NEWPORT RALLY TIPS

OUTSIDE
Water heaters / refrigerator vents: If your vent cover discolors or yellows, use Bar Tenders Keeper or Zud cleanser and you will wonder where the yellow went.   This also cleans the Corian countertops nicely.

It is a good idea to put a cotter key, bobby pin, etc, through the hole in the water heater opener on the outside of your coach.   If the opener moves in the right position it can fly off in transit!

Do not leave the valves in the outside shower in the open position.   This will cause the cold water to mix with the hot in the coach and there seems to be no hot water.

KITCHEN
Use an inexpensive voltage checker or meter to make sure your voltage is OK when going to use a high-energy consumption appliance like your microwave, dryer, etc.   Learn to manage the power and extend the life of your appliances.
Store microwave wire racks by putting a holder inside the sink compartment up high or use the top of a crock-pot placed under the sink compartment.   They fit perfectly on top.   Put paper towels, oven mitts, or styrofoam between to eliminate rattles.

Put a latch (simple piece of wood cut to fit over both handles) on over-the-sink handles when travelling.   If you worry about scratching, line the back of the wood with sticky back felt.

By turning your sink cover upside-down and placing it over the other one you have a nice cutting board.

You can make sets of small washers glued together with super-glue in stacks of 1-4 high to raise the cook top further above the flame for bigger pans, levelling , etc.   Just place the feet of the top through the hole in the washers and put back in place at the desired height.

On some models, the left hand side under the sink is not used.   You can cut out and store trays, etc in the area.

An additional shelf can be constructed under the sink.

If you have an inverter plug by your sink, you can plug the crock pot in, set it in the sink, and cook while going down the road.

Ti cook in the microwave-convection while driving, turn on your generator.   It needs to be run with a load on it a couple of hours a month anyway.   Imagine turning into a rest area with the aroma of freshly cooked dinner wafting through the air.   (NOTE: Remain seated and use your seat belts while travelling!)

LIVING AREA

A ventless propane heater can be installed between the passenger seat and couch or chair.   It can be hooked up to the house propane.   This unit uses no battery power.   (NOTE: Be Careful with this! You will need to provide ventilation, Be sure you read and follow the directions and warnings)

Couches can be fitted with a piano hinge on the front or can be retrofitted with a drawer that pulls out or under-bed plastic containers to make the space under the couch accessible.

Plastic in/out boxes for filing fit nicely above the drivers seat cabinets.

LAUNDRY
By folding up a towel and placing it below the washer lint trap, you can catch the excess water when cleaning the lint trap.   If you put your washer in the Spin Cycle so that the pump is working to remove the water and then open the lint trap, there will be little or no water to drip out.

If you take out you washer/dryer, that cupboard makes a great storage area.   Just add shelves or drawers.

Liquid soap works great in the washer.   Store in a plastic squeeze bottle = two squeezes (2 TBS) or use a granulated soap and use a coffee scoop to measure.

Use a bar or bungee cord across the shower to hang clothes from.   You can also put a bar across the toilet compartment or place a retractable clothesline across the bedroom.

When using the dryer after washing a load, sort it out into two small loads, heavy items and lighter items together.   Dry each in small loads seperately and the time will be considerably shorter.

BATHROOM
A small cabinet can be mounted above the stool for more storage.

Velveeta cheese boxes, plexiglass strips, or small Rubbermaid silverware containers fit in the medicine cabinet to keep things from falling against mirror doors.

BEDROOM
Shirt closets can have shelves installed in them to give more folded clothing storage.

Use duct tape to cover the piano hinge under the bed.   It keeps the dust out.   The tape doesn't affect its opening at all.

Place foam-filled aluminum sheets under the bed for more insulation between the bed and the motor.

Suction or stick-on baskets work great for the bathroom or on night tables.

Hooks can be placed over the shower and bedroom doors for robes, etc.

Shoe storage - wooden towel racks that fasten on the back of the bed, or cloth racks that hang from the same area.

A 12 volt mattress pad is great for those cold nights.   Ther are also 110 volt mattress pads are available.

GENERAL
Plastic in/out shelves readily available can be placed above the drivers seat for storage.

To stop the annoying noise from the mini-blinds when on the road, use foam insulation strip on the window frame or one side of a velcro strip to deaden the noise.   The blind adjusting rod can be wrapped with quilt fabric and fastened with a rubber band to keep it from banging against the blinds while moving.   The fabric can be removed easily and replaced or washed when it becomes dirty.

If you encounter freezing weather when running, set the front thermostat on the furnace at 65, which will keep the bays warm.   Discovery engine heaters are so efficient that if you keep the furnace turned lower, the water in your tanks may freeze.   When parked, unhook the outside water.   Use no more than one electric cube heater inside when hooked up to shore power so that the furnace will come on and warm the compartments.   One gallon of cheap Vodka per 1/4 tank of water will keep it from freezing if you run it through all the lines, including the washer and ice-maker lines.   It doesn't hurt the drinking water, just a little taste, and if taken enough perhaps a buzz!

Replacement hardware for cupboards, etc that matches is available at Eagle Hardware or most Home Depot stores.

There is room to put a pantry unit in some rigs by reversing the bedroom door and using the triangular space beside the shower.   There is a unit that is manufactured by one of our members.   Ask around!

FLEETWOOD TIPS

If you are getting a shot of cold water from the shower when it is turned off and then back on again, first, be sure that the outside shower faucets are closed tightly.   This can also result in only warm, not hot, water inside the coach.   If you still have this problem, install a single check-valve on the cold water side.   Use the same type check-valve as the one on the back of the water heater.   This will equalize the flow resistance in the hot and cold water lines.   Sometimes this can be put right into the faucet, otherwise splice into the cold line and put the check-vlave there.

If your shower floor is soft and is making crackling noises, the foam in the shower base is probably broken down.   The shower base must be removed and the foam replaced.   This must be done by a trained technician.   As a stopgap measure, you can use foam from a can to fill the space.

If I furn the generator on while I am driving, everything else turns off.   This is a quirk in the load management system.   Just turn then back on again.

You should run the generator at half load or more for at least two hours each month to keep it in good condition.   This is also good for the seals in the air conditioning units.   You should even due this in the winter when your D is in storage.   In addition to helping to maintain your generator by expelling moisture from the field windings (a major cause of generator failure), running the air conditioners will dehumidify the air in your coach to cut down on steamy windows and condensation.   An electric "cube" heater makes a good load.

If your inverter only runs intermittently, it is probably due to a failure of a spring in a relay in the inverter transfer switch box that breaks and prevents the relay from returning to the "inverter" position.   Later, mechanical loads cause the relay to return to the inverter power position.

There is no danger in using shore power and the generator at the same time.   This can be done if the shore power does not have enough voltage to run both the air conditioners on a hot day.

When storing your D, you can leave it hooked up to ac power.   The inverter will then keep the batteries charged.   If you do not have access to ac power, then the batteries should be disconnected as phantom loads will soon discharge the batteries as the solar charger cannot supply sufficient power to keep the batteries charged when the phantom loads are present.

The icemaker requires ac power for it to work.   This is why it does not make ice when you are dry camping.   However, you can supply ac to the icemaker from an inverter outlet so that it will make ice, but be warned that it takes a lot of power.

In most D's, the back TV is powered from 12v and not ac power.   Some members have reported a poor connection to the 12v power source, so if your TV mysteriously quits, be sure to check this first.   It is possible to power the rear TV from ac, but it will require a new TV power cord.

Note that the Trojan batteries are NOT maintenance-free batteries.   Be sure to check them often when dry camping or in arid climates and top off with DISTILLED water.   In most D's, the Freightliner chassis batteries (two 12v batteries wired in parallel) are maintenance-free and do not require that you check the electrolyte level.   However, if you D does not have sealed batteries, be sure that you check these also and top off with DISTILLED water when necessary.

When you store your D, it is your personal preference as to whether or not the air bags should be dumped.   However, you should use your jacks to take some of the load off the tires.   It will not damage the air bags to use the jacks while the bags are inflated, but the jacks may not have enough travel to level the coach when the bags are up.

Connecting the two LP tanks (for those with the LP generator) is possible, but it MUST be done by a licensed LP gas professional.   Even then, it voids the Federal certification of the system.   (NOTE - several members had this modification done and report no problems.   LazyDays in Tampa did the modification for one member).

If you are adding a CB antenna to your D, get one of the "no ground plane" antennas that are on the market.   Also, get a short one to keep the vertical clearance requirement to a minimum.

Q: What happened when the brake lights on the tow vehicle don't work but the turn indicators do?
A: It depends on the wiring of your coach.   If the turn signals are amber, then a converter box is needed to put the wiring of the turn signals back with the brake lights.   There are lots of kits on the market to do this.

Q:I had a hard time finding what was the problem when the brake lights did not work
A: There is a Freightliner bulletin that says that the two wires from the front to the back are white and the wire from back to front is red.

Q: What happened when the stoplights are out but the center light is on?
A: There is a diode somewhere in the brake light harness.   If the side stop lights are out, but the center light is on, the diode is burned out.   You need to put two diodes in parallel in the brake light circuit to keep this from happening again.   The best way to do this is to find the wire to the stoplights, and splice in a new wire with new diodes around the failed diode.

Is it safe to raise the fuse amperage on the stop light and cruise control circuit to keep it from blowing when towing a vehicle?
A: It is not "officially" recommended - rather, add a relay for the tow vehicle lights to give them a seperate power line that is turned on by the coach stoplights.

Q: Is it more economical to use the dash or the roof air conditioners?
A: Probably the dash air conditioner, but it may be better to use the roof air conditioners in very hot weather as this will cool the coach better and also take a big heat load off your engine.

What is the best way to hang things on the wall?
A: Audience input included velcro, heavy-duty velcro, self-stick hooks and glue-on hooks.   Also, for a cabinet in the bathroom, there is a single stud that is pretty-much centered on the wall behind the commode.   Also, Fleetwood can supply diagrams that show where studs and wires are in the walls of your D.

CUMMINS TIPS
Cummins reported that about 10% of the ISB engines suffer from fuel return line failures.   A temporary fix may be a piece of 3/16" hose and a couple of hose clamps to splice the broken line.   Kit #42485 will replace the existing return lines.   These will be replaced by Cummins on failure.   There is NO RECALL.   (NOTE - Dodge uses the same Cummins ISB engine in their pickup trucks.   Dodge DID INSTITUE a recall for their customers).

Cummins recommends changing the engine oil every 15,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first.   (NOTE - this only applies if you use the Cummins oil filter).   The use of synthetic oil does not extend this oil change interval.   The use of synthetic oil is OK as long as it meets Cummins requirements, but it should not be used until the engine has reached at least 20,000 miles.

MISC TIPS

Does your water pump run for intermittent short bursts for no apparent reason? (NOTE: This is not to be confused with the three or four quick bursts of the water pump, which is due to the ice maker working).   If so, here are some things to check, in the most logical order:

  1. First, check and make sure that your outside shower faucets are tightly closed.
  2. Second, perhaps your water heater has lost its air space.   To check and rectify, first turn your water heater off for a while and ensure that the water is no longer hot.   Then, turn your water pump off and open a hot water faucet.   Then, open the relief valve (the copper thing) on the exterior of your water heater.   If water drains out, then you have lost your air pocket.   Let the water drain, and then close the hot water faucet and turn the pump back on.   You may have to repeat this step to ensure that your air pocket has been established.
  3. Last, you may have a small leak.   This can be hard to find, especially for the pre-2000 models.   The 2000 models have a manifold-type water distribution system which you can use to help isolate the problem.