Friday, November 10, 2017

Cabin Door Noise fix from Winnebago

One of the common problems with the Fuse is excessive noise coming from the cabin door when driving at highway speeds.

On my 2017, the wind noise was on our punch list before we picked it up.  The dealer adjusted the door and added some weather stripping and that helped - but it was still there.  I added some additional weatherstripping and filled some weep holes in the stairwell and would only get the noise above 65mph and even then it was not too bad.

Then during the Spring Get Together, the Winnebago engineer told us that they had found some issues with the airflow around the door causing noise at the door hinges.

This is an excerpt from the Spring 2017 Get Together notes:
Side door noise -  There are two door vendors that have been used.  Atwood is the original door and Lippert is the current door.  The door has been used on other units with no noise issues but the thought is that the placement of the awning arm on the other unit and/or the curved front of the Fuse is making the air flow different and it is hitting the hinges. Winnebago is working on a hinge cover that may solve this issue.  (Whether this solution can be retrofit is still unknown. One issue being the aesthetics of the graphics and the other being the change in door heights.)

Well Winnebago now has their fix.

Wind Deflector diagram

Winnebago has come out with a Wind Deflector Screw Cover.  Part number 321703-01-01A.  311996-01-02A. Part name is: Wind Deflector Screw Cover. Looking at the Winnebago Parts lists it looks like it started being installed on new units in late August 2017.   

Fuse Wind Deflector - thanks to the Netzleys

I am not sure if it will work on the older 2017s with the Atwood door, but if you have a 2017.5 or better there is now a solution.   Reports from the Netzleys who had them installed at the factory are very positive.
The wind deflector they installed for us at the factory made a BIG difference. We can now hear the radio, cell phone and carry on a conversation! We'll post a picture and more information in the next day or so. - Sharon Netzley

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fall 2017 Get Together in the Rockies

We held our Fall Get Together - the "Get Together in the Rockies" September 29 to October 1 in Fort Collins, Colorado.    It was great.

Lots of Winnebago FusesWinnebago Fuses in a row

We had 14 Fuses and 1 wanna-be (the new term is "gonna-be") come to the event.   The Winnebago Engineer canceled at the last moment with an emergency, so we had to do the tech talk on our own.  There were enough experts in the group to answer most of the questions.

The Fuse Group from Ft. Collins

So what did we do.   On Friday night we had a pot luck.   And there was some mighty fine eating.  I am not sure it was the altitude or the cool mountain air, but everything was delicious.

The Fuse cup

The souvenir from the event was a little different this time.  We did not do wine glasses.  A comment last time was they were a little fragile for camping so this time we went with plastic cups.  They won't break and being lighter they might help with the gas milage.    If you want one and are traveling through Tallahassee, let me know.

Saturday morning we had the Tech discussion.  We will go into that a little further down the page.

We had leftovers for the group for lunch and then after lunch we toured the coaches.

Fuse PartyFuse Food

Saturday evening we had our Pizza party.  That was some good pizza.

Then unfortunately it was over and we all went our separate ways.  It was great to get and meet everyone.

Ok, so now what you were waiting for.  How did the tech talk go?

Before the meeting I was able to talk to Winnebago about what they are thinking about future Fuses.  I think we all like to know what Winnebago is thinking about.   A lot of what they are doing is happening on all of their small motorhomes so the real question is when it will happen in the Fuse.   Keep on the lookout for this as the 2018.5 and 2019 models come out.

Remember these are futures and subject to all sorts of factors, so there are no guarantees.  These may turn out to be standard features or options or not make it outside the lab.

One of the new items Winnebago is looking at for all of their motorhomes is using compressor refrigerator.s  For those that don't know, a compressor refrigerator is like the one in your house.  Runs on electricity only (DC) but does not care  if the motorhome is level or not.  Cools much faster but uses electricity.  The first compressor refrigerators in small Winnebago motorhomes were released on the models announced earlier this month.    (Look at the Norcold compressor refrigerator in the new Navion)

To make the compressor refrigerator work out there is discussion about making the batteries bigger.  Group 31 as opposed to Group 24.  And if they can find the space they might be able to squeeze in a third battery to add capacity.

They also want to make solar standard.  Not just with 1 solar panel but with 2 100w panels.  This will help with the extra electrical needs of the compressor refrigerator.

A lot of the feedback they are getting from potential buyers revolves around people wanting an Inverter.  They are going to try and get one in the Fuse for us.

Ford is making the drivers side seat swivel in the 2019 Transit (remember that the Fuse is a transit underneath). It should be available around the August, 2018 timeframe.  Once they are available they they will use this chassis in the Fuse.  The key to this is Ford will be moving the parking break from between the drivers seat and passenger to somewhere else (possibly electronic).  Ford may also have a different solution on the passenger side.

And as far as being a low rider.  Winnebago continues to look for ways to raise the rear.    The engineering team has taken our feedback very seriously on this issue.   One thing they are exploring is angling off the last couple of feet in the back.  It is going to require them to move some things around in the rear and they think they can without decreasing any storage or having to make major design changes.  They think that there is a good possibility that they can rake the last couple of feet in the rear and add a few inches of clearance.

The group also had some questions for Winnebago.  Since they could not make it I took them down and Winnebago said they would answer them for us.    Here is the list and the answers are underlined:

1). How many Fuses are on the road:  Over 600 

2) Why does the rear tv sound not come through the bed speakers on the T:  The rear speakers are connected to the radio/DVD player. The radio can only play audio from one TV.

3)  The consensus is that we really need a better way to access the batteries.  Is Winnebago looking at putting them on a sliding tray or something.  The current setup is really bad for checking water levels. We will evaluate.

4). Has there been some thought to moving the generator breaker to somewhere easier to access on the A.   Crawling under the unit to reset the breaker is problematic:  At this time we do not have a solution. We cannot move the breaker.

5) Have you thought of making the rear window the emergency exit window on both units: We would need to reduce the width and height significantly to clear the ladder and customer bicycles installed on the bike rack.

6) The wheel simulators and nuts seem to be a problem.  The nuts have gotten lost on the road and they cause issues accessing the tire stems.  People are replacing the stems or having to take off the simulators to add/check air pressure:  We would like some clarification on this issue. Do you think the 2 nuts that hold the liners on are not tight to begin with or are the nuts not staying tight? We do provide extensions for the inside duals which should be accessible. The outside dual require a dual head angled air chuck to fill or check tire pressure.  (I sent them information from the group so they could understand the issues)

7) What about factory TPMS from Ford: Not available from Ford on the Transit cutaway chassis.

8) The springs are fully loaded on most of the Units.   We measured all of the units.  Clearances range from 11-14-16 inches depending on year and what suspension mods have been made. We had several (including an 18) with additional leaf springs added and one with Sumos added:  We have evaluated the Sumo Super Springs. The springs raised the rear of the coach about 2 1/2´” At this time the testing required by Ford for Winnebago to install these springs has not been done by Sumo. They are available for a customer to add.

9) The rear bumper is attached to the plywood rear wall.   Lots of damage is caused when bumped like a bumper:  We will look into this issue.

10) What about replacing the bathroom door in the T with an accordion door.  One person did this and now several others will as well:  We had an accordion door on a rear bath in a past floorplan. Many complaints, we won’t do this change.

11) Have you changed out the drawer latches with heaver duty ones.  There seems to be a mixture depending on what unit is looked at.  We all agree we need the HD latches. We spec out a 10lb latch for large drawers and forward facing drawers.

12). More questions about how to make the Front table on the A model useful with the slide in. We are evaluating this suggestion.

13) Can you change the latch on the Front TV on the A so you can angle it to the couch as opposed to the door. This suggestion is also being evaluated.

14). Richard K.  Has reoriented the seating on his T to open up the front area much more than the default layout.  He posted some pictures you all should look at.   This seemed to be the hit of the show. I couldn’t find the photos. Could you send?  (I sent Richards article in response to this)

15). Still issues with Quality control.   Rust spots in the sink are common:  This issue should go through warranty. I will ask our warranty dept. for the sink warranty claims.

16) The Bents are having problems getting a new bathroom sink (cracked)  and trim for the pop up counter extension from their dealer.  The dealer is saying it is backordered from Winnebago.  Are repair parts backordered? We had a shortage of parts for production. We no longer have a shortage.

17) You would sell a lot of Fuse branded gear if it was available. I will pass this request on to the Marketing dept.

Then we went around the room for Q&A.  We had lots of questions asked and luckily we had a large number of experienced Fuse owners to answer them.   Lots of talk about raising the fuse.  Lots of hints and advice on storage and places to shop.   Just like the facebook group but live and in person.   It really was great.  I stopped taking notes because I became too interested in the discussion.  

After this and lunch we went and looked at everyones Fuses and the mods they had done.

Fuse Smart Car
Smart Car Tow Setup
Fuse 23T storage
23T storage organization
Fuse Slide Out
Slide out decoration

Fuse wheel Stems
Berg Stem Extenders

Fuse HD sewer hose
Wastemaster Premium Sewer hose

The big hit of the walk around was Richards mods to his 23T.  He has rearranged the bench seat to open up the front.  My photos did not do it justice so you can read his article here.

I also measured various Fuses.

Fuse HeightFuse HeightFuse Height

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What are Sumo Springs

Here is an interesting video about Sumo Springs and what they are.     Sumo Springs are from a company called SuperSprings.   This video talks about several of their products so you can see how and why they developed Sumos.

Sumos are just one of the options to increase the rear height to avoid scraping the rear.  Adding additional leaf springs and adding rollers are other options people have come up with to protect the rear end.

Based on conversations with others, the Sumos should add an 1.5 inches of additional clearance.    The model number for the Heavy Duty SumoSprings for the Fuse is SSR-121-54.   List price is approximately $300 though I have seen them as low as $230.  The costs for a set of HD Sumos and have them installed should be less than $500 including a hour or so of labor.  It is a fairly easy modification and those with access to heavy duty jacks and jack stands are able to do it themselves.

If you do not care about the whole SuperSprings line and only want to listen about Sumo Springs, jump to 6:40 in the video.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Generator Noise

I took some time a while back to see what could be done to help quiet the generator.   Most of the noise on mine is mechanical noise from the unit itself.  Remember that I have a Fuse 23A so the generator is mounted underneath, centered at roughly the head of the beds.

I even asked Onan about what could be done. They were up front and said not much since the QG2500 is just noisy.   They said that the best that could be done was to put it in a soundproof box.  That won't happen on the Fuse since there is not an easy way to do it and keep airflow.

QG2500 - copyright Onan

But I did take a look.   Tried a couple of things and found some areas I need to give some more thought to.   I tried to find places where there was metal on metal contact.  I also looked for places where sound could reflect and reverberate.

When I went underneath and looked around I saw a couple of things that were interesting:
  • The generator is in its container with some soundproofing inside, but mounted to the motorhome without any isolation pads that I could see.
  • The cooling appears to be from the front panel and blows through and straight down coming out near where the exhaust comes out.  A huge amount of noise comes with this.  I am pretty sure the noise is bouncing back up.  
    QG2500 Air flow
  • Above the generator is a metal plate.   There is a 6-8 inch air gap between the top of the generator and this plate.
  • To the passenger side is a metal panel.  This appears to be the rear of the storage compartment.  There is an I beam above this space.
  • To the rear (or the generators front) is the black tank
  • There is no undercoating apparent.
  • Where the exhaust comes through the generator mount is very tight.  On my unit the exhaust and exhaust clamp touches the mount.   This is an issue.
    Exhaust routing
So I took some time and tried to attenuate the sound.   I was concerned about affecting air flow, so I was rather careful.  I tried a couple of things:
  • I applied some 80 mil Dynamat (actually Noico Sound deadening mat) to some of the surfaces around the generator.
    • I put some on the metal pan above the generator.   This appears to be part of the subfloor so doing anything here could quiet sounds getting into the living space.  
      Dynamat above Generator
    • I put some on the metal that makes the back of the lower passenger storage compartment. from the generator.  It was a large flat surface and had some vibration.  In this case there was still vibration afterward.  This area is just not stiff enough not to move.  Some foam is needed behind the metal inside the storage compartment.    
    • I put some on the black tank surfaces facing the generator.  
    • I put some on the surface of the I beam, but not in the open area. 
    • I used around 4 sq. ft of the material.  It did seem to make a difference.  Not a difference in how loud, but it made the noise more lower note.
  • I took a good look at the exhaust system.  
    • I followed the heat shield to make sure it was not making contact anywhere (it was not).
    • I looked at the area where the exhaust passed through the generator mount.   This is a huge area for improvement.  The exhaust pipe touches the mount and the pipe clamp touches the generator mount at this point.
    • I put a little exhaust wrap (HM&FC Titanium Exhaust Wrap) in that area to try and get rid of any metal on metal contact.  This helped somewhat.   I need to think about doing some more here.   The exhaust is resting on the mount and I could not get anything under the exhaust pipe.   
Metat on metal contact

So what were the results?   It helped a little but not significantly.   But I do have a couple of more things to look at:

    • Any way to isolate the exhaust from the generator mount.  
    • Move the exhaust clamp next to the generator mount out slightly away from the mount.  Maybe 1/16 -1/8 inch.
    • Foam as opposed to Dynamat in the I-beam void
    • Foam on the back of the lower storage area.  This backs up to the generator space.  The panel still sounds like it reverberates noise from the generator since it is not very stiff. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Back from Colorado

Map Back

After a great couple of days with the Winnebago Fuse Owners Group we headed back home for Tallahassee.   This time we did it a with a little bit more sanity.  We were not going to do it in one big lift, but take several days to go home.

We took off Sunday morning and headed down the road through Denver towards Colorado Springs.  I-25 is a nice road to drive down, but avoiding Denver is probably best.  We thought a Sunday morning through Denver would not be too bad.  Well we did not figure that the Broncos would be playing.   The traffic was standing still.

Once we got past Denver we still had stop and go traffic.  There were several accidents on the road heading South and rubber necking was slowing the flow.  But once we got past that it was a great drive.  The mountains were snow topped off to the West making the scenery really pretty.

Driving through a mountain pass

Once we got to Colorado Springs we headed up into the mountains.   We were going to look into the mountains outside of Ft. Collins but the snow had already started there.  I did not want to learn to drive the Fuse in the snow up in the mountains so we did our sight seeing south.    It was a pretty drive and then we got back on the Interstate.   Headed to Raton, New Mexico.

Driving in New Mexico  

We got to Raton and it was still early in the day so we went on into Texas.  The downside was we were back to heading through the high plains.  Pretty but very monotonous.  We did pass an extinct volcano at Capulin Volcano National Monument.  We were too late for the visitors center, so we just saw it from the road.  

Lily looking out window

We headed for a campground in Dalhart, Texas for the night.  The Corral RV Park.  We pulled in at dark.  The sites were large, flat and for a place to stop for the night it was perfect.   I did not see much since we got there at dark and left at first light.    We were told when we called ahead for the reservation that there was not any cable TV and the nearest OTA TV stations were in Amarillo, 65 miles away.  Well we could not get any TV over the antenna so we watched DirectTVnow streaming over our cellular hotspot.   Worked great and after a couple of hours we went to sleep.

Texas   Wichita Falls Texas Water Tower

We headed on out on Monday morning at first light to see how far we could get through Texas.  Note to others, Texas is a large state and making it through in a day is pushing it.  I figured we could make Dallas easily and we would try to find a campground just the other side.    We we drove through Amarillo to Wichita Falls and then south to Dallas.  The roads were great and there were no issues with driving.

We ran into a delay just north of Dallas.  We stopped to fill-up and the diesel nozzle got stuck in the Easy-Fill cap.  I could not get it out.    I wound up having to break the tabs and take it apart.   After 20 minutes we were able to get disconnected from the pump and we went on our way.  Just to hit 5 o'clock traffic in Dallas.  That was the most stressful driving the entire trip.

We made it safely outside of Dallas and headed down I-20 to our stop that night in Terrell TX at the Bluebonnet Ridge RV Park.  We actually stopped before sundown and picked up a couple of steaks along the way.  We had a wonderful meal and then settled down for the evening.  

And then it happened, our first breakage during the trip and the first real issue since we have owned the Fuse.  We lost our Automatic Transfer Switch.  The magic smoke left the device.  No electricity from the 110v connection to campground.  Just battery power.  Well it was a little humid and I wanted the Air Conditioner, but we survived with just fans.  Just like boon docking for $40.00 a night.   At least the bathrooms were nice and lots of hot water.

Well with no shore power it was time to end the trip.  So Tuesday would be a longer run back to Tallahassee.  

Mississippi River at Vicksburg

Started mid morning and ran through some of the heaviest rains I had seen in a long time.  We drove through Shreveport, Monroe, Vicksburg, and got off of I-20 in Jackson, MS.  The roads were fine in Texas and Louisiana but once we hit Mississippi they got bad.  Bump after bump and/or bump.  We were hoping that this was going to be restricted to the Interstate, but once we got onto US-49 it did not change.  We went down 49 and then onto US-98 into Mobile, Alabama.  Once we got into Alabama the roads got nice again.

Well we drive through Mobile and got onto I-10 and headed for home.   We took our time :-) and got home a little before midnight.

The stats for the entire trip were 3450 miles from beginning to end.  Our average speed was between 70-75 mph and we got 12.5mpg.   I was not as happy with the milage but given some of our speeds, I understand.  We were back to 15mpg once we got back in Florida and ran our normal 69-70mph.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bluebonnet Ridge Campground

Bluebonnet Ridge Campground

On the way home from the Fall 2017 Get Together in Ft. Collins we stopped for the night at the Bluebonnet Ridge Campground in Terrell, Texas.

This park is just off of I-20 about 30 minutes East of Dallas.  For us, it was perfect since we had just gone through 5:00 traffic in Dallas and that was enough stress for the evening.

Bluebonnet Ridge campsite

This is a very nice luxury campground.  It appeared that over half of the units that were parked here were here for the season.  It must be popular, since they were adding additional spaces as you enter the park.

Bluebonnet Ridge Office

We pulled in after the office had closed and our information packet was on the bulletin board at the office door.  It was easy to find our spot and we set up camp. The place was immaculate.  Everything was clean and orderly.

Bluebonnet Ridge Campground

There was one downside.  No open fires or grilling.  I had picked up some steaks along the way and was counting on grilling out.  They did have an accommodation.  There is a community propane webber grill at the clubhouse.  So off I went and grilled our steaks.

Bluebonnet Ridge office

The showers were in the office building.  Unlike some we have been, they were both heated and cooled.  Important for the heat and humidity in the south if you are looking for a nice experience.  The building also had an interior club area and a covered patio next to the pool.

The other thing about the campground.  There is a Buc-ees truck stop just a couple exits to the West.

A note from one of the other campers:  This is a good location to stay at when visiting the Texas State Fair and other Dallas - Ft. Worth locales.  Easy access to the interstate, but peacefully quiet.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fort Collins/Lakeside KOA

Ft. Collins Lakeside KOA

We held the Fall 2017 Fuse Get Together at the Ft. Collins/Lakeside KOA.   It was a very nice facility.

It is just outside Ft. Collins and from the Interstate you travel through town to get there.  Don't let the road to the entrance fool you.  You drive through an industrial area getting there that might turn you off, but once you go through the gate you are in a different world.

Ft Collins Lakeside KOA Main Building

It is as well done as any campground we have been to.  A large building right up front is the office, some bathrooms, a laundry center, and the meeting rooms.   The bathrooms were clean large and nice.  Everything else is what you would expect.

Row of Fuses

Behind the office are the camping spots.  The majority of the sites are pull through, but there a couple of back-ins.  They were nice and level with all of the hookups and Cable TV.

Ft Collins Lakeside KOA Bath House

In addition there are a couple of bath house buildings on either side of the park.  These were nice as well, but not quite as nice as the one in the main building.  The showers were all a good size and plenty of hot water.

Ft Collins Lakeside KOA DocksFt Collins KOA playground

This is a destination park.  It sits on a lake with a nice walking trail.  Catch and release fishing.  Docks for water sports.  A small baseball diamond, shuffleboard, playground and both a pool and water area for small children.

Ft Collins Lakeside KOA meeting room

The meeting room was great with a kitchen and plenty of space.  We were worried about the weather so we wanted to make sure we were inside.  Cost to use the meeting room and kitchen for the weekend was nominal and well worth it.

Ft Collins KOA Pavilion

If you wanted to do an event outside there was also a large outdoor pavilion.