Thursday, May 12, 2011

RV Tire Trade-offs. RV Tips. Win A Pass To FL Parks. Painting and Kittens.

How RV tires are developed and why some are a compromise.
"If a tire is being designed for a specific vehicle manufacturer such as Ford, Chevy, Toyota or BMW, there will be a number of tires submitted by competing tire companies all trying to deliver the best overall compromise in performance characteristics. Please note that all original equipment manufacturers have slightly different requirements but all make similar requests for performance improvements in many areas. In the future I will use the term "OE" to include these car and pickup manufacturers.

Compromise: Now is a good time to talk about some of the various trade-offs the engineer is faced with when trying to meet conflicting goals and customer wants. I am sure we would all like an RV that has all the interior space and amenities of a 40’ diesel pusher but gets 25 mpg and can be driven down crowded city streets without knocking off our mirrors. Oh yes, it should also cost under $30k. Well Bunkie, that just ain’t gonna happen in real life.

The same goes for a tire that handles like an Indy tire, is as quiet as the proverbial mouse, has great off-road traction, is good for 100k miles, and costs $25. One thing few people realize is that most if not all performance characteristics are a compromise. For example: if you improve wet traction you probably hurt fuel economy unless you use a special type of rubber that costs double per pound and is more difficult to process. If you improve handling you might hurt ride and noise. When you improve noise you can significantly increase the cost of making the molds used in manufacturing. The cost of a tire mold can be as low as $10,000 and can approach $100,000 each. Depending on the production volume needs, a tire manufacturer could need 30 or more molds. The list of trade-offs goes on and on.

The competition for a tire application might start three or more years before scheduled start of delivery with two to five tire manufacturers competing for the contract, knowing that only one or two will end up being selected to actually provide tires. The costs associated with building and testing special prototype tires can run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and are absorbed by the tire company. The only way a tire company can afford this type of activity is by landing a contract for a few hundred thousand tires so the costs can be spread out.

Unlike “OE”, an RV manufacturer may only need a couple thousand tires so a custom tire, designed for a specific RV would be cost prohibitive. Since the RV manufacturer won’t be trying to get custom tires, it doesn’t have staff engineers working on developing specifications for such tires. The RV company will in all likelihood either take what comes already on the cut-away chassis or the bare chassis for Class-C or A vehicles and in the case of trailers, may buy the tire with the lowest cost that can meet tire size requirements and expected delivery schedule.
For RV applications the one thing that is in the control of the manufacturer is “Reserve Load”. This is the difference between the load placed on each tire with the RV normally loaded and the load capability of the tires at specified inflation.  From:

RV Tips:
"Tip # 1: I forgot we plugged into 30 Amps rather than the 50 Amps we enjoyed on our trip north. You guessed it… I blew our power. Although we checked the post and flipped all the fuses inside we either had power to the batteries OR power from the Inverter – but never both. The dealer reminded us about the RESET BUTTON ON OUR INVERTER. We knew this, but without use for awhile we forgot about it.

Tip # 2 is also a “Been there, Done that” experience. On our way home from the dealer, the headwind was sooooo strong. I was driving the car behind the motor home when all of a sudden our awning fabric began to furl above the roof. Our tight awning arms had worked loose thanks to the intense wind. Lesson learned – ADD SEPARATE SUPPORT SUCH AS 1-2 BUNGEES TO THE ARMS before departure. For sure the climate can change in a hurry.
Tip # 3: About an erratic water heater.  The dealer added a NEW ECO-T-stat kit ($19.) A first for us but it is working now.
They also RE-CAULKED OUR FRONT WINDSHIELD with a tube of Urethane windshield adhesive ($14.). It rained all night – so far the dash is dry.
Other repairs included reattaching the 4” INSULATION UNDER OUR ENGINE COVER. Techs used steel strips and long screws, so this time it should stay in place longer than our glue repair did."
More RVing Tips
Wet wipes! How did travelers manage without these little conveniences? Great for quick clean-ups on people, pets, and property.

Use your detergent to heavily treat dirty collars and stains on your laundry before you leave the RV to head to the laundromat. When you get to the laundromat, dump your clothes in the washer and you are good to go. No extra detergent or stain treatments needed.

Mount a small white board near the door of your RV. You'll find it handy for all sorts of notes.

If you are looking for a travel guide or campground directory, check the book exchange shelves at the campgrounds you visit.

Win a Family Annual Entrance Pass to Florida’s State Parks
During the month of May, make a video to show why Florida’s state parks are the best. Your entry could win you a Family Annual Entrance Pass to Florida’s state parks or a copy of the Florida State Parks…the Real Florida Passport. Videos are limited to a minute or less. You may show your favorite park and/or favorite activities.
The deadline for delivery of the videos is 5 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. The top three videos will receive a Family Annual Entrance Pass and the top five will receive a copy of a Florida State Parks Passport. To learn more about the contest rules and format visit the Florida State Parks website.     ~ Florida State Parks Video Contest

Ray and I started out by chasing down the wires which operate the auxiliary fuel pump to my  B+.  It isn't clicking.  We never could find out the problem, but we will. I don't think it is a battery problem, as we even tried the pump while it had a charger on it.  But I know that battery is old and shot, so to replace it is the first thing to do.  Bad batteries can cause a lot of problems.

Ray did some more painting in the cargo trailer, and I sanitized three little carriers ready for the orphan kitten's trip to the vet for their spaying and neutering.   When the appointment was made, we were hoping that they would all be 2lb, but little Precious might not get spayed today.

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