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Old 06-16-2018, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default Maiden Voyage- the good, bad, and ugly

Hooray! The 1999 21TL TowLite I bought locally almost 11 months ago finally made it to Table Rock SP, SC, 42 miles away, a trip I had planned for September last year before a "city" water leak just inside the outer wall frustrated me for a few weeks before I gave up. I tried to fix it through the outside wall small hole, unsuccessfully. A couple weeks ago I removed part of the inner wall and fixed it easily.

The TowLite had wintered under a 75' Water Oak and was almost as dirty and stained as it had been when I bought it. Soap and elbow grease solved that.

The RV pulled easily behind my Nissan Frontier. I had paid for a pull-thru at the mountain SP since I'm not good at backing! Everything worked well, and I got a good nights sleep the first night, but my 12V battery was dead the next morning. Still, with 120V, I made coffee, ate a banana, and hiked 3 1/2 miles, 2000' up to the summit of 3250' Table Rock, one of the highest mountains in SC, feeling good the whole way, especially that I could still do it 3 months shy of my 78th birthday.

After a nap, I faced the reality of no lights and wondered if my jumper cables would lower the Hi-Lo the next morning so I could drive home. After countless hours of reading the Hi-Lo forum, watching the online manual, and reading the original manual these past months, I still don't know where to put the master switch after raising the Hi-Lo, leave it in the down, center or top position. Don't know if the switch position had anything to do with the dead 3+ year old car (not deep cell or marine) battery.

Also, don't know if just the battery or also the inverter was not working. None of the 120V circuit breakers had faulted, and none of the 12V fuses were blown.
Shouldn't the inverter provide 12V even with a dead battery??? Does the master switch position have an effect? There's another circuit breaker, two actually, inside the battery box. Might one of them be defective?

Oh, that battery box which also holds the hydraulic pump, etc. The black plastic is cracked on one side. I'm afraid the heavy battery will cause it to crack more and fall through to the ground. Is there a way to repair or reinforce the plastic box with fiberglass or something else or should I try to buy a new one?

Anyway, the next morning, after a good nights sleep, my jumper cables supplied 12 volts, and the Hi-Lo lowered and drove home easily. The 3+ year old battery doesn't seem to get much above 9 volts using an old battery charger, so today I bought a new Costco Marine/RV 240C battery which I'll install tomorrow.

The ugly- after being so conscientious about making sure everything in the cab and outside was cleared/lowered so nothing was in the way when I lowered the Hi-Lo, I forgot to put the two steps in the upright position, and they got bent way out of shape. Has anyone done that and repaired them?

Hope to take a longer trip in a week or two if I can figure out the 12V problem and fix the steps.

Thanking you ahead for answering my many questions!
Good Hi-Lo-ing!

Doug
Inman, SC
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:58 PM   #2
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Here's an answer to one of my questions from Jim L in a previous forum reply-
Welcome to the forum; You are correct that the switch on the right raises and lowers the top, but the black 3 way switch must be in the bottom position. The center position of that switch is the travel position. It turns off the DC power so that lights,radio and fans that may have been left on will not remain on and power is removed from the furnace. No power is removed to the fridg by this switch. The top position turns all of the DC power back on. The white switch to the left is not on my HiLo but is most likely a light switch. Could be for a light outside above the front window. The switch above the table on my trailer is for the light outside by the door. I have no switch in the bathroom. Try them all and look for lights that are working or not. I don't think I moved the black switch from the bottom to the top position when I camped. Would that have had any effect on the battery or anything else? I had no lights, radio, fan, or anything else on while on the road or at night while sleeping.
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Old 06-17-2018, 09:36 PM   #3
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Default Try this

When you figure out the correct position for the switch use a label maker or sharpie to label the correct positions.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:14 AM   #4
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The Marine/RV 240C battery which I'll installed solved the 12V problem and is being charged by the inverte,r so everything is OK.
NO! I find the 24C battery is too high, 9 1/2", to close the metal casing above the battery. It will short the battery terminals. The previous car battery was only 7 1/2" high, and I need a replacement 8" or less height. Do others have this same limitation? What deep cycle replacement battery do you use. There seem to be few choices, none available locally.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:29 AM   #5
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Doug, one member on the forum remounted the battery box to provide more "overhead clearance". It involved a bit of welding in the tongue area as I recall. Like you, I would have problems installing any battery that is higher than a group 24 marine/deep cycle battery.

- Jack
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:43 PM   #6
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Ha! I installed a too-high battery once, also. It seemed to fit, but when motoring down the highway, the aluminum cover must flex. When we got to the first stop, the battery had vaporized the aluminum cover such that there were perfect holes that matched the battery terminals and the clamps. I temporarily solved the problem with some duct tape--just to keep the terminals from contacting the aluminum cover. My permanent solution was to buy a battery box with cover. That completely encases the battery, but added another inch or so to the battery height. The aluminum cover no longer stays flat--but it's nothing that a bungee cord can't keep closed...
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:32 PM   #7
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Jack and Dead Salmon,
Thank you. My careful reply to both of you disappeared when I clicked "Go Advanced" in order to upload some photos. Maybe I'll have time to try again tomorrow before trip to Amateur Radio Field Day camping site 100 miles from here followed by another night day or two at South Carolina Cheraw SP for butterfly photography- the reason for buying the RV a year ago.

Doug Allen K4LY
Inman, SC
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Old 06-26-2018, 09:23 AM   #8
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Hi again Jack and Dead Salmon,
I'm back from a second short, 2 night camping trip and will try again to post a few lines and some photos. Jack, I want to thank you for your many helpful suggestions last year after I bought the 21' TowLite. The weekend trip was much like the maiden voyage except the site was 130 miles away at a military RV site where the Columbia, SC, amateur radio club had their emergency preparedness field day. I was one of two CW (morse code) operators and made 474 contacts on 20 and 80 meters. The good news is that my Nissan Frontier 6 cyl pulling the 21' TowLite at 60-70 MPH averaged 14.2 MPG. It was my first time driving on Interstates or that fast. The bad news is that the brand new RV car battery, like the older 3 year + battery, was dead (3.5 volts, but I immediately recharged it and disconnected it from the HiLo circuits) Saturday evening after about 5 hours even though I had no lights, no nothing drawing 12V current. I was using a Honda generator for the radio and the 120 RV site voltage for the fridge, A/C, everything else. There's some kind of short, and the Inteli Power 9155 converter is probably part of the problem.
On both trips I was able to lower the HiLo using a jumper starter, but there were anxious moments wondering if it would be successful.
My new battery is not the best, not the deep cycle I wanted. The Costco's deep cycle I bought was 9 1/2" high and didn't fit. I returned it and bought another BCI group 65 battery (7 1/2" high) to replace the similar battery that was dead. After a lot of deep cycle battery study, I ended up without enough time to go to Batteries Plus or elsewhere for a deep cycle battery that would fit. If I don't boon-dock, maybe it won't make much difference?
The steps, which were bent after my first trip because I forgot to raise them, were bent back at a friend's shop and work OK. Two wall leaks during a heavy downpour that first trip were re-caulked with no leaks in 3 downpours since.
I recently bought a new Duo-therm Penguin shroud and a new Winegard TV antenna raising/lowering/turning mechanism, my projects this week along with troubleshooting the 12 volt problem!
A few days ago I wanted to include some photos and clicked on "Go Advanced" below and lost my post so I won't try that now. Instead I'll either start a new thread and try uploading photos or go to the thread with Jack's photo of his two circuit breakers and show how my wiring is different.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:08 AM   #9
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Default You will get everything sorted out.

Many of us have had major rebuilds do to water damage. Highly recomended that you remove all your windows and reseal with butyl tape and lexel caulk on the outside. Thr bonus is that with your window removed you can see the condition of your interior wall.You Tube has a video on how to do this.
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