Anyone with an RV will tell you that there are always things that need fixing or maintaining–after all, you’re driving around with your house on wheels, rocking and rolling through potholes and bad weather. And as RV newbies, we know just enough about our Thor Chateau Class C to be dangerous.
The first issue we encountered was a leaky window. When we went on our last camping trip, I climbed up into the overhead compartment to retrieve the privacy curtain which was folded up and stored in a little nook under the overhead side window. I found the curtain to be wet, but couldn’t determine where the moisture was coming from. Nothing else was wet, so we decided that water must have dripped in through the window and landed on the folded curtain.
After the trip was over and we returned Lizzy to the storage lot, Andy did some testing. In the space where she’s parked, she leans just a little to the left. Andy was running the air conditioning, and as the condensation from the A/C unit pooled on the roof, it eventually ran over the side of the RV, right down onto the leaky window.
Andy called an RV service shop here in Tupelo to see if they could take a look at it, but they said it would be about a week, due to the holiday weekend. In the meantime, we turned to YouTube to get some ideas for temporary fixes–saw a lot of suggestions for duct tape. And that’s what we were about to use until we saw a video where an RV owner was showing how to clean the tracks and weep-holes on RV sliding windows.
Andy decided to check the tracks on our problem window, so he headed back to the storage lot with a shop vac, air compressor, cleaning supplies and tools. He got on a ladder and looked for the weep-holes on the problem window, but didn’t see any. He checked all the other windows–they all had weep-holes. So he went back to the problem window and looked more closely.
And there it was–someone had put dark adhesive tape over the weep-holes. It blended in so well with the frame of the window that it was almost invisible. He pulled the tape off, and immediately water drained out of the tracks. He tested it thoroughly, and it has stayed dry ever since.
Problem #1 – SOLVED!
The second issue has been more challenging. Our RV has a battery disconnect switch just inside the door that is labeled Store / Use. We were told by the previous owner to put the switch in Store mode when we were storing the RV, and to put it in Use mode when we were actually using her. He didn’t specify whether or not it made a difference if we had her plugged in to shore power while being stored, and we are such newbies that we didn’t make the connection.
So when we put her in storage, we plugged her in and put the the switch on Store.
We didn’t notice anything particularly wrong except that the audio system/backup camera display wouldn’t work consistently. But on the last day of our last camping trip, we tried turning on the overhead lights after we had unplugged from shore power, and nothing worked. The battery monitor said the house batteries were fully charged, but we were getting nothing. Nada.
So when we got home we started researching, reading the pitiful excuse for an owners manual that Thor puts out, searching Google and YouTube, and posting in the online RV forums. Andy even called Thor’s support line, and the guy told him to crawl under the RV and look for a 50-amp breaker under the chassis, which would need to be removed and replaced. Andy did as he was told, but there was no such breaker there.
So I got back on the user forums this afternoon, and finally found a post from 2015 where someone with our same unit had the same problem. He stated that he found the reset switch–but to get to it you have to pull out the bottom kitchen drawer that is under the stovetop, and the breaker reset switch is bolted to the floor under/behind the drawer.
I showed the post to Andy who had just started cooking dinner. We dropped everything, got in the car, drove to the storage lot and started working on Lizzy. We finally figured out how to remove the drawer from the suspension tracks so that we could get into the space under the counter, and sure enough, there was the breaker and relay we were looking for. There was a tiny, tiny little black button on the side, and when Andy pushed it we heard a click. We unplugged the shore power, pushed the button again, tested the overhead lights and they finally worked!
The lights were significantly dimmer than they are with shore power, so we’re thinking the batteries may be drained, or may even need to be replaced. But now we know several things we didn’t know before:
- If the RV is plugged in to shore power, the battery disconnect switch should be in “USE” mode, even if it’s technically in storage. It should only be in “STORE” mode if it’s unplugged.
- We now know the location of the reset switch.
- We now know that we actually have a bottom drawer under the stove–we had been told that was just a decorative panel on the cabinet face.
- We now know how to remove the drawers from the suspension tracks.
This is exactly why we wanted to spend some time in a smaller “practice” RV before we pull the trigger to buy a larger unit and go full-time. We need these kinds of learning experiences to build our confidence and skill set so that we can take care of ourselves and our future home on wheels. Every time we’re able to troubleshoot and resolve a problem, we gather information and gain experience that will serve us well in the future!