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Author Topic: Happy and Horrible  (Read 1158 times)

caralex

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Happy and Horrible
« on: November 02, 2017, 09:04:34 AM »
We could be a newbie nightmare except we read and researched and drove and looked before we settled on the 2018 Jayco Precept 31UL. We loved the floor plan as we would be traveling with 5 little dogs and the dinette area would be perfect to make a driving bed area for them and we could enclose it. I - wife here - got the wanderlust bug, even though we are not retired, and we sold our home and bought an RV for 4 weeks of initial traveling and then full-timing. To say I love this life is an understatement. to be able to pull over anywhere, at anytime, to see anything is an incredible freedom. And we saw beauty everywhere we went.

However, on our first trip - 4 weeks long - we ran into some issues and trial by fire (not literally) became our education. When we went to pick up the coach it had not been cleaned and the service people tried to make me feel as if I was an overly picky woman. LOL except that the windshield was still loaded up with stickers papers, there was visible dirt everywhere and heel marks on the furniture like a sales person had been using the coach for an office.  So they promised to clean it and when we went back the next day it was lick and a promise clean and we found a razor blade under the passenger seat! But we had our coach and we were excited - I mean petrified - I mean excited!

Our plan all along had been to park it locally for a week and get to know it while moving out of our home - that was insane. Best laid planes and all. So we ended up hitting the road and we realized how clueless we were. SO we stopped at friends and camped on their driveway for 4 days till we got the courage and hit the road. Our first stop was boondocking in the Mojave National Preserve and it was everything we hoped for. Almost no one nearby. And we enjoyed this incredible opportunity so much. LOVED it. And we had no problems. (the only problem so far was when the fridge would not light but we held the doors open in the fridge and it fired up once the temp rose).  This really is not a travelogue but an explanation that we knew we were newbies but we were committed.

Many other fantastic stops later we ended up in Idaho at the Crater of the Moon National preserve. Boondocking. Beautiful and desolate and cold. Perfect. Until at midnight our heat went off and we would not get it back on. We ended up firing up the generator (and happily no one flipped out) and we had heat. Ok - we could have left but instead we moved the coach to another campsite where the generator could be used and no one would hear it. We were very careful not to disturb others. All was well and we were happy. Until 2 am when the propane heat cut off and the generator stopped running. It was 18 degrees. (Our electric heat only can warm so much and the propane heat is the main warmth.) At 4 am after starting and stopping and checking the pilot light and reading countless manuals with no internet or cell service we turned on the coach itself and warmed it up. So we left the campground and headed to a place to plugin thinking that the battery was not performing (we have two 6 volt deep cycle batteries). Long story longer - we realized that we had lost hot water heater and heater.  Three week old coach. (There are other major issues - like the auto levelling system does not function properly but we are darn good at manually levelling now and other smaller issues). And we did contact the manufacturer and they were pretty unconcerned about any of it.

We ended up finding an RV repair person who was pretty convinced that the regulator was bad and we had him replace it fortunately costing 60 dollars installed. No problems since the replacement but we also have not been below freezing.

So now a month later we are back in So Cal full-timing and I know I need to go to the dealer but I am sad about this. We love our coach and I know it will work out one way or the other but seriously is the list always long for RV repair on a new vehicle? Thanks for letting me dump this on here. I welcome any comments.
Alex and Carlynne
RV Newbies since September 2017 and never looking back.
2018 Jayco Precept 31UL
2018 Chevrolet Equinox
Barking down the road with Jerry, Mini, Delilah and Honey.

Dance Chick

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2017, 11:13:29 AM »
So sorry for your problems to date, but I'm surprised you hadn't read the numerous threads and comments about all the issues with new RVs. It's being talked about all the time on this forum as well as others. So, in answer to your question, yes, there appears to be a long list of RV repairs on a new one. Your original idea to
stay close to home was a good one. You didn't say why that didn't pan out, and probably longer than a week would've been a good idea. Glad things seem to have settled down. Enjoy your new RV and your new lifestyle.
Gene, Gayle, & Oliver (the dog-but don't tell him)
2006 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40 PDQ/2012 Honda CRV toad
Blue Ox towing/Air Force One braking
"And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

caralex

  • Posts: 4
Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2017, 01:10:18 PM »
We did read, but we thought, as many do that we might escape that.
Alex and Carlynne
RV Newbies since September 2017 and never looking back.
2018 Jayco Precept 31UL
2018 Chevrolet Equinox
Barking down the road with Jerry, Mini, Delilah and Honey.

RVRAC

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2017, 01:58:18 PM »
Welcome to the forum!  Everyone who bought a new unit will tell you stories on what we found wrong once we started to use them.  The good news is that once things are taken care of things get better. We started spending four months on the road and now we are spending 6 months because we like it.  Wish you well.
2017 Leprechaun 311 FS
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot
American Dolly
Home: WI
Snowbird 6 months/yr.

caralex

  • Posts: 4
Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2017, 10:37:15 PM »
Thanks for the warm welcome and the encouraging words. We did not let the bumps affect our trip.
Alex and Carlynne
RV Newbies since September 2017 and never looking back.
2018 Jayco Precept 31UL
2018 Chevrolet Equinox
Barking down the road with Jerry, Mini, Delilah and Honey.

JackL

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 05:03:38 AM »
We could be a newbie nightmare except we read and researched and drove and looked before we settled on the 2018 Jayco Precept 31UL. We loved the floor plan as we would be traveling with 5 little dogs and the dinette area would be perfect to make a driving bed area for them and we could enclose it. I - wife here - got the wanderlust bug, even though we are not retired, and we sold our home and bought an RV for 4 weeks of initial traveling and then full-timing. To say I love this life is an understatement. to be able to pull over anywhere, at anytime, to see anything is an incredible freedom. And we saw beauty everywhere we went.

However, on our first trip - 4 weeks long - we ran into some issues and trial by fire (not literally) became our education. When we went to pick up the coach it had not been cleaned and the service people tried to make me feel as if I was an overly picky woman. LOL except that the windshield was still loaded up with stickers papers, there was visible dirt everywhere and heel marks on the furniture like a sales person had been using the coach for an office.  So they promised to clean it and when we went back the next day it was lick and a promise clean and we found a razor blade under the passenger seat! But we had our coach and we were excited - I mean petrified - I mean excited!

Our plan all along had been to park it locally for a week and get to know it while moving out of our home - that was insane. Best laid planes and all. So we ended up hitting the road and we realized how clueless we were. SO we stopped at friends and camped on their driveway for 4 days till we got the courage and hit the road. Our first stop was boondocking in the Mojave National Preserve and it was everything we hoped for. Almost no one nearby. And we enjoyed this incredible opportunity so much. LOVED it. And we had no problems. (the only problem so far was when the fridge would not light but we held the doors open in the fridge and it fired up once the temp rose).  This really is not a travelogue but an explanation that we knew we were newbies but we were committed.

Many other fantastic stops later we ended up in Idaho at the Crater of the Moon National preserve. Boondocking. Beautiful and desolate and cold. Perfect. Until at midnight our heat went off and we would not get it back on. We ended up firing up the generator (and happily no one flipped out) and we had heat. Ok - we could have left but instead we moved the coach to another campsite where the generator could be used and no one would hear it. We were very careful not to disturb others. All was well and we were happy. Until 2 am when the propane heat cut off and the generator stopped running. It was 18 degrees. (Our electric heat only can warm so much and the propane heat is the main warmth.) At 4 am after starting and stopping and checking the pilot light and reading countless manuals with no internet or cell service we turned on the coach itself and warmed it up. So we left the campground and headed to a place to plugin thinking that the battery was not performing (we have two 6 volt deep cycle batteries). Long story longer - we realized that we had lost hot water heater and heater.  Three week old coach. (There are other major issues - like the auto levelling system does not function properly but we are darn good at manually levelling now and other smaller issues). And we did contact the manufacturer and they were pretty unconcerned about any of it.

We ended up finding an RV repair person who was pretty convinced that the regulator was bad and we had him replace it fortunately costing 60 dollars installed. No problems since the replacement but we also have not been below freezing.

So now a month later we are back in So Cal full-timing and I know I need to go to the dealer but I am sad about this. We love our coach and I know it will work out one way or the other but seriously is the list always long for RV repair on a new vehicle? Thanks for letting me dump this on here. I welcome any comments.

"5 dogs"  ?????

Jack L

SeilerBird

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 05:22:52 AM »
I don't think there is anything wrong with your unit. You can't boondock and run your heater endlessly. You will either run out of electricity or propane or both.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2017, 08:16:52 AM »
As Seilerbird says, you run out of 12v power when boondocking - those two batteries are not infinite. Especially with the furnace running heavily - its fan is a substantial amp consumer.  You also should expect possible LP problems at 18 degrees.  The LP in the tank simply doesn't vaporize well when the tank gets that cold, plus the chill-effect of the flow through the regulator tends to freeze it up. I'm not saying it can't ever work at 18, but problems such as yours are not rare either. Wrapping some insulation around regulator and maybe the exposed portions of the tank may help.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

99dart

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2017, 09:22:53 AM »
Caralex, Welcome and GOOD FOR YOU! For saying good-bye to the "norm of the rat race"! I'm sure you will get the bugs worked out of the coach and learn a thing-or-three from reading the forum. The next trip may even be trouble free! Ahh...but don't be surprised if something new comes out to play!  LOL  Enjoy your new lifestyle, be happy! God Bless!
2016 Thor Quantum WS31
2014 Ford Focus toad
1998 Four Winds Chateau -- sold

Spring Creek

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2017, 11:44:08 AM »
I'm no propane expert but I've certainly not had the same experience.  Last year we dry camped and it was about 10 degrees F (2 nights) and we had no issues.  Unless some RV's have something that I am unaware of (quite possible), no one should have issues at 18 above.

In home applications it has to get to minus 25 or 30 F before the propane has issues vaporizing.  Generally in the lower 48 there are no issues (yes it get's that cold here in Iowa).  My uncle lives in Alaska and they do have to use heating oil (in the interior of the state where it gets to 60 below) because propane does freeze at those temperatures.

EDIT: propane boils at -44F.  This causes a pressure drop and the tank freezes (powerblanket.com)
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 11:50:43 AM by Spring Creek »
Kurt
2018 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 31K - 2011 Equinox

OLDRACER

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2017, 01:01:20 PM »
The condition of your coach when you first saw it, before you bought it,  should have been a warning.  No reputable dealership would show a coach in the condition you describe.

Old_Crow

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2017, 06:19:38 AM »
We just spent 5 months out at the north rim of the Grand Canyon hosting.  While there, the propane company came out and hooked our coach up to a 250 tank.  They had a regulator on the tank itself and hooked into our system, bypassing the tank and on board regulator.
Worked fine all summer long until the first couple of weeks of October when night time temps dropped into the 20's.  The first night that happened I woke up to 40 degrees and both furnaces blowing cold air.  There I was in my PJ's, switching back to my on board tank at 3AM. 
The next morning the big tank was working fine.  I ended up putting a drop light with a 45watt bulb under the weather cover of the big tank with the regulator.  Never had another bit of trouble, even the night it dropped to 12F.
So, yes, extremely low temps can cause trouble with propane delivery systems.
Wally Crow
Retired 30 year ASE Master Auto Tech
Y2K Bounder 36S F53
'03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2017, 12:30:51 PM »
Quote
I'm no propane expert but I've certainly not had the same experience.  Last year we dry camped and it was about 10 degrees F (2 nights) and we had no issues.  Unless some RV's have something that I am unaware of (quite possible), no one should have issues at 18 above.

"No one should..." is an optimistic viewpoint in my opinion. There are a number of variables and one person's positive experience is no guarantee that others will be the same. One major variable is the blend of gases in the LP, and another is moisture content. Full vs empty has a moderate effect on vapor rates, and some regulators and tank installations are more susceptible to wind chill or temperature than others.

LP is rarely 100% propane, and blends made for warmer regions typically have a relatively high percentage of butane. Butane performs better than propane in hotter climates, but poorer in the cold. Other hydrocarbon gases may be included as well. That's why it is labeled LP (Liquefied Petroleum) gas instead of "propane".

Pure propane boils at -44 F., but the blend is rarely pure. Further, the rate of vaporization is heavily affected by temperature and vapor rates are relatively low in sub-freezing weather.  Using pure propane as a benchmark, the vapor pressure at 18 degrees is only about 1/3rd that at 60 degrees.

Theoretically the amount of LP in the tank has no effect on vapor pressure, but the amount of liquid vs vapor in conjunction with temperature does have a modest effect.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Spring Creek

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2017, 12:54:43 PM »
Great points Gary...I'll be careful how I word things in the future.  Never say never and never say always, right?  ::)

I will say though, in over 50 years "I've never seen or heard" of anyone living in our area having to warm up their regulator to get propane to flow to their house, grain bin, heated shop, etc.  So while I have very, very limited experiences with RV propane systems, I'm perplexed as to why this happens on an RV at +20F but not routinely in areas where the temperature is MUCH colder for MUCH longer periods.

So my experience is limited but I called the propane guy...he said "never happens unless you get to below minus 20 or minus 25F and then it's rare".

You may have identified the variable...the mix of LP could be different here because of the cold climate.

I'll continue to be optimistic....and make sure I buy my propane around here  ;D

Kurt
2018 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 31K - 2011 Equinox

JudyJB

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2017, 02:25:10 AM »
I had at least 20 things that needed to be fixed under warranty over the first year, most in the first couple of months.  That's just how these things are, but I am still am happy I bought new.

One thing--watch the dealer service people like hawks and check what they do.  (Also, warn them that you don't expect them to track dirt into your clean home, etc.)  And, don't assume that if they say they fixed something that they really fixed it.  I had problems with my dealer refusing to fix things by saying I broke them so it was my fault.  I complained to the factory customer service folks and ended up taking it to them for some of the warranty stuff.  They not only fixed stuff without blaming me, but they fixed it right the first time.  Luckily, the factory was not too far out of my way on my travels.  It was worth going out of my way to get technicians that really knew what they were doing!! 

Welcome to the world of RV ownership!!
Full-timing for over five years in a
2012 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger 31N

DearMissMermaid

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2017, 03:35:01 AM »
I think I would just go camp out at the dealers, living in their lot parked at  the front door with 5 dogs until they repaired all the warranty issues. Set up camp as if you are there for the long haul.  ;D

Even a big sign on the rig "Sorry for the inconvenience, just waiting on warranty repairs..."

Ah wishful thinking!

What I know about RV's after 7+ years of 24/7 fulltiming is that:

A-If you use the rig, it falls apart
B-If you don't use the rig, it falls apart

I started off old and used to see if I liked the lifestyle. Eight years later I am still in my old and used rig, puttering and sputtering along. Some of my own repairs that I've learned to do along the way seem superior to what I've seen others have paid to have done for them. It's mind boggling.

I am truly amazed that in this day and age, customer service seems to be at an all time low.  :o
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Utclmjmpr

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2017, 04:41:17 AM »
 At those temps,, I am surprised that your water system did not freeze,,many RVs do not have the water system bays heated and you have to be very careful to watch predicted low temps.>>>Dan
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2017, 05:06:46 AM »
A few years back, one of the Quartzsite propane dealers got a deal on some Mexican LPG and sold it for a really good price.  Turned out it was mostly butane, and there were a lot of unhappy customers when a cold snap hit and nighttime temperatures got down into the 30s.

About 20 years ago, I had a 10 Kw propane generator on a mountaintop that someone had plumbed for vapor instead of the intended liquid feed.  Worked fine for a couple of hours, then would stop from fuel starvation.  By the time I got up the mountain it would start and run again.  Turned out the rate of vaporization would chill the tanks enough to freeze them.  It wasn't the regulator freezing, the tanks themselves were coated with ice.

I had the propane dealer change the tanks to liquid feed (changing the depth of the dip tube attached to the tank outlet so it drew liquid from the bottom of the tank instead of vapor from the top) and the problem went away.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 05:17:02 AM by Lou Schneider »

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2017, 08:31:50 AM »
Quote
Never say never and never say always, right?

Especially when it comes to RVs!


I should not have implied that LP problems are common at 18 F., but they do happen with RV systems. Blend is probably the largest factor, but the smaller, vertical, tanks on most trailers is a contributor. Less vaporization surface, for one thing.  A high flow rate contributes to regulator freeze-ups as well.

Residential tanks are often buried, which stabilizes the temperature nicely.

Butane stops vaporizing at 31 F., so for practical purposes is useless as a vapor fuel much below 40-45 degrees.  Adding 10%-20% butane to the LP blend has a fairly dramatic effect on the boiling point.

For those who are curious, here is an easy to read article on why LP tanks can freeze, even at temperatures above the boiling point of propane:
http://www.elgas.com.au/blog/410-why-does-ice-sometimes-form-on-gas-bottles-and-regulators
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 08:44:35 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Old_Crow

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2017, 08:46:57 AM »
I had hooked back into my on-board system for a couple of days while I figured the problem out.  The on-board regulator functioned just fine, even down to those temps. 
The system at the campground has the regulator mounted at the tank, so the entire plumbing to the host sites is low pressure.  The supply hose to my coach was laying on the ground for about 25'.  At first I thought there might be moisture in the lines freezing up.  I just tried the drop light as my son used to have a well and you had to put a heat lamp in the pump enclosure during the winter.  After installing the light, I was warm and toasty the rest of the season.

Oh, my coach has heated bays, so the water in the coach didn't freeze, but the hose from the bib to the coach did a couple of times.  Not solid, and within minutes of the sun hitting the hose, it thawed.  Wasn't a big deal, I had water in the tank and just hit the switch for the pump.
Wally Crow
Retired 30 year ASE Master Auto Tech
Y2K Bounder 36S F53
'03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

caralex

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2017, 09:45:19 AM »
Thnk you for all of the replies and advice.There were a couple of other things i should have mentioned. Our lines can be heated. Our propane tank is always kept filled. We have 6 v batteries. We stopped at an Interstate battery place and they checked the batteries all good. The hot water heater also did not light and then propane cooktop stopped working as well.  And when we were in Bryce Canyon leaving we wanted to top off propane and they told us that it was frozen. SO we are up in the air about what it could be though everything is working. And we are above freezing.

We spent three days boondocking in the Mojave at the start of our trip with the AC etc and we got a quick education on the grey tank's capacity. But othewise those three days were bliss. No battery issues.

We were fortunate to find the RV repair guy in Oregon 20+ years experience who replaced the regulator. And we will venture out to the cold soon to see what is up before we head into  the dealer.

Thank you all again!
Alex and Carlynne
RV Newbies since September 2017 and never looking back.
2018 Jayco Precept 31UL
2018 Chevrolet Equinox
Barking down the road with Jerry, Mini, Delilah and Honey.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Happy and Horrible
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2017, 10:11:48 AM »
If there was ice inside the propane lines (not just on the outside) you may have moisture in your tank.  Go to a propane distributor like Suburban Propane that installs and services fixed tanks and have them purge your tank.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 10:13:54 AM by Lou Schneider »

 

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