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Experiences with our coach, rules of the road and what we learned

The Providence has Power Gear Electric jacks and worked perfectly for 5 years on the road. The left rear jack became intermittent during our trip to the Canadian Maritimes last year and finally quit completely November 2013 when retracting them at the end of our stay in Navarre, FL. Fortunately, the jack quit in a fully retracted position. This is long but important to learn about many issues from service quality to service options as well as Power Gear Electric Jacks on motorhomes.


jack-motor.jpgThe Power Gear system consists of an automatic level controller, 4 all electric jacks with motor and brake. The controller senses the position of the jack full up or full down with a magnet embedded in the jack staff. This is to stop extension at its maximum and stop retraction when full up by applying a brake attached to the motor.

When a jack fails it is most likely (~98% of the time) caused by a bad brake, it gets corroded and finally just locks up. Why corrosion? Because the brake is mounted on the bottom of the motor and covered with a rubber boot. Mounted directly behind the rear wheels, it is subject to all kinds of dirt, debris and WATER when travelling in wet conditions. If the top of the boot is not sealed, it will leak water which eventually corrodes the metal parts in the brake and it locks up. The photo on the right shows the motor (yellow) and brake (black boot over the break at the bottom).

Portable Water Softener: Buying Tips


The On The Go portable water softener we purchased over a year ago is doing its job nicely (see this entry: A portable Water Softener ...). Here's a follow up on our experience and some helpful tips:

1) Interested in purchasing a softener? Go to the RV Water Filter Store; a dealer offering different brands and accessories. Rick Dahl is a very knowledgeable owner and available to answer questions over the phone. Also check out prices at On The Go Portable Softeners.

Where to Domicile if Full Time RV'ing?


us-map.gifThis is an important question for RV full timers and requires some research. There are several factors to consider:

  • State income tax
  • Personal property tax
  • New vehicle sales tax
  • Insurance rates
  • Vehicle registration requirements
  • Driver's license requirements
  • Vehicle inspection requirements
  • Property tax (if you are going to own real property in the state you call home)
  • Mail service membership fee
  • Other

Headlight Restoration Product Really Works!


After three years traveling the country full time in the Providence, the headlights were looking dim and cloudy. I purchased the Mothers PowerBall 4Lights Headlight Restoration All-In-One kit at a local auto parts store. I had high hopes that it was going to work but was cautiously optimistic.

Just got through using it and am delighted! Here's a before and after shot (click image for large view):

Thumbnail image for headlights 2011 09 02 004 x800.JPGThumbnail image for headlights 2011 09 02 005 x800.JPG 

Learned a little in the process:

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I just replaced all the tires on our Saturn Vue with Toyo from Les Schwab when we were in Washington just two months ago. Nothing wrong with the Toyo, they have a great reputation as a premium tire. Here's my predicament:

Pam and I have been on the road for almost two years. We have experienced everything from crystal clear water to the hardest of hard waters. Result: mineral deposits everywhere in the Providence water system and water appliances. I concluded I had to do something when our new automatic coffee maker had to be de-scaled after only 1 month of use.

Uneven RV Tire Wear: Learning the hard way


When we experienced the rear tire problem a week or so ago, I asked the technician to look at my front tires as they appeared to be cusping on the outer edges; very severe on the passenger side. His diagnosis: out of alignment. I also concluded I needed to carry a spare as noted in the Disaster Averted post. So, here was my plan:

  1. Have the front end aligned as soon as possible.
  2. Replace both steering axle tires with new Michelins.
  3. Replace the off brand rear tire installed in our emergency a week ago with the driver side front Goodyear, discard the badly cusped front passenger Goodyear tire. Result is matched Goodyears on the rear and the off brand tire becomes a spare.

So, before we left McCall, I arranged to have the front end aligned at the nearest Freightliner service dealer which happened to be in Lewiston, Idaho. I also arranged to have the new Michelins available in Coeur D'Alene, our next stop.

2010 06 18 003.JPGI hope this story will be beneficial to my fellow RVers:


Back in August, 2009 attending the FMCA regional rally in Burlington, VT, I was convinced to add an after market tire pressure monitoring system to the Providence. A tire blowout or other loss of pressure on a 32,000 lb vehicle could be a disaster to the motorhome or tow vehicle. In addition to alerting to a potential tire problem, I would always know my tires were set to the right pressure for load safety, tire wear and fuel economy. The system purchased was from Pressure Pro.

Fast forward 10 months:

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Freightliner Custom Chassis Boot Camp


We attended the Freightliner Camp on October 12th and 13th in Gaffney, SC. It was a high intensity detailed instruction on everything you wanted to know about the Chassis our motor home (the Providence) was built on. From Cummins engine, Allison transmission, cooling system to the high tech computer sustems that make everything work together. Well worth the time spent!

PS: We visited Gaffney and found the BofA branch that created the controversy about prohibiting American flags in front of their building to honor local soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country.

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Just pulled onto 340 in Harpers Ferry yesterday and I was flagged to stop at an impromptu inspection station. What were the troopers looking for? Off road diesel fuel in the Providence. Off road diesel is not taxed the same as regular diesel (about 30 cents a gallon less) because ... well ... it is for vehicles that don't use our highways. Off road diesel is dyed red. We were clean!! Can you believe some would cheat and buy off road diesel for on road use? I can.

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