The best source for all things TOAD, or dinghy as they refer to them/
Every year make model can be different, some no way, some with alterations. This guide will tell you exactly what your friend needs. I see where past issues are for sale for $1.99? The last few years are still free. A quick google may find you a free copy out there in cyber world.
Dinghy Towing Guide Archive
I look at things a little differently, I guess.
We ask ourselves, "What discount should I get?" or "What should my payment be?" Good questions to ask.
We have a fun budget for things we are going to do. This included typical vacations without RVs before. It now includes the MH and the associated trips we take with it. So, our payment with all the other added vacation expenses should not exceed our leisure budget.
Having said that, when considering financing, just ask yourself if it fits into your budget and how much interest you are willing to pay.
The interest-money question is the only difference than the cash-money RV scenario. Someone who pays cash is out the full amount right now. If I gave them a no-interest option with no penalties, no fees. etc... to pay over time, they would probably jump on that.
So, how much interest do you want to pay?
If those numbers fit, you should be good.
It would help if you had enough down payment to ensure you would never owe more than it is worth. If not, that's asking for trouble.
A lot of people say only pay cash which is hard to do. If two persons bought the exact same MH, for let's say $150,000, the cash buyer pays 150K. If financed, by the time that same MH is paid off you might pay $200K. (hopefully not that bad of a bank deal)
Is that MH worth $200K to you? That is the biggest question you should answer once you say you can afford it.
We could have bought a $40,000 MH with cash. We chose to put that down on a brand new one and pay interest. By the time our $111K MH is paid for, we will pay no more than $24K in interest. Not to mention it should be worth somewhat more than a $40K used MH would be if liquidated some time down the line.
The bank loves us. We love our MH. Everybody is happy.
Would the memories have been the same? Who knows, but there is some piece of mind that comes with buying new.
Our brand new MH could blow an engine tomorrow. Could happen, but it is under warranty for 5/60. That's less likely to happen than the $40,000-cash used MH blowing something serious.
Some people just don't like paying the bank, and I get that.
I don't care who the money goes to. I just figure out how much $$$ is it worth to us and go from there. I would never stretch our budget for a toy. It should fit into your: "I'm throwing this amount away on fun" budget.
Some people pay cash and then can't afford to put gas in it? I have seen cases on the forums where someone paid cash on a used MH and then had to raid their retirement fund to replace a blown engine on a DP? Ouch.
It is all the price we pay to enjoy this lifestyle.
From my 7000, owners manual, three blinks is a service level code.
Press the stop button once more. You will get the code. It will be a 2-digit code. The light will blink X times and then XX more times.
Check your owners manual for the codes for your Onan. I think they are pretty uniform from one model to another but can't be sure.
You mentioned financing so:
I don't know if financing works like on cars, but new verses used you usually get a better interest rate on new. This is more true if you are comparing brand spanking new to several years old.
The older you go, the more depreciation you save. If you are going to resell in a few years, you will lose some of that depreciation savings on resale value. Keep it a long time, the savings is real, because both coaches eventually depreciate to residual value. Eventually, a well-kept coach levels out at what it is worth which is next to nothing compared to what it cost new -Arghh.
I would think Florida and Arizona and the like are the mecca for shopping used. Where I live, not so much. I found that for what we were looking for, we had to drive hours to look at used or new.
We bought new so we could get exactly what we wanted. We ordered it, had a few changes made, so we have one of a kind which is worth exactly nothing in the resale world. To us, it was worth the extra expense.
Onan has a newer option for self-installation. It's pricey. About $525 from a quick search. You might have to buy a wire harness too. I'm not sure on the price of that.
From the Onan website:
– Starts and stops the generator as required to maintain battery health
– Will only start the generator if shorepower is NOT present
– Automatic generator turn on to meet air conditioning demands if coach gets too hot
– Wireless - RV owners can install themselves
Introducing the newest RV power generation solution -- Energy Command™ AutoStart . The EC-30W is the first autostart system specifically designed for RV owners to install themselves. This provides worry-free control for most Cummins Onan diesel, gas, or LP generators. While high-end diesel RVs have added autostart as a factory option in recent years, most RVers who could use an autostart system on their existing RV don’t have one. Because the EC-30W is wireless, the average RV owner can install it on their own without paying for installation. At the same time, the EC-30W maintains several features that are unique to the Energy Command family.
Haul travel trailers for money and carry a truck camper for your use. Or pull TT for your use and carry TCs for the money.
Other than that, the travel part will really stink. You gong to pull in a campground and get a sight to sleep in your truck? I guess you could pitch a tent?
What kind of investment is a $5,000 Disney Cruise?
How about $3,000 for a week at Disney World? (probably more really)
How about a $3,000 week at the beach in a condo?
We replaced our travel budget with the TT then switched to a MH. That's how we look at it. If we keep it after it is paid off, the cost per year will start to go down.
In reality, it cost us more than we use to spend on travel, but we travel a whole lot more. We have taken many weekend trips to outdoor destinations that we would have never done without the RV.
Just figure out your family leisure budget and see if an RV fits into that. If there is no room for other trips, commit totally to the RV lifestyle or you shouldn't try. If you have room for RV-ing and other non-RV trips, more power to you. The only destinations I can think of that would be bad in an RV are some big cities. We don't want to go to those anyway. RV-ing at the beach is the best! We reserve ahead and get a site right up front.
We rented some really nice beach houses and condos before we got the RV bug. Don't get me wrong, I loved those vacations, but when we left, I felt like we just threw some big bucks away on rent.
With the RV, we are still "throwing" money away but it's down our very own money pit! There will be some residual value left at the end of ownership. I guess some get stuck sending their RVs off to the dump at the end of the useful life. Most have some value and can be sold.
It's only money. Just figure out if this lifestyle is the way you want to spend it.
What you need to search is the "Cheap Handling Fix" by discoverer/inventor John McKinley.
I don't want to upset the moderators by linking you to another RV forum, but that is where you will find it.
I experienced much improvement from body roll by doing this. Others in the CHF thread will recommend the "fix," a rear track bar and Koni shocks.
With the CHF only, I went from mandatory two hands on the wheel for security to being able to drive 1-handed on the interstate if I choose.
The CHF is doable on chassis newer than the 1999 F-53. Some are just change bolt locations and some need link extensions. One is labor only. The other is a $100 expense. Either way, it's "Cheap."
Many, including myself, have pulled and driven big rigs right to the outskirts of Key West. I would't go into town though.
The Navy campground is at about Mile Marker 2. That is 2 miles from the end of the Overseas Highway, US 1. We have pulled our TT and driven our Class A pulling a Toad to that campground with no problems.
Prepare your route carefully. Real Estate is VALUABLE, so turn around spots are few. Likewise, gas stations are tight, so gas up on the mainland. Gas, as everything else is more expensive in the Keys.
Normally, our black tank can go twice as long as our grey. Just for volume alone, your set up makes sense. Add to that the added benefit of having more water to break down the TP and that makes it even better.
Some boon dockers modify their waste plumbing to be able to transfer grey over to black. You got it for free.
Since all the rigs you mentioned use the same power train, you could pick the lightest weight of those you like. I say that only if power and speed are your priority. Fair warning, if you try to run one of these fast on our roads, it will slowly be vibrated apart in the house.
By the way, I wouldn't pick a Class A gas based on weight. My 2013 has plenty of power and I haven't had any problems loaded down and pulling a Wrangler Unlimited (4 door).
We have been up and down the East coast. We are headed out West this summer, so I will know more then. You will slow down on some hills, but you will not have to putt-putt up them. I regularly pass tractor trailers and rarely have one of them pass me on our decent WV hills.
I would pick the floor plan you like with the amenities you like on that chassis.
If you want to travel 70++ MPH while pulling a Toad and loaded down with 4,000+ pounds of stuff, you might want to look diesel. If you don't mind cresting a hill at 60MPH with some power to spare, the gasser will do you just fine.
Also, check the Cargo Carrying Capacity very closely. All Ford motorhome chassis are not the same. If you are considering a MH that weighs around 19,000 pounds, check to see if it is on the 22,000-lb chassis or the 24,000-lb chassis. That will make a big difference as to how much weight you can load and/or pull.
One manufacturer may roll out 19,000 pounds on a 22K chassis and call it good. I wouldn't.
Here are Ford's published specs on the 2015:
F 53 Specs
The non-working inside light tells me this is most likely a 12-volt problem. The cooling unit works on 110V (household current) or propane. The control board and light are 12V from your battery/converter.
So, you have to check the 110 from your electric hookups. It sounds like your husband has done this. That 110V has a breaker. Then, you have to check the 12Volt side of things. That will have a 12V fuse just like you find in cars. The refrigerator fuse will be found in your fuse panel. I think it is a dedicated fuse. Make sure he pulls it out and puts it back in. I would give it one replacement. Fuses are cheap and the fuse itself may have been bad. If the replacement blows, I would take the rig straight to the dealer. That is not normal on a brand new unit. One of the workers may have run a screw through a wire or something crazy like that.
If you think about it, the 12 volt controls make sense. If you are parked in a field enjoying the great outdoors with no electrical hookups, you want the refrigerator to work. So, the battery will run the controls and the propane will heat the cooling unit. (Yeah, thats another brain scratcher-heat is used to cool.)
We are considering this park for our upcoming trip:
Novato RV Park
I am I'm the planning stages now. We are going to visit Muir Woods and San Fran, so it is in a pretty good location.
We were going to try to get into Point Pillar RV Park or settle tor a dry camp in the PointPillar Harbor lot and just do one night. We are going to stay a little longer now so need a park.
The Novato RV Park didn't show up on many of the searches I tried. I loaded a POI file from the POI Factory and there it was. I hadn't heard anyone on the various forums comment on it. Looking forward to any comments from those in the know.
We have freezer packs that fit in there nicely. We rotate them when we pack a snack bag for the day.
Who makes juice from concentrate while RVing anyway? Don't those shelves slide or snap out?
There's an invention for somebody. Make a replacement that will hold a bottle of vodka!
We tried to rescue/adopt for several months.
After waiting for the kids to get a little older, we finally decided they could handle it. We started looking. Unfortunately, we needed something in the hypoallergenic area. I have developed allergies and asthma in my "old" age. We were looking at mixed breeds with some Poodle or Shih Tzu. One sister has Shih Tzus and I do great around them, so we were leaning that way. The other sister has a couple of Basset Hounds and I can't even sit on the furniture in their house.
We started looking at local shelters with no luck. Then, we went to the internet and tried as close to home as we could get.
These foster homes/animal rescue places wanted letters of reference and a letter from our vet. We didn't even have a dog yet. How could a vet know us? One wanted us to come for an interview and then if we were accepted, come back later and pick up the puppy. This was for a two hour drive. I guess we didn't show enough commitment?
We went ahead and bought from a breeder. The puppy is great! It is 3/4th Bichon Frise and 1/4th Shih Tzu. They call them Shichon or Zuchon. I think they should call it Fri****z, except it wasn't free!
Some of these foster places are really animal hoarders and don't want to give the dogs up. I really believe that after trying to deal with some of them.
One thing I can add. Diesel MHs come with Automatic Generator Start more often than Gas MHs. Not all do, but more than gas. If you are taking the doggies, this may be important to you. If you leave them, you will not have to worry about the power being cut out. Your generator will fire up automatically if you have this system.
AGS can be installed on most rigs for less than $1,000, so not a big deal but better to know up front while shopping.
Part of shopping will be comparing the price of purchase and the costs of immediate needs after purchase. Like already mentioned, the tires can be big bucks.
On my GMC it would tell me the pressure of each tire, obviously it needed retrained upon rotation. On my Camry, it just warns me of a low tire. I get to figure out which one is low. No retraining needed there.
On the GMC, I had to hold two buttons down on the key fob and wait for the horn to blow. I then started at the driver front and changed the pressure by at least 5 pounds. It would beep when it sensed that. Then I moved around the vehicle with each tire needing a 5-pound change and a beep for confirmation that the Yukon got the message.
On my Jeep, I have not done a thing after each rotation. I also don't have a readout for the individual tire pressures. I will just get a warning light on the dash if any of the 5 tires is low.
Your owners manual will tell you how to do it, if it's needed.