Two images were incorrectly identified in an article about braking systems in the October 2007 issue (“Stop On A Dime”). On page 85, the top illustration depicts a drum brake; the bottom, a disc brake.
A couple of comments about the September 2007 article on batteries (“Basic Battery maintenance,” page 66). When I replaced the house batteries on my coach, the dealer suggested filling the battery to just cover the plates by about 1/4-inch. Filling to the bottom of the fill hole will result in excessive corrosive vapor when charging. Also, I suggest using Water Miser-brand battery vent caps to reduce the need for water and to reduce corrosive vapor. Both of these strategies have significantly reduced my motorhome’s battery corrosion.
Peter Morse, F196488
Author Bill Hendrix replies: Thanks for your comments. There is absolutely nothing wrong with filling the cells just enough to cover the plates by 1/4-inch, but this will necessitate refilling the cells about twice as often. The fluid level indicators are put there for a reason: this is the level for the best compromise between frequent irrigation and reasonable gassing.
I have had no personal experience with the Water Miser caps, so I cannot comment on those.
Please, Add Brakes
I just finished reading the article on supplemental braking (“Supplemental Braking: The Moment Of Truth,” September 2007, page 56). I could not agree more that most motorhomes need the extra help when stopping, especially in a panic stop while towing a vehicle.
In the owners manual for our motorhome, which is on a Freightliner chassis, it is recommended that auxiliary braking be used, and I believe if owners would read their manuals they will find the same thing. Our motorhome has massive brakes, but they need all the help they can get when the coach is pulling upward of three tons of vehicle.
Shortly after we started pulling a towed car, we purchased a Brake Buddy system. It paid for itself before we even got home, when a mule deer ran out in front of us. If the towed vehicle had not had brakes, we would have hit the deer. Not having any damage and not increasing our insurance deductible paid for the new system. It also has saved us a couple of possible T-bones, which would have happened when we encountered people running stop signs, and rear-enders from sudden traffic stops up ahead.
I cannot believe the reasons I have heard as to why some RV owners do not have auxiliary brakes, and some of them are high-end coach owners. One person said, “That’s what I have insurance for.” Another said, “It will never happen to me; I am too good a driver.” Another, “That’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure they can stop.” One of these people has a gas coach and was pulling a Hummer; another had a diesel pusher and was towing a Cadillac SUV.
Remember, the life you save may be that of a loved one. And if you do have an auxiliary brake, don’t get complacent and overdrive.
Paul Lindstrom, F286198
Grand Junction, Colorado
Using VISA For Flying J Diesel Purchases
Over the past year VISA has, for its own reasons, been increasing pressure on Flying J to shut off fuel purchases at $50 or $75, which we feel has negatively impacted our truck and RV customers. In addition, VISA has requested that we redo the signage at all of our facilities and change the way that we advertise the diesel prices in a manner that would be very confusing to most of our customers. We have tried to make what accommodations we could without negatively impacting our customers. This spring VISA began fining us very significant amounts because of the manner in which we were displaying our diesel fuel price. We were forced to make a choice between inconveniencing all of our customers by complying with VISA rules, or, by no longer accepting VISA at the commercial diesel islands, inconveniencing only those customers who use VISA.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience we have caused many of our most loyal customers. We do have several alternatives for our RV customers to make their diesel purchase. It is only VISA that we are not accepting at the commercial diesel islands; we are still accepting all other payment methods. If paying by cash, members of our RV Club can use their RV Club card to activate the pump at the card reader, and they don’t have to go into the store to start dispensing fuel. You may also purchase a Flying J All-In-One card in the store using a VISA card. A 2 percent fee is assessed on that card, but the cash price will be applied on diesel purchases. We also have ATMs in all of our Travel Plazas and many of our Fuel Stops. You may also use the designated RV Islands where VISA is accepted at the cash price.
While we understand that this decision has short-term inconveniences, we believe it is the best in the long term, not just for Flying J but for our customers as well.
Flying J RV Marketing
Volunteering is a rewarding experience and an opportunity to share your talents with the public and with the rangers who manage the resources. Washington, Idaho, and Oregon state parks have created volunteer opportunities that match the volunteers’ abilities, whether they would like to be a campground host, do interpretive presentations, work with children in the Junior Ranger programs, or do other jobs. Volunteering is a wonderful way to see new parts of the United States while sharing talents for the enrichment of others.
In return for their time, the parks provide RVers with a free campsite, most with full hookups. Whether you enjoy the mountains, beaches, forests, or deserts, there is a place for your skills in the Pacific Northwest.
For more information about volunteering in Washington, Idaho, or Oregon, contact me with your name, address, and phone number and I will see that information is sent to you.
Tab Tabacek, F155438
Northwest State Parks Ambassador
14431 S.E. May Valley Road
Renton, WA 98059-3724
E-mail: [email protected]
Don’t Forget Hazards Of LP Gas
We want to thank you for the article in the August 2007 issue about carbon monoxide (“Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer,” page 56). We have been living in our motorhome full-time since May of 2006, and both of us have had a lot more headaches and flu-like symptoms ever since we started living in it.
The week before I read the article, my husband had gone to the emergency room with a severe headache (worse than the others) and flu-like symptoms and rising blood pressure. The ER ran all kinds of test to see what it was, and could not find anything wrong. He was released, and for the next two days still felt really bad. After I read the symptoms in the article, I had my husband stop by the fire department to see if they would check our coach for us. They came to our campsite and did the check and all was okay.
Then the fireman who came out said he was going to go back to the station and get the LP-gas detector to check our tank. Lo and behold, it had a pinhole-sized leak around the well of the fill spout. The tank is under the bedroom area right next to the air conditioner, so he said that while the electric heat or air conditioner was on, LP gas was coming in. It was not enough to reach the LP-gas detector, which is in the front of the motorhome, but it was enough to make both of us sick. We have had the tank replaced, and are very happy to say that both of us are feeling like ourselves again. Neither one of us has had a headache since it’s been replaced, and we both are sleeping better and waking up feeling rested.
Now we know why we were going through so much propane even though we do not cook on the propane stove or use the propane water heater.
Thanks again for getting us back to our healthy selves and saving our lives.
Carl & Peggy Thorne, F376502
FMCA Mail Forwarding
Hurrah For Miss Allie
I was very pleased to see the feature article “From Lonely Allegro To Miss Allie” in your September 2007 issue (page 90). With some RV parks banning motorhomes more than 10 years old, it’s nice to see a 20-plus-year-old Allegro getting not only some respect, but also a well-deserved spotlight.
I could not do what the Randolphs did with “Miss Allie,” but I certainly applaud their efforts. In the middle of all the ads for coaches costing more than a half-million dollars, it’s nice to see that someone can lovingly care for and enjoy a motorhome that is more in the financial range of most of us.
I hope you’ll continue to highlight the older motorhomes that are still serving quite well.
Wayne Perry, F342916
Mini Images, Big Fun
I wanted to let you know that I found the article titled “‘Migital’ Albums” (September 2007, page 76) to be one of the most enjoyable that I have read in your magazine. I found the information so helpful, and I love the idea.
I am always looking for ways to send my grandchildren little surprises, and this idea is perfect. It is so simple but priceless and will make a wonderful thing to send my 6-year-old grandson, who is just learning to read.
I really enjoy the magazine and hope to find more articles that will be so inspiring. Thank you for the quality of your magazine, and keep up the great work!
Mary Lou Montgomery, F387956
Judee Stalmack’s article on how she creates “migital” photo albums using Excel on her computer reveals her mastery of the program as well as her artistic sense in choosing the pictures and laying out the books.
It is a great way to share digital photos with friends and family. But there’s a much easier way to accomplish the same thing, if you use a Macintosh computer. The iPhoto program that comes with every Mac has a feature to create picture books from your own digital photos in a variety of sizes and formats, from paperback miniatures to full-sized albums as either hardbacks or paperbacks. The program clearly guides the user through selection of photos to lay out and format. You upload the finished product to Apple, where it is printed on nice glossy paper and mailed back in a few days.
Some users may prefer to save the cost of these professionally made picture books (though they are quite reasonably priced) and opt instead to plan, print, cut, and staple at home, but I would rather spend my leisure time taking more photos, camping, fly fishing, or skiing, and let the iPhoto program and Apple do most of the work.
I’ve had great success using this program to produce an annual “favorite pictures” collection; an annual skiing log; and several books commemorating various family visits and events.
Jan H. Brunvand, F381240
Salt Lake City, Utah
Colorado State Park Camping Fees
As I write this, I am at Cherry Creek State Park near Denver, Colorado. They charge $7 per day for the motorhome and $7 per day for the towed car behind the motorhome. If you are arriving in a fifth wheel or travel trailer, the charge is only $7 for the towing vehicle. So a motorhome with a towable pays twice as much as a fifth wheel or travel trailer. That is in addition to $22 per night for a space with hookups. I am told this is true of all Colorado state parks.
Oliver Larsen, F184651
Editor’s Note: The pricing policy that considers motorhomes and towed cars separately began in 2007. The $7-per-day fee is levied on all vehicles with engines.
The good news is that if you stay at Colorado state parks frequently, you can save money by purchasing a year-long state parks pass; fees for the pass on a second vehicle are much lower than on the first (the second vehicle must be registered to the same name and address). In addition, lower pass prices are given to Colorado residents who are 64 and older, disabled, or born prior to 1922.
For more information, contact Colorado State Parks at (800) 678-2267 or (303) 470-1144; [email protected]. Or, visit the Web site at http://parks.state.co.us/parkspasses/
A Shurflo Recommendation
We wish to commend Shurflo’s and Camping World’s customer support. We were returning home from the March 2007 FMCA convention in Perry, Georgia, when our coach water pump developed a crack in the diaphragm drive assembly housing and stopped working. We went to a recently opened Camping World store in Robertsdale, Alabama, for a replacement part and were told that a manufacturing change had occurred and we would need to purchase a new pump. After looking at Shurflo’s Web site with a Camping World clerk, we decided to take a chance and order a replacement part. It was sent overnight to Camping World, but upon inspection, we determined the wrong part had been shipped. After further checking Shurflo’s Web site, we discovered two part number discrepancies.
Because we couldn’t wait any longer to resolve the repair part issue, we purchased a new Shurflo Extreme Series Model from Camping World and installed it ourselves.
We then contacted Shurflo’s customer support via e-mail to inform them of the part number discrepancies and explained our situation. Ron Franklin Jr. promptly answered and asked us to ship the broken water pump to his attention, and said he would immediately ship a new one to us, even though our warranty had expired a few months earlier. We did as he requested, and to our delight, a new Shurflo Extreme Series Model pump arrived a few days later. We plan to keep it as a spare!
Thank you, Shurflo, and thank you, Camping World, for your fine customer support.
Jim & Shirley Neil, F378968
A Window Of Opportunity
We were leaving Rickreall, Oregon, where we had attended a Bus “N” USA chapter rally, taking the coastal route and then over to Portland before heading home to Delta, British Columbia, Canada. As we were traveling U.S. 101, we rounded one of many very sharp, bumpy curves, which caused the laundry hamper drawer beneath the washer-dryer to slide open and force the door between the galley and the bathroom/bedroom to close, effectively jamming it shut.
We were unable to slide anything under the door to catch the drawer to close it, and it was getting on into late Sunday afternoon. Our thought was that if we could get ahold of an auto glass repair place, we could have a bedroom window removed from our 45-foot Prevost, crawl through to close the drawer and open the door, and then put the window back. As we traveled toward Portland, using the Internet Superpages, we called and called, but no one seemed willing to come to our rescue; we were getting a little anxious, to say the least.
As we were about to resign ourselves to an evening of sleeping on the chesterfields and “enjoying” the great outdoors and trying to contact someone the next morning, we made one last call to Glass Doctor out of Oregon City. Well, within 90 minutes, they had come out to the bus, taken out the window, crawled through, closed the drawer, opened the door, and replaced the window, and done it cheerfully on a rather late Sunday afternoon!
If you are ever in the Greater Portland area and need glass work done (for autos, RVs, etc.), give Glass Doctor a call (Myrv Close, operations manager) at (503) 656-8366.
Dale Olsen & Arlene Wyenberg, F34436
Delta, British Columbia
HWH Factory Friends
I would like to send my very sincere thanks to the folks at HWH in Iowa City, Iowa, and specifically Lynn Bixler in the office and Lon Butterbrodt, our service technician. We had a problem with one of our motorhome’s slideouts and tried to get it serviced at several RV dealers in Ohio, but we couldn’t get an appointment for several days, or even weeks. We contacted HWH to see if they could help us sooner.
They could, so we decided to alter our travel plans and drive a few hundred miles out of our way to Iowa City and the HWH factory there. We are so glad we did.
It was a very pleasant experience. Lynn got us in at our appointed time, and Lon had the problem fixed in little more than an hour. To our surprise, there was no charge. That was great, as it helped pay for the extra fuel to get us there.
Everyone was very friendly and courteous, and Lon took the time to explain what was wrong and explained how to retract the slides manually, if that should become necessary.
Jay Kramer, F258357
Palm Harbor, Florida
Coach-Net Sets Fast Service Into Motion
We are writing to express our extreme satisfaction with the excellent service we received from Coach-Net and some wonderful folks in southwest Missouri. One Friday in June, our motorhome died about 16 miles north of Nevada, Missouri, on U.S. 71. We contacted Coach-Net, and Cory Garwood, of Garwood Wrecker Service, was promptly dispatched to tow us to an appropriate repair facility. He appeared earlier than expected, assessed the situation, hooked onto our motorhome, and promptly and professionally towed it to Fugate Motors in El Dorado Springs, Missouri.
We expected to have to leave the motorhome there until the following Monday, and Cory offered to help us transfer our necessary clothing, etc., to our truck so we could go on to Rogers, Arkansas. We declined this generous offer with many thanks to Cory for his great service.
Fugate Motors service manager Ken Flesher put Matt Underwood on the case, and he found the problem was caused by a mass airflow sensor contamination. Matt cleaned the sensor, and we were soon on our way, only a few hours late to our destination.
We want to express our sincere gratitude to Coach-Net, Cory Garwood, Ken Flesher, and Matt Underwood for making a potentially difficult situation quite bearable and pleasurable. It was a good day!
Stan & Jean Huff, F269636
West Melbourne, Florida