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Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it #6801794 06/23/17 02:15 PM
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deewayne2003 Offline OP
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So I'm just over a year into my new place and with the money I'm having to spend on cleaning the place up, building a house or even a barn with living quarters just simply isn't in the budget.

My dad has offered to give me his 32' fifth wheel camper if I'll replace the busted AC unit and fridge in it($2,500); so what I'm thinking of is making a makeshift camp pad and storage area; that can be repurposed into a covered storage area for equipment & hay years later when I build a barn and house on the place.

Here is what I'm looking to do.....

1. Have power ran to the build site and well drilled(bulk of project expense)
2. Put down a 40x60' crushed rock pad (got a buddy who owns a rock pit near by)
3. Build the covered area framed in 3x3" square tubing with R-Panel roof
4. Park the 32' camper and a 40' highcube container side by side under the roof.

Main question being - Since I've never owned a camper before, I believe that keeping it under a roof will make it easier to maintain as well as cool off when its hot, but I need to know what kind of maintenance I should expect or put into it before hauling it out to my place and any other advice for keeping it functioning?

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801803 06/23/17 02:24 PM
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I'd seal roof, check exterior chalk, check water lines, and crawl under it and seal up where any water/propane and sewer lines come in or exit


Bottom line, never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals.-Sen Joni Ernst
Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801811 06/23/17 02:30 PM
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How far you moving it and what do the tires look like? Age? Ive changed a lot of tires recently on trailers, no fun.

What kind of roof? Ours is metal=zero maintenance. Like bobo said give the calking around windows doors etc a look. Check to see if the pump functions.

Keeping it covered and out of the sun will exponentially extend its life.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801859 06/23/17 03:13 PM
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What are you going to do about Black water? On top of what the guys said, I'd add 1 cup of Woolite and 1 cup of laundry powder in the toilet, this will lubricate the inside, but mostly the open/close mechanism.


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Dennis

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801867 06/23/17 03:18 PM
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Being under a roof will help a lot - not only with protecting roof from weather, but also makes the A/C work better, being out of direct sun. Suggest a good wash and wax once settled. Camping world sells a polish for fiberglass that works pretty well. On mine, when it gets really warm, the refrigerator never gets real cold - it just can't stay up, even though it is functioning properly.

Lots of discussion in other threads about barns and campers, but I think your biggest challenge with the set up is mice. As BOBO suggested, seal every little crack or gap you can find. And unfortunately, the only other thing I've found that works consistently is poison. I use TOMCAT blocks, and in your situation, I would probably have several of the large ones under the camper, and several inside along walls and under sinks. It takes a little time to get them under control, but keep at it.

And not sure where you will be, but if west, you are also going to want to spray for scorpions. Several solutions that work, but I have pretty good luck with Demon SP - buy at Tractor Supply or any ag store. Inexpensive powder that will mix with a gallon of water and cover a fairly large area. Spray the pad, especially under camper. I respray after several hard rains, or when I start to see them alive. Most I see are dead, or almost dead, but the VERY last thing I want is for them to nest inside, so I try to stay on top of this.

You are on the right track. We started with almost the exact same scenario you are planning and its worked well for us.


Dalroo
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How about that Brandon!
Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801890 06/23/17 03:39 PM
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Mice/Rat control. Order from Domyown.com (do my own pest control). I use the Fastrac purple blox (kills em but will also kill dog/cats if they get into it) and order their black blox boxes for the bait. I have about 3 inside camper and some underneath. No problems. Keep them away and that helps keep the snakes away.

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801902 06/23/17 03:52 PM
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Answers to questions....

1. It will be 12mi outside Durant Oklahoma - Have to haul it from my dads place which is in Sherman Texas (45mi +/-) but the tires are more than good enough to make it there.

2. The roof - Dad sad that it either needs a new roof or to be kept under covered parking (hence the metal roof plan)

3. Black water - I will get one of the tow behind trailers to dump into and haul off as needed; Good thought on the woolite & laundry soap(thanks western)

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801925 06/23/17 04:20 PM
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Not sure what you're doing for water, but I'd also disinfect the fresh water system. You can google how, but it's essentially putting a few cups of bleach into the tank, fill with water, then using the on board water pump, run each faucet until you smell bleach, then let sit for 4-6 hours. Drain, refill with fresh water, and flush several times. I do this once a year on ours, usually after I de-winterize.


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Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801935 06/23/17 04:41 PM
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Have you actually checked the roof yourself? To rephrase the question does the roof actually need to be replaced or can it be sealed?

Any structural damage due to water leaking in through roof?

We are getting short of well diggers in this area, have you checked actual price/depth to serve your purpose? Point being you might profit by having septic installed and hauling water to your place. Just a thought.

You might want to check electrical while in Sherman rather than waiting till you have it onsite!! Better/broader choice of electricians. Will your electric coop set pole for trailer? Some are reluctant.


The Greatest Enemy of knowledge is not ignorance,
it is the illusion of knowledge.--Stephen Hawking
Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801939 06/23/17 04:48 PM
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I have my 35' 5th wheel under a building in Concho County...HOT and DRY. Make sure you winterize it. Don't keep food in it unless you want mice/snakes. I also noticed that even canned goods get a funky taste if you leave the cans out there over the summer.

You may want to check with the county to make sure that you don't have to have a septic system for it if you plan to use it. They were going to fine me if I didn't put in a septic system. The icing on the cake was when they forced me to get a 1500 gallon system because I didn't live on the property. They said it had to be "Commercial". I called BS...the county inspector said he'd fine me. So, I have a 1500 gallon system for a trailer that is used during deer season and turkey season. Fortunately, I'm planning to build a house out there in the next couple of years and I had a line put in for that when they did the install.

Don't drink the water unless you plan to connect to a purified water supply even if you put bleach in the water totes. The water needs to run and bleed out all the old water left when you vacated the last time. It can get pretty nasty if water is left in the lines.

Good luck and don't forget to thank dear ol' dad.


daulongranch - Live in Rowlett - Ranch in Concho County

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Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6801946 06/23/17 04:54 PM
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Window Unit AC. Way cheaper than RV rooftop AC. Removing the window is very easy, save it and put it back in if need be in the future. I've done a couple on trailers that were going to be stationary. Take your time and case the interior of the opening with 2" x 4" so you'll have a good surface to attach the siding to. Caulk the outside, some loose insulation stapled on the inside and you're good.


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Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6802013 06/23/17 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted By: deewayne2003
...replace the busted AC unit and fridge in it...


I would do a small residential fridge instead of another RV fridge, unless your dad specifically wants it. I've never found an RV fridge that works worth a darn.

Originally Posted By: deewayne2003
2. The roof - Dad sad that it either needs a new roof or to be kept under covered parking (hence the metal roof plan)


Is that because it's already been leaking? If so, caulk all the seams on the roof, A/C, vents, etc. and go over it with a layer of elastomeric paint. It'll completely seal the roof and help prevent future leaks. The metal roof will limit rain getting to it, but with the storms you'll likely get up there, the rain can go nearly sideways.

Before you haul it out there, dump a couple bags of ice in the black water tank. The swinging and bounce of the trailer will essentially make the ice scrub the tank and knock loose any buildup. Other than that, what's already been said.

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6802189 06/23/17 08:39 PM
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Keeping the RV covered will make everything easier & last longer.

I wouldn't fix the refrigerator, we use ours as a mouse & bug proof pantry, bought trailer new never been turned on once.
Canned goods get too hot left in trailer during summer & freeze solid in winter.
We have a small tote/box that goes back & forth with us that has what food we need for that trip / week / weekend.

If you're going to run electricity get a 30a & 50a rv outlet & 20a outlet.

I cannot stress this point strongly enough, trust me,
It is a whole lot better, easier, less messy job to haul fresh water to camp than it is to haul human waste away from it.
All it takes is one "oops".

Use water you haul for showers, dishes & such, use bottled water for drinking.

There are small DIY septic systems that work well for travel trailers, or have a regular septic system installed instead of drilling a well for right now.

1 to 3 55 gallon plastic barrels buried piped together with one or two leach lines running 18" - 24" under surface. Other members have done it & many online ideas, hard for me to explain in just words.

I had a well bid 16 months ago in S OK, called 3 weeks ago to go forward, price had almost doubled and the wait time to begin is now 4-6 months, gonna haul what little fresh water is needed.

You'd surprised how much water can enter one small bad spot in roof or window caulking
/sealant, I'd carefully inspect the roof before comitting to replacing it.

Seal every crack & crevice & any way something as small as an ant can get in on the underside of the trailer.

I'd never put rat / mouse poison inside the trailer, all of them are designed to attract rodents to the bait so they will eat it & die.
If you attract mice into your trailer with poison bait creatures that eat mice will follow every time.

I use Farnham 'just one bite' bars, get them at the feed store in case lots.
At least 4 around the outside of the trailer & a couple under the container you mentioned. Check them & replenish every time you're there. We use empty upside down lick tubs for bait stations, scrap piece of 2x to keep one side open / off ground keeps the rain off of them & prevents non target species from getting to them, big rocks on top to keep them from blowing away.


Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6802292 06/23/17 09:58 PM
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Direct sun from any direction will take it's toll on the roof and sides. I have a roof and porch over my trailer, but this doesn't protect it from direct sunlight from the West. For that, I put up a sun screen between the roof posts that blocks 80% of the sunlight. It makes a big difference when keeping it cooler with the A/C running in the summer. It's the same type of flexible screening that ranchers often use to create shade areas for livestock.


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Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6802692 06/24/17 05:59 AM
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crap outside about 100yds down-wind...

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6802809 06/24/17 01:54 PM
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put moth balls inside. Rats dont like the smell. And if you have rats you also have snakes

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6802914 06/24/17 03:26 PM
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Sounds like a lot of good ideas. Roof will make everything better.

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6803432 06/25/17 03:33 AM
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Another thumbs up for Demon WP as a scorpion and spider killer. I've been using it under my home and in my barn for 13 years.


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Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6803944 06/25/17 10:21 PM
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I used a small residential fridge for several years in a travel trailer. It fit in the space of the original Rv fridge. Picked it up at Lowes, left it off when not at camp. Cooled down quick when getting back to camp. Would hold a 20lb bag of ice in freezer for evening tottis



Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6803972 06/25/17 11:01 PM
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Get a residential fridge, it will be cheap and if you are hooked up to power you don't need the propane one.

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6804544 06/26/17 03:33 PM
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I see a lot of coments about RV fridges not cooling well. I have noticed without ours that if you do not get it good and level it does not cool well. If you level it well it cools great.


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Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: redchevy] #6805010 06/26/17 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted By: redchevy
I see a lot of coments about RV fridges not cooling well. I have noticed without ours that if you do not get it good and level it does not cool well. If you level it well it cools great.


Not only will they not cool but if unlevel it can actually trash the fridge. Rv fridges take forever to cool down but a trick I've learned is using ice packs to help cool it. I use one of the big yeti ice packs in the freezer, then fridge. Once the freezer cools down the fridge goes fairly quickly afterwards. Instead of having to wait 24 hrs for it to be ready it should be ready in 6 hours or so.

Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: deewayne2003] #6805024 06/26/17 10:03 PM
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I tore out all the RV stuff from my old camper. Installed electric water heater and small residential fridge. Replaced the roof unit with a heat pump to fix the air and add heat. Added electric heat strip so it heats even when it's below 40 outside. I even pulled the RV toilet and installed a handicap toilet.

All that and it sits in the yard...


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Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: BOBO the Clown] #6805168 06/27/17 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown
I'd seal roof, check exterior chalk, check water lines, and crawl under it and seal up where any water/propane and sewer lines come in or exit


pretty much covered it


You can't fix stupid
Re: Camper Maintenance..... Need advice from people who have done it [Re: krmitchell] #6805544 06/27/17 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted By: rexmitchell
Originally Posted By: redchevy
I see a lot of coments about RV fridges not cooling well. I have noticed without ours that if you do not get it good and level it does not cool well. If you level it well it cools great.


Not only will they not cool but if unlevel it can actually trash the fridge. Rv fridges take forever to cool down but a trick I've learned is using ice packs to help cool it. I use one of the big yeti ice packs in the freezer, then fridge. Once the freezer cools down the fridge goes fairly quickly afterwards. Instead of having to wait 24 hrs for it to be ready it should be ready in 6 hours or so.



Also get a small battery power fan, turn it on in the freezer, it will cool the refer faster. A 2nd one outside behind the fridge panel helps even more if not using propane

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