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Observations of an 8000+ mile Maiden Voyage

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  • Observations of an 8000+ mile Maiden Voyage

    Whew!

    We just returned home last week from the maiden voyage of our 27-5L which took us from California east to Oklahoma, New Orleans, Florida (East Coast and the Keys), Washngton DC and Northern Virginia, St. Louis, Utah then back - over 8k miles!

    Wow, just wow - what an experience, and we have nothing but superlatives for our AF and TV. Best of all, I suffered only one bonehead moment, with minimal resultant damage. A resounding success!

    I thought I would write down a few observations in the oft chance that someone else might find some value in our experience(s):
    1. Thank you to those wise members who suggested that an EMS was a necessity! Ours literaly saved our bacon at an RV park with chronically low voltage. I was able to manage our power consumption (Fridge, Water Heater, and Rice Cooker) such that the EMS did not trigger. Without this item we probably would have damaged our A/C unit, To anyone thinking "meh" - like I was for a bit, please reconsider.
    2. Similar thoughts about the TPMS, and the system tested itself. We had one sensor (always the same one) that had a tendency to loosen itself up on the tire stem and start a "leak". The first time this happened, the pucker factor was well above zero until I figured out what was going on. After that, I checked the sensors before each leg. The second time this happened, I had checked the sensors in the morning, but it still managed to loosen itself up, so I changed my check routine to every fill-up of diesel. I have no doubt the system works well.
      1. A ramification of the above scenario is that we need to purchase a portable compressor - a bicycle pump is totaly inadequate for pumping up RV tires - trust me on that one.
    3. We need to figure out how to have the RV Fridge powered up during our long 12 - 15 hour towing legs. We tried to use LP while driving, but each time we stopped for diesel, the fridge would be whining with the "fl" code (flow?). Perhaps the flame is not adjusted properly, or perhaps there is an air current that extinguishes it while traveling, but towing with the fridge on LP does not seem to be part of our solution set, although we would like it to be. That said, we'll probably install an inverter and a manual switch to run the fridge on AC while towing. I'm thinking I might be able to get away with a 1000 watt modified sine inverter that only powers up the fridge while towing. We don't have much in the way of solar to speak of (just the standard 20 watt panel that came with the 27-5L) so I'm hoping the charge from the TV can keep the battereis from draining too much. I've got some learning to do.
    4. For us, the floorplan of the 27-5L is perfect (probably a good thing since we ain't changing it anytime soon). We never felt cramped, and we still had plenty of empty storage space to fill if we needed it. Thor (The wonder dog) approved of the numerous places to stretch out and engage in an extended snore session.
      1. Putting some plywood under the bouncy bed is definitely a future project, along with stonger struts to hold up the bed when getting stuff from the under-bed storage area.
      2. I unkowinigly tested how long we could go without full hookups (I forgot to open up Grey 2 at one campsite). It was a few days of showers before I heard the "Why is there a puddle in the shower?" comment...Yeah, that was a quick scramble to the Grey 2 dump valve!
    5. The OTA antenna and television are fabulous - the Jensen radio/DVD player - not so much. Hopefully this will be addressed under warranty. DVDs don't play...just see "loading".
    6. The single 15k BTU A/C unit kept us comfortable. I was worried that I should have gone the 50Amp/dual A/C unit route, but thus far, I'm happy with the single unit.
    7. The 4-point levelling system is worth every penny!
    8. New rule - don't trust the pantry cabinet door...especially when extending the slideout after a day of towing. That was my single bonehead move of the trip. I'll be ordering some replacement hinges...Doh!
    9. We need to install a receiver hitch on the back for a bike rack.
    10. We had our first Po' Boy sandwich in New Orleans. They taste sooo good (are they legal?)
    11. Bar-B-que ribs in St Louis are an epiphany. Pappy's Smokehouse - BEST.RIBS.EVER.
    12. Utah in general, and four of "the big five" (Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Bryce NP, and Zion NP) in particular - are absolutely stunning. We are going back for more at some point.
    13. Fueling up with the trucks in the diesel lanes at the Flying-J/Pilot truck stop was unnerving at first, but soon became enjoyable - just follow the etiquette (pull forward after fueling up) and all is well. Some interesting conversations can be had while filling up!
      1. Filling up with DEF however, needs improvement on my part. More practice is in order.
    14. I finally figured out a use for the dopey moonroof that came with my truck - Marivic likes to take pictures "Hatari Style" during low speed drives. Cool pictures ensued.
    15. RV Trip Wizard with RV Friendly GPS routing is awesome.
    16. A few minor items on the 27-5L need to be addressed, but "few" and "minor" are definitely the key words here. We are super happy with our Arctic Fox, and can't wait for our next adventure.
    17. Going back to work after all of this pretty much sucks - can't wait to pull the yellow ejection handle and retire!
    Mikey and Marivic

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    Last edited by MikeyNMarivicInLincoln; 07-27-2019, 01:39 PM.
    Mikey and Marivic Bodie (and Thor the Wonderdog Golden Retriever)

    2016 F-250 CCSB SRW KR 6.7 L Diesel, B&W Turnover Ball Gooseneck, Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection, RideRite Air Helper Springs, Pressure Pro Fx TPMS

    2019 Arctic Fox 27-5L, 30 Amp, 15K a/c, 4 pt Leveling System, Booth w/Dream Dinette, WiFi Extender, Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C

  • #2
    Great write-up and observations. Sounded like a great trip.
    Travel Blog: www.rocklinroamers.wordpress.com

    2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD: SRW, Duramax / Allison 6.6L Turbo-Diesel, Extended Cab, Long Bed, 4x4, Reese 16K Hitch, 50gal In-Bed Fuel Tank (85 gals total)

    2016 Arctic Fox 29-5T: Six-Point Leveling System, Fireplace, Two A/C's, Two Honda EU2000i Generators, TST "507" Tire Monitoring System, King-Size Bed, Progressive 'Hard-Wired' 50amp Surge Protector, 16gal Water Heater, Slide-Toppers, Power-Reel, 'G Rated' Sailun Tires.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MikeyNMarivicInLincoln View Post
      A ramification of the above scenario is that we need to purchase a portable compressor - a bicycle pump is totaly inadequate for pumping up RV tires - trust me on that one.

      We need to figure out how to have the RV Fridge powered up during our long 12 - 15 hour towing legs. We tried to use LP while driving, but each time we stopped for diesel, the fridge would be whining with the "fl" code (flow?). Perhaps the flame is not adjusted properly, or perhaps there is an air current that extinguishes it while traveling, but towing with the fridge on LP does not seem to be part of our solution set, although we would like it to be. That said, we'll probably install an inverter and a manual switch to run the fridge on AC while towing. I'm thinking I might be able to get away with a 1000 watt modified sine inverter that only powers up the fridge while towing. We don't have much in the way of solar to speak of (just the standard 20 watt panel that came with the 27-5L) so I'm hoping the charge from the TV can keep the battereis from draining too much. I've got some learning to do.
      Thanks for the great write-up of your big trip.

      There was a recent thread on air compressors that may be helpful.

      I don't know why your fridge won't run on propane while towing, but that behavior is definitely abnormal. It sounds like a warranty issue.

      A modified sine wave inverter should be fine for the fridge. The AC is used to run a heating element, so waveform shape is not important.

      However, the average AC power draw from a fridge could easily be 200W or more (18A+ DC, if the the inverter is in the trailer). If you're relying on the stock truck and trailer harness for towing power, there's an excellent chance that the truck charging line will not be able to keep up with that demand, and your batteries will be severely depleted during a 12-15 hour tow.

      Even if you had a lot of solar, that wouldn't solve your problem in dim conditions.

      It's possible to use a trailer-mounted inverter if you add a high-current charging line from the truck. Or you can mount the inverter in the truck and pass AC to the trailer over a dedicated (and weatherproof) AC line.

      But before you dive into those solutions, I think the best solution is to fix the propane flame-outs under warranty.
      2017 Arctic Fox 25Y
      Chassis: Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EezTire TPMS, BAL 28217 recessed tire carrier, 40K miles
      Electrical: EMS-HW30C surge protector, 800W solar, Victron BMV-712, Victron MPPT 100/50, Victron MultiPlus 3000, Fullriver 415 Ah AGM

      2013 Silverado 2500HD LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box, added 2nd alternator and 2-gauge charge path, 130K miles

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree on the fridge. I always travel with mine running on propane. There are some who will disagree with having the propane open while traveling and that is fine but it should be able to continue running. Great write up.
        2014 Nash 24M pulled by a 2000 F350 4X4 7.3, Banks Powerpack w/ exhaust brake, custom built transmission, Hensley brake controller, ProPride P3 WDH, Kenwood 5 camera system, SteadyFast stabilization system, Diamonback bed cover, TPMS by Minder Research, 2 x 6 volt batteries in a Power Armor battery box, 2 x 2000 Yamaha gen sets.

        Comment


        • #5
          Nice write up and great trip.

          We joined the 27-5L Pantry/Slideout Club on our second trip. Ended up sheering a bolt from the slide motor. Damaged the cabinet pull bolt, which was an easy fix. The silver lining was while under the trailer replacing the bolt we noticed the now famous Dexter bad seal soaking the brake assembly.

          We now religiously inspect and look at the pantry door and the little drawer by the bedroom slide to make sure they will clear.
          Rolland & Judie, 2 Shelties, Cozmo & Brinkley

          2005 Chevy Silverado 3500, Duramax/Allison, Crew Cab LB 4x4, B&W Companion, 40 gal Transfer Flow Tank/Tool Box

          2016 AF 27-5L (SOLD 11/2019)

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice write up. Sounds like you had a great trip.

            The pantry door is something we've always checked since a similar experience with SOB. Check Amazon for nifty childproof magnetic latches. I installed them on all our forward facing doors after we had disc brakes installed. Like Rolland, we also added "check drawer" to our setup procedure. We've always run our fridge on LP while traveling. Sounds like a warranty item. Try a dab of locktite blue on those TPMS threads. Curt makes a nifty adjustable receiver hitch for RVs. Amazon again. Easy install but you do have to do a bit of drilling and cut a notch in the sewer tube. Very strong and reliable, we tow a Jeep with ours.
            Ken and Rita Madsen
            2018 GMC 3500 Duramax, 2016 27-5L

            Comment


            • #7
              I posted about the fridge 'no FL' issue a while ago but it comes down to a bad control board. Norcold/Thetford hasn't issued a recall yet but one call was all it took to get them to replace it through an authorized repair facility. They will not send you the board directly, however you can buy one for around $110 online if it is too much trouble to get to the service center (lots of them around). Having said that, if you decide to do it yourself, you will void the warranty on the fridge.
              2019 Arctic Fox 27-5L - 4 point leveling - Onan QG 3600 Genset - 160w Solar - Rear view camera - 4x 6v batteries - Vertamax 3Kw PSW Inverter - RVLock V4 - 4x HossPads RV jack pads - Andersen Levelers - Cacagoo TPMS - Progressive EMS-PT30X - 2002 F-250 Crew Cab Long Bed 7.3L - S&B Cold Air Intake - 4" Bassani X-haust turbo-back system - Air Lift 5k rear bags - SCT tuner - 16k Valley Power Pull hitch - Custom made bed-forward rack with Eide Boat Loader - Klamath 14S Deluxe fishing boat

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by D_S_27-5L View Post
                I posted about the fridge 'no FL' issue a while ago but it comes down to a bad control board. Norcold/Thetford hasn't issued a recall yet but one call was all it took to get them to replace it through an authorized repair facility. They will not send you the board directly, however you can buy one for around $110 online if it is too much trouble to get to the service center (lots of them around). Having said that, if you decide to do it yourself, you will void the warranty on the fridge.
                That is exactly what happened to me on the first trip with the new 29L. The board was replaced, under warranty, at Pan Pacific in Stockton. They were very helpful and had us on our way in a couple of hours.
                2016 Ram 2500 4x4 Laramie
                2018 Arctic Fox 25Y
                2018 Arctic Fox 29L; Traded in
                *2001 Arctic Fox 29V; Sold
                South Lake Tahoe, CA

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by D_S_27-5L View Post
                  I posted about the fridge 'no FL' issue a while ago but it comes down to a bad control board. Norcold/Thetford hasn't issued a recall yet but one call was all it took to get them to replace it through an authorized repair facility. They will not send you the board directly, however you can buy one for around $110 online if it is too much trouble to get to the service center (lots of them around). Having said that, if you decide to do it yourself, you will void the warranty on the fridge.
                  Great write up Mikey and Marivic, it is always interesting reading about real life experiences on the road. Thanks for sharing.

                  2016 Arctic Fox 32-5M, 300 watt Zamp Solar Kit, 30 Amp controller, 2 T105 Trojan 6 volts, 5.5 Onan LP Generator, 6pt leveling system, 2nd 13.5k A/C, Slide Toppers, Fireplace, King Bed, Central Vac. Hardwired Surge Guard Model 34560, rear view camera, clear entry door window,

                  2016 Ford F-450 Lariat. B&W Companion Hitch. Remax Bed Roll Cover, Bed Carpet.

                  Winter in Florida, traveling during the other seasons.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone for your comments!

                    I will be bringing the fridge issue up when we bring Bertha in for warranty work. It’s getting kinda hard to find a Northwood dealer around here that will do the work. Since I didn’t purchase from Sierra RV in Colfax they (politely) refused the work - (they say they have more work than people to do it). Cordelia probably the same. Got another place that can do the work, just gotta make sure Northwood is ok with it.

                    Thanks again!

                    Mikey
                    Mikey and Marivic Bodie (and Thor the Wonderdog Golden Retriever)

                    2016 F-250 CCSB SRW KR 6.7 L Diesel, B&W Turnover Ball Gooseneck, Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection, RideRite Air Helper Springs, Pressure Pro Fx TPMS

                    2019 Arctic Fox 27-5L, 30 Amp, 15K a/c, 4 pt Leveling System, Booth w/Dream Dinette, WiFi Extender, Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'll chime in as well on fridge on the road - propane is the solution and we've been doing it for years without error codes.

                      On our 2018 unit the Jensen is DVD, but NOT Blue-Ray. How that is possible in 2018 I'm not sure, but sure enough it does the "loading" when I tried a blue ray and then I read into it.

                      Like you, love the 27-5 - nice short (but sadly overly tall) 5th wheel that has a very functional floorplan. Unlike you we came from an SOB toyhauler and like to take a lot of "stuff" with us so storage is a bit limited. That said, we do fine and honestly need to get rid of a lot of it.

                      May we both have many years of enjoyment out of our trailers!

                      -Kyle


                      2018 Arctic Fox 27-5L
                      • 4 pt Auto Level / 15k Single AC / 50 Amp (no Gen)
                      • 3xFantastic Fans / 3xFantastic Covers
                      • Sofa with Air Bed / Dinette / Slow Rise Shades
                      • Factory 2" Receiver hitch
                      • MODS
                        • 195W Solar / Rear Camera / TPS / Flagpole Buddy / BMV-712
                      2015 Chevy 3500 Dually LTZ
                      • Duramax / B&W Turnover w/Companion / 40 Gal transfer tank.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MikeyNMarivicInLincoln View Post
                        Thanks everyone for your comments!

                        I will be bringing the fridge issue up when we bring Bertha in for warranty work. It’s getting kinda hard to find a Northwood dealer around here that will do the work. Since I didn’t purchase from Sierra RV in Colfax they (politely) refused the work - (they say they have more work than people to do it). Cordelia probably the same. Got another place that can do the work, just gotta make sure Northwood is ok with it.

                        Thanks again!

                        Mikey
                        Remember you don't need a Northwood dealer to do the work. You need a Norcold dealer. Pan Pacific in French Camp helped me and they might also help you. They are not that far away.
                        2016 Ram 2500 4x4 Laramie
                        2018 Arctic Fox 25Y
                        2018 Arctic Fox 29L; Traded in
                        *2001 Arctic Fox 29V; Sold
                        South Lake Tahoe, CA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          On your fridge, it might be worth a call to Norcold and see if they can give you a list of authorized repair shops to choose from.
                          Rolland & Judie, 2 Shelties, Cozmo & Brinkley

                          2005 Chevy Silverado 3500, Duramax/Allison, Crew Cab LB 4x4, B&W Companion, 40 gal Transfer Flow Tank/Tool Box

                          2016 AF 27-5L (SOLD 11/2019)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Update:
                            I called Northwood (yet another pleasant experience!) and they said that I can get the work done anywhere. They (the repair shop) just needs to call Northwood ahead of time for authorization. Cool. I actually found a place in Lincoln (Harps RV) that I have a good feeling about - they are listed as a service center on the Dometic Website.

                            I will bring the inablity to run on LP while towing up with them.

                            Thanks for all the advice!

                            Mikey
                            Mikey and Marivic Bodie (and Thor the Wonderdog Golden Retriever)

                            2016 F-250 CCSB SRW KR 6.7 L Diesel, B&W Turnover Ball Gooseneck, Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection, RideRite Air Helper Springs, Pressure Pro Fx TPMS

                            2019 Arctic Fox 27-5L, 30 Amp, 15K a/c, 4 pt Leveling System, Booth w/Dream Dinette, WiFi Extender, Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              oops...I have a Norcold fridge (Dometic was on our previous SOB trailer). Hopefully, Harps can do Norcold service as well...

                              Mikey
                              Mikey and Marivic Bodie (and Thor the Wonderdog Golden Retriever)

                              2016 F-250 CCSB SRW KR 6.7 L Diesel, B&W Turnover Ball Gooseneck, Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection, RideRite Air Helper Springs, Pressure Pro Fx TPMS

                              2019 Arctic Fox 27-5L, 30 Amp, 15K a/c, 4 pt Leveling System, Booth w/Dream Dinette, WiFi Extender, Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C

                              Comment

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