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Old 07-19-2012, 11:04 PM   #61
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I was hoping to post tonight that I was ensconced in a campsite in Adel, Iowa, waiting for tomorrow to poke around central Iowa historic sites. Instead I am 100 miles from my goal, at a rest stop along the freeway. Essentially 1850 miles in three days of driving--and Christine and I are still talking to each other!

A testimony to the HiLo's durability is the fact that we have had little to deal with along the way. The 12 volt mode of the refrigerator has not worked, but I half expected that; the propane mode works well, so we have had no problems a bag of ice couldn't handle. I will rewire the 12 volt when we get home.

I had mentioned earlier that the front window rock shield had worked out a couple of screws on one side in a Montana deluge. I patched that with some epoxy putty, which worked well until we encountered constant angled headwinds in S. Dakota. I knew things were wrong when I saw the shield flopping up and down like a bird with a broken wing. We stopped in a rest stop in 110 degree temperatures--yes 110 degrees--to try to reattach the bottom mounting screws, but to no avail. The screws has been torn out of the skin by the constant buffeting winds. We ended up holding the shield in place with bungee cords, and so far so good: it has been holding. Another fix for when we get home.

We have had very little trouble leveling or setting up our TowLite. Mostly I have followed the tips I got from this forum, and things, so far, have worked.

After poking around Iowa a bit, we'll head on to Illinois for a couple of days, then point the nose west.

Observations for those who are contemplating a similar trip:

Right now, temperatures have run from 102 in Montana and Wyoming, and 110 in S. Dakota.

In Wyoming, all roads go uphill.

In S. Dakota, all winds are headwinds.

In Minnesota, I discovered where they coined the term "washboard road." We about beat our brains out driving I-90 eastbound. I remembered a trick a Scottish truck driver had taught me on the rough roads of Northern Scotland: lean forward so that your butt and back are going the same direction, otherwise you beat yourself up. I am amazed the HiLo wasn't bounced into orbit.

A final note: we spent last night in a RV park in Sundance, WY, and as I returned to my parking spot, I saw a couple looking my rig over. As I got closer, I heard the man explain to his wife, "Yeah, that's one of those pop up campers." I was too tired to converse, or I mIght has explained the difference to them.

Ron
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:53 AM   #62
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May get some rain around here this weekend. Beat the heat and go home through wi, minn, then North Dakota On another note- I'm trying to imagine what you attached the ends of the bungee cords to keep the stone guard closed. Vertical, horizontal ??? Might be an interesting thing to know sometime.

Rick
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:30 PM   #63
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Rick,

The way I bungeed the stone guard was to angle the bungee hooks into the aluminum channel the top of the guard is attached to, then stretch the other end under the lower body to attach to the frame. The hooks have to be metal because the channel is too narrow to fit a plastic hook into (I tried). If the bungees are pulled tight enough, they won't move or work themselves around. You just have to remember to detach them from the frame when you raise the top, or something will have to give ...

The trailer is showing the buggy effects and road grime of 2000 miles; will have to wait until I get home to clean it up. Today was a balmy 93 degrees in America's bread basket. We wandered around woefully sagging farm towns and old pioneer cemeteries and churches today--without the trailer. My Dodge truck is covered in super fine Iowa gravel road dust; it looks like it had a cream colored paint job.

I am ever amazed by the productivity and tenacity of the old time pioneers. You see the effects of their labor in the land and the legacy they left. Makes me feel like a piker.

Tonight we are parked in a beautiful county park just outside of Adel, Iowa. We have the A/C going, just had a cup o' joe, and are feeling some of the pleasure of being HiLo owners. Then I remember we have another +/- 3000 miles to go and I wonder just what I was thinking when we left home.

Ron
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:32 AM   #64
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Default Brake squeal

Hello All--

We are in northern Illinois, finishing up our short visit today, expect to head west tomorrow--2500 miles and counting.

I noticed as we were driving through one of the small towns on an IL State highway that my trailer brakes are squealing. Had not noticed it previously; I suppose because we have done mostly freeway driving. I have read the forum section on HiLo brakes, and understand that we have conventional brake shoes, and if we have a complete failure we likely will be able to get a fix.

But I am wondering whether anyone has gone through the squealing brake thing with their trailers, and if so, what should I look for to avoid complete meltdown? I am not inclined to do much about a squeal, but on the other hand I would like to avoid brake failure in the middle of nowhere.

What do you recommend? Once I am on the freeways again I don't anticipate a lot of brake use. On the other hand, If this works like car shoe brakes, I have a good bit of use before I have to replace the shoes. Does anyone know whether the shoes are riveted on, or bonded?

I am getting a bit of groaning from my sway control/equalizer hitch, but that is metal sliding on metal and likely needs a bit of grease--I'll do that before we head out.

Overall the trailer has worked well through about 2500 miles. Some odds and ends, the rock shield working loose, the 12 volt refrigerator, have been problems, but no real reason to complain. I am not looking forward to the temperatures on the way back after 110 through SD; I am checking weather forecasts to look for the coolest route, but nothing looks too good.

Ron
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:05 PM   #65
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I don't know what kind of sway control you have but many should not be greased. Mine makes noise every time after I get in a rain storm, it is the non greaseable kind.
Don't know what is causing your brake squeal, but if everything looked good when you checked the wheel bearings then it too might be the result of the shoes getting wet.
You trailer axles should be Dexter and any RV dealer can get brake parts and repair.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:41 PM   #66
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On the brake squeal. Could be your shoes are getting thin, could be that superfine dust has a built up a bit in the drum and has become imbedded in the friction material. It might just require a blow out but I would be inclined to pull atleast one wheel and have a look and the shoes.
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:05 PM   #67
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Default Squealing Brake Shoes

Ron,

My first concern on the brake squeal is that you may be getting down really close to the metal. If that happens and is not addressed soon, the metal will dig into your drums and you may have to have the drums turned. I would recommend pulling one wheel and then refer to this post: brake shoe replacement If the brake lining is 1/16" or less, they will need replacement.

When you scroll down to my post, you will note that when I examined my brake shoes, I felt they needed replacing and purchased a set of 4. I later determined that the linings still had 1/8" [2/16] thickness and didn't need replacing yet so I put the new ones on the shelf until they are needed. If perchance your axle is the same as mine, you may find the Dexter original equipment shoes at NAPA, that is where I found mine.

I am attaching some pics of a set of new Dexter OE shoes, As you can see on the shoes, they are bonded; not riveted. If your shoes have gotten worn to less than 1/16" thickness, I would recommend you bite the bullet and replace them since you have such a long distance still ahead of you. New replacement shoes have only 3/16" liner thickness.

Good Luck and God Speed.

Jerry Curtis
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:37 PM   #68
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Thanks for your replies regarding my brakes squealing. I decided to blow the brakes out, then drive on local roads up through central Wisconsin to connect with I 94 at Baraboo, WI (Hilltool knows where I am talking about). I figured slow going and frequent stops would tell me the story, and it looks like the problem has gone away. There was a little noise initially,but I haven't heard a squeal in the last few hundred miles. We just pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot in Jamestown, ND, for the night, and didn't hear a peep--650 miles later!

Amazing variety of weather getting here: 97 degrees in western WI and much of Minnesota, then 75 degree at Fargo, ND, and 77 in Jamestown; a little rain and overcast. Excellent travel weather. After studying the projected temps on the I 80 route, we decided to follow Hilltool's advice and take the northern route, instead. I'll take temps in the 70's over 100's any day!

We have not seen a single HiLo in 3,000 + miles of wandering. Have seen a couple Trail Manors, in fact today one came near to running me off the road near Eau Claire, WI. He was zooming in and out of traffic like he had a go cart. I was relieved when he finally took an off ramp.

We couldn't be more pleased with the ease of handling of our 19 foot TowLite. I will confess that I have a heavy foot, and the 75 MPH speed limit in most of the northern tier states is a real temptation. The TowLite tracks like a dream, no swaying, rock solid.

If any of you are thinking of doing a long trip, I would highly recommend the Allstays Camp & RV app for the iPad & iPhone. It has been indispensable on this jaunt; everything from rest stop rules in each state, locations of service businesses, including the Wal-Mart we are staying at tonight, food, gas, GPS locator with distances to locations, and even more! I also got 6 or 8 other apps, but they largely duplicate the Allstays app, and not as good--I rarely use them. The only downside is that it takes a bit of figuring out to get the best from it. And only five bucks; a real deal.

We are on the final run to home, and we can feel the pull, maybe 1500 miles. Again, thanks for all your help.

Ron
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:35 PM   #69
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I suspect we have just completed the next to last leg of our long road trip. We pulled into Butte, MT, an hour ago, had a leisurely dinner, and am now sipping on a cup of very good coffee. Speaking of coffee, it never fails to amaze me how uninterested the people in the Heartland are about coffee, compared especially to the Northwest, the birthplace of Starbucks. In WA State there is a drive through kiosk for espresso on nearly every corner (only slightly exaggerating). In fact there are four kiosks within 6 blocks of my house, and I live in a semi-rural area. In a lot of Midwest diners you get brown-colored water for coffee.

We really pushed hard today--my HiLo got a real workout. First it was getting bludgeoned by the wind in western ND and eastern MT, then it was the hard, hard climb up the Continental Divide, followed by the winding and too-fast descent down the other side. If anyone wonders whether the HiLo can do 80MPH on a road of switchbacks, the answer is yes. At best we have gotten 10-11 MPG;today we got 8 MPG. We will probably push on home tomorrow, about 620 miles.

The trailer has been faultless, and coupled with the Equalizer hitch has been a dream to pull. Only trouble is, bracket creep is occurring--we are 19 feet now; surely 25 feet is better.

Ron
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:49 PM   #70
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Well

You made it out of here just in time. 100 deg yesterday, just the 80s today, but high 90s return tomorrow. Glad to hear the trip went pretty well. Now- hopefully, you get to spend some time camping in the Cascades and along the coast- The "bracket creep" is interesting. Travelling on the road and living in an RV is a different deal, I suspect, than camping and living"out of an RV". If I was living "in the RV" all the time I suspect my 22footer with no tip out would start to feel awfully spartan. But in a campground, or boon docking, I'm living out and around it, in which case, the size is perfect for us and much more convenient than a tent (though I still carry one "just in case") But to each his/her own. Plenty of larger rigs on the forum,thats for sure. Stay safe. ---And sorry about the coffee-----thats why I carry my own and a backpacking stove and a drip single cup filter.

Rick
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