Essential Spring Steps
Spring is finally here and we all breathe a collective sigh of relief as the sun shines and the adventure of the road calls once again. Before you set off on your first trip of the season, it’s important to keep in mind that reactivating your American Coach after long-term storage involves more than just getting in and starting it up. Even though your motorcoach may have been idle during the winter months, its components and systems continue to age.
We’ve prepared the following checklist to help you ensure your motorcoach is fully ready. Before you travel, be sure to check all these items:
- Fluid levels: check fluid levels for oil, power steering, engine coolant, windshield washer, transmission, brake fluids and house batteries. Also check your chassis manufacturer’s requirements for any further needed inspections and fluid changes.
- Air conditioner and furnace: clean air conditioner filter and check both appliances for proper operation.
- Awning: extend to air out. Lubricate moving parts if necessary. Re-stow before travel.
- Batteries: house and chassis: clean terminals following safety procedures; test all systems for proper operation.
- Brakes: check brakes for proper operation. Take to your nearest chassis RV service center if service is required.
- Dump valves: knife valves should operate smoothly. There should be no sticking, and knife valves should seal completely. Lubricate or change any suspect valve before a problem develops.
- Generator: check oil and coolant levels, air inlet and exhaust for obstructions. Check compartment for debris. Start generator and test for proper operation. Is the generator current on maintenance items?
- Leveling jacks: extend and retract to ensure proper operation. Remember to have your engine running, to assure adequate power from the alternator, to assure proper operation. For hydraulic jacks, use a silicone spray to lubricate the cylinder surface and operate the system a few times to lubricate the seal edges. Inspect for hydraulic fluid leaks; also check hydraulic fluid level, if you are getting a jacks down signal on the touchpad when the jacks are fully retracted.
- Lighting: turn on all lighting systems; check for burned out bulbs or non-functioning fixtures. Replace or repair as needed. Be sure to replace with the same number bulb that was originally installed.
- Roof: check roof and roof sealants for cracks and repair as necessary. This procedure should be followed every three months.
- Surge protection device: consider adding a surge protection device to the electrical system, to help protect against 50-amp power fluctuations from shore power, or inadvertent loss of neutral if the power cord plug is inserted or extracted from a receptacle that is still “hot.” ALWAYS turn off the shore power before plugging in or unplugging the shore power cord.
- Slide rooms: check bulb seals and wipers seals, lubricate or have them replaced if the seals have lost their flexibility and are not properly sealing. Lubricate rams and gears under the slide rooms if needed.
- Tires: check tires for cracks or embedded objects. Check tire pressure and adjust to the tire manufacturer’s load specifications.
- Towing system: examine the hitch system for wear, loose bolts or cracks. Check wiring socket for corrosion, clean or repair as necessary.
- Underbelly: check for rust, corrosion, leaks or other damages that may require repair. Do not undercoat near brake lines, fuel lines or exhaust systems.
- Vents: clean and check for proper operation and ventilation.
- Appliances: check for proper operation of all appliances, including checks for nests, spider webs and debris at the burners and exhausts of the appliances.
- Propane: have your local American Coach dealer perform a pressure drop test on the propane system to ensure you do not have any leaks.
- Fire extinguisher: reinstall if removed and verify the fire extinguisher is fully charged.
- Safety equipment/appliance batteries: install new batteries in clocks, smoke detectors, CO detectors, etc. Test all items for proper operation.
- Ventilation: open all windows and vents to air out coach. Remove sun block material.
- Water system: flush antifreeze from system (if winterized) then sanitize and add fresh water.
- Sanitizing procedure: To assure complete disinfection of your fresh water system, it is recommended that this procedure be followed on: a new system, one that has been used for a period of time, one that may have become contaminated, or one that may be going into or coming out of storage for a period of time.
- Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and ¼ cup of household bleach. With the fresh water tank empty, put the solution into the fresh water tank. Use one gallon of solution for every fifteen gallons of fresh water tank capacity. (Example: A 75-gallon fresh water tank would require five gallons of solution to be put into the fresh water tank.)
- Complete filling the fresh water tank with fresh water. Turn on the water pump and open each faucet and run until a distinct odor of chlorine can be detected at the water discharge. Do not forget the hot water taps and exterior faucets or showers.
- Allow system to stand for at least four hours.
- Completely drain and flush the fresh water system.
If you find any issues that require repair during the reactivation process, don’t hesitate to call American Coach Owner Relations at (800) 322-8216 and we can help you locate your nearest American Coach dealer.