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Author Topic: Upgrade/ remodel questions  (Read 483 times)


  • Posts: 4
Upgrade/ remodel questions
« on: January 04, 2016, 12:08:53 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm brand new here and still new to RV'ing and have lots of questions to benefit from your wisdom.  My name is Martine, and I am an LA resident, though moving in a month to SFO Bay area.  I will be living in my RV indefinitely with my black cat and white poodle till I find work and a residence.  Fortunately, my pets are pretty compact for an RV, unlike the German Shepherds I used to have.  My rig is a 1997 Class C 22.6 ft Tioga Montara Ford E350 V10 gas engine, with only 35K miles on it.  I decided one day to start emptying my bucket list.  An RV was something I had dreamed about as a kid.  To be able to travel with my pets, and have my own space pre-configured exactly as I wanted sounded wonderful.  It has finally been realized, so I am very happy to be part of your community!

I embarked on a mission to remodel this rig.  I eventually want a Class A, but for now, the small size lets me get into the heart of SFO to visit my toddler niece and nephew and park on the street easily.  If I can drive it in SFO, no problem elsewhere!  Hence the tiny rig, which to me at the time of purchase 2 years ago, seemed enormous.  I was new to RV'ing, and driving such a 'monster car' was terrifying.  It took a while to break myself into driving relatively stress free.  I did not have a backup camera but will install one this month. I have repainted every inch of the interior with bright colors, yanked out dinette and sofa bed, installed a chaise lounge and dresser, tiled the bathroom (yes this can be done with no issue whatsoever!), stripped off all decals, and will be replacing old carpet with an engineered wood (real wood) floor soon.  I have many tips I can share about remodeling which will all go into a blog some time later.

I've been on some hair-raising drives but have learned that unlike driving a car, you HAVE TO be aware of weather and road conditions at all times!  One such drive was on Rte 152 connecting Gilroy, CA (garlic capital of the world) to Rte 101 to SFO.  This road cuts through a scenic lake region with steep escarpments and a one lane road.  It is a windy pass area, the road curves over hills, and it is pitch dark at night.  Well, I did this road as an RV newbie, one very windy dark night, and could feel the RV shaking madly side to side even at 25 miles an hour.  It was as scary as driving in a blinding snowstorm for hours.  Took forever, and the stress was intense, but I made it through to tell the tale.  No way to pull over either, you had to run the gauntlet.

My questions are:
What is a good tank monitor to use?  Current factory panel is inaccurate and also not working right.  I have plastic black, grey, fresh water tanks and metal propane tank.  I checked out 709 See Level II Monitor at $225.  Is this a good one?  Any other choices?

Going solar - I have researched solar extensively, and bought a good system for roof to recharge house batteries.  I am installing currently.  However, does anyone know of a good mini system to place on dashboard of RV or on hood of RV to recharge the engine battery?  Is there a way to recharge and monitor engine battery as well using my house solar system?  Wiring would have to run under the RV to battery box and from roof to under the engine, which might be difficult.  Please share your thoughts on this.  My present solar system is 2 100 Watts Monocrystalline flexible solar panels to be mounted on roof.

Has anyone installed a composting toilet?  They are pricey at $1000 each, but... no more emptying black water tank ever!  No more smelly gas floating around.  According to Gone with the Wynns, this is the #1 upgrade they recommend.  Very useful for boondocking long periods, and environmentally friendly.

Can anyone recommend a small portable battery pack like the Goal Zero Yeti 400 watt battery that allows me to run some small 110V appliances or recharge laptops etc without running noisy generator at night or in stealth mode in the city?  I would recharge it using a mini solar system.

Thanks in advance for your help and support!