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Welcome to Bill D's Monacoers' Daily digest for *|date|*

To view this on the web click here: https://www.monacoers.org/newsletters/issue/607-monacoers-daily-digest/.  To respond to a post, click on the post title to be taken to that topic on the website.

Hello *|member_name|*, 

Here's what the Monacoers were talking about yesterday:

 

Index

Black and Gray water lift system
Larry Laursen
Weights
Ivylog
Weights
Flyinhy
Weights
Ray Davis
Baffled in battery land
Flyinhy
2002 Dip, first MH to cut our teeth on
RoadTripper2084
Baffled in battery land
Ray Davis
Baffled in battery land
Gary 05 AMB DST
Inverter output voltage
Rikadoo
Baffled in battery land
Flyinhy
Inverter output voltage
Tom Wallis
Inverter output voltage
Ivan K
Baffled in battery land
jjroxus
Seat motors slow
Old Dog
Baffled in battery land
Ray Davis
Inverter output voltage
dleeadkins
2004 Monaco Diplomat 40pdq upgrades
nvrtoofast
Inverter output voltage
waterskier_1
Baffled in battery land
Flyinhy
Inverter output voltage
jacwjames
Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
vegaman19760
Monacoers Member Assistance
Dr4Film
Monacoers Member Assistance
seawayvm
King Control Throttle System
CRY1942
Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
Gary 05 AMB DST
King Control Throttle System
Testdepth
King Control Throttle System
CRY1942
Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
waterskier_1
Over door awning
tcbrow
Seat motors slow
Rikadoo
Seat motors slow
moxy1962
Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
Gary 05 AMB DST
Leveling jack question
ok-rver

New Posts

Black and Gray water lift system
Larry Laursen

Most septic tank pumpers at RV rallies use a small pot that you connect the 3" hose to and then they connect their suction line to it.   The pot has a vacuum release valve on it so there is no vacuum on the black tank in the coach.  The valve can be a simple flap on a hole to prevent out flow from the pot.


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
Dr4Film
10 hours ago, Ivylog said:

Why should the inverter be left on?

I am assuming that the Auto Generator Start program only works when the Inverter is on and active. Am I wrong in that assumption? I don't really know as my Inverter is on 24/7/365 so I haven't really tried the AGS with the Inverter turned off.


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
moxy1962
On 11/13/2021 at 8:19 AM, ncsteve said:

I am in the same boat. Well kind of anyway. My RV is home under our shed in NC and I am currently in Indiana.  Supposed to get in the upper 20’s tonight. I am not worried. With temps in the 50’s during the day and only getting to sub freezing for a few hours won’t hurt anything based on all of my previous experiences.

That is a huge risk to take, the aqua hot is very delicate and freezing would be catastrophic, either winterized coach or run the aqua hot for two days, put your generator on auto start if equipped 


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
Ivylog
11 hours ago, Ivylog said:

 

Why should the inverter be left on?

 

While our rigs have/had AGS, other than to test if it worked, I never use it…don’t need it starting during quite hours. I’m ASSUMING you do not need 120V for it to work…time for someone to test.


Weights
Ivylog

Charles, crank the engine, it should charge the house batteries…OH wait, you said the alternator stopped working. Running the engine will put heat into the A Hot if freezing temps expected.

“Everything is dead” if that includes the 120V  then I’d start checking at the transfer switch assuming you actually have shore power.


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
moxy1962
12 minutes ago, Ivylog said:

While our rigs have/had AGS, other than to test if it worked, I never use it…don’t need it starting during quite hours. I’m ASSUMING you do not need 120V for it to work…time for someone to test.

Nope it auto starts when batteries get below set parameters and will charge batteries through inverter until they reach predetermined state of charge and you can set quiet times, on my inverter charger controls, Yours may be different 

 


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
Dr4Film

At the risk of getting too far off topic, The Inverter has a setting for "quiet time" such that it will not allow the generator to start during the times set.

The purpose of the Inverter is to use 12 VDC battery power to Invert it into 120 VAC. Therefore no 120 VAC is needed.

I will test it one day but it's not high on my priority list at the moment.


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
Ivylog

The inverter doesn’t charge the batteries… the charger in the inverter/charger charges the batteries. There are 2 buttons on the remote control… one for turning the charger on/off and the second for the inverter.


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
moxy1962
Just now, Dr4Film said:

At the risk of getting too far off topic, The Inverter has a setting for "quiet time" such that it will not allow the generator to start during the times set.

The purpose of the Inverter is to use 12 VDC battery power to Invert it into 120 VAC. Therefore no 120 VAC is needed.

I will test it one day but it's not high on my priority list at the moment.

It works great and just as you would imagine, starts, charges and shuts off when charging is completed, takes 3 minutes to set up and away you go, 

 

Just now, Ivylog said:

The inverter doesn’t charge the batteries… the charger in the inverter/charger charges the batteries. There are 2 buttons on the remote control… one for turning the charger on/off and the second for the inverter.

You would need to shut off charging function on my inverter charger otherwise it defaults to charging , the only on off button on my RCGS is for turning inverter on or off


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
Dr4Film

Magnum remote panel very different than the Trace/Xantrex that my coach is equipped with.


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
moxy1962
28 minutes ago, Ivylog said:

23E46FA6-C1EA-4B01-A9B8-A65367025988.jpeg

6F4F3FDD-5342-4A6B-AA5E-1E31C255ED28.jpeg

Different panel, maybe older version? 5ACAB8AD-1CF3-40A1-B2BB-D89620BA4F95.thumb.png.e738ade32c7da77e5511a5288620bfb6.png

13 hours ago, Grampy OG said:

I concur 

Perfect solution other than no

need to leave inverter on

or 120 volt heating

element 


Weights
Flyinhy

Thank goodness I still have an apartment up here. I should probably start a new thread on this. This is the second time it's done this. 


Weights
Ray Davis
11 minutes ago, Flyinhy said:

I should probably start a new thread on this. This is the second time it's done this.

Yeah,  a new thread would be a good idea.   Is this the thread about the time before?

https://www.monacoers.org/topic/3350-so-far-so-good/#

If it is the thread and you think it may be the same problem again you could resurrect the old thread.   It's hard to follow when the title is Weights, and many people may have grown tired of weights and will not know it has become electrical.   Personally I'm interested in knowing if it's the same problem again or if it isn't then what what    is the problem.


Baffled in battery land
Flyinhy

First off I want to say thank you to all who haved helped me on this journey so far. It's been fun and frustrating at the same time and I'm probably going to need some therapy after I get all the bugs worked out of this coach. 🙃 

So.....after the coach being plugged in for several weeks at home. I decided to go weigh it and try to figure out what the actual weights were and to adjust my pressures accordingly.  I started my drive yesterday to get the motorhome closer to my work because my apartment lease is up at the end of this month. I turned on the invertor to run the fridge and nothing else.. About half way through my drive I stopped at a rest area and stretched my legs.....I took a picture of my gauges and noticed the volts were below 13. I figured it would go back to charging once started driving. I get about 40 miles from the camp site and I could see the gauge move. Lower and lower it went. I get off my exit and I was below 11 volts. I noticed the trans starting shift differently (low voltage) and hoped I would make it. I get checked in and get just in front of the parking pad.....no shifting. I used my jumper cables to connect house and chassis batteries and boom.....she shifted. I get her into the parking spot and hooked up shore power. Extended slides, and turned on the heat pump. I left and came back a few hours later and everything was dead. My charge controller showed no indication of charging. My xantrex invertor usually shows either bulk charge, float charge or absorption. I tried to turn everything back on but when I enable operation mode.....for whatever reason it says low voltage and shuts down.. I checked the reset buttons on the invertor itself. All seemed fine. There are 5 total.....two hidden on the back and 3 large black resets on the front. I turned everything off and went to the apartment to get some sleep and when I get back here this morning.......it's back on. Even my maintainer shows charging on the display now. I have my handy dandy fluke and I'm safe at this campsite until Sunday.  Then I have to move again. At the moment .....I have heat pumps working front and back. I have a lamp turned on , the water heater on, the TV and DVD player on. The fridge is on , the microwave has power and the floor heater is set at 78 and working. 

16369877617171658412425754309274.jpg


2002 Dip, first MH to cut our teeth on
RoadTripper2084
On 10/8/2021 at 9:45 PM, JDCrow said:

Finished up the taillights and did upper clearance lights, all LED

One the clearance lights, I cannot recommend them enough. You’ll see in one pic the difference.

Dang, those do look amazing.

Mind if I ask where you got your clearance lights from? Any issues with wiring or just a direct swap out of the original backer plates for the new ones?

Did you use ProFlex or some other sealant behind the plates?

 


Baffled in battery land
Ray Davis

Charles,  warning RV electrical problems can run you crazy.   At times they have run me crazy,  it appears I haven't recovered. 

My memory is not near as good as I would like so perhaps I need refreshing.  Was your alternator not charging?  How long was the trip?  Did you run the generator?

When I plug in there is a delay waiting for my coach electrical to power up, and then my heat pumps have their own delay.  I haven't timed the delays, they are not long and probably not your issue unless you left in a hurry before the heat pumps woke up.


Baffled in battery land
Gary 05 AMB DST

Ray, if you have a surge guard, it usually has a waiting period before activating.

Gary 05 AMB DST


Inverter output voltage
Rikadoo

So my observation is due to watching my voltage on a digital gauge that when the coach is connected to city power source the gauge shows 118 to 120 vac, pretty normal.

However once I disconnect city power and engage my inverter then the volt gauge only shows 102 to 104 vac, my question, is that a issue with my inverter, or is it due to using a digital gauge?

My inverter is a Xantec freedom semi-sine wave that appears to be originall and is operating with a fully charged battery bank with no load other that minimal parasitic draw from microwave clock.


Baffled in battery land
Flyinhy
14 minutes ago, Ray Davis said:

Charles,  warning RV electrical problems can run you crazy.   At times they have run me crazy,  it appears I haven't recovered. 

My memory is not near as good as I would like so perhaps I need refreshing.  Was your alternator not charging?  How long was the trip?  Did you run the generator?

When I plug in there is a delay waiting for my coach electrical to power up, and then my heat pumps have their own delay.  I haven't timed the delays, they are not long and probably not your issue unless you left in a hurry before the heat pumps woke up.

This has happened before but not to this extent. Before when I plugged it in the transfer switch started humming and within a few minutes it was charging and everything went back to working. I didn't pay that much attention to listen for the transfer switch. The alternator was working perfectly the night before when I went to weigh it and after i unhooked it from my house. The trip was only 200 miles. I did not run the generator after I unhooked from the house. I did run it the night before to make sure it ran. As of right now....everything is working as it should. 

It does have the surge guard just below the transfer switch. 

I've been trying to educate myself with the invertor and the control board as much I can.  


Inverter output voltage
Tom Wallis

I think the issue is with your inverter. A digital gauge should be able to read the inverter voltage accurately.  104 volts is pretty low and my not be good for some of your electric accesories.


Inverter output voltage
Ivan K

I'd say that your meter can't read the inverted AC voltage that isn't a perfect sine wave. In my case and with my meter, I get 96V reading while inverting.


Baffled in battery land
jjroxus

I had a similar situation.  It could be a bad alternator or a connection issue or many other ...

The problem I had turned out to be the battery isolator was bad.  My coach is a 2002 Signature Centurion so I'm not sure if your coach as the same setup.  It is located in the engine compartment in an enclosed area on the right side.  The middle connector on the isolator is where the alternator connects.  You can see in the photo it is charred.  I replace it  with a 200 amp cole hershey unit I found on ebay and that took care of that issue.

JJ

IMG-3270.jpg

IMG-3268.jpg


Seat motors slow
Old Dog

My passenger seat recline screw started gobbling up the Cashion material. Had to dig it all then worked fine. Wife weighs 110 lbs, no idea how that was possible. Spoke to the guy who runs the company that made the seats about a parts list and they don't have that info. He said they use what ever is available from the automotive market at the time to fill the orders as they get them. No blue prints or nothing. If something does fail then you'll have to pull it out and hope you can find a suitable replacement or exchange motors for a less vital function. Hope this helps


Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
BobSchmeck

We primarily boondock (aka dispersed or dry camping) when we travel. We've tried out Visible with a router with good luck but it's not perfect. What cell phone/Internet services & plans do you use? What's your opinion about it?

Also, do you use a booster antenna? What make & model, & what are your thoughts on it?


Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
nvrtoofast

Check out Mobilemusthave.com I run their Road warrior bundle with two services in the router (ATT and T mobile). The signal is great and allows to pull in wifi connections. Also allow a single point connection fulltime. Good systems. Price feels expensive at first but good hardware and service is top notch.

 


Baffled in battery land
Ray Davis

I can't determine if you have a 120v issue or if you left before the delays had turned things on.  I have a Progressive HW50C elect protector which has a delay much like your Surge guard.   It's possible you don't have a problem in those areas.   For instance I can select heat pump on my thermostat even though I am not plugged in or don't have the gen running and it will register on my thermostat all it needs is 12v but of course the heat pump will not operate until 120v appears.  Even after 120v      appears there is a delay.    I'm sure you will keep a close eye on things and let us know.

However, IMHO the alternator not charging on your trip is something you should address right away.   When I notice my alternator is not charging I start my gen,  this will usually allow me to drive pretty much indefinitely.   Your Executive should charge both battery banks.  Of course make sure the belt is good and the alternator is turning,  the belt also turns the engine water pump.  With a side radiator those things are in plain view.


Inverter output voltage
dleeadkins

This is what you will see with a modified sine wave inverter.


2004 Monaco Diplomat 40pdq upgrades
nvrtoofast

Don't want to hijack the thread but push a bit more. I've got an 06 Camelot and have been wondering what are good system upgrades as things age out? What key upgrades should be done to the electronics and other controls to make the coach, not necessarily more modern, but more COMFORTABLE. Not just maintenance.  Thoughts?

 

Also. +1 on rambler07!  Get a PM and/or OIL test. You don't really know what the prior owner did in the coach and starting maintenance right is a good measure. Had Cummins do a full check on my coach and then a PM. Found a few interesting items to note.


Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
jacwjames

When we cut the cord ~4 years ago and moved into our new house I let my wife take care of getting phones and plan.  No idea what her reasoning was but she when with Sprint.  She got an Iphone 8 and I a Iphone 6.  My only request was that I be able to tether my laptop to the phone for coverage. 

Sprint & T Mobile are pretty much worthless, hardly get a signal at the house.  Sprint even sent me a Magic Box which did not work.  In May, my first trip after building the house, I tried to tether my laptop and or use the phone as a hotspot >>>>worthless.  When I got back I called Sprint, which was T-Mobile at the time and they advised me to go to a T-Mobile store and have my SIM card changed to a T-Mobile card, it did not help one bit. 

In June I went on another trip and looked at all options, decided to go with a Cricket Hotspot $55 for 100GB.  I was pretty impressed with how it worked, reception in some very remote areas (WindCave NP, Devils Tower, Northern MN and Wis) I got reception, sometimes slow but I got a signal every time I tried.  I ended up using the Cricket Hotspot to make wifi calls since I wasn't getting a T-Mobile signal.   In the middle of now where I'd have a Cricket signal but no T-mobile but some times my T-Mobile phone said it was connected to ATT.   When I got back from the trip I canceled the Cricket service since I didn't know when I'd be going on another trip.

Getting ready to go on another trip so went and got the Cricket account started again, it cost me ~$30 for a new SIM card and activation.  I will probably go ahead and set up the automatic payment which will save me $5/month. 

I was going to try and get an ATT account this time, they offer a $55 with 100GB also but they said I could not use my Cricket Turbo hotspot and they did not have any of their hotspots in stock. 

 

 


Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
Norman Austin

I use Visible in an iPhone connected to a GL.inet GL-AR750S mobile wireless router that i connect everything to in my RV. This has worked quite well overall though I do get a lot of drop outs and hanging connections... So I did a lot more research and found that boosters really only help uploads in general which won't cure my problem. A solution presented itself through further research and I have ordered a Netgear Nighthawk M1 for two reasons... If you look on youtube you can find instructions to allow it to use a Visible SIM, and most importantly, you can connect a double antenna to it which significantly improves download connectivity, so you can buy MIMO antennas. I ordered a cheap one initially and I bought a used Nighthawk for $150. A more elaborate antenna would be this one... https://www.amazon.com/Periodic-Antenna-Waveform-600-6000-Boosters/dp/B095JB5BWY/ref=sr_1_19?keywords=external+antenna+for+rv&qid=1636998401&qsid=147-9756269-3765250&sr=8-19&sres=B00DN3J03O%2CB07R8WB2ZD%2CB07YGPDPW8%2CB0076CH4B8%2CB07HB9Y8S7%2CB088FBV6HF%2CB082SHKT3Q%2CB074YDSKFN%2CB08PCDDG8J%2CB07ZPPJM55%2CB07JN6FNZ4%2CB07R9JGLV5%2CB08ZT1BR4J%2CB095JB5BWY%2CB07MG6ZXCD%2CB07BQ44CW1&srpt=ANTENNA

If you don't mind spending a couple of hundred bucks on an antenna then that's probably your best bet. The upside of all this is that you can still get away with paying between $25 and $40 per month for your internet connection, and using the Netgear Nighthawk you aren't restricted to only one connected device in your RV.

I'm still waiting for delivery so cannot yet comment on performance, but i did a lot of research around the subject and am pretty sure this is going to work well for me.

 


Inverter output voltage
waterskier_1

You need a true RMS reading AC voltmeter to accurately read the equivalent voltage with modified Sine Wave inverters.  The general purpose AC voltmeter are designed for Pure Sine Wave applications only.   You likely do not have an inverter problem. 


Baffled in battery land
Flyinhy

I had the alternator rebuilt as soon as I bought the coach. That's when it did this before. I ended up taking it back off and having it bench tested. About an hour ago I looked at the voltage readings.....14.1v I turned the key on the ignition to see if it said the same on the gauge.....the voltages immediately dropped down to 13.2v. I went to Walmart to get a few things for lunch tonight and when I returned the voltage was 13.0v I checked at the batteries and the house batteries are 13.2  and the chassis batteries 12.9. The maintainer screen says charging at .2 and green light is on

House is 13.6

Engine battery volts 13.1

I  turned off all DC voltage switches....13.8 as of right now. I have to go to work at 4

Maybe I damaged the batteries by running them so low???? They got down to around 10volts....

 


Inverter output voltage
jacwjames

This is one of the things that got me in trouble back in Aug, I was reading low voltage through the inverter using a digital meter and had other problems so I assumed my inverter was bad.  When I was testing the 120 volt side with the inverter unhooked I saw ohms across one of the leads so I thought I had a problem.  Even called Xantrex and they said >>>Yup your inverter is bad.  So I pulled the inverter and more testing.   Then I called one of the Xantrex repair facilities near Nashville and told him the symptoms and he said the inverter was fine.  Put it back in and then tested with my Klien digital meter and it showed 120 volt. 

Live and learn.   Just something you have to keep buried in the back of your mind. 


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
vegaman19760

Not everyone has the same inverter/charging system.  Some inverter/charging systems are much different than others and require them to be on to perform certain duties.  If my inverter is off, as the batteries drain they will not be charged up at the correct discharge point.  That is one of the functions of my inverter system so it is left on to cycle the battery charge and discharge cycles that keep our batteries from freezing .  Otherwise I would have to remove the house and chassis batteries from my coach to keep them from freezing.  I'm sure there are other ways to keep batteries from freezing but that is how I do it.  Stay well, Stay safe

 

 


Monacoers Member Assistance
Dr4Film

I am searching for someone who may live in the area nearby Pass Christian Mississippi not far off the I-10 freeway who is coming to Florida for the the winter or part of the winter OR who is attending the Monacoers Gathering in February.

I am searching for someone who can pickup some RV parts and transport them to Florida.

Please send me a private message so I can explain more of what I am trying to accomplish.

Thanks so much!


Monacoers Member Assistance
seawayvm

How can I help?


King Control Throttle System
CRY1942
This applies ONLY to mechanical, Cummins, diesels, such as the C8.3 with the King Throttle & Cruise Control.
 
As most know, there is NO longer any support for repairs to the King Control.
 
If it fails you will be faced with a conversion to a old fashion wire throttle or air throttle.
 
We have completed a conversion to an Air Throttle on a C8.3 and it works exactly has hoped.
 
If you have interest in an Air Throttle Conversion, please PM me, happy to share the information.

air throttle project (1).jpeg

air throttle project.jpeg


Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
Gary 05 AMB DST

It seems to me that if you need a cell phone signal, you should look at the largest service provider which is Verizon, though there is an area in Kentucky with no Verizon available, There are coverage maps available for all providers and tower locations in a area. Been on Verizon for 20 years and very satisfied. I also have a Sprint wi-fi from FMCA with unlimited when available.

Gary 05 AMB DST


King Control Throttle System
Testdepth

I am interested in more info. I have a 96 Windsor with the King setup. I seem to be having some intermittent issues but it is at least still working. Also my cruise control just died on my last trip.

So it’s probably time to start looking for an alternative!

 

thanks,

Mike

96 Windsor C8.3 Mechanical


King Control Throttle System
CRY1942

Please PM me, thanks.


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
waterskier_1
On 11/14/2021 at 5:11 AM, Dr4Film said:

I assume that your coach is parked at an OUTSIDE storage facility.

Here is what I would do in that same situation. The Aqua-Hot diesel and electric assist switches should be left on. Your Inverter should also be turned on. Remove all unnecessary 12 VDC power draws that could drain your house batteries more than what is needed for the Aqua-Hot. Set up your Auto Generator Start to come on when your house batteries reach 12.2 State Of Charge and turn off when the house batteries attain FLOAT SOC. Set the inside temperature thermostats to 50F.

Now the Aqua-Hot will keep the inside of the coach at 50F and it will also prevent the Aqua-Hot from freezing.

If your house batteries do run down to 12.2 SOC your generator will fire up and charge them back to Float SOC then turn off.

 

I think what you meant to say is to set up the Auto Gen Start to come on when your house batteries 12.2 VOLTS, not SOC.  That would be somewhere between 50% and 55% SOC (State of Charge) depending on the specific battery charastices.  

I knew what you meant, but if someone who hasn't programmed an AGS, they may have problems finding 12.2 SOC.

  _Rick N.


Sub-Freezing Temps without Winterizing?
Dr4Film

Rick, yes, you are correct. I messed up mixing voltage with SOC.

Thanks for pointing that out as I would not want some newbie to misconstrue the information.


Over door awning
tcbrow

On my 2001 Diplomat the step switch is used to stop the step (usually when extended) from retracting and extending every time the door is opened or closed.


Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
Rikadoo

Hey Gary i read where you have the FMCA sprint wi-fi, im contimplating that special, however my question is can it be used for streaming movies or is it mearly data.


Seat motors slow
Rikadoo

Hey FYI my seats started moving slow so i sprayed all moving parts with Tri-Flo spray lube. From there i just added the procedure to my yearly maint program


Seat motors slow
moxy1962

Ends up gears are stripped in forward and backwards so need new 6 wat assembly 


Cell phone & Internet Service While Traveling
Gary 05 AMB DST

Rik, I don't know. I have never done a movie online. Even though they are owned by T-Mobile, I don't think that they are capable of using T-Mobile towers.

Gary 05 AMB DST


Leveling jack question
ok-rver

My leak down of one jack was not as fast as yours, maybe an inch overnight. No leaking fluid externally so back thru the solenoid valve. Does not appear to be manual releases on my valve body. System is PowerGear. We have owned the coach for 4 months. About a month ago, I siphoned out most of the ATF in the reservoir and pulled the drain plug with only a cup or so of fluid remaining. Much less of a mess. Refiled. No longer leaking down over night. I am thinking that replacing the 15 year old fluid with new may have helped with better lubing/cleaning of the orings and valve seats. Old fluid looked OK.   $30 for 2 gallons of ATF.

Your cylinder rods, just above the pads, look pretty dirty. That can be tuff on the seals. WD40 can be a good cleaning fluid.

Some PowerGear jacks, maybe others, have grease zerks at the cylinder end. My jacks were slow to retract or would not come up fully. A couple of squirts of grease 45 days ago and about 40 cycles with full retraction. This last week, two were a bit slow. Will lube this week.  PG recommends lube ever 25 to 30 cycles.


Roadmaster 8 airbag suspension H frame movement and resulting wandering
ok-rver

Most of us with Roadmaster RR8R or RR8S chassises experience a bit of wandering of our MH direction from outside influences like wind, truck air buffeting and G-forces on long radius curves. There is a lot of verbal discussion on the forums about what is going on. Several gentlemen that have researched this and come up with physical devices to minimize this wandering have a very good understanding on what is going on with the relationship of the H-frame and the Roadmaster chassis. I understand their explanations but when I read thru many responses to their posts, I hear comments that show some are not understanding the engineering principles. I have created a few simple sketches that I hope will give some insight into what I interpret as happening.

A review of the equipment. Front and rear H frames are very similar but I will discuss mostly the front. The H-frames are actually a double crossmember “H”. The vertical center line on an “H” is doubled and these run front to back on the chassis and will be referred to as H frame rails, as they run parallel to the rails of the chassis frame. The up down on an “H” will be referred to as H frame crossmembers, as they run across/perpendicular to the chassis frame at the front and rear of the H frame. Each corner of the H frame has an airbag and shock absorber. These air bags have very little horizontal stability. They are a fiber reenforced rubber tube with closed ends that supports the chassis frame using air pressure above the H frame. The front axle is bolted to the bottom center of the H frame. Typical front axle support about 10,000 lbs. Each of the 4 front airbags therefore support around 2,500 lbs. If the motor home goes around a long curve at about 0.25 Gs, a pretty easy turn, the front wheels carry 1/3 of the total MH weight and would experience 1/3 of 0.25 G force acting on 30k lbs MH weight with about 2,500 lbs of side force. The 4 airbags with no resistance to sideways force would be all over the place.

The designers of the Roadmaster chassis provided two means to try and hold the H frame in place. The first are driver and passenger side pairs of trailing arms (5’ long square tubes with bushings/steel eyes at each end) that keep the H frame/axle pretty much perpendicular to the chassis. Each of the tubes runs parallel to the other, about 12” between them vertically on each side of the H frame. They are anchored to the chassis at the front and to a vertical post very close to the axle on the H frame. On the front axle when braking, a rotational force is transmitted into the axle, to the H frame and to the vertical post. One of the trailing arms will be in tension and the other in compression to resist the axle from winding up. The rear trailing arms are also responsible for the differential twisting during acceleration. Bushings will deform during these loads. The amount could be in the range of 1/64”.  The bushing are an outer and inner steel sleeve with a flexible material, maybe polyurethane, in between. I used a pry bar to put about a 100 lbs side load on a trailing arm and the bushing allowed the arm moved sideways a lot. It would not take very much force at the end of a 5’ long arm to get the urethane to deform and the arm to rotate. These trailing arms allow the H frame to swing side to side, but still be perpendicular to the chassis.

The designers also added a Panhard rod that connects, on my MH, from the top of the driver side rail of the H frame across the frame to the bottom of the passenger side frame rail of the chassis, perpendicular to the chassis, level to the ground when the chassis is at ride height. The same bushings used in the trailing arms are use in the ends of the Panhard rod to allow movement of the H frame vertically. The Panhard rod is about 4 ft long. With the Panhard rod mostly level to the ground at normal road height, the Panhard rod will cause the H frame to move towards the passenger chassis rail as the H frame moves up or down with respect to the chassis frame. With a 3” up or down movement of the H frame, the pivot point of the Panhard rod would be less than 1/8” closer to the passenger side chassis frame rail. My MH H-frame is about 60” long. The axle is in the center front to back and the Panhard rod is half way between the axle and the rear of the H frame.

Back to our side load created by the curve, 2,500 lbs is a a lot of force. The force acting of the axle and the force resisting thru the Panhard rod are about 15” apart.  Because there is the 15” between them, a circular moment is created and the H frame rotates until components in the suspension system can pick up these loads. The bushings in the trailing arms as they rotate to the side will eventually pick up some load.

It would have been great if there had been a Panhard rod mounted front and back of the axle to equally pick up load, no rotation of the H frame with respect to the chassis. 

Many have contributed to the design of the Watts linkage and X-braces that are being sold to minimize the rotation of the H frame. Going to the rear suspension were the trailing arms are behind the differential with minimal equipment in-between the arms, the addition of X-braces does a very good job of minimizing the H frame rotation. Each member of the X-brace works mostly in tension to keep the trailing arm that it is attached to it at a right angle to the differential. This side load from driving around the curve (twice the front value) is transmitted along the trailing arm and is resisted by the bushing at each the end of the arm. The bushings give so not all the movement of the rear H frame is eliminated with the X-braces. It does minimize the swinging side to side of the differential housing/H-frame while under load. Not as good as a PanHard rod front and rear but probably reduces the rotational movement in the 80% range. The deflection in the bushings is what gives that 20% movement compared to the original with out X-braces movement. Many have stated that adding a watts linkage to the rear H frame helps stabilize the H frame a bit more than just the X-braces.

Back to the front H frame, with the designers using most of the available space, the generator is mounted in-between the front trailing arms. Maybe very short X-braces could be install and not hit the equipment but they would not be very efficient. On some of the watts linkage kits, the watts lever is mounted to brackets off the hydraulic jack(s) attached to the chassis frame and the rods connect to the rear crossmember of the H-frame. The distance from the Panhard rod to the rear of the H-frame is around 15”. The load the watts linkage would see in our turn is equal to the side load generated by the tires, 2,500 lbs. The Panhard rod load has twice the load (5,000 lbs) generated by the tires. Even though the bushings in the Panhard rod give as well as the watts linkage gives some, there is much less rotation than the original (no watts linkage) suspension had. Those that have install a watts linkage in this rear position are very pleased with the improvement in steering/tracking of their MH. The pivot point on the lever at the center of the watts linkage moves vertically by the design of the linkage. A small amount of rotation of the H frame would occur when large bumps cause the axle/H frame to move up, caused by the watts going up straight and side deflection from the panhard rod. Under normal running down the road situations, the very slight side motion would not affect the steering.

On my 2004 HR Scepter, the rear of the generator frame is a couple of inches in front of the front crossmember of the H frame. The forward air tank support frame is a couple of inches behind the front crossmember of the H frame. Around 6” of total clearance. A chassis frame crossmember is almost directly above the front H frame crossmember. A mock up has been with an 90% angle clamped to the bottom side of this chassis crossmember that allowed a piece of card board to be positioned vertically down from the angle to just in front to the H frame.  The vertical plate would need to be about 14” tall. Mounting at this forward position, the watts linkage would be 45” from the Panhard rod. The side load at the front mounted watts linkage would be 1/3 of the load generated by the tires. The Panhard rod would see 2/3 of the load generated by the tires. If the watts linage deformed under load the same amount as the rear mounted watts linkage, the rotation of the H frame would be 1/3 of the rear mount rod due to the longer lever arm. As the front mounted load is much smaller, the actual deflection of the watts linkage would be even less.  This is the direction I am moving to stabilize my front suspension.  The correct offsets for mounting the watts linkage lever and brackets are being researched.

So now to the sketches. Top view of H frame, axle, tires, chassis frame, front of MH to left. Solid line circle represent the bottom of the airbag mounted on the corners of the H frame. Dashed circles are the top of the airbag mounted to brackets on the chassis frame. Size difference is only so they can be seen when concentric in the non-rotated sketch. Chassis frame shown in blue.

The first of the sketches has just trailing arms shown in the straight position. Second sketch with a side load applied that has pushed the H frame down in the sketch. No rotation of the H frame as this is a parallel linkage. The two trailing arms rotate with the bushings distorting at each end.

The second pair of sketches has a Panhard rod across the H frame in orange. First sketch with everything aligned. Second sketch with a couple of degrees of rotation of the H frame due to a side load. The rotation center for the H frame was at the H frame mounted end of the Panhard rod. Note that trailing arms are not shown. This would have changed some of the rotation and the center point. Sketch is simple so the trailing arms were left out.  The effects of the trailing arms on keeping the axle perpendicular to the frame is not simple. Additionally, the steering gear (not shown) is affixed to the frame and the axle end of the drag link is moving with the H frame. As the center of gravity is very high on out MHs, this causes the body to roll and more movement between the H frame and chassis. This is all pretty complex.

Without the rear MonacoWatts X-bars, I might have sold my MH as it required extreme concentration to drive. I have over 3,500 miles since the X-bar install and I am much more comfortable with the handling. I am sure with Mike’s help, I will make another major reduction in the wandering of my MH with a front watts linkage.

I am new to MHs but have 50 years of mechanical design experience. This explanation is simplified as a starting basis for a discussion. When I started this search for better handling, I read thru over 80 pages on one discussion on IRV2 about watts linkage and X-braces. About 60% of the posts were “Now I understand” or completely off topic.  I am hoping that comments like those “just to be comments” will not be included in this discussion so that those looking for technical details have a good resource. I would hope that things I have stated that are wrong, confusing or right will be discussed.

Just my thoughts on how all this works.

trailing arm straight.png

trailing arm rotated.png

panhard straight.png

panhard rotated.png


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