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Old 11-18-2019, 03:53 PM   #1
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The Stupid Question Thread

Hello all

I am brand new to RVs, let alone our beloved Alpines. At this stage of my knowledge journey, I am better able to provide questions than answers.

There are many owners here that DO have answers to all the stupid questions I, and others, will come up with.

We are 'heading south' this Saturday.
oh wait... wrong icon. I meant

Since I know my supply of dumb questions is about to increase rapidly, I thought I would make one place to put all of them.

I've seen a similar thread on other forums. Rather than everyone creating a new thread for every question, we can just ask them here. These are quick questions like, "where can I look for my furnace?" Obviously if someone needs help troubleshooting something complex, it deserves it's own thread.


So with that overly long introduction out of the way, here is my first stupid question...

As noted above, we are leaving in 5 days.
about sums it up

What is the most important thing we need to check before we depart?

The dealer didn't "service" the engine, but they went through everything and said we are good to go. We did one test trip of a couple nights and everything worked fine but the furnace. I fixed the furnace.

There are a few little things we will fix down south, but what is the thing you think is the most important thing I should do before we depart?

ya ya, not a 'simple' question, but it is certainly a stupid one
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:58 PM   #2
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On a 14 year old coach, much of "what do I need to do" depends on its previous "care and feeding".


How old is the engine coolant, engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, belts, hoses?



When was the last time the chassis was greased?


Age of tires from the DOT#?



Any water leaks?



Absolutely verify correct tire pressure-- if you have not weighed it, go by PSI on the GVWR sticker.
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:28 PM   #3
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Remember the credit card slogan!

Don’t leave home without it! VISA MASTERCARD ETC.

Check gas tank level.

Check wallet level MUST BE FULL OR REFER TO FIRST COMMENT!
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:49 PM   #4
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….as one of my favorite movie characters [Capt Ron] once said: "if its going to happen, it will happen out there!"...on the road that is. Most Cummins shops will do a 1-2 hour "inspection" of the engine and genset--not a bad idea for the cost of one or two hrs of shop time..
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayduke View Post
What is the most important thing we need to check before we depart?

There are a few little things we will fix down south, but what is the thing you think is the most important thing I should do before we depart?

ya ya, not a 'simple' question, but it is certainly a stupid one
Actually, this is not stupid at all. IMHO, I would check the tires; condition, pressure and DATE CODES if nothing else at all, as mentioned by Wolfe10. The date codes are important because, even if the tires "look" great, they can be years old and prone to failure. Trust me, you can probably "live" with a lot of other minor issues that pop up but I wouldn't trust my life or loved one's to tires that I didn't feel VERY certain were safe. And don't just take the dealer's word the tires are okay, MOST dealers don't actually check them but just "eyeball" them if they even that.

Obvious are fluid levels/condition, any weird or adverse handling issues, overall "feel" that the RV is road worthy. Most everything else is a crapshoot and other than being a nuisance if something tears up, it shouldn't create a safety issue like tires could.

Good luck, safe travels and welcome to the RV lifestyle!
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:27 PM   #6
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Ontario requires a safety inspection in order to change the title of any motor vehicle. This at least ensures the safety of the vehicle. If the dealer didn't service the engine, did they at least inspect the vehicle for safety. Things like tires, brakes, steering components etc, are nice to know that they are in good shape. Does your state require inspections. Taking a long trip in an unknown rv is pretty risky. I would feel safer knowing it had been looked at by a qualified mechanic, and knowing something isn't going to break and kill me.
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:40 PM   #7
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Most of what you refer to as “stupid questions” can be answered by reading the owners manual. Don’t leave home without it. If that fails, search this forum.

If you don’t find an answer, starting a new thread with an appropriate title will yield better results than expecting people to read this thread to provide answers to your latest questions.

We’re all here to help.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RVPioneer View Post
If you don’t find an answer, starting a new thread with an appropriate title will yield better results than expecting people to read this thread to provide answers to your latest questions.

We’re all here to help.

AMEN!
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:43 PM   #9
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Notify your credit card company you are travelling elsewise they will cut you off if you go out of state.
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:35 PM   #10
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Lots of good advice here. If perchance you meant what to do before departing on a trip, either get or make your own pre-departure and after arrival checklists. These don't have to be lengthy or highly detailed if you routinely keep tabs on all the other stuff.

Here's my departure checklist:
- Check engine oil and other fluid levels.
- Dump black and gray water tanks as necessary. Stow hose and fittings.
- Disconnect water hose. Stow hose, fittings, and filter.
- Disconnect and stow coax cable (if used).
- Disconnect and stow main power cord (be sure to ask w/DW first!).
- Pull and stow chocks.
- Perform a careful walkaround (will require more than one trip around):
- Check all lights are functional. (Don't forget clearance lights)
- Check that turn signals and brake lights work as required.
(DW can help. I made a stick to wedge between seat and pedal.)
- Ensure awning is retracted and stowed.
- Ensure all compartments are closed, latched, and locked if necessary.
- One more walkaround looking for anything out of the ordinary.

Arrival Checklist:
- Ensure the rig is at least reasonably level.
- Ensure you're parked close enough to reach hookups.
- Chock wheels.
- Connect power cord.
- Connect fresh water hose with filter and fittings as needed.
- Connect sewage hose if anticipating the need to dump the tanks.
- Connect cable coax if needed.
Seems like there's another thing or 2 but they escape me at the moment.

I'm sure others will suggest additions that may or may not be beneficial.
Anyway, you can tailor your own checklist as you see fit.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:36 PM   #11
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When was the drive train serviced? Before starting out, unless YOU have had it done recently, I would want to change out fuel filters, oil/oil filters, air filter, have coolant checked, along with transmission, etc. And I wouldn't have your dealer do it - get it done by someone who services Cummins. Is there a Cummins Coach Care in Spokane?

Do all of the things others have said. Also, identify any possible weather problems on your route. Where are you going - S Cal or Arizona? We're already in Mesa, AZ.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:05 PM   #12
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Really no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to being prepared, IMHO. Great advice given above by everyone.
Assuming all fluid and filter changes are current, tires check good and properly inflated, batteries are serviced etc you should be good to go.
I would also suggest good roadside coverage by insurance or Rv.net. or similar, many choices.
Don't forget good diesel fuel additive for lubericity. The ISC's weren't designed for ULSD. A good tool box, credit card and a few cold ones should be good to go. Most of all, relax and have fun.��
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:04 PM   #13
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So many responses.
What a great community we have here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfe10 View Post
On a 14 year old coach, much of "what do I need to do" depends on its previous "care and feeding".
How old is the engine coolant, engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, belts, hoses?
When was the last time the chassis was greased?
Age of tires from the DOT#?
Any water leaks?
Absolutely verify correct tire pressure-- if you have not weighed it, go by PSI on the GVWR sticker.
It has 28k on the odometer.
Coolant, as viewed through the little window, looks brand new. Shockingly new.
The other fluids' ages are unknown.
I have an appt Friday to have both diesel engines serviced.
I dropped it off at the dealer yesterday. I am waiting for an estimate to flush brake fluid.
My understanding is they inspected hoses and belts, but will confirm today. My appt Friday is at the Cummins Care Center. They are lubing the chassis.
I cannot recall the age of the tires from when we bought it. I will ask the dealer to write down the codes for me.
No water leaks that I have noticed yet.
Dealer said they checked pressure. My owners manual has hand written notes and a row underlined in the pressure table. I planned to use these as my pressure guidelines until I can get a 4 wheel weight. Perhaps at the owners rally?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Lambert View Post
Don’t leave home without it! VISA MASTERCARD ETC.
Check gas tank level.
Check wallet level MUST BE FULL OR REFER TO FIRST COMMENT!

I have a lot of plastic.
Tank was ~5/8 when I dropped it off last night at dealer.
uh oh... it appears the wallet is nearly empty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
….as one of my favorite movie characters [Capt Ron] once said: "if its going to happen, it will happen out there!"...on the road that is. Most Cummins shops will do a 1-2 hour "inspection" of the engine and genset--not a bad idea for the cost of one or two hrs of shop time..
I love that movie.
It's my understanding the dealer did an umpteen point inspection. After I bought it, they had to keep it for a week to do the inspection, so I hope they did something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bharrisv65 View Post
Actually, this is not stupid at all. IMHO, I would check the tires; condition, pressure and DATE CODES if nothing else at all, as mentioned by Wolfe10. The date codes are important because, even if the tires "look" great, they can be years old and prone to failure. Trust me, you can probably "live" with a lot of other minor issues that pop up but I wouldn't trust my life or loved one's to tires that I didn't feel VERY certain were safe. And don't just take the dealer's word the tires are okay, MOST dealers don't actually check them but just "eyeball" them if they even that.

Obvious are fluid levels/condition, any weird or adverse handling issues, overall "feel" that the RV is road worthy. Most everything else is a crapshoot and other than being a nuisance if something tears up, it shouldn't create a safety issue like tires could.

Good luck, safe travels and welcome to the RV lifestyle!
See above about getting codes. When we bought it a couple months ago, they told me how old the tires were. I recall thinking they were not in dire need of replacement, but we should do it in the 1st year. I will get codes today, but our current plans are to buy new tires down south somewhere via FMCA program.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winniman View Post
Ontario requires a safety inspection in order to change the title of any motor vehicle. This at least ensures the safety of the vehicle. If the dealer didn't service the engine, did they at least inspect the vehicle for safety. Things like tires, brakes, steering components etc, are nice to know that they are in good shape. Does your state require inspections. Taking a long trip in an unknown rv is pretty risky. I would feel safer knowing it had been looked at by a qualified mechanic, and knowing something isn't going to break and kill me.
As I said above. I think the dealer did their multi point inspection. I want to flush the brake fluid just because brake fluid needs changing. Brakes work great, but it's not a system to neglect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVPioneer View Post
Most of what you refer to as “stupid questions” can be answered by reading the owners manual. Don’t leave home without it. If that fails, search this forum.

If you don’t find an answer, starting a new thread with an appropriate title will yield better results than expecting people to read this thread to provide answers to your latest questions.

We’re all here to help.
I've read through most of the owner's materials I got with the coach. Obviously I can't know what is missing, but I believe I have a fairly complete set. I was missing the furnace manual, but that would have been of little help when I had to troubleshoot that anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
Notify your credit card company you are travelling elsewise they will cut you off if you go out of state.
Had not thought about that. I was just in AZ for ~6 weeks, and the few I used were no problem, but then again maybe they recognized that I was in a place I used to live?
Good point though. I have had problems when I used to travel a lot for work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akeagle View Post
Lots of good advice here. If perchance you meant what to do before departing on a trip, either get or make your own pre-departure and after arrival checklists. These don't have to be lengthy or highly detailed if you routinely keep tabs on all the other stuff.

Here's my departure checklist:
- Check engine oil and other fluid levels.
- Dump black and gray water tanks as necessary. Stow hose and fittings.
- Disconnect water hose. Stow hose, fittings, and filter.
- Disconnect and stow coax cable (if used).
- Disconnect and stow main power cord (be sure to ask w/DW first!).
- Pull and stow chocks.
- Perform a careful walkaround (will require more than one trip around):
- Check all lights are functional. (Don't forget clearance lights)
- Check that turn signals and brake lights work as required.
(DW can help. I made a stick to wedge between seat and pedal.)
- Ensure awning is retracted and stowed.
- Ensure all compartments are closed, latched, and locked if necessary.
- One more walkaround looking for anything out of the ordinary.

Arrival Checklist:
- Ensure the rig is at least reasonably level.
- Ensure you're parked close enough to reach hookups.
- Chock wheels.
- Connect power cord.
- Connect fresh water hose with filter and fittings as needed.
- Connect sewage hose if anticipating the need to dump the tanks.
- Connect cable coax if needed.
Seems like there's another thing or 2 but they escape me at the moment.

I'm sure others will suggest additions that may or may not be beneficial.
Anyway, you can tailor your own checklist as you see fit.
ooOOoooo lists. I love lists!
I used to do a LOT of backpacking. I had different lists based on different kinds of trips, Sierras vs Grand Canyon, hammock vs tent, etc.
I even have a list app on my phone. I won't say how many categories I have.
I definitely need to create a departure checklist. So far, there is one key item, and I have forgotten it almost every time....
lock the deadbolt before moving
I suspect a post it note will eventually appear on the gauages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbaraok View Post
When was the drive train serviced? Before starting out, unless YOU have had it done recently, I would want to change out fuel filters, oil/oil filters, air filter, have coolant checked, along with transmission, etc. And I wouldn't have your dealer do it - get it done by someone who services Cummins. Is there a Cummins Coach Care in Spokane?

Do all of the things others have said. Also, identify any possible weather problems on your route. Where are you going - S Cal or Arizona? We're already in Mesa, AZ.
As a matter of fact, there IS a Cummins Coach Care center nearby. They are actually closer than the dealership we bought the RV at. I made an appt for Friday to have them service the diesels at both ends.

We are taking the 'low' route via tri-cities. I just drove from Flagstaff to Spokane last week (not in the Alpine, in a 4runner loaded with tools). I took the 15 up to 40, ie crossing the rockies twice... in the snow We're not going that way lol

first destination... coincidentally, is exotic Mesa, AZ. We have a house there with room to park a couple RVs. We actually have a busy month, so the goal this weekend is mostly to just get the RV to Mesa. My wife will be travelling to NY for a couple weeks while I empty the Spokane house when it sells, hopefully. If not tending to the sale/move, I'll be in Flagstaff working on that house. Have to leave RV in Mesa as Flagstaff has the same problem as Spokane this time of year... snow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine36 View Post
Really no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to being prepared, IMHO. Great advice given above by everyone.
Assuming all fluid and filter changes are current, tires check good and properly inflated, batteries are serviced etc you should be good to go.
I would also suggest good roadside coverage by insurance or Rv.net. or similar, many choices.
Don't forget good diesel fuel additive for lubericity. The ISC's weren't designed for ULSD. A good tool box, credit card and a few cold ones should be good to go. Most of all, relax and have fun.��
hmmmm roadside assist. That had crossed my mind way before we bought the RV, but had not been on the radar. I hope that rabbit hole isn't too deep.

I need to add something to the diesel fuel? Mine is an ISL engine. Does that make a difference? What is ULSD?
I've never owned a diesel before the 2 I just bought. I've known how they work since I was a kid, but never owned one until now. I'm quite excited to learn about the new power plant. I'm going to have the pros service it this time, but I intend to do as much as I can myself.

I will definitely have tools on board. I'll have to buy a new tool box though. In the shop I have a rolling cart type.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayduke View Post
Coolant, as viewed through the little window, looks brand new. Shockingly new.

Sorry, but "what it looks like" is a really poor way to judge the properties of coolant.


Be aware that you have a LINERED ENGINE. That means the coolant is important to protect the cylinder liners!


Coolant CAN be tested. But tests are different for the different coolant chemistries.


"Low silicate for diesels with added SCA" is one acceptable (and less costly) coolant.


The new generation long life OAT coolants are the other.
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