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Old 07-08-2019, 07:01 PM   #1
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Newbie first experiences

Newbie experiences

Hi Folks
I had been getting tips from the forum for several months before picking up my White Hawk 27RB in June and setting off for two weeks. In the hope of sparing others the issues I encountered and for a little forum payback I’ll expand on them here.

1- Don’t forget to fill up fresh water tanks before setting up your trailer on the site. a) Our FIRST site was an electricity only site and we forgot to fill the fresh water tank coming into the park. We didn’t want to hitch up the trailer again, undo our first leveling etc just for water so I decided to carry it in 15 litre jugs and pour it in the tank through an improvised funnel. Straightforward right? However, our dealer had left the low point drain open and during the pouring of the second jug we decided the gurgling sound was more than just water going in the tanks. Upon our investigative walk around the trailer we found the water was flowing out of the drain valve. Aaarrgghh!!
c) Next site we remembered to fill our fresh water before setting up. Orientation fellow told us that to fill the fresh water tank you just insert the drinking water hose and fill the tank until it starts to overflow ie full. Well there is more to it than that!! As we filled the fresh water tanks it didn’t overflow out the filling hole but rather a drain hose under the trailer started pouring out water (not the low point drain mentioned above). No problem we thought as tank was ‘full’ we extracted the hose expecting the draining to stop. No such luck. Water kept pouring out of drain hose for quite awhile. When it finally stopped the fresh water tank was 2/3 ie not full. Reading the manual (trying to figure out what was going on) we discovered when filling the fresh water tank you should open the kitchen sink taps and the taps on the outside shower to vent trapped air. This was not mentioned in our “orientation”. This appears to work as on our latest attempt the fresh water indicated full after filling with this new method. (although it still seemed like there was a lot of water that poured out of the aforementioned drain hose until it stopped)

2- Our first sanitary dump was a disaster necessitating a shower afterwards and a broken black tank valve handle. Why you may ask? I’d you tubed etc and was well prepared. The New buyer orientation at the RV dealer had explained hooking up hose and the opening the valves etc. Simple right? Except the dealer prep had left all black and grey valves open so you can imagine what happened when I removed the drain cap and then tried to get it back on against the pressure of a full black tank and 2 full grey water tanks. What a mess!! Aarrgghhh

3- Furnace quit working near the end of second week. Cooking stove propane burners lit up so I had gas (I thought) Also orientation guy told us the two propane, 30lb tanks, would last all season so gas shouldn’t be the problem. Found furnace fuse and pulled it. 15 amp fuse was good and 12 volts was across terminals. Reinserted the fuse and furnace turned on. So I assumed somehow this had reset it BUT we still didn’t have heat as only the blower came on and then stopped when burners wouldn’t light. Rechecked cooking stove gas and burners lit up no problem. Out of desperation, I switched to the full second tank in the hope that perhaps furnace needed a ‘fuller’ tank with lots of pressure to function... yahoo furnace was now functional. I took the first tank to get a refill the next day and it was nearing empty so my lesson here was low propane tank may be sufficient for a cooking burner but not a furnace.

4- Weight distribution hitch issues
a) I had a weight distribution hitch installed as my tow vehicle is an F150. I chose my first site to be a pull through. Getting one of the distribution bars off was a real pain. I had no experience with these hitches and I believe it was because the truck was turned slightly away from the trailer ie out of line. I’ve since made a point of aligning both trailer and truck and haven’t had problems since.
b) Given my problems in a) I spent a great deal of time, the second time I hooked up, repositioning truck (and repositioning truck and repositioning truck ... ) to ensure the distribution bars were aligned. Then I realized if I hooked up only with the ball and pulled ahead just enough to put my truck and the trailer in alignment the weight distribution bars came into alignment and were easy to secure then.

Given our experiences to date, I’ve now purchased a Valterra valve for drain cap, spare fuses and a 4 wheel Barker tote tank. I also had a chat with my RV dealer on how they could improve the new buyer orientation.

And more experiences to come ...

Thank you all for all the good advice to date
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:24 PM   #2
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Problems with newbies is they get to much information during a PDI session. PDI person should have closed the valves and drain cap before you left the dealer lot. Most RV's have an auto change over, so leave both tanks open and look one a day if the service tank shows red. Most furnaces use the heat off switch for reset, also the water heater switch for the WH. Always be sure your DSI lite is off. Camping is a learning process, how better you are familiar with your RV equipment how more fun camping is.
Lift truck and trailer when connected with the front Jack, much easier to put on your WDH-bars. I do PDI's daily for a dealership and never rush people through it has to be fun for both, the client and me. In the RV industry there is no such a thing as standard, they are all different. Have fun camping and make memories.
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Old 07-08-2019, 09:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing. These aren't issue they are learning opportunities. Both for you and people starting out that read.
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Old 07-09-2019, 06:44 PM   #4
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See, your first mistake was paying attention to something the dealer person said.

Your second mistake was in thinking they give a damn.
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:04 AM   #5
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Rest assured we all share those campfire stories.

1) Congratulations on your new rig and the total camping experience.
2) Keep those campfire stories coming.
3) Do modification really happen without pictures?

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Old 07-10-2019, 07:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing, tons of stuff to learn when you first start in the RV world, don't get in a hurry and remember to relax. As for backing, the key a successful back in, is not hitting anything when you back up, if it takes one pull up or 30.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:01 AM   #7
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I cannot get the visual of you trying to desperately put that dump cap back on against a full flow of waste. Man....what a way to be “baptized” into RV life. On that note, keep your chin up, there are many more “learning experiences” coming!
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:33 AM   #8
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Newbie first experiences

Here is the solution to getting a hitch bar removed with little or no effort.
With the trailer still locked to the Ball use the tongue jack to lift the trailer, as you life the trailer it will release the pressure on the bars and they will slide right off. I have to hook and un-hook my trailer in my drive way with the truck at an angle to the trailer and it never has been an issue. However if I don't lift the trailer I can't always get the bars off!

I hope this helps!

Happy Camping!!
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:57 AM   #9
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Newbie experiences
I also had a chat with my RV dealer on how they could improve the new buyer orientation.
How was that received? We've a got a really good dealer that we've purchased 3 trailers from since '93. The PDI they do is excellent and it's part of the purchase.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:09 AM   #10
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How was that received? We've a got a really good dealer that we've purchased 3 trailers from since '93. The PDI they do is excellent and it's part of the purchase.
I agree with DocBrown - I have purchased three trailers from my local Jayco dealer over the year's. I have not once had the kind of problems with warrantee work that I read so much about from others.

Thanks to Hill Top trailer sales in Minneapolis!!
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:17 AM   #11
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Don't feel alone, we've all had "things happen." You might enjoy the thread on the forum "What is your most boneheaded move." RV life should just be called RV education, on going, and with the right attitude, a lot of fun.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:04 PM   #12
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If there's something you have a question about when at a site, besides the almost very perfect advice on tap here, other fellow campers at the campground probably are more than willing to help out.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:50 PM   #13
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I had a similar experience with my first black water dump. The handle was pulled out, and I couldn’t remember if that was open or closed.

Just to be safe, I grabbed the larger garbage can from the kitchen, put a new bag in it, and positioned it in line with the drain. (I also wore latex gloves).

Boy was I glad I took precautions. Closed that valve quick as I could after I took the cap off. It filled the garbage can almost to the top before it slowed to a drip.

Good times, good times!!!
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:09 AM   #14
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Thanks for the tips and the kind words Folks.
Re the dealership: The dealership was genuinely responsive and noted my suggestions to improve their orientation. They replaced the black handle broken in my first dump, picked up and returned my TT to storage to do the service and when a slow leak I had reported in a tire couldn’t be repaired right away they took a tire and wheel off a new trailer to get me going again ... all at no cost to me. I’m pleased with the dealer and would gladly buy from them again.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:35 PM   #15
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To address your stabilizers, I feel that you are on the right track with using the jack on the hitch before you hook-up or unhook to get those stubborn stabilizer bars off. I had a similar system on my last TT. I did find that even jacking up the trailer and truck, if I wasn't fairly lined up with the truck, it was still a bit of a pain. When I sold it to a friend of mine, the first thing he did was install an electric jack. He said that it made the job a little easier. I used to take that trailer off road quite a bit, as I'm an avid boondocker (dry camping), and like to camp in the woods. As a rule, the stabilizer bars really only need to be on when you're on the highway/freeway (at higher speeds), so before I would arrive to my destination (my wife would always need to stop for more supplies), I would either pull into a store parking lot and take them off while she was in the store, or hit a rest area. Driving through town or at slow speeds, they don't need to be on. I'm hoping that the dealer informed you that they shouldn't be on when you go off the road, or on very rough, or uneven roads. My buddy went over a curb with them on and broke out one of the lower pockets on the hitch, and had to have it welded. They basically re-welded a new pocket on and then had to grind it back to the original shape. The stabilizer bar fell onto the road, but fortunately he was able to recover it. that was way cheaper than having to buy a new hitch. After I got used to doing it, it was like second nature (like remembering to close the dump valves, damn dealers). Something for you to think about. Welcome!
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:31 PM   #16
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For item #1 - when the fresh water tank was full water was coming out of the tank vent pipe. You don't need to open sink valves to vent the tank. Once water starts coming out of the vent pipe it turns into a siphon. It won't stop until the pipe inside the tank is higher than the water level inside the tank. Sometimes the manufacturers insert the vent line a little too far into the tank and, unless you install a cutoff valve on the vent pipe under your trailer, it will siphon the level down every time. If you do install a cutoff valve make sure you open it before the tank develops a vacuum from drawing water out. Water movement while driving may also start the siphon action. My son saw water coming from my trailer all the way to campsite when he was following me from the vent pipe expelling water. I now have cutoff valves on both of my fresh water tanks.
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:01 PM   #17
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For item #1 - when the fresh water tank was full water was coming out of the tank vent pipe. You don't need to open sink valves to vent the tank. Once water starts coming out of the vent pipe it turns into a siphon. It won't stop until the pipe inside the tank is higher than the water level inside the tank. Sometimes the manufacturers insert the vent line a little too far into the tank and, unless you install a cutoff valve on the vent pipe under your trailer, it will siphon the level down every time. If you do install a cutoff valve make sure you open it before the tank develops a vacuum from drawing water out. Water movement while driving may also start the siphon action. My son saw water coming from my trailer all the way to campsite when he was following me from the vent pipe expelling water. I now have cutoff valves on both of my fresh water tanks.
What he said. The tanks are vented. Install valves on the vent tubes to stop the siphon. Opening the valves to prevent a vacuum when using is only needed if there is no vent next to the fill.
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Old 07-20-2019, 05:21 AM   #18
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I could lift my rear tires off the ground and it will still be hard to remove the wdh bars if the truck is at an angle.
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:54 PM   #19
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Thanks for that tip about WDH and rough terrain
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:57 PM   #20
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I could lift my rear tires off the ground and it will still be hard to remove the wdh bars if the truck is at an angle.
Agreed. I had the trailer and truck “lifted up” by power jack and without getting the angle minimized it was virtually impossible to get bars into position
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