Advice for new Class C owner

Discussion in 'Beginning RVing' started by sreeder, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. sreeder

    sreeder New Member

    Hi All,

    Just purchased my first RV. A 31' Class C. I grew up camping in a travel trailer and my wife and I have been waiting and saving unitl now to get our first.

    The motor home is new to me and we are feeling overwelmed right now. We pick up our unit in a week and will get a four hour orientation / training from the dealer.

    I am on a sabbatical leave from work and have off until the end of september. We are in the process of planning road itineraries and making reservations.

    My bottom line questions are where do I start? I need to learn what things I must have to be able to setup my unit. Everything from driving to setup is all going to be new to us. I'm sure I will get some of this from the dealer, but would also like to lear as much ahead of time.

    Any and all advice appreciated and also a good book recommendation would be helpful.

  2. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    Welcome, sreeder! We were in the same boat a couple of years ago. We still haven't gone 'full time', but when we're in our MH we are 'full-timin' like crazy!

    Take short local trips first to get your procedure down, before you get too far away from home. Assume that something on your MH is not going to work at first.

    Let's enumerate a setup:

    1. Locate an RV park where you want to be or stop. Enter where their sign says to enter. On entering for the first time, park where they say to park (or get in line) and go into their office. Sign up, pay for your stay, and shoot the breeze. Go to your assigned space by trying to follow their map. (Always stop and ask directions after you see the same landmark twice.)

    2. All the utilities for a site will be on the driver's side. Park in your site shifted to that side (not too close because of your slide-out) so you'll have somewhere to walk on the passenger side. If you are using blocks (I like those orange plastic ones.) to level the front, park about 3 feet back from where you want to be.

    3. Check your side-to-side level. Sometimes you can shift a little more left or right and change side-to-side level. I leave mine a little high on the driver side, because the weight of my slide-out on that side pulls it down a little when it goes out.

    4. Check your front-to-back level. Estimate how many blocks to stack up in front of the front wheels. Drive onto the blocks. Check your level. You don't have to be perfectly level; just close. Aren't you smart if you have hydraulic levelers! Just push the button!

    5. Hook up your electric line. Probably 30 amp, but you can't get it wrong. Flip the breaker at the site to ON if it isn't. Turn on the A/C!

    6. Hook up your water hose. Assume some jackass has contaminated everything around the hookups with his 'effluent' and act/dress appropriately. Hook your hose to the park faucet first, run the water through your hose onto the ground for 30 seconds, and THEN hook it to your MH. Cleans it out and removes the air in the hose before it gets into your MH. Use a pressure reducer to keep the pressure down in you MH lines.

    7. Hook up your septic lines. Wow, there is a ton of stuff you can learn about septic, but you need to search this forum before you post any questions. Every question has already been answered! I leave the greywater valve open on mine while I park.

    8. Go inside and cool off. You can piddle with the setup later!
  3. sreeder

    sreeder New Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    Thank TC,

    This helps a great bit! As for leveling, I picked up a set of Lynx Levelers (plastic blocks) at Wally World. Will this be enough for what I am doing?

    Also when we used to do the trailer thing, we had all kinds of wood blocks to level, then we used A shaped Jax in each of the corners. Do I not need these for a MH or are the Lynx blocks enough?

  4. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    I use two sets (20) of the blocks at times. Makes a nice ramp to drive up (and over!) One time Sallyberetta was driving the MH up onto the blocks and just kept on going! She said, "You didn't tell me to stop!" So now I build a ramp with a front side and a back side just in case I forget to tell her to stop again. ;)

    I also put two scissor jacks under the frame at the back to keep the MH from rocking when we walk around. I don't use these unless we're staying more than one night. I just store them in a compartment.

    Most parks that we've stayed at are well paved at the site and level side-to-side. One of them with concrete pads was built on a hillside, and they just didn't try to add extra concrete to level the pad front-to-back. It just follows the terrain. This one we need four blocks high to almost get it level. But this is an exception.

    9. You'll need to get white water hoses for your drinking water hookup and grey hose for everything else. Never use that white hose for anything else. I keep a 25 foot and a 12 foot hose. Mostly use the 12 foot.

    10. I use the Sewer Solution for my black tank draining. ( ) Works great, and I never touch 'the stuff'. We can get two days into our black tank before we need to dump. (Be sure you read lots about the black tank before you ask any questions here. FYI.)

    11. We keep the front/cab closed off with the curtain while we're parked. Keeps the cooling load down.

    12. Leave half of your stuff at home.

    13. I rigged up a filtration system for the incoming water. I bought two undersink filters, three faucets, a pressure regulator, and a gauge. I hooked them up with PVC fittings and adjusted the pressure to 40 pounds. Works great! I have filtered water everywhere I go. (We still buy bottled water.)

    14. You're propane will last at least two weeks when the gauge says 1/3 full.

    15. Put your awning out everytime you stop if only to let it dry/air out. Put it back in when the wind gets up.

    16. Every park you stop at will seem laid out backwards when you consider the sun and wind direction. Get over it. :approve:
  5. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    RE: Advice for new Class C owner

    Hey Sreeder, welcome to the forum. A good start would be to buy a good book on full time RV'ing. It should cover step by step RV'ing. You don't need to be a full timer to benefit from all the good info/advice. Good luck and happy camping. :) :laugh: :cool:
  6. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    RE: Advice for new Class C owner

    I would start by going through all the papers on things like your stove, awning, waterheater, furnace and especially the fridge. get familiar with the operation of each so that when you do hit the road you will understand how to use them. While your at it fill out all those warrenty cards and send them in. That way if there are any recalls you will get the notices. Next drive it through town a few times because if you aren't used to it things can get scary. Also have the wife drive it so if something happens to you she is also used to it. Remember its not a car and if you aren't used to the extra size and weight it can get away from you. One big thing to remember is that you are too tall for the Drive-Thru.

    Happy RVing
  7. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    So THAT'S why those people at What-A-Burger were waving their hands, jumping up and down, and yelling! :eek:

    17. Check those tires for ANY problems every time you stop rolling. Sooner or later you will find one and be glad they weren't rolling when you do. Check your tire pressures (search this forum for 'tire pressure' posts) before you start rolling. I keep 75 in my rear duals and 60 in my front tires. I'm usually 'lightly' loaded. I've found that my tire pressures go up about 3-5 pounds when hot. Its always hot here in Texas! When I stop for gas, I touch the top of each rear tire. I'm COMPARING how hot each one is. If one is significantly hotter than the other, you might have a problem.

    18. Don't forget that you probably have air bags in your rear suspension. You can change your ride with changes in pressure there. Also, these bags will affect how much sway you have.

    19. Get a high pressure air compressor. ( JC Whitney Air CompressorAmazon Air Compressor)
  8. sreeder

    sreeder New Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    I took delivery of the Winnie today. We had a four hour training at the dealer covering everything including driving tips. It was very valuable time.

    I also picked up all the things I need to get me going. Many things from years ago as a kid camping in a travel trailer are all coming back to me so a lot of it seems similar. Just this time I am on my own with my wife and kids at my side.

    Thanks for all the advice to everyone and I will post some of my results as we spend about 4 weeks touring up and down the east coast this summer.

  9. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    Watch those mirrors! They'll sneak up on ya! With your new Winnie Class C you will be tempted to drive it like a large van. Resist that urge! Wow! Four weeks with your family in a box! My dad could only last a week when we were little! :evil:
  10. Johnny-O

    Johnny-O New Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    Hi sreeder, Welcome to the forum. Everyone here has good ideas and they're all speaking from experience.
    I've done a lot of walk thru's, but showing someone who has little or no experience with RV's, it's hard to know where to begin. They can't remember everything, there is way to much information. So the best thing I can tell them is, "Go camping in your back yard for a day or so" Cook a few meals, spend the night, get familiar with your new home away from home. Make a list of the basics as you need them. This way there are fewer surprises when you are away from home. :eek: Just another idea to add to the rest. lol have a good trip! ;) The Boz
  11. Al Wells

    Al Wells New Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    Clodhopper...I keep hearing about the hassle of Class C and Class A MH's if you wish to do some local travelling. Is it a problem or do you not usually bother with 'breaking camp' to do a local run?

  12. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    On the contrary, my Class C Winnie is based on the Ford van chassis and is highly manueverable in 'local' traffic. We visit my brother who lives in a group home near Austin about once a month to take him to doctor appointments or shopping. Since we do this so much, we try to keep the cost down per trip. So we stay at Crestview RV which has a simple full hookup park on their property for only $20, and it is only a few miles away from his home. For two or three nights we stop, level, hookup and for two or three mornings we start, unlevel, and unhook.

    It must seem crazy for some that watch, but it is so much more convenient to have the MH 'facilities' to take my brother around town. Sallyberetta has to remind me sometimes that I'm driving our home around ('Stop driving like your in a car!'). At 31 feet you do need to watch your tail swing sometimes, but our Winnie has a 'short' turning radius to get into tight places.

    We feel comfortable driving around in a suburban setting, but I don't enjoy going in or through downtown areas in large cities. I can, though.

    This Class C will eat up the gas quick in traffic, too.

    I've also found that those little 4-wheelers will usually give you a wide berth on the road, but they want to park right up next to you in a parking lot!

    Having said all of this to show you that it is done in the real world, I don't do this when I'm traveling normally. I rent a car when we get somewhere. Usually Enterprise. For me that is the cheapest way to do the 'local' thing.
  13. sreeder

    sreeder New Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner


    Well we spent our first 9 days on the road with our RV. Traveling from Pennsylvania north to northern Maine just shy of the Canadian border. 1800 miles round trip.

    We experienced quite a bit. From boondocking for a couple hours at Wal-mart to several differnt types of RV parks.

    Things went pretty well. Toilet had a leak on the first night (fixed with a wrench and teflon tape), and other minor issues like loose screws and fittings all fixable on the road.

    Biggest challenge we have had and I still do not have it figured out yet is leveling. We have two sets of lynx levelers and misc boards. Three of our stops we could not get the unit level. Had front stacked to the max and trying to go higher the RV would just kick the boards / levelers out of the way.

    Everything I read on leveling makes it sound simple, however for us it has been downright frustraiting! We stopped and bought some cheap 4 ton bottle jacks to see if they could help fine tune our level but found out that they are not tall enough. Am I missing something here? Do I need more lynx blocks? Should we have scissor jacks to help tweak and stabilize the unit?

    Self leveling systems are out of the question due to cost. So any advice here would be appreciated.

    Oh, and we leave in 4 days for a 2 week tour of the Carolina's.

    Scott :angry:
  14. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Advice for new Class C owner

    sreeder, perhaps you are being to 'picky' with your leveling. you don't have to be perfectly level. I'm always looking to be able to let the shower drain.

    In #3 and #4 above I explained how I do it, and I'm sure you're experienced now. I use scissor jacks in the back to stabilize my MH.

    As far as getting the front higher than 4 blocks high, you can not drive up on more than a 1 block step at a time if you are on concrete. Yes, it will slide and/or kick it out. You have to build a mountain 1 block at a time. Having said that, remember that those blocks are now more than 4" high, so you'll have to be careful with slipping off. (That's about a 2% grade with a 220" wheelbase MH and 2.4% grade with a 170" wheelbase.) Another set of blocks might be your cheapest answer.

    I've always had to block up the front wheels, because I just don't load enough in my MH to make the rear end 'squat' much.

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