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Technical details and maintenance

If you wonder what are the technical specs of our trailer and what kind of maintenance work is necessary during our trip then this post is for you!

We travel in a white Ford Expedition (2016) and a Salem DBK27 by Forest River (2018). Why I chose this rig? I was thinking a lot about 5th wheelers which are much stable at higher speeds but there is no trunk space for the dog. We also wanted the possibility to easily do excursions or daytrips with the car so a motorhome was excluded for this reason. So we took the car + trailer option. Then I chose the trailer with a big enough size for a bunkbed for the two larger kids, a large enough living room for the baby cot (hence the slideout) and a separate bedroom for us. So I found this layout which is big enough even on a rainy day to survive inside with 3 kids and a dog. The gas grill at the back and the outside kitchen sink comes handy too.

Then I was looking for a towing vehicle with the right specs and the Ford Expedition was shining in this respect with the factory tow package as an extra. 1 out of 10 cars had that feature which includes a larger cooler for the engine, an extra oil cooler for the transmission and the right wiring and controls for the electronic brakes of the trailer.

Buying the car as an European was more difficult than I thought. Many US dealers did not want to do business remotely, some of them did not accept wire transfers so I kept searching and talking to several dealers before finally I found a car in Virginia with the factory tow package and the right internal layout. The buying process was simple, getting the tag was more complicated. If you are in Delaware then it can be easily arranged in person at a DMV but the dealership left us stranded in the process, despite their promise to arrange it.

The detailed technical specifications for the trailer (Sally as the kids call her) is available here.
The detailed technical specifications for the car (Fordy as the kids call her) is available here.

Driving the rig is easier than expected. I guess the weight distribution bars help to keep the trailer stable. The car is very powerful, it accelerates like hell even at higher speeds if needed. Well, it has a 3.5L V6 EcoBoost twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve engine with 365 HP so power is not an issue. It feels safe up until 50-55 miles per hour, above that speed some slow swaying occurs. The big trucks passing us create some movements and stronger wind is also impacting us. Most trailers (especially 5th wheels) are passing us doing 65 or 70 miles but I prefer doing less to be on the safer side.

Fuel consumption is normally 18-19 liters per 100 kms on flat roads at 45 miles an hour. Doing 50 miles per hour means 21-22 liters. Our daily average distance depends more on how much time we stand still. Some days we are passed 3-4 times by the same vehicles and then they stop more often or longer than we do. Hills bring up fuel consumption to 23-25 liters. My guess is that in the Rocky mountains we will see figures near the 30ies.

The list of the maintenance items and work (updated after 9500 kms)

New set of tires for Sally
New batteries for Sally
The main slide's mechanics lubrication
Rubber seals lubrication
Locks lubrication
Right taillights not working, replaced the bulb, then fixed the socket. Now I plan to replace the whole lamp (both taillights) to LED lamps
The main fuse of the inverter gone off (100A), most likely at the bridge breaking the AC
New AC (driver error)
City Water connector ripped off (driver error). The water piping was leaking after this episode but fixing a connector under the bathtub solved the problem
The kitchen hood's fan stopped working, replaced the motor. A painful 58 dollar price for a small 12V motor.
The electric cable of the lighter of the outside grill broke, soldered it in 5 minutes.
The lower side of the awning was very dirty so I washed it. Without a ladder we put the camping table underneeth and in six different positions it worked for the whole awning. Some pain in my shoulders and neck the next day.
The latch fixing the main door in an open position was missing so first we used a rubber band with a hook. In strong winds that was not strong enough so later I bought a metal latch and replaced the broken one.
Flat tire of the trailer, replaced the wheel then bought a new tire
Fordi: new spark plugs and oil/filer change at 145.500km
Sali: when at Burnstick Lake we replaced the old spare wheel with the new tire I bought after the flat tire we noticed that the whole wheel is moving far too much sideways. I started to check youtube videos on how to rebuild bearings on trailers but finally decided to take it to a dealership and have it checked. They checked and greased the bearings and adjusted the brakes, no bearings had to be replaced yet. They said it will be fine till next season. When I told them we are heading to Alaska then we agreed to check it again (and grease the bearings) in October! :) Recommended cycle is 8000 km for this greasing.
Kitchen faucet started to drip at the neck, no way to fix it. Replaced (twice, as the first similar faucet I bought was too tall and did not fit under the kitchen cabinet. Returned to Canadian Tire and bought another one, which fits.)
The door on one of the cabinets got loose and it seems it was broken earlier as the screws holding the door were very loose, was not able to tighten them any more. So I filled the holes with liquid wood and waited a day before reinstalling the door.
The doorhandle on the storage room is not always working, the lock gets stuck in an open position. Lubricated, reinstalled, still no good. Not worth to replace it yet.
Mew propane hoses to connect the tanks (the old ones started to leak, I heard the noise of it. The regulator remained the same but the new hoses were required).
Left rear wheel's bearing broke on Denali Highway, unpaved, 130 miles long road. Replaced the bearing and the whole hub.
Replaced the other three wheel's bearings too, but the hubs and breakes looked fine so kept those on.
Replaced the bathroom's doorhandle, as it fell apart just like the pantry's earlier
Sally (152.000km) full rebuild of the suspension (new axles, new hubs with brakes, new leaf springs
New air filter for Fordi (153.000)
Oil change and tire rotation for Fordy (153.500)
Cleaning of the Throttle Body Control with CRC spray (154.000)
Fordy's water pump gave very worn out noise and we had it replaced (and the belt) at 157494
Sally 2 new tires and an extra rim for spare (2022.12.08. 162.900)
Fordi's right headlamp was way upwards, finally I figured it our how to adjust it. Got waaaay better!
Fresh water tank of Sally sanitized (2022.12.15.)
Roof of Sally resealed (2022.12.16.)
Transmission oil replaced (2023.04.28 168.000km)
Throttle body control replaced (2023.05.02 168.800 km)
Sally: bearings repacked at 169.000km of Fordy, 2023.05.05.)
Oil change and 180k km maintenance/check at Ford Jalbra Puebla (2023.10.15 178.680 km)
Replacement of the first dampers (2023.10.30 178.800 km)
Roof of Sally cleaned and treated with a special chemical to prevent premature wear (2023.11.23.)
Champy (our generator) received an oil change and was prepared for storage while we complete our trip from Puebla to the Yucatan, Guatemala and back via Oaxaca to Puebla.
Fordy oil/filter change and front bumber fix/repaint (2024.01.30. 184.000)
Sally battery connector cleanup, black tank valve replacement (2024.01.30.)

Learn more details, how we prepared for this trip and how we got stuck in Alaska! Read tips on traveling with kids and a dog and enjoy the best (and worst) stories from Montreal to Alaska to Baja California in our ebook!

🇺🇲In English: One Year of Camping - The Guide to Plan Your Escape

🇹🇯In Hungarian: Egy év lakókocsiban - Szökés a szürke hétköznapokból

Posted by divatmotoros 04:46 Archived in Canada Tagged maintenance technical specifications

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