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StellaTariche last won the day on February 21

StellaTariche had the most liked content!

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    Colorado Springs, CO

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    12245 Jones Park CT, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80921
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    Electrical Engineer
    CEO of Lead Free Design
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  1. Hi Bob, Wow, I finally get it. Instead of fooling with the steering box, I'm going to adjust the drag link a bit first. Thank for being so patient... Best, - John
  2. Hi Van, I measure about 1/2" of lash on the outside of the 22" steering wheel. Seeing the witness lines and the exact midpoint of the crow is tricky (mirror needed, but I have). I'm traveling without a complete complement of tools, but I have a pair of vice grips and a 3/4" socket (1/2 drive) + a big flat blade screw driver, so I can probably get it un-torqued, adjusted, and tightened. Many thanks for the call (I'm on Central this week). Best, - John
  3. Hi Van, Full Monaco watts setup (front watts, rear watts, crossbars) - update on results The full (front, back, cross bars) Monaco watts setup is magnificent! TRW steering box: Had local mechanic try to replace TRW box with new reman unit from Weller. He had trouble removing it without a torque multiplier, so he adjusted it as best he count. The slotted adjustment bolt was frozen to the jam nut. Yes, He did know how to adjust it properly, just could not get any more play out of it. After replacing it in Alabama (see below) And examining it on the ground, the internals seem to need a rebuild - I believe someone long ago screwed it up, and tried everything EXCEPT replacing it to get the coach to drive nice, which it did not. Drove from Colorado Springs to Fairhope Alabama. Lots of lash, but the Monaco watts setup was great. Went to help out my rapidly aging parents for a month or so. Found a mobile big rig mechanic in Fairhope to install the TRW box (i brought it with me). The existing setup, Pittman arm, and steering column were all off. He removed everything, installed the new TRW box, reset up everything properly (except that the steering wheel is off, but we ran out of daylight, so...) Drove my Dad (88 and recovering from hernia surgery, so no flying) from Fairhope Alabama to Grand Rapids Michigan to say goodbye to his brother (90 - only about a month left). Drove back yesterday. Drives much better than the trip out here, BUT still has some play in the steering. QUESTION: there is still a bit of lash in the input shaft (narrowed it down with the mechanic before leaving). He said “There will always be a little. Don’t tighten it any more or it will bind” . Note: Scott at Weller also said “You really can’t get all of the play out” It would drive perfectly if I could remove the last bit of input shaft lash. For reference, while looking at the actual steering input shaft, a sharpie mark on the ~2” shaft tube moves about 1/4 of an inch. Is it possible and advisable to tighten it up a bit more (lining it up properly, of course)? Opinions? Thanks, John 2000 Monaco Diplomat
  4. Hi all, FINALLY, I got the Monaco Watts system purchased and installed (front watts link, rear watts link, rear cross bars). Fantastic results. Completely doable by a weekend wrench turner like me once I figured out which tie rod ends went on which parts (the location of the Zerk fittings - back or side) makes a big difference. Make Hughes responded to my questions over the weekend. Talk about customer support.... 🙂 AND, the existing TRW steering box has been adjusted by someone who actually knows what he is doing (evidently not me). BUT, the old TRW box, even when fully adjusted still has *way* too much lash in the upper shaft (ie. input shaft turns, but no corresponding output). Summary: it is shot and needs replacing. SO, I ordered a reman unit from Weller Trucking (thanks again Brent and Scott for all your help). It will be here Wednesday or Thursday of this week. PROBLEM: I have to drive the beast early next week across the country, and getting the steering box swapped out at a shop is a problem (booked everywhere). QUESTION: As a DIY job, any hints? LIMITATIONS: No lift, no pit, so climb under after putting up jack stands. New TRW steering box is a TAS 4007 (weighs about 45lbs according to Scott at Weller) The bolts look like 3/4", so find big socket, and helper to hold up unit. Not sure of the torque specs, but might be fun (not) removing and then torquing the bolts. Hints? Torque specs? Disconnecting and reconnecting the hydraulic hoses: hints? Removing and replacing the pitman arm: Mark the location on the output shaft, then use a puller on the arm, put back in the same place? Or something more complicated? I was going to leave the drag link connected - the ends seem to be in good shape (69K miles, 20 years old). Hints? Disconnecting and reconnecting the upper shaft (to the steering wheel). Tricks or hints? Setting the poppets "appears" straight forward. My experience - things that "appear" easy often need hints. Refilling the power steering fluid and removing any air: Where, how, hints? (I know how to do it in a car) What else should I have asked but didn't know to ask? As always, thanks. - John 2000 Monaco Diplomat
  5. ooohhh, I just started looking into replacing my two big starting batteries with a super capacitor. Very interesting. Many truckers are doing it. Maxwell makes a single super capacitor which will put out 1800 CCA for 10 seconds, with multiple repeats allowed before recharging the super capacitor is needed. And, it is in parallel with your main house bank. They claim that a house bank with 7v (really dead) is enough to charge the super capacitor in about 15 min. $800 form multiple sources.
  6. Hi Roy, Apologies for my overly detailed posts and replies. My thinking was, with the various levels of expertise on the board, more experienced people like you will just skim through it, picking up what you need. And those that want more details (or want to know the answer to “that looks easy, How hard could it possibly be” get fair warning from those of us with the scars. 🙂 And yes, that camera system is truly amazing.
  7. Here is where I got the custom Uberbounder logo done. They can make anything that you can draw, or they have standard fonts and icons. https://domedlettering.com/chrome/ (Running joke: Our first RV was a 1997 Bounder. Not quite "Breaking Bad" looking, but not a Prevost either. So obviously the Re-done Diplomat had to be named "Uberbounder", right? 🙂 ) - John
  8. RE: Paint Masks for RV Hi Roy, Yup, the mask is the way to go. I used a company called Graphics RV. http://graphicsrv.com/ Contact Steve Messenger: stevem@graphicsrv.com Things I learned: The masks (4 rolls per side + front/back) are expensive, but worth it. Contrasting Outlines around the large graphics (“1/2 Pins” in Steve’s vernacular) are an interesting issue: I had to paint them first before applying the mask, without knowing exactly where the pins would be (Steve can explain the problem better, and probably has a better solution than mine). This simple method would be to prime everything, then paint the entire area where any of the outlines will be with the outline color, BUT that wastes a lot of *very* expensive paint. And, in complicated graphics, the pins are different colors (drop shadow areas, contrasting overlapping pins, etc). So instead, I hung the masks, marked underneath them where the pins would be, removed the masks, painted large (6”) swathes of the pin color(s), re-hung the masks, then painted the rest. It really helped to have 4 strong people on ladders and scaffolding to hang (and re-hang) and peel the masks. There is a reason a Prevost paint job costs >$80k minimum... The masks are first taped together to make sure they align - tricky even on the ground, impossible in the side of an RV by a non-professional. Each taped together side mask weighs almost 80 lbs. The tape you use to align the masks as well as hang them from the roof must be really strong. I used gorilla tape. There are no do-overs. Our masks costs > $600. You paint in the opposite order than you think you should. Things that are really easy to do in photoshop ( gradients, fades, drop shadows ) are MUCH harder to do with automotive paint. Good automotive paint, with good UV rated clear coat is ungodly expensive. My cost for 3M triazact sand paper, tape, grease remover ( judiciously at every step), primer, paint, clear coat, reducers, hardeners, tack rags, masking paper and paint cleaners was >$7000 in materials (Sherman Williams top of the line, with a professional discount). Labor was cheaper because College kids understand slave wages vs tuition 🙂 a good big paint booth with a big compressor, lighting, and down draft ventilation is a must. Hard to find too. I lucked out and found an unusual situation and paid $200 a month for two months. Rolling scaffolding is a must. Can’t do It with ladders alone. Home Depot and Lowes have a $200 unit that will work. Even pros get orange peel. I am far from a pro. The difference is in the final sanding of the clear coats (2 thick ones). Trizact sand paper (1500, 3000, 5000) then two grades of polishing compounds will take you longer than the prep and painting. On a 40’ coach, that comes out to 1100 sq ft of polished painted surface. Spraying metallics is much harder than solid colors. MUCH HARDER. Everything on my rig that is not black is a metallic. There are 200 shades of black at Sherwin Williams. Save your paint codes. Two good HVLP guns are a must, each with multiple tips and needles - Large surfaces, and small things like trim, awning parts, stuff. a portable 5 stage HVLP unit will work, but expensive (>$1000 + guns, filters). Otherwise the minimum compressor tank size is 60 gallon. I had a 300 gallon air tank that came with the booth. Protect your lungs, skin and eyes from everything involving paint and sanded gel coats. Airbrushing the details make a huge difference: Re: gel coat checking: Roy, originally, I had no checking on mine, primarily because it was all white gel coat with lighter color graphics. BUT, after painting parts of it it black (rear cap “window” for example) and having that area exposed to the sun for several years, there are now gel coat cracks and spiderwebs. And, I’ve been told they will return even after filling if you use dark paint. Many of our coaches of that vintage had the same issues gel coat issues. I plan on addressing them when I repaint some lower baggage doors that jumped out and hit the neighbor’s bumper 😞 Regarding air brushing: airbrush the drop shadows and any other fancy stuff after paint, but before clear coating. I am pretty good with an airbrush, and it was still hard. Your local college will have art students who are excellent with an airbrush, and cheap. Commission them to help with the fancy stuff. Little details that you can do with an airbrush make a huge difference. Not hard to learn, but if you want to do it yourself, you’ll want to practice. A lot. Painted cardboard is a great way to learn. Tape, masks, stencils and rulers make even an amateur look great. Below are photos of two projects I did for my youngest son (Jackson, now 21). Time Machine: He volunteered me to make a “Time Machine” for a school event. All the flat areas are airbrushed. The whole things is cardboard. All the other stuff is just hot glued on to the cardboard. I am now good at painting fake rivets 🙂 . Gears are done with a stencil I got online. Caboose Bed: Every kid needs a Caboose Bed, right? All of the 3D stuff is airbrushed on flat cabinet grade plywood. I used 1" round stickers and 1" hole stencil to do many, many rivets. Drop shadows were done with a piece of cardboard as a straight edge. Diamond plate is with a $10 airbrush stencil I got online. Hope this helps. Let me know if I can provide any other details. - John
  9. Hi Greg, Many thanks for the explanation. It all makes sense. I too replaced those components for those same reasons (slightly different components, same idea ) so it makes sense why the missing relay seems to have no effect. Multiple charging sources into multiple battery banks with differing chemistries is challenging. The low internal resistance of lithium banks means monitoring the charging sources so they aren’t stressed and won’t melt. Greg, Question: do you still run a mix of lead acid/agm with your lithium banks? I’ve thought about eliminating the entire lead acid portion for a lot of reasons (huge weight reduction, much simpler system), but have held off for two reasons: (1) my current LFP chemistry does not like cold, and I live in Colorado Springs at 7200’ above sea level. I keep the house banks heated using battery heating pads. Effective, but a hack, and also subject to failure. (2) starting the main engine of of a LFP bank can be a problem, even at proper temperatures. Normal current discharge for even the most egregious loads (in my case, the A/C and microwave) is still fractional C (under 240A at 12V). Starting circuit would have to be much higher, if only for the cranking time (1000A at 12V for up to 15 seconds I’m guessing). That makes fusing the starting and house circuits into two paths, and complicates life. BUT, I could see adding an additional lithium bank (dual use - house and starting bank), but using is in stead of LiFePO4(LFP), adding a LiFeYPO4 (LFYP) bank. The yttrium allows lower temperature charging and discharging, exactly what I need. And, I could simplify my charging setup, as they have the same profiles. I would keep the existing LFP banks (sunk cost, work fine), but add another dual use bank of LYFP that could be fused for time limited high current discharge connected to the starter circuit (main engine and genset). The LYFP bank, on its own BMS, etc, would also be useful in extreme cold situations (albeit at a much reduced capacity) until the main LFP banks were within charging/use temperature range. Greg, (and others reading this) Does this make sense, or am I over thinking it, and there is a better way? Thanks again. - John
  10. Hi Richard, That is my guess too. I’m not sure who removed it or why... (I’m the 2nd owner, and the first owner “fixed” a lot of things by unplugging them) ...like “the jacks are down BONG” (in reality, low hydraulic fluid), “...so let’s disconnect the warning BONG...” kinda stuff. I’ll keep hunting, I think you are on the right scent... - John
  11. Hi All, On my 2000 Diplomat firewall, I have a stencil that says "Battery Isolator Lock-Out", and a bunch of wires. Today I found a photo online of a Diplomat firewall WITH the relay connected! (photo below) So now I know which wire goes where. BUT, I don't actually know: what this particular relay does (functionally) the relay part number Anyone have any insight into either question? Thanks, - John John Taylor 2000 Diplomat
  12. Peter asked me about the solar panel and battery setup: Solar Panels: Solar panel options have greatly improved since I first installed mine about 6 years ago. I used flexible panels made by the now gone Uni-Solar company. They are "peel and stick" (and really do stick), can be walked on, polycrystalline. I have two lengths up there (13 ft and 26 ft, if I recall). They are combined in a balanced series / parallel configuration to output 48V. This allowed me to use a smaller gauge wire from the roof. About 1000w (in theory). In practice, I get 42A on a hot sunny day. I have one 6 gauge cable dropped through the chimney vent, run carefully in the space between the baggage doors and upper coach, and terminate in the last compartment with the inverters. Solar Inverter: The inverter is a MorningStar MPPT 60A model The 6 gauge wire goes through it's own breaker box, then onto the Morningstar inverter, which down converts it to 12V. Pros: Very easy to install Reasonably priced. Will survive our famous Colorado hail storms Can be walked on. Easy to clean Fit the available roof spaces. Cons: Not as efficient as more recent panels, especially the new 300w monocrystaline panels As they get hot, they get less efficient Removing them in the future to upgrade will be an interesting challenge (3M adhesive is a true blessing and curse) Inverters and Charging sources: The MorningStar controller is really nice. Has profiles to charge lead acid, AGM and lithium batteries. Nice remote mounted inside. The Solar inverter is paralleled with the Magnum 3012 Hybrid inverter into the house bank - currently a mix of existing lead acid and LiFePO4 Lithium packs. All the charging sources self correct instead of fighting with each other. Nice Everything has its own shunt, so I can see what each bank and inverter is doing. Every source and bank is individually protected, and will also disconnect itself from any problematic source. Any bank will also disconnect itself from the house if it is being problematic. The whole system will completely isolate from all sources and all loads under worst case catastrophic conditions. The Magnum Hybrid inverter is clever. 3000W nominal, Lithium profile (with the Advanced Remote). The "Hybrid" means it can be used to augment shore power seamlessly. Hybrid Use Example: if you are plugged in somewhere (my Dad's house), and only have a single 15a circuit, you can still run a single AC unit. The Magnum uses the batteries to Boost the AC voltage when the compressor starts and tries to draw more than 15A. I use a Sterling 400A Alternator to Battery unit to (1) Keep from melting my new 210A Leese Neville alternator, and (2) Charge the Lithium banks at the proper profile while still charging the lead acid (house and starting batteries) on a proper lead acid profile. So my total battery system capacity is this: Lithium: 1000AH of Lithium, made up of 4 x 12V isolated lithium packs. Each has its own BMS, contactors, temp sensors. All 4 are bussed together in parallel and live inside under the bed. LFP batteries do not catch fire, explode, or any other bad thing. I have heating pads with temp controllers under each bank, so they self heat to 45F in case they get too cold under the bed. A fan turns on to cool them (same thermostat controller) if the cells get too warm under the bed. If one cell in one bank goes south, I can quickly disconnect just that pack, and run with 750AH (3 packs) + my lead acid bank (400AH, 200AH useable) Lead Acid: The standard 4 x 6V golf cart lead acid pack in the usual place. (400AH total. 200AH usable) The standard 2 x 1100 CCA big lead acid starting batteries. (Starting only) A battery "follower" that charges the starting batteries from the house bank. Charging sources: 7500 watt Onan Genset (125A max through the Magnum) or shore power (same 125A max) The solar array setup (42A nominal) The new Alternator (210A at 1300RPM, with temperature sensor in case it gets too hot.) It seems to put out almost 200A all the time. Total Charging Sources: ~370A at 12.8V Total Useable house bank storage: Max system is ~1700AH, ~1300AH usable Nominal = 1300AH total, 1100AH usable, keeping LFP 40% to 90%, Lead Acid (400AH total, at 50% 200AH usable) Keeping the Lithium banks in this range almost guarantees > 5000 recharging cycles (~15 years). There are currently 500 cycles on the system now after 4 years (including the cycles when I purchased used from a FedEx IT backup system) Charging rates: All sources running, all banks operational = 370A / 1100A = 0.34C (great) With one lithium bank off-line for some reason, Charging rate = 0.45C (still less than 0.5C, so fine) Other Mods and System Notes: I've modded the rear Air Conditioner to use a "slow start" device, and re-wired it to run off the house bank. This eliminates the need to run the Genset while driving (you normally need to do this to have AC). The solar and alternator supply enough of power to keep all banks full while driving under normal conditions. Lithium cells charge very fast, because they have such low internal resistance Normal the Solar alone tops them up to 95% by noon. If really depleted, the genset can recharge bank to 95% in less than 2 hours. The Lithium banks charge the lead acid banks, and slowly recharge themselves to the proper levels. I can monitor everything with two panels (one up front where I can see it while driving, one in the rear.) BMS changes are made via a phone app if needed. - John
  13. Your comments are most kind. I'm grateful that my Dad (age 87, former lifer engineer at IBM) taught many of these skills to me. I'm 58, my sons are now 21, 27 and 30. Two are engineers like me, the other a successful business owner. All are entrepreneurs like me. With the dearth of Millennials who can't change a flat tire, It seems to fall on us Boomers to pass along what our fathers taught us, right? - John
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