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 > Your search for posts made by 'Desert Captain' found 441 matches.

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  Subject Author Date Posted Forum
RE: The joys of owning a TT.

B O A T = Break out another thousand.... don't ask me how I know. :B
Desert Captain 10/01/15 07:48am Travel Trailers
RE: Buying a Class C

Most class C's that you'll be looking at will be built on a Ford chassis. There's nothing wrong with it; it's a solid and reliable design. I used to think I agreed with the above comment about the Ford chassis. HOWEVER, this past August really shook me up: The 2005 E450 V10 Ford chassis under our 2005 24 foot Itasca Class C surprised me, our regular mechanic, and a highly recommended transmission shop owner by blowing it's computer controlled, 5-6 speed, TorqShift, 5R110 transmission with only about 51K miles on the rig. Installed replacement cost for a heavy duty optioned remanufactured (new ones are no longer available) 5R110 transmission was well over 5K. So ..... be aware. It's a mystery as why this happened. I now drive up grades a bit slower and invoke the TOW/HAUL mode very carefully to prevent those sudden automatic gear-downs when on down-grades ... just in case those habits had anything to do with it. I had assumed that an under-loaded E450 chassis supporting only a 24 foot Class C - with which I rarely tow only a small aluminimum boat - would be bullet-proof, including it's 5R110 transmission! That may .... or may not .... be true. :h P.S. Do Chevy 3500/4500 van transmissions ever fail mysteriously? Phil, sorry to hear about your trans can you enlighten us as to the specific circumstances of the failure? I know you like to load it up pretty good with all of the rock hounding you do which of course includes a lot of off roading. Were you running conventional or pure synthetic trans fluid? What exactly "blew"? Was it electronics/computer controls or gears in pieces? :E I have gone to running in Tow Haul about 90% of the time as we are now running heavier than we used to and towing the 960# trailer/bike. I have yet to experience the so called "sudden automatic gear downs" that you and others have described. The downshifts we get when in TH are always smooth and quite predictable, generally a light tap on the brakes will drop it down one more gear but never more than that. I don't remember if you have a Scan Gauge - if so what sort of temps were you typically seeing (from the trans)? Did you get any engine codes prior to the failure (if so which ones)? Good luck with the news trans but if not here perhaps a detailed thread on your experience could/would help the rest of us with what for me has been the perfect trans. :C
Desert Captain 09/30/15 01:44pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: The joys of owning a TT.

If the lid on your rig is 3 years old or more (assuming it isn't stored indoors 6 months of the year), go ahead and buy a replacement. Climb up on the roof and check to see what type of hinge it has. There are about half a dozen different styles and the replacement needs to match up (a pic from your cell phone will help when you are looking at all the different replacement available at your local RV parts store). Most lids need to be accessed from inside for replacement, remove the outer frame, (from the inside of the coach which usually involves 4 Torx, square headed screws), disconnect the handle and drop the screen. Now you can slide the lifting strut out of the track on the lid. Once that is clear go back up and just slide the lid out of its track/hinge and replace with the new one. Reverse the disassembly steps and you should be done in about 15 minutes total. If it hasn't gone totally brittle and self destructed after 3 years it soon will. Some of the replacements are of a much stronger/heavier plastic and are sold as "un breakable" (???) For a few extra dollars I think they are worth it. As noted above an exterior cover from Max Air (or whoever), will add years to the life of your vent cover and allow for full use in inclement weather. :C
Desert Captain 09/30/15 12:56pm Travel Trailers
RE: Transmission Temps and a better cooler.

Scan Gauge will display Ford trans fluid temperature through the "X" gauge function. Go to their website or better yet just give them call. Different years/models will require different codes but they are easy to enter at set up. If you don't know your trans fluid temp then just keep it in Tow Haul on anything but a flat or mild downhill grade. Even a slight grade, 2 - 3%, can elevate your trans fluid temps after just a couple of miles. :C
Desert Captain 09/28/15 09:35am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Transmission Temps and a better cooler.

As long as your trans temps come back down when the load is reduced things are working as they should. Any trans under load will generate higher temps, 215 to 230 for brief periods should not be a problem. I recently saw 230 for about 30 seconds but we were climbing out of Panamint Springs in Death Valley with an ambient temp of 104(fully loaded and pulling a 960# trailer/motorcycle). As soon as I backed off the throttle dropping us back to 40 mph from 45 the temp dropped like a stone and the engine coolant temp never rose above 220. This was a very rare event with normal operating trans fluid temps running around 185 to 210 on our 2012 E-350, V-10 (24' Class C), with the 5 speed Torque Shift trans. I did switch to pure synthetic trans fluid when I bought the coach and that certainly helps. The key to this equation is to know what your trans temps are, (I use a Scan Gauge), and then engage the Tow Haul mode sooner rather than later to help control/dissipate the heat before it becomes an issue. As always..... Opinions and YMMV. :C
Desert Captain 09/27/15 09:41pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Albuquerque to Silver City NM

Do NOT attempt to take the 152 with your rig. We just drove it again about a month ago. Continue down I 25 to Hatch to 26 and connect with the 180 at that point. The drive over the Mimbres mountains is spectactular but that road will NOT accommodate a rig the size of yours. There are numerous switchbacks posted at 15 to 25 and they are not kidding. There are 6 that are posted at 10 mph and there is NO way you will be able to keep your rig from going well over the double yellow line (repeatedly). :E There are a couple of low bridges, around 12' 6" (as I recall), which could be just another reason to not attempt this road. Once you get to Silver City unhook and drive your truck back over the 152, it is worth your time if you like spectacular roads. Take this drive in your truck and then tell me I'm wrong... you won't. :B :C
Desert Captain 09/27/15 06:26pm Roads and Routes
RE: Arizona State Park camping fees

I forgot to point out that all of the State Parks I mentioned have hot showers, flush toilets and spectacular views from their large sites. All of the AZ State Parks offer on line reservations which during the high (snowbird), season or holiday weekends are a very good idea. It is nice to arrive knowing a beautiful site awaits. :C
Desert Captain 09/26/15 01:29pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Arizona State Park camping fees

Wow! Doesn't look like I will be able to stay in State Parks in Arizona. At $30-$33 per night with no discounts available, I'll have to look elsewhere. Guess I'll have to stay in BLM and NF areas! What is included - what type of site for that per night charge? Bare bones or full hook-up??? Most of the Arizona State Parks offer water and electric and some even have full hook ups. We were at Buckskin Mountain SP last week and it was $30 for W&E, $33 for FHU's. This for a gorgeous park right on the Colorado River, lots of huge shade trees, grass and nice white sand beaches along the river. Patagonia Lake, Roper Lake and Lost Dutchman are three more of our favorites and you usually have the option of non electric sites for around $17 with all of them having free dump stations. Compared to much of the rest of the country Arizona is a bargain and the best part is we can use the parks year round... we just select the altitude that coincides with the weather. :B
Desert Captain 09/26/15 11:14am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: What did you do to your Class C MH today???

Got the coach in to complete the cosmetic side of the previous fiberglass repair. They did a paint match today, sanded out the surrounding area, repainted and applied some clear coat. It needs to dry/set up for a couple of days and then I will buff it out with some polishing compound. I'll post before and after pics when its done. :C
Desert Captain 09/24/15 02:20pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: How/Where Do You Inflate Your Tires?

Most tire chain stores and quite a few independents will be happy to check and air up your tires. Try and catch them when they are not busy, as in not on a Saturday morning. Their equipment is probably a lot better (more pressure/accurate), than anything most of us carry. Usually in and out in about 5 - 10 minutes. I stop in a couple of days before any serious trip and usually it just takes a couple of pounds to get back to where they need to be. On some trips we may load a lot heavier/lighter than others so this allows the pressure to be matched to the appropriate load for that particular trip. I do carry a Husky 120 volt portable compressor. It is loud and takes a while to get a tire back up to pressure but at $28 (Home Depot), combined with its small size it is worth having. :C
Desert Captain 09/22/15 09:47am Tech Issues
RE: New Class C owner stability control??

Just got back from my first trip in our NEW Thor Chateau 31E Motorhome and I must say there were a few white knuckle experiences. It was rather windy the first day. So I have went and purchased a Roadmaster Reflex steering stabilizer and a Hellwig rear sway bar hoping this will help out a lot. Have any of you tried these products on your Class C? They came highly recommended and I want to enjoy this RV not be scared to drive it. We bought it to head across country and to enjoy the camping life style again. We had a travel trailer back in the 90's and loved it. Now the kids are grown and its our time. Hope to get these installed next week before our next trip. Your post illustrates the necessity for a thorough test drive Before buying any RV, new or used. Any rig, especially a new one, that needs thousands of dollars of of suspension modifications right off the dealers lot is the wrong product. A simple check of the tire pressures before the test drive is essential. You can split the difference between the dry weight and the GVWR as a starting g point (for an empty coach) and set the psi accordingly based upon the tire manufacturers recommendations. Run from any dealer who balks at doing this. A test drive should include some serious interstate time at a variety of speeds, hopefully on a windy day. How does it respond to passing 18 wheelers? How is the visibility (blind spots)? A run up and down a healthy grade, 6% would be ideal but probably not available). Does it track in a straight line without steering input? It should. Often merely getting the tire pressures correct and perhaps a proper alignment (which most rigs do not come with), will negate any need to spend thousands of dollars on after market bolt on solutions {which may or may not work}. As always.... opinions and YMMV. :C
Desert Captain 09/21/15 07:26pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Phoenix to Chula Vista

Thanks Desert Captain and More to See for the tips, info and the votes of confidence! Is it 4 lanes the entire route? You're welcome and yes. :B
Desert Captain 09/20/15 06:50pm Class A Motorhomes
RE: Phoenix to Chula Vista

If you can comfortably drive Phoenix to Flagstaff going to San Diego (Chula Vista), will hold no terror. There are a number of long 6%+ grades but Interstate 8 is in good shape. Take 85 south off of I 10 west of Phoenix and pick up I 8 at Gila Bend. The worst part of the drive is that it is mostly boring. We live in Tucson, originally from San Diego and over the last 10 years have made that drive nearly 50 times. Fuel up in Yuma as California gas prices are far higher. I 8 from Dome Valley to the border, is a serious speed trap but doubt that would be an issue for you in your coach. :C
Desert Captain 09/20/15 05:47pm Class A Motorhomes
Notes from the road, things that really work:

Just returned from a 2,000+ mile trip from Tucson up to northern California (Grass Valley/Nevada City). We had a blast panning for gold, playing golf, motorcycle rides through the twisties of northern California with a lot of quality time with friends and family. This trip highlighted a number of things that work so well I cannot imagine anyone running without them so here are a few of my favorites:. The new set of Bilsteins were awesome! It seems you never really realize how bad your shocks have gotten until you replace them. A week before leaving I went with one level up/stiffer per the Biletein/Shock Warehouse recommendations as we run near our GVWR of 11,500 and usually tow a smaller trailer/motorcycle (960#). The improvement in ride and handling was dramatic. The original shocks lasted 32,000 miles so no complaints with Ford but our E-350 rides so much smoother now. Worth every penny ($396 delivered to my door, no tax or freight and $267 to have them installed by a local truck service shop). Once again our Scan Gauge was priceless. We did lots of serious climbing up and over the Sierra Nevada's and even did a run through Death Valley off of 395 (west to east). :E The forecast said a high of 82 but by 1015 it was well north of 100. The ability to monitor trans fluid and coolant temps was priceless. Once again our Rand McNally LM 7720 GPS kept us informed on just about anything we needed to know (mileage, CG's, altitude, gas stations etc..). Find a full featured GPS , the brand really doesn't matter, just one you are comfortable working with and take full advantage of the multitude of features they offer. The Max Air power vent located over the rear queen where our princess, (10 year old retired Greyhound), resides throughout every trip, kept her cool and comfortable. We just set the vent to "out", turn the fan to 2 (out of 3), and the cool air from the dash is pulled back through the coach. We spent a couple of days at Buckskin Mountain SP just south of the Parker dam on the Colorado River and saw day time temps of 96 - 98 (the river was a very pleaseant 81 degrees). My $10.97 (Walmart, where else?), DC, oscillating fan enhanced the the AC which easily kept us 18 - 20 degrees cooler than the outside ambient temperature. The Campfire in a Can gave us a nice fire at my friends house as burning wood was strictly forbidden and other than a few pieces of construction scrap we don't carry fire wood on long (multi state), trips. Every drop of water going into the tank ran through the external filter keeping the coffee tasting better than Starbucks and we used the outside shower repeatedly in the warmer weather for a quick cool off that added nothing to the grey tank. The Blue Tooth speaker gave us great sound without disturbing any neighbors. Campbell Cove RV Park in Lake Havesu (Passport America - $20), Brown's Town in Bishop - 2 nights at $30, Lakeside Casino in Pahrump (New owners but again PA got us a $16 FHU rate), and two more nights at Buckskin Mountain SP at $30 a night. All were very nice with every amenity we needed and convenient to our travels. We spent 6 nights in CG's/RV Parks averaging $26 a night but the remaining 14 nights were spent at the friends and Family RV Parks for free making for a very economical trip. We averaged our usual 9.5 mpg and spent $600 on fuel as prices varied quite a bit. We avoided buying fuel in California every chance we got as Nevada and Arizona were much more reasonable (ya gotta love having a 55 gallon tank on a 24' C). Here is a shot of our Friends and Family (free) FHU RV site at my friends house, which sits on 6 (obviously gorgeous) acres and yes, we did pull some gold from the creek that runs through his property a couple of hundred feet below our rig: http://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii362/Captottersea/IMG_0839_zps91p2pcvc.jpg This was our third consecutive year for this trip and we look forward to returning next year. :B
Desert Captain 09/19/15 07:46pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Blueridge Parkway questions

I'm going to talk about the south end of the parkway. From Asheville NC west. Don't tow the parkway! Stay in the area, unhook and go drive the parkway in the truck. It's a great road for sightseeing but leave the camper at the campgrounds. The tunnels are arched and not lighted. Also the trees are not cut back and you'll have to dodge tree limbs. You'll be worried about hitting your roof all the time. There's people on bicycles you'll have to pass in the tunnels and lots of motorcycles. Most of the tunnels on the south end of the parkway are curved so you can't just drive down the middle of the road because "nothing is coming". The hills are no big deal if you downshift but it's not a road to have a large RV on. Anyone who says otherwise is reckless and giving bad advice. I now I ride it all the time on a motorcycle. OH! and whatever you do, don't take hwy 129 in Tennessee to get there. That road is called "the dragon". It's 318 curves in 11 miles and you'll wish you'd never started down it because once you start down the road there is NO PLACE to turn around. Watch this: The Dragon X10 Very good advice. Do not listen to the fools who tell you to simply drive down the center of the tunnels for extra clearance. It is a double yellow line for a number of very good reasons. If you can not keep all of your rig in your lane ALL of the time you have no business being on that road. :S
Desert Captain 09/18/15 08:13pm General RVing Issues
RE: Sales tax question

In some states(Arizona being one), there is no sales tax on private party sales. Also if you trade in at a dealer you only pay sales tax on the difference. :C
Desert Captain 09/18/15 12:00pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Looking for cheap thrills?

Thanks for the tip but my trans is still full up. As long as it cools down when the load is reduced everything is working fine. Living in the desert we see a lot of 100+ days and I replaced the trans fluid with pure synthetic which certainly helps. I can't imagine running without a Scan Gauge or similar device to monitor coolant and trans fluid temps. By keeping the trans in Tow Haul for about 90% of the trip the V-10 and Torque Shift tranny stay happy and even running near our 11,500# GVWR and towing the 960# trailer/bike combo we are getting our usual 9.5 mpg. :C
Desert Captain 09/18/15 10:41am Roads and Routes
Looking for cheap thrills?

Try Death Valley west to east starting on 395 and go back eastbound on 136. Fairly benign for the first hour or so until you start down to Panamint Springs. We just did three weeks in the southern Rockies last month and never incurred anything half as scary as this stretch. :E. Sheer drop off's of a thousand feet + with no shoulder and few guard rails. My bride said the views were awesome but 210% of my attention was on that very narrow road! Once you bottom out east of Panamint Springs you get to climb back up the roughly 5,000' you just dropped. My V-10 powered 2012 24' C has power to spare but this grade pushed it to the limits. We cleared the summit at 40 mph after backing down from 45 as the trans fluid temp reached 230 degrees. Admittedly, despite a forecast high of 82 it was s little north of 100 by 1030 AM. The drop down into the bottom of DV is a little easier if you keep it in second or third gear and you get to enjoy a little bit more of the view. The climb out to the east is a piece of cake compared to the the westbound exit of the valley. Saw a couple of large fivers headed west and wished them well. Bottom line... Glad I did it, had not been to DV since I was 10. Would I do it again (west to east, anytime soon?), I don't think so. :B
Desert Captain 09/17/15 06:02pm Roads and Routes
RE: RV Fuel Issues & Prices - Post 'Em Here!

Regular is $4.79 in Lee Vining (eastern Sierra's above Mono Lake). Carson City, just an hour up the road was $2.55... Guess where I fueled up??? :C
Desert Captain 09/15/15 05:53pm General RVing Issues
RE: California sr 87 -Traffic ticket!

The fact that he asked whether his citation was a safety concern or revenue generator is the reason for some of the harsh criticism. Whether the harshness is warranted may depend on your encounters with vehicles traveling toward you over the center line. Bingo, we have a winner. Until you have come around a tight corner/switchback and found a 40' Class A, pulling a toad over the double yellow line, 6' into your lane with no shoulder you might just be tolerant of the folks who figure laws/rules are for other people. I am not. BTDT. :M If you can't keep your rig in its lane you have no business on that road. For a CHP officer to actually stop and cite, the violation must have been egregious as they have better things to do.
Desert Captain 09/14/15 02:08pm Truck Campers
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