2014: Tiffin Phaeton

Git 'Er Done


In 2014 we acquired our second-ever RV, a Tiffin Phaeton QBH 41' motor coach. This was our first motor home, and a far larger and more complicated RV than our original 28' fifth-wheel trailer. Of course, there was an interesting learning curve just to drive and live in the thing. But husband Mike is never content to just leave things at that, ha ha.

Seriously, though, we encountered a number of problems -- most small, but still issues -- in adapting to our new coach. Additionally, there were a number of improvements and acquisitions that took our Phaeton from being just a fancy bedroom on wheels to a real home-away-from-home. Along the way, Mike wrote up some documentation of (1) issues he had with design or manufacturing of the coach; and (2) repairs and improvements he made and what he learned in the process. We share it here in the hope it will help other RV'ers.

The documents linked below are PDFs. The first contains a hodge-podge of information and has a table of contents which we hope will help you find what helps or interests you. Among other things, it contains information about

  • making the coach cat-friendly
  • converting the coach from DirecTV to Dish
  • adding a number of small modifications for safety, convenience, livability.

The second document is specific to the installation of a Winegard TRAV'LER automatic antenna on top of the coach.

Ford C-Max Toad

Before buying our Phaeton, we'd owned a fifth-wheel trailer and never had to worry about towing a vehicle. At first, we decided to try using a car dolly, which would allow us to use one of our existing cars as a toad. But it didn't take long for Mike to conclude the dolly was just too inconvenient and too much work. We needed a car we could flat-tow.

Mike did a lot of research and settled on the Ford C-Max, a flat-towable plug-in hybrid. The large plug-in battery allows us to use mostly electric power when at home, and the hybrid feature gives us the range we need when on the road.

There was a lot to learn and do before we could tow the vehicle. Here are Mike's notes about what he learned.

  • DIY tow bar installation. Making the C-Max tow-ready with a Roadmaster tow bar and braking modifications. We'll understand if you want to pay someone else to do this part!
  • Another DIY tow bar installation using a Blue Ox baseplate. Many thanks to fellow Tiffin owner Dick for his experience.
  • Step-by-step flat-towing preparation. How to put your Ford C-Max in the proper state for safe flat-towing.
  • Flat-towing fact and fiction. Everything Ford doesn't tell you -- or gets wrong -- about proper flat-towing procedures, how to deal with a dead battery, etc.
  • IMPORTANT UPDATE May 2018: Some owners towing a C-Max Energi have experienced four-wheel brake lockup while towing. This document explains the cause and possible solutions.

Ford Focus Toad

One friend from the Tiffin RV Network outfitted a 2017 Ford Focus, similar to the C-Max, as a toad and sent us documentation of his work.

Feel free to Email us if you have questions! Happy travels!