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Old 01-04-2009, 03:49 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2008
Location: crowley, la
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Hi Guys,
New to this (bought a used DP in the spring)!! In my limited experience, and by reading this forum, I am wondering if I need to be an engineer in order to successfully own and operate an RV. They are so complicated, I can't keep up with the technology, and my RV is an Alpine 1999 FDS, which doesn't have the level of tech present on today's RV's.
Any comments??

1999 Alpine 36' FDS

2005 Honda Pilot Toad
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:49 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2008
Location: crowley, la
Posts: 87
Hi Guys,
New to this (bought a used DP in the spring)!! In my limited experience, and by reading this forum, I am wondering if I need to be an engineer in order to successfully own and operate an RV. They are so complicated, I can't keep up with the technology, and my RV is an Alpine 1999 FDS, which doesn't have the level of tech present on today's RV's.
Any comments??

1999 Alpine 36' FDS

2005 Honda Pilot Toad
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:09 PM   #3
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I am a retired Engineer and it helps

Seriously, tho, I think you have to realize that you have everything that is in your house and your car (truck) going down the highway, plus a lot of additional stuff. One of the things you want to do is to read your owners' manual and understand how everything is supposed to work and to be operated by you. You need to not get discouraged when things break. You know what the refrigerator magnet says....

Somethings you will be easily able to fix yourself and maybe your skills are such that you need to pay someone else to fix them. Just know when that occurs and you will have a wonderful experience.

Get out and use your rig. There are great places to experience in our country.
2001 34' Alpine Coach
2008 Jeep Rubicon or 2012 Ford F150 4x4 Lariat towds
or a couple of different trailers
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:12 PM   #4
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The two most important qualities for successful RV ownership are:
1) sense of humor in your quest for adventure, and
2) a big sweaty wad of money.
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:19 PM   #5
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E Mike, My sense of humor ran out a long time ago. The big sweaty wad of money was never big enough and has no chance of growing.

CajunJohn, as long as we have people like Engineer Mike we will be okay. He and a few others are the lifeblood to this Alpine organization. Thank goodness he is on our side. It has truly taken a large bundle of great people that put this forum together and it is absolutey a worth of information. Somebody within it always finds an answer and so far nobody has said"SCRAP IT"
Ted & Carol Ulmer
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:07 PM   #6
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You don't have to be an engineer to own an RV, but a mechanical inclination helps. At least the curiousity to want to figure out how something works and the patience to fully explore it before giving up. Many of the issues are purely mechanical and not so tough to figure out. The electrical issues take a little more training or asking the right questions, and there are a number of people on this forum who will help you with either issue.

With the help of this forum, I've solved a lot of issues, and I am a retired forester, not an engineer, but I was an aircraft maintenance office over a squadron of B-52's during Vietnam, and the training to do that helped with the mechanical aspects. If you've got an inquisitive mind, and some patience, along with the humor E-Mike talked about, you can get it done.

As far as the wad of money, if you've ever owned an equivalent length salt water boat, the motorhome will seem like a drop in the bucket in terms of cost to maintain. In the boating world we referred to repair costs in terms of BOAT units -- which stood for "Bring Over Another Thousand $". Repair costs were often 2, 3, 4, 5 or more BOAT units. At least in the RV, many repairs are in parts of a BOAT unit. It used to cost us $1500 to do an oil change and service once a year in our 42' boat with twin Cummins 330's. At the same Cummins Dealer, it's more like $250-$350 once a year in the motorhome. That's not unusual and typical of the difference.

So, stay in touch on this forum and pay attention to issues that others are working on that may affect your coach, and learn from their experiences. It will make you more appreciative of your coach and much more confident traveling with it. It is a lot of fun and a great way to see the country.

I also think we've found people that can either fix about any issue with any part of our coaches or know who to talk to than can get it fixed. Just keep in touch with the forum and we will all work to help make it easier and more fun to own the coach.
Former Owner, 2006 36MDDS
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:41 AM   #7
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An engineer...not really, but it sure does help to have some mechanical and electrical abilities. This will save you a wad of money at the "stealer"ships. Many of the so called RV Techs are not well versed in how things really work and are not much more than parts changers. There are some really good techs out there, but they are in the minority IMHO.

Anytime you have a problem or question, feel welcome to post here. No such thing as a stupid question.

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Old 01-05-2009, 05:15 AM   #8
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I am a retired electrical engineer which helps in understanding some of the electrical issues. However, a little bit of common sense goes a long way. I agree that some of the RV Techs are better at changing parts then diagnosing the problem. Being able to fix and repair on your own definitely helps keep your rig out of the shop and your money in the bank.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:38 AM   #9
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Hi cajunjohn,
Like others have posted, the ability to persevere with what ever needs to be diagnosed and fixed is the main attribute needed. One does not need to keep up with technology, just understand the technology that is installed in your coach. And the benefit is the first time you fix something is the hardest. It gets easier the second and third times.
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The Avatar Is Many Times Around The USA
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:29 AM   #10
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The most important thing I have found I needed for RV ownership is a commitment to spend a minimum of one hour a day on the IRV2 forum. Its like going to college on line. IN fact, I think I have learned more at IRV2 than I did duing four years of college. There is indeed a wealth of good info here. Just enjoy your MH to the fullest.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:28 AM   #11
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yup,and a plumber n a electrician n a carpenter n a electronics tech n a mechanic n a handyman n last but not least MO MONEY. most important of all don't loose sight of the prize.
2007 NRV DOLPHIN LX 6342

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Old 01-05-2009, 12:38 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I am wondering if I need to be an engineer in order to successfully own and operate an RV </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Only if you wanna be!

I am not, never have felt that it was a hinderance when it came to owning, operating and/or maintaining any of the RV's I have owned. Somethings I think engineers "can't see the forest for the trees", of course my opinion only. If you are handy with household maintenance/repairs, the same with your automobiles, and a bit a of a techno/gadget geek, then RV ownership is relatively simple. The problems with an RV is you have all the "stuff" stuffed into a much smaller area, therefore nothing is ever easy to work on, much less easier get to or at. Easy for me to say though after spending 20+ years poking holes in the ocean with a big black Submarine.

As previously stated read your operators manuals to understand how all of the "stuff" works independently and together, if they are not available use the internet, most manufactures have manuals available electronically. The newer the RV the more electronically complicated they have become. Forums like this help tremendously, so don't be afraid to ask questions, someone will always have an answer, suggestion, or comment.

The most important thing is not let all of the details get in the way of the opportunities for enjoyment that your RV will provide you with.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything"
2008 Newmar VTDP - 3330 - ISBXT 350 Spartan NVS
Toad - 2013 Mini Cooper S or 93 Nissan 4WD PU
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:49 PM   #13
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I agree with the poster about iRV2. I am very handy with tools but not with electronics. After reading and asking questions here, I learned about converters and then bought a new one and replaced it myself. Without the help and advice on 1RV2 I would have taken it to the dealer and paid them to do the work.
Wayne & Roberta and Maggie the Miracle Dog
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:29 PM   #14
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Wow!! Are you confused yet?
From my point of view, It is as complicated, or as simple as you want it to be.
You can add wireless or wired automatic rear view video cameras and all sorts of strange, straight, and curved and automatic adjustable mirrors.
Or, you can just get out, walk back there, and look.
You will get both kinds of answers here. Take your pick.

Never underestimate the power
of stupid people in large groups
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