Table of Contents Introduction 1 Chapter 1: Warranty

Table of Contents Introduction 1 Chapter 1: Warranty
Table of Contents
Warranty Danger, Warning, Caution
and Note Boxes Contacting The National
Highway Traffic
Administration 1
Chapter 1: Warranty
WARRANTY Owner’s Responsibilities Dealer Responsibilities Inspection Unit Information Packet Owner Registration Obtaining Warranty Service Get To Know Your Unit
Before Heading Out If You Need to Make an
Appointment 2
Chapter 2: Effects of
Prolonged Occupancy
To Avoid Condensation
Problems, Follow These Tips 10
About Molds 11
Chapter 3: Towing and
Towing Guidelines Weight Ratings - Definitions Weight Ratings - Labels Federal Certification Label RVIA Weight Label Weighing Your Unit Hitches and Towing Towing Before Heading Out While Driving Fifth-Wheel Leveling
Procedures Ramp Trailer Weight
Travel-Trailer Leveling
Procedures Stabilizing Jacks 15
Chapter 4: Appliances and
Chapter 7: Plumbing
What to do if you smell gas 35
Air Conditioner (Optional) 35
Antenna (TV) 36
Awning, Patio (Optional) 37
Awning, Slide-Out (Optional) 37
Cable Hook-Up 38
Furnace 38
Fireplace (Optional) 40
Generator (Optional) 40
Microwave / Convection
Oven (Optional) 40
Fan-Tastic Vent™ (Optional) 43
Northern Breeze™
by VENTLINE (Optional) 43
Range / Cook-Top 41
What to do if you smell gas 41
Operation – Top Burners
(Range or Cook-top) 41
Refrigerator 42
Roof Vents 43
Safety 44
LP Detector 44
Smoke Detector 44
Carbon Monoxide Detector 44
Filling the Fresh Water Tank 59
Connecting to City Water
Pressure Regulators and
Check Valves
Water Pump
Sanitizing Fresh Water Tank
and System
How to Maintain Your System 61
Fresh Water Filter Systems 62
Dealing with Water
Water System
Solid Build-Up
Holding Tanks
Holding Tank Monitor
Dumping the Holding Tanks 65
Sani-Flush (optional)
Holding Tank Care
Chapter 5: Electrical
Battery Installation
Battery Inspection and Care
7-Way Power Cord
Power Worksheets
120-Volt Electrical System
Load Center Circuit Breaker
Main Converter/Charger
Ground Fault Circuit
Power “Shore” Cord
Electrical Hookup
Generator (if equipped)
Generator Control Panel
Generator Operating
Chapter 6: LP Gas System
Propane Safety Precautions 55
Propane System Components56
Filling Propane Tanks
Using Propane in Low
Chapter 8 : Slide-Out
Basic Slide-Out Tips Electrically Operated
Systems Manual Crank Option
Bunk Tents
Chapter 9: Care and
Exterior Roof Seals and Adhesives Windows (Exterior) Frame and Chassis Tires and Wheels Battery Bedspreads Blinds and Shades Cabinet Doors and
Drawers (Wood) Carpeting Ceilings and Walls Counter tops Draperies Faucets and Fixtures Flooring, Vinyl Flooring, Plank Glass and Mirrors Fabric and Upholstery Sinks, Tubs and Toilets 67
Chapter 10: Tire Safety
Safety First – Basic Tire
Maintenance Finding Your Vehicle’s
Recommended Tire
Pressure and Load Limits Understanding Tire
Pressure and Load Limits Checking Tire Pressure Steps for Maintaining
Proper Tire Pressure Tire Size Tire Tread Tire Balance and Wheel
Tire Repair Tire Fundamentals Information on Passenger
Vehicle Tires Additional Information
on Light Truck Tires Vehicle Load Limits Cargo Capacities How Overloading Affects
Your RV and Tires Tire Safety Tips Appendix 80
Exterior Pre-Travel Checklist 89
Interior Pre-Travel Checklist 89
Storage & Winterization
Plumbing Systems
Preparing Electrical Systems
for Storage
Reactivating the Trailer after
Extended Storage
Severe Weather Use
Running Gear and Body
Trailer Weight Log
Maintenance Log
Manufacturer’s Warranty
Glossary of Common
RV Terms 108
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.
2164 Caragana Court – Goshen, IN 46526
Phone: (574) 537-0700 Fax: (574) 537-0496
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. has provided this manual solely for the
purpose of providing instructions about the operation and maintenance
of its recreational vehicle. Nothing in this manual creates any warranty,
either express or implied. The only warranty offered by Dutchmen
Manufacturing, Inc. is set forth in the limited warranty applicable to your
The Limited Warranty and limited warranties issued by the component
manufacturers require periodic service and maintenance, and the owner’s
failure to provide these services and / or maintenance may result in loss
of warranty coverage for that item. The owner should review Dutchmen
Manufacturing, Inc.’s limited warranty and the warranties of all other
Instructions included in this manual are for operating some components,
which may be optional on your vehicle. This manual is devoted to
instructions on fifth-wheels and travel-trailers.
Danger, Warning, Caution and Note Boxes
We have provided many important safety messages in this manual.
Always read and obey all safety messages.
DANGER indicates an hazardous situation which, if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury.
WARNING indicates a hazardous situation which, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.
CAUTION, used with the safety alert symbol, indicates a hazardous situation which, if not avoided, could result in minor or moderate injury.
This manual is based on the latest
information available at the time
of publication. Due to continuous
product development and improvements, Dutchmen Manufacturing,
Inc. reserves the right to make
changes in product specifications
and components without prior notice.
NOTICE is used to address practices not related to personal injury. This applies to hazardous situations involving property damage only.
Important information regarding the maintenance of your recreational vehicle.
Terms and Symbols Used
Important Safety Precautions
You’ll find many safety recommendations throughout this section, and
throughout this manual. The recommendations on these pages are the
ones we consider to be the most important.
Do Not Allow Passengers to Ride in the Trailer During Travel
The transport of people puts their lives at risk and may be illegal. The
trailer does not have seat belts, therefore, it is not designed to carry
Reducing Fishtailing or Sway
Sway or fishtailing is the sideways action of a trailer caused by external
forces. Excessive sway of your travel trailer can lead to the rollover of
the trailer and tow vehicle resulting in serious injury or death. Be sure to
follow the instructions and warnings.
There are mold and mold spores throughout the indoor and outdoor
environment. There is not practical way to eliminate all mold and mold
spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is
to control moisture.
Towing and Weight Distribution
Weight distribution is an important factor when loading your fifth wheel
and travel trailer (or motorhome). A recreational vehicle with the cargo
distributed properly will result in efficient, trouble-free towing.
Formaldehyde is an important chemical used widely in building materials
and numerous household products. It is also a by-product of combustion
and certain other natural processes. Thus, it may be present inside the
trailer with some individuals being sensitive to it. Ventilation of the unit
normally reduces the exposure to a comfortable level.
Generator Safety
Do not operate the generator in an enclosed building or in a partly
enclosed area such as a garage. Nor should the generator be operated
while sleeping. Be sure to follow instructions and warning in this manual
and the manual provided by the generator manufacturer.
Lug Nut Torquing
Being sure wheel mounting nuts (lug nuts) on trailer wheels are tight
and properly torqued is an important responsibility that trailer owners
and users need to be familiar with and practice. Inadequate and/or
inappropriate wheel nut torque (tightness) is a major reason that lug nuts
loosen in service. Loose lug nuts can rapidly lead to a wheel separation
with potentially serious safety consequences.
Chapter 1: Warranty
Contacting The National Highway Traffic
If you believe that your vehicle has a defect which could cause a crash or
could cause injury or death, you should immediately inform the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in addition to notifying
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc..
If NHTSA receives similar complaints, it may open an investigation,
and if it finds that a safety defect exists in a group of vehicles, it may
order a recall and remedy campaign. However, NHTSA cannot become
involved in individual problems between you, your dealer, or Dutchmen
Manufacturing, Inc..
To contact NHTSA, you may call the Auto Safety Hotline toll-free at 1-888327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); go to; or write
to: Administrator, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington,
DC 20590. You can also obtain other information about motor vehicle
safety from
Chapter 1: Warranty Information
One Year Bumper to Hitch Limited Warranty
Two Year Structural and Appliance Limited Warranty
For: Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels
Manufactured By Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.
One Year Limited Warranty
Except as excluded or limited below, Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.
(hereinafter “Dutchmen”) WARRANTS for a period of one (1) year that
Dutchmen will repair or replace components of your Dutchmen recreation
vehicle that are defective in materials and workmanship supplied by and
attributable to Dutchmen. Dutchmen, at its sole discretion, reserves the
right to substitute parts or components of substantially equal quality, touch
up cosmetic flaws, or make design and/or manufacturing improvements,
as the exclusive remedy under this Limited Warranty. All owners must be
Chapter 1: Warranty
properly registered with Dutchmen in order to obtain the benefits of this
Limited Warranty.
This Limited Warranty extends to the first retail purchaser, is not
transferable and begins on the date of original retail delivery or the date
the recreation vehicle is first placed into service (whichever occurs first).
This Limited Warranty is effective for a period of one (1) year from such
date. Written notice of defects must be given to the selling dealer or to
Dutchmen no later than ten (10) days after the expiration of this Limited
Warranty. Warranty repairs, if required, will be made without charge and
within industry standards, after you take your recreation vehicle to an
authorized service center.
Implied warranties arising under applicable state laws, if any, including
but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a
particular purpose, are disclaimed to the extent allowable by law, or limited
in duration to the term of this Limited Warranty. Some states do not allow
limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitation
may not apply to you.
This Limited Warranty does not provide coverage for any of the following:
Equipment, products, components, appliances, and accessories not manufactured by Dutchmen, whether or not warranted by another person or entity, including but not limited to tires, batteries, washer/ dryer, generators, and fuel stations.
Dutchmen recreation vehicles that are used for business, rental, commercial, residential, or disaster relief purposes, or any other purpose other than recreational travel and camping.
Dutchmen recreation vehicles which are not originally sold through an authorized Dutchmen dealer (such as recreation vehicles sold at auction, as a result of repossession, or in a salvage or other “distressed” condition).
Dutchmen recreation vehicles licensed, registered, or primarily used outside the United States or Canada.
Maintenance, including but not limited to: (a) caulking, re-caulking, or waxing of the body of the recreation vehicle; (b) tightening of screws; (c) brakes; (d) latches; (e) locks; (f) combustion systems; (g) Chapter 1: Warranty
fuel filters; (h) oil filters; (i) fuses; (j) light bulbs; and (k) maintenance of the
air conditioning and heating systems.
Adjustments, including but not limited to adjustments to doors and drawers, slide room systems, blinds, LP pressure, and wheel alignment and balance.
Normal deterioration due to wear or exposure, including but not limited to the fading of fabrics or carpet.
Representations, warranties, and guarantees made by any person or entity (including your dealer) beyond the coverage of this Limited Warranty.
Defects or damage caused, in whole or in part, by:
(a) acts or omissions of any kind by a person or entity other than Dutchmen.
(b) misuse, abuse, neglect, theft, vandalism, failure to obtain maintenance, product modification, improper customer or dealer
installation, unauthorized repair, or failure to follow instructions
supplied with the recreation vehicle.
(c) unauthorized attachment, modification, or alteration of the structure, body, pin box, or frame of the recreation vehicle, including but
not limited to trailer hitches for towing or platforms for supporting cargo.
(d) exposure to natural atmospheric elements (including but not limited to
lightning, hail, salt and other chemicals), corrosive chemicals, and ash or
fumes generated or released by vehicles.
(e) collision, road hazards, and rock chips.
(f) condensation and the results of condensation, including water damage
and the growth of mold, mildew or fungi.
(g) Improper use or hookup of electrical components, including voltage
(h) Rodents or other animals.
(i) Overloading or improper balancing of the recreation vehicle’s load.
(j) Tow vehicle selected to pull the recreation vehicle, including but
not limited to improper selection or installation of a towing hitch and
(k) Owner or driver’s operation, use, or misuse of the tow vehicle.
(l) Willful or negligent acts or omissions of the driver of the tow vehicle.
(m) Accidents, including but not limited to the recreation vehicle striking or
driving over a curb or any other object.
Chapter 1: Warranty
(n) Puncturing, tearing, or misuse of upholstery.
(o) Failure to seek and obtain repairs in a timely manner.
The owner is responsible for normal maintenance, which is not covered
under this Limited Warranty; provided, however, minor adjustments (such
as adjustments to the interior or exterior doors, LP regulator pressure,
cabinet latches, TV antenna control, voids in sealants, slide room
adjustment and seals, etc.) will be performed by the dealer during the first
(90) days of the warranty coverage. Thereafter, such adjustments are the
responsibility of the owner as normal maintenance, unless required as a
direct result of repair or replacement of a defective part under this Limited
Warranty. It is the responsibility of the owner to maintain the recreation
vehicle as described in the Owner’s Manual including taking whatever
preventative measures necessary to maintain the exterior sealants of the
unit and to prevent foreseeable secondary moisture or water intrusion
damage to the unit from rain, plumbing leaks, condensation and other
natural accumulation of water in the unit. Examples of secondary damage
include, but are not limited to, stained upholstery, carpeting or drapes,
mold formation and growth, and furniture, cabinetry or floor deterioration.
Mold is a natural growth given certain environmental conditions and is
not covered by the terms of this Limited Warranty. Owner must read
the Owner’s Manual and the corresponding component information and
warranty package.
The dealer is responsible to orient and familiarize the customer with the
operation of all systems and components of the new recreation vehicle.
Explain and review the Owner’s Manual and the Limited Warranty
provisions to the customer, and document this action on the Product
Delivery Inspection (PDI) form. Assist the customer in completing all
necessary registrations and warranty cards for your new recreation
vehicle and assist in locating serial numbers. Instruct the customer on
how to receive local and in transit service on the recreation vehicle and
its separately warranted components, whether in or out of warranty.
Complete the warranty registrations and return them to the proper entity
within (30) days from the date of retail delivery.
Please note the distinction between “defects” and “damage” as used
in this Limited Warranty: subject to the other terms of this Limited
Warranty, “defects” are covered because Dutchmen is responsible; on
the other hand, we have no control over “damage” caused by such things
as collision, misuse and lack of maintenance which occurs after the
recreation vehicle is delivered to the owner. Therefore, “damage” for any
reason that occurs after the recreation vehicle is delivered is not covered
under this Limited Warranty. Maintenance services are also excluded
Chapter 1: Warranty
from this Limited Warranty because it is the owner’s responsibility to
maintain the recreation vehicle.
Dutchmen does not undertake responsibility to any owner beyond the
original cost of the recreation vehicle to Dutchmen or for any undertaking,
representation, or warranty made by any dealer beyond those expressed
To obtain warranty service the owner must deliver the recreation vehicle
to an authorized Dutchmen dealer (with proof of purchase and freight
prepaid) within a reasonable time after discovery of the defect within the
warranty period. Upon requesting the warranty services be prepared to
be asked for:
Your name
Date of purchase
Dutchmen vehicle ID number
An explanation of the anticipated warranty claim
Please have the following
available when you call:
•Vehicle Identification Number
(17 digit VIN)
•Model #
•Date of Purchase
•Description of the problem
•Previous repair history and
location (if applicable).
If the dealer is unable to resolve any warrantable issues or for assistance
in arranging repairs, please contact: Customer Service Department,
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc., 2164 Caragana Court, Goshen, Indiana,
46526. Telephone Number (574) 537-0700. Upon receipt of notice of a
claim, where the dealer was unable or unwilling to resolve the problem,
either an alternate dealer or the manufacturing plant or factory service
facility will take action pursuant to this Limited Warranty.
Appliance and component manufacturers may or may not provide
their own warranties. These warranties are separate from this Limited
Warranty, and constitute the only warranty for those specific appliances
and components. The terms, conditions and warranty periods of these
items may vary from this Limited Warranty. For the appliance and
component manufacturers providing warranties, Dutchmen may, however,
administer those warranties during the terms of this one year Limited
Warranty except for tires, batteries, and generators. All warranty service
claims on components can therefore be directed to Dutchmen during the
one year of this Limited Warranty. After the one year period, all appliance
and component warranty claims must be directed to the respective
appliance and component manufacturers. Dutchmen does not warrant
any appliance or components and is only representing that it is authorized
to administer the services for such products. In no way shall this Limited
Chapter 1: Warranty
Warranty be modified or amended due to Dutchmen providing services for
appliances and components.
Tow Vehicle Disclaimer
In connection with the use
and operation of Dutchmen
recreational vehicles, Dutchmen
customers and owners of
Dutchmen recreational vehicles
are solely responsible for the
selection and proper use of
tow vehicles. All customers
should consult with a motor
vehicle manufacturer or dealer
concerning the purchase and
use of suitable tow vehicles for
Dutchmen products, Dutchmen
further disclaims any liability
with respect to damages which
may be incurred by a customer or
owner of Dutchmen recreational
vehicles as a result of the
operation, use or misuse of a tow
vehicle. NOTE: Dutchmen’S
Dutchmen hereby disclaims any and all incidental and consequential
damages arising out of or relating to your Dutchmen recreation vehicle,
including but not limited to transportation to and from vehicle dealerships
and Dutchmen repair facilities, loss of time, loss of income, loss of use,
inconvenience or aggravation, commercial loss (including lost profits),
towing charges, bus fares, vehicle rental, service call charges, gasoline
expenses, lodging expenses, damage to tow vehicle, and incidental
charges such as telephone calls, facsimile transmissions, and mailing
Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or
consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not
apply to you.
No action may be brought against Dutchmen for breach of this Limited
Warranty, any applicable implied warranty, or for any other claim relating
to the recreation vehicle more than one (1) year after the expiration of the
one (1) year term of this Limited Warranty.
G:\Thor\Dutchmen\2009 Limited Warranty (rev.)
Please note, your
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. Limited Warranty covers warrantable
repairs that are performed by an authorized Dutchmen Manufacturing,
Inc. dealer at their service center or
facility only. It is important for the
owner to know that if you are unable to bring your unit in for repairs,
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. is not
responsible for any costs incurred
for the service call charge, or time
accrued to come out to your unit.
Your unit is a recreational vehicle
and not intended, nor manufactured,
as residential or commercial structure, use as such will void your warranty.
To assist you in avoiding problems, Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.
requests that each dealer review the limited warranty and inspect the
unit along with you. The dealer has been provided with a pre-delivery
checklist. Review this checklist with the dealer. Do not sign the checklist
until this review is complete and any questions about anything you do not
understand have been answered.
Owner Registration
As a convenience to you, the owner registration form is completed at
the dealership at the time of delivery. After an owner signs this form, the
dealer will send the completed form or electronic submission to Dutchmen
Manufacturing, Inc. within 30 days. Please make sure this form is
completed and signed prior to leaving the dealership.
Chapter 2: Effects of Prolonged Occupancy
Obtaining Warranty Service
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. recommends obtaining service from your
dealer or the nearest authorized repair facility. Service must be obtained
within a reasonable time after discovery of the defect and prior to the
applicable warranty expiration period. If assistance is needed in locating
an authorized repair center, please contact Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.
Customer Service at 1-574-537-0700. Get To Know Your Unit Before Heading Out
Throughout the manufacturing process, your recreational vehicle has
been inspected by qualified inspectors and then again at the dealership.
As the owners, however, you will be the first to camp and extensively use
every system. Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. wants the first camping
experience to be a enjoyable one and recommends a “Trial Camping
Experience” before heading out. Plan a weekend in the yard or driveway
and really camp in your unit. By camping for a couple of days, full-time in
your unit, you will have the opportunity to use and become accustomed
to the systems within your unit and find out what items are needed/
not needed while camping. Note any questions that arise, difficulties
encountered or problems that occur. After your trial, call your dealer and
ask any questions that have arisen. Getting to know your unit before the
first adventure can save a lot of frustration and leave more time for fun!
If You Need to Make an Appointment
Call Ahead
Give thought to an appointment time and call ahead. Mondays and
Fridays are generally the busiest times at a dealer’s service center, as are
right before seasonal holidays.
Be Prepared
If warranty work is to be done, please have a copy of your warranty
paperwork available and provide the service center with any helpful
information on past repairs that may pertain and help the technicians in
diagnosing the problem.
Make a List
Have a list ready and be reasonable with repair expectations. Some
repairs may require special order parts or parts shipped from a
manufacturer. Explain what you would like to have done over the phone or
stop by ahead of time so that you and the service manager or writer can
discuss possible repair times.
While Waiting
Drop your unit off if possible. If you wait on your repair, do not be
surprised if you cannot enter the repair area. Many insurance policies
prohibit customers or non-personnel from entering into the work area for
safety reasons. 9
Chapter 2: Effects of Prolonged Occupancy
Inspecting Your Repairs
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. and your dealer want you to be satisfied
with any repair. After a repair is performed, inspect thoroughly. Check off
your list and go over the repairs with the service center representative.
Once satisfied, sign the Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. Warranty Claim.
In the event a problem should reoccur after you have left the dealership,
contact the repair center or Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. as soon as
possible, so that the situation can be resolved expediently.
Chapter 2: Effects of Prolonged Occupancy
Your recreational vehicle was designed primarily for recreational use and
short-term occupancy. If you expect to occupy the coach for an extended
period, be prepared to deal with indoor air quality issues that you may
encounter. These issues include condensation and high humidity,
concentrations of formaldehyde and other airborne irritants, and biological
pollutants. This chapter outlines some basic information about these
air quality concerns and how you can minimize their effects on your RV
Condensation and Excessive Humidity
The relatively small volume and tight compact construction of modern RVs
means that the normal living activities of even a few occupants will lead
to rapid moisture saturation of the air in the trailer and the appearance of
visible moisture, especially in cold weather.
Just as the moisture collects on the outside of a glass of cold water during
humid weather, moisture can condense on the inside surfaces of the
trailer during cold weather when the relative humidity of the interior air
is high. This condition is increased because the insulated walls of your
trailer are much thinner than house walls. Estimates indicate that every
day a family of four can vaporize up to three gallons of water through
breathing, cooking, bathing and washing.
During cold weather and even in short term occupancy, condensation
often forms on ceiling vents and may even accumulate to the point of
dripping onto the surface below. This is sometimes thought to be a
“leaking” roof vent, but is most often condensation.
Unless the water vapor is carried outside by ventilation or condensed by
a dehumidifier, it will condense on the inside of the windows and walls as
moisture or in very cold weather as frost or ice. It may also condense out
of sight within the walls or the ceiling where it will manifest itself as warped
or stained panels. Appearance of these conditions may indicate a serious
condensation problem. When you see signs of excessive moisture
and condensation in the trailer, you should take action to minimize their
To Avoid Condensation Problems, Follow These Tips
Allow excess moisture to escape to the outside when bathing,
washing dishes, hair- drying, laundering and using appliances and
non-vented gas burners. Open windows and use the vent fans.
Maintain interior relative humidity at 60% or below. In cold
climates, relative humidity may need to be 35% or less to avoid
window condensation. You can monitor relative humidity with
a hygrometer. Hygrometers are available at building supply or
some electronics stores.
Always use the vent hood when cooking.
Keep the bathroom door closed and the vent or window open
when bathing and for a period of time after you have finished.
Do not hang wet clothes or wet shoes in the trailer.
In hot weather, start the air conditioner early as it removes excess
humidity from the air while lowering the temperature.
Keep the temperature as reasonably cool during cold weather
as possible. The warmer the interior of the trailer, the more
cold exterior temperatures and warm interior temperatures will
contribute to creating condensation on interior surfaces. Avoid
nighttime thermostat settings at 10 or more degrees below your
daytime settings. Drastic temperature reductions that reduce the
indoor temperature quickly can increase the chance for moisture
to condense on windows and other interior surfaces.
Use a fan to keep air circulating inside the trailer so condensation
and mildew cannot form in dead air spaces. Allow air to circulate
inside closets and cabinets (leave doors partially open). Please
keep in mind that a closed cabinet full of stored goods prevents
circulation and allows the buildup of condensation.
During cold weather, the natural tendency is to close up the trailer
tightly. This will actually make the problem worse. You need to
remove some of the warm air and allow some cool outside air to
get inside the vehicle so the furnace will not recycle the humid
interior air. Even when it’s raining or snowing outside, the outside
air will usually be dryer than the inside air.
When cleaning floors and carpet, use the least amount of water
necessary. Be sure to extract or dry any residual moisture
thoroughly. If floors and carpet are cleaned before storing the
trailer, be sure carpet is completely dry before closing up the
trailer for an extended period.
Keep the exterior shell of the trailer properly maintained. The
shell includes the roof, side and end walls, windows, doors,
compartments and exterior accessories, slideouts and under floor.
Proper maintenance of sealants will help maintain a tight barrier
against water intrusion. If you ever make modifications to your
trailer, be sure any changes are done by a qualified service firm
to minimize the possibility of moisture intrusion or accumulation
problems later.
Using your trailer in severe climates or weather conditions, such
as extreme hot and humid or cold weather, will require extra
care and maintenance to avoid moisture-related issues. In both
extremely cold and hot/humid climates, you will need to pay more
attention to controlling relative humidity inside the trailer. You
may need to use a portable dehumidifier to manage the relative
humidity within an acceptable range.
Chapter 2: Effects of Prolonged Occupancy
About Molds and Biological Contaminants
What are biological contaminants?
Biological contaminants include bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, animal
dander and saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches, and pollen. There are
many sources of these pollutants. Pollens originate from plants; viruses
are transmitted by people and animals; bacteria are carried by people,
animals, and soil and plant debris; and household pets are sources of
saliva and animal dander. The protein in urine from rats and mice is a
potent allergen. When it dries, it can become airborne.
Biological contaminants are, or are produced by, living things. Biological
contaminants are often found in areas that provide food and moisture or
Chapter 2: Effects of Prolonged Occupancy
water. For example, damp or wet areas such as cooling coils, humidifiers,
condensate pans, or unvented bathrooms can be moldy. Draperies,
bedding, carpet, and other areas where dust collects may accumulate
biological contaminants. Contaminated air conditioning/heating systems
can become breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and other sources of
biological contaminants and can then distribute these contaminants
throughout your RV. Many of these biological contaminants are small
enough to be inhaled.
By controlling the relative humidity level in a recreational vehicle, the
growth of some sources of biologicals can be minimized. A relative
humidity of 30-50 percent is generally recommended. Standing water,
water-damaged materials, or wet surfaces also serve as a breeding
ground for molds, mildews, bacteria, and insects. House dust mites, the
source of one of the most powerful biological allergens, grow in damp,
warm environments.
Heath Effects from Biological Contaminants
Some biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions, including
hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and some types of asthma.
Infectious illnesses, such as influenza, measles, and chicken pox are
transmitted through the air. Molds and mildews release disease-causing
toxins. Symptoms of health problems caused by biological pollutants
include sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness,
lethargy, fever, and digestive problems. Children, elderly people, and
people with breathing problems, allergies, and lung diseases are
particularly susceptible to disease-causing biological agents in the indoor
Allergic reactions occur only after repeated exposure to a specific
biological allergen. However, that reaction may occur immediately upon
re-exposure or after multiple exposures over time. As a result, people
who have noticed only mild allergic reactions, or no reactions at all, may
suddenly find themselves very sensitive to particular allergens.
Reducing Exposure to Biological Contaminants
General good housekeeping, and maintenance of heating and air
conditioning equipment, are very important. Adequate ventilation and
good air distribution also help.
Maintain the relative humidity between 30%-60% to help control mold,
dust mites, and cockroaches.
Use the recommendations in the section on Condensation and
Excessive Humidity to keep the humidity level down.
Humidifiers can become breeding grounds for biological
contaminants. They have the potential for causing diseases such as
hypersensitivity pneumonitis and “humidifier fever.” Clean evaporation
trays in air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators frequently.
Thoroughly clean and dry water-damaged carpets and building
materials (within 24 hours if possible). Water-damaged carpets and
building materials can harbor mold and bacteria. It is very difficult to
completely rid such materials of biological contaminants.
Avoid drying wet clothes inside.
Keep the RV clean. Dust mites, pollens, animal dander, and other
allergy-causing agents can be reduced, although not eliminated,
through regular cleaning.
Take steps to minimize biological pollutants in storage compartment
and indoor closets and cabinets.
Chapter 2: Effects of Prolonged Occupancy
Specifically about Molds...
Molds are microscopic organisms that naturally occur in virtually every
environment, indoors and out. Outdoors, mold growth is important in
the decomposition of plants. Indoors, mold growth is unfavorable. Left
unchecked, molds break down natural materials such as wood products
and fabrics. Knowing the potential risks is important for any type of
consumer to protect their investment.
What factors contribute to mold growth?
For mold growth to occur, temperatures indoors or outdoors must be
between 40 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit and there must be a
source of moisture such as humidity, standing water, damp materials, etc.
Indoors, the most rapid growth occurs with warm and humid conditions.
How can mold growth be inhibited?
By controlling relative humidity, the growth of mold and mildew can be
inhibited. In warm climates, use of the air conditioner will reduce the
relative humidity. Vents are located in the bathing and cooking areas and
constant use is advised during food preparation and bathing even during
colder weather. Additionally, opening a window during these activities will
assist in ventilation. In extremely humid conditions, using a dehumidifier
can be helpful.
Remember, your trailer
is not designed, nor intended, for
permanent housing. Use of this
product for long-term or permanent
occupancy may lead to premature
deterioration of structure, interior
finishes, fabrics, carpeting and
drapes. Damage or deterioration
due to long-term occupancy may
not be considered normal and may,
under the terms of the warranty, constitute misuse, abuse or neglect and
may therefore reduce the warranty
Further Information About Molds
Frequent use of your coach and maintaining its cleanliness are important
preventive measures. Further, any spills should be wiped up quickly and
dried as soon as possible. Avoid leaving damp items lying about. On safe
surfaces, use mold or mildew-killing cleaning products. Check sealants
regularly and reseal when necessary to avoid water leaks. Proper
preventive maintenance to the trailer and its accessories, as described
both in this manual and in accompanying literature, will help reduce the
possibility of mold and mildew problems.
If using a dehumidifier, please read
and follow all manufacturer instructions and recommendations for use
and cleaning.
Chapter 2: Effects of Prolonged Occupancy
Dry any areas exposed to water leaks or spills as soon as possible and
definitely within 24-48 hours. Quickly drying minimizes the chance for
moisture damage and possible mold growth which can begin to form
colonies in 48 hours. Since moisture is key to mold issues, treat all signs
of condensation and spills seriously and deal with them promptly. Failure
to deal with a moisture issue promptly may cause more severe problems
where there weren’t any before, or may make a small problem much
Learn to recognize the signs of mold. Don’t paint over suspicious
discolorations until you are sure it is not mold. The affected surface must
first be cleaned and dried. Any residual stains can be painted over.
Be sure to understand and eliminate the source of moisture accumulation
as a part of the clean up. Clean up small amounts of mold as soon as
it appears. Use a detergent/soap solution or an appropriate household
cleaner. The cleaned area should be thoroughly dried. Dispose of any
sponges or rags used to clean mold.
Several drying methods can be used:
• Remove excess water with an extraction vacuum
• Use a dehumidifier to aid drying
• Use portable fans to move air across the wet surfaces
Chemical Sensitivity
After you first purchase your new RV and sometimes after it has been
closed up for an extended period of time, you may notice some strong
odors and feel some chemical sensitivity. This is not a defect in your
RV. Many different products are used in the construction of your RV.
Some of these materials such as carpet, linoleum, plywood, insulation,
upholstery, may “off-gas” different chemicals, including formaldehyde.
This off-gassing is especially noticeable when the materials are new or
are exposed to high temperatures and/or humidity. Formaldehyde is also
a by-product of combustion and numerous household products such as
some paints, coatings and cosmetics. Since your RV is much smaller
than your home, and because the air inside the RV is exchanged less
often, the concentration of these chemicals in your RV is more noticeable.
Under some conditions, you may experience eye, nose, and throat
irritation, and possibly headache, nausea, and a variety of asthma-like
symptoms. Elderly persons and young children, as well as anyone with a
history of asthma, allergies, or lung problems, may be more susceptible to
the effects of off-gassing,
Formaldehyde is an important chemical used widely by industry to
manufacture building materials and numerous household products. It is
also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. It
is used to add permanent-press qualities to clothing and draperies, as
a component of glues and adhesives, and as a preservative in some
paints and coating products. Thus, it may be present in substantial
concentrations both indoors and outdoors.
Sources of formaldehyde in your RV include pressed wood products such
as particleboard used as sub-flooring and shelving and in cabinetry and
furniture; hardwood plywood paneling used for decorative wall covering
and used in cabinets and furniture; and medium density fiberboard (MDF)
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
used for drawer fronts, cabinets, and furniture tops. Formaldehyde is also
found in tobacco smoke, household products, and the use of un-vented,
fuel-burning appliances.
The rate at which products like pressed wood or textiles release
formaldehyde can change. Formaldehyde emissions will generally
decrease as products age. When the products are new, high indoor
temperatures or humidity can cause increased release of formaldehyde
from these products.
Health Effects of Formaldehyde
Passengers are not permitted in
the coach while it is in motion.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, pungent-smelling gas that can cause watery
eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, wheezing and
coughing, fatigue, skin rash and difficulty in breathing in some people,
and severe allergic reactions. High concentrations may trigger attacks in
people with asthma. It has also been shown to cause cancer in animals
and may cause cancer in humans. If you have any questions or concerns
about the health effects of formaldehyde, please consult your doctor or
local health professionals.
How to Reduce Exposure
To reduce or lessen your exposure to chemicals from off-gassing, you
must ventilate your RV. Open windows, doors, exhaust vents frequently
after purchase and whenever the temperature and/or humidity is high.
Operate ceiling and/or other fans, roof air conditioner (s) and the furnace.
Use a fan to force the stale air out and bring fresh air in.
• Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers to maintain moderate
temperature and reduce humidity levels. Use the recommendations in
this chapter on controlling moisture and humidity.
• Increase ventilation, particularly during the first few months after
purchasing your RV.
• Do not smoke inside your RV. In addition to causing damage to your
RV, tobacco smoke releases formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.
If you use dehumidifiers to control humidity, be sure to drain and clean
dehumidifier collection trays frequently so that they do not become a
breeding ground for microorganisms. See the section on biological
pollutants for more information.
Wheel separation can occur! Exceeding the GVWR and GAWR
ratings for your unit could result in
serious damage to the suspension,
frame or other components.
An Update on Formaldehyde: 1997 Revision (CPSC document
#725). U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
American Lung Association
1740 Broadway
New York, NY 10019-4374 (local ALA offices also have information)
For further information on formaldehyde and consumer products, call
the EPA Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Assistance Line
(202) 554-1404.
Warranty Exclusion
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Towing Guidelines
Weight distribution is an important factor when loading your fifth-wheel
and travel-trailer. A recreational vehicle with the cargo distributed properly
will result in efficient, trouble-free towing. Loading the coach as evenly as
possible and then weighing the loaded RV can accomplish proper weight
distribution. Keep heavier items as low as possible and distribute evenly
(front to back and side to side). Securing your possessions can prevent
damage from shifting during towing and maintain the weight distribution
balance achieved during preparation for travel.
You must not exceed the GVWR or GAWR of the unit (see definitions). To
verify GVWR, total the loaded hitch and axle weights. If this total exceeds
GVWR, you must remove items until the vehicle weight is within this limit.
You can verify that the coach’s axles are not overloaded by comparing
the loaded axle weight with the GAWR. If the reading is above this limit,
redistribute the item load.
Finally, make sure the hitch weight or pin weight of the loaded travel
trailer/fifth-wheel falls within the limits of the tow vehicle.
Weight Ratings - Definitions
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)
The maximum permissible weight of this coach when fully loaded. It
includes all weight at the unit’s axle(s) and tongue or pin.
UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight)
The weight of this fifth-wheel as manufactured at the factory. It includes
all weight at the coach’s axle(s) and tongue or pin. If applicable, it also
includes full generator fluids, fuel, engine oil and coolants.
CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity)
Is equal to GVWR minus each of the following: UVW, full fresh (potable)
water weight (including water heater) and full Propane weight.
GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating)
The maximum allowable weight that an axle system is designed to carry.
Weight Ratings - Labels
The information on the weight ratings is contained on two labels: The
Federal Certification Tag and the RVIA Weight Label. Each label contains
the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) / Serial Number for the vehicle
rated. These ratings are specific for each fifth-wheel and travel-trailer
manufactured. Use only the ratings found on these labels:
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Federal Certification Label
The Federal Certification Tag on your fifth-wheel or travel-trailer can be
located on the road side (off-door side) near the front of the unit as seen in
the diagrams below. This tag contains the GVWR, GAWR (front and rear)
and tire pressure limits.
RVIA Weight Label
See appendix for worksheet to calculate travel trailer weight.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
The RVIA Weight Label is located on the inside of an upper kitchen
cabinet door. In general, the tag is affixed to the cabinet above or
adjacent to the sink. This tag provides the GVWR rating, the UVW
(Unloaded Vehicle Weight) and the computation for CCC (Cargo Carrying
TREAD Tire and Wheel Certification Label
The TREAD tire and WHEEL certification label is located in the lower left
front corner on the exterior of the off door side wall. This tag contains the
GVWR rating, the UVW (Unloaded Trailer Weight) and the computation for
CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity).
Weighing Your Unit
Pull forward on the scales until only the coach’s axles are on the
scale. Record axle weight. Pull off the scales and unhook from
the fifth-wheel. Weigh the truck by itself and record this weight.
To determine hitch pin weight subtract the weight of the tow
vehicle from the combined truck /coach weight. Write this number
To determine overall weight, add the hitch weight plus axles
Drive the loaded trailer onto the scales as shown in the picture
below, making sure that the hitch will be the only contact point
with the scales after unhooking. Unhook and drive the tow vehicle
off the scales. Level the trailer and record hitch weight.
Hookup to the trailer and pull forward on the scales until only the
trailer axles are on the scale. Level the trailer and record axle
To determine overall weight, add the hitch weight plus axles.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Hitches and Towing
1. Adjust the landing gear jacks until coach is at level for hooking to
the tow vehicle.
2. Place wheel chocks behind fifth-wheel’s tires.
3. Lower the tailgate on truck.
4. Release the fifth-wheel lock handle on the tow vehicle.
5. Line up the tow vehicle so the fifth-wheel will accept the kingpin.
6. Close and latch tailgate.
7. Back truck slowly until kingpin engages the fifth-wheel and
automatically locks
8. Ensure the lock is closed.
9. Connect the power seven-way cord between the tow vehicle and
the fifth-wheel.
10. Connect the emergency breakaway switch cable.
11. Test the fifth-wheel brakes and exterior lights
12. Completely raise the landing gear.
13. Store the wheel chocks.
14. Check the tire pressure while the vehicle tires are cold.
15. Re-torque the lug nuts. Refer to “Wheel Nut Torque”
1. Crank the tongue of the trailer jack up until the hitch coupler is
high enough to clear the tow vehicle.
2. Back the tow vehicle to the trailer until the hitch ball is directly
under the coupler on the trailer.
3. Set the parking brakes, raise the locking latch on the coupler and
crank it down on the ball.
4. Move the locking latch down to lock it on the ball.
5. Engage the lock and retainer clip.
6. Raise the tongue by cranking the jack down. (The tow vehicle will
come up with it if the high coupler is properly latched.)
7. Connect the power cord between the tow vehicle and the trailer.
8. Connect the breakaway switch, assuring the breakaway cable is
not attached to any part of the tow vehicle assembly.
9. Crank the jack all the way up.
10. Install and adjust side mirrors.
11. Check all lights on the trailer and tow vehicle.
12. Pull forward and check the operation of the trailer brakes with the
hand control to assure proper operation. (Refer to manufacturer
specifications on setting the brake control.)
Disconnect the unit from the Bargman Seven-Way Tow Vehicle Cord
prior to testing the breakaway
switch. Failure to do so may cause
damage to the brake
WILL NOT OPERATE unless connected to a power source equivalent
to or greater than an automotive
type 12 volt, 12 amp hour wetcell
The breakaway switch is for emergency use only.
Before Towing
Ensure the TV antenna is down and in the correct position.
Disconnect all park connections and are securely stored.
Close and secure all doors, windows, awnings and roof vents
Return the Entry step to the travel position.
Refer to the “Pre-Travel Checklist” located in the Appendix
Check tires for proper inflation and
wheel lug torque to meet manufacturer’s specifications.
Towing a recreational vehicle can be enjoyable and worry-free if special
attention toward safety is applied every time you hit the road and before
heading out on our first camping trip, practice turning, stopping and
backing in low traffic areas or large parking lots. In time, traveling with a
recreational vehicle in tow will be as easy as driving the family car.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Before Heading Out
Weight Distribution
Proper weight and load distribution is absolutely essential to safe towing.
It is necessary to maintain a certain percentage of gross vehicle weight on
the tow vehicle. Common recommendations place approximately 10% 15% of a loaded weight on a travel-trailer hitch and approximately 20-25%
on a fifth-wheel pin weight, as the weight comes out of the tow vehicle
payload capacity. Too much or too little weight upon the hitch leads
to dangerous driving conditions such as sway and reduced tow vehicle
control. In no circumstance should the loaded weight ever exceed the
GVWR or the GAWRs.
Safety Chains
Always use safety chains when towing. They maintain the connection
between the travel-trailer and tow vehicle in the event of separation of
the ball and trailer coupling. Safety chains are included with every traveltrailer and, in most states, are required when towing a travel-trailer. Hook
them to the frame of the tow vehicle (not the hitch), crossing them under
the trailers tongue. Inspect the length of the chains once attached to the
tow vehicle frame. They should be long enough to allow for turns, but
short enough to avoid any drag.
Breakaway Switch
The breakaway switch is another safety device as it provides a means of
automatically slowing and stopping your RV if it should become detached
during traveling. The cable from the breakaway switch should be attached
to the tow vehicle so that it remains connected in the event the trailer
coupling detaches from the hitch ball. The breakaway switch is powered
from the RV 12 Volt battery. If separation occurs the pin is pulled out of
the switch and current from the RV battery is applied to the trailer brakes.
Tire Pressure
Maintaining proper tire pressure is another key to safety. The Cold
Inflation Pressure for each axle is located on the Federal Certification
Label. Cold inflation pressure refers to the pressure in the tire prior
to traveling. Always check your tire pressure before traveling. Under
inflated tires will cause excessive sidewall flexing and produce extreme
heat, leading to early tire failure and possible loss of control. Over inflated
tires can cause uneven tire where and also lead to early failure. More
information on tires and maintenance can be found in the Care and
Maintenance section.
Level Towing
Having the tow vehicle and recreational vehicle level with each other will
help improve tow ability as well as safe driving. A hitch that is too low can
cause the front to drag. A hitch that is too high can cause the rear to hit
those high spots in the road.
Check all electrical connections to ensure all lights on the tow vehicle and
travel-trailer are functioning properly. The break lights, hazards and turn
signals should be in synchronization with the tow vehicle.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Equipment- When hitched together, the trailer and the tow vehicle must be level.
The tires of both the trailer and tow vehicle should be in good condition and
inflated to the pressure recommended as noted on the exterior of the trailer and in
the owner’s manuals of the trailer and tow vehicle.
Your trailer brakes should work in synchronization with your tow vehicle
brakes. Never use your tow vehicle or trailer brakes alone to stop the combined
load. Your brake controller must be set up according to the manufacturer’s
specifications to ensure proper synchronization between the tow vehicle and the
trailer. Additionally, you may have to make small adjustments occasionally to
accommodate changing loads and driving conditions.
Also, we recommend a friction sway damper or hitch with built-in sway control be
provided for your unit. Please consult your dealer regarding this equipment, as
the RV manufacturer does not provide sway control devices.
Tongue Weight - The tongue weight should be between 10% to 15% of the total
travel trailer weight. See manual regarding the proper weight distribution of your
recreation vehicle.
Driving - This is the most important component. The tendency for the vehicle
to sway increases with speed therefore, obey all speed limits and reduce speed
during inclement weather or windy conditions.
Excessive sway or fishtailing
of your travel trailer can lead to
the rollover of the trailer and tow
vehicle. Serious injury or death can
occur. It is important that you read
and understand the information in
this section.
Corrective Measures- If sway occurs the following techniques should be used:
1. Slow down immediately, remove your foot from the accelerator. Avoid using
the tow vehicle brakes unless there is a danger of collision. Reduce speed
gradually whenever possible. If you can do safely, use the brake hand controller
(independent of the tow vehicle brakes) to gently and progressively apply the
trailer brakes. This will help to keep the vehicle aligned. Practice using the brake
hand controller on a deserted parking lot. Don’t wait until an emergency occurs
before using it. Location of the brake hand controller is important and should be
made easily accessible.
2. Steer as little as possible while maintaining control of the vehicle. Because
of natural lag time, quick steering movements to counter trailer sway will actually
cause increased sway and loss of control. Keep both hands on the wheel. Hold
the wheel as straight as possible until stability is regained.
Do not jam on the brakes or attempt to press the accelerator to speed your
way out of fishtailing. Both actions make the situation worse and could cause
severe injury or death.
Once the swaying is under control, stop as soon as possible. Check tire
pressures, cargo weight distribution and look for any signs of mechanical failure.
Travel at reduced speeds that permit full control until the problem can be identified
and corrected.
Sharply Winding and Narrow Roads
Keep well to the center of the lane, equally away from both the center line and
pavement edge. This allows the trailer to clear the edge of the pavement without
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
the likelihood of the wheels dropping onto the shoulder, causing potential
dangerous sway. Do not overcrowd or cross the center line.
All sharp turns should be taken at low speeds. Professional drivers,
when rounding turns, slow down well in advance of the turn, entering it at
reduced speed, and then accelerate smoothly as they come out again into
the straightaway.
Steep or Long Grades
Down shifting into a lower gear or range in advance assists braking on
descents and adds power on the climb. Avoid situations that require
excessive and prolonged use of the brakes. Apply and release brakes at
short intervals to give them a chance to cool.
Slippery Pavement
On slippery and icy pavement, reduce speed and drive slowly.
Hydroplaning can occur with little water on the pavement. If skidding
begins, remove your foot from the throttle and gently apply the trailer
brakes only.
Due to slower speeds, cars can
become trapped behind you on a
two-lane road. It is courteous and
practical to signal and pull onto the
shoulder when possible allowing
them to pass. This reduces passing
hazards and saves tempers.
Freeways and Highways
Try to pick the lane in which you want to move and stay in it, preferably
keeping to the slower lane on the right.
Turning Corners
Here is where you find a first basic difference when towing. The trailer
wheels do not follow the path of your tow vehicle’s wheels. The trailer will
make a closer turn than the tow vehicle. Compensate by pulling further
into the intersection so that the trailer will clear the curb or clear any
parked vehicles along the road. Left turns require a wider than normal
swing into the new lane of traffic to keep the trailer from edging into the
opposing lane. Use the turn signals early to communicate to traffic behind
and slow down well in advance.
Mud and Sand
Let the momentum of the tow vehicle and trailer carry you through. Apply
power gently and stay in the tracks of the previous vehicle. If stuck, tow
the trailer and tow vehicle out together without unhitching.
Whenever possible avoid parking on a grade with a recreational vehicle
in tow. If it is necessary, turn the front wheels of your tow vehicle into the
curb and set the parking brake. For added safety, place wheel chocks
under the trailer wheels on the down roadside.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Fifth-Wheel Leveling Procedures
1. Choose a site that is as level as possible (Some sites are equipped with
a prepared surface such as concrete or asphalt). Ensure the ground is
not soft and will support the weight of the fifth-wheel on the stabilizing
jacks or other support devices.
2. Before uncoupling, level the fifth-wheel from side to side with suitable
lengths of 2” x 6” wood blocks under the coach’s wheels. Place the
wood blocks on the ground forward of the wheels and tow the unit onto
the blocks. Block the wheels to be sure the fifth-wheel cannot roll.
3. Lower the “quick drop” landing gear legs before extending the landing
gear. The positioning of the “quick drop” legs will depend upon how level
your campsite is from side to side and front to rear. The landing gear is
then extended. It may be necessary to place a sturdy 2” x 6” wood block
under the foot pads to support the landing gear on soft ground surfaces.
4. After stabilizing the unit, be sure the fifth-wheel frame is not twisted,
buckled or stressed. Check that all doors and windows operate freely
and do not bind.
5. Before resuming travel, be sure the stabilizer jacks are fully retracted.
Put a small round bubble-level
inside the refrigerator to determine
proper level for refrigerator
In extended use situations, it is
advisable to add support blocks
under the slide- room. Do not raise
the room. Just touch the bottom.
Cargo Ramp Trailer Weight
All loaded trailers must remain within
GVWR and GAWR limits. Proper load
distribution is especially important for
ramp/cargo trailers. These trailers are
designed to carry a variety of cargo and/
or vehicles in the cargo storage area.
These cargo items are typically heavy
and you must consider how they are
loaded. Incorrectly loaded trailers can
have too little weight resting on the hitch or pin and can become unstable when
towing. Therefore, you must maintain a hitch weight percentage of 10-15% for
travel trailers and 15-25% for fifth wheels. Keep 60% of the cargo weight forward
of the axle(s) center line.
Cargo/Ramp Trailer Loading
The rear cargo door/loading ramp gices you complete access to the trailer cargo
area. When lowered, the loading ramp allows you to easily load rolling cargo,
bicycles, small motorcycles and ATVs, and small vehicles.
This section outlines the safety precautions you should take when loading
and unloading cargo and vehicles, as well as loading/unloading procedures,
techniques and tips
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Cargo/Ramp Trailer Loading Safety
Secure cargo and vehicles as far
forward as possible. Excess weight
in the rear of trailers can result in
loss of stability when towing.
The loading ramp/door area of your trailer can be a very hazardous part of your
recreational activities. Many combinations of hazards and a large volume of
activities occur in this area. Some of these hazards are:
ramps and inclines
overhead obstructions
dissimilar surfaces that are often wet and slippery
poor lighting during night or early morning activities
other vehicular traffic
restricted views
awkward, heavy or unbalanced loads
sheer drops
trailer creep
congested staging areas
accumulations of empty containers and debris
These are all hazards which can all be present at the same time within a very
confined area. You need to be aware of these potential hazards when loading,
unloading and rigging your cargo. Your continuous attention to safety measure
will help prevent accidents and possibly serious injuries and property damage.
The biggest reason to put a priority on loading safety is not so much related to
the frequency of accidents as it is to the potential severity of injuries that can
occur in these types of accidents. The kinds of injuries that can occur in these
types of accidents. The kinds of injuries sustained when a load tips over or falls
from the ramp (s) or falls out of the trailer, or those that occur if the load shifts
unexpectedly during travel tend to be very serious and sometimes fatal. You
can prevent these types of accidents by paying attention to what you are doing
and thinking through the consequences of poor loading.
Poor hazard assessment decisions are directly responsible for many accidents.
You can help minimize these risks, avoid hazards, and enjoy your recreational
activities safely by using an effective decision-making strategy:
Look around you and your situation. Get a good idea of what’s going on
around you before you act.
Identify hazards or specific problems in your path. Equipment, materials,
debris, other vehicles, children, pets, or any number of other things may be in
your way when you load or unload cargo or vehicles.
Predict what may happen and think of the consequences of your actions. If
you are loading/unloading alone, are you physically capable of handling the
load safely and keeping it under control? Ask yourself what would happen
if your load falls over, slips off the ramp or falls out of the trailer. If you are
unable to control your cargo, what will happen to it, you, and any other people,
equipment, or materials if/when it becomes uncontrollable? If you tie down
your load, what will happen if a tie down comes loose? What will happen if
all tie downs come loose? What will you do if someone else does something
dangerous during your loading/unloading?
Decide what to do based on your abilities and the capabilities of your
equipment. Always use proper lifting techniques, and personal protection
equipment as necessary such as gloves, helmets, kneepads and other
protective clothing. Be sure your cargo does not exceed the capacity of your
loading ramp and the trailer.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Here are some general safety rules about loading and unloading your
cargo trailer. Other safety items will be covered throughout this section.
Always consider the equipment you are loading. After use, it may be
hot, wet, slippery, dirty, or in some other condition that may be potentially
In all situations, follow the loading and weight guidelines in the “Loading
and Weighing” chapter of this Owner’s Guide. Never exceed the GAWR
and GVWR ratings of either your trailer of your tow vehicle.
Connect to the tow vehicle and use wheel chocks in addition to the
forward loading gear/jack of spotted trailers when loading and unloading
to prevent potential forward or backward movement when loading or
Be sure the work/loading area is well lit. Avoid loading/unloading at night
or in conditions of poor visibility.
Do not allow anyone who is not engaged in loading or unloading to be
inside the trailer cargo area while loading/unloading.
Visually inspect the trailer before loading. A damaged spot in the floor can
cause cargo to be unstable, and damaged or missing tie down rings will
prevent you from securing your load properly.
Use caution tape, traffic cones or portable barricades to designate staging
and loading areas in high activity situations where other vehicles and/or
pedestrians are present.
Keep the loading area clean and free of clutter and debris. Clean up water
and oil on the floor.
Designate areas at your campsite or activity area for storage of trash,
tools, equipment, supplies and expendable containers such as food,
beverage, oil and fuel containers.
Give special attention to large loads that may obstruct the view of the
loading crew.
Wear boots that provide adequate ankle support and a slip resistant tread
design, and hand protection when loading/unloading.
Always communicate with the person doing the loading. Know what the
plan is and make sure you agree.
Maintain eye contact with other persons involved at all times during
loading/unloading operations.
Slow down and pay attention; never hurry around loading/unloading
Train everyone in your travel group on the hazards of loading and
Establish and enforce compliance to all safety procedures.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Your Loading Equipment
The loading equipment furnished with your trailer is the ramp door and the
tiedown attachment points in the cargo area floor. The rated capacity of
the ramp door is 2500 pounds. Each tie down D-ring attachment is
rated at 1500 pounds. No tiedown straps, cables, hooks, chains, wheel
chocks, blocks, etc. are supplied with your trailer. Refer to your trailers
cargo capacity rating to determine the maximum load capacity of the
Chocks and Blocks
Chocks and blocks prevent accidental or unintended movement of
mobile equipment and cargo while you are loading, unloading, hitching,
unhitching, or performing service or maintenance. Wheel chocks are
wedge-shaped blocks placed in front of or behind the rear wheels of a
trailer or tow vehicle to prevent the trailer from moving while the trailer
is being loaded. “Trailer creep” occurs when the sideways and vertical
forces exerted each time a load enters and exits the trailer cause the
trailer to slowly move away from the loading area. The weight and speed
of loading can affect trailer creep. The grade the trailer it parked on, the
softness of the suspension, and whether the trailer has been dropped
off or if it is still connected to the tow vehicle are also factors. Loading
accidents can also occur when a driver prematurely pulls away while the
trailer is still being loaded/unloaded.
Always hitch the trailer to the tow vehicle, and use wheel chocks or other
vehicle-restraining devices when loading and unloading the trailer. Keep
spare chocks on hand. They often get left behind or lost during outdoor
activities. Chocking the wheels of a truck, trailer, or other piece of mobile
equipment provides a physical stopper to the wheels to prevent runaways
that can crush or injure people and damage equipment.
When chocking, use wheel chocks of the appropriate size and material to
securely hold the vehicle. Don’t use lumber, cinder blocks, rocks, or other
make-shift items to chock. Make it easy to find and use the correct
chocking equipment; store chocks inside the trailer or tow vehicle. Keep
chocks available at places where you typically load and unload.
Use extra caution when loading from the ramp. If the trailer rolls away,
you and the equipment you are loading can fall with severe injuries or
death. Never load equipment from the ramp into the trailer until you
ensure that the wheels are properly chocked. Ensure that the trailer floor
is in good condition and that it can support the weight of the equipment
you are loading.
Blocking stabilizes loaded cargo to prevent shifting and trailer overturns.
If the load shifts while in motion, the sudden shift in position and center
of gravity may cause towing instability possibly causing the trailer to
overturn. Securely block all cargo, not just wheeled equipment and round
or oddly shaped items. Block items separately and on all four sides using
wood blocks thick enough to prevent cargo movement. Use tie downs
and D-rings/caribiners strong enough to secure the load. Avoid using
other cargo as a block.
Cargo Placement and Restraint
Cargo that is likely to roll (vehicles, tool chests, barrels, etc.) should be
restrained by chocks, clocks, wedges, a cradle or other equivalent means
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
to prevent rolling. Whatever you use to prevent rolling should not be able
to be accidentally unfastened or loosened while the trailer is in motion.
Proper Use of Tiedowns
Avoid using tiedowns and securing devices with knots. Be sure to attach
and secure each tiedown so that it can’t come loose, unfastened, opened
or released while the trailer is in motion. Also, use edge protection
whenever a tiedown could be damaged or cut at the point where it
touches an article of cargo.
Tiedown Minimum Working Load Limit
The working load limit of a tiedown, associated connector, or attachment
mechanism is the lowest working load limit of any of its components
(including any tensioner device), or the working load limit of the anchor
points to which it is attached, whichever is less. When you choose
tiedown hardware, choose items that are strong enough to hold the load
you are securing. The load limit of each tiedown used should be at least
one-half the working load limit of each tiedown that goes from an anchor
point on the trailer to an attachment point on an article of cargo. Check
the tiedown manufacturer’s specifications to determine working load limits.
NOTE: Tiedown hardware is not supplied with your trailer.
When an article of cargo is not blocked or positioned to prevent movement
in the forward direction, the number of tiedowns needed depends on
the length and weight of the articles. In all cases, use enough tiedowns
to secure the cargo from moving in any direction. Heavy tool chests
or cabinets may require tiedowns around the bottom, middle and top
to secure them. Be sure to lock or secure drawers in these chests or
cabinets so they can’t open while traveling. Keep handle bars, mirrors,
etc. away from the trailer interior walls. The walls can be damaged by
contact with hard, sharp objects.
Cargo Loading Procedure
Rear Door/ Loading Ramp Operation
1. Hitch the trailer to a tow vehicle before loading and unloading the rear cargo area. Select a parking site where the edge of the rear door/loading ramp will rest entirely on a flat, level surface, and the corners of the door will be supported. Avoid soft sand or mud surfaces. When the trailer is loaded, the added cargo weight may cause the trailer and/or tow vehicle to become struck.
2. Level and stabilize the trailer.
3. Unlock the rear door/landing ramp and carefully lower it to the ground.
4. If equipped with a power bunk, raise both bunks fully.
The rear cargo door weighs
approximately 200 pounds. It
is designed for two-person
The maximum cargo capacity
of the rear cargo door/ramp is
2500 pounds
The maximum capacity for each
tiedown point in the cargo area
is 1000 pounds.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
5. Move things out of the way of your cargo, whether you are loading, or unloading. Have an idea where your cargo will be positioned after your load/unload activities.
6. Use caution and proper lifting techniques when loading and unloading items from the cargo area.
7. Use extreme caution when loading/unloading ATVs, motorcycles, or other vehicles (“motorized cargo” or “vehicle (s)”). These machines are generally heavy, and may be hot from operation and/or covered with dirt, oil, or other substances that may make them slippery.
8. Make certain that the door seals and hinge area are free of any debris, such as sand or snow before closing the rear door/
loading ramp.
9. Inspect the hinges, assist springs, and latch mechanism before each trip for signs of wear or damage, and make any needed repairs for safe operation and towing.
Loading and Unloading Motorized Cargo
Any motorized vehicle or any motorized equipment powered with
flammable liquid can cause fire explosion, or asphyxiation if stored
or transported within the recreational vehicle. To reduce the risk of
fire, explosion, or asphyxiation:
It is not safe for persons or pets
to occupy the vehicle storage
area while vehicles are present.
Failure to follow these important
precautions may result in
serious injury or death.
Passengers shall not ride in the vehicle storage area at any time
Occupants shall not sleep in the vehicle storage area while
vehicles are present
Doors and windows in walls of separation (if installed) shall be
closed while the vehicles are present.
Fuel shall be run out of engines of stored vehicles after shutting
off fuel at the tank.
Motor fuel shall not be stored or transported inside this vehicle.
The vehicle storage area shall be ventilated.
Gas appliances, pilot lights, or electrical equipment shall not be
operated when motorized vehicles or motorized equipment are
inside vehicle.
Many recreation ATV or motorcycle accidents and injuries happen while
loading or unloading. Steep inclines, unstable ramps, power and a short
stopping area are what make loading motorized cargo difficult and unsafe.
There is no absolute safe way to drive your motorized cargo into the
trailer. Take the following steps to aid in reducing the risks associated with
transporting, storing, or occupying the trailer. Take the following steps to
reducing the risks associated with transporting, storing, or occupying the
trailer with motorized equipment and vehicles:
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Wear personal protective equipment while loading and unloading
vehicles to/from the trailer. This includes but is not limited to,
an approved motor vehicle helmet, leather boots, appropriate
gloves, and eye protection
Never stand in the path of equipment when loading/unloading
with the ramp, and keep bystanders away from the ramps.
Keep body parts completely clear of the ramp door hinge pinch
area at all times
Check parking brakes on the vehicle (s) you are loading/
unloading, and on the tow vehicles.
Inspect ramp and trailer floor/loading area for cracks, damage,
oil or other debris that may cause slippage.
Do not allow persons or pets to ride inside the vehicle storage
area at any time.
Close doors and windows in separation walls while the vehicles
are present.
Close tank fuel valves and operate the engine (s) to run fuel out
of engine (s) of stored vehicles.
Do not store or transport motor fuel anywhere inside the trailer.
Ventilate the interior of the trailer to reduce the risk of fire,
explosion, or asphyxiation.
Do not operate gas appliances, pilot lights, or electrical
equipment when motorized vehicles or motorized equipment are
Load and store your equipment and motorized vehicles
according to the “Loading and Weighing” chapter in this Owner’s
During transit, secure motorized vehicles and motorized
equipment so that items do not move while in transit.
Remove carpet from section where fueled vehicles or motorized
equipment will be stored.
There is a hazard of serious personal injury when using a loading
ramp. Never ride motorized cargo
up a loading ramp.
Loading Technique Ramp Positioning
The ramp angle from the trailer floor to the ground affects the risk when
loading/unloading cargo. If the ramp angle is reduced, and all other
conditions remain the same, rick is reduced. Always try to reduce the
loading ramp angle - the shallower the ramp angle, the easier cargo
loading will be. Position the trailer to take advantage of any terrain
features that will help reduce the ramp angle. In all cases, be sure the
ends of the ramp door can be fully supported.
Always position the loading ramp so the ends in contact with the ground
are level or at the same height. An uneven ramp may cause the cargo to
tip over sideways during loading/unloading.
Loading Under Power
Motorized cargo should be walked up the ramp. When preparing to load
the vehicle into the trailer, the operator’s hands should be positioned on
the controls so as to keep the vehicle in control during loading.
1. Shift into lowest gear before ascending ramps.
2. Align wheels with ramps both loading and unloading.
Do not load motorized cargo
by riding them up the ramp
door. Loss of control could
cause serious personal injury.
Dutchmen does not recommend
loading motorized cargo under
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
If the motorized cargo loses traction
and spins sideways, it may slip sideways off the ramp, tipping sideways,
and possibly falling on the rider
causing injury.
3. Approach straight on, not on an angle. If you are off to one side
and the ground is uneven where the ramp touches the ground, an
unbalanced situation can occur.
4. The operator should apply throttle smoothly and climb the ramp at
low speed. Too much or sudden increases in throttle will cause the
vehicle to be harder to control and may cause the vehicle to impact
the front of the trailer cargo area or over-turn.
5. Stop when fully in the trailer. Keep handle bars, mirrors, etc. away
from the trailer interior walls. The walls can be damaged by contact
with hard, sharp objects.
6. After loading, close the fuel valve and run the engine until it stops
(motorcycle and ATVs). Turn the ignition key off and remove it. Set
the parking brake. For manual clutch machines, leave the machine in
7. Secure the vehicle with tie downs. The attachment points you select
on your equipment must be strong enough to support the weight of
the equipment. Usually attachment points that are low and centered
on the equipment frame will be good. An attachment to a decorative
piece of chrome or plastic will usually not be a good tie-down point.
Consider any leverage action that may occur. An attachment point
past the center of the equipment could cause the equipment to either
swing around or flip over, causing damage to the equipment, or
personal injury. If you have any doubt about the attachment point you
have selected, stop and find a better attachment point.
Secure the Load
Install blocking devices in the front, back, and on both sides of the wheels
to keep it from rolling. This block is strictly an additional safety precaution
and does not reduce the need for strapping the vehicle in securely.
Failure to properly secure cargo
could cause, property damage, injury, and/or death.
Use a minimum of three tiedowns to secure the vehicle to the trailer.
Use one tiedown to secure the front of the vehicle to the trailer. Use two
tiedowns to secure the rear of the vehicle to the trailer. Four tiedowns
(one at each corner) are preferred.
Attach tiedown hooks to the vehicle’s frame, not to an accessory such as
a mirror, handle bar, pedal, etc. Hooks on the other end must be attached
to vehicle cargo anchors installed in the trailer.
For transport, motorized cargo with manual transmissions should be left
in first gear. Vehicle’s with automatic transmissions should be in the Park
position. The vehicle’s ignition key should be turned off and removed, the
parking brake set, the run/stop switch in the stop (or off) position and the
fuel lever turned to the off position.
The Safest Way to Unload Your Motorized Cargo
The safest method of unloading is to push the vehicle down the ramp,
carefully braking to ensure control of the vehicle.
If you loaded your vehicle forward (front in) that means you will unload it in
reverse. Driving a motorized vehicle backwards down a hill (the ramp) is
not recommended. A slight turn of the handle or slip of a wheel can cause
your vehicle to fall, tip or roll sideways. If you are on or in the vehicle you
can be inured or killed. Unload the vehicle safely as follows:
1. Be sure the back tires of the vehicle are aligned with the ramp, and
there are no people, pets or obstructions in the unloading area at
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
the end of the ramp. Assure that the ground surface will support the
vehicle, and that the vehicle cannot roll away uncontrolled.
2. Stand at the front of the vehicle.
3. Push the vehicle backward in line with the ramp.
4. As the rear tires start down the ramp let go of the vehicle and let it roll
backwards (don’t try and slow or control the vehicle as this can cause
Fuel Transfer System
Portable fuel-burning equipment,
including wood and charcoal grills
and stoves, must not be used inside
the recreational vehicle. The use
of this equipment inside the recreational vehicle may cause fires or
A fuel transfer system allows you to store gasoline for use in motorcycles,
snowmobiles, ATVs or other vehicles and equipment while at a campsite.
This system consists of a fuel tank, fuel tank filter, fuel gauge, fuel transfer
pump, fuel transfer valve and hose with fill nozzle. A master pump switch
is located on the inside control panel and an emergency shutoff switch
is located on the trailer frame rail near the fuel transfer pump. A metal
ground clip reduces the possibility of static electricity discharge between
the fuel station and the equipment being fueled.
Do not store or use gasoline or
other flammable vapors and liquids
in the vicinity of any appliance.
To fill the tank, remove the fuel filler cap and fill the tank with the grade of
gasoline required by your equipment. When replacing the fuel fill cap, be
sure it seats squarely and turn it firmly to lock it on the fill pipe neck.
Fuel Transfer System Safety
Static electricity-related incidents when refueling are extremely unusual.
They appear to happen most often during cool or cold and dry climate
conditions. In rare circumstances, these static related incidents have
resulted in a brief flash fire occurring at the fill point. You can minimize
these and other potential fueling hazards by following safe refueling
A build-up of static electricity can be caused by re-entering a vehicle
during fueling, particularly in cool or cold and dry weather. If you return to
the fuel fill pipe during refueling, the static may discharge at the fill point,
causing a flash fire or small sustained fire with gasoline refueling vapors.
No smoking before dispensing fuel,
turn off all engines, fuel burning
appliances and their ignitors. Connect the bonding jumper wire to
the vehicle receiving fuel. Do not
dispense fuel within 20 feet of an
ignition source. Failure to comply
could result in fire, death or serious
If you cannot avoid getting back into the vehicle, always first touch a metal
part of the vehicle with a bare hand, such as the door, or some other metal
surface, away from the fill point upon exiting the vehicle.
Here are some additional refueling safety guidelines when refueling your
vehicle or filling up gasoline storage containers:
Turn off vehicle engines. Disable or turn off any auxiliary sources of
ignition: the trailer furnace, water heater, cooking unit, and any pilot
lights. Turn off main propane valve.
Do not smoke, light matches or lighters while operating the refueling
system, or when using gasoline anywhere else.
Use only the refueling latch provided on the gasoline dispenser
Never jam or otherwise try to lock the refueling latch on the nozzle
Do not re-enter your vehicle during refueling. If you cannot avoid
reentering your vehicle, discharge any static build-up BEFORE
Do not smoke when filling the tank.
Before dispensing fuel, turn off all
engines and fuel burning appliances and ground the trailer. Do not
dispense fuel within 20 feet of an
ignition source.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Potentially explosive fuel vapor may
be present at fuel filling stations
and during refueling of equipment
with the fuel transfer system. Never
enter a fuel filling stating or refuel
equipment if your furnace or water
heater is operating or if your refrigerator is operating on propane.
Both the flame and the ignitors in
the burners of these appliances
are sources of ignition, and could
cause an explosion. These appliances must be turned OFF before
entering a fuel filling station or
refueling equipment. Turning off
the propane main tank valve only is
not sufficient. The appliances must
be OFF at their electrical operating
If a fuel spill occurs in the storage
area of the trailer, open the windows
and sidewall vents, and wipe up
the fuel with cloth or paper towels.
Dispose of the towels in a suitable
hazardous waster container. Do
not hose out the trailer with water.
Clean the fuel spill areas with a
grease/oil dissolving cleaner such
as 409. Thoroughly dry the spill
Fuel-soaked rags or other materials
contain flammable and/or explosive
fuel vapors and other hazardous
substances. Clean up materials
should be temporarily stored in a
nonflammable, vapor-tight container
until proper disposal facilities are
available. Do not store flammable
clean up rags or materials inside
any other vehicle or near any source
of flame or ignition.
reaching for the nozzle by touching something metal with a bare hand
- such as the vehicle body or frame - away from the nozzle
In the unlikely even a static-caused fire occurs when refueling, leave
the nozzle in the fill pipe and back away from the vehicle. Turn off the
fuel pump master switch immediately.
Do not over-fill or top-off your vehicle tank, which can cause gasoline
Never allow children under licensed driving age to operate the pump.
Avoid prolonged breathing of gasoline vapors. Use gasoline only in
open areas that get plenty of fresh air. Keep your face away from the
nozzle or container opening.
Never siphon gasoline by mouth. Never put gasoline in your mouth
for any reason. Gasoline can be harmful or fatal if swallowed. If
someone swallows gasoline, do not induce vomiting. Contact a
emergency medical service provider immediately.
Keep gasoline away from your eyes and skin; it may cause irritation.
Remove gasoline-soaked clothing immediately.
Use gasoline as a motor fuel only. Never use gasoline to wash your
hands or as a cleaning solvent.
Fuel Transfer System Operation
To operate the fuel transfer system (also see the “Fuel Pump Owner’s
Manual” in your Owner’s Information Package):
1. Lower the tongue jack or 5th-wheel jacks to the ground. This will
electrostatically ground the trailer to reduce the possibility of static
discharge while refueling.
2. Set the cargo area disconnect switch to ON.
3. Close the vents in the side of the trailer to prevent fuel vapor from
entering the trailer.
4. Press the fuel transfer pump master/timer switch ON. Each press of
the switch allows the pump to run 5 minutes. When the pump stops,
press again if necessary for another 5 minute run.
5. Attach the ground clip securely to a bare metal part of the equipment
to be fueled (frame, handle bar, axle bolt, etc.)
6. Remove the fuel hose and nozzle from its compartment. An automatic
bypass valve prevents pressure buildup when the pump is on with the
nozzle closed.
7. Place the nozzle into the equipment fuel filler and squeeze the handle
to allow fuel to flow. Be careful not to overfill the equipment fuel tank.
Wipe up any spilled fuel.
8. When finished, release the nozzle handle, return the nozzle to its
9. Lock the fuel transfer nozzle compartment to prevent unauthorized
use. The nozzle compartment must be locked at all times when
not dispensing fuel.
10. When you are finished with all fueling, turn off the pump master switch
All parts of the fuel transfer system including but not limited to the hoses,
pump, nozzle, fittings, and tank have been selected for their quality, safety,
and intended application. Any alteration or replacement of any part by
other than Dutchmen parts could jeopardize the integrity of the system
and may result in serious injury or even death.
If your fueling system is not working properly or you need additional
information on the use of the system contact your authorized Dutchmen
dealer immediately or call Dutchmen directly.
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
When dispensing gasoline into a container, use only approved portable
containers and place it on the ground to avoid a possible static electricity
ignition of fuel vapors. Never fill a container while the container is inside a
vehicle, a car trunk, the bed of a pickup truck or the floor of a trailer.
When filling a portable container, manually control the nozzle valve
throughout the filling process. Fill a portable container slowly to
decrease the chance of static electricity buildup and minimize spilling.
Keep the fuel nozzle in contact with the rim of the container opening
while refueling.
Fill container no more than 95 percent full to allow for expansion.
Place cap tightly on the container after filling - do not use containers
that do not seal properly.
Store gasoline only in approved containers. Never store gasoline in
glass or any other unapproved container.
If gasoline spills on the container, clean up the spill immediately.
When transporting gasoline in a portable container make sure it
is secured against tipping and sliding, and never leave it in direct
sunlight or in the trunk of a car.
Travel-Trailer Leveling Procedures
1. Chose a site that is level as possible (Some sites are equipped
with a prepared surface such as concrete or asphalt.) Ensure the
ground is not soft and will support the weight of the trailer on the
stabilizing jacks or other support devices.
2. Before uncoupling, level the trailer from side to side with suitable
lengths of 2” x 6” wood blocks under the trailer wheels. Place the
wood blocks on the ground forward of the wheels, and tow the
trailer onto the blocks. Block the wheels to be sure the trailer
cannot roll.
Any motorized equipment powered
with flammable liquid can cause
fire and explosion or asphyxiation
if stored or transported inside the
trailer. To reduce the risk of fire,
explosion or asphyxiation:
1. Do not allow passengers to ride
inside the storage area at any time
2. Prior to storing vehicles in the
trailer, run fuel out of the engine
after shutting off fuel at the vehicle
fuel tank
3. Do not store or transport any motor fuel inside the trailer
4. Ventilate the interior of the trailer
to reduce the risk of fire, explosion
or asphyxiation. Open the ventilation panels on either side of the
cargo area.
5. Do not operate propane appliances, pilot lights, or electrical
equipment when motorized vehicles
or motorized equipment are inside
the trailer. Set the cargo electrical
disconnect switch to OFF.
3. Put the foot pad on the hitch jack post, uncouple the trailer
from the tow vehicle and level the trailer front to rear. It may be
necessary to place a sturdy 2” x 6” wood block under the jack post
foot pad to support the jack post on soft ground surfaces.
4. Check the level of the trailer with a carpenter’s level both
crosswise and lengthwise on the trailer floor.
5. After stabilizing the trailer, be sure the trailer frame is not twisted,
buckled, or stressed. Check that all doors and windows operate
freely and do not bind.
When refueling tow vehicle, shut
off all Propane appliances. Most
Propane appliances are vented to
the outside. Gasoline fumes could
enter the appliance and ignite from
the burner flame, causing an explosion or fire.
6. Before resuming travel, be sure all stabilizers are removed or fully
Chapter 3: Towing and Leveling
Stabilizing Jacks
Stabilizing jacks are designed to
level and stabilize your coach.
Do not attempt to lift the unit to
change a tire or for any other
After-market stabilizer stands must
be placed only under chassis frame
rails. Stabilizer jacks should not be
placed at extreme corners of the
frame. Locating stabilizers in these
locations can cause slide-room
damage if leveling blocks were to
shift or settle. Do not attempt to
level, raise or otherwise place all of
the weight of the unit on the stabilizer jacks. Do not use stabilizer jacks
for tire-changing.
When the trailer is unhooked
from the tow vehicle, lower
and check the stabilizing jacks
before using the loading ramp.
Failure to do so could cause the
trailer to tip back as the load is
shifted to the rear of the cargo
area causing property damage,
personal injury, and/or death.
Hitch the trailer to a tow vehicle
before loading and unloading
the rear cargo area.
Dependent upon the type (travel-trailer / fifth-wheel), product and model
purchased, the stabilizer jacks included will vary. Although stabilizer
jacks come in different types and sizes, all perform the same function: To
stabilize the front and rear of all recreational vehicles while parked for
Always park the recreational vehicle on level ground and use tire chocks.
It is extremely important to level the trailer front and rear using the tongue
jack (travel-trailers) or landing gear (fifth-wheels). Using the crank for the
particular stabilizer jack, lower the jack(s) on the lowest side of the trailer
first and check the level. Adjust if necessary and then lower the other
jack(s) to finish stabilizing the trailer.
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
What to do if you smell gas
Do not try to light any appliance
Extinguish any open flames including cigarettes
Do Not Touch Any Electric Switch
Open windows and doors
Exit trailer
Shut off the gas supply at the gas container (bottle or source)
Immediately call a service center or gas supplier from an outside
phone and follow their instructions
Do not turn on the gas supply until the gas leaks have been repaired
Refer to the individual manufacturer’s owner’s manual for operating
instructions on the following equipment.
Air Conditioner (Optional)
Roof mounted air conditioners are
operated by an 110V AC power
source through a separate circuit
Air Conditioning Circuit. This
breaker. Keep in mind that typically
connection is for air conditioners
RV electrical systems are designed
rated 110-125 Volt AC, 60 HZ
to handle 30 amps and that the air
________Amperes Maximum. Do
conditioner takes a sizable portion
not exceed circuit rating.
of that when the compressor starts.
(Limited product models have an
optional 50 Amp capability. (See
Chapter 5, Electrical Systems)
Reduce other loads as much as possible when using air conditioning to
reduce the chance of overload and possibly tripping the main breaker.
(For thermostat operation on the air conditioner, see “Thermostat” in this
1. Extinguish the open flames, pilot
lights and all smoking materials.
2. Do not touch electrical switches.
3. Shut off the gas supply at the
container valve(s) or gas supply
4. Open doors and other ventilating
5. Leave the area until odor clears.
6. Have the gas system checked
and leakage source corrected
before using again.
Never run the A/C without the filter.
This could plug the unit evaporator
cell, substantially effecting performance.
Capability vs. Environment
The capability of the air conditioner to maintain the desired inside
temperature is directly effected by the heat gain of the RV. During
extreme high outdoor temperatures, the heat gain of the vehicle may be
reduced by:
1. Parking in a shaded area
2. Keeping blinds down or drapes shut
3. Keeping windows and doors shut and minimize usage
4. Operation on High Fan/Cooling mode will provide the maximum
efficiency in high humidity or high temperatures
5. Using awnings to block direct sunlight exposure on the unit
6. Avoiding use of heat producing appliances
7. Giving the A/C a “head start” by turning the air conditioner on
early in the morning
Care and Maintenance
Periodically remove the return air filter and wash with hot soapy water.
During extended use situations, cleaning is recommended after two weeks
of daily usage.
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
Antenna (TV)
The television antenna installed is designed for either color or black-andwhite television. If reception is poor, make sure the power supply switch
is on and connections are tight. Should the reception remain poor, check
with your authorized dealer.
To Raise Antenna
Do not raise TV antenna near overhead electrical wires as contact may
cause injury or death.
1. Check location to ensure no obstacles will be encountered while
raising the antenna.
2. Turn elevating crank (clockwise) in an “UP” direction about 13
turns or until resistance is felt.
3. Turn Power Supply switch to “ON” (If cable is being used the
power supply switch needs to be set to “OFF”.)
Rotate for Best Picture
1. Make sure antenna is fully raised.
2. Pull down on lower ceiling plate with both hands until it disengages
and will turn.
3. Slowly rotate clockwise or counterclockwise for best picture and
To Lower Antenna
1. Rotate antenna until pointer on directional handle aligns with
pointer on ceiling plate.
2. Turn elevating crank (counterclockwise) in “DOWN” direction
about 13 turns or until resistance is felt. Antenna is now locked in
travel position.
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
Awning, Patio (Optional)
If rain or wind is predicted, or
whenever you leave the awning
unattended, it is best to close the
awning. Damage to the awning or
unit due to weather is not covered
under the Dutchmen Manufacturing,
Inc. Limited Warranty or the awning
manufacturer warranty.
A patio awning is a very popular accessory on recreational vehicles. They
provide additional living area for your campsite as well as protection.
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. uses several awning models. The
appropriate instructions for the equipped awning are included in the unit
packet. Please review the manufacturer instructions carefully prior to
using the patio awning.
Care and Maintenance
The best way to extend the life of the awning is to keep it clean and
operating smoothly. At the start of every camping season or after
extensive traveling, inspect the top and bottom brackets and tighten if
loose. Moving parts, such as the lift handle, rafter and support arms, may
become hard to operate due to weather exposure and use. If this occurs,
spray the part(s) with a silicone spray. To keep the awning operation
smooth, repeat the process on a regular basis. Mold and mildew on
the fabric can be avoided by periodically cleaning the vinyl with a mild
non-abrasive cleaner and inspecting it for leaves or other debris before
closing. After cleaning, allow the fabric to dry completely before rolling up.
When raining, lower one end of the awning so that the water will run off
and not pool on the fabric, and avoid rolling it up when wet. If necessary,
unroll as soon as conditions permit to allow the awning to dry.
DO NOT attempt any repairs to the
awning. The awning roller tube is
under extreme spring tension. Repairs should only be performed by
an authorized dealer / repair center.
DO NOT USE the Slidetopper™ in
snowing or freezing rain conditions
as it may prevent the awning from
retracting properly with the slideroom and cause damage to the
awning and / or slide-room.
Awning, Slide-Out (Optional)
Before operating the slide-room, assure there are no objects (or people)
in the path of the room or the Slidetopper™.
When installed the A&E Slidetopper™ awning will automatically open
and close along with the slide-room. Fully extended the awning is level,
which may cause water to puddle on top of the canopy. As the slide-room
is closed, the awning will roll up and cause any puddles to spill over the
sides of the awning. Before retracting the slide-room, check to make
sure the Slide Topper is free of any debris (leaves, twigs, etc.), which can
damage the awning or slide-room components.
Failure to close the awning prior to
any rain or wind conditions, may
cause damage to awning components and possible personal injury
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
Cable Hook-Up
At many commercial campgrounds, cable access is provided. To
utilize the cable access, locate the exterior hookup on the side of the
recreational vehicle. Attach cable to access hook-up and trailer hook-up.
Finally, make sure the antenna power booster is set on “Cable” and not
See Electrical Section
Failure to read the furnace user’s
information manual and follow
instructions could cause a fire or explosion, causing property damage,
serious injuries or loss of life.
The furnace installed is a Propane appliance. Carefully read the
manufacturer’s manual for complete operational and safety instructions,
provided in the unit packet, prior to using the appliance.
The furnace utilizes a sealed combustion system, which means the
combustion chamber is completely sealed from the inner atmosphere of
your vehicle. Combustion air is drawn from the outside and combustion
products are expelled outside through a vent.
New furnaces sometimes emit smoke and an odor during the first 5 - 10
minutes of initial use due to paint burning off the heating chamber. Do not
mistake this for a malfunctioning furnace. Opening the windows and door
prior to first lighting will help vent any smoke or odor.
Thermostat - Wall Mounted
Dutchmen travel-trailers and fifth-wheels have either a heat only
thermostat or a combination air conditioner / furnace thermostat if an air
conditioner is equipped at the factory. Please refer to the user’s manual
for the specific thermostat installed.
Operation - Heat Only Thermostat
To turn “ON”: Set temperature to desired level.
To turn “OFF” set thermostat to lowest setting and follow instructions for
furnace operation in the manufacturer’s user’s guide
Heat Operation - A/C and Heat Thermostat
Set the temperature select lever to the desired temperature level.
Set the system switch to “FURNACE”.
Cooling Operation - A/C and Heat Thermostat
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
Set the temperature select lever to the desired temperature level.
Select the FAN speed.
“HI”: Maximum cooling / dehumidification.
“LO”: Maintaining temperature level / night use.
Select FAN AUTO/ ON switch.
“AUTO”: Runs whenever cooling required and stops when not
7. “ON”: Air conditioner fan runs continuously to circulate air.
8. Set the system switch to the “COOL” position.
9. When the SYSTEM switch is in the “OFF” or “FURNACE” and the
10. Switch is in the “ON” position; the A/C fan will run continuously at
the selected fan speed. This circulates air inside the RV.
Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners:
What’s the Difference?
Simply stated, an air conditioner will cool your vehicle while a heat pump
can operate both a heating and cooling mode. With heat pumps, the
flow of the refrigerant is reversed compared to an air conditioner. An air
conditioner not only lowers the temperature of the air but also conditions
the air by removing moisture and filtering it. Because moisture is involved,
humidity is a large factor in how efficient your air conditioner will operate.
Climate-Control Hints
Whether you have an air conditioner or a heat pump in your RV, here’s a
list of things you can check before you call for a technician:
1. If the air conditioner/heat pump doesn’t run (the fan and/or the
compressor), check the AC voltage. If the thermostat has no lights
showing, it means it is not receiving DC power. The 12-volt DC fuse
should be checked. You may also want to look at the breaker at the
electrical source. To check your AC voltage when you arrive at your
destination, plug in your electrical cord. Inside your vehicle place a
voltmeter into a receptacle and start your air conditioner or heat pump.
When the compressor starts after a two-minute delay, check your voltage.
It must be over 103.5 volts for the air conditioner to operate.
2. When the fan runs and the compressor tries to start but won’t run,
examine the exterior heavy-duty long extension cord, receptacle and plug.
If those are in working order, check the AC voltage.
3. If the fan runs, but the compressor cycles on and off and doesn’t cool
correctly, it could be improper or poor air flow, a dirty filter, dirty condenser,
short cycling ( a duct leak) or the AC voltage may be the problem.
4. If the compressor doesn’t cycle at all, a qualified technician should
check the filter (which must be clean) and the condenser. It is important to
check the condenser to determine if it is blocked. The condenser is visible
with the Brisk Air units, but the Penguin air conditioner shroud will need
to be removed for inspection. If the condenser is blocked, the debris will
need to be removed by a technician.
5. Poor or improper air flow, short cycling, a dirty filter or placing the
thermostat on its minimum temperature setting and the fan on low speed
in high humidity situations can cause evaporator freeze-up.
6. It’s leaking! What should you do? First, this is something that should
be repaired by a certified technician. The technician will take a good look
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
at the mounting bolts, roof gasket and condensation drain holes. It is also
good to be sure the technician checks for roof damage.
Remote Lost? For cooling or
heating, press the FURN EMER.
or the COOL EMER. button on
the Wall Unit Display. For more
information on this procedure,
please refer to the owner’s
We’d like to stress that the best way to keep your air conditioner or heat
pump in peak operating condition is to have maintenance and repair tasks
performed by a qualified technician. This may also be something that’s
required by your warranty. Your owner’s manual will supply the specifics if
this is the case.
Fireplace (Optional)
Fireplaces run on standard 120V and have full electrical certification
throughout North America. If you choose to activate the heat feature, the
fireplace will provide up to 5,115 BTU’s. Flame brightness is adjustable
and the choice is yours whether or not to use the heat feature. Built in
safety features include: impact resistant safety glass, cool glass upon
touch and a safety switch for overheating with user reset. Read all
documentation included prior to using.
Generator (Optional)
Any service or maintenance recommended by the manufacturer should
be performed at an authorized service center and in accordance with all
generator manufacturer recommendations. Please thoroughly read the
accompanying manual.
A generator produces carbon monoxide from exhaust fumes from its
engine during operation. Carbon
monoxide can be fatal! When the
device detects carbon monoxide in
the air it will sound. Consult the individual detector’s user manual for
specific instructions and / or audible
warning meanings.
Microwave / Convection Oven (Optional)
Installed microwaves operate on 120V AC power only and are a popular
for quick and convenient heating and cooking. Due to differing models
used it is recommended that the Owner’s Guide in the Unit Packet be
read to for use on special features and operations.
Care and Maintenance
To clean exterior surface and the oven interior, use only mild, nonabrasive soaps or detergents applied with a soft sponge or cloth. Never
operate the microwave when oven is empty.
Monitor Panel : See Plumbing Section.
Care and Maintenance
Do not under any circumstance
operate any engine while sleeping.
You would not be able to monitor
outside conditions to assure that
engine exhaust does not enter the
interior, and you would not be alert
to exhaust odors or symptoms of
carbon monoxide poisoning.
In the interior, vacuum any dust or lint from the fan screen and use only
mild detergent on a damp soft cloth to clean the garnish and area around
the screen. To clean the exterior, always disconnect the power before
attempting any care or maintenance. Frequent cleaning using a mild
detergent on the dome, fan blades and related surfaces, will eliminate
heavy dirt build up. Never use solvents or abrasive cleaners on the dome,
surfaces or the seal.
Range Hood
The range hood operates on 12V power and should be used as a
ventilating system when cooking. Operational switches for the fan and / or
light are on the front panel of the range hood.
Care and Maintenance
Care of the range hood is similar to the range. Use warm soapy water
and wipe off any grease before staining can occur. Do not use harsh
chemical cleaners or abrasives. Clean the plastic light lens and filter
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
by removing and washing in hot soapy water. Frequency of cleaning is
dependent upon range usage.
by removing and washing in hot soapy water. Frequency of cleaning is
dependent upon range useage.
The range or cook-top installed is a Propane appliance. Carefully
read the manufacturer’s manual for complete operational and safety
instructions, provided in the unit packet, prior to using the appliance.
Range / Cook-Top
Operation – Top Burners (Range or Cook-top)
Prior to Lighting
Assure the gas supply to the trailer is turned “on”.
Open a window and / or vent for ventilation purposes.
Check for any hazards (flammable liquids, fabrics, objects near burners).
If gas smell is present, Do Not Light. -See “What to do if you smell gas”
Depress knob corresponding to burner to be lit and turn to “Lite” position.
Immediately Light Burner
Match-Light Models: Hold a long match or a hand held igniter, near the
burner port. Make sure the hand held igniter is the type designed for open
flame burners.
Piezo Ignition Models: Rotate the Piezo knob clockwise rapidly. This will
produce a spark to ignite the gas.
After lighting adjust burner flame to needed level.
If flame on burner goes out after initial lighting or during cooking, turn
burner knob to off and wait 5 minutes before attempting to relight. Before
attempting to relight check to make sure gas smell has disappeared. If
odor still present after 5 minutes, DO NOT relight burners. See “What to
do if you smell gas”.
To turn burner(s) off: turn the knob(s) to the “OFF” position.
The Range or Cook-top installed is a Propane appliance. Carefully
read the manufacturer’s manual for complete operational and safety
instructions, provided in the unit packet, prior to using the appliance.
Operation - Oven (if equipped)
Oven pilot must be lit prior to operating.
Lighting Oven Pilot
Be sure all valves and oven control knob are in the “OFF” position
Assure the main gas supply is on.
Open oven door and smell for gas. If odor present – Stop and:
Do not try to light any appliance
Extinguish any open flames including cigarettes
Do Not Touch Any Electric Switch
Open windows and doors
Exit trailer
Shut off the gas supply at the gas container (bottle or source)
All pilot lights, appliances and their
ignitors (see operating instructions)
must be turned off before refueling
of motor fuel tank and/or propane
containers. Failure to comply could
result in death or serious injury.
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
To ensure a supply of fresh air to
occupants, open ventilators when
fuel burning range, fuel burning
carry-on appliance, and/or fuel
burning lights are in operation.
Cooking appliances should not be
used for space heating purposes.
• Immediately call a service center or gas supplier from an outside
phone and follow their instructions
• Do not turn on the gas supply until the gas leaks have been
If no gas smell present, light a match, depress and turn oven control knob
to “Pilot On” and light pilot.
Operation of Oven Burner
Depress oven knob and turn to desired setting.
(A delay of appx. 45 seconds will occur before burner is lit- This is normal.)
To Shut Down Oven Burner
Turn oven control knob to “Pilot On” position – This will keep the oven
pilot lit.
To Shut Down Oven Pilot
Turn oven control knob to “OFF” position.
Care and Maintenance
Before cleaning make sure all knobs are in the “OFF” position and wait
until all surfaces, including burners, are cool. Use warm soapy water only.
Do not use oven cleaners, bleach or rust removers on the range/cooktop surface. Wipe up any spills as soon as possible to avoid possible
discoloration or pitting on the surface. Check burner ports when cleaning.
If the ports or the orifice is clogged, carefully clean with a toothpick.
The refrigerator installed is a LP gas appliance. Carefully read the
manufacturer’s manual for complete operational and safety instructions,
provided in the unit packed, prior to using the appliance.
Never use wire brushes or any metallic item for cleaning range ports
or orifice, as wire brushes or metallic items may shed, leading to a fire
or explosion.
The refrigerator operates on either 120V AC or LP Gas and has a gravitybased cooling system. This system requires that the recreational vehicle
be level for efficient operation. The cooling coils are sloped to allow
continuous movement of the liquid chemicals and if the unit is not level for
extended periods, the flow of these chemicals will slow and pool inside the
tubing, resulting in a loss of cooling.
During towing, the leveling is not as crucial as the movement of the trailer
will prevent the liquid inside the tubing from pooling. If needing to park for
several hours, the trailer should be leveled if operating the refrigerator or
the refrigerator needs to be turned off.
Placing a small bubble level inside of refrigerator will assist in determining
if level for operational efficiency.
Never use the range or oven for
extra comfort heating. Cooking appliances are not directly vented to
the outside as are the furnace / air
conditioning systems.
When starting the refrigerator for the first time or after extended storage,
allow up to four hours for the cooling cycle to become fully operational.
Operational Controls
Auto Mode: The control system on the refrigerator will automatically
select between gas and AC electric operation. AC will always be
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
selected if available. If AC becomes unavailable, the refrigerator
will switch to gas mode operation. When in auto mode the
indicator lamp on the control panel will be lit.
Gas Mode: This mode when selected provides gas operation only.
The indicator lamp for auto mode will not be lit.
Care and Maintenance
Exterior: Ventilation of the refrigerator is essential. Make sure the
vents are clear of any obstructions such as bird/insect nests,
spider webs, or any other debris. Periodically clean the coils on
the back of the refrigerator with a soft bristled brush. At no time
should any combustible materials, such as gasoline, flammable
liquids or vapors be stored near the refrigerator.
Interior: When cleaning the interior lining of the refrigerator, use a
weak solution of soda and warm water. Use only warm water,
however, when cleaning the finned evaporator, ice trays and
shelves. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners to
clean these parts or their protective coatings will be damaged.
Defrosting: When defrosting the refrigerator, shut off the power by
turning the main power button to the off position. Remove any
food and leave the drip tray under the finned evaporator. Remove
light bulb or cover switch with a piece of tape. Leave the door(s)
open and empty drip pan when necessary. Dry with a soft cloth
when done.
Roof Vents
Manual and / or power roof vents are installed on Dutchmen Recreational
Vehicles. (For Fan-Tastic Vent, see the information on this specific product
in this section.) Operate the roof vents when showering, bathing, washing
dishes, or anytime hot water is used, as it allows moisture to escape.
Ventilation is extremely important in reducing condensation formation.
Fan-Tastic Vent™ (Optional)
The Fan-Tastic Vent™ runs on 12V. Dependent upon the model,
operational control may be by a thermostat like control switch or by
controls directly mounted on the vent. (See the information included in
the unit packet for operating instructions concerning the installed model.).
When using the Fan-Tastic Vent™, close all vents and slightly open the
windows on a shaded side of the coach. The direction of the airflow is
determined by which window(s) are opened. Please note that the dome of
the vent must be opened at least three inches for the motor to operate. A
safety switch will prevent operation if the dome is closed or open less than
three inches.
Northern Breeze™ by VENTLINE (Optional)
The Northern Breeze™ is powered by 12V DC and has both exhaust or
Intake ability. Fully integrated controls makes it possible to pre-set the
vent for automatic operations or for manual control. A rain sensor with
manual override will automatically close the vent during periods of rain
and cut off the power to the fan.
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
Fire safety is important whether at home or in a recreational vehicle. The best
way to limit fire risk is by prevention. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions
on the use of all appliances and observe all safety warnings and instructions
Before camping, make certain the locations of all safety equipment inside the
coach and all emergency exit windows as well as doors. An escape plan for
emergencies whether at home or camping is always a good idea.
If the alarm sounds, provide ventilation by opening windows and doors.
The CO build-up may dissipate
before help arrives, but may be only
temporarily solved. It is crucial that
the source of the CO is determined
and repaired.
The CO alarm can only warn you
in the presence of CO. It does not
prevent CO from occurring nor can
it solve an existing CO problem.
Egress Windows
Egress or “Emergency Exit” Windows are labeled from the factory with the
word EXIT. All Egress windows can be distinguished by red operational
handles or levers. Dependent upon the window type, an egress window may
be a large section or an entire window. Review the locations and operational
instructions posted upon the window with all passengers.
Fire Extinguisher
Each recreational vehicle includes a fire extinguisher, which is located near
the main entry door. The fire extinguishers are rated for Class B (gasoline,
grease, and flammable liquids) and Class C (electrical) fires. Test and
operate according to manufacturer instructions.
LP Detector
See the LP section of this manual.
Smoke Detector
Test smoke alarm operation after
vehicle has been in storage, before
each trip, and at least once per
week during use.
Failure to comply may result in serious injury.
For safety a smoke detector is installed in the living/ cooking area. Smoke
detectors should be tested prior and during each camping trip, or weekly
during the season. Most detectors are powered by a 9-Volt battery. Keeping
fresh extra batteries on hand is a good idea.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide (CO) detector is installed in your coach. For specific
information regarding the specific operation or functions of the particular
detector in your unit, consult the individual manufacturer’s owner’s manual.
Common sources of CO are malfunctioning or misuse of gas appliances,
vehicle engines, generators and many other fuel burning products.
Indications of CO poisoning are (but not limited to):
Carbon monoxide can be fatal!
When the device detects carbon
monoxide in the air it will sound.
Consult the individual detector’s
user manual for specific instructions
and / or audible warning meanings.
Mild Exposure
• Symptoms of the flu (minus a fever)
• Slight Headache
• Dizziness
• Fatigue
Medium Exposure
• Sever Throbbing Headache
• Drowsiness
• Confusion
• Fast Heart Rate
Extreme Exposure
• Unconsciousness
• Convulsions
• Cardiorespiratory Failure
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
For your safety and to keep your carbon monoxide alarm in good working
order, follow the steps below.
Verify the unit alarm, lights and battery operation by pushing the
“Test” button weekly
Vacuum the CO alarm cover with a soft brush attachment once a
month to remove accumulated dust
Instruct children never to play with the CO alarm. Warn children of
the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning
Never use detergents or solvents to clean the carbon monoxide
Avoid spraying paint, hair spray, air fresheners or other aerosols
near the CO detector
Do Not paint the CO detector. Paint will seal the vents and
interfere with the sensor ability to detect CO
Do not place near a diaper pail
Test the alarm operation after your coach has been in storage,
before each trip and at least once a week during the camping
Chapter 5: Electrical System
The trailer 12-volt system includes components that operate an electrical
power from the tow vehicle engine alternator, a converter/charger, or the
trailer battery (s). “House” electrical components such as the lights and
water pump are supplied by the house battery bank. The house battery
bank may consist of only one battery or several batteries connected
together. The converter/charger charges the batteries when the trailer is
connected to 120-volt (“shore”) power or when the generator (if equipped)
is running. The tow vehicle engine alternator also charges the trailer
battery while the tow vehicle engine is running. The tow vehicle engine
alternator also charges the trailer battery while the tow vehicle engine is
running and the 7-way cord is connected.
YOU. Fuel-burning devices such as
ATVs or motorcycles that burn gasoline, diesel, or other fuels produce
carbon monoxide when they are
operating. Carbon monoxide gas is
invisible, odorless ,and colorless.
Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide gas can accumulate in a trailer
which cannot be detected by sight,
smell, or taste.
Even small quantities of carbon
monoxide can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and suffocation,
which will cause death, serious
injury, or permanent disability.
Exposure to high concentrations
of carbon monoxide for even a few
minutes will also cause death, serious injury, or permanent disability
DO NOT start ATVs, motorcycles,
or other fuel burning devices while
they are located in your trailer.
Power for the trailer exterior 12-volt DC system is provided by the tow
vehicle through the 7-way power cord. This system powers the trailer
running lights, brake lights, turn signals, backup lights (if equipped), and
brakes. The 7-way power cord also provides a common ground and a
12-volt charge line from the tow vehicle alternator to charge the trailer
The trailer interior 12-volt DC system operates 12-volt motors, pumps, 12volt appliances, interior lighting, landing gear, furnace, slide-outs, etc. The
batteries also provide power to the breakaway switch to apply the trailer
brakes in the trailer ever becomes uncoupled from the tow vehicle.
Power from the batteries, tow vehicle alternator and/or converter is routed
to the main fuse panel. From the main fuse panel, power is supplied to
the various circuits in the trailer. The circuits are listed on a label attached
to the distribution panel door usually located below the refrigerator.
The batteries and charging system are the heart of the 12-volt DC system.
When the trailer is not connected to shore power, or if the generator (if
Chapter 4: Appliances and Equipment
equipped) is not running, most power needs are supplied by the batteries.
If the batteries are low, all sorts of problems can occur. It is very important
to maintain the batteries in a full state of charge or monitor their charge
state. The converter/charger system will help you manage your electrical
requirements and charging needs. When the trailer is not connected to
shore power or you are not running the generator (if equipped), be energy
efficient. Turn off lights and appliances when they are not being used.
Later in this chapter we’ll discuss power management and give you some
worksheets and charts to help you manage your 12-volt power needs.
The 12-volt battery is not supplied
with the trailer by Dutchmen Manufacturing. You must purchase the
battery separately.
Make sure the area around the
battery is well ventilated.
Have someone within range of your
voice or close enough to come to
your aid when you work near a leadacid battery.
Have plenty of fresh water and soap
nearby in case battery acid contacts
skin, clothing, or eyes.
If battery acid contacts skin or
clothing, wash immediately with
soap and water. If acid enters
your eye, immediately flood it with
running cold water for at least
twenty minutes and get immediate
medical attention.
Under low voltage, fuses and circuit breakers can blow without a short
circuit condition. The refrigerator control system requires at least 10.5
volts and will shut down even with propane supplied, potentially ruining
food in the refrigerator.
Never completely discharge the batteries, and maintain the electrolyte
level in each battery cell at the proper level. Permanent damage may
occur from using or charging a battery with a low electrolyte level. Add
only distilled water to the proper level.
Low battery charge or bad batteries are the most common cause of
poor performance of slide-out rooms, appliances and other components
connected to the 12-volt DC electrical system. Low voltage can also
cause the furnace fan to run too slowly to operate an internal switch
controlling the furnace gas valve. This will shut the furnace down. Learn
to conserve your battery power. The power use chart at the end of this
chapter can help you determine your power needs. To help insure that
you don’t have a battery failure, have your batteries checked and serviced
Avoid running down the batteries completely. The breakaway braking
system depends on the 12-volt power from the trailer battery bank.
If the batteries become discharged quickly (high current use over a short
period of time), a high amperage charge rate can be used to quickly
recharge them. Disconnect batteries before high-amperage charging.
Battery Installation
The way that batteries are installed in your coach is critical. Improperly
installed batteries create the potential for serious injury. Although
Dutchmen does not provide batteries, here are guidelines for their proper
• Batteries should be installed in a protective “battery box” or tray. This
reduces the possibility of accidental contact with the battery terminals
and contains any leakage of battery acid.
• You can operate your trailer with either single or dual batteries. In
either case, we recommend deep cycle batteries, typically Group 24
or better.
• Always install multiple 12-volt batteries in parallel or 6-volt in series/
parallel. Route cables carefully to avoid pinching the cables after
installation. Pinching the cables may damage the cable insulation and
lead to a short.
• Remove the batteries from the trailer before recharging them with an
accessory battery charger.
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
Battery Monitor
The monitor panel provides a effective way to keep an eye on your battery
bank. To check the battery charge, press the CHARGE or BATTERY
LEVEL button. Indicators show the charge level in the batteries.
Disconnect the shore power source when check the battery condition. If
the batteries becomes drained over an extended period of time, a low
charge rate over a long period of time works best to recharge them. The
converter/charger will automatically charge the batteries at the proper
rate when you are connected to shore power or running the generator (if
Battery Disconnect
Some accessories or equipment in the trailer may draw small amounts
of current even when turned OFF. A battery disconnect (or “load
disconnect”) system allows you to disconnect the house batteries.
Disconnecting the batteries will help reduce the possibility of battery
discharge over long storage periods.
The battery disconnect switch (optional on some models) may be either a
rotary or push-pull type. Push-pull types will be located near the 12-volt
fuse panel/converter, or near the battery in an exterior compartment. The
rotary type will be mounted near the battery. If you expect to store the
trailer for more than 10 days, turn the knob to OPEN or pull the switch
knob out. Remember to close it when you take the trailer out of storage.
Do not install fuses with amperage
ratings greater than that specified
on the fuse panel or fuse holder
Battery Inspection and Care
Check the condition of the batteries at least monthly. Check the cracks
in the cover and case. Check vent plugs and replace them if they are
cracked or broken. Make sure the hold-down hardware is tight to prevent
the batteries from shaking. Make sure the battery tray or compartment is
clean and free of corrosion. Do not store anything in the compartment or
tray which could cause a short circuit across the terminals of the batteries.
To clean the batteries:
1. Be sure the vent caps are installed and tight.
2. Wash the batteries with a diluted solution of baking soda and water
to neutralize and acid present. Gently rinse the batteries with clean
NOTE: Foaming around the terminals or on top of the batteries is normal acid neutralization. Avoid getting the solution in the battery.
3. Dry the cables and terminals before reinstalling them
4. Clean the terminals and the cable ends with a brush
5. Reinstall the cables and use a plastic ignition protective spray to the protect the terminals. Do not use grease on the terminal or cable bare metal. Grease is an insulator.
Batteries and Battery Charging
Most of the time you will use your trailer under three different conditions:
dry camping, driving, or connected to shore power.
Dry Camping
You will be using power from the batteries to operate lights, fans and
other DC components as listed on the power use charts. You will be
discharging the batteries.
Keep the batteries fully charged
at all times. Storing a discharged
battery will shorten the life of the
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
While Driving
Never replace circuit breakers or
fuses of higher current rating than
those originally installed. This
could overheat the wiring and start
a fire.
If you tow vehicle has been wired accordingly it will: under driving
conditions, or with the tow vehicle’s engine running, charge your trailers
Connected to Shore Power
When you are connected to shore power or when the generator (if
equipped) is running, all batteries will be charged automatically by the
The 120-volt AC is the power input source to the converter/charger. The
converter/charger changes the 120-volt AC power to 12- volt DC to
operate the DC appliances and accessories in the trailer.
Disconnect all electrical power, both
120-volt AC and 12-volt DC systems,
before working on the electrical
systems. Make sure all accessories
are off so you don’t cause a spark.
When checking or filling the
electrolyte level in the batteries,
do not allow battery electrolyte
to contact skin, eyes, fabrics or
painted surfaces. The electrolyte
is a sulfuric acid solution, which
could cause serious personal injury
or damage to the trailer. Wear
complete eye protection when
working with batteries. Avoid
touching your eyes while working
near batteries.
Do not smoke, have an open flame,
or generate sparks near batteries
that are being charged or that have
recently been charged. Gases from
the battery could explode.
When working around a battery,
remove rings, metal watchbands,
and other metal jewelry. Be careful
when using tools. A short circuit
across the battery terminals could
cause injury, explosion or fire.
Lead-acid batteries produce a short
circuit high enough to weld metal to
skin, causing a severe burn.
It is very important to understand that the difference between a fully
charged battery and a fully discharged one is only about 1 volt. A
fully charged battery at rest, in which no discharging or recharging has
occurred for 24 hours has a voltage of 12.63 volts (at 77 degrees F.).
A completely discharged battery has a voltage of 11.82 volts. Don’t
be fooled by voltage readings -- a battery that measures 12 volts is
already 75% discharged.
If you experience dead batteries:
1. Plug in to shore power if available, or start and run the generator (if
2. Reduce the loads on the batteries by turning off any lights, fans, or
other 12-volt DC powered equipment that is not absolutely necessary.
Avoid turning off the refrigerator. You must reduce loads as much
as possible for charging to take place. Run the generator while
monitoring the battery charge status indicator on the monitor panel.
Running the generator will supply AC current to the converter/charger
system, thus charging the batteries.
3. Connect the 7-way cord to your tow vehicle and run the engine at high
idle to increase charging current and reduce charging time. Keep
loads reduced until batteries are fully charged.
If your tow vehicle battery is dead or discharged, and the generator will
not start, an external jumper battery or battery charger must be used
to either start your tow vehicle engine or the generator. You may also
connect to available shore power to operate the converter/charger system
to charge the batteries.
Tips for Dead Batteries:
Dead batteries raise a lot of questions, and in most cases are the result of
owners misunderstanding their use, maintenance and capabilities.
Compartment, patio and bathroom lights left on are common causes
of battery drain. If you are going to park the trailer for a period of
time, plug in to shore power to insure the batteries are topped up
prior to your next use. Check the batteries while the trailer is plugged
in to make sure they are not overcharged or the electrolyte has not
evaporated out. Battery failures caused by lack of water are not
covered under the battery warranty.
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
In most refrigerators there is a “humidity control” switch, usually just
inside the door. Be sure it is off when you leave your trailer as this
one function can draw down your battery quickly.
Furnace and vent fans are one of the most common and significant
power draws in your trailer. If you leave a furnace or vent fan on all
night, your battery will be nearly completely drained by morning.
7-Way Power Cord
The power cord circuits are protected by automotive type auto-reset circuit
breakers mounted on a panel either in a forward compartment or under
the front of the trailer on the chassis frame rail.
Be careful to prevent damage to the 7-way cord. When hitching and
unhitching, make sure the cord is out of the way and cannot be damaged
by the hitch and/or pin box. Do not allow the cord to drag on the ground.
When not in use, cover the cord connector to prevent moisture from
entering the connector. Clean the contacts in the cord with a contact
cleaner every six months.
Power Worksheets
The following chart illustrates various combinations of power service
and converters. The maximum available power to your RV depends on
both the electrical service you connect to and the output capability of
the converter installed in your trailer. NOTE: You do not have the total
output current (amps) available when operating on 120-volt AC service.
The service input current is also “converting” to DC and therefore not all
current is available for the trailer AC circuits.
To find out how much power capacity your trailer has, select the type
of service (30-amp or 50-amp) then locate the type of power converter
(32-amp or 45-amp) and then match the system voltage. The amperage
shown is the total amount of amps that you can use at a single time.
The worksheet on the next page lists the typical power usage for many
recreational vehicle appliances. Write in any appliances or components
you have that are not listed. Then add up the amperage for the
appliances you would like to run, and then check the table below. If the
total amount exceeds the available amount listed on the chart, you cannot
use all of those appliances at the same time.
30-Amp Service
50-Amp Service
32-amp Converter
45-amp Converter
45-amp Converter
120-VAC 12-VDC
120-VAC 12VDC
120-VAC 12-VDC
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
12-Volt Appliance Current Draw in Amps
Range Hood Fan
Power Roof Vent
Water Pump A/C Circuitry
CD Player
TV Booster
Trailer Lights
Water Heater
DC Current Draw:______________________
120-Volt Appliance
Current Draw in AMPS
Air Conditioner
Microwave Oven
Blow Dryer
Ceiling Fans
Water Heater
Coffee Pot
AC Current Draw: __________________________
Total Current Requirement in Amps:______________________
Note: Water heaters and refrigerators may require both 12-volt DC
and 120-volt AC power depending upon the ignition.
120-Volt Electrical System
The 120-volt AC system in your trailer is similar to that in your home. The
system also charges the batteries through the converter/charger. 120-volt AC
power is supplied to the load center from either the generator (if equipped) when
“dry camping” or through the shore power cord when plugged into campground
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
Load Center Circuit Breaker
Circuit breakers for the 120-volt system are usually located under the
refrigerator either combined in the converter/charger or on a separate
panel. The location may vary depending on model and floor plan.
AC current from the power source or the generator is routed to the main
circuit breakers in the distribution panel. The current is then distributed to
the other circuits through individual circuit breakers. The circuit breakers
open the circuits if the rated current is exceeded. Never substitute a
circuit breaker with a higher value than the original breaker installed.
Main Converter/Charger
Your trailer is supplied with a converter. The converter converts 120volt AC current to 12-volt DC. It provides DC power to operate the DC
electrical system and charge the batteries.
Power is supplied whenever the trailer is connected to shore power or
the generator is running. Some converters include a cooling fan that will
come on when certain temperatures are reached. You may occasionally
hear this fan running if outdoor temperatures are high or the DC load is
The power cord prongs should always be clean and solid. Clean with
a contact cleaner, emery cloth and
or a nail file. Electrical connections
work better when clean.
Exceeding the amperage rating of
an adapter can cause low voltage
which may cause damage to the
appliances or other components. It
may also cause the adapter or the
shore cord to melt leading to fire
which could cause property damage, personal injury or death!
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
The receptacles in the bathroom, galley and exterior are protected by
the GFCI. This device provides ground fault protection from the potential
electrical shock hazards of line to ground electric faults and electrical
leakage shocks possible when using appliances in damp areas. The
GFCI disconnects the circuit (and other outlets on the same circuit)
whenever a ground fault is detected, limiting your exposure time to the
shock hazard caused by current leakage to ground. The GFCI device
does not prevent electric shock, nor does it protect a person who comes
into contact with both “hot” and neutral sides of the circuit. It does not
protect against electrical circuit overloads.
Exceeding the amperage rating of an
extension cord can cause low voltage which may damage appliances
or other components. It may also
cause the extension cord to melt
leading to fire which could cause
property damage, personal injury or
Test the GFCI breaker each month while operating on 120-volt AC power.
To test the GFCI:
1. Press the TEST button on the GFCI outlet. The RESET button should
pop out indicating that the protected circuit has been disconnected.
2. If the RESET button does not pop out when the TEST button is
pressed, ground fault protection on the protected circuit has been
lost. Do not use the outlet or other outlets on the same circuit. Have
the trailer electrical system checked by your dealer or a qualified
electrician. Do not use the system until the problem has been
3. Press the RESET button to reset the GFCI and restore power to the
protected circuit.
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
Power “Shore” Cord
Always run off the main circuit
breakers before plugging into
the site receptacle. If the power
conductors (“hot” legs) make
contact before the neutral,
unbalanced voltage can damage
electronic devices connected to the
electrical system.
Your trailer is equipped with a heavy duty power cord to connect to an
external 120-volt 30- or 50-amp (depending on model) rated AC service.
The cord and plug are a molded, weatherproof assembly. The cord
provides a correct ground connection to the site service. Do not alter or
cut the cord in any way. Do not remove the ground pin from the plug, or
defeat the ground circuit in the trailer. If you have to use an adapter to plug
into an electrical service, make sure the ground is maintained through the
adapter. Never use a two-conductor extension cord, or any cord that does
not assure correct and adequate ground continuity. Never plug the 120-volt
cord into an ungrounded receptacle.
Depending on model, the power cord is either wired permanently to the
trailer electrical system, or is removable. Removable cords attach to the
trailer inlet with a twist lock connector and locking ring. When attaching
the cord to the trailer, be sure to align the pins correctly before locking the
cord in place. The locking ring provides extra strain relief and a weatherresistant seal.
When connecting the cord to the service, push the plug straight into the
receptacle until it seats completely.
Electrical Hookup
Before connecting to the electrical supply, check the supply rating. Be sure
it is 110-volt to 125-volt single phase AC for 30-amp service or 2-phase 220
to 240-volt AC (two 110 to 120-volt legs) for 50-amp service.
Connecting to Shore Power
This connection is for 110/125 Volt
AC, 60 HZ. 30 Amphere supply.
Be sure the site power source breakers are OFF (both legs on 50-amp
1. If the site power source breakers are not accessible, turn OFF the main
breakers inside the trailer.
2. Insert the plug of the cord into the site source receptacle, seating the
connector squarely and completely.
3. Turn site source breakers ON.
4. Turn trailer main breakers ON.
To disconnect:
1. Turn trailer main breakers OFF.
Before plugging in the RV shore
cord, turn off all electrical appliances so as not to start under a” load”,
which could cause a breaker to
open. Reverse this process before
Turn site source breakers OFF.
Pull the plug end of the cord straight out of the source receptacle.
Coil and stow the shore power cord
Generator (If Equipped)
The generator will provide 120-volt AC power when shore power is not
available. It can be controlled both at the generator and from the remote
START/STOP controls located inside the trailer. IMPORTANT: BE SURE
all operating instructions and warnings as well as all recommended
maintenance schedules and procedures.
Depending on model, the output of the generator is connected to the trailer
AC electrical system either automatically through a transfer switch in the
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
converter when the generator is started, or by plugging the shore cord into the
generator outlet. In either case, power is routed through the load center main
Generator Control Panel Operation
See the generator Operating Guide in your Owner’s Package for complete
operating and maintenance instructions. The generator control panel features:
Hourmeter - Indicates total generator operating time in hours and tenths of hours. Use the hourmeter with the generator maintenance schedule for periodic maintenance.
If bath, galley, or exterior outlets
don’t work, check the bath GFCI.
Reset it if necessary. If it continues
to trip, have the electrical system
checked by a qualified electrician.
Start/Stop switch - To start the generator, press and hold at the RUN position. Release the switch when the engine starts (the GEN RUN lamp will come one). To stop the generator, hold the switch at the STOP position until the engine stops.
Every time before starting the generator:
Check the fuel level in the fuel tank
Check the oil level
Check all fuel lines for fuel leaks
Inspect generator for loose or damaged components and fasteners
Correct any problems before operating the generator
Inspect the generator exhaust system for damage or leaks. Be sure the
exhaust pipe is clear of walls, snow banks or any obstruction that would
prevent exhaust gases from dissipating
Be sure the trailer is not parked in high grass or brush
Set the main circuit breakers to OFF
Connect the shore power cord to the generator and/or the shore power
1. Press and hold the START/STOP switch in the START position at either
control panel until the generator starts. Release the switch when the
generator starts. Do not hold the switch in the START position for more than
10 seconds. The indicator light will remain on after the switch is released.
2. If the generator does not start, release the switch. Wait two minutes and
try again. If the second try does not start the generator, try starting using
the START/STOP on the generator control panel. If the indicator light still
does not light, there may be an open in the remote wiring. Contact a service
center for assistance.
3. Do not turn on the main breakers until the generator is running smoothly and
is warmed up. Check that there are no fuel or exhaust leaks.
4. Turn off the individual breakers, and set the main breakers ON. Turn on the
individual circuit breakers one at a time to prevent generator overloading.
5. To stop the generator, turn off the main breakers. Let the generator run
three to five minutes to cool down. Press and hold the START/STOP switch
to the STOP position until the generator stops completely and indicator light
goes out. If the switch is released before the generator stops and the light
goes out, the generator will continue to run.
If you store your RV over the winter,
or don’t operate it often enough to
refuel the gas tank every month,
a fuel varnishing problem could
develop in your generator engine
and fuel system.
Fuel varnish is a gummy residue
that clogs the generator carburetor
and fuel pump and is caused by the
deterioration of fuel. Depending on
fuel quality and storage conditions,
gasoline can deteriorate in as little
as 30 days. As long as you refuel
frequently with fresh gasoline, and
exercise the unit regularly, fuel
varnishing is less likely to occur.
But if you leave the same gasoline in
the tank for several months, you’re
very likely to have problems.
The only way to prevent fuel
varnishing is to add a fuel
preservative to the fuel (gasoline)
tank and to run the generator.
For more information, see the
Onan generator operating and
maintenance manual.
Generator Operating Safety Precautions
The generator produces carbon monoxide while it is running. Carbon monoxide
is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas. CARBON MONOXIDE IS DEADLY.
Before you start and use the generator, inspect the exhaust system. DO
not use the generator is the exhaust system is damaged. Test the carbon
monoxide detector every time you use the RV. To protect yourself from the
Chapter 5: Electrical Systems
effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, please read and understand the
following precautions.
There are a number of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
Intense Headache
Throbbing in temples
Muscular Twitching
Inability to think clearly
If you or others (including pets) experience any of these
symptoms, get out into the fresh air immediately. Get medical attention
if any of the symptoms persist. Turn the generator off and do not operate
it until it has been inspected and repaired by a generator repair facility.
Do not place flammable material
or store any other materials in the
generator compartment.
Do not modify the generator installation or exhaust in any way.
Follow all instructions in this section as well as the ones outlined in
the generator operator’s manual .
NOTE: The output from the
generator may be interrupted if the
main generator circuit breakers
trip. These breakers are located
on the main generator control
panel. If there is not power when
the generator is running, check and
reset these breakers.
Review the safety precautions for fuel and exhaust fumes elsewhere
in this manual.
DO NOT operate the generator if exhaust gases cannot be discharged
away from the trailer or other vehicle. Do not block the exhaust pipe.
Do not park the trailer where the exhaust gases can accumulate either
outside, underneath, or inside the trailer or other vehicles. Make sure
exhaust gases are clear of walls, snow banks or any obstructions that
can prevent exhaust gases from dissipating.
DO NOT operate the generator while sleeping. You would not be
aware of exhaust entered the trailer, or alert to symptoms of carbon
monoxide poisoning.
DO NOT operate the generator when the trailer is parked in high
grass or brush. Heat from the exhaust could cause a fire in dry
DO NOT operate the generator when parked in close proximity to
vegetation, snow, building, vehicles, or any other object could deflect
the exhaust under or into the vehicle.
DO NOT simultaneously operator the generator and a powered
ventilator which could result in the entry or exhaust gas. When
exhaust ventilators are used, open a window on the opposite side of
the trailer upwind of exhaust gases to provide cross ventilation.
When parked, position the vehicle so that the wind will carry the
exhaust away from the vehicle. DO NOT open nearby windows,
ventilators, or doors into the passenger compartment, especially those
downwind, even part of the time.
Never operate the tow vehicle or generator engine longer than
necessary when parked.
Do not fill the fuel tank while the generator is running. Fuel contact
with the hot generator or exhaust is a fire hazard.
Do not smoke or have an open flame near the generator or fuel tank.
Never store anything in the generator compartment. Always keep the
compartment clean and dry.
Do not start the generator while a load is connected. Make sure the
MAIN circuit breakers are OFF before starting.
Disconnect the generator from the battery before performing any
generator maintenance.
DO NOT touch the generator while it is running, or immediately after
turning it off. Heat from the generator can cause burns. Allow the
generator to cool before attempting maintenance or service.
NOTE: During long periods of inoperation, or if the engine does not
reach operating temperature, moisture can condense in the engine
making starting difficult and causing damage to the engine. Operate the
generator with a 50% capacity load for two hours once a month. A long
exercise period that allows normal operating temperatures is preferable to
short periods.
Chapter 6: LP System
Generator Maintenance
Details of service and maintenance are in the generator Operator’s Guide
in your Owner’s Package.
Chapter 6: Propane System
Propane gas is used to operate the range, oven, furnace, water heater,
and the refrigerator (when 120-volt AC power is unavailable). The gas is
stored in portable DOT cylinders.
In its natural state, propane is colorless and odorless. An odorant is
added to the gas at the refinery to give it a very distinct odor - similar to
onions or garlic. You may smell this odor occasionally, especially after
filling the tank. The filling process requires venting a small amount of
gas, and sometimes high outdoor temperatures can cause expansion of
the gas in the cylinder, and venting of the excess pressure through the
safety valve. Another reason, and probably the most common, is that the
odorant tends to settle near the bottom of the cylinder and as the cylinder
get closer to empty, the concentrated odorant becomes more obvious.
Any time you smell gas, you should investigate the cause. It is possible
that you may not be sensitive to the odorant used, and therefore would
not notice the smell of gas. That is why it is very important that you pay
attention to the propane leak detector installed in your trailer. If the leak
detector sounds, or if you smell gas:
1. Extinguish any open flames, pilot lights, and all smoking
2. Do not touch electrical switches.
3. Shut off the gas supply at the cylinder valves.
4. Open doors and other ventilation openings.
5. Evacuate the trailer of all occupants.
6. Have the gas system checked at the leak source corrected before
using the system again.
Propane Safety Precautions
Propane is highly flammable and is potentially explosive if not handled
properly. It is not poisonous, but can cause drowsiness and may result in
suffocation. If you maintain the system properly, you can expect nearly
trouble-free operation. Always observe the following when handling and
using propane:
Do not under any circumstances
operate the generator while you are
sleeping. You would not be able
to monitor outside conditions to
assume that engine exhaust gases
are being safely dissipated, and is
not entering the trailer interior. You
would not be alert to exhaust odors
or the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do not block the generator ventilating air inlets or outlets. Restricting
ventilating air inlets or outlets can
cause engine failure or fire from
engine overheating.
Shut off gas supply before disconnecting appliance.
Do not obstruct access to the cylinders. Access to the cylinders
is critical in an emergency.
Inspect the entire propane system for leaks or damaged parts
before each trip and before filling the cylinders.
Never check for leaks with an open flame. Use an approved leak
detection solution or a non-ammoniated, non-chlorinated soap
solution only. If the leak cannot be located, take the trailer to a
propane service facility.
Do not attempt to fill the propane cylinders yourself. Filling
should be done only by qualified personnel using the required
special tools and fittings.
Chapter 6: LP System
If a leak is detected, do not continue
to use the propane system until the
leak is repaired.
This system is designed for use
with propane only. Do not connect
natural gas to this system.
Before turning on propane:
(A) Be certain appliances are
certified for propane and are
equipped with correct burner
orifices. (B) Make certain all
propane connections are tight
by testing with soapy water, all
appliance valves are turned off,
and any unconnected outlets are
After turning on propane:
(A) Light all pilots. (B) All
connections, including those at
the appliances, regulators, and
cylinders, should be leak-tested
periodically with soapy water by
the occupant. Never use a lighted
match or other flame when checking
for leaks. (C) Do not leave system
turned on or containers connected
until the system has been proven to
be free of any leaks. (D) Cooking
appliances should not be used
for space heating. (E) When the
containers are disconnected, the
propane supply line should be
capped or plugged.
When filling the propane cylinders, use extreme caution and
make sure others do also. Keep any flame, spark or anything
that might produce a spark at least 25 feet from the filling
operation. DO NOT SMOKE.
Observe the warning label located near the propane cylinders.
Alterations, even as simple as mounting a plaque, can cause
an unseen propane, water or electrical line to be damaged. Any
nailing, screwing, drilling, or similar operation on or in the trailer
could be hazardous. Always be careful when drilling holes or
fastening objects to the trailer.
Turn off the main propane valve, pilot lights, appliances, and
their ignitors when filling the propane cylinders and/or tow
vehicle fuel tank.
Burning propane consumes oxygen in your trailer. Keep you
trailer properly ventilated at all times, especially when the oven
or stove is in use.
Do not place or store propane tanks or cylinders, gasoline or
other flammable liquids inside the trailer (Standard models only.
Carrying these items in cargo hauler models is permitted.)
Do not use any other propane container other than the ones
furnished with your trailer without being sure that all connecting
components are compatible, and that it meets all applicable
regulations and codes.
Do not use cooking appliances for comfort heating.
Before opening the main propane valve, be sure that all inside
valves and burners are closed.
Make sure all appliances, plumbing and outside vents are open
and free from obstructions such as ice and snow. Make sure
the breather vent on the propane regulator is clean and clear of
Make sure the regulator vent is facing downward.
Portable fuel-burning equipment, including wood and charcoal
grills and stoves, should not be used inside the trailer. The
use of this equipment inside the trailer may cause fires or
Do not use a wrench or pliers to close the main shut-off valve.
This valve is designed to be closed leak tight by hand. If a tool
is required to stop a leak, the valve probably needs repair or
If you do not have the special tools and training necessary, do
not attempt to repair or modify propane system components.
Annual maintenance on the propane system, appliances, and
equipment should be done only by an authorized dealer or repair
Insects can build nests in the burners of the various appliances
and equipment. The burners and orifices of the propane
gas appliances and equipment should be cleaned out by an
authorized dealer or repair facility whenever necessary, but no
less frequently than each year.
Always think safety.
Propane System Components
The propane system consists of the propane cylinders with overfill
protection devices (OPD), the automatic change over regulator, hoses,
and associated pipe and tubing. All components meet UL or CSA
requirements. The system has been tested and approved for use in
your trailer, and has been performance tested at both the factory and the
Chapter 6: LP System
dealership. You should check the system for leaks periodically. Twice a
year, or after a long storage period, the system should be checked by a
qualified propane service facility. Check hoses for signs of deterioration
every time you have the propane cylinders filled or serviced. Be sure any
replacements meet original performance specifications. See the “Care
and Maintenance” chapter for details on leak testing and system service.
A gas leak detector is installed in your trailer that will detect the presence
of propane and sound an alarm. A description of this device is in the
operating instructions which is included in your Owner’s CD Information
The regulator reduces the pressure of the gas from the cylinders to a
safe, even level for use by the appliances. The regulator is adjusted for
the proper pressure and is rechecked by your dealer. Do not adjust the
regulator. If necessary, have the regulator checked and adjusted by an
authorized propane service facility.
The automatic changeover features allows an uninterrupted flow of gas
to the system as long as both cylinders’ main valves are open. The arrow
on the changeover lever points to the supply cylinder. When the supply
cylinder becomes empty, the control will automatically begin to draw gas
from the reserve cylinder. An indicator on the changeover will show red.
By turning the arrow on the changeover lever to the reserve cylinder, the
red indicator will disappear as long as there is gas in the reserve cylinder.
Filling the Propane Tanks
Your trailer is equipped with two propane cylinders. When one cylinder
becomes empty, you can switch over to the other without interrupting the
gas flow. This makes it convenient when you are located at a location that
may be a long way from a gas supplier.
Dutchmen Manufacturing propane systems are equipped with a Type I
cylinder connector. This connector makes them as easy to connect and
disconnect as a garden hose.
Do not fill LP-Gas contrainer(s) to
more than 80 percent of capacity.
Failure to comply could result in a
fire or personal injury.
This gas piping system is designed
for use with LP-Gas only. Do not
connect natural gas to this system.
Secure cap inlet when connected for
use. After turning on gas, except
after normal cylinder replacement,
test has piping connections to appliances for leakage with soapy water
or bubble solution. Do not use
products that contain ammonia or
Follow the instructions and warnings noted in the appliance and
equipment owner’s manuals as well
as the ones listed here.
The Type I connection system uses the excess flow pigtail hose,
distinguished by the large green nylon swivel nut. The green swivel
nut attaches to the outside of the cylinder valve with right hand threads.
Tighten the swivel nut by hand. DO NOT use tools.
The safety features of this system prevent gas from flowing unless the
connection is tight and will limit excessive gas flow. In cases of extreme
heat, 240 degrees to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, at the connection, the
connection to the cylinder will be shut down.
The empty cylinder can be removed without disturbing the gas
flow to the system.
DO NOT attempt to adjust or repair
regulator. Adjustments and repairs
require specialized training and
tools. Contact a qualified LP Service
Technician. Failure to follow these
instructions could result in a fire,
explosion and / or injuries, including
loss of life.
1. Before removing an empty cylinder for refilling, close the main valve
on the empty cylinder - hand tighten only. Rotate the changeover
lever on the regulator so that it points to the full cylinder.
2. Loosen the hand nut attaching the flexible hose to the cylinder.
3. Loosen the wing nut holding the retaining bracket for each cylinder.
Remove the empty cylinder. Install the plastic plug in the cylinder
4. Have the empty cylinder filled at a safe distance from the trailer.
Caution the fill station attendant not to overfill the cylinder. All DOT
propane cylinders have overfill protection devices (OPD) which will
prevent overfilling.
Chapter 6: LP System
The supply cylinder is not completely empty until the red indicator is
fully visible in the indicator window.
There will still be pressure in the
empty cylinder.
With a cylinder removed, the hose
from the regulator must be capped.
Gas will escape to the atmosphere
through the open connection if pressure in the supply cylinder drops to
5 psig (red indicator flag visible). If
the changeover lever is turned to the
disconnected side gas will escape.
The propane gas system in your
trailer is designed for propane gas
only. Do not connect natural gas to
this system.
The propane regulator must always
be installed with the diaphragm
vent facing downward. Regulators
that are not in compartments have
been equipped with a protective
cover. Make sure that the regulator
vent faces downward and that the
cover is kept in place to minimize
vent blockage, which could result in
excessive gas pressure causing fire
and explosion.
Open the tank main valve slowly.
Opening the tank main valve quickly
can be hard on the regulator diaphragm and result in leaks.
5. Place the refilled cylinder back on the trailer. Secure the cylinder with
the retaining bracket and wing nut.
6. Remove the plastic plug and connect the flexible hose to the cylinder.
Tighten the hand nut securely but not over tight.
7. Slowly open the main valve on the cylinder. Do not “snap” open
the valve. The sudden pressure surge can damage the regulator
diaphragm components. Test the connection for leaks with propane
leak detector solution or a soapy solution that does not contain
ammonia or chlorine.
Take empty propane cylinder to a propane gas supplier or service station
which sells propane. Do not attempt to fill the cylinders yourself. The
cylinders can legally by filled to 80% of each cylinder’s total capacity.
Filling a cylinder to 80% allows for 20% vapor and expansion space. A
built-in safety feature indicates when the cylinder has been filled to the
80% level. Overfilling propane cylinders can result in uncontrolled has
flow which can cause fire or explosion. A properly filled cylinder will
contain 80% of its volume as liquid propane.
A simple way to determine the level of liquid in a propane cylinder is to
slowly pour a pot of hot water down the side of the cylinder, warming a
path from top to bottom. Wait 10 seconds. Now run your hand down the
path warmed by the water until you feel a cold line - this indicates the
liquid level. Be sure to wipe the cylinder dry to prevent rust spots.
If the cylinder is to be put in storage for a length of time or is empty, close
the main valve on the cylinder and install the plug in the cylinder port.
This will minimize entry of moisture in the regulator or cylinder. Moisture
can cause freezing damage in the regulator.
Using Propane In Low Temperatures
If you expect to use the system in cold temperatures, be sure to use a gas
mixture that will not freeze up. Your local propane gas service facility can
advise you on the best mixture of gas for your anticipated traveling needs.
As long as the system components are kept above the vapor point of the
gas, the system will function in low temperatures. Different gas blends
are available, and you should contact your gas supplier for information
on blends appropriate for your needs and the areas where you will be
Propane systems can freeze up during extremely cold weather. Although
properly blended gas does not freeze, moisture or water vapor in the
system or absorbed by the gas can freeze and partially or totally block the
flow of gas. You can help prevent propane system freeze up:
1. If you are unsure whether a cylinder is completely moisture-free, have
your propane supplier inject a special, approved antifreeze or deicer
into the cylinder.
2. Use the proper blend of gas for your traveling area. With the proper
blend, freeze up is unlikely. If you do experience freeze up, have
your propane service facility service the cylinders and regulator as
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
Your trailer’s fresh water system is a vital part of your traveling life while
on the road.
Your trailer is equipped with a dual fresh water system. The demand
fresh water system operates from the trailer’s own self-contained supply
tank and water pump. A monitor panel indicates the water level in the
fresh water tank. The “city water” hookup allows you to connect to a
pressurized external system at a campground.
Fresh water for self-contained use is stored in a plastic tank located below
the floor of the trailer. The tank is vented to allow proper and complete
filling. This vent must remain open. The monitor panel level sensors
are mounted in the tank, and a drain valve allows you to drain the tank.
Always drain the tank before storing the trailer for long periods. When the
trailer is in use, drain and clean the tank every month or so. The entire
fresh water system should be sanitized before the first use, after a period
of nonuse, or if the system becomes contaminated. Sanitation and routine
tank maintenance are covered later in this manual.
When refueling tow vehicle, shut
off all Propane appliances. Most
Propane appliances are vented to
the outside. Gasoline fumes could
enter the appliance and ignite from
the burner flame, causing an explosion or fire.
Propane containers shall not be
placed or stored inside the vehicle.
Propane containers are equipped
with safety devices that relieve excess pressure by discharging gas to
the atmosphere.
The easiest way to keep the tank full of clean water is to start with a
dedicated clean water hose and an inline filter system. These two items
are not included with your trailer.
Non-toxic, FDA-approved drinking water hoses are inexpensive and yield
no taste or no odor to the water. They are usually white in color with a
light blue stripe. This helps identify the hose and reminds you to keep it
separate from other hoses, especially any hose, fittings or other hardware
you use for waste drainage. You should consider using a special FDAapproved hose because many common garden hoses are made of
reground rubber or other materials. As they age and the compounds
break down, they can impart taste, odor and impurities to your fresh water
These are two things to remember about your fresh water hose: Never
use it for anything except filling the freshwater tank or connecting
to city water, and always store it away from all other assorted hoses
and plumbing supplies. Second, if possible, nothing should go
through that hose unless it goes through an inline filter first.
NOTE: Before filling the water tank, be sure the water supply is “potable”,
that is, drinking quality. Not all water supplies may be drinking quality.
Water quality and contamination issues are discussed later in this chapter.
The gravity water tank fill inlet is not designed or intended for
fast tank filling under pressure. The volume of air in the tank must
be allowed to escape at the same rate the water is entering the tank.
Sometimes filling too fast causes a back flow of water through the fill tube
because the air in the system can’t escape as fast as the water is coming
LP-powered appliances produce
carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can be fatal! When the device
detects carbon monoxide in the air
it will sound. Consult the individual
detector’s user manual for specific
instructions and / or audible warning meanings.
Propane may be present in other
areas before it can reach the detector’s location. The detector only
indicates the presence of Propane
at the sensor. Never check for leaks
with open flame. Use only a mild
soap and water solution.
If you fill the tank too quickly, air can be trapped in the tank. This can
cause the tank to bulge beyond its limits and possibly rupture. The
excessive bulging can damage the trailer floor, surrounding cabinets, and
chassis structure.
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
TIP! If you screw the two ends
of the fresh water hose together
following each use, you will
minimize the possibility that
impurities will get into the
hose while it is in a storage
Do NOT leave hose unattended
during filling of potable water. Turn
water OFF immediately when tank is
full. Damage may result from either
overfilling or leaving hose unattended. Rapid filling of the fresh water
tank may cause inadequate venting
or water to escape the tank when
full. Excessive pressure in the tank
may cause damage to the tank.
Fill the tank slowly, allowing the air inside to escape through the inlet
vent. It takes a little more time, but slow filling will reduce the possibility of
damaged tanks, damaged floors, and gushing water. Structural damage
from overfilling tanks is not covered under warranty. It is considered
operator error.
To fill the fresh water tank:
1. Remove the cap from the tank fill on the side of the trailer. (The tank
fill may be behind a lockable door on some models.)
2. Connect one end of a potable water transfer hose to a water supply,
turn on the supply and let the water run until it is clean and clear. Turn
off the supply. Place the other end into the water inlet on the side of
the trailer. Turn on the water supply and fill the tank until water flows
out the tank vent on the side of the trailer.
3. Remove and store the hose.
Connecting to City Water
The city water system is connected through a potable water hose to
a hookup on the exterior wall of the trailer. Since campground water
systems have varying pressures, a pressure regulator should be used to
reduce the city water pressure to the trailer (see below).
To connect to the city water system:
1. Set the water pump switch to OFF.
2. Pull out the fresh water hose
3. Turn on the site water supply and allow clean water to flow for a few
seconds or until the water is clean and clear. Turn off the site supply
valve and connect the fresh water hose to the supply.
4. Turn on the site supply valve.
Pressure Regulators and Check Valves
Water pressure will frequently vary from location to location and too much
pressure can damage your plumbing system and components. Always
keep a water pressure regulator in the freshwater storage box and use it
whenever you hook up to city/campground water. A number of reasonably
priced, inline regulators are available.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The fresh water
tank is mounted under the trailer to
allow it to “belly down” as it is filled. It
may appear to be unsupported. It is
designed to be this way. If the tank is
not allowed to expand downward, it will
expand upward. The tank is mounted
securely against the trailer floor, and
if it expands upward, it may cause
damage to the trailer floor, cabinetry
and other components. DO NOT ADD
The majority of these regulators are set to limit the pressure to the RV to
45 psi. Adjustable regulators are also available that allow you to adjust
the pressure and flow for your specific needs.
A check valve built into the water pump prevents city water from flowing
into the fresh water tank. A check valve is also located at the city water
inlet to prevent water pressurized by the water pump flowing from the city
water inlet.
Water Pump
The water pump is a demand type pump that runs when a pressure drop
in the water lines is detected, such as when a faucet is closed and the
pressure is restored. It is self-priming and can pump a constant rate of
approximately 2.8 gallons per minute at approximately 40-45 psi. A switch
for the water pump is located on the monitor panel, and an indicator light
on the panel shows that the pump is operational.
A transparent water strainer is installed on the supply side of the water
pump. This strainer helps to filter out large particles, such as leaves,
sand, etc., that might be in the fresh water supply. It does not filter out
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
bacteria or chemical pollutants in the water. The strainer requires
periodic cleaning.
To help speed priming after the fresh water tank has been emptied:
1. Fill the fresh water tank.
2. Turn on the water pump switch. Open all faucets, both hot and cold.
Allow time for the water heater to fill. Turn off each faucet as the
water flow becomes steady and free of air.
3. When the water heater tank is full and all air is expelled from the
system, close all faucets. The water pump should stop running. The
system is now ready for use.
A pressure regulator must be used
to reduce the city water pressure
to 45 PSI to the trailer. Excessive
pressure beyond 45 PSI can cause
damage to plumbing connections
and create leaks.
Sanitizing the Fresh Water Tank and System
For RVers who consume water from their RV tanks, the most important
fact to remember is that potable water doesn’t stay potable for long. Even
though you may be completely confident in your water supply, by the time
city water reaches the tap, the chlorine level is already reduced. Air, heat
and the sloshing of the water will quickly dissipate the remaining chlorine.
Any micro-organisms that the chlorine had inhibited but not killed will not
become active. This new growth of micro-organisms will render the water
unpalatable and perhaps unpotable, producing slime and algae in the tank
and lines.
To prevent this problem, you as an RV owner must maintain a safe
system, treat the water that is stored in your holding tank and consider
installing a water purification system.
How to Maintain Your System
There are two sanitation procedures that you need to learn and use. One
can be considered a “shock” treatment for serious contamination and
before you use the system for the first time, and the other is for routine
maintenance to keep the system fresh during your normal travels. We’ll
cover the “shock” treatment in the Care and Maintenance chapter.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advocates a method called
“super-chlorination/de-chlorination” to prevent bacterial growth while
traveling. This method adds chlorine to the water in increased amounts
to provide a minimum chlorine residual of 3.0ppm (parts per million) for a
contact period of five minutes. Your tank will be full of water with a high
concentration of chlorine. A granular activated carbon (GAC) filter can be
used to remove the chlorine taste.
Whenever you leave the trailer for
a period of time, turn off the water
pump and/or shut off the city water
supply. A sudden leak in the water
system will allow the water system
to run and flood the trailer.
To super-chlorinate:
1. Connect your hose to your RV
2. Pour 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach for every ten gallons of tank
capacity into the opposite end of the hose, prior to connecting it to the
filling source.
3. Connect the hose to your water supply and fill normally
Turn off the water pump while
traveling. A faucet may come open
while traveling and all your fresh
water could be pumped out. If you
leave a sink drain plugged, the sink
will overflow causing the interior of
the trailer to be flooded.
Use chlorine every time you fill up with fresh water. This will also keep
the filler hose sanitary and protect it from becoming contaminated. Use a
chlorine test kit regularly to determine the residual chlorine level (3.0ppm
recommended). Testing should not be done immediately after filling, wait
until the water has been “standing” for at least six hours.
Between trips or every few months you should do a routine tank sanitation
to keep the tank and system fresh and odor-free.
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
Routine tank sanitation:
Never let the water pump run while
the fresh water tank is empty. Damage to the pump and / or a blown
circuit may occur.
1. Drain the water tank completely, then refill halfway with clean, fresh
2. Mix 1/6-cup of regular chlorine bleach (not fragranted) for every 15
gallons of tank capacity into a container filled with a gallon or two of
clean water.
3. Pour this mixture into the water tank.
4. Top off the water tank with fresh water. Drive the trailer around the
block a couple of times to mix the solution.
5. Pump about a quart of water through each faucet so that all the lines
are filled with the water/bleach mixture from the tank.
6. Because the hot water tank holds around 6 gallons of water, run the
hot water faucets until this much of the water/bleach solution has
passed to ensure that the old water has been purged from the tank
and replaced by the new solution.
7. Let the water stand in the system for three to six hours.
8. Drain the entire water system, hot water tank included.
9. To remove the bleach odor, mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of
water and pour into the fresh water tank.
10. Fill the tank completely and pump this solution through the water
heater and the rest of the water lines as in step 5. Let this solution sit
in the system for a few days to neutralize the odor.
11. Drain the entire system and refill with fresh, clean water.
Fresh Water Filter Systems
Many water filters are designed to remove sediment and particles from the
water. Removing sediment and particles can help reduce the cloudiness
of the water. You can also purchase filters that will help remove odors
and improve the taste of the water. Over time these filters will eventually
become clogged with filtered sediment and must be replaced. When you
notice reduced flow and decreased water pressure, it is time to replace
the filter.
There are also filters that will reduce chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and
various other organic impurities that can cause sickness. These filters are
usually installed at the galley faucets or at a special filtered water faucet
for drinking/cooking water only. If you will be traveling in places where the
water supply is questionable, you might consider a filter system with these
capabilities. Your dealer can advise you on specific filter systems for your
Dealing with Water Contamination
Water contamination creates a challenge for RVers. Not only must RVers
draw water from unfamiliar sources, they must deal with what can happen
to the water once it’s inside the holding tank and plumbing.
You can reduce health risks by following a few common-sense
precautions. You might also consider using water purification equipment.
At the Campground
Always connect to a water supply of known quality. If water is being
delivered as potable, it has probably been tested. Many campgrounds
operate from their own wells which should be tested and labeled as
approved. Since you may not be able to determine when the water was
last tested and since contamination can show up at any time, always be
on guard.
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
In the Great Outdoors
Drinking from any non-treated source such as a lake, pond or cool
mountain stream is risky. Although mountain water rushes over rocks,
gravel and sand, most harmful contaminants are still in the water. There
is also the possibility that you are downstream from a dead animal or even
human waste.
The most formidable villains while on the road are microbes and cysts
which includes bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi. Not all microbes are
harmful to humans, but those that are can be serious. Among these are
the viruses that cause infectious hepatitis and the protozoans or amoebic
All of these contaminants can be present in any water supply that has
been polluted by sewage. This is the major reason why you should keep
your fresh water hose and fittings away from any hardware or supplies
you use for waste system chores.
Giardiasis is caused by giardia lambia. It infects the small intestines
and causes symptoms that may include severe diarrhea, cramps,
nausea, vomiting and fatigue. It has been considered the most common
disease-causing intestinal parasite in the United States. It resists typical
chlorination and filtration procedures, and thrives in a wide range of
temperatures. Giardiasis hits hardest those water systems that draw their
water from mountain streams.
Chemical Contaminants
The vast majority of chemical contaminants have no taste or smell and
leave the water appearing clear and clean. Even well water can’t always
be trusted. A common belief once was that if water came from the ground,
it had to be safe.
Water contamination is a serious and complex problem. By taking a few
precautionary measures, you can travel and enjoy the outdoors without
risking illness. As said in the beginning, the simplest first line of defense is
to use only water you are reasonably certain is potable.
Waste System
The waste water system in your trailer is made up of sinks, tub, shower,
toilet, plumbing drain and vent lines. Waste water from the sinks and
shower is contained in a “gray water” holding tank. Toilet waste is
contained in a separate “black water” holding tank. The holding tanks
make the system completely self-contained allowing you to dispose of
waste at your convenience. In addition, there is a dump valve for each
holding tank, the toilet, “P” traps at each sink and shower drain, and an
indicator on the monitor panel for each tank. Each holding tank is vented
through the roof to reduce the buildup of interior odors. A flexible sewer
hose and several fittings are required to connect the holding tank outlet to
the inlet of an approved waste water dump station or sewer system.
The drain and waste plumbing is very similar to that used in your
home. The plumbing is made of plastic, is durable and resistant to most
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
Your trailer is equipped with a marine/RV-type toilet. It operates from
water supplied either by the fresh water tank or from an exterior water
supply connected at the city water hook-up. (The water pump must be
turned on when utilizing the water from the fresh water tank.) The toilet
flushes directly into the black water tank. Most models have pedals or
hand-operated levers that operate independently. One opens a water
valve to fill the bowl, the other operates the valve in the bottom of the
bowl, permitting the contents to be flushed into the black holding tank.
Complete instructions and care for the model installed are located in the
separate component manual.
Depress the pedal about half-way to fill the toilet bowl prior to use.
Depress the pedal completely to flush the contents into the holding tank. Refill the bowl about half-way after flushing, if desired.
For Winterization Procedures,
See the section “Winterization”
in this chapter.
When flushing the toilet, make sure all contents are flushed out. If toilet
tissue gets caught between the seal and the valve, the toilet may allow
odors from the holding tank into the interior of the trailer.
Solid Build-Up
The most common problem associated with the waste system is solid
build up. Use plenty of water when flushing the toilet, and keep the tank
valves closed until ready to flush the system to reduce the risk of build up.
Should you ever have a build up of solids, close the valves, fill the tanks
about 3/4-full with fresh water, drive a distance to agitate the solids and
drain the tanks.
Use a holding tank deodorizing product is also highly recommended.
Many deodorizing products are available from RV dealers or wherever
camping supplies are sold.
Holding Tanks
The water in the “P” traps also
prevent odors from passing through
the trailer interior. Evaporation,
particularly in a little used shower
can make the “P” trap ineffective
and allow odors to back up into the
trailer interior. Make sure there is
water in the traps
The holding tanks provide maximum flexibility and convenience for
complete self-contained operation. The tanks terminate at a three-inch
drain fitting under the trailer. Each holding tank has a separate dump
valve. The dump valve is a quick opening, knife-type, slide valve.
Each waste tank is made of seamless molded plastic, and will not corrode.
To insure proper operation of the toilet, dump valves, monitor, and holding
tanks, never flush the following items down the toilet. See the “Care &
Maintenance” chapter for more information on toilet and holding tank
Facial and/or wet strength tissues, paper towels, sanitary products
(including those labeled “flushable”)
Colored toilet paper. Use the inexpensive white toilet tissue as
it dissolves easily. Biodegradable tissue is recommended and
available at RV supply stores.
NOTE: Do not open the holding tank
dump valves unless properly connected to a sewer receptacle.
Detergents, bleach, lye, petroleum products or ammonia
Automotive antifreeze, alcohols, or acetones.
Grease or oil from cooking, table scraps or other solids that may
cause clogging.
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
Use only potable antifreeze products, which are approved by the toilet and
tank manufacturers, when winterizing the trailer.
Whenever the waste system is not connected to a sewer receptacle, the
dust cap should be kept on the drain connection to prevent dust and/or dirt
from entering the connection and damaging the dump valves.
Holding Tank Monitor
The level in each holding tank is indicated on the monitor panel. To check
the level, press the switch for the tank and check the indicator light.
Potable water only. Sanitize, flush
and drain before using. See instruction manual. Failure to comply
could result in death or serious
Dumping the Holding Tanks
During self-containment, the sewer line is securely capped to prevent
leakage of waste material onto the ground or pavement. Do not pull the
holding tank knife valves open when the protective cap is installed on
the pipe. Always drain the tank into an acceptable sewer inlet or dump
Drain the holding tanks only when they are at least 3/4-full. If necessary,
fill the tanks with water to 3/4-full. This provides sufficient liquid to allow
complete flushing of waste material into the sewer line.
Whenever possible, drain the tanks before traveling. Waste water and
sewage in the holding tanks reduce the carrying capacity of the trailer, and
there’s no sense driving around with it.
During extended hookups, waste materials will build up in the tank and
cause serious plugging if the tank valves are left open. Keep the valves
closed until the tanks are 3/4- full, then dump into the sewage system.
When not connected to a sewage system, keep the protective cap in place
on the drain line fitting.
To dump the holding tanks:
1. Turn the outlet cap counterclockwise to remove it.
2. Attach the sewer hose to the holding tank outlet by turning
counterclockwise, locking the end levers over the termination end.
3. Place the other end of the sewer hose into an approved dump station
inlet. Push it far enough into the opening to be secure. Adapters may
be required between the line and the inlet. Arrange the hose so it
slopes evenly to the sewer inlet. Avoid sharp bends.
4. Open the blank tank termination valve (the larger one) and drain.
Grasp the valve handle firmly and slide the valve open with a quick,
steady pull. Allow enough time for the tank to drain completely. Rinse
and flush the tank through the toilet. When the tank is empty, push
the valve handle back in to close the valve. Run enough water (upto
five gallons) into the tank to cover the bottom. This will help to break
up solids and reduce “pyramiding” of solid wastes.
5. To drain the gray water tank, open the gray tank termination valve
(the smaller one) and drain. Drain the gray tank last to aid in flushing
the outlets and hose. When the tank is empty, push the valve handle
back into close the valve.
6. Disconnect sewer hose, reinstall termination cap on the outlet
7. Rinse out the sewer hose with fresh water and remove the sewer
hose from the dump station.
8. Replace the sewer or dump station covers, and store the sewer hose
and fittings.
NOTE: Prime the waste holding tank
with an odor control chemical and
one or two gallons of water at the
start of each trip. Vehicle movement
helps to liquefy solids for easier
DO NOT USE Automotive AntiFreeze. Automotive Anti-Freeze is
poisonous and not for use in potable water systems.
Chapter 7: Plumbing System
Sani-Flush (optional)
If equipped, the Sani-Flush kit has been installed to rinse the interior of the
blank tank. Similar to the water fills located on the exterior of the unit, a
separate hookup is placed on the exterior.
Please... Practice good
housekeeping when draining wastes
at a campsite or disposal station.
Be a good RV citizen and leave the
site in good order. Leave it the way
you would like to find it. Above all,
do not pollute.
Flush the tank after dumping by connecting the sewer hose and attaching
a garden hose - not your fresh water hose - to the inlet labeled “Sewer
Valve Must be Open When Using This Inlet” OR “Black Tank Flush.” Open
the water supply to full pressure to flush tank. When water runs clear
from sewer hose, shut off water supply and disconnect garden hose from
source. Do not disconnect hose from flush inlet until water has drained
from system.
DO NOT leave any hose connected when not in use.
DO NOT add any check valves to this system.
Holding Tank Care
The holding tanks are virtually trouble-free. The most common problem
is also an unpleasant one --clogging. You can reduce the chance of
clogging by remembering the following:
Local or State regulations may prohibit highway travel unless the holding tank outlet is securely capped.
Holding tanks are enclosed sewer
systems and as such must be
drained into an approved dump
station. Both black and gray water holding tanks must be drained
and thoroughly rinsed regularly to
prevent accumulation of harmful or
toxic materials.
Do not use the fresh water hose you
use for filling the fresh water tank
or connecting to city water to rise
the sewer hose. Harmful or toxic
materials could come into contact
with the fresh water hose and could
contaminate the fresh water supply,
tank and plumbing system. Always
use a separate hose for rinsing the
sewer system components
Keep the black water tank knife valve closed. Fill the tank to at least
3/4- full before draining. Be sure to cover the tank bottom with water
after draining.
Use only toilet tissue formulated for use in septic tank or RV sewer
Use only cleaners that are approved for use in septic tank or RV
sewer systems.
Use a special holding tank deodorizer chemical approved for use
in RV sewer systems. These chemicals aid the breakdown of solid
wastes and make the system more pleasant to use.
Do not put facial tissue, paper, automotive anti-freeze, household
toilet cleaner or sanitary napkins in the holding tanks.
Do not put anything solid in either tank that could scratch or puncture
the tank.
Keep both knife valves closed and locked, and the drain cap tightly in
place when on the road.
If the drain system does get clogged:
Use a hand-operated probe to loosen stubborn accumulations.
Seriously clogged P-traps may require disassembly. Be careful not to
overtighten when assembling.
Do not use harsh household drain cleaners.
Do not use motorized drain augers
Sometimes the holding tank valve will get clogged. In this case, a
hand-operated auger may be necessary. Be ready to close the valve
quickly once the clog is cleared.
Chapter 8: Slide-Out System
Chapter 8 : Slide-Out Systems
Dutchmen uses basically three types of slide-room systems depending on
the product application.
Basic Slide-Out Tips
Ensure that your batteries are properly maintained and fully charged to
avoid problems associated with low voltage. Limit the amount of 12 Volt
lights and appliances in use when operating slide-rooms.
Before operating the slide-room, assure there are no objects (or people)
in the path of the room or the
optional Slide Topper™.
The recreational vehicle must be level to avoid binding the slide-rooms.
Remember, stabilizing jacks are not capable of supporting the weight of
your vehicle! They are intended only to stabilize the unit maintaining a
level condition. Non-leveled conditions cause sticking situations providing
damaging strains on the slide-out mechanism.
Weather and atmospheric conditions will in time cause rubber to
deteriorate. The seals around slide-rooms should be regularly be
inspected and replaced at the first sign of a problem. This maintenance is
the owner’s responsibility and warranty coverage is outlined in the written
Slide-room adjustments and leveling are owner responsibility, which are
not included in the warranty of your recreational vehicle. Professional
setup and, adjustment, regular maintenance and replacement of weather
seals will greatly extend the life of the unit. Weather seals, which are
allowed to remain in service after deterioration will allow rain, snow, or ice
to penetrate the roof and walls and will cause extensive damage. Inspect
the seals at least every 90 days or change of season and look closely for
signs of cracking or damage.
Wastewater tanks must be dumped
at state approved locations.
Electrically Operated Systems
The Lippert Electric Slide-out System uses a 12 Volt DC motor to power
the rack and pinion style slide system room(s). Electricity for the
motor assembly is supplied by the coach battery. Normal operation is
performed by pressing the wall mounted slide-out switch to extend or
retract the room.
Care and Maintenance
When operating the Lippert Electric Slide-out System™ it is recommended
that the moving parts be kept clean, especially when operating in harsh
climates or environments. Road salt, ice, sand, and salt water climates
are examples of such conditions. The moving parts can be washed with a
mild soap and water solution. Slide-out care does not require any grease
or lubrication. Use of any grease or lubrication may affect the long term
dependability of the system.
Electrical Maintenance
During extended travel stays,
move the room in and out once
or twice a week to help keep the
seals and internal moving parts
During long-term
periods, it is advised to have the
room retracted.
Electrical maintenance is also essential to the smooth operation of the
slide-out system. Full battery current and voltage is essential for optimum
performance. Regularly check the terminals of the battery, the control
switch and the pump motor. Look for signs of any corrosion or loose or
damaged terminals and connections from environmental conditions, as
well as, road debris and vibration.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
Manual Crank Option
The Lippert Electric Slide-Out System™ comes with a manual override
system. This option can be utilized in case of power interruption or
system failure. On using this option can be found in the separate
component manual for this slide-out system, found in the trailer.
Bunk Tents
The maximum weight limit of the
bunk door while in the bunk position
is 1500 lbs.
Conventional Tent System
Set Up
• From the inside, remove the cushions from the bunk wall.
• From the outside, release the latch assemblies; open the bunk from
the top by pulling it down to a horizontal level.
• Install the support tubes, slide the tent canvas out, secure the canvas
to the platform on all three sides, and put the tension rafters and bow
rafters in place.
• Reverse the procedure to close the bunks, making sure they are
• Before the bunk are folded up the tent canvas must be dry and free
of moisture. If they are not completely dry when folded up for transit,
reopen the bunks and let the canvas air out indoors or during dry
weather as soon as possible.
Condensation may collect in the form of water droplets on the inside
surfaces of the tent canvas. This is particularly true as the evenings get
cooler and the heater is used in the trailer. Improving air circulation by
opening a window, operating a fan, or a dehumidifier will help to improve
this condition.
Therma-Rest Tent System
The following images illustrate the proper steps for the correct set-up of
the optional Therma-Rest test system
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
The instructions and recommendations located within this manual and the
accompanying manufacturer’s component literature should be read, as
failure to perform necessary or preventative maintenance may limit or void
all or part of a specific warranty.
Care and maintenance of the recreational vehicle is an important step in
maintaining the safety, dependability and the appearance, both interior
and exterior, of the unit. Keep good records of all maintenance performed
as these may be necessary for warranty information or may assist in
possible repairs needed.
Operational usage and climates may affect the frequency of maintenance
needed on certain components. Preventative maintenance is important to
the life and enjoyment of any recreational vehicle as many problems can
be caught before they occur. Please do not hesitate to call your dealer
with a question on the maintenance or care of any item.
The care and maintenance of appliances are discussed within the
appliance chapter. Always refer to the manufacturers recommendations
located within the separate component manuals provided with your trailer.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
Fiberglass / Gel Coat Finish
Care of the fiberglass finish is similar to caring for a new car. Any finish
will deteriorate over time. Exposure to extreme sunlight, pollutants, and
excessive moisture can cause dulling, fading and yellowing. Regular
washing and periodic waxing will help maintain the glossy new look.
When washing, use a mild, automotive or RV wash solution, available at
your dealer, being sure to rinse off any loose debris first. Avoid spraying
water directly into the furnace and refrigerator vents. Waxing the Filon™
areas twice a year is recommended. Wax with an automotive wax or
polish developed for boats. Follow all directions by the wax manufacturer
carefully and remember to wash and wax out of direct sunlight and when
surfaces are cool.
The aluminum exterior has a baked on enamel finish. Washing frequently
with an automotive or RV wash solution will help avoid staining from
debris and soil build up. Always rinse unit with clear water prior to washing
to remove any loose dirt. Waxing two to three times a year with a good
automotive paste wax will help preserve the finish
Do Use Automotive / Marine grade non-abrasive waxes.
Do Use Soft cloths to clean and wax
Do be careful around graphics. Wax and wash with the graphic,
not against it.
DO NOT USE products containing ammonia or caustic harsh
cleaners as they may cause discoloration to the fiberglass
Do Not use high-pressure washers, rotating brushes, such as
in car washes, and power buffers. Use of these products can
damage graphics and/ or paint finishes.
Do not dry wipe surfaces
Do not use rubbing compounds
The rubber roofing material, when
wet, may be slippery.Always use
caution when working on top of the
ABS Plastic / Molded Parts
Some components of Dutchmen products are constructed of strong
ABS molded plastic. A mild solution of soap and water should be used
when cleaning. When using any product, make sure the product is
recommended for use on plastics. Avoid harsh abrasive cleaners,
ammonia or citric-based products as discoloration may result.
Carefully read the component manufacturer’s manual for complete
instructions and any applicable safety instructions, provided in the unit
packet, prior to performing any maintenance.
The EPDM Rubber roofing system is a polymer membrane that will not
rust or corrode and is quieter than metal roof systems. The rubber roof
material itself does not require annual coatings or additional sealants.
Wrinkles may develop in the material due to expansion and contraction
from heating and cooling but this does not affect the integrity of the roof
and is not a cause for concern.
The roof material can, however, be cut by sharp objects. Use caution
when walking on or loading articles on the roof. Care is needed when
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
The two pictures directly below are
examples of bad sealants.
For stubborn stains, a cloth dampened with mineral spirits is suggested.
Do not, however, pour mineral spirits directly onto the roof material or
allow a stain to “soak”. Keeping the roof free of debris and clean will help
prevent staining. Avoid parking in areas where fruit or tree sap may fall
and remain directly on the roof for extended periods, causing irremovable
Seals and Adhesives
The seals and adhesives used perform an important job, keeping out an
RV enemy – water. Close inspection and routine maintenance are crucial
to the longevity of the trailer. While many types are used, none have a
pre-set lifetime, as exposure to the elements and regional variances of
climate can accelerate any sealants deterioration. Therefore, every 90
days or change of season, inspection of all seals is recommended and
a quick inspection prior to every trip will help reduce potential problems
down the road.
When inspecting, check for cracks, voids, shrinkage, or any sign of
deterioration. If any of these signs are noticed, have your dealer inspect
and replace the sealant if necessary. It is important to use the same kind
of sealant that was previously used.
Windows (Exterior)
The two pictures directly below are
examples of good sealants.
As with seals, check the sealant around the windows at least once
every 90 days or change of season. If any interior leaks are noticed,
contact an authorized dealer immediately. To ensure window operation,
adjust and lubricate latches and any moving parts annually. A light oil or
powdered graphite can be used for lubrication. Periodically use a vacuum
attachment to clean any debris out of the window weep holes, which are
necessary to drain any condensation or moisture from hard driving rains
that may collect.
Frame and Chassis
Frame and Bumper
Over time, weather and climate
such as rain, snow, salt, etc lead to
corrosion. Rinse the undercarriage,
wheel wells, hitch and bumper
when needed to remove dirt, oil, tar,
salt and other debris. Periodically
inspect for rust. Near coastal
regions, inspect more frequently. If
needed, lightly sand and repaint with a rustproof enamel.
Clean regularly to remove dirt, salt, mud, etc. and lubricate pivot points
with a quality automotive grade lubricant every 30 – 60 days.
Seal any nicks or scratches with primer and then cover area with a quality
high-gloss paint to prevent rusting. If rust is noticed, sand the area lightly
and then cover with primer. Follow with high gloss paint.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
Hitch Couplers
Inspect prior to each trip. The ball socket and clamp should be cleaned
and lubricated monthly with wheel bearing grease. If coupler or coupler
components appear damaged or worn, contact your dealer upon notice of
the problem.
Fifth-Wheel Coupler
Inspect monthly or prior to each trip. The hitch plate and locking
mechanism should be generously lubed with a high temperature rated
grease at all times. Consult the paper work that accompanied the hitch
purchase for manufacturer recommendations.
Safety Chains
Safety chains should be inspected monthly. If chains are damaged or
weakened, replace immediately. Never tow without use of the safety
Carefully read the component manufacturer’s manual and any safety
instructions, provided in the information cd, prior to performing any
Tongue Jacks, Manual (travel-trailers)
Whenever preparing to travel, inspect the jack for any damage and
test operation. If jack is difficult to operate, clean and oil lightly. If
jack is still difficult to operate or freezes, call your dealer. Service
on any jack should be performed by qualified service personnel
Tongue Jacks, Power (travel-trailers)
Prior to traveling, inspect the jack for any damage and test operation.
Check connections at battery and keep contacts clean and
secure. If the power jack malfunctions at any time, call a local
dealer. Service on all power jacks should be performed by trained
service personnel.
Fifth-Wheel Jacks
Prior to each use inspect drop tube and inner ram tube. Replace or
repair as required per component manufacturer instructions. Follow all
preventative maintenance instructions provided on the specific component
installed. If malfunction occurs, immediately call your local dealer.
Service on any jack should be performed by qualified service personnel
Carefully read the component manufacturer’s manual and any safety
instructions, provided in the information cd, prior to performing any
Tires and Wheels
The tires should be checked before starting out on any trip (See chapter
10:Tire Safety). Check them regularly and keep inflated to recommended
pressures. The recommended tire pressure is on the side of the tire.
A tire gauge is a very inexpensive and valuable tool for checking tire
inflation. Rotate the tires at least once every 5,000 miles. You may want
to have a spare tire with you in case of an emergency.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
Do not tow the trailer with
missing lug nuts or faulty lug bolts.
All travel-trailers and fifth-wheels are equipped with tubeless tires. The
average standard trailer tire is designed for 65 mph speeds, and are rated
to carry the weight of the trailer plus your family’s personal needs for
an extended vacation. If you should require an adjustment on a fault or
defective tire, secure the name of the nearest tire dealer or distributor and
request an adjustment according to the conditions and terms of the tire
Tire Changing Basics
Leaf Spring Axles
It is critical that the wheels be properly torqued every 50 miles during
the first 200 miles of road operation.
Although the wheels have been
properly torqued before leaving the
manufacturing plant, settling and
wearing in of components during
the first few miles of operation may
cause some loosening of the wheel
nuts. This occurs after the check
for proper torque at 10, 25, and 50
miles, and wheel replacement.
Installation of wheels which are not
compatible with the manufacturer
installed axle assembly could result
in wheel separation, which can lead
to property damage, serious injuries
or loss of life.
1. Position a hydraulic jack on the frame close to the spring hanger.
(Never attempt to use a stabilizer jack to lift the unit)
2. Block the wheels on the opposite side from the tire you wish to
change to prevent accidental movement.
3. Use emergency flares when near a road or highway
4. Place a hydraulic jack on a level surface under the frame rail as
close to the jack as possible.
5. Loosen the lug nuts
6. Raise the trailer until the tire clears the ground.
7. Remove the Lug Nuts and remove the tire.
8. Install the spare tire and install the lug nuts until the wheel is tight
against the hub.
9. Lower the trailer.
10. Torque the lug nuts following the Wheel Nut Torque Procedure in this
11. Recheck the torque every 10, 25, and 50 miles.
Torsion Axles
Loose wheel nuts can damage the
stud and/or wheel. If driven in this
condition for any extended period,
sever wheel damage could occur affecting the handling of your trailer.
Do not attempt to repair or modify a
damaged wheel. Even minor modifications can cause a dangerous
failure of the wheel and result in
personal injury or death.
1. Position a hydraulic jack on the frame under the lip of the axle. (Never
attempt to use a stabilizer jack to lift the unit)
2. Block the wheels on the opposite side from the tire you wish to
change to prevent accidental movement.
3. Use emergency flares when near a road or highway
4. Place a hydraulic jack on a level surface under the the lower lip of
the axle.
5. Loosen the lug nuts
6. Raise the trailer until the tire clears the ground.
7. Remove the Lug Nuts and remove the tire.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
8. Install the spare tire and install the lug nuts until the wheel is tight
against the hub.
9. Lower the trailer.
10. Torque the lug nuts following the Wheel Nut Torque Procedure in this
11. Recheck the torque every 10, 25, an50 miles.
Wheel Nut Torque Requirements & Maintenance
Tools Required
Dial indicator or adjustable dial torque wrench
7/8” or 13/16” socket
DO NOT USE a 4-way socket or any other type of wrench, which does
not measure the actual pressure applied to the wheel nut.
Please refer to the torque wrench manufacturer’s instructions for
information on correct use, storage and maintenance of your torque
Check wheel nut torque before every trip.
Manufacturers recommend this maintenance procedure to ensure proper
torque has been applied to wheel nuts before heading out on the road.
Always follow the appropriate tightening sequence (“star pattern”)
as indicated in these instructions or in your axle manufacturers owner’s
manual to assure proper torque.
Torque wheel nuts in the correct stages and follow-up intervals after any
wheel reinstallation. For further information on these steps, you may
want to refer to the axle manufacturer’s owner’s manual provided with
your trailer. Proper torque of wheel nuts can only be achieved by using a
torque wrench and a socket.
Setting Torque Value on a Dial Indicator Wrench:
Make sure your indicator needle is set to “0”.
As you apply clockwise pressure to the wheel nut, both needles will show the current amount of torque being applied.
When you reach your desired torque value, stop applying pressure and your indicator needle will stay at the highest torque value reached.
Setting Torque Value of Adjustable Dial Wrench:
Unlock the handle and set the dial to your desired torque value.
Lock the handle back in place.
As you apply clockwise pressure to the lug nut, you will hear and audible “click” when the desired torque wrench value is reached. Do not apply further pressure once you hear the “click”.
Torque lug nuts in the correct stages and follow-up intervals after any wheel reinstallation
Torquing After Wheel Reinstallation
After removing a wheel from your RV for any reason, you must carefully
follow a 2-step process:
If equalizer (weight distribution)
bars are attached to vehicle while attempting to operate a power tongue
jack, the motor may clutch and/or
seize upon attempting to bear the
load. Damage to the jack under
these circumstances will not be covered by Dutchmen Manufacturing,
Inc. or the jack manufacturer.
On first trip, torque wheel nuts at 10,
25 and 50 miles and every 50 miles
during the first 200 miles thereafter,
and before each trip. After winter
storage, check wheel nut torque
before beginning a trip. After excessive braking, check wheel nut
Installation of wheel which are not
compatible with the manufacturerinstalled axle assembly could result
in wheel separation, which can lead
to property damage, serious injuries
or loss of life.
Some procedures require the use
of special tools for safe and correct maintenance. Do not attempt
to service, repair or work on any
axle, brake, or wheel system unless you have appropriate skills and
knowledge. Lack of proper training,
failure to follow procedures or use
special tools and safety equipment
could result in property damage,
serious injury or loss of life.
1. Wheel Reinstallation
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
2. Follow-up
Wheel Reinstallation
When you reinstall a wheel, the wheel nut torque must be applied in 3
stages. This will ensure the wheel studs are centered in the wheel holes,
and will help the wheel nuts maintain proper torque.
Never use the stabilizer jacks to
raise the trailer.
1. Start all wheel nuts by hand
2. Stage 1
Set your torque wrench to the 1st stage value3 on the Wheel Nut Torque Table.
5 Hole Star Pattern
Begin with the appropriate bolt for your wheel (12 o’clock position for 8 and 6 hole wheels and 2 o’clock position for 5 hole wheels) and apply torque to all wheel nuts following the star pattern as shown in the Wheel Nut Torquing Sequence illustration.
Stage 2
Increase your torque wrench setting to the 2nd Stage value on the Wheel Nut Torque Table.
Begin with the appropriate bolt for your wheel and apply torque to all wheel nuts following the star pattern.
Following stage 2, the wheel can support the weight of the trailer and can be lowered off of the jack stands.
Stage 3
Increase your torque wrench setting to Final Torque value on the Wheel Nut Torque Table.
6 Hole Star Pattern
Begin with the appropriate bolt for your wheel and apply torque to all wheel nuts following the star pattern.
Step 2) Follow-Up: Retorque after 10, 25, and 50 miles
1. After the first 10 miles of your trip, pull your recreation vehicle off the
road into a safe work area.
2. Set your torque wrench to the Final Torque value on the Wheel Nut
Torque Table for your wheels.
3. Begin with the appropriate bolt for your wheels and apply torque to all
lug nuts following the star pattern.
4. Reapply torque (at the Final Torque value for your wheels) and repeat
steps 1,2, & 3 again at 25 miles and at 50 miles of your first trip.
5. The follow up process is complete and you should refer to the general
lug nut torque maintenance process described in “Pre-Trip Torquing
TORQUE TO: 110-120 FT LBS.
Wheel Nut Torque Table
Steel Wheel
Stage 20-30 ft./lb.
20-30 ft./lb.
35-40 ft./lb.
8 Hole Star Pattern
55-60 ft./lb.
55-60 ft./lb.
75-80 ft./lb.
90-95 ft./lb.
90-95 ft./lb.
120 ft./lb.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
Replacement Wheel Requirements
RV Manufacturers install axle systems with hubs and drums
that are compatible with many wheels used in the recreational travel
trailer industry that have similar or matching bolt patterns. If the
original manufacturer-installed equipment must be replaced, contact
the replacement wheel manufacturer to ensure compatibility prior to
replacement and use.
Customers replacing original equipment must ensure the
replacements are compatible with the hub and drum assembly installed.
This compatibility includes, but is not limited to:
Diameter of the hub-mounting surface
Stud length and diameter
Location and number of studs - Many bolt circle dimensions are
available. Some vary by so little that it might be possible to attach an
improper wheel that does not match the axle hub. Be sure to match
your wheel to the axle hub.
Center hole diameter for the wheel
Wheel mounting offset from the rim center
Rated capacity of the wheel - Make sure that the wheels have enough
load carrying capacity and pressure rating to match the rated load of
the tire (s).
Offset - This is the relationship of the center line of the tire to the hub
face of the axle. Take care to match any replacement wheel with the
same offset wheel as originally equipped. Failure to match offset can
result in reducing the load carrying capacity of your axle.
Wheel fastener torque
Wheel nut size and shape (including cone angle)
The effects of any added wheel accessories that could affect proper
seating of the wheel to hub surface
Some wheel assemblies
require an extension. DO NOT
USE a flexible extension. Also,
DO NOT USE a 4-way socket or
any other type of wrench, which
does not measure the actual
pressure applied to the lug nut.
unfamiliar with any procedure,
please call your local dealer.
Do not mismatch wheels and tires.
WHEEL SEPARATION CAN OCCUR On the first trip, check for the proper
torque every 10, 25 and 50 miles
traveled in your coach. This procedure should also be repeated every
time a wheel is replaced.
Wheel Bearing Lubrication
Wheel bearings should be repacked every 6000 miles or every 6 months.
Every time the wheel hub is removed, the wheel bearings must be
adjusted. Turn the hub slowly to seat the bearings while tightening the
spindle nut torque to 50 ft lbs. Loosen the spindle nut so it may be turned
by hand. Tighten nut finger tight then loosen to first hub slot allowing
alignment. Install cotter pin.
The spindle nut and hub should be free to move with the cotter pin being
the only restraint.
Prepare bearings by cleaning with solvent to remove the old grease.
Repack by pressing fresh bearing grease into bearing roller area. Repack
bearings more often if subject to extremely wet conditions. If trailer has
not been used for more than 2 months, the wheel bearings should be
inspected and repacked if necessary.
Repack bearings using a high temperature, automotive type wheel
bearing grease produced by a reputable manufacturer. The soap type
should be polyurea, lithium complex or equivalent. Use a NLGI Grade 2
product with a minimum dropping point of 440F.
Always torque wheel nuts to the
wheel manufacturer’s specifications.
Over or under-torqued wheel nuts
can cause the wheel to separate
from the wheel mounting surface
during operation, causing property
damage, personal injury or loss of
Do not paint or apply anti-seize or
anti-rust materials to the hub mating
surface of wheels. These materials prevent a secure metal-to-metal
contact with the hub surface. Use of
these materials may cause loosening of the wheel or wheel nuts, causing wheel the wheel to separate from
the axle, and may lead to property
damage, serious injury or death.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
If the Recreational Vehicle is equipped with Ultrulube, there is no need to
lift the RV prior to greasing axles. To grease follow these simple steps:
When storing a battery, do
not place the battery directly
on concrete, as the battery will
discharge more rapidly.
Remove the rubber plug from the grease cap
Insert grease gun on the grease zerk
Pump until new grease begins to appear
Replace rubber plug
Hubs and components still need to be inspected and maintained per the
manufacturer’s guidelines.
Carefully read the component manufacturer’s manual and any safety
instructions, provided in the information cd, prior to performing any
The acid in batteries is highly corrosive and hydrogen gas is produced
which is extremely flammable.
Avoid placing near a possible ignition source such as open flame or
potential spark producing wiring.
Before performing any maintenance
on the battery, always disconnect
the battery, removing the negative (-)
cable first and then disconnecting
the positive (+).
Always disconnect the negative (-)
cable prior to working near batteries
to reduce risk of arching and igniting.
Brake Adjustment
The electric brakes are of
the drum and two-shoe type
and adjust the same as most
automotive brakes. Adjust
brakes after the first 200 miles.
Every 3 months or 3000 miles,
test the brake drag and adjust
if required. Full procedures
are outlined in the component
manufacturer’s guide, included
in the information cd. Never
adjust just one brake. When adjusting brakes on any vehicle, either
replace or adjust all brakes at the same time, or at least both brakes on
the same axle.
Before performing any maintenance on the battery, always disconnect the
negative cable. To inspect the electrolyte level, remove the vent covers
and visually ascertain the electrolyte level in each cell, using a small
flashlight may help. (If a maintenance free battery has been purchased –
no way exists to check these levels.) If the level needs to be replenished
in any or all cells, carefully pour in distilled water only. Never use acid or
tap water. Tap water contains minerals and chemical impurities that will
permanently damage the battery.
Besides maintaining the electrolyte level, visually inspect the battery for
loose terminals, corrosion, or any damage to the vent covers or case.
Tighten any loose clamps on the terminals of the battery and clean any
corrosion off the terminals. An inexpensive device for cleaning these
terminals can be purchased at automotive stores.
When working with batteries, be extremely careful. The acid in batteries is
highly corrosive and flammable. Batteries produce a flammable hydrogen
gas that will explode if ignited. Never place batteries in any compartment
or near anything that could spark, even a 12 Volt switch. Never smoke
or use open flames anywhere near the battery. Secure batteries in a
battery box or in a compartment specially designed for battery storage.
Wear safety glasses and appropriate clothing when performing any
maintenance on a battery. In case of a spill or splash, immediately flush
the affected area with cold water for 15 minutes and call the poison control
center for further instructions.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
Appliances: See Chapter 4
Refer to the label attached to the bed spread by the manufacturer. Care
instructions should be given. In most instances or whenever in doubt, dry –
clean all fabric products such as drapes and bedspreads for best appearance
and prolonged life. Washing draperies and bedspreads in washers will cause
premature deterioration, fading, shrinkage and / or possible damage.
Blinds and Shades
Venetian blinds and day / night shades should be vacuumed regularly with
a soft brush attachment. Use of a soft cloth and mild cleaner on blinds will
help keep them new looking. For fabric shades, upholstery cleaners are not
recommended. Instead, spot clean when necessary, using a mild soap and
water solution on area.
Cabinet Doors and Drawers (Wood)
The cabinet doors and drawer fronts are solid wood and should be cared for
similar to the fine furniture in your home. Using a quality furniture polish will
help maintain the beauty and luster of the wood as well as keep the wood
from drying out. The accidental scratches can be covered satisfactory with a
good quality commercial furniture scratch remover.
The carpeting installed is made of nylon and is easy to maintain. Vacuum
regularly to remove abrasive grit. Water based spills and spots should be
removed immediately with a damp cloth. Grease or oil based stains and
spots should be spot cleaned with a good commercial spot cleaner made for
this purpose. If complete shampooing is desired, it is best to have it done
be a competent professional carpet cleaner. Never soak or water-log your
Ceilings and Walls
Clean only with a mild detergent in warm water, using a damp cloth to clean
the ceiling. Never use strong chemicals or excessive water / moisture, as
either can damage the ceiling or walls.
Most countertops are made of high-pressure plastic laminates and are highly
resistant to normal spills and scuffs. Soap and lukewarm water or
a mild, non-abrasive cleaner are recommended. Avoid use of abrasive pads
and scouring powders, which can dull the surface and make it more stainprone. Always use a chopping block or cutting board when using knives.
Pots and pans straight from the burner or oven should be placed on lined hot
pads and not directly on the counter surface.
Solid Surface Countertops
The solid surface composite countertops can be cleaned with soap and mild
detergents, which will remove most stains. Do Not Use products containing
bleach. Stubborn stains may require the use of a white Scotch Brite pad and
a non-abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub. Scratches may be removed carefully
using a green Scotch Brite pad and an abrasive cleaner like Ajax or Comet.
Chapter 9: Care and Maintenance
Cover an area large enough to blend the area needing repair, using a
circular motion while applying.
Laminate Countertops
Dust and clean with a soft, damp cloth or chamois, wiping surface gently.
Use pure soap and lukewarm water to clean. The manufacturer also
suggests cleaners, like 409™ or Fantastik™. (A complete list can be
found in the unit cd.) Strong soaps and abrasive cleaners should not be
used. Light scratches can be removed by waxing with Simonize™ wax.
Do not operate unless the privacy
curtain is secured. Failure to comply could result in fire or serious
Draperies and upholstery fabrics should always be dry cleaned like any
other fine fabric by a competent dry cleaning establishment. Many window
treatments and bedspreads are fire retardant. When dry cleaning,
be sure to inform attendant of fire retardant items. Spots and stains
should be removed with a non-water based commercial spot remover
manufactured for this purpose.
Faucets and Fixtures
To protect the finishes on your kitchen and bath faucets and fixtures,
use only a damp soft cloth or sponge. Do not use abrasive cleaners or
materials as they can damage the finish.
Flooring, Vinyl
For routine cleaning, sweep or vacuum regularly. Follow by using a damp
mop with warm water and clean a small area at a time. Rinse the mop
frequently as to not redistribute the dirt picked up. If washing is needed,
use a quality product designed for no-wax flooring. To polish the floor, do
not use solvent-based waxes or polishes as damage to the flooring may
result. Use only polishes recommended for no-wax flooring.
Flooring, Plank
For routine cleaning, sweep or vacuum regularly to remove loose dirt / grit.
Lightly soiled floors can be damp-mopped with clear water. Do not use
cleaners that contain abrasives or solvents or promise one-step “mop and
polish”. Permanent damage may result from use of these cleaners. Wipe
up any spills immediately. Certain inks, mustards, polishes, tars, paints,
varnishes etc., can cause stains. If normal clean up does not remove the
substance, use a cloth dampened with mineral spirits and wipe lightly. DO
Glass and Mirrors
Clean glass and mirrors as you would at home using a cleaner designed
for glass. To reduce “spotting” on outside windows, use a squeegee
promptly after rinsing with water. For stubborn spots, cleaning with
a mixture of vinegar and water is recommended and is safe for most
Fabric and Upholstery
Do not laundry upholstery fabrics. Blot up stains promptly and use
an upholstery cleaner or mild solvent, depending on the stain. Never
soak the fabric and use as little water as possible. Blot rather than rub.
Towel dry or have professionally cleaned. Upholstery can be vacuumed
regularly using a soft brush attachment.
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
Sinks, Tubs and Toilets
Many of these products are made of stainless steel, acrylics, plastics or
composite materials and use of non-abrasive cleaners is recommended to
protect the finish. Use of harsh cleaning products can cause premature
deterioration and/or yellowing of the surface finish.
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
This portion of the Owner’s Manual contains tire safety information as
required by 49 CFR 575.6.
Section 1, based in part on the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration’s Brochure entitled “Tire Safety-Everything Rides on It,”
contains the following items:
Tire labeling, including a description and explanation of each marking
on the tires, and information about the DOT Tire Identification
Number (TIN).
Recommended tire inflation pressure, including a description and
explanation of:
1. Cold inflation pressure
2. Vehicle Placard and location on the vehicle
3. Adverse safety consequences of under inflation (including
tire failure)
4. Measuring and adjusting air pressure for proper inflation
Tire Care, including maintenance and safety practices.
Vehicle load limits, including a description and explanation of the
following items:
1. L
ocating and understanding the load limit information, total
load capacity, and cargo capacity.
2. Calculating total and cargo capacities with varying seating
configurations including quantitative examples showing/
illustrating how the vehicles cargo and luggage capacity
decreases as combined number and size of occupants’
increases. This item is also discussed in Section 3.
3. Determining compatibility of tire and vehicle load capabilities.
4. Adverse safety consequences of overloading on handling
and stopping on tires.
Section 2 contains “Steps for Determining Correct Load Limit”
Section 3 contains a Glossary of Tire Terminology, including “cold
inflation pressure”, “maximum inflation pressure”, “recommended inflation
pressure” and other non-technical terms.
The National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published a
brochure (DOT HS 809 361) that discusses all aspects of Tire Safety,
as required by CFR 575.6. This brochure is reproduced in part below. It
can be obtained and downloaded from NHTSA, free of charge, from the
following web site:
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
Studies of tire safety show that maintaining proper tire pressure, observing
tire and vehicle load limits (not carrying more weight in your vehicle than
your tires or vehicle can safely handle), avoiding road hazards, and
inspecting tires for cuts, slashes, and other irregularities are the most
important things you can do to avoid tire failure, such as tread separation
or blowout and flat tires.
These actions, along with other care and maintenance activities, can also:
Improve vehicle handling
Help protect you and others from avoidable breakdowns and
Improve fuel economy
Increase the life of your tires.
This booklet presents a comprehensive overview of tire safety, including
information on the following topics:
Basic tire maintenance
Uniform Tire Quality Grading System
Fundamental characteristics of tires
Tire safety tips.
Use this information to make tire safety a regular part of your vehicle
maintenance routine. Recognize that the time you spend is minimal
compared with the inconvenience and safety consequences of a flat tire or
other tire failure.
Safety First – Basic Tire Maintenance
Properly maintained tires improve the steering, stopping, traction,
and load-carrying capability of your vehicle. Under-inflated tires and
overloaded vehicles are a major cause of tire failure. Therefore, as
mentioned above, to avoid flat tires and other types of tire failure, you
should maintain proper tire pressure, observe tire and vehicle load limits,
avoid road hazards, and regularly inspect your tires.
Finding Your Vehicle’s Recommended Tire Pressure
and Load Limits
Tire information placards and vehicle certification labels contain
information on tires and load limits. These labels indicate the vehicle
manufacturer’s information including:
Recommended tire size
Recommended tire inflation pressure
Vehicle capacity weight (VCW–the maximum occupant and cargo
weight a vehicle is designed to carry)
Front and rear gross axle weight ratings (GAWR– the maximum
weight the axle systems are designed to carry).
[For TT] Both placards and certification labels are permanently attached to
the trailer on the forward half of the left side, and are easily readable from
outside the vehicle without moving any part of the vehicle. You can also
find the recommended tire pressure and load limit for your vehicle in the
vehicle owner’s manual.
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
Understanding Tire Pressure and Load Limits
Tire inflation pressure is the level of air in the tire that provides it with
load-carrying capacity and affects the overall performance of the vehicle.
The tire inflation pressure is a number that indicates the amount of air
pressure– measured in pounds per square inch (psi)–a tire requires to be
properly inflated. (You will also find this number on the vehicle information
placard expressed in kilopascals (kPa), which is the metric measure used
Vehicle manufacturers determine this number based on the vehicle’s
design load limit, that is, the greatest amount of weight a vehicle can
safely carry and the vehicle’s tire size. The proper tire pressure for your
vehicle is referred to as the “recommended cold inflation pressure.” (As
you will read below, it is difficult to obtain the recommended tire pressure if
your tires are not cold.)
Because tires are designed to be used on more than one type of vehicle,
tire manufacturers list the “maximum permissible inflation pressure” on
the tire sidewall. This number is the greatest amount of air pressure that
should ever be put in the tire under normal driving conditions.
Checking Tire Pressure
It is important to check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month
for the following reasons:
Most tires may naturally lose air over time
Tires can lose air suddenly if you drive over a pothole or other
object or if you strike the curb when parking
With radial tires, it is usually not possible to determine underinflation by visual inspection
Keep the date and mileage when
you check the wheel nut torque.
Note any wheel nut that has lost
torque. Investigate the reason
(s) if the wheel nut torque is
not maintained after more than
one re-torquing. This indicates
there is something wrong with
the wheel nuts, nut studs, wheel
and/or hubs and should be
If you ever experience a wheel
Dutchmen and your dealer. Seek
prompt professional assistance
in assessing the trailer and its
gear. Keep, but don’t re-use the
wheels, wheel nuts and studs
involved. Don’t repair or service
the trailer yourself.
For convenience, purchase a tire pressure gauge to keep in your vehicle.
Gauges can be purchased at tire dealerships, auto supply stores, and
other retail outlets.
The recommended tire inflation pressure that vehicle manufacturers
provide reflects the proper psi when a tire is cold. The term cold does not
relate to the outside temperature. Rather, a cold tire is one that has not
been driven on for at least three hours. When you drive, your tires get
warmer, causing the air pressure within them to increase. Therefore, to get
an accurate tire pressure reading, you must measure tire pressure when
the tires are cold or compensate for the extra pressure in warm tires.
Steps for Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure
1. Locate the recommended tire pressure on the vehicle’s tire
information placard, certification label, or in the owner’s manual.
2. Record the tire pressure of all tires.
3. If the tire pressure is too high in any of the tires, slowly release air
by gently pressing on the tire valve stem with the edge of your tire
gauge until you get to the correct pressure.
4. If the tire pressure is too low, note the difference between the
measured tire pressure and the correct tire pressure. These
“missing” pounds of pressure are what you will need to add.
5. At a service station, add the missing pounds of air pressure to
each tire that is under-inflated.
6. Check all the tires to make sure they have the same air pressure
(except in cases in which the front and rear tires are supposed to
have different amounts of pressure).
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
If you have been driving your vehicle and think that a tire is under-inflated,
fill it to the recommended cold inflation pressure indicated on your
vehicle’s tire information placard or certification label. While your tire may
still be slightly under-inflated due to the extra pounds of pressure in the
warm tire, it is safer to drive with air pressure that is slightly lower than the
vehicle manufacturer’s recommended cold inflation pressure than to drive
with a significantly under-inflated tire. Since this is a temporary fix, don’t
forget to recheck and adjust the tire’s pressure when you can obtain a
cold reading.
Tire Size
To maintain tire safety, purchase new tires that are the same size as the
vehicle’s original tires or another size recommended by the manufacturer.
Look at the tire information placard, the owner’s manual, or the sidewall
of the tire you are replacing to find this information. If you have any doubt
about the correct size to choose, consult with the tire dealer.
Tire Tread
The tire tread provides the gripping action and traction that prevent your
vehicle from slipping or sliding, especially when the road is wet or icy. In
general, tires are not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn
down to 1/16 of an inch. Tires have built-in tread-wear indicators that let
you know when it is time to replace your tires. These indicators are raised
sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When
they appear “even” with the outside of the tread, it is time to replace your
tires. Another method for checking tread depth is to place a penny in the
tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the
top of Lincoln’s head, you are ready for new tires.
Tire load ratings are dependent
on tire inflation pressures. Underinflated tires can be damaged and
result in a loss of inflation pressure.
There is a danger of serious injury
or death if a tire of one bead diameter is installed on a rim or wheel of
a different rim diameter. ALWAYS
replace a tire with another tire of
exactly the same bead diameter designation and suffix letters.
All tires on your trailer should be the
same type, size, construction and
load rating -- do not mix bias-belted
and radial tires.
Possible Cause
Even Center
Check & Adjust
Pressure When
Inside & Outside
Check & Adjust
Pressure When
Smooth Outside
Wear (One
Check & Unload
as Necessary
Loss of Camber
and / or Have
or Over-Loading
Across the Face
Axle Not Square
to Frame or
Incorrect Toe-In
Square Axles
and / or Have
Loose Bearings
or Wheel
Check Bearing
Adjustment and
Wheel & Tire
Flat Spots
Wheel Lock-Up
Adjust Bakes
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
Tire Balance and Wheel Alignment
To avoid vibration or shaking of the vehicle when a tire rotates, the tire
must be properly balanced. This balance is achieved by positioning
weights on the wheel to counterbalance heavy spots on the wheel-and-tire
assembly. A wheel alignment adjusts the angles of the wheels so that
they are positioned correctly relative to the vehicle’s frame. This
adjustment maximizes the life of your tires. These adjustments require
special equipment and should be performed by a qualified technician.
Tire Repair
The proper repair of a punctured tire requires a plug for the hole and
a patch for the area inside the tire that surrounds the puncture hole.
Punctures through the tread can be repaired if they are not too large, but
punctures to the sidewall should not be repaired. Tires must be removed
from the rim to be properly inspected before being plugged and patched.
Tire Fundamentals
Check tire pressure before traveling.
Always check tire pressure when
tires are cold. Do not exceed the
maximum recommended pressure.
Federal law requires tire manufacturers to place standardized information
on the sidewall of all tires. This information identifies and describes
the fundamental characteristics of the tire and also provides a tire
identification number for safety standard certification and in case of a
Information on Passenger Vehicle Tires
The air pressure recommended on
the tire information placard is for the
original standard equipment tires
only. Your trailer may be equipped
with optional-sized tires. Always follow the pressure recommendations
stamped in the tire sidewall for any
replacement tire.
P - The “P” indicates the tire is for passenger vehicles.
NOTE: Passenger car tires are not recommended for use on trailers,
because the capacity ratings are not marked on the side walls of these
tires. In the event a passenger car tire is used, the capacity must be
derated by 10%.
Next number - This three-digit number gives the width in millimeters of the
tire from sidewall edge to sidewall edge. In general, the larger the number,
the wider the tire.
Next number - This two-digit number, known as the aspect ratio, gives the
tire’s ratio of height to width. Numbers of 70 or lower indicate a short
sidewall for improved steering response and better overall handling
on dry pavement.
Keep tires properly inflated. A tire
that is run long distances or at high
speeds while seriously under-inflated will overheat to the point where
the tire may lose air suddenly and/or
catch fire, possibly resulting in damage to the vehicle and its contents
and/or personal injury.
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
R - The “R” stands for radial. Radial ply construction of tires has been the
industry standard for the past 20 years.
Next number - This two-digit number is the wheel or rim diameter in
inches. If you change your wheel size, you will have to purchase new tires
to match the new wheel diameter.
Next number - This two- or three-digit number is the tire’s load index. It is
a measurement of how much weight each tire can support. You may find
this information in your owner’s manual. If not, contact a local tire dealer.
Note: You may not find this information on all tires because it is not
required by law.
M+S - The “M+S” or “M/S” indicates that the tire has some mud and snow
capability. Most radial tires have these markings.
Speed Rating - The speed rating denotes the speed at which a tire is
designed to be driven for extended periods of time. The ratings range from
99 miles per hour (mph) to 186 mph. These ratings are listed below.
NOTE: You may not find this information on all tires because it is not
required by law
Rating Speed Rating
99 mph
106 mph
112 mph
118 mph
124 mph
130 mph
149 mph
168* mph
186* mph
* For tires with a maximum speed capability over 149 mph, tire
manufacturers sometimes use the letters ZR. For those with a maximum
speed capability over 186 mph, tire manufacturers always use the letters
U.S. DOT Tire Identification Number - This begins with the letters “DOT”
and indicates that the tire meets all federal standards. The next two
numbers or letters are the plant code where it was manufactured, and the
last four numbers represent the week and year the tire was built. For
example, the numbers 3197 means the 31st week of 1997. The other
numbers are marketing codes used at the manufacturer’s discretion. This
information is used to contact consumers if a tire defect requires a recall.
Tire Ply Composition and Materials Used - The number of plies indicates
the number of layers of rubber-coated fabric in the tire. In general, the
greater the number of plies, the more weight a tire can support. Tire
manufacturers also must indicate the materials in the tire, which include
steel, nylon, polyester, and others.
Maximum Load Rating - This number indicates the maximum load in
kilograms and pounds that can be carried by the tire.
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
Maximum Permissible Inflation Pressure - This number is the greatest
amount of air pressure that should ever be put in the tire under normal
driving conditions.
Additional Information on Light Truck Tires
Your trailer is equipped with
tires designated as “ST”. This
designation means that the tires
are built specifically for trailer
applications. They are correct for
your trailer and the maximum loads
the trailer was designed and rated to
Tires for light trucks have other markings besides those found on the
sidewalls of passenger tires.
LT - The “LT” indicates the tire is for light trucks or trailers.
ST - An “ST” is an indication the tire is for trailer use only.
Max. Load Dual kg (lbs) at kPa (psi) Cold - This information indicates the
maximum load and tire pressure when the tire is used as a dual; that is,
when four tires are put on each rear axle (a total of six or more tires on the
Tire industry standards require tires
with the ST designation are speed
restricted to 65 MPH under normal
inflation and load conditions.
Unless a different speed restriction
is indicated on the sidewall of the
tire, it is best that you not operate
your trailer at speeds above 65 mph.
Max. Load Single kg (lbs) at kPa (psi) Cold - This information indicates the
maximum load and tire pressure when the tire is used as a single.
Load Range - This information identifies the tire’s load-carrying
capabilities and its inflation limits.
Vehicle Load Limits
Determining the load limits of a vehicle includes more than understanding
the load limits of the tires alone.
[For TT] On a trailer, there is a Federal Certification Label that is located
on the forward half of the left (road) side of the unit.
[For TT] The certification label will indicate the vehicle’s gross vehicle
weight rating (GVWR). This is the most weight the fully loaded vehicle can
weigh. It will also provide the gross axle weight rating (GAWR). This is the
most a particular axle can weigh. If there are multiple axles, the GAWR of
each axle will be provided.
[For TT] In the same location as the certification label described above,
there is a vehicle placard. This placard provides tire and loading
information. In addition, this placard will show a statement regarding
maximum cargo capacity.
Although tires designated “LT” are
sometimes used on trailers, they are
not recommended for use on your
trailer and should not be considered
as replacements for the original
equipment “ST” designated tires.
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
Cargo Capacities
[For TT] Cargo can be added to the vehicle, up to the maximum weight
specified on the placard. The combined weight the cargo is provided as
a single number. In any case, remember: the total weight of a fully loaded
vehicle can not exceed the stated GVWR.
[For TT] Water and propane also need to be considered. The weight of
fully filled propane containers is considered part of the weight of the RV
before it is loaded with cargo and is not considered part of the disposable
cargo load. Water however, is a cargo weight and is treated as such. If
there is a fresh water storage tank of 100 gallons, this tank when filled
would weigh about 800 pounds. If more cargo is being transported, water
can be off-loaded to keep the total amount of cargo added to the vehicle
within the limits of the GVWR so as not to overload the vehicle.
Understanding this flexibility will allow you, the owner, to make choices
that fit your travel and camping needs.
[For TT] When loading your cargo, be sure it is distributed evenly to
prevent overloading front to back and side to side. Heavy items should be
placed low and as close to the axle positions as reasonable. Too many
items on one side may overload a tire. The best way to know the actual
weight of the vehicle is to weigh it at a public scale. Talk to your RV dealer
to discuss the weighing methods needed to capture the various weights
related to the RV. This would include weights for the following: axles,
wheels, hitch or pin (in the case of a trailer) and total weight.
How Overloading Affects Your RV and Tires
The results of overloading can have serious consequences for passenger
safety. Too much weight on your vehicle’s suspension system can cause
spring, shock absorber, or brake failure, handling or steering problems,
irregular tire wear, tire failure or other damage. An overloaded vehicle is
hard to drive and hard to stop. In cases of serious overloading, brakes can
fail completely, particularly on steep hills. The load a tire will carry safely
is a combination of the size of tire, its load range, and corresponding
inflation pressure. Excessive loads and/or under-inflation cause tire
overloading and, as a result, abnormal tire flexing occurs. This situation
can generate an excessive amount of heat within the tire. Excessive heat
may lead to tire failure. It is the air pressure that enables a tire to support
the load, so proper inflation is critical. Since RVs can be configured and
loaded in many ways, air pressures must be determined from actual loads
(determined by weighing) and taken from the load and inflation tables
provided by the tire manufacturer. These air pressures may differ from
those found on the certification label. However, they should never exceed
the tire limitation for load or air pressure. If you discover that your tires
cannot support the actual weights, the load will need to be lightened.
Tire Safety Tips
Preventing Tire Damage
Slow down if you have to go over a pothole or other object in the road.
Do not run over curbs or other foreign objects in the roadway, and try
not to strike the curb when parking.
Tire Safety Checklist
Check tire pressure regularly (at least once a month), including the
Chapter 10: Tire Safety Information
Inspect tires for uneven wear patterns on the tread, cracks, foreign
objects, or other signs of wear or trauma.
Remove bits of glass and foreign objects wedged in the tread.
Make sure your tire valves have valve caps.
Check tire pressure before going on a long trip.
Do not overload your vehicle. Check the Tire Information and Loading
Placard or User’s Manual for the maximum recommended load for the
1. Locate the statement “The combined weight of occupants and
cargo should never exceed XXX lbs” on your vehicles placard.
2. Determine the combined weight of the driver and passengers that
will be riding in your vehicle.
3. Subtract the combined weight of the driver and passengers from
XXX kilograms or XXX pounds.
4. The resulting figure equals the available amount of cargo and
luggage capacity. For example, if the “XXX” amount equals 1400
lbs. and there will be five 150 lb. passengers in your vehicle, the
amount of available cargo and luggage capacity is 650 lbs. (1400750 (5 x 150) = 650 lbs.)
5. Determine the combined weight of luggage and cargo being
loaded on the vehicle. That weight may not safely exceed the
available cargo and luggage capacity calculated in Step # 4.
6. If your vehicle will be towing a trailer, load from your trailer will
be transferred to your vehicle. Consult this manual to determine
how this reduces the available cargo and luggage capacity of your
For further information about wheel and tire safety and contacting the
National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), see Chapter 12,
Contacting The National Highway Traffic Administration.
1. On first trip, tighten wheel lugs at
start and every 50 miles for first 200
miles. Correct torque is 90-95 footpounds.
2. Thereafter, check wheel lugs
before each lug.
3. Following winter storage, check
before beginning a trip
4. Following excessive braking,
inspect wheel lugs.
For assistance with this manual, warranty information or information on
Dutchmen Products, please visit us on the web or contact Dutchmen
Manufacturing, Inc. Retail Customer Service.
Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. Customer Service Dept.
2164 Caragana Court
Goshen, IN 46526
Fax: E-Mail: 574-537-0700
Business Hours:
8:00AM - 4:00PM (EST) Monday - Friday
Exterior Pre-Travel Checklist
Fill the LP bottles
Empty the holding tanks
Connect the trailer to the tow vehicle and test all of the exterior
Inspect the awning and ensure that it is properly retracted and
secured for travel. It is recommended that a tie wrap be used
on the awning arms preventing the possibility of the awning
deploying while in travel.
Inspect all exterior baggage doors and hatches ensuring they are
Inspect the tires and check the pressures. Refer to Chapter 9
Loosen and Torque the lug nuts. Refer to Chapter 9
Connect the breakaway switch and test the brakes on the trailer.
Adjust the tow vehicle brake controller in accordance with the
manufacturer’s recommendations
Secure the rear leveling jacks in the “up” position
Position the battery disconnect to the on position. This is required
to engage the trailer’s brakes in the event of an emergency
Ensure the steps are retracted
Interior Pre-Travel Checklist
Close all vents and windows
Place the television antenna “down” position
Retract the slide rooms
Inspect the interior of the unit ensuring that all cabinet, interior,
and the shower doors are closed and secured
Secure all loose items in storage compartments
Ensure that the travel latch is closed on the refrigerator
Test the smoke, carbon monoxide and LP alarms.
Check the electrolyte levels in the battery cells. Refer to
Chapter 5
Clean the battery terminals and ensure they are securely
tightened. Refer to Chapter 5
Wash and wax the exterior of the coach at least monthly. Pay
particular attention to the graphics when washing and waxing.
Power buffers and high pressure washers can remove or damage
the graphics. This type of damage is not covered under the
warranty. Refer to Chapter 9
Inspect the seals around the windows, doors and appliance vents.
Clean and reseal as required. Refer to Chapter
Remove debris from the window weep holes. Refer to Chapter 9
Frame and Chassis
Inspect the frame for signs of corrosion. Clean and lightly sand
any corroded areas and touch them up with good quality paint.
Refer to Chapter 9
Inspect the steps for corrosion. Clean and touch up any corroded
areas. Lubricate the pivot points on the steps. Refer to Chapter 9
Check the tire pressure. Refer to Chapter 9
Generator - Review the preventative maintenance requirements in
the manufacturer’s owner manual. Refer to Chapter 4
Flush the waste water system and sanitize. Refer to Chapter 7
Flush the water heater tank. Refer to Chapter 7
Replenish the water tank air pocket. Refer to Chapter 7
Winterize your coach prior to the onset of freezing temperatures.
During extreme freezing temperatures it is recommended that
the unit be winterized. Damage to the plumbing system due to
freezing is not covered under the warranty.
Remove all debris from the roof and thoroughly clean using a mild
detergent. Refer to Chapter 9.
Inspect the roof seals for signs of deterioration. Reseal areas as required. Refer to Chapter 9
Storage & Winterization
Use only RV water system antifreeze
for winterization. Do not use automotive coolant antifreeze (ethylene
or propylene glycol). Automotive
antifreeze is poisnous.
The checklists and procedures in this section will help you take a
systematic approach to preparing your trailer for storage in cold-weather
conditions. These checklists do not include every detail required, any
you may want to expand them to suit your needs, or perform the tasks
in an order that suits your situation and work style. The sections are
not necessarily presented in the order that you should do them. Other
manuals included with your trailer may contain more detailed procedures
for some of the items on these checklists. Contact your dealer or
Dutchmen Manufacturing for additional suggestions suitable to your
climate and storage conditions.
If possible, select a storage area that is dry, well-ventilated and
protected from wind and sunlight. A garage would be ideal, but a
protected outdoor area will be fine.
Lubricate all grease fittings on the axle hubs,
Check all tires for damage and set tire pressure to the maximum
as indicated on the tire sidewall. Clean the tires and wheels
with your regular soap/car wash solution. It is not necessary or
desirable to treat the tires with any commercial tire dressing.
Wash the trailer underside. Hose off any accumulations of mud
and/or road salts on frame, axles, and other chassis components.
This is also a good time to inspect the underside of the trailer.
Look for obvious damage, and for small cracks, separations, or
openings in storage compartments. Check for any damaged
components or wear.
Park the trailer as level as possible front to rear and side to side.
Use blocks or ramps under the wheels, if necessary.
Be sure the breakaway switch activating pin is secure in the
switch. Coil and stow the 7-way power cord.
Grease the hitch king pin (5th-wheels) to prevent rust and
Block the tires front and rear. Cover tires with cloth, plywood, or
aftermarket tire covers to protect them from ultraviolet exposure
from the sun (if stored outdoors).
Close all vents and windows, and thoroughly wash the exterior,
including roof, sidewalls and front and rear caps. Be sure to
remove all debris, road grime, bugs, tree sap, bird droppings, etc.
While washing, make note of any maintenance that may be
needed. Closely inspect the sealants around roof accessories
(vents, antennas, racks, etc.) and windows and doors. Reseal as
necessary before winter rains or snows accumulate.
Cover all exterior appliance vents (water heater, refrigerator,
range hood) to prevent insects, small birds or other creatures from
getting in.
Extend the awnings (if equipped). Sweep or vacuum away
branches, leaves, and any other debris. Wash both the tops
and bottoms of the awnings with a mild, natural soap. This will
help reduce the growth of mildew on the awnings. Allow them
to dry completely before retracting them. After they are dry and
still extended, spray a light coat of silicone-based lubricant on all
metal moving parts.
Extend the slide-outs (if equipped) and prepare them for storage:
1. Wipe down all exposed mechanical slide components: gears,
rails, shafts, etc. Look for any damage, or caked accumulation of
grease and dirt. Remove any of this accumulation.
2. Check the exterior rubber slideout seals. Look carefully for
any tears or splits in the seals. This would be a good time to
have repairs made. Clean the seals with soap and water. After
cleaning, apply a coating of 303 Protectant to the seals. Use
clean cloths to spread the protectant evenly over the surface of
the seal. Allow to air dry.
3. Leave the slideouts extended for now. Retract them after your
interior preparation is completed.
• Check inside all exterior compartments. Remove anything that
you don’t intend to store. Vacuum out the compartments and
carefully wipe down components inside. Look over any exposed
wiring. Check for loose connections or damaged wires. Make
any repairs now. Wipe down the rubber seals around the doors
and apply 303 Protectant. Lock all exterior compartments
(except propane compartment).
• Lubricate locks, hinges and latch mechanisms with silicone-based
• If the trailer is parked outdoors, remove any high grass and weed
accumulation under and around the trailer, as necessary.
Propane System
Turn off all propane appliances: refrigerator, range/oven, water
heater, furnace.
Close the main outlet valves on the propane cylinders. Cover the
regulator and cylinders to keep moisture out.
Remove all food from the refrigerator and freezer. Wash down
the interior walls with a mild soap solution. An open box of baking
soda or other absorbent inside will help reduce odors. Block the
doors open slightly to allow air to circulate.
Turn off the range and oven burners. Clean the top and over
interior. Turn off any pilot valves.
Plumbing Systems
Proper preparation and winterization of the fresh water and waste water
systems is vital to the continued safe and effective operation of these
systems. Freezing water expands and can rupture tubing, fittings,
tanks, and fixtures. Damage from freezing could be extensive and very
expensive to fix. Since you will be running water and antifreeze solution
through the drain piping into the gray and black water holding tanks,
we’ll winterize the fresh water system first, and finish the job with the
waste water system. Be sure to dump the holding tanks before starting
• Turn off the water heater and let it cool. Turn off the water heater
electrical circuit breaker to prevent accidental operation with a dry
tank. To drain the water heater, remove the plug at the bottom
of the heater and open the pressure relief valve near the top of
the heater. When all water is drained from the heater, close the
pressure relief valve and replace the drain plug. Set the bypass
valve to prevent filling the water heater with antifreeze.
• Open the tank drain valve to drain the fresh water tank. If you
have a full or nearly full tank, be prepared for the full capacity of
the tank to drain. Close the valve when the tank is completely
• Open all faucets, both hot and cold, in the galley, bathroom and
shower. Open the shower head valve. This will allow the water in
the lines to flow to the low point drains.
• Open the system low point drain valves. These are the lowest
points in the water system. The low point drains are located
under the trailer. Drain out all water. Close the low point valves
when ALL water is drained.
• Press the toilet flush pedal to completely drain the water from the
• Remove the water filter cartridge, if equipped. If you are draining
for storage, do not reinstall the filter cartridge. Store the cartridge
in a safe place. Turn off the supply valve to the filter.
• Disconnect the outside shower hose (if equipped) and drain the
hose. After all water is drained from the hose, reconnect hose.
For Storage in Freezing Conditions:
Add potable RV antifreeze to the system. Dutchmen Mfg,
recommends disconnecting the water pump inlet tube and
pumping antifreeze from a container into the system.
1. Close the fresh water tank drain valve and the low point drain
valves. Close the faucets, and be sure the water purifier (if
installed) supply valve under the galley is closed.
2. Disconnect water pump inlet line. Attach a 3’ or 4’ length of hose
to the pump inlet port, and put the other end of the hose into at
least a one-gallon container of RV water system antifreeze. Do
not use automotive coolant system antifreeze.
3. Be sure the trailer 12-volt electrical system is activated. Turn
the water pump ON to pressurize the cold side of the fresh water
system. Pump about a gallon of antifreeze into the system. Put
the free end of the hose into another container of antifreeze.
Open each faucet- lavy, shower, galley, exterior shower and washup faucets- until the antifreeze solution flows freely. Close each
faucet when you see the antifreeze. Open the toilet water inlet
valve and activate the toilet flush valve so antifreeze gets into the
toilet. With the system pressurized, press the check valve in the
city water inlet until antifreeze flows out.
Open the low point drain valves until you see antifreeze flowing
out, then close the valve.
Turn off the water pump, disconnect the temporary hose,
reconnect the inlet tubing and open all faucets.
Winterize the refrigerator ice maker (if equipped).
Push the ice maker arm up to the OFF position.
Remove the vent from the exterior side of the trailer.
Close the water shutoff valve for the ice maker.
Place a shallow pan under the water solenoid valve.
Disconnect the water supply line from the water solenoid valve.
Drain the water from the supply line.
Unscrew the plastic nut and disconnect the water line from the
outlet side of the water solenoid valve. Drain the water from the
ice maker line.
Reconnect both lines to the water solenoid valve in their original
locations. Leave the water shutoff valve closed.
Dry out the ice maker mold assembly with a soft cloth.
Remove the white ice maker AC power cord from the outlet.
Be sure water pump and water heater switches are OFF.
Clean up around the dump valves and fittings. Be sure the dump
hose is clean and dry. Pull off the termination caps, clean around
the sealing rings and reattach them. Cycle the dump valves a
couple of times. Spray a silicone-based lubricant on the actuating
shafts and mechanisms.
Pour one or two cups of RV antifreeze down each lavy, galley, and
shower drain. Pour a couple of cups into the toilet, and operate
the flush valve.
Cap the holding tank drain, city water inlet, and fresh water
fill inlet. Coil and store the fresh water hose, waste hose and
flushing hose.
Preparing the Electrical Systems for Storage
Preparing the electrical systems for storage mainly involves the batteries
and the generator (if equipped). Properly storing the batteries will ensure
that they will be able to power up your systems when you take the trailer
out of storage, and that you get the maximum life from the batteries.
• If possible, remove all batteries and store them in a clean, dry
location. Arrange them in a way that allows you to get to them for
periodic charging during the storage period.
• If you can’t remove the batteries, disconnect the cables and clean
the terminals. Remove any dirt and/or acid buildup. Clean the
tops of the batteries and dry thoroughly. Reattach the cable, and
apply a battery terminal protectant.
• Check the charge in each battery with a hydrometer. Be sure
the specific gravity in each cell is no less than 1.260. Recharge
as necessary. A fully charged battery will not freeze until 50
to 60 degrees below zero, but a partially discharged one may
freeze at only 20 degrees below zero. A frozen battery is a ruined
battery. Checking the voltage is not a good way to determine
battery charge. A battery that measure 12 volts is already 75%
discharged. A fully charged battery will measure about 12.63 volts
at 77 degrees F. The hydrometer/specific gravity method is the
best way to determine battery charge level.
Check the charge in the batteries every 30 days. Recharge to
specific gravity of at least 1.260.
Change the oil and oil filter in the generator (if equipped).
Turn off any unnecessary DC and AC loads. Turn devices off,
open the main battery disconnect switch.
Unplug all 120-volt AC appliances. Turn off all AC breakers,
including the main breakers at the main panel. You may want to
do this after all interior preparations have been completed, leaving
it as the last things you do.
Clean and re-coil the shore power cord. Check the plug end of
the shore power cord. Clean the prongs with electrical contact
cleaner or a ScothBrite pad.
Thoroughly clean the interior. Remove all traces of food, including
pet food. Vacuum in and under cabinets. Remove all canned
goods and personal items if they contain liquids that will freeze.
A burst can or jar of food can be a real mess to clean up in the
Open closet doors, drawers, and cabinets so air can circulate
through. This will help reduce the buildup of condensation and
musty odors.
Close and cover all vents to prevent entry of snow, etc.
Close and lock all windows. Turn vent fan and range hood fan
switches OFF,
Turn off all radios, TVs, interior and exterior lights.
Close curtains and/or miniblinds, and pull shades. This will help
reduce fabric fading from exposure to sunlight.
Remove, clean or replace air conditioner filter.
Remove batteries in clocks and other battery-operated devices
such as smoke detectors. Leave the cover off the smoke detector
to remind you to replace the battery when reactivating the trailer
after storage.
After all cleaning chores are complete, and you are ready to leave
the trailer, do a walk-through to make sure you haven’t forgotten
When exiting the trailer, close and lock the entry door, and retract
the entry step.
Check the condition of the trailer weekly.
During long-term storage, operate the air conditioning system (if
equipped) periodically to lubricate the compressor seals. Operate
the slideout(s) several times to keep seals from sticking, and
to lubricate the mechanism. Reconnect batteries or connect to
shore power.
Reactivating the Trailer after Extended Storage
If the trailer was properly and carefully prepared for storage, getting it
ready for another travel season should not be difficult. The following
checklist assumes that you stored the trailer with care. If damage from
freezing or other serious deterioration has occurred, please consult with
your dealer or Dutchmen Mfg. for advice on how to get your trailer back to
operating order.
If you have added checklist items of your own, make sure those items are
covered as you prepare your trailer for travel.
Thoroughly inspect the outside of the trailer. Look for animal
nests in wheelwells, in compartments, or in other out of the way
Remove all appliance vent covers, roof vent covers, or other
coverings. Be sure all furnace, water heater, and refrigerator
openings are clean and free or debris.
Open all doors and compartments. Check for animal or insect
intrusion, water damage, or other deterioration.
Check charge level in all batteries. Refill and recharge as
necessary. Reinstall batteries, if necessary. Be sure cable ends
and terminals are clean and free of corrosion. Always install the
positive (+) cable first.
Close the main battery disconnect switch.
Check tire pressures. Reinflate to specified cold pressure.
Lube chassis.
Check all exterior lights, and replace as necessary.
Remove covering from inside windows for interior ventilation.
Drain, flush and sanitize the fresh water system as outlined in
the Care and Maintenance chapter. Inspect the drain hose for
leaks. Replace the hose if necessary.
Install a new fresh water filter cartridge (if equipped).
Operate all faucets and fixtures in the fresh water system. Check
for leaks at all joints and fittings. Repair any leaks.
Check all 12-volt DC circuit fuses.
Operate all 12-volt DC lights and equipment.
Install new batteries in battery-operated devices. Check the
operating guides for these devices for additional operating
Test the carbon monoxide, propane and smoke detectors and
Check the monitor panel operation.
Open and operate vents and vent fans, including the range hood
Inspect the 120-volt AC electrical system. Check the shore power
cord, converter, all outlets, and any exposed wiring. If defects are
found, refer service to your dealer.
Prepare the generator (if installed) for operation following
instructions in the generator operating manual. Make sure the
main circuit breakers are off.
Start and run the generator (if equipped). Check the generator
exhaust system for leaks or deterioration.
Operate 120-volt appliances and trailer air conditioning system (if
Inspect the propane system and check for leaks as described in
the Care and Maintenance section. If the propane cylinder(s)
appear rusted or corroded, have them inspected by a qualified
propane service center.
Operate each propane appliance. Observe all burner/pilot flames
for proper color and size.
Inspect and clean the interior.
Check sealants around all roof and body seams and windows.
Reseal if necessary as outlined in the Care and Maintenance
Wash and wax the exterior. Inspect the body for scratches or
other damage. Touch up or repair as necessary. Flush the
underside of the trailer thoroughly.
Severe Weather Use
Your RV was designed primarily for short-term use in moderate
temperature and climate conditions. Generally, this means in
temperatures between 0 degrees F and 110 degrees F. There may be
situations when you may choose to use the RV outside of this range.
But you must be aware that the plumbing systems, heating and cooling
appliances, and structural components of the RV are not appropriate for
long term use in either the coldest or warmest climate conditions.
Before you consider using your RV in temperature extremes, please take
time to read this section. We’ve provided some guidelines for operating
various systems and appliances in either very cold or very hot weather.
We’ve also provided some lift-style tips if you intend on using your
RV in temperature extremes. Please also be aware that although the
components and appliances in your RV will perform very well within their
design specifications, damage to components, appliances or RV structural
materials while used in severe weather conditions may not be covered
under the warranty. If you intend to store your RV during severe winter
weather, please see the “Storage and Winterization” section of this
chapter. Operating and living in your RV during the winter requires some
preparation and additional equipment and materials. You will also need to
learn to more closely manage your electrical and propane resources.
Successfully using your RV in extreme cold temperatures generally means
doing three basic things: 1) keeping heat in, 2) keeping cold out, and
3) adding heat where it’s needed. This guide will give you a few tips on
dealing with those three basics.
Plumbing Systems
Of all the systems in your RV, the fresh and waste water plumbing will
require the most attention during extreme cold weather use. Freezing can
cause extensive damage to the plumbing that can be very costly to repair,
and will not be covered under warranty.
The fresh water and waste tanks, and most of the plumbing pipes and
fixtures are not in heated compartments. The plumbing pipes run through
the walls or under the floors. Some are exposed to the outdoors and can
Know where all of the plumbing on your RV is located. Take a close
look around and find where your tanks, outdoor fixtures, indoor plumbing,
drain valves, and water pump are located. Look under the RV, and in all
the compartments. The plumbing components that are exposed to the
outside are much more prone to freezing since they are directly exposed
to outdoor air temperature.
Keep the heat in
Look all around the outside underside of the trailer. Wherever you
find plumbing fixtures, piping, etc. is a good place to stuff in insulation
material such as fiberglass wool. Look especially for pipes where they
enter through the floor or sidewalls. Those are good places to put extra
insulation. And don’t forget to keep the interior of the RV heated. If
you’re expecting extremely cold temperatures, open cabinet doors and
drawers in the galley and bathroom. The plumbing fixtures are closer
to the outside walls in these area and will freeze faster. If you leave the
doors and drawers open, the interior heat will have a chance to keep the
plumbing above freezing.
Keep the cold out
Exterior utility compartments are directly exposed to outside temperatures.
The exterior compartment (if equipped on some models) can be stuffed
with insulation if you don’t have to get into it often. You can also cut out
pieces of foam insulating material to fit inside the door to help keep out the
If you are going to be situated for several weeks or months during severe
cold weather, consider installing insulated underskirting all around the
trailer. Small ceramic heaters and heat tape can be used under the trailer
and around plumbing components. Try to seal up as many gaps as
possible to keep cold winds and snow from getting under the trailer.
Add heat where it is needed
The most effective way to protect the water tanks, water pump, fresh and
waste water plumbing is to add heat in the areas where it is needed.
Keep the compartment doors closed. Foam insulating material can be cut
to fit inside the compartment doors and help keep the heat inside. Check
inside occasionally to make sure everything is okay.
If you have AC power available, wrap the fresh water inlet plumbing and
waste lines with heat tape. Plug the heat tape into an extension cord. Be
sure to follow all installation and use instruction provided by the heat tape
A few more tips:
Thoroughly drain water from hoses before your store them. If you don’t
and you need to use a hose, it will probably be frozen. You can take
hoses inside to thaw out if need be, or use a hair dryer.
Drain holding tanks before they are completely full during cold weather
camping. This will reduce the chance of freezing, resulting in damage to
the holding tanks.
Leave the water heater turned on whenever the water tank is full so there
is no chance of it freezing.
Depending on your travel situation, you might consider traveling with
the water system winterized. Take bottled water along for drinking and
other needs like cooking, washing up and brushing your teeth when the
RV is winterized. Even with the fresh water system winterized, you can
still use the bathroom facilities. Gallon jugs filled with water can be used
in the toilet. If your holding tanks are not heated you can put some RV
antifreeze in the holding tanks to prevent the contents from freezing. Add
the RV antifreeze through the toilet for the black water holding tank and
down the shower or tub drain for the gray water tank. The antifreeze will
also protect the shower or tub P-trap which is usually located below floor
level. The amount of antifreeze required for the holding tanks will be
based on the size of the tanks, and it will be necessary to add more RV
antifreeze as waste water is added to the tanks to prevent the antifreeze
from being diluted.
Electrical System
The batteries and generator (if equipped) will be your primary electrical
system concerns. If you are connected to shore power, you will likely
have all the power you need to operate appliances and the battery
charger. You will also have necessary power if you have a generator IF
you properly prepare it for extreme temperature operation. This will mean
making sure the correct weight of oil is installed, and the engine is in good
tune. Preparing the generator for cold weather is relatively inexpensive.
But if you can’t get it started or if it fails during extremely cold weather, it is
no better than not having a generator. Be sure it is well-prepared for the
traveling conditions you expect.
If you expect to dry camp - that is without the benefit of shore power or
a generator - the batteries are the most critical part of the electrical
system since they will be your only source of electrical power.
If the batteries are not kept fully charged, they will freeze. If they
freeze, they will be destroyed. You must measure specific gravity with
a hydrometer to determine battery state of charge. A voltage reading
will not give you useful information. A battery that measures 12 volts is
already 75% discharged. If they battery measures below 12 volts, the
battery will freeze at a much higher temperature.
The batteries, fully charged, will not last more than about 10 hours in
zero-degree weather depending on battery condition and 12-volt loads. In
extreme temperatures, don’t plan on relying on batteries for longer than
this unless you have a means to charge them. If you expect to stay longer
than overnight, you should expect to either have a 120-volt AC power
nearby or run the generator (if equipped). Minimize you use of electric
power if AC power is not available or you cannot run the generator.
Without shore power or a generator to run the charger, you can charge
batteries with you tow vehicle alternator through the 7-way connector
charge line. If you do this, monitor battery charge with the monitor panel
or measure specific gravity with a hydrometer.
Cold weather preparation for your RV batteries is the same as for your car
or truck: keep them clean, keep the electrolyte level correct and keep the
cables and terminals clean and dry. A battery terminal protectant spray or
paste can help keep corrosion to a minimum.
Running Gear and Body
Prepare your RV chassis, running gear and body as you would your car
or truck. A good coat of wax will help protect the exterior panels. Be sure
tires, bearings, brakes and exterior lighting are all in good operational
condition. Many locations use corrosive substances to de-ice roads.
Whenever you can, use fresh water to flush the undercarriage and rinse
off accumulations of mud and road salts.
Before traveling in severe weather, do a thorough inspection of exterior
sealants. Water that gets into walls or under the roof area can cause
severe damage. Open seams or moldings can become filled with water
and freeze causing even more damage from expanding ice.
Be sure roof vents, furnace, refrigerator and water heater exhaust vents
and the generator exhaust system are not damaged and are functioning
properly. Fault exhaust vents can allow the buildup of deadly carbon
Outside of comfort heating, humidity and condensation will be your main
concerns during cold weather. Moisture buildup on walls, the ceiling
and even in closets can cause damage and lead to mold and mildew
formation. This Owner’s Guide has a detailed section on humidity and
condensation control. Please see that chapter for more information as
you plan your cold weather RVing activities.
Cold weather comfort involves the same three basics as keeping your
plumbing systems working: 1) keeping heat in; 2) keeping cold out; and
3) adding heat where it is needed.
The best heat source is the RV’s forced air furnace. It will consume more
propane than any of the other propane-fired appliances. The propane
tank or cylinders should be full before leaving on your trip. Monitor the
propane supply carefully during your stay.
Keep the heat in
Much of the heat inside your RV will escape through the windows. Cover
the windows with curtains, drapes or almost anything to help hold some
of the heat in. Foam or other insulation material cut to fit the windows can
help cut down on heat leakage during the night. Several plastic films are
available that can be applied to window frames with adhesive and then
shrunk with a hair dryer that will act like storm windows to help keep the
heat in and help reduce the formation of condensation on the window
You can stuff insulation or heavy cloths into the slideout mechanisms and
other openings that will help reduce drafts.
Use overhead and range vents to reduce the humidity inside the RV. A
cross-flow of outside fresh air using the overhead vents will be better at
conserving heat than opening windows or exterior doors. In very severe
weather, you can cover or block the insides of roof vents with plastic or
foam insulation.
Weather-strip doors and windows. Cold little drafts in your main residence
are annoying; they are much more serious in a recreational vehicle.
A few throw rugs over uncarpeted flooring can add another thermal layer.
When you arrive at your destination, try to select a site that will be
exposed to sun throughout the day, but also where there is some type
of wind break available. Position the RV on the site so the front or rear
rather than the side will be facing into the wind. And if possible, situate so
that the site with the utility connections (water, sewer, electrical) is on the
sunny side.
Keep the cold out
The best way to keep the cold out is to avoid opening doors and windows.
Avoid opening the entry door as much as possible.
Block off sections of the RV you won’t be using with blankets or sheets.
The more heat where you are the better. That doesn’t mean that you
shouldn’t heat parts of the RV, just keep most of the heat in the areas
where you will spending most of your time.
Check all around doors, windows and other openings for drafts or cold air.
Block these areas with blankets, carpet or other insulating materials to
help keep the cold out.
Add heat where it is needed
There may be times in exceptionally cold weather when you will have
to add heat to the interior. If you are connected to shore power or can
operate a generator, use low-wattage electric ceramic heaters for spot
heating an area. Never use the range or oven for interior comfort
heating. These appliances produce deadly carbon monoxide when they
are operating. If you use electric heaters, be sure to follow all instructions.
Do not place the heaters near upholstery, clothing or other flammable
Some upholstered components and
mattresses, carpet, and insulation
products are made of urethane
foam. Urethane foam is flammable!
Urethane foams burn rapidly,
releasing great heat and consuming
oxygen very quickly. Lack of
oxygen is a danger of suffocation
hazard. Hazardous gases released
by the burning foam can be
incapacitating or fatal to human
beings if inhaled in sufficient
Do not expose urethane foams
to open flames or indirect high
temperature sources of ignition
such as burning operations,
welding, burning cigarettes, space
heaters, or unprotected electric light
If you have 120-volt power at your site, turn on the tow vehicle engine
block heater (if equipped) overnight to ensure the engine will be warm for
a quicker start in the morning. If you don’t have block heater, a trouble
light placed under the engine oil pan or near the battery can help with
cold-weather starting.
Personal Comfort and Safety
Extreme temperature and weather conditions require that you prepare
yourself for the conditions you may encounter. Extreme cold weather is
often experienced in places where the weather can change rapidly. Watch
for sudden weather changes. Always carry a survival kit in your vehicle.
The kit should contain flashlights, batteries, rain ponchos, a portable
weather radio, first aid kit, nonperishable packaged or canned food and
a manual can opener, blankets, prescription and nonprescription drugs,
pet supplies, bottled water and any special items for infants, elderly or
disabled family members. What you put in this survival kit is up to you,
but be sure to include everything you might need.
You must be prepared with appropriate clothing, fuel supplies and food.
Adding these extra severe-use items may affect the load you carry in your
RV and how you load is. Equip your tow vehicle with snow tires or have
tire chains available when conditions warranty their use. Watch for ice
on roads and trails. Always obey posted speed limits and proceed with
No matter what extreme weather conditions you may encounter - whether
extreme heat or extreme cold - remember that you may be isolated. You
may be far away from food or fuel supplies, other RVers, and emergency
help. If you have cell phone service, be sure your service is usable in
the areas where you intend to travel. Always tell someone where you
are going, how long you plan to be gone, and how to contact you in case
of emergency. An aftermarket GPS systems can be a good emergency
preparedness investment.
Travel trailers are high-profile
vehicles and are subject to the
effects of wind.
Be aware of any wind advisories and
warnings in the areas where you
travel and/or camp.
Do not use your RV to take shelter
during severe weather. Seek shelter
when severe weather or tornado
warnings are issued.
Weather Planning
Many RVers do not take into consideration the weather conditions at their
travel destination. When you travel several hundred miles a day in your
RV the weather conditions can change several times. The weather is
often the last thing on your mind. Severe weather can occur without much
warning, and if you are caught in it, it can be disastrous. RVers need to
have an emergency plan in case of a severe storm.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather
Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast
National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard
information 24 hours a day. Alerts inform people if they need to take some
type of action in order to protect themselves.
Consider both a portable GPS unit and a weather radio receiver as part of
your travel gear. Receivers are available in many price ranges depending
on the quality of the receiver and its features. It is well worth the
investment to be able to pinpoint your exact location to know what type of
weather to expect when traveling or camping in your RV. For more
information on the NOAA Weather Radio visit their website at www.nws. It is a good idea to monitor the weather radio while traveling.
Develop an emergency evacuation plan in case of severe weather. When
you arrive at a campground, ask about emergency plans in case of a
severe storm such as a tornado, or a thunderstorm with high winds. If the
campground doesn’t have a plan, you need to make your own. Locate a
structure that is safer than your RV, like a bathhouse or the campground
office. Always stay on the lowest level possible an away from doors
and windows. Tell everyone who is with you about the emergency plan.
Explain to children how to respond to different disasters and the dangers
of severe weather, fires, and other emergencies. Instruct children on
emergency exits. Instruct them on how and when to call 911 or other
emergency phone numbers. Make sure everybody knows exactly what
his or her job is in case of severe weather. Monitor the weather radio for
emergency information. Emergency weather watches and warnings are
posted for counties and towns, so always check a map for the county or
town where you are staying.
Trailer Weight Log
Slide-out adjustment
Inspect Hydraulic lines, where applicabl e
Inspect slide-out hydraulic fluid
Adjust Brakes
Check suspension
Inspect & repack bearings
Check wheel tongue
Inspect brakes
Check tire pressure & wear
Clean & Lube Jacks
Inspect Jack Ass embly
Inspect & lubricate couplers & steps
Inspect & clean frame
Frame & Chassis
Clean walls
Bi -
Clean roof
Clean & dust floors
Oil hardwood doors
Clean & dust countertops & cabinets
Clean & dust interior fabrics
Bi -
Applia nces
Refrigerator Maintenance Instructions
Inspect & clean exterior vent
Inspect LP Fittings
Inspect & Clean B affle
Furnace Maintenance Instructions
A/C Maintenance Instructions
Clean Air Filter
Inspect for Exterior Damage
Range Top
Range Maintenance Instructions
Inspect & Clean Burner Ass embly
Lubricate locks, hinges & latches
Bi ths
Applia nces
Refrigerator Maintenance InstrucInspect & clean exterior vent
Inspect LP Fittings
Inspect & Clean B affle
Furnace Maintenance Instructions
A/C Maintenan ce Instructions
Clean Air Filter
Inspect for Exterior Damage
Range Top
Range Maintenan ce Instructions
Inspect & Clean Burner Ass embly
Lubricate locks, hinges & latches
Manufacturer’s Warranty Contacts
A&E / DOMETIC / DUO-THERM USA Service Office
509 S. Poplar Street
Lagrange, IN 46761
Canada Service Office
866 Langs Drive
Cambridge, Ontario N3H 2N7
Elkhart, IN 46516
2703 College Avenue
Goshen, IN 46528
1-866-LCI-SVC1 (1-866-524-7821)
BR Wholesale
J&J Sales
Vern Gibson
1400 73RD Ave., NE
Minneapolis, MN 55432
Flo Jet
20 Icon
Foothill Ranch, CA 92510
365 W. Victoria St.
Compton, CA 90220
425 S. Bowen, #4
Longmount, CO 80501
3000 Kirkwood St.
Burlington, IA 52601-2000
Coast Distribution - Canada
Alberta 403-720-0046
Quebec 514-866-3613
4750 Hiawatha Drive
Rockford, IL 61103
P.O. Box 1285
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
2710 Slough St.
Mississauga, ONT L4T1G3
25 Windham Boulevard
Aiken, SC 29805
14290 Lochridge Blvd.
Covington, GA 30014
2900 Industrial Parkway East
Elkhart, IN 46516
Glossary of Common RV Terms
ACCESSORY WEIGHT: The combined weight (in excess of those
standard items which may be replaced) of automatic transmission, power
steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, radio and heater,
to the extent that these items are available as factory-installed equipment
(whether installed or not).
AC ELECTRICITY: Alternating Current. Standard Household 110 Volt AC
ANODE ROD: Part of the water heater that attracts impurities in the
water that cause corrosion.
BEAD: The part of the tire that is made of steel wires, wrapped or
reinforced by ply cords and that is shaped to fit the rim.
BEAD SEPARATION: This is the breakdown of the bond between
components in the bead.
BIAS PLY TIRE: A pneumatic tire in which the ply cords that extend to
the beads are laid at alternate angles substantially less than 90 degrees to
the center line of the tread.
BLACK TANK: The holding tank into which the toilet directly drains.
BLACK WATER: The term associated with sewage contained within the
black tank.
BRAKE CONTROLLER: Device located under the dash of a towing
vehicle that controls the braking system of the fifth-wheel.
BTU: The measurement of the amount of heat required to raise the
temperature of one (1) pound of water, one (1) degree F.
CARCASS: The tire structure, except tread and sidewall rubber which,
when inflated, bears the load.
CHUNKING: The breaking away of pieces of the tread or sidewall.
CITY WATER: Refers to exterior water source, not water from the fresh
water tank that you hook up to at campgrounds. “City Water” refers to
pulling water from a central source (like in a city).
CONDENSATION: The result of warm humid air coming in contact with
cold glass also known as ‘Sweat’.
CONVERTER: Device that converts 110V AC to 12V DC.
CURBSIDE: Term used to refer to the side of your coach, which faces
the curb or shoulder when parked. Also called DOOR SIDE (the main
entrance door) or OFFROAD SIDE.
DC ELECTRICITY: Direct Current. Also termed Battery Power. Used to
run all 12 Volt powered systems or lighting.
DRY CAMPING: Refers to camping using only the resources within your
unit and without amenities such as city water hook-ups, electrical hookups, etc., often provided at commercial campsites.
DSI IGNITION: Direct Spark Ignition – The method of lighting a main
burner on a LP fired appliance.
COLD INFLATION PRESSURE: The pressure in the tire before you
CORD: The strands forming the plies in the tire.
CORD SEPARATION: The parting of cords from adjacent rubber
CRACKING: Any parting within the tread, sidewall, or inner liner of the
tire extending to cord material.
CT: A pneumatic tire with an inverted flange tire and rim system in which
the rim is designed with rim flanges pointed radially inward and the tire is
designed to fit on the underside of the rim in a manner that encloses the
rim flanges inside the air cavity of the tire.
CURB WEIGHT: The weight of a motor vehicle with standard equipment
including the maximum capacity of fuel, oil, and coolant, and, if so
equipped, air conditioning and additional weight optional engine.
DUCTED AC: Air conditioning distributed through a ducting system.
DUCTED HEAT: Warm air distributed through a ducting system.
DUAL ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: Coach equipped with appliances and
lights, which operate on 12V power when self-contained, and with a
converter, on 110 AC when in campgrounds or run off of a generator.
DUMP STATION: Term used for locations to drain the waste holding
tanks (gray and black tanks). In most states, it is illegal to dump your
tanks anywhere except at dump stations.
DUMP VALVE: Another name for the T-Handle used to drain the black
and gray tanks.
EGRESS WINDOW: Term for the emergency exit windows within
recreational vehicles: Usually identified by a red handles or levers.
EXTRA LOAD TIRE: A tire designed to operate at higher loads and at
higher inflation pressures than the corresponding standard tire.
Groove - The space between two adjacent tread ribs.
FULL HOOK-UP SITE: A Campsite that offers full amenities: City water,
sewer, and electrical hook ups – many have cable and phone available.
GALLEY TANK: A gray water holding tank used specifically for the
kitchen waste water.
GENERATOR: Powered by Propane, generates 110 Volt power.
GRAY TANK: the waste holding tank into which water from the kitchen
and bath sinks, shower and tub drains.
GRAY WATER: Water drained into the gray holding tank.
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR): Maximum amount of weight
(in lbs.) that can be placed on the axle.
(in lbs.) allowed for the coach and tow vehicle.
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR): Maximum load weight (in
lbs.) allowed for the vehicle.
GROSS Fifth-Wheel WEIGHT (GTW): Weight of the fully loaded coach
in its actual towing condition.
HITCH WEIGHT: Amount of a coach’s weight that rests on the tow
vehicle’s hitch.
HOLDING TANKS: Refers to the tanks typically known as fresh water,
gray and black, where the water is held.
HOOK-UPS: Where you connect to a campground’s facilities.
INNERLINER SEPARATION: The parting of the innerliner from cord
material in the carcass.
INTENDED OUTBOARD SIDEWALL: The sidewall that contains a whitewall, bears white lettering or bears manufacturer, brand, and/or model
name molding that is higher or deeper than the same molding on the other
sidewall of the tire or the outward facing sidewall of an asymmetrical tire
that has a particular side that must always face outward when mounted on
a vehicle.
LIGHT TRUCK (LT) TIRE: A tire designated by its manufacturer as
primarily intended for use on lightweight trucks or multipurpose passenger
Load rating - The maximum load that a tire is rated to carry for a given
inflation pressure.
NET CARRYING CAPACITY (NCC): Maximum weight without exceeding
the GVWR. Also referred to as ‘Payload Capacity’
LOW POINT/LOW POINT DRAIN: Lowest point in the plumbing system.
Drain valves are placed at these points for sewage dumping.
Propane: Liquefied Petroleum Gas – Used to fuel appliances.
MAXIMUM LOAD RATING: The load rating for a tire at the maximum
permissible inflation pressure for that tire.
cold inflation pressure to which a tire may be inflated.
MAXIMUM LOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT: The sum of curb weight,
accessory weight, vehicle capacity weight, and production options weight.
MEASURING RIM: The rim on which a tire is fitted for physical dimension
NON-PNEUMATIC RIM: A mechanical device which, when a nonpneumatic tire assembly incorporates a wheel, supports the tire, and
attaches, either integrally or separably, to the wheel center member and
upon which the tire is attached.
assembly intended for temporary use in place of one of the pneumatic
tires and rims that are fitted to a passenger car in compliance with the
requirements of this standard.
NON-PNEUMATIC TIRE: A mechanical device which transmits, either
directly or through a wheel or wheel center member, the vertical load and
tractive forces from the roadway to the vehicle, generates the tractive
forces that provide the directional control of the vehicle and does not rely
on the containment of any gas or fluid for providing those functions.
NON-PNEUMATIC TIRE ASSEMBLY: A non-pneumatic tire, alone or in
combination with a wheel or wheel center member, which can be mounted
on a vehicle.
NORMAL OCCUPANT WEIGHT: This means 68 kilograms (150 lbs.)
times the number of occupants specified in the second column of Table I
of 49 CFR 571.110.
OCCUPANT DISTRIBUTION: The distribution of occupants in a vehicle
as specified in the third column of Table I of 49 CFR 571.110.
OPEN SPLICE: Any parting at any junction of tread, sidewall, or
innerliner that extends to cord material.
OUTER DIAMETER: The overall diameter of an inflated new tire.
OVERALL WIDTH: The linear distance between the exteriors of
the sidewalls of an inflated tire, including elevations due to labeling,
decorations, or protective bands or ribs.
PILOT: Small flame that is used to ignite the main burner of a LP-fired
PIN WEIGHT: The vertical trailer load supported by the king pin of a fifthwheel hitch.
PLY: A layer of rubber-coated parallel cords.
PLY SEPARATION: A parting of rubber compound between adjacent
PNEUMATIC TIRE: A mechanical device made of rubber, chemicals,
fabric and steel or other materials, that, when mounted on an automotive
wheel, provides the traction and contains the gas or fluid that sustains the
PRODUCTION OPTIONS WEIGHT: The combined weight of those
installed regular production options weighing over 2.3 kilograms (5 lbs.)
in excess of those standard items which they replace, not previously
considered in curb weight or accessory weight, including heavy duty
brakes, ride levelers, roof rack, heavy duty battery, and special trim.
PRIMITIVE CAMPSITE: Campsite that offers limited connections. May
have city water or electrical available but not both.
PULL-THROUGH SITES: Camp sites that you can pull your recreational
vehicle through, eliminating the need to back in.
RADIAL PLY TIRE: A pneumatic tire in which the ply cords that extend
to the beads are laid at substantially 90 degrees to the center line of the
pressure provided by the vehicle manufacturer on the Tire Information
label and on the Certification / VIN tag.
REINFORCED TIRE: A tire designed to operate at higher loads and at
higher inflation pressures than the corresponding standard tire.
RIM: A metal support for a tire or a tire and tube assembly upon which the
tire beads are seated.
RIM DIAMETER: This means the nominal diameter of the bead seat.
RIM SIZE DESIGN: This means the rim diameter and width.
RIM TYPE DESIGNATION: This means the industry of manufacturer’s
designation for a rim by style or code.
RIM WIDTH: This means the nominal distance between rim flanges.
ROADSIDE: Refers to the side of the unit that faces the road when
parked. Also commonly referred to as “Off DOOR SIDE.”.
RV: Short for Recreational Vehicle.
RVIA: Recreational Vehicle Industry Association
SECTION WIDTH: The linear distance between the exteriors of the
sidewalls of an inflated tire, excluding elevations due to labeling,
decoration, or protective bands.
SHORE LINE: The electrical cord that connects 110V from an exterior
outlet (such as campgrounds) to the RV. Also called ‘Power Cord’
SHORE POWER: The 110V outlet that connects to the Shore Line.
SIDEWALL: That portion of a tire between the tread and bead.
SIDEWALL SEPARATION: The parting of the rubber compound from the
cord material in the sidewall.
TEST RIM: The rim on which a tire is fitted for testing, and may be any
rim listed as appropriate for use with that tire.
TREAD: That portion of a tire that comes into contact with the road.
TREAD RIB: A tread section running circumferentially around a tire.
TREAD SEPARATION: Pulling away of the tread from the tire carcass.
TREAD-WEAR INDICATORS (TWI) - The projections within the principal
grooves designed to give a visual indication of the degrees of wear of the
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT (UVW): Weight of the unit without
adding fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers. Also referred to as
‘Dry Weight’
VEHICLE CAPACITY WEIGHT: The rated cargo and luggage load plus
68 kilograms (150 lbs.) times the vehicle’s designated seating capacity.
Vehicle maximum load on the tire - The load on an individual tire that is
determined by distributing to each axle its share of the maximum loaded
vehicle weight and dividing by two.
VEHICLE NORMAL LOAD ON TIRE: The load on an individual tire that
is determined by distributing to each axle its share of the curb weight,
accessory weight, and normal occupant weight (distributed in accordance
with Table I of CRF 49 571.110) and dividing by 2.
WEATHER SIDE: The surface area of the rim not covered by the inflated
WET WEIGHT: Weight of the coach with fuel, fresh water and LP tanks
WHEEL CENTER MEMBER: In the case of a non-pneumatic tire
assembly incorporating a wheel, a mechanical device which attaches,
either integrally or separably, to the nonpneumatic rim and provides the
connection between the non-pneumatic rim and the vehicle; or, in the case
of a non-pneumatic tire assembly not incorporating a wheel, a
mechanical device which attaches, either integrally or separably, to the
non-pneumatic tire and provides the connection between tire and the
WHEEL HOLDING FIXTURE: The fixture used to hold the wheel and tire
assembly securely during testing.
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