2003 After Thoughts

Drop in stove topWind Proof Stove  Since we mainly camp in the desert year around, we've had problems with our Wedgewood drop in stove top in windy conditions.  Atwood Mobile makes a new windproof stove top which they sell to OEM tent trailer manufacturers.  It's model #D-20 WHP, part #52425 and lists out of the factory for $101.14.  The higher pressure of 16 psi and 10,000 btu burners makes this model truly windproof.  The stove came with a special 16 psi regulator.  We tested it in 20mph desert winds and it works great. The stainless steel cover lists for $29.19.  Atwood also offers a stainless cover with fold out wings on the side for additional wind protection, part #53332, $45.76.  They are manufacturered out of the Atwood Tennessee factory and can be ordered direct by calling (615) 643-4556.  Cut out measurements for the stove is 16 3/8"W x 11 5/8"D and the stove sets 3 1/8" below the counter top.
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b160New Axle  After spending over 2 years bouncing around on rough desert roads throughout the southwest, I noticed that the Northern 2000# axle wasn't up to par.  The Northern 2000# axle is fine for street and mild off-road use but obviously wasn't heavy duty enough for our use.  The spindles were bending along with the main axle tube.  The top of the tires were 3/4" out of camber, bent in towards the body! Second dilemma, I wanted to use our new Jeep's spare as a trailer spare too.  It's the same 5 on 4 1/2" bolt pattern but the Jeep's wheels are 8" wide and have 5 1/2" back spacing and they would hit the body.  California law requires trailers weighing over 1500#'s to have brakes. So I ordered a new 3500# axle from Southwest Wheel with 55" spring centers and 71" hub face, which this hub face is a standard stock item and I'd have to weld on the spring seats ($185.00).  I then purchased a 2" wheel spacer from Performance Wheel so the Jeep spare tire will be spaced out far enough from the body.  The 2" wheel spacer also allows the thick extended hub to fit and we'll be able to use Bearing Buddy grease caps. I purchased the stainless steel Bearing Buddy's model #1980A-SS for $18.37 and the special spindle Seal Kit #2 for $12.01 which are designed to keep the grease off the brake shoes. I swapped out the Teardrop's steel modular wheels with junk yard Jeep aluminum wheels ($50 ea.) that were on early Wranglers and Cherokees which has a large hub center hole for the axle spindle.
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Electric brakesElectric Brakes  The 3500# axle has larger electric brakes over the 2000# axle, 10" x 2 1/4" compared to 7 x 1 3/4".  The 3500# axle has more hub bolt patterns to choose from plus the spindles & wheel bearings are larger, 1 3/8" inner bearing and 1 1/16" outter bearing.  The 3500# axle tube is 2 3/8" in diameter compared to 1 3/4" on the 2000# axle. I purchased a Tekonsha Sentinel #9055 electronic inertia activated brake controller ($84.95) from Southwest Wheel. The weight and cost differential between the 2000# and 3500# axles is minimal and I felt it was well worth the upgrade.
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Maiden Voyage Outback Tear Trips

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