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  #1  
Old 09-19-2011, 07:18 AM
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Default New camper questions

Good morning everyone, I am looking for some help. I purchased a 2005 Forrest River Shamrock 25bh this weekend from a private owner. The owner wasnt very useful when it came to showing me how things work. I am not new to camping but this is my first camper that has a bathroom where I would need full hookups. I have always had pop ups in the past. Are there any web sites out there that would show me about the hook ups and such. Right now it is winterized but we are planning on taking it out mid October. I am a little stressed because I really am not sure how to use it, for instance...white, gray and blackwater (however I do know what they mean) we were supposed to go with other campers the first time but they cant go. Is there anywhere that I can go for some help?
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2011, 09:58 AM
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You might try Youtube and look for RV videos. There are lots of them. My answer assumes you already have a bunch of stuff. If the prior owner got out of RVing, there's a good chance this stuff is in the rig. If not, then you're gonna need a bunch more money to "gear up". I'll be brief, so if you don't understand something, don't hesitate to ask.

Equipment: ELECTRICAL: Circuit tester, cord adapters. WATER: White fresh water hoses, Y adapters, shutoffs, filtration system, hose washers. SEWER: drain hoses, clear angle adapter with hose fitting, drain adapter fittings, drain hose support, clamps, disposable gloves.

In order of preference...

Electrical: The trailer should be equipped with a long (usually 25') cord. AVOID extensions because extensions can cause a power drop. This plugs into the campground power post. Make sure you test the post first, then power it OFF before plugging in the cord. Then turn on the power.

Fresh Water: Either fill (and refill as necessary) the fresh water tank and turn on the pump (this can be noisy if you aren't used to it) to provide the water pressure, OR... connect to a water supply with white RV hose with a pressure regulator, and filtration system. The shortest length possible. You should have several hoses so you can connect them together to increase the length. The shorter the better because a 50' hose for a 5' connection is a pain!

Sewer drain: Get some disposable gloves, then open the cap and connect the adapters and hoses and run them to the drain inlet of the campsite. You'll need several lengths of hoses with adapters so you can run the length as necessary. You'll also need a "downspout" adapter to provide a tight fit to ensure the contents drain properly. I highly recommend you use some kind of support system so the hose has a nice, straight, gradual downward angle to the drain location. If you allow the sewer hose to just lie on the ground the water will not drain effectively and you'll then have to lift the hose starting at the trailer's drain to "walk" the contents to the drain inlet. Plus this may cause the hose to burst from the pressure and this is NOT pretty!!! Also, it needs to be straight to avoid the hose from moving around as the "stuff" is rushing to the drain and to minimize the pressure the hose endures as the stuff rushes through. I have seen so many accidents of others who have not set this up correctly. This is the absolute messiest/stinkiest part of trailer usage. No fun, but critical to do correctly and avoid mistakes. PM me if you need more details. Especially for the adapters hoses. You'll also need a separate hose for cleaning these. DO NOT use the fresh water hoses. NEVER mix the fresh water hoses with the drain hoses. Store them separately from each other.

----------

The prior owner got away with murder not having to give you a PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection). But I'm guessing you didn't know you deserved one! Would you buy a house without having it expected? Same thing with a trailer. Consider the PDI as a walkthrough for a house. Same thing. Besides showing you how things work, it would also reveal what doesn't work, so you know about it beforehand and not when you are far away, all set up, then have a problem.

You will have lots more questions. None of them will be dumb. Use this and other forums to get the answers you need. Unlike a house, you'll learn that if you don't learn how to do this yourself, your adventures will be difficult and expensive. Fortunately, the RV community tends to help each other out when needed. I hope your trailer is in good shape.

(Check the DOT code of the tires to ensure they aren't too old (5-7 years). Trailer tires sit most of the time and will dry rot from the inside. The tires will look great from the outside until you get a blowout while on your trip.)

ON EDIT: I forgot to mention, did the prior owner not provide the manual for the trailer? Most of the information should have been included in there. I guarantee that if this prior owner bought it new, he/she got a PDI and manual. I hope you find one. 99% of all trailer manuals are identical. The components are pretty much all the same and therefore care, maintenance and usage would be the same. You might try an internet search to find more information and I encourage you ask plenty of questions. You want to know as much as you can before using the trailer.



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Art
Murrieta, CA

2006 Ford F-250/350
2006 Montana 3500RL
Tent & Backpack with all the gear

Last edited by artmart; 09-19-2011 at 10:07 AM..
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2011, 10:45 AM
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Thank you for that. The information you provided was helpful. The camper is in fantastic shape and we are very excited about it! I have two kids and my girlfriend has 3, so this quad bunk set up is a very welcome addition to our family.

Its funny that you mentioned the tires because they looked fine in his driveway but after the 3 hour commute home the side walls were extremely cracked and they were slowly losing air. Off to buy 4 new tires ) live and learn.

He did provide us with a lot of hoses and connectors. We also have all the electrical attachments.

Since the unit is winterized at the moment what do I need to do to un winterize it for our trip?

I assume that when I go camping I hook up the fresh water hose to camper and then I should be good or do I need to fill any of the water tanks? for example, once I am connected to water, will the toilets flush? Everyplace we go for now will have full hook ups. I assume that the switch for the water pump is only used if we go someplace that doesnt have a water hookup and we have to pump water from our holding tank?

Heater...I assume the heater only runs on propane? The tanks on the camper are empty at the moment. I did turn on the heater but it only blew cold air. Is there a pilot light that will need to be lit or is that automatic?

One electrical question. Over the weekend we had the camper plugged in to our house electric. The kids wanted to sleep out there so I plugged in a little space heater and let it run for a while, when I went back into the camper the breaker had tripped and now wont reset. It is the breaker that controls all of the outlets in the camper, everything is working except for the outlets. I was just wondering if these breakers go bad.

Thanks again for all of your help
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2011, 12:32 PM
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Art, Im starting to think that you need to either need to create a Book or just have some Copy/Paste Word docs.( if you already dont) Cause you either type at an amazing speed cause your posts are super detailed and long
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2011, 02:56 PM
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About unwinterizing, I don't have lots of personal familiarity with that but do know there are two types of winterizing. Either a compressor is used to blow out all the air in the supply, or one has used "the pink stuff" antifreeze to keep any water from freezing. Hopefully the water heater was bypassed and drained.

In the case of the pink stuff, hook up the trailer to a sewer source since lots of water is needed and the tanks will get too full. Then open each faucet to drain them out real good but I don't know for how long, I guess until the pink stuff no longer shows up. And don't forget the toilet since it uses the same water lines as the rest of the rig - just like at the house. The pink stuff is NOT dangerous to ingest but I wouldn't drink it. In any case, NEVER use automotive coolant antifreeze in your trailer's fresh water system.

The Water Heater may have a bypass so winterizer does not get in it, but this should be rinsed out pretty good, anyway and REFILLED before you start it up or you'll damage the WH.

This should be covered by some of the YouTube videos I suggested you hunt for. If you can't find them, let us know and I'll try and find provide some links.

You are right about the water supply. If connected to a water source, the fresh water tank will be bypassed automatically by the pressure of this water supply. The Water Pump is only needed when there is no water source, and the fresh tank needs to be pressurized for the water to flow.

A hint about the fresh water tank. I have a large fresh water tank and will carry some water so that while we are traveling and we need a bio stop and don't feel like waiting, we'll pull off and use the trailer's facilities. You stop in a safe place, go into the trailer, turn on the pump, wait for it to stop making noise (pressure is up), use the facilities and wash my hands like I would anywhere else. Then turn the pump back off and continue on your way. This adds a lot less weight to the trailer in tow since the gray tank starts out empty and the waste tanks will only have had a few gallons in it with the deodorizer/treatment. The farthest I would ever drive with full tanks is to the dump station close by, if necessary, because there is NO NEED to carry this extra weight, on the road, especially with the weight of the passengers, their gear, etc. Otherwise drain and clean the tanks at the campsite. In your case, you might travel with minimal tank contents (no fresh water) and use facilities on the way or you'll start a bad habit for your passengers to make you stop every time they want you to. It's funny how they'll never want to stop at the same time.

The furnace only runs on propane and the model year of your trailer suggest to me it is electronic ignition and pilot which runs on the 12v trailer electrical. (battery or converter). This does require the propane tanks to be full.

About the heater in the trailer setting off the breaker, there are several possibilities. You probably connected to a house outlet which means the trailer has 15 amps MAXIMUM for power for the whole trailer! The trailer's outlet circuit breaker could have tripped, or the circuit breaker for the house that the trailer is connected to tripped, or the heater may have gotten too hot and some of these will trip and so on. Try plugging the heater into another trailer outlet. If it doesn't work there, then check the house circuit breaker. I wouldn't recommend using a 1600 watt heater, since there is no margin for power surges when the heater starts up.

Let us know what you find out regarding the heater tripping the breakers. You might need to switch the breaker off, then back on to get it working. Some have been know to turn off, but they still look like they are on.

Getting that first maiden voyage in will help!



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  #6  
Old 09-19-2011, 03:02 PM
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LOL JoeS... most of my information comes from a mixture of books, reference material and other people. Books simplify too much or don't explain the whys? or don't cover problems or what to watch out for.

I've got enough experience from myself and others and I wish I could say I was just real smart, but alas, not the case. Many of my experiences have been problems, but I've learned to use this as educational opportunities than frustrating experience. I try and never let ANYTHING to get the best of me. If I thought like my wife, we'd stay home a lot, but she does appreciate all the things we experienced after I overcame any problem. This also guarantees that the good times will far outweigh the bad things.

I try to provide enough information to be thorough. I feel it's better to provide more info that you might not need rather than not providing enough, since so many times the person you are replying to won't know what else to ask and there are so many things you know that would definitely help them along.

You see, even this reply to you is thorough, I think.



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  #7  
Old 09-19-2011, 08:02 PM
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I would suggest that you go on line or visit a dealer and try to get an owners manual for your camper. Another thing to do is take a tablet and pen with you when you go camping the first few times( some people take one all the time) make a list of things that you think you need next time you go out...or things that you don't need and want to leave home next time. there are lots of sights for RV Check list.....here is a couple of good ones RV Checklists this is also good RV Check List of course if you have an Apple Ipod or something "there is an APP for that "too.

Like any list there are things that you will use and some you want,but the 2 sights a gave you have printable list,you can always look at more and see what you like.

Happy Camping ......Luckylynn
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2011, 08:48 AM
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Your breaker might not have tripped all the way. Push it down to the off position and then back on. That should reset the breaker. Unplug the heater first or make sure it's off.
Just a couple of things to add:
Before turning the water on, make sure all the faucets are closed. If they are open the air and antifreeze mix will spray all over.
Check for low point drains. They will be a red and blue line under the trailer, either with a plug or a valve on them. Close them.
Turn on the water line and open the faucets one at a time, hot and cold, just a crack till the air and antifreeze comes out and clear water starts to flow. Then you can open them up more. Start closest to the water supply.
Change the bypass on the HWH so water goes into the heater. Make sure the anode rod is in the bottom of the HWH before turning the bypass. It belongs at the bottom of the heater on the outside of the trailer. This is also a drain for it. My Cedar Creek has just one valve. If you have the same heater, as myself or it was plumbed the same. you'll have only one valve also, Forrest River products. Don't turn the heater on till you know it's full of water. You can do this by opening the pressure relief valve on the top of the HWH. It's got a little handle looking thing on it, on the outside of the trailer. Pull it up it will lock open. When the tank is full water will come out. Just close the handle. It will snap back down. It's spring loaded. Re open the hot faucets. More air might come out. I have seen people think they set the bypass right and open the hot water faucet. They figured that because the water was coming out the tank was full, lite the HWH and ruined it.
Your HWH, probably has electronic ignition. On a wall in the trailer there will be a switch. Look by the gauges for your tanks and pump switch. Turn it on and switch will light and a small red light next to it will come on. The HWH will start to spark and then ignite. The little light will go out. If it doesn't the heater didn't ignite. Turn the switch back off, wait a few seconds then on again. It might take a few time. It takes awhile for the propane to push the air out. You can hasten it a bit by lighting the stove.
Fill your fresh water holding tank, put some bleach in it. About a cup and run it through your water lines using the on demand pump. Let it sit over night the flush out the system with fresh water. It might take a few rinses. This will sanitize your lines.
Sorry about the long winded post. I wanted to be as clear as a could. Hope I was. There are other ways to reach the same end. I have been doing it this way on my trailers and on my friends, that I have winterized also. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask away. We would be glad to help. Enjoy your new rig, have fun. Bob
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:52 AM
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WOW, you guys are great. I am a little overwhelmed with all the stuff, but I am sure once I do it once or twice it will be ok. I am used to camping in my pop up, but not having all these hook ups.

As far as the breaker, it is the breaker that controls all the outlets in the camper. None are working. I did try to push it all the way down and then back up but it isnt locking up. I am assuming it might be a bad breaker now? Nothing is plugged in at all when I do this. Everything else electrical is working in the camper. I also pulled all fuses and checked them.
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2011, 08:05 AM
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here is a photo!
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  #11  
Old 09-22-2011, 09:35 AM
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Sounds that way to me also. Not hard to replace, just make sure you are not plugged into 110. You might get a wake up call. Turning the main breaker off should turn off the power, but if you unplug you know for sure that it's off. Write down the make and number/amperage ( 15-20) of the breaker or take the breaker to the dealer or an electrical supply house.
The little push in fuses are 12 volt. The 110 side are regular circuit breakers. You might have a few, depending how your trailer is wired. Main, HWH, Outlets and Microwave. Without looking I don't know for sure. You know which one is bad.
Your trailer looks great. Hope you have a great time using it. Camping is a learning experience, that's part of the fun. No one knows how to put up a tent, the first time they do it. If you have any more questions let us know. Bob
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2011, 12:35 PM
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Look for a GFCI controlled circuit. They would be around the lavatory or kitchen sink and I have one in the Living Room too. If this has reset, messing with the trailer breakers won't help until this one is recovered. The breaker should have a distinctive click when being turned back on, so that could be suspect. I had a suspect breaker once and being somewhat comfortable with electricity, I swapped it with another same rated CB to find it WAS bad. So this does happen, but you have to make sure it isn't something else (like a GFCI, which had also reset in my case).

If this is the problem, then it's strange that it would reset the heater unless someone used the plumbing and got some water in the electrical which can occur especially with a kid that is unknowingly careless.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I would ever leave the kids in the trailer by themselves especially overnight since there are so many ways that a trailer gets itself in trouble caused by the kids and they wouldn't know it. It's kinda along the same lines as leaving the youngsters at a house by themselves - too many things can go wrong. Treat the trailer like your house, not your tent.

I'm only bringing this up because it's something you should consider if you leave kids by themselves in the trailer. Have you found and tested the propane detector, yet? Have you found or does the trailer have a Carbon Monoxide detector, yet? How about smoke alarms? Have you located, identified and even tried to use the Emergency Exit windows? With all the alarms and provisions in that tiny trailer that should give you an idea of how dangerous a trailer can be and many problems are not from carelessness. Not knowing how old the kids are that stayed in the trailer but would they know what to do in the event of any of these safeguards are needed? After you learn about all these you should consider training them on all these, too. If you don't feel they are mature enough to handle these then you might consider this when the are at the trailer by themselves.

Trailers are great recreational vehicles to use, but they are NOT Tents in that there are so many things that can go wrong. Please be careful.



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Murrieta, CA

2006 Ford F-250/350
2006 Montana 3500RL
Tent & Backpack with all the gear

Last edited by artmart; 09-22-2011 at 01:06 PM..
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  #13  
Old 09-26-2011, 07:35 AM
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Looks like you have gotten some great advice already, don't be too hard on yourself, just make sure to do some research, but many things are best dealt with by "learning by doing" if you ask me!
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