Greetings From God's Country (The NW of the NW) - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 09-05-2018, 06:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Port Ludlow
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Washington
Greetings From God's Country (The NW of the NW)

I live on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State (think far upper left hand coast). Being an "elderly" widower, boats finally got to be too much for me so I turned my attention (and talents) to a mobile home. My modest income (Navy retirement & Social Security) precluded the purchase of a new rig so I spent about 8 months on the look out for a perfect RV for me. I found a Ford E250 that seems a perfect fit, spent $3k on a new paint job, the rig had no dents, dings nor scratches but the decal lines etc. were beginning to "bubble" and it was too much of a distraction for me to let it pass.

I've installed new interior paneling, new curtains (I do my own machine sewing), new door paneling (on & on). Since I will be traveling without a co-pilot, I pulled the passenger chair and installed a pulley system in the door post. I then "boxed an area" to fit a 3.5kw inverter generator with a tall "pouch" behind containing 4 solar panels. Also added 4 sealed batteries in the door well. I've converted the upper bunk into total storage with a safety net inside the curtained off area. I will have an A/C unit installed to replace the roof vent/fan in a couple of weeks and then I will be pretty much complete without the opportunity to procrastinate any further. That's my intro, bio & hello!

Now a question, I haven't visited the site well enough to find the exact forum to post, so I will add it here if I may; When initially bought and before all this work I found the rig had a problem at highway speeds and especially downhill. Without warning the front end would seem to "float" and steering would be erratic with a left, right, left right jerking. The rig had a steering damper installed some years back. I had a anti-sway bar added to the rear axle, heavy duty shocks and quality tires. the problem still persisted. All of my recent work has been with the idea of adding weight forward to keep "the nose to the road". Not sure if it has all worked yet but will try it out again in the next few days.

I have learned of a Firestone "Ride-Rite" kit that is supposed to help with side to side, front to back leveling and am wondering if this might help in the situation as described.

Sorry for this long initial post of mine, I am actually a very quiet, private guy. I'm looking forward to using the forum, posting pictures (as I learn how) and enjoying the sharing of knowledge that this website offers - THANK YOU!!!
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:17 AM   #2
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Weight Distribution System?

I was told that I didn't include info on my weight distribution system. I guess that's because I don't really have one or don't know (yet). Short of what I've already said, everything that I've done so far has been physically placing gear so as to move weight forward to hopefully ward off my problem. I was thinking about finding a 400 pound girlfriend for the co-pilot seat but placing the generator, solar panels and batteries in that location is probably cheaper in the long run.

I'm looking for feedback on the Firestone Ride-Rite systems. Does anyone out there have it installed? Would it address my inherent problem? (as talked about, again, in my intro post above). Thanks for any 1st hand feedback...
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:09 AM   #3
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First, welcome to the forum. Second, a picture would help. Third, Fords are notorious for king pin issues, I have seen them with wheels completely fallen off. How old is your vehicle and how many miles on it? You may also want to have your tie rods inspected to see if they are worn. Easiest way to check is to jack up one side and see if you can wiggle the wheels left to right for play. Do that with both sides. How much play do you have in the steering wheel?
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:27 PM   #4
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By the way, we have been to the Olympic Peninsula and it is an amazing place. I never would have expected a rain forest that far north. We had never been on a ferry before and we stayed in Port Angeles then took the morning ferry to the Victoria, drove up to Swartz Bay then on to Vancouver. IT WAS AN AMAZING TRIP. They have the best seafood in the country in the port area where the ferry lands to get off in Vancouver. The boats are right there and the seafood is really fresh. The trip up to mount Olympia was an experience worth having.
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:48 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Submarine315 View Post
I turned my attention (and talents) to a mobile home. Navy retirement I then "boxed an area" to fit a 3.5kw inverter generator with a tall "pouch" behind containing 4 solar panels. Also added 4 sealed batteries in the door well.
I am actually a very quiet, private guy. I'm looking forward to using the forum, posting pictures (as I learn how) and enjoying the sharing of knowledge that this website offers
Thank you for your service. Submarining sounds much more exciting than the South Dakota hidden silo fields. It looks like you found your new calling. RV'ing is one big retirement project.

It looks like your are ready for boondocking and dry camping. Maybe we will spend a couple nights next door to each other some day.

Everyone on the Dutchman website here says they love pictures. I am looking forward to seeing yours.

Paul Bristol
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:43 PM   #6
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Attempting A Few Pictures

Showing (I hope): New paint job, Rig's Name, and 2 shots of co-pilot replacement. Much better shot of replacement with covers and solar panels follows (if this works)...
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:26 PM   #7
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Fictures Conquered!!!

So, it seems an old dog can learn new tricks with posting pictures! Here are a few more of the "current" arrangement without a co-pilot chair; The tall bag contains the four solar panels (total weight about 30 lbs). I have a "lift" (small, tracked, block & tackle) rigged in the door frame as the inverter/generator weighs about 125 lbs fueled. Last couple of pictures show how I move it around once unloaded - a re-purposed walker that I'm not ready to use for myself yet. (BTW: I do my own sewing - new curtains, covers and door panels, the captain's chair is next. The cab had some gaudy red & orange colors originally). Also note the four batteries in the step well.
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:24 PM   #8
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Yes, the Olympic Peninsula is an amazing area. One only has to count the RV's on our two lane roads to realize that (but I jest). I can see why someone from the Tampa area would find this so different (I have been to Tampa et al) and although beautiful in it's own right, I believe this spot to be "the one" for me when not traveling AND I lived in Hawaii for 22 years etc.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:01 PM   #9
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What was the original make and model of the RV? There should be a builders tag on it somewhere. It looks a lot like an old Airstream B Van or possibly a Coachmen conversion.

Definitely going to be interesting...

Aaron
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:03 AM   #10
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What was the original make and model of the RV? There should be a builders tag on it somewhere. It looks a lot like an old Airstream B Van or possibly a Coachmen conversion.

Definitely going to be interesting...

Aaron
To: Frank in Tampa, Florida (that makes me johnplwa) LOL - Paul & Aaron. Thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely check for wheel play (tomorrow) and also, most probably, have the local shop check the King pins and the tie rods anyhow (I'm not much of a mechanic, been a marine electrician for 58 years - submarines - 22 Navy, 36 "silly villain"). So, the pins and tie rods could explain the side to side jerking "BUT" the lifting off the road (prior to) is still a weight distribution problem that brings it on, no? BTW (Paul) it is a Coachman, class B. I didn't have the painter reapply the Coachman decals that were on it before. All of the striping etc. is painted and sealed w/clear coat. Didn't want to eventually see bubbles as before. Oh, and the rig has 82k miles on it. BR, John
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