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 > Your search for posts made by 'HMS Beagle' found 92 matches.

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RE: Happijac new vs old?

OK, to finish this out: I bought four new 4820 jacks. The new jacks work fine as a replacement for the 4500 and 4150 jacks. Motors fit on top, all the holes in the same place, etc. The new ones are about 3 inches longer than the old. They have zinc plated lower tubes and a dust scraper on the leg. The literature and some magazine reports say they are much stronger, however the tube size and wall thickness are the same as the old, and they weigh the same (26 lbs). Therefore they cannot be much stronger or stiffer than the old ones if at all. The upper tube being a few inches longer will add a little but not much. Mounting one on one side of the front, I tested the new alongside the old one still on the other side. There was no significant difference in current drawn by the motors, when both of them are activated they run about the same speed with the same sound. This strongly implies that the torque required is similar. Given that the old ones were ball screw and the new ones Acme screw, the old ones should be easier operating. But another difference is the new ones have a roller thrust washer while the old ones have a plain greased washer. The two primary sources of friction are the nut and the thrust washer contributing about equally. The old one with low friction ball screw but high friction thrust washer seem to behave about the same as the new one with high friction Acme screw and low friction roller thrust washer. That makes the new ones better in my opinion since the Acme screw is more robust and less affected by dirt. In addition, though I did not disassemble them to confirm, the new ones reportedly allow easy removal of the Acme nut for cleaning, greasing, or replacement while the old ball nuts are pretty much not serviceable. So to summarize the new ones aren't stronger, don't operate much easier, but are probably longer lived and certainly more serviceable. They can be used as a replacement for the old without changing the motors or controller.
HMS Beagle 01/18/22 06:45pm Truck Campers
RE: Is an old fantastic fan worth fixing?

I removed a new one put in a couple of years ago and replaced it with a Maxx Air. At this point, much better product.
HMS Beagle 01/18/22 02:33pm Truck Campers
RE: Replace OEM fuel tank?

So let's say you save $0.30/gal on the extra 30gal of fuel you can now carry (yes, you can find stray situations where it's higher but more often than not it will be less). That's $9 per fill up. When you cross the border from California into Oregon, the diesel price drop is typically $1/gallon, often more. The main reason is taxes, but also zip code pricing. For example all the way up I5 in N CA, cheapest I could find last trip was about $4.40, just into Oregon even the name brand stations were $3.00.
HMS Beagle 01/17/22 09:49am Truck Campers
RE: Let's talk air bags...

Guys that say bag can only stiffen the ride are dead wrong. There is much more to suspension dynamics than just a knee-jerk reaction can offer. The way they are usually installed in a pickup truck, they stiffen the ride. There is no mystery to how air suspension works, they are installed on 80% + of the over-the-road heavy trucks and well understood. Air helper springs as installed on pickups are not the same thing: they are convoluted bag instead of a rolling lobe bag, and the installed height of the bag is very low. To support a given load, the ONLY dimension that can change spring rate is installed height of the bag. At a given installed height, the spring rate will depend on the load it is supporting. In real air suspension, the installed height is typically about twice what it is on an aftermarket air helper spring. Since the travel of the convoluted bag is usually less than the truck leaf springs you more less have to inflate them to retain a ride height near the unloaded height. This will almost always increase spring rate. Typical numbers for a pickup: rear spring rate 1000 lbs/in, doesn't change much until the overloads hit their perches. Load a 4000 lb camper and you are down 4" in the back. Typical helper air bag has 25 sq in active area each side, so to remove the 4" sag takes 80 psi. A pair of 5" high bags has a spring rate of 1000 lbs/in, added to the leaf springs (which are still there and active) gets you 2000 lbs/in total, twice the stock springs. Only if the bags were installed so that the leaf springs were inactive (very unusual!) would the spring rate be lowered. If the air bags are used to keep the overloads from engaging it is more complicated, they may be softer than the overloads or not. Air springs are also progressive, and short ones like those in pickups are highly progressive. The leaf spring is close to linear. So the above air bags have a spring rate of 1000 lbs/in over the first inch of compression, but 1670 lbs/in over the second inch of compression. The pressure goes from 80 psi at 5", to 96 psi at 4", to 133 psi at 3" height. This may be why they feel "bouncy" to some. The stock leaf springs would be nearly the same 1000 lbs/in over the same range, vs. 2670 lbs /in with the air bags at 80 psi nominal.
HMS Beagle 01/16/22 02:40pm Truck Campers
RE: Let's talk air bags...

Unfortunately air bag helpers as typically installed are likely to stiffen the suspension, not soften it. In taking out sag they also support the weight, with a spring rate that is higher than the stock steel springs. Given the variability of roads, you would probably need in-cab adjustment of pressure and run over the same road a few time to really make a judgement.
HMS Beagle 01/15/22 10:51am Truck Campers
RE: Sikaflex 221 for side mounted fridge vent?

My RV manufacturer used pure silicone on all joints 19 years ago and it has never failed. I have resealed items I have replaced with 100% silicone and have never had a problem. I do the painters tape deal and it looks perfect. You should be playing the lottery with that luck. My experience is different than yours. My 14 year old camper was sealed with silicone, effectively 100% of that sealant has failed. I have owned 5 largish RVs (3 Bigfeet, one Airstream, one Safari), all had at least some silicone used, with nearly complete failure. In the yachting industry silicone is rarely used to seal any deck fittings, and only on the cheapest of products. 3M and Sika are perhaps the most used sealant brands, both make silicone and polyurethane sealants, and both recommend polyurethane for this use. For critical applications (like boat underwater fittings) both specifically recommend NOT using silicone.
HMS Beagle 01/08/22 06:55pm Truck Campers
RE: Happijac new vs old?

Yet sadly, no alternative.
HMS Beagle 01/06/22 04:35pm Truck Campers
RE: Happijac new vs old?

I believe the incompatibility has only to do with the overload protection mechanism. The old jacks have a ball clutch the slips in the event of overload. The new jacks do not. The old controller board has no overload protection beyond the fuse and depends on the ball clutch. The new controller board has current sensing overload protection, it will shut off the motor if the current indicates it is stalled. This really only comes into play when you run the jacks fully collapsed or fully extended. You can provide your own overload protection by lifting your thumb from the button. The motors are quite audible in operation and it is very easy to hear when they begin to load up. There are numerous vendors selling the new jack legs with the old style motors attached, HappiJac has a part number for the package, so clearly they fit. Some note that you need the new controller board but I believe that is due to the overload protection scheme. On at least some sites, the clearance required for the new motors is 8 1/2 inches above the top mounting hole. This seems accurate given the quoted dimensions of the motor. The new controller board will also supply 25 amps (there are 25 amp fuses on each output) while mine (I checked last night) has 20 amp fuses. In addition, the new controller board specifies 8 ga wire while the old one specifies 10 ga. The 4800 jack is Acme screw while the 4600 were ball screw jacks. The ball screw requires less motor torque, at least until they get dirty. I think the increase current might be needed for a 4800 jack operated near its 2800 lbs load limit. Just swapping the board though, may not be enough, you will get significant voltage drop though 10 ga wire at 25 amps. Replacing the wiring to the controller and jacks is likely a more difficult and costly job than replacing the jacks and motors.
HMS Beagle 01/05/22 10:21am Truck Campers
RE: Sikaflex 221 for side mounted fridge vent?

I wouldn't use silicone for almost anything on an RV. Sikaflex or 3M polyurethane. Tape tight to the flange before you begin, rake ALL the excess squeeze out, peel the tape immediately and then don't touch it until it hardens. Depends on the exact product from Sika or 3M, but the medium to stronger ones will hold the plastic bezel with no fasteners at all.
HMS Beagle 01/04/22 02:29pm Truck Campers
RE: Happijac new vs old?

Thanks, good info. I think an advantage of the newer jacks is they have a galvanized leg, so a little more rust resistant. Supposed to be a stronger leg too. The Acme screw jacks could be upgraded later with a stainless steel screw. The material is readily available and really not that expensive (maybe ~ $150/jack). Might be the ticket for salt covered roads.
HMS Beagle 01/04/22 01:07pm Truck Campers
RE: Happijac new vs old?

Things changed when Lippert bought Happijac. Not that they were perfect before. I think my jacks are the ball screw version, maybe the back ones are Acme screw. The problem with the ball screw is it works really great when perfectly clean, but suffers badly from dirt or rust and is very difficult to clean up again as dirt and rust gets inside the ball nut. The writeup you reference appears to be an Acme screw jack. One motivation to buy the new jack legs is they are all Acme screw now - takes more torque to turn but much more tolerant of dirt and rust. The incompatiblity of the motors seems to center around the lack of an overload clutch in the new ones, and its replacement by an electronic current sensing overload. If you just listen to the jack and lift your finger at the end of travel neither of these is necessary. Mine are obviously laboring (dirty or rusty or lack of lube) and the overload clutch is occasionally slipping. The incompatibility of the electronic control seems to be that the newer ones can supply 25A while the older ones only 10 or 15A. This seems to be the solution to the switch from ball screw to Acme screw on the new 4800 (which replaced the 4600), requiring more torque. But again, if I am running them well below capacity it may not be needed - if it requires 25A at 2800 lbs full load, it may require only 10A at 1000 lbs. If I buy the jack legs and discover I need the control unit and motors, bought separately it will cost about $300 more than the set together. The Reico-Titan offering is a little more, and would require modifying the mounts. I'm not planning any trips for a month or so, I'll probably remove one or two that are the worst and have a look inside.
HMS Beagle 01/04/22 09:42am Truck Campers
Happijac new vs old?

I have electric Happijacs, possibly 4600 (numbers are illegible) that are complaining. I could: 1) remove, clean and relube 2) replace the legs with 4220 or 4820 legs 3) replace the whole setup with 4820 legs and new controller Happijac/Lippert do not publish much detail on these jacks, for example why the 4220 is rated lower than the 4820: tube strength? acme screw pitch? something else? Obivously the cheapest is #1, provided they can be cleaned up. I think they may be the ball screw version (at least on the front) which are often too far gone to fix. Also the tubes on the old style jacks are somewhat - flexible - and so going to the new jacks has some appeal. What I don't know is, will the old motors and controller drive 4820 legs? they have upgraded both and used to say (can't find it anymore) that the 4820 required too much current for the old controller. I'm not near their capacity (pretty evenly distributed at <1000 lbs each) so they might work fine. Does anyone have an informed opinion about the old vs new legs, old vs new (vertical) motors, old vs new control? Anybody done this upgrade? New legs are about $1750 for the set, whole setup is $2750 with new motors and controller.
HMS Beagle 01/03/22 12:01pm Truck Campers
RE: Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

One of my great complaints with Bigfoot and Northern is they build a watertight shell and then drill a million holes in it. The problem is they are constrained by the commercially available roof hatches, refer vents, plumbing vents, etc. But they do go the extra mile and drill a hundred more holes for ladders, racks, awnings, etc. What I would like to see is a molded, slightly raised flat or plinth at the locations of the hatches, skylights, and refer vents. Just an inch rise would eliminate a huge amount of leaks due to the fact that water has run downhill from the beginning of time and is likely to continue. Having it flat would accommodate the flat flange of these hatches and vents without having to either distort them, or pile up a ridiculous thickness of sealant. This would be only a one time cost hit to the mold, and free after that. For smaller penetrations like plumbing vents they should glue in a short fiberglass spigot that the cheap plastic vent cover goes over (I've described retrofitting this in another thread). These would not leak, ever, and would require no sealing or resealing. Racks and ladders could also have a small plinth. Their reticence to do this may be the different floor plans offered (sharing the same roof mold) means the location of some of these things move around. However they could also be bonded on secondarily using a separate molding, slightly more costly but at the same time replacing the other necessary reinforcing. It would not take that much to improve the watertightness of the roof to the point that resealing was rarely necessary (if ever), at very modest cost increase. If they offered a "leak proof" roof at an option price of $500 on a $50K camper, what do you think the uptake would be? At $500 they'd be making much more on that option than the rest of the camper.
HMS Beagle 12/27/21 10:15am Truck Campers
RE: Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

One thing I did notice in that article is the use of aluminum honeycomb, apparently for some high stress areas. This must be a new innovation, there was none in any of my campers. That would be a much better core for the whole thing if you could get them to do it.
HMS Beagle 12/26/21 03:22pm Truck Campers
RE: Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

I'll stick to my story: they are a sandwich, not just fiberglass structure, and the interior paneling is put in in the mold. Take a look at this recent article in Truck Camper Magazine, in particular scroll down to the photo of the interior paneling being installed in the mold. Also several photos of top and bottom halves being pulled from the mold, with paneling already installed. When I ordered mine from the factory in 1996 I was specifically told this is how it was done and it appears still is. They use a contact adhesive and pound it with rubber mallets to ensure contact. You cannot do that out of the mold. There are other pictures showing them assembling top and bottom with paneling in place. If you think the fiberglass is the only structure, pull the paneling, foam, and wood stiffening out of the roof of one and walk across it. I guarantee you will think again. From TC Magazine: https://i.imgur.com/H1yoW2a.jpg
HMS Beagle 12/26/21 03:15pm Truck Campers
RE: Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

I have owned three Bigfeet: one built in 1986, one in 1996, and one in 2008. They were all built the same way*. Yes, the interior walls are screwed to the sandwich shell, but the sandwich shell has the foam bonded in and paneling bonded to that before it is taken from the mold. The fiberglass by itself is too floppy to do that afterwards. Find one that has delaminated and check for yourself. * Exception is that the earlier ones used extruded polystyrene while the later and current ones use expanded polystyrene. The extruded is harder to get and more expensive these days, but a better material structurally. Neither of these would be even considered for boatbuilding, rather you would use a structural foam like Airex, Divinycell, Corecell.
HMS Beagle 12/23/21 09:54am Truck Campers
RE: Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

Actually quite a few boats are molded of solid fiberglass below the waterline. A very few solid glass everywhere. To achieve the stiffness of a sandwich panel in solid glass weighs and costs a lot. The reason not to use it below the waterline is that ANY penetration results in water in the core which can lead to problems. Many poorly built sandwich boats in the 70s and 80s caused buyers to begin shying away from the concept. Certainly all light weight racing boats are cored throughout as it is much lighter. While water in the core in a camper is of little concern, the price point of campers does not support high quality cored construction, we are left for the most part with what Bigfoot and Northern Lite do. Earthroamer and Bahn are examples of true cored camper shell construction, and have a price that reflects that.
HMS Beagle 12/23/21 12:09am Truck Campers
RE: Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

Saying a Bigfoot is a wood camper is as incorrect as saying it is a fiberglass camper. The primary structure is a sandwich, composed of a ~1/8" fiberglass skin, bonded to a 1 - 1 1/2" foam core, which is bonded to ~1/8 luan plywood. Though the materials are different, this is similar in concept to cored boat construction. Each of the components individually are flexible and somewhat weak, but when bonded together they act essentially as an I beam with the skins replacing the flanges and the foam replacing the web of the beam. Remove any of the components - including the glue bond - and you are back to individually flexible pieces. Anywhere there is significant load on a Bigfoot there is wood: around all the windows, hatches, and doors, anywhere tables or furniture is attached, backing for the jacks and hold downs. The pickup box sides are plywood embedded in the glass and floor is entirely wood. The sandwich construction makes a stiff panel, but will not take high local loads, or hold screws well, or deal with compressive clamping loads. That's why and where you put the wood. Fiberglass isn't a light material, if you made a structural shell only from solid fiberglass it would weigh much more. You would need to double or triple the shell thickness (and still reinforce high load areas), that would add ~500 - 1000 lbs to the camper. The sandwich construction takes advantage of the foam (already needed for insulation) and interior paneling (already needed for finish) to accomplish the needed stiffness without that increase in weight, and wood is a weight efficient (and cost efficient) reinforcement for areas that need it. Unfortunately it will rot. Ideally fiberglass hat sections or other methods would replace the wood, or a real structural foam would replace the styrofoam. And you can get that in a $200K camper - but not $50K camper. Bahn for example actually does build a camper shell like a boat - fiberglass inside and outside skins with structural foam core. The bare shell starts at about $50K.
HMS Beagle 12/22/21 10:00am Truck Campers
RE: Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

The structure actually isn't fiberglass. The structure is a sandwich with a thin skin of fiberglass on the outside, thin luan plywood on the inside, and wood glued in-between to take the shear forces. Foam too, but the foam is quite weak compared to the wood. Each of the elements by themselves is weak and flexible, if any of these elements f... not without reason. We are not discussing fiberglass siding campers, rather fiberglass campers, built out of fiberglass, not wood. Built like a boat. The fiberglass is the structure. There should be no wood structures in these. Bigfoot is one brand. Big difference. Might be some wood under the floor, secondary structurer.. I am quite familiar with the Bigfoot product having owned (and worked on) three, and I am quite familiar with boats having owned numerous boats including the 45' one I built. There are very few construction techniques in common between a Bigfoot camper and a boat. Fiberglass is not the structure in a Bigfoot, it is one component of the structure. They are a fiberglass outer skin, stiffened and strengthened throughout with wood, which also makes up the entire inner skin of the sandwich. If you pull all of the wood and foam out of a Bigfoot (or Northern Lite or other) you will have a very flexible skin not capable of supporting itself as a camper. I think the OP did the right thing by passing on this one. The amount of renovation required would far exceed the value. It is also another lesson that things can photograph well in spite of major problems.
HMS Beagle 12/21/21 07:10pm Truck Campers
RE: Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

Twice I have had my stairs trap the door shut and have had to climb out the escape hatch on the side. That is the reason I know I can climb out the Heki! First trip with the camper, got up in the morning, stairs had shifted, blocked the door. I went out the hatch, across the frost covered roof and down the ladder, stepped onto the top step, back in the door. Had breakfast. Tried to get out again and - same thing! Out the hatch again. The camping neighbors were amused. By next trip I had fixed that problem with a proper stair attachment. On my supercab, it looks to me like the only convenient step would be the mirror, and I'm not sure it is up to the challenge.
HMS Beagle 12/19/21 10:27am Truck Campers
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