View Single Post
Old 04-21-2011, 05:58 PM   #274
Ran D. St. Clair
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 212
Default I got hitched

I completed the addition of a towing receiver to the stealth camper. I used this bumper hitch, but modified it and welded it directly to the bumper:

RV Bumper Hitch [19100] - $96.70 : The Hitch Store

I also added all the wiring necessary for towing a trailer or a toad (flat towed vehicle). This web site was very helpful:

Trailer Wiring Diagrams | etrailer.com

I used this connector

Pollak Black Plastic, 7-Pole, RV-Style Trailer Socket - Vehicle End Pollak Wiring PK12707

And this mounting bracket

Mounting Bracket for Pollak 7-Pole, RV-Style Trailer Connector - Vehicle End Pollak Accessories and Parts PK12711U

And this power converter and wiring kit

Universal Power Converter 5-Way Flat and Circuit Protection with Hardwire Kit and Tester Tow Ready Wiring 119177KIT

It was all pretty straight forward. I ran separate fused wires back from the starter battery for 12V to the power converter and 12V to the tow wiring connector. I don’t have anything to actually tow at the moment, but the 12V to the connector could be used to keep the toad battery topped of, or to power a break controller, or even power a lube pump if the toad is an automatic. I went with the power converter because I didn’t want any additional load on the truck light circuits that could possibly blow a fuse. This way all the current to drive the toad lights comes through the single heavy fused wire from the truck battery and through the power converter. The power converter also converts the truck wiring scheme which has separate amber turn signals into the standard towing scheme which combines the turn signals and break lights. (One wire for each side of the car). The backup light is also passed to the toad as a convenient way to prevent the brake controller from locking the trailer brakes when trying to back up. You would never want to back up with a flat towed vehicle so it is not really an issue for that. The only real issue I had was that the instructions called for the 12V wire into the power converter to be red, but it was black.

It was also quite a pain in the neck (literally) to crawl around under the truck and fish the wires into place. I was lucky in that there was an existing 12V wire path to protect the wires, but it took a few hours to work the new wires into the protective tubing and it beat my fingertips up as well.

In other news, I spent over $100 on valve stem extensions. Of course only about $30 of that ended up on the truck. The rest was failed experiments that didn’t fit or didn’t work for one reason or another. I ended up using a straight steel stem extender for the inside dual wheel, about 3 ˝: long. The outside dual wheel has the valve stem facing inward, so I used a 135 degree valve stem extension to bend it back outward for better access. The problem I had is that not all 135 degree extension have a tight enough radius close enough to the valve stem to fit in the wheel opening. It turns out that valve stem extensions, and the many options therein can get quite complicated. I would encourage anyone with questions to ask around on this forum before wasting a bunch of money (like I did).

Inside the truck, I have been tweaking and improving. I added fold down tables and cup holders in the bunks. “Table” is probably overstating it a bit. They are only about 5” by 10” and are just large enough for a small TV dinner tray or a snack plate. I made them out of a thick plastic cutting board. It was a lot easier that making them out of wood and paint or Formica and they should last forever.

I made a similar small non-folding shelf in the bathroom to hold the box of baby wipes. They serve as toilet paper but unlike toilet paper they don’t go in the incinerating toilet but in a small lined waste basket instead. It turns out toilet paper just wraps itself around the auger of the incinerating toilet, so it is useless. The baby wipes are more comfortable and do a better job of cleaning anyway. They also make me smell like a baby’s butt….

I have been rearranging tools and supplies inside the truck shelves. I realize every situation is different but I really like these small clear plastic shelf units that are available at most any economy store. I am gradually getting stuff where I can find it and get to it without a major hunting expedition.

I also made some major improvements to my video watching capability. I realize that I won’t always have good Ethernet access so streaming videos will not always be an option. I wanted to be able to time shift, which is to say record things and play them back later. I ended up buying this:

MPEG4 Recorder 2 series | Neuros Technology

It’s a tiny little device, that functions similar to a VCR except that instead of a cassette it records the data on a Memory Stick Pro DUO, which is a small flash drive similar to the one used in many cameras and some cell phones or personal gaming devices. 4Gb holds about 4 hours of video, or more if it is heavily compressed, and costs about $15. Of course it is reusable as much as you want. The whole thing is small, light weight, and all solid state so it is perfect for an RV. It has one other critical advantage. It ignores Macrovision which is the security signal they put on top of the composite video (yellow RCA connector) to prevent you from copying.

I have no stake in the company or the product. I will even tell you that it has a somewhat clunky user interface with another remote for you to loose. It is also one of their older products so you may prefer something more modern (and expensive). I paid about $90 for my MPEG4 Recorder 2.

The stealth camper will be making it’s first major run down to Texas on June 4th. That should be interesting…
Attached Images
 
Ran D. St. Clair is offline   Reply With Quote