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creating an instruction & maintenance manual

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techntrek View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote techntrek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: creating an instruction & maintenance manual
    Posted: 12 Apr 2011 at 10:03am
We see many of the same questions come up as new owners explore their 'pod, and the generic manual is mostly useless.  I thought it would be a good idea if we, as a community, came up with essays on different topics that we could paste together as a comprehensive 'pod manual.  Make it a sticky thread (like this one is, for now) so everyone can always find it.  I've started a list of topics to cover below, please post new topics if you see one that isn't covered.  I'm hoping people can volunteer to cover a specific topic they have experience with.  We can use this thread as a working thread and I'll start a new "clean" thread with finished posts later.  How does this sound?
  • Read this before you read anything else: Checking for a good ground (in-progress here)
  • Check your home RV outlet for correct voltage (here)
  • Winterization (in-progress here)
  • De-winterization (in-progress here)
  • Water heater (in-progress here)
  • Water pump & water tank & low point drain
  • Using the control panel
  • Battery maintenance (in-progress here)
  • Propane tank (gauges, hot water method, filling by the gallon vs. filling flat-rate vs. tank exchange)
  • Brake controllers (different types, proper wiring gauge) (in-progress here)
  • Bargeman connection (here [discussion on fridge use but directly related] and here)
  • Converter, breaker panel
  • Stove (tips for easy lighting at the start of every trip, cleaning, stove covers)
  • TV antenna & amplifier (some antenna info here)
  • TV/DVD player (Jensen owners manual here)
  • Microwave (here)
  • Fridge (in progress here and here and here)
  • Toilet, black and gray tanks (here)
  • Shower? (tip for using the water cut-off when soaping up to conserve hot water?)
  • Adding an outside shower (here)
  • Lights (replacing with LEDs vs. fluorescent Thin Lights vs. keeping as-is, amperage usage)
  • Furnace (using the thermostat)
  • A/C (low-voltage warning, inability to use this dry camping, possible alternatives and making it quieter
  • Tires and lug nuts (pressure at max, check lug nuts often to at least 100 pound/feet, use of torque wrench)
  • Hitching/Coupling (gadgets and methods to make it easier, tips for getting the ball in the cup, adding coupler locks and hitch locks, using parking brake to keep TV from moving out of place, air bags vs. weight distribution hitch)
  • Towing (sway control and inclines/braking/gear selection and a video showing you why you need the right tongue weight)
  • Axle risers (in-progress here)
  • Axle bearing maintenance (here)
  • Brake pad replacement (here)
  • Appliance energy usage (in-progress here)
  • Packing lists, setup/take-down lists (in-progress here)
  • Dry camping (in-progress here)
  • Cleaning the A/C condenser and evaporator coils (in-progress here)
  • Backing up (in-progress here)
  • Staying at truck stops, Wal-Mart, etc. (in-progress here)
  • Converting the incandescent lights to LED (in-progress here)
  • Slide-out (here and here)
  • Generators (here)(Thoughts on home back generators here)
  • Info on crimping wires here
  • Warranty info here

Misc. stuff about the forum:

  • Uploading a picture, adding a signature (bonus, creating one of those colored maps)










  • Doug ~ '10 171 (2009-2015) ~ 2008 Salem ~ Pod instruction manual
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    pmjensen View Drop Down
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote pmjensen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2011 at 1:16pm
    I think it's a great idea especially as you said in light of the very generic Forest River manual.  I've got one for hitching/coupling gadgets. thttp://www.rpod-owners.com/uploads/618/Hitch_Alignment.jpg
    2011 R-176 Nuestro Pod
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote Hodge-PODge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2011 at 2:07pm
    Excellent idea,Thumbs Up techntrek.  I find myself jumping around the forums, thinking, "Now WHERE did I read that?" To compile all that info into one "manual" would really be efficient.  Good thinking!
    2011 RP 177, the Hodge-PODge
    2011 Mercedes ML350
    "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it."

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    Post Options Post Options   Quote TerryM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2011 at 5:08pm
    That is why he gets the BIG bucks!LOLLOLLOLLOL

    Terry
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote David Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2011 at 7:01pm
    Great idea! Thumbs Up
     
    Let's not give them too much info, though...........
    I kind of like answering the questions of the new members
    and those new to camping and travel trailers. Big smile
     
    I can volunteer to tell the folks how NOT to do a lot of things LOL
    Hope to see you "out there"

    David - "weird guy with a wolf"
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    2010 Coleman CT187 "Campground Assault Vehicle 1"
    2013 Silverado 5.3L V8
    (former RP173 owner)
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote techntrek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2011 at 7:18pm

    LOL, yeah I get at least twice what you do Terry.  0 x 2 = Question   LOL

    David's instructions for winterization:  Change the valves, put the hose in the bottle, do the rest of the stuff.

    Everyone else:  What valves?  What hose?  What else do I need to do???

    Doug ~ '10 171 (2009-2015) ~ 2008 Salem ~ Pod instruction manual
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote Pawpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2011 at 8:41am
    Just a thought... Links to online manuals for microwave, tv, Ect..
    Ready to pod around!
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote techntrek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2011 at 10:01am
    De-winterization 
     
     
    A later discussion had me come up with these steps for flushing and sanitizing the water system:

    Flushing the system by using the city water connection won't clear out the water pump, you also don't want to send any antifreeze or bleach into the water heater.  First change into clothes that you don't care about, then:

    1. Fill the fresh water tank, adding 1/2 cup of bleach during the fill process.
    2. Open 1 of the low-point drains, turn on the pump until it runs clear, turn the pump off, close the drain (turn the pump off first or you will spray yourself with bleach water trying to get the cap on).
    3. Open the other low-point drain, pump on, run clear, pump off, close the drain.
    4. Pump on.  All the remaining steps assume you keep the valves open until they run clear.
    5. Hold the toilet flush valve open.
    6. Open the shower cold valve, close, then do the hot water side.  Don't do both at the same time, you won't know if one has run clear and the other hasn't.  If your pod has the mini-sink in the shower, do the same with it.
    7. Do the same with the kitchen sink.
    8. If you've added any other water connection (I added an outside shower), do the same with it.
    9. Turn off the pump.
    10. Top off the fresh water tank.
    11. Wait at least 3 hours, preferrably overnight.  You now have bleach in every possible nook which will sanitize the system.
     
    After 3 hours or the next day:
    1. Drain the fresh water tank using the drain hole on the bottom.
    2. Refill the tank.
    3. Repeat steps 4-9 from the last checklist (I would skip the low-point drains, but you may not want to), waiting about the same time on each valve that you did when you were waiting for the pink to disappear.
    4. You may want to repeat steps 1-3 once or twice more, I don't.  I let the remaining bleach odor just work its way out during the first trip of the season.
    5. Now change the valves on the water heater - hot and cold lines parallel to the water pipe, the valve in the middle perpendicular.
    6. Open the hot water valve on the kitchen sink.  Wait for the air sputtering to stop.  Your water heater is now full.  I would let it run another minute to flush it out.
    7. Either top off or drain the remaining water in the fresh water tank as desired.
     
    Seems like a lot of steps, but the "day 1" checklist only takes 10-15 minutes.  "Day 2" is maybe 15-20 depending on how many times you rinse the system.
     
    [All that said, I plan on cheating this year.  The RV antifreeze is in the alcohol family (which is why it doesn't freeze), so everything but the fresh water tank should be sanitized already.  I drain my fresh water tank and the feed line to the pump just as much as possible in the fall so I'll probably just fill it, clear out all the antifreeze in the pump and water lines using that water, and then drain it.  There's little opportunity for something to grow in the tank and certainly no way for it to grow in the water lines.]
     
    Other things to check:
    - Make sure the tire pressure is at the max pressure shown on the sidewall of the tire.
    - Grease your wheel bearings if necessary.  Official word is do this every year, with the few miles put on every year I usually go 2-3.
    - Refill propane tank if necessary.
    - Reinstall battery if you kept it elsewhere over the winter (storage outside on the tongue is fine and can actually extend the life of the battery as long as you charge it twice over the winter).
    - Add chemicals as necessary to the black tank, filling with several gallons of water.
    - Check/replace the batteries in the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.
    - Hook up the Bargman connector to your car and check all exterior lights.
    - Check caulk and seals around windows, clearance lights, roof, etc.
    - Check the torque of the wheels (and again several times throughout the season), aluminum and alloy wheels tend to expand and contract more than steel wheels causing the lug nuts to loosen over time.
    - Lube the tongue jack, stabilizer jacks, stair steps, door hinges, etc.
    - Repair paint chips with Rustolium semi-gloss black comes in handy for touching up chips on the tongue, frame and steps.
    - Clean the coil on the A/C unit; unless it is really bad, compressed air or just a garden hose should do the trick.
    - Clean the interior A/C filter with soap and water.
    Doug ~ '10 171 (2009-2015) ~ 2008 Salem ~ Pod instruction manual
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote techntrek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2011 at 10:11am
    Axle Risers 
     
     
    You can order axle risers as an option from the factory, or have them added post-delivery by your dealer, or you can add them yourself.  Many people have found that the R-pod sits too low to the ground and can bottom out on the stabilizer jacks or steps.  Adding axle risers raises the whole R-pod approximately 4 inches and eliminates this problem.  If you order them from the factory, installed, expect to pay about $100.  If you have your dealer install them expect to pay at least twice that.  You can order them directly from Forest River for about $75 (someone recently said they now cost $50), just call 574-642-3119 ext 209.  They come as two metal boxes which need to be inserted between the axle and the frame of the R-pod, about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.  Additional bolts are included.  If you do them yourself you'll need a heavy-duty floor jack and 4 jack stands, expect the job to take about 45 minutes.
    Doug ~ '10 171 (2009-2015) ~ 2008 Salem ~ Pod instruction manual
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote techntrek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2011 at 10:43am
    Brake Controllers 
     
     
    There are two types of brake controller used for camper trailers today.  The cheap timer-based controllers usually sold to new trailer owners gradually apply the maximum amount of brakes that you have set (from none to locked-up) after a given amount of time.  They don't care how much brake pressure you apply.  These require constant adjustment of the maximum braking based on traffic conditions.

    The newest generation of brake controllers have an intertia sensor.  They apply a proportionate amount of braking pressure based on how hard you are braking your vehicle, up to a maximum amount you've set.  These rarely require adjustment unless you change to a different trailer (or you have a utility trailer with a variable load).  

    There is one more braking system, but this is built into some trailers and there is no controller in the tow vehicle.  They will have an inertia system on the tongue and they apply hydraulic pressure to the brakes.  I believe this is usually only found on boat trailers now.

    I recommend the inertia brake controllers.  I have a Tekonsha Prodigy but they have several to choose from now.  I towed for years with the older timer style controller and the first time I used the Prodigy I had a V8 moment - hand to forehead and saying "I should have bought one long ago".  The difference in braking quality was night and day.

    If you are a handyman type you can install them yourself.  You just need to run a +12 line and negative line from the battery (with a circuit breaker), then find a place to tap into the brake light switch.  Finally there is an output wire which needs to run back to the Bargeman connector.  You should use high-gauge wire for the +12 line (red) and the output (blue) line.  Ten or eight gauge wire is best, you can use 12 or 14 gauge wire for the negative (black) line and brake light wires.
    Doug ~ '10 171 (2009-2015) ~ 2008 Salem ~ Pod instruction manual
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