Where are my wires!? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-04-2012, 06:11 PM   #1
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Where are my wires!?

Hi!
I'm a first time UHaul owner. I bought it used, and the previous owner seems to have stripped out the heater, converter, and original wires to the lights, solar panel, and outlets.
He connected it all to the solar panel/battery with lamp cord. It's a mess!
Wiring is one of the things I am clueless on.

For starters, what sort of converter should I be looking for to replace the missing one? I would like the option of using the solar while traveling, and a plug up while parked
(PS, he sealed over the old plug up port with a steel plate. Guess the decision to go solar was final!)

Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:38 PM   #2
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There is a UHaul manual posted in the document center. There is a page showing where all the wiring went. You will want to replace the old converter with a modern smart charger anyway.

I can send you a wiring diagram that I drew up for another UHaul restorer if you PM me your email address.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:49 PM   #3
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I just finished rewiring our CT Uhaul, I installed a Progressive Dynamics 4045 converter, added a couple outlets, and both 12 & 110 volt lights. I removed our furnace and converted that area to storage with a slide out basket. Next I'm going to remove the non functional solar panel as there is a leak in that area. I also rewired the stop/turn/tail lights. Bob
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:38 PM   #4
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Electricity and Gas are to things that you should have experience at to avoid disastrous situations. Look around for some help.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:49 PM   #5
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Here is a good book that will give you a good introduction
Solutions to 12 Volt Electrical Problems, RV Electrical Systems, 'Managing 12 Volts by Harold Barre' ... Summer Breeze Publishing
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:10 PM   #6
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the original solar panel is only a very very low level trickle charger that wasn't meant to recharge the battery. You will want to replace it with something better. And a lot of people relocate the solar panel off the roof.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:48 PM   #7
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Thanks guys!
I'll definitely be checking out the diagrams and books.
I have a few electrician friends who can do the job if I bring them that parts, but they are a few states away. If I'm going to bring it to a shop, I want to be as well armed with info as possible so I don't get overcharged or suckered into unnecessary parts.

Mary and Bob- about how much was this converter? Also, do you still have solar? Can you choose to use one or the other?

Pam- Thankfully the previous owners already replaced the panel with a bigger heavier duty one. He even put on copper flashing! It runs the lights and fans, but since it's hardwired to the battery I can't find out what else.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:07 PM   #8
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SD,

Sounds like you need to find out Bob's travel plans, find a time when you both are in the same location, and pick his brain (and Uhaul!).

CindyL
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:15 AM   #9
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I just got a quote from a local RV repair place setting me back between $1200 and $1500. This includes a new converter, fuse box, all the wiring and an additional face plate for a future fridge.
This is a sight-unseen estimate, they will only quote me face value for $50 to discourage me from shopping around (quoth the shop foreman)

Perhaps a silly question, but does anyone know if this is reasonable or should I run with my bank account intact?
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:17 AM   #10
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I am a little concerned, I was all but escorted off the property while trying to look at a T@b as I am, what they call "Alternative looking".
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:01 AM   #11
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$1200 seems high, though I don't know exactly what this includes. A good converter with a battery charger should not run you more then $200.
Trillium 4500 replacement converter?
If all you want is something to power your 12VDC lights and fan when you plug in, then you can use an old converter. I wouldn't pay much more then $20 for one. I got one for free when I bought a furnace for $80. Don't charge your battery with it though.
The rest is mostly labor. The tools required for wiring are not too expensive.
Lineman's pliers - $20
Small side cutters - $5
Multimeter - $30
Soldering Iron, (good for heat shrink as well) - $10
Crimper - $10
Fish Tape - $15

Supplies:
50/50 Solder, (Rosin core, no acid core, that's for plumbing)
Box of crimp connections.
Electrical tape
Heat shrink, various sizes and colours
Wire, (#14 for most stuff, #10 for big stuff, like battery to TV) colours are important
Loom - to organize the wires

Total cost for the job should not exceed $500, including tools and a battery charger/converter. Solar is another story. A good solar charger makes sense, if you have a solar cell. Not sure which one, but there is lots of information on this site.

It will take time, and some patience. Decide on your colour codes, and make a circuit diagram of what you have done, including colours.

BTW - Alternative looking is cool. One of my daughters changes her hair colour with the seasons. Green was spring. It's flaming red and black now, (fall).
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnappleofDiscord View Post
I just got a quote from a local RV repair place setting me back between $1200 and $1500. This includes a new converter, fuse box, all the wiring and an additional face plate for a future fridge.
This is a sight-unseen estimate, they will only quote me face value for $50 to discourage me from shopping around (quoth the shop foreman)

Perhaps a silly question, but does anyone know if this is reasonable or should I run with my bank account intact?
It all depends on how much you value your time and what skills you have. Many people here of both sexes have done great jobs of refurbishing their eggs including wiring, fiberglass work, and rebuilding windows.

From a financial point, you might consider how much you paid for your UHaul and how much you could sell it for after this work.

Uhaul Campers SOLD | Fiberglass RV's For Sale
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:56 AM   #13
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Unfortunately $1200 sounds about right for a basic rewire and a new converter. Most RV dealerships charge between $60-125/hour for labor and it goes up fast.

I'll bet if you talk to the maintenance people that run the generators at your shows that you can find someone that can do the labor and, as many RV's that usually are seen on the backlots, I am sure you can find an RV savvy person there as well.

For a good starting point I recommend getting the Progressive Dynamics 4045 power chassis also. It gives you everything you need for wiring in both ac and dc systems, as well as a smart battery charger. They are available on-line for less than $200.
Good Luck
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:25 PM   #14
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Looks like I should go into the RV repair field now that I retired from being a truck mechanic. I bought the Progressive Dynamics 4045 power converter/charger from Vintage Trailer Supply, cost was $172.99 plus shipping charge of $15.88. I mounted it next to where the battery is, cut the hole in the face of that storage place, fiberglassed and screwed a plywood reinforcing piece behind it and a brace also. Any time I cut a hole I'm concerned with altering the structural integrity of the area, so I'll try to come up with some kind of reinforcement. I bought the 110 breakers for the converter at Lowes for about $3 each, the 12 volt fuses I had, but they are inexpensive. What I found with this converter was a couple of the 12 volt wires were marked wrong, as in # 6 wire was not connected to #6 fuse. I checked this with an old ohm meter I have. It's kind of distressing to me that there is a lot of simple repairs that cost big money if you have to contract out, but a lot of it is the overhead costs of business. Most people could do a lot of the work if they had someone right with them to show them what to do, this in my opinion is the best way, as written directions can be misunderstood. Having a few of the right simple tools is also a big help. And "alternative looking" people are just as good as anyone else. I'm alternative in that I'm a cranky old guy [66 yesterday] with an off the wall sense of humor [Dilbert, Far Side, Calvin, Pogo]
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