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laurennn

Am I ready? Looking for any and all tips!

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Hello ToyHome folks,

I think I've finally got my 1986 Toyota Mini Cruiser 4cyl 22RE ready to hit the road. 94K miles. I'd like to summarize what I've had done and see if there is anything else those of you with more experience think I should look out for as I prepare to embark on my first long trip with the old girl. Also hoping for wishes of good mechanical juju and maybe even a little encouragement. How far have you driven your ToyHome?

It feels like she's running great now, but I definitely went through the ringer this fall learning about the 22RE and what it feels like to drive a chassis that is a bit overloaded. I drove it around my home state of Maine all fall in hopes that anything that MIGHT go would just die while I'm close to home. Here's what I've had done:

-New alternator

-New cylinder head

-New Gasket kit/thermostat

-New hoses

-New radiator

-New studs in exhaust manifold

-Clutch fan/water pump looking GOOD

-New timing chain

-New house battery with cleaned up charging line

-Transmission fluid checked out, looking good not burnt or off color

-Suspension looked at, looks tight, nothing loose or broken

-LP lines tested, all got the green light with no issues

-Checked the roof and seems, cleaned out any old/failing caulking on the outside and resealed

-Tires on the newer side, good to go with brand new spare on the back

Basically the entire top part of the engine was taken apart and reassembled piece by piece - the mechanic who did the work seemed very confident that there was no evidence of anything bad happening in the lower portion.

I'm hoping to drive it down the east coast to Florida, then if everything is feeling good I'd like to hit Highway 10 from Jacksonville to Phoenix and then up into southern Utah. I picked Highway 10 as I imagine it's probably fairly flat and wont be too hard on my MiniCruiser. Right now I'm beginning to nest in my new home and I just really hope it's up for the trip. Do you put serious miles on your RVs? What are things I should watch out for as I drive to make sure I keep her healthy, happy and hopefully able to get back up to Maine at the end of the winter? 

Now that I've had all this work done, the only thing I'm feeling paranoid about is the tranny. Granted that said, it's not whining or clicking, seems to shift fine, gears don't slip...no evidence of anything wrong here. I've read it's normal for the 22RE to run at high RPMs, that's the only thing that's really made me nervous as I've gotten used to how it feels to drive it/what the engine sounds like...am I right on that?

Some basic driving tips I've pulled from scouring the forum are to never use the overdrive feature, don't push her over 55 and check fluids every day before hitting the road. Any other tips and tricks for getting the best gas mileage? Should I generally avoid big highways and/or long stretches driving at 50-55MPH? On long driving days should I let her rest every couple of hours? When to use gears rather than just letting the auto transmission do it's thang?

I've attached a picture of us so you can put a face to the super excited and somewhat nervous person writing this post! :'D

Thanks in advance for reading, and for any tips or words of encouragement you might post here.

 

LOR n CAMPER.jpg

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Welcome to the tribe!

You need to understand one major thing, your Toy is over 30 years old. You can carefully inspect everything and suffer a problem 100mi down the road, you can inspect nothing beyond what you have done and run for years with no problems. The answer " Just do it". Travel at the speed of smell, enjoy the trip and life. Official old fart expression is to travel the blue line roads. Allow time for "stuff" to happen. You're going to be fueling every 150-200 miles so that will be the rest time for your truck.

Add tire checks to your daily fluid checks. Harbor Freight has a cheap IR temperature checker. While your fueling just walk around and check tire temps. A tire with low pressure will be hotter. After a few checks you will know what normal. The checker is also handy for cooking. 

55-60mph is a happy speed for your rig, it will run faster but the mpg will suffer greatly at 70 mph. O/D only with a good tailwind. Going down the East coast you will have hills to deal with, learn to be proactive with the transmission lever. Going west you will have mountains to deal with, proactive shifting is a must as is proactive braking. The best driving computer in the world is between your ears, THINK ahead about what the road is doing.

If the weather gets bad, just go home, its only 5 ft away. Park safely of course.

Useful information...

Where to dump your holding tanks (free)...https://www.rvdumps.com/

Cheapest gas...https://www.gasbuddy.com/GasPriceMap?z=4

Flattest route...https://rvmiles.com/flattest-route-finder/

Feel free to ask more questions.

Edited by WME

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Welcome aboard! You are spot on about the 4cyl transmissions. They do not have a locking torque converter so when in overdrive the torque converters slip and generate heat. You did not mention what rear axle you have?? And you know about your refrigerator needing to be level? Sounds like you have done some testing and know what the normal sounds should be. I like WME's idea about checking tire temps. Additionally a good pressure gauge is a needed tool. I also like the trucker thump test, a low tire will sound different.

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Additional thought, practice changing a flat tire at home on a solid surface. Learning how to do it on the side of the road in the rain is bad juju. 

This way you will know if you have all the tools too.

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1 hour ago, Gulfstream Greg said:

Welcome aboard! You are spot on about the 4cyl transmissions. They do not have a locking torque converter so when in overdrive the torque converters slip and generate heat. You did not mention what rear axle you have?? And you know about your refrigerator needing to be level? Sounds like you have done some testing and know what the normal sounds should be. I like WME's idea about checking tire temps. Additionally a good pressure gauge is a needed tool. I also like the trucker thump test, a low tire will sound different.

Thank you!! I made sure when I bought the rig that it had the upgraded 6 lug rear axle. 😊

i did not however know about the refirdgeratoe needing to be level! Why is that? Additionally, and I apologize if this is a stupid question but I’m still learning, do you always turn propane off prior to riding? I know the fridge worked but admittedly I have not toyed or experimented with it at all yet ...

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1 hour ago, WME said:

Additional thought, practice changing a flat tire at home on a solid surface. Learning how to do it on the side of the road in the rain is bad juju. 

This way you will know if you have all the tools too.

We are having a rare 50 degree day up here tomorrow, perfect time to practice changing tire in Maine this time of year!! 

Thanks for the tips, checking tire temp is something I definitely did not think of. And I refer to my toyhome as a landship - I’m certainly prepared to take my time. 😄

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15 minutes ago, laurennn said:

Thank you!! I made sure when I bought the rig that it had the upgraded 6 lug rear axle. 😊

i did not however know about the refirdgeratoe needing to be level! Why is that? Additionally, and I apologize if this is a stupid question but I’m still learning, do you always turn propane off prior to riding? I know the fridge worked but admittedly I have not toyed or experimented with it at all yet ...

The manufactures basically say if you are comfortable with the angle the fridge probably is. Some people really don't care if they have to walk sideways from side to side those usually are the ones get into trouble with the fridges. I don't turn the propane off when driving because I have the fridge on gas and want to keep things cool the fridge on DC is an energy hog it's OK driving but not parked. If you park the MH long term yeah it's a good ideal to turn the gas off. Your only about an hour from me I'm near Fryeburg. I was the head of the electronics dept for the Cumberland County PD for 15 years my office was in the jail downtown 50 County Way!

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i would add levels on the frig cabinet & in the cab.  IF you park "unlevel" the process behind the frig can have a blockage - in the worst case it can blow a line & you get the ammonia smell of death - ($$$$ - new frig time).

 

I use the following guidelines - if I have to be stationary for more then 15 minutes and can not get within "one dot" of level I turn the frig off.  No worries while in motion.

Check your flame after being in high winds - they can blow out. 

 

this is what I use:  they stick on.  I got my camper as level as possible - used a big level on the cabinet over the frig to check, then tuck them on.  One set on 2 sides of the cabinet & one set in the cockpit - one on the door and one on dash - I can usually nail it, I carry some woods for the many times where there is no desirable level spot.

I have seen these at most rv stores and at some walmarts.  https://www.amazon.com/Camco-25503-Utility-Trailer-Level/dp/B004ME4MKE/ref=asc_df_B004ME4MKE

 

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What I do is start off by getting the freezer tray level with a small 6 inch level. 
Once that is level then find a surface outside the refer but near that is also level for checking when parking, the sweet spot. Stick on levels are good also. I had some in the cab but found that they were best used to get close then do the final leveling using the the sweet spot inside.
When facing the refer left to right is more important than front to back. 
If possible find a level spot at your house or get the rig level and fire up the refer a day before you are going to leave. Get some empty soda bottles filled with water and freeze them in your home refer and place them in the rv refer when you start it. Cold thermal mass really helps these refers on start up. 
For easy leveling of your rig when traveling consider the lego style leveling blocks. Another item for that I find useful is a set of $10 floor mats from Walmart. Place a mat under the blocks when on hard surfaces and it will help prevent the blocks sliding when you attempt to pull up onto them.
Note that when these refers die because they have been run not level there is no repair. Time for a new refer. Do a test run at home. Once you get it level start it up. Put some drops of water on the freezer tray. After awhile it should start to feel cold to the touch and eventually freeze the water drops. Also note that the older the refer is there is a possibility that the spiral baffle in the chimney degrades, rusts out. The baffle is part of the system that transfers the heat from the flame to the refers tubing. For electric there is a heating element that inserts into a metal tube that is attached to the refers tubing. That array also gets compromised with rust and does not conduct heat as well as it should. So you might find that gas cools better than electric.

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Nice rig, it looks like you've done you research and are on to a good start.  Have you purchased a AAA RV (or similar) membership?  They have many benefits but pay for themselves after even one tow.  If you break down in a toy home and need a tow somewhere it is going to be pricey and difficult to find a truck willing to haul you.  It is always  a good comfort to have a membership if you need it.  

Get out there and have some fun.  Remember that the gift of adventure comes with the cost of obstacles.  Pe prepared to handle them, have a good time, and don't take anything too seriously.  

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5 hours ago, Maineah said:

The manufactures basically say if you are comfortable with the angle the fridge probably is.

Dometic and Norcold say:-

 

 

Dometic leveling - Comfortable to live in.jpg

Norcold N400 - Leveling.jpg

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12 hours ago, Derek up North said:

Dometic and Norcold say:-

 

 

Dometic leveling - Comfortable to live in.jpg

Norcold N400 - Leveling.jpg

That maybe true but how can you determine 3 degrees. Are there any levels that can tell you that, maybe a smart phone app?  Some of these refers are as old as the hills and probably been tortured a bit during their lives and as a result have some solidification already. We replaced the refer in our last toy because unless you were dead on level it did not cool. But back to the 3 degrees, how far is the bubble out of the lines for 3 degrees?

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With a 137" wheelbase MH parked on a perfectly level pad, you'd have to jack the front (or rear) ~7" to get to 3 degrees. Algebra. I think my eyeball could pick that up easily.

I don't know how to measure things in 'bubbles'. :)

Sensitivity and accuracy of the typical stick-on 'levels' from Camping World is a whole other discussion. I know nothing about their specifications. And I doubt Camping World does either.

https://www.leveldevelopments.com/sensitivity-explained/

 

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Wow Derek what a neat find. I searched too and got nothing. You find the best stuff for us

Linda S

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I have an app called "Army Knife" on my android phone with a level. I put a pencil under one edge to get the 3 degrees, not much on the bubble. App was not calibrated though for my phone case.

Screenshot_20190205-123916.png

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Yes the bullseye levels are the winner just put inside the fridge bottom.

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Posted (edited)

Hey laurnnn! I also have an 86. Make sure you have the full floating rear 6 lug axle! I also carry 2 spares 1 for the front with rim and 1 for the rear with its different rim. This forum taught me how to properly drive Grannie. I do use overdrive but only on long flats or downhill. I shift her regularly. When I’m in 3rd and approaching a hill when the rig Just starts to slow down I shift into 2nd. She revs loud but has power! The minute she gains speed I shift into 3rd again. I do this around town also.  This actually results in better gas mileage as it keeps the engine from bogging down! It’s like shifting without a clutch it’s Fun! BTW I’m able to get a solid 15 mpgs driving this way! Welcome!

Edited by markwilliam1
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