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Topics - Merlin

Member Miclite2270 sent me this info about replacing the kitchen window in a Camplite.

Hi there, wanted to give an update on my Livin Lite kitchen window search. The company in England (Caravan Crazy) no longer deals with the US market. They said it was some kind of insurance issue. However, they gave me a link to a Dutch company (Willemsen Caravan & Camper Parts B.V.
Boezemweg 51 2641 KG PIJNACKER
They were very helpful and had the exact original Dometic/Seitz window and were happy to ship to US. About $800 with shipping. Just wanted to pass this along in case you have heard of others who are looking. Feel free to post this (I don't know how) & I'm fine if people want to contact me for info. Thanks
I just removed my 9 year old horribly noisy Coleman Mach Polar Cub air conditioner and installed a RecPro by Houghton RV Air Conditioner Low Profile 13.5K Quiet AC Unit with Heat Pump, Non-Ducted, with remote. It's quiet inside! What an amazing difference! I'll report more after I use it for a while, but if anyone needs or wants a new air conditioner with heat, seriously consider this one.
Trailer Maintenance / Odd Tire Behavior
June 24, 2023, 10:11:53 PM
I have a Maxxis 8008+ tire just a year old that goes flat when underway but holds air perfectly when parked. I'm taking it to Discount Tire this week see what's up, but I wondered if anyone else has had this type of tire problem. It's a 185/80R13 and I run 50 psi cold. There is nothing obvious stuck in the tire and there were no bubbles when dunked in a kid's pool (which makes sense, because it doesn't lose air when not in use). I'm wondering if it might be a problem with the seal between the tire and rim.
Camplite and Bearcat Modifications / Heat Pumps
April 04, 2023, 02:34:19 PM
I've been researching heat pumps to replace my extremely noisy and 9 year old Coleman Mach Polar Cub A/C. We are heading out on a month long trip this summer/early fall where both A/C and heat will be needed. We would love to have a MUCH quieter unit.

I've checked out mini-splits and decided they are not going to be the right solution. Although I might be able to move things around and finagle a place for both the inside and outside components, they really don't fit the setup I have in a 16TBS. I wish manufacturers made an RV version of a mini-split, because they are incredibly quiet and efficient.

Roof-top heat pumps come in a wide range of prices. It's hard to find dB information on running sound, both inside and outside. It's also hard to find efficiency information. The one manufacturer that publishes both, as well as starting amp draw is Houghton. Their RecPro models look like a good bet for lower noise, higher efficiency, and low starting amp draw. I know that's not a brand installed by LL and is usually an aftermarket installation for most RVs. I think I'll give their low profile 13.5 btu model heat pump a chance and install that later this month.

Other A/C manufacturers are beginning to recognize the awful noise and efficiency in RV units, but camper manufacturers will almost always install the cheapest (read high noise, low efficiency) units on the roof to keep costs down. Perhaps some the newer "quiet" A/C units from Dometic, Coleman, etc. will eventually get some market share.

In the meantime, if anyone on the forum has input about heat pumps or quiet versions of A/C, chime ins!
Trip Report/Photos / 2023 Season
February 04, 2023, 06:09:07 PM
We got our big U.S. map out at lunch today in the depths of Michigan winter and scoped out a 14 state, 6000 mile, month-long camping trip west. Most likely largely in September. We've stuck close to home the last 3 years and it will be fun to hit the road again. Our extended stays are probably in Utah, California, Oregon, and Colorado. Before then the camper gets some overhaul, with new batteries and a new heat pump A/C.
Here are links to all the appliance manuals in the LL forum.
News and Announcement / Hooray!
September 09, 2021, 01:15:42 PM
Nice to have the forum back up! Thanks Paul.  :)
Camping General Discussions / Michigan Trip
August 22, 2021, 06:08:49 PM
We're about to head out for a couple of weeks to explore our home state. We'll be spending time in the western Upper Peninsula, where we last camped (in a small tent) not long after we were married some 40 years ago. We still remember the black bear that wandered through our campsite at Porcupine Mountains State Park. We'll be there again for 2 nights, this time in our camper, so bring on the bears! The Keweenaw Peninsula has lots to see, including a new national historic park, so that will be fun too. We're traveling completely self-contained except for gas, campground check-ins, and dump stations. Bird migration will be underway, so our binoculars are all cleaned and ready to go.  :)
Trailer Maintenance / Tank treatment
April 10, 2021, 08:47:47 AM
Any recommendations for an enzyme based black tank treatment that has no added scent? My favorite, Thetford Ecosmart, is out of stock everywhere. I suspect the bots sensed a shortage, bought it all up, and it's now $29 per quart.
Trip Report/Photos / 2021 Season
February 25, 2021, 09:05:23 PM
My wife and I are really looking forward to the upcoming camping season. We are going to stick to our state this year and spend some time getting to know our wonderful Michigan state park system better. We are in the planning stage for 5 separate trips, starting this May and going through October. It's almost 650 miles from one end of the state to the other, so we won't lack for putting miles on the camper! The May trips are already reserved; we did that last November. The state park system has a 6 month rolling window for reservations, so we are now planning the August-September trip. Each day I get on the reservation site at 8:00A to get the best site choice for 6 months from that day. Things are filling up fast! We are planning one night at at city campground that takes early reservations and just today I got the last site available for September 2! I think it's going to be a very busy year in the campgrounds. I suspect my favorite trip will the October fall color trip along the Lake Michigan side of the state. For the summer, we'll end up camping at many state parks new to us and for some of them we'll be there several nights to get to know the area. Just a few weeks before we get out the camper for a check-over!

Other Brands of Aluminum Camper / Off Road Camper
January 13, 2021, 02:20:25 PM
I'm looking for a small (very small) off road camper that's lightweight, good ground clearance, and is hardside. We will be keeping our Camplite, but have some campsites in mind here in Michigan that are not accessible with a 16TBS. It can't have any tent aspect because of bear. Any thoughts or experiences are welcome!
As many of you know, there was at least a short period of time (fall of 2014 included) when Livin Lite purchased exterior cargo compartment doors from Challenger Door that had wood in them. I just replaced all three of my doors with new, wood-less doors from Challenger. The ordering and installation process was very easy. I opted for a contrasting color (silver frost) so that if my champagne colored camper has faded, it wouldn't look like I tried to color match and failed. They were $55 each, including tax and shipping, and came with two closures. One is the standard key lock and the other is a simple knob. Nice touch to not need the key every opening while on site. Thanks to @djsamuel for finding and posting the door label.

I replaced them because I had some corrosion damage on the aluminum exterior of the doors, but it was coming from the inside. And, the inside panels on the doors were buckling. When I cut a pieced out of one, I found out why. The exterior aluminum was an extremely thin veneer, maybe a 32nd of an inch. The interior was just paper thin plastic tape. The entire interior was soaking wet and buckling plywood. I'm so glad our campers don't have wood in the main structure! This was an easy fix, with the new doors fitting and sealing well. Challenger assured me their doors now have no wood and haven't for some time. I've reserved the next post area in this thread for photos, which I'll get Paul to post for me soon.
General Towing Discussions / Running the fan
June 22, 2020, 01:09:08 PM
This is sort of towing it ok to run one of the ceiling vent fans on low while going down the road? I want to run the bathroom fan at the rear of the camper blowing out on low and keep the center vent open but with the fan off in hopes of keeping the interior cooler while underway. We plan to use our camper on a trip this week as a pit stop and place for lunch and it would be really nice to keep the inside at ambient temps.
Trailer Maintenance / Compartment doors
May 27, 2020, 09:16:51 PM
The compartment door in the slide of my camper has developed damaged aluminum skin and paint outside and bubbling inside from a leak I didn't notice until too late. I know someone posted on here the part number for the Compartment doors from Challenger but I can't find it. It's a Sept '14 build 16TBS and at that point the Challenger doors had Lauan plywood in them. Unless someone on here knows where that post is, I'll call Challenger and see if they can help.
Boondocking / Solar Kit Installation
December 03, 2019, 08:20:49 AM
The current issue of Trailer Life magazine (December 2019) has an interesting and extensive technical article on installing the latest solar equipment from Xantrex. The company is now making flexible peel and stick solar panels in 3 sizes and has versatile inverter/charger/converter equipment for RVs. They also have Lithium battery packs now for RVs. The article may be useful for ideas to anyone looking at solar or an upgrade to electrical equipment. 
Off Topic / Solar Sale
December 01, 2019, 05:39:35 PM
I'm a bit late on this, but if anyone is on here this evening (12/1) and has been interested in solar, Renogy has 20% off site-wide today. I've been very happy with the 100 watt flexible panel I bought from them. Complete solar kits are available too.
News and Announcement / Spam
June 21, 2019, 07:39:00 PM
To those who noticed.......the forum is getting slammed with spammers recently. Paul is aware of it and is on it, but battling spammers is like the "whack-a-mole" game. In the meantime, we'll just have to be patient with all the noise.
Trailer Maintenance / TPMS
March 15, 2019, 11:30:52 AM
Last summer on our trip back to Michigan from the Canadian Rockies, we picked up a small nail in the right front tire of our camper. It caused a very slow leak that I caught early by checking tire pressure every morning. I could not find the nail during our trip because it had a small head and was buried deep in the tire tread. So every morning I added a couple PSI to the tire. When we got home, I removed the wheel/tire, cleaned it up, and found the nail. It was repairable and the tire has not leaked since.

After that experience, I decided to buy a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) for the camper. I looked at a wide variety of systems available, from stand-alone devices to those interfaced to a smartphone. There has been quite a revolution in these systems as new sensors and smart devices have come available. In my tow vehicle, I use an iPad with Google maps for navigation and it would have been easy to install an app and sensors for TPMS.

When I finished my research, I ultimately decided that for me, manually checking tire pressure each morning before hitting the road was the best way to go. That forces me to look at each wheel/tire every day as I check pressure, which is a very good thing. I also look at each tire and feel it and the bearings at every gas station. The constant manual checking and visual inspection is probably the best way for me to avoid surprises. So, for me, I decided I am the best TPMS for my camper and tow vehicle.

As an interesting aside, back when steam-driven ships were common on the Great Lakes, the ships had an on-board job called an "oiler". That person's job was to "tickle" the bearings of the engine and propulsion system to literally feel for hot or rough bearings. I now think of my personal TPMS as "tickling" the tires.

For those interested in a good article summarizing TPMS as well as a buying guide to systems available now, here is a link to a recent one in Trailer Life.

News and Announcement / Happy Holidays
December 24, 2018, 07:52:49 PM
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and great beginning to the new year.

Thanks for all the posts and interesting ideas in 2018.

I look forward to a fun 2019 and hearing about all the continuing adventures of ACF members.  :)