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Below are E-mail questions and answers to RV Advice of the World Wide Web relating to people new to the RV lifestyle or just casual RV users. You can send your question(s) using the form at the bottom of all our Q&A pages.
This page last updated December 21, 2012 containing letters emailed to Pete from November 14th, 2011 - October 17, 2012.
Birthdays on December 21st:
1117 Thomas Becket, arch bishop of Canterbury
1948, Samuel L. Jackson
On this day in history:
On this day in 1163 a hurricane hits villages in Holland causing flooding.
On this day in 1620 one hundred and three Mayflower pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock.
On this day in 1891 eighteen students play the first basketball game a Springfield College.
On this day in 1929 the first US group hospital insurance plan is instituted in Dallas, Texas.
On this day in 1946 It's a Wonderful Life premiers.
Water flows out of a small hose under chassis when we try to fill or connect to city water. I assume it is an overflow. Can you tell me where the over flow valve is located as I believe it may be stuck open?
Sounds more like a drain open. Go inside above where the lines go through the floor and look for a shut off. Then go to the fresh water tank and water pump and look for a shut off in those locations.
Recently purchased this trailer. Upon first trip the low voltage light came on. It would not operate refrigerator on 12 volt. After checking manual it said when power convertor was plugged in to shore power it charges batteries.
Our question is, will the trailer batteries still charge through tow vehicle or does it have to only charge through power convertor?
The batteries will charge from your tow vehicle if you have a charge line wired in on your tow vehicle. It really depends on who wired the tow vehicle.
You need to be cautious because if you leave your tow vehicle hooked up, you can drain the battery on the tow vehicle also when you're camping.
On our system monitor the holding tank shows that it is full even when we know it to be empty. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
Try to clean the probes first and see if that doesn't take care of it.
To clean the probes put 1 gallon of white vinegar down your toilet along with 1/4 to 1/2 tank of water. Take your Aljo for a ride (to slosh the vinegar/water mixture around in the tank), and then re-check the probes.
We just bought a used 1992 Sierra 26RB travel trailer in excellent condition. Everything seems to work great on it except we are having problems with the AC compressor kicking on.
The camper has a 30 amp plug in for it but we have just been using a 15 amp adapter and plugging it into our house to do some cleaning inside of it while it is parked at our house.The AC won't run because every time the compressor tries to kick on it throws the house breaker. The AC units says 110V on it so it should run on a regular 15-20 amp breaker right?
We called the guy we bought it from and he says that is doesn't matter than any of the appliances say 110V, that we must still plug the camper in to 30 amp breaker or the AC will not run. Does this sound right to you or do you think something could be electrically wrong with the camper? The AC is a rooftop unit model #58915.305 or 58915.601
The guy is probably right if you haven't already damaged something from low power.
The AC alone should run off the 15 amp, if you're not using too small of an extension cord, and you have the AC set on a low fan speed setting.
Then, if you turn on a few lights and accessories with it, or if the water heater/refrigerator compressor turns on, you over load the 15 amps, even without the use of an extension cord.
How to hook up the two house batteries?
The batteries should be wired in as 12 volts, but I don't know what was wired to the batteries. How many and what color wires do you have for me to be able to tell you how to make the connections?
But the two batteries need to be connected positive to positive and negative to negative. The your positive cables from the coach go to a positive terminal and the ground cables to a negative terminal.
What are the dangers of adapting from a 30 amp plug to a 50 amp power supply?
If you're using a certified manufactured adapter from your 30 amp to a 50 amp receptacle there isn't any danger.
Be careful and make sure you're not mistaking a 220 amp plug as a 50 amp plug.
Where we are staying they are doing some construction and shut the main water (well), line off. When it was turned back on there was a lot of debris coming out of the kitchen, bathroom sink and toilet (Thetford). We shut our water off to clean the faucets and when we turned it back on no water is coming through the toilet now.
How do we unclog the line?
Pull it loose and see if the problem is in the shut off valve to the toilet, or if it plugged the screen going into the water valve.
I cannot seem to find a water filter located in the trailer anywhere. The water has an odor after running straight bleach through the lines and letting bleach sit in the lines over night. Thought there might me a gross filter somewhere but i can not find one.
If there isn't one under the kitchen sink, there probably isn't one; and your fresh water tank needs to be cleaned and also flush the water heater. A lot of times the odor is from the water heater needing flushing.
I'm looking for a manual to a 1994 Ford Fourwinds motor home or either and answer to something about it.
There's a switch below the sink to the right and when I cut it on I can hear something running towards the back but I can't figure out what it goes to.
Sounds like maybe a water pump switch.
We are in the process of looking for a RV and was wondering about how insurance is affected on a towed vehicle. Does it affect any warranty issues? When you are flat towing a vehicle does that add mileage to the vehicle as well as the RV?
Towing a vehicle does not change your insurance, as long as you are hitched up properly, including auxiliary braking.
If you are over the weight limits on the receiver and tow bar and braking, any of the three, could give your insurance company "an out", if something happened.
Warranty should not be effected under the same circumstances as those I listed above for insurance; but as everyone knows, warranty is always questionable.
On some vehicles you will rack up mileage on the towed vehicle while it is being towed.
I purchased a piece of American history from a GSA auction. The trailer is a used FEMA trailer used after Katrina Hurricane in Georgia. It is strait electrical 50 amp; no holding tanks, plumbed straight to sewer, and has one inlet for water. I would like to obtain documentation on maintenance of the trailer. Plumbing layout, electrical layout, maintenance of AC unit.
There are four things I need to do to make the unit road worthy to camp this year at few US Military Parks.
1). Add 50 amp connector on unit. I have seen several kits on the Internet, so don't think I should have problem adding this.
2). Add inline connection to hook up water to the unit. I have 1 white pipe looks line 1/2 inch - I am guessing this is where I need to add a water hose connector to screw in the water hose too.
3) Get a sewer connection kit to plug to the sewer at the campground. also looking at buying one of those 40+ gallon totes with wheels.
4). Adding a toilet to the unit. This unit was used as an office, so it never had a toilet installed. I can use a lot of help here as I have nothing to go by, there is a board screwed down over the hole where the toilet goes. I need to buy everything to put the toilet in, I don't think there is a holding tank -- not sure??
I have been digging all over for some info on what I have and what I need to provide my kids some fun this year.
I don't know where you would get a manual for your unit, but you can get owner's manuals from the appliance manufacturers. A basic RV repair and maintenance guide book (see our RV Books). Should give you enough help to make it campground ready.
I assume the RV body is fiberglass. What do you recommend to put a real shine on it again? Cleaning with "what" and waxing with "what"?
Clean with Penetrol. Wax with Penetrol or Mother's pre-cleaner and wax.
Can I have a furnace (heat), installed in a travel trailer or 5th wheel that is not equipped with one? About how much and is it worth it?
I can't say that I have ever seen a travel trailer or fifth wheel that did not have a heater built in. I even own a 1942 Spartan travel trailer, and it had a furnace.
The cost would depend on what type and size furnace you used. And I guess it would depend on your usage, if it would be worth the expense or not.
What are the difference's between travel trailers and 5th wheels; like towing them, setting them up, etc. ?
I would say there is as much difference as there is in looking at them. It can be a hard question to answer. Just like everyone finds chores a little different. Say you are a short person, it could be difficult to unlatch the fifth wheel and plug in the pig-tail. If you have a bad back, it could be troublesome to deal with hitching and unhitching the travel trailer.
I am a newbie and ignorant. I'd like to use our Thor Kodiak Scamper K-160 during freezing weather.
I have the water system winterized with no RV antifreeze in the water tank. I want to use the gas furnace but not apply heat to the water tank which is empty.
Dumb question. But is there a way to separate the furnace heater from the water heater? Or will it not damage the water heater...while running the gas furnace... when there is no water in the tank?
Nothing in the owner's manual helps explain how the system works.
The systems are separate. As long as you don't turn your hot water heater on you're okay. Just use the thermostat for the furnace.
The mistake people make with the water heater is turning on the electric heating element with no water in the tank and burning out the heating element.
Your thermostat and limit switch will save you on the LP side of the water heater.
I can't find the hose hook up for the fresh water intake.
It's usually on the left rear of the trailer. If there is a compartment on that side, look in there, and you might also want to look underneath the unit along the side wall.
I know nothing about RVs. I can't seem to figure what I need to know about turning on a water heater for the first time. Do I turn on a water valve then turn on the water heater?
First, yes, make sure if it has a bypass valve for winterizing that the valve is open and the water heater is full of water.
You can tell by opening the pressure release valve on the water heater.
Then, after knowing it's full of water it will depend on if it's a gas/electric heater with direct spark; or a gas heater with a pilot light.
The gas/electric unit with DSI, you just flip the switch of your choice for gas, electric or both.
For a pilot light operation, there should be instructions in your manual to light the pilot and turn the gas on.
It appears my two 12V batteries are wired in series. Is this a normal procedure? It would seem if #1 battery went bad then #2 battery would become useless, or at least, not much good.
You are correct if one battery goes bad it will draw down the other battery. And it will not have the capacity to double the voltage that it needs.
I would like to know, when my motor home is plugged in to electric for four months, do I have to unhook the house batteries?
Not necessarily, but if you're not around to occasionally check the electrolyte level, they may get low and burn up.
When I'm using the battery I can only get the inside lights to work, but not the electrical outlets to work. But when I plug into my house current everything works.
I changed the GFI in the bathroom and it will test and reset on house power, but it will do nothing on the battery.
Sorry, but the 12 volt circuit and AC circuit are separate.
You don't have AC power when the shore power cord is not plugged in. You can install an inverter, which will work off the batteries and supply AC voltage.
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