My advice is this: Pay attention to your nose.
If something smells stale, or mildewy, or rotted, walk away.
The biggest problem with RVs are leaks. You may not see them, but if you smell them, walk away.
Make a checklist of all of the devices on the RV and go through them and make sure they all work.
Run the generator for at least 30 minutes. When we bought our RV the generator would run for 20 minutes and shut down. We did not catch that during testing before purchase. That cost me $500.
Don't fall for the "Oh you can get that fixed cheap!" line.
Understand that RV tires age expire long before they will wear their tread off. Check the date codes on the tires. Once you hit 6 years old you are starting to push your luck. A new set of 7 tires is going to set you back at least $1000.
Make sure you turn on your water pump and listen for it to shut down when it reaches system pressure. Leave it on while you are inspecting. If it turns on again, you may have a leak.
Well, I don't know what kind of RV you have or what you paid for it.
I've got a 1990 Winnebago Warrior. It had a roof leak, and it rotted out the shower and a fair amount of wood in the wood/foam/wood laminate that makes up the roof.
What *should* be done is the roof replaced, along with any soft spots. But it is not worth it on a 22 year old RV. Especially when in order to do it right, all the internal cabinets would need to be removed in order to pull the roof off from above.
So what I did was rip out the rot that I could get at from the inside, and I bought a gallon of that Heng's roof sealer paint ($80), and I found places on the roof where caulk had split open letting water in. I gooped the******out of everything that looked like it could possibly leak, let it dry, and gooped it again.
It's not a good way to repair things - just covering up the problem, but it is what makes economic sense on a $7500 RV that is 22 years old.
The leak has stopped, and the inside looks good as new with a rebuilt shower and replaced headliner (I replaced the headliner with the same fiberglass paneling I used for the shower stall).
$5000 goes a long way to a new RV.
Well, I've done a few things since November to our 1990 Winnebago Warrior.
First, I ripped out the shower and rebuilt it, using new wood to replace rotted wood from a leak in the roof. I used the pebble-finish fiberglass paneling from Home Depot. It looks awesome! Better than new!
Second, I started ripping out the headliner, which is drooping and held up mostly with staples. Then I cut the same fiberglass paneling I used in the shower into pieces to fit the ceiling. I have 1/3 of the RV done - from the shower back.
Third, I installed a second Group 29 marine battery in parallel with the existing house battery under the hood. This should let us boondock with no problems.
In my old RV, #1 is black and #2 is grey. I always remember it this way: "#1 holds #2!" :)
The way to find out is this:
If both tanks are full, dump one, and wait an hour for the wetness to recede off of the sensor points in the tank, then check your levels. The one that reads empty is the one you dumped. :) Your gauges probably will not read accurately immediately after a dump because the sensors are still wet enough to confuse them.
Alternatively, if both tanks are empty, run a sink until one of your tanks starts to register as filling up. That's your grey water tank.
Steve, Are your jacks the Kick-Down type or the Direct Acting (straight down)?
Ours are Kick-Down and I think the pivoting linkage introduces a looseness that makes them less effective against wobble.
Direct Acting didn't used to be available for Class C but now they are. I haven't studied up on them but I can only believe they're a double-acting (telescoping) cylinder. By that I mean telescoping like the "shorty" bottle jacks that have a piston within a piston.
Mine are kick-down. I think what you are saying is that when the jacks are down the camper can rock back and forth on the jacks. Sounds plausible.
And now to the problem at hand, Did you have the fridge on and then turned off the battery? Unplugged it would have switched to propane and then with no power it would have stopped, resulting in a propane smell. Once on the road, we actually ran out of propane, the flame at the fridge went out, and even after stopping opening doors and windows, with exhaust fans running, the propane detector would still go off!
I would expect that the device would shut down the gas regulator in the event of power loss. In other words, the gas valve should fail safe in the event of a power loss. I would be extremely, extremely surprised to find this not to be the case. Otherwise this is just a disaster (and lawsuit) waiting to happen.
Our hydraulic jacks make a huge difference in the RV wiggling when people move around inside.
Even though much of the RV weight is still on the suspension, that suspension cannot deflect past the rigid jacks. So if your jacks are carrying weight, you are pretty stable.
There is not much to winterizing. I would not pay someone to do it.
All you need to do is open all your drain valves to let the water out and open all your faucets so that there is no vacuum preventing the water from draining.
They make an air fitting you can hook up to your city water inlet to blow the lines out but this has never blown any water out of my RV when I tried it - just opening the drains and faucets does the trick for me.
You can buy gallon jugs of RV antifreeze (make sure you use the RV, non-toxic antifreeze!) at Walmart. Pour about a cup of the antifreeze in all of your sink drains so that the traps won't freeze up.
Of course make sure your holding tanks are empty, too.
That's all there is to it.
Does your RV have a leak-down pressure gauge? My 20-year-old Winnebago Warrior does.
It shows the amount of pressure in the system. What you do is this: Open the valve on your propane tank. This pressurizes your gas lines. Go to your leak-down gauge and turn the dial until the line on it lines up with the arrow that shows the pressure in the system. This way your line and the arrow are lined up the same. Then go turn off the gas at the tank.
Wait an hour or so and then go look at your gauge. The arrow and the adjustable line should still be lined up together. If the pressure has dropped, the pressure gauge arrow will have moved away from the baseline mark. Then you know you have a leak somewhere.
Leaks are best detected using soapy water brushed onto suspected leak sites. Leaks will make bubbles. Never use a flame to try to detect a leak!
Leaks almost always happen at joint fittings. However, corrosion or abrasion can make leaks even in the lines themselves.
I strongly recommend anyone with an RV install a propane detector and a carbon monoxide detector. They make combination detectors that detect both propane and carbon monoxide. And of course also a smoke detector.
You are right, it was called "gimp"! LOL I always think about the movie Pulp Fiction when I hear that word.
Anyway the RV store knew what it was but does not stock it, and I wanted to finish the project today so I went to the fabric store and they make nylon "roping" for like trim on couches and stuff that has the same profile. Now my wall joint has a nice roped border at the junction! :)
For my part, I winterize after every trip - even if I'm going out for the next weekend.
I drain all my tanks after every trip, and I pull open and leave open all drains and I open all faucets to prevent a vacuum and allow the system to completely drain.
In cold weather months, I then dump some RV antifreeze in my drain elbows.
I have never put antifreeze in my freshwater tank and pumped it through mylines. I just drain them.
I bought an air adapter to hook up to my city water inlet to "blow out the water", but the one time I used it nothing happened when I blew air through the system. I surmise that simply opening all my drains and faucets sufficiently drains my system.
If you leave your drains open depending on where you park your RV you may have to worry about insects getting up your drain lines. I park on a huge paved surface so it has not been a problem.
Most furnaces run on 12 volts, and your batteries should run your furnace.
Your furnace will have a "reed switch" that means if it does not detect air flow (fan is not running) the furnace burner will not light off. So if your battery goes dead, or dead enough not to be able to power the furnace fan, the burner will not light off and overheat/burn up your furnace.
Your battery should have an amp-hour rating.
If you check the access panel for your furnace, you should see how many amps it draws.
If your furnace draws 4 amps, and you have a 135 amp-hour battery, your furnace would run 34 hours if everything was perfect. Of course, everything is not perfect. Other things are drawing power from your battery, and as it gets cold your batteries effective charge decreases as the battery temp decreases.
Our RV currently only has one, smallish house battery. It usually runs our furnace fine, but a couple of times the battery has drained overnight from the furnace. I always get woken up when it happens because one of my propane/carbon monoxide alarms is hard-wired to the battery and starts chirping on low voltage. So I get up and turn on the engine to charge up the battery again.
For future thread travelers...
We bought our 1990 Winnebago Warrior about 4 years ago for $7000.
We have spent:
$500 to get the generator running.
$1000 for 7 new tires.
$800 for new fuel pump.
$300 more to have fuel pump installed correctly.
$1000 to fix AC, power steering pump, fuel pump leak.
$500 to fix blown heater core.
I'm currently rebuilding the shower stall since the skylight leaked and rotted the walls. I'm about $300 into that project.
There are a lot of people who can't afford new or even newer RVs. Just understand that a drivable motorhome of any kind is going to run a minimum of $5000. And you will be putting money into it for repairs.
Also understand that most of the older RVs had rubber EPDM roofs, not the nice fiberglass jobs like they have today, and they leak.
My advice to anyone buying any kind of RV is this: trust your nose! If you walk into the RV and it smells musty or moldy, WALK AWAY. If you see delaminations (bubbles in walls), WALK AWAY.
Run your fingers along the top of all walls and cabinets or any other exposed wood. If the wood gives under finger pressure or sounds crunchy or cool/damp to the touch, WALK AWAY.
Or don't, and learn how to fix things. :)
I have ripped out my 1990 Winnebago Warrior shower and am nearly finished rebuilding it. It looks really nice.
However, I am in need of a trim piece to hide the join between two walls that intersect at a non 90-degree angle.
During the original construction, they had a piece of trim with a tail that stapled to the edge of the panel and had a head or bead that would then hide the joint. It looks like a tadpole. Here is a picture of what it looks like:
Does anyone know where I can buy this trim?