RV Advice Q&A Popups and Others


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Below are questions and answers to RV Advice that are related to service on pop-ups, slide-ins, and park models, horse trailers, boat trailers, and miscellaneous other items. You can send your question(s) using the form at the bottom of all our Q&A pages. We answer ALL readable email that comes to us, even what other RV web sites forward to us.

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This page last updated on January 26, 2013 containing letters emailed to Pete from February 15th - December 16th.

Birthdays on Januarcy 26: 1925, Paul Newman; 1957, Eddie Van Halen; 1958, Ellen Degeneres

On this date: 0066: 5th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.

1531 Lisbon earthquake kills 30,000.

1837 Michigan admitted as 26th U.S. state.

1986 Super Bowl XX Chicago Bears beat New England Patriots 46-10 in New Orleans.


Looking for a diagram of a lift system? This link to Goshen Stamping (a lift manufacturer) might have the diagram you're looking for on their web site.

Looking for state parks or campgrounds? Visit our RV Books page.


December 16, 2012 Steve of Tucson, Arizona writes regarding 12 volt system glitches with newly purchased used 2001 Coleman Sante Fe pop-up

I recently bought this pop-up used. The 12V system acts oddly with my initial tests. If I plug the pop-up into 120V, the lights work fine. If I unplug the 120V and then plug in the battery to the pop-up, the lights will not work.

However, if I plug the 12V battery into the system *prior* to unplugging the 120V line, then when I unplug the 120V, the 12V system operates the lights just fine.

If I then unplug the battery and then plug it back in (with the 120V disconnected), then the lights will no longer work!

The 120V system supplies ~14V to the battery, and the battery charges just fine.

However, if I cannot use this trick with hooking up the 120V, I cannot get the 12V system to operate the lights at all (as well as the LP gas detector).

It's almost as if hooking up the 120V while the battery is attached to the system somehow establishes a ground that somehow doesn't get established without first activating the 120V system and then disconnecting it.

Dear Steve,

Some of the popups had a switch inside to switch from AC to DC, depending on which one you are using.

I would look to see if that's not what is happening. If not, it's probably in the converter and only locking in solenoid from the AC side and the 12 volt will hold it open once activated, but will not energize it from the 12 volt side.

It could also be a burned out diode.


September 7, 2012 Bonnie of Kalkaska, Michigan writes regarding radio, stove fan and refrigerator not working in 2001 Palomino Ultralite

All the lights work except fan over stove, radio and refrigerator. What could be the problem?

Dear Bonnie,

Fuse would be a good place to start.


August 6, 2012 Todd of Oshawa, Ontario writes regarding electric not working in 2002 Rockwood popup

I have a 2002 Rockwood popup. All of a sudden the lights and fan are not working. It doesn't look like a breaker is blown.

I have a deep cycle battery. Should the battery power the trailer when there is no power?

The battery is dead and tried to charge but didn't work. Someone said that the battery fluid can be changed. Can it be?

Dear Todd,

Yes, the battery should power the lights when there is no power available. It won't however power up the AC wall outlets. If the battery has lived its life, you would be better off replacing the battery then trying to change the acid content and recharging it.


July 19, 2012 Karen of Orillia, Ontario writes regarding 2003 Coachman Clipper pop up camper door popping open when people are in the hitch side beds

We have a 2003 Coachman Clipper Sport 106 tent trailer and have enjoyed many years of camping fun. Lately, however, we have noticed that when there are people in the queen size side (hitch side) beds, the door will pop open and become "untrue". A gap appears along the bottom rear edge of the door as well as the bottom vertical, closing side of the door. The bottom latch no longer catches the door and unless we have it locked at the top, it would swing open. We have two different support brackets that attach to the hitch for this bed support and this side is rated to be able to support over 1300 lbs. We have tried everything from increasing the jack height under that end of the box, to putting a tripod support right to the ground under the bed.

Nothing works. We are worried that the bed itself is losing its integrity but there is no evidence of damage or rust.

Dear Karen,

I would start looking very close at the structure of the box.

Something is flexing or spreading when the weight is applied. You might look under the unit at the floor and frame supports and connections.


June 11, 2012 Terry of Emmett, Idaho writes regarding roof not going up evenly with 1998 Dutchman popup

As I crank the roof up, I notice it does not go up even, the back is slightly higher than the front. When it is completely in the up position, one end is a half inch too short and the door won't fit. Anything I can do about it? Hoping it's just an adjustment.

Dear Terry,

Do an inspection and make sure you have no rot going on in the corners causing the roof to sag where the lift is connected. Make sure no rollers are pulled loose.

If everything looks in order you should be able to tighten the cables to equal it out.


May 22, 2012 Ray of York, Pennsylvania writes regarding electric at outlet is tripping with connected in humid or rain conditions with 2006 Rockwood Roo

Electric at outlet is tripping when connected (only when raining or damp outside).

Dear Ray,

Check your outside receptacle to see if the seal is broken and allowing water into the back of the receptacle and shorting.

Also, look for signs of water leaks that would allow water to get to any wall outlets or breakers.


April 16, 2012 John of Richardson, Texas writes regarding raising roof without releasing a latch

My wife and I were getting ready to crank up the roof.

She went to the four corners and thought she unlatched everything. Apparently one wasn't unhitched. I heard a pop and now only three corners will go up.

Is this an easy fix? Is it expensive?

Dear John,

It all depends on what broke or what came loose. You will just have to tear into it and see. The usual scenario is a busted cable. Not an expensive repair (part wise), but labor intensive; but something you could do yourself.

First, you need to get some buddies over to help you manually lift the top into it's fully upright position and support the open top with 2x4s so you can unscrew interior panels and see what's going on. If it is a busted cable, you can get the cable from any home improvement store, such as Home Depot.

Take photos of how the cable is routed before you take it out so you can use the photos to help you when you put it back together. Take a section of cable with you so you can get the same diameter cable as replacement.

If a roller has come loose and the cable popped out of the roller, you will need to re-secure the roller and get the cable back in place.

Again, anything that needs to be repaired or replaced, you should be able to get at any home improvement store.


April 8, 2012 Mary of Mechanicville, New York writes regarding forgetting how to run battery wires after removing for winter storage in 2012 Flagstaff popup

I removed the battery for the winter.

Now I am replacing it and don't remember how the wires go. I have a black, white, and two red.

Dear Mary,

Call customer service at Forest Rivers to be sure. But black is usually positive and white is usually ground. But you throw in two red wires that would normally be positive and it raises questions.

You could use an OHMs meter to test the black wire and see if it's a ground.


March 26, 2012 Deanna of Clarksville, Tennessee writes regarding whether battery will charge when pop up is plugged into outside shore power

Will the battery on my pop up camper charge when the camper is plugged into a regular household outlet?

Dear Deanna,

I am not sure. See if you can find the paper work on your power converter. Some of the older popups did not wire in a charge circuit. Hopefully, on an '08 model that is not the case.


March 11, 2012 Norm of Altoona, Pennsylvania writes regarding sagging roof in 1995 Coachmen popup

I have a sagging roof. Is there some kind of support that may be broken? If so, would I be able to fix it?

The popup has new canvas and awning and I want to put air on it but need the sag fixed first.

Dear Norm,

Seems like this was a big problem for Coachmen.

You might be able to make some supports yourself that would support the air and allow the water to run off. I know a lot of people replaced the whole top.


February 15, 2012 Joe of Washington writes regarding delamination on Fleetwood Elkhorn truck camper

The fiberglass siding has a bubble on the side of the refrigerator, just to the side and above; it acts like the bunk (overhang), is too heavy and sagging causing it to bubble.

It's in storage now so I propped up the bunk (overhang), and I have noticed now the bubble has gone but it's not stuck to anything behind it, and probably will come back when prop is removed.

How is this repairable? I have owned since new, never in an accident.

Dear Joe,

Sounds like you have a little rot issue behind the fiberglass. You will need to pull the fiberglass and repair the damage behind it, so that there is something to glue the siding back to.

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