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Old 09-03-2003, 08:59 PM   #1
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Between-trip maintenance?

I'm just wondering if there's anything we should be doing with our trailer between trips. It's been sitting a few weeks now, and we don't have another trip planned for about two more weeks, so all together it's going to have sat over a month - the longest it's sat still since we brought it home this spring. So should I flush the water out of the system, or should the water in the main freshwater tank still be fit for drinking? How often do I need to clean out the water system?

Also, when your trailer sits, do you leave windows open, or just the vent, or anything at all? How do you avoid that funky stale smell trailers get?
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Old 09-03-2003, 09:13 PM   #2
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We haven't been able to get on the road since b/4 the 4th. I always empty our fresh water tank at the end of an outing & always debug our fresh water system b/4 we hit the road again. I do the fast ( add more clorine) treatment & then flush several times. A little bit of time, but well worth it, to avoid things. We store our Bambi under a shelter next to the garage & so are able to keep the vents open for airing the trailer. We were to be leaving in a couple of weeks for the A/S Homecoming, but got a call today that it has been canceled. So making some trip changes & will head for the hills & hollers of West Virginia instead.
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Old 09-03-2003, 09:19 PM   #3
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Steph,

The water tank is your call. It really depends on if you drink form the tank or not. If you do drink from the tank I would drain it when you get home and fill wih fresh prior to departure. You should have a drin petcock under the roadside dinette seat. It will drain on the ground under the unit. Cleaning or sterilizing it only needs to be done if you are concerned about drinking from the tank. Once it is sterilized, as long as it is in regular use you do not need to do it again. I would say once a week is regular.

As to the "smell" I try to open vents and windows based on weather, but that creates a new issue. The inside gets a layer of dust on everything. So typically We open it up a day before we leave and then I move the unit to the drive, levle it, plug it in, fire up the refer and air. Then it is just jump in and go !
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Old 09-04-2003, 12:10 AM   #4
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I know where the drains are, but I haven't used them yet. Glad I thought about this with 2 weeks yet before our trip. I guess I'll go clean it out and sanitize it, then leave it empty until we go. I just suddenly had visions of a freshwater tank full of algae - yuk. I'm sure it's not that bad (since light doesn't get to it), but we do use it for drinking water, so I want it to be clean!

I've been leaving the windows cracked, but it does get dirty in there, even more probably here because we live on a dusty gravel road. I hope we have a shelter for it someday, that would be nice.
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Old 09-04-2003, 01:43 AM   #5
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Stefrobrts

You might like to take a look at several products on the market for keeping your fresh water tasting 'fresh'.
Naturally, with regular usage of the fresh water system, it shouldn't be a problem.
As far as the "smell", What we do is, while in between camping is to make sure that;
  • No food is left in the unit, period.
    The Frig is cleaned and wipe it down. (open a box of baking soda)
    Fill all drain elbows in the sink and shower drain with a cup of odor chaser. (your call on this)
    Remove all soiled and dirty laundry.
    Open vents from time to time to air out.
    Several days before going out, whip the wood works down with scented furniture oil.
Generally speaking, we've have never had any problem with musty smell.
But, then again, we travel with NO PETS nor, do we allow smokers inside the unit.

Good luck~!
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Old 09-04-2003, 11:53 AM   #6
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Funky smell

Our Caravel, although clean and maintained, did come to us with a "funky trailer smell" (FTS). It's sort of a musty odor. We've been gradually chasing it down ever since and slowly succeeding.

The key seems to be getting into each crevice and closet to scrupulously clean out dust and mold. There's a strange black dusty powder in all those spaces (which I am assuming is mold) that we vacuum out, then wipe down with orange cleaner. We also have aired out the trailer for a day or two at a time between trips when the weather is not too humid, but then we live off the road in the country.

The end result of this program is that the FTS is hardly there anymore except in a couple of closets that we haven't gotten too yet. FTS seems to be activated partially by heat -- starting the hot water heater produces a bloom of musty odor from the closet it sits in, for example. We'll be hitting that space next.

As to the fresh water tank, I would agree with the earlier advice: drain it for storage and sanitize the whole water system at least annually and more often if it has sat with water in it during the summer.

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Old 09-04-2003, 07:30 PM   #7
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Steph---you might want to try some furnace filter material for the dust. It is available in roll form with-out the cardboard edging or you could just remove the cardboard, if need be. Cut & fit over your vents/ windows that you want open. It should help keep the dust down, as that's what it's designed for in the house furnaces. Also, we usually stop a few miles from our home on the return trip & open the drain valves, (only on the fresh water & water heater of course) & then close them again when we've put her under cover. We have several small hills which will drain the tanks the last couple of miles.
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Old 09-04-2003, 07:37 PM   #8
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The usual end of trip ritual normally begins with the trailer in my drive. We normally strip the beds and launder all towels, dish cloths and sheets.

The cabinet tops are wiped down as well as the inside of the refrigerator and freezer. The doors on both are left open to make sure the moisture evaporates. The carpet is vaccumed as well as the bathroom floor. If the carpet is spotted I'll bring in our steam cleaner and pass over the carpet. The toilet and shower are usually cleaned prior to departing our last campsite.

The fresh water tank is also normally drained prior to departing from our last campsite. We normally remove all foodstuffs that could be contaminated by any bugs or other vermin.

Exterior wise the trailer is washed with all road debris cleaned off, including bugs and tar. I usually leave both Fantasic Fans running for a couple of days which removes any moisture from the trailer.

We use the trailer a minimum of once a month so we really don't do anything about the water in the drain traps.

We just got back from a 4 day trip to Nashville Tn. So we will do the cleaning Saturday. Once complete it will be back in its summer parking location waiting for our next trip late this month. Once parked I reopen the fridge and freezer doors to keep any dampness from getting smelly.

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Old 09-05-2003, 01:26 PM   #9
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anyone mention the fridge yet? Always leave the doors cracked open while not in use.

Its generally a good idea to have some ventilation inside, too. A couple of roof vents slightly ajar are usually enough.

After a trip, a good cleanout is a good idea. Empty all tanks. Pull the drain plug on the water heater. make sure everything is shut off. turn off the propane. connect a battery charger and maintainer to keep your battery in good shape. Cover the tires if needed to keep them out of direct sun. check the inventory of parts and supplies. Check the hitch and stow to prevent dirt and damage. drain and clean any hoses or lines that may have been used.

Get the trailer almost ready for the next trip!
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Old 09-05-2003, 01:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Leipper
anyone mention the fridge yet? Always leave the doors cracked open while not in use.
...
Get the trailer almost ready for the next trip!
Good advice. The previous owner warned me about the fridge, but I forgot and left it closed (without anything in it) and off after a trip, and it stank a week or so later, so I won't forget that tip again!

When we get home we do clean up and reload. I like to sweep, dust and mop (hey, it's only about 10' long inside, it doesn't take long) after a trip too.

Thanks for all the great tips!
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Old 09-06-2003, 01:10 PM   #11
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Well, last night I went out and put bleachwater in the freshwater tank, filled it up, and ran it through the system. This morning I went to drain it, and opened the rear drain, and that started pouring water out just fine. Then I went and opened the front drain and nothing came out. So I got the flashlight to take a closer look and saw that when I turned the knob it had instead started to unscrew the entire valve assembly from it's seat and was running water onto the floor inside the trailer! So I tightened that up and got the valve open, but still nothing was coming out. Then I cranked the trailer to lean towards the drain, but still nothing came out. I turned every valve I could find. Nothing came out.

Finally I got smart about it and took a stiff piece of wire to the drain - sure enough some critter had filled it up with gunk, a big plug came out of it and then the water came flooding out. So now I just need to finish rinsing it out and then leave it empty, and we'll be ready for the next trip. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:19 PM   #12
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Emptying the fresh water tank

I don't believe you can empty the tank completely with the drain valve. It's tapped in about an inch above the bottom, so there is always some water left in there. Kind of like a petri dish for biology experiments. There is another drain on the bottom of the tank, accessible thru a hole you cut into the belly pan. Have to use a divining rod to find it.
That's why I like the flavor of chlorine. Just a dab!
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