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Old 03-20-2015, 12:51 PM   #1
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Connectivity when on the road

We are just beginning our full-time adventure. Our first RV park has great wi-fi signal and good speed...SOOOOOOO...how do we best take advantage of this? To use this, it requires you to login to one of many routers scattered throughout the park. Easy peasy IF you are able to use a browser, like when using a phone or computer. HOWEVER, I also would like to use the Chromecast and/or Apple TV...both of which require that they be connected to the same wireless network as the computer they will work with. Since these don't have the ability to use a "browser" to connect to the wi-fi network, I can't see how we can use these...UNLESS there is someone out there who understands the whole wireless Internet better than I do. I know there are things like bridges, range extenders, etc, but not sure if there is a solution using any of these. I do have a hot spot (T-mobile phone) and also a Verizon jet pack. IF I can figure out how to use one of these as a solution, would this "use" my limited data if I stream something from my computer to the TV using either Apple TV or Chromecast? Anyone know how to make use of the wi-fi for items that can't browse to an actual connection. At home, I had a wireless router that I could hardwire connect to our Internet service using an ethernet cable...and then the Chromecast and Apple TV wireless connected to my router using the password....but they didn't have to do this via a browser. So, hoping there is someone out there who has figured this out and wouldn't mind at least pointing me toward a specific type of device I should be researching...any help would be great.
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Old 03-20-2015, 01:48 PM   #2
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I use an Alfa networks AWUS036 Booster and R36 Router, with a Yagi antenna. Doing this allows me to use an available wifi signal and create my own network for everything else. We use Apple TV and the DVD player for Netflix. Works well, only have to set up one device when we move campgrounds.

Cale
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Old 03-20-2015, 01:49 PM   #3
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I asked this same question a week or so back on another forum, no answer yet! I did read somewhere that you can turn on WIFI on your IPhone then activate the hotspot. Once thats up connect Apple TV to your phone. I did this last week and I'm pretty sure it worked, downloaded a movie and watched it no problem. However, now when I go in and activate my HotSpot it shuts off WIFI automatically? Not sure if there is a way to bypass that?
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Old 03-20-2015, 02:18 PM   #4
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I asked this same question a week or so back on another forum, no answer yet! I did read somewhere that you can turn on WIFI on your IPhone then activate the hotspot. Once thats up connect Apple TV to your phone. I did this last week and I'm pretty sure it worked, downloaded a movie and watched it no problem. However, now when I go in and activate my HotSpot it shuts off WIFI automatically? Not sure if there is a way to bypass that?
The hotspot capability on your iPhone requires wifi to be turned on...however, the signal you are using for your hotspot is your carriers data. Be careful, you will blow through your data pretty quick. It seems as though apple movies are about 3.5GB and Netflix is about 2ish GB.

If you have an iPad or Mac, you could have movies pre-downloaded to those devices, connect a router to the Apple TV and use the AirPlay function. There will be no internet, but you could watch movies on your TV.

Our Voltage has a router built in, I found it too cumbersome to use, but I utilize it as an access point so all the kids in the area can use it as a hub to play Mine Craft. There is no internet, so it is safe for them, and they can build different worlds as a group.

Cale
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Old 03-20-2015, 02:25 PM   #5
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Here is my wifi information, along with a roof mount I made for the antenna. I can usurp internet signals nearly 1 mile away, albeit, there is a lot of line loss and is only good for email...otherwise, we almost always have campground internet piped though the trailer.

Look at post 381.
Show off your Mods

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Old 03-20-2015, 04:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by calewjohnson View Post
Here is my wifi information, along with a roof mount I made for the antenna. I can usurp internet signals nearly 1 mile away, albeit, there is a lot of line loss and is only good for email...otherwise, we almost always have campground internet piped though the trailer.

Look at post 381.
Show off your Mods

Cale
Cale, thank you very much for this info. It sounds like this might be an affordable solution (versus the WiFi Ranger...another option some have mentioned). I have some more questions if you don't mind, but would you rather me post them here...or on the mods site? Also, where is the "Ranger" site you mention?
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:24 PM   #7
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Cale, thank you very much for this info. It sounds like this might be an affordable solution (versus the WiFi Ranger...another option some have mentioned). I have some more questions if you don't mind, but would you rather me post them here...or on the mods site? Also, where is the "Ranger" site you mention?
Feel free to post them here, it is your thread.

The WIFI Ranger came installed on my trailer...I personally would not go out of my way to purchase it, but it is there. With that being said, the folks are very nice and helpful with the questions I have had. I am technically savvy, but I have found that the setup has been a little onerous at times. Also, having to pull a fuse to reset the system is a pain. In my eyes, the major weakness for the WIFI Ranger is the antenna. It is a 2dB gain antenna, pretty worthless, but will work if you within a couple hundred yards of the wifi source. My Yagi has a 24dB advertised gain, with an actual 19dB gain, tested in our school lab.

I went with the setup noted before because of price and its ability to be used in other countries. When I deploy, I take the setup with me and turn on, after I reset the bios for the country I am in. You can purchase from Rockland.com, they are great folks to work with and very knowledgable.

When on the road, I have a single piece of hardware to setup, everything else in the trailer only has to connect to my router. With the Apple TV, Blue Rae DVD, DirecTV DVR, iPads, iPhones, Kindles, etc....trying to get those onto a network that only allows for a single pay item to be logged on is difficult. Once I have the Internet piped in, the campground network sees the MAC address for my router and that's it...

The nice thing about this setup is that I don't have to futz with putting the router into bridge mode. A good fall back is to find an older Linksys G band router and install DD-WRT. That is pretty powerful and very easy to use firmware with a nice user interface.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Cale
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Old 03-20-2015, 06:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by calewjohnson View Post
Feel free to post them here, it is your thread.

The WIFI Ranger came installed on my trailer...I personally would not go out of my way to purchase it, but it is there. With that being said, the folks are very nice and helpful with the questions I have had. I am technically savvy, but I have found that the setup has been a little onerous at times. Also, having to pull a fuse to reset the system is a pain. In my eyes, the major weakness for the WIFI Ranger is the antenna. It is a 2dB gain antenna, pretty worthless, but will work if you within a couple hundred yards of the wifi source. My Yagi has a 24dB advertised gain, with an actual 19dB gain, tested in our school lab.

I went with the setup noted before because of price and its ability to be used in other countries. When I deploy, I take the setup with me and turn on, after I reset the bios for the country I am in. You can purchase from Rockland.com, they are great folks to work with and very knowledgable.

When on the road, I have a single piece of hardware to setup, everything else in the trailer only has to connect to my router. With the Apple TV, Blue Rae DVD, DirecTV DVR, iPads, iPhones, Kindles, etc....trying to get those onto a network that only allows for a single pay item to be logged on is difficult. Once I have the Internet piped in, the campground network sees the MAC address for my router and that's it...

The nice thing about this setup is that I don't have to futz with putting the router into bridge mode. A good fall back is to find an older Linksys G band router and install DD-WRT. That is pretty powerful and very easy to use firmware with a nice user interface.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Cale
I'll start with your very last statement..."oh, you will wish you hadn't said that". Hopefully, I'm just kidding (LOL). First, you make it sound so easy. If I get all the equipment you mention, will it remain easy for someone who is NOT so savvy?

The Yagi appears to be directional...if so, how do you aim it? Could you attach it to the existing TV antenna (which is not being used by me as I have a DirecTV setup)? That would allow easy rotation without having to go up top to manually point it. Assuming you would have to go "up top" to manually aim it, how do you know when it is properly aimed?

And you say your Voltage came with the WiFi Ranger? Nice upgrade from the 2013 models. Wish I had held off for a year.

I couldn't find rockland.com...might that be this? Rokland Even if this isn't the same site you were referring to, it seems they might have everything needed...and a bit cheaper than Amazon. You said "when you deploy"...are you military? What branch?
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Old 03-20-2015, 11:42 PM   #9
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I'll start with your very last statement..."oh, you will wish you hadn't said that". Hopefully, I'm just kidding (LOL). First, you make it sound so easy. If I get all the equipment you mention, will it remain easy for someone who is NOT so savvy?

The Yagi appears to be directional...if so, how do you aim it? Could you attach it to the existing TV antenna (which is not being used by me as I have a DirecTV setup)? That would allow easy rotation without having to go up top to manually point it. Assuming you would have to go "up top" to manually aim it, how do you know when it is properly aimed?

And you say your Voltage came with the WiFi Ranger? Nice upgrade from the 2013 models. Wish I had held off for a year.

I couldn't find rockland.com...might that be this? Rokland Even if this isn't the same site you were referring to, it seems they might have everything needed...and a bit cheaper than Amazon. You said "when you deploy"...are you military? What branch?
I called Rokland and talked to them and they were very helpful and verified all you said and filled in some questions I hadn't even thought of yet...so, I ordered the items you recommended and a Yagi antenna and 16' of cable. I haven't figured out yet how I will handle a mast...I like the way you have yours rigged...just not sure how it would be aimed. It would appear you would have to go topside to do the aiming. I don't use the ladder so I may look at rigging something up that will attach to the ladder. Anyway, I'll work that out after I have a chance to see how everything actually works...so, thanks again very much for the directions and recommendations. I also like that I should be able to take some of this with me when traveling away from the RV.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:52 AM   #10
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Cale I wish we could set up side by side a for a day or two! I don't mind using the wifi ranger when there is what I refer to as a direct point of entry signal. Works great. But when I have to log into a network in a campground thru a website it don't work as I can't get to the site thru the Ranger to connect. Not totally lost on networking but I am if that makes any sense. Plug and play truly isn't...
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Old 03-21-2015, 01:42 PM   #11
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PNGento: sorry for the late response...between my finals in school, the son playing baseball, me coaching girls softball, and us rolling out for spring break Sunday, I fell asleep on the couch with my dinner... I am in the Navy, fly P-3C (maybe P-8 this summer). Since we are land based, I carry my stuff to ensure I (and the crew for that matter) has some cheap connectivity to stay in contact with home.

Rokland was correct, I was auto-corrected when it was typed in.

Don: beginning of May I should have a better idea of where we are heading next. Our hopes, back to FL (Jacksonville). If you are in Memphis, we should be rolling through there after a stop in Wichita Falls, TX....on our way to Bristol, TN (where I am from). While admittedly we have no route, we can deviate as necessary as long as I make it before my checkin date.

Here are some screen shots of the GUI that the Alfa system has.

This one shows the main page. When setting up, you will go through the easy setup tab, set up as USB (IIRC), do the site scan, etc... However, after you are complete, this is what you will see. This is the page where you can see the health of the network or change profiles...to note, the signal strength should be a negative number trending towards zero, while the signal strength should be as close to 100 as possible. Sometimes you have to shoot a happy medium to capitalize on a few networks so you can change if there is heavy traffic. Where we are now, the 60ish% and -60ish dBm works for us. I can get the numbers better, but I lose out on other signals.


After pressing the "Change Profile" button on the last page, you are brought here...I keep a few profiles setup for my frequently visited places. I delete the profile of any campground we won't be back to...building a profile is done by filling in the white spaces as required and saving them.


This next page is the Site Survey page. You can see, I have a lot, it still scrolls down to a bunch more. You can sort through them, I tend to sort by Authentication, since those will be the ones you will be able to use.



There is supposedly a way to set this up to boost 3G signals. Where we are going this week has absolutely NO wifi and a barely useable cell signal (mountain canyon north of Santa Barbara, CA). We are OK with though, as we are trying to make this a non electronic vacation (except we have to get DirecTV setup for our weekly recordings).

Let me know if this helps.

Cale
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Old 03-21-2015, 01:55 PM   #12
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I called Rokland and talked to them and they were very helpful and verified all you said and filled in some questions I hadn't even thought of yet...so, I ordered the items you recommended and a Yagi antenna and 16' of cable. I haven't figured out yet how I will handle a mast...I like the way you have yours rigged...just not sure how it would be aimed. It would appear you would have to go topside to do the aiming. I don't use the ladder so I may look at rigging something up that will attach to the ladder. Anyway, I'll work that out after I have a chance to see how everything actually works...so, thanks again very much for the directions and recommendations. I also like that I should be able to take some of this with me when traveling away from the RV.
I used this setup in my Outback and had it mounted to the antenna as you suggest...it worked great. I had the bathroom ceiling vent right next to the antenna, so I mounted it, ran the cables into the vent, and mounted the boxes with in the vent area. Everything was right in the bathroom. Everything travelled very nicely right there also.

I replaced our aerial with a King Jack antenna. Also, the antenna is near any vents, so wires would be running across the roof. As it stands now, I have the antenna ontop of a 6ft piece of 1.5 inch PVC pipe, definitely have height of eye on everyone else. I am high enough where neighbors stuff doesn't get in our way and I can shoot over some trees. From ground to top of the mast, it is nearly 20ft. I have contemplated using a high gain whip antenna to go higher (and to make setup easier for the wife when I am gone), but even the best omni antennas cannot beat a directional antenna.

Cale
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:08 PM   #13
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Cale I wish we could set up side by side a for a day or two! I don't mind using the wifi ranger when there is what I refer to as a direct point of entry signal. Works great. But when I have to log into a network in a campground thru a website it don't work as I can't get to the site thru the Ranger to connect. Not totally lost on networking but I am if that makes any sense. Plug and play truly isn't...
Don...did your Voltage also come with the WFR installed? I have looked at the Voltage site and don't see the WFR offered as an option. Where do you (or Cale) have yours set up? When I get my equipment, not sure where I'll set it up. That is one of my biggest complaints with my Voltage...lack of wired outlets (especially in the garage).

There is a facebook group/page that is a good source of information for RV interneting...do a search on Facebook for "Internet for RVers". The admins for the site have produced a great book on issues we might encounter...you can get an electronic copy (.pdf file or ereader version) for around $10. It has a lot of good info.

EDIT: Cale...was working on this while you were posting your last...good stuff, but need to digest it. I am a fellow squid...retired end of 2002.
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:18 PM   #14
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Don...did your Voltage also come with the WFR installed? I have looked at the Voltage site and don't see the WFR offered as an option. Where do you (or Cale) have yours set up? When I get my equipment, not sure where I'll set it up. That is one of my biggest complaints with my Voltage...lack of wired outlets (especially in the garage).

There is a facebook group/page that is a good source of information for RV interneting...do a search on Facebook for "Internet for RVers". The admins for the site have produced a great book on issues we might encounter...you can get an electronic copy (.pdf file or ereader version) for around $10. It has a lot of good info.
Mine came with it installed. It is in the roof above the TV mounted at the front door. honestly, we did not know that we had it installed either. The wife figured it out. We had the trailer for about two weeks and everywhere we went, there was a network named Privatewifiranger1234 following us around. Took a little sleuthing, but figured out that it was a WIFI Ranger and was excited, but quickly became frustrated over time. It would constantly drop the signal with the access point we would connect to. After talking with the company, it was suggested to by this equipment and that equipment which should solve our problems, but that was about $500 and then would have to figure out how Dutchmen ran the wires. Supposedly there is a kit that will give you a wall plate where you can direct hook Ethernet into the Ranger for access to settings, then an external powered antenna that you can mount and move as needed. I think it was an effort to get the Ranger technology out there and have people spend money with the company to upgrade their equipment, but it was not integrated into the trailer very well.

Cale
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:27 PM   #15
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I will also say, the WiFi Ranger company has been great, they have answered every question. They started providing wifi equipment for boats, then moved into the RV area, which is ideal, lots of folks moving around always wanting wifi. As I pointed out to them, the user interface isn't especially friendly to the older folks who have not set up their own equipment before. My dad has the network provided by his cable company, if there is a problem, they send someone out. He would be royally confused having to get into some of these settings.

Also, Dutchmen didn't provided a power switch for the Ranger, I had to go through one by one and remove 12v fuses to find the power source. Mine has since stopped broadcasting its SSID, there is a way to do a master reset, which I have not done yet...this is what the tech sent me:


Try this manual reset procedure and check if you are able to see the Ranger's broadcast again.

Manually Resetting WiFiRangers on 6.6.5+ Firmware:

Unplug WiFiRanger from Power Source to Power Off (wait 5 seconds)
Power On (wait 1 minute 30 seconds)
Power Off (wait 5 seconds)
Power On (wait 2 minutes 30 seconds)
Power Off (wait 5 seconds)
Power On (wait 2 minutes 30 seconds)
Power Off (wait 5 seconds)
Power On (wait 3 minutes)

Now your WiFiRanger should broadcast the default SSID with default password.

If this does not work, (maybe after you have tried it a few times), then perhaps it would be best for you to RMA it to us and let us reflash the firmware and make it like brand new again. How long have you had the unit for?


Now, for me to RMA it, I will have to pull it and have a hole in the roof until I get it back, has not been on my list of priorities right now.

Cale
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:32 PM   #16
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PNGento: sorry for the late response...between my finals in school, the son playing baseball, me coaching girls softball, and us rolling out for spring break Sunday, I fell asleep on the couch with my dinner... I am in the Navy, fly P-3C (maybe P-8 this summer). Since we are land based, I carry my stuff to ensure I (and the crew for that matter) has some cheap connectivity to stay in contact with home.
Sounds like my earlier life. Some of that I'm glad to have behind me (school), but I do miss the kid stuff. Mine are grown and off doing their thing. How many years you have in now? I got out at 20 yrs, 28 days...didn't want to do the Beltway routine (that was my next tour offer) so retirement looked pretty good at the time.

What place do you have your equipment set up in your Voltage? How are you running your cable from the antenna? I suspect I'll figure out the setting up of the equipment, but there are just not many good spots that I can think of to run the equipment where I'll have access to an electrical outlet and be able to connect up to my laptop (but since that will be only necessary at initial setup, a long USB cable should be doable).
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:41 PM   #17
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Mine came with it installed. It is in the roof above the TV mounted at the front door. honestly, we did not know that we had it installed either. The wife figured it out. We had the trailer for about two weeks and everywhere we went, there was a network named Privatewifiranger1234 following us around.
Cale
You say it is in the roof above the TV...is there an access panel? How would you access the equipment if you needed to? In that I don't see any network indicating there might be a WFR nearby, I'm assuming my 2013 doesn't have the WFR (this is the first place we've been, so there is no history of any network "following" us. But, still curious if there is no access to your equipment as that just doesn't make sense, but Dutchmen doesn't always do things that makes sense.
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:17 PM   #18
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I have incurred another three years after I finish NPS. That will take me to 20, but will hang around for another tour, never want to retire off sea duty, plus should be promoted again off FY 18 boards...

Here is the Ranger on the roof. About 2ft forward of the kitchen vent. The puck light above the door may gain access to the bottom of the Ranger.


I have my Alfa setup in the rear and the antenna running through the garage door and sitting on the inside ledge is the router and the booster is suction cupped to the bed rail. It could be cleaner, just haven't had to time yet. Only had to by an antenna cable, reverse SMA I think, I will have to check later. That went from the roof down to the booster.
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:40 PM   #19
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I have incurred another three years after I finish NPS. That will take me to 20, but will hang around for another tour, never want to retire off sea duty, plus should be promoted again off FY 18 boards...

That should make you CDR then? Or at least senior LCDR. Regardless, good luck with your next boards. I retired as CDR (got passed over for CAPT, so that helped influence retirement decision)

Here is the Ranger on the roof. About 2ft forward of the kitchen vent. The puck light above the door may gain access to the bottom of the Ranger.


I don't recall seeing that item on my roof, but can't get up there to verify until I pick up my collapsible ladder from storage (I ripped off the ladder first time leaving my driveway...these beasts are LONG). The collapsible ladder is better anyway LOL

I have my Alfa setup in the rear and the antenna running through the garage door and sitting on the inside ledge is the router and the booster is suction cupped to the bed rail. It could be cleaner, just haven't had to time yet. Only had to by an antenna cable, reverse SMA I think, I will have to check later. That went from the roof down to the booster.
Where are you getting your power from? Otherwise, that may be as good a place as any. Did you drill a hole for the antenna, or just bringing it through the tailgate opening and letting the rubber gasket crush on the cable? Oh, and thanks very much for taking the time to grab some photos/screenshots. Above and beyond...
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:57 PM   #20
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Callaway
Posts: 864
Maryland
Yeah, hoping to put on O-5, not holding my breath, it is fiercely competitive and downsizing is affecting everyone. I know post DH guys with great tours not selecting O-5, it is tough. I am a little older than my peers, spent my first four years knuckle dragging, loved every minute.

I pull power from the garage 120 outlet near the garage door. I just snake the antenna cable through the door. Try to cut down on the amount of holes being put into the trailer. The antenna enters the gasket below the rear awning, if any space is left open, rain still won't enter.

Been thinking of a collapsible ladder, pulling this one off to store is cumbersome at best.

I did notice this morning when in the roof, all three AC are different models. I at least thought the forward and act would be the same...

Cale
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TV: 2015 F-350 DRW, CC, 4x4, with 14k GVWR package, 98 gallon TransferFlow Aux Tank, Timbren Shocks

TH: 2014 Voltage 3950, Sailun S637 all around
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