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Old 04-25-2002, 04:30 PM   #1
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Question Starting up trailer questions

just bought a 31' airstream and don't know how to light the hot water heater, stove, and need info on how to hook up the city water and what to do with the 5 valves, and the A/C when plugged in gets really hot at the plug itself. The fridge comes on but does not get cold (electric fridge) need keys to the drinking water tank, and the generator. And need some help understanding the univolt fuses.In general I know nothing about this trailer and joined this forum to maybe get some help from all you knowledgable folks out there. Every lightbulb in the trailer works and the vent fan and the panel works as well. Just not getting as detailed info from the manual that I would like. Also need to know how to hook up the towing wires and electric jack and the water filter leaks and on and on. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Tripp
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Old 04-25-2002, 05:14 PM   #2
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Tripp,

I am sure we can all offer some info, but we need to get some more info from you first.

What year is your trailer, this makes a big diffrence in the key issue. What brand of hot water heater, the name should be on a plate inside the water heater door. I am not sure what you are talking about regarding the five valves, are they inside the trailer or outside.

With regard to city water there are diffrent locations to connect city water and diffrent types of connections again based on model year. There should be a plate that says city water connection near the female connection on the trailer. When you hook up to city water you should have pressure available at the tap without having to turn any valves.

The power cord getting hot with the AC on sounds like you may be using a 15 AMP converter on a 30 AMP cord. If you are plugging the cord into a standard wall outlet you are overloading the converter as it was not designed to carry the load created by the AC.

On the fridge, if it is a standard RV fridge it can take a few hours to cool down even runnning on electric. Your best test is to plug in the trailer, turn on the fridge on AC power, and leave it for a few hours or overnight. Check the freezer in the AM and the metal plate in the freezer should have frost on it.

Hope this helps, get the model year and we can help more!!
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Old 04-25-2002, 05:32 PM   #3
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pompaneaux,
Is your 30 amp electrical cord from the reel on your trailer connected to a 15 amp dogleg adapter and then to a 15 amp extension cord and then to a 15 amp household receptacle? If so, the A/C pulls too much current and the extension cord will get hot. The A/C is designed for a 30 amp elec. source and if run on 15 it is bad for the unit.
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Old 04-25-2002, 07:01 PM   #4
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need help?

Guys I really appreciate the help so far and both of you were right on the money about the A/C. Well here is the list of what I have in the trailer. Bowan water heater, Onan battery charger, Armstrong Air conditioner, Suburban Furnace, wall mounted oven is an Airstream Custom by Magic Chef. My questions are, how to light the water heater, furnace, how to check the battery charger or how to see if it works, the A/C only blows on high (maybe because of the way I had it plugged in?) How to light the oven, stove, once plugged into city water what valves stay open and what steps to take to use city water or to hook up to my house hose? I know this is alot of questions but I am totally new to this and I learn very fast. Thanks to all of you that have replied and thanks to everyone else in advance. You have no idea how much I appreciate this. Thanks, your friend Tripp
So far everything has worked very well. The referigerater is an electric Kennmore. And I have some questions about it as well. Sorry post is so long but I have a million questions.
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Old 04-25-2002, 08:11 PM   #5
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OK,

Lets start in the rear trunk. You have 1 or 2 "T" handle valves in here. One marked Aux holding tank and one marked main holding tank. The main tank is the black water(toilet) holding tank, the gray water if you have it is for the sink and shower waste water.

To empty these or hookup to sewer when camping you will need to hook a sewer hose with the proper twist fitting onto the large white connection on the side of the trailer, behind the bumper. Once connected, place the other end in the sewer fitting, or dump station. You will want to dump the main holding tank first. After the "Stuff" from the main holding tank drains, close the valve, then you want to drain the gray tank, this will flush out any klingons.

If I remember right there is a valve that will allow you to flush out the grey or black tank with city water, maybe someone else can fill in the blanks here. The other valves are for draining the system or bypassing the hot water heater, for winterizing. You should not need to mess with them.

On the battery charger, you said it was an Onan, is it a generator? The battery charger in your model trailer were called univolts and were usally under the bathtub. If you hear a hum when plugged in the univolt is working, maybe. The best way to check is to hook a digital meter up to the battery with the unit unplugged, check the voltage. Then plug in and check the voltage again. There should be an increase. With the univolts some have a switch that can tun them off, so look for an unlabled switch if you have no hum.

On the stove there is a pilot under the top, that lifts up, in the middle of the 4 burners. Some owners disable this and just directly light the burner they want with an ignigeter.

On the oven there is a pilot position on the temp control. Then you have to manually light the pilot inside the oven.

On the hot water heater there is a lever that you have to hold in the pilot position and light the pilot. Once lit you need to wait for the thermocouple to heat up and then you can move the lever into the on position.

On all three of these issues it is reccomended that you have someone who knows how to do this show you how to do it.

On the Kenmore refer, I think you are going to be on your own, best bet is to check the breaker box(looks like a regular home breaker panel) and be sure all of the breakers are on. There is a plug in the wall that could have simply fallen out??

One of the resources you can count on for help besides this wonderful forum is the WBBCI club. They are even offering a free year of membership. WWW.Wbcci.org is the site.

If you want to purchase copies of the original owners manuals there is a resource for these too.

Welcome to the club, hope your case of Aluminitus (the need to own and tinker with an Airstream)is controllable!
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Old 04-26-2002, 07:12 AM   #6
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Tripp,
To get a copy of an owners manual and service manual contact Helen Davis at Secretarial Services, PO Box 484, Sidney, OH 45365 (937) 492-8885.

John
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Old 04-26-2002, 11:04 AM   #7
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Tripp,
I was in the same boat last year when I purchased my Excella off ebay from a fella in AZ. He had a service manual but no owners manual. I ordered from Helen Davis as 83Excella noted and this helped fill in a few blanks. I found a dealer's service manual on ebay for $75 which was a little more extensive than the service manual provided. My A/C wasn't cooling so had a friend come over and found that it was a 14 volt transformer shot. I put it in myself and that Armstrong runs great. Sounds to me like you may have a bad switch if yours does not blow on FAN, LOW and MED but I will have to look at my service manual this weekend for the trouble shooting section for you.
You should have a grey electrical connector plugging into the front street side of the trailer. A 5 or so ft. cable runs from there to the front by the hitch. Does your female connector that plugs into the truck have round holes or does it connect to a 7 blade configuration? Mine was changed over and had a wiring diagram drawn in pencil in my service manual. Have you plugged in yet to see if tail lights work (brake, turn, clearance)?
On city water, you should have a built in pressure regulator but I put a brass regulator at the beginning of my water hose where you pull the hose out from the reel. I have heard stories where plumbing leaked due to high pressures or a faulty regulator inside the unit. Check for leaks after connecting. I developed one at an L joint which was in a low spot. Apparently water settled there, froze in the AZ. mountains during a cold spell just before I picked the trailer up. This is why you should blow your lines out for winter and then run 6-8 gallons of RV anti-freeze throughout your system, something you won't have to worry about for awhile.
I have 2 copper drain valves in the rear trunk. If both are not closed when you connect to city water, you will hear them draining out so be on the lookout for that.
If you have mud dobbers in your area, buy one of the screens that can be put over the suburban exhaust on the outside to keep them out. I had them get in and built nests in the combustion chamber and on the blower wheel which caused an imbalance. I eventually had to have the unit rebuilt when the circuit board went out. A friend had them get in and totally lock up his blower wheel.
Brett is on the money on his post. If you get ahold of both an owners manual and service manual for your year trailer then the picture will become clearer. The rest can be filled in from members of this and other forums. Keep in touch and let us know how things are going. We have been there and done that. If it weren't for other Airstream owners helping me then I would have been in a pickle.
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AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
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Old 04-26-2002, 12:41 PM   #8
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need help

Thanks you guys, ya'll are awsome for helping me. I will get the service manual as I already have the owners manual. I just don't know enough about plumbing or electrical or lpg stuff to make total sense about all of it. Thanks again, and I will be specific with future questions. I appreciate it. Thanks, Tripp
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Old 04-26-2002, 01:25 PM   #9
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I may have an answer for your refer problem, but I am unsure if you said what type it is? Is it an absortion unit? Dometic is the type I have that uses both electrical and LP. I have not been able to get mine to cool at all. Well, as of late, with the restoration of all the gone bad things... I replaced the balance bubble on the front of my TT. Lo and behold... I used a level in the frezer compartment of my refer. Guess what guys... with the heat here is south georgia... my unit was cooling by itself... it wasnt cold by no means, but it definetly made a difference. With the refer leveled out, the absorbtion unit took off without a hitch... This may be your only problem, that is if you have this type of unit.
Now with the AC unit... I have a switch that is mounted on the ceiling in the kitchen area that switches from low to high speed.
And by all means.. if you are running your AC unit, make sure that you are not using an 30/15 Amp adapter with an extension cord or you may end up purchasing a new AC condensor unit. I measured my AC while hooked up like that and noticed a low voltage situation. (why is it that us electricians always do things like that, but I stopped doing it)

One other thing... did you mention what type of TT and year you have?
And welcome to the group.... There is a vast amount of knowledge here... Just ask the question and someone will be able to guide you to higher knowledge...
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Old 04-26-2002, 01:59 PM   #10
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I see... You have the 31' Landyacht made in 1973. with the L-couch... Seems as if it sounds familiar.. Mine in '72 31' rear bath twin center. my refer is still the original dometic. It seems as if yours had been replaced with a updated refer? I like the one I have, you can keep the refer going while traveling by using the gas option. The switch for the AC is in the ceiling of the kitchen and it was just a toggle switch that seemed to have been installed seperately??? not really sure, but the service manual for my Armstong unit had the electrical drawings red lined with the switch added... I can only guess at the reason yours is in High speed. As far as any other questions... my water heater was changed to an electric only by previous owner and the Suburban unit for heating the trailer was removed also, but here in the south.... It doesnt get cold enough.. so I will not worry with it at the present.. cause the catalytic works just fine for nippy nights on the mountain...
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Old 04-27-2002, 07:30 AM   #11
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In your quest for manuals you may want to look at the link in this post

http://www.airforums.com/forum...s=&threadid=98

They have most of the manuals, service and operator, for the standard RV applianaces and you can print them out. I just used the dometic one to troubleshoot and repair the refer in my motorhome. The two parts cost $89.00 but now my refer will work on LP as it should, not just on electric. I figure I saved myself at least $65.00-100.00 by doing it myself. And the more you know the less likley you are to be cheated by a repair shop.
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Old 04-27-2002, 11:50 PM   #12
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I was just going through some information on my TT today. I can't believe that I still have a cookbook for the magic chef oven. I also found a service book for a Toshiba microwave. In the 72 sov. was that a standard item? goes to show you how far ahead these babies were... BTW I went shopping for some material to reupholster my cushions in my L-Couch and found a bargain. This material that was supposed to sell at $18 / Yd I got an unbelievable price of 50 cents / yd instead. Well if you can stand the pattern, which if you ask me looks like what they use in some TT now, youd be very satisfied. Right now I seem to be fighting rust in the kitchen... the refer and the stove....
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Old 04-28-2002, 01:36 PM   #13
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Brett. ALLrepair shops don't cheat, as you suggested. How about the few owners that call on an 800 number to find out how to repair or install something, on the premise of buying something but don't? Trust is a two way street, as well as cheating.
If a dealer provides a requested service, he is entitled to be reasonably paid for it, provided that it is a correct and proper repair.
If a owner requests instructions on "How to" and buys that part, that's fair. When he wants free schooling, that takes someones time at a dealership, which costs him money. How does he recoupe?
There are two sides to being fair.
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Old 04-28-2002, 04:51 PM   #14
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Andy,

My statement regarding being cheated by a repair shop was not intended to paint all repair centers with the same brush. I have had experiences where I have been told that my "fill in the blank" was not fixable and I just need to replace it for 500-1000 dollars. Upon further research it was a $100 part that would have fixed it and the unit would have bee usable for many years.

Based on my own experiences with you, I know that I will get a fair recommendation or you may tell me that YOU would not recommend doing the repair and just replace it. I trust YOUR opinion. But when you have no experience with a travel trailer and what it takes to fix one, the RV shops I went to when I was a new owner at times it was like I was fresh meat. Being an Airstream owner all they saw was dollar signs. I agree that you should pay for a fair and reasonable repair.

My best advice is to get all of the information you can so you are able to make an informed decision when it comes to spending money to repair or replace items on your RV. Thereby maximizing your dollars and being sure to get value. Value does not mean always paying the least amount of money. It means getting what you need/want at a fair price with the service/support you need or expect. Those that take advantage of people with knowledge while trying to save a buck are the ones that make it hard for those with knowledge to give freely, so we all lose.

We live in a capitalistic society, we all need to make a buck, I do not resent someone who is successful when they are a fair and honest business owner, it's the unscrupulous ones that really tick me off. And I will agree that there are RV owners that fall on both sides of this issue too.

So Andy, if I have offended you I apologize. Thanks for all you help and all the parts I have ordered have been great.
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