Friday, October 5, 2018

Iowa Back to Tallahassee

Compact Coach Rally Fuse

After a super enjoyable Compact Coach Rally we headed back to Tallahassee on Sunday.   We had a great time, made some good friends and saw old ones.  If you are able to attend a rally at the Winnebago Factory, go.  Winnebago is a great host.  So with some sadness we had to head back home.

Iowa Farm

We headed back south.  We got off late.  We slept in late and then dumped tanks at the rally grounds.   Then we headed on our way.   The weather was 40 degrees, windy and overcast.  Perfect vacation weather for a couple of folks from Florida looking for Fall.

Being so close to the Minnesota border we had to go and check it out.  So our first stop of the morning was the Minnesota Welcome Center on I-35. About 15 minutes North of the exit going to Forest City.   We made our pit stop and Lily got to play with some children there.

Then we headed South.  Well South-East.  Over to Cedar Rapids and then South to St. Louis.   Once we started heading south the weather cleared and warmed up.  But we ran into a slowdown, or actually a stoppage.  The highway was closed since a semi overturned with 6500 gallons of ethanol.   So we had an hour detour around the accident.  Then we continued south and through St. Louis in the dark.  And over to our stop for the day.  The Archway RV park in Mt. Vernon, IL.

The Archway RV park is located just south of the Intersection of I-64 and I-57.  It was nice and clean and the staff was very friendly.  The bathrooms were big and there was plenty of hot water.  We got in late, but it was a great place to spend the night.  The exit it was located at had plenty of amenities including a Walmart.  So we re-stocked on groceries so we could make it the rest of the way home.

The next morning we headed on south.  Our destination was somewhere around Huntsville, AL.  Like most trips we are on, we plan as we go.  So we headed south.  As we headed south we saw in the facebook group a mention of a possible rally site in Bowling Green, KY.    That was only 30-45 min out of the way so a small correction in our course.  Instead of heading directly for Nashville and then Huntsville we would go by way of Bowling Green.

Bowling Green KOA Bowling Green KOA Conference Center
Bowling Green KOA Sites

We stopped at the Bowling Green KOA and looked around.  I think Rebecca Harris found us a winner for the next Get Together.   There is a Cabellas about a mile down the road and I got another gray Cabella's T-Shirt to add to my collection and then we headed for Huntsville.

Quail Creek Golf Campsite

Quail Creek Golf bath houseQuail Creek Golf bathroom

Well we stopped at a RV park just south of Huntsville called Quail Creek Golf and Conference Center.   Located in Falkville, AL, this was very nice but kind of quirky.  Perfect for us.  It is located at a golf course several miles in the country.  It looks like someone with a farm built themselves a golf course and then opened it up to the public.  Really nice with maybe 30 sites and it looks like it is expanding.   They were designed for big class A's or large fifth wheels.  I think we could have easily fit 2 Fuses on the site.  There were three really large bathrooms that were super clean.  Definitely on the stop again list.

The next morning we headed for Tallahassee.  Pretty uneventful.  We made it home at dinner time.  The weather was a little better than when we left - 93 degrees and 90 percent humidity.  A far cry from Iowa.

So for the trip we did 2,750 miles.  195 Gallons of diesel and an average of 14.1miles per gallon.  The best leg was 16.6mpg and the worst was 13.0mpg.   We also used 2 gallons of LP gas.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tallahassee to Forrest City

Fuse on the Road

Well we were super excited to go to the Compact Coach Rally at the Winnebago factory in Forrest City, IA.  Super excited so we hit the road on Tuesday morning to leave Tallahassee for the 18+- hour drive.

The first leg we planned out was to go from Tallahassee, FL to Clarksville, Tn.   West bound and down I-10 to Cottondale, FL and on to US-231.    Head north up 231 to Montgomery, AL and hit the Interstate system.  Up I-65 to Nashville and then on to I-24 to Clarksville.   Well that was the plan at least.  Mileage through Florida and Alabama averaged 16.1mpg.  This was driving roughly 2 mph over the speed limit whatever it was.  The Fuse likes going up US-231 at 65 averaging 16.6mpg on that stretch.   The part up I-65 only got 14mpg.

Well the plan was good until we got outside of Nashville.  Apple Maps directed us around the city on I-840 to I-40 and then on some small country roads up to Clarksville.   Well on one of the small country roads there was an accident and traffic was stopped. We got to do a 3 point turn (well actually it worked out to a 4 point turn) on a little two lane road to turn around and then be redirected on to some even smaller two lane roads to get to Clarksville.   Cost us about an hour of waiting and redirecting, but we got to our destination.  The Clarksville RV Park and Campground.

Clarksville RV Park SignClarksville RV Park

Beagle Bus at Clarksville RV Park

It was a good place to spend the night.  I would have liked to have seen more of it, but we got there at dark and did not see much.  The site was level, we plugged in and went to bed.

On Wednesday we drove from Clarksville to Urbana, IA.  Urbana being a few miles north of Cedar Rapids.   This was a pretty easy drive.  All Interstates and 4 lane highways.   But one downside.  I drove a little faster and we had a little headwind when we started pressing west.   On Wednesday our average mileage was 14mpg.   Not good, but we made good time.

To reaffirm my faith in Walmart we needed some DEF at around 20,000 miles and though I don't remember which town we stopped in, I hit a Walmart on the way and got some DEF.   I had to get the BlueTech DEF as opposed to the Walmart house brand, but it was there.    A new tip,  in Apple Maps on my iPhone,  type in Walmart in the search field and it will show you all of the Walmart's in the area.

LaZY Acres RV Park SignLazy Acres RV Park

Beagle Bus at Lazy Acres RV Park

We wrapped up the day staying at the Lazy Acres RV Park.  This was a really nice park.  Made it with plenty of time before dark and we had a relaxing evening.  We were officially up north.  We were able to sleep with the windows open, needed our jackets and had to kick on the heater in the morning to warm up the Fuse.

Iowa Fields

Thursday we got up early since we wanted to be in Forrest City by 9:30 am.   Lichtsinn RV was putting a day of pre-rally tech sessions and I did not want to miss anything.   So up and off before sunrise.  We pulled into the Lichtsinn parking lot around 9:45 and got oriented.  This segment and 100 miles from the day before got 14.1mpg running at 70-75mph.

I was really concerned about our LP situation.  We had 1/2 a tank because I did not fill up before we left home. The forecast called for freezing temperatures on Saturday morning and cold temperatures (at least for a Florida couple) the rest of the time.   Lichtsinn sent us up to the local Farmers Co-op down the street and we topped off with 3 gallons.

Around 10:00 we made it to the Winnebago Rally grounds and checked in.   Roughly 1300 miles in 2 full days and 3 hours.  Mileage only averaged 14.5mpg for these 3 days.  It was very apparent looking at this that going 75mph is not a great speed for fuel consumption.  Those segments running at 65mpg were getting 16mpg.

Another observation is that the winds out West also were impacting our mileage.  In the east I don't think I have ever run into constant 20mph headwinds.  It seemed that there was a constant wind once we crossed the Mississippi.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fall 2018 Ford Tech Session

Fuse - Ford Tech Session

Ford sent Mike Blackner to the Fall 2018 rally to talk to us about the Transit portion of our Fuse.

He reminded us that the warrantee is 5year/100,000 miles on the diesel engine and  5 years/60,000 miles on the transmission and other parts of the powertrain.

Ford Transit Cutaway

The transmission on the Fuse is the same 6 speed transmission on a F-150 pickup truck and there are a huge number of these in service for many years.

He recommended to us that as we are driving that we use the Tow/Haul Mode.  He said that this is a better mode since it delays some of the shifting to create less heat.   It is easier on the transmission with fewer gear shifts.  Works better going up and down hills but no real difference on flat ground.  Reason that it is not on by default is that is is not quite as fuel efficient.

He talked about new things Ford is looking at for 2020 and asked what we thought was most important.  The things that Ford was looking at was Hybrid electric vehicles, Swivel Seats, 360 degree cameras, TPMS for all 6 wheels and high power inverter/alternator setups.    I think that the consensus from the group was TMPS and the swivel front seat would help us the most.

We also brought up my EZ-Fuel issue where some nozzles have gotten caught in the anti-siphon mechanism.  He took the question on if there was a tool or something that would make recoverable without having to break something.

There was a question on integrating the Ford sound system with the Winnebago Sound system so people could use their Sirrus/XM with the cabin speakers.

There was a question about using the Ford display for the GPS with the backup camera so we did not need the backup display Winnebago attaches to the windshield.

As they get answers back to us, we will post them to the facebook group.

There was a question on the wheel covers which is a Winnebago question since they supply the covers, not Ford.

We also asked about Ford doing more with the dealers to encourage them to work on RVs.  Mike pointed out the web site but we let him know it seems to be out of date and not as accurate as it could be.

There was a lot of other discussion so if I missed something in the notes it is me.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fall 2018 Winnebago Tech Session

Fuse Tech Talk 23F tour

Had a great Technical session at the Fall 2018 Compact Coach Rally/Get together.

Lee, Mike, and Anthony from the Winnebago Team answered a bunch of questions for the group and Chris from the Travato line answered a bunch of questions on Lithium batteries.   I am not doing them justice but here is what I captured.

On Lithium batteries.  In the Travato line, the lithium battery setup is 8.7 kilowatt hours of storage.    It is a 48volt system that includes a 3.6Kilowat inverter (30 amps 110v), a DC-DC converter to convert from 48v to 12v and a second alternator on the Travato engine.  Winnebago is trying to determine the demand for a setup like this in the Fuse.  Question is how many people would buy this given the price in the Travato is $20,000.   They are thinking on drop in replacement replacements for the existing 12v batteries that would greatly increase the storage capacity of the batteries, but would only cost $2,000.   They did say that the second alternator on the Travato can charge that huge battery bank in 1 hour and 20min.

Air Conditioner - They have found a much quieter Air Conditioner for the Fuse.  A RVP 13.5 ductless unit.   It should be starting to be used in new units in the next couple of months.   It will come equipped with the chill grill functionality and with this unit it will be possible to put the thermostat on a wall plate though they have not decided it they are going to do this.    It is a new unit and should be able to be retrofitted to older Fuses.

Generator -  Onan is working on a new generator.  Probably available in the next year or so.  Winnebago has added isolators and a new bracket to the later Fuses that helps with vibration noise some.   I got to see the installation on the factory line and it seems much better that the original installations.

Compressor refrigerator -  They have shifted to the Danby 110v units on the latest fuses.  They used Novacool and NorCold units in a few 2018.5 units but moved to the Danby since it was less expensive an gave similar performance.  Downside is that you need the inverter on for it to work.   Winnebago did test this configuration on the Fuse and the Danby ran almost 48 hours on just battery.

Stabalizers vs levelers.   There was a question about did anyone know of a source for levelers for the Fuse.  No one has found one that works on the Transit.  Some discussion about the rear levelers came into play.  The comment was that the stabilizers took play out of the springs when deployed which seemed to equal maybe an inch of movement.  

Bike rack on the hitch.  How much weight could the hitch safely hold given the cantilever forces when you put a bike rack on the hitch.  No real answer since some real engineering would be required.  One of the folks who was present has done something similar for a storage container but they added some braces from the bumper attachments to add strength/take part of the load.

There was a request for the bedroom TV bracket to be able to move so change the TV orientation.

There was some discussion about making the bathroom sink more usable.  Maybe with a larger sink or a different fixture.  A user has done a mod accomplishing this.  Says it made a huge difference with just a little help.

We asked about the improving the mattresses .

We brought to Winnebagos attention the continuing problems with the ATS, break lights with bad LEDs, water in the backup lights, water getting into the outside compartments.  We also brought up some of the window and roof leaks.

The last thing we brought up with Winnebago was the front table in the A not being usable when the slide is in.  Winnebago showed us a concept that seems would fix the problem.  A very unique idea. (Basically the table bracket would attach to the front of the sofa.)

We then got a tour of the new 23F View they had been brought over to the site to show us.  Next to it was a cut away transit straight from Ford.

2019 Fuse(Y2) changes

Winnebago supplied us with the list of changes for the 2019(Y2) Fuse lineup:

Model Line-up

  • 423A - Carryover, 4/6/18
  • 423T - Carryover, 7/9/18
  • 423F - New, 8/13/18

New Standard Features for Y2
  • New wrap around cab window privacy curtain.  Drop the Covercraft folding window blinds
                                         Wrap around privacy Curtin
  • New lightweight thermoformed construction for all countertops and tables
  • The 423T bed changed to a two piece mattress with a living hinge
  • The standard front TV bracket will hinge on the left side for the 423A & 423F
                                         TV Bracket Change
  • Changed to a water manifold system
  • The optional 1000-watt inverter will be a standard item
  • The DC refrigerators will change to a Danby 110V residential refrigerator
                                         Danby Refrigerator
  • New exterior deluxe graphics design, "Winter Blue"
                                        Winter Blue paint
New Optional Features
  • Optional #41M, Roof Vent, Powered Ventilator Fan, will be a standard Feature
  • Replaced Driftwood woodgrain with Honey Cherry woodgrain

Make sure you understand everything is subject to change without notice.

Transit 350HD Cutaway Photos

Our Fuses are built on the Ford Transit 350HD cutaway van.   Ever wonder what it looks like without the Fuse attached.  Here are some photos I took:

Fuse 23F photos

We were given the opportunity at the Compact Coach rally to see the new Winnebago Fuse 23F coach and get a tour by the designers.   Here are the photos I took