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Alaska with the 190

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jeepers29 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jeepers29 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Alaska with the 190
    Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 5:53pm
Originally posted by kcisland

It is well documented here on the forum.

The axle is only rated for 3500 lbs with dry weight of 3200 lbs leaving about a 300 lbs cargo capacity.  Not much when you consider water hose, electrical cords, wheel chocks, food, pots and pans, clothing...it adds up fast. 

Top that with the unit's frame supports being too far inboard from the ends causing a cantilever, the camber can be lost from overloading and hitting a big bump.  It is very evident when your wheels toe in at the top.

Good camber:  About 1/4" gap with a straight edge.




Bad camber:  No gap with the straight edge.


Wheel tipped in at the top:


Offgrid's fix is a 3x3 structural angle supported by opposing U bolts to help stiffen up the cantilevered axle location.

Thank you.  I an new to the pods.  We just bought a new 180 and the tires already lean in at the top.  They were like that when I picked it up new, without anything in it.  Wonderful.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kcisland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 9:18pm
Originally posted by poston


Awesome!  We plan to do a similar trip over about two months.  Do you think that would be enough time for a leisurely trip?

And did you just return, so you went the four weeks prior to mid-June?

Fun!





poston,

The short answer is yes!  I do think that would be enough time!

The long answer is it depends on your camping/vacation style.  

My other vacations consist of dropping somewhere in South America with a backpack and no agenda and just start walking.  Just before Covid hit I rented a motorcycle and cruised up and down the Yucatan coastline eating ceviche.  If hit a village I liked and the food was good I would stay a few days, if it was sketchy, then I would move along.

Covid hit and we couldn't fly anywhere so I bought an R POD!  Drove to Yellowstone in the same fashion...fished my way there stopping at all the good lakes and taking in all the scenery with no agenda.  

Some folks can't vacation that way and need to zip from site to site in a frenetic pace.

There is sooo much to see on the trip up to Alaska and in Alaska itself!  Parks, hikes, museums, historical places...and if something is cool you want to hang out for more than a day.  This trip was short because there were deadlines - we had to pick someone up at the Fairbanks airport on a certain day, someone I was with needed to get back to work on a certain day...otherwise I too would have taken two months like you and probably still not seen it all!

Yes, we just got back mid June.

Have a good trip, take your time, and soak it all in!



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kcisland View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kcisland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2022 at 9:25pm
Originally posted by jeepers29


Thank you.  I an new to the pods.  We just bought a new 180 and the tires already lean in at the top.  They were like that when I picked it up new, without anything in it.  Wonderful.

New? It should be under warranty.  I had a great dealer that submitted my claim even though my warranty was just expired.  Lippert covered it and I got a new axle.

The axle stiffener support will not fix a straightened axle - it may stop it from getting worse - but it is better to replace or re-camber your current axle then add the stiffener.

Good luck!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2022 at 4:24am
The only (slightly) tricky part is to get the angle bent to line up with the cambered axle. You need to find someone with a press and have them lay the angle under it with the edge up while supporting the ends. Then press down till you get about 3/16 crown in the angle. Bolt it on using 4 square u bolts at 45 degree angles. Place the U-bolts outboard as far as possible without interfering with the brake plates or torsion arms. That's all there is to it.

Recently there seems to also be a crop of bent frames showing up. The frames are bending right where the axle is attached. That attachment location is under engineered as is the axle. I didn't do this fix myself but I'd recommend replacing the lift kits with a second 4x2 inch tube matching the existing frame rail tubes. Mate those tubes up to the bottom of the existing tubes and either weld them or use gusset plates and Tek screws on each side to attach them together. Then reattach the axle to the new lower tubes, without the lift kits.

I did a calc at one point for the 179/180 size rpods to determine length of the tubes and posted it. Probably around 3 years ago. IIRC they wanted to be around 5 ft long and to extend about 3 ft behind the axle.

With the frame and axle reinforcements, the outriggers to support the cantilevered floors, and properly rated wheels and tires we'd all have pretty structurally capable trailers, then we'd be down to just worrying about shaking the interior carpentry and appliances to pieces....
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2022 at 6:02pm
O.G.  Did you recommend 1" angle iron for the axle stiffener or a different size?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Masternav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2022 at 1:27pm
Originally posted by kcisland

Hello fellow Podder’s!



I am not much for posting but thought I would do a short report on a recent trip through the Yukon up to Alaska and how the 190 survived the trip. 

The trip up was pretty straightforward up the Alcan Highway but the way home was via Dawson City and the Cassiar Highway after stopping in Whittier and Valdez.



Scenery – Indescribable! I have worked a bunch in Alaska so have seen a lot of the sites there, but the scenery in Northern BC and the Yukon is some of the best I have seen, almost as good as Patagonia.

Wildlife – over 30 bears both Grizzly and Black, hundreds of Bison, Caribou, Dall Sheep, Foxes, Snowshoe Hares, and one Lynx!

Roads – The road reports are always subjective due to people’s experiences and what vehicle they are driving.  The lower part of BC is pretty good, similar to the US.  The upper part of BC through the Yukon and into Tok, AK got progressively worse starting with the standard perma frost roller coaster heaves, moving on to cracked asphalt, on to huge potholes and drop off’s.  There were stretches of road that were gravel or pure dirt/mud and a lot of road construction with long wait times for pilot cars to guide you through.  The Canadian border to Tok, AK was the worse of the whole trip where I didn’t go any faster than 40mph for stretches due to the breakup and undulations.  This stretch did a number on the 190 loosening up everything (see R POD report below), but then we did a stretch of over 70 miles to a small village of Manley Hot Springs that was all gravel washboard that shook the poor 190 to bits.

R POD – Despite the following report it did as well as it could under the conditions.  First of all I was glad I did the Offgrid axle support.  After the first incident of lost camber, a new axle, and adding the support, I have really watched the cargo weight and only ran with a 1/3 full freshwater tank and minimal supplies.  Despite the potholes and major slams encountered, the axle camber held great and the wheels are vertical.  But…

EVERYTHING else rattled and fell apart including:

  • the floor is sagging under the slide…I will have to do the extension brackets
  • sink P-traps unscrewed themselves
  • the whole lower vacuum cabinet module separated from the upper cabinet
  • water pump filter cap came loose creating an air leak in the line
  • the sewer pipe bracket snapped and the pipe drug on the highway
  • all the AC bolts backed themselves out and the unit was just sitting there in the housing
  • the heater has internal parts rattling (still needs to be inspected)
  • step screws fell out
Like I said, despite all this the 190 did well.  I know these POD’s are built light weight and cheaply, probably not meant for these conditions despite the Hood River being sold with “offroad” ground clearance and tires.  

Being a DYI’er and a fix it guy I can easily make all the repairs with materials substantially stronger and the 190 should be able to handle almost anything after this run!

You got lucky.  We started our version of the same trip three days after you posted this, with very similar, but even worse results--we have a cracked frame in addition to the AC unit breaking loose and dragging the black water line twice and nearly a third (I caught it before I lost anything more than the cap).  The AC bolts didn't loosen in my case, but snapped off and the unit was hanging over the front of the unit by it's power cord.  One of the (only) two outrigger floor supports under the slide broke the weld and the other bent severely, resulting in the slide dragging on the floor inside.  We were probably the slowest vehicle on the highway and exceptionally careful to avoid potholes and the worst of the frost heave.  Of course, avoiding all of it is impossible, which is why any vehicle or trailer manufacturer to design and build to meet actual road conditions.  I'm not so generous with Forest River, as I don't give them credit for their flimsy construction.  

We traveled through Banff and Jasper National Parks, the Alaska Highway, a short portion up and back on the Canol Road (Provincial Highway), Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, a side trip to Skagway, then also down the Cassiar Highway.  We got back two days ago.




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Post Options Post Options   Quote gpokluda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2022 at 6:31pm
Masternav, hope you are able to put the rpod back together again and create more memories. I will say this, however. In my years in the motorcycle industry, I have seen many highly engineered, purpose built motorcycles brought to their knees while journeying up to Alaska. I can only imagine what it would do to a lightly built RV trailer. That is one tough trip. Good for you!
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2022 at 7:00pm
Wow! I think that is persuading me that my idea of towing out 179 up to Alaska might not be that great an idea. :(

We already have had a bent/cracked frame from the rough pull off at highway speed that we had in Utah. That was fixed, but I still need to level out the floor a bit more. It is definitely still sagging on the slide-side, even with the outriggers.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Aug 2022 at 10:01am
The AlCan can be brutal, although not as bad as it was 20 years ago. When we've vacationed in AK, it seemed like the construction zones were constant.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote James07 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 2022 at 12:02pm
Like kcisland, we too drove the Alcan last summer with 2015 178.  Round trip Sacramento to Homer was 7,000 miles.  Drove up late May and returned late August.  It was a great trip and met many great people.  Some damage, but you should not be hesitant about making the road trip.

Twice cracked front windshield, trailer brakes lost electrical connection, lower front of r-pod at the corners came apart, super high gas prices, covid hassles at border ... but the scenery, wildlife, and adventure all worthwhile.  
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