Are abandoning your Andersen?
I am indeed abandoning my Andersen, and will detail the issues I've had with it in a posting with pictures later on. I'm still waiting to hear anything from Andersen regarding my issues, but didn't have time to wait on them as I'm doing another moderately long road trip in a few days. Basically, I've had trouble with the adapter a couple times with the dealers equipment damaging it. (Replaced), the bed of my truck isn't tough enough for the Andersen, especially backing uphill, trying to back over a curb etc. It also trashed my pin box being the Lippert 1621 box bottom plate isn't strong enough for all the pin weight to be carried totally on the two set screws closest to the ball. The other two don't actually carry any weight when you think about it. I liked the light weight, but straight up I don't feel the hitch capable of handling a 15.5k 5er for any real distance, or on anything but flat smooth roads with no bumps, panic stops etc.
If you don't intend to do extended stays without hookups on a regular basis, Solar isn't worth it in my opinion. You're going to need a generator anyway due to the unreliable nature of Solar. I currently have 600 watts of panels on the roof, and this weekend for instance, Friday and Saturday were heavy rain, with a low heavy cloud cover. We also had the grandson with us, so the TV was in use a lot more than usual, and we kept the furnace at a quite comfortable setting during the day, and the rain turned to snow Saturday night so the furnace ran quite a bit at night, especially since I kept the thermostat higher than normal since the grandson was in his "spiderman Sleeping bag" and he got cold. My solar panels didn't put much back into the batteries, and without the generator we wouldn't have been able to keep the furnace and my bipap running three days, let alone the entertainment devices. That said, the wife and I alone do a good job of holing up in bad weather with just a book.
Regarding your big generator, you might want to look into a smaller inverter type if you don't need the AC.
I've doubled towed both light aluminum boats, and ATV's behind a TT for years. You really need to take the time to set things up right though as they are a little more prone to sway than a TT itself. I even found I could launch the boat with both trailers and then head to the campsite. I'd do it this way as the boat trailer was easy to move around by hand without the boat.
The warranty runs out on my current 5er next month, and when that happens I'll have a hitch added back there to tow my UTV as well. Keeping under 65 feet total length which is the requirement in my area might be tough though.
As has been already mentioned, measure and make sure the hitch you are getting has the adjustability you need for a level ride, rail clearance etc. I didn't do my due diligence and just had to order a new pin box, and a new hitch as a result of my bad choice in requesting my current hitch despite the misgivings of my dealer. I ordered a B&W the middle of last week, received the base Friday, with a scheduled delivery of the top half and the new pin box tomorrow. Was a little bit disappointed in the packaging of the base which resulted in loss of some of the hardware, and several areas of the powder coating being scratched off. Just cosmetic and not worth trying to send it back over, but annoying on a new toy. That said, it's really solid, with the downside of also being quite heavy. Good luck, and congratulations on the new rig.
Other than maybe the noise, I can't understand why not just use the furnace. I traded my Timber Ridge 240RKS in last year, and find I miss it for camping in the colder winter. It was reasonably well insulated, and the furnace, although loud seemed fairly efficient as we only went through a couple tanks or so a year mostly dry camping, 45-60 nights a year. We used the rig down several times in below zero temps. I understand the electric heater when in a campground with hookups, but not sure of the why the gas given the downsides of ventless heaters.
It's definitely time to start sorting out the heating though. On this weekends trip for us, the nights were well below freezing and we got a little snow as well. Another month or so and it will be time to head south for any camping we might do.
Formaldehyde can be tested for, had a family member that had issues with new laminate flooring. That said, I would be quite surprised if you were getting significant levels this long after the wood products in your trailer were manufactured.
Being as how I haven't stayed in a Holiday Inn express being as how I have an RV, I like others will have to recommend a medical professional, and possibly having testing done on the trailer
Thanks guys, Ordered the 5th Airborne and a B&W hitch this afternoon. Was promised it would be here in time for me to have a whole weekend to install and adjust. As mentioned, chucking hasn't been significant for me so far, but being as how I needed a new pin box, I thought it best to add some protection to the equipment if possible. Hoping to do Alaska in the next couple years, amongst other longer trips where the roads will possibly be less than optimal.
I have a longer road trip coming up in a couple weeks and am in need of a new pin box prior to departing. I need to get something on order right away as I'll need to do the installation weekend after next. I'm thinking it would be wise to add a suspension type box, which while my trailer currently doesn't chuck or ride bad I feel it might be worthwhile from a trailer longevity perspective. Next year we retire and intend to start doing a little more travel. We only managed about 5k mileage wise this year.
If it makes any difference, I'll also be swapping out my Andersen Ultimate for a B&W puck version so the trail air flex is an option. My concerns with that pin box is ride height as I'm afraid I would be nose high with that pin box and a B&W set at the lowest setting which from what I can determine should be about the same height on lowest setting as my current hitch.
5th Airborne? Trail air. Which would be the lowest maintenance most bullet proof, and provide the most comfortable ride for both me and the 5er?
My fifth wheel is listed as 32 foot and change by Heartland, actual outside length right at 38 feet not counting the ladder. I'd say approximately 60 percent of the forest service campgrounds in my area are unavailable to me do to issues getting into the campground itself, or in some cases the access roads themselves. Most state parks and commercial campgrounds in this area are no problem. My wife likes the bigger RV's, I much prefer smaller. Wife likes RV resorts, I prefer small remote camping areas.
As for towing, my 3500 2015 Ram SRW truck handles the 15.5k GVW with no problems. I've pulled over the mountain at Rocky mountain National park, several other passes in Colorado, down to Havasu Az, and all over Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nv etc. The gearing on the truck is a little tall so in effect it's only a 5 speed towing. Stability wise, especially with the factory air rear suspension its solid as a rock through the curves, wind, and handles quite well even pulling the mountain passes in the snow and ice.
I have 5 of the Grape solar panels on the roof of my fiver, and 6th to install if/when I ever get the rig back out of the shop. mine are flat mounted on the roof. I installed them earlier this year, and haven't used them in any cold temps yet, but the average mid day output has been pretty consistently right around 5 amps per panel. They generally maintain that output for 2 to 3 hours, with slow drop offs on either side of mid day. Shade, clouds etc of course result in less, sometime considerably less.
Your advise to be prepared to respond quickly to dangerous situations. I was on the receiving end of a terrorist bombing in the middle east back in my military days. As a result, I sleep with a flashlight and shoes where they will still be reachable should an earthquake, or manmade disaster turn out the lights and scatter debris all over in such a way as to make rapid egress possible. I also find myself keeping very aware of escape routes wherever I go. Hopefully learning of your misfortune can help others plan and be prepared should similar situations happen to them.
There is no all encompassing answer for that question as there are far to many variables. First, batteries deteriorate over time. If left in a discharged state, this can happen rapidly, but it varies with degree of discharge. Batteries also loose a little life every time they are discharged, with the amount again a variable based on how deeply they were discharged, and how soon, and how they were re charged. How rapidly the battery is discharged can affect life expectancy, and again how rapidly they were recharged can have an affect.
That said, I try and do a fair job of maintaining my batteries but do end up abusing them from time to time. 30 to 60 days average camping with 12 volt group 24's and I get somewhere between 5 and 9 years of useable life. Never had one start showing significant loss of performance in less than 5 years. A couple may have lasted past 9 but I get rid of my older batteries when I trade out rigs.
The article did not reference any suspects or if they were on vacation or not. Could just as easy been local hooligans
I'm familiar with the Goblin Valley State Park incident. These miscreants were actually adult scout LEADERS. I watched video of it (yes, they actually posted it) and they were having a good time. Later, when called to account, they claimed that they were only knocking it over because it was a "safety issue" for hikers. How outrageous is that? These idiots set the example for our young, impressionable scouts? The justice system should have made examples out of THEM. We have raised a generation of IDIOTS. WTH did we go wrong?
The Goblin Valley "Scout Leaders" were idiots. Fortunately, the lost their scout leader positions, and Taylor, the guy actually tipping over the rock was had his disability lawsuit labeled as most ridiculous suit of the year. He had claimed severe back injuries from a previous crash.
My thinking is that if you don't know whether you need 4 wheel drive or not, you don't need it. Personally I tow quite often in the snow wouldn't be without it there. When empty, the handling on dirt roads, snow etc is considerably better with the 4 wheel drive when engaged, provided you remember while you have better controllability, it doesn't help with braking.
On the downside, when you get stuck in the sand or mud with a diesel 4X4 you tend to really be stuck and are going to have a heck of a hard time getting out. The newer 4X4 pickups also tend to have a ton of expensive stuff underneath that is easy to hit or damage, and they tend to be very long so they aren't really a good choice for off-roading. The other downside is that the suspension on 1 ton trucks are terrible when it comes to travel, and ability to keep the tires planted on rough roads when empty. They ride and handle terrible on dirt roads, especially the washboarded ones. I wouldn't be without 4X4, but they aren't necessarily for everyone.
For those of you using the Andersen, how much distortion has it caused so far to the base of your pin box? I'm not talking surface marks on the plate, but bending and bowing, especially around the two set screws on the ball side of the adapter.
I'm in the very early stages of my solar project taking small steps and doing all the install myself. I bought two Crown CR-240 6 volt batteries for $135 each new and wired them in series. Based on what I have read they are some of the best wet cell batteries around and U.S. made. Just this past weekend I added a TM-2030-RV battery monitor.
Your TM-2030 married to a SC-2030 from bogart engineering as well would make a great solar charge controller for a smaller (30 amp or less) system. I initially installed mine with 500 watts of panels, but have just added a 6th panel to take me up to 600 watts. With flat mounted panels, it seems to be a good match. Be advised though the SC 2030 controller is only a good option with the so called 12 volt panels which tend to be slightly more expensive per watt than some of the bigger panels out there. I paid $1.10 for mine with tax delivered.
The trimetric 2030 has an adjustable low voltage alarm, a wide variety of adjustability, will auto re-set when the battery fully charges, and will interface with the SC2030 solar charger if you choose at a later time to go with a 30 amp or less solar system (60 amp option with two chargers and limited to 12 volt panels).
As for the smartgauge, or other voltage based devices, the debate on how to measure battery SOC has gone on for years. There is a lot to be said for voltage based calculation such as used by the smartgauge, but it has shortfalls, and can only tell you state of charge, not necessarily a meaningful "Remaining energy capacity" of the battery. Depending on battery condition XX percent could mean a lot of things.
Current flow based instrumentation does a great job of telling you what has gone into and come out of a battery, but again knowing that may or may not be useful in telling you how much useable energy you have in the battery, and if looking soley at current in/out you may not be getting an accurate idea of SOC.
Neither knowing voltage, or current in/out is ideal for determining when a battery is fully charged, so chargers, and some battery gauges use combinations of reading. The Trimetric 2030 for instance determines fully charged based on both battery voltage, and current flow at that voltage.
Voltage based system gives you an easily understood state of charge reading, but no real information as to how much current has gone into and come out of the battery. Current biased monitoring devices tell you about current in and out, and virtually always have a voltage function which is very useful in determining state of charge, especially since you can see battery voltage under specific load. You have to understand the relationship though and apply it to your battery setup, which for many isn't as quick and easy. Either system if utilized correctly should enable you to better maintain your batteries.
Antelope island is the best for access to the water, but the lake level has been low the last couple years so it's a fair walk through the former lake bottom to get to the water. Depending on how you look at it the brine flies making the ground almost look like it's moving is really neat, or creepy. Many go out to the water and swim, but being a dead lake I'm not much inclined. The biting nats get really bad by May most years, and tend to stay till the temps regularly hit 90 plus. You still have brine and horse flies after that. Out on the Island the lake smell isn't that bad most of the time. It can be as you first hit the causeway though. The island has some trophy dear, antelope, a large buffalo herd, lots of birds etc. They had a large fire a couple months back that burned a lot of the island so it will be interesting to see where the animals hang out now as opposed to before the fire. The two campgrounds are dry camping. There are shower facilities at the beach.
Willard bay is actually a fresh water reservoir on the edge of the Salt Lake. It's a very popular boating area, but the bugs can be bad on the shore. As far as the campground, it's right off the freeway, and the other side of the exit has a flying J so you hear the semi jake brakes through all hours of the night as the exit for fuel.
The comment referring to destroying the outcropping because of falling off and breaking an ankle just seems to reflect the attitude of so many lately. Folks can't accept or take any personal responsibility for their own actions, someone else, or some thing must be to blame.
I'm for the really big penalties for stuff like this.