If I get a TC, the Froli springs will be a must, just to keep moisture away from the bottom of the mattress. An alternative I have looked at is Dri-Dek, but I worry it would puncture any foil insulation (or Reflectix.)
From what I've read about the 2015 F-150, it really is a "F-100", which is what Ford might have made a few years back, a pickup 90% the size of a F-150, mainly aimed at keeping the company within CAFE standards.
What people don't realize is that the EPA and CAFE standards force auto makers to have to go with lighter weight vehicles to save weight and boost average MPG scores... for most vehicles, it isn't an issue...
The F-150 is still a decent truck... but it is intended to be a grocery-getter with occasional forays off-road, or be used with a boat or camper in tow. Ford had to make a lot of compromises with it so it would still be a usable truck... but keep the EPA off their back.
Disclaimer: I bought a F-150, and even though it is an excellent everyday commute vehicle... I do regret the fact that it can't be used in any real way for anything other than a pull-behind.
If I read the OP, the SUV is 5k upside down, and this is a 15 year loan. You are plopping $6000 down.
First, I wonder about selling the SUV separately at the cost of the loan, and paying the difference so you are out from under it. This will make life a tad simpler.
Second, after jettisoning the SUV, can you wait a bit and go for a bigger down payment? This way, you can either keep the 15 year term and go for lower payments, or go for 10 years and have the interest rate cut down by a good amount.
I am almost exactly in the OP's shoes. I am looking to buy a class "B" motorhome, and -can- buy one now. However, since I have no vacation time coming up for a while, and the "B" market is going through a lot of changes due to the new vans, I'm biding my time. I want to have my existing rig either completely paid off or to the point where I can sell it for 75% of NADA low and walk away. This way, at -worst- the rig gives me $0, and isn't a further expense.
I also am biding my time because I want to have at least 20% down. For a rig like the OP's, I'd like to have $14k on the table. This is because the economy is uncertain, and if I lose my job, I can fire-sale the RV for a fraction of what it is worth and walk away.
However, everyone is different, and it might be better to start trips and enjoying the open road sooner rather than later.
Part of the consideration is how easily accessible the rig is. My TT is stashed quite a ways from the Austin city limits, so access to it tends to be limited. In there, I keep some nonperishable items, some water bottles, a change of clothes or two, and bedding.
Once I jump to a "B", and it is ready in the driveway, that makes it a lot easier to move food between it and the house. Some non-perishable reserve food (and water) goes without saying. However, having some refrigerated foods (frozen dinners) is always useful. This way, a trip out doesn't have to involve a pit stop by a grocery store beforehand.
In any case, I always recommend storing anything food/drink related in a tightly fitting container (metal is best, plastic is OK). Last year, I used a container for some cereal items, and even now, the contents are still edible because of the airtight lid. The containers not just keep things from getting stale, but keep the critters out, and if there is a freeze and a liquid gets out, it still is contained in something, so it doesn't wind up spilling over a shelf.
Other than food, I like having a few complete changes of clothes.
Electronics-wise, I keep a small external (1.2 amp-hours to 2.0 amp-hours) battery for charging USB stuff. I also keep a tablet that has its own cellular connection, so I can read a book if need be.
After buying the MH, I may end up buying a small cargo trailer for behind it, partially as a way to mark a site as reserved, but as something to have at the ready for longer trips, (or, God forbid, evacuations). The cargo trailer would also be stocked with items, but planned around long term stays/boondocks, and would carry additional supplies (TruFuel containers, water, food, camp stove, bedding, clothing, and so on.) The advantage of this setup is the ability to pile in and take off for a few days, at a moment's notice. If an evacuation is called or there is a disaster, the trailer gets hitched, and comes the ability for longer term outings.
On the small MH front, Roadtrek has been doing a lot with battery storage, alternators and other items to dispense with propane.
Sportsmobile has also done away with propane with optional equipment -- one can get an all diesel Sprinter upfit that uses a diesel PowerTech generator (3000 watts), a diesel Webasto stove, and a diesel water heater and furnace. This doesn't come cheap, though.
Of course, the appliances from Truma starting to be sold on US shores are game changers. They can take both LP gas and electric, and one model functions as a water heater and furnace. The advantage of this is having the ability to have the basement vents while on electric, so when on FHU, the only propane that gets used is for the stove... and some newer Dometic/SMEV stovetops have an electric burner as well.
Finally, there are fuel cells like the EFOY methanol burner and the Truma VeGA propane burner. Either of these will easily handle the battery draw that a compressor fridge makes.
I personally like propane, because it is one of the safer fuels we have, and it can last indefinitely. It is nice to have multiple fuel choices, as with the Truma appliance, so if one has FHU, no fuel needs to be consumed, but while boondocking, the most efficient means can be used, be it a generator in the daytime or propane at night.
I wonder about a folding cargo carrier, some Rubbermaid tubs that can be securely fastened to the carrier, and some type of padded nylon bag for the carrier. This way, when towing the boat, the Rubbermaid tubs can be stuck inside the boat with the folded up carrier. Then after launching or unhitching the boat, the folding carrier can be inserted (preferably using one of the above dual hitch extensions) and the tubs be placed and secured on it.
The RV industry in general (and certain brands are different, of course) has had a mediocre reputation for quality, especially since 2008 when all RV makers had to go into survival mode and make stuff to sell... where they didn't know if the company would be in business, so warranties were relegated to the lowest priority.
Unlike the auto industry where pretty much every new car on the roads will be decent, the RV industry requires buyers to do their homework, realize that no dealer will honor a warranty unless the rig was bought at that place, and look for features that mean a far longer lifespan (a rig with a fiberglass roof can last a long time, far longer than a RV with a rubber roof.)
For people looking out for our (as in RV-er) interests, I'd say this forum is one of the best resources out there. At least a search can give you horror stories on specific brands.
All of these things were chained and padlocked. Someone sure must have slept well, not sure I could sleep through the noise of someone cutting a cable :@
Some padlocks can be popped open quite easily with almost no noise. Even some supposedly more secure ones can be bypassed. Bolt cutters make a bit of noise, but in a more populated area like Q, it may not be noticeable. YouTube has a lot of stuff on this.
When I chain something down, I use something like a Kryptonite KryptoLok, an Evolution 4, a NY Legend chain, or a security chain and an Abus padlock. All of these are key retaining, so the key has to be turned to pull back anything locking, all have decent pick resistance, and all have a good reputation when being smashed apart on YouTube. Of course, nothing is 100% secure, but that is why I have insurance.
A warning about Rialtas: VW has stopped making parts for the chassis this year, so they are truly orphan vehicles.
Instead, if looking for a "C", I'd go with a Winnebago Trend, as one floorplan has three sleeping surfaces, and can sleep up to 4-6 in a 24 foot length.
A friend of mine who sells on Etsy learned that the hard way. She shipped to Mexico, and in just 1-2 days, the seller filed a PayPal dispute. Well, the package was shipped (there was proof of that, as she uses a third party to certify that items were physically packed in the containers before shipping.) The package just didn't make it across the border. Thankfully, PayPal sided with her, and it was up to the buyer to make the insurance claim.
I hope I'm wrong on this, but even though US oil demand is back in 1990s levels (mainly due to the economy being stagnant for so long), prices have only to go up. The Saudi royalty can easily play the US against China and set what prices they choose.
Already the new people in congress have all but promised to de-fund solar and battery research and push the Keystone XL pipeline.
I agree with you that the oil ecosystem wants the oil age to be extended as long as possible... but unfortunately, they are the ones in power, and even with solar, no amount of PV panels is going to get a car across the country.
I would not be surprised to see oil prices of $100/bbl and gas prices above $4 a gallon later this year. Here is why:
1: Oil companies control the horizontal and vertical. After promised shipments, they can produce just the amount that makes them the most money. The fracking in the US can only last for so long, and from what I've read, most of the oil fields that fracking is used on are either depleted, or almost so. So, Saudi Arabia will be back to the top spot for oil production.
2: It doesn't take much in the way of newsworthy incidents to spike prices and keep them spiked. Remember the Iran-Iraq war with Iran deciding to mine a strait in the Persian Gulf? Someone even making a threat on a refinery will get prices up in a heartbeat.
3: China is a quite thirsty country, and they are just ramping up projects that make the Great Wall look small. Every gallon of gas we don't use, they will use.
4: There isn't anything that keeps Saudi Arabia and OPEC countries from doing another oil embargo like what happened in 1972. If they sell to China, I'm sure they would get the PLA to garrison troops as a deterrent to seizing wells by force. Same with Venezuela, where China is their main customer... which is why China is cutting a new canal in Nicaragua just so they can get oil from there.
5: The US has shifted to the red side. This means that any alternative energy funding now gets the kibosh, with Big Oil friendly politicos in office. Keystone XL is going to happen even if it requires a Constitutional amendment. So are amendments allowing US oil on the global market to the detriment of prices domestically.
To sum up, we passed peak oil, so supply is more expensive per barrel of oil than it was the last. Demand is up since China is doing a major infrastructure buildup that makes even the interstate highway system here in the US look like a toy train set. It is only going to go up from here.
This dip in oil prices is just temporary (as in diesel prices up to the $4 range by Memorial Day), and with people thinking they can go buy Hummer H2-like vehicles just because... they will be hurting in the pocketbook when prices do go up. Peak oil has long since passed, and it is only going to go up from here.
I could go with a Watts cinch clamp tool, but I am concerned that next time I winterize or de-winterize, the joint will leak again, even with just a little bit of twisting when the valve is opened/closed.
A while back, I saw a Sharkbite type fitting that had two O-rings. Because the water in my RV can get pretty corrosive at times (especially during a sanitizing cycle), having that durability can't hurt. I wish I could find that fitting, since Amazon sells the cutters and de-burring tool needed to do a Sharkbite fitting the right way.
On the rig's roof, I want MPPT to catch every single watt coming from the limited space for panels.
When we start getting cheap, large square footage panels, such as ones that roll out with awnings, those can make do with a PWM controller because space isn't as precious. Although I prefer MPPT controllers because they can do equalization, desulfation, and other battery upkeep duties.
On winterizing, I noticed the cold water valve (part of the three valve array for bypassing the WH) was leaking around the crimp clamp. Since I always use a breakage as a way to upgrade to something far better, what would be some very good valves to replace the three plastic ones with?
If I could afford it, I'd go with ProPEX expander valves and fittings, but the tool for that is a bit out of my price range. Instead, I'm thinking of Flair-It fittings, and if they have check valves, going with a single ball valve, and two check valves to make bypassing doable with a single turn. If check valves are not available, I'll just go with the standard two tee valves and one valve for the bypass line.
Sharkbites are decent, and they seem to have a decent rep in some instances... but the fact that one O-ring is what separates you from a major disaster gets me leery, and the Flair-Its squeeze against the PEX itself.
Any other recommendations? My goal is to get this job done right so I never have to worry about it again.
My two centavos:
The people whose rigs don't leak, whose slide-outs work, and whose rigs are not giving headaches tend not to post.
What I see some people do is take a new "C" and get it "fixed" from the get to. For example, someone buys a decent "C". They replace fans with Fantastic Fans, add covers, replace the fresh water/gray water/black water vent tops with the venturi type that passively increase airflow, toss the antenna for a Jack type, then after the roof is upgraded, have Rhino Lining or another company prime and spray the roof, and areas around where lights are mounted with an epoxy elastomer, so there are no seams to leak. Plumbing that is often accessed loses the crimp clips and better fittings are stuck on. If the rig has a mouse hole for the electric cord, that is replaced by a marine receptacle or an additional cord is run through.
The chassis can get a boost too. A lot of Ford "C"s receive a lot of benefit from third party items like airbags.
So, all and all, I wouldn't write off RV-ing just yet. Murphy will pop up, but one can mitigate a lot of stuff, so when he does, it can be dealt with.
For short term storage, I'd just park it and not worry.
For long term storage (weeks or longer), I'd probably make some 2x10s, take them to a Rhino Lining or a Line-X place, have them sprayed, then store the rig on top of those. The epoxy coating will keep the wood from rotting, as well as keep dry rot from happening.
There is a lot of debate of using jacks for long term storage or not. As far as I have read, I'd not bother. Suspensions don't wear out by sitting around. They wear out by damage done to rust and miles.
I wonder if that is because Ford phased out the Econolines, so parts and tires are harder to find.
From what I know in my neck of the woods, Ford upfits may or may not be servicable, but because Sportsmobile is in the area, there are at least 1-2 "blessed" dealers which can service those. There are some "B"s sold, so both the MB and FL places have at least seen a "B" or two. Chevy places see conversion vans all the time. Which gets me wondering how the Dodge/RAM places will deal with upfitted PMs.
If I wanted the best dealer network for the van chassis, I'd go with Ford. For dealers which are versed with "B"s made in the past few years, I'd probably have to give the nod to the MB dealers.