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Old 04-14-2017, 09:53 AM   #1
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Beginner Questions

So we bought our first travel trailer a couple of weeks ago (Cherokee 274dbh). We took it out for the maiden voyage this past weekend. I learned a lot, and I'm going this weekend to make a few modifications to make the next trip a little easier. I had a couple of random questions. I've looked around at multiple posts, but I'm not really seeing a clear answer.

1. I have a 25' electrical cord that came with the trailer. I've read that people use a longer one, but I was thinking surely 25' would be long enough since my trailer is only 32'. Well after backing in to my first site, I discovered I was about 2' too short and ended up moving the trailer forward a couple of feet. This didn't leave room for my tow vehicle, and I ended up parking in the grass. I know this shouldn't happen every time, but I was curious the length that others are using? Also, is getting an extension safer than just buying an outright 50'?

2. The refrigerator.... My thinking is to go the night before, and start up the refrigerator on gas. Then it should be cold the next day when we're headed out. Possibly leave it running on gas during the drive depending on how long that is. Does this require the battery being connected?
The guy who did our walk-through said that while he does that, it is illegal to ride with an open flame and you could get a ticket. I've also read that since the refrigerator needs to be level while running, would that even be a good option? I'm confused on that. It seems like it should stay cold as long as the doors stay shut until we get to our destination?

3. Tinted windows.... We're in TX, and we have plans to travel to AZ this Summer. I'm trying to do everything I can to keep this thing cool. My thinking is to tint the windows. I'm not sure if this would just be a waste of money, or if anyone else has done it that can give me their opinion? I am working on getting some blackout curtains, but I'd like to enjoy the view if possible while inside without feeling like I'm in a jail cell.

4. I've noticed a lot campsites that have full hookups are usually away from the lake etc. In order to get those sites close to the lake you usually have to settle for just water and electric. (Maybe it's just me, but it seems pretty common). I've looked in to getting a portable gray water tank (link below) that I can dump without having to take my entire setup to the dump station. I have 6 kids, and no matter how often I monitor them I can assure you that the tank will get filled up almost daily.

https://www.amazon.com/Tote-N-Stor-2...ray+water+tank
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:00 AM   #2
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1. Yes, get a 25' extension cord.
2. Yes again. Start refer the day before on either gas or electric. We have always run the refer on gas as we travel. Some folks will say this is a fire danger, but most of us do it.
3. Cannot help you on this.
4. Yes again. Get the portable tank that you can tow behind your vehicle to the dump station.
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:07 AM   #3
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Congrats on the new TT.
I never carried an extension for the power cord but I got lucky (so far) and was never more than 10 feet from the shore power pole. Probably not a bad idea to grab a 10 foot 30A extension though. Can't hurt.
Refer - we have always done exactly as you stated. Turn on gas to refer the night before to get it cooled down and then travel with it that way. I've never had a prob doing that. In our new motorhome, the only time the refer shut off was when we were going through the mountain passes in N. Idaho and Montana. When we got through the vertical part, we just restarted the refer and kept moving.
Tinted windows. Seem like a great idea to me, especially in TX. Here in OR, I try not to piss off the sun, or try to block it, since we see it so little so we have not tinted our windows.
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:08 AM   #4
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I have the same trailer but in the 26dbh. I have only ever needed my stock cord in over 10 years of camping.... But I still have an extension cord, just in case. I have actually had more of an issue with sewer so I also carry a second hose for that, and a second water (drinking water) hose.

I would start the refer at least the day before. We stock up at the start of the season and it stays on all the time from start to end of the season. But I store it at home with a power hookup. I leave it on while under way on propane.

I tinted the bedroom windows and bunk windows. I have not done the big glass by the dinette and couch. The tint makes a HUGE difference. I did go to Lowes and picked up a roll of Reflectix (or similar spelling) and made covers for the inside of all the windows. I also made them for the bathroom skylight and vent fan. It is AMAZING how much heat get in through the shower skylight alone! I hold them in place with Velcro.

I haul a 32 gallon tote with us on the back bumper everywhere we go. I only use it for gray, but only because I have not needed it for black yet. It is heavy when full, but I like the idea of the tank being at least the size of the gray tank to avoid overflows. It is also one trip not two.
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:22 AM   #5
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You are getting great advice, as which is normal from the great members here.

I noticed that you mentioned having your battery connected in talking about the refrigerator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dugullett View Post

2. The refrigerator.... My thinking is to go the night before, and start up the refrigerator on gas. Then it should be cold the next day when we're headed out. Possibly leave it running on gas during the drive depending on how long that is. Does this require the battery being connected?
Just to make sure of another matter, you should have your RV's battery(s) charged and connected ANYTIME you are pulling it. This has to do with what is called the emergency breakaway switch. The EBS will power up the brakes on your RV, should it become disconnected from your tow vehicle. This is that little cable you are connecting to your tow vehicle.

Normally your electric trailer brakes are 12 volt DC powered from the tow vehicle and your electric brake controller inside the vehicle. However, should your trailer break free from the tow vehicle and pull the pin on the emergency breakaway switch, then the electric brakes will lock up from the 12 volt DC power received from your RV's battery (if it's separated from your tow vehicle, then it can't get power from it). The electric brakes in a breakaway situation can't receive this power if you have your RV's battery physically disconnected or it's not charged.

Now if you have what is called a battery disconnect switch wired in such a way the breakaway switch will still get power if the battery disconnect is on, you are good.

Just pointing this out in case you weren't aware.
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:35 AM   #6
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I was not aware of that. That's good to know. Right now I'm currently disconnecting the negative cable from my battery. I have ordered a disconnect that I will be installing tomorrow to make that easier. I probably didn't phrase that question right though. Since my battery would be disconnected while storing, would I need to to reconnect in order to fire off the refrigerator? If so, would I then keep the battery in a connected state while the refrigerator is running on propane?
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
I tinted the bedroom windows and bunk windows. I have not done the big glass by the dinette and couch.
How does the tint look on just the few windows? That was my first initial thought as well since the other windows are so large. My problem is that my wife would want all or none to make it look consistent.
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:41 AM   #8
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1 - Have a 25' extension cord and have used it several times. My FIL warned me about it when we got our first TT and I didn't use it the first year, but I sure was glad that 1st time I needed it!

2 - I turn our refrigerator on 2 days before we leave so it gets good and cold. Remember, it's recovery time is a lot slower than your home unit. ALWAYS put cold things in the refrigerator if you can. If you put something warm in, it will not only take longer to cool back down, but it will warm up until it equalizes. Ice packs help cool it down faster too! While the TT is plugged in or moving, the ignition will work even if the TT Battery isn't charged, but as was mentioned, you want the battery to be charged for the breakaway system anyways. We learned the hard way that the fridge will not work with a dead battery. We left our TT for a week in a friends driveway so we didn't have to haul it all the way home and back and when we came back, the fridge was warm.

3 - I just bought a roll of reflectix insulation and used velcro to hold it to the window frames. I covered all the windows except for the ones on the slide out and the one over the sink. Keeps the unit nice and cool (Air actually shuts off even in 90+ temps) and keeps the unit dark so you can sleep past 5 AM!

4 - I bought a "used" never used 32 gallon tank off craigslist for $50 and upgraded to pneumatic tires. I've brought it along a couple times, but still have never used it, even over a 3 day weekend.
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:57 AM   #9
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Dustin, since you stated this is your first TT, here are some other things you may want to look into, as I usually suggest them to new RV owners. You can just peruse at your own leisure.

Everyone here was in your shoes at one time or the other, so don't feel bashful in asking questions. We understand.

The electrical system is one of the more misunderstood items in RV's, and many dealers fail to take the time to properly explain the functions to new buyers.

As such, there are a few articles I recommend reading to help gain this knowledge:

The first is this one which easily explains the different electrical systems of an RV:

Basic RV Electricity - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

The second explains the converter (If you just said to yourself, what is a converter, then it's why you need to also read it)

RV Converters and Amp Draw - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

This one may or may not be applicable to your particular RV, depending on which type/brand water heater you have, but could help tremendously if you do have a Suburban tank type water heater:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...tml#post327988

This last one has a lot of RV general electrical knowledge help. It's good to read after you have a understanding of your systems, and also tells how to wire and TEST pedestals BEFORE you plug your new toy into it. This is something you need to learn fairly fast if you can, as there are bad outlets at campgrounds.

RV Electric

It may seem like a lot at first, but it will come to you. I know you are excited to learn and go RV'ing.
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Old 04-14-2017, 11:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugullett View Post
I was not aware of that. That's good to know. Right now I'm currently disconnecting the negative cable from my battery. I have ordered a disconnect that I will be installing tomorrow to make that easier. I probably didn't phrase that question right though. Since my battery would be disconnected while storing, would I need to to reconnect in order to fire off the refrigerator? If so, would I then keep the battery in a connected state while the refrigerator is running on propane?
Yes, the fridge needs 12v for the control board to operate while running on propane.
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Old 04-14-2017, 11:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Yes, the fridge needs 12v for the control board to operate while running on propane.
And to run the electronic ignition
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugullett View Post
How does the tint look on just the few windows? That was my first initial thought as well since the other windows are so large. My problem is that my wife would want all or none to make it look consistent.
Looks fine, just makes the tinted windows BLACK and very dark inside the areas tinted, master bedroom and bunks. It is 5% on the windows. Being in TX maybe you do want all tinted bt I wanted to be able to see out the windows as well to enjoy the view. I've found the reflectix does fine for those days I need to extra sun block.
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Old 04-14-2017, 04:42 PM   #13
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I would definitely invest in a 25 ft extension cord. We have only ever needed it a couple times but very glad we had it. Some State Parks and Provincial Parks in Canada set the power pedestals pretty far back, and in some cases 2 sites will share the same pedestal. It's just like having multiple adaptors for power, you may not need them often but will be very glad you have them if you do require them.
Great suggestion about having an extension sewer hose as well. I have used those more often than the power extension cords.
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Old 04-14-2017, 05:29 PM   #14
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Hopefully this was covered during your pre-delivery inspection, but be extra careful that your trailer is level all the way around when set up on a spot. Absorption-style fridges are very sensitive to being level, otherwise the ammonia can pool up and block the natural flow causing permanent damage to the unit (or something like that). It's OK to have it running while under way as the motion of driving agitates the refrigerant enough to keep it flowing.
I put the little cheapy bubble level that came with my trailer on the floor of the fridge just to be sure it's nice and even. Good place to use it.
Enjoy your new trailer!
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