Wintering in an RV

I am trying to figure out our plans for the upcoming year. We are currently in Tennessee, waiting for parts to come in so we can replace the headers and manifolds in our 1988 Tiffin Allegro and hopefully be back on the road soon. There are things I want to take care of though, things that we should have taken care of before we ever left on our journey but time and money were not in our favor at the time. I want to get these things taken care of soon though and I am hoping if we can find somewhere to stay for a few months where we will have access to power tools, space to work, and money to afford everything, then we can do all the work we need to get done and have a fully functional, watertight, mobile RV that works for us, feels like home, and we don’t have to worry as much. But in order to do all that, we need spend a season wintering in the RV and getting everything done and taken care of.

Obviously, the first thing we need to take care of is the engine. We need a running engine so we can move and travel. I am hoping that will be taken care of in three weeks when we return to Red Bay and get the manifold and headers replaced. One of the manifolds is leaking exhaust pretty bad which is both bad for us and damages engine parts like the spark plugs. They are having trouble getting ahold of the parts to replace it though. Something about a 30 year old engine being difficult to find new parts for.

The only other thing I think we might need is a new carburetor. We can get one for around $200, but we would need to pay someone to install it. We might be able to replace the fuel pump as well. Its not needed yet as its still working fine, but it could go at any time. With those things done, we should be good to go for quite awhile.

Next up is the roof. The roof needs a new coating on it, and when we cover it with a sealant, it should stop any leaks that we might have. We had one leak in the back a week ago, but I covered it up with Eternabond and it hasn’t leaked since. Its not a permanent solution though, and we need to cover the whole roof in a sealant, which available from Amazon as well and made by the same company that makes Dicor lap sealant. With a solid sheet of rubberized coating on the whole roof, there will be nowhere for water to enter.

However, before we do that, we need to do something like replacing the remaining roof vents. We replaced one that was completely broken and wouldn’t stay closed, but we have three more. One is in the bathroom and has a fan, but it was broken long ago and never repaired or replaced. Its simple to replace the vent though, so we can do that in an hour or two and replace them all. If we can manage to afford it, we’ll add a Fan-Tastic Fan, but those are out of our price range at the moment and may have to wait.

We would also like to replace our air conditioner since the one we have does not work at all. Those are upwards of $500 though, so we’ll do that when we have the money and not before. I’ve tried reaching out to companies for sponsorship with an A/C unit, but so far heard nothing back. It would be nice to have, but we’ve dealt with over 90° weather before, so we can deal with it for now. If we can’t afford that this year, then it will have to wait until next year, but it is definitely something I want replaced as soon as possible.

With those items replaced, we can then coat the roof in a sealant and not worry about leaks anymore.

That leaves the inside of the RV.

I have drawn out a schematic for building a shelving unit in the closet. Right now its a mess in there with stuff just crammed in randomly that usually falls out while we are driving. With the shelf built, we’ll have better storage, be able to buy more things in bulk, and have room for things we need. That isn’t going to be hard or expensive, but the only difficult part is getting the wood cut to the right lengths so I can throw it all together.

Then there is the desk and power bank. I tore out the dinette awhile ago and will be replacing it with a desk for us to work on instead of having everything on our laps in the bed or on the dash up front. I’m still working on the exact design, but I want it to have room for the inverter, batteries, and a computer server. It doesn’t require a lot of space, but it will require some work to make it all fit. The batteries I want are also around $1000, so well, that’s not going to happen any time soon. We have the inverter, just need to install it, but I want to wait until we know exactly where it is going to be and how everything will connect together before I run the cables to make it work. Read here for the setup with the inverter.

Finally, there is the bed to deal with. We have a platform for the bed, but it is far from ideal. I want to build something that allows us to have more storage underneath and still have access to the water pump and tank in case anything happens. I haven’t figured out the details for how to make this work, but I have an idea. The only problem is that there is electric, heating and plumbing underneath that I need to deal with. The easiest way to do it would be if were somewhere we can tear everything out and rebuild it, without having to try working around everything. I would also like to build some sort of organization platform for Tiffany since that is her side of the bed and things seem to accumulate there.

All of this requires us to be somewhere we can park for awhile, save money and work on the RV without problems. If we can park somewhere for a few months, we can save money on gas, buy the supplies we need, and get the RV in tip top condition and feeling like a home instead of the place we sleep alone.

Wintering in New England?

We have one option, but I’m not sure how viable it is. It seems we can’t actually live in our RV on their property, but since the house is set back from the road, we might be able to park the RV on their spot, have power and water, and figure out how to drain our tanks. That means we’ll be in New England for awhile, but we can save money while there, so we can buy things to work on and get things working. We would nee propane or a small heater for the area in the wet bay to keep it from freezing, but it still might be doable. There are also blankets for waste tanks that are electric, so surrounding one of the tanks with a heat blanket would keep it warm enough to not freeze.

All of this of course depends on us being able to stay there for a few months. We could probably save $400 or more a month, which would allow us to get some work done, at least the roof and vents and maybe the AC replaced, or we could wait until it warms up to do the AC and go without it this year.

We also have some debts we are paying off now, so once those are done, we’ll have plenty more money to work with every month. If we can drive down our debt, we’ll have more money to spend on repairs and save money for the future, but this all depends on us being able to find somewhere to stay for a bit and save money.

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