Winter Storage

frozen

In a few short weeks we will be taking our coach to a climate controlled storage facility for the winter.

I wasn’t really sure how to get the coach ready so I posed the question on the iRV2 forum and, within a few minutes, I had an answer, from a fellow Canadian no less:

I also store my coach in a climate controlled facility. I also have 15 amp power. So, here’s what I do.
* Air down to bottom
* Adjust charger to 15 amp shore power and reduce the charge rate 10%
* Shut off water pump and empty ice maker
* Shut off inverter
* Shut off all 120 ac breakers except main
* Confirm AGS (Auto Genset Start) is not enabled

Oh, and of course plug it in and verify that charger is responding and drawing very little power.

NOTE: DO NOT turn off batteries at switch overhead driver.

I store mine 165 miles from home, so I have to get it right. Hope this helps and I have not missed anything. If I have, hopefully someone will jump in.

Fuel Stops

fuelstop

After our little adventure with being locked inside our coach, we were a bit tentative in terms of how to operate the door of our coach. On our return leg from the Hershey RV show, we were a bit nervous every time we went to open the door from the inside.

We now understand what caused the door mechanism to jam: we must unlock the door first before trying to open it. We just did not learn that until after we got back home.

Refueling a large coach like the Castaway means planning ahead. Most gas stations are too tight for a coach our size. We generally look for a Flying J on our route and we make our fuel stop there. We have gone into the truck stops and used the fueling stations there but it is a bit of a different experience.

Here is a short video of me leaving the RV fueling station at the New Milford, Pennsylvania Flying J:

I find the Flying Js to be a lot calmer than the truck stops. We have a Flying J credit card which allows us to pay at the pump and we get a small discount off the cost of fuel. Most of the truck stops require a pay first, pump after protocol. I also find the RV lanes at the Flying J to be cleaner than the truck stops. In the truck lanes there is usually a lot of spillage around the pump area.

One thing that I have learned when fueling the Castaway is to watch out when topping up the tank. I make an educated guess as to how much fuel I need for the coach and I ease back considerably on the pump when I get close to that estimate. My first time out I filled at a truck stop and I had the fuel spill out all over me. This was due to the higher pressure for the pump and the tendency for the diesel fuel to foam. By the time the tank had filled there was simply too much fuel still on its way. It spilled all over my hands and feet.

The smell of diesel stays on you for quite a while.

I now use disposable gloves when I fill the tank. I add fuel from the side of the coach well behind the fuel cap as opposed to directly in front of it. And I am fine to be close to a full tank. Not completely full. Not over full. Just close enough.

How to Clean the Windshield

cleanwindshield

Yesterday I posted about cleaning the inside of the windshield. And today? My approach to cleaning the outside of the windshield. Well, not my approach. The approach that I follow. I use the same approach for my car as I do for the coach. The only difference is that it takes a lot more time to clean the windshield of the coach. Oh, and there are ladders involved with the coach.

Cleaning the exterior windshield is a four-step process:

  1. Clean the windshield thoroughly with an automotive glass cleaner like Invisible Glass. I usually wash and dry the front cap first and then use the cleaner. Apply with a microfiber cloth using random circular motions. Buff out in an up and down motion. Given the size of the windshield, I generally place my ladder in four positions to clean. By necessity, I have to work in smaller sections.
  2. Clay the windshield. The video suggests using hot water. I use a detailing spray, Griot’s Speed Shine. The important point is to have some lubrication for the clay to do its work. Wipe of the excess spray with a microfiber cloth.
  3. Clean the windshield again as in step 1.
  4. Wax the windshield. I, however, do not use wax. I use Griot’s Glass Sealant. The application process is a bit different as the sealant gets applied two times. One coat applied, buffed and then a second coat applied, buffed. If you follow the video, you will only apply one coat of wax.

And that’s it.

Now go and enjoy those amazing panoramic views through a super clean windshield.

The video is from ChrisFix. His videos really helped me in my quest to get a super clean windshield.

How to Clean the Inside of a Windshield

superclean

Dirty windshields. They really bother me. And for years, I’ve tried lots of different approaches to getting them really clean. All have fallen short for me until I came across this video:

This is basically the approach:

  1. Use a clean microfiber cloth and, with a circular motion, wipe down the interior windshield. I break the windshield down into more manageable sections because the Castaway has a really, really big windshield. Once a section is wiped down, turn the cloth to an unused section and wipe down again in an up and down motion.
  2. Use the secret ingredient to get the inside of that windshield really clean: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I’ve also used the original Magic Eraser and it works just fine. Apply using circular motions. Once done, quickly grab a clean microfiber cloth and dry the windshield off using circular motions.
  3.  Then take your favourite automotive glass cleaner — mine is Invisible Glass — and, with a clean microfiber cloth, use circular motions to apply the product to the windshield. Buff using a clean part of the cloth in an up and down motion

I am astonished at how clean it makes the windshield. It takes a bit of time to get the windshield of the coach detailed but on a nice sunny day, it is wonderful to look out of a windshield devoid of any haze or streaks on the interior.

I’ll share my method of getting the outside windshield really clean in another post.

Mirrors

mirrors

Being able to work with the mirrors of our coach has been a bit of a learning experience. Seeing what is happening around the coach is critically important. It took me a bit of time to learn the best way to position and adjust our mirrors.

The mirror on the passenger side of our coach extends in front of our motorhome.

RWC_3801

Apparently, most coaches have this mirror set incorrectly.

The best way to check is to stand in front of the coach and look down the passenger side. The inside of the head of the mirror should look like it is just touching the coach. When it is set flush to the side of the coach, you get the best overall view. When we received our coach, our mirror was set in too far.

The mirror on the driver’s side of our coach is swung around to the back.

RWC_3791

A number of Dutch Star owners do not like this look. They think it lacks symmetry and some people have rotated the mirror forward. The driver’s side mirror is on a short arm so I am not sure how well it would truly balance the look of the coach. I also wonder whether the corner post would get in the way when positioning the mirror properly. I suspect that Newmar went with the short arm for a reason: to maximize visibility and to give the driver’s side a bit more maneuvering room.

My driver’s side mirror remains swung around to the back. The mirror is aligned in the same fashion as the passenger side mirror so that when I look at the mirror from the front, it looks as though it is just touching the coach.

With the mirror heads positioned properly, there are a few additional adjustments.

With the flat part of the mirror, I move it until I can just make out the side of the coach along the inside edge. I do not need to see very much of the side of the coach with my flat mirror. I adjust the flat part of the mirror so that I can see the horizon at about one quarter of the way down. I do not need to see a lot of sky when driving.

With the convex part of the mirror, I adjust it so that I can see out horizontally to the ground and the side of the coach.

I’m still learning how to drive confidently with the mirrors. I use them far more frequently that I would ever use the mirrors of a car. And that makes them far more important for driving safely.