch (more or less) BELOW the split ring. Counterintuitive, I’ll admit, and hard to do, but it’s the recommended procedure.
Bill Halberstadt, F257603
Available RV Service
My wife, Christine, and I are currently enjoying a retirement tour of our wonderful country. Our only disappointment, other than rising fuel prices (which was anticipated), has been the unavailability of RV service. We’ve had a few occasions when we needed important, though not emergency, service. The usual response has been, “Sure, we can see you in five to seven days.”
Happily, we can report one exception. We stopped to ask advice about our erratic Norcold refrigerator’s LP-gas operation at Wright RV Sales in Eureka, California (707-443-6542). Mel and Patricia Wright not only gave us immediate assistance, but they advised us on important and scenic sites to visit on our travels, and were most cordial. Wonderful folks.
Louis & Christine Flask, F313383
Memphis, New York
Dodge Dealer Delivers Big Service
We were traveling home to Oregon from a trip to Minnesota on Interstate 90 in our 2008 Itasca Navion when the coach had a major power loss. The maximum speed we could achieve on mountain grades was 20 to 25 miles per hour. We headed for the nearest Dodge Sprinter dealer, Dave Smith Motors in Kellogg, Idaho, more than 200 miles away. We arrived at their service department at 4:45 p.m. on a Friday. The service manager immediately put a very competent technician named Joe on the vehicle. Joe found the problem: a hole in the lower turbocharger tube, which caused the engine to run in emergency mode (low power). The parts department did not have the part in stock, so the service manager had the part pulled off a vehicle they had available and installed on ours.
At 6:00 p.m. we were on our way. Dave Smith Motors (800-635-8000) is not only the world’s largest Dodge dealer, but we think they are the best.
Bob & Jan Setterberg, F166932