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Old 01-09-2014, 12:14 PM   #1
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Newbie using Kountry Star as a 2nd home

I'm a helicopter ambulance pilot working at a hospital in South Texas but I live in East Texas. The commute is 6 hours each way so I drove the 37' 1996 Newmar Kountry Star that I just inherited from my Dad and got some land to park it on. Now I drive down in my car and live in it for 7 days then drive home for 7 days off.

My main concern is the small hot water heater that is a pain to take showers with so I'll do some research on this forum and then ask some questions.

Meanwhile I new and I'm learning about my motorohome but if anyone has any questions about aviation, I'm retired (21 years US Air Force), have flown and taught in all kinds of airplanes, seaplanes, and helicopters and have flown all kinds of missions from law enforcement, to news helicopter to air ambulance, both locally in the USA and internationally.

Carlos
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:46 PM   #2
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Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:52 PM   #3
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Our DSDP has a 10 gallon WH, I usually use just the electric element but turn the gas on to take showers so both are working at the same time. So far back to back showers have not been a problem.
You probably have a 6 gallon unit. You may need to go to a bigger unit or take Navy showers.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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Hi Carlos! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the crew!

Thank you for your service to our country!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:15 PM   #5
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Thanks to all for the warm welcome. I've been calling the Newmar tech support line for the last week (got the number from one of the threads here) but it's always busy.

I only use the electric part because since I don't have a manual I'm not interested in guessing how the propane system works, lol. The local RV dealer told me it's the same tank but just gets heated by the propane and/or from the electric side so it's still too small. I suppose it's a 6 gallon.

My plan is as soon as I get a chance to find it I'll:

- find out the size it currently has
- see if I can install another one in-line (a 10 gallon if possible = 16 gallons)
- see if I should install an on-demand tankless like I have at my house.

Last week it was the extreme cold and these last few days it's been rain so eventually I'll get a chance to find out.

Meanwhile it's :
- open the shower head, get wet, close shower head
- shampoo, open shower head , rinse, close shower head
- soap all over body, open shower head, rinse, close shower head

That actually gives me time to shower then my girlfriend has to wait at least 1/2 hour to take her shower. It's been working for the last 4 months but it got old already (I'm surprised I lasted this long). I need to have a good hot shower after my 12 hour shifts.




PS: What’s with this forum that I can’t access it from a Mac using Firefox? It keeps telling it’s under routine maintenance so I have to go to the PC to answer.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:35 PM   #6
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Here is the brochure of your vehicle.

https://comnet2.newmarcorp.com/insta...es/1996dsb.pdf

It looks like a 6 gal water heater is standard.

We have a 6 gal water heater as well. We found one of the low flow high pressure shower heads doubled the shower time.

Body Spa RV Shower Kit - White - Oxygenics 26781 - Shower - Camping World

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:06 PM   #7
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Hi Carlos!

Sounds like you are doing things right (not letting the water just run) so it is probably that the electric heating element is weak or just can't keep up. If it were me, I'd run the water heater on propane for 20 min before and then during the shower time. Bet it will keep up then.

BTW, that Oxygenics showerhead is a nice one.

Best of luck!
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:33 PM   #8
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Thanks! That brochure looks a lot like mine but mine has 8 tires and is a gas guzzler not diesel. I've always said it's a 37' but I think it's longer. My Dad always said 39' but without any other paperwork I don't know. The registration or Title don't say how long it is. The VIN# 3FCMF53GT7TSM0437 if that helps.

The layout is like the Kountry Star Diesel Pusher SP3956 but with a shower instead of a tub.

Here's a video I made with my phone when my Dad was still alive and he wanted to be able to show his friends what he had purchased:
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Nick-B View Post
Hi Carlos!

Sounds like you are doing things right (not letting the water just run) so it is probably that the electric heating element is weak or just can't keep up.
It heats up to a burning temperature in about 1/2 hour and I have to mix it with cold water to use it, so I think the heating coil is ok.

Does using it with propane make it heat up fast enough that I don't run out of hot water like an on-demand tankless heater? I was told the propane heats it up just like the electric coil.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilot135pd View Post

It heats up to a burning temperature in about 1/2 hour and I have to mix it with cold water to use it, so I think the heating coil is ok.

Does using it with propane make it heat up fast enough that I don't run out of hot water like an on-demand tankless heater? I was told the propane heats it up just like the electric coil.
Carlos, as discussed in another thread, a lot of that depends on the temperature off water entering the heater. In south Texas summers the ambient water temperature is usually warm and so the heater only needs to raise the temperature a relatively small amount. During colder temperatures the electric heaters may not be able to raise the temperature sufficiently in the time they are in contact with the water. In those cases the propane heater (since it generates greater btu output) will heat cold water too hot much faster than the electric element.

It is not necessarily an issue with the health of the electric heater but an issue of capacity. The propane is more efficient in that case.

Steve, and welcome to the forum
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:25 PM   #11
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So the propane will make it kind of work like the tankless where if it goes through too fast it doesn't heat it as much. I get it now.

I'll try step #1 : get the shower head locally and if not available I'll order it online.
Step #2 : I'll have to get someone out to test the propane system before I play with that one. I don't want to have to be a patient in our own helicopter!

There's a store in Katy that has it in stock but that's still a little too far from where I work in Victoria. I'll see if one of the nurses drive by it since they mostly live in the Houston area.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:48 PM   #12
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We have a 6 gallon water heater. Every morning we wash dishes and two of us take showers, and we don't run out of hot water. In a 1996 coach it's possible the water heater tank is half full or more with sediment and just needs to be back flushed.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:27 PM   #13
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Welcome to irv2.
Here is a Owners Guide for a 1997 KS the only difference between this year and yours is a 10 gal water heater.
Go to section 4 page 6 has instructions for purging the tank for air expansion in tank.
For electric there is a switch on face of tank that has to be on for electric element to heat water plus the switch inside in the display area.
Because of the small tank should use both electric and LP gas together to supply hot water for showers.
A couple of other things to check if you have a outside shower in your water bay make sure the faucet valves are closed or your mixing cold water with your hot water and in the by-pass valves make sure they are fully closed so your getting the full flow of hot water from tank.
If you have a old electric element maybe time for new one.
Below in my signature are three links that will have some information for your Newmar.
You can join us down in the Newmar forum for other items you may need to discuss.
1996 Brochure
Enjoy the forums.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:30 PM   #14
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Just got back from paying for that shower head kit and it should arrive by Tuesday. It cost me a little more than if I ordered it online but this store answers all my questions and has never charged me so I prefer to help them so they're there when I need help.

So my water tank might have sediment? Hadn't thought about that so I'll add that to the list of things to do and take it from there. Thanks !
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