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Old 04-22-2016, 01:01 PM   #1
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Spring shakedown trip - what we learned

Things we learned on our first trip of the year - our second trip in this particular RV, and the first one where we were or should have been 'fully outfitted.' It was a one night stay-over in a local State Park (William O'Brien, for those in the MN area) with two days of hiking trips. It was intended for fun but also to continue the shake down of our unit and our preparedness for future trips

1) If you want a campfire, you're going to need to bring some matches! A little embarrassing when you are in an RV full of "stuff" and have to borrow a lighter from someone in a tent (we traded some fire starter sticks which they were happy to learn about).

2) The Fantastic Vent fan is going to be critical since the windows on our 2401R don't open much. Even with temps in the 70s, the coach can get quite warm. The vent fan does pull a lot of air through the unit. The issue in the campground is the vent fan pulls in everyone else's (and your) campfire smoke. Need to adjust windows side to side depending on where the smoke and wind are, and that changes over time.

3) 1/3 tank of water is not quite enough for two people for one night and part of two days. Even without shower use, and using water conservatively, a lot of water is used in the RV. Next time we will load in more and dump what's not needed at the end.

4) We should have asked at the entry gate if the dump station was open. Found out when leaving it was not yet open for the season. We didn't realize the park would open without the dump station being open. Water is not on in the park yet, but you also can't dump into the sewer system. Not good, not good at all. We could have used the pit toilets.

5) Yes, it would have been worth driving 15 minutes out of the way to one of the only dump stations in the area that is open year around. Yes, it would.

6) The clear sewer line connector is awesome. I'm glad we got the 90 degree not the 45 degree so it can run right out the bottom hole of the service bay.

7) Adding the front-back and side-side permanently mounted level guides did help expedite leveling in a big way. I brought a long level to help verify this time but now feel we can ditch that.

8) Those Lego-like leveling blocks are nice and easy to use. But being smaller and having an open area underneath (the bottom of the block is open, not solid), they do settle in the ground more than 1x6 or 2x6 blocks of wood we had been using. May need to add an extra inch or so when the ground is not hard.

9) It's a good idea to turn on the propane even if not using it just in case you need heat during the night - it's not worth getting out of bed and going outside in the cold.

10) Don't forget to turn on the refrigerator the day before leaving. It's on the pre-flight checklist, but if you don't start the checklist until departure day, your refrigerator won't be ready.

11) The checklist is worth its weight in gold. No more "did you do x" or "did we forget x"? (other than matches - we didn't look at the camping list!)

12) We really need to check every single cupboard and drawer and make sure everything is latched - assuming it's closed doesn't cut it.

13) We need to pay attention to securing cargo in the basement areas from shifting around. Even leveling blocks shifting around make noise. The more annoying or disturbing noises we can eliminate, the better!

14) The axe (or a hatchet) is critical for firewood because now you have to buy right at or near the park. The large chunks of wood they give you have to be split. People trying to burn the large chunks from scratch are the smoke creators!

15) Don't split firewood near the RV. 'nuff said!

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Old 04-23-2016, 11:14 AM   #2
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Some good tips.

Our biggest lessons learned was from our motorhome we purchased last year and took camping on the oregon coast, staying at the Oregon state parks.

The pine needles and rain staying on the slide outs when we were packing up to leave, what a mess. We had the dealer install roll-up covers over the new 5th wheel slide outs. Great investment.
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Old 04-23-2016, 06:31 PM   #3
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Nice list, thanks. We just brought our new fifth home (and it snowed a foot last night) and are preparing for a shakedown two night stay at a close by RV park. Your list will help.

What I am searching for now is some ideas for basement storage. This new rig does not have as much as our last one so need to be creative. Also need to not take a bunch of stuff we don't need and will never use. As we have done in the past.

So, you guys with ideas, post some pictures to add to the great list that started this post.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:53 PM   #4
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greytraveler, we bought a Jayco class C motor home last year, lots of basement storage and used a lot of various size Tupperware bins with lids, to put our items in.

Just over a month ago, we bought a FR Heritage Glen 276RLIS, not as much basement storage, but we are using the Tupperware bins, they work great.

The motor home was very nice, but anytime a semi passed me in either direction, it would shake the motor home. We used the Jayco 4 times, got tired of the white-knuckle driving and sold it a couple of weeks ago. Driving is much better with the 5th wheel, we took ours out for a 200 mile round trip shakedown.
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:51 AM   #5
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Well, I am real live Newbie and I am not certain where to post this. We have put down earnest money on a 2016 forest river Sunseeker, 24 ft long, wide slide, Diesel engine.

One question is about the extended warranty, sounds worth it, but is it really and which company?

Also, my husband read "don't travel with full city water tank". How do you go out for days without hookups? If I wanted to be jammed in with a lot of people at a campsite, I could buy a lot of hotel rooms with this much money. All these outdoor TV and stereo setups I see give me the heebie jeebies.

Is there some other water tank I don't know about?

This is a very informative site overall, I have really enjoyed reading it. But there is A Lot involved. My husband is very handy but me, not so much.
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Old 05-03-2016, 03:47 PM   #6
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Spring shakedown trip - what we learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancyc7 View Post
Well, I am real live Newbie and I am not certain where to post this. We have put down earnest money on a 2016 forest river Sunseeker, 24 ft long, wide slide, Diesel engine.

One question is about the extended warranty, sounds worth it, but is it really and which company?

Also, my husband read "don't travel with full city water tank". How do you go out for days without hookups? If I wanted to be jammed in with a lot of people at a campsite, I could buy a lot of hotel rooms with this much money. All these outdoor TV and stereo setups I see give me the heebie jeebies.

Is there some other water tank I don't know about?

This is a very informative site overall, I have really enjoyed reading it. But there is A Lot involved. My husband is very handy but me, not so much.

Thanks for your post and welcome to the forum! (Your question doesn't really belong here, so I will flag it and ask the forum administrators to move it to the correct place.)

We purchased a long extended warranty on our new Forester 2401R (very similar to the camp Sunseeker line) because it has so many systems and components that can break. (look at the list of features on the Sunseeker RV, and you will begin to see what I mean.) We also wanted to have it for resale value, since the warranty we purchased is transferable to a new owner. You will get mixed reviews about extended warranties on this forum. Some people swear by them, while other swear at them. It depends in part on how much service you are willing to do yourself, and how much you are prepared to spend out-of-pocket for immediate repairs vs. spending on an annual basis for extended warranty protection. I doubt there's any right answer, but you will certainly get a lot of opinions!

In regard to not carrying fresh water, the main issue is the sheer weight involved – which adds to the load on your vehicle as far as fuel economy, and also could put you over the limit on your GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating, labeled by the driver's door). That does not mean you need to camp only in places with water connections or go without water. Most parks and campgrounds have a place where you can fill with water on arrival. (If going remote, you can probably get fresh water at a filling station or other retail location that has an outdoor faucet, but it might cost you a small tip.) In some places, it will be at or close to city water quality. At others, it may be some version of well or spring water, but as long as you use an outlet labeled as "potable" you should be fine. (If in doubt, ask the camp manager.) In either case, it is very advisable to use an external water filter in the hose line to filter the water as much as possible before it goes into the freshwater tank. There is a water filter on the inside of the unit that filters water when it comes _out_ of the tank. The external filter give you an extra level of protection because your source water may be of questionable quality, and specifically prevents impurities from getting _into_ the freshwater tank (from which they can be difficult to get out).

I hope these answers help, but feel free to ask additional questions on these topics or others. There are many people on this forum who are knowledgeable in every aspect of RVs and RV living who can help you out!


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Old 05-03-2016, 03:55 PM   #7
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Sample external filter. The little hose addition is so that the filter doesn't get bumped and snapped off on a hard faucet connection.

Culligan 01020341 RV Filter with Garden Hose Fitting https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DPIZ91O..._KhqkxbP7GHRZJ


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Old 05-04-2016, 02:19 AM   #8
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Hey MN Traveler, thank you so very much. We fell hard for a Forester but the dealer has very bad reviews online. So, we went to a dealer with a better reputation and they had a Sunseeker that looked exactly like the Forester. That wide slide makes such a large area and we liked when the slide is closed, you can still use the bathroom, kitchen, even the dining room table. I have very little experience with RVs but once went on a very fun trip in a Class C and have always wanted one.
I was sure envious of the Winnebago bathroom sinks! Ours is not so nice. But the foot space in the Ford trucks was honestly appalling, I don't think it's safe to sit all jammed up like that.
We are going to get the extended warranty. There are so many expensive things there and many are so hard to get at, which makes labor costs go up. I agree about the resale factor.
Thanks for responding, I'm going to keep reading.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:56 AM   #9
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Congrats NancyC7 on your new Sunseeker 2400w?As you can see a shakedown trip is very important before making big trip plans. Your PDI is very important too. You should have a good checklist prepared. The MBS forum would be the one to search for relevant points you will need to know. Remember
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