Even at 8°F, I only switched on my block heater (mine has a switch) about 30 minutes before starting. Or 1 hour if I wasn't in a hurry. With my Cummins 5.9 it really didn't take long to heat it up and it would turn over smoothly. Mine is like 750 watts so that's only 6.25 amps and as long as you don't run an electric space heater, turn on the coffee maker, or the MW, a 15 amp circuit should handle it fine for that short time before starting.
So that's my recommendation. Don't plug it in until 1 hour before starting the engine.
Set your compressor at 25 PSI. Or borrow a friend's small compressor.
Putting more than 75 PSI into your piping system isn't recommended. If you have to use high pressure, then be prepared to modulate the pressure by not having an air tight seal. I've used a clean shop rag wrapped around the compressor hose and the shower hose because it allows most of the air to escape through the fabric.
Take a clean paper towel and blow air from your compressor through it. Any oil spots? Then don't use it. There are simple DIY ways to remove most of the oil from compressed air though.
The ice maker? Nothing needs to be done to the solenoid that I know of. Other than removing the supply hose, letting gravity drain the solenoid. I'd just jumper 12V to it to turn it on and open it.
The supply side of the hose, I'd drape it over the edge and so when you blow air into the system, it gets blown dry too. Then reconnect it. Inside the freezer is where an ice maker lives so nothing needs to be done to that...though most people shut off the water, run a last tray or two of ice cubes, and then shut it off. Don't want thawed ice cubes in there all those months.
Oh, yeah, Old-Biscuit, I forgot about oil in the toilet. I always keep a bottle of ATF next to it and pour a little in there to winterize. I also use it when I'm getting a leak by. The ATF makes the seal rubber poof up a little and reseals. Leave it there for a few hours usually.
It's even easier to eliminate the taste by not using it at all.
I tried the pink stuff once, and it haunted me for weeks afterwards with a slight chemically tang to the water I did not care for. And since I was in a drought area, repeated fill/empty of the tank was out of the question.
With air, I stick the air compressors rubber tip into the shower hose end (head removed), and just step on the foot pedal for the toilet. Blows the water right out. Then I go to all the faucets one at a time, from highest to lowest, open, blow air, close. Then I open all at once and blow again, let the compressor run for a few minutes. And step on the toilet pedal again. Takes all of 15 minutes. Probably less with two people.
No mess, no pink stuff in the water lines come spring. I used this method in Fairbanks, Alaska over 3 winters.
I'll just mention that many, many people don't bother with the Pink Stuff except to pour it down the drains to fill the traps and put a little in the bottoms of the grey and black tanks.
The reason is that it takes so much water to get the pink taste and color out of the fresh water in the spring. And with most of the US in drought conditions, it's just prudent to use the 'Air' method for your fresh water lines.
Air method uses an inexpensive tire pump to blow water out of the fresh water lines starting at the inside shower head. I just open the lowest faucet and blow it out there. Also remove the pump and drain it.
I sure learn a lot on this forum. Thanks for the Link 45Ricochet. Interesting read.
I've gotten kinda fat so crawling under the rig isn't an every trip thing for me, my jacks are 'slow retracting' these days and I guess I've gotta do something about that. All I do these days is stoop down at the side of the rig and spray lithium on the extended rams.
Over the last 12 years, I've been inconsistent and have used ATF, Silicon, and Lithium to lube the rams. Now they tend to stay 4" extended after pressing the Retract button. I have installed a Off/On switch on the dash control so the constant beeping doesn't slow me down any.
I guess my springs are probably weak being that they are 22 years old, but I think first I'll try some of the advice in that link by cleaning the assembly, ram, and lubing it with AFT (as recommended in my handbook by PowerGear).
I use to tell my computer clients that their dreams of a restoration of their asset would only accomplish this: It would be no better than just before it failed. If you liked it then, you'll like it when we return it. But it'll be no better than that. Base your judgement of the work on that.
I'd say we got the job 50% of the time. And they knew what they were getting back. Being honest like that made it easy to sell up. And no hassles with the repairs if they went that route, of course the repairs where almost always less expensive than new.
I'd tell this OP the same thing. And if he can find a quality repair for a sum he's willing to pay, go for it. But only if he liked the RV before he discovered the problem.
Yes Dale, that was the repair I was talking about...thanks for the link.
Unless I'm missing something (very possible), all you need to is to offset the parasitic drain on the batteries, which is normally less than 100mW (mine is only about 50mW), plus the self-discharge (assume it's 5% per month for a lead-acid battery). That assumes everything in the coach is off and the only load is for the CO/propane detector, the clock battery, and things like that. 100mW x 24 hrs/day = 2.4 watt-hours/day. With a 70-amp-hour battery, assume a 5%/month self-discharge rate = 3.5 amp-hours/month, or roughly 40 watts/month, or 1.3 watt-hours per day. The total is around 3.7 watt-hours/day. Even at 50% efficiency, a 10-watt solar panel with an output for a couple hours per day would provide 10 watt-hours/day, which is way more than you need. That's why most commercial solar battery maintainers are all in the range of a few watts and work just fine.
Or, the easiest way is to do like other people suggest and buy something with excess capacity and then you don't have to worry about it.
I know that in my Class A rig the chassis battery draw is much, much more than 100mW (0.1 Watt). It's more like 12 Watt even with the salesman's switches 'Off'.
The draws are to the dash, which supplies the radio memory, the CO detector, and the propane leak detector. Then the steps, also stay powered. Some newer class A rigs have both a computerized tranni and engine which have memories that are, again, kept powered even with the salesman's switches 'Off'.
I think you have a unique rig if yours only draws 100mW while just sitting.
My Power Gear system has large springs. The brand doesn't always indicate what type will and what type won't. I did mention that some systems use powered extend, and retract.
Also, sometimes if the OP doesn't really stay in contact with us trying to help, we (maybe I mean 'I') tend to ramble and give advice to all the lurkers that might happen by this tread the next several years or so.
No guarantee anything said will apply to anyone but the original poster, but I'm guessing most forum users are aware of that.
Low fluid wouldn't affect the retraction because with most of these RV jack systems, it doesn't take fluid to retract. (UNLESS it is one of those powered extend/retract systems which tend to be rare).
It takes only a release of fluid pressure holding the cylinder rams in place, and the added pressure of the retraction springs attached to the foot of the jack. That requires only one valve, and the electrical system to operate it.
If the system reservoir was totally emptied, the jacks would still retract. But not extend.
Those 'optional' solar panels on top of many RVs ACs are 8 Watt and I've never heard of them working very well to maintain even small 12V coach or chassis batteries.
I wouldn't get anything less than 50 Watts in the desert areas, and 100 Watts in the northern states.
Use whatever the manufacturer recommends to lube the extended jacks, for most people, that's ATF (never use WD-40 from what I read...it's a penetrating oil, not a lubricant).
Check the operation of the retract solenoid valve. Like has been mentioned, if it's not opening all the way, you'll get your symptom.
At the reservoir, remove and clean all the electrical terminals. I have removed, taken apart, and cleaned the coil assemblies because they can accumulate road grime. Liberally spray electrical connections with contact spray. Brighten the terminals with brass mini-brush. Recrimp wire connectors (main cause of reduced voltage to coils).
After everything electrical is all clean and shiny, and the terminals are tight, measure the voltage going to the 'Retract' solenoid. If it's not a strong 12V+, then you'll have to track down the weakly crimped or corroded terminal.
It's exceedingly rare for a solenoid itself to become 'weak'. It's made of wire wound on a coil, the ends soldered to terminals. Then the whole shebang is dipped in epoxy. There's nothing that can become 'weak'. So look for corrosion or a bad crimp going TO the solenoid.
Finally, I've read on forums, that on really old RVs the retraction 'springs' can become weak. Especially if they live in the desert most of the year. I'd doubt that all of the springs will somehow get weak all at the same time, but, who knows?
Maybe find a Craiglist handyman? That has resources, and assets available to help, and a shop? Or a metal building for cover, since winter is approaching?
A long shot I know, but finding a competent carpenter with the resources to do the job at his property might be easier than finding a RV shop that wants to take it on.
A few years ago, I followed along on a web site by a 30ish handyman who redid his Class A roof that had extensive water damage. During a winter in Florida. In his spare time. He'd rented a building so he could work out of the rain. Installed a new EPDM roof after repairing all the decking that needed it. So I know there are still skilled people in the world. Just sometimes it's hard to find them.
Good luck. Post pictures so we can follow along with the work.
I had this exact problem with the same symptoms. A little bit of searching showed that the electrical cable was zip tied too tightly on the steering wheel assembly.
And when the weather was right, the little tug on the connector when I tilted the steering wheel would pull the connector just enough to make the cruise fail. Once I noticed that it would drop out when I tilted the steering wheel, it was obvious.
Crawled under the dash and found the 'too tight' cable held in place with zip ties. Cut the zip ties and the problem went away.
Hope that's all that's wrong with your system.
Clavin's suggestion of checking the brake switch is good too. That's the issue for many people.
X3, only I'd say to stop at a thrift store on your travels and pick up 50' for a buck or two.
When mine started acting up, I too thought it was the coax between the wet compartment where the incoming cable is attached and the electronics cabinet at the front of the RV.
No, it was the switching unit that was bad. A direct connection from the end of the cable in that cabinet to the TV was all it took to clear up the signal. No more than 3 feet long and a male to male coupler. Cost all of $1.25. Now I need to fix or replace that switch box.
I was in Mexico driving along a newer two lane section of Mex-185 and unfortunately the contractor had left a 2 foot drop on each side of the road. For miles. And the vegetation re-growth showed it had been that way for quite a while. It was scary just as it was as the road wasn't all that wide either.
Anyway, one of those big commercial buses was heading towards me in the opposite lane and I tried to squeeze myself over as far as I could without flying off the road and rolling two or three times. The bus driver wasn't giving me much room either. Didn't give me an extra inch. Jeese.
Then BANG, my passenger side mirror shattered on impact with a road speed sign placed too close to the road! Idiots! Thought I'd been shot. No glass was lost as the mirror had a sticky backed heater stuck to the back of it. It was just in too many pieces to use though. It did put some scratches on the mirror casing and bent the large stainless steel bolt used as the pivot but it stayed in place.
When I got to Mazatlan, asked my taxi driver friend if he knew where I could get a new one made. Two hours and $20 later I had two new mirrors. Had to install it myself, but it wasn't that difficult. The 2nd one was a spare in case it happened again.
I carry a plastic tow strap that has an attached ratcheting device. I'd just surround the tire with the strap and ratchet it up tight before trying to reseat the bead. Doesn't help you now of course, but maybe in the future if you travel out in the desert with spotty cellphone coverage.