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Vehicles Use for Transporting Telescope Equipment

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#76 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:31 PM

Year and model often matter significantly more then the make of the vehicle IME.



I have been reading the reliability reports since early 1960's. I read it the other way... there are certain manufacturers who make cars that are all very reliable.. There are certain manufacturers who seem unable to make a car that is reliable.

It's pretty difficult to find a Toyota that is not significantly more reliable than other vehicles. Hondas seem to be quite good too.

Jon

#77 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:45 PM

DRL are a safety device, not an accessory. They are mandated in some countries like Sweden, Denmark and others. The ability to turn DRL or any other safety device would defeat the purpose. There are ways around them, but if some one came into my shop and ask me to turn them off, I had to refuse. It is illegal to remove, alter, or disconnect a safety device.

Stan


My 2010 Camry SE had a DRL override on the headlight switch, so I could go with or without them. That's why it never occurred to me to check the RAV4 when I bought it, thinking that the override was a standard Toyota feature. My wife's 2004 Scion xB does not even have DRLs.

As far as I know, they are not mandatory in the US, so why would it be illegal to disable them?

#78 RTLR 12

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:57 PM

If I were to disable a safety devise, mandatory or not, I am exposing myself to the liabilities from any action, be it accident, citation, or anything else even remotely involving the devise. In the state of California it is illegal to mess with a safety device regardless if it mandated or not.

Stan

#79 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:59 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Stan.

#80 Greyhaven

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:36 PM

Can't beat my Subaru Forester for this hobbyPosted Image



Plenty of room for hauling my gear to "off road" sites.
Posted Image


to set up my equipment
Posted Image

for those once in a lifetime shots
Posted Image

Be Well
Grey

#81 roscoe

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:05 PM

You can drive a Subaru across large bodies of water


Except I can tell you from experience (my wife's) that you have to keep the windows closed, because if you open one to yell for help when you just drove into a low spot in the road that had flooded in a thunderstorm, and your Subie is floating, as soon as you open the window, water starts coming in pretty fast through all the little holes in the floor panel that you didn't know were there...... Also, getting an engine back in operation (with only a subaru tool kit) because it was running when the nose went mostly underwater, is an astronomical adventure!
Other than that, great winter vehicles!
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#82 izar187

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:32 AM

If I were to disable a safety devise, mandatory or not, I am exposing myself to the liabilities from any action, be it accident, citation, or anything else even remotely involving the devise. In the state of California it is illegal to mess with a safety device regardless if it mandated or not.

Stan


This is how it was explained to me as well. An owner can disable them as a matter of free will. A licensed mechanic can not.
I get the "safety" aspect of them. In my experience there are certain color cars that arguably should never be driven without them on.

#83 Hilmi

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:48 AM

I have a Toyota Sequoia out of the dealership 4 months ago. My gear completely filled up the boot last time I took it out to observe in the middle of the ever so famous Wahiba Sand dunes. You've got to love a 5.7 Ltr V8 when you have to go up a 35 to 40 degrees incline on soft puffy sand with a fully loaded car.

Even though the other cars made it to the top, everybody in the convoy complained that their cars struggled. Now I believe that on our next trip up the platuo, I will really appreciate the low gear on my way back down. I just wish I had better visibility over the bonnet. Car wasn't designed for 5' 4" people. Always feel like I'm gonna go over the edge of the mountain trail.

#84 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:42 AM

Re:DRL on the RAV4; last night I pulled the parking brake handle up one notch before putting the vehicle in Drive. This disabled the DRL without actually engaging the brake. Problem solved.

#85 RTLR 12

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:48 AM

That works on some Hondas too.

Stan

#86 edwincjones

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:13 AM

The best combination I have seen was Tom Clark's class A RV with a pull behind SUV for his big dob .
This gives a place to sleep, local transportation, and almost unlimited storage.
And this was a business expense, traveling across the country to different star parties for his AA magazine

edj

#87 BSJ

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:42 PM

I can override the DRLs on my 2011 Chevy HHR. I can also program it to only turn on the interior lights when I hit the unlock button on the fob.

I replaced the interior lights with red LEDs.
http://www.cloudynig...ber/5481046/...

#88 hottr6

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

I too am off the beaten track, and do a lot of driving on forest roads at 7,000-10,000'. When snow falls, it falls in integer increments of feet. I've often hauled my 10" and Byers 812 to 10,700' over ungraded fire-access roads covered in 1-2' of fresh snow in my lifted diesel 4x4 Chevy truck. Two words are demanded of this task: Ground Clearance. Soccer mom SUVs need not apply.

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#89 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:05 PM

DRL are a safety device, not an accessory. They are mandated in some countries like Sweden, Denmark and others. The ability to turn DRL or any other safety device would defeat the purpose. There are ways around them, but if some one came into my shop and ask me to turn them off, I had to refuse. It is illegal to remove, alter, or disconnect a safety device.

Stan



Which begs the question ... if you are having trouble with your daylight vision, why are you driving?

Hint - if it is electrical, it has a fuse somewhere ... like the fuse box usually under the drivers side dash.

#90 Bill Kocken

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

" Hint - if it is electrical, it has a fuse somewhere ... like the fuse box usually under the drivers side dash. "
Be careful when pulling fuses. I once "borrowed" one from my vehicle to use in my dew controller. I thought it was a non-essential circuit, but to my surprise, after packing everything away, I started my truck and got a nasty light saying "Transmission Fault". I had to dig out the dew controller and replace the fuse. I learned my lesson and pack spare fuses now.

#91 Starman1

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:39 PM

In modern vehicles, there are many small electronic control boxes, all of which are fused (my VW has 15 of them). If you pull a fuse for one of the lights, you may disable some other system. And re-installing the fuse may or may not reset the control. In my car, if you pull the fuse for the radio and reinstall it, you will have to enter a code, ID, and password to reactivate the radio, not to mention calling SiriusXM to reinitialize the radio.
This happens when a battery is replaced, too.
I NEVER recommend pulling a fuse for any interior light in recent vehicles.
So how to solve the problem?
Simple: Black Gaffer's tape--as sticky as duct tape yet leaves no residue. And it's opaque. I covered the footwell lights and rear hatch light and you can't even tell they're on when a door is opened.

#92 RTLR 12

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:48 PM

Which begs the question ... if you are having trouble with your daylight vision, why are you driving?


Jeff,

The DRL are not to enable the driver to see better. They are for the vehicle to be more visible to other drivers.

Stan

#93 Peter Natscher

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:10 PM

Here's an interesting comparison over 12 years of operating my premium SUV vs. my wife's smaller Toyota RAV4 SUV, even though it not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison:

1999 Toyota RAV4, AWD, 4 cylinder, Auto Trans.
Uses regular gas
Cargo volume: 58 cu. ft.
MPG: 26 mpg
Mileage: 60k
Original cost: $20k
Maintenance cost over 12 years: $1,800
Resale value today: $8,000
Total cost to own over 12 years
(not incl. the cheaper gas or lower ins.): $13,800

1999 Mercedes Benz ML320, AWD, 6 cylinder, Auto trans.
Uses premium gas
Cargo volume: 72 cu. ft.
MPG: 20 mpg
Mileage: 145k
Original cost: $42k
Maintenance cost over 12 years: $18,000
Resale value today: $3,000
Total cost to own over 12 years
(not incl. the premium gas or higher ins.): $57,000

Even though these vehicles are in different classes, notice how the original cost, cost to maintain, and resale values are so different with a premium vs. standard vehicle. Both make great astronomy vehicles depending on your affordability and cargo volume needs.


Year and model often matter significantly more then the make of the vehicle IME.



I have been reading the reliability reports since early 1960's. I read it the other way... there are certain manufacturers who make cars that are all very reliable.. There are certain manufacturers who seem unable to make a car that is reliable.

It's pretty difficult to find a Toyota that is not significantly more reliable than other vehicles. Hondas seem to be quite good too.

Jon



#94 D_talley

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:18 PM

When I started in this hobby I decided to get a Jeep Grand Cherokee to carry my scopes and mount around. The one problem I ran into is forgetting to load parts to my mount. I would be an hour away from home and no cables or focus masks.

So I bought a trailer to store everything and now haul it with my Jeep. It freed up storage space in the garage and I never have to worry about forgetting anything.

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#95 starrancher

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:25 PM

When I started in this hobby I decided to get a Jeep Grand Cherokee to carry my scopes and mount around. The one problem I ran into is forgetting to load parts to my mount. I would be an hour away from home and no cables or focus masks.

So I bought a trailer to store everything and now haul it with my Jeep. It freed up storage space in the garage and I never have to worry about forgetting anything.


Where did you say you park that thing Dwight ? :lol: :lol: :lol:

#96 Shneor

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:53 PM

I transport my 22" f/4 with all accessories (including an equatorial platform), large box of charts and books, observing chair, table, camping gear when I'm out for more than overnight, in a Honda Fit. I also sleep in the Fit, on a cot and Thermarest when I'm out for more than overnight. Mileage is 35-38 mpg depending on season (California winter gas is lower mileage). I need to drive 1.5-2 hours to usual observing sites depending on where I'm observing.

Clears,

And here's a photo of my scope packed in my Fit (unloading at Lake Sonoma):

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#97 D_talley

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:16 PM

When I started in this hobby I decided to get a Jeep Grand Cherokee to carry my scopes and mount around. The one problem I ran into is forgetting to load parts to my mount. I would be an hour away from home and no cables or focus masks.

So I bought a trailer to store everything and now haul it with my Jeep. It freed up storage space in the garage and I never have to worry about forgetting anything.


Where did you say you park that thing Dwight ? :lol: :lol: :lol:


I will never tell!! This is what I carry in it so you can see why I now have room in the garage.....

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#98 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:09 PM

Even though these vehicles are in different classes, notice how the original cost, cost to maintain, and resale values are so different with a premium vs. standard vehicle. Both make great astronomy vehicles depending on your affordability and cargo volume needs.



Peter:

Your data supports my experience/intuition perfectly. "Fancy" vehicles cost a lot more to buy but depreciate more quickly and are much more expensive to operate. When it comes to cars and trucks, I pretty much a strict pragmatist. I am happy to spend money on things that will last a lifetime. Things that wear out, that are of consumer quality, not so interested. I like the mini-trucks because they have a frame, are available with a 4 cylinder motor, manual transmission, roll up windows, they're durable, economical and repairable. I look around, I still see lots of mini-trucks from the 1980s and 1990s providing solid service.

Cars, essentially all cars are engineered to a price point.. I believe a car could be built that was manufactured to the same standards as a PeterBuilt or Kenworth. I saw a statistic that 3 out of 4 trucks go a million miles without needing a major repair, that is, engine, transmission, drive train. Wouldn't that be interesting ???

Jon

#99 Pat at home

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:47 PM

Here is what my daughter and I used on a recent mini holiday. However we only had space for an ST80 on a table-top EQ1.

Posted Image

#100 Peter Natscher

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:06 PM

When I bought the ML320 in 1999, I decided that it would be my only vehicle, my do everything vehicle -- astro/non-astro stuff. If I had chosen to have two vehicles for my entire lifestyle, then I would have chosen a more moderate car or SUV for non-astro stuff and a truck dedicated for my astro hobby. So, I saved some $$$ by using only one vehicle for everything.


Even though these vehicles are in different classes, notice how the original cost, cost to maintain, and resale values are so different with a premium vs. standard vehicle. Both make great astronomy vehicles depending on your affordability and cargo volume needs.



Peter:

Your data supports my experience/intuition perfectly. "Fancy" vehicles cost a lot more to buy but depreciate more quickly and are much more expensive to operate. When it comes to cars and trucks, I pretty much a strict pragmatist. I am happy to spend money on things that will last a lifetime. Things that wear out, that are of consumer quality, not so interested. I like the mini-trucks because they have a frame, are available with a 4 cylinder motor, manual transmission, roll up windows, they're durable, economical and repairable. I look around, I still see lots of mini-trucks from the 1980s and 1990s providing solid service.

Cars, essentially all cars are engineered to a price point.. I believe a car could be built that was manufactured to the same standards as a PeterBuilt or Kenworth. I saw a statistic that 3 out of 4 trucks go a million miles without needing a major repair, that is, engine, transmission, drive train. Wouldn't that be interesting ???

Jon








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