Front Coach Area: (Continued)
The Bounder’s owner manuals came in a handy Fleetwood carrying case; however they are all loose inside it. When trying to find a particular manual, it became a hunt through the pile of manuals each time we needed one, trying to locate the specific manual.
By placing all the individual manuals in a plastic file case sorted alphabetically, the process was reduced to looking for the slot with the appropriate letter. The file case was selected so that it fit within the Fleetwood case. The Ford chassis manual and the red Fleetwood guide are kept in separate compartments within the Fleetwood case. Access was far easier and much quicker with this improvement. The manuals were stored in the case in the cabinet over the driver’s seat. One
practice I’ve also made is to go to all the component maker’s website and
download a PDF copy of the operating and installation manuals for each
component. This practice allows me to be able to review the operating
instructions by reading them on my computer (or phone) regardless of whether our
RV with the printed copies of the manuals is nearby. One other benefit of this
practice is that if your RV arrived without all of the manuals for items included
with it, you will have copies of the manuals which can be printed should the
Monitoring Tire Pressures of both the RV and the towed vehicle is essential for safe, trouble free travel. Since the coach does not come equipped with its own Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), an aftermarket system was needed. Here is the criteria that I used in selecting a TPMS: Accuracy, Ease of Use, a Clear, User-Configurable Display and User Replaceable Sender Batteries. Since we do not sell these systems (there were always too many vendors at the Rallies at which we offered seminars), we contacted some sellers we knew and checked with some of our suppliers for their product offerings.
I selected the TireMinder TM88C-6WH which has a color display and meets all the criteria I set, in addition to monitoring the tire temperatures. The photo shows it mounted (using Velcro) to the lower engine compartment cover just below the RV dash and to the right of the driver’s seat. There is an USB power outlet immediately above it. (The photo shows the cover placed over the display for protection when not in use). The monitor is easily configured to scroll through each tire position thereby continuously displaying tire pressures (and temperature if desired). You may wonder at its location: The instructions that accompany it, remind you that it is continually monitoring and will alert should an issue arise, thus it does not need to be constantly in the drivers view. I took that advice, agreeing that with camera monitors, vehicle operating information, the GPS, and Audio systems, there are more than enough systems to watch and potentially distract from concentrating on driving. Thus, the location chosen accomplishes the safety required without distraction.
While there are two video display screens for the camera monitor and the audio systems, A GPS is not included with this coach. We had to move to a standalone GPS on our previous coach and I selected Co-Pilot which runs on Apple based equipment. I wanted a larger display and had selected an iPad to display the route and provide audible directions, which I’d mounted on a RAM Mount.
It was a very secure yet easily adjusted. Power for the iPad was supplied from an USB port and that could continue with this coach.
To save on Roaming Data charges, I linked, by Bluetooth, a handheld Bad Elf GPS which is turned on and hangs on one of the hooks in the cabinet over the drivers seat. The combination worked well, so we installed a new RAM mount on this Bounder.
One improvement that relates to life safety, is the addition of foam filled fire extinguishers. We have them placed beside the drivers seat, in the kitchen area below the cooktop, and in the bedroom adjacent to the Emergency Exit Window on the shelf. Since they are foam filled, routine maintenance requires only checking to ensure they are fully charged. They can be used on most types of fires. Of course, we have the factory installed dry chemical fire extinguisher located beside the passenger seat on the floor by the entry door.
In addition to converting all the exterior cargo bin lights, the front under hood lights and the driver's side, high mounted utility light to LED, I added a small LED light strip in the utility compartment opposite the black dump hose connection. Due to the divided Utility compartment which separates the water functions from the sewer area, the cargo bin light in this compartment does not light up the waste hose area at all. I use a clear fitting to confirm that the tanks are empty and after flushing the black tank, to ensure it is rinsed. If the tanks are dumped after dark, the upper body utility light is effective around the Bounder on that side and the interior mounted cargo bin light helps in the water compartment. Unfortunately there is no light in the area of the dump valves or the clear fitting. Adding this light provided immediate results. The power supplying this light comes from the cargo bin light source.
One exterior improvement we made was adding longer extensions to the rain gutters on each corner of the roof to body rail. As the coach came from the factory, there were roughly one inch (2.5cm) long extensions at each corner of the body. If the coach was on a slight angle the roof water would carry the dirty water off and it would produce black streaks on the upper body's white paint. In addition, this water would hit the tops of the two plastic, front exterior mirror housings and produce a noticeable noise from the water bouncing on it from the drip rail extensions. The solution was to add aftermarket rain gutter extensions. Since the bedroom slideout is located in the passenger side rear of the coach, there was no need to extend the gutter in that area. Doing so would have interfered with the slideout. Adding the other three solved both the rain staining and noise issue.
In preparing to store our Coach for the winter, should the storage area be unheated, it is wise to disconnect and remove the batteries to prevent discharge and potential freezing. The Chassis battery is a single unit in the front of the engine compartment. The four six volt (6V) batteries on this coach are located under the front entry step area and they were numbered and marked using a permanent (indelible-ink) marker from left (1) to right (4).
Since there are numerous connections and interconnections, it is vitally important that the connections to each of the individual battery terminals be correct.
I came up with a simple yet effective way to ensure each battery was properly disconnected in the Fall and reconnected in the Spring. By placing a colored wire tie on each cable attached to the first battery and following each cable to its position on the next battery, I had a color coded connection scheme. This is a simple, yet effective method of confirming each cable’s location. If that cable goes to another battery, then two of the same color wire ties are placed on the other end of the cable. The sequence of using unique (color) wire ties going from left to right and increasing the number of wire ties helps in locating the wire connections. Using two or more wire ties with the first being the other end’s color, and the the second is another unique color specific to that particular battery. As more cables are coded moving across the terminals, the number of wire ties increases in a left to right direction. A chart showing the cable connections is also made with clear photos to document the connections. This approach reduces the chance that a ‘tape’ marker applied to a cable will fall off or be damaged. The ties can be left on the cables to be referred to any time there is need to move or select a battery connection to remove (or move to access each battery cell cap).