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Old 07-17-2017, 10:57 AM   #1
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New trailer, have a few questions

We finally picked up our Jay Feather 23BHM last Tuesday, so it's been in our driveway for almost a week and we've "camped" in it the past three days. I have a few observations and a few questions I hope you folks can help me out with.

First of all the trailer towed beautifully behind our f150. I definitely knew it was behind me and I had to keep a heavier shoe than I normally do but I expected that. We live in the Pennsylvania Endless Mountains and pulled it home from Williamsport over interstate-type roads at the beginning, and then over about 65 miles of narrow, winding, up and down two-lane roads with no problems at all.

The trailer itself seems to be well-made; everything works (so far) and there are no leaks anywhere that I've seen. There are two loose screws - one is on the twist handle of the Fantastic Fan and the other on the front screen door catch. I'm sure I'll find a few other things but it doesn't look like anything major is wrong.

We're going to take a shakedown cruise next week to some local campground, and so we don't get caught short I have a few questions. Bear with me here because this is all new to me:

1) I hooked up the fresh water hose to the house and right away the 25' hose was not long enough to reach the closest hose bib so I had to use one of the garden hoses. Would we be best off with two fresh water hoses?

2) Along the same lines as the first question, I ordered a 20' Valterra Dominator sewer hose - should I order any extensions? Also, do I need the sewer hose supports or can it just lay on the ground?

3) The power cord is 25' and I'm thinking that may be too short sometimes - is it best to have an extension cord? If so, will any 30 amp RV extension cord from Amazon do, or are some better than others?

4) The water heater has me mystified. When I connected the "city" water it automatically filled (I know this because I turned on the electric and got hot water), so now when I disconnect the water from the house should I open a hot water faucet to drain the tank (I'll turn off the element first) or leave the water in there? Common sense says "of course you idiot, drain it", but always better to ask someone who knows.

I realize this is Camping 101 for most of you but as I said this is all new to us. As it is I haven't backed a trailer up in over 20 years so that first campground trip is probably going to produce some laughs from the neighbors, and I don't want to compound the hilarity by being caught with my shorts down around my ankles. Any help/suggestion is appreciated.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:06 AM   #2
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I carry extensions for Water, Electric, Cable and Sewer. I am of the mindset that I'd rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it. I've only needed the sewer extension once but have used the water and electric a few times.

I don't drain my hot water heater after each use. Especially since we camp every 2 - 3 weeks during the season. The only time I drain it is pre-winterization.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:11 AM   #3
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I carry 2 - 25' fresh water hoses and have had to use both of them a couple of times. Also, I would recommend some sort of support for the sewer hose. Some of the campgrounds we've been to the drain has been elevated several inches above ground level and the hose support makes it so much easier to dump in that situation.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:20 AM   #4
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As far as your water/sewer hoses, it never hurts to have an extra length of both along. You may or may not need the extra lengths, it depends on how your campsite hookups are laid out. Same for the extension cord. As long as the RV extension cord is a 30 amp 10/3 wire size, you should be fine. Don't go the cheapest, but you don't have to go the most expensive. Sewer hose support: had one for years, used it for the first time a couple of months ago. Again, depends how the sewer connection is laid out. Water heater: I normally don't drain it between camping trips, I only drain it in preparation for freezing weather, but that's just me.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerIsMe View Post
We finally picked up our Jay Feather 23BHM last Tuesday, so it's been in our driveway for almost a week and we've "camped" in it the past three days.

1) I hooked up the fresh water hose to the house and right away the 25' hose was not long enough to reach the closest hose bib so I had to use one of the garden hoses. Would we be best off with two fresh water hoses?

2) Along the same lines as the first question, I ordered a 20' Valterra Dominator sewer hose - should I order any extensions? Also, do I need the sewer hose supports or can it just lay on the ground?

3) The power cord is 25' and I'm thinking that may be too short sometimes - is it best to have an extension cord? If so, will any 30 amp RV extension cord from Amazon do, or are some better than others?

4) The water heater has me mystified. When I connected the "city" water it automatically filled (I know this because I turned on the electric and got hot water), so now when I disconnect the water from the house should I open a hot water faucet to drain the tank (I'll turn off the element first) or leave the water in there? Common sense says "of course you idiot, drain it", but always better to ask someone who knows.
Most of us are going to answer your questions with opinions based on our own experiences. Here come my answers:
  1. Yes. I have found that it's good to have 2 hoses. We usually use just one, but at least once a season we need both our hoses.
  2. 20' *may* be enough, but it won't hurt to have an extra 15' on hand, just in case. You can certainly lay it on the ground, but I got one of those long 'slunky' hose supports and have been glad of it. They can be a pain to set up, but it helps the flow of the fluids and other 'stuff', especially if the park's sewer connection is higher than the surrounding ground level.
  3. Same with power cord. Ran into ONE campground setup where I needed it, had to find an RV supply store. Now we carry an extra 10', even though we haven't needed it since! BTW, it's also worth carrying a 50-amp to 30-amp "dogbone" adapter. We really could have used one last month, but didn't have it. Now I keep one in my goodie bag.
  4. Water heater. I don't drain it except when winterizing. It's a pain to do that because of the nylon threaded plug you have to remove. It only holds 6 gallons, most likely. You're better off draining the fresh water system using the low point drains after each outing, especially if you haven't been hooked up to city water. My 23RLSW has a 42 gallon fresh tank - at about 8 lb per gallon, that's up to almost 350 pounds of water that I'd rather not be towing around!
Good luck and enjoy your trailer!!


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Old 07-17-2017, 11:42 AM   #6
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Like everyone above, we're big on spares. We carry three 25' white water hoses, two 25' 30 amp extension cords, and sewer hoses in 20' and two 10' lengths. The nice thing is we can get fellow campers out of trouble if their lines fall short. This has happened a few times over the years. The water hoses and sewer hoses seemed to accumulate with "starter kits" the dealers threw in from various TT purchases. The sewer hose "slinky" is nice to have, also.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:50 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice my Friends. I'm from the "better safe than sorry" way of thinking so I'll be ordering up some stuff this afternoon.

You know, the whole Camp Driveway thing has been so beneficial. It never occurred to me that my water hose might not be long enough (minds out of gutters) but there it was. And I had two choices: either use one of our garden hoses or move the trailer. But I had already unhitched and cranked down the stabilizers so that was another lesson learned...don't unhitch until I'm sure I'm in a sweet spot.

As far as that pesky water heater goes, I hooked up the hose to the trailer and then turned on the hot and cold water faucets. Water came out of both so I told my wife it's OK to turn on the water heater. In the back of my mind though I'm praying that the hot water tank filled up automatically, because I don't know. I've never done this before. But it's better to burn out the water heater at Camp Driveway and look like an idiot in front of Mrs. Killer than it is to burn it out 60 miles from home at a campground full of potential friends AND Mrs. Killer. I mean, the wife KNOWS I'm an idiot - my fellow campers will just assume I'm one.

Anyways, thanks again Friends.
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:54 PM   #8
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If you hook up to city water (hose) either turn on a hot water faucet until it stops sputtering or showing foamy water. That could take a couple of minutes. Second option is open the door to the water heater and lift the lever (slowly) on the pressure relief valve 'till water comes out. The water heater will fill automatically, but only to a point. When the water pressure equalizes with the air inside, it will stop and may not be full enough. Also note there will always be a little air space in the top of the water heater. It's designed that way. Feel free to ask away on anything you may not be sure of. It's why we are all here.
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