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Private Owners --
A: from Gary CC NV -- I'm interested in what everyone has to say about this also. One of the mechanics at work yesterday asked me why I don't put a diesel in my motor home. I told him I've thought about it, but I was going to wait till the Chevy 454 blew up first. He has a friend that converted his M/H over to diesel and now it gets 12 miles per gallon, in a older model Class A.
A: from Phil Feinstein --
Diesels tend to be much more fuel efficient, so on the whole this sounds like a great idea. One thing that would make me hesitate is that I've found it much harder to find diesel fuel on a long trip than finding gasoline. I know exactly *ONE* place in Colorado to find an LPG vehicle fueling station, but I would assume that you could go anywhere that sells propane and get a fill.
A: from Ed --
Having driven a diesel car for about 20 years I've never found diesel hard to find. Sometimes small towns off the beaten path won't have much choice but I don't know that I'd want to buy gas there either. With the extended range from better diesel mileage I think driving on the top half of the tank would be appropriate when in the "outback". Otherwise, everywhere the big transport trucks go you'll find diesel. In Canada diesel is almost always cheaper than gas too: 10 cents a litre less is quite common. That adds up pretty quickly when you're travelling.
A: from John Ogletree -- As always, if money is a factor, you need to figure out how long it would take for the fuel savings to pay for the diesel engine. I would think that for all except fulltimers who spend most of the time moving down the road, it would never happen. On the other hand, if you just have your heart set on diesel, go for it.
Q: How do I know what size generator I need?
The most important piece of information that you need to know is how much electrical power you will need in your specific situation. Nothing will be more disappointing than to buy a generator that does not produce adequate power for your needs.
RVCN News Desk
Looking for a place to meet your fellow RVers? How about getting to know 150,000 new friends (give or take a few ten thousand)? That's a conservative estimate of the number that are likely to attend the 21st Annual Quartzsite (Arizona) Sports, Vacation and RV Show, January 17-25, 2004.
Quartzsite is the mother of all RV shows. The exhibits sprawl over four acres, most of them housed under the show's trademark "Big Tent". More than 350 companies are expected to be represented. In addition, an estimated 40-50,000 RVs will be parked in and around the town.
Of course, it wasn't always so. The first RV show in Quartzsite, held in 1984, was launched with 60 exhibits under a small tent. From the beginning, however, the show enjoyed a few advantages that ensured its success. As a town, Quartzsite has long been popular with RVers and snowbirds in general. Its Arizona desert climate and proximity to Southern California have made it a favorite winter destination.
Initially, many were attracted to the area's reputation as a rock collectors paradise. Agates, limonite cubes, gold, and quartz abound in the open spaces nearby. Rock collectors have served as the core audience for a string of gem and mineral shows that Quartzsite hosts during the winter months. Numerous swap meets and flea markets have staked their claim in the area as well. Today, over 1 million RVers a year make a stop in Quartzsite.
The promoters of the RV show, Kenny King and Mal Mallory, have ridden the wave of popularity. Since 1984, they've moved the site of the show four times. Their current location, which boasts more than 15 acres of free parking, is 1/2 mile south of I-10 on Highway 95.
King and Mallory have also added other events to complement the RV show. In 2004, the 7th Annual Quartzsite Hobby, Craft and Gems Show will be held January 28-February 1 and the 6th Annual Quartzsite Rock and Roll Classic Car Show will take place January 31-February 1.
For more information, visit www.quartzsitervshow.com or call 800-969-5464.
Anyone who has towed a travel trailer, or even thought of towing a trailer, has no doubt contemplated the worst-case scenario. Take your pick: jackknifing on a busy interstate, a run-away trailer on a steep road, a rollover on a mountain pass. It doesn't take much of an imagination to conjure up a nightmare.
The truth is, however, that travel trailer accidents are rare. That's largely because trailer owners understand the importance of safety. They've grown accustomed to proceeding through extensive safety checklists before they get behind the wheel. Towing a trailer is not for the foolhardy, but neither is it as demanding as flying a 747. With common sense and the proper training, almost all responsible drivers can learn to safely tow.
Any discussion of towing begins with the hitch that connects the tow vehicle and the trailer. Hitches are rated in terms of their load capacity. Make sure that your tow vehicle's hitch is strong enough to pull your trailer. For example, if you're trailer weighs 5,000 lbs., the load capacity of your hitch should be rated at 6,000 lbs. or more. Don't cut corners.
Hooking up your hitch is also critical. The coupling of the trailer must completely cover the ball of the hitch. (A little grease on the ball will help.) Once the tow vehicle and trailer are joined, secure the latch with a padlock and check that all nuts and bolts are tight.
Next comes the safety chains or cables. If the hitch gives way, the safety chains are meant to hold the tongue of the trailer above the roadway until you can pull over. For that reason, the length and strength of the chains is important. Make sure that the chains are long enough so as not to impede turning but not so long that they drag on the ground. Attach the chains to the frame of the tow vehicle, not to the hitch, and be sure to cross them under the trailer's tongue.
Now, plug in the electrical connections and test the safety lights. Check the trailer brakes and ensure that the break-away system is functioning properly. Finally, step back and make sure that the tow vehicle and the trailer are more or less level. If there's a pronounced dip where the hitch and tongue meet, you've got a problem. By the same token, make sure that the hitch is supporting sufficient trailer weight to prevent sway. Typically, 10-15 percent of the trailer's weight should be placed on the hitch. A quick test drive will likely give you a feel for load distribution. If there's too much weight toward the rear of the trailer, the trailer will tend to sway and swerve. If there's too much weight toward the front, your tow vehicle will feel sluggish and tight.
There are also more mundane issues involved in towing safety, such as tires and mirrors. Properly inflated tires on both the tow vehicle and the trailer are essential. Keep in mind that heavier loads demand greater tire pressure. Get yourself a trustworthy pressure gauge and put it to good use. Likewise, towing means that you're going to rely more than ever on your sideview mirrors. Generally, the rule of thumb is the bigger the better. Convex mirrors are a good idea for minimizing blind spots. From the driver's seat, you should be able to see the length of the trailer and at least 200 feet beyond from either sideview mirror. Adjust your mirrors until you feel comfortable.
Of course, this article is hardly the last word in towing safety. Instead, think of it as a start in developing your own safety checklist.
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