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Old 05-22-2022, 02:41 PM   #1
Skysurfing
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New owner with some questions.

We will be taking title to a barely used, single owner, 2013 High Country 343RL tomorrow and have some questions before we move it to its new home. For the foreseeable future, this will be parked on a slab behind our business so that our kids have a place to hang out while we are working. We don't currently have a truck, nor plans to camp in it so it may never move and may always be on shore power and city water. We live outside of Asheville, NC so we have moderate four seasons with avg Highs/Lows in July of 83/63 and 46/26 in January.

1. Most winter days are above freezing but we'll get cold fronts where highs are in the teens and lows are in the single digits so I'm trying to figure out what we should do during the winter. What would we need to do if we wanted to be able to have water for dishes/cooking? Year round, the kids can come inside the shop for the bathroom (especially #2 lol) so if there is a risk of things freezing, we could just not use water at all during the colder months but it would be nice if we could insulate it enough to leave everything operational year round and not have to winterize it.

2. Our 343Rl has a single A/C unit. Will that likely be sufficient to cool the bedroom on mid 80's days or will we likely want to add a 2nd A/C to the bedroom? My daughter will likely hang out in the bedroom when she wants alone time so I'm hoping the single A/C is adequate.

3. When we went to look at new 5th wheels to decide if it made sense, the guy at Camping World told us that you should ideally close the slides during heavy rains because "all slides leak over time". It's not Florida rain, but we do get some heavy rainfalls multiple times a week during the Summer so it would be a pain to have to run out and close the slides several times a week so is that really necessary or are these slides built well enough that they don't leak? The current owner has left the slides out for a couple months and said it never leaked. Ours doesn't have awnings over the slides so would it be a good idea to add those if we wanted to leave the slides open? If the kids are only going to come in 2-3 days per week, would it be wise to shut the slides when they aren't there or not worth the hassle?

4. Are the slides strong enough to be left open unsupported for periods of time or would it be wise to wedge some 4x4 posts under each one to help support them if the answer to #3 is, "there's no problem leaving your slides open all Summer"?

5. The roof looks like it's in good condition and they've never had any leaks but the 5th wheel is 9 years old. Should I preemptively do any maintenance to the roof to reseal it?

6. The owner said theirs didn't come from the factory with a generator but they had an Onan installed shortly after buying it. However, the generator hasn't been used in several years and isn't currently working. She said it worked fine the last time they used it but that it needs to be serviced to find out why it's not running. They gave us a huge price reduction for that so I'm not too concerned (especially since we don't need the generator) but am curious what are some things I can check to see why it's not working. I know it's best to run generators regularly so it's not great that this one has hardly ever been used. Are there any good posts or web pages about how to troubleshoot/service them?

7. The inside is immaculate but the outside is dirty/chaulky. What is the best way to clean/buff it to get it looking good again?

Thanks so much for all the help!
 
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Old 05-22-2022, 03:27 PM   #2
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Dane,

First, welcome to the forum!

1. It is fairly easy to blow out the water lines quickly to winterize if you have a compressor handy. Otherwise you could use some antifreeze. Make a decision based on how much you use it.

2. May be a challenge with single air on high humidity days.

3/4. Leave the slides out and they do not need support.

5. Clean and inspect the roof, reseal if the inspection shows a need.

6. Genny likely has old gas gumming it up.

7. Use a good marine cleaner/wax.
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Old 05-22-2022, 04:36 PM   #3
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Dane, good advice from Zack. I would add that as long as you have your heat on you shouldn’t have an issue. We have had a 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2021 Montana. Years ago when we seasonaled, we were three hours away. Our rule of thumb was as long as it got above freezing at some point during the day, we would be fine. When it gets below freezing, do disconnect your water hose. Our first unit came with one AC. Okay in the 80’s, struggled in the 90’s and above. Slide toppers where we live (on the side of a mountain) we routinely get winds up to 60-100 mph. Toppers don’t hold up where we are at, and we don’t have trees. If you don’t routinely see high winds, slide toppers are great. When we lived in the Midwest we had toppers on both Montana’s. Since moving to the mountain, neither have had them. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-23-2022, 08:38 AM   #4
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Good advice above - my input: Insulate basement door openings since you won't really need access. Get genny out, give it away or sell. Consider getting a Mini split system since it won't be moving. They make different air exchangers besides the wall mount. This will economically take care of 95+% of AC/Heat requirements. In the winter set the furnace fan on Low so it will circulate air in basement to take care of plumbing. Get the roof treated after inspection.
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Old 05-23-2022, 09:20 AM   #5
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All the above give good advise. Since you ask about the slides, we've been full time for about 12 years now so our slides stay out all yearround without issues. I am aware of some folks who did have issues because they tried to prop them up and things settled causing their slides to get out of alignment.
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Old 05-23-2022, 12:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ram Montana High Country View Post
Good advice above - my input: Insulate basement door openings since you won't really need access. Get genny out, give it away or sell. Consider getting a Mini split system since it won't be moving. They make different air exchangers besides the wall mount. This will economically take care of 95+% of AC/Heat requirements. In the winter set the furnace fan on Low so it will circulate air in basement to take care of plumbing. Get the roof treated after inspection.
Thanks everyone for the advice!

When you say insulate the basement door openings, does that mean building a skirt all the around that is insulated or just insulate the bottom of the camper? Also, are there specific mini splits for RV's or are you referring to the home units? I take it those are a lot more efficient than the Top mounted RV ACs? Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2022, 12:33 PM   #7
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Before I know if I need to call an electrician to come out and get me setup for shore power, what are the requirements? What can be run on a 110 outlet and what do I need if I want to run the single A/C? Do I need to have a 220 outlet wired or can I get by with a regular outlet? I also have a large propane tank for my business right by where I hope to be parking the RV, is it worth directly connecting to that?

Speaking of parking, the ideal place to have it the most out of the way, would have it where it's partially below and parallel to overhead power lines. With this being almost 13' tall, I'm assuming the left hand slides would be about 3-5' below the lines when extended. Is that safe or do I need to move it over further so that the wires aren't directly over the slides. Space is somewhat limited back there so it would be great to have it under the wires but how close can a camper physically be to those lines (assuming no antennas or people are up on the roof while under the lines)? The previous owner of my business said he used to park a camper in that same spot but I don't want to do anything dangerous since my kids will be hanging out inside. Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2022, 01:24 PM   #8
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I will say you can run one AC with 15 amp circuit with a soft start on the AC. However, you will trip the breaker if you try and run the microwave at the same time. You will want a minimum of 30 amp, 120v for the single AC. If I were going through the expense, I would put in a 50 amp. If down the road you decide you want a second AC, you will either need to redo the work or add soft start. If I had a stationary unit, I would go 50 amp from the start. Then you don’t need to worry about overloading anything. Now, a little bit about RV electrical system. They are 120v, but two legs of 50 amps. Make sure your electrician understands this. Lots of horror stories about people getting zapped by 50 or 30 amp 240v and destroying their electrical system. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-23-2022, 02:28 PM   #9
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If at all possible, don't park directly under the power lines if they are that close to the roof of your camper. Anything can happen (a storm at any time) and knock down that power line. You really don't want that thing draping over the roof of your camper. And you made a good point yourself too. If you, or anyone gets on the roof, the power lines are a real danger.

You will be getting on the roof an you will need to inspect it at least a couple times a year, looking for cracks in the caulking and sealing the cracks up. You will also want to occasionally wash the roof so dirt won't accumulate and black-streak the sides of the camper.

All the other advise is solid!
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Old 05-23-2022, 02:47 PM   #10
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What Ron said is VERY important. You have two legs of 120 volt power not 240 volts.
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Old 05-23-2022, 07:17 PM   #11
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So it sounds like 50amp would be best but if the single AC can keep it comfortable, I could get by with 30 amps? I could tell the kids to turn off the AC before using the microwave. I'm having an electrician come out hopefully soon and I'll explain to him about the 2 legs of 120 and see what my options are. I believe I have 220 in the shed right next to where I'll be parking and the main breaker box is all right there so it should be a fairly easy install. I'm hoping to move the 5th wheel to my site on Thursday but doubt I'll get the electrician out before that. Sounds like I can use a regular outlet in the meantime if I'm not running the AC.
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Old 05-25-2022, 09:44 PM   #12
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A friend helped deliver our camper today and we got it setup. A few more questions...

Are the seals around the slides supposed to flip out when the slide comes out or stay tucked in? The slide on the right automatically flipped out the seal all the way around, 1 slide was partially out but mostly in and the other 2 were in all the way around.

Do these micro cracks in the roof look like I should reseal it or is that normal?

My friend just clipped the fence with the back left corner when he was backing in through a really tight gate and it separated the back of the Camper from the side just a bit. Any recommendations for how to repair that? At minimum could I put some water proof tape or something to keep water out?

Also, the front right light on the top will not go out and I've tried all the switches I can find inside. Is that supposed to remain on all of the time?

Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2022, 03:56 AM   #13
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Slide seals should normally flip outward as the slide comes out. As they age, they get brittle. You may need to moisturize them and clean them up. I use 3in1 RV Rubber Care. It comes in a spray can and you can spray and wipe them with a micro fiber cloth. Don't use anything with petroleum products. It will break down the rubber seals faster.
I don't see any cracks in the roof in the picture. In general, clean the roof with a mix of water and dawn dish soap. Any cracks in the caulk around objects should be cleaned off and resealed using Dicor or something similar.
As for the rear damage, if you can push it back together and reseal with silicone, it may be OK since you're not moving the trailer, but I'd try to get it back together first. Eternabond tape will seal to keep out water, but it won't be pretty.
Not sure which light you are referring to on the right front top. Is it a red clearance light? They should only be on when the tow vehicle is hooked up and headlights are on.
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Old 05-27-2022, 09:54 PM   #14
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On the basement doors, folks have taken foamboard and cut two pieces that stack on the inside of the basement to block off the opening when the door is open, and the outside appearance does not change.

For the MINI-SPLIT, I'd talk with your resi furnace guy. I think he ground mount the exterior unit and run the lines inside. Ask him to look at alternate air handlers for the inside. He might be able to mount in the basement and have it force air thru the floor ducting.

If you don't do the mini split - do set the large LP tank and have a gas person tie it into trailer.

IMHO
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Old 05-27-2022, 11:18 PM   #15
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My have a 2013 Mountaineer. My back wall separated from the sides. Eventually found the studs on the lower wall right in front of the back had broken. You probably don't have that but when I worked on mine, I found out some info for you.


You can pull the rubber strip off the side to get at the screws underneath. These hold the panel that is loose to the rig. Also some bolts underneath that attach the underneath portion to the frame. On the back also remove the rubber strip. I think there is a small piece of metal on the end the sort of holds things in place. Once this is off, you can slide the back rubber off - may be able to just sort of pop it out part way up about 3 feet.
At this point you can see heavy screws that actually hold the back wall to the side. By removing the fender on the side you can see the aluminum studs and see if the screws have stripped thru the stud. Mine was stripped and the dealer just put in new ones nearby. Those stripped after about 2 years, and I tried more screws but the hole got stripped out to be about an inch across!!! No more space for any new screws. That is when the dealer found the studs had broken thru the welds.

I suspect you may be able to remove the fender and the back screws and just put in new screws. The problem may be that the metal that is bent may not want to tighten back.
Good luck!
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Old 05-29-2022, 01:26 PM   #16
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Depends on what you call comfortable. These are not insulated well and 1 AC never worked well for us in NC or anywhere else. Start the 1 ac real early and it may be able to keep up.
Go with 50 amp. 1 ac, microwave, some hits the toaster or hair dryer and pop goes a breaker
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Old 05-29-2022, 02:45 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Skysurfing View Post
Thanks everyone for the advice!

When you say insulate the basement door openings, does that mean building a skirt all the around that is insulated or just insulate the bottom of the camper? Also, are there specific mini splits for RV's or are you referring to the home units? I take it those are a lot more efficient than the Top mounted RV ACs? Thanks!
Regarding the quote that slides leak over time, consider installing slide toppers. We find that they have solved any issues.
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