Well I have finally bought the new fifth wheel and now I need to find a good checklist to ensure the quality that I believe I am buying is there. If anyone has a checklist that you have used successfully I would appreciate you e-mailing a copy to me at email@example.com.
We went to the Cincinnati RV Show, Saturday and purchased a 2002 Cardinal 32CKT (rear living room, center kitchen, triple slide) and will be taking possession on Saturday. We will tow with a 1999 GMC 3500, dually, CC, 7.4L gas, auto, truck.
We traded in our 30' Dutchmen TT that we liked for what we have been dreaming of for years. Price, interest and model were all there and this time we didn't pass up the deal. Hope the weather holds to bring home on Saturday. Snowing now and cold.
*This Message was edited on 26-Feb-02 04:54 PM by Denny D*
Denny, Mary Ann, and Bandit (MaltiPoo)
Lawrenceburg, In. 1999 GMC Sierra 3500 DRW CC LB 7.4L AUTO 4:10:1 2000 Cardinal 33RLBW-LX
Use and support CB Channel 13
Whoops, you're looking for a walkthrough checklist! That's on its way, too.
Edit: Sept. 20: A lot of folks are asking for the checklist to be emailed. When this thread was first started, I was doing that and the response was overwhelming (thank you, I'm very flattered ), so I posted the checklists within this thread. "Pages 2 and 3" contain the Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI) Checklist I used when picking up my FW and my "leave-home/break-camp" checklist. You can "cut and paste" them to a document on your computer. Others have since provided web sites containing available checklists.
Wow! Didn't know they would be this popular. I'll try posting them here and see if they make it. Otherwise, I need to send them traditionally.
Here's the Walkthrough Checklist I used when buying my FW. I will not take credit for creating it as I distilled the information from a variety of sources.
OUTSIDE WALK AROUND - The outside walk around should take at least one hour to look for anything that does not look right.
Roof sealing - Climb on the roof and inspect all seam, gaskets, or any other place that the roof material is cut or drilled. Proper polyurethane caulking should be used to seal all places where the roof has been penetrated. Check closely around air conditioners, vents, antennas, sewer vents, and side seams.
Windows - check closely around each window to make sure it has been properly aligned and sealed.
Doors - check the gasket used on all doors for proper adhesive and coverage.
Baggage Compartments - open and close each door checking for alignment and gasket seal. All hinges should be tight and secure and the latches should hold the door tightly closed and be easy to open. Look for any signs of moisture that might indicate rain leakage. Verify that compartment lighting works properly. Any gas cylinders used for keeping the door open should be properly installed so as not to interfere with items stored in the compartment.
Generator Compartment/Door - Check out the compartment that holds the generator closely to insure that everything is tight and rattle free because you will eventually spend many hours listening to the operational sounds of the generator and you want to make sure it is as quiet as possible. Make sure the exhaust from the generator is not directly under any slide out or window that might be used for ventilation. If the generator is on a powered slide, operate it several times to make sure it extends and retracts well.
Fuel Doors - inspect the fuel doors for proper locking and to verify the operation of the fuel caps. Make sure there are lanyards that hold the cap from falling on the ground while fueling and eventually being lost. Verify that you know how to properly fill the fuel tank.
Utility Compartment - Inspect this compartment closely to understand how each valve or fitting works. Understand how the sewer hose is properly stored. Understand the proper function of the black and gray water valves. If tank flushing is installed, understand how it operates. Locate any water filters and check for proper installation. Find and understand the telephone and cable connections. If there is an electric cable reel, extend and retract it several times to insure proper operation. Understand where the low point drains are for the fresh water.
Propane - Check the propane compartment to verify that the ventilation downward is proper since propane is heavier than air. There should be no possible way for propane to enter into the RV or any other compartment. Locate and understand the operation of the main shut off valve.
Battery - Check the battery compartment to verify that it to is ventilated and that all slide mechanisms work properly. Verify that no battery cables are rubbing on any part of the frame because that will eventually end up with a short circuit and possible fire. Understand the battery type provided and how to maintain them.
Paint - Carefully check the paint finish on the RV. Look at places where vinyl film is used to make sure it is free of any air bubbles. Look closely where masking tape was used for paint graphics to make sure there is no over-spray. Carefully check for surface smoothness and any place when paint coverage is marginal or where there are bubbles. Any problems can be verified and corrected at this point with a lot less hassle.
Tires and Wheels - Closely inspect the tires and wheels and understand the proper pressure. I like to verify the torque of the lug nuts or have the technician do it while I watch.
Awnings - Extend and retract each awning paying particular attention to how the awning is locked in the retracted position. Make sure all springs, lock, supports work well and are properly aligned.
Chassis Inspection - Put on some coveralls and get a creeper, which is a flat device with low wheels that allows you to lie on you back while scooting around under a vehicle. Take the RV to a level place where it is safe to jack it up, blocking the tires, and then block up the chassis with axle stands so that it is safe to inspect the underneath. If you don't want to do this then make arrangements to take the rig to a qualified independent truck shop and pay them one-hour labor to do this check. Inspect every place that a wire or pipe could rub against something that will cause a problem later. All wiring and piping should be properly fastened. Verify that undercoating has not been sprayed where it should not be, like on a brake caliper. Check the operation of each wheel brake for proper adjustment and operation. Check for any fluid leakage. Understand how to check the operating levels of all fluids in the RV by actually checking them.
Slideout Operation - If your RV includes a slideout or slideouts then spend the time it takes to understand its operation. Start by checking the seals while the slide is retracted. You should not be able to find any places where you can see light or detect airflow. Understand the mechanism that extends and retracts the slide. Operate it several times and understand the restrictions. Understand the interlocks that might be present, like some systems don't work if the compartment below the slide has a door open, etc. Understand the manual retraction process and actually perform the retraction as if the automatic mechanism had failed. Look for proper alignment of any wheels that may ride on carpet or other flooring, to insure proper clearance. Understand any locking mechanisms that are used to hold the top of the slide out tight against the top of the RV. Do your best to make sure the seals are properly installed and operational when the slide is retracted and also when it is extended.
Awnings and Step Operation - Check to operation of each awning and automatic step device. If the awnings are manual, then learn how to unlock, extend, retract and lock each one. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to perform this task flawlessly when everyone is watching you in a campground. More important is your skill in retracting the awnings when the wind comes up. If you have powered awnings then operate them multiple times to make sure their operation is correct. If there is a wind sensor that automatically causes the awning to retract, then use compressed air to simulate the wind and verify its operation. I knew a situation where the factory had crossed the wiring in the control unit and when the RV moved at higher than 50 mph, rather than retracting the awning, it actually made the awning extend. Luckily, this happened in front of the factory, during the test ride, so that all that happened besides a lot of damage to the awning and side wall, was the breaking of several road signs.
INSIDE FIT AND FINISH - Now its time to go inside. In general you are looking for things that are not finished correctly since it is too late to inspect the design of anything.
Cabinets - Inspect all of the cabinets to insure that all the hinges and latches work well. Next pull each drawer out to its stop, return it closed and then try to open it like road vibration might do. Make sure that there are no water leaks behind and beneath the cabinets and make sure that all the wiring and pipes that are visible are well fastened. Inspect any linings to insure they are fastened securely.
Lighting - Operate every light switch and observe its function. There are also battery disconnect switches to understand and verify.
Closets - Next open and close all closet doors checking for free operation and proper alignment. Hanger rods should be properly fastened and secure. Check out the lighting that is provided and any switches that are used.
Furniture - Examine every piece of furniture to check for construction, upholstery, pattern and cloth matching. Check out the dinette by making it a bed with the appropriate cushions.
Blinds - Operate each blind and check for alignment. Look at all valances and trim to be sure it is secured. Check out any pull drapes that usually cover the large windows by opening and closing them.
Counter Tops - Inspect all counter tops for alignment and fastening. Make sure that any trim pieces that should be there are in fact tight. Check for caulking quality everywhere there may be water. Check the installation of sinks and faucets.
Windows - Open and close every window and operate the locks. Pay particular attention to the safety egress windows or emergency windows and make sure they operate. Locks and latches should work freely but securely.
Floor Coverings - Inspect carpet and other floor coverings in all corners to insure that they have been properly fastened down. If tile is used, inspect the grout to insure that it is complete and has been cleaned up properly, especially under any sliding cabinets.
Wall Coverings - Check to make sure that all the wall coverings actually cover and join properly. Try to find any places where it is not perfect since now is the time to get it fixed while matching patterns are in stock.
Operation Test of all House Systems - You should be about three hours into to the walkthrough by and you are ready to test all of the house type systems. Start this test with the RV not connected to any shore facilities.
Generator - learn how to start the generator and stop it. Know where the remote stations for this purpose are located and how they work. Start the generator listening for any unusual sound or vibration. Let the generator run a few minutes and understand any Power Relays that might be in your RV and test incoming ac electricity before cutting it through. The electrical status panel should show the status of the generator and the presence of ac voltage. Put a load on the generator by starting the microwave and operate it for several minutes. Turn on and off all ac loads like the lighting that is not dc powered.
Inverter/Converter/Charger - With the generator running, understand the operation of the Inverter/Charger that is provided. Have the technician explain the function of each control switch, display and status light. With ac power present, the inverter becomes a charger and should be charging your house batteries. You can verify this by looking at the display. Now shut down the generator with the inverter in the "on" position and the ac loads should immediately be taken over by the inverter. Again operate the microwave for a minute to test the inverter. The 1000 watts of the microwave will provide a good test load for the inverter. Now you should turn on a TV to create a small load on the inverter and leave the TV on during the rest of your House Systems Test.
Water Pump - Your technician should have filled you fresh water tanks, so now you can test the function of the water pump. After turning it on, you should hear it pump for several seconds, even up to a minute to create enough pressure in the system. If the pump does not shut off, then there is a problem. Run water in the kitchen and bathroom sink and notice that the pump will come back on until proper water pressure is restored. Now is the time to fix a noisy pump if it is vibrating or making any irritating sounds.
Water Heater - Try the water heater on propane first. A few seconds after you turn it on, you should hear the click of the igniter and the small pop when the burner lights. The red light should stay on until that process happens. If it does not ignite, then there is a problem. Now try it on ac. This is not normally done with no shore or generator power, but it is a good way to see if it works, because you should see an immediate dimming of dc lights because the battery is being drawn down with the inverter providing ac power to the water heater. If you don't see the dimming, then further verification of the ac operation is required to prove that it is working.
Furnace - Now its time to understand the operation of the thermostat that controls heating and sometimes air conditioning. Turn the furnace on and set a temperature demand that is at least 10 degrees hotter than ambient temperature. In about 30 seconds, you should hear the furnace fans come on. Shortly thereafter you should hear the click of the igniter and the sound of the burner. If not then there is a problem. Let the furnace blow and you should get hot air at about 110 degrees coming out of all vents. Check each one. Now turn the furnace down and the hot air will gradually turn cooler and the fans will eventually stop after the furnace has cooled sufficiently. During this process have your smeller working for any smell of material getting too hot, or exhaust coming out.
Propane and Carbon Monoxide Alarms - now is a good time to check the function of these alarms. The technician should have a small canister of gas that can be sprayed at the alarm to test its operation. Have them perform this test while you witness and learn.
Refrigerator - Most modern refrigerators work on Propane and AC, or have an automatic mode that gives preference to ac and then will switch to propane if ac is not available. Understand the controls and the status lights and set the unit on propane. Go outside and make sure that the propane heating column is lit and heating. The refrigerator needs solid 12 dc to operate. Set the temperature at the highest cooling setting, because setting it to lowest will typically cause the coils to collect moisture and ice up. You will come back in about 10 minutes to feel that the coil is actually starting to cool.
TV VCR Antenna and Switching - Your TV should still be on testing the ability of the inverter to provide constant ac power. Review and understand the switching system that allows the selection of viewing channels. Raise the TV uhf/vhf antenna and learn how to turn on the amplifier. Activate the control on the TV that scans for local stations. Now you can learn how to rotate the antenna to maximize the quality of the picture. If you purchased the DSS Satellite system, then learn about the complete operation and control of the antenna and receiver along with any switches. Learn how to make your system automatically acquire the proper satellite and how to use the DSS receiver Remote Control. There is nothing worse than not being able to pick up or register the viewing channels when you want to watch a particular program. Most receivers allow the remote to be used with IR (Infra-red) or RF (Radio Frequency). Learn how to select the transmission method.
Air Conditioners - Most air conditioners also have a heat strip or heat pump feature so now is the time to verify these functions. Start the Generator verifying that your ac control system switches the ac power into the RV. This sometimes takes 90 seconds. The inverter should switch back to charging mode. When the generator is settled out and stable, then turn on the front air conditioner. After a couple of minutes, cool air, 20 degrees cooler than ambient, should be coming out of the registers. The generator should hold steady with this higher load of two units.
Within 5 minutes warm air at least 20 degrees hotter than ambient should be coming out of the registers. If your rig has ducting in the ceiling, make sure a good airflow comes out of each register. Learn how to clean the filters at this time.
Air Vents - Test the operation of kitchen and bathroom air vents making sure they open and turn on properly. Then verify that they retract and close tightly.
Microwave - With the air conditioner running, put a cup of cold water in the microwave and set the timer for 5 minutes. With the AC and the microwave operating, you are near the maximum capability of a 7.5 KW generator. The generator should hold strong with this load. The water in the cup should boil in less than 5 minutes. Make sure there are not unusual sounds coming from the Microwave.
Propane Stove - Turn on one burner of the stovetop while the AC's and Microwave are running and the automatic igniters should cause a strong spark to light the burner. Turn on the other burners to verify that there is enough propane flow to operate the refrigerator, water heat and all the burners. If everything is OK, then turn off the burners on the stove. Sometimes the igniters interfere with the operation of the thermostats for the roof air. This is caused by improper routing of wiring where the ac too close to the dc, inside the kitchen cabinet. Now is the time to find this problem. If your unit has an oven, then verify its operation now.
Summary - You have now done a simple test of the major house systems and can shut everything off including the generator. Even if you shut down the generator first, everything should turn off without causing any problems.
By now, you will have a list of things that you feel need correcting, but it will be then the end of the day, so plan on camping at the factory or dealer lot for the night. This will give you a chance to further test the house functions. Prepare yourself waiting until these things are corrected and don't be tempted by the maintenance person to sign the acceptance paperwork just yet.
THE FIRST NIGHT - You should "dry camp" in the parking lot the first night and not be tempted to hook up to shore utilities just yet. Bring enough kitchen equipment and food so that you can prepare an evening meal. There is no better way to test the living facilities than to actually use them. Don't be tempted, since you've had a tough day, to go out to eat.
Batteries - the batteries should be fully charged and to verify the charge state use a simple hydrometer to test the specific gravity. This test will take no more than 5 minutes and you should be careful not to get any battery acid on you or your clothing. Fully charged batteries should read 1275 on the hydrometer. Most RVs are designed with enough battery capacity to dry camp at least one night without having to run the generator, even if you watch TV several hours and use the microwave for limited cooking. When you get up in the morning, retest the charge state and the hydrometer reading should be no lower than 1175, which is equivalent to about 30% charge. In the morning, start the generator or plug into shore power, to verify that the inverter goes directly into the bulk (highest) charge rate. If you have the gauge or a dc current meter, you should verify that 45 to 70 amps are going into the low batteries. It will take two or three hours at that rate to recharge the batteries and you will just get started when the technicians will want to take your RV for the day, to fix all the things that you have on your list.
If it is really hot, then by all means connect to shore power so you can run the air conditioner; but when it cools down, disconnect shore power so that you can test your batteries for the rest of the night. While you are camped it is a good time to read all the manuals that will have been provided by the technician. This will allow you to review all the knowledge you have from all the testing that you have done the first day.
Ask the marketing people to give you a list of the things to see in the area, so that with your tow vehicle you will be able to entertain yourself for the day. You can spend the day waiting in the customer area, but there's only so much visiting you can do with the other customers that are there getting work done. Some sharing is valuable especially if you get reminded to test something that you forgot.
THE SECOND NIGHT - At about 4:30 or so, the technicians will bring your RV back to the parking lot and you should then repeat the testing of the things that were on the "fix" list and dry camp for another night. If the house batteries are depleted, then you will have to plug into shore power or run the generator for a few hours. If you find more things to be corrected, more time will be required by the technicians on the third day to do those repairs.
ACCEPTANCE - When you are satisfied that all systems are "go" then sign the acceptance papers that the dealer will anxiously provide for you. Schedule your first return trip for about a week from now. You are now ready to take your "shake down" cruise.
SHAKE DOWN CRUISE - Select an interesting destination about 100 miles away for your maiden voyage. Actually use all the systems multiple times to try to detect and infant failures (electronic equipment fails at greater rates at the beginning of its life). At your destination with full hook ups, refill the fresh water tank, and run water into the gray tank to verify the gauge reading and that there are not leaks. Drain the gray water using the sever hoses. Do the same thing to the Black Water tank, and if you don't want to wait for it to fill with the toilet running, then bring the water hose in and fill the tank through the toilet. Check the gauge for accuracy and for any leaks. Now is the time you want to find leaks if there are any. Drain the Black Water Tanks and camp using all the systems for the rest of the week.
As you return, stop at a truck stop or service station that services propane, even though it will not take very much, just to test try the refill procedure.
*This Message was edited on 27-Feb-02 05:53 PM by LLeopold*
Whew! That one made it! Here's my Camping Checklist (I use an Excel spreadsheet and
downloaded it to my PDA):
Checklist for Leaving Home/Breaking Camp
Stow folding chairs & other outside items
Dump & Reset black & grey tanks
Drain/fill hoses stowed, caps on
Pressure regulator stowed
Furnace & A/C off
Water heater off
Secure all loose items
Stow shower & bathroom supplies
Empty & stow trashcans
Turn off refrigerator
Stow TV and TV shelf
TV antenna down
Secure all windows & ceiling vents
Water pump off
Cabinets closed & locked
Retract slideout & install braces
All lights & fans off
Water bottle for truck
Electric disconnected & cords stowed
Propane turned off
Wheels torqued to 110lbs
Hitch locked & secure
Jacks up & locked
Chocks removed & stowed
Lights & brakes checked
Pull rig off levelers and stowed
*This Message was edited on 27-Feb-02 05:59 PM by LLeopold*
LLeopold, I am also looking at getting a 5, replacing a "A". Had a 5 a while back, miss it. The boss said she liked the old 5 better than this "A". So back to the 5. I will be happier also. I f you would send your check list, that would be a big help. TIA Bill