Only Today Matters! (see Topics and Drivel for yesterday's views).

Monday, April 27, 2015

This weekend we entered a new phase of our lives. We took a first road trip in our new motorhome. My wife and I drove from home to our daughters house and stayed overnight in the driveway. It was just one night but it served as a good shakedown cruise in advance of our upcoming trip to Cape May New Jersey.

Back in September, we purchased a Thor Citation Sprinter class C motorhome. We delayed delivery until April so that we would not have to take delivery in the winter - which turned out to be an excellent precaution given the horrible winter we had.

We took delivery of the RV and had it de-winterized, and readied it for this weekend. We had a great drive on Saturday - the Mercedes chassis is smooth and the diesel engine is powerful. We figured out the audio system and we were able to play music from our ipod and mp3 player for the ride.

When we reached our destination, we started setting up connections. The electrical connection was simple - plug in to an external AC outlet on the house.

Testing the gas-fired coach furnace was a little more confusing. The exterior propane tank had a circular valve, but the on/off diagram sticker on it was confusing, and the owners manual had only a generic drawing with no details. We assumed righty-tighty, lefty-loosey, and we guessed correctly, but there was no indication. Check the furnace and the gas stove - nothing.

So we looked at the cabin control panel (which also was not detailed in the owner's manual) and found two rocker switches with a label over them - "Water Heater" - the left was Propane on/off and the right one was "Water Heater". We flipped the Propane switch on, and the stove burner lit correctly, and the furnace kicked on. One Right!

The water system. Not hard to figure out how to attach a water hose - only one place. So we turn the water on, and the tank begins to fill. But soon there is water pouring out of the bottom of the coach!

Called the dealer, and they were no help. We were getting worried that the RV would spend our next vacation in the repair shop. So my daughter-in-law crawled under the rear of the coach and realized the water was coming out of a blue tube and splashing on the spare tire.

So I lifted up the bed and opened up the panel for the water system. It turns out that the dealer had left the drain hose in the open position when they de-winterized the vehicle. Never told us, just put the two wood screws back into the platform that houses the water tubing. We closed the valve and the leaking stopped.

We also figured out how to put a DVD in the entertainment system and play it on the cabin TV - had to tune the TV connection to AV. I had read that some owners had units come with connecting cables either missing or misconnected, so we dodged a bullet there.

In fact, we found very few factory defects, though there is one set of cabling in the rear slide out that needs a replacement (the housing is broken). The dealer is ordering a part under warranty, and we are being careful when we extend the slide out.

So my wife and I relaxed and watched a Castle episode on DVD to end Saturday night, after a long day playing with our grandson.

When we went to use the water in the sink at midnight, we had no water flowing. Turns out they had also left the water heater bypass valve in the closed position, so no water was getting to the water pump or heater. We opened that up in the morning and the water worked fine.

So aside from some rookie mistakes, abetted by our dealer's service department, we had a great stay and slept fine despite a nighttime temperature in the high 30s. The drive back was smooth also, and we got about 15.6 miles per gallon, which is about par for a Mercedes Sprinter RV.

The owner's manual is interesting, if not that useful. It is the same for multiple models, so none of them are exactly covered in detail. The thing is so full of safety warnings and things to worry about that it is very hard to find basic operating instructions for the coach features. Some of the features are covered in separate manuals, and some of those are skimpy. The separate manual for the Mercedes chassis is far better in detail and simple step instructions.

So I have been thinking about putting together a rookie's guide to our motorhome, linking it to our experiences, which I intend to blog about here. We will see.