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Old 08-18-2009, 08:52 AM   #15
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The best way for me to make maintenance easier is to do it my self. It also costs a mere fraction that shops charge. Going to a shop is a crap shoot. Did they do a good job did they overcharge? Then there is the job of delivering the MH to the shop and picking it up. Don't forget the unexpected long waits even after making an "appointment". I am not making this up since I had shops do a number of things while under warranty.
I have had my MH for eight years and only had one trip to a shop in that time. I organize my maintenance on a spreadsheet. The needed maintenance is listed with time intervals and parts details. I record when I perform maintenance. With this record I keep organized and it is not overwhelming. Assembling the tools will greatly help. A large oil pan for collecting engine oil helps. I suggest an air driven lube gun from Harbor Freight. The side benefit of doing your own maintenance is that you do a formal or informal inspection. You do see things that can be minor if attended to. Get jack stands for safety when you get under the MH.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:03 AM   #16
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I didn't initially respond to this thread because I'm not a full timer and my physical situation is much difference. I'm in the process of putting up a new "barn" that will house our RV so I will even have a place to work on it out of the sun and rain, something that only wish for now.

I'm from the school of thought that says there is no such thing as too much maintenance. I deliberately go around looking for things that I can do which might prevent problems later. If I ever have a problem, RV or sticks and brick house, that I determine could have been prevented, I add the prevention act to my already extensive list. Why? Because I can preform the maintenance acts on my terms, on my timing. Failures tend to make their own schedule.

To the OP's questions on tips and tricks, I'd echo the thought of the Fumoto valve. I have one and it means that I only need a small pan (for the oil filter) and 4 empty gallon jugs to change my own engine oil. I added a plastic tube to a large oil can to refill my differenential fluid and I have a special tubing/funnel set up to put fluid back into my transmission after a change. I went with Transynd to extend the intervals at which the transmission fluid has to be changed. I also built some tubing parts to help me change the fluid in my power steering system. I have a rack where I keep all of the specialized lubricants - white lithium spray for the Kwikee steps, Pacbrake lubricant for the exhaust brake and silicon spray for the tow bar and jacks. I bought a woman's compact type mirror (without the powder) to allow me to see into places where I could not put my head, especialy under and behind components.

I keep a log of every time I touch the RV for maintenance or repair. On each line where I use parts, I add the part number (if applicable) or a description what was done. This makes it easier for my failing memory to recall what is required. I keep the master log in MS Word but periodically print out the list and put it in a binder in the dash compartment, along with papers which describe all of the lubrication points and routine intervals. I have a small program that I wrote which compares the current date and mileage to the total list of all maintenance on all vehicles. I can compare for today or for 30,60,90 days in advance ( the program advances the mileage according to my projected use.) The same program looks at things like fertilizer for the lawn, changing the water filter in the refridgerator and cleaning the air filters in the furnace. Yes, I am "anal."
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:00 AM   #17
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses. This has turned out to be a very valuable thread. Much appreciated.

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Old 08-19-2009, 05:31 PM   #18
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Sorry, I can't help you much on reducing maintenance but I can help you reduce the number of breakdowns and equipment failures; performing proper maintenance!
My question on your previous battery issue is why were you having to put water into the batteries so often? I check mine monthly and I have had to add water 3 times in 7.5 years. You should check to be sure your charging system is not damaging the battery bank of the new AGM's!
Hey Wizard, I'm thinking you might have a feel for this: I've watered my aux batts twice since I bought this MH, two-and-a-half yrs ago (only down maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch, but not even close to exposing the plates), which seems okay to me, but is significantly more often than you are reporting for yours (the math tells me I might need to add water twice as often as you have.) After the first time, I put a Trik-L-Start on to help maintain an even charge. In your opinion, is my watering excessive or in the ball park? I would think your watering experience is less frequent than the norm, but I don't know. Do I have problems lurking around? Thanks.
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:52 PM   #19
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JackM.... You got some good stuff, I agree, this is the most helpful site!. I got busy asking RVWizard a question, and I forgot to post to your OP, sorry... I try to do my own maintenance, and the biggest problem I have is remembering to do various tasks AS NEEDED. And as a fulltimer, lists seem to clutter my life endlessly. So, I use MS Works Calender, and create recurring reminders that appear monthly (like tire pressures, fluids, etc), bi-monthly (like checking battery levels), quarterly (like defrosting the freezer), and so on. Just my method so things don't get away from me.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:58 PM   #20
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One maintenance job I hate is scrubbing the under side of the awning. Achy shoulders and soap/bleach dripping.

I now use a Swiffer on it occasionally when the stains and rolled up bugs are obvious. No rinsing required. Works good and you can clean it in about 10 minutes at the campground.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:58 AM   #21
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Although everyone who's posted on this thread seems to have a good understanding of their battery and DC Systems, little was mentioned about the charging system itself. With that said I assume most understand the differences of the charging systems, especially when referencing AGM batteries. The AGM's require a different charging system then standard deep cycle wet batteries. Or more specific a different setting for the charger. Although most of the newer Inverter/Chargers have settings to function properly based on different types of batteries most of the older chargers only don't. The ones that don't shouldn't be used for AGM batteries. So changing to AGM's also requires changing out the charger.

Also, even though AGM's require little maintenance themselves it's certainly important during routine maintenance to make sure the connections are tight and clean coming off the inverter/charger and also on the batteries themselves.

I work part time for a friend who is a Xantrex as well as Magnum Inverter/Charger Warranty/Service facility. They not only repair both Magnum & Xantrex Inverter/Chargers but they do RV battery and charger system repairs and installations. During the summer months his shop averages at least three motohomes per week for battery related problems. Their located in Colorado Springs, and serves most of the Rocky Mountain States but gets customers from much further away, because of their reputation. It amazes me because most of these are over $200,000 motorhomes and yet you can't believe the condition of the batteries and battery mounting tray's, the wiring, etc. in most of them that come in.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:32 AM   #22
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The feature that is not appropriate (for AGMs) is the automated voltage boost that occurs every so often to release trapped gas in the cells. In short, the voltage increase (frequently as high as 14.5 volts) can damage AGM batteries. Modern charger/converters often have this feature but older models normally do not. In my case, I have a 2004 Winnebago with a relatively simple charger/converter that does not have automated voltage boosting capabilities. Thus, I was able to install AGMs without any problem. Good point.

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Old 10-01-2009, 09:12 AM   #23
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A recent thread pointed out that some AGM batteries can be charged with voltages up to 14V. That works with my Progressive Dynamics converter with the desulfating cycle of 14V. Also, a MH may allow charging from the alternator as mine does, so check that voltage out also. I am sticking with my Interstate wet cell batteries since they last 8+ years, cost less, and fit my compartment.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:37 PM   #24
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Arizona heat kills batteries...

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I am very careful about maintenance and maintain detailed records to keep up with the tasks. But with a one year old daughter and a full-time job, I don't have a lot of spare time. That's why I was hoping to find a few ways to simplify the process of maintaining our motorhome.

As for the batteries, we spend a considerable amount of time in Arizona where the extreme heat and low humidity can dry up a battery in a matter of weeks. Regardless, sealed batteries are simply easier to maintain. For our situation, that's a real advantage.

Jack
I don't know about RV batteries but I live in Arizona and it is common to replace car batteries after two years even when they check out OK. They seem to go out suddenly without warning. Must be the heat.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:44 PM   #25
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I would never buy AGMs if 1) I had a fully functional set of house batteries and 2) I hadn't already wasted so much money replacing expensive deep cycle batteries. AGMs are expensive and in truth, they don't make an RV run better. However, I needed to find a way to get more mileage from our batteries. So far so good.

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Old 11-11-2009, 09:03 AM   #26
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A recent thread pointed out that some AGM batteries can be charged with voltages up to 14V. That works with my Progressive Dynamics converter with the desulfating cycle of 14V. Also, a MH may allow charging from the alternator as mine does, so check that voltage out also. I am sticking with my Interstate wet cell batteries since they last 8+ years, cost less, and fit my compartment.
Trojan says to charge their batteries at 14.8v.

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Old 12-03-2009, 06:44 PM   #27
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I understand that Craig, I turned 72 0n saturday. I have a hard time finding out where I left the motorhome. lol
give yourself another 5 or 6 years and you will forget where your at.
Once I was in California, had to ask a bystander where I was at" I had no idea.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:01 PM   #28
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I don't know about RV batteries but I live in Arizona and it is common to replace car batteries after two years even when they check out OK. They seem to go out suddenly without warning. Must be the heat.
In Ohio, RV batteries last 6+ years.....must be the cold
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