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Topics - NC Sailors

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General Discussion / Recommendations for a New Phoenix
« on: July 14, 2010, 03:15:36 pm »
Based on our 9-months experience with our 2350S we recommend that you test absolutely everything before you accept delivery. For example, take a trailer emulator with you to test the trailer connector. If you do not have problems with the lights fixed before delivery, you will be stuck with Phoenix blaming the chassis manufacturer and the Dealer blaming Phoenix. Our solution to our trailer light problem was to have the trailer vendor install an isolator and new 7-pin connector to get the coach and trailer lights to work together correctly.

In working on the home theater system (HTS) system recently, we discovered that the right front speaker was not connected (That’s why we could not hear any RF sound). Also, since the 19 inch Sanyo LCD TV speakers are under the TV, the sound cannot get out of the enclosure. The solution is to connect the TV audio to the HTS Aux2. That way you can hear the TV through the HTS over the din of the coach AC. We recommend that you have the factory do this before they install the TV unless you have very small hands with very long fingers. Also, they should connect the DVD player output using an HDMI cable not the RCA connectors that they used on our coach.

On our installation, the way the factory mounted the TV blocks the ports for the PC and optical cable. We recommend that you have the factory modify the TV mount and install an optical cable from the TV to the HTS. That way you can get 5.1 broadcast sound from the TV into the HTS. If necessary, get the cables at Radio Shack and send them to the factory.

We also replaced our 3-speed fan Fan-Tastic vent with the Fan-Tastic 6600 control. We bought the control kit at Camping World. It takes about an hour to install. The 6600 has more speeds, a remote control, and a rain sensor that closes the vent automatically when the rain starts. It works great. On a new coach, we would pay the differential cost to have the factory install the 6600.

We had problems with the galley drawers sliding open when we went around curves such as those on Interstate exit ramps. The solution was to install latches like those on the cabinet doors on the drawers. It was simple enough to do it ourselves but the factory should do it when they make the cabinets. Ask them to do this.

A last thing; the roof AC does not blow cold air into the bathroom when the door is closed. With the door closed it gets quite warm in the bathroom. Therefore, we added a doorstop and a door holder to keep the door open when we want it to stay open. We got brass commercial fixtures at Lowe’s that look factory-installed.

Tips and Tricks / Temp Sensor Fix
« on: May 23, 2010, 12:49:51 pm »
We got a Gentex Auto Dimming Rearview Mirror with our 2350 S. The mirror includes compass and outside temperature function. The compass function tells you where you are headed: N, E, S, or W. It works fine after we did the calibration procedure in the manual to adjust for local magnetic variance. The compass is useful particularly after a turn when you need to know if you are headed in the right direction (I.e., before our GPS starts bleating, “Recalculating!”).

The outside temperature function is redundant with the same information on the Sprinter instrument cluster display. On the Sprinter, you can choose between displaying the outside temperature or your speed. I like the mirror display. It is easier to read because you do not have to find the info in the clutter of the instrument display. Unfortunately, our mirror display did not read correctly from the get go. It would be OK when starting out cold but after a few miles, it would read 15+ degrees too high. Obviously, the engine heat was influencing the sensor.

I could not fix it until I could find and move the sensor. Another member let us know where it was (See: http://forum.phoenixusarv.com/index.php?topic=167.0) The other day I unclipped the sensor from its location on the driver's side fender liner near the engine and moved it to the location specified in the manual: in front to the radiator, more that 8 in. from the pavement and away from the headlamps. Note: On the Sprinter I had to loosen the grill to be able to get my big hand in position to attach the sensor clip low on a grill bar.

The mirror temperature display works correctly now.

General Discussion / Trailer Connector Problem
« on: May 18, 2010, 08:16:40 am »
We have a 2010 2350 S (Sprinter). After analyzing (cost, hassle, etc.) the many possibilities for a toad, we decided to carry our 2009 smart Fortwo on a trailer made for the smart car (http://www.smarttrailerusa.com/). We plan to get the trailer with electric brakes. So, I had National Dodge install a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller. (The hard part was finding the Sprinter connector for the controller; it was under the driver’s seat.

Before installing the controller, the Dodge technician noted that trailer turn signals would only operate when the brakes on the coach were activated. He noted that this problem was the same after he hooked up the controller.

I bought a Tekonsha trailer emulator and conducted my own tests. I won’t go into all the details of my test results, but I confirmed the technician’s observations. I want get this fixed before I buy the trailer.

Has anyone else had this problem with his or her connector? If so, what was the fix?


Tips and Tricks / Planned Maintenance Program--Downloads
« on: April 27, 2010, 09:18:43 am »
For sake of argument, let us assume that Phoenix sells a well-designed, reasonably well assembled product. Further, if you use your PC properly and maintain it effectively, the PC’s tried and true components will provide years of trouble-free service. I believe that this argument is true. However, it is true only if you use it properly and maintain it effectively.

One approach is to assume that you know what you are doing and just use things until they stop working. However, such a “run to fail” approach often results in inconvenient situations (e.g., stranded in nowhere) and can be very expensive.

The alternative approach is to organize, understand, and use that jumble of manuals and other data that came with your PC. This is what professionals do who operate systems for a living. Their approach, preventive or planned maintenance (PM), requires that operators use equipment as intended and that operators (or higher-level technicians) periodically check and service (e.g., adjust, clean, lubricate, etc.) equipment to keep it working to specification. The objective of PM is to enable operators to use equipment when they need it and to minimize the need for repairs.

So much for theory. I have attached three documents that I used to organize the set of technical data I got with my PC. If you have questions as to where I got the info, why it’s in there, or what it means, I will be glad to answer them in this thread.

Tips and Tricks / Doors Adrift
« on: March 13, 2010, 05:22:43 pm »
I noticed that one of the flip-up doors in the cabinet over the sofa was loose in our 2350S. The hinge screws were loose on the cabinet frame side. I removed a screw and saw that it was only a half-inch #6 particleboard screw. Too short for the job!

Better to get the whole job over with once rather than wait for one failure after another. So, I replaced all 32 such fastners in the three doors over the sofa and the door over the DVD player with one inch #6 particleboard screws. The old short screws hold OK in the hardwood doors.

I had to use a stubby #2 phillips screwdriver and an offset #2 to get all of them all in. The result is that all four doors are attached solidly now to their frames. Particleboard screws have full threads so they grip the frame composite material better than a wood screw. Use steel screws with zinc chromate coating. They are less likey to rust. Black oxide sheetrock screws will work but they can rust.

If the new ones do not work, I'll replace them with one and one-half inch screws.

Tips and Tricks / Strip & Heating
« on: March 03, 2010, 04:42:10 pm »
I have spent a few nights camping with temperatures below freezing. I was plugged into the campground 120 30A AC. I found that the stripheater in the AC unit will keep the interior just about 30 degrees warmer than the exterior at least down to about 28 degrees. At that temperture the unit ran pretty much full time with the slide out. With the slide in and 32 degrees outside the unit seem to run about half time.

At home in the driveway and plugged in to 30A, I have the slide in and use a 1500W coil heater. I set the propane furnace at 45 degrees and set the 1500W heater to about 48 degrees. This has worked well down to an outside temperature of 16 degrees. I leave the water heater on electric. So far so good. We also have the double-pane windows.

Adventure Anywhere / Raleigh RV Show
« on: March 01, 2010, 11:17:37 am »
I went to the 21st Annual RV Show at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, NC this weekend. I camped at the fairgrounds. The campsite is full-service (30 and 50A, water, pump out and trash pickup) but an austere place. On the plus side, it’s close to the show venue and the security is provided by uniformed police. It cost $25 per night. I would stay there again if I were in business in Raleigh.

I enjoyed the show. It featured a $1.8M Class A that seemed like a glossy freight car-sized road machine on the outside and a luxury New York condo on the inside.

I looked over the numerous Sprinter-based units since we have the 2350S. Winnebago uses the Sprinter chassis for a Class B (Era), a C (View and View Profile), and surprisingly a 25ft 6in A (the Via). The View Profile is somewhat similar to our PC 2350. Comparing units based on price, layout, features, and build quality; we’re quite happy with our PC 2350S.

Many units at the show featured outside home theaters and cooking facilities that pop out from the unit’s side. These features are not things that I personally lust for. However, an external gas tap for a grill under the awning would be a nice feature on the 2350.

Tips and Tricks / What's Level?
« on: February 23, 2010, 09:56:56 am »
When the refrigerator is operating either on propane or AC, it must be either be in motion (on the road) or at plus or minus 3° longitudinal (front to back) or plus or minus 6° transverse (side to side) when stationary (parked). Since the Sprinter-based 2350 does not have leveling jacks, one must find a level campsite or use blocks to level the unit. Our plan is to find a level spot. This may be a culturally biased approach for people who live near towns with names like Lowland and Sea Level.

To help us find a level spot, we added two plus or minus 10° levels (clinometers). See the photos. The longitudinal level is over the refrigerator; the other is in the doorframe so that one can gage the terrain outside while looking at that level. We added red marks using a Sharpie to each level to indicate the maximums.

While there are a number of levels available, we got ours at the local West Marine store. We use this same brand on the boat and they hold up well.

How do you level the levels? Since it is the refrigerator that must be level, we aligned the longitudinal level with the refrigerator doorframe. We used a 4 ft level to find a level parking spot on the road then attached the transverse level in the doorframe at 0°.

General Discussion / Going to the RV Show in Raleigh?
« on: February 21, 2010, 10:24:52 am »
I plan to go to the 21st Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show in Raleigh 26-28 February, http://www.agievents.com/shows/display.cfm?showID=69. Anybody else?

Tips and Tricks / Stowing Pots & Pans
« on: February 20, 2010, 10:29:07 am »
About 12 years ago, we were looking for a compact set of cookware to fit in the small galley in our 35 ft sloop, AEGIR. At that time Welcome Aboard, http://www.welcome-aboard.com, had a nesting cookware set that fit into less than 0.5 cu ft. It now fits in a small space under the gimbaled alcohol range on the boat.

When we got our PC 2350 last October, we looked for a something similar. Welcome Aboard now carries a variety of nesting cookware and accessories. For the 2350, I saw that our local West Marine, www.westmarine.com, carries nesting sets by Waring and Magma. I got a 10-piece set by Magma. It was the Teflon-coated set to make cleanup easier. The set is high quality, with stainless-aluminum-stainless bottoms. One reservation is that the sauté pan has high, straight sides so flipping an omelet would be a neat trick.

The assembled set fits neatly into the drawer below the cutting board in the 2350. See the photo. The drawer also holds a canister and the dog’s dishes. We stow the teapot, another canister, mixing bowls, baking pans, and French coffee press in the lower drawer.

While the PC galleys are compact, we find that the drawers and cupboard seem to hold all the cooking gadgets, cutlery, etc. that we could use; even a mini-food processor and a salad spinner.

Now if there was someplace for the food….

Around the Campfire / Thrillin' Grillin'
« on: December 10, 2009, 10:10:10 am »
We like to “grill” with our Big Green Egg and hibachi. Charcoal and wood chips, slow smoky cooking, mmmm….
I read the “Sharp Carousel Operation Manual and Cookbook” the other night and wondered about grilling in it. I tested it first without anything in it by following the “Compu-Grill” instructions for fish fillets. The dry run burned off whatever and the fumes set off the smoke alarm that I quickly cleared by opening the roof vent.
For dinner last night, we tried the “Grilled Salmon with Basil Sauce” on page 33 of the Manual. I used the ingredients in the recipe but followed the cooking instructions that appeared on the Carousel; i.e., placing the dish with the steaks on top of the rack.
We used two thawed 6 oz (.75 lbs total) swordfish steaks that we had in the freezer. The instructions were not clear to us as to whether the weight you enter is for each steak or for the total amount of the steaks. Since ours were less that the ¾ in to 1 in specified, we entered the .5 lb weight.
The result was delicious. The steaks were tasty, moist, and not overdone. The leftover sauce in the dish was a compliment to basmati rice and wilted spinach. However, it is a stretch to call the result of this recipe “grilled” when compared to a 400° fire in the Big Green Egg. For a little more grill next time, we might enter a more weight; say .8 lbs. to get some more time cooking time.
This time we used the range hood and the roof vent during cooking and had no problems with the smoke alarm or residual odors. By the way, our 2350S was parked in the driveway for this test.

Tips and Tricks / Prepping the Cutting Board
« on: November 19, 2009, 07:51:25 pm »
The cutting board in our 2350 is a nice block of hardwood and it is a solid surface to use for food prep. It is best for slicing dry foods such as bread. As a porous surface, it would be unsafe if any food liquids soaked in and provided a home for bacteria. We decided to treat the board to make it less permeable and make cleaning the surface easier. I found an interesting article for treating cutting boards at http://whatscookingamerica.net/CuttingBoards/AllAbout.htm.

While you can buy “special” cutting board treatments, we went the route suggested in the article. We applied a heavy coat of mineral oil twice a day for a week. After a week, the oil took an hour or so to soak in completely. Then we used beeswax dissolved in hot mineral oil for two coats, and a final wax with just beeswax. The surface is now more resistant to spills and the beeswax has a nice fragrance.

General Discussion / Delivery Day Recommendations
« on: November 12, 2009, 12:38:23 pm »
Based on our delivery last month, here are our ideas to make your delivery glitch-free:
•   Wait until Phoenix tells you that your unit is complete before you travel to Elkhart to pick it up. I drove to Elkhart from the Carolinas to arrive on the Monday after the Friday when our 2350 was to be complete. However after I left on my trip early Friday, material availability delayed delivery until the following Tuesday afternoon.
•   Start your delivery process early in the day. I took delivery in the afternoon and did not seem to have enough time to check everything out.
•   Important, know how to and be prepared to check out your unit’s vitals before you take delivery. This includes chassis fuel, engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, tire pressures, and warning indicators and the coach generator oil, tank levels, and propane. (Since the appropriate engine oil for the Sprinter diesel is not available at retailers such as WalMart, get some from a Dodge or Mercedes dealer beforehand.)
In my case after I drove away from the factory I saw that the fuel gage on the Sprinter read 0 (one indicator bar) and there were some lit indicators on the instrument panel, which I did not immediately comprehend.
First problem was to find a diesel station in Elkhart (Karin at the factory was helpful by phone). After I refueled and got back to the motel for the first night, I checked out the owners manual for the warning indicators, which were lit for the SRS (supplemental restraint system – an airbags and seatbelts problem) and lamp out problem.
I returned to the factory on Wednesday to correct the indicator problems, which required a half-day trip to the Dodge dealer in Goshen, IN to reprogram the chassis computer. Note: Phoenix indicated that they would correct this particular reprogramming problem in all subsequent Sprinter chassis they have.
I eventually tested the tire pressures and found the inner tires seriously under inflated. The how and when of this hazardous situation is indeterminate but if I had checked the tires myself before delivery, I would not have driven far on under inflated tires.
•   I assume that the paperwork you get at delivery is what works for Indiana. In North Carolina, it did not meet the bill. If you are not from Indiana, I recommend that you go to your local DMV office and get a list of documents you need to register your unit  (Be specific in telling the DMV that you are getting a “motor house” or whatever they call a motor home in your state). Check with Phoenix to see if they provide the same documentation. If not, bring copies of the required forms with you when you pick up the unit in Elkhart. Phoenix will send you the manufacturers’ certificates of origin (one for the chassis and one for the coach) about a week after you take delivery.
•   You may have negotiated a better price for your unit than the Phoenix MSRP. If so, ask for a bill of sale at delivery that reflects the price you actually paid otherwise, your state my try to collect sales tax on the MSRP rather than the price you paid.
•   I recommend that you negotiate on your insurance. In my case, I made several trips to my home/car insurance agent’s office and kept challenging their proposals. I also told them that I was looking at other options, which I was. In the end, I got a substantial cut from their first offer.
•   I brought a set of Metric and SAE hand tools with me to fix any problems on the way home. Note: I did not use or need any of them! (I would carry a quality 12V tire inflator though.)
•   Any issues I list above could have been avoided with better communication and planning. I found the staff at Phoenix to be friendly and helpful especially Kraig Fisher (Kermit’s son) and Karin in the office. When I presented my issues, everyone at Phoenix quickly and cheerfully worked to resolve them.
•   I’ll write soon about my trip home and outfitting the coach. We are very happy with our purchase and hope to get many years service out of it.

General Discussion / Today Was Pick-up Day!
« on: October 20, 2009, 06:04:46 pm »
Today I picked up our new 2350S. Thought I was going to do so yesterday but a few missing items pushed delivery to today. No problem. Kraig Fisher, Kermit's son helped introduce me to the 2350S with a thorough introduction. I drove off and was very pleased with how quiet the Sprinter chassis and Phoenix coach traveled down the road. The 2350 does not handle exactly like my long-deceased autocrossing Porsche 924S but I liked the handling.
I went back to my motel and used the nifty backup camera view to back into a parking space on my first shot. I'll check out everything tomorrow before I head back home. I'll use the 1000mi trip to carefully break in the Sprinter's diesel.

General Discussion / Roadside Assistance
« on: September 09, 2009, 09:28:21 am »
As a soon-to-be PC 2350 owners, we're looking for info on roadside assistance insurance. Do any of the members have experience with these programs? Are they useful? Worth the cost? Which ones would members recommend?

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