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Old 05-01-2011, 04:41 PM   #1
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First outing in Alpine..a few problems, but still pretty good for the first outing.

Didn't go far..but the drive is was good, and handled well, but the long wheel base makes 90 degree turns much more cumberson than my 37' Fleetwood gas rig. The trade off is far better acceleration with the diesel Alpine and much less side movement when hit by the 45/50 mph wind gust we had along the way... It's been very windy in Texas lately.

All systems such as the microwave, the diesel generator and especially the refrigerator worked flawlessly. My refrigerator was on the verge of freezing hardboiled eggs very soon and I had to turn it down from the 5 to the 3 position.

I really loved the large shower. It is the biggest I've had in any of my previous motorhomes....and the bath/hall arrangement is large enough for three people, to say nothing of only one person. (...no I didn't have three people in there... I'm just saying) The huge sink and bath cabinet make life easy when shaving or wetting your hair....with room to lay a few things on the sink top like a hair dryer..NICE!

I evidently have some problems with my tank level indicators...the fresh water tank shows it's current level..but the grey and black water tanks only registered on empty and never moved up even after using half a tank of fresh water while boondoocking.

Any ideas on where to start on troubleshooting that??

The wife complained about the location of the first light switch which is way up on the dash rather than by the door...I have to concur, and may look into adding one by the door.

It seems tha a I have a small internal leak in the HWH hydraulic system. I noticed that my slide had creeped out 2 or so inches on the bottom when I got out of the shed. Then while parked after a couple of days the coached seemed to be rocking slightly till I refreshed the level, then it firnmed up again.
I have zero hydraulic leaks...I fixed two of those a while back and replaced two HWH lines....so I believe it must be internal. I dread working on that ...the bin that houses the HWH valves is small and hard to access..plus it is exactly at the level where you can't stand up and work on it and you are bent at that half way level...hard on the ole' back, and the tri-focals are hard to get in position.

It looks like I am going to have to do some rearranging of the slide side storage bins...very poor access when the slide is extended. Really hard on the knees if parked on gravel, or pebbly asphalt....and then you have only one hand, has you have to suppoort your weight on the other. That makes moving anything heavy fronm the bins difficult..

Oh, yea..! I wanted to ask if everyone's driver's seat is positioned to the left of the steering wheel. On mine you have to have your leg on the right edge of the seat to reach the accelerator comfortably. It would be an easy fix if the lower dash console which houses the leveling control drawer, etc., didn't protrude into the isle. If you moved the seat over to the right...getting your feet past the console and under the steering wheel might be difficult. It's already tight in that regard.

Anyone have any comments on that..??

The last issiue that was aggravating was the dash air. It was blowing very cold a few weeks agao ...but must have a leak, lost the freon charge since I checked it last. Bummer...80' of a/c hose and I have a leak..! Not looking forward to trying to locate that! Naturally the bins are very full..if it's not a compressor, eveporator or condenser leak I'lll have to follow the lines the length of the coach....arrggg.

All in all the trip was fun..and the rig had no major issues...the motor purrr's like a kitten, the Allison shifts like adream, had no ABS warning lights, the brakes stop "very" well...and it steers straight and true.

Even the awning worked flawlessly...which wasn't so when I first got it.

Happy trails..

Stan..
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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Dash air can be a problem--see all the posts on the forum. Good news, all connections are at the compressor, the radiator cluster or the front firewall, so you dont need to trace any lines in the basement. If there is a leak at a connection, you should see a greasy/dirty stain. Tank level sensors are also a pain, you can adjust/calibrate with a small screw driver [capped openings below indicator lights], but less than 1/2 tank of fresh water divided between two tanks probably would move the sensors much.
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:03 PM   #3
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I'm guessing on tanks- sensor strips have fallen off the tanks. These are the tanks we get. Sensors too. and they gotta be mated for sensors to report correctly, or even in the general ball park. You'll have to open the tank compartment (screws on base of PS compartment door, good luck on DS utility bay access). The good news is you have lots of tankage, and if you watch the fresh supply, you can figure on approx. holding tank capacity used.

HWH- do a search here to find out more than you want to know.
Dash AC- aggree w/last post- no problem to find connections, and near zero chance a leak is on the intervening hose that runs full length of coach frame.
Driver's seat position- also search the Forum for useful discussion.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:51 PM   #4
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Stan,

Glad you enjoyed your first trip!

Before you assume your tank gauges don't work, consider that they will not read anything until they reach 25% of capacity, or somewhere around 25 gallons. So if you used only half of your 100 gallons of fresh water, that is only 50 gallons split between the gray and black tanks. There is a chance you didn't reach 25% capacity of either holding tank. The gray tank probably holds around 100 gallons and is L shaped, so it will rise slower for the first half. The black tank holds around 80 gallons. Before you dump you might run a lot more water in your holding tanks and check again before you spend much time looking for a problem.

If they truly don't work, consider adding a SeeLevel gauge system in place of your current gauges. Its not all that difficult. Mine shows the tank level in either 3 or 4% increments. Much better to know you have 12 gallons of water, not just somewhere between 0 and 25% when that 1/4 LED light goes out.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:59 PM   #5
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Thank you gentlemen...

Thats "very" good news to know that there are no a/c connections in the basement.

The bad news is that I powerwashed and thoroughly cleaned the engine compartment when I got the coach...so there is no sign of a/c oil leaking on any of the engine compartment a/c connections. It's powderhouse dry. The a/c lost its charge while sitting still...so no oil was being circulated, at least notenough to show up there.

I haven't looked up front yet...maybe it'll be there. I also have a sniffer, but I'll have to recharge to use it. On leaks this slow, sniffers usually don't help ...but maybe I'll find a oil trace on a front connection.

Also good to find out that the PS side tank compartment has screws on the bottom side...I haven't tried to get into that side yet. I did have to fix a small leak inside the DS compartment though.

The thread on the seat location helped a lot too...moving the column a little and then the seat a little sounds like a good idea. I may still be able to get my feet between the seat and console if I don't move the seat to the right more than 1 1/2 inches, and let the steering column move do the rest..

Many thanks...once again you guys have made the job easier..It's much easier when you have a clue where to start..

Best regards..Stan
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Old 05-01-2011, 10:00 PM   #6
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Throw out the Accugage and install the Seelevel II. I have the 712LT which is very accurate and reliable. Garnet also offer great technical support.

I have installed a Kwikee superslide II in the basement to overcome the problem you described.

Even when working the dash a/c doesn't provide a lot of cold air on a really hot day. I have to recharge mine once a year which seems not abnormal.

When you replaced the hydraulic hose did you go through the synchronizing routine thoroughly? Call HWH if you cannot find the document on their website about how to do this.

Don't know what you mean by the first light. If you mean the light over the steps as you enter, my switch is on the left of the doorway.
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StansCustoms View Post
I evidently have some problems with my tank level indicators...the fresh water tank shows it's current level..but the grey and black water tanks only registered on empty and never moved up even after using half a tank of fresh water while boondoocking.

Any ideas on where to start on troubleshooting that??
Start by closing the drain valves!


I too, changed to the SeeLevel II gauges. (http://www.rvgauge.com/products/model_709.shtml) Easy install. I am using the Model 709. It works for the tall tanks. I used the base model without pump switch, since I added an Intellitec pump controller to allow an additional pump switch in the utility bay.

I am also adding a second console to the utility bay so I can read all the measurements from outside the coach.

On the slide creep, remember to hold the switch in the extend or retract for 5 extra seconds to build up the pressure. The jacks retracting use different valves and should be unrelated. Also make sure the fluid level is right (while jacks up and slides in). The synchronizing routine mentioned will purge any trapped air in the lines.

Algoma:

I think he's talking about the over-dash lights. I agree they are in a tough spot when entering the coach. That is why I use the same light as you (overhead) with the switch to the left, next to the passenger seat. A three-way switch and some wiring would solve that issue.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:15 AM   #8
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TP - Did you have to install new wiring for the SeeLevel II monitor panel? And, did you change out the entire wood paneling inside the cabinet where the monitors & controls are located our add the new monitor panel while leaving the original panel in place but disconnected?
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:16 AM   #9
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Stan,

What coach do you have?

I agree with TP, the Seelevel 709 is easy to install, connect and is more accurate then the stock gauges (there is a single bus (2 wires) that connect to all the gauges and sensors). I left my old gauges in place, just don't use them. Look around under your "Gauge" cabinet, there will be a large opening in the floor that all the wires run through (as well as a LARGE coil of excess wires, WRV did not skimp on cabling, I'll bet you can lower the total weight of the coach by 50# just by removing the excess in the gauge and audio/visual areas), add another pair through there and you are all set. The only other thing you need to do is get power for the Seelevel, I tapped off the existing gauge, neither one draws much power and only when you are viewing them.

I find I have 1/3 the volume in the black tank I have n the grey, in fact I am thinking about attaching a transfer pump to the grey water tank (with a check valve) to allow me to transfer grey water to the black tank when we are dry camping.

I also have to firm up the jacks after 2 or 3 days of being extended, but thus far I have not considered that a problem, just a normal housekeeping task .
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:28 AM   #10
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Bob,

You didn't ask me, but I will answer anyway. The SeeLevel gauge is smaller than the Accugage, so I cut a piece of 1/4" thick wood from Lowe's the size of the Accugage, painted it black to match the panel, and screwed it in place with the screw holes previously used. Then cut a hole in it for the SeeLevel gauge. Pretty easy and it looks good. Besides it is out of view normally anyway.

I used the same wiring used for the old sensors. You need two per sensor (one plus ground) and it already used 3 wires per sensor (two plus ground). I just cut the wires at the old sensors and wired them to the new sensors. The sensors were wired using a 9 wire color-coded cable. I have the color code for it if anybody wants it.

The only tricky part of the wiring was for the water pump switch. The switch that came with the new panel is a single pole, single throw switch, and you need a single pole, double throw switch for the 3-way circuit, which SeeLevel can provide. Mark the pump switch wires carefully, as they were not color coded!! That is unless you do like Takepride and use the pump controller.

If I were to do it over again, I would suggest mounting the gray and black tank sensors on the passenger side where you have room to work instead of through the trap door on the driver side.
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:21 PM   #11
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You are exactly right Takepride...
It's amazing how much better the holding tank gauges work when all the drain valves are "closed". They show "empty" all the time when they are not...! No wonder my neighbors were flipping me off...and all the time I just thought it was an awfully foul smelling campground... !

I didn't know the gauges started when the tanks reach 1/4 tank...I'll start there by filling the tanks with a water hose and see if they were just too low to register. The newer gauges still sound like a lot better deal . Even if the old ones work I may upgrade anyway.

Regarding the first light (dash/over steps )...It turns out that the button by the door marked ENTRY is what operates the over head light . We thought all three of those identical over head lights were operated by the wall switch on the PS by the recliner...and one of them just wasn't working. It wouldn't come on when the others did..even when the switch on the light itself was in either position. My wife thought the ENTRY designation on the switch by the door was related to something else...no mention was made of lights and it doesn't have anything to do with the entry steps etc.

I looked it over after the above post and once I got where I could "see" the labeling...saw what Algoma/Takepride was talking about.
well duhh! Problem solved...

Good idea Dr Dave...on the transfer pump from grey to black water...great to have the big holding tanks where that can be done. Especially when you have camp spites that have city water but no sewer...really would prolong time between dumps. By the way my Alpine is a 2001, 350 hp., 40' FDSS. I also found where to amend my signature with some help from Jim A.

Thanks everyone for another "great" bunch of information...now if the rain will let up, I'll see what I can get fixed.
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Old 05-02-2011, 04:30 PM   #12
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On the Seelevel gauge I believe the 709 uses a bus wiring system using 2 wires that loop around all the sensors so you have to do some rewiring if you use that model. The 712 goes back to using direct wiring to each sensor so you can just reuse the existing wiring.
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Old 05-02-2011, 06:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
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On the Seelevel gauge I believe the 709 uses a bus wiring system using 2 wires that loop around all the sensors so you have to do some rewiring if you use that model. The 712 goes back to using direct wiring to each sensor so you can just reuse the existing wiring.
That's not really correct. I installed the 709 and used the existing wiring. I just combined the four (the three tanks plus the propane) sensor wires at the unit. Very easy with the existing wiring.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:49 PM   #14
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Stan,

My coach wasn't great on the A/C, and lost all of the remaining dash air in January when Cummins Austin pulled the fuel pump to replace the seal between it and the block. I took the coach to a good auto mechanic in Palm Springs who services coach A/C systems. He found small seepages at the hose connections both at the pump and up front at the condensor. He replaced the seals/0-rings on each connection, filled it up and tested it again and it worked fine, and has since.

It's not difficult and there's probably a 99% chance your leakage is at the connections at either end, not in the hose the length of the coach.

I also installed Kwikee beds in the bay on the driver's side of the coach when we bought it new, and they have made it easier to access the bay area quickly, especially when you can go through from the other side of the coach to work behind a bed that has been extended.
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