I have yet to receive delivery on my very first RV, a Phoenix Cruiser 2552. While researching everything under the sun having to do with PC's and RV'ing in general, I made lists of resources along the way. I thought it may be helpful to other 'newbies' if I posted some of what I learned or found to this point. If anyone has additional or better info, or if I misstated something, please post a reply to this....I wont be offended! PLEASE remember a couple of things.... I do not know anything (yet) about RV's or RV'ing. Everything listed below is a fraction of the info available out there. Everything listed below is, for the most part, opinion. If there is anything here that has anything to do with laws, do not rely on them....find out for yourself. Things change with time, so alot of this will be outdated in short order. I am not affiliated with or biased toward any of the companies listed. Good luck...and wish me luck, too!
Let me get this one out of the way first....Can you have open alcohol containers in your RV, especially when it's underway? This was and is a tough one to decipher, legally. I'll tell you what I'm going by after alot of research, but I'll also tell you that you shouldn't listen to me! I feel like I'm going out on a limb here, just broaching this subject. Look up the open container laws for each state yourself! (I am treating an open bottle of wine which has been recorked and stored in the cabinet the same as a passenger in the coach area with a drink in his hand). From what I can tell, it appears that the vast majority of states allow open alcohol containers (or bottles with the seal broken) in motorhomes if the alcohol is not within reach of the driver. It appears that the exceptions may be in: Wisconsin (no way, any way), South Carolina (very strange laws, to me...need more research), Florida (ok if the motorhome is over 21' long), Tennesee (state law may say ok, but counties may differ), Louisiana and Wyoming are vague enough for me to look into it further. Again, look up the laws yourself, and never drink and drive!
- Check for local Public Scales in yellow pages (or Quarries, Moving Companies)
- Appears that in some states it's ok to use truckers scales on highways, moreso if they are not busy.
Front End Alignment:
- Some Ford Truck dealers
- Try local companies that service busses, ambulances, etc.
Ford Warranty And Ford Repairs Dealership:
Ford Motorhome Assistance Center 1-800-444-3311
Ford ODB2 Codes:
Generic ODB2 Codes:
General Truck and RV Repair:
- RV Service Reviews (www.rvservicereviews.com
- Mechanic Advisor (www.mechanicadvisor.com
Coach Area Installations and Repairs:
- Some RV dealers also service
- Camping World (www.campingworld.com
Phoenix Cruiser Equipment Info:
Phoenix USA www.phoenixusarv.com
Ford Quality Bulletins www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas/topics/qvmp.html
Ab Lifestyles (bedding/mattresses) www.ablifestyles.net/
- In my area (Northern CA), the range is between $50/mo for outside/uncovered to $175/mo for indoor storage with valet service and wash included.
RV Mods and Stuff:http://www.doityourselfrv.com/
- Many UHaul locations provide propane
- Some RV campgrounds and parks also provide propane
- Some truck stops provide propane
- Our city sanitation department provides free RV dumping
- Some RV parks and campgrounds provide dumping to non-guests for a fee (which around here range from $5 to $20)
- Creating your own at your house may be an option
High Pressure Air:
- Many regular gas stations do not provide high pressure air req'd for RV's
- Tire Shops usually have high pressure service, some may charge.
- Carrying a compressor is an option (Porter-Cable CMB15?)
- Carrying an air tank is an option (www.powertank.com
General Info www.changingears.com/tip-cat-insurance.shtml
RV Roadside Assistance:
- Good Sam Roadside Assistance www.goodsamroadside.com
Membership Questions: 1-800-842-5351
- Allstate Roadside Assistancewww.allstatemotorclub.com/RV
- AARP Roadside Assistancewww.aarproadside.com
- Progressive RV Roadside Assistancewww.progressive.com/rv/rv-insurance-coverages-roadside/
Basic RV How-To's:
Dump Gray/Black Tanks www.newrver.com/dumpurtanks.shtml
Sanitizing Freshwater Tank www.newrver.com/rvwater_part2.shtml
RV Tips and Info:
RV Doctor www.rvdoctor.com/
RV Education 101 www.rveducation101.com/
PC Gas Gauge/Tank Info www.phoenixusarv.com/community/dreid/gas-gauge.pdf
RV'ing Videos www.trailerlife.tv/videos/all/
New RVers www.newrver.com
Inspect/Repack Wheel Bearings www.newrver.com/RV_lube.shtml
GoodSam General RV FAQ www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/264829.cfm
RV Products and Goodies:
Camping World www.campingworld.com
Camco Products www.camco.net/
US Gear D-celerator Braking System www.usgear.cc/magazine/USGear.pdf
Saf-T-Plus Steering Controls www.safe-t-plus.com/
RV Mall www.rv-mall.com/index.php/
RV Parts & Accessories www.dyersonline.com/
RV Parts & Accessories www.amazon.com/
(search for 'RV')
RV Clubs and Forums:
Yahoo PC Forum autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Our_phoenix_cruiser_rv/
Phoenix Cruiser Owners Club www.intervecphoenix.org/
Good Sam Club www.goodsamclub.com
Good Sam Forum www.rv.net/
Campground Clubs and Systems www.rvbg.com/Articles/?id=2007865
Encore & Thousand Trails Club www.rvonthego.com/
Motorhomes Forum www.motorhome.com
Family Motorcoach Association www.fmca.com
Passport America www.passportamerica.com
Pet Travel Center www.pettravelcenter.com/
Downloadable Dinghy Guides - http://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides/
General Dinghy Guide - www.motorhome.com/category/rv-how-to/dinghy-towing-guide/
2012 Dinghy Towing Guide - www.towingworld.com/resources/2012_dinghy_towing_guide1.pdf
Remco Towing Products - http://www.remcoindustries.com/Towing/Store.php
Toad Braking Requirements by State home.roadrunner.com/~morodat/toad-brakes-by-state.html
General iPhone/iPad Apps:
Wunderlist ToDo and Task List - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wunderlist-to-do-task-list/id406644151?mt=8
Woodalls RV & Camping Copilot - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/woodalls-rv-camping-copilot/id445868562?mt=8
GoodSam Camping - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/good-sam-camping/id449060020?mt=8
RV Parking - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rv-parks/id368237320?mt=8
Mobile RV'ing - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mobile-rving/id511687015?mt=8
Sanidumps RV Dump Station Locatorhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sanidumps-rv-dump-station/id651650299?mt=8
USA Rest Stopshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/usa-rest-stops/id528988698?mt=8
RV Pocket Referencehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rv-pocket-reference/id469268480?mt=8
RV Pro Magazinehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rv-pro-magazine/id496041276?mt=8
RV Care Networkhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rv-care-network/id496016343?mt=8
AllStays Camp & RVhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/camp-rv-tent-camping-to-rv/id370820516?mt=8
Trapster Speed Traps & Accidentshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trapster-speed-traps-road/id537300021?mt=8
Fiberglass RV Ownershttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fiberglass-rv-owners-community/id404713433?mt=8
Bill Dance Fishinghttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bill-dance/id444258750?mt=8
State Lines (taxes, laws, bans, fees, towing)https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/state-lines/id371852080?mt=8
State Lines Alcohol Lawshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/state-lines-alcohol-laws/id381232059?mt=8
Coverage? Cell Coveragehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coverage/id388815949?mt=8
Dark Sky Weather Radarhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dark-sky-weather-radar-hyperlocal/id517329357?mt=8
NOAA Radar Casthttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/radar-cast-pro-noaa-hi-def/id601606659?mt=8
RV Camping and Campground Sites:
- Campground Videos www.insiderperks.com/
- Campground Videos and Info www.campgroundviews.com/
- Encore and ThousandTrail Campground Videos www.rvonthego.com/
- Passport America www.passportamerica.com/
- Casino Camping www.casinocamper.com/
- RV Golf Club www.rvgolfclub.com/
- Harvest Hosts www.harvesthosts.com/
- Boondockers Welcome www.boondockerswelcome.com/
- ReserveAmerica www.reserveamerica.com/
- GuestFirst RV Resorts www.guestfirstrvresorts.com/
- RV Park Finder www.rvparkfinder.net/
- RV Park Reviews www.rvparkreviews.com/
- Oregon RV Goddess www.rvgoddess.com/
- Park Maps www.parkmaps.com/US_Map_State_Selection.htm
- Free Campgrounds www.freecampgrounds.com/
- Woodalls Campground Videos www.woodalls.com/
- Overnight RV Parking www.overnightrvparking.com/
- Camp California www.camp-california.com/
- Entire CampCalifornia Guide www.camp-california.com/images/pdf/Guide_2013/Guide_2013.pdf
- State Towing Laws For RV's (www.readybrake.com/state_laws.html
- Tankless Water Heater (www.americanrvcompany.com/Atwood-OD-50-On-Demand-Tankless-Water-Heater-50K-BTU-90205-Camper-Trailer-RV?gclid=CJnF7d7isbcCFVEV7AodMxoAG
- Work Camping (www.workamper.com/
- Work For Rv'ers (www.work-for-rvers-and-campers.com/
- GVW Calculator (changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-adjust-gvw.shtml)
- Travel Trailer Weight Calculator (changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight-tt.shtml)
- State Open Container Laws (www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/new-fact-sheet03/OpenContainer.pdf
- State RV Rules Of The Road (www.woodalls.com/articledetails.aspx?articleID=1195129
- National Traffic and Road Closures (www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/
- RV Mountain Directory (www.mountaindirectory.com/index.html
- Camping Recipes (www.camprecipes.com/
- Technology Enabled Nomads (www.technomads.com
- TripCheck (Orgeon Road Conditions/Weather) www.tripcheck.com
- Frommers Guide www.frommers.com/
Some Advice I've Been Given.......
After taking delivery of RV:
- Check all fluid levels, including generator
- Test all components and equipment
- Check tire pressures
- Load RV (incl. propane, gray tank, fuel, additional weight for people, etc)
- Weigh RV
- Ensure RV is rated for that weight
- Check Tire Pressures
- Use load and inflation tables of tire manufacturer to determine proper air pressures (such as: http://www.michelinrvtires.com/michelinrv/report.do?ReportType=LoadAndInflation
- Get Alignment with full load (except black tank)
Notes about alignment (sorry, I don't know the original poster):
There are three alignment angles (caster, camber, toe). The specs express all three as ranges. I think that instead of trying to reach the middle of those ranges, which are probably ideal for vans, the RV chassis will drive better with all the angles set aggressively. Caster and Camber toward the high positive. Toe In and not Zero. I feel strongly about Toe. The slightest bit Out and the vehicle wants to dart to one side or the other. Zero may be ideal, but the slightest component wear sends toe Out. Ours went from Zero to 1/8" Out wiht only a few hundred miles on new parts and we could feel it wander. When I set it back to Zero it was OK again. I decided to go on to 1/8" IN and it did three things: Sharpened steering response, Improved tracking, Restored steering wheel centering.
Another poster says: Since installing the extra +2.0 degrees of caster I have driven this E450 about 4500 miles, it definitely handles like an SUV. I cannot say enough about the difference in handling.
If you are not a DIY owner I would suggest you purchase a set of INGALLS 594 Camber/Caster sleeves then make an appointment with an alignment shop. Be very specific in your instructions asking them to install these sleeves SET TO 0.0 Degrees CAMBER and +2.0 Degrees CASTER then align the TOE IN to be within TOE spec while accepting the resulting CAMBER and CASTER AS IS! Trust me, it will be well worth the effort IF you own a wandering E350/E450.
Also, Our 2004 E450 28 Foot handled terrible until we added additional + Caster to the front wheels.
The Ford Spec for front end CASTER is:
LH +1.3 to +6.8 Degrees
RH +1.8 to +7.3 Degrees
Our unit was:
LH +3.3 Degrees
RH +3.5 Degrees
We added + 2.0 degrees, so we are now at:
LH +5.3 Degrees
RH +5.5 Degrees.
Alignment problems on the E series follow the 80/20 rule in the sense that TOE and CAMBER is 20% of the story while CASTER is 80% of the story. TOO LITTLE CASTER will amplify any external force many fold to the detriment of stability.
If your unit feels like the steering box needs to be tightened up it is because of TOO LITTLE + CASTER.
If cross winds and wind gusts cause havoc it is because of TOO LITTLE + CASTER.
If you think the tail is wagging the dog it is because of TOO LITTLE + CASTER.
If you are needing to drive it all day and never relax it is because of TOO LITTLE + CASTER.
If your unit drives GREAT, like an SUV, it is because you have a proper amout of + CASTER which I am guestimating to be about +5.0 degrees or more. (Note: The RH caster is always more then LH (CROSS CASTER = LH - RH))
If there are handling issues after the alignment, try these, in order:
- Rear h.d. sway bar w/ polymer bushings (Hellwig or Roadmaster?)
- Front stabilizer (Saf-T-Plus)
- Front h.d. Sway bar w/ polymer bushings (Hellwig or Roadmaster?)
- Rear trac bar (Henderson?)
- Replace shocks (Bilstein or Konica-RV)
About tire pressures:
Tire pressures should be between what is listed on the certification tag and what is listed on the tire. Certification tag shows tire pressure based on when the rig was manufactured. Pressure listed on the tire is the maximum you should ever inflate tires. Weigh the rig at each tire and use the load and inflation tables from the tire manufacturer, but always have the left and right tires at the same pressures....balance the load better if you need to in order to achieve this. If cant balance them totally, then use the pressure on the side with the highest load for both sides.
REMEMBER that rv's use higher pressures than cars, so many gas stations don't have the equipment to provide these higher pressures. Check truck stops and especially tire stores!
RV Sewer Evacuation Procedures:
According to RV maintenance experts, here's how to safely and completely evacuate RV holding tanks (with 3" gravity sewer hose)......
1. Always wear disposable protective gloves when handling any waste system component and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
2. Connect the sewer hose. Begin by inserting the nozzle end of the hose into the campground sewer inlet or dump site, and open the valve on the nozzle. Walk back towards the termination assembly on the coach extending the hose only the distance required. Always avoid snaking a full-length hose back and forth on the ground. If more hose is needed to reach the coach, simply attach an extension hose when necessary. All quality hose makers will have extension hoses and connectors. To complete the connection, remove the protective cap or plug on the RV end and attach it to the termination outlet. Be sure to maintain the proper slope of the drain hose from the termination outlet to the sewer inlet.
Known as the “first in - last out” rule, inserting the sewer end first and removing it last will guarantee no release of waste water and avoid further contamination on the ground. Note: this is only applicable if the hose has a positive shut-off valve on the sewer end and a cap or plug on the coach end.
3. Only evacuate a holding tank (black or gray) when it is over 3/4 full. Yes, contrary to what some veteran RVers may tell you, this means leaving the gray valve fully closed while in the campground. Filling each tank to a level above the 3/4 mark before evacuating will ensure you’ll have enough volume (and velocity), to thoroughly drain the tank and flush the hose.
Here’s another reason for keeping the gray holding tank valve completely closed except during evacuation. Ever walk through a beautiful, scenic campground and catch a whiff of sewer odor wafting through the park? Kinda ruins the moment, right? All coaches with the gray tank valve in the open position (sewer hoses obviously connected), are simply acting as a direct conduit to the park’s sewer system. Each coach becomes a mini-vent of sorts, in parallel with the septic system of that campground. No wonder sewer odors still abound in the nicest of destination sites.
Follow the logic; a large septic system in a campground will have fundamental venting designed into it, but with numerous RVs connected to that system with their gray tank valves open, odors can rise up through the park’s septic system, through the sewer hoses of those coaches, through their empty gray holding tanks and up the vents of those holding tanks. Remember, it may be your gray tank, but it’s the campground’s black and gray odors coming up and through it. The only problem with this scenario is that the gray tank vents on the RVs are a lot closer to the ground and more prominently located than the park sewer stack so odors are more noticeable. By keeping the gray tank valve closed until the tank is almost full, you will eliminate the localized venting of the campground sewer gasses at your particular site. The more RVers who follow this precept, the less likely we’ll have to endure septic odors in and around the campsite.
4. Evacuate the black tank first. This is pretty much standard procedure and something most all coach owners are aware of, but it’s worthy to mention it again.
After the black tank empties flush it out with a large amount of fresh water when connected to city water. Simply keep flushing the toilet while the termination valve remains open. If you opt for the Polychute or Drainmaster hose, monitor the cleanliness of the water through the integral Clear-Vu fitting as it drains. There are other clear fittings available for the bayonet-type hose adapters as well. When the draining water is relatively clear, stop flushing, close the gate valve and cover the bottom of the black tank completely with fresh water.
Permanently installed holding tank spray kits are available in the aftermarket that attach to each holding tank thereby allowing fresh water to be directly induced into the tank after dumping, but I’m hesitant to drill mounting holes into holding tanks. Plus I like to flush all components of the waste system including the toilet, sink drains, etc., so I prefer to simply flush the toilet and run water through the sinks.
5. Evacuate the gray tank last. After the black tank has completely emptied and its termination valve properly closed, open the gray tank valve and empty that holding tank. Be sure to rinse this tank as well. Dumping the gray tank last utilizes its liquid contents, as well as the fresh water induced after dumping, to help wash away any solid waste that may remain in the sewer hose.
6. Drain the sewer hose. After both tanks have been emptied for the last time at that location, take the time to thoroughly rinse the sewer hose with fresh water until clear water is viewed through the Clear-Vu fitting on the sewer hose. After closing the gray termination valve, remove the sewer hose from the termination outlet on the coach and, if so equipped, secure the plug to the hose and the termination outlet. Then begin “milking the hose.” In other words, raise the hose at the coach end and walk it towards the sewer inlet. Keep raising the hose as you walk, thereby “milking” the hose and emptying it completely of water. Even a properly sloped flexible sewer hose may have residual water and waste particles left inside. These particles will become an odor generator over time, so it is imperative to completely remove as much moisture as possible.
7. After milking the hose and as you reach the campground sewer inlet connection, close the positive shut-off valve on the sewer nozzle and disconnect it from the campground sewer inlet. Remember the “first in - last out” rule! With the cap on the coach end and the nozzle valve turned off on the sewer end, all remaining odors stay inside the hose. Cap the sewer inlet and then stow the hose and add an enzyme-based additive to all holding tanks.
8. Check the P-traps. Unless you upgraded to HepvO waterless sanitary valves, every month or so, look down each sink drain and the tub/shower drain to ensure the water seal is still there. In some waste system configurations, a quickly draining tank can actually cause the water lock to be siphoned out of the trap. You’ll probably have to use a flashlight, but it is essential that a water lock remain at all times. Remember, this is the primary method of preventing gray holding tank odors from entering the interior of the coach. Bottom line; a dry P-trap is nothing more than a shortcut for odors to gain entry into the RV.
9. Be sure the toilet bowl contains water at all times. If water eventually seeps past the seal and the toilet bowl empties, it’s time to make an appointment at your local service center. An empty toilet bowl will permit black tank odors into the coach. If water can leak past the seal, odors can also!
---- From Phoenix forum:
With the san-i-con, I crack the grey tank first just to insure it's working and no leaks (don't want the black tank leaking ) Then I open the black tank and turn on the macerator to get rid of the solids; next turn off the macerator; then open the grey tank and wait until both tanks equalize. I turn the macerator back on until both tanks are empty.
I used to use the sprayer after dumping the black tank; but, by letting the soapy water from the grey tank clean it, I seldom use it.
If any of this has been helpful, I'll post more info as I make my way through the learning curve of general RV'ing and PC RV'ing. Thanks to ALL the helpful folks on the Phoenix Cruiser Forum! You are the best!