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Old 07-07-2022, 03:02 AM   #1
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Default Maiden Voyage 1200 Miles

One man's recollection of his maiden voyage in a 2002 Roadtrek 190. Be advised that this is a long post

Departed Palmetto Florida on Saturday 6/24 for Cleveland Ohio. The following was done before departing:

Oil and Filter Change
Lube Job
Inspect Brakes
Tire Inspection
Tested chassis battery charging via land line
Tested Generator
Sanitized and Filled Fresh Water Tanks
Filled Van with Petrol - $4.59 per gallon at Sunoco
Set up the OBD2 Bluetooth transmitter and Torque application on the Android phone.

We hit the road at 6:00 AM with good weather. There was significant crosswind which required a lot of steering adjustment. I was not used to that, and at first I thought I had some issues with my steering and or suspension components. This had me concerned because the driving experience was not pleasant and relaxed and I was worried that something was going to break down on me. This was the case all the way thru Florida - Interstate 75 to US 301 to Interstate 10 to Interstate 295 to Interstate 95. We reached the Georgia state line at 10:30 AM which I thought was pretty good. We definitely saved time having the toilet on board. We crossed into South Carolina around 12:45 and exited for our first petrol stop at the first exit we came to.

According to the Torque app my average MPG at this time was 16.5 MPG which I was happy with. I had been driving at speeds ranging between 62 and 67 MPH and watching my real time MPG on the app trying to keep good numbers in place. I think it is best between 62 and 65 MPH which is a pretty light foot on the accelerator pedal. Now I know why the RVs are usually in the right hand lane getting passed up by everyone. I enjoyed the laid back ride and had no issues getting passed up and receiving an occasional middle digit salute.

I also noticed that once we entered South Carolina the van started driving better with regards to the steering. It started driving like a normal van and did not require all of the constant steering adjustments. I am chalking it up to there being less crosswind as that is the only thing that makes sense to me. Whatever happened it was much better and driving it was nice. That took some worry out of my mind.

I am not certain as to the time that we crossed the North Carolina state line, but the traffic around Charlotte was significant as that area is pretty dense all the way up past Lake Norman. No issues with the van and once we got North of Statesville the traffic lightened up. The coolant temp never exceeded 204 degrees and I was now averaging well over 17 MPG according to the OBD2. This was good and I kept driving with the light foot to conserve petrol.

When we neared Mount Airy the hills started coming into play and I knew this would take a bite out of my MPG numbers. I made the mistake of trying to climb the long grades using my lightfoot method which had been serving me so well to this point and ran into a situation where I could not accelerate past 50 MPH no matter how much I pressed the accelerator. I thought I had damaged something in the transmission or something due to the fact that I was hauling 8400 LBS up a mountain. I was really concerned at this point.

We reached our destination in Virginia and there was one nice level spot in the place - and there was another Roadtrek parked there. I went to another spot which I thought would work, but no go in my mind. My wife's mind was not thinking like my mind but I decided to head back on the road and hit the second rest area in Virginia that I was fairly certain existed. My wife was pretty unhappy with me by this time, but she knows how I am and just let me go with it. She is a saint. About an hour later we pulled into the second Virginia rest area. It was hot outside and pretty uncomfortable, but knowing that we had the generator and the fan made things ok. I shut the van down and went to start the generator to get the AC working and the generator would not start. It did not even turn over. Come to find out that the house battery was completely dead, and that is needed to start the genny. We had the fridge on DC while we were driving and it must have killed it - which should not have been the case as that is standard operating procedure and the main reason why there is DC operating mode - to keep it running while you are driving. Well, whatever the case, the only thing we had was a slow fan and dim lights. I was hot,uncomfortable, and worried about my transmission and I could not sleep due to nervous energy. After a half hour I fired up the van and left the rest area. I let my wife stay in the bed to sleep and I hit the road in the dark with tired eyes and nervous energy. Very poor and unsafe decisions on my part and I realized this after a few minutes of driving, however, I had to make it to the next exit to get off the highway The one thing I did do was use the cruise control on the final long grade out of Virginia. The van pulled nice and steady with no issues, and I realized that it is not possible to pussyfoot the gas pedal up hills in a heavy vehicle. That eased my mind considerably and I was good and pulled into the first West Virginia rest area we came across. I was expecting the worst considering how the past few hours had gone, but was pleasantly surprised by a nice clean parking area that had a few other RVs there as well. By this time the temperature had cooled down as well so the AC was not needed and the slow fan worked for us. I slept on the floor on my Thermarest pad which as actually not too bad (I am a backpacker however, and my definition of bad may differ from others). We slept pretty good except for the occasional truck and/or people arriving and talking and so on. I plan on staying there on our next trip if we go that way.

In the morning I thought it a good idea to check my coolant and oil levels. Coolant was good but the oil was almost to the low mark on the dipstick.This concerned me in that I put in the 5 quarts that the owner's manual dictated prior to departing and it read full. However, I did notice that the previous owner and written "6 QTS" in white paint in the engine compartment. I ignored that and now I believe that was correct as it compensated for the oil filter being changed. I went over to the fuel bowser to check if I could buy some oil to get the level up to snuff, and believe it or not they had the exact oil I needed - Mobil One Synthetic 5W-30. The price, however, was not what I needed - $21.00 a quart. I knew I was going to take it up the highway getting oil at a rest area, however, I did not think that far up the highway. Regardless, I bought it and topped it off and hit the road.

The ride from that point to Ohio was pretty uneventful which was great. No issues and the van performed as intended. We stopped for petrol at a station midway between Charleston and Marietta. There was a nice little fenced in dog park there so we let our dog Winston run around while we ate some grub from Mc Donalds. Arrived in Cleveland about four hours later and I checked the oil level - spot on from where it was when we left West Virginia earlier that day. Our average MPG according to the OBD2 was 19.5. I had a hard time believing that, but I checked the numbers from my travel/fuel log and I came up with 18.5 so who knows. Regardless it could have been much worse as our total bill for petrol was approximately $340.00 for 1200 plus miles of travel.

Overall it was a good experience with the exception of the electrical issues, me worrying myself by light footing the van up the steep grades, and making a poor decision to drive with my wife sleeping and having tired eyes. I was glad to make it without any major issues or mechanical failures. It was great to just stop and crash for the night in our Motel on Wheels, which is now parked at home in Cleveland and ready for the dumping station which incidentally is located in my driveway!
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Old 07-07-2022, 04:15 AM   #2
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Nice.


only experience can help you get set up for hill climbing. I find that after the chev shifts from OD to 3rd If I shift to 3rd I can better manage my pull. this keeps the tranny from trying to shift to OD and loosing momentum, then the tranny starts hunting.


I too am ok not being the fastest guy on the road, some guys around here drive like gas is free. Too young to remember the embargo I suppose.


BTW last trip we spent a couple nights at Cuyahoga County fairgrounds. shore power, restrooms no showers. cheap



cheers, mike
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Old 07-07-2022, 11:28 AM   #3
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Some comments after a quick read of the first post.

As discussed in your other thread, wind push is in all the vans unless they have been modded a bit. Some people are more sensitive to it (like me) and others are not bothered. Most of the information on this forum is for the latest Chevies from 2003 up, but Markopolo has put up quite a bit on the previous version. The principles are the same, but the parts are different.

The generator probably would have started if you had the engine of the van on as then the coach should be seeing power from the engine alternator and the starting battery. If you don't get power from the engine to the coach, you probably have a bad isolator or one of the circuit breakers in the line has failed (there are normally two breakers, on on each end of the cable).

There is also the question of why the coach battery went dead in the first place. As described above the van engine should have been powering the frig on DC while driving. That would be a second reason to believe the isolator or breakers are not working.

If the van pulled the hills OK when on cruise control, but not when on foot pedal, you most likely have a floor mat interfering with the pedal going all the way to wide open, the cable is sticking, or out of adjustment. If your Torque monitor has it, take a look at the throttle position sensor (TPS) reading with the pedal on the floor. It should read 100%. The Chevies will tend to downshift someplace in the 90-95% range in most vehicles. If the Torque monitor has it keep and eye on the transmission temps. If it gets to the 245*+ temp the trans will likely go into overheat mode, which locks the lockup converter all the time and the van will seem very low powered.

I lightfoot the hills all the time our van, allowing the van to lose some speed going up hills to prevent downshifts. I even reprogrammed the transmission shift points to allow more speed loss before downshifts. If I am holding up traffic or lugging the engine, I manually downshift. Yours not downshifting is unusual I think as most people complain that they are "shift happy" and downshift too soon, me included. You probably have a 5.7 engine in a 2002 van so we would have more power with our 6.0, which probably also makes a difference in the hills.
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Old 07-08-2022, 02:58 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback. Couple of questions..
Does my theory about the 6 quarts of oil sound correct?
I checked my transmission fluid level cold and it was very high. Wondering if that is part of the issue. That is the only thing I did not check before leaving on my trip.
Also I had some water dripping from the hole in the bell housing cover

Thanks
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Old 07-08-2022, 07:22 AM   #5
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in most of my vehicles the automatic transmission is checked warm, I also shift from R to D and couple of times to ensure that all the passages have fluid in them...then check the pan with the dipstick


for oil level, I check the dipstick. rather than the specs in the manual, that way you know you are correct no matter the capacity of the oil filter or an added oil cooler or etc. ( for years I used the AC Delco PF35L filter which was about 3x the capacity of some of the smaller filters we see today)





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Old 07-08-2022, 10:52 AM   #6
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Checking the oil cold will commonly give you a bit higher reading on the stick than hot, engine off for a minute or two, due to drainback time in the engine delaying the oil getting back to the pan in most of the engines I have had. I usually check cold as it is the most consistent. Your theory is likely correct, they used to give capacity as an amount plus an amount for if the filter is changed. Now most have the filter capacity included in the total as change intervals are longer and need the filter done every time.


Checking the transmission cold isn't the best idea as the level changes a lot with temp. They do show hot and cold ranges on the stick, though.



The Chevy van trans level check is notoriously hard to do and get an accurate reading because the oil gets dragged up the tube when you pull the stick to wipe it off and redeposits all over the stick when you push it back in to get the reading, messing up trying to read the level.


One way I have found is to pull the stick out a couple of inches with the engine hot and let it run for 5 minutes. This will give the oil time to come off the stick before you pull it out so it doesn't mess up the reading by getting all over the inside of the tube. Push the stick back down in with engine still running and then pull it out and check it without wiping it off.



Water dripping out of the drain hole in the inspection cover is odd as there is really now coolant in that area unless the head gaskets leak. Could you tell if it was clear water or coolant? That would tell you a lot. It could be if it was humid and a cool morning you might just have had condensation on the engine that ran down the back of the engine, but I have never seen it actually come out of that hole. The fact that it was dripping in the morning would kind of make me think it wouldn't be coolant as the engine was off a long time, but not certain on that. I would keep an eye on the coolant level and also watch to see if it drips all the time or not.
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Old 07-09-2022, 04:03 AM   #7
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I will add that I determined that there is a leak in the rubber gasket on the passenger side where the fiberglass top meets the van top. It was leaking to the extent that the carpet was wet along the edge of the plastic foot well and the foot well was puddled with water as well. The head liner was wet in the corner where the windshield meets the door frame.

So there is water getting in there, which caused a large puddle underneath the passenger side door. The water was dripping from the bottom of the shock mount. I am now thinking that the water leak - the van was sitting out in a heavy rain - may have caused some water to travel down and drip from that hole. It was not coolant nor oil as there was no pink color when I tested with a paper towel, and no stain after it all dried up. No smell to it at all.

What do you guys suggest be used to seal up the rubber gasket? There is already a bunch of silicone in both windshield corners so there were previous issues. Wondering whether I should remove all of it and start from scratch to seal it up, or just add a bit more to the problem spot to stop the leaks. It looks like a complete amateur did the job and it looks like crap, but I do not want to open up a big can of worms when I can just add a bit more sealer to fix it and be done.

I have done a lot of this stuff on previous vehicles and know what is involved, but if you can advise on good products to use that could help me out.

Gonna go out and tackle this tomorrow morning, as well as trying to get to the bottom of the trans fluid level checking. The fluid looks to be fine and I never really fool with the transmission, but I also do not want to have a situation where there is too much fluid in there because an uneducated previous owner made a mistake.

I will say that when I checked the trans cold it was 2 inches up the stick way above the hot area.
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Old 07-12-2022, 01:53 AM   #8
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Water dripping out of the drain hole in the inspection cover is odd as there is really now coolant in that area unless the head gaskets leak. Could you tell if it was clear water or coolant? That would tell you a lot. It could be if it was humid and a cool morning you might just have had condensation on the engine that ran down the back of the engine, but I have never seen it actually come out of that hole. The fact that it was dripping in the morning would kind of make me think it wouldn't be coolant as the engine was off a long time, but not certain on that. I would keep an eye on the coolant level and also watch to see if it drips all the time or not.
Seems to be coolant - as it stains the driveway temporarily but eventually disappears. If it were oil it would leave some staining. It is not just water. Looks like there is a leak coming from above the sparkplug area and dripping down finding its way to the hole in the flywheel cover. Oils is fine as is the coolant. Wondering if it is the intake manifold leak that is often discussed pertaining to the 5.7 engine. Going to take off the engine cover in the van and have a look. The amount leaking is not massive and the level in the overflow reservoir dropped a tiny bit. However, I plan on going to Idaho in about a month so I have to get this figured out. I would think any mechanic could do the job as there is no lift involved.

Van drives great and no overheating
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Old 07-12-2022, 02:00 AM   #9
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Seems to be coolant - as it stains the driveway temporarily but eventually disappears. If it were oil it would leave some staining. It is not just water. Looks like there is a leak coming from above the sparkplug area and dripping down finding its way to the hole in the flywheel cover. Oils is fine as is the coolant. Wondering if it is the intake manifold leak that is often discussed pertaining to the 5.7 engine. Going to take off the engine cover in the van and have a look. The amount leaking is not massive and the level in the overflow reservoir dropped a tiny bit. However, I plan on going to Idaho in about a month so I have to get this figured out. I would think any mechanic could do the job as there is no lift involved.

Van drives great and no overheating

IMO you are on the right track. The rear intake leaks of coolant are pretty common and will run down the back of the engine and into the bell housing. Not a real simple repair in a van, but not horrible, and should be able to be fixed with a new intake gasket.
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Old 07-12-2022, 11:26 AM   #10
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Quick observation - I took the van for an hour ride yesterday and after sitting overnight there is no spot on the ground. When I idled the van in the driveway for a bit the spot was there the next day. My guess is that the small amount of coolant that is leaking gets burned off while driving and any residual burns off as well from the hot engine. When idling in the driveway this does not occur and the coolant is not getting burned off to the extent while driving. Regardless, whatever it is needs to be addressed.
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Old 07-12-2022, 11:44 AM   #11
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Quick observation - I took the van for an hour ride yesterday and after sitting overnight there is no spot on the ground. When I idled the van in the driveway for a bit the spot was there the next day. My guess is that the small amount of coolant that is leaking gets burned off while driving and any residual burns off as well from the hot engine. When idling in the driveway this does not occur and the coolant is not getting burned off to the extent while driving. Regardless, whatever it is needs to be addressed.

That is possible, but it could only be leaking when the engine is cold. With aluminum heads, iron block, and plastic intake manifold, things expand and contract at very different rates based on temperature. That makes them tough to seal.


You might be able to see the rear of the intake manifold with the doghouse off although it may still require using a mirror. Always good to confirm.
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Old 07-12-2022, 01:54 PM   #12
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try using a black light to confirm ?
you can add dye to coolant.



this time of year A/C condensate pours off my cars after a drive


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Old 07-14-2022, 04:23 PM   #13
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I am very interested in your MPG, I have never gotten over 14.5 on my 2000 190V Dodge. I consider myself a light foot and am happy to climb big hills at semi speed....
On a recent trip to Maine I got 13.25-13.5 mpg.
Is your odomenter in KM's? .6213 to the mile? I use an app on my phone to conver the KM's to Mi...then divide by gallons.
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Old 07-14-2022, 06:38 PM   #14
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like my Dad I used to log gas stops and consumption - I still do in my head.

( I bought a '53 Harley out of a barn in the 80's it had the same kind of notebook in the saddlebag...every fuel stop, oil and service).


fuel consumption and a change in fuel consumption ( and/or emissions) can indicate mechanical issues with the motor


the easiest quickest way is to get an OBD dongle and run an app on your phone which may give you fuel economy- I generally have a page where I see instant MPG and calculated average, there are other parameters which can be monitored but staring at pounds per minute on the fuel rail isn't that useful


octane- most run great on 87 octane fuel- I see a marked decrease on colorado's 85 octane. the ECM can't advance the spark timing as far with 85.
I see no advantage with 89 over 87- but that is worth checking on your van for a tank or 2
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Old 07-14-2022, 10:12 PM   #15
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I am very interested in your MPG, I have never gotten over 14.5 on my 2000 190V Dodge. I consider myself a light foot and am happy to climb big hills at semi speed....
On a recent trip to Maine I got 13.25-13.5 mpg.
Is your odomenter in KM's? .6213 to the mile? I use an app on my phone to conver the KM's to Mi...then divide by gallons.
I was skeptical about this myself. I use the OBD2 Dongle and monitored it. The final average read 19 MPG - which I could not believe. But my paperwork with the fuel purchases confirmed around 18 ish like I stated. I took my total miles traveled and divided by gallons used. I filled up before I left and figured there was 28.5 gallons in there - 30 gallon tank but I was not sure. After that I just logged my fuel purchased to get my total gallons. My gauge was a bit over a quarter tank when I got home so I estimated I had 5 gallons or so left and calculated off of that. So it could be a bit off but I think I am somewhat in the ballpark. I will say that the engine did seem to run "efficiently" so to speak. Hard to quantify but I know when a vehicle is running really good by how the gas pedal feels. It felt really strong. It could be because it only has 43000 miles on the engine.

Other than that who knows - but since you asked there is my take on it
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Old 07-14-2022, 10:27 PM   #16
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I was skeptical about this myself. I use the OBD2 Dongle and monitored it. The final average read 19 MPG - which I could not believe. But my paperwork with the fuel purchases confirmed around 18 ish like I stated. I took my total miles traveled and divided by gallons used. I filled up before I left and figured there was 28.5 gallons in there - 30 gallon tank but I was not sure. After that I just logged my fuel purchased to get my total gallons. My gauge was a bit over a quarter tank when I got home so I estimated I had 5 gallons or so left and calculated off of that. So it could be a bit off but I think I am somewhat in the ballpark. I will say that the engine did seem to run "efficiently" so to speak. Hard to quantify but I know when a vehicle is running really good by how the gas pedal feels. It felt really strong. It could be because it only has 43000 miles on the engine.

Other than that who knows - but since you asked there is my take on it

Calculating mileage can be a crapshoot, IMO. The best and most accurate way I have found is to fill up before leaving and set a trip odometer on the van to zero. Log all you gas purchases for the trip and at the end fill up at the same pump. The more miles you have the more accurate you will be. Calculate the mileage only at the end so all is averaged out. This will be accurate except for the odometer error which may be about 1-2% high and showing better mileage. On the same trip check the odometer against the highway markers to determine accuracy. Most 6.0 Chevies will get 14-17 mpg with the 4 speed trans, and 15-18 with the six speed, from what I have seen and heard. The older 5.7 will likely be more in the 13-15 range I think.


Once you have all the accurate numbers vs actual mileage shown, you can either program a Scangauge or app, if it available to do, or modify the results to be more accurate.
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Old 07-14-2022, 11:20 PM   #17
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Most 6.0 Chevies will get 14-17 mpg with the 4 speed trans, and 15-18 with the six speed, from what I have seen and heard. The older 5.7 will likely be more in the 13-15 range I think.
What about the 5.2 with a 4 speed transmission (on the Dodge models)?
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Old 07-14-2022, 11:31 PM   #18
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What about the 5.2 with a 4 speed transmission (on the Dodge models)?

I don't recall information on the Dodges, as my focus is normally on the Chevies. I would expect the 5.2 to be a bit better than the 5.7 Chevy and the 5.9 Dodge to be a bit worse, but that is totally a guess based on engine design as the Dodges and the 5.7 are all from the same time period.
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Old 07-26-2022, 02:01 AM   #19
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try using a black light to confirm ?
you can add dye to coolant.



this time of year A/C condensate pours off my cars after a drive


mike
Lower intake manifold gasket leak - not the plastic one. Took the cover off and found it. Coolant burned off with engine running hence the smell, engine cools down and the leaking begins. The drive from Florida to Ohio definitely made the leak worse as I never saw any evidence on the ground in Florida. Was going to try fixing it myself but am opting out on this one. Hoping for 4-5 hours labor and the gasket - prob $800 or so these days.

Also found out that my isolater was not hooked up. Go figure - The PO had the alternator replaced before I bought it so either he knew the isolater was shot and by passed it - or the installer did not know what was going on and simply bypassed it all. I have 12 volts at the house battery terminal on the isolater with the engine off, but the alternator cable and the chassis cable were fastened together and the special plug was removed from the alternator and the factory one was plugged back in. The yellow exciter wire was still connected to the isolater as was the small red wire from the adapter cable. House battery still connected to the isolater as described above. Circuit breakers all good. Going to test the isolater tomorrow with my ohm meter.

Now I know why my fridge killed the battery
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Old 07-26-2022, 02:40 AM   #20
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cripes.


I started thinking about my isolator, an old sure power 16023 diode type


The 14.7 from the alternator drops to 13.5 due to the diodes


I'm thinking of swapping to a victron FET than should give me near full voltage to the batteries
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