Scampi odyssey - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-23-2014, 10:46 PM   #1
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Name: julie
Trailer: 2017 Escape 17B
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Scampi odyssey

Hi All:
I have just returned from a 2 week trip with my new to me '89 16ft Scamp. Had only taken it on one overnighter prior to the big trip. TV was a 2012 4 runner. Went to 7 state parks in NV & Utah as well as one in Idaho. Saw amazing country and love the Scamp BUT.....during the trip several things happened and I could use your advice. First the thermostat on furnace did not work. I believe the furnace fan ran unbeknownst to me & ran the battery way down. Eventually stayed at brother's house & he removed the faulty thermostat. taped the wires, & said to buy a new one. Charged the poor brand new battery back up. Of note, when the fan came on the 1st time in the middle of the night when I thought the furnace was off, it made a cry like a banshee...scared the poor dogs & myself to death, luckily only one other person was in Cathedral Gorge cg! Then determined that the original Dometic fridge didn't work on 12 v or propane. It will work on shore power however. Unfortunately, food was ruined because last few sites had no hookups. Lastly, the door has a mind of its own! When being brought home from 1st overnight outing luckily about 3 blocks from home, a man in front of me at a light jumped out of his car & said "your trailer door is open". I immediately pulled over and the door was closed & locked tight. It must have slammed shut again while I turned the corner. This made me understand why there was a padlock attachment to the outside and a padlock. I have padlocked ever since BUT...it was a dark & stormy night, the last of the 2 weeker and very. very cold in the little Scamp. I got up to use the facilities & to my surprise, the door was open. I had closed it & locked it with the little pin that is supposed to suffice for a lock. Based on this wandering narrative you may wonder what questions I really have (I just read thru the whole dialog on the porta potty issue so believe I can wander a little).
Here are my questions:
1. What's with the fridge (Dometic RM2201)? Is there a problem with the old converter (it is the original Magnatek)? I still do not understand what the converter does even after reading every post on this forum but do know that the recommendation is to upgrade to new technology.
2. There are 2 wires that were attached to the old thermostat, can I order a newer model thermostat & figure out how to attach these wires? The furnace was the original Suburban.
3. Has anyone else had issues as described about the door? Did you replace the hardware with new handles/lock? I don't feel too secure camping alone with this type of inadequate lock.
4. Anyone know what kind of wiring the toyota 2012 4runner w/tow package has? I read on this forum that it should at least have 8 ga to be able to run fridge & charge battery while towing (but also read that it depends on the converter capability).
5. Thank you for trying to make sense of this and helping this novice.

PS, I did replace the rear lights with LEDs as well as the inside lights. What a wonderful difference that made.
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:10 AM   #2
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Hi and first off Julie, did you have fun overall ? Heater fans can drain the battery down pretty quickly. A lot of people here use heaters and will jump in to try to help and answer your question. I don't have one in my SD17 but have in all the other RV's and only used one once.
From reading many posts here on door problems with Scamps, there are many mods members have made to fix the problem. You may want to post a few pictures of your door and lockset, inside and out, door open and closed. I'm sure whatever is causing your door to open has been had and fixed by members here and they will get back to you.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:19 AM   #3
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Name: julie
Trailer: 2017 Escape 17B
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Thanks for your response Dave. Yes, being a former tent camper, this trip was luxurious and I can live without the appliances until I can afford repairs. I saw fabulous country and found out I can tow over very high passes! If you ever get the chance travel Hwy 12 & 24 in Utah, simply magnificent.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:58 AM   #4
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Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
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I am sorry I don't have the answers to your questions but just bought a 1988 Scamp 16 I am fixing up. My refrigerator did not work at all and I spent next to no time trying to diagnose the problem before I snatched it out and installed a similarly sized 120V only "Dorm" fridge I already had. We live in Florida and don’t expect to need much, or any, heat. My plan for the foreseeable future is to camp in State Parks that have 120V hookups anyway. I do not like propane, or any gas in an enclosed structure so will not hooking up or using any of the propane appliances. I do have an eventual plan for “boondocking” that includes solar panels and external propane cooking & water heating. I too am replacing the interior bulbs with LED and it does make a great difference. You should be able to adjust or add to your door strike (the piece the door latches behind) to prevent the door from opening, at least while the trailer is stationary. While under way I would probably utilize the hasp to secure the door. I am sorry I am not much help, good luck with your project! I am originally from Idaho and am a little jealous of your trip.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:42 PM   #5
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You can buy a thermostat at any Home Depot, Lowes, hardware store. You only need a simple one.
chuck
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:03 PM   #6
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As far as keeping the door closed, I can offer this idea I posted a while ago. It may not be the finest looking, but it works. scamp lock not catching
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:35 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2017 Escape 17B
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I think I like the bungee option the best for the short term! Did they correct the issue with the newer models or does age simply contribute to this problem? PS, thanks for everyone's valuable insights on my issues. You guys/gals are great!
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:27 PM   #8
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Battery running down, trying to run the refrigerator on 12VDC will run the battery down in 3 to 4 hours. The fridge not working on propane means it probably has a spider nest in the burner. Some vehicles don't have a large enough alternator to run the fridge and charge the battery. SEE BELOW FOR POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS.

I've had the door issue. Scamp sells a replacement door latch that will probably fix the problem.

The thermostat is a simple on/off switch. Two wires are all that's needed.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS to traveling without the fridge running. I travel all the time without the fridge on while towing.
Solution 1. Choose your foods that don't require refrigeration or much refrigeration. Read backpacking cook books for ideas on how to do this. If you choose your food with this in mind there should be no problem going for a couple days without refrigeration.
Solution 2. Purchase ice and put into zip lock bags to distribute around inside the fridge. I used mine for almost 2 weeks when I had a spider nest and no hook ups. Ice can be purchased in or near most campgrounds. The fridge works like a cooler in this mode.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:13 PM   #9
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Trailer: Casita
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Hi, Welcome to Scampland..Regarding the thermostat. They are cheap at a RV store. Rv thermostats have an internal mechanical stop that keeps the furnace from coming on while traveling. 12Volt refrig runs a battery down very quickly. I use my propane for the refrig and switch to 110 at the campground. Some people don't like propane while moving but most of us it. If your refrig is cold when you start out it will stay cool for at last 4 hours or more.
Usually a "converter" converts 110AC to 12 Volts DC.
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:25 AM   #10
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Hi Julie, just thought of one other thing for you and no one has mentioned it yet and it may be your problem with the refer. When an RV has been stored for a while the LP lines need to be bled to get the air out of them. Trying to lite the fridge first takes a LONG time. Turn on the LP then lite the stove as it uses a lot more gas and faster than the refer. Once it's lit do the refer, it won't take very long then. As others have said spyders webs even small can keep it from lighting. Personally I never run the refer on 12V. It may also be a bad thurmocoupler, they are cheap. I always have an extra one with me.
In 30 years 99% of my camping has been boondocking using LP. I also only run the water heater for maybe 10 minutes to heat up enough water for the two of us for showers.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:01 AM   #11
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I use airplane powered catalytic heater in my 16' Scamp. They are available with a stand and a rubber hose that can be attached where the furnace is. Condensation is a common thing in these trailers so if you keep a window cracked it will take care of the condensation and prevent carbon monoxide problems from the heater. IN ANY CASE GET A COMBO FIRE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM WITH A SELF CONTAINED LIGHT AND KEEP ITS BATTERIES REPLACED EACH YEAR WITH DURACELL COPPERTOP BATTERIES, USUALLY 9 VOLT.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:18 AM   #12
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Where would one buy these Duracell Coppertop Batteries, Frank?
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:29 AM   #13
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Not at the place you would buy "airplane" powered catalytic heaters. Darn spell checker !!! The word should have been "PROPANE"
As for the batteries any place that sells 9 volt batteries should have them. I just bought a pack at K-mart.

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Old 04-25-2014, 06:52 AM   #14
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Door

Just a thought on the door. As said earlier, check the strike plate as well as the locking mechanism. Look at the hinges too, they may need adjusting or the spring and bearing surfaces could be bad. They can be bought through Scamp. Last but not least, take a peek-see under the trailer and look closely at the frame for any cracks that would allow the trailer to flex when traveling. Since the door sprung open while driving I would do this. Moving around in the trailer may have caused it to open at night or possibly the ghost of a former owner!
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