Help Fight The Camping Trailer Gremlins

Troubleshooting topics on their own page:

Camper Set-up & Tear-down:

Leveling Tips

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The tongue jack (dolly jack on the trailer tongue) cranks up and down to level the camper front-to-back.

For side-to-side leveling use blocks of wood under the low tire or dig out a small hole on the high side. Regardless of which method you choose make sure you chock both tires (with plastic-molded chocks, blocks of wood, a log, a rock, etc.) to secure the camper in place.

Once the camper is level with the tires and dolly jack the stabilizing jacks can be lowered to help fine-tune the leveling.

Level check: usually you can see if the camper is level or not just by looking at the camper. However, camper levels are available or try placing any round object on the floor or counter-top and see which way it rolls.

Power Lift-system No-go

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Possibly the fuse for the motor is blown or the battery is dead.

A back-up crank system is located on the top of the winch. Pop the cap on the top cover. Near the top will be a large ball of grease. Inside that ball of grease is the bolt head for the back-up crank system. A hand crank comes with the camper but you wouldn't want to use it. Use a power drill instead. Here is more back-up crank information.

More on fixing the power lift here: Wicked Winch of the West

Door Fits Poorly

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The most common cause of the door fitting poorly is a not-level-enough camper. Check that the camper is level, cranked up all the way (but not over-cranked), and that the latches that hold the door in place are tight.

Camper Moves Too Much

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Check the chocks. The stabilizing jacks are strong enough to lift the camper enough to elevate the tires above the chocks (or at least have the camper not rely on the chocks as much). After the stabilizing jacks are in place give the chocks an extra kick to make sure they are secure against both sides of the tires.

Ceiling Lights No-go

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Check the cut-off switch first. Sometimes the galley does not fully depress the cut-off switch. Also the wires attached to the cut-off switch can be pulled from the switch if a wire got tangled in the galley hoses.

If the cut-off switch seems okay, check the fuses next.

Lastly, the ceiling wires are connected to the box wires in the front off-door side (driver's side) corner of the roof. Unzip the tent panel zipper in that corner to access the wires. Check that the connections are tight.

GFI or Fuse Blown

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GFI: the most common cause of a tripped GFI is a wet outlet. If the camper has been washed recently the outlet for the fridge may have gotten water in it. When you plug in the camper the GFI will probably trip. Push the reset for the GFI (located on the outlet nearest the power converter).

Although uncommon, It is possible for a GFI to go bad. If the GFI will not reset a new one may be necessary.

Blown fuses:

Check that the battery cables are hooked up correctly.

When recharging the battery we suggest turning the fridge off of 12V. Having the fridge running and re-charging the battery can push the amperage-draw over the fuse's rating (usually 20 amps) and blow the fuse at the battery pack or the main fuse at the power converter.

The other main cause of blown fuses is a pinched wire. This is tougher to diagnose. Having a 12-volt tester (the kind with a sharp end that can push into wire insulation) helps locate the trouble-spot immensely.

Battery Drains Too Fast

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Check the fridge! The only thing powerful enough to drain the battery in a matter of hours is the fridge turned on to 12-volt. The 12V switch on the fridge is only for driving (if the tow vehicle has a hot lead).

If the fridge is not the issue and the battery simply doesn't have as much power as it used to, well, it may be time for a new battery. We can also perform a load-test at our shop to check the battery's staying power.

Fridge Issues

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The fridge is hard to light:

Here's a tip for starting the fridge without frustration .

The fridge isn't getting very cold:

The fridge needs to run for a few hours to get going. Also, if you stock the fridge with room-temperature items the fridge will need days to get things cold. With camper-size fridges starting with cool items to begin with is always a better idea.

If it's been a few hours and the fridge is still not cooling try blowing air into the fridge's vented compartment (outside the trailer, where you light the fridge, use an air compressor or canned air to blow dust and spider webs out of the fridge's flue and piping). An obstructed flue is a common problem (thank you, spiders!)

Special problem: on a hot and humid day it's possible that the air is so "thick" that the fridge can't vent it's heat into the air properly. Try this: turn the fridge down as low as it can go (for the 1.9 cu. ft. fridge that means "low" on LP and "1" on 110V; for the 2.5 cu ft. fridge that means "1" for LP and 110V). That way the fridge is still on and the heat differential will keep the ammonia moving through the system but the fridge doesn't have to vent so much heat as it did when the power is turned up all the way. Basically you are reversing the controls to overcome the high heat and humidity.

If this doesn't help, well, it could be the hot or humid day is just too much for the camper fridge to overcome. Unfortunately we have no better advice than to rely on coolers at that point.

Water System Issues

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Water pump pulsates

If the water pump is on and the faucet is turned off but the pump is still running (constantly) you probably have air in the system. Try opening the faucet one side at a time (hot first, then cold) for every faucet (including exterior showers, if applicable) until a solid stream of water runs from the faucet.

If the water pump is on and the faucet is turned off but the pump pulsates every few minutes or less, it's possible the water line has a small leak somewhere. Check all plumbing connections (especially where the water lines attach to any toilet, shower, sink fixture) for leaks.

If the system has no leaks but the pump still turns on for a second every few minutes or so it's possible the pump is not holding the pressure with it's built-in back-flow preventer. If that's the case a replacement pump head may be necessary.

1.0 GPM pump note: for a brief period Flagstaff used a Shurflo 1.0 GPM pump. This pump is notorious for bad diaphragms. If you have a 1.0 GPM pump that no longer works we strongly encourage you to upgrade to a 2.8GPM pump.

Bad pump

If you have water in the tank but the pump can't draw water from the tank, priming the pump may fix the problem; if not, the diaphragm on the pump may be bad.

Priming the pump: water needs to be fed into the pump directly, by gravity, such that the pump can prime itself and start to draw water from the tank.

Current Flagstaff models have a strainer which can help in this situation. Unscrew the top part of the strainer (the clear plastic piece attached right before the water pump inlet) and carefully pour water into the strainer. Turn on the pump and let the pump start to cycle water through the pump's diaphragm. Replace the clear plastic dome on the strainer. Once the dome is back in place the newly primed pump should have enough suction to draw water from the tank.

If your Flagstaff does not have a strainer attached to the water pump, you can still prime the pump by disconnecting the water hose coming into the pump from the water tank. Attach a separate hose to the water pump (like one you might use for winterizing) and stick the other end of the hose into a bowl of water. Keep the hose as low as possible so the pump doesn't have to draw (fight gravity) much to get water into it's chambers.

Replacing the diaphragm: If priming the pump doesn't help, it's possible the pump diaphragm needs to be replaced. For Shurflo 2.8 GPM pumps the diaphragm can be replaced as one unit known as the "head". Replacement heads are available here: Water pump replacement head

Lime / gunk build-up

If the water pressure has decreased from its normal pressure, check the water filter first. The water filter is very good at its job but in removing floaters from the water it also clogs itself up. This decreases water pressure more than anything else. (Note: even a new, clean filter will also decrease water pressure. Some people don't use a water filter at all because of this)

If your filter is in good shape or you're not using a filter, but the water pressure still seems lacking, check the aerator on the faucet (the strainer is the screen on the end of the faucet that "aerates" the water instead of it being a solid stream of water--this also helps control the flow of water). The cap on the end of the faucet can be un-screwed and removed to inspect the screen. Gunk build-up on the screen will seriously affect water flow.

On shower fixtures, check that lime or gunk build-up hasn't plugged the holes in the hand-set. Most hand-sets have a plug in the middle of the shower head. This plug pops out with the help of a small screwdriver. Under the plug is a screw. Remove the screw and the inner part of the shower head can be pulled out from the shower head base (or the part you hold onto). This inner part (where the water holes are) can now be cleaned of lime or gunk build-up with any sharp instrument (a pin, needle, toothpick, pocket-knife, etc.).

Propane Works But Then Shuts Off

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Symptom: the stove lights for a few seconds but then the pressure drops and eventually the flame either dwindles down to nearly nothing or it dies completely.

What's (probably) happening: The propane hose from the tank to the regulator is bad. The way to check if this is the case is to remove the propane hose from the tank to the regulator from the regulator. Re-attach the loose hose to the tank and turn on the tank. You will be able to hear gas coming from the hose if the hose is good. If you hear the gas for a moment but then nothing (or if you don't hear anything at all) the hose's internal diaphragm or connecting ring (the part that puts pressure on the LP tank and opens the flow of gas) is broken.

Solution: a new propane hose.

LP Detector Beeps Sporadically

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The LP detector (near the floor) beeps every 5-10 minutes if the camper's battery is low. Plug in the camper to 110V and the power converter will recharge the battery (or, if you're in the middle of a camping trip and no 110V outlets are available, hook-up jumper cables to your car battery and idle the engine for a while to recharge the battery).

The smoke detector (on the ceiling) is a stand-alone unit that requires it's own batteries. If this detector starts beeping sporadically it needs a new 9V battery (or AAA batteries, depending on the model).

If you don't find the help you need here, please try Tips & Tricks, email us (Marks' email) or call us at 303-922-6221. Thank you!

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