New owner

We just purchased an 84 winnebago captain and i have a few quwstions. How does the heater under the bed work? Where is the aux fuel tank? 2 roof a/c units don't operate, is there a switch or plug I need to be looking for? This is our first motorhome and we are really novices. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks, Susan
New owner


I'll try to help you out. First off nothing will work on the roof a/c's unless you are plugged into shore power or have the generator running.

As for as the heater under the bed, is it a ducted heater that sends warm air thru the motor home. If so it will operate on propane more than likely.

Were you lucky enough to get an owners manual with it, if not did the previous owners leave anything as far as instruction books in it. If not contact the manufacturer giving them the serial numbers which are normally located on a name tag some where around the drivers seat. They can furnish you with an owner manual.

If all else fails get back on this forum with specific questions and details and most of the time the folks here can help you out.

I'll post another set of things to look at for you as a first timer.

Oh by the way welcome to our wonderful world.
New owner

Her are several more goodies :laugh:

Hmmmmm! Let's see a newbie, boy I could have some fun here but I can't do that. Welcome to the world of the not so simple life, just kidding it is well spent time.

First off we always drain and flush our gray and black water tanks at the campground. Then we add some chemicals and a little water to our black tank so it will slosh around on the way home. If you don't dump and prep your black water tank you will have a stinker when you decide to use it again.

As to the fresh water tank, if the home has been setting a while, you may want to put a cup or two of plain clorox in it then fill it up . Let it set for a few hours and then turn on the faucets to flush out the sytems. Then drain the tank. If you use city water normally you have enough chlorine in the water to suffice unless you plan on laying it up for some time then you need to add some.

Fuel, always fill up when you come back home, one it helps keep condensate from forming and two when you get the urge you are ready to go. For a long layup you should add some stabilizer to the fuel.

Hoses, get a couple sections of potable water hose from Wal Mart. Normally a 10 foot section works well but we carry a 10 and a 20 just for grins.

Sewer hoses keep two lengths handy with a coupler. Rinse them when through. Keep a pair of rubber glove handy when fooling with them cause a small scratch can get infected from the poopee.

Electrical make sure you have the adapters to get from 50 amp to 30 amp and 30 amp tp 20 amp. most camp grounds have 30 or 50 available but you never know.

Not knowing how you are set up as far as frig, heat, A/C can't make any suggestions.

Keep a good Atlas, a magnifying glass and trust me get a good compass because sometimes you will get on some back roads in this beautiful country of ours and get turned slap dab around. a dash mount works fine.

Get ready to enjoy your self and don't get in a hurry to get some where. Plan your trips on the easy side. Several reasons, you get in a hurry and you miss so much, take the senic route. The other resaon is the difference in 55 MPH and 70 MPH is probably 1 1/2 to 2 miles per gallon difference and when you only get 5 to 7 on a good day it means you can travel more. We went from 4 miles per gallon on a gas burner at 65 MPH to almost 7 miles per gallon at 55. Let the hot rods go, you will be passing them up everytime they stop to fuel up.
New owner

Here's several more tips from some other RV'happy folks :cool:

just some thoughts. chemicals are available at walmart, kmart, camping stores. general brand for black water tank. you will need more than just flushing the commode to fill the black water tank. use a garden hose and you can even buy a "stick" adapter at (same as above) for use in dispersing water in the black water tank to loosen any paper, etc that may be stuck. just stick the hose down in the toilet and fill to nearly full and then open the outside levers to drain the tanks. i usually do it a time or two. when the unit is setting for a spell, i usually leave the fridge and freezer door cracked a little for ventilation and keep it smelling fresh. dont use a regular garden hose for your water supply. get the while with blue stripes potable water hose for that. (again at w-mart, k-mart etc.) it is not unusualy for a minor amount of water to drip (notice drip) out of the drain when you remove the cap. any more than a drip, check your valves out to be sure they are closing correctly. as poppa said, the one trick with an RV is plan ahead and don't hurry a trip. good luck and happy camping.
New owner

Ok, I won't pester you any more for a while, this should be enough to digest for a while ;)

Hey, Guy Archer's suggestion for a note book is a great one (I suffer from CRS)as most travelers have one on board. We use one with dividers in spiral binder then tuck it away in a loose leaf binder, that way pages don't disappear unless you want them too.

On the dividers ours are separated as follows: Section 1 for things to do when I get home before the next trip, things I need to buy, fix or what have you and also ideas on what I need to have to make my trips more enjoyable. Section 2 is my mechanical history, on oil changes fuel milage checks and most importantly part numbers on filters, plugs belts, type oil engine specifications such as timing . Just the good quick reference section you think you may need.
(OH I FORGOT the things you need to include in your motor home Stash a set of fan belts, couple bottles of extra oil, trans and brake fluid, it may come in handy on the road in the middle of nowhere and they won't spoil.) Section 3 is for the Precious Lady to write down things she needs to remember to bring to make things smoother and also that is where she has her trip plans on where to stop, etc. The last section is out trip diary again because I have CRS. It is nice to look back months later and see what you did and whether you might change things somewhat if you made the same trip again.

As fars as planning trips, we use Rand Mc Nally's online plan a trip guide which can be found at As far as the camp grounds there is a campground directory put out by Trailer Life and also Woodall's, cost about 20 bucks but worth the money.

Hope this helps out some.
New owner

Can't agree Woodalls is worth the money. They miss as many campgrounds as they list... so if you can't depend on them what's the use... may as well do an internet search.


Senior Member
New owner

Welcome to the forum. The heater under the bed is probably run off the engine coolant running from the radiator back to the heater under the bed. If it is like my 89 Winnebago Chieftain, the switch is located on the dash panel near the center console (it should say rear heater). It will not work unless your driving it and the radiator has heated the radiator fluid. Regarding the roof A/C units there should be a switch (mine is above the refrigerator) where you can switch between rear, front or (maybe) both. Agree with Poppa, the A/C won't work unless plugged into 110/120 or generator is running. Make sure you run the generator....otherwise it will clog up on you and will cost dearly to repair. Hope this helps.... ;)


Senior Member
New owner

Susan, forgot about the aux fuel tank. There should be two gas fill tubes (just like on a car), but with two doors (I think). If there is only one, and there is in fact a aux tank, there might be a switch somewhere on the dash for switching to second tank.
Also, get an owner's manual as soon as should guide you through most if not all your questions on how things operate and where they are located. Check your tires closely....cracks, replace them before heading out (not cheap, about $1,000 or more for 4. Send email to Winnebago and order an owner's manual...they are great. ;)
New owner

Thanks for all of the replies. There is a door that I don't have a key for, guess I'll be needing that one. The tires on it are new (good for me)I was wondering what the front/rear/center pulse switch was for! After I connected to the house current both acs work fine with that switch. Husband is excited because motorhome has a banks system on it. We have the manual, but I must have missed the location and purpose for some of these things. I think every piece of paper ever written on this motorhome was with it when we bought it, including their itinerary for Georgia and texas. We have the extra belts, oil, and brake fluid. Should the generator be started and run for a while every so often even if we aren't using it? Thanks for all of your info, you guys are a great help. Susan


Senior Member
New owner

Glad you have the, study, study, study. The front, rear, center, is probably if you want to run just the front A/C PUT IT ON FRONT, if you just want to run REAR, put it on rear, or if you want both, put it on center (that is my guess, but check the manual). Yes, the generator should be run or it will glue up (gas gup), doesn't need to be run weekly, but I would run it for 15 or 20 minutes every 3 to 4 weeks....just to keep the lines open, etc. When I bought me ole 89 Winn Chieftain 3 years ago, the generator only had 4 hours on it (the gage). Had to have it rebuilt, not cheap either, but now runs just fine. You also need to do maintenance on the generator just like a lawnmower engine (gas filter, air filter, oil change, etc.)
Enjoy.......and try everything out at home before you go on long trip....especially water system, electrical system, LP system (for leaks), furnace, hot water tank, etc. You want to make sure it is safe and sound before you hit the open road. Keep a list of things you question or don't understand and then post away on this web site..... :) :laugh: :cool: ;)
New owner


Archer is VERY CORRECT on running the Gen, as the gas will go bad and clog up the lines. I run my generator at least once a week for abou 15 to 20 minutes with a load on it so the governor will have a chance to cycle but my RV is in the back yard. I'll unplug shore power and kick of the gen to cool or warm up the inside while I am working in the RV.