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About tofuricer

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  • Interests
    Mountain Biking

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  • My Toyota Motorhome
    1986 Sunland Express 22RE
  • Location
    Boston, MA

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  1. I bought my toy home just a few months ago. On my maiden voyage of 9k miles I ran into a ton of electrical challenges, including some battery issues. The previous owner had installed 3 80kW solar panels and a brand-new battery which worked great at keeping the house battery charged prior to setting out on the trip. Yay for boondocking! But when the temperatures started dropping in Missouri, the furnace fan would suck down the coach battery power. Then the battery didn't have enough juice to start the furnace leaving the home uncomfortably cold. I thought about adding another battery, but my instinct was that something was wrong. It wasn't immediately obvious, but I realized the isolator wasn't working. So I rigged up a little jumper to power both batteries from the alternator while driving. This got me comfortably through he rest of the trip and back home. When I could receive a delivery, I ordered a new Tekonsha 7000 12 Volt 3 Terminal Battery Isolator and installed it. A few days later I was trying to blow out the water lines in prep for winter using a compressor running off the house battery, but battery was dead despite 100 miles driven in the last 2 days. So I realized the new isolator wasn't working. After a little diagnostics with a multi-meter, the ignition input wire to the solenoid wasn't working. So I traced out that the wire was connected to a wire going to the windshield wiper motor. I immediately thought "Hmm, I'm not sure that will work." So I just turned on the wipers and voila! The isolator works! I now I have a spare isolator. And I realize my jumper solution probably put a ton of wear on the hood latch from opening the hood to connect and disconnect the jumper, every time I started or stopped the car for the majority of the trip... Oh well. I am now wondering if this simple mistaken wiring job is what caused the previous owner to add solar and the new battery, in the first place. Either way, glad to know all I need to do is drive in the rain so my house battery will be charged! ;-)
  2. tofuricer

    Furnace blows but no heat

    DanAatTheCape, you are spot on. Unfortunately, in my recent 3 week tip from New Hampshire to Utah (and back) I wasn't plugging into shore power. I only did it once to diagnose this issue. As it turns out, my battery isolator seems to have failed which caused the alternator to not charge my house battery fully. I do have 240W of solar charging the house battery, but that only moves the house battery voltage up to about 12.1V, but I need 12.4V in order for the heater's igniter. A quick stop at Walmart, and $5 later I had a simple "switch assembly", using some 10 gauge wire, covered crimped spade connectors, and ring terminals. Open (when engine is off) Closed (when engine is on) When I got back home I replaced the battery isolator, but decided to leave the "switch" in place in case of draining the engine battery or if the new isolator fails. (If anyone decides to replicate this fix, I highly recommend cleaning those old rusty terminals with baking soda and a brillo pad or wire brush. I wired it up and then when it didn't work I was really questioning my understanding of how this isolator worked. Turned out I fully understood how the current was supposed to flow, except that part.)
  3. tofuricer

    Newbie requesting advice

    That looks like another good and clean option for a fair price. Go see it in person. This thread is filled with great advice so I think you’re probably prepared with the essential info to help you evaluate the decision after seeing it and driving it. You won’t regret having bought a toy home —as long as you are mechanically inclined or willing to roll up your sleeves and work on it or pay for a random part that fails and needs replacing. Keep in mind that asking questions of the family member of the deceased may be a little annoying and painful. Instead just say that you have a checklist to go through regarding the appliances and let the seller decide if they feel the need to supervise you. If it makes you feel more comfortable with the purchase, I paid more for higher miles, an older version, and a lot of rust. Just got back from a 9k mike trip to the Rockies and consider the one I bought a bargain. Pull the trigger, get to work making it yours, and enjoy the process! 😀
  4. tofuricer

    Mr. Heater?

    I tried using a Mr. Buddy and would suggest not buying one. Here are the reasons: 1) The packaging clearly warns about not falling asleep when it is ON. There are some safety features, but I'd rather not violate the instructions with the serious health risk of propane or carbon monoxide or explosion. 2) It doesn't have a thermostat. If you violate the above suggestion, and you do wake up, I'm sure you'll wake up either too cold or more likely too hot. The one I used only had hi and low settings. Cracking the window the right amount to get through the night seems nearly impossible. 3) Just boil some water on your stove. Increasing latent and sensible heat in your MH may cause a little condensation, but putting a warm beverage in your belly is a way more satisfying and efficient way to stay warm. A better way to make the heat last through the night safely is to put the hot water in a stainless thermos in your bed. My AC has a heat setting, but it doesn't work. I recently had an issue with low voltage on my house battery causing me to discover all of this. The solution was just $5 at a walmart to create a jumper from the engine battery to the house battery, so that the 30 year old furnace is back to working good as new. I'd guess these old furnaces last a long time an you can find one for cheap if you look.
  5. tofuricer

    Furnace blows but no heat

    Thanks Maineah and Fred. Happy to report I have heat again. I believe the issue is a voltage issue since it started working again when I plugged in. I will measure the voltage at the battery in the morning and continue to measure until the furnace stops igniting. The noise I was looking for but didn't hear until tonight was a loud 5x rapidly-repeated click of the igniter which happens about 20 seconds after the fan starts. I may try to add a boost converter when I can take mail order deliveries again as a fix, but may also just try a new sail switch. Pretty cool way of verifying airflow to gate the controller logic of the board. Related, I have a mr buddy and 4 propane canisters for sale if Lowes won't take them back :-)
  6. tofuricer

    Furnace blows but no heat

    All I hear is the click of the fan turning on. How many clicks do you typically hear before it lights up?
  7. tofuricer

    Furnace blows but no heat

    Here's a pic of the furnace. https://pasteboard.co/GPelcfU.jpg
  8. I'm on the road currently, 3k miles in from NH to Colorado. Nights are dropping below freezing and the furnace will turn on the blower based on thermostat settings, but the burner isn't lighting. The unit is a duotherm with an electrically lit pilot, and I have the gas valve open near the unit. The fridge and stove work fine off propane. The house battery is at 12V-- I even tried running the furnace when plugged into city power but it still didn't light. I took one trip a month ago where the furnace worked fine. What else can I do to troubleshoot and isolate the problem? What does your furnace sound like? Do you hear the distinct popping of the igniter? Do you think it could be a failed solenoid or igniter? How can I confirm? Thanks!
  9. Really nice work! This certainly is a big renovation, and you're going to love the result. Also, thanks for being diligent in taking pictures and sharing the progress. It's really fun watching that transformation!
  10. tofuricer

    Boondocking anyone?

    I've boondocked quite a bit (according to what I know to be the correct use of the term). There are pull-offs just on the side of quiet roads at nearly every national forest. Often these are unmarked, unmanaged, and unpaved. It can be easy to find them in places like Alaska, but here on the East Coast where I currently do a lot of camping, it's best to learn about the state forest's free camp sites. This time of year (Fall), and in "mud season", you can find premium spots without worry. On the West Coast, I think you'll be surprised how much great camping is on DLM land if you just go poking around. It's good to have an adventurous spirit and try to arrive a few hours before sunset to grab whatever spot is open, since DLM camping is somewhat documented on the internet. I have, in a pinch, stayed on what might be private land-- like dead-ends onto farms, logging roads, etc. I try to not do it, and it only happens as a last resort if arriving late, but I always leave early. I've never had and issue, but there are no gaurantees. I have stayed at park-and-rides, walmarts, etc. While this may count as boondocking, I only do it when there is good reason and all of the above options have failed me. I try to not pay to camp anywhere. With all of the great other options, it really just doesn't make sense. If there's an easy solution of paying for a reserved spot, it seems that's where you'll find the crowds. Those of us with a high risk appetite can go enjoy the premium spots. Good luck!
  11. Homer, this is super helpful! I didn't realize I may have excess holding tank capacity beyond stock. Nice bonus when camping or going down hills, but probably worth not having full uphill ;-) Since my tanks are in front of the rear axle, It doesn't look like a tank in the middle would work in front of the axle with the drive shaft/exhaust in that area. Do have more room back by the spare near where your middle tank is. May add a little more capacity back there one day. Now off topic: I see the wheel hanging down from your bumper. Is that because you sometime rub when going up a steep driveway from a flat road? I have a bike rack on mine and have some paranoia about rubbing.
  12. The previous owner left behind this little cooler. It's 12V and fits a few beverages and snacks inside. The cup holders are uselessly shallow and small, but I like that it's stable, movable, and at the right elbow height.
  13. tofuricer

    Help I need a new water heater

    In case anyone wants to see what a tankless setup looks like, the previous owner of my RV added this. When I was told it was "professionally installed" I couldn't help but LOL. It is brand new and works if you only want to rinse off your lower body, but it's getting ripped back out.
  14. Homer, thanks so much for chiming in! I have a rear dining model, so not sure if there were differences between our models (it looks like you have a different layout). According to WME in this thread, some older models didn't have two separate tanks. Is 1986 old? ;-) Elsewhere, there are some cheap modifications/fixes, but still not sure if the current tank is original. Maybe these pics will help determine. This is the only outlet of the tank that I see. According to this nameplate it looks like it is 14"x43"x11" or about 30 gallons. Was Best Plastics ever an OEM supplier? I'm mindful about driver's-side curbs with how low it hangs. Other than the height, it seems to fit very nicely. Not a great view, but this is where the shower drain is piped into the tank with the cheapo trap that replaced the leaking one. There certainly is room for a bypass, and valve, but reaching it requires me to get over my claustrophobia and willingness to get dirty after a shower, which kinda defeats the purpose. Homer, do you have a picture or details (size, location) on your tanks?
  15. It seems like intentions weren't understood. I would never dump from a black water tank, given environmental/health concerns. Since I only have a single tank (capturing black and grey water) I was thinking of adding a and drain valve before the tank so that I could open it and drop shower water to the ground. Official campgrounds aren't my favorite. I try to find DLM land or sites in National Forests since there is way more privacy. Starting back at square one: Is it non-factory that my Sunland Express doesn't have both a black and a grey water tank? Given the suggestion of using grey water to rinse the black water tank, it sounds like most of you all have both tanks?