handful of questions... Water heater, inside paneling, paint- 2004 fleetwood wilderness

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USMC_Warrior_0311

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Hello, I started a remodeling post, and am not sure if my questions would be lost there, so I started a new thread, if that's an issue, I will remove.

1. I will be redoing the plumbing, which may include a newer/better water pump, but also wanted to know about upgrading the water heater, possibly something that would work a little quicker for less water waste while waiting for it to heat up. Any suggestions?

2. I had some semi-extensive water damage through the roof and a few sidewalls and had to remove the old paneling. I have no desire to replace and match the exact panels inside the trailer because I will be painting the entire interior. What does everyone use to replace the interior panels?

2a. Paint... I bought some liquid TSP and will be using that to clean the interior panels and cabinets to prep for paint. I will likely sand them as well. I will also be using a high adhesion primer on all surfaces. Outside of that, are there any hard recommendations for paint that will hold up in the RV? I use Behr a lot with my company and have had good luck, but that is in homes.

3. I have to replace some of the plastic on the outside as well as some siding in front of the trailer and in front of the slideout. I know that what I buy will not look like what is existing, so paint is on the menu for the ouside.

So... 2 questions, 1 is what type of paint is recommended? 2 is, I do not want the trailer to look like a utility trailer, so are there recommendations for decals to throw back on? I am not sold on matching the original graphics, would like to do something more along my style.

thanks in advance for any and all suggestions
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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wanted to know about upgrading the water heater, possibly something that would work a little quicker for less water waste while waiting for it to heat up. Any suggestions?
There are higher capacity sizes (up to 10 gallons) and pseudo-16 gallon heaters that super-heat 10 gallons and then blend with cool water at the outlet to yield the equivalent of a 16 gallon heater. See the Atwood XL series of RV heaters. Most RV heaters are designed as dual fuel, i.e. they run on either electric or LP so you can use shore power when available. Residential or marine heaters generally do not offer dual heat sources.

Faster is tougher because the limitation is the available heat energy, not the heater. You can only do so much with 12 amps (1400 watts) of electric heat. The propane burner is a bit faster (and you can use both simultaneously), and I suppose you could install a bigger/hotter propane model. You can also add or substitute an "instant" gas water heater.

By the way, if you are doing all this work, you probably want to rewire for 50A shore power. 30A doesn't cut it most of the time.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I will also be using a high adhesion primer on all surfaces. Outside of that, are there any hard recommendations for paint that will hold up in the RV? I use Behr a lot with my company and have had good luck, but that is in homes.
RVs are inherently subject to high humidity and wide temperature extremes, so you want a paint rated for kitchen & bath use. I'd suggest good washability characteristics too.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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2 questions, 1 is what type of paint is recommended? 2 is, I do not want the trailer to look like a utility trailer, so are there recommendations for decals to throw back on? I am not sold on matching the original graphics, would like to do something more along my style.
Use an automotive or marine paint on the exterior. Get a vinyl sign or "wrap" shop to make whatever decals you like.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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I think you mean the water waste when you turn on the hot faucet and you're running the cold water out.

Some folks capture that water to use with something else, like flushing the toilet. If you have convenient access to a gravity feed port you could dump that cold water right back into the tank. Both PITA's from my perspective but water is a very finite resource and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Since you're redoing the plumbing you could entertain running a return line and recirculating your hot water feed. This ensures you have instant hot water with only a bit of a penalty in maintaining your tank temperature.

I find that the somewhat higher than usual tank temps in the 6 gallon heaters allows a mix to nominal 10 gallons or so, and while that doesn't sound like a lot you're not going to be doing that too many times on a typical tank of fresh water, so I've never found it to be a limitation. Folks that are always on full hookups and enjoy long showers I'm sure see that as an issue, but one could install a tankless heater and mitigate that, at the expense of what those entail.

I'm generally averse to painting cabinets but one product I've read up on they advertise as being durable enough to do countertops with, Beyond Paint. No matter what, don't paint any sealed surface with latex even with a sanding scuff. It looks like crap and won't be durable.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

USMC_Warrior_0311

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There are higher capacity sizes (up to 10 gallons) and pseudo-16 gallon heaters that super-heat 10 gallons and then blend with cool water at the outlet to yield the equivalent of a 16 gallon heater. See the Atwood XL series of RV heaters. Most RV heaters are designed as dual fuel, i.e. they run on either electric or LP so you can use shore power when available. Residential or marine heaters generally do not offer dual heat sources.

Faster is tougher because the limitation is the available heat energy, not the heater. You can only do so much with 12 amps (1400 watts) of electric heat. The propane burner is a bit faster (and you can use both simultaneously), and I suppose you could install a bigger/hotter propane model. You can also add or substitute an "instant" gas water heater.

By the way, if you are doing all this work, you probably want to rewire for 50A shore power. 30A doesn't cut it most of the time.
I will look into those heaters, but of course the first one I see has less than stellar reviews haha

I hadn't thought about upgrading to 50A . I had to replace the DC inverter earlier this year and it is rated at 110v 50A. So I would in theory just need to upgrade the main breaker and wiring to the DC inverter correct? I will do some more research into that too.

Thanks for the suggestions
 

Mr Lars

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I would imagine using an oil base paint would be your best option? Due to fact of the wildly changing temps, and humidity levels inside an RV.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I had to replace the DC inverter earlier this year and it is rated at 110v 50A. So I would in theory just need to upgrade the main breaker and wiring to the DC inverter correct?
The two things are unrelated. The "50A" on the converter means it can produce up to 50A @ 12v to power interior 12v devices and charge batteries. The 50A shore power refers to the capacity of the 120v input. Conversion to 50A shore power requires a new shore cord (4-wire & 14-50P plug), a new load center (breaker box) with a 50A/240v main breaker, and suitable wiring between the shore cord and the breaker box.

When you connect to 50A/240v shore power, you have 12,000 watts available to power things in the trailer. With 30A shore power, you are limited to 3600 watts.
 

USMC_Warrior_0311

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The two things are unrelated. The "50A" on the converter means it can produce up to 50A @ 12v to power interior 12v devices and charge batteries. The 50A shore power refers to the capacity of the 120v input. Conversion to 50A shore power requires a new shore cord (4-wire & 14-50P plug), a new load center (breaker box) with a 50A/240v main breaker, and suitable wiring between the shore cord and the breaker box.

When you connect to 50A/240v shore power, you have 12,000 watts available to power things in the trailer. With 30A shore power, you are limited to 3600 watts.

Good to know thank you for the response.

Would I in theory be able to use the current 30a 120v panel and feed one leg of the 50A to it and feed the other leg to another 120v panel?

Not a big deal to just add a 50a panel, but wondering.

Thanks again for all the responses, gaining great knowledge
 

CharlesinGA

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50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
Your best bet is a new power panel. Actually two, a 50 amp AC and a separate DC panel which gives some flexibility in the installation.

PD5500-AC-Distribution-Panel - Progressive Dynamics

On the AC panel, scroll down to select the buss bar distribution that best suits your needs.

PD6000-DC-Distribution-Panel - Progressive Dynamics

You probably learn to take Navy showers, for conservation of hot water. There are both 6 and 10 gallon heaters that have mixing valves on the back that blend in cold water to allow for more usable hot water. A Navy shower does this manually. I sometimes run the shower water into the toilet until it turns hot, as the black tank usually needs more water anyhow.

If your interior panels are Luan plywood, you can buy prefinished thin Luan plywood with many different patterns on it, and that may be the easiest thing to do.

Charles
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Would I in theory be able to use the current 30a 120v panel and feed one leg of the 50A to it and feed the other leg to another 120v panel?
Yes, but that leg is then limited to 30A max (the size of the main breaker on that panel). That's probably not a significant limit for this size trailer, since you could place most of the larger amp loads on the other leg/panel.
 
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