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gothic

What to check on the RV before the first trip

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Hi,

We just bought Class A RV and wondering what needs to be checked before first trip. It is 2002 Itasca Sunova on Workhorse chassis. Since I'm very new to RVing I desperately need your advices :) I have some experience with light car fixes and somehow handy, so prefer to start with something I can do myself before hitting professional shop. Here are few thing I would start:

  1. Oil and other liquids check
  2. Brakes - is it possible to check on my own? 
  3. Tires - do you recommend to install TPMS?
  4. Thinking to replace stock anti-sway bar since they started to use 2 1/2" from 2003 - does it worth the effort? 
  5. How to check if I need new shocks? 

I think somewhere should be a good checklist for this kind of things, appreciate if you can point me there. Thanks! 

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All belts, filters, and fluids should be REPLACED.  You need to know what you are starting with and the best way is to start fresh!

Batteries, what is their age and what is their electrolyte status - check with a hydrometer, then make sure they are filled.

Tires - how old are they?  If older than 7 years replace.  Otherwise, make sure they are filled to the proper amount based upon the weight of your coach.  You have had it weighed, right?   If not, that's another To-Do for your list.

Wait until you've driven it a little bit to see what the shocks/sway-bar feel like.

Check your electrical cord for any sign of discoloration.  Check water hose for leakage around fittings.  Check waste hoses to any pinholdes.

You do have a multimeter, correct?   If not, get one.

Toilet, does the bowl hold water.  If not, think about getting the dump seal replace.

Water pump, does it easily move water around and shut off when you close the faucet.  If it keeps going, you've got a small leak somewhere. 

That should get you started.

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! Both answers thus far are good but I'll add a little bit to this discussion. First we are not thinking of a list before each trip as one for a just purchased RV which is now 17 years old. As part of the fluid check be sure not to miss replacing the brake fluid as it can absorb moisture and cause brake failure when they are needed most. On batteries, most battery sellers can and will load test them for you to check the condition and I would take advantage of that. Tires have a date code on the sidewall of each one so make sure that you verify the tire age by that since a tire can look good but be near failure due to aging of the internal belts. 

determine-age-of-tires-2.jpg

As to a tire pressure monitor, they are not inexpensive so you may not want to buy one immediately but I do suggest you consider it. They are a bit like insurance as one can save the destruction of a low tire and can be considered safety equipment as a blow-out at highway speeds is risky, but it isn't something that is universally used. If you do not have one, tire pressures should be checked every day before travel and tire temperatures need to be monitored each time that you stop. 

If you have not done so, take the time to operate each of the systems and appliances in your RV to be sure that all is working and that you understand how they are used. 

As you begin this new adventure, feel free to join in with things here and these forums and ask questions or leave comments. We are here to help.

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Air Conditioner(s) / Heater

Water Heater

Slideout(s)

TV(s)

Cooktop/Oven

If there are any water filters, replace them. If not, get one of those inline blue Camco filters.

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Check that the hose to dump the tanks is good. If not, get anew one. FYI-Walmart sells a lot of the odds and ends or Amazon.

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Not much to add, except I would suggest spending the $300 or so and start right off with a TPMS.  I have stayed in many campgrounds and I have yet to actually see another camper walk around his/her RV checking tire pressures prior to taking off.  I'm not saying some don't, I'm just saying most folks will not consistently do it.

With a good TPMS (external) you can constantly monitor each tires psi and ambient temperature.  If there is a drop in pressure an alarm will alert you.

Today coming across Colorado and into Utah on I-70 the temps got up to 100 degrees.  My toad (trailer) tires began heating up so I slowed to 60mph instead of my usual 68.  We passed three RVs with blowouts on the side of I-70 between noon and 4pm.  

I don't know about you but going over the mountains with a piece of safety equipment like a TPMS is well worth the money spent.

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On 7/20/2019 at 9:23 PM, FL-JOE said:

Not much to add, except I would suggest spending the $300 or so and start right off with a TPMS.  I have stayed in many campgrounds and I have yet to actually see another camper walk around his/her RV checking tire pressures prior to taking off.  I'm not saying some don't, I'm just saying most folks will not consistently do it.

With a good TPMS (external) you can constantly monitor each tires psi and ambient temperature.  If there is a drop in pressure an alarm will alert you.

Today coming across Colorado and into Utah on I-70 the temps got up to 100 degrees.  My toad (trailer) tires began heating up so I slowed to 60mph instead of my usual 68.  We passed three RVs with blowouts on the side of I-70 between noon and 4pm.  

I don't know about you but going over the mountains with a piece of safety equipment like a TPMS is well worth the money spent.

X2 on the TPMS.  I check my pressures with a gauge periodically and daily check via the TPMS and continuous while traveling.

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Thanks everybody, this is very valuable! I need some time to make this happen. Just did quick upgrade from queen size bed to king, but this was easy cosmetic change. Next thing will be Bell Crank replacement, looks like I need it to remove excessive steering.  

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What you think about B-Qtech Wireless Solar Power TPMS 

The price looks promising, and as far as I can see the only downside it is not scalable if I'll need TPMS for trailer. Probably I'll give it a shot. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 3.10.22 PM.png

Edited by gothic

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Gothic, that TPMS may do you for a while/under warranty. If you buy it, also buy the repeater antenna, without it maximum transmission distance is 19.5' This unit is made in Korea, the verbage doesn't address what to do if a sensor battery fails.

Remember the old addage, you get what you pay for.

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I agree, you would be better off to purchase a good quality unit from the start.  There are probably three major brands that have been around for years, some of which are used on commercial big rigs.

I purchased my first TPMS in 2011 with six sensors.  I have since upgraded because I needed more sensors but I am still using the original sensors.  Mine is the TST branded system.

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14 hours ago, gothic said:

What you think about 

I would look for reviews to see what others have reported before I got one of these. While the popular brands are quite expensive, they also have a good record and in my opion this is one of those things that are good to have, but not on the top of my priority list do I think that I'd wait longer and get the ones with good reports. Until you do, be relegious about your daily tire checks and always run good tires and you should be OK. We went on the road with a limited budget that prevented us from buying everything that the experts suggest and never had any disasters, but one can never be certain of the future. I am a believer in both power line monitors (Progressive or Surge Guard) and of a quality TPMS, but in my observations, far less than half of those traveling in RVs are using either one. They are insurance and probably should be budgeted for but a poor quality one that isn't reliable could give you a false sense of security and set you up for future problems.

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Will see, it should arrive today. I'll test it and see overall quality. If in doubt nothing holds me to use the power of amazon and just return it :) 

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I am reviving this thread to add:  ALWAYS check your fire extinguisher before hitting the road. I hope you never need to use it but they are in the rv for a reason.

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