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Old 03-21-2016, 11:47 AM   #1
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New Seneca Owner with Questions

Hello All,

First of all I wanted to thank everyone in this forum. It is an outstanding source of information and was exceptionally useful in making my decision to purchase a Jayco Seneca.

To apologize up front, I am a complete Newbie. I have never owned, lived in, used an RV before, and our Seneca is our first attempt at taking part of the RV lifestyle. So I am sorry if some of my questions seem absurd, or basic, I just really have no idea what I am doing, and am hoping to find some help here.

I am trying to figure out a few things with my Seneca. I picked up a "new" 2015 37FS from Orlando RV on Friday. Never owned, but it did have 1,500 miles on it when we drove off the lot. We will primarily be using it on weekends to go racing. I have 32' box trailer I will be towing with my car, and other toys inside. I settled on the Seneca when more purpose built towing RVs were just WAY outside of our price range. For the most part we will be dry camping, living off the generator, without any sort of hookups.

On my trip home to MD, I had a couple issues.
1. At both campsites we stayed at, the Bigfoot Leveling system timed out (left and right amber lights flashing with the "foot" in the middle flashing as well). It worked perfect on the lot before we left, but never got it to work afterwards. I had the slides retracted. Engine off, as per dealer instructions. Am I doing something wrong here?

2. Hot water temp surging. Struggled with hot water temps. After some research this morning, I am going to try the method of set the temp with the sink water, and run full hot water for the shower technique next time. Thanks for that info! Want to avoid replacing big components right now. Cash is limited with the down payment we made! So I am determined to be ok with the tankless system for a while.

3. Having trouble with the passenger power window. Again, found info on that, and have ordered two new switches, hoping that's the issue. Again, thanks.

4. Fuel Gauge. Had a lot of issues with that. Filled up the first time with 1/4 tank showing. Only took 44 gallons total, filling each side individually. With a 74 gallon advertised capacity, I figured the gauge should have read just under 1/2. Before our final stop, low fuel light came on 30 miles before I finally pulled in. Still, only 51 gallons to fill it up. I found this morning, that there is advice to fill the passenger side first, then driver tank. That supposedly helps. It just so happens that's how I filled them up on my first fill up, but still, gauge seemed to show quite low for a long time.

I am concerned about trusting the gauge. Because I will be on the generator almost every weekend I am racing, I can't just go off of mileage. But I don't want to stop 100 or miles earlier than necessary to fill up. Also, what's everyone's opinion on the actual fuel capacity. I am thinking more like 60-65 gallons.

5. Final questions, and this a total newbie one. When can I turn off the house batteries? When I am hooked to shore power? With the generator on? I store my Seneca indoors with 50amp service. Can I turn off the house batteries then? Will the fridge stay running with the house batteries off but 50 amp plugged in?

Thank you in advance for your patience and advice. Looking forward to the RV lifestyle. Just trying to avoid as many rookie mistakes as possible.

PS: What's the process for setting up satellite service? I am a long time DirecTV customer, do I just call them and get a new receiver? Like I said, I am a newbie!

Thanks,
Robbie
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:08 PM   #2
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5). Typically the house battery disconnect switch fully disconnect the battery from the converter.

Leave it connected all the time, unless you are in storage without shore power and don't want the battery to discharge from parasitic drain ( radio, gas detectors, gauge LEDs )
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info Jmooney! I should have full 50amp service all the time when in storage, so I shouldn't have to disconnect the house batteries.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:20 PM   #4
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That's correct. The converter will provide a smart charge to the battery array while in storage if connected to shore power.

You should however, check the water level in the battery cells and top off with distilled water.

Once a month
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:30 PM   #5
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Got it! Already bought the distilled water. I plan on checking monthly now. Thanks again.
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Old 03-21-2016, 04:49 PM   #6
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About gas gauge.l believe the tanks are 34 ,40 as advertised,but the filler neck is welded below top of tank.l have been looking for extension about 4 inches , that would allow us fill tank to top,and keep fuel nozzle from scrating paint.With help from this forum ,i found that if you add about 6 inches to gas cap chain it will allow you to lay it step not scratching paint
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Old 03-21-2016, 05:00 PM   #7
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Robbie, I can try to help you with a few things:
1. After having some trouble with the jacks I decided to go with manual leveling. Mine jacked the RV up so high it lifted a couple wheels off the ground…and the site was pretty level to begin with. I had the dealer check adjustment and it worked better the next time but manual is easy.
2. Jayco replaced my water heater with a 6 gal gas/electric. Others have paid for 10 gal tanks. The on-demand WH has been "improved" for 2016. My problems were at higher altitudes…over 7,000 feet.
4. The fuel gauges do seem to be off a bit. Until I get accustomed to what the real reading is I fill based on miles driven. I fuel up on initial departure and fuel up on arrival thereafter. Until you learn what your mpg range is, fuel at 400 miles or arrival whichever comes first.
5. You need the house batteries connected if you are using the RV. The fridge and lights won't work without them. The running 110v devices off the inverter will consume a lot of battery. There will also be a drain just having the inverter on.

Also, you need to have your rig, fully loaded, weighed on some truck scales so you know what tire pressures to run and make sure you do not overload any axles.

Enjoy!
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Old 03-21-2016, 08:12 PM   #8
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The other posters have given great advice, I just have a few comments.

My fuel gauge seems more accurate than some other Seneca owner's experiences, I don't know if a Freightliner dealer would address this as a warranty issue. Worth a shot I suppose.

Regarding fuel, please remember that the generator will run out of fuel around 1/4 tank, designed to prevent you from running tank dry running the genny. I am kinda paranoid about fuel, I generally try to fill-up before I stop and set up. I have a Pilot/Flying J account and have their phone app that helps me locate fuel along my route so I can top it off before I stop. Love's has an app too.

I would suggest researching proper black/grey tank maintenance as a "newbie". Camping without hookups leads some to try to conserve water so much that they create black tank "issues". Plenty of info online that will help you avoid those problems!

Lastly, I would affirm Walt's advice to get your combo weighed before you set out on any big trips. I would want to have a good idea so I could make sure I don't overload the chassis. Some dealers "hype" the 10,000 lb. hitch rating, but fail to tell you that rating is limited by the chassis' Gross Combination Weight Rating of 33,000 lbs. So whatever your rig weighs by itself (including water, passengers, and "stuff"), your "legal" trailer weight is what is left over from 33,000. My particular Seneca full of water but empty of everything else weighs 23,000 lbs. Stone empty is the only way I have a full 10,000 lb. tow rating. And most of us travel with plenty of stuff! Hopefully everything will be good with your combination.

Welcome to the forums and Happy Camping!
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:43 AM   #9
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Thanks all for the responses.

Cdrip, thanks for the advice on the chain for the gas caps. Are yours very rusty? Mine are, and seem to be leaving some unwanted flakes of rust in the fuel tanks. I was thinking of removing them entirely or replacing the chains with some sort of synthetic nylon or something that won't break down in diesel. Will be interested to hear if you find some filler neck extensions.

Walt, I'm glad I'm not the only one who had trouble with the jacks. I will try manual leveling next time. Do you level with the slides in or out? Motor on?

As far as the water heater goes, I will try the level temperature technique a couple times, and if it's still a pain, I will do the Jayco covered swap for the 6 gallon tank.

For fuel, my plan is always to fill up before I get to the track for the weekend so I have plenty of fuel for the generator.

Have truck scales just down the street. Once we get "moved in" I will take it down there to get weighed. I'm sure I'll have questions about that once I get the weights figured out.

RobbyR, great info about the 1/4 tank for the generator. Do you know which tank it draws from? I guess it shouldn't make much difference since they are gravity leveled, but just a good piece of info. I will look into the Flying J/Pilot account. Do most Flying J's/Pilots have RV stations for dump and water, and or propane refills available in your experience?

I have done considerable research into black/gray tank maintenance! Thanks for the tip. That's about the only thing I feel like I completely understand about my coach.

Excellent advice about the 33K GCWR. I kinda knew the 10K rating was a little optimistic. Most of my racing is within 100 miles of my house, and I have a plan to have the towing setup and hitch receiver "beefed" up with some additional bracing to help support the tongue weight of my trailer. Also, I know the engine/trans combo plays into the rating as well. I will probably be over the 33K a bit, but I am hoping to be under 35K. My local track is just 8 miles from where I store my RV and racecar, so that trip shouldn't be a problem, but going out of town might be more of a struggle, especially if I head into the mountains. Yikes!

Thanks again for all the tips and advice guys! Very much appreciated!
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Old 03-22-2016, 09:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuddenRush View Post
Thanks all for the responses.

Cdrip, thanks for the advice on the chain for the gas caps. Are yours very rusty? Mine are, and seem to be leaving some unwanted flakes of rust in the fuel tanks. I was thinking of removing them entirely or replacing the chains with some sort of synthetic nylon or something that won't break down in diesel. Will be interested to hear if you find some filler neck extensions. I put locking caps (matching keys) on my tanks, chains don't have a speck of corrosion (stainless?) and seem longer than stock so they lay nicely on the top step.

Walt, I'm glad I'm not the only one who had trouble with the jacks. I will try manual leveling next time. Do you level with the slides in or out? Motor on? I level with slides "in" and engine off. A "trick" I discovered was to put system in manual and my first action is to raise just the rear all the way up. The air suspension will then "dump". Then I retract and switch to auto mode and it seems to level the coach without raising it too high compared to if I just used auto from the start. Another thing I discovered was that I need to chock the wheels because it seems the nature of our rear air suspension tends to cause the rig to "scoot" when you lower the coach, especially if the site is low towards the rear and you have to raise the rear (more than the front) to level. A very unsettling feeling when it does this. I have two pair of heavy rubber chocks that do a nice job preventing the movement.

As far as the water heater goes, I will try the level temperature technique a couple times, and if it's still a pain, I will do the Jayco covered swap for the 6 gallon tank. I am one of the owners that took it upon himself to install a "regular" water heater. Did all work myself except painting the new outside door. I installed a 10-gallon Atwood XT heater and it is fantastic. Plus now I can heat water with campground electricity when available instead of burning my propane.

For fuel, my plan is always to fill up before I get to the track for the weekend so I have plenty of fuel for the generator.

Have truck scales just down the street. Once we get "moved in" I will take it down there to get weighed. I'm sure I'll have questions about that once I get the weights figured out.

RobbyR, great info about the 1/4 tank for the generator. Do you know which tank it draws from? I guess it shouldn't make much difference since they are gravity leveled, but just a good piece of info. I will look into the Flying J/Pilot account. Do most Flying J's/Pilots have RV stations for dump and water, and or propane refills available in your experience? My generator draws from the driver's side tank, I suspect all Senecas do. The tanks do not have an equalizing hose at the bottom of the tanks like some Class 8 tractors do, Freightliner uses a "siphon" system that accomplishes leveling. But it isn't "fast" since it is a small diameter hose that levels the tanks. Not having large equalizing hose probably good, they can get ripped off sometimes and then you have a real mess! Saw that plenty during my career as firefighter. And I have found most Pilot/Flying J's do have dump stations for a fee. Good Sam members and account holders get a price break however. I have topped off my water tank at one too. I have never tried to find propane at one however. I have an "extend-a-stay" tee on my propane and can use BBQ cylinders instead of my onboard tank when I am set up somewhere for a longer duration. I take 2 cylinders with me when I anticipate such a stay. So I pretty much use the onboard tank when I am going to and from.

I have done considerable research into black/gray tank maintenance! Thanks for the tip. That's about the only thing I feel like I completely understand about my coach.

Excellent advice about the 33K GCWR. I kinda knew the 10K rating was a little optimistic. Most of my racing is within 100 miles of my house, and I have a plan to have the towing setup and hitch receiver "beefed" up with some additional bracing to help support the tongue weight of my trailer. Also, I know the engine/trans combo plays into the rating as well. I will probably be over the 33K a bit, but I am hoping to be under 35K. My local track is just 8 miles from where I store my RV and racecar, so that trip shouldn't be a problem, but going out of town might be more of a struggle, especially if I head into the mountains. Yikes!

Thanks again for all the tips and advice guys! Very much appreciated!
Hope some of this helps!
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