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Thanks Eddie (& Aileen). I spoke with both my diesel mechanic and regular mechanic about all the options. Going the full modification route on my ’03 2500 duramax seemed to be a lot of cash that would not have been recovered when I finally sold it. The main factor was the “certified” payload and towing capacity of the truck. I couldn’t get a straight answer from the spring shop referred by the dealer that this was a “national” certification of the payload. My daughter had a brief relationship with a state trooper. He told her that in Florida, an undersized tow vehicle involved in an accident could be classed as a felony in certain cases. Given the ever-increasing govt regulations, I didn’t want to chance it. Plus, the ’03 Silverado was starting to nickle and dime me to death. The ’14 3500HD is a real beast. Very happy with it, although I too have been looking at Heavy Duty trucks for a tow vehicle. There are a few websites around. http://www.hhrvresource.com has some awesome rig pics.
We tinted the windows in our old Montana (the 2000). Bought limo tint mylar film in the automotive dept at a local Walmart. (We were bored one day). It worked pretty well on the smaller windows. The key is to have a lot of patience, a steady hand, clean windows, have a clean work area with a good cutting board, and a sharp utility knife. We used one of the segmented blades that are typically for wallpapering. It was a challenge keeping hair away from the film with 2 dogs and a cat with us at the time. The rig had a very large picture window in the back and we couldn’t find a piece of the same material that was big enough. We found something but is wasn’t as clear. I thought about bringing it to a pro tint shop to do the back window but it dropped down on the priority list. Our new rig came with dark tinted windows so we don’t flash anyone outside… at least during the daytime ;). Paul
Thanks for the info on the EZ-lube axles. I need to find a better grease gun. My mechanic wanted to use his pneumatic grease gun, but I saw in the manual that it is not recommended due to chance of blowing out the seals.
Anyone have experience with Dexter EZ-Lube axles? My fifth wheel has these. There is a grease fitting under a rubber cap on the hub. To lubricate, jack up the wheel so it spins freely, put a grease gun on the fitting and slowly add grease. It will push the old grease out around the gun tip. Add grease until new grease starts coming out around the tip (all the while spinning the wheel). Camping world insists that these still need to be re-packed the old fashioned way every year or two (for $300+). Instinct tells me it’s just a sales ploy. Any thoughts? Paul.
Don’t take my post as anything against a spring company. Things need replacing or need additional stabilizing. Just keep it based on what the manufacturer certified the vehicle for. Paul.
I’d like to add my 2 cents regarding upgrading springs to increase weight capacity of a pickup. I contemplated this with an ’03 Silverado 2500HD (duramax) when we bought a new fiver with heavier pin weight. The new rig exceeded my truck’s capacity by 500lbs. The RV dealer had a spring company nearby that would “certify” the new carrying capacity by installing new heavier-duty springs. As I use this truck for my 9-to-5 (construction) and 90% of the time it is lightly loaded or empty, I figured beefier springs would rattle my teeth too much on a daily basis, and could make it hop when cornering. I went with airbags which, when inflated to about 70lbs., held the rig and truck level and smooth. I could drop it to 10 or 15 lbs. and get a normal ride when not towing. This worked for a while until we towed over a long concrete bridge and the rig started hopping, I mean HOPPING! Activating just the trailer brakes (not the truck’s) calmed it down, but I thought for a second I was going to lose the rig. Further research showed this the air bags did not override the fact the truck exceeded its legal capacity. Many states will check that the tow vehicle is certified to tow the trailer. You could get a ticket. Get in an accident and in some states it becomes a crime. Another reason not to beef up a truck over its manufacturer’s specs is there are other components. With the airbags, I noticed the rear hubs getting overheated (exceeding axle capacity as well, I guess). Bottom line is I bit the bullet and got a new 3500HD dually with more than enough power and capacity. I still see a lot of 3/4 ton pickups towing very large fifth wheels. Keep it legal; leave Mickey Mouse to Disney.
Our trip up the east coast this summer (in a 2013 Montana 3100RL) yielded 2 blowouts of Goodyear Marathons. There was less that 6k miles on them and less than 4 years old (based on manuf. date stamp on tires). The first one caused about $1,000 damage to the camper. I bought a TPMS for the trip home (TST’s 507RV) which immediately signaled us when another tire blew. There is a “silent recall” by GY on these tires, so if you have one blow, take it to a Goodyear dealer for credit. Unfortunately they won’t give me anything for the other 3 that haven’t blown. After many hours of research, I decided to upgrade all the tires to Goodyear G614 RST Load range G tires which are supposedly made in USA, not China. They’re expensive, but changing a tire on the highway is not fun. I will also continue to use the TPMS when traveling.
Trailers and 5th wheels are getting bigger and heavier every year. Load range E tires (delivered with most new 5th wheels) are really at the very top of their capacity, if manufactured correctly. Add inferior materials and you’re asking for trouble. Unfortunately the US Government is not overly concerned about defective trailer tires; hence no official recalls.
My long-time trusted mechanic recommends replacing trailer tires every 4-5 years (regardless of mileage) due to dry-rot and stress.
As our 5th wheel height is 13’5″, we invested in a Garmin RV760LM gps which stores our profile. We’ve tested it without actually towing the rig and it does seem to work, even on minor roadways. We also use the Allstays.com site (drivers/lowclearances) for new trips and also use google earth to look at various parts of our planned trip (roads leading to a campground from the highway exit, etc.) Everything has caveats that the info is only as good as what has been reported. We stick to major roads just to reduce risk, but RVing is supposed to be exciting, isn’t it?