Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Months later in 2019 and a Long delayed trip....

The Summer of 2019 has just about ended and we've had little opportunity to take the LH2 out for a trip this season. What with the carburetor issue, now mostly resolved so she's running well but maybe not at top form as she could be, and some other minor stuff to deal with; we are ready to head out-of-country this time! Or so we think. video of that effort on the re-install of the rebuilt carb is below:


It will be interesting to see how the MPG improves on this trip vs. the big road trip of the holiday season. Remember we got about 6.7 mpg on the Florida trip including the daily driving to and from the parks that time and running the generator pretty much the entire time to keep the fridge, a/c and tv going.

One of the latest upgrades was to redo the marker lights and correct for some uninstalled side signal lights as well as tweaking the shift indicator switch I had to swap out in FL because of a no-start issue on the road that panicked the DW and me, too!

Video of this marker light work can be seen on this link:


 
I've been focusing on the YouTube channel much more over the past few months and nearly forgot about the blogsite, so my apologies for those looking for new posts here. It's been far too long but as a lame excuse, we haven't taken a trip in the LH2 since the last trip blog.....

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

RV Long Haul UPGrades

After getting back from our 3K+ road trip to FL the Gear Vendors overdrive unit is looking more and more attractive. Not just from the MPG improvement at highway cruise but with the hill-climbing issues of do you do 3rd gear or scream the engine in 2nd when going up hills? Oh the fun of it all! Driving through PA and VA with the 2 lane roads going over as many hills as possible and around a curve to boot left me wanting a better way to drive than going 40mph in second.
Rear end ring and pinion swaps may work for smaller vehicles not towing anything.

Okay, for folks looking into this upgrade take note. 1) I looked at swapping out the rear end to a lower ratio from 4.10 to something like 3.73 to get the highway cruising. Cost was about $900 for parts/ labor. However, the swap would also leave me with the risk of NOT being able to tow anything ever and also stressing the transmission on hill-climbing anyway due to the shift in rear end ratio... OK 2)installing a rebuilt 700R4 transmission. Cost? About $1600 to get the tranny, install and fitting it in with possible driveshaft alteration. Now, this also means my shifter would need alteration to deal with the 4 vs. 3 speed automatic. Likely would never be able to manually select 1st gear. Also, the 700R has a tendency to blow up on heavy duty installs. 3) install a Gear Vendor overdrive unit for about $3400. Holy cow! So it's double the most expensive option so what the heck??
Swap a 4 speed and all is good, right? Maybe not if it's not rated for heavy duty...

I'll tell you why this is not as crazy as it seems. OK, it is crazy but when you want a bit more for your money you look a bit closer.

What do you want to accomplish? Better mpg on the highway on long trips? A way to hill climb without frying your engine or tranny? When cruising you are not stressing out your engine at 3K rpms all day long. A better way to control shifting for just about any road condition without having to depend on the 3 speeds and kick-down alone? Something else to fiddle with and occupy your time while driving your rig? Come on, if you could drop a 5 or 6 speed manual into your old class A you would seriously consider it. I would if my arms were longer.....

A Gear Vendors Unit may provide the right amount of control and highway cruise ability.

I have looked into the Gear Vendor unit needed for our RV and it's not a motor home one due to the Chevy chassis we have. That saves a few hundred on the costs. The install involves taking off the transmission rear housing, installing an adapter along with the overdrive unit, then altering the driveshaft to fit. If you understand basic mechanics and have some help this can be done.

So, you've decided to go for it. What is the basic payback on this unit? Well, that depends on how much traveling you do and where. If you just look at mileage savings (they say this unit improves mpg by 23%) then from a fuel cost it would take the LH2 (getting 6.5mpg) getting close to 8 mpg and with the size fuel tank (64 gallons) that would figure to about 100 extra miles per tank. So, instead of going 416 miles on a full tank you could go 516 miles. With about $2.30 gallon you spend about $150 a tank full.  So much MATH! If you took our trip to FL at 3200 miles total that's like 6 tanks vs. 7.7 tanks or about 1.7 tanks of gas for a total of  $225.  The more costly the gas, the quicker the payback. I spent an average of 2.60 gallon on the trip.

A unit like this would take about 12 trips to pay for itself just on gas savings alone. Seems like a crazy expense but when you look at the wear and tear on an engine that has to run at 3K rpm for a long trip without it then it's not so bad.

As with any upgrade the cost vs. the benefits may not be as easy to figure out and sometimes its really up to how you use your RV or plan to use it that my make that decision.

Happy and Safe RV'ing all!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

We Made It!! Road Trip 2.0 Recap!

Alrighty Folks! We pulled into the home base this late afternoon, just about on schedule and a day early to boot! I'll be crunching all the numbers to right now the basics are this:

Total miles logged: 3,243.4 miles.
Total gallons of gas consumed: 495.8
Average MPG: 6.54

That's about 10 days in a really nice hotel for one room and we normally need two rooms for the entire family so this actually worked out. Not as well as I'd like it to be but that is for another upgrade project.

Two options going forward are the Gear Vendor's overdrive unit and/or a retrofit EFI unit to replace the carb. Each and both are being looked into.

We arrived in FL at our KOA and set out over the next two days to see EPCOT and Universal in marathon days of walking and ride taking. So much walking and waiting at the rides. Ticket prices were insane but they get people like us to pay...

This ride averaged 50 mins wait. Too much for the crew after a long day at EPCOT. Guess we'll never know what tomorrow will be like....

View of one of the EPCOT lakes before we make our tour of the countries.

Universal the next day. Harry Potter world in Daigon Alley.

Gringott's Bank with the dragon strapped to the top. Where is PETA when you need them??

Now, here are some pics of the trip back home with some descriptions for each. The walking tour of the St. Augustine Colonial Quarter was interesting. St. George Street and the "original" city area was great to walk through and experience. The kids got to walk all around the fort but couldn't get inside because of the govt shutdown but still it was pretty cool.


We decided after heading down to the outlaws for a visit that we would squeeze in one last mini-vacation stop before doing the big drive up the east coast back home. That was St. Augustine for New Years and I have to thank the folks at the St. Augustine KOA for making that happen on such short notice. We wound up with 2 nights there at an event that some told me they reserved 6 months in advance. Dumb luck or just redemption for the bad events of 2015 but I'll take it....

This is just part of the 30 plus minute fireworks/ music show at the 16th Street pier around 8:30 pm. Great crowd and lots of vendors there to feed you. There were bounce houses for the kids but don't expect a full carnival setup with rides. Still good to get to with buses provided by the city from local parking areas and malls. Glad to have experienced it first-hand for 2019. A really good way to come back from being stranded in a broken RV in 2015 I can tell you! The City really kept the peace with a good law enforcement presence and making sure everyone knew what was OK and not.

The trip back north after that consisted of a 11 hour drive up as far north as we could until we parked overnite at a Pilot truck stop north of Rocky Mount NC then headed to see family MD. Over-nighting there and then the 7 hour drive back home.

Glad to have worked out the remaining bugs in the RV and see how she runs over 3K miles and 2 weeks of travel.

Now we will have to plan another road trip out West! Happy Vintage RV'ing everyone! Stay tuned and be safe out there!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Heading back North: squeezing in a mini New-Year's vaca....

Hello everyone! We're on our way back from the outlaws and are working our way north from Florida back up the east coast. We decided to try and make a short stop in St. Augustine for New Years. The folks at the St. Augustine KOA were really cool in helping us find a spot to camp on such short notice. 


Just a quick pic at one of two fast food stops before heading into St. Augustine. Heaven forbid we just skip the burger and fries!
We made it to another KOA! Carburetor issues seem to be the main focus of the day... both on the Onan and the 454.
 On the road up from south Florida we experienced the same surging of the engine while cruising on the highway. At the same time, the Onan was continually shutting down so I pulled into a rest area to adjust the Onan's carb and on the way back onto the highway the engine nearly conked out from all the hesitation and backfiring. Nearly all at once, the exhaust barked out a couple of times and she came to life. Drove very well and the vacuum gauge showed a jump of at least 5-6 pounds from what we were getting prior to the blow out. My last math showed we also got about 7.5 mpg compared to the dismal 5.3 mpg on the way down with the carb issues not resolved.

Typical lineup of campers and RV's when we visit. We're the oldest rig in the place.

The beach at St. Augustine near the KOA was just a 3/4 mile walk away. Great day at the end of the year to hit the beach. 80F degrees out and the water was pretty chilly! New Years Festival on the pier tomorrow evening.
 Hope everyone had a good Christmas and best wishes for a Happy New Years in 2019! Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the videos on the YouTube channel under The Vintage RV'er.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Road Trip 2.0: Three Days on the Road....

Hello all from Sunny Florida because we managed to make it down here! We spent Saturday heading down and overnighted in a Flying J in VA. That was a cold night! Glad to have the heater working on that night.

Second day had us heading down into SC were we stopped near Lake Santee, nice KOA there right off I-95. We had much nicer weather and the sunset was wonderful after a somewhat stressful day of stopping for gas only to have the rig do a "click, no-start" right after filling up! Nothing like turning the key and having NOTHING happen.... A battery swap, checking wires, etc. and finally she came back to life for the rest of the trip.  Needless to say, I didn't shut her down until we parked at the campground. Next morning, the same. A jump start later we were off for day three.

Second evening after that no-start. Glad to have the warmer weather and scenery....

Pulled into Apopka about 20 mins before closing time on Christmas Eve! Glad to have made it! Again, oldest rig in the place!

If you haven't read the old blog from 2015 where we wound up stranded in FL, you may not appreciate the almost PTSD reaction (would not say it was that because I don't want to insult anyone) from listening to any noise, or blip, anything that could signal a breakdown. The engine hesitation was the newest thing happening but I believe it's due to water in the gas from taking the last fuel from that one station the day before.

Hoping for better results tomorrow am! The no-start issue appears to be a worn neutral safety switch, fiddling with the gearshift appears to solve the issue. One is available nearby for pick up, so hope that a simple swap later will correct that issue.

Happy RV'ing All and Merry Christmas and Happy New Years from the Vintage RV'er! Check out the YouTube Channel for video versions of this blog.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Weather Outside is Frightful....

I've been watching the weather the last few days, just like a flight controller making sure that all systems are go and the conditions are right to launch. Looks like we will just squeak through a narrow window of weather....
Just love seeing this stuff on the web....


So I have the destination plugged in for weather and it shows severe thunderstorms in the morning. What???? It's as if Mother Nature has about had it at the end of 2018.

Okay. so I'm supposed to feel soooo confident driving down into this? Hey, I'm all about into having fun but I lived in FL for 3 years and wasn't so thrilled about the severe weather back in the '80's.

I guess we will just make sure we drive safely and do what we can to make it to Orlando next week....

Monday, December 17, 2018

T-minus 5 days and Counting! Road Trip 2.0

It's just past the middle of December and a couple of big snow events later since the November post. The snow is gone again and I've been busy getting the RV ready to go on the road.
November snowstorm. About 11 inches that day. Will be glad to have a break from Winter!

The trip plans are about the same and I'd like to avoid any really big hills on the way down. Don't know if that's going to be possible but will try.

This blog took a back seat to the YouTube channel the last couple of months, showing the repair and upgrade work being done to get the LH 2 ready to go. Furnace, genset both gave me issues that are now resolved.

Along with a fixed furnace and genset is a new set of wheel bling for the road trip! Just like the original ones!

You can watch the progress here:  TheVintageRV'er YouTube Channel

I'll be posting videos of the trip starting Saturday or Sunday (Dec 22-23) if all works as intended. Day 2 is going to be the BIG part of the trip from MD to SC but hope that's on more flat terrain.