Saturday, May 29, 2010

ProPride 3P Hitch: Second Impressions

I took our Keystone Premier 31BH out of the valley and brought it into town last night so that I could get some service done. I was able to adjust the ProPride Hitch and get another impression of it since my first time towing with it last week. I set the weight distribution bars to 7.5" and I think it's the right setting because the forward/back motion--which I learned is called "chucking"--is minimized and the steering feels good. I might also try 8" again next time just to confirm. Also, after towing again last night I'm confident that my installation was correct because the whole rig pulls nice and straight.

My previous complaint about it being tedious to raise and lower the WD bars with a ratchet socket has been nullified after I realized that I had a speed wrench (like the one used for the stabilizer jacks) that I could use. It's much stronger than the one for the stabilizer jacks so there's no worry about breaking it and it makes the process of raising or lowering the WD bars a breeze and it takes no time at all.

The more I use the ProPride 3P the more I appreciate the whole system.

My only problem now is that I have to remove the hitch so that our dealer will be able to fix the defective stabilizer jacks. They can't move the trailer with the ProPride hitch in place.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

LG Eve GW620R Android - Factory Reset

My LG Eve GW620R Android smartphone hasn't been very reliable since I bought it back in December. First it got bricked when I tried to update the firmware and the entire mainboard had to be replaced. Then about a month ago the system software got corrupted and I lost half of all the function on my phone. Online technical support didn't help and when I went to Cellcom at Coquitlam Centre for help, the person there was COMPLETELY UNHELPFUL so much so the guy turned me away and basically said he would not help me at all. I just about gave up on getting my phone fixed at all.

Today I tried one more time and with the help of telephone support I was able to do a factory reset by pressing the VOL Down, Menu, and Camera buttons at the same time while the phone was on. I thought I had tried that already, but this time it worked and I got full function on the phone again....

I have to thank William at Wireless Wave who seemed really to care about helping and directed me to the correct solution. Also, telephone support was really quick and efficient and I had no wait time despite the recorded message warning me that there may be at least a 15 minute delay.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ProPride 3P Hitch: Impressions

We just completed the trip with our new 2010 Keystone Premier 31BHPR travel trailer. It was also my first experience towing with the ProPride hitch. However, because I couldn't complete the entire installation in one day, I have some doubts my own setup. I need to remove the hitch anyway so that our dealer can work on the trailer, so I'll be able to reinstall the hitch and make sure I do it right. Here are my initial impressions on towing with the ProPride hitch....

  • It's definitely easy to hook up with no effort--the Denali's backup camera makes it simple. But it's time consuming having to raise and lower the WD bars with a socket wrench whenever I want to hitch and unhitch. My cordless drill doesn't have enough torque to turn the adjustment screw, otherwise I would use it.
  • After hooking up and adjusting the weight distribution bars, the trailer was nose-high. I wasn't able to fix it right away, but after we got to the KOA I was able lower the hitch bar one more notch to the lowest setting to get it down a bit more. It's still a little high, but only by about an inch or so.
  • I wasn't sure at first how high to bring up the WD bars. I started at 7" but after checking at the scales, I raised it up to 8". It seemed to tow OK on the I-5 southbound at 65 mph but when turned off on Hwy 20 and cruised at about 55 mph I noticed some forward and back tugging. I wasn't sure what was causing that feeling until I checked into the campground. The ranger pointed out right away that I was nose-high and asked if I was getting that that forward/back motion. He said that being nose high would cause it. I learned something new!
  • Coming home, with the WD bars still adjusted at 8" but the hitch bar lower, the forward/back motion was less but still there. While we were stopped at Camping World, I adjusted it down to 6.5" to see what would happen. That eliminated the forward/back tugging, but it made the front of the Denali too light and steering was compromised. I made another adjustment to 7.25" and that made it more stable. I think next time I'll try it at 7.5"

Keystone Premier 31BHPR: Shakedown Trip

We just completed the shakedown trip for our 2010 Keystone Premier 31BHPR. Because the 35' trailer doesn't fit on our driveway, we had to keep it at the storage lot. That made setting things up a lot harder. In fact, we didn't get all the final pieces into place until the morning that we left.

Luckily, it didn't take us too long to get on the road and even with taking our time to stop at a weigh scale, Hagen's of Blaine to pick up a couple of items, and a rest stop to make some minor adjustments, we were able to get to the campsite by about 3pm.

We decided to go to this KOA for our shakedown trip even though it's farther away from home because we came here lots last summer and are very familiar with the facilities. Getting a pull through site made things that much easier. We found that we actually like the pull through sites a little bit better because they back onto the very large open field where the kids can play while we watch them.

Overall, it was a good weekend. Too short, but it was still nice to be able to sit around and not do too much on Sunday. The weather was a bonus, too. The wind was cool but it only rained Saturday night while we slept and the sun came out after that.

Distance Traveled: 300 km ( 186 miles)
Concrete / Grandy Creek KOA
Site #104, pull through, full hookup, fire pit, picnic table, playground, swimming pool, giant bouncy pillow
Nights stayed: 2
More pictures on Picasa.

Here are some things we learned during this trip...

  • Con: The warning in the outside stove top owner's manual about not using over-sized pots and pans was true, We bought a double-burner griddle from Costco that we thought would be very handy. But because it was too big to fit properly, it caused a little bit of the plastic label on the stove to bubble up from excessive heat.
  • Pro: The burners on the outside stove are extremely wind resistant. When kept on high, the flame would not blow out even in strong gusty wind without the wind shields in place.

  • Con: The toilet leaks at the top of the connection when you try to fill the bowl with fresh water. There is no leaking when you flush. We'll need to ask the dealer to check it out.

  • Con: The storage bag for the air mattress in our sofa bed is torn at 3 of the anchor points. We'll ask the dealer to order a new one for us.

  • Con: One of the wood stoppers that prevents the trundle bed from coming out completely came off. I could probably hammer this back in place when I get some time.

  • Pro: The outside kitchen is very easy to use and setup.

  • Con: When turned to MAX cold, the outside fridge will start to freeze canned pop solid in about 24 hours. By the way, frozen cans of pop explode violently but are relatively easy to clean up.

  • Con: The 3-step ladder bought from Costco was too short for me to see what was on top of the slide out roof.

  • Pro: Lynx levelers are truly multi-purpose. I was able to stack 5 of them together, put them on the wide top platform on the step ladder and see above the slide out roof. That made spraying off the pine needles and other debris really easy when we were packing up.

  • Con: Stabilizer jacks cannot be repaired. The nut that prevents the entire bar from coming out is loose. The dealer already said that they would replace all four, but I wanted to see if I could do something first.

  • Pro: The Lynx levelers saved the day again at the end of the trip when I we were back in Canada. We made arrangements to park our TT on a farm for storage, but when I tried to back TT into a dirt area so that I could turn it around. Because the ground was moist from rain, the tires sunk and I got stuck. With a little bit of digging, I was able to lay down a track of the Lynx levelers in front of each tire and drive away. Whew! The Lynx Levelers have been a great investment!

  • Pro: We tried out a couple of fire logs to see how they would work. We like to cook over the fire so we don't normally use manufactured fire logs but we thought it would be nice in the evening when we're sitting outside. Saturday night, since we cooked on the grill, I used up a 15+ year old Dura-Log that took a little extra effort to light, but worked. I was most impressed the next day with a new "Green" fire log we bought from the Real Canadian Superstore that was made out of coffee grinds. It's a 2-3 hour log that was easy to light and burned very robustly with no effort. It cost only $4 and I simply put it on the fire after we had finished cooking dinner and marshmallows.

  • Pro: The cheap sewer hose holder I made to fit on top of the bumper worked great.

  • Con: The propane tank regulator makes a high pitched whine when propane is being used.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

VW R32: Service Action 60A7

I learned today that VW currently has a service action out (described to me alternatively as “S9” or “60A7”) for the inspection of the 2004 R32's moonroof drain. According to my invoice the dealership modified the moonroof drains; whether that entailed installation of new parts or modification of current parts I don’t know. As it was free, I suspect the latter.

FYI, latest TSBs for the 2004 R32 from the NHTSA.

Since my 50k miles scheduled maintenance was more than a year ago, I took my R in today expecting to have the “60k miles” service done, despite only having 54k miles on the odometer. To my surprise the dealership told me all I needed was a “55k miles” service which was simply an oil change. I was surprised because according to the information on VWoA there is no “55k miles” service for the 2004 R32 – it goes from 50k directly to 60k. Odd.

Type rest of the post here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ProPride 3P Hitch Installed

From Bullet Mods and Accessories

I did a lot of research over the past year about different kinds of hitches and although we never had a problem with our Reese HP Dual Cam system, the thought of towing a 35' trailer very near our limits across the Prairies this summer made it easier for us to upgrade. We the same trip a couple of years ago on the tail of some severe thunderstorms and I know how strong the winds can get.

After reading information and comments from owners and non-owners of variety of hitches including the Equal-i-zer, Dual Cam, PullRite, Hensley Arrow, and ProPride 3P, I decided the ProPride 3P Hitch was the best one for us. I'm really glad I did, too, because customer service has been top notch and beyond what can usually be expected from "average" companies.

I completed the install of the ProPride myself. It was fairly straightforward. I didn't bother to take any pictures of my progress because I found that is a great resource with an excellent Flickr gallery of pictures of the install. It helped me get prepared for what to expect.

We're heading out for our maiden voyage in the Keystone Premier this week so I'll be able to post some impressions after we get back.

Friday, May 14, 2010

ProPride 3P Hitch Is On The Way

We're another step closer to getting on the road with our brand new 2010 Keystone Premier 31BHPR travel trailer. The ProPride 3P hitch I ordered several weeks ago was shipped 11 May 2010 and is making its way from Grand Blanc, MI to the west coast. It left Hodgkins, IL this morning. I can't wait!

UPDATE: 14 May 2010

The hitch is now on the West Coast!

View ProPride 3P Hitch Journey in a larger map

Can you tell I'm excited?

Past journey as of 12 May 2010

View ProPride 3P Hitch Journey in a larger map

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Keystone RV: How To Winterize Your RVs water system

I'm really glad I found this series of tips from Keystone RV Company on YouTube. They are great because they help me understand our new Premier travel trailer much better. This video explains how to winterize the RV's water system.

Keystone RV: Proper Lug Nut Torque - Requirements and Maintenance

This is another helpful video from Keystone RV. This information is explained in the Keystone Owner's Manual, but it's nice to have the pictures to correspond. This video explains the proper way to apply the proper lug nut torque on the travel trailer.

Keystone RV: Override Your Slide Out Mechanism

I just happened to find these very helpful videos from Keystone RV. These service tips are great because they are specific to Keystone RVs and will really help with our new Premier. This video shows you how to manually crank the slide outs in case of power failure. Good to know.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Song For My Wife On Mother's Day

All My Days by Alexi Murdoch

Now I see clearly
It's you I'm looking for
All of my days
Soon I'll smile
I know I feel this loneliness no more
All of my days

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Lynx Levelers: Christmas in May

From Bullet Mods and Accessories
When we first bought our Pacific Coachworks Tango travel trailer last year, one of the first accessories that I bought were Lynx Levelers. I didn't want to bother with heavy scrap pieces of wood to level the RV and I really liked the bright orange colour of the Lynx. They are very easy to use especially since the Hoppy bubble levels that I mounted tell us how many inches to raise the trailer, and each of the Lynx Levelers are about 1" tall. There was never any guessing to how high to build the stacks.

During the off-season I used the Lynx Levelers under the trailer tires to keep them off the frozen pavement. As it turns out, we had one of our warmest winters on record. So in March when we took the RV out on the first trip of the year, I noticed that the levelers bent out of shape from the weight of the tires on the soft asphalt....

...Even though it was just cosmetic and they worked just as well under the stabilizer jacks, I still thought about buying a new set. I was pleasantly surprised when at the end of the weekend, the bent levelers had all come out straight again--just like new. Impressive!

Another thing I was happy about was the performance of the Lynx Stop 'N Chocks. I had sold my BAL Deluxe Wheel Chocks because the Keystone Premier has extra wide axles so they would not work any more. I bought the Lynx chocks because they connect with the levelers and provide safety even when the tires are raised. I discovered that even without the BAL chocks the trailer was very stable and had very little movement.

One last thing about Christmas in May: This week Tri-Lynx sent me a box of additional levelers and chocks as well as a few other products shown above and wrote a very nice letter in appreciation of my business. Now that's really impressive!

Monday, May 03, 2010

RV Mod: Bamboo Gutter Extensions

From Bullet Mods and Accessories
Last year when we were shopping for our first RV, a Pacific Coachworks Tango, we noticed clothes pins clipped on each corner of the travel trailer. We had no idea what it was for until the dealer explained that it helped the water running from the gutters to fall away from the sides of the trailer. This would reduce the black streaks that occur when the trailer sits outside in the rain. We were skeptical at first, but....
...when it rained, we could see that it really worked. It's cheap, too, so as homage to the little red-neck inside of me, I promptly placed four brand new bamboo clothes pins on our 2010 Keystone Premier 31BHPR.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Bullet and Tango Hotel

From The Bullet
We signed the papers for our 2010 Keystone Premier 31BHPR today and did the walk through. It was a little sad saying good bye to the Tango because we had such a good time with it last year. But seeing the new shiny Bullet right next to it made it easy to be excited.

It's going to take some time to get used the new layout and figuring out exactly where we should put everything but there was one pleasant surprise: the laundry chute. At first, we didn't think it would be good for anything but when I put our laundry hampers in place, we realized that it would work out quite well. In the Tango we had to take up floor space for it. In the Bullet, it is conveniently out of the way.
From The Bullet

From The Bullet

One thing I was disappointed in was the plastic toilet. The one in the Tango was porcelain. I suppose we have to make some sacrifices to reduce weight.

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