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Old 08-05-2012, 04:40 PM   #1
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Hi there!!

Just got our used 1997 Wildwood 25 footer (I think!) home today.

It doesn't have an owner's manual or a battery, so I'm looking to find out what type, size etc of battery I should get for it.

This is our first TT and it's a salvage from a friend of ours with some water damage. Lots was done wrong with it and so my BF and I are trying to make it right.

We plan to travel with my three littles (10,9 and almost 7), occasionally with my cranky teenage daughters (16 and 14) and our 3 year old Lab/Setter mix.

Our first trip with this TT will be next weekend to the site and we will drive back up on Weds or so for the long weekend.

We are looking to get the unit set for this trip and when we get home we have LOTS to do to our front master bedroom area (this is where a tree limb caved on the roof).

I don't want to plug it into our electrical yet to check the fridge and other appliances or the water until we have the battery in place. I've heard running anything without a battery risks the control panels? Not sure but don't want to chance it!

Thanks and looking forward to learning a LOT more!!


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Old 08-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #2
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While you are waiting for feedback to your questions I wanted to say hello and welcome you to the forums!

Congrats on your new-to-you trailer!

Great choice for "Living within my means" and camping for one...

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Camping History: 45 Trips / 133 Nights / 3736 Miles
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:34 PM   #3
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with that old of a converter, it's probably a single-stage one and will probably require a battery to work.
it'll also be likely to over-charge and boil the battery if not watched.

newer 3-stage converters can be left hooked without fear of over-charging. unless it's a bad one.

as far as a battery, depends on how you plan to camp.

if you'll always have hookups, then a plain Group 24 deep cycle battery will be fine.

if you plan to dry camp, then a Group 27 would be minimum, with two 6v or 12v batteries a better choice. 6v wired in series, 12v wired in parallel.

don't get a battery with CCA's rating. that's not a true deep cycle battery.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:52 PM   #4
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to the forum and congrats on the camper - many happy times ahead

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Old 08-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, but I wish I had more encouragement for you.

I assume you got it for free and sometimes a free item is worth every penny.

This may very well be the case with your "new to you" camper.

1) You can not tow that anywhere until you check the brakes and to do that you need a fully charged battery. You will need a deep discharge type (not automotive). It will read capacity as an RC (Reserve Capacity) in minutes or a number (like 70 or 75) in AMP HOURS. If it says CCA or cranking amps, normally you DO NOT want it no matter how cheap it is. The SOLE exception is if it says "Dual Purpose Marine" on it. They suck, but not as bad as a car battery (which suck a LOT for your purpose. (Expect to pay a minimum of 100 dollars for one.)

2) The Converter MUST be checked before you install your battery. A bad converter will destroy your battery pretty quickly. Manual and board diagram for a newer WFCO is attached.

3) Water Damage has sent many "newer" units than yours to the RV graveyard. The fact a tree fell on it literally scares the doo doo out of me.

4) We have not started to look at VERY expensive repair items like wiring and plumbing. Restoring to usefulness an old camper MUST have sentimental value. Belonged to your grand father or you started your first child in it. The costs you are about to incur will be daunting and you need to prepare yourself mentally and financially for it. A fridge can cost over a thousand dollars for example.

5) Delamination of the walls or rotten wooden sub structure can make a camper unsafe to tow. My friend Sam's camper's wall unpeeled while he was driving down the road. Insulation and his household goods were strewn for miles until a trucker flagged him down. He knew he had "some" water damage but he "fixed it" with some Dicor. The studs were so badly rotten by the time he "stopped the leak" that they could not hold in the siding screws.

Yea, I know this is a "Buzz Kill" but you need to hear it before you get in too deep.
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:02 PM   #6
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Oh and you can download a generic owners manual and most appliance manuals right here. If your model is not in the FILES or FAQ section, just ask. Someone will post it or point you in the right direction.

Again, you have come to the right place if you decide to press on. We will do our best to help you and your family stay safe.

Get a professional to check out your propane system before you sleep in it even 1 night. No kidding - this is serious.

Lou and Laura with Bella - German Short Hair Pointer
2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crewcab SB Allison Duramax
2010 Flagstaff 8526RLWS - Superglide 3300
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:52 PM   #7
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Thank you! No, unfortunately it won't be free. We will have to pay $2600 for it.

It's a 24fblt. We will be having a friend of ours who is a professional plumber/heating guy who is going to test the propane system for us.

It made the 20 mile ride up the mountain with no battery and apparently no brakes but didn't have a problem. I followed it and it looked solid from behind and my BF said it drove quite steady. (Lots of twisty, turny, narrow roads up where I live!)

I will let him know about the battery type. I was figuring on about $100 for sure.

I'll also check on the converter. Thanks for the diagram!

In defense of the vehicle, it was a limb not a whole tree.

*sigh* I'm laid off and back to school full-time, not a lot of money to throw around. We were hoping for a unit that would get us and the kids through 6 or so trips a season for the next 3 years. Everything except the issues directly related to the leak seem in great shape. Everything is super clean internally. I'd be afraid that if we paid $2600 for another trailer, even if it was intact we would end up with needing a new fridge, stove, water pump etc.

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Old 08-05-2012, 07:28 PM   #8
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Hey there,

to the forums

Congrats on the new TT
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #9
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It is; what it is. We are here to help you the best way we can.
Advice before the sale is always preferred; but we are here afterwards too.

You won't be alone in your travels. Let us know how we can help.
If I was in your situation, I would attack in the following order:

1) Propane systems SAFE. This also includes the furnace and water heater.
These can kill if the burner system is rusted or corroded.

2) CO, smoke, and Propane detectors in working order and TESTED.

3) Converter tested and safe for charging. Don't skimp here either. If it is marginal, you can get a "good" quality (not the BEST but you won't need that) for WFCO converter - 9800 series deck mount - PPL Motor Homes under 200 dollars.

REMEMBER the camper is a 110 volt system. DO NOT let your friend wire up a 220 socket for you. Single phase 110 volts at 30 amps. Period.

4) A new DC-24 series deep discharge battery like DEKA 12V Marine Master DC24 Deep Cycle Battery at 75 Amp Hours.

5) Test and inspect running lights, tires, brakes, and bearings. Get it inspected if your state requires it. Get it inspected even IF your state does not require it.

5) Walk the roof with several tubes of Dicor lap Sealant Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant - White - Dicor Corp 501LSW-1 - Roof Maintenance & Repair - Camping World DO NOT use bathtub caulk or silicone.

6) Replace all door seals: Rubber Seal - Product - Camping World Leaks come through the compartment doors as well as the roof.

7) Pressurize the water lines and look for leaks. Have someone put a pressure gauge on your low point drain (easiest way to do it) and shut off the water. It should hold pressure. If it does not something is leaking and you need to track it down.

You need to do all of these things before you schedule your first trip.
We want you to come back to us alive.

Lou and Laura with Bella - German Short Hair Pointer
2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crewcab SB Allison Duramax
2010 Flagstaff 8526RLWS - Superglide 3300
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:10 PM   #10
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where did the limb go thru?

electric brakes will work w/o the battery...they receive their control signal from the tow vehicle. the break away feature won't work (if the trailer comes loose and the chains don't hold, a wire cable that u attach to the tow viehicle will pull a pin out on the trailer toung and cause the battery voltage to be put to the brakes).

tires are very important. check them closely for cracks. any doubt, replace them...if they come apart, they cause lots of damage to the side and bottom of the trailer. if they r 4 or more yrs old, replace them no mater how good they look. (From a bad experience).

bearings, pull the wheels and repack the bearings and replace the seals. while ur in there, u can inspect the brake shoes and magnets. (take the old bearings and seals with u when u go to buy them. some of them are very close).

i would be tempted to plug it in and check out the lights and frig. the gas, have it tested before use...u don't know what u have. before u plug it in, make sure the hot water heater is full. with city water hooked up, open the relief on top of water heater until u have water coming out. if u don't get water, don't plug the trailer in.

i don't know if u converter keeps the battery in circuit when u r plugged into shore power or not. my 84 would switch off battery when u plugg in. my 2002 works different...bat stays on line w power converter. check ur battery for water every couple days while plugged into shore power. the older (even mine) converters would boil the water out of the battery.

if u r going to plug into u home circuit, buy the adapter that will allow u to plug into a 15 amp receptacle (if u don't have one, walmart has them). i'm assuming u plug on the trailer has 3 prongs. the spades are set at an angle. that will be a 110V 30amp plug. don't confuse this with an old type dryer plug...that would be a disaster to plug into one of those. note how much everyone stresses this point. (most recpticles in a home are 15 amp even though they are wired with #12 and fused for 20 amp. 110v is a common term that refers to everything from 110 to 125v)

manuels are from the individual appliance makers. they are on here and on the appliance manufactures web site. ie if u have a dometic frig, it will be available on demotic site. the over all manuels like u would find in a car aren't there. what u will find is a very generic manuel that may not be for ur type trailer. there is still good info in there. mine wasn't worth the paper it was written on. i heard some others do a better job on theirs.

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