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Old 10-25-2011, 10:20 PM   #43
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Where do you purchase a TPMS?

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Old 10-25-2011, 10:28 PM   #44
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There's lots of places on line. Just type in "TPMS".
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:43 PM   #45
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On The Roads That I Have Traveled...

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Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
The roadways all slant toward the curb side. they are not level. I wonder if this has anything to do with the temp difference?

Regarding the batteries, I can't take them home with me. American Airlines would go batshirt if I tried to fly a couple lead acid batteries to the tropics as checked baggage or carry on.

What would you think would be the minimum size solar panel I would need to keep them functional all winter?

One or maybe two, there always seemed to me that there were more ups and downs over towards the shoulder or curb side as you have mentioned, therefore creating a broader area ( if you will ) for a tired tire to travel over, draining and the like, that set up another set of circumstances over time... No way am I a rocket scientist, and they may have a better answer for you. Just an observant guess on my part!

Now, as for the battery upkeep. I have always used a 2 to 6 AMP trickle charger ( both settings ) that use very little eclectic power to operate because they have an internal transformer and are very inexpensive to buy.
BTW, the solar powered unites don't need to be plugged in to give the TSB a little tingle on you're next strip search...
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:07 AM   #46
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i don't have access to electricity for the winter. i can't use a trickle charger. Unless it's solar. I am going to be leaving the trailer in Colorado. I don't want the batteries to freeze.

Any thoughts on that that don't require removing the batteries or running a mile of extension cord across a parking lot?
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:23 AM   #47
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Well, Robert Cross says he leaves his AS batteries fully charged then in his unheated garage for the winter in Western New York. So why not just disconnect the batteries from the AS, wrap the battery compartment in insulation, cover that with a black plastic tarp to increase heat absorption and call it a day? Either that or find some kindly AS person in Fort Collins area with about 4 square feet of extra space in their unheated garage and give them 10 bucks a month for their trouble. Seems to me if Bob hasn't had issues in Western New York with the weather they get there, same would hold true on the Front Range.
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:08 PM   #48
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I can't help you with your battery issue. If I lived nearby your storage location I'd be happy to hold them over the winter. Regarding the issue of flat tires I can offer some observations. I've only had one flat on our trailer and it was not catastrophic at all. It had a nail and slowly leaked while parked in a friends yard when I was visiting my sister in Kansas. I hooked up and pulled out and at the first left turn I noticed it in my rearview mirror. I pumped it up with my portable compressor and fixed it with my plug kit the next day. I frequently take the opportunity to cast an eyeball on my tires when making turns. I can easily take note of a low or flat tire and avoid a high speed failure. Now on the highway it's another story, the tires are more difficult to observe. I frequently use my mirrors and keep an eye on the trailer and I think I would be able to notice some sway if I had a tire going low but before going fully flat. A catastrophic failure is a different situation and usually will happen with little to no warning so all bets are off. I've never had one so not sure how the trailer will react to that. I hope never to experience that but careful observation at those opportunities to see the rear will help to avoid damage.

Now, I also take the time to put a hand on the hubs. On the hottest day of highway driving they should be warm to the touch but never too hot to hold onto. If ever too hot to touch you need to look into a brake issue or bearings. Maybe someday I'll pick up one of those infra-red readers but so far I trust my hands.

See ya on the road sometime.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:12 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goal15 View Post
Well, Robert Cross says he leaves his AS batteries fully charged then in his unheated garage for the winter in Western New York. So why not just disconnect the batteries from the AS, wrap the battery compartment in insulation, cover that with a black plastic tarp to increase heat absorption and call it a day? Either that or find some kindly AS person in Fort Collins area with about 4 square feet of extra space in their unheated garage and give them 10 bucks a month for their trouble. Seems to me if Bob hasn't had issues in Western New York with the weather they get there, same would hold true on the Front Range.
Goal,

That was the 6v and it is on a Battery Minder. I disconnect the battery cables and leave the battery in the Ford.
The AS batts are in the basement, and get checked every couple weeks.

Gringo,

If you were closer I'd let you try these. 30W flexible. I tried them one Winter but they spent to much time under snow up here to do any good. They do help when camping in a sunny spot though.

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Old 10-26-2011, 04:20 PM   #50
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Misunderintrepreted . . .

Doh! Guess I need to read more carefully or see where the commas should or shouldn't be inserted in these posts. Sorry for relaying the wrong information. Gringo may just have to move to Colorado and build a heated garage to take care of these troublesome batteries.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:09 PM   #51
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I had a solar panal installed on my AS and it held my batteries all winter while it was parked in Salt Lake City.

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Old 11-02-2011, 07:31 AM   #52
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Thanks for the suggestions. Our AS is now parked outside between two other big RVs in Fort Collins. We flew back to the islands yesterday, after finishing up our first real Airstream trip. I have come back with several ideas to explore. We got stuck in that snowstorm without campground power or water for two days. Unintentional boondocking, without preparing for boondocking or intending to go boondocking......in 17 degrees and a foot of fresh snow. that diesel Ford saved our butts. Maybe I should put up a seperate post about that trip, for other newbies.

I figured out that my batteries are fried. I am guessing they are sulfated from being stored totally discharged in Dallas for the summer, 4.5 months in a warehouse with temps above 100 deg. They won't hold a charge for even a few hours now. I will replace them next spring and start the summer with a new set.

One of my ideas on the tires: I had already planned to pick up one of the hitch-up portable video cameras. Not just for the intended purpose of backing up to the hitch, but we are camera buffs ( see the blog if you need confirmation) and having a wireless video camera intriques me for many reasons. I got applications in mind.

One of them....what if I put some kind of firm, protective mount right aft of the lowest point on the tow truck, with the camera pointed back under the airstream? I am thinking a protective little box welded or U-bolted to something, with the rear side of the box open. Just big enough to put the camera in. Perhaps mount it under the trailer tongue, but in a position to see underneath the airstream to the rear.

Then every time I wanted to look at the trailer wheels, i could just switch the camera on for a few seconds and see all the tires from under the airstream. While they were running at highway speed. I could also see the wheels and bumper of any other vehicle directly behind the airstream. this could be useful when putting the airstream in the location we intend to use next summer too, to monitor frame ground clearance. Anyone done this yet?
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:46 PM   #53
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How do we know we have a flat?

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Originally Posted by SilverCottage View Post
Get yourself a tire pressure monitoring system and you will know just before you get a blowout and have time to stop before damage is done.
On the road yesterday on our second day of travel we experienced a noticeable vibration. "Oh! Boy. That's not right." The results were so darned obvious but how we got there has more relevance.

This month we finish our second full season with the AS and our learning curve remains very steep. Every day seems to hold new experiences. Yesterday was no different. When the strange vibration began I decided to get off the roadway as soon as it was prudent. Meanwhile I'm thinking about the many possibilities -

- trailer running gear? Dunno - check mirrors & all the tires look like they are in place. No shreds visible.
- low pressure in one trailer tire? Dunno. Gotta stop and check.
- truck tires? Hm. Add that to the list to check at the rest stop.
- fuel? Naw. If we had a clogged fuel filter we wouldn't have a problem with vibrations. We would have a rough runner or worse.
- engine? We are 1,700 miles into our newly replaced engine. (That's another story.) Dunno.

This was beginning to feel a lot like making up stuff - there are so many choices. At the next rest stop I -

- visually checked truck tires & balance weights. All looked OK.
- visually checked trailer tires. They also looked OK. Hm. Should I check the tire pressure? (Fervent wishes for TPMS - but no swearing.)
- put back of hand near but not on each tire. All seemed to be cool.
- put front of hand on tread - all cool. (Really really would like TPMS or IR heat sensor. Sheesh! Too much kit remains on the "must do" list.)
- visually checked hitch, etc., etc. No discrepancies.

Back on the road - vibration still with us. Did this drill for the last fifty miles or so, arriving near dark. Set up camp with promise to self to check everything in the morning when fresh and in daylight.

This morning I checked all four trailer tires for pressure and condition and visually inspected the trailer running gear. There was nothing obvious - which is all I would have noticed.

OK. Let's take the truck for a spin - and there came the vibration again.

We went directly to tire shop where the tech put the truck on the lift and found one tread separating and another just starting. Just a little bulge and a bigger bulge on the tread face which was invisible with all four tires on the ground. The bulge was evident with close inspection & by feel but only on the lift.

With new tires on The Big Truck aka Moby Truck aka The Beast - no vibration and no problems.

Conclusions - maybe we should consider that TPMS to be a higher priority. Oh! And how happy am I using the back-of-the-hand-close-to-the-tire as my temperature sensor?

Boy! Am I happy to have decided to deal with the problem immediately instead of driving on until something really obvious happened.

What a great lesson at no cost but a set of tires. No sheet metal damage. No disgruntled calls to roadside assistance. We're ready for tomorrow.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:41 PM   #54
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I'm a huge proponent of TPMSs. That having been said, it should be pointed out that they are not the be all and end all of tire care. If you have a tread separation and a catastrophic blowout results you may not have any warning from the TPMS. Unless there is pressure loss before the blow you may not get any warning. This happened to us on a trip this past fall. Boom! Tire explodes and we are running on the rim. Tire shredded. (We never did even find the tread, but it was completely off, replaced by a gaping hole in the tire and steel belts scraping the heck out of everything they came into contact with...and yes, belly pan damaged. We were fortunate that we did not suffer any exterior kin damage.) Of course the TPMS screamed bloody murder after the fact. Even with TPMSs in place we still need to watch our tires and monitor the wear and visual condition.
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:21 AM   #55
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Charged batteries won't freeze. Loss of charge that might concern us could take several weeks to a month. Left wired in place, some parasitic drain from the coach will accelerate that slightly (taking 2-3 weeks instead -- I don't know enough to say for sure). This sounds like a prime situation for a small solar recharger. I recall hearing about one that sits inside the front window. Don't know much about it otherwise. You'll want to scrounge for more info on that.

I normally wouldn't say this, but removing the batteries doesn't sound like a good idea unless somebody responsible could put them on a battery minder every few weeks to a month.

The roof can take any amount of natural snow & ice with minimal to no chance of damage.
You are correct Bob. Charged batteries will not freeze however, the best practice is to pull them and store in cool place. Check the elecrolyte level and add if needed [distilled water only] before charging. Place it on slow trickle charge for twenty four hours once a month. Overcharge at Hi Rate will depleete the electrolyte level. Before putting them back in service check the level again. Properly cared for battery in the off season can offer you trouble free service, although there are times when you become a fire hydrant instead of the doggie. Being a long time Interstate Battery dealer, we have seen one instance where two 105 Amp deep cycle batteries after being hardly used the first season, sat dormant without a charge for the next three years. They have recovered under slow charge and are presently on a third year in service as trolling batteries. I guess the miracles never stop when you build something right. My two Group 31 Deep Cycle Interstate's will see the fourth year of service next Spring. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:43 AM   #56
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I'm a huge proponent of TPMSs. That having been said, it should be pointed out that they are not the be all and end all of tire care. If you have a tread separation and a catastrophic blowout results you may not have any warning from the TPMS. Unless there is pressure loss before the blow you may not get any warning. This happened to us on a trip this past fall. Boom! Tire explodes and we are running on the rim. Tire shredded. (We never did even find the tread, but it was completely off, replaced by a gaping hole in the tire and steel belts scraping the heck out of everything they came into contact with...and yes, belly pan damaged. We were fortunate that we did not suffer any exterior kin damage.) Of course the TPMS screamed bloody murder after the fact. Even with TPMSs in place we still need to watch our tires and monitor the wear and visual condition.
TB - agree 100%.


I too am now a big believer in TPMS but fully realize it is no guarantee. On our last trailer (non AS) we were half way across Texas on a crosscountry trip when I started to feel a minor vibration in the truck that wasn't severe but was indicative that something was going on.

I pulled into the next gas station and found a large portion of the tread missing on one trailer tire, and two other tires just starting to develop tread separation!

Luckily no damage to the trailer - but I was very thankful I stopped to check!

I didn't check with a gauge, and had no TPMS at the time, but none of the tires appeared to have lost air so I doubt a TPMS would have helped in this sort of situation.

I do believe that the TPMS could be very beneficial, but I always do a walk around of both truck and trailer before we start any trip, and as well at every stop for gas, rest or anything, looking for anything not right, with special attention to the hitch and all wheels.

Brian.
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