Thursday, November 29, 2012

RV Transmission. 12v. to 6v. Batteries. Camping Alone. VW Bus. Shelter in RV. RVing Jobs. 1929 Flight over South Pole.


For “tRaVarsing Thursday” or RV Day:

Ignore your RV transmission at your own risk

Name one of of the most neglected RV systems:   The transmission.

Name one of the most costly RV systems to repair when it breaks: The transmission!

Here's an article by a contributing writer,
Mitch Martinkus, of Motorhomes of Texas. Mitch comments on how
temperature has a tell-tale affect on transmission fluid life--and how
ignoring it has consequences.
If you are undecided about whether or not you should service your
transmission or when to service it consider this: Transmission failure
is mostly attributed to fluid failure. Mechanical parts failure is in
the minority when blame is laid. The breakdown and failure of
transmission fluid is precipitated by two elements: Contaminants and
heat, with heat winning the race for worst and biggest contributor.

Transmission temperatures run generally in the same range as engine temperature until put under a strain. Heat in the transmission will
usually climb higher and faster than engine temperature. A normal range is in the 175 to 200 degree range. Hill climbing takes it up from there.
At 175, fluid will last about 120,000 to 140,000 miles (discounting the contamination factor).

Its life expectancy decreases almost exponentially with increased heat. At 200 degrees the breakdown occurs at around 60,000 to 70,000 miles. As you can see, an increase of only 25 degrees can cut the life about half. Increase the temperature and watch the fluid life fall dramatically:
225 degrees = 35,000 miles
250 degrees = 20,000 miles
275 degrees = 10,000 miles
300 degrees = 1,500 miles
325 degrees = 500 miles
Higher temperatures for short periods of time also takes a toll, but
trying to calculate exactly when you should change the fluid should be
done on an individual basis. If you pull a toad and drive in the hills
or mountains, you'll need to service more often.

Most high-end motorhomes have transmission coolers, and many have temperature gauges.
If you don't have these two items it might be beneficial to have
them installed.
Ideally, servicing your transmission should be done as often as every
other oil change but that's just not practical. It would not be
inexpensive, and at some point it ceases to be cost-effective. The point
is: Be aware of the health of your transmission fluid. Monitor its
operating temperature and service accordingly.

Servicing too often won't hurt your wallet near as bad as overhauling the beast.”    (From


An Innovative Idea For RV Transmission Control

Steep grade“An innovative product idea from the Lug_Nut file. Automatic transmissions are quickly replacing the mechanically clutched manual gearbox in the world’s high performance automobiles. While many are equipped with single or dual action hydraulic clutches, all are capable of shifting gears automatically. For the positive control of spirited performance shifting, these newer systems employ steering wheel mounted paddle switches. These spring loaded momentary contact levers are located behind the wheel at about nine and three o’clock. They are easily operated with your fingertips while your hands are comfortably gripping the steering wheel. The left one toggles the downshift while the right the upshift. The main transmission control provides a selection of either fully automatic or paddle control shifting. The automatic or manual modes can also be toggled back and forth on some models using just the paddles.

Generally the paddle shift feature is not available on the average automobile, other than as a sales gimmick, as it would have little operational value. But what about a large vehicle like a truck or motor home? The ability to manually select the gearing, in this type of unit, is often a need when operating in very hilly or mountainous terrains.

Currently, diesel pusher owners control user input shifts by depressing one of two buttons on the Allison keypad. The control keypad is generally located to the driver’s left, often near waist level about equal to the operator’s position. This requires looking down and ninety degrees to the left. This is certainly not an ideal place for the driver to have to look during an event that requires such driving strategy……

Paddle Shift Design

….Now, there is another feature found on the Jaguar ZF paddle shift controlled transmission that would also benefit the RV. During downshifts, the control module sends a message to the ECM that causes the engine RPM to spike briefly and sync the correct RPM of the selected gear. This makes the downshift extremely smooth and helps avoid any deceleration traction loss.  A sample of a paddle shift wiring diagram is shown on the left……   More at: An Innovative Idea For RV Transmission Control


Tips for Camping Alone

Tips for Camping Alone

“Camping alone is a rewarding experience, but you need to be prepared for the special challenges of striking out on your own. Women travelling alone should be particularly careful to avoid advertising their single status. Before you set off on your solo RV trip, follow our safety tips for camping alone.

  • Alert others of your plans - where you are going, how long you will be gone, when you will return.
  • Plan to check-in with someone at home when you arrive at your destination and periodically throughout your stay.
  • Let the ranger or campground officials know you are there.
  • As soon as you get to the campground, program the phone number of the person on-call into your phone. Help will be just a phone call away if you ever need it.
  • Camp near a family or group to avoid giving the appearance that you are by yourself.
  • Look for campsites that are away from walking trails, to lessen the chance of being observed by yourself.
  • Avoid isolated areas.
  • Don't take walks or hikes by yourself. 
  • The old stand-by: leave some man’s boots outside your rig!”


Replacing 12 volt RV batteries with six volt batteries

An RVer recently attempted to change his coach's 12-volt battery bank over to six volt batteries. In the process he drew a large spark and nearly frightened himself to death. What's the right way to make the change-over? Here's how.

“….Now to the "practical" side of installing new batteries.
Before you remove your existing 12-volt batteries, locate the positive battery post that serves the "house" or coach circuits. This means the one marked as "positive" or +. This post will not be connected directly to another battery, but probably will have one very large wire, or perhaps several wires connected to it. Using red electrical tape or red paint, MARK these wires right up close to the battery connector. You could also mark the connector for the negative or - with black tape--just makes it easier to keep things straight…..”


RV Tips:

If you have the type of lights in your RV that have two sections, put a brighter bulb in one side and a smaller watt light bulb in the other. Use one side for general room lighting and the other side for a night light. When you need brighter lights, such as for reading, use them both.

Large binder clips, the kind you get at an office supply store, have all sorts of uses in an RV. Closing chip bags. Hanging up gloves to dry. Keeping receipts together so they don't get lost. Clamping a tablecloth to a picnic table, etc.

Beware of scammers
They are out there and they want your money. Russ and Tina De Maris report their encounter with one such person in a Wal-Mart parking lot. A nice young man, who claimed to be the manager of a local service station, approached with the warning "You must not know it, but you've got a real problem with your spring shackles." As it turned out, there was no problem at all beyond the young man being a crook. Read more.

Bill's Hints

Sway bars
“Gusty winds and semi-trailers at highway speeds will be less bothersome if you have sway bars installed.” From Trailers Made Easy.


Volkswagen will finally end production this December of its Kombi model, better known in the U.S. as the "VW Bus." The last bus will roll off a Brazilian production line, the victim of tougher safety standards. Kombi was the second of VW's creations (the "Bug" was first) and has been in production for 63 years.


Why an RV is awesome during a major storm

Rich Miller, the Wanderman, lives 90 miles northeast of New York. Like millions of others in the Northeast, he lost power at his home during superstorm Sandy. Yet, he writes, "Here I sit, in a comfortable chair, working on this article. The lights are on, the heater humming away and food cooking on the stove.

Meanwhile, outside there are high winds, steady rain and most of the town around me is dark." Read more.


A man's RV is his castle--literally!

This is, without a doubt, a one-of-king RV, a two-story homebuilt motorhome that, well. . . looks just like a castle! You must see this to believe it! No kidding! Take a look and read more.

Traveling through California's Mojave Desert, Steve Willey chanced upon this interesting artifact. Steve describes it as a "Castle Truck" occupied by a mobile blacksmith and a "several nephews." One of the towers has bunk beds with ladder access; part of the rig is devoted to the blacksmithing business. Those flagpoles you see run up three-times the height of the unit but fold down for travel.


Web job search firm makes finding RV jobs easy

“Trying to track down an RV lifestyle-suitable job can sometimes be a bit challenging. First there's a job suitable to your skills, then the right location, and then--wow--if you can snag it, a place to park your rig, too! may be the answer to all your questions. Largely a summer and seasonal job marketplace, CoolWorks web site makes it easy to find what you're looking for. With an emphasis on national parks, resorts, ranches, and camps, many of these employers provide RV spaces for their workers. CoolWorks makes it easy to know that by putting an RV icon on any job with RV spaces included. You can even narrow your searches to "RV only" jobs.
These aren't all, "scrub toilets and sell firewood" jobs either. Folks with work experience in a wide variety of fields are called for. Check out the company website at "  From:


On This Day:

Byrd flies over South Pole, Nov 29, 1929:

“American explorer Richard Byrd and three companions make the first flight over the South Pole, flying from their base on the Ross Ice Shelf to the pole and back in 18 hours and 41 minutes.

Richard Evelyn Byrd learned how to fly in the U.S. Navy and served as a pilot in World War I. An excellent navigator, he was deployed by the navy to Greenland in 1924 to help explore the Arctic region by air. Enamored with the experience of flying over glaciers and sea ice, he decided to attempt the first flight over the North Pole.

On May 9, 1926, the Josephine Ford left Spitsbergen, Norway, with Byrd as navigator and Floyd Bennet as pilot. Fifteen hours and 30 minutes later, the pair returned and announced they had accomplished their mission. For the achievement, both men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, some doubt lingered about whether they had actually flown over the North Pole, and in 1996 a diary Byrd had kept on the flight was found that seemed to suggest that the Josephine Ford had turned back 150 miles short of its goal because of an oil leak. In the late 1920s, however, few suspected Byrd had failed in his mission.

In 1927, Byrd's prestige grew when he made a harrowing nonstop flight across the Atlantic with three companions. Famous as he was, he had little trouble finding financial backers for an expedition to Antarctica. Byrd's first Antarctic expedition was the largest and best-equipped expedition that had ever set out for the southern continent. The explorers set out in the fall of 1928, building a large base camp called "Little America" on the Ross Ice Shelf near the Bay of Whales. From there, they conducted flights across the Antarctic continent and discovered much unknown territory.

At 3:29 p.m. on November 28, 1929, Byrd, the pilot Bernt Balchen, and two others took off from Little America in the Floyd Bennett, headed for the South Pole. Magnetic compasses were useless so near the pole, so the explorers were forced to rely on sun compasses and Byrd's skill as a navigator. At 8:15 p.m., they dropped supplies for a geological party near the Queen Maud Mountains and then continued on. The most challenging phase of the journey came an hour later, when the Floyd Bennett struggled to gain enough altitude to fly safely above the Polar Plateau. They cleared the 11,000-foot pass between Mount Fridtjof Nansen and Mount Fisher by a few hundred yards and then flew on to the South Pole, reaching it at around 1 a.m. on November 29. They flew a few miles beyond the pole and then to the right and the left to compensate for any navigational errors. Byrd dropped a small American flag on the pole, and the explorers headed for home, safely landing at Little America at 10:11 a.m.

In 1933, Byrd, now a rear admiral in the navy, led a second expedition to Antarctica. During the winter of 1934, he spent five months trapped at a weather station 123 miles from Little America. He was finally rescued in a desperately sick condition in August 1934. In 1939, Byrd took command of the U.S. Antarctic Service at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and led a third expedition to the continent. During World War II, he served on the staff of the chief of naval operations. After the war, he led his fourth expedition to Antarctica, the largest ever attempted to this date, and more than 500,000 miles of the continent were mapped by his planes. In 1955, he led his fifth and final expedition to Antarctica. He died in 1957.”



Work on Ray’s floor was postponed, as Ray took his son to the doctor, so I went shopping.    We should be resuming the work today.

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