Welcome to the first month of our Full Time RV Living Blog. As I mentioned elsewhere in this site, RVs experience a ‘mini-earthquake’ every time they are moved. Things will break and need to be fixed. Even though we have a new RV we can not avoid this. As we spend more time in our RV we are also making small changes to make it better fit our needs……..
Slow beginnings – Hydraulic line failure
All was set for me to hook up my truck and leave the dealership with our new RV, our tech, Hunter, had given a walkthrough and was about to send me on my way. We just needed to bring in the four room slides, raise the center and rear jacks and adjust the front to be level with my truck’s 5th wheel hitch.
The slides did not retract fully, then a pool of hydraulic fluid appeared on the ground. A hydraulic fluid return line had blown off its connector near to the pump. Hunter quickly got to work tracing the line in the underbelly of the RV, as I realized I could be there for quite a while.
The line could not be re-crimped, so a call was made to a local auto parts store and a new line was produced. The new line was installed, underbelly secured and I was good to go 5 hours after I arrived at the dealership. I was glad that the line broke there, had it happened at a campground I could have been stranded with slides half out or half in.
Who needs a wine rack? – Not me
As you can probably imagine, storage space is at a premium within an RV, especially in the kitchen. Our RV came with a six bottle wine storage rack built in above the microwave. This made no sense to us. Maybe we would have one bottle of wine every now and then, but we would never need space for six. I was struggling for a place for herbs and spices to be stored and so decided to repurpose the area.
Initially I just removed the whole rack, but it left the cabinet looking somewhat unfinished. Instead I removed indented pieces of wood which would have held wine bottles, leaving just the front one and I had the extra storage space I needed.
A kitchen faucet issue – Trapped counterweight
Our kitchen faucet has a pull out hose sprayer head. This worked fine, but could only be pulled out if the drawer below the sink housing two trash cans, was pulled out first.
On inspection I found a counterweight on the sprayer line which helps retract it was low and became snagged on the rear trash can when I tried to pull the sprayer head.
An easy fix, I just loosened one screw, raised and secured the counterweight so it is always above the trash can.
A good night’s sleep? – Maybe not
From our experience, RVs are typically not equipped with the most comfortable mattresses. When we owned our first RV, it wasn’t long before we added a three inch memory foam topper. That greatly improved the quality of our sleep. When we bought our second RV, the memory foam was transferred.
Our new RV, however, came with a King size bed. Although the pillow top mattress was the best we had experienced in an RV, it wasn’t long before Amber was complaining of being unable to get a good night’s sleep. A trip was made to our storage unit and I replaced the RV mattress with our residential Tempur-Pedic one. It has the same footprint as the other mattress, but being much deeper reaches right up to the shelves at either side of the bed. It works for us though and Amber is a happy camper!
Getting organized – A basket case
As we got used to living in our new RV we continued to work on organization of the storage areas we had available.
We found there was an overhang at the head of the bed, under which we could use the space as additional bedroom storage.
The cabinet at in the rear living area has an open center section, which could be used for more food storage. I also needed some baskets to hold herbs and spices now that I had modified the wine rack. We measured each space and made a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond, buying wire baskets for the herbs and spices and fabric covered baskets for the other areas. We now actually have some spare storage space!
More organization – Tool storage
When we left the house, I placed all the tools I thought I needed in the underfloor pass-through storage area with no particular arrangement. Now was time to give them some order.
I bought a technicians tool bag from Home Depot for my RV related tools. It has many pockets so I can now quickly locate what I need.
Other tools went in a plastic toolbox I already had. With my two inverter generators, a new home for everything was found in the front storage bay. The sides of this area have a laddered frame, so I cut two pieces of timber to make an upper shelf, adding more storage space for plastic totes.
It’s too warm – AC tweaks
On arrival at the campground I could only run one AC as I positioned the RV next to our old one to transfer possessions across and only a 30 amp supply was available. After I moved it to a 50 amp site and cranked up both ACs, it was evident that the system was not working as good as it could, air flow was poor from some vents and the inside temperature became uncomfortable in the afternoons.
Yes, we’re in Texas and having 100 degree days, but I knew it should be cooler.
As I had done with our previous RV, I proceeded to work my way through the system starting with the bedroom AC, then the ducted ceiling vents and finally the living area AC. Inside the AC units I used AC tape to seal and possible leaks, smooth any airflow obstructions and removed pieces of TPO (the rubber roof material) that were covering the outlets to the ducts.
The living area AC unit had a badly positioned warm / cold divider baffle allowing warm air to mix with cooled air. This was remedied and more tape used to prevent it from being dislodged.
I checked all the ceiling vents, removing excess duct material, reseating and sealing the vent body to improve air flow and prevent air leaks in to the roof space. With these tweaks the inside temperature was around 10 degrees cooler in the afternoon than it had previously been, now it was comfortable:)
Washer / dryer combo install – Splendide 2100XC
The campground we are currently residing in has a free washing machine. That’s nice to have, but it is only one machine for everyone here to use. It can be difficult to find a time when it is not in use. Also, having a washer / dryer onboard was on Amber’s list of ‘must-haves’ for living in an RV full time.
Our RV came ready prepped for install in one of the bedroom closets. I figured I could reinstall the sliding drawers which currently filled the closet just they would be closer together above the washer / dryer, so I wouldn’t lose too much storage. The washer dyer was heavy and difficult to maneuver within the RV. I made things a little easier by removing the top panel to take out one of the two concrete stabilizers from the top of the drum, replacing them once it was in place.
I wasn’t looking forward to cutting a four inch diameter hole in the side wall of my new RV to accommodate the dryer vent. I measured many times, looking inside and out before proceeding with a hole saw on my rechargeable drill. It is in just the right location:) I was able to re-use three of the four drawers after refashioning the rear support for the rails, having the washer / dryer in place, it could no-longer reach down to the floor.
Check back next month for more on full time living in a Keystone Avalanche 365MB
Distance traveled 180 miles
2 Campgrounds visited during July 2017