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Last updated Thursday, January 19, 2012

Daves Trial and Error

The items in black are pending.  The ones in blue are complete or in progress.  To read the article click on the link.

 

Graphic Care

Graphics Installation

Graphic Removal

Graphics Suppliers

My Graphics installation

Gray and Black Water Valves

Battery Disconnect Switches got all the information and parts and then did not install due to other concerns.

Trailer Wiring (not necessarily a 5th wheel)

Porch Lights and parts - Fixed, All lights are not created equal

LED Lighting and vendors - why would I do this?

Replacing Foam in Cushions and Vendors for cushion supplies

Tire Pressure Information and lug nut torque

Stabilize the RV While Parked

Outside Step Mats Need to be Replaced

RV cover for winter storage

Tire covers for winter storage

New carpeting

BAL Easily Raise and Lower Stabilizing Jacks

GFCI Keeps Tripping

Manual and Diagram of 2005 KZ Durango Converter

Adding the Winegard UHF (Digital TV) add-on

Replace Vent Fan in Bathroom

LP Detector Alarm is going off intermittently - Fixed by replacing.

Shower Head Water Turnoff Quit Working Fixed

Winter Insulation - some installed

Check Lists for Travel and Meals

Rearview Camera for 5th Wheel

Awning, Carefree problem June 2011

Slide would not extend June 2011 - Fixed. Finally.

KZ 2005 Durango Owners Manual

KZ 2005 Durango Maintenance Manual

RV for wheelchairs - For a friend and cousin

 

Exterior Graphic Care

Some graphics designs on the side of your RV have been applied using a plastic type material with an adhesive backing.  Some of these vinyl designs have a lifetime guarantee of 8 years and some will last the life of your RV.   Others, like ours, begin to peel and shrink after only a short period of time, in our case after only 4 years.  So,,, we began to look for a solution.  The following are some of the results of our look for a replacement or repair.

There seems to be a lot of conversation about decals/graphics on the sides and front of RV's and there are lots of commentary on the web about care, maintenance and replacement.  The following isn't necessarily pure fact but things that are tainted with our own opinion.  So read and enjoy but don't take all of this information as "set in concrete and the only way to handle graphics".

1. Washing and waxing your graphics;  There are differences of opinion about washing and waxing your graphics.  You obviously need to wash your RV from time to time and you should not be using any soaps that would or could be considered abrasive.  We use a mild soap and water combination like Dawn, Ivory or Joy for the sides, front and for the rubber roof.  Rinse thoroughly. Do not use abrasive sponges like SOS pads or abrasive cleaners like Comet to clean your graphics.  We are leaning toward not waxing over your graphics simply because you will probably "rub" the edges while putting the wax on or taking it off.  Understand, we are overly cautious since our has prematurely started peeling.

2. Start cleaning at the top of the graphic and work down, rinsing the abrasive dirt and contaminants away as you go. Periodically step back and rinse the whole side or front from the top down. Don't forget that if you are doing the rubber roof, do it first.  That will prevent dirt from washing down the side of your freshly washed RV after you have cleaned the sides and front.  Doing the top first will also  give you and opportunity to examine it for any damage or repair that needs to be done.

3. Avoid washing your RV or graphics with a high-pressure sprayer such as a power washer.  If you elect to use a high pressure sprayer avoid contact with the graphic since the sprayer may be able to lift the edge or your graphic causing it to peel.

4. Don't attempt to cover your graphics with clear paint or sealer of any kind.

5. Wipe your decal from the center toward the outer edge to prevent from wiping against the decal edge.

6. Don't let gasoline or other fuels drip or remain on your graphics.  If a spill occurs, wipe off the graphic and rinse with water immediately.  It would be best to use a mild soap and water to finish the cleaning job at the first opportunity.

7. Don't use petroleum-based solvents on your graphics. They can soften the vinyl of the graphic.

8. Don't apply wax over your graphics, especially if the wax contains any petroleum or silicone distillates.  Car wax will not improve the finish of graphics and can damage the surface of vinyl graphics after repeated exposure.

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Exterior Graphic Installation Instructions

Installation of a small graphic could be done by the average owner, however installation of larger graphics should be done by a professional.  The following are some basic steps that could be used for graphic installation.

Surface temperature of substrate should be a minimum of 45 degrees for optimal adhesion and performance.

1. Clean substrate thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol prior to graphic application.

2. Use proper application tool to apply graphic; squeegee for smooth wall; rivet brush for corrugated metal.

3. Spray the substrate and the back of the graphic after removing the back liner with a mild mixture of dish soap and water.  This will allow you to move the graphic some before sticking it down.

4. Remove liner from back of graphic.

5. Gently place graphic in desired application location.  This may required the assistance of a second person to line up the graphic as close to the finished location as possible.  Squeegee vertically in center of graphic towards the outer edges.

6.Graphics can be lifted to remove slack and prevent creases prior to squeegee, but not after.

7. Leave protective pre-mask on graphic for at least 15 minutes following installation of graphic before attempting removal.

8. Remove pre-mask by pulling 180 degrees across the graphic, not 90 degrees away from the substrate.

9. Graphic should be re-squeegee after removal of pre-mask, especially where removal of the pre-mask begins at small points.

10. Air bubbles can be popped and removed by using a tool with a fine point, like a pin.  Do not use a wide blade like a Stanley or X-ACTO knife.

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Exterior Graphic Removal Instructions

1. Soften graphic and adhesive by first warming the graphic with a heat gun or blow dryer.  Facing graphic to the sun on a warm day will also help.

2. After removing graphic, any remaining adhesive can be removed by using chemical cleaners such as lacquer thinner or citrus cleaner.

3. Make sure to thoroughly clean residue left behind by these chemicals with isopropyl alcohol before applying a replacement graphic.

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My Graphics Installation

Just to clarify where I am with murals and such for my RV;  I had a problem with the graphics coming off my 2005 KZ Durango.  The front cap decal was replaced under warranty less than two years after I bought it and it was coming off again (2010).  The decals on the back and door side were coming off so I decided I would try to fix the problem by going to a longer life decal.  I ordered a mural from Freak Decals (expected life 5 to 7 years) as shown below and was absolutely delighted with the result.  The front cap decal is great, it survived a plethora of bugs hitting the front during travel and in general looks pretty smart.  Freak Decals even sent along a squeegee for the installation.

I tried unsuccessfully to work with them to have one of my own photographs blown up to use on the sides and back.  The FreakDecals web site says you can send them a print as small as 4"x6" and they can make a mural or custom size decal.  There seemed to be a total failure to communicate.  I found myself communicating with someone email listed as Mobile Graphics, East Graphics Inc.   I'm not sure of the relationship between FreakDeacals and these folks, maybe they are one and the same.

I sent some jpg files (about 1MB compressed that I can make great 8"x10" prints with) along with a sample of how I wanted them cropped for the finished product.  There is where the confusion began.

First they said the the DPI of the file wasn't good enough and had to be 300DPI or better.  Mine were 180DPI.  So the size of the file wasn't a concern it was the DPI of picture.

I printed out one of the pictures (it looked great) scanned it in at 300DPI and sent it to them.

They said it looked a little pixilated (so 300DPI doesn't work?).

So I sent another note back and said "can you just print out on 8"x10" photo paper the file I sent you at YOUR location and scan it to YOUR DPI preference and save me from having to print everything out on 8"x10" paper and sending it to you?  It would save a step and be a lot faster."

They sent a note back saying "The photos you scanned are not the best maybe due to your scanner.  So I would suggest mailing the originals".  I had not scanned anything, I had sent them the original files again with a question about them printing the files at their location.

This was a culmination of about 10 emails so I gave up and found another place located in Las Vegas that would supply the decals.  They are printing them and when I get them here I will let you know about the quality of the decals.

Well the saga continues.  I ordered and paid for ($337.50) three graphics from Spartan Graphic Services, 7770 S. Duneville Rd. #6, Las Vegas, NV 89139, (702) 525-9282.  I have the graphics in hand and will be measuring them to see what they look like.  I will keep you informed.

September 7, 2010;  Well I received the graphics in from Spartan Graphics Services (SGS) and had them installed.  Although the ad implies it would be printed on a 3M product it was printed on Oracal.  I don't have a problem with that since  I'm not well enough informed to know which product is better.  They look pretty good and we have had a lot of nice comments from people that have seen them.  I should have made them longer (wider) so they would cover more of the ghost image left from the previous decal.  Incidentally, there was no pixilation visible in the decals and the crispness was quite good.  The original Amish scene had a 1.1MB file size and the original Yellowstone West Thumb scene 1.2MB shot with a Canon PowerShot G3.  We replaced the decals on the back of the RV but I do not have good pictures at this time.

What I learned;

You can click on any of these images to enlarge and click one more time to get an even larger image.

 

First row - Freak Decals - Murals with frames

Second and third row are Spartan Graphics

2005 Stock Durango

Before

2005 Durango with custom front cap

After

   

2005 Durango stock

Before

custom graphic

After

custom graphic

west thumb graphic

The original picture - West Thumb at Yellowstone

The original picture - Amish farmers haying - Near Strasburg, OH

 

The original - Fiesta Key KOA Florida

 

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Exterior Graphic Suppliers

Accent Stripes - Murals

RV Stripes and Graphics - Murals

RV Stripes and Graphics Installation instructions

Freak Decals - Murals

Freak Decals Brochure on installation

Spartan Graphic Services (SGS)

 

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Grey and Black Water Valves

The RV we bought is fortunately one of those equipped with cables used to open and close the black water and grey water valves.  Just Kidding!!  These things don't work well at all and they are a concern everyday we use them.  When we first bought the RV it gave us LOTS of trouble and at one point in the time the black water valve would not close completely.  What a mess.  So, I have been on the look out for a solution to the problem.   I'm currently doing research on the Drainmaster electric valves to see if I can fit them under our RV.  They have some tempting features.  Like electric switch activated draining and a weatherproof switch that can be mounted externally.

 

Here's a link to Drainmaster which looks like a good solution.  I will let you know if an amateur like me can install it correctly on our RV.

Just saw a comment on RV.NET supposedly from an RV repair technician where he said that he made lots of money fixing electric valves people had installed.  Now that makes me want to rethink this situation and I have put this project on hold.

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Battery Disconnect Suppliers

I want to add a battery disconnect switch to my RV so the battery doesn't run down due to things like the LP detector, radio/cd player, etc. battery drain.  I bought a Blue Sea Systems 6006 switch rated at 300 amps from Jamestown Distributors and I will let you know how the installation goes.

My thoughts on what I need;  A battery disconnect switch that will be protected by a circuit breaker and then a visible light on the outside of the RV that will tell me if the battery switch is on or off.  I think I need the later because I don't want to be towing down the road and and not have trailer brakes if I have a breakaway from the towing vehicle.

Here is what I have:  Battery - battery cable (#4 wire) to a circuit breaker with a #10 terminals - cable from circuit breaker with a #10 terminal to power the rest of the RV.

JEGS

West Marine

Gemplers

GAMA

Jamestown Distributors

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Wiring Diagrams

Click to enlarge image above and click again for one more enlargement

 

 

 

 

Very good explanation of how some RV electrical systems work.  This one is for Roadtrek but provide some good practical knowledge of how all these systems work together.  Interactive Diagram  Explanation of Roadtrek system

 

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Porch Lights and parts - All are not created equal

Mine is about 6 and 1/4 inch wide, yellow lens and with a 1073 bulb.  It melts the yellow cover if left on for any length of time and  I'm on a quest to solve this problem.  You don't want a built in switch on the bottom of this unit.  When they say "Universal" it may not be wide enough for your replacement.  The "Universals" that I have found are only 5 and 3/4 or so wide and will not cover the old unit area.  There are a gazillion parts supply companies across the US but my favorite is GO-RV.com

Here's one of the parts web sites  I'm trying out and have ordered a porch light that is supposedly 6 and 1/4 inches wide. From ETrailer.com the part number is  RVPL1A

Ah ha!  I got the replacement light cover, metal backing, lens and bulb and found out what my VERY basic problem was.  The bulb installed and approved for this light is a #93 and is about 13 watts.  The one that melts the cover is a #1073 and is about double the wattage.  So either I or one of the repair places got the wrong bulb in and I just followed suit with replacement bulbs.  When I removed the deformed and partially melted plastic light cover it separated from the metal backing (thank goodness).  Then I found that I could not pull on the metal back with the bulb and wires out of the hole in the side of the RV to get the wire connection out.  I didn't want to push the issue and do any damage to the wiring connections inside the wall or the side of the RV so I just removed the metal backing from the new unit and installed the plastic cover over the old metal insert.  It worked great.  That turned out to be the easiest way to do the replacement anyway.  Wa La!  I will let you know if the lens cover melts and falls off again.

01/17/2011 And the cover has not melted or shown signs of deformation.  Looks like the #1073 was the culprit.

 I'm trying to find a reasonably priced LED light to replace the 1073 bulb.  Tired of replacing the porch light and lens you know.  Gave up on this.  The LED's are more expensive than I want and the current #93 is working just fine but they are still an attractive item for me.

 

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LED Lighting and Vendors

Author - Robert Lobitz at r.lobitz@kasacapital.com 10/22/2011

Innovations in LED Lighting changing the RV life

One of the biggest problems facing RV enthusiasts is lighting. While it is important to have your home away from home well illuminated, it is also frustrating to do so and still maintain your RVs battery life. As technology advanced one solution had become using 12 volt fluorescent light bulbs, however there is a new technology that has emerged on the scene that has the potential to offer an even greater advantage to the traveler. This is LED lighting.

While there is a good chance you have seen this technology used in a variety of products already, traditional bulbs are now moving aside to LED lighting, which has many benefits including drawing a far smaller amount of power than other forms of lighting. For a long time most people have assumed that alternative lighting is more expensive, and with any new technology there is a period where there is a higher initial cost. However that time has passed, and now consumer costs have become well in line with traditional lighting. What makes LEDs potentially better is the overall expenses associated with them, not just the initial investment.

 For some time now screw-in incandescent has begun to be obsolete, with compact florescent bulbs being far more efficient. The traditional light bulb will cost you 5 to 10 times its initial value throughout its life time of energy consumption. The technologically superior compact fluorescent light uses a far less, with only 25% of that same energy and it lasts an astounding six times longer.

 In comparison the new LED lighting has been reported to last as long as ten times longer than that same more productive compact fluorescent. Beyond that, the LED is a solid bulb, and not constructed utilizing a filament which enables it to be far more long lasting and durable than any standard light. This is something anyone who has traveled in an RV can appreciate.

 Despite the fact that for many years the investment costs were nearly ten times the cost of regular lighting, the reduction of current costs have made this now a viable alternative. Overall the new advances made with LEDs have opened an exciting and cheaper alternative for the RV traveler.  end.

Author - Dave

I've noticed these "LED road flares" for a while and would love to hear someone tell me if they're any good or not.  Here are some links to the product.  By they way, I think they use 4 AA's for power. end

TheLEDLights.com version of the beacons

AutoBarn version

AW Direct - A rather large kit of the beacons

PDK Technologies -

The Sharper Image  - Many products.  This points to the flares

FlareAlert -

 

LED Vendors

Chrome Glow

LEDLight.com

The LED Shop (Australia)

D.A.V Electronics

TheLEDLight.com

Superbrightleds.com  These folks have a wide spectrum of products.  Landscaping, trucks, RV's, marine, accent lighting, etc.

 

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Replacing Foam in Cushions and Vendors for Supplies

The cushions for the dinette are really junky.  They're continually slipping forward under use, in general are not very comfortable and they're ugly.  So,  I'm on a quest to see if there is a way to repair these things.  Going to try and find new foam inserts first.

Foam Factory

Custom Made RV Cushions And Cushion Covers

Best Foam

RV Furniture Center

 

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Tire Pressure Information

All of this information is unverified and you should do your own verifications before using this data.  This data is not a recommendation by RVTreasure.com.

Goodyear Marathon Tire Brochure Recreational Vehicle Tire and Care Guide

Load/Inflation Information

Goodyear Marathon General Information

Torque chart.  This looks like it may be for steel wheels: 

Hardware Bolt or
Stud Size

Typical Torque Range
in Ft/Lbs

Minimum Number of Turns
of Hardware Engagement

12 x 1.5 mm

70 - 80

6.5

12 x 1.25 mm

70 - 80

8

14 x 1.5 mm

85 - 90

7.5

14 x 1.25 mm

85 - 90

9

7/16 in.

70 - 80

9

1/2 in.

75 - 85

8

9/16 in.

135 - 145

8

 

Lug nut torque.  Motorhomes and trailers at the bottom of the list.

Keystone RV Torque information:  This is a great article from Keystone RV Company about torque requirements for their equipment but it gives all the basics about correct torque techniques.

 

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Pending projects and solutions

 

Stabilize RV while parked;

Use turnbuckle or quick release?

 

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Outside Step mats need replacing;

My stairs are 24" wide and the current rug is 18" wide

Here are the covers bought from Wal-Mart.  Too thin and not durable.  Ugly huh?  Don't buy them.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travelers Tread $15  Well, these certainly have far more color and matching patio pads than any of the other suppliers.  They attach with Velcro rather than springs or ties.

 

I just have an uneasy feeling with Prest-O-Fit units.  I'm not so sure these aren't the same one's I have installed now.  I will investigate further.

 

Camping World    (20" wide) Prest-O-Fit Wraparound plus $14.44

Camping World;  We had the opportunity to visit a Camping World just east of Springfield Missouri at Strafford over the weekend and it had a very complete stock of accessories.

We looked at every step cover, both indoor and outdoor, and found all of the outdoor ones lacking.  The indoor step covers were really made of a carpet and seemed pretty nice but the outdoor came in basically two flavors.  Thin fabric and plastic.  The fabric covers were some kind of composite material like the CAMCO models and the ones found at Wal-Mart.  The plastic came in two basic flavors, one with a finer plastic covering somewhat like artificial turf and one distinctly plastic with course vertical "strands" that would be a great for wiping shoes off that had a lot of snow or mud on them but other than that they were pretty unsightly.

 

Go-RV.com   (20" wide) Prest-O-Fit Wraparound plus $16.49  (18") Prest-O-Fit Wraparound $12.39  I have not seen these up close and personal.

 

Just bought an 18" CAMCO wraparound RV Step cover for $8.95 from a store in Tulsa.  It doesn't look like very good quality but we are going to try it out.  And it isn't!  It is about as thick, maybe a little thicker than the old one that wore out in just a few weeks.  So we will continue to shop and see how quickly this one wears out.  OK folks, the CAMCO hasn't been installed for 30 days and it is already significantly faded where the sun hit it in it's folded position.  I rate this one as unsatisfactory.  Here is a picture of the installed cover that faded and was too thin.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIME OUT!!  Don't buy the following units unless your stairs are not as deep as mine, they won't work.  Read the report.

Ah ha!!  Success!!  We visited Thomas and Sons RV Supply in Springfield Missouri and found some great step covers.  And guess what?  Most of the ones they offered were really rug material and the "Graphic Step Mats" we selected are offered in Aqua, Black Sand, Coconut, Orchid and Tropic Isle.  These are 18" units with the two spring connection that we have been familiar with in the past.  Here is a link to he National Product Company who manufacture the mats and here is a link to Thomas and Sons RV Supply if you would like their address, phone number or want to order online.  We bought 3 of the mats in a Coconut color and paid $14.95 for each.  By the way, Thomas and Sons has a super inventory of supplies, parts and accessories.  Along with that, a staff that really know their stuff.  Very, very helpful. 

These do not work!!  The rug is about and inch or so short front to back which will not allow enough coverage of the rug over the step.  The back part of the rug is flush to a little in front of the rear of the step and the front holes in the rug are just barely over the front edge of the step.  It is nearly impossible to hook the spring from front to back and if you can the spring is under a severe load because it's over extended.  The rug is nice and thick but since it will not roll under the front edge of the step it interferes when the steps are folded in and in fact keep the steps from completely retracting.  Well,,, I had high hopes.  By the way, in addition to them being too short, they braded the metal band upside down on one of the mats that put the ugly side of the brad on top.

Here is how I made my mistake.  From the National Product web site - "Step Mats, Small: 11.5" x 18", For Manual Folding RV Steps".  Mine are manual folding steps and are 10" deep with a front and back lip about 1/2" or so.  That makes the total depth of the rug needed at about 11".  Their rug is only 11.5".  Well duh again.  Well rats!!  Back to looking at Travelers Tread.   Or I could look at "DeLuxe Step Mats, Large: 13.5" x 20", For Electric RV Steps".  I like the material of the steps I purchased so I will pursue the Electric step units first.

See how thin the old

black material is?

Only about an inch of

overlap on the rug

Front Cover

Installation

 

 

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RV cover for winter storage

        Nothing done.

 

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Tire covers for winter storage

Nothing done at this time.

 

To find RV items at Wal-Mart web site with "RV" or "RV accessories"

 

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New carpeting

Our carpeting began to get dirty and the woven in color patterns began to disappear the first year we owned the rig.  We have vacuumed and steam cleaned it periodically but it's just ugly.  Apparently the quality of the original material used was not very good.  I have begun to try and find someone that will replace the carpet at a reasonable price and I soon found out that replacing the carpet is (according to the RV dealerships and repair centers) a big deal.  Since the slide is one of those that is flush with the floor when cranked out, they say the slide has to be removed to do the repair.  So as best I can tell removing the slide is going to cost $1200 and the rug and installation is going to be $200 or so.   I'm still looking around and checking RV.Net for other folks doing carpeting in their RV.

 

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BAL Easily Raise and Lower Stabilizing Jacks

I would like a quicker/easier way to raise and lower the stabilizers jacks when setting up and breaking down.  I found a 3/4" socket that fits the BAL stabilizer nut and I have a cordless drill.  Now I have to try it out to see how it works.  I understand I can buy a 3/4" socket with an extension welded on but heck, I have a spare 3/4" and a short extension already.  Well this was a DUH.  I love DUH's especially when you find them out before everyone else finds out about your DUH.  The DUH is,,, I have a 3/4 spare socket and a spare short extension, but the extension is an ordinary extension with a 3/8 inch socket connection on the end.  Now THAT won't fit in my drill!!  So  I'm probably back to finding one in stock somewhere or ordering one.

OK, I found a 3/4" socket with a drill extension for the BAL stabilizers at my local dealer for about $10.  I tried it out and found that my rechargeable 12v drill didn't have enough oomph to run the jack stands up and down.  So I lubed the jacks, recharged the drill and will try again.  One thing you want to do if you buy this extension.  Hold it by the stem and spin it between your thumb and forefinger to check for an out of line condition.  Mine has a stem that is not well centered and it wobbles.

I have a DUH foreboding that just won't leave me.  In order to make this work smooth during setup I suspect I will need the drill close by but I don't have a warm place to keep the drill on the outside that is still readily accessible.  So it will be on the inside.  Does that cause just a bigger delay in setup??  More testing to come.

 

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GFCI Keeps tripping

I'm hoping that this problem is simply a matter of replacing the GFCI outlet.  The GFCI outlet at the bathroom sink also controls the two outlets in the kitchen area.  The symptom,,,, every once in a while the GFCI trips.  We reset it and sometimes it works for days on end and sometimes it immediately trips again.  The last time it was tripped we disconnected everything from the outlets on the inside and it still would not reset.  We tripped all the breakers on the converter and it still would not reset.  Went outside and disconnected the 110v 30a connection and it still would not reset.  To me that was a pretty good indication that I simply had a defective GFCI outlet.  The interesting part of this story is that this is the second time I've had this GFCI outlet go bad in the 5 years we have owned this RV.  So,,, I'm suspicious.  At any rate we bought new GFCI for about $20 and replaced it.  It resets just fine at the moment.  Changing it out was the usual gymnastics exercise since the outlet is just about an inch and a half from the wall at the bathroom sink and about an inch above the sink.  OH!! And DON'T forget!!  When you pull the old outlet out of the wall take careful note of which wires go to the "load" side and which go to the "line" side.  It should be marked in raised lettering on the back of the outlet.  Also take note of where the black wires go and where the white wires go.  It would be best if you mark these with tape or something so you can return them to the correct place on new GFCI outlet.  The first time I changed the GFCI out I got the "load" and "line" reversed and the outlets would not work at all in the kitchen.  Incidentally you probably will have a choice of wrapping the wire around the terminals or sticking the straightened wire in a hole on the new outlet.  I found sticking the straightened wire into the hole on the new outlet easiest way to do the repair considering how close the outlet is to the wall.  You turn the screw on the outlet counterclockwise a little, stick the wire in and then tighten the screw.  The thing you need to be careful about when using the straight wire method is to make sure the wire is really inserted far enough into the hole to remain secure after tightening the screws on the outlet.  Also be aware that on my rig there is a spacer between the wall outlet mount and the GFCI outlet.  It's there to make the GFCI outlet fit the thinner than normal wall of the RV.

12/26/2010 

        After hooking up the 110v 30A at our camp site the GFCI was tripped.  We're not sure if we disconnected the 110v 30A at home correctly or reconnected at the camp site correctly, I.E. having the circuit breakers off before connecting up the shore power.  At any rate the GFCI reset and did not trip again while were were there through 01/02/2011.

03/09/2011

        Last weekend we went camping and the GFCI is tripping again.  This time it will not stay reset.  The first thing I found out is that the RV outlets have changed designs since I last looked at one.  I will post a picture later.  They are very thin and occupy very little front to back space in the trailer wall.  I started disconnecting anything plugged in the outlets and found one with dark marks around one of the prong slots in the wall outlet.  That slot has definitely been hot.  I bought a new outlet and GFCI at Lowes and will replace the outlet that is scorched and the GFCI.  A note here, you can by a replacement GFCI but you probably will not be able to buy the appropriate 110v outlet since the design may be different.  We replaced the outlet with the brown connector and left the daisy chained power cord to the next outlet off.  Everything works OK.  We connected the daisy chained power cord back up and the GFCI is failing.  So the next outlet in line is the one we plug the coffee pot into.  In the interim we discovered that the outlet outside the RV is daisy chained off the coffee pot outlet.  More on this later and we will post pictures as well.  Just for fun I did a "what could be the root cause of this whole problem" and decided before I would rip out the coffee pot and outside outlet that I would change out the outside shore power cable (since I had a spare in the garage). 

March 16th - And guess what?  No failures to date and we are now waiting to see what happens next.  In my opinion we are down to; the coffee pot outlet, the outside outlet or problems with internal wiring.  BITE your TONGUE! 

We will say a prayer that the problem isn't wiring buried deeper in the walls of the RV.

This story is getting really complicated so I will put in a summary for my own reference;

1. Several months ago GFCI started tripping.  Would not reset with everything disconnected from inside and shore power.  Replaced the GFCI.

        As a side note, during out summer vacation 2010 we noticed a strange event.  When setting up at a camp site with shore power connected the lights were dim and we almost swore we had switched to battery power.  I think this happened a few times over the next few months including the time frame where the GFCI started tripping again.

2. December 2010 GFCI tripped for unknown reason

3. March 2011 GFCI tripped.  After resetting it would intermittently trip and need to be reset.

4. Bought a GFCI outlet and a 110v outlet at Lowes. 

    The 110v outlet will not fit the RV.  My new style RV outlets are thinner and have a "press fit" connection with the wires.

    Replaced the GFCI.  Still will not reset.

    Disconnected all devices inside the RV.  No help.

    Replaced the 110v outlet in the kitchen area with a new unit and left the daisy chain to the coffee pot 110v outlet disconnected.

    GFCI will now reset.  Ah ha!!  The problem is with the coffee pot outlet OR wiring.

    Came back the next day put the put the coffee pot daisy chain back on the 110v outlet in the kitchen area. 

    Be aware that these outlets do not go together easily.  Pressing the wires back into the terminal block turned out to be a formidable task.  We ended up setting the 110v outlet on a block and using a rubber mallet to get the two pieces back together again. 

    The GFCI will now reset.  WHAT?  With the coffee pot outlet back in the circuit!!  This was the failing condition before!!

5.  Found out that the outside outlet on the door side of the trailer is daisy chained to the coffee pot outlet.  So now I'm considering pulling the outside outlet apart and checking it for problems.  Since it's outside I thought it would have a higher probability of having a problem because it's so exposed to the elements.  In the interim the lights on the inside had pulled the trick of getting dim and appearing that we were on battery power and not shore power.  I found the converter documentation and had a look at how everything is wired.  It really appears to be a 110v problem of some kind.

6.  Decided to try one more thing prior to pulling the outside outlet apart.  I would replace the shore power 110v 30A cable with a spare that I had in the garage since the lights dimmed and it appeared that we went to battery power unexpectedly.

 

At this point in time,  03/25/2011 we have not had another incident of the GFCI tripping or the dimming of the lights.

Ah ha!!  On vacation in June 2011 we had lots of rain and guess what?  The GFCI started tripping again.  We are pretty sure that the outside outlet is getting wet and causing the trip.

August 5th.  Slide won't extend.  Back to the dealer for work.  Found a shorted wire at or near the slide motor that had been replaced the previous year.

September 9th, 2011.  Interesting to note that since the shorted wire was repaired we have not had a recurrence of the A/C blowing a circuit breaker nor have we had a GFCI fault.  Wow!  Could a shorted wire on the 12VDC line at the slide motor cause 110V problems as well?

Nope, GFCI tripping again.  Took the RV to repair shop and had the outside outlet and the coffee pot outlet replaced.  No problems for a while.

December 2012.  GFCI started tripping again after several weeks of working fine.  Gave up and decided to pull the GFCI and replace with a standard outlet.  We will just have to be careful around the sinks.  Pulled the GFCI out, replaced with a standard outlet and guess what?  The GFCI we removed will not reset after being removed.  This will be the 3rd GFCI outlet to go bad in 3 years.  What's up with that?  As a reminder, the GFCI controlling outlet is at the bathroom sink, there are two GFCI controlled outlets in the kitchen area.  One is an outlet that we use the coffee pot with and one is just a plain ordinary outlet used for things like cell phones and the like.  The other GFCI controlled outlet is outside.

Here is a great link that explains a lot about the GFCI and how it works.  GFCI Information

Manual and Diagram of 2005 KZ Durango Converter

            Problem;  The 12v lights get dim and bright.  I have started trouble shooting this problem and have found the following documentation for my unit which is a WF-8955AN.  There is one item missing that I will try and round up.  You can buy just the 12v converter portion of the unit and it is a WF-8955MBA.  The RV repair place says this is the reason the slide won't go out on occasion. 

    Converter Brochure - WF-8900 series

    Converter Manual - WF-8900 series

    Converter Spec Sheet -  WF-8900 series

 

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Adding the Winegard Wingman UHF (Digital TV) add-on

This was so amazingly simple I couldn't believe it.  You just crank the antenna up, remove the 4 white grommets from the bottom of the old antenna, put the new antenna add-on under the antenna, line up the 4 holes on the new unit and push in the supplied plastic anchors (push rivets).  Now we will see how much help the new add-on will really provide.  By the way I bought mine at a Camping World for $26.

It was initially confusing about which antenna this (Digital Booster) would fit, Wingman or Sensor series.  I think I might have this all sorted out.  I thought I had a Wingman antenna.  According to the video I just watched on the Winegard web site I have an old Sensar (model unknown).  It seems to me that this add on will fit an antenna named Wingman or Sensar.

01/04/2011  Well it seems to work well and we are pretty sure we get more channels and better reception.

 

Winegard Sensor Antenna Installation/Operation (all models).

Winegard Wingman UHF Digital Booster Installation.

Wingman RV-Wing

 UHF Add on

Sensar

Sensar 4

 

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Replace Vent Fan in Bathroom

Nothing done at this time.  Why would I want to do this?

Link to PPL and Fan Kit

Another link to replacement fan kits

 

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LP Detector Alarm is going off intermittently

Our kids were staying in the RV over the weekend (too many thanksgiving guests to go around) and reported that the LP detector was going off.  Well after doing some research I think the problem is either the LP Detector or a bad main battery in the RV.  LP Detectors run about $75 and a new battery is about $100 to $150.  I would really like to narrow the problem down but I don't know how to do that without spending more money on a standalone LP detector for leaks.  We don't smell any LP inside the RV but that doesn't mean there isn't any LP, it just means we can't smell it.  After talking to the kids a little more we suspect there may have been something else going on with the LP detector.  For example, we know that spraying some hair sprays close to our LP detector will make it go off and "other gases" (know what I mean?) can make it go off .  The RV was in for some unrelated repair so we had them replace the 5 year old battery that was probably overdue for a failure. 

We are now in the wait and see mode as of 11/29/2010.

01/04/2011 and still no LP alarms.

LP alarms came back..  Replaced the LP detector and that fixed the problem.  At the first opportunity I will give you a run down on how to replace this unit and fill the hole that is left from the old unit.

 

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Shower Head Water Turnoff Quit Working;

Good God!!  Do repair jobs ever stop in the RV world?  The wife was taking a shower and suddenly the shower head shut off valve quit working.  You know that round flat one on top the shower head.  While we were in Thomas and Sons RV Supply the staff told us that most of the shower heads were the same RV to RV so we bought one of their general purpose heads.  And guess what?  They were correct.  Just unscrew the old one and screw the new one on.  Easy as pie huh?  And it was,,, right up to the point where I over tightened the hose to the shower head and the case split.  Now I have to go get a shower hose that runs from the shower valves to the shower head.  Well duh!  OK, I replaced the hose from the tub faucet to the shower head.  Piece of cake.  I just made sure I didn't over tighten the connections.  Picture attached.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winter Insulation

We like to take our rig out in the winter months and of course are always looking for ways to keep it warmer inside and not use so much LP.  Quite sometime back we bought a $19.95 electric heater (1500 watts) with a thermostat and tip over shutoff switch we use regularly.  We just leave the heater on constantly and it saves us a bunch on the LP usage.  While at Camping World near Springfield MO we found some vent inserts that were labeled vent cushions.  Initially I thought they were way too big to fit inside the vents but we bought them anyway.  If they were too big we would return them since we were in the vicinity anyway.  They were multipurpose units (winter insulation or for keeping the light out) that are foam cushions covered in a fluffy fabric that reminded me of goat skin.  We inserted these things in our vents (3 of them about $8 each) and lo and behold they made a significant difference in the amount of time our heater ran and how much warmer the inside of the trailer was.  It never occurred to me how much heat was being lost through those vents.  The covers are a bit larger than the vents but that's by design.  When you stuff these things into the vent from the inside it will require just that, rolling and pushing the edges to get them into the vent enclosure.  Don't get too ambitious sticking these into the vent openings, you don't want to damage the screen that covers the vent opening.  I pushed the vent cover too far up in the bathroom and accidentally turned the fan on.  So anyway, we highly recommend the vent inserts.  Don't forget, they call them vent cushions and not vent covers.  Picture from Camping World web site.  Click on the picture to go to the Camping World web site.

 

 

While at Lowe's we purchased a winter cover for the inside of windows but haven't tried putting it on as yet.  It's the type where you put double sided sticky tape around the edges of the window, then put a clear plastic cover over that and use a hairdryer to stretch it tight.  I just have a problem thinking about trying to get that double sided sticky stuff off the frames of my windows.  Surely there's a better way.

 

Check Lists for Travel and Meals

Here are a couple of files that we use for planning our trips.  The Excel spreadsheet is linked to the MS Word document so that an update to the dates of the Excel spread sheet get propagated to the word document.  That's great for experimenting with a date range for trip planning.  For example, you can change the date in row three for the date range column and drag the changed date to the bottom so all the date range changes, go to the MS Word document and update the links.  Presto, all the dates on your detail planning get updated.  You can open the files directly on this web site, you just won't get the desired result.  The best plan is to download these to YOUR computer.  Click on the link and when it asks to open or save then save them to a folder on your machine.  I used a folder named "temp" but the permanent location for this file on my computer is a folder called "My Trips".  Open the Word document first and when it asks if you want to update the links say yes.  Next open the Excel spreadsheet.  On the spreadsheet the day number is fixed (but could be changed later if you wish) and the rest of entries in the columns to the right can be changed.  As you change the data in the columns, it will be updated in the Word document after you select the link and do a "link update".

    Word document

    Excel spreadsheet

    Word document explaining how to use the two planning documents

 

Rearview Camera for 5th Wheel

    Link to a guy who has done one  (the one installed)

    Use when changing lanes

    Monitor need to be displayed backward?

    Hardwired or wireless?

   

    Vendors

    Rear View Safety

    Costco has systems. (from Rear View Safety?)

    RV Cams

    Advance Auto has systems

    Trailer Rebuild

Awning, Carefree June 2011

Dumb mistake.  Left the awning down while in Las Vegas.  Naturally a wind came up and bent the right arm assembly.  Now the charge is to see if I can find a part to replace it.  As of the moment I am having trouble determining if I have a Spirit, Fiesta or Simplicity awning.

                    Installation Manual

                    Owners Manual

                    Service Manual

 

Slide would not extend

                   Slide would not extend July 7, 2011.  12VDC lights also will dim and get bright.  Dealer replaced blown 20amp fuse July 13th with a 30amp fuse (which in my world is a no no).  July 17th slide won't extend.  Replaced blown 30amp fuse with a 20amp fuse.  Slide Still won't extend and it appears the 20amp fuse is blown. 

July 21 back to the dealer who says I have a bad 12VDC converter.  I let them replace the converter.  Now waiting to see if that is the permanent fix.  Interesting side note, the A/C has started tripping the circuit breaker about every 30 minutes but it is REALLY hot here.  Setting records.  100 degrees plus for two weeks now.  Once the temperature on the inside cools down a little the A/C no longer trips the circuit breaker.  Gee, is the new converter and the A/C problem related? 

July 26th.  12VDC lights still get bright and dim although at longer intervals with less of a change in brightness.

August 5th.  Slide won't extend.  Back to the dealer for work.  Found a shorted wire that happened after they had replaced the slide motor the previous year.

September 9th.  Interesting to note that since the shorted wire was repaired we have not had a recurrence of the A/C blowing a circuit breaker nor have we had a GFCI fault.  Wow!  Could a shorted wire on the 12VDC line at the slide motor cause 110V problems as well?

 

Great Information on slides

                Lippert slide systems parts and maintenance

                Lippert leveling systems

 

KZ Owners, Maintenance and Service Manual

                   Owners Manual

                    Maintenance Manual

 

RV with a wheelchair - for my cousin Tom

                   Burr wheelchair lifts

                   RV's for handicapped

                    Article on handicapped RVing

                   Cruise America does not rent any handicap equipped RV's

 

Clean and remove oxidation

    Red Max Pro #3 from Lowes - see rv.net

 

Landing gear leg replacement - see rv.net

    Yeah, they're fairly standard in that they're 2.5" square pipe landing legs. The offset of the clamps is different - due to the design of my trailer frame, for instance, the longer offset just won't work - there isn't the required metal to weld to that far apart. But for all they are different the difference is minor, you can easily enough weld a stop plate on at the right location on the leg - or weld on new clamps to the frame, if your frame can accommodate the offset of the legs you buy.

The Ultra-Fab legs I got not only ave two motors instead of one, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0033XXXG4/ came with wiring, switches, and clamps which were obviously designed to be welded onto the frame. Get'm while they're hot, that is a lower price than I got on them!

Wingard RM-DM46 repair.  see rv.net

I have repaired a couple of the RM-DM46 Satellite Antenna's. Here is a brief description on how to repair.
1. Crank antenna up to it's normal operating position.
2. Climb on roof of RV.
3. Remove 3 (5/16 hex-head) screws holding antenna to assembly. See drawing from Winegard Manual. Page 11.
4. Lift antenna off turret base. Be careful of pinching fingers. Antenna will flip back as raised.
5. Look inside turret/gear housing with it turned upside down. You will see a set screw that locks gear to pivot shaft. Tighten this screw. I use locktite on the threads to make sure it does not come loose again.
6. Set antenna assembly back roof mount. Make sure that antenna is at a angle close to where it was when you lifted it off base.
7. When antenna is adjusted to position that aligns 3 screws holes, install the screws.
This should correct your problem.

I got this information by calling Winegard at 800-788-4417

 

Blinds for a Durango 2005 - http://unitedshade.com/product.asp?category=miniblinds&product=aluminumblinds

 

RV Roof repair -

EPDM Coatings index.html

 

Rv Power diagram -

electrical.htm

 

Hide a bed note from rv.net 24822604.cfm#24822604-

 

Links I don't want to forget

   Certified RV Tech Training

   

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