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Old 07-31-2020, 05:32 PM   #1
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New to Class A

Hi .... I have taken possession of a "new-to-me" 2006 Itasca Ellipse 40FD with 4 slides on April 10, 2020.

Before this, I was living in a 24 ft travel trailer since Sept. 12, 2014, trying not to become completely homeless. I learned a lot about my travel trailer and rebuilt about 1/2 of it and upgraded everything along the way BUT... my Ellipse is a whole different animal and what I learned from my TT does not really translate well to a class A vehicle. This is where I'm going to need some help.

I am able to do most of just about anything all by myself (so far) but I have been finding a few things here and there that come up that have me completely baffled. I have chosen to join this forum in the hope that everyone here with all their knowledge about the brand, might be able to assist me when those questions come up. I do (often) go to the "iRV2.com" forum and those folks have been a Godsend. I hope I'll have as much luck here with you'all.

Thanks for letting me join.
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:46 PM   #2
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Welcome to the group and hope we can be useful but with that said, going from near homeless to a big money hungry bus is a pretty bold move in my book!
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:52 PM   #3
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Hi Richard. Well.. I only had the travel trailer because it was all I could afford at the time. Last year I won my disability case and bought this class a and a new car with my retro. That's how that came about. I've been dreaming about a class a for eons..... things are much better now but I have work to do on my new home. Bold, no... If you don't jump, you don't learn how to fly. Livin the dream now and it's about time.

My ex and I are currently selling our log cabin on 5 acres in the adirondack park in upstate NY. I'll have money to bank from that. Plus, the disability doubled my monthly income.
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:53 PM   #4
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Welcome to the group and as a bit of help, this is a link to a parts catalog which can be good for finding thing, like where is the converter and do I have an inverter? Big coaches do have lots of new things to learn about so maybe just getting a look at the parts will help some?
https://catalog3d.winnebagoind.com/menu/Parts.htm

First big "tip of the day"? Watch the batteries as they tend to be very confusing for most when first starting.
Good luck to you!
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:01 PM   #5
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I've already been through the catalog. Also have the PDF for my vehicle saved in my favorites and I look at it quite often trying to find stuff.

I used to drive tractor trailers so driving this thing and towing my car is nothing for me. I just drove it up from Florida this past April. No problems.

I currently have an email into Dave at lichtsinn.com. I'm trying to find a slide out solenoid...one of my bedroom slides keeps creeping in and I narrowed it down to that but can't find a part number or manufacturer to order one. Local RV dealership parts guy was clueless. I figured Dave will find it. I've already worked with him on a few parts.

Already been in touch with Freightliner about a venting issue with the fuel tank. Looks like I'll have to live with that...

I've already had to restring some of the day/night shades. Everyday I find something new to "play" with. I like fixing things and after all the work I put into that trailer over the 5 1/2 years I was in it, it's nothing new to me. I know these things need work all the time but.... que sera sera!

Batteries are all new and they have a solar charger... I do need to get rid of this Norcold though.. doesn't work and I can't find anyone to take it out of here. All new electronics, RV is level and still won't stay on for more than 3 hours.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:35 PM   #6
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The reason I mention batteries is the number of times we get questions about them and how to keep them working. One of the big things that is different from trailers to motorhomes is that there are what I like to call three different systems of power which are connected in different ways at different times on using and charging the batteries.
One of the frequent problems is when folks store the Rv. They know that the coach and start batteries are both charged as they drive, so they fail to pick up the details that the two string are NOT connected when the engine is not running, so putting a charger on the coach battery will not charge the start battery and it has small drains which leave them disappointed when the get the Rv out again!
It's not that many of us can't deal with these details, more just that we are not aware of the need until it bites us and may cost a new set of batteries if we let them run down and stay there too long!
But there is a lot of difference in what we each do, so it often gets down to the details. A person using an Rv pretty much full time has quite a different set of problems than one who only vacations in one!
For the frig problem, I might first suggest doing a couple quick items. One is to blow or clean out the vents and make sure it has good air flow and second, try looking at the wiring connections for being clean and tight as those are both kind of frequent problem spots. Wasps and mud daubers get in the works and mess with our minds so a screen over the vents are a good idea but they can also be too tight and not let the air flow good. Stop the bugs but not the air?
Good luck with the new rig!
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:56 PM   #7
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Wasps and mud daubers get in the works and mess with our minds so a screen over the vents are a good idea but they can also be too tight and not let the air flow good. Stop the bugs but not the air?
Good luck with the new rig!
Heck, I never even heard of mud daubers until this forum. I don’t think we have them in CA, If we do, it’s news to me,

So I looked them up. Seems like they’re a bigger problem that just RV’s...

Nasty little buggers they are...
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:45 AM   #8
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Hi again, Richard.

I must admit that the batteries are confusing.. I'm not sure which are the "house" batteries and which are the other but my control panel says they are all fully charged.

One funny thing about going from a travel trailer to the class a.... when I arrived in NY at the end of April I was not suspecting snow. Ran out of what was a full tank of propane for heating PDQ and couldn't find anyone to come to my campsite to refill... no hot water for a few weeks. At least, not until someone on the iRV2.com forum mentioned that they could heat their water with electricity. When fishing around on my control panel and sure enough.... hot water via electric. I had no idea....

As far as the Norcold is concerned.... the dealership put in all new electronics before I bought it. They installed 2 new heaters for the ammonia lines and AT THE DEALERSHIP the thing was running like a champ. It was making ice and everything. Worked for days on end. Soon as I took it off the lot it worked 3 hours then quit on both electric and propane. I kept resetting it (tried to rebuild an old Norcold in my tt back in the day and couldn't get that to work so ended up chucking it) so I'm not new to diagnostics and all that (also have some electrical background from the USAF).

I kept trying to get it to work and finally called the dealership. They came out and replaced all the brand new electronics in it THREE TIMES and still faulted out ("no co") after exactly 3 hours to the minute. I had to leave Florida for NY so they couldn't get it working again before I left and here I sit, still no working refrigerator (except for a 2 cu ft one from Home Desperate). I kept telling the dealer to just remove the damned thing because I wanted a residential in here but he kept insisting he could fix it and now I'm stuck with it. I'm still pissed.

Anyway... it's not mud daubers. I have covers on my two exhaust things so they can't get in there.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:23 AM   #9
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Okay, some good info on a variety of things, so I will throw out some thoughts and let you think them over as many things we see from a distance are not there in real life!!!!
On the battery part, you can often see which is the coach string as they are often bigger and more of them. Many times an RV engine will only have one start battery while two coach batteries as the starting is just the normal car/truck thing but we want lots longer use for camping, etc.
And that gets back to how things can mislead us. The battery monitor will be a voltage reading and that can get us into looking at it shortly after the engine or other charging has been done, so some reading/understanding of "surface charge" may be helpful. When charging we may see as much as 14 volts and when we stop charging, it may settle into 12+ range but given time for the chemicals in each of the 6 cells of each battery to get stable, we may not have all that much, maybe 10 volts, depending on how low versus how long we charged. Just something to be aware of so that we don't get caught getting a reading that makes us think we are in better shape than really.
Did your AF experience get you into warm country where heat was a problem on electronics?
I did lots of stuff where heat was a problem and it does do things to really mess with us. Since they have changed lots of boards and such, we say the boards are good but what they often forget is the the boards have to be connected well to work, so there may be spots where things are okay until the connections warm and that may take three hours! I currently have a Ford which has spent at least 15 days at two different dealerships and it has a start/cranking problem which is heat related ( I think) as it will do right if driven frequently but if it set for 8 hours, it will not crank on the first turn of the key, only the second or more!! I have extended warranty on it until march 2021 and hope they can find it in the winter!
I'm thinking we both have a similar problem with some connection which is fine until heat expands something and it no longer works right!
Are we in trouble or what?
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:59 AM   #10
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Anyway... it's not mud daubers. I have covers on my two exhaust things so they can't get in there.
The “two exhaust things” are your furnace heater exhaust ports most likely.

You may have two large plastic panels with slits across them, those are for your fridge ventilation and the exhaust is on your roof.

As to why your fridge doesn’t work, I’m sorry I cannot add anything.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:12 AM   #11
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creativepart Yes, those are the covers for the exhaust ports that I have. I know what the different parts are, just couldn't think of the name of it in the moment I was typing. Senior moment.

I'm not new to RV's and did a major rebuild on the travel trailer I lived in for 5 1/2 years before I got this class a. It's just the "luxuries" of the class a that I'm not familiar with.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:22 AM   #12
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Richard -

I can't believe the fridge electronics is having a problem due to the heat. Maybe in Florida but why did it work flawlessly at the dealership for many days on end when they were just 20 miles from where I was camped? And... I'm in upstate NY now and it still won't stay on. It's hot here (at times) but not like it was in FL. I'm going to rule out expansion on the electronics as a problem (in my situation) because it's not a "common denominator" under the various circumstances. I just want it gone now..... I don't want to play with it anymore. And, no, the USAF didn't mention heat being a problem that I can recall.... it was back in the late 70's. I remember it being hot there (MS) but not like it is nowadays!!!!

RE: batteries..... I have a solar panel that keeps them charged. All my batteries are dated 2017 as well. I think there are 6 down there..... Should I still be worried?
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:31 AM   #13
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The “two exhaust things” are your furnace heater exhaust ports most likely.

You may have two large plastic panels with slits across them, those are for your fridge ventilation and the exhaust is on your roof.

As to why your fridge doesn’t work, I’m sorry I cannot add anything.
Good point here as there are possibly three types of venting that we need to protect.
This is more likely to be the frig on your Rv but also I like to keep the bugs out of the water heater furnace and frig. One reason for that is my paranoid feelings about getting stung if they've built a nest and I open the door to their house! The mud daubers are not bad mannered but the paper wasp types do take offense easily!
EDIT: Sorry about the double time info!
On batteries it is more a need to be aware as they do age in different ways and different times. Just being aware and taking a look is step one of not getting caught in the middle of the night! A 2017 date can make them okay if they have been treated right or almost gone if they have been run dry or treated wrong, so just taking a look to be sure the cables are not corroded and the batteries have water is a good move when we don't know what history they have.
The pilots speak of keeping the head on a swivel? It might be true for RV as well! Somewhere between sleeping and worry is a good spot.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:35 AM   #14
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Oh, I learned the hard way YEARS ago in the travel trailer what needs to be protected out there! Hahaha.... Just the other day I found a new spot: under the awning cover. No way to protect that area......
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:38 AM   #15
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At the risk of pointing out something you've already seen and may have tried... have you seen this webiste/product?

https://www.arprv.com/no-co-norcold.php
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:44 AM   #16
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creativepart

Oh yes.. fully aware. I have reset (hard wire reset) and fault codes cleared this fridge (and the one I had in my travel trailer before I sent it to the scrapyard) at least a dozen times. Replacing thermistor (a couple times) didn't help either.

I believe at this point the fridge is nothing more than a fire hazard and that's why I want it gone. I can't find ANYONE to remove it for me to save my life! I actually have it unplugged at the rear "just because".
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:50 AM   #17
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RE: batteries..... I have a solar panel that keeps them charged.
Again, just asking specifically... many mid-2000's RVs came with tiny 10 and 15 watt solar panels and a little light that lit up when the sun was out. These were described as "keeping your batteries charged". So, lots of folks with 2005 era RVs "think" they have a solar panel charging system just like modern day coaches.

The sad truth is, if that's what you have you have a nearly worthless solar panel that will trickle charge a battery that is resting in storage.

Modern day solar installation have hundreds, sometimes, thousands of watts of solar panels. These are connected to Solar Charge Controllers that are smart chargers and they add significant amperage to the battery bank of an RV.

If you have the 10w kind you don't even have a charge controller and in some of those installations they were directly connected to the Chassis Battery (engine starting) and others were directly connected to the House Batteries (RV house power).

The 10w solar panel would only provide a tiny benefit and only when you have stored your RV with all power turned off with power disconnects.

It's good to know the difference because that can be confusing.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:53 AM   #18
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Hmm..... That's a fairly good sized solar panel up there but, of course, I have nothing to compare it to as I've never had a solar panel on anything I've ever owned. How can I tell if this is really doing what it's said to be doing?
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:10 AM   #19
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I can't find ANYONE to remove it for me to save my life! I actually have it unplugged at the rear "just because".
There are many RV Upgrade and RV Service companies that will remove your old fridge and install a new residential fridge. You'd just have to find one. I've also seen people that have found independent RV repairman that will come to your RV and make this swap for you.

Not knowing where you are located in upstate NY I don't know how difficult that would be to find someone. And, it is very expensive from a labor point of view, which is why so many try to do this job on their own.

Here is such a company in Long Island, which is probably pretty far away from you. It's just an example:

RV Renovations | Get RV Restore and Repair Services at TristateRVRepair

Before buying our current Class A, with a Residential Fridge, we looked at a used RV that had a RV Fridge. We called around locally for a quote to replace it with a residential fridge and we were quoted about $4,500 for the job.

There are companies that sell complete replacement refrigeration equipment that replaces the gas absorption equipment of the RV. So, you would pull the fridge out, remove ALL of the gas absorption cooling and replace it with a new compressor all electric refrigeration unit.

https://jc-refrigeration.com/

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Old 08-01-2020, 10:19 AM   #20
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I'm in cow country. Zip code 12025. ONE RV dealership within about 30 or more miles and they only send mobile repair out to you if you bought the RV from them. I did not. I asked how much it would cost to remove my 12 cu ft fridge and was quoted "$830". That is WITHOUT a replacement fridge - just taking the current one out the door. (FYI - leveling my Splendide washer/dryer combo was quoted at $220)

No mobile repair guys around here so had to reach out to bigger towns 30+ miles away. They don't want to come out this far unless I'm willing to pay a minimum of $150 (does not include removal, that's just to drive here).

I do have a call into one guy who is supposed to be local but he hasn't returned my call yet (from Thursday, today is Saturday). I did leave a detailed message so he is aware what I want so maybe that's why he didn't call back... or yet. I don't know. Since he's the only guy somewhat in the area, he may be booked out for a while.

I've tried to sell it on craigslist, the local Pennysaver (ad mag), FB Marketplace and even have it posted on some bulletin boards where the Amish can find it. They generally rebuild them and I had hoped they'd pick it up to do that and then make a profit. Not a bite. Been advertised (OBO) since early May.

Now I find, I can't even give it away..... I also don't want it rebuilt, I hate the lack of freezer space because it's so small it's completely useless to me. I like to buy in bulk and freeze stuff in single serve packages and I can't do that with this even if it did work.
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