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Old 08-19-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
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First Outing Thoughts.

My First Outing,
Well back to work after my maiden voyage ended up in New Holland, PA which had no less than 3 different festivals / events happening. The trip was a bit over a 100 miles mostly flat till the end part going into Amish country dry and cool day made for a nice drive. The Tacoma pulled fine though, fuel mileage averaged 12 mpg according to the fuel computer it was reading 9 mpg in Drive 4 going uphill in a few places. The trailer had a full water tank and food along with some various sundry items. Tongue weight was at 400lbs, truck had about 200lbs in the bed (Tools and recovery gear which ride there permanently are 100lbs of that)

The combo between the air bags@ 25 Psi and Andersen Hitch worked well. Though, the nuts/chains on the hitch were tight in the drive way then checked again when I met up with my buddy who was leading the drive about 5 miles away they were still tight. They were not tight when we arrived, they had backed off about 1 ½ threads so not sure what was up there. In my opinion there should be a jam nut behind the nut to hold it in place. The compression and expansion of the bushing seems to me would cause the nut to loosen. Perhaps if it was a pre-torque nut or nyla/fiber nut it might have stayed where it was set. Yes for all those looking at Andersen hitches I followed their instructions / video exactly to include the tape measuring of vehicle height before and after to match them up and then filling the air bags as per their instructions. On the trip back I cranked the bolts down tighter from 6 threads to 8 threads and they did stay tight throughout the trip. I would guess once you have tightened the nuts enough to return original height of the vehicle add a full turn and a half and you should be good. I plan on contacting Andersen and asking about jam nuts and what the service life of the compression bushing is, I figure it can’t be good for more than a few years so I am going to order a spare set. I would hate to split one and be out in the middle of nowhere.

Arrival was pretty painless a long list of things you couldn’t do but the place is listed as QUIET so for you non generator types you wouldn’t hear one they are not allowed all sites have full hook ups 30amps and there are 50amp sites also. The site was level and groomed well though the work campers helping to park you were umm a bit annoying. I understand they are doing a job and that not everyone can back a trailer by themselves. Asking if help is needed is a better idea in my book at least it is better t then assuming everyone is a neophyte. (Perhaps There Are A Lot of Neophytes So They Just Go With The Assumption Everyone Is). Though, I have never owned an RV I have handled trailers and towed things for a very long time up to and including planes :} so I can back a trailer pretty much where ever I want. I didn’t get to mention it to the guy after he showed me the spot he assumed and promptly started trying to direct me. Sorry to the work campers reading this but I ignored him and backed it in one shot and done. It wouldn’t have taken more than two even for someone with no experience but some pre practice the sites have a lot of clearance.. Well when you’re towing a small trailer. :} I liked the place http://www.countryhaven.com/ nice views though you would pay more for the better view without trees in your way for $48 a night it was not bad at least IMHO. It Is set up in terraced fashion the lower down spots had no trees obstructing the view across the valley.

I ran the refrigerator on battery on the way up to see what the draw down was it took it from 100% to 72% running for 4 hours, switched it to 120v and got the charge back to 85% before the sun went down. No issues with the other systems though I did not bother to hook up the cable more then to function check it and the TV then unhooked it. The AC set on low cool got the unit cool enough by bed time to be turned off and it stayed comfortable with the fan on and window opened. The second day I turned on the AC about noon and off as soon as the sun went down same thing so the insulation package seems to work going to test it out later when it is much cooler. The awning and I had a discussion when I was opening it, I had watched the video and CPAHarley had shown me its operation. What I found out on the day we left is a rivet in the slider that holds the little metal lock tab used when it is up had sheared and was slipping to one side causing it to jam. (I will shoot a picture when it is not raining and I am not at work). Took the awning cap off and got the rivet back into place duck taped it so it would not slide out and put it back together slid it closed allowing it to be secured for the drive back. ( If you Can’t Fix it With Duct Tape You Have Not Used Enough Duct TAPE!!) .

I did put together a list of nice to have things while there some never occurred to me till there and some had but didn’t think it would be worth the space. The best one a pitcher so you can fill your 8 cup coffee pot multiple times without having to use a plastic cup :}. I still had tons of space that was empty but since it was only a weekend trip I figure going out for a month or so will change things. All the over the bed, dinette bins were empty; the benches were empty with the exception of the tool box on one side. The under bed storage was about 75 percent empty. I am still stocking and picking up things for it so slowly I am sure those areas will get filled up.

My next trip out will most likely be another weekender in the later fall to do the insulation/heater check but also to boon dock…. lol in a park. I want to see how it goes with no amenities hooked up to give me an idea of water, power, gas usage when I go to real boon docking.

Final note lol I was the smallest unit in the entire place most were 5th wheels, coaches etc. though a 20 foot Gulf Stream Vista pulled in from Quebec the night before we left. I and my buddy were surprised it was a single axle http://gulfstreamrvtrailers.com/visa/floorplans/17RWD.php . Near as we could tell potable water tank and black and grey were forward of the axle. Wondered what the tongue weight would be on that ….
Cypher
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:02 PM   #2
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Thank you for the great information. This question came up on my first big 10 day outing. How do measure the available charge in the batteries? I have a 15 A with dual 6 V batteries. Thank you.

- Jane
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cypherian View Post
My First Outing,
Well back to work after my maiden voyage ended up in New Holland, PA which had no less than 3 different festivals / events happening. The trip was a bit over a 100 miles mostly flat till the end part going into Amish country dry and cool day made for a nice drive. The Tacoma pulled fine though, fuel mileage averaged 12 mpg according to the fuel computer it was reading 9 mpg in Drive 4 going uphill in a few places. The trailer had a full water tank and food along with some various sundry items. Tongue weight was at 400lbs, truck had about 200lbs in the bed (Tools and recovery gear which ride there permanently are 100lbs of that)

The combo between the air bags@ 25 Psi and Andersen Hitch worked well. Though, the nuts/chains on the hitch were tight in the drive way then checked again when I met up with my buddy who was leading the drive about 5 miles away they were still tight. They were not tight when we arrived, they had backed off about 1 ½ threads so not sure what was up there. In my opinion there should be a jam nut behind the nut to hold it in place. The compression and expansion of the bushing seems to me would cause the nut to loosen. Perhaps if it was a pre-torque nut or nyla/fiber nut it might have stayed where it was set. Yes for all those looking at Andersen hitches I followed their instructions / video exactly to include the tape measuring of vehicle height before and after to match them up and then filling the air bags as per their instructions. On the trip back I cranked the bolts down tighter from 6 threads to 8 threads and they did stay tight throughout the trip. I would guess once you have tightened the nuts enough to return original height of the vehicle add a full turn and a half and you should be good. I plan on contacting Andersen and asking about jam nuts and what the service life of the compression bushing is, I figure it can’t be good for more than a few years so I am going to order a spare set. I would hate to split one and be out in the middle of nowhere.

Arrival was pretty painless a long list of things you couldn’t do but the place is listed as QUIET so for you non generator types you wouldn’t hear one they are not allowed all sites have full hook ups 30amps and there are 50amp sites also. The site was level and groomed well though the work campers helping to park you were umm a bit annoying. I understand they are doing a job and that not everyone can back a trailer by themselves. Asking if help is needed is a better idea in my book at least it is better t then assuming everyone is a neophyte. (Perhaps There Are A Lot of Neophytes So They Just Go With The Assumption Everyone Is). Though, I have never owned an RV I have handled trailers and towed things for a very long time up to and including planes :} so I can back a trailer pretty much where ever I want. I didn’t get to mention it to the guy after he showed me the spot he assumed and promptly started trying to direct me. Sorry to the work campers reading this but I ignored him and backed it in one shot and done. It wouldn’t have taken more than two even for someone with no experience but some pre practice the sites have a lot of clearance.. Well when you’re towing a small trailer. :} I liked the place http://www.countryhaven.com/ nice views though you would pay more for the better view without trees in your way for $48 a night it was not bad at least IMHO. It Is set up in terraced fashion the lower down spots had no trees obstructing the view across the valley.

I ran the refrigerator on battery on the way up to see what the draw down was it took it from 100% to 72% running for 4 hours, switched it to 120v and got the charge back to 85% before the sun went down. No issues with the other systems though I did not bother to hook up the cable more then to function check it and the TV then unhooked it. The AC set on low cool got the unit cool enough by bed time to be turned off and it stayed comfortable with the fan on and window opened. The second day I turned on the AC about noon and off as soon as the sun went down same thing so the insulation package seems to work going to test it out later when it is much cooler. The awning and I had a discussion when I was opening it, I had watched the video and CPAHarley had shown me its operation. What I found out on the day we left is a rivet in the slider that holds the little metal lock tab used when it is up had sheared and was slipping to one side causing it to jam. (I will shoot a picture when it is not raining and I am not at work). Took the awning cap off and got the rivet back into place duck taped it so it would not slide out and put it back together slid it closed allowing it to be secured for the drive back. ( If you Can’t Fix it With Duct Tape You Have Not Used Enough Duct TAPE!!) .

I did put together a list of nice to have things while there some never occurred to me till there and some had but didn’t think it would be worth the space. The best one a pitcher so you can fill your 8 cup coffee pot multiple times without having to use a plastic cup :}. I still had tons of space that was empty but since it was only a weekend trip I figure going out for a month or so will change things. All the over the bed, dinette bins were empty; the benches were empty with the exception of the tool box on one side. The under bed storage was about 75 percent empty. I am still stocking and picking up things for it so slowly I am sure those areas will get filled up.

My next trip out will most likely be another weekender in the later fall to do the insulation/heater check but also to boon dock…. lol in a park. I want to see how it goes with no amenities hooked up to give me an idea of water, power, gas usage when I go to real boon docking.

Final note lol I was the smallest unit in the entire place most were 5th wheels, coaches etc. though a 20 foot Gulf Stream Vista pulled in from Quebec the night before we left. I and my buddy were surprised it was a single axle http://gulfstreamrvtrailers.com/visa/floorplans/17RWD.php . Near as we could tell potable water tank and black and grey were forward of the axle. Wondered what the tongue weight would be on that ….
Cypher
Did you have any squeaking with your Andersen hitch? I sent an email to Andersen about excessive squeaking and they responded quickly. They want to me to try to isolate where the noise is coming from so I am going to attempt this on my next outing.

John
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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Hey ,

No I never heard any squeaking though with the truck bed and cap between me and it along with some music. I do not think I would hear it anyhow unless it was really loud.

J
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:11 PM   #5
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Angler,

The solar charge panel has selections for total charge, voltage etc. I left it on total charge to see the percentage of charge left cpaharley asked if I checked actual voltage too sorry I did not think to do so.

J
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:26 PM   #6
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Everything is a learning experience from battery usage to deploying an awning. Unfortunately, no matter how good the documentation it falls to each of us to pay attention as we go along.

Nice camping writeup. I hope you made good memories along the way!
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