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Old 04-13-2005, 06:37 AM   #31
Frenchy
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You may want to have your TM wheels balanced if you are getting that kind of vibration.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:10 AM   #32
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Default TM 2720 First trip report

I looked around to see if there was a better place to post a trip report but nothing jumped out at me. Since I started this thread I figured it made some sense to keep it going for a while longer.

Arrived at Laguna Seca Raceway for the Sea Otter Classic mountain bike race Wednesday 4/13 and returned home Sunday 4/24. This was a relatively short trip. About an hour and a half each way.

Our son placed 19th out of 78 riders in the pro class. This is his first year pro. Some of the time the TM will be used as a race support station. He also did well in two other events. For anyone interested in race results check out their web site at www.seaotterclassic.com

We have a lot of friends at the races that we have met over the years. Everyone that stopped by thought that the TM had some very clever engineering.

One stranger stopped by. He used to own a TM 2720 but traded it for a regular trailer. His wife could not tolerate the lack of air conditioning when camping in Spokane in the summer. It also was annoying to set up and take down in the heat he said. He also lives on 5 acres so storing it is not a problem.

In an earlier posting I had been inquiring about bucking like a bronco. I think this may have been caused by too low tire inflation. Apparently my local mechanic keeps my tires around 50 psi. This is great for driving around town empty. Apparently this wasn't very good for towing the TM home from the dealer. Factory recommendation on the sticker is 50 psi front and 80 psi rear. Tires are rated for 80 psi. My mechanic suggested 60 psi front and 70 psi rear when towing. He isn't fond of running tires at maximum pressure unless there is a good reason to. I liked the handling at 60 and 70 psi.

I don't like the McKesh mirrors. They vibrate. Based on comments from others I was expecting the vibration to be zero. This is what the factory mirrors deliver. At the race I checked out a similar truck that had the factory extendable mirrors. They are worthless. Extended out to the maximum setting they were still 3 inches too far in when compared to the distance I had selected for my McKesh mirrors. At least with the McKesh mirrors I could see behind me. It was just annoying that they jiggled so much. Also, the installation instructions don't warn you to loosen the three screws at the bottom of the mirror. The first time I attempted to adjust the mirror it cracked the glass. After loosening the mirror I could adjust it. However, it is difficult to find a screw tightness that is loose enough to allow adjusting the mirror and tight enough that it doesn't vibrate out of the adjusted position. This will become very annoying when we go on longer trips and alternate drivers. Every time we change drivers we will need to readjust the mirrors, which will require the use of an angled screw driver. I also don't think the bolt that attaches the mirror to the extension bracket should have arrived rusted. They should be bolts that can tolerate rain etc. Perhaps they should be stainless steel or galvanized. Not just cheap junk bolts with black paint on them. These bolts also wiggle loose. Maybe some locktite will help. The split ring washer was inadequate to hold one mirror in place. Driving home solo at freeway speed in heavy traffic I suddenly found that the passenger side mirror had swiveled so far out that I could not even see the glass mirror at all.

Batteries don't last long. I have two group 24 batteries. For Wednesday and Thursday nights we ran only one florescent light fixture each evening, except for brief intervals when looking for something. The furnace was used for half an hour Wednesday night and a little more Thursday night. The stereo was on 4 to 6 hours each day. By Friday morning it was showing Fair instead of Good. It wasn't clear to me that when I should charge the batteries, so I charged them Friday. Using the meter built into the TM how can you determine when you have reached the maximum recommended discharge level and know that it is NECESSARY to start the generator to charge them? I don't want to damage the battery from too much discharge and I also don't want to start the generator unnecessarily. Gotta figure that one out somehow.

I learned that the fridge can freeze tomatoes. It looks like if the daytime high is around 80 and the overnight low is below freezing then there is no single setting for the fridge that will work. So until I figure out a better way I will need to crank it up in the morning to a very cold setting and then set it back to a warmer setting when I go to bed. I want cold beer at high noon and I also don't want anything to freeze overnight.

My wife thinks the mattress is too hard while I think it is perfect. At home she thinks the mattress is perfect and I think it is too hard. Go figure.

The TM had plenty of storage for the trip, but it is not very convenient when in camp. For the first time in my life I have experienced the importance of "a place for everything and everything in its place". The straps that keep the curtains open are perfect for storing my reading glasses when not in use. The tops of the cabinet and closet are great for the TM binder (I had to look a lot of stuff up and it sure was nice having it handy) and other flat stuff. There was a tendency for clutter to accumulate on the counter top. No one want so put anything away after they take it out.

Not sure what to do about the toilet chemicals. The dealer recommended a quarter bottle. The documentation said to use the whole bottle. I decided it was easier to add some than to take some out, so I used a third of the bottle. After two days it didn't smell very nice so I added some. It still didn't smell very nice so I added the Potty Toddy tablet that I had forgotten about and the odor problem went away. Gotta fine tune that issue.

The brand new Farberware pots slide around on the stove very easily. Need to be careful about that before I end up with hot water in my lap.

The furnace worked well. Though it is a little noisy, at least it cranks out some pretty serious heat in a hurry. It can warm up the TM nicely in about 10 or 15 minutes.

Not knowing how much water we would use I took along 10 gallons of bottled water for coffee and cooking, plus the 40 gallons under the seat. The gauge shows a quarter tank remaining, but if I lift the seat to look at the side of the tank it is closer to half full. I plan on adding water to an empty tank, 5 gallons at a time, and calibrating it so I have a better idea of what the gauge actually means.

The holding tanks showed full earlier than I had expected. I don't know how full it actually was. I intend to calibrate that as well by adding water to the holding tank until the gauge shows full. Then add more water until it starts to back up in the shower. Then I'll know how much time I have left after the gauge shows full.

Iím going to look for some sort of round rod that will fit through the holes in the front and read rock shields when they are open. This will make a great place to dry towels in the sun.

Care must be exercised when setting up the bathroom walls. When swinging the side wall forward from the back wall it has a tendency to catch the lower wall at the bottom of the hinge. I have found that I need to lean against the rear bunk while performing this operation.

Iím glad we ordered vinyl floors instead of carpet. Camped in a paved parking lot we still had to sweep every other day. In the future I will be camped in dirt parking lots. Carpet would not hold up well for us. I am considering looking for remnant carpet, cut to fit, with edges hemmed. This would be nice to have in cold weather. We could take it out to clean when we get home. It should be cheap enough that I could replace it every five years or so.

Tear down went so well and quick that I left my wedding ring and watch inside. That wasnít on any check list I saw!

My wife didnít know she was supposed to remove the D cell batteries from the little fridge fan.

When I was swinging away the hitch in the garage I heard a fan running. I disconnected the batteries and the noise went away. Iíll have the TM open his weekend for a better cleaning and figure out what we left on.

I donít remember turning off the water heater. Propane is off at the tanks and the battery is disconnected. I canít image that any damage will occur. The check list without the reference to wedding rings and watches probably said to turn off the water heater, but us know it alls donít look at check lists, even when we have them. Maybe next time.

Forgot to make sure the latches were clear before closing the top down. Had to lift it back up because one latch was jammed under the top. I donít recall reading that in the check list. Iíll have to look that one up.

The bolts for one of the latches are loose. This is the latch that initially captures the top as you stand on the foot loop. It wiggles enough that it requires two people to close the TM. One to stand on the loop and another to close the spring loaded latch. Iíll try adjusting it, but it may need to go back to the dealer.

I plan on adding a tube for storing the sewer hose. This will free up some space in the bumper storage for other things that would be nice to have accessible while the TM is closed.

I had to wire the radio ignition lead to the battery. There was no time to install a switch as others have done. So I just pull the fuse when I close the TM so the radio has no power.

Forgot to turn the two outside lights off before going to bed. My son thought it was clever that there was a switch inside that would kill both lights without having to go outside. I wasnít expecting to utilize that feature the first night.

Thatís enough of my rambling for now. All in all the TM performed very well and we are quite pleased with it.
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Old 04-22-2005, 07:19 AM   #33
RockyMtnRay
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 816
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PopBeavers
I don't like the McKesh mirrors. They vibrate. Based on comments from others I was expecting the vibration to be zero. This is what the factory mirrors deliver. At the race I checked out a similar truck that had the factory extendable mirrors. They are worthless. Extended out to the maximum setting they were still 3 inches too far in when compared to the distance I had selected for my McKesh mirrors. At least with the McKesh mirrors I could see behind me. It was just annoying that they jiggled so much. Also, the installation instructions don't warn you to loosen the three screws at the bottom of the mirror. The first time I attempted to adjust the mirror it cracked the glass. After loosening the mirror I could adjust it. However, it is difficult to find a screw tightness that is loose enough to allow adjusting the mirror and tight enough that it doesn't vibrate out of the adjusted position. This will become very annoying when we go on longer trips and alternate drivers. Every time we change drivers we will need to readjust the mirrors, which will require the use of an angled screw driver. I also don't think the bolt that attaches the mirror to the extension bracket should have arrived rusted. They should be bolts that can tolerate rain etc. Perhaps they should be stainless steel or galvanized. Not just cheap junk bolts with black paint on them. These bolts also wiggle loose. Maybe some locktite will help. The split ring washer was inadequate to hold one mirror in place. Driving home solo at freeway speed in heavy traffic I suddenly found that the passenger side mirror had swiveled so far out that I could not even see the glass mirror at all.
Hmmmm....never have had any vibration problems with my McKesh. The nylon strap has to be very, very tight though. Have had some problems with the mirror mounting bolts twisting loose...but a bit of wrenching solved that. Not sure what to say about the other adjustment issues as I'm the sole driver of my rig.
Quote:
Batteries don't last long. I have two group 24 batteries. For Wednesday and Thursday nights we ran only one florescent light fixture each evening, except for brief intervals when looking for something. The furnace was used for half an hour Wednesday night and a little more Thursday night. The stereo was on 4 to 6 hours each day. By Friday morning it was showing Fair instead of Good. It wasn't clear to me that when I should charge the batteries, so I charged them Friday. Using the meter built into the TM how can you determine when you have reached the maximum recommended discharge level and know that it is NECESSARY to start the generator to charge them? I don't want to damage the battery from too much discharge and I also don't want to start the generator unnecessarily. Gotta figure that one out somehow.
If the TM battery gauge is on "F" after the battery voltage has had time to stablize (about 15 minutes with no electrical use), then you have only about 30% of capacity left and its definitely time to recharge. Taking those RV/Marine type batteries below 30% charge will definitely shorten their life. I doubt you can stand to run the generator long enough (it would need to run for about 8 hours) to overcharge the batteries.

I would bet the stereo was what was killing your battery time...typical car stereos use 2 to 5 amps (or more) of current even at moderate listening levels. At 5 amps that would equal 30 amp-hours per day...which is a heckuva lot. Learn to live without tunes more of the time if you want more battery life.
Quote:
I learned that the fridge can freeze tomatoes. It looks like if the daytime high is around 80 and the overnight low is below freezing then there is no single setting for the fridge that will work. So until I figure out a better way I will need to crank it up in the morning to a very cold setting and then set it back to a warmer setting when I go to bed. I want cold beer at high noon and I also don't want anything to freeze overnight.
Don't you know you should NOT refrigerate tomatoes. Most produce people will tell you it kills the flavor, the nutrients, the texture.

That being said, I have no problems keeping the beer quite cold, the ice cream frozen, and the delicate lettuce from NOT freezing. And I don't have to continually re-adjust the refrigerator temperature either even though I allow the trailer interior to drop into the low 50s at night and rise into the low 80s during the day. The trick is to use a fridge fan (as you are apparently using) and leave LOTS of room around objects in the fridge to allow the fan to readily circulate the air. Don't try to cram a lot of food into the fridge...even with a fridge fan you will get spots that are too cold and others that too warm. It also helps enormously to have a Fridge Alarm to be able to precisely monitor internal temps of the refer compartment and to sound an alarm if it gets hotter or colder than you want. I set my Fridge alarms for 45 degrees on the high side and 35 degrees on the low side and seldomly ever have an alarm go off with the refer control set at about "3" (Dometic refer).
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I use my TM as a base camp for hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and climbing Colorado's 14ers


The Trailer: 2002 TM Model 2720SL ( Mods: Solar Panels (170 Watts), Dual T-105 Batteries, Electric Tongue Jack, Side AC, Programmable Thermostat, Doran TP Monitor System)

The Tow Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Tundra V8 SR5 4X4 w/Tow Package (Towing & Performance Mods: JBA Headers, Gibson Muffler, 4.30 gears, Michelin LTX M/S Tires, Prodigy Brake Controller, Transmission Temperature Gauge)


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Old 04-22-2005, 08:37 AM   #34
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Default Music, tomatoes and fridge alarms

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyMtnRay
I would bet the stereo was what was killing your battery time

Don't you know you should NOT refrigerate tomatoes.

It also helps enormously to have a Fridge Alarm.
I thought it might be the music that was the big drain. But if I turn off the music in the trailer then the music will get turned on in car. That just moves the problem. During the day it might make sense to play music on the truck that will be driven the most as that one will get a chance to recharge. In a campground this won't happen. But at bike races our trailer will be the pit area with untold quantities of 20 somethings hanging out repairing bikes. I kinda like them hanging out at our place. Makes it easy to see what sort of friends our kids have. At age 16 this was a good parenting trick. At age 22 I'm just nosey.

But Ray, I LIKE cold tomatoes on my sandwich.

Didn't know about the fridge alarm. I have seen posts about using an indoor/outdoor thermometer to display the temperature. The alarm looks like a better mousetrap. Thanks for the tip. Yours is the first reference to the fridge alarm that I have seen, and I have spent a lot of time reading the TM forums plus RV.net.
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Old 04-22-2005, 09:43 AM   #35
RockyMtnRay
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Default 20 something guys and their music...solar is your best answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by PopBeavers
I thought it might be the music that was the big drain. But if I turn off the music in the trailer then the music will get turned on in car. That just moves the problem. During the day it might make sense to play music on the truck that will be driven the most as that one will get a chance to recharge. In a campground this won't happen. But at bike races our trailer will be the pit area with untold quantities of 20 somethings hanging out repairing bikes. I kinda like them hanging out at our place. Makes it easy to see what sort of friends our kids have. At age 16 this was a good parenting trick. At age 22 I'm just nosey.
I appreciate the problem...it's nearly impossible to separate 20 something guys from their music and just about as impossible to have the music at a low volume level (e.g. one that doesn't suck a steady 20 amps out of a battery ). I was once like that myself so I really do empathize.

Sounds to me like you need some means of automatic daily battery recharge. Solar is pretty darn good for this since it works all by itself whenever there's sunshine. Even a single 100 to 120 watt panel would give you around 7 amps in full sunshine and it would do it all day long. If you're mostly parked in open areas (like parking lots) for these bike races...where the steady use of the stereo will be highest...you'll also likely have a lot of sunshine, at least in Cali. Solar isn't cheap, but if you can keep the panels in full sun, it's a great way to keep batteries charged up when you have high and unavoidable levels of daily battery drain.

P.S. Having solar power will also most likely raise your "coolness" factor amongst your son's friends.
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Ray

I use my TM as a base camp for hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and climbing Colorado's 14ers


The Trailer: 2002 TM Model 2720SL ( Mods: Solar Panels (170 Watts), Dual T-105 Batteries, Electric Tongue Jack, Side AC, Programmable Thermostat, Doran TP Monitor System)

The Tow Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Tundra V8 SR5 4X4 w/Tow Package (Towing & Performance Mods: JBA Headers, Gibson Muffler, 4.30 gears, Michelin LTX M/S Tires, Prodigy Brake Controller, Transmission Temperature Gauge)


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Old 04-24-2005, 04:44 PM   #36
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Default Why safety chains come off last

I accidentally learned the optimum sequence for disconnecting the TM from the TV yesterday.

1. Unplug electrical connector
2. Disconnect hitch from TV with wheel on tongue.
3. Disconnect safety chains.
4. Disconnect breakaway cable.

The sequence of 3 and 4 is not critical. The sequence of steps 1, 2 and 3 *ARE* critical.

I had one wheel up on a ramp a few inches and forgot to chock the TM wheels. As the hitch released the TM rolled backwards until:
A. The TM brakes locked.
B. The safety chains were stretched tight.

This being in front of my house on a nearly level street it wouldn't have rolled very far. If I had disconnected the brake cable and safety cables first then this could have been a disaster. This is why I recommend leaving at least the safety cables attached until after the hitch is released.

I had actually considered leaving the wheel off the tongue and just setting a wooden block under the post. Good thing I didnít do that. The post wouldnít have rolled very well without the wheel.

The reason that I recommend disconnecting the electrical connector is because I know that many people use the Prodigy controller. According to the Prodigy manual you should unplug the TM from the TV when *TESTING* the breakaway brake switch. According to the manual this will permanently destroy the Prodigy controller. I still had the electrical cable connected. If I had the Prodigy I might have toasted it. However, I bought the Odyssey, anticipating that some day my kids would accidentally manage to do what I did yesterday and fry the Prodigy. Perhaps my choice of the Odyssey just saved me a hundred bucks.

I have never heard of anyone actually damaging the Prodigy controller by doing what I did. I'm just going by what the book says. I can testify that the Odyssey controller appears to be working fine.

So, you might wonder, how did this happen.

Midway through my procedure of disconnecting the TM I stopped to gossip with a neighbor. I resume where I had left off, but skipped one step, chocking the TM wheels. I wasnít working from a checklist, just going from memory.

Lesson learned. I'll never make that one again.

At least no harm or damage occurred and I can laugh at myself. My wife and kids are probably thinking it has something to do with my heritage, Polish Oakie. Or as my brother would say, a Pollie-Oakie.
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Old 09-23-2005, 08:30 PM   #37
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PopBeavers
I don't like the McKesh mirrors. They vibrate. Based on comments from others I was expecting the vibration to be zero. This is what the factory mirrors deliver. At the race I checked out a similar truck that had the factory extendable mirrors. They are worthless. Extended out to the maximum setting they were still 3 inches too far in when compared to the distance I had selected for my McKesh mirrors. At least with the McKesh mirrors I could see behind me. It was just annoying that they jiggled so much. Also, the installation instructions don't warn you to loosen the three screws at the bottom of the mirror. The first time I attempted to adjust the mirror it cracked the glass. After loosening the mirror I could adjust it. However, it is difficult to find a screw tightness that is loose enough to allow adjusting the mirror and tight enough that it doesn't vibrate out of the adjusted position. This will become very annoying when we go on longer trips and alternate drivers. Every time we change drivers we will need to readjust the mirrors, which will require the use of an angled screw driver. I also don't think the bolt that attaches the mirror to the extension bracket should have arrived rusted. They should be bolts that can tolerate rain etc. Perhaps they should be stainless steel or galvanized. Not just cheap junk bolts with black paint on them. These bolts also wiggle loose. Maybe some locktite will help. The split ring washer was inadequate to hold one mirror in place. Driving home solo at freeway speed in heavy traffic I suddenly found that the passenger side mirror had swiveled so far out that I could not even see the glass mirror at all.
It took me awhile to find my own post. I knew that I had posted some negative comments regarding the McKesh mirrors. I have a positive update that I wanted to share in a rebuttal to myself.

I finally contacted the factory regarding the purchase of a mirror to replace the one I had cracked. I mentioned that I found the mirrors difficult to adjust when changing drivers. I find it necessary to keep the screws tight while driving and then loosen them to adjust the mirrors. When I did not lossen them before I adjusted them I cracked the glass.

The factory responded to my email with an offer to replace the mirror at no cost to me if I would pay the shipping. I was a little surprised because I had purchased and then broke the mirror back in April and just never got around to dealing with it until now. I think this was an excellent offer from the factory. The mirror arrived today.

I still am not happy with the amount of vibration I get in the mirror. But I am very happy with customer service.
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