(Other) Lessons Learned - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-16-2006, 06:53 PM   #1
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My first time out towing a trailer on an actual overnght trip was a major bust because of my tow vehicle, but we have gleaned a few additional lessons learned from the experience and here they are:

1. My tow hitch, factory installed by Ford on the bumper, was too high and did not allow towing the Burro level. Though at the time I could detect no swaying, no instability, I agree the trailer angle could have created an air dam that contributed to tow vehicle stress, and/or the poor gas mileage. Since we know towing level is best, I have added a new, lower, hitch to the Explorer.

2. Inside the Burro the nested plywood hatch covers under the cushions tended to slip out of place. My feeling is we don't need no more extra flying objects in there than is necessary. Wood stops have been added to the underside of the plywood.

3. All the curtains flew off the windows while we were in transit. Wire fasteners now keep those curtain rods fast. Bows make the curtains prettier.

4. The plastic petcock I installed for drainage in back, through the floor, feeding up into the 11 gallon water supply, got clogged somehow. It was a hot day and when I tried to drain out the water the thing not only wouldn't turn open, the handle bended! I was a little bent myself and in no mood for disobedience at the time, so guess I resorted to too much persuasion. Snapped its stupid little head off. I had installed that nozzle facing to the front, so maybe road crud found a way into it. Or, maybe it was weevils. Anyway, I replaced the whole cheapo thing with brass, and added a screw cap. Oh, and now the nozzle faces the rear.

5. I now carry my own flares.
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:18 PM   #2
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Next trip will be a breeze for you. all things are good now.
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:50 PM   #3
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Myron, I broke that stupid petcock thingy off on my first trip out. Had to use vise grips to turn it to the "Stop draining all over the place" position.

I did purchase a new one to replace it.. that was in 2003. I don't remember where I put it.

I just turn on the pump and let it drain into the sink and out the side. Seems less of a pain than fighting the valve.
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Old 08-16-2006, 08:23 PM   #4
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Myron, unless you're going over some really, REALLY nasty roads, nothing should be 'flying around' inside the trailer, nor should your curtains come flying off under normal towing circumstances.

If you were towing on normal roads, those are symptoms of a worn out axle. If you were on really nasty washboard or potholed gravel roads, then that may explain it.

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Old 08-16-2006, 09:57 PM   #5
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Myron, thanks for learning all the lessons for me....I do learn from others!

Good luck on the rest of your towing life...sounds like you've already taken care of most of those "towing life lessons."
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Old 08-17-2006, 07:15 AM   #6
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Don't forget to cross your safety chains. They were doing inspections this summer and ticketing if your chains weren't crossed and attached with a clip and not just an "S" hook.The crossed chains are supossed to suport the tongue if for some reason you accidentally become unhitched.
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:56 PM   #7
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I knew why crossing the chains was a smart safety move but didn't know not doing it was illegal. Samo on the "S" hook. Thanks for the heads up. Must get clips.

Roger, my axle, etc is all-OK. It's my curtain rods hook things that's the trouble. I may have misled you, but thanks for the concern. Took the rig out for another test drive today, this time 150 miles, to the Hudson river, around other places, and back. (The inner city? Am I nuts?) Gave those curtain rods and hatch covers a real work-out at Liberty State Park, Jersey City. Cobblestone road there, quaint remaining testimony to the early early years, but well worn Communipau Avenue leading down to it was almost as nasty.

That there is the old train terminal that transferred folks to the ferry service to Manhattan. Just north of Ellis Island, which is about 1000 feet from the shores of Jersey City. Couldn't get up close to the river today because of construction blocking things.
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:59 PM   #8
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Myron
Don't forget to cross your safety chains. They were doing inspections this summer and ticketing if your chains weren't crossed and attached with a clip and not just an "S" hook.The crossed chains are supossed to suport the tongue if for some reason you accidentally become unhitched.
Are you sure that "S" hooks are illegal every place? My Scamp came with "S" hooks, it was delivered last December.
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Old 08-17-2006, 06:32 PM   #9
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I dont like "S" hooks.I always change them to a clip on type device.I feel its safer.
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:31 AM   #10
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Different states and provinces, different laws -- S hooks are still perfectly legal in a lot of states, as well as uncrossed chains.

BTW, there's a right way and a wrong way to use S hooks -- The end of the hook should be installed by coming up from the bottom, not coming down from the top -- Try installing one hook one way and the other one the other way, then tap both upward with the palms of your hand and see how easily the wrong way becomes detached.

I drove just about all the Alaska/Yukon/BC roads one summer and only had one S hook bounce out once in about 12,000 miles, however, I have replaced them with the screw-links made for connecting pieces of chain (of test strength high enuf to likely exceed the chain test strength -- Despite that, I believe either OR or CA bans their use, along with S hooks).
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:43 AM   #11
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California DMV does not require Clip hooks.

California DMV Gov website states: (thought I would include Breakaway info.)
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl648/dl648pt12.htm

Quote:
Safety chains are required for travel trailers. Safety chains are not required for fifth-wheel trailers. The purpose of safety chains is to prevent the trailer from separating from the tow vehicle in event of hitch failure such as a hitch ball that has loosened. The chains should be crossed in an "X" fashion below the ball mount, with enough slack that they do not restrict turning or allow the coupler to hit the ground.

Breakaway switches are also required for any trailer having a gross weight of 1500 lbs. or more and manufactured after December 31, 1955. They are designed to activate trailer brakes if the tow vehicle becomes separated from the trailer. One end of the breakaway switch is attached to an electrical switch on the trailer frame and the other end is looped around a stationary hitch component on the tow vehicle. If the two vehicles become separated, the cable pulls a pin inside the breakaway switch and applies full power from the trailer battery to the trailer brakes.

Even though hitch component failure is rare, the breakaway switch and the safety chains must be in good working order.
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Old 08-18-2006, 08:00 AM   #12
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...............I have replaced them with the screw-links made for connecting pieces of chain (of test strength high enuf to likely exceed the chain test strength -- Despite that, I believe either OR or CA bans their use, along with S hooks).
Oregon doesn't allow screw links??? That's what I'm using. The RV place that inspected my trailer when I bought it replaced the S links with screw links.

I'd better check this out (and will post any valid info I find here!)
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Old 08-18-2006, 08:32 AM   #13
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I run my chain through the hitch connector then connect the s-hook through a link. No way the S-hook could come loose this way and still have adequate slack. D-links are on my to-do list though.

The curtain rods on my new Scamp kept falling off until I pinched the cafe rod ends tight with pliers.
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Old 08-18-2006, 07:05 PM   #14
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Sorry! I can only state what I read about Ontario. I'm not familiar with other areas so cannot give you advice as to where you live. I replaced my "S" hooks with heavy duty stainless from TSC farm store and have had no problem with them. The mental security using them doesn't hurt either.
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