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RE: Looking at class c questions on maintenance

Oil change specifically is typically a SIMPLE job on Class C RVs. They are high enough off the ground that you can crawl under (or put your leveling blocks/etc underneath...of course be careful anytime you go under a vehicle!). On many Class C RVs, the oil filter is also underneath and simple to get to. It will take you LESS time (and of course money) to change the oil yourself if you consider driving to the shop, waiting your turn (or dropping it off, getting a ride back and forth, etc), waiting for them to change the oil, and driving home. For anything safety related, I want a certified RV shop or mechanic to perform the task (liability reasons). Good luck! Chris Assuming you coordinate it with another trip (the OP was asking about while traveling so I assume there are moves involved), there is negligible drive time involved. Add in that you can typically just show up and get in within 5-10minutes and much easier than making an appointment at the dealer and paying an inflated rate. Never had to leave a vehicle at an oil change place and come back later. Most campgrounds won't be happy with you doing an oil change at the campsite. Here is the original post: Hello, we currently have a fiver but lately have been looking at smaller class c around the 25ft length. My question is having to do with oil changes and was wondering - for example if it was a Ford powered rv do you take it to the ford dealer for oil changes? Are they generally able to work on these types of vehicles without a problem? I don't see anything in the original post about "while traveling". Unless my trip was for 5000+ miles, I'd either change the oil before going or when I got back. -Chris
SJ-Chris 06/29/22 09:16pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Looking at class c questions on maintenance

Oil change specifically is typically a SIMPLE job on Class C RVs. They are high enough off the ground that you can crawl under (or put your leveling blocks/etc underneath...of course be careful anytime you go under a vehicle!). On many Class C RVs, the oil filter is also underneath and simple to get to. It will take you LESS time (and of course money) to change the oil yourself if you consider driving to the shop, waiting your turn (or dropping it off, getting a ride back and forth, etc), waiting for them to change the oil, and driving home. For anything safety related, I want a certified RV shop or mechanic to perform the task (liability reasons). Good luck! Chris
SJ-Chris 06/28/22 03:44pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: black tank not venting?

It isn't clear to my why, even if the vent pipe is inserted 1/3 the way down into the black tank, why there would be pressure built up. It isn't a sealed system (because of the vent...even if the tube is submerged) so there shouldn't be pressure. Yes, the toilet might burp a bit, but not actual pressure. The liquid would rise up the vent tube as the tank fills. When the toilet is flushed the liquid would rush back down the vent tube. Causing a release of pressure through the toilet. The liquid would NOT rise UP the vent pipe beyond the liquid level (1 inch? 2 inches? 3 inches?). As more liquid is put into the tank (from the toilet), it would simply flow into the black tank. I agree with the OP that as liquid is flowing into the black waste tank, some air will release back into the toilet. -Chris
SJ-Chris 05/31/22 11:52pm Tech Issues
RE: Low budget furnace thermostat fix -- quick and dirty

Nice work MacGyver!
SJ-Chris 05/31/22 08:45pm Tech Issues
RE: black tank not venting?

It isn't clear to my why, even if the vent pipe is inserted 1/3 the way down into the black tank, why there would be pressure built up. It isn't a sealed system (because of the vent...even if the tube is submerged) so there shouldn't be pressure. Yes, the toilet might burp a bit, but not actual pressure. Question: Does the smell start happening after it goes over 2/3rds full AND you are flushing the toilet (ie. toilet line open directly to the black tank)? Or does the smell just start showing up in the bathroom and the RV in general once your tank is 2/3rd full? If it is just starting to show up in general (not while flushing) then it seems like there is some other problem. The black tank is supposed to effectively be a closed system (except for the roof vent). That means there shouldn't be any smell while the "stuff" just sits there in the tank. Your toilet itself has a valve/seal and a water barrier so the smell shouldn't be coming from there. Shouldn't matter if it is 1/3rd full, 2/3rd full, or 100% full. This may or may not be helpful.... Recently, I had a crack/leak on my black waste tank where the 3" pipe from the toilet connected to the top of the tank. That also meant "smell" could leak out anytime there was "stuff" in the black waste tank. Since that connection is somewhat exposed to the floor/underside/plumbing of the RV, I could smell it. ESPECIALLY when driving as the wind (from driving) would swirl around underneath the RV and push the smelly air up into the plumbing connections area/etc which happened to be underneath the kitchen sink/cabinets. The only solution for me was to drop the black waste tank, fix and reseal everything, and then install it back in place. Here's a link to that job in case it is helpful. https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30326133.cfm If you go to post #10 you will see the complete job with pictures. It Also shows you what the black vent pipe looks like (for my rig) and might give you ideas. On my 2015 Thor Majestic 28a, my black vent pipe was installed in a way that there would be NO CHANCE to slide it in/out (seemed to almost be glued in place). You can test to see if there is a leak at the top connections to your black tank... The first step is to EMPTY your black tank and give it a good flushing. You don't really want to be testing for leaks with poopy water. Then, simply fill it 90% of the way with water with your flush system. Then, turn off your water pump, get a 5 gallon bucket and slowly start to pour water into your black tank through your toilet. Eventually the black waste tank will fill up (you will kind of be able to hear as it is filling to the top). Then continue a bit more and you will fill the 3" waste line that is going from your toilet to your black waste tank. Then you can even fill up to your actual toilet about 5-10% full (keeping your foot on the flush pedal). If you have no leaks, the water will just sit there and not go down at all. If you have a leak, you will notice that the water level in your toilet starts to go down and the water down in your toilet waste line will go down also. Presumably, you should see a puddle of water underneath your RV if you have a leak (...the water has to go somewhere, right?). If you have a leak in your black waste tank/plumbing, that could be what is causing your smell. Sorry you are going through this...not a fun problem. Keep us posted. It just occurred to me that you could have BOTH problems....the tank vent could be 1/3rd into the tank AND you could have a small leak in the connections to the black tank (either the vent, or the toilet, or maybe your bathroom sink). If it is a small leak, then perhaps when the tank is less than 2/3rds full MOST of the smelly air vents out the vent pipe to the roof. But when it is more than 2/3rds full, maybe the vent pipe is submerged and now the stinky air cannot go up the vent pipe and finds its way through a leaky black tank connection (and then the smell drifts up into your RV). Good luck! Chris
SJ-Chris 05/31/22 07:52pm Tech Issues
RE: Buying a Former Rental Class C. How many of us out there?

2015 Thor Majestic 28a - Black waste tank removal and repair... I just completed a fix on my Majestic 28a. Learned a lot and thought I would post the link here also in case any fellow CA Majestic owners would find it useful or be searching for it... https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30326133.cfm If you scroll down to the ~10th post there is a complete description with photos/etc Happy Camping! Chris IMPORTANT PREVENTATIVE NOTE: My RV only had 2 brackets in the front edge of the black waste tank holding it up to the underside of the RV. Each of those brackets had places for THREE screws, but they only had TWO screws in each. So, essentially it was being held up by 4 screws. I have since added a 3rd screw to each of those brackets AND added a 3rd bracket on the front edge. You should take a look at what you have on yours and you might want to add some extra screws and perhaps another bracket BEFORE you have this problem and then you can avoid it in the first place! I have another identical Majestic 28a and it also only had 2 brackets with 2 screws on each so I also added more screws and another bracket to that RV as well. I also added 2 additional screws on the rear 2 brackets (there wasn't room for a 3rd bracket). Good luck! Chris
SJ-Chris 05/16/22 05:26pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Buying a Former Rental Class C. How many of us out there?

2015 Thor Majestic 28a - Black waste tank removal and repair... I just completed a fix on my Majestic 28a. Learned a lot and thought I would post the link here also in case any fellow CA Majestic owners would find it useful or be searching for it... https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30326133.cfm If you scroll down to the ~10th post there is a complete description with photos/etc Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 05/15/22 02:13pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: (Leak!) Toilet plumbing connection to Black Waste tank...

Black waste tank removal and repair fix - 2015 Thor Majestic 28a Summary: My black waste tank was leaking from above (toilet to waste tank connection) and this post describes the fix. Hopefully this description will help someone else complete the job easier. I learn so much from these forums so I like to give back when I can. While out on a trip, the brackets that held the front end of the black waste tank to the underside of the RV dislodged and the front of the black waste tank dropped ~12 inches to the ground. The rear brackets remained intact. But this caused stress on the 3” waste line from the toilet to the top of the black waste tank and created a crack/leak at that connection. (But at this point I didn’t know yet it was cracked). My first step in checking to see if things were okay was to thoroughly rinse out my black tank at the dumping station. If I’m going to be dealing with the black tank, I figured might as well flush all the contents so as to not make it any grosser than it needs to be. I recently added a Tornado Flush system so this was the perfect time to give it a good flush. Then I started filling it with fresh water. My plan was to fill it all the way to where the toilet started to fill and the black waste tank was no longer able to take any additional water. I got the black waste tank almost full, then I started slowly dumping water into the toilet with a 5 gallon bucket. Finally, I could hear/see the black tank was full and the waste line from the toilet to the waste tank was also filling up. When I got to that point I could see that the water was still slowly going down. And, I could hear water splashing underneath the RV (…..sure enough, there was a leak at the toilet line going into the top of the black waste tank). Ugh…problem confirmed. IMPORTANT PREVENTATIVE NOTE: My RV only had 2 brackets in the front edge of the black waste tank holding it up to the underside of the RV. Each of those brackets had places for THREE screws, but they only had TWO screws in each. So, essentially it was being held up by 4 screws. I have since added a 3rd screw to each of those brackets AND added a 3rd bracket on the front edge. You should take a look at what you have on yours and you might want to add some extra screws and perhaps another bracket BEFORE you have this problem and then you can avoid it in the first place! I have another identical Majestic 28a and it also only had 2 brackets with 2 screws on each so I also added more screws and another bracket to that RV as well. This was a very tricky spot as I could literally only get a couple of gloved fingers to feel around the top of the black tank while lying underneath the RV to see if I could feel anything. It was a long shot. I then tried unsuccessfully (it was cheap and easy to attempt) blindly caulking/sealing via a 12” long ½” tube connected to my caulking gun injecting sealant all around where I thought the connection was, as there was just enough room from underneath to bend a ½” tub up towards the top of the tank where the connection is. Maybe I’d get really lucky and it would seal the problem. I let it dry and then I did a water test again….still leaking. Ugh, going to have to drop the tank and see what’s going on. I have never done any repairs or work on black tanks before, but in general I’m a do-it-yourself kind of guy (mostly because I find most repair shops to be waaaay too expensive and not always as knowledgeable as I would like). I own 3 RVs and I learned long ago that bringing my RV to the “experts” to have work done usually leaves me not very happy. Around here their labor is $200/hr). Never sits well with me when I already know what the problem is! Lol…. I also know that when I learn how to fix something on one of my RVs it comes in handy when in the future I run into a similar problem on another one of my RVs. I think of it this way….if it takes me twice as long as it would my RV mechanic/repair guy, that is like me paying myself $200/2 = $100/hr to work on my RV. Seems like a reasonable use of my time (….plus I kind of enjoy it). Step 1: Dropping/Removing the black waste tank. This proved to be harder than I thought. I made sure the black tank was empty and then started taking things apart. https://i.imgur.com/wHycgvEl.jpg I started by supporting the black waste tank from underneath with 2 bins that conveniently slid underneath. https://i.imgur.com/0Gpunc9l.jpg I removed the waste line from the blade valve to the exit pipe of the black waste tank. https://i.imgur.com/Awf0d7Pl.jpg Then I removed the tank sensor probe wires (taking care to remember which one went where…I like to take photos of everything before I start taking stuff apart so I have a better chance of putting it back together). https://i.imgur.com/K1lVJEdl.jpg Then I removed the brackets in the front of the waste tank that were holding it to the underside of the RV. https://i.imgur.com/H3Rnwmcl.jpg Then I removed the rear brackets. https://i.imgur.com/fKlxoifl.jpg I also disconnected my black tank flush hose. https://i.imgur.com/eHmzTD8l.jpg From my research, black waste tanks have 2 pipes entering from the top….The toilet waste line, and a 1.5” vent line (and in my case, the bathroom sink tied into that vent line also). If I was lucky, these were fed into the top of my waste tank via a rubber grommet like this: https://i.imgur.com/Sl3yOsol.jpg and maybe I could wiggle the tank free now that I had it disconnected from the underside of the RV. Sadly they were not. I rocked and wiggled and pulled, etc and the tank wouldn’t budge. It was being held up by these two pipes connected to the top of the black waste tank. Somehow, I would need to disconnect or cut these to free the black waste tank. But how??... I decided to try to find a way to attach the problem from inside the RV (from the top of the tank). I removed the toilet and got it out of the way. https://i.imgur.com/0V7jNCLl.jpg I then thought maybe if I remove the toilet flange (unscrewed it from the floor) I would be able to rotate or wiggle that pipe to free it from the black tank. I tried…No luck… I removed a kitchen cabinet panel from underneath the sink area to see if I would be able to access anything from there. Nope! But I could see what was an external driver side compartment box. I thought, “Maybe removing that from the outside of the RV would give me access from right above the waste tank.” So I went outside and removed the door and trim piece (just 4 screws). But once I did I could see that the hard plastic compartment box was somehow fastened to the RV in some unknown manner. So that wasn’t going to work…ugh! I applied some white sealant and put that compartment door and trim back on (making it more water tight than it was, so at least I felt good about that ?). I went back into the RV and into the bathroom to try to figure out if there was some way to remove the flooring so I could get access. Well, the flooring was not removable so that was out. But, I saw there was a heater register (from the furnace) right under the step that the toilet was fastened to. If I removed that I would at least be able to shine a light underneath and see what was underneath the toilet. So that’s what I did. The heat register is a circle with about a 5 inch diameter. Once I removed it and disconnected the flex heater tubing I could finally see underneath the toilet and I could see the 3” waste pipe as it went from the flange down to the black waste tank at about a 45 degree angle (it was about a 2’ straight pipe). I was able to stick my arm into this heat vent hole with a hand saw and I was able to cut the 3” waste line going to the black waste tank. I cut it in the middle of the ~2’ run so that I would have plenty of room to put a union or coupling there when it was time to put it back together. I could finally remove the toilet flange from the bathroom floor and now I had an ever larger opening (~7-8 inches) to get a better look at how the pipes were routed. It was only at this point that I could finally see where the 1.5” vent line was entering into the black waste tank, and it was in a very hard place to reach. Hmmm… Making progress but still not sure how I’m going to get to that vent pipe. Then I finally had a breakthrough… I figured out that if I jack up the RV on the rear driver side and remove both of the dually tires, I would be able to remove the wheel well cover and that would give me perfect access to where all these pipes are. So that’s what I did. https://i.imgur.com/O5SqVg9l.jpg It was held together with 7 screws which was easy, but on both the front edge and rear edge it was sandwiched between some metal framing and the underside of the RV. https://i.imgur.com/Q5Nnesql.jpg https://i.imgur.com/h6z5PaAl.jpg So I needed to use a Dremel and a cutting disc to cut those edges free. https://i.imgur.com/mNuIBJml.jpg Once I did, and carefully pryed around the edges where there was caulking I was able to remove the wheel well. Finally….I had perfect access required for this job. https://i.imgur.com/OSJIbt1l.jpg One of my reasons for posting this fix is so that it can possibly help someone else get to this point much sooner if they are tackling a similar job. Once I had this new access, I could reach the vent pipe going into the black waste tank fairly easily to make a cut on a straight section where I’d be able to reattach later with a rubber coupling. https://i.imgur.com/qPXbDnwl.jpg Then the black waste tank was finally (and pretty easily) removed. By making these cuts in the pipes in convenient locations, I figured it would facilitate reconnecting them when the time came and also made it so that it would be easy to remove in the future if I ever needed to. The one downside is that it creates more connection points where things can also leak. Step 2: Repairing the black waste tank/lines: I could finally assess the damage on the black waste tank. As I had suspected, where the toilet drain 3” pipe connected to the top of the black waste tank there was a crack due to the front of the black tank having dropped previously. https://i.imgur.com/sa0oKd4l.jpg With a flat bladed screw driver I was able to scrape away the sealant and any remnants of what was holding that pipe onto the black tank. I wanted to remove it so that I could see if there was going to be any way I could repair the tank instead of having to buy a new one. https://i.imgur.com/8NWc66vl.jpg After I cleaned it up a bit, I could see that there was a relatively flat section about 5.5” across that I could attach a new pipe to and see if I could get it to hold. It had to be something I could attach in a strong fashion to the black waste tank that had a connector for a 3” ABS pipe. Then I could add a short ABS pipe coming off going towards the toilet flange (where I could connect them with a 4” long rubber coupling). I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find an appropriate piece to connect to the top of the black tank, but I headed to Home Depot to look at plumbing parts and to see what sort of connector might fit. After a little searching, I found just the right part. https://i.imgur.com/EhH4CGMl.jpg Ironically, it was a toilet flange connector (placed upside down) that I thought would be just the right piece. It was flat on one side (to connect/glue to the top of the black waste tank) and had a 3” ABS waste line coming off the other side. The flange connector was a circular shape, but the mounting spot on the top of the black waste tank was a square shape. So I got out a chop saw and I cut off the round edges of the toilet flange to the appropriate size and I was ready to attach it to the top of the black waste tank. It even had 4 holes in the corners that I could physically screw the flange onto the black waste tank to give it more strength. https://i.imgur.com/l7pMzCZl.jpg First I applied some ABS cleaning solvent to both the square mounting location on the black waste tank and then onto the squared up toilet flange. Then I applied a liberal amount of ABS glue to both surfaces and I set the flange in place and pushed them together and held them. After about 20 seconds, I put a screw into each corner of the flange and screwed it to the top of the black waste tank mounting spot and it seemed to snug tightly. I was a little concerned about putting screw holes into the black tank (didn’t want to create any new leaks), but there was so much ABS glue all over the place that it felt like any potential hole/leak would be fixed during this application process because there was so much ABS glue being used. I then made sure there was ample ABS glue in all the appropriate places. In a sense, I used it in some places almost more like caulking as it was ABS to ABS and I knew that the glue would eventually dry and bond everything together. Looks like it did the trick. https://i.imgur.com/JNuzM2ll.jpg Then I let it dry for 24hrs. I happened to have some Leak Seal laying around, so after 24hrs I decided I was going to clean and hit all the edges of the tank as well as all around the mounted flange I attached to the top of the black waste tank (…seemed like it couldn’t hurt). Here is what it looked like when it was done and ready for reinstallation. https://i.imgur.com/ypzDyZKl.jpg Then I wanted to let it dry for another 24hrs. While waiting, I decided it would be a good time to replace my black waste tank sensors (since my RV is 7 years old and it was simple to do with the black tank out, and new sensors only cost ~$12 and were easy to install). I had never used these sensors before and I didn’t want to drill holes in my black waste tank to add these new sensors unless I knew they worked. So before drilling any holes, I hooked them up to the sensor wiring and then put ½” of water into a bin and I tested the sensor by reading my status panel inside the RV. They worked as expected (which was nice) so then I mounted them on the black waste tank right next to where the original sensors were located. They were easy to install. https://i.imgur.com/gUhzsVil.jpg I also noticed that one of my heater vent flex hoses was damaged with some holes. I wasn’t sure if it was like this before I started this project, or if somehow I poked some holes while man-handling things with cramped access. So I got a new 8’ vent hose from Home Depot and I replaced the damaged one. Feels good to put things back together BETTER than how they were originally. The next day I figured all the glue/flex/etc was dry enough to install. It would have been nice to have water tested the black waste tank prior to reinstalling it on the RV, but I couldn’t think of a convenient and easy way to test it other than just putting it back in the RV and testing it. From the looks of the fix, I felt very comfortable that there would not be a leak at the top of the black waste tank anymore. I just hoped that my rubber coupling connections, the new sensors, and the pipe going from the black waste tank exit to the blade valve will be leak free once I water test it. I reinstalled the toilet in the RV also. Until I was convinced that there were zero leaks, I would not put the wheel well back on or the rear tires. This way, when I water tested it I would have perfect visibility to all the connections and I would be able to see any leaks during my test. Fingers crossed. I let everything dry and cure for another 24 hours before doing the full water test. I added water via the toilet flush and bathroom sink (it goes to my black waste tank also). Once I got a little water in, I went and checked the low point black tank exit connection pipe going to the blade valve for waste dumping. Happily NO LEAKS. Then I added more water until eventually the 1/3 light on my control panel lit up. Excellent! I could check my rubber coupling connections on my toilet line going to the black waste tank, as well as the vent pipe going to the black waste tank. Thankfully, nothing was leaking. I continued my test and eventually the 2/3 light on my control panel lit up. The test continued… After a while longer, the 3/3 (Full) lit up. It was almost the moment of truth…I was going to continue filling the black waste tank through the toilet and bathroom sink to force the black tank to be full and then to eventually start filling up the toilet bowl. This would allow me to properly test the pipe with connections from the toilet flange to the black waste tank. Once this happened I stopped adding water to see what would happen. As hoped, the water stayed at the same level (didn’t go down). This told me there were no significant leaks in my system. I stopped adding water and I went outside to look under the RV at the pipes and to see if there were any leaks. There was just one tiny leak (about one drop every 4-5 seconds). Strangely, it was coming out of one of the old tank sensors. I removed some water, let it dry, wiped the area clean, and then applied some sealant to the old sensor. No more leaks! Total time to complete the job was probably about 8 hours spread out over multiple days. If I had to do it again, I would say it would take me about 4-5 hours. Knowing to remove the wheel well to give optimal access was the key on my rig. I will water test for a couple more days and then seal up the wheel well and also any other areas that created openings from the underside of the RV. Thanks to those who provided suggestions and encouragement along the way. Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 05/15/22 02:02pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: (Leak!) Toilet plumbing connection to Black Waste tank...

Wade44, you could not be more correct ! Ever look at how many people are suing Thor for build issues , engineering design problems ? Nothing like plopping down $300k for something with build flaws and no remedies. Chris, im sorry you are having this problem and appreciate you updating as you proceed. I did notice how optimistic you are and appreciate your humor in your update post, keeping this mess on the light side is going to be a plus to find s solution. I wish i had some experience regarding the wheel wells. But as Wade said, its probably just staples and caulk holding things in place. I say this due to the way i have seen them blow apart when flat tires cause wheel well damage. You will probably get to a point of disassembly where the black tank will just fall onto the ground. Chris, would you be able to access the wheel well from inside the rv ? I read that a class C owner lifted the plywood under the dinette cushion. It was sheet metal and you might be able to to have access. I'm an easy going optimist.... In the grand scheme of things, this is just a minor problem. The wheel well cannot be removed from above. It almost looks like it is just held in be 5-6 screws BUT part of it on the front and rear appear to be sandwiched between the steel under-framing and the underside of the RV (ie. during assembly). If that is the case, the only way I'll be able to remove it (or part of it) will be to cut it out. I think this is my next step. I look at it this way.... If I cut it out, I should have MUCH MUCH easier access to the plumbing going into the black tank from above. I am 98% confident it will make the job pretty straightforward AND something *I* can do. Over my ~5 years of RV ownership (I currently own 3 and had 2 others), I have realized that bringing in any of my RVs for repairs is always very expensive and for the most part I have been very disappointed in the RV "expert's" abilities (...sometimes I feel like I know more than them about an issue). My first goal is to fix the black tank 100%. Then, I'll have a "wheel well" issue to figure out. That seems like a much easier problem (....or at least more straightforward if I did need to bring it to a shop). I'll keep you posted. Chris
SJ-Chris 05/10/22 12:25pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: (Leak!) Toilet plumbing connection to Black Waste tank...

Update: I finally got around to attacking this problem. So far, it is proving to be one of my most challenging RV DIY projects... (removing the black waste tank). This is on a 2015 Thor Majestic 28a. When I removed the toilet, the black waste tank isn't immediately below (which would have been nice I think). Instead, there is a black waste line at about a 45 degree angle for about 2 feet (towards the front of the RV) and then goes into the black tank. This has made it VERY difficult to see anything. I tried rotating and wiggling the waste line (after unscrewing the flange from the floor) to see if I could slide it out of the black waste tank (assuming there is a rubber connector/grommet) but it wouldn't budge. I tried attacking this problem from any possible access point (things are REALLY tight and not accessible). I tried removing drawers and items from underneath the kitchen sink, no luck. I tried from underneath, no luck. It even looked like if I removed one of my exterior compartments (trim + compartment) I might be able to get access...no luck. I was finally able to get a little break when I removed the heating vent cover in the bathroom and removed the flex tubing. Then, I could finally see/feel that black waste line. I could see that there was a straight piece of ABS going from the flange to the black waste tank that was at least 1 foot long. So I figured I could cut it in the middle as I could always re-assemble that part with a coupling later. So that's what I did. Then I was able to remove the flange with ~10 inches of the waste line from where the toilet was mounted. Wow...this hasn't been much fun yet. lol. I'll include some photos in a final write-up once I make more progress. Now that the toilet flange and part of that waste line is removed, I can see even deeper underneath towards the waste tank and I can finally see where the vent pipe is shooting down into the waste tank. It is VERY tough to reach. I thought (hoped really) that at this point I would be able to remove all the brackets holding up the black waste tank along with the exit pipe to the blade valve/dumping pipes and that the entire black waste tank could be dropped down. The only thing holding it at this point is the vent pipe. The problem is...I don't know if the vent pipe is simply slipped into a rubber grommet and therefore the tank will drop easy, or if the vent pipe is glued into the black tank and need to be cut. So I removed all the brackets, supported the front of the tank with something so it could only drop ~1" (the vent pipe and waste line to the toilet are at the rear of the tank) and attempted to wiggle/shake/pull/coerce the black waste tank to drop completely. Sadly, it did not. Ugh! I can get a finger up onto the topside of the tank where the vent connection is and I can feel what seems to be silicon of some sort (it feels flexible), but the pipe doesn't want to slide out. I think I am going to have to cut it from the top (through the toilet flange hole in the bathroom floor and the ~5" heater vent opening (....it is very tight). The only other way I can see gaining a little better access is to put my RV on jack stands (just the rear driver side) and remove both wheels on the driver rear and then cut away the hard plastic wheel well (or part of it). Opening that up would give me almost ideal access. It *almost* looks like the entire wheel well cover is removable (....does anyone know???), but part of it looks like it was installed under some of the metal framing and doesn't look like it will come out if I remove the screws holding it in. I haven't thrown in the towel yet! I'll keep you posted. -Chris
SJ-Chris 05/09/22 07:58pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Replacement catalytic converter

Thanks very much all! Our NorCal location no longer services RVs. I really appreciate the link to the catalytic converter supplier. Very Helpful. I know what I am looking at now, if the insurance company does not come through. Can't do the straight pipe dues to not being able to get it smogged. I found a location in Gant that at least has explained the issue to me. And will do the work. Legally, I have to go through the state and obtain the legal part number for our vehicle (based on vin and registration). Then a shop can legally order the part and install. I cannot just buy an aftermarket (if I follow the rules) Apparently in Calif, if the part number does not match what the state says, even if it passes the check, the smog folks cannot smog it and then the installer is liable. Even though the chassis is the same as the trucks, just being an RV makes this kick in. The trucks do not need to go through the state. Takes 3 weeks to get the part number from the state, no way to look this up on line. It has to come via mail :( We spoke to the state, so the wheels are turning. I am furious the insurance company is not handling this and guiding us. I think a new insurance company will be in our future. I am still looking for a shop that will do the installation (based on the pn from the above link) but with a cost of 1800.00 for the part, having the smog shop fail us, it is concerning. I think at a minimum, I need to wait for the state approved part number for out vin/registration. So we are just trying to decide now whether to keep this all on the up and up, or put in a straight pipe and go out of state :( At any rate, the RV will not be going on the trip. I am starting to understand why people hate California. Thanks again for all your help!!!! I tried to send you a private message with a local RV shop that can do the catalytic converter install (....I recently had one of mine stolen). Send me a private message and I will give you details. -Chris
SJ-Chris 05/01/22 08:26pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Catelitic Convertor protect?

Since I park on a gravel pad, I've been thinking about digging 8" depressions where the wheels go, just enough to lower the frame to where nothing hits the ground, but the edge of the coach body is so low that a person couldn't slide underneath. This is a great way! This is what I did/am doing....but a little different. Rather than dig (and get down to dirt with the possibility of getting stuck), I had a bunch of base rock laying around so I created a mound underneath the catalytic converter area. I need more to make it even harder to get under, but it's the same basic idea as yours. -Chris
SJ-Chris 04/14/22 01:05am Class C Motorhomes
(Leak!) Toilet plumbing connection to Black Waste tank...

This question is regarding a 2015 Thor Majestic 28a (but I assume most Class C RVs are hooked up similarly)... Summary: Leak at the toilet waste line connection to the top of the Black Waste Tank... Recently my Class C RV was out on a trip with a friend. While parked at a campsite, the front brackets holding the black waste tank gave out (looks like there weren't enough bolts installed to begin with). This caused the black waste tank to "drop" just in the front (the rear brackets still held). Probably dropped 8-10 inches. It caused the front waste line connection that goes to the blade valve to become disconnected. My friend patched it together and got it home. Here's what I did to fix things... I could see on the two front brackets that there were holes in each bracket for 3 short lag bolt/screws and that only 2 had been installed. The holes were still fairly intact. I got slightly larger screws and then felt like they grabbed really well (these are like lag bolts/screws that you tighten with a socket). Then I put in the 3rd screw and that felt like it grabbed very strongly as well. That probably would have been good enough, but I don't like to leave anything to chance. So I ordered a 3rd bracket and installed it as well. I feel good that the tank isn't going anywhere now. I connected the 3" exit drain (to the blade valve) with a coupling and silicon. That seems to be rock solid now also. Here's the problem: I did a water test. First I did a great flush of the black tank. (I recently installed a Tornado Flush that works very well). Then I started filling the tank with water from the toilet (5 Gallon buckets at a time). I could eventually hear that the black waste tank was getting full (and I could verify with my sensors). Finally, I could see/hear that the tank was full and the water was starting to not go down the toilet opening (black tank full). BUT, when I stopped pouring in water I could see that the water in the toilet tank did start draining and I could hear leaking/splashing water underneath the RV. Ugh! Apparently, where the toilet plumbing connects to the top of the black waste tank there is a leak. I guess that probably makes sense since the front of the black tank had fallen ~8-10 inches when the front brackets failed and that likely put stress on the connection to the toilet plumbing (which happens at the very rear of the black waste tank). I could get just enough clearance to reach up there and feel around (with gloves on of course). I could feel the collar connection. I decided to take a chance and see if I could apply enough silicon caulking all around that collar connection and maybe I'd get lucky and it would seal it up. I tried...I failed...lol. Still leaks. I did have a momentary thought: Maybe it isn't so bad??? If the black tank is full and about to come up the waste line into the toilet would it be better for it to actually leak out on the ground under the RV, OR eventually fill up the waste line to the toilet and then the toilet and then possibly overflow into the RV? Am I crazy for having this thought? (I think so, but maybe not). My sensors are good/working and for this RV I can always know that when the sensor says FULL don't add any more (and I can tell others who might be using this RV). But I really don't like when things are "right/correct". So ultimately I know I'll want to fix this. Question: This is supposed to be a water-tight system so that your toilet fills up (and holds everything) in the event you fill up your waste tank and the plumbing to the toilet, right? Assuming that is the case, what is the correct process for fixing this? I can envision disconnecting the waste line to the blade valve and removing the brackets that are holding the tank up, BUT I'm struggling to understand how the connections on the top of the tank are made and in what order (from the toilet waste line and maybe there is one more from the bathroom sink). Has anyone here tackled this project before and would care to share details? Thanks! Chris
SJ-Chris 03/29/22 03:18pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: MPPT solar charge controller with 12v panels...

no thats not it, it averages about 2amps higher output through out the day also. so if we have a nice sunny day I get the extra say 3AH for the extra time morning and night, then I get an extra 8 to 18AH for the rest of the day depending on the time of year. Steve I'm certainly no expert, but that statement doesn't sound right to me. Consider these two examples: (Assume it is not early morning or late afternoon, but rather close to full sun which is most of the day. And we are only talking about sunny days in this discussion and not worrying about shade.) Example 1: Two 12v panels in parallel producing at 20v and 4 amps each. The MPPT charge controller would see 20v and 8 amps. Assuming the charge controller wants to charge at that moment at 14v, it would supply (20v / 14v) x 8 amps = 11.4286 amps at 14v going to the batteries. Example 2: Two 12v panels in series producing at 20v each (40v in series) and 4 amps each (which would be 4 amps total). The MPPT charge controller would see 40v and 4 amps. Assuming the charge controller wants to charge at that moment at 14v, it would supply (40v / 14v) x 4 amps = 11.4286 amps at 14v going to the batteries. The SAME amount of charge to the batteries. I suppose voltage drop on the wire (worse with parallel panels) could have some affect. I plugged in an example into a voltage drop calculator (assuming a 30' run and 10AWG wire) and the series example above was about 2% better. 2% of 11.4286 amps would be about 0.229 amp more for the series example. After a 10 hour day of charging that would be 2.29amps extra total into your batteries if routed in series due to voltage drop savings. So if we add that to the 2-4amps extra due to earlier morning charge and later evening charge and it seems like series would provide about 4-6AH extra to your batteries compared to panels in parallel. This is using the above 200w example. I guess a 400w system would produce double the bonus or close to it. I guess it's something, but to me at this point not worth the hour or two up on the roof to reroute the panels. Maybe if I get bored sometime just for kicks I'll do it and see if I can tell a difference. now I don't know if I switched my curent 12V panels on my 5th wheel to series if it would get that same efficiency , I think part of it has to do with the split cell panel on the camper and it also has a higher effecniency rating, and the ones on the 5th wheel are you basic 12V go power panels, so probably over priced garbage.. Ill see up to 23amp going to my battery in the peak hours of the day with the 24V panel, but the 5th wheel with 30somthing percent more panel wattage at best does 21amps...... but mostly 20. Steve I'm not sure you can draw any series vs parallel conclusions from your two systems that are using different panels and perhaps different wiring (or distances) and perhaps different solar charge controllers. Too many variables? On a separate (related?) note....I solve most of these "inefficient panels", "Series vs Parallel", "MPPT vs PWM", "wire sizing", "tilt vs no-tilt", etc issues with ONE SIMPLE FIX: Just put up 50% or 100% more panels than you actually need and you will be fine! (...and since I like to use very inexpensive used panels (tested) the panels are next to nothing when factoring the expense of everything else and my time to do the install). On my 500w installs, I really only wanted/needed 200-250w but I found 250w used panels for $35 each so I put up two (500w) for each of those solar installs. I think this is a easy solution for most weekend warriors who boondock less than 15 days per year. For those serious (or full-time) boondockers witih serious power needs, yes they want to be more accurate. Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 03/18/22 12:31am Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: MPPT solar charge controller with 12v panels...

That is a good question. Strangely, I didn't even think about connecting them in series. I connected them in parallel. I can appreciate how in series they would collectively get to say 14v+ earlier in the day and stay at 14v+ later in the evening. That would generate a little extra charging. Does anyone have any real life data on how much/little gain this ends up being in the real world? Would be interesting to know. Since all the panels are connected on the roof it wouldn't be terribly hard to re-wire them in series. I guess the gain comes from the time between when the individual panels are producing ~5v to the time they are producing ~14v (and the reverse as the sun goes down). I'm curious....is this ~10 minutes in the morning and ~10 minutes in the evening? 20 minutes on each end?? Anyone know? I suppose when I go boondocking next if I'm up before the sun I can keep an eye on my solar charge controller and measure the time... PS: Solar is addictive. Happy camping! Chris don't have any real numbers only observation. my 5th wheel has 480 watts of 12v panels on a PWM controler and my camper has a 325 watt 24V split cell panel on a MPPT controler. the overall output total per day is more from the 325 watt set up. for morning my camper will start charging at 7 am with about 0.5 amps where the 5th wheel wont put that out till about 8 to 8:30 up here. so at least 1 to 2 AH more just from reaching that higher voltage sooner So maybe 1-2 extra AH in the morning and 1-2 extra AH in the evening. 2-4AH extra per day. On a sunny day, your 325w system likely has the ability (batteries permitting) to generate ~100AH of charge to the batteries. So 2-4 extra AH would be about 2-4% more overall charge series vs parallel. Certainly it's not a bad thing, but for me it's not worth getting up on the roof and rewiring to series for just 2-4%. If I was doing it from scratch, yes I would probably do them in series next time. Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 03/16/22 01:01am Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: MPPT solar charge controller with 12v panels...

That is a good question. Strangely, I didn't even think about connecting them in series. I connected them in parallel. I can appreciate how in series they would collectively get to say 14v+ earlier in the day and stay at 14v+ later in the evening. That would generate a little extra charging. Does anyone have any real life data on how much/little gain this ends up being in the real world? Would be interesting to know. Since all the panels are connected on the roof it wouldn't be terribly hard to re-wire them in series. I guess the gain comes from the time between when the individual panels are producing ~5v to the time they are producing ~14v (and the reverse as the sun goes down). I'm curious....is this ~10 minutes in the morning and ~10 minutes in the evening? 20 minutes on each end?? Anyone know? I suppose when I go boondocking next if I'm up before the sun I can keep an eye on my solar charge controller and measure the time... PS: Solar is addictive. Happy camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 03/14/22 09:02pm Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: MPPT solar charge controller with 12v panels...

I wanted to share an MPPT observation/experience (some of you likely are already aware, but many others maybe not...) I just completed my 3rd solar install on my 3rd RV. (I enjoy these projects, and have been becoming a bit of a solar nerd...and mostly I hate dead batteries!) These are fairly simply installs (the first 2 were 500w with a 2000w inverter on one and a 1000w inverter on the other). They used commercial 250w used panels ($35 each) and an MPPT controller. Doing great for the last year (https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30217540/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1.cfm) For this latest project, my 23' Class C RV has just two new 6v GC batteries (210AH) which is all I really want/need in there. A while back I acquired via craigslist three 100w used 12v panels (tested prior to purchase) for $25 each. I had a cheap PWM charge controller I was thinking of using. But I decided instead to buy a MPPT controller to use. I'm glad that I did. Even though the solar panels are "12v", they actually produce at 18-21v as you are probably aware. So the MPPT charge controller actually converts that extra voltage into extra charging current. This system is 300w flat mounted on the roof. After I completed my install, I did a test. I discharged my batteries to about 50% and then I turned on my solar (toggle fuse) yesterday morning. I can see on the charge controller display, for example, that the panels were at 18.5v and the current coming in from the 300w of panels was 9.5amps at 11am. The display then shows the voltage going out to the batteries (ie. 14v) and the amps going to the batteries at 12amps. (Note: Those numbers might be off by just a bit, I'm trying to illustrate a general point.) That translates to roughly 25% MORE charging to the batteries than if I was using a PWM controller. So I guess that means my 300w MPPT system is actually equivalent to a 375w PWM system had I gone that route. Just something to think about if you are installing "12v" panels. (Side note: I actually bought a 4th 100w 12v panel at that time, and I used the cheap PWM controller and 25' of wire and a fuse as a portable system. Currently used to keep my boat batteries charged during storage but in theory could come with me on an extended boondocking trip if I ever thought I needed an extra 100w of portable solar. Handy to have :) ) Happy Camping! Chris Two 2015 Thor Majestic 28a Class C RVs One 2013 Coachman Leprechaun 210QB Class C RV 24hr solar charge test: March 12th. Bay Area, California. Sunny day with very few clouds. Sun never directly overhead. Started with the batteries at 98AH as read from the battery monitor (out of 210AH total). Everything electrical "off" in the RV, except the inverter (0.25amp standby). Turned on the system (breaker/fuse from the panels) at 11am. 24hrs later, the battery monitor read 171AH. 73AH added to the batteries in 24hrs. I should have actually had the inverter off if I wanted to see the true solar total amount. At 0.25amp standby drain from the inverter, over a 24hr period that would be 6AH. So I guess the solar panels actually generated 79AH to the batteries. 79AH/3 = 26.3AH per 100w panel in 24hrs. Seems reasonable for this time of year. Looking forward to trying it out while camping. :) Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 03/13/22 07:23pm Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
MPPT solar charge controller with 12v panels...

I wanted to share an MPPT observation/experience (some of you likely are already aware, but many others maybe not...) I just completed my 3rd solar install on my 3rd RV. (I enjoy these projects, and have been becoming a bit of a solar nerd...and mostly I hate dead batteries!) These are fairly simply installs (the first 2 were 500w with a 2000w inverter on one and a 1000w inverter on the other). They used commercial 250w used panels ($35 each) and an MPPT controller. Doing great for the last year (https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30217540/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1.cfm) For this latest project, my 23' Class C RV has just two new 6v GC batteries (210AH) which is all I really want/need in there. A while back I acquired via craigslist three 100w used 12v panels (tested prior to purchase) for $25 each. I had a cheap PWM charge controller I was thinking of using. But I decided instead to buy a MPPT controller to use. I'm glad that I did. Even though the solar panels are "12v", they actually produce at 18-21v as you are probably aware. So the MPPT charge controller actually converts that extra voltage into extra charging current. This system is 300w flat mounted on the roof. After I completed my install, I did a test. I discharged my batteries to about 50% and then I turned on my solar (toggle fuse) yesterday morning. I can see on the charge controller display, for example, that the panels were at 18.5v and the current coming in from the 300w of panels was 9.5amps at 11am. The display then shows the voltage going out to the batteries (ie. 14v) and the amps going to the batteries at 12amps. (Note: Those numbers might be off by just a bit, I'm trying to illustrate a general point.) That translates to roughly 25% MORE charging to the batteries than if I was using a PWM controller. So I guess that means my 300w MPPT system is actually equivalent to a 375w PWM system had I gone that route. Just something to think about if you are installing "12v" panels. (Side note: I actually bought a 4th 100w 12v panel at that time, and I used the cheap PWM controller and 25' of wire and a fuse as a portable system. Currently used to keep my boat batteries charged during storage but in theory could come with me on an extended boondocking trip if I ever thought I needed an extra 100w of portable solar. Handy to have :) ) Happy Camping! Chris Two 2015 Thor Majestic 28a Class C RVs One 2013 Coachman Leprechaun 210QB Class C RV
SJ-Chris 03/13/22 04:15pm Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: New Solar Install

My first purchase was a battery monitor... 100% yes. Suggestion to your friend... Buy and install a battery monitor. (I use one by Aili which only costs ~$45 and works great). Go on 1 or 2 vacations. Make sure he starts with 100% fully charged batteries. Monitor what happens on his vacation regarding his batteries and he will have an accurate picture of exactly how many AHs he is using. Since he has a generator(s) he can use those on these vacations. This will guide him to the answer of how many battery AHs he needs and how much solar. Side note: 2amp worth of phantom leak is A LOT. That's 24AH per day. That is a recipe for dead dead batteries after just 5-6 days of forgetting about it (ie. storage). Batteries getting drained to 0% is what kills battery life the fastest. It would be well worth his time to figure that problem out. For reference, when I park my RV and turn off my battery disconnect (standard one by the side entrance of many RVs) my phantom draw is about 0.15 amps...about 3 amps per day. Good luck! Chris
SJ-Chris 03/12/22 11:53am Tech Issues
RE: Solar questions

Btw, what kind of screws did you use to afix the brackets to the panel frames? I used VHB tape on both sides (to the roof and to the panel). To further connect to the panel, I used a long bolt (so that I could carefully reach underneath the panel and slide it into the hole I drilled in the side of the panel. Then I used a screwdriver, lock-tight liquid, and a nut. Hasn't moved in 2 years. In hindsight, 2 sheet metal screws would have also likely done the trick and been easier. -Chris
SJ-Chris 03/11/22 11:34pm Tech Issues
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