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Old 03-23-2003, 08:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 37

I am just bouncing off the walls today (Sunday). Suzy Q hooked up the to trailer for the first time (Skyline 33 foot Nomad Toy Hauler) and did a 130 mile dry run. What a dream to run! All the hassles with AZ registration and all the work came together today. Life is good!

I know, I know. I can hear the comments now:
"PICTURES, we need pictures". Postings will be done in a while.

In the spirit of sharing information, a summary of lessons learned is offered:

* Arizona will not register a Truck/Tractor as a Motorhome. Period. See other postings for the gory details.

* Larry is an excellent mentor. Anyone thinking of going the Big Truck route should annoy....uh...."talk" with Larry.

* If you remove the stock 5th wheel hitch setup for any reason and want to put it back on, either have some strength in ya or a lot of friends. Those things are heavy! Lining up the plate to the mounting bracket is a good workout. If the plate is not exactly postioned, one side will always be 1/8 of an inch off which prevents it from seating. 6x6, 2x4, rubber mallet, crow bar, and a good supply of the drink of your choice helps the process if you do it by yourself.

* The wiring diagram from Doug Simpson ( ) works great for the trailer rewire. My brake controller was from a different maker (DrawTite) but followed the same color schemes. The Hoppy converter works as advertised. All the wiring worked the first time. OLDPHONEMAN has some pictures on his site that helped the build up.

* I put an 8 foot platform in front of the 5th wheel and behind the cab. With the trailer hooked up, there is room for 2 Bikes (Valkyrie and VTX) or one nervous 25 pound mutt or for a small square dance routine. The platform is going to be extended and reconfigured at a later date.

* The Street Pilot III Deluxe is a good GPS. It provides all the notice you need before you need it. The routing program will get you to your destination, maybe not the way you would do it, but it will get you to an unknown site. With the ability to route based on the type of vehicle, it routes differently for Motorcycles than it does for a Truck.

* For the SP III speech speaker, I'm going to move the speaker to the left window post. This will direct the noise to my ears without causing issues or taking up space. The power is going to be run into the Volvo 610 fuse block that sits underneath it on the dash.

* Coleman (of camping fame)makes a 2000 watt inverter available at Fry's Electronics for < $300 ($249 or $269, can't remember). Fits just like all the others under the bunk. Just remember to turn it off. It tends to kill batteries when left for 48 hours. Gee, how did I know that?

* The MaxxStart 500 amp portable battery jumper will NOT start a Volvo 610 with 3 drained batteries. Direct result of the inverter OOOPPPSS.

* Those goofy mirrors on the front fenders? The ones that hang off ugly chrome mounts? Hate the look, wouldn't go without it now. Suzy Q had 'em when Larry handed her over. I had every intention of yanking 'em but found they are great for lane centering and removing blind spots along the side. Worth having, especially for us newbies while we learn the basics.

* 300 and 500 are the magic RPM numbers. At least for my N14 ESP / Eaton Fuller setup. Once I learned to visually target the RPM needle to the right mark from the current mark, my shifting improved to near smooth. Most of the time. When I'm not distracted.

* Distractions. I thought riding a bike provided insight into cars when people didn't know you were there. OOooohhhh My ! 'Nuff Said.

* MPG is 10. Bob-tailing or pulling, it averages to 10 for city / hiway mixes. Normal disclaimers: your mileage will vary; yadda, yadda, yadda.

* City street departments do not consider tall vehicles when cutting trees.

* Ride handling with the trailer. Non-issue. Power, handling, braking, comfort of ride, ability to pass those 350 / 3500 jacked up 4x4 trucks with their 5th wheel rigs and the attention factor are all rated excellent.

* My biggest complaint? Having to talk to people. Everyone wants to know: WHY? My reply: if big is good, Super-Size is better! And since I'm not exactly a small guy, the point gets across about Size Does Matter! <ROFL>.

Can't wait to take the rig on the road. Possible 1,000 mile trip next weekend over all types of terrain & road conditions. More later.

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Old 03-23-2003, 08:26 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Cincinnati Ohio USA
Posts: 286

Keep us posted on your observations....most interesting....geof

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Old 03-23-2003, 08:28 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 37

One more thing to mention tonight: Turning.

Not a problem, once you learn it. My setup is 55 feet from bumper to bumper. U-turns are just over 2 lanes wide. Which means residential streets (the ones out west, not the carriage lanes in the east) are not a problem. Just got to the next intersection, turn wide and crank tight. Open it up part way through and the trailer just pivots in pretty much the same spot.

It needs to be practiced a few times before you get stuck somewhere.

'S' type backups are about the same. Just watch the mirrors. Normal safety practices of course about having a spotter, watching the rear for obstacles, etc.
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Old 03-24-2003, 06:11 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 193

Hey Chris,

Very thorough report my friend. I'M glad your
registration problems are all behinkd you. Smooth salilng from now on. Once used to those hood mirrors, or at least one, they are really nice to have.

You must be shifting real well. You and your son both caught on to the shifting technique real quick to begin with. I must have been a really good instructor that day.

It sounds like you have everything under control. You got a lot accomplished in a short time. I like to use my four way flashers when backing up. Nothing like lots of lights blinking all at once!

I'M one of those guys who wants to see pictures too. I'M anxious to hear a report on your adventures in the mountains with Suzy Q in harness. We all of course expect a full report on how she handles those mountain pulls, and how her Jake works on those downgrades.

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Old 03-24-2003, 07:16 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Somewhere under a wandering star
Posts: 47

Chris, Whereabouts in AZ are you? I will be at Voyager in Tucson until April 17. We could get together and have mirror image trucks for the most part.
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Old 03-24-2003, 08:34 PM   #6
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 37

Hey Jim:

I hide out in Chandler, just south of Phoenix. The schedule is pretty hectic right now but might be able to make the run to Tucson. My email is (home account). I'll let you know what the Schedule Mistress says.
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Old 03-24-2003, 08:36 PM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 37

Hey Larry:

As always, the best laid plans get modified. My weekend plans are suddenly up the air again. If the California trip does not go this weekend, it will happen 4/19.

I'll tell Nate about your comments on his driving. He'll appreciate it (always good to feed the ego of the 20 year old, huh?).
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Old 03-24-2003, 10:19 PM   #8
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: medford or.
Posts: 15

I agree with all of chris's fun factor details nothing like it in the fifth wheel trailer business.
I have volvo 420 three axle.
I resolved lighting issue by changeing the backup light lenses to red on the trailer.


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