@#$%! that broke

This page is about @#$%! that broke during our 2012 trip. So far no @#$%! has broken during our 2016 trip, but we will update this page as soon as it does. 

11/16/12 Fresh water pump

Symptom:  When the electric water pump, which provides fresh water to the faucets, shower and toilet, was turned on, no water came out.

Diagnosis:  When to look at water pump and observed it was very hot to the touch.  Also observed the words “thermally protected” on the pump.   Once it cooled down, it turns on and works, however, it never shuts off, it  just slowly chugs indefinitely.   This is most likely a leak in the RV, the diaphram valve, or the shut off valve.

Resolution: Right now we are taking a manual approach and making sure we are not leaving the water pump on.


11/1/12 Front A/C Cover

Symptom:  Loud noise while driving down the road. Traffic behind us slowing. Large plastic object tumbling into the ditch.

Diagnosis Process:  Pulled over and climbed on roof. Found cover to be missing.

Missing Cover
Missing Cover

I do happen to recall both the front and the rear covers being fairly brittle with cracking around the mounting screws.

Resolution:  Since piecing back together the old one didn’t seem wise, we ordered a replacement model. Additionally, did a little preventative maintenance on the rear cover.

Rear Cover - Before
Rear Cover – Before




Rear Cover - After
Rear Cover – After



Cost: ~$135.00 for replacement cover


Engine Misfire 10/6/12

Symptom:  RV was “bucking” a little, every few minutes.    Started to get worse as the day went on.

Code Scanner
Code Scanner

Diagnosis Process:  It had happened a little on the way to Greensboro and I did initially have a thought it was related to the rain as there was a thundershower both times before it started.   However, knowing it was was some kind of engine management issue, I went to the auto parts store and picked up an ODB-II Code Scanner.   Initially plugged it into the port under the dash and the scanner did not even power up.  After a little research, found that the port gets its power from the cigarette lighter, which I knew didn’t work, so created a jumper wire over to that and viola, scanned the ECU and got a P0103 code which translates to “Mass Air Flow (MAF) Circuit High Input”.  This is the sensor that tells the engine how much air is flowing into the intake, which is obviously critical for fuel injection calculations.

Ok, so that gave a clue.   Popped open the hood, opened the air cleaner, where the MAF is usually located (and indeed, that’s where it was).   Discovered the air cleaner was totally soaked and had a puddle of water at the bottom.

Drenched Air Filter
Drenched Air Filter

Huh, well, ok, so we ingested some water. Looking at the design of the airbox its kind of obvious that spray and rain would get sucked right in there. That would probably cause a misfire!   Did a little more research and found that its actually a really common problem with the Ford F53 chassis, and a service bulletin was issued for this problem and a replacement part that moves the air intake up and has a drain has been made available.

Resolution: While we haven’t had a chance to get the factory part yet, a replacement filter, some electronics cleaner, and a little ducting from home depot have gotten us back in top-top shape for now.

Cost: ~$60

Dometic Refrigerator 8/16/12

Symptom: After being fairly un-level for about 24hours (a no-no with these refrigerators), the fridge got very warm.

Diagnosis Process: An excellent article on how these things work is on the RV Doctor’s website. The fridge runs on either propane or A/C. The propane burner was functioning at least partially. Checked AC heating elements resistance w/ a multi-meter, checked out ok @ ~68ohms each.

Hotwiring the fridge
Hotwiring the fridge

Next I directly wired A/C heating elements to the outlet plug and left on for 12+ hours, and saw no change in freezer temperature (~56degrees). Called David @ RV Cooling Units who was very helpful and verified the steps I had taken, and suggested a replacement cooling unit. They are a little over $1000 shipped. (New refrigerator you might ask, what’s the cost… over $2000). Replacing the cooling unit is basically all of the guts on the back of the refrigerator.

Resolution: We lived out of a cooler for about a week. Then on a whim, I left the fridge on propane while we were travelling and found frost in the freezer. After a day or so, it eventually got back to appropriate temperatures in the fridge. We are monitoring closely now but things seem fine. There is a case where the ammonia can crystallize from boiling off (not being level), and movement of the remaining liquid (basically, water) can re-dissolve the ammonia, so crossing our fingers!

Cost so far: $0

Dash Climate Control: 8/10/12

Symptom: Fan for Dash (normal automobile type) Air conditioner not coming on.

Diagnosis process: Spent an hour or so futilely trying to locate the under-dash fuse box. No, the fuse is not under the hood where many fuses are, nor is it in the coach where several other fuses are. Eventually found a fourth set of fuses and relays under the hood. Swapped relays, no avail. Found one blown fuse labeled “lights” with a piece of masking tape.. no avail. Finally tracked down a wiring diagram and a

Eventually figured out that the blower motor relay was engaging under the dash, so after much consternation, removed the passenger side dash.

This turned out to be unneccessary 🙂 and found an access panel below the dash. Swapped the relay out with a different one and viola!

Resolution: Replaced relay from auto parts store..





Cost: $10.00

Front Air conditioner: 8/1/12

Symptom: A lot like when the rear A/C stopped working exactly a month ago, except with Suzanne poking her head into the bedroom saying “The A/C smells like its burning” 🙂

Diagnosis process: Swapped rear start capacitor with front to verify that was the problem. Found same melted motor starter relay as before.  Fired up the front A/C to validate.

Resolution: Ordered the same “hard start kit” from ebay, had it delivered Suzanne’s dad in Chicago, installed in 5 minutes, back up and running.

Cost: $25.00

Battery Cable: 7/1/12 and 7/8/12.

Symptom: Nothing 12V works unless the RV is running or plugged in.

Diagnosis Process: Check fuses, check that shutoff switch is not reset. Open battery compartment and observe one broken cable end. The cable the joins the two golf cart batteries together broke twice, each connector broke on a separate occasion.

Resolution: Jumper cables to get us through the day, and then a trip to Napa Auto Parts to get the materials for a new 2/0 cable.

Cost: About $20.00

Rear Air conditioner: 6/30/12

Symptom: Initially, the generator was dying when the rear A/C was turned on.

Diagnosis process: First suspected generator, but after running front A/C plus microwave plus hair dryer, determined generator was fine. Significant research on motorhome A/C units resulted in three possible suspects: 1) Compressor (expensive) 2) electronics (expensive) 3) capacitor and/or relay (not expensive). The compressor wiring was checked and there were no shorts, the capacitors were removed and checked per this procedure. The starting capacitor that helps the compressor kick off was toast and the relay that kicks it on was melted.

Resolution: Ordered a new “hard start kit” from ebay, had it delivered to our friends in Minneapolis, installed in 5 minutes, back up and running.

Cost: $25.00

Generator: 7/17/12

Symptom: Generator was surging and occasionally dying.

Diagnosis Process: Surging is almost always a fuel starvation problem, so removed fuel feed, validated fuel flowing well to carburetor. Removed carburetor and checked jets, looking for clogging, varnish, etc. Found none. Eventually discovered float that controls fuel flow was binding.

Resolution: Filed and sanded plastic float to fit looser in carburator housing.

Cost: $0.00

Bedroom Cupboard  6/15/12

Symptom:  Storage cupboard above bed not staying closed.

Diagnosis Process: Observed loose hinges.

Resolution: Purchased new clasp and screws, re-located hinges so new holes could be drilled and replaced clasp.

Cost: $3.00

Storage Compartment Access 5/30/12

Symptom: Discovered two days before leaving that we have no way to lock the storage compartments (no key on key ring).

Diagnosis Process:  Several sources indicated there are only a few different keys for these types of locks.

Resolution:  After trying every possible key in the dealership, the service manager at Poulsbo RV said “We sold you this RV? And you didn’t get the key” – I said “Yes”.  He said, “Ok, just take the lock to this locksmith, have him make you two keys and put it on our account”.

Cost: $0.00


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