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Topics - mikeh

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Tips and Tricks / Leveling System--HWH Factory Service
« on: November 02, 2021, 07:10:55 pm »
Looks like this is a fairly slow time for the forum overall, so thought it might be a good opportunity to pitch this long post out there---not that anyone’s asking right now, but the topic of the leveling system has been up numerous times in the past and maybe someone searching the forum on this subject in the future will find this post and benefit from it.

The only thing this applies to in our PC's is the leveling system for those of us who have one.  I do have the HWH Model 725 Automatic Leveling System in my 2019 2552 and I like it—it makes leveling the coach much more convenient in most cases.

I had a problem with mine, though, last summer when the leveling jacks suddenly wouldn’t activate.  The control panel in the cab appeared perfectly normal—all the lights looked as usual when I pressed the “On” button to activate it, but when I pushed the “On” button a second time to drop the jacks—nothing happened; I tried various combinations and re-starts but got the same results.  I was in Wisconsin at the time, in the middle of a trip, so after finding nothing with quick review of the Operating Manual, I went to the HWH website for more information.

I found that HWH has quite a bit of support data on their website for each model, including a troubleshooting checklist meant for techs that steps one through the testing procedure with a “go/no-go” process to methodically determine where the problem might be in the system.  I learned that the control box down at the pump and valve assembly actually has LED indicators that show whether it is getting proper inputs.  Unfortunately, the control box is mounted on TOP of the pump assembly—which means it’s about 2-inches from the overhead—and the only way you can see the LED indicators while lying underneath the coach is with a mirror.  Following their checklist, though, I determined that the link-lights on the back of the in-cab panel and the control box both started flashing when I turned the key on, which confirmed power and proper connectivity between the two, and that when I crawled out and hit the “On” button on the panel the first time, the second LED on the control box also came on showing that the main power relay had clicked in to apply power over to the pump relay.  My voltmeter told me power from the house batteries was about 13.5 volts—fine for a no-load condition.

All good to that point, but since I was by myself there was no way to follow the next step—hit the in-cab “On” button a second time to bring in the pump solenoid WHILE still monitoring voltage underneath to see if that pump relay engaged—and, what the voltage on it read.  Besides that, my old back was beginning to complain loudly about worming my way back and forth beneath the coach and cautioned me that it might not make it back out next time—leaving me stranded until someone could rescue me.  So, since I had noticed both a link and phone number while on the HWH site to schedule service at their Moscow, Iowa, factory, and since I would pass within less than 100 miles on my return trip home from Wisconsin, I decided to give them a call.  They asked what day to stop in would work for me, and we agreed on a day the following week.

My appointment was at 12:30, and I pulled in about noon, unhooked the TOAD, and walked in the service office.  The receptionist had my work order ready to go, handed it to a tech, and I went with him back out to the PC explaining my symptoms.  The tech told me not to worry—they were set up to handle any issue, they had all the parts and capability, including, if needed, even the guy on hand that had designed the system.  The tech pulled my Cruiser into one of their dozen big bays—it was almost lost among all the big Class A coaches being worked on—many of those use the complete HWH hydraulic system which powers not only their levelers, but their slides and extendable steps as well.  Most of the shop was filled with big Class A’s.  After pulling my unit up on ramps and sliding underneath for a couple minutes, the tech backed it out and moved it down several bays to one of their two lifts for smaller coaches—the other one was occupied by a Winnebago View, with the tech on it doing some sort of installation job.  I watched from outside as my tech raised my 2552 up on the lift, and a second tech joined him.  They pulled out the house battery slide, opened the driver door, and worked back and forth between those areas and the pump unit testing with meters for quite a while.  They eventually brought some boxes of new components which they removed/installed using power tools.  The tech came out and said the problem was both the power and pump solenoids had become internally corroded due to road salt, dropping the usable battery voltage under load.  The control board, sensing a voltage below the threshold required, wouldn’t allow the system to activate.  He also said a dedicated ground for the system that should be there wasn’t installed, so they added a #2 ground cable while they were at it.  After dropping the unit off the lift, he pulled it back in a bay on level concrete to check and re-calibrate the level sensor and test out the leveling system.  All worked well.

Less than two hours after I pulled in, I was hooked back up and ready to go.  The two techs had worked on my unit about an hour and a half in total from pulling it in to pulling it out, but when I paid my invoice I discovered that they evidently work on a flat-rate system.  The shop rate was $98 per hour (not bad for factory-level service), but the labor charged was only 0.5 hours for replacing two solenoids.  There was no charge for the considerable amount of testing and troubleshooting time they had spent, the ground cable they installed, or the time afterward to re-calibrate the level sensor.  After adding the hundred bucks worth of parts my entire bill was $148.72.

I am cautious about making recommendations, but based only on my one experience, I highly recommend anyone needing outside work on their HWH system strongly consider using the HWH factory if they are within reasonable driving distance.  They are located just off I-80 on the Moscow, Iowa road.  They do a pretty brisk service business—several rigs pulled in during the two hours I was there—but you can normally get in within a day or two, the capability (both parts and labor) is excellent, and even the price is right.


Tips and Tricks / DON'T Lose Your Water Heater Vent
« on: October 18, 2021, 01:30:07 am »
I may be the only PC owner to have experienced this problem (haven't seen it mentioned anywhere in the forum), but I think it applies to many (most?) of the units out there--mine is a 2019 2552.  It cost me $35 and several days to fix it (waiting parts) once it happened--but it can be prevented with two minutes time and a pair of pliers.

Most PC's using the Dometic/Atwood 6-gallon water heater have a water heater door with an inserted vent like the photo below

IMG_1845 by Michael Henry, on Flickr

In the OEM condition, this is a stable unit that probably rarely gives a problem.  However some of you may have installed external insect screening to your units--just like I did after I cleaned out two red wasp nests from the hot water compartment, and "dirt-dauber" (or mud-wasp) build-up from inside my furnace compartment and refrigerator upper vent area.  I even experienced fridge malfunction on propane from the dirt-daubers obstructing my burner flue.  The screens are inexpensive, and install over the water heater vent with small stainless steel springs--as in the photo below:

IMG_1849 by Michael Henry, on Flickr

The problem arises because the water heater vent is simply clipped into the water heater door very lightly with two clips on each side.  I didn't bother to check how it was attached when I installed my insect screen--that was easily done externally, and I didn't even open the door to look.
I immediately noticed it when I returned from my first trip after installation, though, and found a gaping hole in the side of my RV--with the vent (and attached screen) long gone.  The extra tension of the three springs I used (small as they were) was enough to cause the vent to pop out of the door--perhaps when I hit a bump extra hard or the coach was otherwise jarred.  Since the screen was attached to the vent, it went with it--no damage to the actual door thank goodness.
Of course one could fabricate some type of new vent, but if you want to just buy one--you'll have to purchase the entire door (which is sold with the vent attached) because you can't buy a vent separately.  The best price on the door cost me $35 delivered--and most sources were much higher than that.  It was a simple matter to press the vent out of the new door (with only very light finger pressure) and install it in my original door.

The solution to keep this from happening in the first place takes only a couple minutes and a pair of pliers.  As seen in the photo below, simply open the water heater door, and from the inside bend the two tabs on each side of the vent from their original vertical position to a 30-45 degree angle.  They don't have to be bent flat--the tabs are quite stiff, and just a small amount of bend will be plenty to eliminate the possibility that the vent can pop out.  Knowing now how easily it does so, I think I would make this simple mod to my unit now even if I weren't using screens.


IMG_1847 by Michael Henry, on Flickr

Tips and Tricks / Tow Bar Pins
« on: September 17, 2021, 09:20:29 pm »

IMG_1776 by Michael Henry, on Flickr

I don't know how many of you may be using the "swivel-lock" type pin to anchor your tow bar as seen in the photo above.  This is the type of pin that has a swivel end that must be pulled out against a spring and then rotated 90 degrees to keep the pin in place.  Mine were made by Master Lock, but many manufacturers offer them.

IF you use these type pins, I recommend that you keep a very close eye on them and even consider changing.  Below are two photos of what I found when I pulled into my driveway from my last trip, and got out to unhook the TOAD.  Don't know how much further I might have traveled before the LH pin dropped out--but I know I barely dodged a bullet.
These pins had exactly 4757 towing miles over a period of 3 months.  The spring mechanism in the LH pin had failed and allowed the 90-degree lock section to rotate in line with the pin.  Although the RH pin looks OK, close examination showed considerable wear on the edge of the 90-degree lock section--I suspect that it was progressing toward failure as well.

This is the second tow pin failure that I have experienced with my set-up in 12,000 miles of towing.  The first was loss of a "hairpin-type" clip that allowed my RH pin to fall out a couple years ago.  That failure was "at speed", and only my safety cable saved my bacon that time.
My new pin set now uses padlocks, and I'll gladly put up with the hassle of a key for more security.

IMG_1778 by Michael Henry, on Flickr

IMG_1775 by Michael Henry, on Flickr

Photos / Long-Haul Combo!
« on: September 17, 2021, 07:37:07 pm »

"We're almost certain the tongue weight is within limits---but we haven't really tested this with a load yet!!"

(Obviously nothing to do with my PC--but I couldn't resist snapping a photo when this rig pulled into my local Wal-Mart today!)           Mike

IMG_1780 by Michael Henry, on Flickr

General Discussion / 2910T--Pretty Good Price!?!
« on: July 23, 2018, 07:34:31 pm »
Was down at Fort Worth this weekend, so took the opportunity to stop by Motor Home Specialists (about 20 miles south).  Huge place--200 acres, almost 1500 RVs total in their listed inventory, #1 volume dealer in the world.  Takes quite a while to get around their lots (even on the complimentary golf carts).  Ran across one of their used consignment units---a 2014 Phoenix 2910T with less than 7300 miles.  Their price of $64,900 caught my attention.  My target is a smaller unit (2350/2351), but if I were in the market for a 30-31 footer I would have to look twice.  With the recent price increases, that's a 50% reduction on a 4-year old unit, which looked pretty nice with my quick glance-over.

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