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Old 07-17-2003, 01:06 PM   #1
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Questions Resulting from First Big Trip...

We returned Sunday from a 2500 mile trip to Black Hills, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton and I have a few questions for the group...

- When running the EU2000i generator to charge up the battery... how do I know when the battery is charged up? The status lights in the trailer seem too general (12v, 11v, 10 v).
- What should I use to lug water to the trailer and pour into the tank? Is there a collapsable water jug of about 5 gallons?
- Gusting cross winds across North Dakota made for a long day. Is such buffeting normal or is there a miracle cure?
- Some heaved sections of road gave that bucking bronco feeling, with a rythm that matched the car/trailer resonant frequency causing some annoying bobbing. Anyone run into this? Solution (other than find a better section of road).

I learned:

- That my gas mileage heading into a light wind at 70+ mph was terrible. At 60 mph it improved about 25-30%.
- Don't bring my 15 yo stepdaughter on a trailer trip (are we there yet, I'm bored, when are we going home...) although her friend was delightfull. I'm about ready to trade
- On-board water and black/gray tanks with four people lasts 2 days, battery lasts 1 day.
- The Explorer tow rating has a footnote that I discovered while skimming the manual - it is reduced ~2% for every 1000 ft of altitude. So how do you accomplish this in the real world? Okay - I know this is coming... toss out stepdaughter! Actually the Explorer did okay on 9,000+ ft passes - with a couple slow climbs at 30-40 mph.
- I have a million bugs to clean off the front of the trailer. I Walbernized the front twice before I left so I will soon see how stuck they are!
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Old 07-17-2003, 01:31 PM   #2
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Nice trip (lose the teenager). Yes there are collapsable water jugs, check with Camping World. We usually carry a one or two 2.5 gallon drinking water jugs from the market and use this for all drinking, cooking, coffee. Helps to make the fresh water tank last longer.

I run my Honda 2000 connected to the trailer umbilical cord about 2 to 3 hours, which seems to fully charge the battery while we are fixing dinner, listening to music, playing cards, etc. You can get meters from Camping World or Radio Shack which can tell you when the battery is fully charged, but I've not found a need to be that exacting.
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Old 07-17-2003, 01:33 PM   #3
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5 gallon jug

Yes, there are collapsable 5 gallon jugs and 2 gallon jugs that I know of. The one I have has a spigot built into the cap. Gets a bit heavy while fillling the tank. I cut a piece of hose to extend the snout on the faucet so it all goes into the tank.

Best thing on a bucking section of road is to try a speed change to get away from the natural frequency of the vehicles suspensions.

You are going to feel crosswind gusts, although my truck with trailer is more stable than the truck alone.
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Old 07-17-2003, 03:15 PM   #4
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1st Big Trip...

dmac:

I have not tried the collapsable containers - have have always questioned their durability (we are not easy on equipment). I have used 2 x 5 gal blue poly tanks to haul water along and have had success with this. You should be able to get them at Wal-mart or Target. They resemble the gas cans you see on the back of an army issue jeep (somewhat rectangular and about 4-5" wide) and they come with a pour spout that is housed in the cap. Easy to pour into the water intake on the side of the trailer althgough a bit heavy (40lbs) at first.

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Old 07-17-2003, 03:21 PM   #5
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Collapsible containers

I have had good luck with them; I think the ones I have are at least 12 years old and they have been from coast to coast and Wisconsin to Mexico. I used them to augment my 10-gallon fresh water tank for the 5-day train trip at Copper Canyon. They are pretty tough material asn have held up well.

They are awkward to carry very far.
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Old 07-17-2003, 04:32 PM   #6
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buckin' bronco...excuse me, explorer

years ago i had a short wheel base 78 e-150...i had the same problem, and i wasnt towing... after about 10 road trips.. i wised up and got a 138 in wheel base... it improved the bucking syndrome...i now have a 1 ton van.....makes all the difference in the world.....my 2 cents worth is buy a better tow vehicle, or stay off those western roads.....hope you have better trips in the future..
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:08 AM   #7
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70 mph into a head wind is hard on the transmission. I wasted mine trying to stay up to speed into a 25 mph headwind after about 200 miles it started slipping and then it's too late.
If you have a transmission temp gage (I don't) keep a close eye on it when pulling a trailer !
Generally a battery is considered charged at 12.6 VDC but will read much higher ( 13 VDC to 13.5 VDC )when first taken off the charger.
As for the bobbing I have not found a cure and know it must be doing some damage to the TT.

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Old 07-18-2003, 08:40 AM   #8
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I'm lazy. I saw on TV where this guy had a baldder deal he layed in the back of the truck and filled. Held 40 gallons. Then he used a 12v electric pump to transfer it to the camper. I'll be getting this set up and saving my back for a few more years.
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Old 07-18-2003, 09:08 AM   #9
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The bladder was more than likely a Marine fresh water tank. I got a 30 gallon one on e-bay for 50 bucks. It has a 2 inch inlet and a 1/2 inch outlet that can be connected to the pump.

With your water inlet right at the front you would not even need a pump, let gravity do it!
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Old 07-18-2003, 09:31 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies!

I will check on the collapsable jug from Camping World... I don't want a regular 5 gal jug because it will take too much space. One disadvantage of the Explorer with an Airstream is limited space (unlike motorhomes with huge basement storage, or a pickup with a big box).

I still want to figure out when the battery is fully charged, without arbitrarily running the generator for hours. One night the CO alarm went off and there was a hot/burning smell in the trailer. I turned off the furnace (cold in the mtns), checked for a fire (none), and found the battery very low on power. It seems the low battery resulted in low furnace fan speed, overheating the furnace, burning some paint or something. I would think that an overtemp switch or a blower "sail" switch should have prevented the overheat. On later nights the furnace worked fine, but I made sure the battery was fully charged!

The teenager will not be on future trailer trips. We have a foreign exchange student from Austria arriving in 3 weeks for 10 months. We may try a short trip with her to see if she would like to see the USA using the trailer. She seems like a sweetheart (unlike our spoiled brat!), but only time will tell.
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Old 07-18-2003, 10:33 AM   #11
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ladder tanks

Quote:
Originally posted by 59toaster
I'm lazy. I saw on TV where this guy had a baldder deal he layed in the back of the truck and filled. Held 40 gallons. Then he used a 12v electric pump to transfer it to the camper. I'll be getting this set up and saving my back for a few more years.
These bladder tanks are popular among glider pilots for getting water out to their gliders for ballast. The tank can be filled on a roof rack and gravity fill the tanks in the glider wings.
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Old 07-18-2003, 10:51 AM   #12
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I am unable to find a 5 gal collapsable water jug on Camping World's web site. They do have a 40 gallon roof top water tank for $80.
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