for a MH "wanna be".
We are considering a coach with the Aqua Hot system (I have read the operating manual) and are trying to find out a little more about it, so thank you in advance for any responses. Without laying out a litany of questions, here are 5 questions about the Aqua Hot system I’m seeking clarification on.
Can you use the AH hot water system when camping in sub 32 degree conditions (maybe 25 degrees), or must you always winterize if it is going to get below freezing? We often camp in colder weather, so I just want to know if I need to winterize at the slightest chance of 32 and below. (not asking about the coach heating, but the water heating system)
Yes, the Aqua-Hot or hyrdonic heating system is extremely well suited for cold temperatures. It was on our "must have" list when we were shopping because we used all of our motorhomes for snowmobiling each winter. If you do not run the system you will need to winterize the domestic water side of the boiler but no change with the glycol portion of the system is necessary when winterizing.
Generally, what constitutes the bay heating system (maybe coach specific)? Do I need to ask the particular dealer?
The bay heating system is a heat exchanger with a fan that circulates the heated glycol through the exchanger and the fan pushes that heated air out into the storage/service/tank bay.
To winterize, I have read you cannot merely blow out the lines, but you must use anti-freeze. I am just curious as to why?
For winterizing you will want to use the antifreeze method as there is approx. 150' of copper tubing that makes up the water heater portion of the system. This tubing is either inside of the boiler tank or on the exterior (depending on manufacturing date) where the exchange of heat takes place. With all of this tubing it is quite acceptible to see where water/moisture could condense and move into a low point in the tubing even after using compressed air to blow the system out. This could then freeze, rupture and cause a major expense to replace the boiler assembly/unit.
If you are going to be driving through conditions below 32 degree’s and are using the engine to heat the rig, do you still need to winterize your lines?
When driving in cold temperatures, generally the engine heat is enough to adequately heat the glycol for the system. However, I just leave the diesel switch in the "ON" position. This way IF the system drops below the lower temperature T-stat's setting the diesel burner will kick on the keep the glycol temperature at the set point. Very seldom does the diesel burner come on when traveling but we have had it kick on a few times in slow traffic where the diesel engine is not creating as much heat. Some people think that it is not a good idea to keep the switch on when running down the road but if the engine is keeping everything the glycol up to temperature it simply will not call for the diesel burner to kick on.
We have pulled into rest areas and been sitting for 15+ minutes in sub-freezeing temperatures eating when the diesel burner will kick on. It is actually quite amazing how well the system holds heat. That will also depend on how well the coach is insulated though becuase if the heat exchangers are running more to keep the inside of the coach warm, this exchange of heat will call for the glycol to be heated more often.
For heating only (not for the continuous water supply) to what general outside temperature will Aqua Hot’s use of the 120 VAC burner be sufficient before the diesel burner kicks in or will electric alone provide enough heat? In reading the operating instructions, it sounds like the electric element alone will heat the anti-freeze solution for heating. But it also sounds like you need the diesel burner, so I am just a little confused. Any clarification here would be helpful.
This to a great extent will depend on whether you get the system with one electric element or two elements. Our system has the single electric element and I just leave both the diesel switch and the electric switch on when camping at a park with power. The electric will work adequately and provide plenty of hot water during the summer months and in the cooler spring or fall months (temperatures in the high 30's/low 40's at night) the only time the diesel burner will kick on is when the wife and I are showering in the morning, otherwise the single electric element will work fine. Much colder than that and the diesel burner will kick in along with the electric element more frequently.
Maybe these sound a little dumb, so thanks for your patience. Thanks again for your time!
No problem Tom. There is a lot of controversy over the hydronic heating system among many of the RV forums, people either love them or hate them. Generally the ones that hate them are those who don't have them. Maybe even some people tell themselves that they love them because they have to justify the money they spent to get it in their coach.
I had some experience working on them on my cousins and aunt/uncles coaches before we purchased ours so I was fortunate enough to have a good idea of what I was getting into prior to purchasing our current coach.
Even though we had some issues with ours when we first purchased the coach (my guess would be the original owners did not understand the system nor want to pay to have it repaired) we would not own another coach without the Aqua-Hot system.
how about a sway control any need for it ??so far no need even had moderate crosswinds on our last trip, it towed like a dream
I do not know but have been told no need for a WD hitch on a motorhome ??? any advice
Debates on both sides of the fence here. I know many who do not use a weight distributing hitch and a lot that do. Personally, I run one and have all all three of my coaches as it definately spreads the load out. With a tag axle coach it is even less necessary than a single axle coach but I still feel a benefit from it.
T&E Race trailers when I was looking several years ago, recommended a WD setup on tandem axle trailers and said they were less necessary on triple axle trailers. That makes perfect sense. Monaco on the other hand said they will definately help but on a tag axle coach it is neglible and probably not worth spending the money on.
There are a couple of aluminum trailer manufacturers that specifically state DO NOT use WD hitches but that is due to trailer issues not coach issues. There are also a few threads on various RV forums showing some aluminum trailer tongue failures due to the forces exerted on the tongue when a WD hitch is utilized.
For a single rear axle coach that is already on the verge of being overloaded I would recomment a product called Trailer Toad. There is also another one similar in theory but a different design called Tuff Tow. It supports the actual tongue weight and does not impose that weight onto the rear of the coach. We see them used quite a lot among the race crowds.
We have pulled a 28' stacker trailer weighing about 14,000lbs a few times the last 3 years. Used for hauling additional race cars and equipment to Florida for SpeedWeeks with our 03 Tradition.
If you look at all aluminum stacker trailers, three of the best are Featherlite's, ATC or my favorite, GoldRush. The weight of the trailers have been around 4500 to 5000lbs plus whatever you are hauling. They are not cheap, but the tow fantastic and they hold their re-sale value well.
One way to keep the weight down on the trailer is to skip the steel internal lifts some manufactures use. I would go with the automatic lift gates (your rear trailer door) and haul the bikes and golf carts in the overhead and your vehicle down below.
We beefed up the hitch area, make sure we are using the weight distributing equipment and have not had any issues. When properly loaded, almost did not know that trailer was back there fully loaded except for the 1mpg drop in fuel milage.
Good trailer manufacturer recommendations there. If I could add one more to check out is T&E Race trailers. That is the one we really wanted. The quality and overall fit & finish is fantastic, just way, way out of our budget at the time. The Haulmark Edge was the closest I could come across in our budget with anywhere near the quality and options.
We just sold our jeep and bought a shelby gt 500, so we bought a stacker to take the shelby and golf cart with us( we still have the gmc to tow 4 down). On our first trip we did not know the trailer was behind us except for getting 1mpg less. one note if your golf cart has a top it will be to tall to stack on the lift with anything bellow. Hindsight being 20/20 I would have gone with a regular enclosed trailer with 8' inside height it would have been less $$ and weight
I don't use a golf cart but my Jeep is lifted. When we decided on just getting a standard enclosed trailer I had extra height added to ours when I special ordered it. That is one thing I am glad I did.
First off, let me say I do not have a stacker. We almost purchased one a few years ago when we ordered our 26' Haulmark Edge but in the end I decided against it mainly due to the weight. I was happy with the way my coach ran weighing 36k pounds and towing 8500-9000 pounds with our previous trailer and cargo. I figured 10k maybe a little more would not be a big deal but 16-18k pounds with a stacker and all my******would be way too much for my little ISL to tow and me still be happy with it. If you have the need and the power to handle 16k plus pounds of trailer and cargo being towed, I say do it. If you really don't have the need for hauling everything at once and can get by with a standard enclosed trailer I would recommend that, even if you have to go a few feet longer, in the end it will be easier loading/unloading. We haul our four door Jeep Wrangler and our HD Ultra Classic in our 26' comfortably. That is even with a workbench, toolbox and cabinets in the front.
I have a couple of friends that tow stackers and love the trailers once they are loaded and once they are on the road. They hate loading them due to the procedure and time involved. That is one aspect that I hadn't thought of when looking.
One has a 40' Diplomat with the ISL400 and tows a 30' Progressive stacker. He runs down the interstates well but the grades kill him. Another friend has a 45' Newell and tows a 24' Haulmark Edge stacker. Him and I run pretty neck and neck on the grades, maybe a slight advantage to him with his 600 hp engine but his coach also weighs around 54k pounds not towing anything.
You more than likely will have some issues in some camprgounds due to finding sites long enough. I have only been in a few where I had to unhook and park the trailer in an overflow area. Some people don't mind that but I absolutely hate it as I like to remain hooked up.
I have found this past summer that making reservations early enough in advance was the key to getting into sites long enough to not have to unhook the entire season when traveling. If you are "winging it" this may not be the case.
Last make certain your hitch is rated accordingly and if not get it reinforced to handle the kind of weight you are going to be dealing with.
P.S. there is also several threads/discussions going on about this very topic over on IRV2.com right now as well.
When we purchased our 03 Dynasty in February of 07 it looked terrible. The 3M mask was yellowing and chipped up very badly. Exactly what it was designed to protect. I know the paint would have been damaged without it but it needed repainting either way.
I removed ours and repainted the entire front cap from the bottom up to mid-way up the windshield where I blended the clearcoat. What a PITA. Prepping and painting was the easy part.
I have not had any protection on the front of the coach for the past almost 7 years now and 40k+ miles and although it does have a few pretty nasty rock chips it is nothing like when we purchased it.
Moab is going to be pretty cold in January but doable and enjoyable as long as you are prepared for it. There are multiple nice RV parks although some are closed until mid-March.
I know Portal RV Park is open year round and I believe Spanish Trail and OK Corral are as well. Moab Valley RV Park is not open until March some time.
For visiting Zion NP, the temps will be much more pleasurable in January with an average of highs in the low 50's and lows around freezing. I would recommend Zion River Resort for the stay.
All good reasons why astute buyers don't buy brand new, but instead look for low-mileage units a couple of years old that have had all of the problems sorted out by the previous owner - who has also taken the huge hit due to depreciation.
There is a market for every buyer. I always buy new, the depreciation is not an issue as I want to be the first owner. Buying used does not mean that there will be no problems. As a unit ages, items start wearing out and need replacement, especially the house items. Then there are those companies that are no longer in business to buy parts from. For instance, I'm hearing that Aladdin is out of business so no new replacement parts.
As they say in the car business, there is a butt for every seat.
I agree with both statements although I wouldn't necessarily say "astute buyer", more than I would just say a different market for different people. There are people with money that will only buy new and I both respect and appreciate them. Then there are the ones who are ok buying someone elses toys to save some money or buy a little higher quality with their budget.
I am glad there are people that can afford new high end units if not there would not be any used ones for people like me. When we were looking my wife and I thought about purchasing a new lower end diesel pusher (I won't mention any brand/model)but I know how I am and I wouldn't have been happy with it. I wanted new just to be the first owner and not have to purchase someone elses neglect or abuse.
I just had set in my mind what I wanted and was not willing to "settle" so we started looking used. We looked long and hard for over nine months before finding our Dynasty. It was not abused but definately not overly maintained. The previous owner had some issues and rather than fixing them merely traded it in on a new one. Great for us because we were able to benefit and he supported the market by purchasing a brand new unit which I am sure will be sold to someone else in a similar situation to my wife and I.
I am sure there are issues with used as well as new units but it seems those who buy used are more expecting to have to fix/repair/replace things vs. those who just drove it out of the factory.
Our coach took me the better part of a year to get where I wanted it but now would not trade it for a new one and hope it will last another 15 or so years.
I would stick with the four 6-volt batteries wired in series/parallel. This will generally give you more than double the amp-hour capacity. If you never boondock and cost of two vs. four batteries is driving this decision then you could get by with the two 12-volt batteries pretty easily.
I am a supporter of running siped tires. I have had siped tires on all three of our motorhomes. In the winter it aids in traction and in the summer it aids in keeping the tires cool.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the smaller the block the less chance of developing an irregular wear pattern due to the smaller heal to toe transition.
For Discount Tire to say it isn't advisable on large vehicles that is complete BS or they just don't want to be bothered with it.
Do you stay in the RV when done travelling? How do you heat it up then? If you are camping why not run the furnace while you are driving?
You are right about running the house furnace while driving. There is no way the output from the dash heater can begin to warm up a large class A. Forget the tacky curtain rods and curtains. Just use your house heater and your dash heater and you'll be warm.
Exactly. We bought the coach as a way of traveling and being comfortable, not freezing or bundled up while driving. We have always just run our furnace and enjoy the drive.
I tow both ways, flat and enclosed trailer, and I will tell you that they each have their pros and cons. The main reason I haul the enclosed trailer is to have my rolling "workshop" when going to places like Moab or SW Colorado and to haul the HD Ultra Classic at the same time. If just needing a toad then you will be much happier flat-towing. Ford does make a kit to have the ability to flat tow for the 4WD models which is the way I would go or the driveshaft as a last resort. I have helped a couple of buddies by installing the Remco driveshaft disconnect and personally I am not a fan of them, although they do work as advertised.
Personally I would get a different toad before I would do the driveshaft disconnect but that is just me. The trailers can be problematic when bouncing around from campground to campground as not all are 65-70'+ length friendly.
We carry a 2004 HD Ultra Classic but in our enclosed trailer so I don't have one of our own. However, my cousin is a dealer here in Utah for Hydralift and I can tell you if you if you look at both seperately and look at the features/components, both are impressive. However, if you compare the two (Hydralift and Cruiserlift) side by side you will definately see a difference and the price reflects this, but quality isn't cheap. The Hydralift is hands down more robust and smooth in operation. The hydraulics operate flawlessly and like Scott mentioned earlier in his post that hydraulics are for the most part trouble free. After all look at all of the hydraulics on RV's as well as all of the off-road construction equipment and OTR trucks.
My cousin has his powder coated the match his 1998 Monaco Signature and it as nice looking and well fabricated piece of equipment. I have been present and watched/assisted on several of the installations that they have done in their shop. He continues to try to talk me into one to haul my HD Ultra Classic on but I won't give up the enclosed trailer to haul my bike in vs. open on the back of my coach. There are a lot of pros to using a motorcycle lift on the back of the coach but there are some cons as well.
Thanks. We kind of enjoy it.
I am really liking the looks of your American Dream and the race trailer, looks like a lot of fun.
How long have you had your American Dream and how many miles on her?
The CJ has a small lift and the dragster trailer is 6.5 feet inside.
The jeep will not fit inside (hits the ceiling).
I will also use the trailer to store the Jeep when not in use so that it does not take up garage space. I'm in the process of building a 1949 Chevy Gasser for the wife to drive.
Thanks. I bet that gasser is going to be a hoot. Make sure to post up some pics of it. I can't seem to get drag racing out of my brain but I finally had to come to the realization that it was getting too expensive and to be honest, I don't know how much fun it actually was for the wife. She said she enjoyed it but usually while I was racing and thrashing between runs she would sit and read so I just came to the realization that it wasn't something that I could pursure any longer.
She likes it when we go to the dunes and run around in the rail plus if she wants to sit outside and relax she can. She really loves going off-road in the Jeep and hopping on the Harley and going for a ride. That is something we both thoroughly enjoy. I have fun building the toys and then enjoying them with her but I would love to get back into racing, unfortunately I just don't see it happening.
Here is our 2003 Dynasty towing our 26' Haulmark Edge race trailer. 72' OAL. Hooked up in front of the house and ready to roll.
Moab this past spring.
Ouray, CO last year when my son took his Buell and we took our Dyna Wide Glide and rode Hwy 550 to Silverton and Durango.
Loading the Jeep heading to Moab for another trip.
Parked at the sand dunes in St. Anthony, Idaho.
Little Sahara Recreation area in Utah.
That is one sweet looking rig. I don't know what it is but a diesel coach towing an enclosed race trailer just does it for me. I love seeing them going down the road and wondering what they are hauling and will always make it a point to check them out when I see them in a campground.
Question, why don't you simply use the same trailer for hauling the Jeep and the dragster? We don't drag race any longer but when we did that is exactly what we did and it worked out well. We are now into the sand dunes and Jeeping quite heavy. We trade off hauling the Jeep with the Harley or the sandrail and quads if going to the dunes. Whatever is not in the trailer gets to hang out in the shop while the other toys are with us. I agree hauling in a trailer definately keeps the rock chips to a minimum and it is nice to arrive at our destination with everything nice and clean. An enclosed trailer is definately the way to go, I don't know how much damage you will save to the front of your Jeep on an open trailer. I do have our Jeep setup to flat tow and do on occassion because it is much easier when hopping from campground to campground but I like having my rolling shop with me. I just recently added the Roadmaster Tow Defender for this reason as I had gotten a few rock chips already and don't want any more. This past season I only flat towed it on two trips the remainder was in the trailer.
Our trailer is a 26' Haulmark Edge race trailer that we special ordered in Jan. 2008 and took delivery in April 2008.
I ordered it with extra height added, .040" exterior, 5' RV tongue, 7k pound axles, ATP flooring, L-shaped workbench/cabinet, two 500-watt exterior flood lights, two extra electrical outlets, four 12-volt chrome trimmed interior lights, floor mounted 8k pound winch, full-width door with the lighting mounted in the ramp door, 4' right side door with step under the trailer rather than the standard cutout in the floor and the race package which included aluminum interior paneling, electrical outlets and flourescent lighting.
Here it is hooked up in Moab this past season.
Interior shot with the sandrail loaded.
And a shot empty. I added the vertical stainless steel strips at the panel joints. When I ordered it they told me that the seamless interior was working out very well and I even asked about the extreme temperature swings we see here in Utah. They said not to worry as they would allow some movement. WRONG, first season four seams popped loose and had large gaps in the interior paneling. I had them repair it under warranty but when I got it back I spent three days cleaning the grimey glue covered and dirty fingerprints off of the interior. When it became disbonded again the following year I simply addressed the issue myself rather than involve the manufacturer.
Here is a link to the towbar bracket/crossmember that I fabricated to flat tow my Jeep.
Here is my link on the Tow Defender install.
We are 40' and tow a 26' trailer. Been all over the western U.S. and up into Alberta and British Columbia a couple of times. I would say close to 50-60k miles towing the trailer and we have been overlength with two of our three motorhome/trailer combinations. No issues here around 72' end to end, 69' with the last coach. The only issues I have run across is campsites are kind of hard to find unless planning ahead and making reservations. We don't "wing it" when traveling with the trailer. We camp with a group of guys from California at the sand dunes in St. Anthony, Idaho each July and they have some huge rigs. The smallest rig is a 40' Alpine coach towing a 26' enclosed trailer, the largest two are a 45' Newell and a 45' Prevost both towing stacker trailers, one a 30' Progressive and one a 28' Haulmark. There is one guy in their group who mentioned about two years ago that he was stopped and ticketed because he got off the main interstate onto a two lane road to visit some relatives. The CHP made him drop his trailer and he had to have it hauled to the state line where he was able to hook back up in Nevada and continue onward. He didn't know how much the fine was at the time but he did mention that the road he was on was also limited to a 40' coach so they nailed him for his 45 footer as well. All in all that is the ONLY situation I have heard of first hand who has had an issue. I follow this pretty close also because when I was drag racing we seemed to always be discussing this with other racers.
On a side note, I think you will be hard pressed to fit three Harleys and a Jeep wrangler in a 24' box. I couldn't fit that in mine. Ours has a workbench in the front so in essence the usable space for cargo is roughly 24'. We can haul our 04 Ultra Classic and our 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and it is tight. We were able to haul my son's Buell, our 2010 Dyna Wide Glide and the Jeep up until this year when our son sold his Buell and bought his Street Bob. Now we cannot fit both Dynas and the Jeep. To haul three Harleys and a Jeep I think you will be looking at going to at least a 28' box with no workbench in the front to take up space. I would mark out the box size with sidewalk chalk in your driveway or other flat area and then try to park the bikes and Jeep in the confines of those lines. Keep in mind not to break the plane of the lines when moving them around as you will have walls to deal with in the actual trailer.