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Old 09-29-2019, 03:04 PM   #1
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New RV Owner, need help

I'm 24 years old and just bought my first RV a week or so ago and have a few questions. It is a 1986 Chevrolet Travelmaster Pompano 33' with a 454 motor with 63k miles.

I am planning a road trip in a couple weeks and need to learn as much as possible as fast as possible. All help is appreciated!

First, does anyone know a lot about these or where I can find an owners manual?

I have learned that the water system will work without the generator running, water pump runs through the engine battery and will give access to sinks, toilet and shower... is this correct?
Can I fill the fresh water tank with a normal garden hose?

The generator is a Onan 6.5 RV GenSet, anyone know about these?
The previous owner told me that the generator runs off of propane which I believe is trueas it has a propane tank. However, I do not think this is the generator that came with the RV as I have found 3 manuals describing it as a gasoline generator.
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:23 PM   #2
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I can't answer all your questions, but you should get a hose specifically for RV / potable water use. Walmart or any RV supply store would have these. A standard garden hose will leave an undesirable taste in your RV water supply so avoid that type of hose. I recommend at least 35 feet of hose. We have a 35 ft. one and a 25 ft one and have used all 60 feet of it at least a couple of times.
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:54 PM   #3
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1). I doubt you'll find a manual for your specific RV. You can find manuals for the individual components - stoves, furnaces, water heaters, pumps, generators, etc. - but few manufacturers actually produced rig manuals. The most I ever found for my '93 was a sales brochure.

2). Are you sure you don't have a "house" battery somewhere in or below your rig? Generally, the vehicle battery only powers the vehicle - there's an entire separate system for the house functions such as pumps, lights, etc.
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Old 09-29-2019, 11:01 PM   #4
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I have an Onan 6.5 propane in my diesel pusher and it runs great. Turn your propane off and than attempt to run the generator, if it starts and runs for 5 minutes than it would have to be gas fed.
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Old 09-29-2019, 11:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxswell View Post

First, does anyone know a lot about these or where I can find an owners manual? Try one of these links to see if you can download or acquire a manual:
https://qaget.info/?q=1986+travelmas...manual_semrush

Chevy P30 Chassis Manuals

I have learned that the water system will work without the generator running, water pump runs through the engine battery and will give access to sinks, toilet and shower... is this correct? You probably have an additional "house" battery or batteries to power the water pump, lights, etc.

Can I fill the fresh water tank with a normal garden hose? I wouldn't recommend it, instead, buy a good RV drinking hose (usually white) as you'll need one if you don't already have one. A regular garden hose can add unpleasant odors or taste to the water as well as undesirable chemicals.

The generator is a Onan 6.5 RV GenSet, anyone know about these?
The previous owner told me that the generator runs off of propane which I believe is trueas it has a propane tank. However, I do not think this is the generator that came with the RV as I have found 3 manuals describing it as a gasoline generator. As another poster mentioned, turn the propane off and crank the generator, let it run for several minutes, if it doesn't quit running, it runs on regular gas, usually your main tank. Also, usually the fuel tube supplying the generator is set high enough in the tank where it won't run if the tank is below 1/4, this is so you don't run the MH out of gas from running the generator.

The propane is probably used by the furnace for heating the MH and for the fridge which can run off propane or electric, depending on if you have that type in your MH.
Welcome to the RV world! I hope you enjoy your time out on the road and wish you safe travels! I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice and answers on here. Don't be afraid to ask if you don't know something, these folks love to help!
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:55 AM   #6
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Before you use the fresh water tank I would be sure to flush it out. There are many videos out there on how to do it. Pump in some bleach and fill tank with fresh water using an approved potable hose. You can buy one at Walmart or any marine supply place. Then drive around with the mixture to get it to move around, let it sit overnight then drain and flush it out. You may want to do this a couple of times. Don’t want to drink, bath or brush teeth with contaminated water
Again there are many videos out there, check it out
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Old 09-30-2019, 04:34 PM   #7
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Hi Maxswell,

Since you are new here and new to RV'ing, I suggest buying one of the many generic RV guidebook / handbooks. These are available on Amazon or at Camping World and have lots of basic information. Here's just one https://www.amazon.com/Are-You-RV-Re...9882706&sr=8-7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxswell View Post
I'm 24 years old and just bought my first RV a week or so ago and have a few questions. It is a 1986 Chevrolet Travelmaster Pompano 33' with a 454 motor with 63k miles.

I am planning a road trip in a couple weeks and need to learn as much as possible as fast as possible. All help is appreciated!

First, does anyone know a lot about these or where I can find an owners manual?

I have learned that the water system will work without the generator running, water pump runs through the engine battery and will give access to sinks, toilet and shower... is this correct?
Can I fill the fresh water tank with a normal garden hose?

The generator is a Onan 6.5 RV GenSet, anyone know about these?
The previous owner told me that the generator runs off of propane which I believe is trueas it has a propane tank. However, I do not think this is the generator that came with the RV as I have found 3 manuals describing it as a gasoline generator.
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Old 09-30-2019, 09:17 PM   #8
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An outstanding book that's been around for many decades is Full-Time RVing by Bill and Jan Moeller. One of the most important, if not the most important, is how to manage the black tank. At all times keep at least several inches of water with chemical in it. I use Thetford liquid with the blue caps and it has never failed me. When you have several inches of water in it, the movement of the RV sets up a washing machine action that helps keep the tank clean. It's better that the tank be near full when you empty it. The water pressure will be greater to help expel the waste. Always remember; dump the black tank first, followed by the grey tank to clean the waste hose. Then after the tanks are emptied, put the several inches of water back in with fresh chemical before you leave the rv park.
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:22 AM   #9
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The fastest way to get to know this rig is to camp in it in your driveway.

All of your lights and accessories run off 12 volt "house" batteries, not the starter battery for the engine. I think it is important to maintenance this system, understand it, and maybe even stress it before you go to see if it needs work or new batteries. Maybe sleep in it overnight running all the electrical, see how long it performs.

If the 12 volt system fails you on your trip, you will have no furnace heat, no water pump, no toilet, and no lighting, no tunes, and you will be be at the mercy of repair prices on the road. It will be a cold and uncomfortable night.

Also, check the tires out for condition and dates. They have to be at the correct pressure for your weight. Tires are a BIG DEAL on motorhomes as it relates to safety.

Lastly, maybe take a few short local trips before setting out for long distance travel. You really want to be near home base as you learn this rig and deal with it's issues. And it will have issues! They all do.

PS Always bring tools.

Best of Luck!
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:44 AM   #10
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RE: fIRST rv

1) MANUALS ONLINE to download by Brand/Model, start a LIST, begin w/ engine/ chassis, the GEN #, water pump, stove, etc; 2) (Most) RV coach equip runs off a 2nd (COACH) BATTERY, CONVERTER/ CHARGER onboard when plugged in, or charges from engine when driving; 3) Get spare 30W oil, coolant, belts; 4) WHITE RV/ MARINE HOSE will be MUCH better and no plastic taste like garden hose, if you properly sanitize/ rinse system. 5) YES, THOSE appliances work on the Coach Battery (separate from chassis/ engine battery); 6) GEN maybe propane, and most gas GEN books have the back SECTION in same manual on same UNIT using propane; *(it only requires changes to a few parts for the fuel).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxswell View Post
I'm 24 years old and just bought my first RV a week or so ago and have a few questions. It is a 1986 Chevrolet Travelmaster Pompano 33' with a 454 motor with 63k miles.

I am planning a road trip in a couple weeks and need to learn as much as possible as fast as possible. All help is appreciated!

First, does anyone know a lot about these or where I can find an owners manual?

I have learned that the water system will work without the generator running, water pump runs through the engine battery and will give access to sinks, toilet and shower... is this correct?
Can I fill the fresh water tank with a normal garden hose?

The generator is a Onan 6.5 RV GenSet, anyone know about these?
The previous owner told me that the generator runs off of propane which I believe is trueas it has a propane tank. However, I do not think this is the generator that came with the RV as I have found 3 manuals describing it as a gasoline generator.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:10 PM   #11
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House batteries

I would first figure out where the house battery is and have some way to tell if it is charging properly. The battery should be in a compartment with ventilation to the outside and of course it must be possible to open it from outside to take out the battery(s) in order to top up the distilled water in the cells. It is common to have a pair of house batteries to hold twice the electrical energy. If they are 6 volt batteries there must be 2 of them connected in series to make the standard 12 volts. If two 12 volt batteries, they must be connected in parallel to keep the 12 volts and double available current.

Check the voltage across the batteries’ positive and negative output to the house in various situations: engine running, generator running. It needs over 14 volts to fully charge the battery in a few hours.

How do you tell what per cent of full charge the batteries have? For standard lead/acid batteries
- you can measure the density of the water/acid in each cell and use a chart to look up the per cent of full charge. This is awkward and time consuming because usually the heavy batteries have to be removed to make the measurements.
- many use a voltmeter which sometimes is an indication of state of charge. See “the 12 volt side of life” on the web (12.6 volts = 100% charge, 12.0 = zero charge, 12.3 volts = 50% charge and as low as you can go without damaging the batteries). Unfortunately when no current is being used a “surface charge” phenomenon means the voltage measurement will show the voltage of the charger for a few hours after charging which gives a too high % of full charge and causes the battery to wear out due to being under charged. The best time to use the voltage method is early in the morning before the furnace comes on. Measuring voltage is very easy with an inexpensive multimeter - set it to a voltage range higher than 12 volts DC and touch the black probe to the negative battery post and the red one to the positive post. For a pair of 6 volt batteries, think of the pair as a single 12 volt battery and use the 2 furthest apart posts.
- the best method is to buy a battery monitor that counts the amp hours (unit of electric energy) going in and out of the battery so it can always display the per cent of full charge. I found a $25 battery monitor from eBay perfectly adequate:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-120V-100A...UAAOSwyQtVz1vp
Some familiarity with electronics may be necessary for installation. Spending more to get easier installation and help is worth it for most people.

Confession: I wasted my first pair of house batteries on our first long trip - charging from the engine charged the batteries slowly and inadequately but voltage readings indicated all was well until one morning the furnace wouldn’t start and it was obvious the batteries were dead and ruined. I purchased new batteries to get home rationing electric energy. Then got the battery monitor so I always knew how much charge I had. The complete solution was getting a 100 watt solar panel with charge controller. It happened the panel matched our modest needs so well that the batteries always stayed over 80% charge so we never needed to plug in at campsites or use a generator.

We enjoy the quiet convenience of solar power but a generator is necessary if you need air conditioning.

We have a small 20 foot former rental class C motorhome and live in northern Alberta about 5 hours north of Jasper and one hour east of the south end of the Alaska highway.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:59 PM   #12
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Do you plan to boondock (no hookup to electrical, water or sewage) or to stay in an rv park on your trip?
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:42 PM   #13
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LOL you guys expect to help a 24 year old who purchased a 33 year old rv expecting to go on a road trip "within a few weeks"...... who's pulling who's leg
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:40 PM   #14
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and you will also need a good bleach sanitize and then a good muti-rinse
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