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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #1

  • Jeremy Denham
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  • Redwood/2018/3901wb
Hello all , We are new to the redwood family, we just purchased a 2018 3901wb. We sold our grand design reflection 303 that we loved but ran out of room. We plan on selling our home and living full time for 3-4 years and then build a barn at the lake to house fifth wheel and work on a new small stick house. But may love the fifth wheel and never build another stick house. I have read for hours upon hours on this site before making the purchase. I know all the manufactures will have defects but how they are handled is what mattered to me , we are all human and make mistakes. I have so many questions about this new fifth wheel. The dealer doesn't know all about these things , just general idea. Here is a few questions to start with maybe yall can help.

1. We have three a/c units so comes with a power management board on inside of trailer , does that protect from surge & over/ under power ? If not what is best option ? Mine has power reel on driver rear corner , I think maybe a hard wire if I need to , What brand ?

2. We live in the Texas panhandle were we get lots of wind , and more wind , so full timing need to address this as far as heating and cooling. I'm thinking of a skirt to help keep wind off under belly. This unit did not have tank pads ( dealer said didn't need ) so a concern for me. What to help efficiency of unit ?

3. Water filtration , any concerns or what is everyone else doing ? I've seen some two and three filters ,but what about after full timing and use as vacation fifth wheel. Change filters each time you use or empty filters and just let dry until next use ? We do have a portable water softener we use , which I will plumb in.

4. Winter time , what does everyone do about water , do you just fill tank and run off pump ? Do you build a box around faucet and insulate good ? and leave water on all the time ? What about sewer ? Are you installing a 4in pvc pipe to drain or running the rhino hoses ? Do you leave the valves open on grey tanks ? I would think only open when full but don't know on grey. I will leave black tank valves closed until full so can wash everything out of tank and not dry on tank.

I know there is many more questions that will arise over the next few weeks, if anyone has any ideas or what I should check or upgrades , do please let me know , thanks in advance and look forward to meeting some fellow redwood owners in the future . Thanks Jeremy & Kelly Denham

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #2

Question #1
I don't think the power management protects from surges/spikes, but mine is not equipped with it. I'd recommend Progessive surge protector/EMS either hardwired or portable.
#2
Where in in panhandle? We grew up in & our daughter & grandkids are in Dumas.
As for skirting, sounds like a lot of work. If you have slide toppers you will need some way to keep them from flapping, it tears them up & drives you nuts listening to them. I can tell you these handle the winds really well up to sustained 40mph & 50-70mph gust if hitting straight from the front or rear, had that the entire month of May while in Bushland.
#3
In the panhandle you WILL definitely need the softener or a drum of Lime Away,but you already know that. I plumbed another filter canister before the softener with a sediment cartridge then the onboard filter with a charcoal cartridge, we were able to drink the water from faucet in about 90% of the places we stayed.
I'd keep some water in the fresh tank & get a heated hose, cover the faucet & be sure in very cold to run the furnace as it has ducts in the basement & underbelly.
You'll be able to run the heat pump/s down to about 40 degrees then use the furnace with fireplace & maybe a couple ceramic electric heaters if needed.
We spent the winter in Bushland a couple years ago doing what I've suggested with only 1 issue, propane, the 2 30lb bottles will almost last a week running the furnace. Contact your local propane dealer & rent at least a 100lb bottle & you'll be good for about a month.
As to the sewer, the valves are in the underbelly so they were ok for me. I left our bath gray valve open all the time due to showers & washing machine, I had the hose up on supports with a good downhill slope & had no issues with it freezing.
Sorry this is a bit long winded & if I can be of further help send me a private message & I'll be glad to help.

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Travelin' Texans
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Last Edit: by Danny and Linda.

New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #3

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Amarillo is we’re we will be since I still work, thanks for the reply and good info

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #4

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Congratulations on selecting a Redwood and welcome to the Owner's Group. To answer your questions

#1 - Like Danny we only have 2 A/C's, so no need for a PMS to balance the load. I also doubt it will perform the role of a surge protector. We have a hard wired system from SurgeGuard.

#2 - Under belly should be covered mostly with corrugated plastic sheeting. Adding skirting seems like way too much work and increases the cross sectional area in the wind. If worried about temperature, run the furnace, which heats the underbelly.

#3 - We also use a water softener and in addition to the factory filter add an in-line filter to the delivery hose. I sterilise the system once per year, change the factory filter once per year and the in-line filter about every 3 months.

#4 - We avoid cold weather, so can't help

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #5

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Welcome Jeremy and Kelly,

I sincerely hope you enjoy your new Redwood as much or more than us. It is far more to us than a fifth wheel - it is our home and that is exactly what it feels like. We have been full timing for almost two years so had many of your same questions.

Electric - I use a portable SurgeGuard protector. My routine has been plug the SurgeGuard in the pole with circuit breaker off by itself, flip the breaker on and check for three green lights, flip breaker off and plug the rig into the SurgeGuard, flip the breaker on. Have never had an electrical issue.

Drain valves - we have found ourselves long-timing in Florida for the winter and Yellowstone for the summer. I keep the gray tank valves open and dump the black tank about once a week. I will take a half hour or 45 min and use the black tank flush to wash the black tank by dumping, close the valve with flush running and set my timer for 12 minutes, dump, and repeat 3 x’s, then turn off the flush. That way the tank is relatively clean and the hose gets washed out also. If you don’t set your timer, then ignore all the above and don’t do it that way because at some point in time you’ll forget and overfill the black tank.

Water - I use a heated supply hose in Yellowstone and run the propane heater when temp is below freezing. We’ve found that for the most part, the fireplace and a small electric space heater in the bedroom is sufficient, and if we need to warm the coach beyond that we’ll run the furnace. Our propane use has not been excessive and have not experienced any frozen water lines. So far I have only added the blue external Camco filter. I replace the external filter about every 2 months, the household filter and refrigerator water filter about every 6 months. Usually less water pressure is the clue. And always use a good pressure regulator with a gauge. I run at 65 psi.

Hope that helps!

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #6

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Thanks for all the replies , where would you wire the ems voltage protector ? Under the back were the cord is at or under the basement ? Or which is the best place ?

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Last Edit: by denham45.

New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #7

Congratulations and welcome to the Club...

1. 3 A/C Units operating on a Energy Management System is NOT protection for your RV. The energy management system will only manage the total loads between the 3 units and you total unit wattage load. If you are running 3 units, 2 will be in A/C mode. 1 will usually be in fan mode. You might be able to run 3 A/C units but everything else would have to be close to off. 3 Units would pull 45 Amps at 1800 W each (Watts divided by Voltage = Amperage). There is a + or - factor due to power plant output, the lines to the park and the park setup. You would need to invest in a Power/Surge Protector. There are basically 2 brands. Based on research, IMHO, Progressive is the better of the 2. You can verify that for yourself by reading the "specs" on each website. They come hardwired or portable. Both perform with the same spec. It's your choice. With the portable unit, there is nothing to wire but you risk property theft. The RV community is a pretty nice community but all it takes is one person to take it and you are out a lot of money. We opted for the hard-wired unit and mounted it on the back side of the electrical panel (actually, just a few feet over). You'll have to buy a few things such as a few feet of wire to make the connections.

2. You don't need the heat pads but you will need to run the propane heat. Note that I suggested propane and not the fireplace or any ceramic heaters. You will not heat the basement with those two devices. You can run the fireplace and ceramic heaters for supplemental heat, but you need the propane as there are vents in the basement. We've been down to 4 degrees so far with the only issue being the faucet where we are tied in. You will need to protect that connection with insulation and we use one of the Styrofoam coolers over that. Put some soil around the bottom to keep the air out and weigh the cooler down so the wind does not blow it off. We use a heated water hose. They are available at Camping World. Use the shortest hose possible. The 12' hose is $89 when on sale. The 25' hose is $119 when on sale. They are advertised as good down to -20.

As for the skirt, you'll have a couple of unique challenges...Where do you store it when not in use? You will add a wind catcher for those panhandle winds. We've experienced 75 MPH broad-side winds. It's a scary feeling. I'm not sure how much more it would have taken. Probably 90 mph or so before it may turn over. You can shift the center of gravity by pulling in the opposing slide. That way, you can take on a little more wind. By adding the skirt, you will catch even more wind. But, you will retain extra heat. If you leave it up all year, varmints, snakes, mice and the like might find it a good home. Another concern, you will need to drill a lot of holes into the side of your RV. That's just an invitation for water leaks. The last thing you want is a water leak. And finally, the UV from the sun will help to deteriorate the fabric. The skirts are nice in theory, but I'm not sure you gain the value from the cost.

3. Water filters are nice. You'll need to determine your water hardness and taste quality. You can read more about filters somewhere on this site or you can research on line. The water softener is nice, but remember that for every device you add, you will reduce water pressure. At 40 psi (the recommended water pressure for RV's), you'll loose pressure pretty quick if you have more than 1 filter. Add a water softener and 2 different water filters, you'll loose a lot of pressure. If your water starts to smell like sulfur, remove the anode from the water heater and replace it with an aluminum rod or a zinc rod. That helps a lot to keep the harmless but smelly bacteria to a minimum. If you still find a smell, flush your system with a bleach solution. There are instructions for that as well on this site. We had to move to the Aluminum rod. It's been 6 months and the smell has been minimized. I might flush in the future but if stays at this smell, we can live with it. It all has to do with the water quality where you are.

4. 4 is pretty much answered in number 1 above. If you use your water tank on board, there is less chance of freezing but then you have to hassle with filling it up.

For our sewer hose, we just use the cheaper Rhino hose. We leave it closed until the tank is COMPLETELY full. You cannot rely on the sensors. They Never work and are a waste of money. Get used to listening for the difference in sound. You can tell when it's full. The grey tanks, we leave them open unless the air temps are going to 25 or below. As water slowly goes down that hose (because the valve is open), ice could build up in extended cold periods. If you flush a full tank, that is less likely to happen. Here, the temps get cold for short bursts at a time (DFW, Texas area). In the panhandle, you will likely have colder temps for longer periods. For a party of 3, we will fill the gray tank about every 2 days. The black tank will fill in about 2 weeks.

We hope this information helps. Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #8

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Thanks for the great info , helps a bunch

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #9

Sorry Greg, I have to disagree on a couple points.
My water pressure regulator, which is recommended over the water restrictor sold at Wal-Mart or given to you by your dealer, is set at 55 psi (came preset at 55 psi) & going through 2 filters & softener have never had noticeable pressure drop due to those filters until it's time change them.
Have been to numerous parks that had very low, 30 to 40 psi, pressures then the Thetford (threw that POS out) toilet wouldn't hold water.
Speaking of water pressure, if you haven't already done so, replace shower head with a Oxygenics head, you'll enjoy good showers even in low pressure parks.
I've also had my portable surge protector for over 10 years & it hasn't sprouted legs yet, but either one is a MUST have for any rv nowadays with all the electronic devices in them.
Just curious which park in Amarillo you parked at?

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Last Edit: by Danny and Linda.

New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #10

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Same as Danny, we use a brass whole home pressure regulator I purchased at our local plumbing supply store. It is also pre-set to 55 psi and haven't changed it. With a softener and 2 filters we only notice pressure reduction when it's time to change the in-line filter.

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #11

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Danny and Linda , not sure on park yet we are still deciding , my 5er is still in for service since day we bought , and they are telling me another 4-6 weeks for parts , very frustrating. Now waiting for owners reply. Got redwood involved why parts take so long. Waits going to happen when we go full time in next couple months ,

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #12

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Just a comment on the discussion about portable vs RV mounted fixed surge guards. We've run with portable surge guards (a 30 amp relic from the old days that we still use in 30 amp camp grounds and a 50 amp one). I've burned up plugs on both (the plug that goes into the pedestal)due to bad pedestal plugs causing heat damage. I've tried to install new plugs on the guards but they aren't designed to be replaced and opening up the surge guards makes it hard to put them back together in a waterproof way.

Because of this my 50 amp guard isn't in it's best shape and I will eventually go with an internal one.
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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #13

almcc wrote: Just a comment on the discussion about portable vs RV mounted fixed surge guards. We've run with portable surge guards (a 30 amp relic from the old days that we still use in 30 amp camp grounds and a 50 amp one). I've burned up plugs on both (the plug that goes into the pedestal)due to bad pedestal plugs causing heat damage. I've tried to install new plugs on the guards but they aren't designed to be replaced and opening up the surge guards makes it hard to put them back together in a waterproof way.

Because of this my 50 amp guard isn't in it's best shape and I will eventually go with an internal one.


That's another reason I have the internal. Thanks for the reminder. You can buy new cords a lot cheaper than a new Surge Protector.

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #14

  • Jim and Mary
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The only negative to the hard wired install is in the event that it fails somehow, you can't get power to your rig without a lot of rewiring work. I've thought about that a lot. Using a pedestal mounted protector, one could always take that easily out of the equation.

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #15

Jim and Mary wrote: The only negative to the hard wired install is in the event that it fails somehow, you can't get power to your rig without a lot of rewiring work. I've thought about that a lot. Using a pedestal mounted protector, one could always take that easily out of the equation.


It can be done...

Install cord caps. In other words, get a piece of wire out of the panel and install the male end there. Then install another cord into the hard-wired unit with the female end on it. You could do the same on the primary side of the hard-wired unit if inclined. One the front end, it would be a little more work. Put the unit in the right location and it would be a snap to change out. I wouldn't expect that it would go bad for a number of years. There are no moving parts. It's primarily CT's (current transformers) and a few circuit board parts.

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #16

denham45 wrote: Danny and Linda , not sure on park yet we are still deciding , my 5er is still in for service since day we bought , and they are telling me another 4-6 weeks for parts , very frustrating. Now waiting for owners reply. Got redwood involved why parts take so long. Waits going to happen when we go full time in next couple months ,

Hopefully by then it'll be top notch for you. If not get approval for mobil techs or become real handy.
We've stayed at Oasis, Ft Amarillo, Amarillo RV Ranch, never stayed at the KOA. The Oasis is probably the nicest, but nothing out there to block the wind. RV Ranch was ok, but not in the best part of town. Ft Amarillo is our favorite,, smaller, great indoor pool, closer to shopping & DW really likes the gift shop/store.

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Travelin' Texans
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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #17

I agree with Paul But I think 12 minutes might be a little long depending on the pressure of the system. What you might want to do is Turn on the flush and time how long it takes for the full light starts blinking on the black tank level system. Mine usually runs 6-7 minutes and the light is flashing. like I said pressure and water flow will change the time to fill the tank. I have done the bad thing and had it flowing across the roof. Not a good feeling.

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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #18

I don't even pay attention to my sensors, not sure they would ever read full, of the 3 hold tank sensors on mine they've read 1/3 to 2/3 since the day I towed it off the lot.

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Travelin' Texans
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New to Redwood 1 year 4 months ago #19

Ken -

Why not use a Inline water meter ?

Tells exactly the water throughput along with a simple phone stopwatch app gives you flow/minute. Essential for calibrating the iSeries TSM.

That's what I use to determine water flow after setting PSI pressure gauge to about 50PSI, all things being equal.

Also helps with back flushing grey & black tanks so I know how much time until they are really full.

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