Energy

energy

With our coach in a climate controlled storage facility for the winter, I found myself a tad anxious. Did I remember to look after everything before the coach went into storage?

One area of concern: batteries.

We happen to have a lot of batteries on our coach. Two of them for the automotive system. Eight for the house.

When I did some research on how to maintain batteries, this was what I found:

WATERING – MONTHLY CHECK THE LEVEL IN EVERY CELL AND FILL THE BATTERIES TO THE CORRECT LEVELS AS REQUIRED. The use of a battery-watering gun will assist in accurately completing this task. Water should be added, if needed, after the charging has been completed unless the tops of the internal plates are exposed. In that case, water should be added before charging. Be sure that a water suitable for watering batteries (colorless, odorless, tasteless, and suitable for drinking), preferably distilled water, is utilized. If you have any doubt as to the suitability of the water, have it tested and add an appropriate water line filter, if required. It is most important that all battery cells be filled to the correct level in order to obtain good battery life and minimize corrosion to the electrical system and vehicle.

CLEANING – MONTHLY WASH THE BATTERY TOPS WITH A SOLUTION OF 1/4 CUP (60ML) BAKING SODA TO 1 1/2 GALLONS (6 TO 1) OF CLEAR WATER. After watering spray the tops and sides of the batteries, the battery wiring and the battery racks with baking soda solution; let the solution stand for at least five minutes to allow the neutralization to take place. Rinse the entire area with a low- pressure spray of clean water. Do not wash electrical components with direct stream of high pressure water. If any evidence of corrosion is evident (green powered foam), spray again with baking soda and let the solution stand for at least 5 minutes before rinsing; repeat if required. Never wash batteries without first neutralizing the entire battery area with a baking soda solution.

Well. That seems really involved.

In all my years owning and driving cars, I have never once added water or cleaned the battery.

That obviously changes with a coach.

We will be making a visit to the storage facility to see how the Castaway is doing. And I will bring some distilled water with me.

I will check the water levels and make sure that they are topped up.

Cleaning will have to wait until the spring.

Hopefully it won’t be as major a job as this one.

Cool RV Designs

coolrvs

When we were at the Hershey show earlier this year, both Lorraine and I noticed that most of the RV manufacturers were really close in terms of their basic design. This was especially true for the 5th wheel and trailer models with the exception of the Airstream products.

That said, there are some very interesting RV designs out there.

Case in point, the Mehrzeller – the multicellular caravan.

Not sure that it would be my first choice but it is a very unique design. You can find out more about them here.

mehrzellerext

mehrzellerint

Newmar Factory Service

service

Our coach, 605889, also known as the Castaway, will be making its way down to Newmar’s Factory in April of 2017. We will be there for five working days.

The main item for this trip is installing windows in the bedroom slideout end walls. We had neglected to ensure that we had windows in our bedroom when we had the coach built. An oversight on our part and one that we wish to correct. We also have a few warranty items on our list:

  1. Adjust full wall slideout for level
  2. Replace one cracked tile
  3. Touch up floor tile grout on one tile
  4. Secure fabric edging on bedroom entry doorway
  5. Resolve mechanical noise  — clanging sound — in front wall slide just behind driver’s seat
  6. Resolve kitchen sink leak
  7. Resolve periodic half bath odour
  8. Check front wheels for balance
  9. Fully seal passenger side mirror
  10. Repair clear coat on driver’s side DEF tank
  11. Repair trim on passenger side slideout (this one is on us)

I received the service notification from Newmar last week. It included this service letter (I did make a few minor redactions related to access codes into the buildings and WiFi codes):

serviceappointment

We are scheduled for service building 11. We received the confirmation of the work order for the windows and we received a service information package along with our window tag. We need to forward our warranty items to Newmar this week otherwise everything is all confirmed.

The trip will take about 10 hours and, for the way we travel, two days each way with a five day service duration. Nine days for this particular trip.

Our warranty list is quite short which talks to the quality of the Newmar coach.

Mike Griffin has an excellent set of posts on what to expect and what to do when down to the Newmar Factory in Nappanee. You can read them here and here.

Looking forward to making this trip and doing the Newmar factory tour. And really looking forward to being back in the coach. I miss it already and it has only been a week.

Felonius Gru

minions

We finally made it back home from Florida. Very busy week. Lots of meetings with important folks like Gru.

Returned home to near freezing temperatures so it was a good thing that we had put the coach into storage before we left on our travels.

Storing a Coach

storedcoach

This is where we have left our coach until April of 2017.

Gan 401 Storage offers roughly 160,000 square feet of climate controlled storage. Errol, the owner, and Mike, the building superintendent, helped guide me in to this sprawling building, the site of a former manufacturing company that used to make dashboards for cars. This former plant now holds roughly 150 cars, 150 boats and a handful of Class A coaches, keeping them warm and dry over the harsh Canadian winter.

Getting the coach into our assigned spot proved to be a challenging test of navigating backwards, not once but twice.

Both times were successful however when Errol and Mike learned that we would need to pull the coach out in April, they decided that it was best to move us to another location in the building.

Although the space is quite large inside, there are support columns everywhere and most of the turns are very tight. Easy to maneuver forward, much more demanding to maneuver backwards especially in a dimly lit building. Very hard to see clearly through the mirrors.

That was probably the most difficult part of getting the coach stored.

We had cleaned out the coach before heading to the storage facility. I then completed one final circle check of the coach and everything looked fine.

Once we arrived to the storage facility and parked the coach into our assigned spot, I lowered the jacks and I made a few changes to the onboard systems of the coach.

We are plugged into a 15-amp service for the winter. This will keep our batteries charged. However, I did not want any of the 120 AC service to be available and that meant turning off the inverter but making sure that the charger was still active. I then set the power management system to read a 15-amp service.

I went back to the fuse system and turned off most of the fuses in the coach. I wanted to make sure that most of the 120 AC services were turned off at the breaker panel.

The final change was to the hot water heater. I had been using the diesel burner for most of the season and, since the coach would not need hot water during storage, I made sure to set the source of heat to off. No diesel, no AC.

Climate systems had been turned off. Ice had been cleared from the fridge — I left the fridge doors slightly open to allow the moisture to dissipate. Black and grey tanks had been emptied. Half a tank of diesel fuel left in the fuel tank.

That was pretty much it. We are in Florida this week and once we return home we will drop by to make sure that everything is working okay with the coach.