I think Kevin has it right. I had to replace the solenoid on my previous Class A. Details & pics at this link: http://2manytoyz.com/bcc.html
Make sure you replace it with a solenoid rated for continuous duty.
Here's the exact solenoid I used: http://www.amazon.com/Cole-Hersee-24059-Continuous-Solenoid/dp/B000Y82X4E
I've been buying 16' LED strips from Amazon for $13.
They can be cut to various lengths. About every 2", there's a mark on the strip where it can be cut.
I put three 5' long strips under the cabinets in the garage to illuminate the workbench below. Works quite well. There's an adhesive strip on the back of the LED roll. Peel -n- stick.
LEDs tend to be very directional. Narrow field of view. If you want to use LEDs for general lighting, you might be disappointed with the result. They are excellent for task lighting.
We have two of the Adventurer folding bikes from Camping World. On sale again for $149.
I upgraded the seats first thing, and bought the padded storage bags to store them in (most times).
They fold up very compact, but they weigh as much as a full sized bike. I used to ride every evening for about 10 miles. I find it very stable, and quite comfortable. Doesn't "cruise" as well as a full sized bike due to the small wheels, but I can average 9-10 MPH without a lot of effort. Not as fast as a 10 speed, but very convenient, and faster than walking.
The only negative comment would be the gears. They work, but are not the quality gears I've had in the past. I've adjusted them multiple times, and they generally track okay now.
I've transported two of these bikes in the back of a Nissan Xterra, and even inside the TT (while they are stored in the soft bags). Now that I have a full sized truck, I fold them up and tuck them in the bed.
I bought an Igloo Ice maker from Buy.com for $99 delivered. It failed within 2 months. The manufacturer, Curtis, would NOT HONOR THEIR WARRANTY. I was finally able to get a refund from Buy.com. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!
Take the time to read the reviews for these products. Even the Target website has an owner feedback section, and the reviews for the icemaker is horrible.
The branding doesn't seem to matter. They all look the same, and the parent company is Curtis for the ones I've looked at. I spent weeks trying to get Curtis to honor their warranty, and they refused. Buyer beware...
My F150 is a flex fuel vehicle, rated for E85. It's hard to find in FL, but we have it on base. It's MORE expensive than E10 fuel here.
I decided to try it. Ford claims a loss of 4 MPG, on hwy, or in town. That's directly from their literature (2010 F150 brochure). My truck has a 5.4L 3V V8, which develops 310 hp and 365 lb.-ft. of torque (Regular gas) ... or 320 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque (E85 fuel). A gain of 5 HP, and 25 lbs. -ft of torque, but a significant loss in economy.
I can detect a little more get up and go on the E85. Normally, the engine has a slight hesitation (common). Not so on the E85.
The van at work runs exclusively on E85. Little harder to start in colder weather (in the 30s), but runs fine. The exhaust definitely has an alcohol smell.
According to this website (EPA fuel #s), the F150 does lose 4 MPG in town (10 vs. 14), and up to 6 MPG on the HWY (14 vs. 20): http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymodel/2010_Ford_F150_Pickup.shtml
A 29% loss of economy in town on E85. A 30% loss on the hwy.
In my real world testing, I noticed my fuel economy had dropped from the normal 17 MPG, down to just over 12.
I've not towed with E85. Not readily available here, costs too much initially, and the poor fuel economy makes it a poor choice.
And as far as blending the fuel, this is what Ford has to say: "The 5.4L is also Flex Fuel (FFV) capable, so you can run it on E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline), straight gas or any blend of the two." This information also from the 2010 F150 brochure: http://www.ford.com/services/assets/Brochure?make=Ford&model=F-150&year=2010&postalCode=
Unless something drastically changed between the 2005, and the current models, it should do just fine.
I had a 2005 Nissan Xterra. Same engine/transmission/drivetrain, as the longer Frontier.
I towed our current travel trailer with it for 5 years before trading for the F150. The Nissan had 90K miles on it, ran great, no issues.
It had plenty of power towing our 25' TT. It is 3995 lbs empty with the options. I loaded it lightly, and kept the waste tanks empty when traveling. Kept maybe 10 gallons of water onboard.
My F150 is bigger, with a 5.4L V8, and I don't think it would outrun the Xterra while towing by much of a margin. 4.0L, 265 HP, 284 lb.-ft. of torque, vs. 5.4L 3V V8, which develops 310 hp and 365 lb.-ft. of torque. The F150 is much heavier, so the added 26 HP, and 81 lb.-ft. of torque, go towards carrying the extra weight of the truck, not necessarily the payload.
I'm in FL, and towed all year. Engine and transmission stayed cool. When I changed the transmission fluid, it was still a pretty color, no burnt smell. But when towing, I change the tranny fluid once a year. 90K miles, I couldn't find any flaws. I only traded to get more room for hauling 'stuff'.
I have two trucks, one a GMC cc dually and the othe a GMC canyon. The little truck is 4 cyl and the big one dsl. They get nearly the same mpg. If not for the conceniance of the little truck for around town i would not own one.
That's been my experience too. The 4 banger truck got ~22 MPG, the 6 cylinder version about 17 MPG on 10% ethanol. Same as my F150 V8, which is a much larger truck, with more than 2x the towing capacity.
New Nissan Frontier truck, >$30K. New F150 FX4, max tow package, lots of bells & whistles, $38K. Same fuel economy.
My Xterra also got ~17MPG on E10 fuel.
YMMV, but mine really didn't! If we're planning on going to a tight parking area, we'll drive the Jeep. But otherwise, I can back the truck into just about any parking spot downtown, despite the long wheelbase.
Since we live in FL, most of our camping is here. Many of the campsites are sandy, no grass. Consequently, a mat is a GOOD idea. As soon as I step onto the edge of the mat, I take my shoes off.
We bought ours at Camping World, along with a separate zippered carrying bag.
It's an open mesh synthetic material. Water and sand go right through it. IIRC, it's a 9'x12'. It's about the right size for a few lawn chairs and a small table.
Makes a BIG difference on the amount of dirt getting tracked into the camper.
If the campground has nice grass, or a concrete patio area, we don't bother with the mat.
Yep, depends on the vehicle, and how it's configured. With the 2004 Jeep Wrangler I had (A/T), the transfer case was put into neutral, and the transmission into park. It would roll down the road without spinning the transmission, so no miles on the odometer.
When I had my last Class B, I put in a second battery for the fridge and 1500W inverter.
The second battery was tied to the first with heavy cables, and isolated with a Blue Sea battery switch. I could tie both batteries together when the engine was running so both would charge. Or isolate the second battery when parked, so no worries of running down the vehicle's battery.
Now I'd probably use a heavy duty solenoid instead of the switch. This way there's no worry of forgetting to isolate the battery.
This is the relay used in my previous Class A motorhome specifically for isolating the batteries:
More details of this relay, and how it was used, at this link: http://2manytoyz.com/bcc.html
I had a small 700W microwave that I used on many occasions with the 1500W inverter. Since it was mostly for reheating food or drinks, it would only need to operate for ~5 minutes.
Never bothered with a generator with my Class B. Didn't have anywhere to store it or the fuel necessary to run it. Battery power worked fine for short stays with no hookups. Especially nice when stopping at a rest stop and being able to use the microwave.
Good luck with your setup!
The SPs in the FL Keys are great, but as you know, hard to get, even for us FL residents.
Unless we're able to plan WELL in advance, our fallback plan is to stay at the KOA, which is much more expensive. It is a nice place, and is a short drive to Key West.
Pics from our stay there: http://www.2manytoyz.com/sugarloaf.html
We might go again this year, but all depends on my BIL getting his camper fixed. Mine's always ready to roll!
Enjoy the Duval crawl!
I have a 36 gallon gas tank in our F150. Get ~ 10MPG towing, so a maximum of 360 mile range.
During a hurricane evacuation, I have 10 5-gallon gas cans that go into the bed of the truck, and a RollBak aluminum cover slides over the bed, securing the contents.
With the fuel I carry, I then have an 860 mile range before needing to find fuel. :B
In October 2006, our 25' travel trailer was delivered. We purchased it online from RVW. A semi-retired couple work as drivers for RVW. They hauled the TT all the way from Ohio, to FL.
I asked them to drop it off at a nearby (recently closed) supermarket parking lot. This made a perfect location to inspect the trailer, sign the stack of paperwork, then install a W/D hitch on my tow vehicle.
This is how they transported it:
No W/D bars. The couple stayed in a hotel on the way down. This is how they deliver each TT... one at a time. But there's more than one delivery crew.
POR-15 is the best stuff I've used here in FL. We're 10 minutes from the beach, so corrosion is a major factor.
I knocked the bigger chunks of rust off the frame with a wire wheel mounted to a cordless 18V Dewalt grinder.
POR-15 paint was applied...
Once the rust sealer had dried, a top coat of paint was applied (same brand - called CHASSISCOAT BLACK).
I bought the mixed pack, comes with three 4 oz. cans of POR-15® (Gloss Black Only) with three 4 oz.cans of either BlackCote or Chassis Coat Black. http://www.por15.com/MIX-PACK/productinfo/MPBC/
Each can covers 12 square feet, so a little bit goes a long way. Make sure you WEAR gloves. If it gets on your skin, you'll likely wear it for a week. This isn't like paint.
IMHO, get the larger A/C unit, sell the Honda, buy the slightly larger Yamaha 2400, and not have any compromises. It'll run your A/C unit by itself, with no more noise than the Honda.
Back in the mid 90s, Coleman stopped installing 9000 BTU A/C units on Popups as they couldn't keep up with the heat load.
I now have a 25' TT, and it takes every bit of 13,500 BTUs to initially cool down the camper. Once it's had a day to cool it down, it can easily keep up then.
It gets into the 90s at times even up North, so why limit yourself to not traveling during those times of year?
There are a LOT of people who only have 1 Honda 2KW, and can't run their A/C... which is why you won't have an issue selling yours!
Also when you want to sell your camper, someone planning on using it in the South would walk away from the deal with the small A/C unit.
This is the reason I never buy the first edition of a vehicle! In 1995, I bought a Coleman Popup with a metal two piece roof. People scoffed, saying I should have bought the 1996 one piece plastic roof... until everyone had issues with warping, flexing, and leaking with the plastic roof.
So glad I bought the 2010 F150, with the last production year of the 5.4L.
It might be a good engine once the work the bugs out. In the meantime, I wouldn't want to be part of the proof of concept. ;-)
If you go to the manufacturer's webpage for your A/C unit, look up the specs for "locked rotor amps". This is what your generator must overcome when the head pressure is high on the A/C compressor, and it re-engages the compressor.
The Kill-A-Watt meter is a great product, but has limitations. It can tell you how much running current is being drawn, and tell you over the course of a day how much total power was used. Great for appliances like fridges that go through a periodic defrost cycle.
The Kill-A-Watt meter will NOT tell you start up current. It has far too slow of a sample rate to measure it. Same with most clamp-on ammeters.
I bought a Fluke 334 meter. It has an "In-Rush" feature. Makes many samples in a small Milli-second window to capture the start up current spike.
As an example, I have a Dometic 13,500 BTU A/C unit on our camper. The start up current is massive:
The running current is not:
That spike is very quick, but the generator must have enough capacity to twist the compressor fast enough to overcome the head pressure.
The Yamaha EF2400iS that I use was intended for this purpose. It's the minimum size required for RELIABLE restarting of a 13,500 BTU A/C unit.
Most of my friends with Honda 2KWs love 'em, but none can run their A/C units for long (most won't even initially start them), despite being at sea level here. This is why they own 2 of them.
FWIW, none of the generator manufacturers will tell you what the maximum start-up capacity is for their generator. Probably a good thing since few have the equipment to measure it.
No knock against the Kill-A-Watt meter. It just isn't intended to record start-up current. I own one, along with a Kill-A-Watt power strip: http://www.p3international.com/products/consumer/p4320.html
If you go with something like the Bal X-Chock products, make sure to measure the spacing between your tandem wheels. Mine are too close for these products to fit. I gave mine to my BIL for use on his TT. Work well on this though...