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Old 11-07-2011, 08:19 AM   #29
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John,
My humblest apologies for my lack of proper bedside manner. You are not the first to fault me for that. By way of explanation I have sort of a twisted way, with a tendency toward what I'm saying, not how I'm saying it. I did say my intent was not to put you down. I wrote the note as a warning/heads up regarding your apparent lack of information. I was dreading the idea of somebody going full time like that....

I admit to having lost my patience with somebody that seemed to be blaming his lack of experience/education on his equipment.... emphatically? That kind of thing is totally counter intuitive to me. I pride myself in my ability to get along with equipment.... of any kind. If that involves coming up to speed with it - so much the better?

It's been my experience this kind of impatient behavior does not lead to a very good relationship with your motorhomes. I overlooked this in your first note. The second put me over the top. Your third though, makes it apparent you are aware of the need to come up to speed with your coach. I seem to have judged too quickly.

You do sound like you have done a lot of homework, or have a good start on it anyway. As a fellow pilot, I wish you the greatest experience available.

Moving forward, please do not take anything I've said as a reason to not write a note with a question for fear of admonishment. That would be a true disappointment. Yes, have spent a lot of time around coaches - but I don't know everything about them. As proof, check all my recent questions regarding coming up to speed with DP.... -Al
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:21 AM   #30
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Al, don't sweat any of it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
John,
My humblest apologies for my lack of proper bedside manner. You are not the first to fault me for that. By way of explanation I have sort of a twisted way, with a tendency toward what I'm saying, not how I'm saying it. I did say my intent was not to put you down. I wrote the note as a warning/heads up regarding your apparent lack of information. I was dreading the idea of somebody going full time like that....

I admit to having lost my patience with somebody that seemed to be blaming his lack of experience/education on his equipment.... emphatically? That kind of thing is totally counter intuitive to me. I pride myself in my ability to get along with equipment.... of any kind. If that involves coming up to speed with it - so much the better?

It's been my experience this kind of impatient behavior does not lead to a very good relationship with your motorhomes. I overlooked this in your first note. The second put me over the top. Your third though, makes it apparent you are aware of the need to come up to speed with your coach. I seem to have judged too quickly.

You do sound like you have done a lot of homework, or have a good start on it anyway. As a fellow pilot, I wish you the greatest experience available.

Moving forward, please do not take anything I've said as a reason to not write a note with a question for fear of admonishment. That would be a true disappointment. Yes, have spent a lot of time around coaches - but I don't know everything about them. As proof, check all my recent questions regarding coming up to speed with DP.... -Al

Hi Al,

It's Al, right? I'm John. Good to meet you.

Being over 60 myself I know what it's like to be a crotchity old fart. We could be brothers. Don't sweat any of it. I know exactly what it's like to embellish my feelings when "talking" through a keyboard. The Internet is a miracle, but it still lacks some of the personal touches of a phone. Just know I respect you for your knowledge and any help you offer will be appreciated. I've worked hard to get my coach to this point and I'm coming down the homestretch now. My departure is getting closer and closer and I'm getting excited.

I am taking the motorhome back to my mechanic on Wednesday to have him do a service check on the frig system. Once I know it's working properly then I can taylor my travel habits to sync with all the system requirements. They build these things the way they do for a reason. It's the best technology available at the time. On the phone today Chuck (mechanic) told me basically what you guys told me here that sometimes the LP just doesn't light the first time every time. He said when it does light I'll be able to hear it as a kind of loud, "hiss" through the vents on the side of the coach or from under that frig behind the grating. My hearing is not what it could be after so many years of loud airplanes and shooting without hearing protection. I'm talking about back in the day. I like to think my hearing hasn't gotten too bad, but then my egg timer will go off 2 feet from my head and I either won't hear it or I'll barely hear it. I don't know that I'll be able to hear the "hiss". We'll see. I just want my guy to make sure there aren't any cobwebs or mud dauber leavings affecting the flame. He said if it's orange that's bad and that it is supposed to be a blue flame. Al, all I can say is I'm learning.

I can fully appreciate that you get along with your machines. I tend to be that way as well, except that I think you're probably a lot better at it than me. Again, I'm just the newby. Getting to know a machine that is more complex than the houses I've lived in over the years is a particular challenge, but a welcome one. It's exhilarating to me when I figure out something, so the challenge is a lot of the fun I'm having. I must say the electrical system is a bit confusing to me, still. I'll isolate my biggest issues soon and post my questions here on irv2. Given the quality of the responses I'm seeing I believe in this resource as a place where experts gather. You're obviously one of the more experienced experts and I'm most grateful for your input.

One of my biggest sins is to be WAAAAAY too verbose in my posts. I should probably apologize to the entire forum for the length of my bullsh-t, but it's always been like that with me. I just hope you guys can put up with me long enough to learn what I need to know.

I'm going to start a new thread relating to finding air leaks in a suspension system. I'll put it in the Newmar forum or would it be better to put it in general discussions? I've got a slow, but persistent leak that takes about 36 hours to bottom out the front bags. It used to take only 8 hours, so the leaks that have been repaired have helped, but my guy says he can't find any other leaks. Is there a special way besides soap and water to find air leaks? Isn't there some ultrasonic microphone that will detect even slow leaks by the sound they make? I'm told it isn't uncommon for some motorhomes to leak air and right now I'm content to having to start the engine once a day to keep the pressure up. I'll just make it part of a daily routine. Sure wish I could get it fixed, though.

Best,

John Dent
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:40 AM   #31
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chofujohn,

Just wondering. Are you going to do much dry camping? If the answer is no, perhaps you might consider putting in a residential refrigerator rather than repairing the Dometic. I installed a residential fridge last year and just completed a 5 month trip with the new fridge. I've never been happier with a fridge in an rv than this new one. It works far better than any of my previous Norcold or Dometic fridges.

In my case, dry camping is very rare to non-existant, therefore, I did not install an upgraded inverter or additional batteries. This saved considerable money as well as space (for additional batteries and larger inverter). After this 5 month test run, I'm convinced the inverter/battery upgrade is unnecessary for me. Of course, if you plan on dry camping fairly often the inverter/battery upgrade would be the way to go.

As far as keeping the fridge cool while traveling, it turned out to be a non-issue. If we are in a hot climate the generator is running to operate the house airs and therefore the fridge. On cooler days when we are not running the gen, we drive 3-4 hours in the morning then stop for lunch. My digital thermometer only shows about a 1-2 degree temp increase in the fridge. Often we run the generator during lunch to operate the microwave- a 10-15 minute run of the generator completely recovers the fridge temp (It might be less than that time period, but I just don't pay an attention to the exact time).

We even easily survived a 2 day power outage by running the generator for 15 minutes at a time in the morning, mid day, early evening, and just before bedtime. Never had more than a 4 degree rise in temp. Since we normally run the fridge at 35*, we saw temp rises to about 39-40. This is better than my old Norcold which had a hard time getting under 40* when it was running! We did however reduce our in and out of the fridge.

By the way, power outages is one reason I keep our diesel fuel tank topped up. Other than overnight or 2/3 day stops, I fill up the tank prior to going to my site. This paid dividens during one stay 2 years ago when we were out of power for 6 days.

I wish you the best of luck with your fridge problem.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:46 AM   #32
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I'm going to start a new thread relating to finding air leaks in a suspension system. I'll put it in the Newmar forum or would it be better to put it in general discussions?
If you think you have a specific or unique leak that would only be on a Newmar then post in that forum, if your looking for procedures in general then think about Class A that way everyone with air brakes would get to benefit from the discussion.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:19 AM   #33
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John, I'm still coming up to speed on the DP stuff myself. I'm not familiar with your Newmar at all. What I wanted to say though, is that upon arrival, our coach is normally lowered down onto it's suspension stops by blowing off the air in the air bags - right away - like a metro bus trying to get the entrance as low to the ground as possible? Point being, in our system, with the way it's used, a leak that took 36 hours to drain the system would likely never be noticed?

Regarding your sound system, our is what appears to be a middle of the road Pioneer system. It's very seldom been used since we've owned it. The buttons, and the icons that make an attempt to identify them, are too small for our fingers and our eyes, and they are not arranged in any attempt at being intuitive. In short, it's not usable on the road, and you would have to put your glasses on to use it while parked. On top of all that, it's located too low on the dash, so once you get your glasses out, you still have to get down on your hands and knees to use it. Great radio, but junk to us. I'd much rather have an AM/FM radio out of a 40 year old car (see, I can rant too)? Point being, the sales guys can really make these radios sound great - but from a more practical standpoint, most of the dash systems I've see are not real friendly in actual use. FWIW

Regarding your driving/camping experience. I would HIGHLY recommend getting some one or 2 day trips under your belt prior to committing to the full time thing or even a cross country trip. And daylight driving only! You should be good and comfortable while maneuvering it, and confident it's systems are capable of supporting you and your buddy. Start with a night in the driveway, noting the stuff you have to go in the house for. When you can spend the night without going into the house (capable of a solo flight?), then find a campground an hour or so away and repeat the driveway process. Do that a couple of times, a different location each time (your cross country flights), then you should be good to go (you've earned your ticket/license to learn).

As you've experienced, it's very easy to focus on how far back you can go or something, when you should be looking somewhere else. In your mind, try to get an imaginary bubble around that entire coach when backing it - and back that entire bubble (without breaking it). The bubble will require you to look up (for tree branches) and not just at where you're wheels are tracking! Without an official "mon back!" traveling with you for help when backing, suggest you get used to the idea of frequently getting out of the coach when backing. Forget about pride, most all of us are complete idiots when the trans goes into reverse. DO NOT/NEVER EVER (!!!) trust campground hosts or other locals for guidance. I can assure you they will never offer to pay for damages they've caused.

I don't hear at all with one ear and not real well with the other. That "check" light is there for people like us. If the "gas" light is lit, and the "check" light is not, you're good to go (trust your instruments, right?). Just keep an eye on that check light for the first few minutes. If there's a problem lighting, it's going to take a while to come on. There's a little more to it, but thinking you'll have read the instructions by now, so you already know that. ;^)
-Al
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:24 PM   #34
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Boy do I need to go back and read all of the post......what did I miss?



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Old 11-08-2011, 09:37 PM   #35
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Quote:
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If the check light was on the lp may have been shut off or the battery could have been too weak to run the fridge. I have never seen the check light comeon due to level.
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Originally Posted by Triker56 View Post
"Check Light" means the flame went out. Sometimes wind will do it when driving down the road.

I don't think you will find a bigger size RV refrigerator that will run on 12V.
The ones that are made to run on 12V will only keep the present temp. They don't have enough AMP's(heat) to cool it much. If you do find one. You probably will have to increase your battery bank to keep it running many hours.

I had this same problem....the battery bank is putting out 14.3 the propane tank is 3/4 full. We had windy weather the day that this happened. I went today and had the refrigerator unit checked out just to be sure it wasn't a big problem. I had cleaned it out before we went on our trip....but the pilot light and the igniting element hag a lot of spider webs (in 3 weeks from when we last used it) and rust.
Anyway I stood there while the tech went inside and pushed the on button on the refrigerator it clicked and lite right now better than a Zippo Lighter (no I do not smoke anymore ) Quit in 1998 .


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Old 11-09-2011, 09:38 AM   #36
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One problem that can occur is that over time the burner tube gets "a load" of tiny rust particles. If this happens the burner either doesn't maintain a flame or just won't light. The only way to really take care of this problem is to remove the tube and clean it out. I've had to do this over the years with my motor home refrigerator.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:42 AM   #37
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a 9 year old Dometic o/u frig with ice maker. I'd feel better with a new frig, but maybe that Amish system is a better alternative over new.
John[/QUOTE]

John, You are to be congratulated on your efforts. We just started using the Amish built cooling units. We have done a Dometic side by side and a Norcold side by side. Both customers are very happy with the rebuild. They Amish will not rebuild some cooling units and only offer "New" cooling units for those that they don't rebuild, see quote "The Amish RV Refrigeration company will not do any remanufacturing of any side by side refrigerator because of the cleaning, flushing and the ability to confirm that all contamination was removed from the inner tubing." Any questions you might have you're more than welcome to email me at service@rickbakersrvcenter.com and I'll do my best to help.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:23 AM   #38
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One problem that can occur is that over time the burner tube gets "a load" of tiny rust particles. If this happens the burner either doesn't maintain a flame or just won't light. The only way to really take care of this problem is to remove the tube and clean it out. I've had to do this over the years with my motor home refrigerator.

I think this is what happened to our refrigerator



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Old 11-10-2011, 08:35 PM   #39
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You say that you want to rid yourself of hassles regarding the fridge...like Brigadoon said, if you are not boondocking alot, dump the absorption fridge and get a residential one...it may be a bit more on the front end, but you will have a fridge that will work well without having to tweak things and worry about a zillion different issues...I dumped my Norcold last summer and now have one that works!!! a 22 Whirlpool...no regrets
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:57 PM   #40
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John last we heard from you was 10-8 so do not know if you all set with fridge or not.
If you took your coach to RV repairman the drive to him may have settle everything down in your refrigerator and it may have started working.
Have suggested to others to find bumpiest road and take for ride and the shaking will get fridge working again.
So give us the answer when you can.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:13 PM   #41
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Have suggested to others to find bumpiest road and take for ride and the shaking will get fridge working again.
So give us the answer when you can.
Yep and something else will break.
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Old 11-12-2011, 01:14 AM   #42
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Al, you're a good guy to know...

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Point being, in our system, with the way it's used, a leak that took 36 hours to drain the system would likely never be noticed?

Point being, the sales guys can really make these radios sound great - but from a more practical standpoint, most of the dash systems I've see are not real friendly in actual use. FWIW

Regarding your driving/camping experience. I would HIGHLY recommend getting some one or 2 day trips under your belt prior to committing to the full time thing or even a cross country trip. And daylight driving only! You should be good and comfortable while maneuvering it, and confident it's systems are capable of supporting you and your buddy. Start with a night in the driveway, noting the stuff you have to go in the house for. When you can spend the night without going into the house (capable of a solo flight?), then find a campground an hour or so away and repeat the driveway process. Do that a couple of times, a different location each time (your cross country flights), then you should be good to go (you've earned your ticket/license to learn).

In your mind, try to get an imaginary bubble around that entire coach when backing it - and back that entire bubble (without breaking it). DO NOT/NEVER EVER (!!!) trust campground hosts or other locals for guidance. I can assure you they will never offer to pay for damages they've caused.

I don't hear at all with one ear and not real well with the other. That "check" light is there for people like us. If the "gas" light is lit, and the "check" light is not, you're good to go (trust your instruments, right?). Just keep an eye on that check light for the first few minutes. If there's a problem lighting, it's going to take a while to come on. There's a little more to it, but thinking you'll have read the instructions by now, so you already know that. ;^)
-Al

Hi Al,

I've been having to deal with some other issues and have not gotten back to the frig, yet. I called Newmar and they referred me to Dometic. I think your original intuition is correct that there isn't anything wrong with the frig, but that error was mine. It would appear that this frig technology is, in fact, reliable if certain conditions are maintained. I realize now that everything bad that has ever happened in my short RV'ing career has been strictly my fault. I've not yet turned the frig back on, but I expect it to work. The one thing I will do is check on the flame each and every time I revert to gas. Now that I know about the mis-lighting thing with the gas igniter I will from this point forward always positively confirm ignition. And when parked I'll keep an eye on that "check" light. If I have to I'll buy a stethoscope to listen for the flame. And while others are saying that an unlevel condition didn't cause of my original problem I think it is probably prudent that when ever I'm stopped for more than a few hours I will go ahead and level just to play it safe. Setting up level will become my routine. I'm not sure Walmart will appreciate it if I put down my jacks, though, so finding a local big rig friendly RV park will likely become part of my travel routine. I will also be buying a digital thermometer to monitor my frig performance. Since I'm planning on a good bit of boondocking I don't see an all electric frig in my future.

Had another incident with the motorhome Tuesday. I backed my whale into a deep ditch. What little damage I inflicted was superficial, so I dodged another bullet, thank goodness. This incident could have had a really bad outcome, but didn't. I was ordered by the sheriff's department to move the motorhome off the street (even though I had subdivision permission) as they had complaints that it was a traffic hazard. My house is over 400 feet off the street and because of trees I can't pull in the driveway. So, I made an arrangement to move it to an RV park about 10 minutes away where I'll have a 50 amp connection. Be it as it may, I was a little flustered by the deputy's order to move it NOW or have it towed NOW. I got in a hurry, which is the first sin I committed. Not to mention it was getting dark and I know better than to take chances in the dark, but I was under a sheriff's dept order, eh? So, I surveyed the area behind the coach and got in to perform a 2 point turn at the "T intersection". I figured I had the space if I was slow and careful. I had a street sign picked out as the point where I would cut the wheel all the way over to make the first turn. I misjudged the distance or should I say I misjudged the "wheelbase" because it wasn't but a few seconds later that I felt a big lurch and my driver's seat vaulted up suddenly while the passenger's side of the coach fell away. I got out to survey the damage. Boy, talk about a sick feeling!!! I dropped my right rear wheels into a 3 foot deep drainage ditch in front of my house. Because I was at an angle to the ditch the left rear wheels didn't go all the way in and I stopped with them resting on the rim. I'm so glad this is a Newmar with studs and rafters on 16 inch centers versus the normal 24 inch centers on much of the competition. If there was ever going to be an incident that would twist my coach this would have been it. Turns out these Newmars are built stiff and straight.

I'm just glad there weren't any children within earshot because I was incensed once I realized what I had done and my language was predictably crude. My first call was to Good Sam Roadside Assistance. I had joined down in St. Augustine at Camping World the day I took delivery back in April. The fellow on the phone was sympathetic, but rather than depend on him for the tow I called 911 and found someone with lots of experience in big vehicle towing. He and Good Sam talked on the phone, a fax was sent and then he came to my rescue. He chained up to my chassis (not to my IFS) and pulled me out. It was quite anti-climactic in the end. I didn't even scratch the bottom of my bay doors. It would appear my luck is holding out despite my stupidity.

I read each of your paragraphs with interest and took it all to heart. I've flown over 40 different GA aircraft in my 38 years as a pilot and making the transition into this DSDP has been more difficult and certainly less fun. I'm beginning to wonder if driving and operating a Class A motorhome is supposed to be fun. Your idea of taking some little excursions is a good one, no doubt. But, being that I really want to go surf fishing on the East Coast before it gets too cold up around Virginia Beach I might have to modify your plan a bit. I'm not planning on returning to this house again after I leave, so when I launch that will be it for Arkansas.

My friend and fishing buddy suggested I should get some stickers to display on the side of the coach that keep score of my incidents, kind of like WWII bomber missions or kills on a fighter. So far I've driven through a tornado, hit a handicapped parking sign, hit a big limb and several small ones, side swiped an oak tree backing into an RV space at night while being supervised by the park host (which took off some paint, but didn't break anything) and now I've backed into a ditch, which required a tow truck. I should also mention that I nearly pinched off my index finger while disconnecting my towed from the tow bar. I really thought my finger was going to just pop off my hand from being pinched by that length of re-bar I used to hammer out the tow bar security dowels. Al, it just seems to be one thing after another, but I guess making these mistakes is part and parcel to being an unsupervised, intellectually challenged newby. My kingdom for a mentor who could stop me from making so many mistakes.

I called Newmar today and asked them some stupid questions that prompted them to refer me to Dometic and Spartan. Truth is I've taken what I now know was a sow's ear and turned it into a silk purse. The $30k in repairs, refurbs and replacements have been money well spent and I'm still in it for $30k less than blue book. I don't ever expect to get that money back, but neither do I expect to be buying another motorhome any time soon. Just about everything on my DSDP is squawk free and except for a new entertainment system I don't see any reason to dally any longer. It's time. So, tomorrow I'm going to load up my tool boxes into the basement, do some laundry and then create a preliminary flight plan. Just curious, but is it normal to know where you're going before launching? I'm only half joking because it occurs to me that to ensure my future success I should just play it loose and not get in any hurry. If I put 40 miles on the odometer one day and then 400 the next it won't make any difference to me. I just figure if I set out in a general direction then the rest will take care of itself. I know this is counter intuitive coming from a pilot, but what's the worst that can really happen? I'm financially secure enough that I can dig myself out of any hole I might fall into, so I'm choosing not to worry about any of it. There are rest areas and Walmarts all across the country just waiting for me to pull in for a rest. I figure when I get a little tired of driving I'll simply pull over and consult my GPS database or my Passport America directory and see if there is a suitable RV park in the area. I see myself "winging it" quite a bit and boondocking a lot, especially when I go West next summer. Honestly, if anything was going to dictate my travels it would be the bull redfish and speckled trout winter migration south as the water temps drop on the east coast. I expect to launch on Sunday or Monday with any luck. I'll be in touch again after I find a WiFi source on the road.

I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. It means a lot to me and having your support makes me feel a lot less alone and vulnerable. Life is very good.

My Best,

John Dent
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2002 Newmar Dutch Star DSDP3852, Spartan Chassis, ISC 350, MH 3000, Banks Power Pak, Blue Ox Tru-Center for Spartan IFS, Onan 7500, Toad Nissan Pathfinder 4x4, Remco driveline disconnect, Hobie Kayak, Dish HD Satellite, Driver John & Maltese "Romeo"
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