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Old 04-29-2016, 11:14 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2016
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Proud camper owner!

Hello all!
My dream has finally come true. I have purchased a travel trailer. It's my first ever! It's a 1979 21' Shasta that I bought from a private seller, (vs. a dealership). I wanted something small and something I could pull with my jeep without traumatizing myself!

Well, I brought it home today and I am so happy! Now here is where you all come in, if you so wish.
I'm as green as grass! I did plug in the electricity to our house power today, and drop my leveling jacks, but I didn't touch the heat or the water because the lady who sold it to me told me I needed to flush all the antifreeze out and I don't know how to do that. She said hook it up, turn on the water and let it run for 20 minutes? I think that is all she said to do. Either way, i though I would get some knowledge from those who do this all the time. The lady who owned it and used it said she never used the heat, beucause she was afraid of silent fumes...which she scared me with saying that so now i"m afraid to use the heater. It can run on electric or propane, that's probably an obvious to everyone, sorry I'm totally new.
But I need to learn because in June, I have to head out and be on my own for a grant I got hired on for which is why i bought it. (thats a story for another post.) But I know nothing. I dont know how to hook up my water..is it just hook up a hose to a spigot?
How do i fill my grey and black tanks?
when do I know/ how long until I dump my black tanks? There will be myself and someone else living in it full time.
I'm certain there were more questions which I have blanked on now.
I know what boondocking is, but what do I need to know to go "boondocking"
do I travel between places with my tanks empty or full?
how do I install a carbon monoxide/smoke detector on an older travel trailer?
there is a window A/C unit in it, but i have NO intention of using it..it's right above my bed and I DO NOT like cold air blowing on me when I'm sleeping.
I want to go solar, so how do i figure out what wattage i need?
okay, I will be parked in SD and MT mostly. and I plan to live in this thing full time, so as it gets colder i will need to know about winterizing it.
thank you for reading this, it's lovely to be here, and I'm so excited!
be well all of you!
I look forward to reading responses.
ps..sorry for the typos, i'm using a tiny little laptop and I'm very tired.

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Old 04-29-2016, 11:33 PM   #2
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Unless you go very high end ($$$$) solar system you won't be able to start, much less run the air con.
I've been RV'ing since 1957 and have always used the propane heat unless I had shore power available. Even with this rig I carry a couple small electric heaters.
Your grey and black tanks will fill through the sinks and toilet as you use them. Two people in that rig will mean dumping every few days.
Just got to Home Depot/Lowes etc and buy a battery powered smoke/fire detector and a carbon monoxide detector and mount according to their instructions.
Usually you travel with some water in the fresh water tank and the grey and black empty.
I'd empty the fresh water tank, run some water through the system and then sanitize the fresh water system. cup of normal bleach to every 15 gallons of tank capacity is the recommend dosage. Put bleach in the tank, fill tank and run bleach water through everything in the system and let sit for at least 4 hours, then flush again. It might take a couple flushings to get the taste out.

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Old 04-29-2016, 11:56 PM   #3
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Congrats on the new purchase. You will have to spend some time to acquaint yourself with all the systems and connections to understand how they work, and where all the connections are located. As bad as people talk about Camping World, if you have one close most of those guys in there love talking about RV's and explaining how things work or what you need.

Basically you will find a hose connection that should be labeled either "potable water" or drinking water. That is where you hook your water hose to, coming from a hose bib carrying drinking water. Use a white/blue fresh water hose that you can buy at CW or Walmart for about $10 to do this. I would fill the tank and then drain it, via the holding tank drain valve. You may want to treat it with a little bleach too, and then flush it out real good. I don't have to winterize my MH so I'm not sure of everything you have to do to de-winterize, but I think it is pretty much like the lady explained to you just flush all the lines really good.

As far as "how do I fill my grey/black tanks"...you fill them by using the sinks, showers and toilet. Most have gauges to let you know how full they are, and when they show full or close to then you dump them. Don't hook up your sewer connections and leave the gates open, leave them closed and only open when emptying the tanks, that will give you a better flush. You will have to play it by ear and see how much holding tank capacity you have and figure out from there on how often you need to dump them.

You mount the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors just like you would in a house, I would also add a propane detector which you would mount closer to the floor. Just follow the directions that come with the detectors. I don't know what heating system you have or what condition it is in, but if working correctly all gas fumes should be vented outside. Even with that, I don't like using the propane heating system, in our MH and all the RV's I have ever had I always kept a window cracked open when I had to use the gas heater as I have never trusted them.

I travel with my fresh water tank fairly full, and my Black/Grey tanks empty for the most part. If I am traveling between CG's I don't always dump my holding tanks. Neither way will hurt you it is just extra weight.

For boondocking you are going to need a source of electricity to run your lights, and most likely your fridge even though it runs on propane, it still needs a 12 volt source for the control panel. So you have your battery system, and then you keep those batteries charged either via a generator or solar power. When you are plugged into house, or CG power that will also charge your battery if you have a converter.

So you see there is a lot to learn, but first you have to learn what your trailer actually has as far as equipment, and then make your decisions from there. There are books you can buy at Camping World that will explain all this stuff to you in better detail, and how to operate all the systems. After you spend a little time using it all these things will become second nature to you. Good luck and there are plenty of people who will help you on this forum.
Mike & Charlotte
2014 Newmar Canyon Star 3610
Orange County, California
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Old 04-30-2016, 08:34 AM   #4
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Old 04-30-2016, 08:50 AM   #5
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Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Congrats on the new rig! Keep her between the ditches!

I agree with most everything that Mike said, except that I always put a couple of gallons of water with Happy Camper tank treatment back in the black tank after dumping it!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette

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Old 04-30-2016, 10:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MSHappyCampers View Post
Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Congrats on the new rig! Keep her between the ditches!

I agree with most everything that Mike said, except that I always put a couple of gallons of water with Happy Camper tank treatment back in the black tank after dumping it!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
You're right I do the same I just forgot to add that part about putting the chemicals and water in the black tank after dumping.
Mike & Charlotte
2014 Newmar Canyon Star 3610
Orange County, California
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Old 05-01-2016, 04:12 AM   #7
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