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.
I send very few texts. I am always driving. Yet, the message app uses the most battery. Other Apps are running in the background.
GO TO :
"Background App Refresh"
These Apps hog electricity while you don't even realize it.
You can turn off all Apps from refreshing with the top button, or you can turn off individual Apps 1 at a time.
In IOS 8 (not sure about earlier OS)
Wait for the apps to load. You will see the hour glass spinner. Once the Apps load, the percent battery used by each app will appear. You can check battery used in the last 24 hours or last 7 days.
When I found this, it was quite an education. My battery can last a day plus now. I have learned that its important to turn Apps off that are running in the background. (Double click home button then swipe them off the top of the screen.)
I can save you a lot of trouble. Don't bother pumping the water, just bathe in the creek. Use a biodegradable soap. It is "camping" right? Why not rough it? You can get a good shower when you get home.
As a kid I swam in the Ohio River, Wheeling Creek, Fish Creek and numerous local lakes and strip ponds. I can rattle off names of a hand-full of buddies who were right there beside me and are still alive today. I don't remember any of us ever getting sick?
As an adult, I still wade in streams while fishing, water ski lakes and paddle many creeks and rivers. During warm weather, most of these trips include a dunk or two, whether intentional or not. Thousands of rafters hit our white water annually.
For goodness sake, use the water. It wouldn't hurt to take a few precautions because it's going into your camper's water system.
I would pump to a primary tank. Maybe get a plastic barrel and cut it in half. Disinfect this water with bleach, iodine or some other water treatment chemical. Then pump that to your fresh tank. When done, the hose and pump go right into the barrel for storage. Disinfect barrel prior to each use.
My MH has the tank and pump just inside a storage bay. I have a "T" there that is used for winterizing. I place a 5-gallon water jug on the ground and use my system to pump that to my fresh water tank. It is the same as pumping antifreeze except I turn the lever to "tank fill" and wallah, the water goes into my tank.
If you have a similar set up, use a pump as already noted here from the creek and pump to the barrel. Use your onboard pump or a second one to pump to your system.
They make pumps that are run by a drill. You could use that to pump up to your fresh water fill tube. Generator could be used for a 110V drill or to recharge one.
When I tie a lure on my fishing line, I sometimes use my teeth! I know, GASP!
Years ago in Guatemala, about 20 Soldiers (me included) got deathly ill with an intestinal disease. Turns out, they pumped the porta-jons out onto a soccer field to make the grass grow real green. Yuck. You want to talk about sick. Many of us needed medical treatment. I knew I was in for it when I noticed our tennis shoes were turning bright blue.
That hasn't changed the way I enjoy our wonderful waterways here. You all are missing out if you're afraid to get in the water.
X10 or whatever # we are up to on the Cheap Handling Fix.
If you have a day or two, go the link to the other forum where the "inventor" of the CHF first posted it. You can read page after page of stories just like mine.
Some got even nightmare rides to improve. Out of all those pages, there are maybe a few who got NO improvement and one who vehemently advises that no one should do it because their MH will self destruct (OK- excageration on my part but only ONE guy against it.)
Also, my tires were way over inflated from the dealer. I suspect manufacturers max the pressure on the chassis because it is sitting around for long periods. I'd rather buy a MH with max inflation than under inflation on the tires. You would think the dealer would make the air pressure adjustment for test drives?
Proper tire inflation and the CHF have left me not even thinking about touching it with anything else. Drives just great one handed although I keep two on the wheel for safety.
Before the CHF, I could reach for a drink while driving but I had to check my lanes and really concentrate. Now, that reach is a breeze. The MH tracks straight with ease. Passing trucks require NO extra effort.
Like already said, start with the CHF, its free or practically free if you pay to have it done or buy extended links.
I have never used this site=, but it looks pretty straight forward. It looks like they do a good job of showing deficiencies with photos. If you look towards the end of the RV postings, it will have the final sale price for some units or the max bid without the reserve being met.
They have a few locations across the US. One is in Kingman, AZ.
I found some good off road trails for us on these sites. We will be in a stock Wrangler JKU so will stick to the "easy" to "moderate" trails.
Our trip is in June. We will probably be a little warm!
Utah 4x4 trails
Mexicowanderer is a long time poster to this forum who may not have thought about how his post would be received.
If anybody has an idea of how to help him out, have at it. I would but I'm afraid that the advice "Buy a Macbook" might not be in his budget.
I think he is having a hard time surfing the web on his phone because the data cost is killing him. When using his laptop which is now broke, he uses wifi somewhere for free or cheap. Maybe?
So, anybody know which MS laptop is a good bargain cheap? I am clueless.
I speak Apple and don't know which inexpensive MS laptop might be good for him.
If you all want to post a good buy here, I'll copy and paste it to an e-mail to him.