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Old 07-19-2022, 11:46 AM   #1
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New to RV'ing - feeling like I'm in over my head

Hi everyone,

I purchased a 2022 Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite 2109S earlier this month. Then I hauled it from Texas to Rhode Island, where I live. I'm feeling like I may have made a huge mistake in buying this. I have no idea what I should be doing to maintain it and nothing came with it, manual-wise, to tell me. I had a quick run through at the dealer and I videotaped it, but I still feel that I am missing a lot. How am I supposed to take care of this thing?? When should I have the inverter on versus not on? I have no idea how to work the panel that tells the status of the solar panel. Where do I go here at home to empty the black water tank? Do I need to unhook the propane tanks when it's just sitting here at the house? What about the battery? How do I get the vent above the bed really locked down? I thought I screwed it shut, but it just turns and turns. And when driving, it got raised up again.

I had the trip from hell going from TX to RI. The backup camera does not connect most of the time. It will randomly show the view, but usually when I am driving, not when backing. The ride was super rough; lots of bouncing. The dealer did install stabilizer bars. And the truck really seemed to struggle - the RPMs were almost constantly revv'd. I only averaged about 7.5 MPG, where I usually get 17 MPG without the trailer. I am pulling it with a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado with 4WD and crew cab. It has about 75K miles on it.

I stopped at a nice park in Mississippi the first night. When I opened the door of the trailer, I found the retaining pin for the fridge / freezer had failed (the rubber cap from the top of the pin had come off and the pin was on the floor) and much of the contents had spilled to the floor. This included 7 half gallons of precious Blue Bell ice cream and fresh cut pineapple and watermelon. The floor was covered with melted Blue Bell ice cream and sticky fruit juice. Luckily I had a large sponge with me to clean up (while my 4 dogs waited in the truck with the AC running - it was 88 and muggy as hell). But, the ice cream got under the cabinets and the slide out. It also reached the carpet near the bed. No matter how much I wiped it, more oozed out from under the cabinets. I feel like the entire inside of the trailer needs to be removed in order to properly clean the floor and remove the sticky mess. But of course, I have no way to do that myself.

Please tell me there is a single resource where I can read everything I need to know. Otherwise, I'll be selling my new trailer.

Thanks, Kimber
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Old 07-19-2022, 12:15 PM   #2
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Hi Kimber! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

WOW! That's definitely not the way you want to start your RV'ing experience! You can post specific questions in the appropriate areas of the forum for the best results. Hope things get better for you. Sounds like it can't get much worse!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 07-19-2022, 12:44 PM   #3
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Thank you!
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Old 07-19-2022, 01:03 PM   #4
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We just began RV'ing at retirement about 3 years ago and yes, learning all the systems can be a daunting task.

The majority of your new user questions should have been addressed at your dealership when you did a pre-delivery walk-thru/orientation. Unfortunately, when you don't know what to ask, it makes things tougher. I think many dealers go out of their way to provide you a solid orientation - sometimes lasting several hours, many give the bare minimum....sounds like you got the bare minimum.

In addition to posting specific questions as they come up, I would read, read read and then read some more on this and other forums. Slowly but surely the stuff will start to get absorbed. YouTube is also an excellent resource. Searching YouTube for your Rockwood Forest River solar package on finds several potentially helpful videos. There are literally hundreds of general videos available as well, explaining the basics of RV electrical, plumbing etc.

Finally, it may be worth it to you to make an appointment to have a reputable mobile tech come out - or perhaps even make an appointment at a local dealer - to have a more thorough walk thru done. Be armed with specific questions about each of the systems.
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Old 07-19-2022, 01:14 PM   #5
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I always felt like the techs doing my walk through assumed I was already an expert TT owner.

The videos on the Forest River website help a little, and at least they may arm you with the questions you need to ask.

Finally, I think you will find that many of us RV'rs, both the cyber community here and the blood, sweat and tears people you meet at campsites will do their best to walk you through some of the basics. We all had to learn somewhere, and the School of Hardknocks fails a lot of people, but the graduates are usually pretty sharp.
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Old 07-19-2022, 01:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkb_rockwood View Post
Hi everyone,

I purchased a 2022 Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite 2109S earlier this month. Then I hauled it from Texas to Rhode Island, where I live. I'm feeling like I may have made a huge mistake in buying this. I have no idea what I should be doing to maintain it and nothing came with it, manual-wise, to tell me. I had a quick run through at the dealer and I videotaped it, but I still feel that I am missing a lot. How am I supposed to take care of this thing?? When should I have the inverter on versus not on? I have no idea how to work the panel that tells the status of the solar panel. Where do I go here at home to empty the black water tank? Do I need to unhook the propane tanks when it's just sitting here at the house? What about the battery? How do I get the vent above the bed really locked down? I thought I screwed it shut, but it just turns and turns. And when driving, it got raised up again.

I had the trip from hell going from TX to RI. The backup camera does not connect most of the time. It will randomly show the view, but usually when I am driving, not when backing. The ride was super rough; lots of bouncing. The dealer did install stabilizer bars. And the truck really seemed to struggle - the RPMs were almost constantly revv'd. I only averaged about 7.5 MPG, where I usually get 17 MPG without the trailer. I am pulling it with a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado with 4WD and crew cab. It has about 75K miles on it.

I stopped at a nice park in Mississippi the first night. When I opened the door of the trailer, I found the retaining pin for the fridge / freezer had failed (the rubber cap from the top of the pin had come off and the pin was on the floor) and much of the contents had spilled to the floor. This included 7 half gallons of precious Blue Bell ice cream and fresh cut pineapple and watermelon. The floor was covered with melted Blue Bell ice cream and sticky fruit juice. Luckily I had a large sponge with me to clean up (while my 4 dogs waited in the truck with the AC running - it was 88 and muggy as hell). But, the ice cream got under the cabinets and the slide out. It also reached the carpet near the bed. No matter how much I wiped it, more oozed out from under the cabinets. I feel like the entire inside of the trailer needs to be removed in order to properly clean the floor and remove the sticky mess. But of course, I have no way to do that myself.

Please tell me there is a single resource where I can read everything I need to know. Otherwise, I'll be selling my new trailer.

Thanks, Kimber
Don't take this the wrong way but it looks like you jumped into something without researching anything.

With that said, relax, you will learn it, or at least what you need to lean.

Best advice, use it and use it a lot and you will learn it.

To answer a few of your questions,
1: I do not disconnect the propane, simple turn the tanks off
2: Invertor is always on
3: Fuel millage basically sucks with a gas engine and I am assuming you have a 1500, just not sure of the engine size
4: Stabilizers should help but you still may get some sway
5: There is no single source for information. This forum is great however.
6: You already should have figured out where to dump your tanks prior to buying it. Do you have a house, can you use the clean out to dump?
7: Stay calm and study the panel, you should be able to figure it out. If not, who is the manufacture of said panel and call them. Same with other specific components
8: Where are you storing this when not in use? A few questions for you to consider. Will rig be plugged in and rodent protection

Just relax and take lots of notes. You will get it, we all had to learn.
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Old 07-19-2022, 01:16 PM   #7
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First to do

Clean, clean clean. Most rv cabinets don't have bottom panels. Open the cabinets or remove the drawers and clean as much as yo can. You should pull up the carpet and toss it if it is soaked with juice and ice cream. Check every week for ants.
As to your towing problems: Do you have a weight distribution and sway control hitch? Did the dealer set it up properly? Your PU should pull that trailer just fine.
What engine does your pickup have?
At 75K miles you are ready for new shocks.
Mileage wise, how fast were you driving?
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Old 07-19-2022, 01:47 PM   #8
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Congratulations on your purchase and yes RVing can be a daunting task fir a newbie. But there are resources even from the manufacturer. This site is full of information and how to videos https://www.forestriverinc.com/rvs/t...wood-mini-lite.

The site will provide with the owners manual which you should have received from the dealer. https://forestriverinc.help/#/forest...ockwood/browse. This site will also provide you with some of the manuals for each of your components and other items. You must go through this site and print what you and keep them in RV for future reference.
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Old 07-19-2022, 03:25 PM   #9
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Hey Kimber,

First and foremost the order of the day is a very very "deep breath". When we got initially our first RV a fifth wheel we drove an hour from home to camp with hook ups for 3 nights where nothing to do other than admire surrounding mountains do a bit of walking and spend those 3 days and nights reading the manual and testing every system. Had the salesperson from our dealership on fast dial and end of each day the scratch list of questions or concerns we covered with him and resolved.

Four years later, in 2003 when we traded up to our Gasser A class (which we still have), we knew a lot of the operational stuff from the 5er, but a different set of maintenance with an engine incorporated now came into being. We took it all a day at a time, and got a ton of good advise from kind folks in forums like this on maintenance etc. In the very beginning used the dealership to even do our winterising (always leaked on every spring start up). Past 15+ years since we do it ourselves we save a ton of money, and never had any leaks.

Create Checklists with timeframes on maintenance items = I prefer printed hard copies but others prefer apps etc whatever you choose. We also had checklists in the beginning for prepping to leave home and what to load, as well as when setting up and leaving camp. Of course today we don't. Hubby would love for the past several years a new shiny RV but ........ I feel it's taken us a long time to learn the intricacies and do most maintenance on this one I don't want to let her go.

The 5er biggest problem we had when bedroom slide wouldn't go in at a CG, kept adding the low hydraulic fluid and finally went into the bedroom where carpet was stinking and soaking wet. During manufacture they'd placed the hose under the bed slide that wore a hole in the pipe going back and forth over it over time = bad bad error on their part.

The Motorhome at the time a cost of C$196K we were so excited to get, had break down after break down after break down. We were in road warrior years so vacation time was precious. Towed several times, including having the Fire Brigade help us a traffic light junction once. Seemed she'd limp in the cooler over night temps. They tried to tell us we'd put dirty fuel in (we hadn't) and tried to avoid warranty claims and put blame on us. Someone at a Ford Garage said, "it sounds like you have a faulty fuel pump". Lo and behold after 18 months of misery and wishing I'd never seen an RV, we insisted they replace it when we limped into SD, saw a ton of these stacked against the wall that had been replaced from others, and never a problem afterwards. Since then we've had a failed $2 clip causing puncturing by rod and needing replacement engine, and we had a faulty oil pan that had been checked hours earlier that necessitated another replacement engine.

So believe me we've had more than our share of problems to have thrown in the towel at the front and middle ends of our RVing life. However, I will share with you that deep breaths, not sweating the small stuff, and tis wot tis attitude has enabled us to enjoy an incredible life time of memories. Initially with our young family and now hubby and I on our own in semi/almost full retirement.

Everyone has their own personality and no matter what folks suggest or advise, it inevitably will boil down to how you handle the rough with the smooth, and believe me you will always be fixing or doing something to your RV. Your nature and that of your spouse/partner will dictate whether you weather the storms so to speak or say "it's just not for us, too much hassle/work". We are just so glad we tolerated the rough and have zero regrets all these years looking back.

Whenever anything breaks or comes loose or whatever, soon as you get home make sure you repair/replace it. Do your monthly, quarterly, annual, and two year maintenance because over time you'll find it all becomes second nature, and creates less stress on future trips.

Welcome to the wonderful, sometimes not smooth world of RVing. Remember deep breaths and don't sweat the small stuff.
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Old 07-20-2022, 02:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistercee View Post
We just began RV'ing at retirement about 3 years ago and yes, learning all the systems can be a daunting task.

The majority of your new user questions should have been addressed at your dealership when you did a pre-delivery walk-thru/orientation. Unfortunately, when you don't know what to ask, it makes things tougher. I think many dealers go out of their way to provide you a solid orientation - sometimes lasting several hours, many give the bare minimum....sounds like you got the bare minimum.

In addition to posting specific questions as they come up, I would read, read read and then read some more on this and other forums. Slowly but surely the stuff will start to get absorbed. YouTube is also an excellent resource. Searching YouTube for your Rockwood Forest River solar package on finds several potentially helpful videos. There are literally hundreds of general videos available as well, explaining the basics of RV electrical, plumbing etc.

Finally, it may be worth it to you to make an appointment to have a reputable mobile tech come out - or perhaps even make an appointment at a local dealer - to have a more thorough walk thru done. Be armed with specific questions about each of the systems.
Thank you! The dealer had a guy do a walkthrough, but as you said - how do you know what to ask? Plus it is a lot to remember all at once. He said that everything he was going over would be in the packet of docs, but it sure wasn't. For such an investment, similar to a car, I did expect the same type of manual to come with it.
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Old 07-20-2022, 02:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by John58 View Post
Congratulations on your purchase and yes RVing can be a daunting task fir a newbie. But there are resources even from the manufacturer. This site is full of information and how to videos https://www.forestriverinc.com/rvs/t...wood-mini-lite.

The site will provide with the owners manual which you should have received from the dealer. https://forestriverinc.help/#/forest...ockwood/browse. This site will also provide you with some of the manuals for each of your components and other items. You must go through this site and print what you and keep them in RV for future reference.
Wow, thank you! I assumed a manual did not exist since it did not come with one. There were manuals for things like installing the refrigerator, but not useful since it was, of course, already installed!
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Old 07-20-2022, 02:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by lenny-shawna View Post
Don't take this the wrong way but it looks like you jumped into something without researching anything.

With that said, relax, you will learn it, or at least what you need to lean.

Best advice, use it and use it a lot and you will learn it.

To answer a few of your questions,
1: I do not disconnect the propane, simple turn the tanks off
2: Invertor is always on
3: Fuel millage basically sucks with a gas engine and I am assuming you have a 1500, just not sure of the engine size
4: Stabilizers should help but you still may get some sway
5: There is no single source for information. This forum is great however.
6: You already should have figured out where to dump your tanks prior to buying it. Do you have a house, can you use the clean out to dump?
7: Stay calm and study the panel, you should be able to figure it out. If not, who is the manufacture of said panel and call them. Same with other specific components
8: Where are you storing this when not in use? A few questions for you to consider. Will rig be plugged in and rodent protection

Just relax and take lots of notes. You will get it, we all had to learn.
Yes, I did jump into the purchase, but it was out of necessity. My mother passed away and I will need to make many trips between my home in RI and hers in TX to get the house cleaned out and sold. They were there 55 years and it's a large house, so there is a lot to do. I drove down there straight through, but at 60 yrs old, I just can't do it anymore. A trailer seemed the only option. I lucked out that they had a couple of smaller tow behinds to pick from. I bought it, they prepped it and I had to get back to RI.

1. Ok, I will do that.
2. That's great to know.
3. It is a 1500; V8.
4. Sway wasn't bad but bucking was.
5. I really think the manufacturers should be providing a manual - similar to what you get with a new vehicle, at minimum.
6. I have a house, but not sure what you mean by 'clean out'
7. Ok
8. It's in my driveway. I got the 'dirt daubber' screens ASAP and they are already installed.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-20-2022, 02:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooma View Post
Clean, clean clean. Most rv cabinets don't have bottom panels. Open the cabinets or remove the drawers and clean as much as yo can. You should pull up the carpet and toss it if it is soaked with juice and ice cream. Check every week for ants.
As to your towing problems: Do you have a weight distribution and sway control hitch? Did the dealer set it up properly? Your PU should pull that trailer just fine.
What engine does your pickup have?
At 75K miles you are ready for new shocks.
Mileage wise, how fast were you driving?
I have no idea if I have a "weight distribution and sway control hitch."
How do I know if the dealer set it up properly?
I have a V8.
I'll have someone look at my shocks.
I was driving the speed limit. Mostly 65 to 70 MPH.

Thanks!
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Old 07-20-2022, 04:16 AM   #14
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Hello fellow clam digger. Originally from RI. Now in Fla.
a TT will usually give you bucking when towing. MPG is going to be always low #'s. Few things to always remember. If u have a Awning. when wind picks up bring it in. Save on repairs later on. If it has elec/propane hot water heater make sure water is turned on b4 switch is switched. Run hot water faucet first.
B4 November start learning about the winterizing process. B4 taking her out (rv) make sure all drawers / doors closed. Hope u don't plan on going back and forth tx to ri with trailer a lot of times. If u plan on bringing moms stuff back to RI rent a one way Uhaul in tx.
PS. Born in Prov. grew up in Cranston.
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