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RV Basic Documentation for when Service is Needed

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January 3, 2008

In a recent RV.net forum post, one of our resident generator gurus, Gunny357, brought up a helpful tip I had been wanting to make for a long time.

One of my favorite points to ‘hammer home’ is that an RV is a vehicle, but it is also a home on wheels, whether it’s the smallest pop up or the largest diesel pusher. Think about calling and asking for help or service on an appliance or system in your house. Would you call up and say “I have a 1995 3 bedroom 3 bath tudor style house, and my furnace isn’t working.”?

An RV uses appliances from a wide range of manufacturers, and has a wide range of options and extras, so knowing makes and model numbers for each appliance goes a long way towards cutting down the time spent getting help. This is where a little time spent at home organizing things will pay off with a much easier service or repair experience.
Each appliance maker is constantly making changes and improvements in their products- these changes often change basic parts and functions of these products, plus systems are increasingly being integrated in to each other- you might have an Atwood furnace controlled by a Coleman thermostat, or a Coleman air conditioner controlled by an Atwood thermostat…

If you are the first owner of a rig, you might have a “build sheet” which includes all of the appliances and model numbers, but if you don’t, take the time to start an “RV Folder” with manuals and lists of all of the systems. These would include:

  • air conditioner/heat pump (2 model numbers- both the roof top unit and the inside “control” unit
  • furnace
  • water heater
  • refrigerator (for Dometic, write down the product number as well)
  • converter/inverter
  • awning(s) (for A&E, separate awning/roller tube and hardware part numbers).
  • water pump
  • generator
  • toilet

This list is, of course, just a starting point- your rig may have many more options (built in vacuum, satllite system, sound system etc.)

Knowing these things when asking for help or parts will go a long way towards getting the right solution quickly!

— Chris

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  1. Avatar

    Pattie

    As the original owner of an 06 Fleetwood Niagara pop up camper, I received the Fleetwood owners manual as well as manuals for almost all of my amenities when I purchased the camper. Having read my owners manual cover to cover, I learned alot, but, learned even more when I sat down with a highlighter and the amenity manuals. I highlighted the various procedures for use, as well as the winterization steps (where applicable). And, have made up my own procedure list for set up, as well as winterization and de-winterization. Having typed all of this information, it tends to actually stick in the brain more than if I had simply read it. I did download the Dometic manual for the Traveler-Lite toilet (Dometic being the manufactuer of the SeaLand china bowled toilet in this unit) from the web-site. While on the Dometic site, I browsed their various appliances, and downloaded some of their tips on refrigerator care too.

  2. Avatar

    Casey Balvert

    Chris, this is great advice. I keep a binder with all the manuals for just about everything the trailer came with or I added on. Everything from the axles to the roof cooling and heating unit and everything in between. I even print up pertinent articles I find on the net such as troubleshooting guides. I keep an index of everything in the binder as the first page. I refer to it often.

    Casey

  3. Avatar

    Theresa Loder

    Great post Chris,
    We are the second owners of our motor home and it already had a file of information in a sturdy file box. When we change anything in our motor home , I always put the new information in the box…..model and serial numbers etc.
    I was in a RV supplystore last week and a young man came in all prepared with the numbers from his microwave in his RV. The clerk told the young man to take the old one out and throw it away because no one fixes microwaves anymore as they are so inexpensive. He just said Oh….and walked out.
    We had a similar experience and ended up putting in a new microwave.
    Everything else where we needed the info ,worked out well.
    We love the Monaco tech help. You can call 24/7 and talk to a real person. It’s like they are standing right next to you. They can usually walk you through whatever it is and remedy it then and there. what a great service.

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