If you get as far north as Grand Rapids and would enjoy horseback riding, Rainbow Ranch is a great place to go.
Very pleasant place. Lots of woods, small ravines and lots of deer, especially if you go on a morning ride. Its always a highlight of our trip when you go to Silver Lake.
BTW: Silver Lake is a 400 acre sand dunes off road park. You can drive your own vehicle or rent Jeeps for a guided tour. Its pretty tame during the weekdays, but on weekends, it gets pretty wild. We've only gone during the week, so I only have that perspective. There is also a light house that you can go up inside.
One problem you do run into is that as the ramps get higher, you start to run into clearance problems under the coach. TO get 14 inches, your ramp will have to be extremely long, especially if your motorhome has much overhang in front of the front axle. It also means you must only drive forward onto the ramps. You can't put the ramps behind the front wheels and back onto them. At 8 inches, that is about the maximum height I can put under my parents Allegro W22 and still back onto the ramps.
Try telling the Californian court that.
You might get harassed, or an uneducated cop might even ticket you, but you would get off on a technicality. There was a federal supreme court decision back in the 70s that determined that an RV is in its own class and is not classified as a truck. This means that any regulation must specifically call out a motorhome somewhere in the law. (often times the definitions of terms are given as a preface for the law) Most likely it would be stated in the preface in the regulation designating the definition of a truck. If the law does not specifically outline the definition to include a motorhome, then you did not have a good lawyer to argue the case. Particularly when many signs on the same route refer specifically to trucks that are not motorhomes, such as weight stations. You can't have the definition of a truck randomly change along the same highway. Any lawyer worth his salt should know how to present the case, especially when its a Supreme Court decision.
Depends if you are talking the front end, or the rear end. I have stack of five 2X12s bolted together. Each board is slightly longer and the ends are cut as a diagonal, so it works like a ramp. This gets me about 8 inches. I have driven the front of my Dad's W22 onto these ramps and it works just fine. One could probably get away with maybe one board higher, but I don't think I would go higher than that without a wider more stable base. I think you could build ramps about 10 inches high, and then put blocks under the hydraulic jacks to lift it the rest of the way. Just make sure the jacks do not take too much weight off the front wheels, as it would be very unstable.
You might get harassed, or an uneducated cop might even ticket you, but you would get off on a technicality. There was a federal supreme court decision back in the 70s that determined that an RV is in its own class and is not classified as a truck. This means that any regulation must specifically call out a motorhome somewhere in the law. (often times the definitions of terms are given as a preface for the law)
My advice would be to use common sense. Generally speaking, use the truck lane. Now of course if you want to pass a truck on the right, you have the legal right to do so, but it may not be the wisest choice, especially if you are about to go under an overpass, you don't want to be next to a semi when the lane goes narrow.
Water is one of the byproducts of your cat. I'm not sure why some systems produce more water than others, but all of them do produce a small amount of water. I had a Jeep that produced massive amounts of water. With the old Jeep, there was a return tube on the cat that fed back into the intake. There was so much water dumping back into the intake, it actually would ice up the carb. I finally disconnected the tube, and ran it that way in the winter. Usually every fall, I would forget and get pulled over to the side of the road when it quite running. Just a matter of pulling the tube, and then knocking the ice down into the engine where it would melt, so I could start it up and drive it. Strangest thing. I never did figure out why it did that, but just dealt with it. I don't think it was a head gasket, as it never used water.
Depends on the type of sputter. First thing I would do is make sure all the spark plug wires are pushed on all the way. The 8.1 was notorious for spark plug wires coming off. The problem was that because of the short length of wire, it was very easy to not install the wire all the way. As a result, they would come unplugged. Its not a persistent problem, once they are plugged in correctly, they do not fall off. Its just a matter of difficulty getting them plugged in all the way. If someone is just the least bit lazy, they will miss one or two. You need to make sure you feel the snap down into place, rather than just pushed on.
Don't think of the Tow/Haul switch as an automatic must turn on anytime you are towing. Use it as an "on Demand" feature based on need. If you notice the coach is shifting often, or you are in a hilly area, then use it based on need. It is unlikely you would desire it when you are on flat freeway, unless you encounter a really strong headwind. This feature changes the shift points, so it will affect your mileage.
IF you look at a class C, the first thing you want to do is to try backing up into a confined area. You will soon realize you can't stick your head out the window and see what is next to you. Sometimes it is hard to judge distance, only with your mirrors.
Actual ride quality may vary, depending on what class A you are looking at, but generally speaking, the wider track in the front is going to give you a little more stability. A class A is much heavier over all. This means a much more rigid frame, which forces the suspension to handle bumps, rather than the frame flexing. OK yes it still flexes, but not as much.
I will also qualify my comments that they are assuming a class C means a van front end. A Super C (such as a Renegade) is a whole nuther ball game, and will quite often out handle and offer better ride quality than a class A.
So, no question you have a sense wire. From the photos, it looks like there is a ground wire, but it looks like the bolt is loose. Please tell me that is just the way the photo looks and the ground lug is tight. Make sure the crimp is tight. WD40 may not be the best. While it displaces water, it does not enhance the electrical connection. A quick and dirty solution just for testing would be to jumper the sense wire to the power lug. This would prevent over voltage condition and it would probably charge OK. The charging may be a little weak, but it would work properly for a temporary test. If jumpering the sense wire brings the voltage back to normal, Do NOT replace your alternator, as it is not the source of the problem. While less costly repair, it may take some time to figure out where the bad connection is.
Many coaches have no provision from the factory for charging the chassis battery except from the alternator. NOT good if coach is stored for more than a week or so at a time due to parasitic loads. Yes, one could install a battery disconnect on the chassis battery, but even then, the self-discharge rate would eventually catch up with them. My coach sits from the end of December to the March or April without being started or the chassis battery being charged. There is not any provision for charging the chassis battery other than the alternator. In 13 years of doing this, I have not ever had a problem starting the coach from the chassis battery after sitting for that amount of time. Coach always cranks right over and starts. I'm not sure how old my chassis battery is. I'm pretty sure I replaced it at some point in those 13 years, but I can't remember when. That is the longest time my coach sits, and the battery has always been fine. Of course, in 2 weeks when I fire it up for Easter, I could have to return to this thread and admit something, but based on passed experience, probably not.
The only load I know of is the ECM. This is the reason you do not want to disconnect your chassis battery. The ECM learns a lot of things about the condition of your engine and transmission. Most of the time, you do not want it to forget that information, as it may take several hundred miles to figure everything out again.
The first page of this may be useful as well. Apparently some 21SI are set up for single wire and some are not.
Nothing wrong with selling them to a gravel trucking company or a dump truck, garbage truck, or concrete trucking company. Many of these companies will wear the tires out in a year or so, due to the harsh environment. Some of these trucks never see freeway speeds, so the stress is much different. The off road environment chews up the tread long before the age of the tire is a concern.
External voltage regulators have not be commonly used for a million years. The problem is that just because the voltage regulator is internal does not mean that the voltage sensing is internal. There are 2 types of regulator sensing methods. Generally speaking, the more recent designs are internally sensing. The older ones are external sensing. On the externally sensing, the sensing usually goes to a power distribution block. It is very likely you have a poor connection on the plug or the wiring to the alternator. I would suggest reading here to get some kind of idea of how they work:
I have to think somewhere along the line, your sense wire has a poor connection.
RVs can be a little tricky as they have a battery isolator. Some of the older battery isolators had a significant voltage drop, so you always wanted your sense wire at the battery, not before the isolator. Old tired connections and longer wire runs common to RVs just make the problems worse.
ON Edit: I realized I'm getting too old to just work from memory any more. I misstated where the sense wire goes. The field goes to the light, the sense wire goes to some power distribution block.
I've heard that copper is not the best thing to use in an RV because it is more prone to cracking due to vibration. The theory is that the more you flex copper, the more rigid it becomes. Eventually it looses its elasticity, and eventually cracks.
Check out Renegade. As a toy hauler, you can get a pretty big garage, with a large area over the garage. Something in that class is going to ride well enough, you probably won't be able to tell you are rolling down the road.
The F53 is know for a harsh ride. Supposedly the newer versions are much better, but maybe not enough to make a difference. One thing you have working against you is that you have a shorter chassis, which means less weight. It could very well be that your suspension is designed for a much longer, heavier coach. According to other F53 owners who have posted here, better shocks will help. Secondly, I would look into something like Morryde or Sulastic spring shackles. Sulastic may not list the F53, but last time I talked to them, they were willing to make anything. Sulastic will be fairly inexpensive compared to other solutions.
If you are going to install anything, install a motoraid. Using the engine heat to heat the hot water gives you a great starting point. Once the water is hot, it tends to stay hot, and takes very little propane to keep it that way. The reality is, your propane water heater is able to keep up with any flow rate your RV can use. In some way it is already like a tankless, except you have to start with it hot in the first place. That is why I like my motoraid.
You mentioned windshields which is also a common problem. A few years back, my dad's 2004 Allegro had the windshield separate from the top. The hole was large enough to put your hand through. Seems like over time, the fiberglass shifts and the window doesn't. The only way to fix it is remove the window and reinstall it straight with the hole.
Just have a couple of large, black trash sacks. You want the large size that will fit down over the whole CG pedestal.
Did that trick 2 weeks ago at the Perry FMCA Convention. 4 coaches plugged in, all using adapters. I just put a trash sack over the pedestal-- rained a couple of days, but none of the connections got wet.A variation would just be to throw a small plastic trash can over the whole pedestal, or a 5 gallon bucket.
I've never worried about it. The only thing I have really paid attention to is when I have had to have an extension cord which laid on the ground. When that is necessary, I usually kick the leaves away from the plug, so nothing can catch fire. I figure even if it were to short out, it might burn the plug, but nothing catastrophic would happen, as long as there are no flammables near by.