Motorhome Columns | Family Motor Coaching

President’s Message: Countdown To Indianapolis

By Charlie Adcock, F311374
July 2017

Hello, My Fellow FMCA Family. With my time as FMCA national president drawing to a close, this is my second to last “President’s Message” column. My, how the time has flown by. It seems as though June 19, 2013, just happened. That’s when I was first elected to serve you as your national president. It’s been a very busy four years, but I will save all that for my farewell column next month.

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Tech Talk: July 2017

Starter Problem Redux

In the February “Tech Talk,” the owner of a 2005 Monaco Dynasty said his starter sometimes engages on the first turn of the key, but other times it takes up to 10 tries to engage (“Shaky Starter,” page 18). I had a 2004 Monaco Safari Trek with a similar starter issue (a click, click, click sound, and no start).

It turned out to be a faulty wiring issue that was traced to the factory. Workers ran the fan circuitry through the starter switch voltage connection post, which caused a large current to run through the starter switch contacts. This caused the contacts to arc and burn to the point that not enough current reached the starter solenoid.

To resolve the issue, Monaco made an engineering change with a relay and new circuitry. After that, I never had another starting problem.

Herb Vogt, F334196
Morganton, North Carolina

Your input is appreciated.


Brake Buddy Power

When I flat tow a vehicle behind my motorhome, I always use a Brake Buddy system. I plug it into the 12-volt cigarette lighter and have had no problems. Brake Buddy’s website says a vehicle can be towed up to four days without having to worry about the battery in the towed vehicle.

I recently bought a new towable vehicle, a 2016 Ford F-150 pickup. Now, when I plug the Brake Buddy into the F-150’s 12-volt cigarette lighter, power is supplied to the Brake Buddy for only a short time. I also tried plugging my GPS into the 12-volt cigarette lighter, and after about an hour, power was no longer being supplied to the GPS. Have you heard of anyone else having this problem? What can I do about it?

Jacob Vanderdray, F406632
Bremen, Alabama

My educated guess is that your Ford’s computer is programmed to shut down power to the cigarette lighter after a certain amount of time, much like automatic headlights. Does the F-150 have an additional power outlet besides the lighter? Most modern vehicles have outlets that are not controlled by the ignition key. If so, try it. If not, or if it is also on a timer, I have two suggestions:

Ask your service writer to reprogram the computer to turn off the timer. I did this with our Jeep and pickup truck so that the automatic door locks would no longer lock all the doors after a few feet of driving. If the service writer can’t do that, I suggest the following.

Disconnect the factory wire to the lighter and replace it with a direct fused hot line from the battery. This will cure the timing issue. Just make sure it’s properly fused. If you’re not comfortable doing this wiring, have an experienced tech do it.


Inverter Advice

A question in the March 2017 “Tech Talk” (“Inverter Install,” page 19) dealt with installing an inverter in a motorhome in order to power a Norcold 12-cubic-foot refrigerator; the letter writer said he might later upgrade to a residential refrigerator. Your advice first mentioned installing a modified sine wave inverter, and then noted that a pure sine wave inverter could be considered if electronic devices might be used.

I bought a used motorhome in which the previous owner had replaced the pure sine wave inverter with a modified sine wave inverter for some reason. The ice dispenser in the door of the residential refrigerator would go nuts — flapper flapping, light flashing, and producing an electrical burn smell until finally the dispenser died. We contacted the inverter manufacturer and were told that such fridge components always would have a problem when a modified sine wave inverter was in use. We changed to a pure sine wave inverter, replaced the fridge parts, and have had no problem since. So, when considering an inverter, know that your choice may impact more than what might be considered sensitive electronics.

Bill Green, F401236
Longwood, Florida

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Family & Friends: South Texas Renegades Step Back In Time

By Phyllis Avella, F424750

As we grow older and fondly remember our youth, maybe sometimes we wish we could go back in time and relive some of those moments. Well, people had an opportunity to do just that at the South Texas Renegades rally held April 6 to 9, 2017, at Braunig Lake RV Resort in Elmendorf, Texas. The rally was a celebration of the chapter’s 38th anniversary.

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Family & Friends: Carolina Guroos

By Martha Cavanaugh, F242623

The Carolina Guroos chapter held a rally February 16 to 19, 2017, at Southern Palms RV Resort in Eustis, Florida. Attendees consisted of 26 FMCA members in 13 motorhomes, along with six guests, including C.B. Edwards, an officer for FMCA’s Eastern Area Motorhome Association ...

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