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Old 04-18-2012, 05:53 PM   #1
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Default TV Progress...

So I have been busy doing vicious overtime and working saturdays... Well I took Wed - Fri off this week, been planned since Jan.

Got my Hidden Hitch a couple weeks ago, the flat 4 and 7 pin plug and the wiring for my brake controller.

Installed said hidden hitch, went on without a hitch (haha). Ran all the wiring for the lights, and they actually work. Ran wiring for brake controller, used my fish tape and ran it from the rear all the way to just under the front of door INSIDE the frame... nice and protected.

Hooked the trailer up to the van, forgot the keys for my lock on the tounge, but the rear of the van only dropped an inch. It should not drop as much after I put on the new shocks, old one are iffy, so new on all four corners.

Progress at last, and I also have a way to move my trailer if needed.

First time go on the lights - I hate wiring...
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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Default Trailer wiring

Congrats on your progress. We recently acquired a nice fixer uper utility trailer from our friends. Dh had to splice into the wires to make it long enough to tow. He had to change some lt. bulbs. The trailer is a 2001 and some of the lt. reflectors are broken. On one lt. he had to grind/cut the bolts off to change the bulb. Some sodering and some heatshrink later we are good to go. We were lucky it survived the trip home and then a 45 minute drive to our RV dealer. The tires were dry rotted out and a few new reflectors. Several parts so we could adapt it to our tow vehicle. We just have to paint it when the weather gives us a break and then he wants to put in all new wire and LED lts. I have the new lights already. We are hoping next year to buy a Sears riding mower to do our lot where we store our trailer and to mow at church. Less than an acre at both places,but trying to be kinder to a 66yr. old body. Much better with new tires on it. Sounds like you hate wiring,but did a good job. Just think of all the money you saved!! Are you having to work overtime because of storm cleanup?
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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Default Trailer wiring

We also bought a tongue lock for our utility trailer. Some one would steal it for the scrap metal or to resell. We've put too much into it at this point.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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Are you having to work overtime because of storm cleanup?
Storm cleanup??? Not sure about that one... Just working overtime due to sales and the numbers that we are short because of parts issues we had after tidlewaves, earthquakes and what ever other issues you want to throw in there.

We are selling almost as many as we are building so we aren't really getting ahead.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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So I have been busy doing vicious overtime and working saturdays... Well I took Wed - Fri off this week, been planned since Jan.

Got my Hidden Hitch a couple weeks ago, the flat 4 and 7 pin plug and the wiring for my brake controller.

Installed said hidden hitch, went on without a hitch (haha). Ran all the wiring for the lights, and they actually work. Ran wiring for brake controller, used my fish tape and ran it from the rear all the way to just under the front of door INSIDE the frame... nice and protected.

Hooked the trailer up to the van, forgot the keys for my lock on the tounge, but the rear of the van only dropped an inch. It should not drop as much after I put on the new shocks, old one are iffy, so new on all four corners.

Progress at last, and I also have a way to move my trailer if needed.

First time go on the lights - I hate wiring...
I must have missed your earlier posts. Is your hitch a WDH? That would be best to keep your van from sagging. Replacing the shocks will do nothing to prevent sagging unless they are air shocks. A proper WDH is what effectively controls the level of the tow vehicle.

Anyways, I hope everything works and you have a happy camping season.

Rich
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:25 PM   #6
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I must have missed your earlier posts. Is your hitch a WDH? That would be best to keep your van from sagging. Replacing the shocks will do nothing to prevent sagging unless they are air shocks. A proper WDH is what effectively controls the level of the tow vehicle.

Anyways, I hope everything works and you have a happy camping season.

Rich
Yeah I have a WDH, but it will still sag when the shocks are about gone... so I'm pretty sure new shocks will help.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:22 AM   #7
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David, I agree totally with Rich. New shocks will not prevent sag, only proper adjustment of the WDH will do that. You need to attach the chains (if that's what you have) using a link further down the chain so that the bars are closer to the trailer tongue. This usually means lifting the trailer AND tow vehicle with the trailer jack once the hitch is mated to the tow ball. That allows you to connect a lower link.

If you have an Equil-I-Zer hitch like I do, the process is similar, you just don't have chains, so you adjust the position of the Sway Brackets on the trailer tongue.

A shock absorber does not "lift" a suspension. It damps out oscillation. A bad shock allows the suspension to bounce for a prolonged period of time after a disturbance. A good shock prevents that "bounce".

An air shock can lift the vehicle over an axle, but it will not transfer the hitch load to BOTH axles, so you run the risk of overloading the read axle when using air shocks for leveling purposes.

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Old 04-19-2012, 12:10 PM   #8
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Jack, you are right all the way on that!
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:14 PM   #9
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Hooked up the trailer today, brought keys, and measured. The rear drops 3/4" to 1" (didn't bother with 1/16 and such) max is 1".

But a good set of shocks compared to the, I'm sure, $19.95 a set that it has on it now will help.

Hooked up the Prodigy P2 (yeah, I don't need the bells and whistles of the P3) got it $74 local, cheaper than internet. Tested the trailer brakes (lever on bottom) and a 15 mile test drive with several stops. Can feel trailer brakes engaging like they're supposed to. No strange noises, no dragging tires.

So I'm happy, I can now transport my own trailer...

Added - I still hate wiring...
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:23 PM   #10
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Forgot my camera, all I had was my phone...
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:00 PM   #11
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Friends of mine had a setup about like yours and they went many happy miles with it. I'm sure you will too.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:17 PM   #12
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Default Towing the HiLo

What a great feeling to be able to hitch up and drive. If you want an opinion as to whether you are hitched up properly just post a picture. We always drove on this section of the freeway and blamed the poor paving job for our how our ride felt. No other roads felt this way. Come to findout our original shocks were bad(over 1000.00 miles). Had a specialty shop replace with big yellow Monroe shocks. Made a huge difference. OOps!!
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Old 04-20-2012, 03:16 AM   #13
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Thanks sam, as much as these guys think shocks won't make any difference, I know they will... and it's something that's questionable on my van.

Shocks are a part of a system built to work together, when 1 part of that system is bad, that system doesn't work like it should.

I'm assuming you meant 100,000 miles?!?!?! Thats a lot on a set of shocks... something that wears out at about 30-50k... depends on the roads you drive and how much weight in the vehicle.

Yeah I know, here it comes. But shocks are not struts, struts wear out also, but most people just don't notice.

Do you know how many times I've heard "I got the struts replaced on my car, and boy what a difference it makes. I didn't even realize they were bad."

Besides, if $100-$150 is going to break the bank, I should just stop now.
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:31 AM   #14
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Bad shocks cause uncontrolled bounce and sway but they have nothing to do with holding the vehicle up.
Take the shocks off, measure the height of the bumper, put new shocks on and it wont change one bit..
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Old 04-20-2012, 05:28 AM   #15
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Bad shocks cause uncontrolled bounce and sway but they have nothing to do with holding the vehicle up.
Take the shocks off, measure the height of the bumper, put new shocks on and it wont change one bit..
So why is it when you have worn out shocks 2 good size guys can stand on the bumper and it will drop - sag or whatever you want to call it and when you put new shocks on it barely moves with the same 2 guys...

Just curious...

No I'm not, get over the fact that I am putting new shocks on.
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:51 PM   #16
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What a great feeling to be able to hitch up and drive. If you want an opinion as to whether you are hitched up properly just post a picture. We always drove on this section of the freeway and blamed the poor paving job for our how our ride felt. No other roads felt this way. Come to findout our original shocks were bad(over 1000.00 miles). Had a specialty shop replace with big yellow Monroe shocks. Made a huge difference. OOps!!
Sam,

My 2000 Ford has 198K miles on the original shocks! Still working great! Never did any off road, mostly highway miles. They will get tested again this weekend when we head out to Oklahoma for a couple of weeks. Oklahoma is not known for its good highways. I think I will stay away from the rough shortcut I took on the last trip that caused the splits in the [2] end caps to creep down several inches.

Jerry Curtis
2406 T 2000 F250 Ext. Cab 4wd, 7.3 Diesel
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:18 PM   #17
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Default Truck shocks

Yes I made a typo on our truck mileage 100,000. Ond day I kept hearing a slamming noise with the truck. We thought it was something in the exhaust system..Sent it in to our usual speciality shop. The noise was the shock bracket that almost punched a hole in the bed of our truck.Our truck is a 1997 F250 Heavy Duty 4x4 8ft. bed extended cab with a Leer fiberglass cap. Our RV dealer set us up for towing. The next year when we went in for inspection another mechanic had to re do something in the towing setup. The point is sometimes the professionals don"t get it right.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:09 AM   #18
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The next year when we went in for inspection another mechanic had to re do something in the towing setup. The point is sometimes the professionals don"t get it right.
Yeah... I've been around and working on cars and trucks since I was about 14, we had a "junior" stock car class back home and I used to race a chevy II... but that was 30 years ago...

My point? - I have seen a lot of "professionals" work on a vehicle and most of them should not be called "professional"... A lot of things are done as "common pratice" that should not be done at all - like using scotchlok connectors to install wiring. The issue I have with using them? You truly cannot tell how good the connection you made really is because you cannot see how good a job the "splice" thing did it's job, and how many strands of wire did you just cut when you did it?

I used 1 (one) on my entire installation and didn't really want to use it, but the wire I tapped into was a little tight and short for much else... and I'm even considering redoing it.

The rest are done with butt connectors, heat shrink tape, and my $70 ratcheting crimper - the only crimper that should be used and the last crimper you should ever need to buy. Ever had a "crimped" connections pull out of the terminal you just made? Bet it won't with a racheting crimper. You simply cannot put the same "force" on the terminal with a pair of those silly crimpers that are used every day that you can with a good pair of ratcheting crimpers.

Do you know that in the aircraft industry, your plane can fail an inspection if a connection for electrical is made without using that type of crimper... it not only crimps the wire to the connector but it crimps the insulation part of the connector to the insulation of the wiring... but in cars anything goes... something that gets used just about every day.

The part of the crimp on the left was done with the same type of crimpers that people buy and use everyday. The crimp on the right was done with a ratcheting pair of crimpers. You choose, I made my choice a long time ago. Sorry for the picture, my phone is not that great as a camera.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:45 AM   #19
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That is good info David. What do you use when you want to tap a wire into the middle of another wire? That is where I have seen the scotchlok used different times.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:29 AM   #20
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That is good info David. What do you use when you want to tap a wire into the middle of another wire? That is where I have seen the scotchlok used different times.
Good question. When practical, I use strippers and peel back some of the insulation and solder the new wire in and wrap with heat shrink tape, not tubing. that way you don't cut the wire.

Most auto applications soldering is not practical or safe for that matter, so I cut it, use a butt connector and heat shrink tube it again. I've been using up my supply of insulated connectors so I can start using the heat shrink ones.

The biggest issue with the scotchlok connectors is most of time you cut the wire. Just take some of them apart and have a look. More often the case when you get to the largest size wire that connector is made for. Like 18-14ga when you get down to the 14ga size wire, you're gonna cut some strands... then you have a weakened wire.

When it's something that I know I'm building/doing I used to order non-insulated connectors and just use the HS tubing on them, harder and harder to find local though... so I'm making the switch to the ones with heat shrink already on them.

I use a "Micro-Therm" with a reflector/protector on it for the heat shrink. It uses refillable "cigarette" lighters, piezo ignition and works pretty good.

I'm not saying don't / can't / never use them, I just told you I did... but they are IMHO a temporary / emergency fix to be replaced and redone better at a later time.
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