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Old 09-01-2008, 11:28 AM   #1
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Quick Tips & Easy Mods- Alpine Style

Due to popular requests, I'm starting this topic for all you Alpine Coach members. If you've done any mods or come up with a great idea as to how to improve your coach feel free to post them here. If possible, include a picture to help illustrate this to your fellow Alpine Owners. I'll feature this topic so that it stays near the top of the forum listings.
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:53 PM   #2
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Hello Everyone:

I am putting this in Quick Tips because I think all Alpine Owners should be reminded that if your coach is over four years old you should have the brake fluid flushed before you have any problems with the hydraulic brakes.

I had my Alpine in for repair and I checked the brake fluid and it was like honey so I had it flushed. Two other Alpines both over five years old had brake problems with the calipers sticking and over heating the brakes. When the fluid was checked both in Alpines the brake fluid was like honey.

So as a tip, have your brake fluid flushed before you have problems.
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:00 AM   #3
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We have glued commercial style carpeting, with a very short nap, on our outside entrance step as well as the steps in the inside well. This has really cut down on the dirt that is brought into the coach.

We just use a wisk broom to clean the debri off the carpet. This type of carpet doesn't seem to show dirt so looks nice and neat. And, it's easy to install.
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Old 09-13-2008, 02:52 AM   #4
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2006 Alpine Coach
Within 25,000 miles I had both 90 degree 4 ply four inch elbows split on the inside radius. The first one that split is near the Turbocharger, and the other elbow is on the upper right side.
The result is loss of power and black exhaust!

The best place to purchase the elbow is direct from Purosil, the mfg. in Corona, CA. The customer service phone number is 951 271 3900
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Old 09-28-2008, 03:58 PM   #5
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Hi John
I am above 25,000 miles and I am sory to say I don't know what or where the 90 degree 4 ply four inch elbows are . Is it a good idea to have replacement elbows for repare on the road ? Is it better ti simply have them replaced during a regular maintenance visit. Giuld you elaborate hopefully with pictures. Thanks .
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:03 PM   #6
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THANKS FOR THE POST ON BRAKE FLUID.

HEADS UP,


I could not get to the engine compartment, to check the BRAKE FLUID, "HONEY". I remembered I had seen the brake fluid reservoir above the generator in front of the coach. I checked with finger and saw "honey" as well, then I looked to the side to notice this was the power steering unit, and noted that the rubber boot was extended one layer with liquid on the bottom of the boot, probably brake fluid, Did not apear to be moisture. Still need to check brake fluid, probably this weekend. Will report back on both later. fulltimers05, 40' MDTS Blacktie, Doug & Linda.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:21 PM   #7
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Add a Bedroom Ceiling Fan with No Holes!

At home, we've got a ceiling fan right above the bed and we like it. I've wished for a ceiling fan in the Alpine, and seen RV ceiling fans on the market, but I've been very hesitant to start drilling holes in the ceiling! So, I pondered the ceiling of the Alpine for months, and it finally hit me that this could be done with no holes!

Bill of Materials
2 each #8 Screw, 1-1/2" long
1 piece Aluminum Flat Bar, 1/8" x 2" x 16"
4 each Little Rubber Feet with Stickum on the back (peel off paper) These should be a tad thicker than the heads of the Nylon Bolts.
1 Lot Spacers (washers and or nuts to take up some space) If you won't have these in your junk drawer, get 2 ea 1/4" nuts and 12 ea 1/4" flat washers
1 pair Nylon Bolt/Nut 7/16" diameter) to hold toilet seat down (you'll cut them to length at home) If they have different types, get the ones with the 'thinnest' head.
1 each Fan: We used the Honeywell "Vornado" fan with the plastic base, 3-speed, swivels (this is the most important feature!)
1 each "Super Glue" or equivalent
1 each 5/32" drillbit
1 each 1/2" drillbit (or see below for the 'optional' Unibit)

Optional: If you're a hobbiest/tinkerer, think about buying a "unibit" drill bit. They are wonderful for making 'perfect' holes in plastics (the fan). Link: http://tinyurl.com/ytot6

How to Do It
1. On our air conditioner there are two round plastic caps that I pried off (easily) with an ice-pick like tool. (Save these to a baggie for later.) These caps are near the bottom of the photo below.



2. Use a phillips screw driver and remove the two #8 screws that you find under the two plastic caps above (toss them in the baggie too.)

3. Open up the grill of the Air Conditioner (where you open to clean the foam filter) and tuck the baggie up in there somewhere so you can return the Alpine to factory condition some time in the future if you decide to sell it. Replace the grill.

4. I bought the Aluminum Flat Bar at OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware), a big chain of stores in California. They have this flat bar in a 10 or 12 foot length and sell it by the foot. I talked the salesman into cutting me 16 inches and calling it a "foot". As I recall, this cost about $2.75.

You need to determine where to drill two holes in the aluminum for the two #8 screws to go through to hold the aluminum against the A/C. Here are a couple of methods you might use:
a. Insert your two new #8 screws into the A/C where you took the other shorter ones out. Just put them in a couple of turns. Hold the aluminum up to the screws so you can make a mark on the aluminum in the 2 places where you'll drill your holes (in the center of the aluminum, at 1" from either edge.) Or,

b. measure from one #8 screw to the other and drill your two 5/32" holes in the aluminum bar.

5. Turn the fan over and drill 2 1/2" holes in the bottom. The 7/16" Nylon Toilet Bolts will go through these holes. I removed the base of ours and looked at where it was structurally the most "sound" and drilled there. In the end, this was two holes, 4 inches apart and as "centered" as I could make it (see photo and note how I've scored 'center lines' on the bottom to assist in finding the center and drilling the holes evenly)



6. Drill 2 1/2" holes in the aluminum flat bar to accommodate the 7/16" Nylon Bolts. Depending on the exact fan you use, and exactly where you place your 1/2" holes in the fan, your 7/16" Nylon Bolts will likely be a bit too long. I cut ours so that 1-3/8" of bolt thread projected below the aluminum. (Cut these very carefully and cleanly. I suggest a sharp blade and not a saw blade. You want the Nylon Nut to start threading nice and easily.)

7. Temporarily assemble the Fan, Nylon Bolts and Aluminum together on your workbench. Does everything fit well? Will it be easy to hold the fan up in the air and slip it over the Nylon Bolts and attach the Nylon Nuts? OK, now disassemble.

8. On the Aluminum, in between each 5/32" hole and the edge (but as close to the edge as possible) place your 4 Little Rubber Feet. These will face UP and you won't really be able to see them. Their purpose is just to lend a little stability to the whole assembly.

9. Put the Nylon Bolts through the Aluminum from top to bottom. The heads of the bolts will be on the same side of the Aluminum as the Little Feet. Take a little glue (I used Super Glue) and glue the heads to the Aluminum.

10. The Aluminum is now ready to attach to the A/C. This is where the "Spacers" come in. This is, again, a method of trying to lend some stability to the project. So, insert your #8 Screw from the bottom, going up, then slip a nut and a few washers over the threads (above the Aluminum) and start the screw in the hole in the A/C. Tighten. Did you have enough (or too many) Spacers on the screw? Adjust as necessary.



11. You're done! If the glue is dry, go ahead and give it a try!



For us, 'travel mode' is with the Fan stored in the cupboard above the bed (also see the 3rd photo above.) On arrival at the campsite, I attach the Fan. When we're ready to leave, I remove the Fan and put the Nylon Nuts back on the Nylon Bolts so they don't get lost. They haven't fallen off in many hundreds of miles. I adjust the angle of the Fan to point it towards the pillows and voila! (French for Woo Hoo!) The only downside so far has been that the Fans electric cord is too short and we have to run an extension cord to reach the nearest AC outlet. But, I hope you find an easy way to deal with that. Since the A/C is above the bed, this new Fan is above the bed also. That means it isn't going to bump your head as you walk around the bed.

12. Maintenance: You might give the two #8 screws a check every couple of months to see if they are still tight.

13. What could you do to make this better? Paint the aluminum the same color as the A/C.

Do you have any other ideas to make it better? If so, please share!

Thanks, and enjoy!
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Old 10-22-2008, 01:27 PM   #8
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Replace your Exterior Grab Handle

The chrome of our exterior Grab Handle was pitting and I couldn't polish it to the point where it wouldn't pit any more. So, I wanted to replace it. After much searching on the Internet, I found a website that had Grab Handles. I thought I saw the one I needed but after phoning them, I was told I actually needed one that was not shown on the web site.

Source
Fleming Sales
2101 Industrial Parkway
PO Box 277
Elkhart, IN 46515
574-295-0234
Attn: Andie (a nice lady and steered me in the right direction when I was almost going to buy the wrong model. Give her lots of information to work with and she'll fix you up.)

If you're nervous about selecting the correct bar, you might want to check their 'return policy' before you order. I didn't, but in the end, everything was perfect.

The one I bought, which was an exact factory replacement, was their model 5500-LE. Price complete, with lighted bar and engraving is about $69.00. Deduct $8 if not lighted and deduct another $8 if not engraved. Engraving of 16 characters and spaces can be done in 5 colors: Black, Bright Green, Red, Black, Brown. The bar only (no chrome mounts with engraving is $39.45 and without engraving is $21.15. Shipping is extra and seems to be a maximum of $13.50 via UPS Ground.

The replacement went very smoothly using just a large phillips screw driver. Inside of the exterior skin there is something that is threaded for all the screws to go into. So, when you loosen all the fasteners, there is not the sound of a bunch of 'nuts' falling down inside the wall!

Here are a couple of photos:

1. The new one (top) and the old one.


2. This is the old handle.



3. And, here is the new handle. Note the engraving.


Tip: Keep your old acrylic bar. When you sell the coach, the new owner might not want 'your' name on the Grab Handle!

By the way, I have no connection to the company mentioned above other than recommending somebody that had what I needed and treated me well.

Cheers!
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Old 10-22-2008, 02:05 PM   #9
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Remotely Turn on the Furnace from the Comfort of Your Bed!

That's right! You can lay in bed and remotely turn on the furnace. Just say "Honey, it's your turn to get up"! No, no, I'm kidding there.

I installed this and we now have a little Transmitter (the size of a key fob) velcro'ed under the bedroom cabinets. On those chilly mornings, we can just reach up and push a button and the Furnace turns on! Wow, this is the life!

This project is for those folks that don't want their furnace going all night long (I don't want to listen to the darn thing.) You can turn it on and off from the little Transmitter.

One caveat here: After you turn the Furnace on from the little Transmitter, you have to turn it off from the little Transmitter. And, if you turn the Furnace on at the thermostat, you have to turn it off at the thermostat. The only purpose of this project is to keep you snugly in bed for those few minutes it takes for the Furnace to warm up the rig.

I'm sure there are other available RF (Radio Frequency) based Transmitter/Receivers out there. But, I've been familiar with the Velleman name for years and they do a good job. This is not an electronics "kit" like a lot of Velleman stuff is. These Transmitters and Receivers are pre-made.

My source: (I have no financial involvement with these folks)
Apoogee Kits: http://www.apogeekits.com/rf_remote_...l_receiver.htm
and the Transmitter: http://www.apogeekits.com/rf_remote_...nsmitter_1.htm

I got the Velleman AM6621-310 RF Remote Receiver and the Velleman 600-1B-310 1 Channel Transmitter. Total cost with shipping last May was under $60.

You've got to remove the face of the Thermostat and solder two wires to the back side, on the circuit board. You must identify the rear of the On-Off switch (2 contacts) and solder a couple of small wires (about 20 gauge and a foot long) to them. Set this aside.



I mounted the finished project next to the Thermostat in the panel with all the tank monitors, etc. You need to find a source of +12 volts and -12 volts and I found it behind that panel. (The first black and red wires I choose were coming down from the solar panel and those wont work when it's dark out, so don't use them!) Attach a black and red wire to your source of 12 volts. Run those wires thru the panel so they are out front.

Tip: There is some simple 'programming' of how the Receiver acts when it gets a signal. It has relays inside the case. It can be setup to Momentarily energise the relays, or to turn the relay ON, or to turn the relay OFF. You want it to turn the relay ON. The easiest place to set this up is on your workbench with a source of 12 volt power. Once it's setup, it remembers the programming. So you can then take it out to the rig and mount it.

Now, select a spot to mount the Receiver near the Thermostat. Connect the two wires you soldered to the back of the Thermostat to the Receiver. Connect the 2 power wires to the Receiver. (When you have the Owners Manual for the Receiver in front of you, this part WILL make perfect sense!) You can download the Owners Manual here in a pdf file (suitable for viewing with the free adobe acrobat program: http://www.designnotes.com/downloads/AM6621-310.pdf

Shove all the excess wires back towards the rear of the panel so this installation looks neat.

Put a battery in the Transmitter and push the button and the Furnace turns on!

Tip: The Thermostat turns on in the last Mode that it was in. So, if you ran the A/C last, pushing the Transmitter button turns on the A/C. So, before you go to bed, turn on the switch at the bottom of the Thermostat and make sure you see the word Furnace! Then, when you use the Transmitter, the Furnace will turn ON.

Here's the package and Transmitter and Receiver:



Here is the Receiver, mounted next to the Thermostat:


Be warm!
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:13 PM   #10
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Turn on the Coffee Pot before you even get out of bed!

I've used these around the house for a few years now, and also in the motorhome. It's kind of handy to be able to hold a remote control in your hand and turn off your 110 volt outside lights at night without going out and opening your storage compartment. Or turning on the coffee pot in the morning without getting out of bed.

The system I've used is called "X-10". It uses a handheld Remote Control, a plugged-in Transceiver, and one or more "Modules". There are brands other than the X-10 brand that accomplish the same thing.

The Transceiver unit has an antenna and receives signals to turn ON or OFF a particular Module from the Remote Control. The Modules are user-addressable. In other words, you insert a small screw driver into a slot on the front of the unit and set it to the same letter the Transceiver is set to, then set the number to any number from 1 to 8 (since the Remote easily controls 8 Modules.)

Let's say you set the Transceiver to the letter "F" and the number "1" (and you have plugged a 110 volt table lamp into it). You've set your Module for the coffee pot to the letter "F" and the number "2". You might have another module in the basement to control the outside lights you've hung on your awning and it is on "F" "3". (You plug the Module into the wall socket and the "load" (table lamp or coffee pot, etc.) into the bottom of the Module.)

The signal goes from the Remote Control (handheld remote like your TV remote) to the Transceiver. Then the Transceiver senses which button you've pushed (1, 2 or 3). If you pushed the On button for "1", the table lamp turns on. If you push the ON button for #2, the coffee pot turns on. If you push the OFF button for #1, the table lamp turns OFF.

The signals from the Remote to the Transceiver are wireless. The signals from the Transceiver to the other Modules goes via the "house" wiring.

OK, are you interested? The cost to get up and running with X10 is not much. As a matter of fact, as I'm writing this in Oct. '08, I'm looking at the X10 website (http://www.x10.com) and I see a "package" of items for $39.99 which includes 1 Remote Control, 1 Transceiver, 3 Appliance Modules. That is less than the cost of buying a Remote, a Transceiver, and one Appliance Module. You say that you won't want to control 3 "Appliances". Well, the "Appliance" Module is a 3-prong Module where the other Modules are lighter-duty and only have 2 prongs.

Here's a nice package:
http://www.x10wirelesshome.com/modul...ule_am466.html

Don't forget your house. You've left home but do you have lights turning on and off while you're gone to give the house that "lived-in" look? You can buy an X10 package for the house and add a timer whch turns on and off up to 8 items. And, it doesn't all have to be things that plug into a wall socket. You can replace a wall switch with an X10 wall switch and set the "address" on it and control (example) the porch light from the Remote Control. Here's a tip: I always use X10 moules at Christmas. One Module for the outside lights on the left side of the house, one Module for the outside lights on the right, one Module for the Christmas tree lights. Then, just push a button and the lights you desire have just turned on or off without going outside and pulling the plug on the outside lights.

Have fun, and share your ideas for things to control with X10 Modules.
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:01 AM   #11
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Gee, Mike & Mike, is there anything you haven't thought of????

These are all great suggestions!! Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2008, 05:11 PM   #12
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Mike & Mike, when are you going to put your X-10 through your computer. It is great for watering your plants. You can set-up your watering hoses or sprinklers through the computer including timing them and what days you want them to come on.
I just don't want to see you get bored!
All of your projects are great ideas. Thanks for the input.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Heitzenroder:
2006 Alpine Coach
Within 25,000 miles I had both 90 degree 4 ply four inch elbows split on the inside radius. The first one that split is near the Turbocharger, and the other elbow is on the upper right side.
The result is loss of power and black exhaust!

The best place to purchase the elbow is direct from Purosil, the mfg. in Corona, CA. The customer service phone number is 951 271 3900
When you are looking at the Cummins motor from the rear, you will see two 4 inch BLUE 90 degree elbows. The one on the right is behind one of the long steel pipes, and the one on the left is to the left/below the turbocharger. The replacement elbows should be orange because they will stand more heat then the blue ones the WRV used.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:45 PM   #14
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Mike & Mike:

I'd like to thank you for your ideas using the Velleman key fob transmitter and receivers. I just replaced my "Security" switch with a receiver and now can control the driver-side scare light from outside the coach. Perfect for hooking up utilities at night or when approaching the coach from that side in the dark.

It has good range. Even though I installed it inside the cabinet, it works even at 100 yards (300').

I purchased the two button transmitter and two receivers. Next weekend I'm installing LED lights underneath the coach and above the outside steps to illuminate all-around when approaching the coach. I'll be able to use the same fob. I also plan on intercepting the grab handle for inclusion. Since the entry scare light is tied to the grab handle, I'll separate them. That scare light is OBNOXIOUS (but occasionally necessary), so I'll leave it on the current switch.

Also kudos to eMike and others who had discussion threads on 12 volt remote controls a few years (?) back. I tried FINDing them but failed. They got me to thinking about it originally.
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