1st time pop up owner - looking for input

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by tentcamper, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. tentcamper

    tentcamper New Member

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    Well, I guess I've taken the plunge... but the jury is still out. The family and I are planning to head west this summer and my wonderful, beautiful wife informed me that there was no way she was going to spend a week in the mountains in a tent. So pop up here we come.
    I should say budget pop up. I bought a used cobra flagstaff... or is it flagstaff cobra. I don't know the whole thing is pretty foreign to me. It needs a little work, and honestly I don't know where to begin...so figured I'd start here. If you have any educated input on any of the following I'd love to hear it because I still have a sinking feeling about this...
    [RTM]

    1. LP tank. I bought a 94 and immediately noticed that the LP tank is not the same as that on my gas grill. Can I/ should I consider changing the line so that it can take a tank like that? I just have this idea that I'm going to be somewhere and run out and then have to search for a place to refill the tank vs. going to the local mart store and exchanging it. thoughts?

    2. roof vent. It needs a new one. I looked online at different diagrams for them and it seems pretty self explanatory how they fit. I'm fairly handy so not fearful to change it... but I don't want to create any problems with leaks. Anyone every tried this? Do I give it a whirl, take it in, or leave it sealed with duct tape as it currently is?

    3. Furnace. It has one. I had the trailer plugged in to the garage over the weekend, hit the thermostat... nothing. Now I know it is out of propane, so I didn't expect heat... but I did expect to hear a fan, or feel a breeze coming out of it. I assume I'm going to need to ignite a pilot of something... but in my experience camping heat always came from a smoldering pile of wood. Any ideas on where to start with the furnace?

    4. Water. it has a sink... which really made my wife glow... and I see where water goes in the trailer, and where is comes out of the trailer... and between the two there is a tank, and a sink with a drain. so how do I get the water from the tank to the sink? I'm under the impression it is a non pressured system, there is not pump... just a handle by the sink which seemed to do nothing.... which maybe that what it should do in the absence of liquid... but again I figured moving the handle would do something, make some noise, move some air... I don't know.

    Yep... pretty much in over my head already... but maybe one of you all can get me on my feet with this thing so I don't look like a complete idiot when I get out with the wife and kids.

    thanks,

    SW [MOD]
     
  2. PNW Family

    PNW Family New Member

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    The only part of this I can really touch is the furnace. Don't really know much about the other topics.

    There are two parts to the thermostat switch: The temperature setting (slider on the top of the t-stat box) and the on/off switch (slider on the underside of the t-stat box that a lot of people miss).

    Also, depending on the furnace/t-stat setup you have, system startup may not be instantaneous. My Hydroflame/Atwood setup takes about 2 minutes after I flip it on for the fan in the furnace to start. About another minute after that before it ignites (since the initial startup is just clearing any excess fumes from the system).

    You should be able to see somewhere to light a pilot light if your furnace is so equipped. Mine happens to be a DSI system, so it auto-ignites. If you're not sure, you can always get a model number off the unit and google it or ask here.

    And my *suggestion* for the roof vent (FWIW, as mine does not have one) - "sealed with duct tape" just doesn't sound sealed to me. Better to replace it and properly seal it, since I'd imagine at some point the duct tape would give way enough to let water in.
     
  3. Heartman_wa

    Heartman_wa Active Member

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    Can you give us the year of the trailer?
    As for water what kind of handle? If it is a pump you will probable not hear anything until there is water in the tank.
     
  4. bummy

    bummy New Member

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    For the LP tank does it just have left handed threads for the propane tank on the pup if so it will also fit the tank that is in your grill. the pup just has the male thread for the tank where the grill probally has the female ones that thread over the LP tank threads unless somebody has changed it. As for the vent you need to replace it and use 100% silicone under it seal it so that it doesn't leak and make the roof start to rot. for the furnace check the fuse panel in the pup it usually under the dinnet table to make sure there are no blown fuses or tripped breakers then leave it on for a bit to see if it lights or makes sure it doesn't have a pilot light on it .(manual one ) you can down load an owners manual on the pup here on the forum
     
  5. Byrd_Huntr

    Byrd_Huntr Well-Known Member

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    The vent replacement is not too difficult. I did it two years ago on my Palomino. Measure, get the new unit, remove the old one and clean around the roof opening. Before placing the new vent on, caulk up the old holes with the same outdoor rated silicone sealer you will use on the bottom of the flange. Run a bead around the bottom of the flange and seat the vent, taking care that the vent opens toward the back of the trailer. carefully drill the new holes using some type of depth gauge (I used white tape wrapped around the bit). Dip the threads of the self-tapping screws into the same silicon and tighten them down. When the silicon sets, run another thin bead around the edge of the flange.
     
    Topo329 likes this.
  6. tentcamper

    tentcamper New Member

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    Thanks for the replies!
    it is a 94 flagstaff/cobra. I actually found the owners manual here at PUP (that's what got me on board here)...but it is pretty generic to the fridge, A/C, Heater...etc...
    Hopefully this weekend I can get the roof up again and get more specifics on the actual components.

    yep, I sure didn't see a switch on the bottom of the thermostat... but you guessed it... I didn't look for one either. I'll have to check that out.

    The LP tank appears to have the vent/regulator attached directly to the service knob neck. It doesn't look like it will unthread without a wrench... I'm not certain which way the threads go. And there is my initial concern... I guess I just expected it to attach like my gas grill type... but I guess I'm assuming that all these tanks are the same. The hose from the tank to the trailer is only about 2 feet long and threads into the system at the front of the trailer... so I thought it would be pretty easy to change it out for something a little more modern... but I don't know if that is the "modern" set up. I suppose I'll have to take a field trip to the RV store and see what is the current tank setup.

    The water handle looks like a "T" on the back side of the sink. It seems to pump on a hinge vs. straight up and down. Like I said, I tried it knowing it's dry, but figured I'd hear something. Need to sanitize the system anyway, so I guess I'll know more when I fill it up. Does a hand pump like that need priming?

    Ok, one other thing I forgot to ask in my initial post... the crank system. The thing goes up pretty smooth, it seems to some down fairly well until the very end where I might have to push down on a corner for the last little bit. I've read a few posts about these things having their lift systems break. I'm under the impression that a broken lift system is not only not good... but real expensive to fix. I also read in the owners manual that it needs to be lubed as regular maintenance. I can see where the crank handle goes... is there any access to the other 3 corners of the mechanism? I looked inside and out, but can't see where you can get to them for lubrication. any ideas?

    Thanks again all... I can see this site is going to be a great resource for a newbie like me.
     
  7. Dale Boudreaux

    Dale Boudreaux New Member

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    I would suggest taking your LP tank and hose(s) to the local hardware store. They may have connecters and hoses to fit your camper. Take it from me nothing like a leaky hose on a Sat afternoon and trying to fit and find LP products near the campground..
     
  8. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave Active Member

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    You will need water in the tank, and then you pump the handle. Alternately, hooking water line to trailer (not to fill port) will give water direct to faucet (no pumping) and bypass the storage tank.
     
  9. pasnowlady

    pasnowlady Member

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    recommend water pressure regulator between city water and your pup. Wouldn't want to blow lines apart in pup with high pressure form city water. Also, there are simple water filter systems that can be installed, so you aren't having to buy bottled water all the time for drinking, parents did it for their boat for a year long trip where carrying water specific for drinking was not feasible.
     
  10. tentcamper

    tentcamper New Member

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    OK... so I think I got a bunch of this figured out now...
    there is a swich on the bottom of the thermostat for the furnace. I have yet to try it... but it is there. Thanks for that info... I felt like an idiot when I found it... but had someone not pointed it out I'm quite sure I'd have never found it.

    I learned that the LP tank on my BBQ has threads on the outside of the neck... but there are threads on the inside too. Who knew!?! I think that the connection I have will hook right up to a new tank. Going to try that out as soon as the April showers give it a rest and I can get it set up again.
    any suggestions on the easiest way to check for leaks?

    I found a roof vent... less than $50. I'm told they are pretty easy to change... and it appears pertty self explanitory.

    I'm going to try the water system out when I get it set up again. Any suggestions on the best way to "sanitize" it. I'm told liquid bleach... like a 1:10 ratio. does that sound right?

    still hoping to find some info on lubricating the lift system... or is that something that doesn't need to be done regular?

    thanks again to all who have read and provided advice. I am actually atarting to get excited a little.

    regards.
     
  11. pupateer

    pupateer Native Texan

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    Yes, the lifts need to be lubricated yearly. Use a silicone spray, but be careful not to get any on the canvas. You can also use the spray to lubricate the rails on the bed slide outs. [:)C]
     
  12. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave Active Member

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    Agreed..if your own well your system might not have enough pressure to force open the ball valve in the trailer inlet. I found that out after trying to figure out why I had lots of water coming out of the RV hose when not hooked to the trailer, but ZERO water coming out of my PUP faucet..
     
  13. colorado_camper

    colorado_camper Member

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    If you're like many of the rest of us, you'll spend one night in your new PUP and never want to go back to the ground again. [PU] [SNZ]

    It sounds to me like you may have an old style LP tank. Does it have the round handle or triangular one? If it is more round, you will not be able to fill it as it is obsolete and you'll need one with the Overfill Prevention Device (OPD.)

    Usually, your water system will have a 2-way handle at the sink, one way switches on the on-demand water pump and the other manually pumps water from the tank. Nothing will happen until you flood the system. The water pump will usually either be near the storage tank or under the sink. Definitely use a pressure regulator if you hook up with a hose to city water or you'll blow out the seals - ask me how I know!! [B)] [:O)]

    Similarly, the furnace will not do anything until it senses a good propane supply. Hook up the tank from your BBQ and fire up a ring on the stove; it'll take a minute to get the gas through. Once the burner is running, you'll have propane in the furnace and you can switch it on and set the thermostat up to activate it. They usually make a lot of noise but they do work. When you exchange LP tanks, you are paying for a full tank but only getting 3/4 full. It's better to take the tank to a filling place (Ace Hardware, Uhaul, etc) and have them fill it full.

    Hope this helps a little. Welcome from Colorado. See you out there.
     
  14. Raptorblitz

    Raptorblitz New Member

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    The thing goes up pretty smooth, it seems to some down fairly well until the very end where I might have to push down on a corner for the last little bit.. :)
    Maybe stating the obvious, my Coleman stops a few inches shy from bottom. In my situation its just extra air in the canvas. You can let it settle for a few min. And see if it goes down, or what I do is carefully use my forearm to help it to the clasps.
     
  15. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    Your wife isn't just wonderful and beautiful, she's smart and practical, too. [8D] Seriously, once you get off the ground, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

    As you discovered, the "nozzle" or outlet of the tank has two threads on it. The outer threads that are fairly thick and standard ... what you use to connect BBQ grills and other stuff (hoses with the silver metal regulators in line).

    There are also inside threads. These are sort of dangerous to use, so it's why they're sort of "hidden." They're also reverse threaded. This is the port that allows filling stations to fill. You also tap into this to connect "high pressure" devices (e.g., a bulk hose for the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy). You also tap into this to refill the green 1-lb cannisters from a 20-lb tank.

    Hardware and plumbing stores are your best bet here, to ensure that you're configured properly. Generally not convenient, buy you'll have to bit the bullet on this one.

    I can't help much except to encourage you to seal it up correctly. Once the roof goes, you're done. You can live with a creaky door, a busted furnace, drawers that don't line up, etc. But, a leaky roof is a killer.

    I think you're on the right path here.

    You sure she's not just pregnant? [8D] Seriously, it's a manual pump sink. The outside of your PUP should have two places for water inlet. One is just a spout for you to pour water into your drinking water holding tank. The other should be threaded so you can connect a hose directly to your PUP.

    If you go the latter, as was mentioned, get a pressure reducer to ensure that you don't over-pressurize your lines. Generally not a problem with residential water lines, but campground lines can be at very high pressures and will do major damage to your water lines.

    If, after you get water on board, you still cannot pump anything, then you may have to replace part or all of that pump. It's a fairly common part and you should be able to do this fairly easily.

    If you're pushing against the lift mechanism, that's not good. That means that there is something mechanical that is preventing the roof from seating and you're using brute force to overcome the "snag."

    If you're pushing against friction from canvas, trapped air, and general tight fit these PUPs have, then no problem. Gravity alone is rarely enough to cause a roof to settle perfectly into place. Depending on how cold it is (stiff canvas and materials) and how well you folded (trapped air, thick spots in how the canvas is laying), you will vary from light pushing to firm pushing to get the roof to seat.

    The manual is generic because nearly all of the stuff you're mentioning is an aftermarket part. Flagstaff (or Coleman, or Jayco, etc.) don't/didn't make the furnace, sink/pump, ceiling fans, etc.

    I recommend spending some time in the subject-specific subforums to learn more about the vent/sealing, furnace, propane, and other issues. This site is incredibly diverse and specific ... takes some time to find your way around, but it's worth the learning curve.

    Good luck.
     
  16. Harvardroger

    Harvardroger If it feels good, do it! If it hurts, Stop!

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    On the order of a 1/4 - 1/2 cup per 10 gal is enought. I know I have seen that discussion, but not finding it at the moment.
     

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