Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby gyre » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:02 pm

Seriously, check out the trailer life books.

An rv full of bikers died here recently due to a generator issue.
It's very rare.

Two things have to happen - generation of a lot of carbon monoxide and a leak.

People have tried to kill themselves with some modern cars and run out of gas before they died.


On the accident you mentioned, probably a vapor fire.
Gas vapor can pool or run downhill.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby MartyZion » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:19 pm

There's a lot of terrific advice in this thread. My 2 cents. It's said there are two types of RVs- those that leak and those that are gonna leak, so I'd add a roll of eternabond tape to your kit. It works great for sealing leaks and sticks to wet surfaces. I'd also get a bottle of LP leak tester. It's a bubble solution that you paint onto LP pipe joints and fittings that froths if there's a leak. A thirty amp to fifteen amp 'dogbone' adapter will allow you to plug in your RV to a typical residential outlet. You can recharge your batteries and power your fridge on AC that way.

See if the folks taking care of your RV will run your gennie for about twenty minutes at load every couple months or so. A lot of gennie failure comes from lengthy storage without proper 'excercise'. And don't forget to check the oil.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby illy dilly » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:51 am

MartyZion wrote:See if the folks taking care of your RV will run your gennie for about twenty minutes at load every couple months or so. A lot of gennie failure comes from lengthy storage without proper 'excercise'. And don't forget to check the oil.

I may have said this already, but not sure where.
I was recently informed/shown that one of the easiest ways to put your generator under load, is with a common hair dryer. They typically pull like 1800 watts, and they easier to carry and plug in than a saw or larger appliance.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby voiceinthedarkness » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:09 pm

Jclif;

While it may sound obvious, I would suspect the fellow in Maine did what is probably the most taboo thing with a generator - re-fueling it while the engine is hot, running or not. If your generator is plumbed into the RV fuel system you shouldn't have this problem.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby Mojojita » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:48 pm

A bucket or a big pitcher and a basin for kitchen sink, one each side if divided sink. Save dishwater and other grey water to use for flushing the toilet for "middle of the night" uses. You don't want your fresh water tank flushing your toilet at Burning man. Be sure you can turn your water pump off so it does not automatically refill toilet. Prepare for system failures as old RV's tend to develop ghostly problems like failure of coach lights, battery drain, hot water heater failure, etc. We prepare ours to be a rolling tent just in case and over 13 years on the playa have had many such system failures. High wind can blow out pilot lights on propane appliances too.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby illy dilly » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:16 am

Mojojita wrote:A bucket or a big pitcher and a basin for kitchen sink, one each side if divided sink. Save dishwater and other grey water to use for flushing the toilet for "middle of the night" uses. You don't want your fresh water tank flushing your toilet at Burning man. Be sure you can turn your water pump off so it does not automatically refill toilet. Prepare for system failures as old RV's tend to develop ghostly problems like failure of coach lights, battery drain, hot water heater failure, etc. We prepare ours to be a rolling tent just in case and over 13 years on the playa have had many such system failures. High wind can blow out pilot lights on propane appliances too.

Thats a really good idea!
And it will keep your gray water tank from filling up so fast.
We always reach close to capacity on the gray water, while the black water is only 1/4 full.

Mojojita wrote:Be sure you can turn your water pump off so it does not automatically refill toilet.

I keep the water pump off until needed. It makes it harder for people to *accidentally* run too much water washing dishes or hands or anything. And people that are conscious of water usage (aka not visitors or camp mates) typically know how to turn the pump on.
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby jcliff » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:26 pm

Well, I feel the need to give a heart-felt thank you to everyone who has taken the time to give such useful, thoughtful responses. Friday Jan. 13th is my first time meeting my new rig, and I'll have her through Monday. She's going in to the RV mechanic who has done all the work on her for years right after the new year. He's going to give a stem to stern inspection and let me know anything that may need to be done. He knows this RV well and assured me that there wouldn't be any big surprises.

I've already priced out and selected the tools for my tool kit. I went with a 250 piece Craftsmen mechanics tool set from Sears. I could have done it a lot cheaper through Harbor Freight, but how frustrating would it be to have the tool you need and have it break at the critical moment? All the plugs, fuses, hoses, clamps, etc. I'm hoping I can just go into Napa in Reno for. I don't want to buy anything that's not going to be right. It's a 350 engine, so I would imagine they will be able to get me set up with my list. I crafted my list from suggestions from this thread and other reading I did. Many of the items, such as duct and electrical tape, wire, flashlight, fire extinguishers, distilled water are on my other RV list, which I will also be knocking out that weekend. Besides the tool set, here's what I'm going to ask for:

case of motor oil
leak stop fluid
quart tranny fluid
tire pressure gauge
clear silicone
set of spark plugs
fan belt
alternator belt
air filter
oil filter
canned carb cleaner
5 gallon fuel tank
JB-Weld
trouble light or cone
jumper cables
tire patch/plug kit
lug wrench
volt ohm meter
new jack, depending on what is there now

This doesn't include chemicals, which is on the "other list."

I realize that this isn't comprehensive...but after pricing things out and going over what I could afford, I'm hoping this will be a suitable starter kit that I can build on. Feel free to chime in if there is anything I can leave off or something essential that I must put on.

Thanks again!
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby ibdave » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:43 pm

12 yrs with our rig on the playa and many ski season with many miles with chains on......

eternabond tape

gennies need to be ran.. let them run 30min at least. and to exercise them the hair dryer is good but let the gennie cool down 5mins before turning it off.
change tires every 4 yrs.. yup every 4 yrs. brake fluid every 2yrs

Smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector!! like mosin said.... :!:

if the rig needs fixing, fix it.. if you don't it won't perform when you need it... 8) :shock: 8)
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby Tiahaar » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:51 pm

this is great, even a weatherworn oldtimer like me picked up ideas here :-) I sat thinking of what I could add, and the best I can come up with is to supersize your lug-nut wrench...get the biggest cross lug wrench you can from a truck stop and put red tape on the end that fits your lug nuts (check for fit of course). then get a 3' or so length of pipe that slides over the other ends and pack them both with the rig. have had to help a couple folks get lug nuts off and they can be very very stubborn (being air-impacted on for life usually). pack a 12ton hydraulic bottle jack too and some foot long lengths of 4x4s, 2x6s and 2x4s, you'll find uses for them. happy motorhoming =^.^=
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby gyre » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:00 pm

Don't ever let anyone use an air wrench on your wheels.

A breaker bar works too.

There are telescoping ones.

I suggest a very good half inch one, but preferably a 3/4" model.
I got my 3/4" at northern.

I have highly stressed it.
Not broken and it's the cheaper model.

Always lubricate threads, and aluminum to steel contact points.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby Mosin » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:01 am

Here's to a fun and safe shakedown run for jcliff. Looking forward to hearing how it went, and hopefully seeing some snaps of the rig!
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby Saguache » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:55 pm

Jcliff,

I drive an 1983 VW Vanagon running on a 1.9l NA Diesel engine (from a 90's Passat). Great vehicle, but as anyone who has owned a VW can tell you they can be temperamental. My rolling tool kit and consumables list is the product of design and experience. Anywhere you see "metric" you'll want to replace with SAE, but otherwise this collection will get you down the road if you can apply a modicum of ingenuity and determination (which you will never find in your tool bag). Its always worked for me, hope it serves as a valuable guide for you and anyone else who's interested in radical self reliance.

Rolling Tool Set
#2 Phillips Screw Driver
#1 Phillips Screw Driver
Small Flat Head Screw Driver
Large Flat Head Screw Driver
#2 Star Head Screw Driver (optional)
Needle nose Pliers (small)
Tapered Nose Pliers
Adjustable Pliers
Vice Grips (good ones)
Hex Lock Wrench
Complete Set of Metric Hex Wrenches
Complete Set of Metric Box Wrenches (6mm to 19mm)
Complete Set of Metric Ratcheted Box Wrenches (8mm to 19mm)
Complete Metric Socket Set
Wire Cutters
Wire End Tool
Big Ass Adjustable Wrench
Head Lamp
Flash Light
Telescopic magnet and mirror
Magnetic nut keeper/bowl
Fire Extinguisher
Tire Patch Kit
Tire Pressure Gage
Multi Meter
Bentley Manual
Jack
Tire Lug Wrench
Gravity Feed Tank
Wire Brush
NATO Fuel Can (5 gal Diesel) External Mount
NATO Water Can (5 gal H2O) External Mount
Rubber Mallet (for when all else fails)

Consumables
Spare Fuel Line (about 8 inches)
Rescue Tape (three roles - I like yellow)
Role Gorilla Tape 2.5"
Zip Ties (various)
J-B Stick (Steel Reinforced Epoxy Putty)
Small Box Self Tapping Screws
Jumper Cables
Short Length 12 ga wire
Short Length 14 ga wire
Butt End Electrical Splice
Wire Splice Fittings
10 mm Hex head bolts and nuts (various lengths)
12 mm Hex head bolts and nuts (various lengths)
Copperized Threat Coat
Silicone Lubricant Spray
Liquid Wrench
WD-40
Carb/Brake Cleaner
Starting Ether
Fuel Additive
Spare Fuses
Spare Motor Oil
Spare Coolant/Anti-Freeze
Spare Trans-Axle Fluid
Spare Brake Fluid
Spare Fuel Filter
Spare Belts (Timing and Alternator)
Spare Oil Filter
Spare Batteries
Glow Plug Relay Replacement (winter especially)
Glow Plug replacements (winter especially)
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby jcliff » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:55 pm

Awesome Saguach! Thank you for the suggestions. I've started building my kit and the people I've gone to for ordering have been very impressed with my list!

Mosin, the shake-down trip got put off until April (boo!) I had a student trip to Costa Rica scheduled for late December/January, but we missed an outbound flight and so we had to reschedule for the weekend I was to be in Reno. It actually worked out ok RV-wise, because the shop that has her for a stem to stern evaluation needs more time. So far, I've been given this assessment:

She's running great! However, I need a new starter. Apparently she starts up with no problems some of the time and at other times the starter spins. A few lights are needed. He's on the fence about whether I need new shocks. She's apprarently a little tipsy, but nothing extreme. It may be just be that's she's old and very heavy and maybe new shocks wouldn't help. The only big issue is that the front breaks don't work. He can do the work for me, but the parts may be an issue. Apparently the parts aren't in the computer so he needs to go to the older books to track things down. I asked if he could ball-park the break issue for me, but he wasn't willing to commit to anything right now. I've budgeted 2K for work, so I hope the brakes don't push me over that mark. He didn't sound like it would. He also hasn't taken the tires off to see if anything is needed there. I'm caustiously optimistic and hoping for a good final summary!
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby Mosin » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:55 am

Any news/developments jcliff? Curious how it's going, and I figured bumping this would be a good idea.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby ranger magnum » Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:11 pm

You almost need to be a contractor and mechanic to work on theses things. Fortunately I am both.

Ive had rv's for the last 8 years. A toy hauler, class C and now a class A. The lists posted are excellent, though I am not sure about carrying a carb rebuild kit. Keep in mind that your goal when broken down is to get the rv home or to a mechanic. Start rebuilding a carb on the road and you may be asking for more problems.

The best thing you can do NOW is to make sure you dont break down LATER. Replace all hoses and belts now. If you have a fan clutch, replace it. I added dual 1200 cfm fans in addition to the factory fan.

Your #1 enemy in an rv is going to be heat. Especially when going to the playa. High heat, major elevation changes, lotsa weight.

Do these things before you leave for burningman:

Replace your radiator with 4 or 5 row radiator. This will need to be custom made. My class C was an 83, and there was no other replacement than an OEM one. It will cost around 500

Install a 16 pound radiator cap. Water boils at 212f. Every pound of pressure increases the boiling temp by about 3f. Do not mix your water to coolant ratio more than 50/50. Coolant does not have good heat transfer properties, and any more than a 50% mixture does more harm than good. 70% water 30% coolant is ideal in summer.

Install a big oil cooler and get a 2 quart oil filter

Your transmission fluid lines feed into the radiator. People mistake this for an oil cooler. It is not. Its sole purpose is to get the trans fluid hot in cold weather. Think about it: your radiator is around 220f. Its not cooling anything. Trans fluid gets funky above 230f. Get a heavy duty trans cooler. You can even add electric fans to them.

This is all for now, as I gotta head out for dinner. Ill check back and answer any questions, as well as give you more useful tips
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby jcliff » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:45 pm

Mosin! Thank you for the check-in....and I'm happy to share my good status. The RV has been in dry-dock since January. My (and the previous owners...her foster parents) mechanic has been working on fixing what needs to be fixed. I had a very big set-back in April when I went out to drive her for the first time. On the first large hill heading north out of Silver Springs she overheated and was dead in the water. Thank GOD I had purchased Good Sam RV roadside insurance the week before. The tow company came from Sparks, an hour away. I can't even imagine what the tow would have cost, easily over $500. I would suggest that anyone who owns an RV purchase this insurance. It cost me $79 for the year and it's worth every penny.

After some diagnostic work on this old girl, it turned out to be a faulty water pump, which my guy replaced. He drove it over the big hill and half way to the Burn and back with no problems. He also installed a new thermostat so I can see if I am running in to problems. He rewired the electrical system, did brake work, replaced lighting, new horn, etc. etc. It was a lot of little things.

I want to say something about my honest mechanic. When she overheated on the first hill, I thought, and he thought that I may have blown the head gasket which would = new engine. I live 1500 miles away, and had to trust him in this. I told him in April at the time of Armageddon that if it was a new engine...let's do it, tell me what I need to pay. He came back with a no, no new engine is needed. It took some work to figure out what the problem was but he did it. This guy could have robbed me blind and I would have allowed it. What other choice did I have? He has walked me through every thing that he did for my RV, has documented every part (with receipts,) every labor cost with times. He came in $600 under what he originally estimated.

So now, I have a fully functional '71 Chevy Sportscoach vintage RV. I'm flying to Reno on July 30 for a week with her. My Lamplighter crew in Reno and I are going to give her an inside and outside cosmetic make-over. New dashboard, the old vinyl was cracked and peeling up. I already peeled up the old vinyl. Unfortunately it was a shadey foam underneath. For now, she's going to get a pink leopard fake fur dash. I was out there working on her for Memorial Day weekend, and tried to cut and lay down new vinyl dash covering, not going to work with that old foam. Underneath the old foam is a rotted out substance of unknown origin. It's going to have to be for this year.

Outside is going to get some painted flowers, Man on both sides, and a Lamp on the back.

As far as my fix-it kit, I stockpiled Mosin's basic list before I new I was going to have problems. I purchased a mechanics tool kit from Sears. I have 2 fire extinguishers, but will probably get one more. I'm just now putting my energy in to the rest of my list because I was in a holding pattern waiting to see if this old girl would even make it to the Burn. Now that she is in a go position, I emailed Mosin's list (with some additions from other posters) to my mechanic. He knows this rig the best and will tell me what additions to my fix-it kit are needed.

10 year plan....new 350 Chevy engine, new transmission, new brakes and a full interior renovation. It will probably cost me 15,000? Then I will drive her down to Costa Rica and live in her for a year or two while my last house is being built.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby pink » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:16 pm

One thing not said: don't buy weenie cheap jumper cables. Get the biggest, beefiest ones you can find. T
Cheap ones won't give you enough juice to crank your engine.

2010 burn, checked my battery Sunday night & it was dead. Campmates (in a big ol' SUV) had their cables handy so we tried to jump my van (really a class c), and barely got a death rattle. They had weenie cables from one of those roadside assistance kits. So I dug out my big cables and it kicked right over. And I only have a 318 in mine. Told them they're lucky they didn't have to use their cables on their SUV in a bad spot.

Good luck at the burn this year. 2005 was my first burn and first time camping in my van. It still needs a lot of interior work, but the mechanicals are good. Except for the big radiator. Need one of those.

Oh, and I camp fine without a genny; I want to get solar to recharge the batteries, but plugging into our camp's solar array was fine last year. The fridge requires very little propane, and I get by fine without a microwave. :)
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby Mosin » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:14 am

jcliff, man, you are definitely getting your vintage rv owner trial-by-fire! I am soooo glad to hear the engine survived the water pump outage. When Pandora's rear main seal blew on the freeway with an 18-wheeler behind me and no shoulder all I could do was listen to it self-destruct and scream assorted expletives. :shock: An honest rv mechanic is literally worth his/her weight in gold, so thanks and praises for your good fortune! While it might seem like it is just one thing after another with these old rigs, with your positive attitude and trustworthy mechanic the effort/$ will be well worth it once you hit the playa and revel in the wondrous comfort of your lunar lander. Honestly I am a bit GWE at the moment listening to your plans since we are unfortunately skipping this year due to the ticket fiasco and related depletion of ranks. We did get Pandora out to the playa for our own little "9th of Juplaya" celebration, so her/our jonesing for playa dust has been satiated, but needless to say, it just ain't home without y'all. :?

DSC03432sss.JPG


I hope you have the most stellar of burns and look forward to your afterburn report!!

@pink: excellent advise re. jumper cables. In case one is stuck with only pinche light gauge cables, try to borrow a second set and double the connections... that should beef up the flow substantially (been there!).
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby ranger magnum » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:28 pm

Regarding the cables. In case ya'll didnt know make sure you go positive to positive, then negative on the starter car to ground on the dead car. I go to the alternator bracket. Do not go to a painted or rusty surface.

And x100 on the heavy duty cables.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby jcliff » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:56 am

Ugghh....bad news on the RV front. My friend couldn't get her started in Reno last week. She was towed in to a new mechanic. The battery tested bad, but the new one they put in didn't solve the problem. My mechanic has already put in a new starter, and he says the alternator was testing fine. So I'm guessing it's wiring or connections. Should I be worried about whether they can get this fixed by Friday? I'm freakin' out a bit here!
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby ranger magnum » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:47 pm

Should be simple. You can ground the contacts on the starter directly and if it starts its in the wiring.

If it ran when parked, then its wiring. Check all connections and grounds, as well as the solenoid
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby Mosin » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:08 pm

So how did it go with the rv jcliff?
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby jcliff » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:13 am

She ran like a champ! No problems either way! I got her in to a mechanic in Reno and the starter tested bad. My mechanic in Silver Springs put in a Napa starte earlier in the summer and apparently it was defective. There was no charge for the replacement starter. Once we got that replaced she was golden!

The one bad thing is that when we went to fill her up with water, we realized that there was a serious leak. The whole water tank is trashed. Someone must have run over something at some point and it bashed up the tank. Its definitley not repairable. Not sure the cost involved on putting in a new water tank, or even if there is one available for a '71. We just used jug water, but it would have been nice to use the plumbing. Any idea how much that would run to replace?
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby graidawg » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:54 pm

jcliff wrote:Thanks for the measure of reassurance illy....I do feel better. And, I'm telling myself that to my knowledge no one has ever died in an RV catastrophe on the playa, so I got that going for me! :) And if it does burn down, people will be saying all week, "did you see that RV burn in Lamplighter Village.....it was awesome!"



reading this thread and thought for a moment "oh dawg no he jinxed it"

glad to to see it wasnt you!
completely unconcerned.
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby jcliff » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:58 pm

graidawg wrote:
jcliff wrote:Thanks for the measure of reassurance illy....I do feel better. And, I'm telling myself that to my knowledge no one has ever died in an RV catastrophe on the playa, so I got that going for me! :) And if it does burn down, people will be saying all week, "did you see that RV burn in Lamplighter Village.....it was awesome!"



reading this thread and thought for a moment "oh dawg no he jinxed it"

glad to to see it wasnt you!


Nope! It wasn't me (thank God!) We were having cocktail hour in Lamplighter Village when we saw that black smoke go up. Once we realized what was happening I thanked every one of my lucky stars that it wasn't my old rig!
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby Mosin » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:13 pm

jcliff wrote:She ran like a champ! No problems either way! I got her in to a mechanic in Reno and the starter tested bad. My mechanic in Silver Springs put in a Napa starte earlier in the summer and apparently it was defective. There was no charge for the replacement starter. Once we got that replaced she was golden!


So glad to hear it! That is great. :D

jcliff wrote:The one bad thing is that when we went to fill her up with water, we realized that there was a serious leak. The whole water tank is trashed. Someone must have run over something at some point and it bashed up the tank. Its definitley not repairable. Not sure the cost involved on putting in a new water tank, or even if there is one available for a '71. We just used jug water, but it would have been nice to use the plumbing. Any idea how much that would run to replace?


We had the exact same experience with Pandora... went to fill the empty tank up and wondered why all of that water began pouring out from under the rig. :shock: Actually, relative to the cost of other items you might have to replace on an old rv the fresh water tank is not that expensive. They are generally not rig-specific (i.e. most are generic, and you just need to measure the dimensions of your existing one to find out what size replacement will fit) and you can get a ~40 gallon tank for ~$85-$125. Here are a few:
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-pumps-water-filters-fixtures-1.htm#Water%20Tanks%20-%20RV%20Fresh
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-pumps-water/rv-water-tanks.htm
I would estimate that paying someone to connect the plumbing (water fill at the top and out flow at the bottom) and and level gauge sensors would cost about as much as the tank, so perhaps ~$300 for the entire job. As showering is IMHO one of the true joys of having an rv on the playa (and not having to take a dump and/or barf in a port-a-potty in the morning when hung over PRICELESS) that isn't much to get the fresh water system up and running!
Come down with fire - Lift my spirit higher -Someone's screaming my name - Come and make me holy again....
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Re: Suggested RV Fix-It Kit?

Postby jcliff » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:12 pm

Thank you Mosin!
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