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This old house Teton edition


Steve from SoCal

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I bought my first "real" fifth wheel a month or so ago; I knew it would need a 'few" things but, I am not going to worry about much, cause it's all new!

 

The trailer is a 1996 Teton Royal Atlanta, I bought it sight unseen except for photos from the original owners. The exterior is pretty good, a few areas of delamination and, a couple of rotted wood forms on the lower cladding. The interior "looks" great, a few spots on the carpet that should come up? The appliances were for the most part DOA. The Domestic fridge came with a couple new control boards, didn't help, the stove was sorta working, the front AC was locked up and the faucets all leak along with the toilet. The water heater is dead along with the alternator end of the generator.

 

The plan is to live in this thing while I am in Kansas, it will be very nice when it is done, in fact it will have mostly new systems. I was expecting some issues, this is way beyond that! A few of the issues caused a good deal of collateral damage. The water heater by-pass valve leaked for a long time and destroyed the floor under the fridge/pantry and, sub floor of the basement. Other water leakage rotted several cargo doors. It is living inside my heated shop so at least I have time to resolve these with relative comfort.

 

I knew going in that if the fridge was toast I would install a regular model. After careful consideration I choose a Samsung RF18HFENBWW french door 18 CF, I am very pleased with this so far. At the same time I took a good hard look at the stove, it was a 3 burner with oven job the same size I had in my tiny 27' Excel. I like to cook and bake, I have no Barbie size cookware or desire to procure any. I did the usual research and ordered up a Summit REX242 WRT stove, it is a smooth top 4 electric burner stove with a 3 CF oven. Both of these required surgery on the cabinets, the fridge displaced a central heater and, the stove requires a new sub panel. The kitchen faucet is being replaced with a pull out and eventually the microwave will be upgraded, it has no turn table. This should conclude the mechanical end of the kitchen remodel. I am leaning towards painting all the woodwork white and, doing tile back splash to finish it off.

 

The other major work going on concurrently is a repipe and major overhaul of the fresh water / hot water system. I am going to use pex to plumb the water system with home runs to all taps. The hot water tank is getting replaced with an electric on demand tankless unit. I know most of you would say, but it won't work in the wild. True however; with a 20KW generator I can roll my own power. I am also strongly considering adding a 15~20 gallon well tank to pressurize the water system while I am in the wild. The little water pump is kinda wimpy and it is getting old as well.

 

That is about it at the moment, I hope this sparks lots of comments and dialogue. This IS my first RV remodel and so far I am still enjoying it!

 

Steve

 

 

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Steve, I'll make some comments, if you don't mind.

 

I'd look real carefully at the slide mechanisms of your Teton. The slides tend to have "issues" in them. Also look at the slide floor carefully for "droop". And look at the slide ceiling for water rot. It is not always apparent.

 

Take a look at the Truma continuous RV water heater. It will be a better solution than an electric continuous. The electric is going to be a pain to supply. They typically use WAY more power than you want to supply in an RV. I've installed several in houses and they work "OK". But they simply are a "stretch" for RV use. The Truma works well and is worth the money if you can get one. I'm assuming you will still have propane onboard.

 

The well tank is too big and not necessary. A simple 2 gallon tank is sufficient. You may want to replace the pump with a better one, but you do not need a giant tank. IMO.

 

Also, consider your electric supply. Adding high draw electric appliances can tax even a 50 amp RV service. Especially if running AC units for cooling at the same time. It can be done, but it has to be carefully planned. Having an electric oven AND a 240 volt dryer AND running AC units won't work (at the same time). :Let alone a household electric continuous water heater that may take as much as 30 amps on each leg alone (for the smaller ones).

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Kansas this time of year... first thing I'd be doing is an aquahot since I assume you'll have a very large diesel tank to feed that 20KW of generator.

That is a viable solution, but it is expensive and maintenance intensive. IF I went that route I'd be considering if I could do hydronic floor heat. It may not be possible with the slides in that rig, but I'd sure be looking at it if I was considering Aquahot. I'd also look at some of the diesel fired boat heaters or even the propane ones. They are direct-vent and pretty efficient. Having the diesel Dickinson or the propane version makes for a nice primary heat source with the propane RV furnace(s) as a backup. You can also do a pellet or wood stove if that works for you.

 

I like the Envi heaters for installed (permanent) electric supplemental heat. Not everyone will chose those, but they work well. And take up little space. They are pretty widely used in the "tiny house" movement if the "dickinson type" is not used.

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Jack,

 

I welcome comments, pro AND con.

 

I agree the electric water heater is a huge consumer, at least here in my shop it will not be a big deal. I really would like to get away from propane in the trailer. Ideally a diesel water heater ? My goal is towards a single fuel for both truck and trailer.

 

The dryer is 120 volt as of now, I may look at higher voltage models but, many of the compact size dryers are 120 volt. The new panel I am installing will have space for a dryer if needed.

 

As noted; I prefer all electrical systems, from a safety aspect and, ease of use. While I agree and understand the demands are higher than normally encountered at camp sites. I am not sure I will "camp" at camp sites in general. A battery bank for lighting, refrigeration, water pressure and entertainment would suffice when the generator is not used in the field. The generator in the trailer is not producing power, it is likely the voltage regulator. The replacement is a 25K diesel generator that will provide 100 amp service. It won't power everything at once but, it will work.

 

The shop in Kansas is heated, I have 600 amp 480 service with 4-200 amp single phase panels. The trailer is not outside or lacking electric current presently.

 

There are some issues to resolve, I will look at the slides carefully.

 

Steve

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Steve, if this trailer is going to be a fixed location (primarily) trailer or one where you can designate the hookups your plan is very viable. But most trailers are not like that. You are wise to look at the electric demands carefully during design, or you WILL limit usage of the trailer.

 

I understand the desire to eliminate propane, and that is "doable" but with limitations. Look at the diesel appliances first, and choose carefully on electric. I'd be putting in a separate induction cooktop and perhaps just a 240 electric oven if that worked for you. But look at the better gas ovens. They are quite good and that is a good use of gas, IMO. It does not achieve your "no gas" goal, though. If you are an avid baker then I can see the oven part....but if not, then the induction cooktop paired with a modern convection microwave really is quite good. You could do a 240 version with battery assist on the power if you put in the proper inverter. That could get you to all electric with only occasional requirements to supplement via genset. Just remember, you will NOT be able to run that genset in a commercial RV park. But there the 100 total amps can run a really LARGE battery charger for your LFP (or similar) giant battery bank that drives your rig with help from the power sharing inverter. Driving the entire coach with the battery bank as primary is achievable today. But somewhat expensive.

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Jack,

 

I think we are on the same page, IF I camp at a commercial park, I would use a grill and micro. The stove is all electric but, the small burners are 1200 watt so I could use a couple burners as well. I am very mindful of electrical loads and time of use, I couldn't see baking and cooking with the AC running. Another goal is to get all the lighting on the DC bus with LED. I like the idea of hydronic heating and a diesel water system. That may have to wait for the next version! I am going to use this trailer as a test bed, not sure I will do a ground up overhaul.

 

The primary use IS docked here in Hutch, it would also double as an emergency shelter in California IF the "big one" hits.

 

Steve

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We have a 99 model Teton that was built in 98. Over time we have done a number of improvements. Tile back splash, new carpet, refinished cabinets and tile floor repairs to name a few. The floor under the passanger side slide was rotted so it was replaced and reinforced. The siding was structurally sound so we used rubbing compound to brighten it and removed the decals. The graphics have been repainted. We added solar and an inverter/charger. The roof has been redone and we changed out the black tank to a 70 gallon size. There is more but you get the idea.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is an update on the progress; I installed a Stiebel DHC-E 10 electric on demand water heater, I am NOT that happy with the results! It has a real time sensor to moderate the heating supposedly, while taking a shower it has a delay after the showerhead is turned on. I can live with it for the time being but, another solution is in order long term.

 

I have a bit more counter top work to do before the stove is installed, I centered the opening from the original 20" to 24", in hindsight I should have biased it towards the dishwasher. Correcting this is where I am at presently.

 

I replaced the kitchen faucet with a Grohe pull out, it is a low flow faucet and it works great. The Ice maker water line still needs to be connected to the undersink filter, should get that done today or tomorrow.

 

I think a new microwave is next, the original works but, it is a low wattage 850 and, no turntable. It takes nearly 10 minutes to heat a quart of water. Both Lowes and HD have a Samsung over the range 1000 watt that would be a good match for the fridge on sale for 150.00.

 

If all goes well I hope to move in this weekend.

 

I will add some picture when I get done, I am terrible about documenting stuff on the fly.

 

Steve

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