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About carsten.schwark@shaw.ca

  • Birthday 10/01/1971

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Edmonton AB Canada
  1. Susie, I like those pictures. However, I got around 3 feet of snow around my stick house and a 5-foot pile of snow in my front yard. Somehow, seeing Christmas decorations and somebody walking around with an umbrella does not look right to me. I just cannot imagine how Christmas is without all the white stuff and temp well below freezing. Merry Christmas to all. Carsten
  2. Seems like we are getting warmer now. right now we got 20C out there. At home we don't know how to call the Moho yet. Everything goes: coach, bus, motorhome, MoHo. Maybe we should find a name for her/him/it?
  3. Who would have thought? A RV dealer that is actually standing by the product he sells. At least he made me happy. Now that the coach is home again it is time to look at some preventative maintenance. I created a checklist of things that need to be done soon. The list looked like this: • Wash, wax, polish the coach • Change all fluids o Engine oil o GenSet oil o Coolant o Brake fluid o Tranny fluid o Diff fluid o Leveling Jacks o Fresh beer in fridge • Check if the coach got Daylight Running Lights • Aim head lights • Winterize I was not in a rush to get the stuff done. I want to do as much myself as I can. I start my to do list with washing and polishing. I took the coach to a local RV wand wash. It took me $60 to get the coach washed. Now I drove back to my storage place and start the polish part of the job. I have no idea what to use but after checking around at RV.net and IRV2.com I settled for NuFinish. So there I am. 1,000,000 square feet to polish on a nice Saturday morning in October. I am armed with NuFinish and rag’s. Motorhome, here I come. I start my adventure on the roof. I figure if I do the roof first I know it is clean and all the run off should be clean. The roof on my HR Vacationer is a 2 piece Aluminum roof. I simply assume that my NuFinish will do a good job up there. Up to the roof I go. For the age of the coach (it’s a 2002) the roof looks very very very good. No dirt or tree sap at all. I start my Job on the front cap. Wipe on, wipe off, wipe on, wipe off. After around a quarter of wiping on and off I had enough. I NEED A POWER POLISHER. I jump into the car and off to the closes Canadian Tire. Found a 10’’ Orbital polisher for sale for $20, good enough for me. While on the roof I noticed that the joint sealing tape is coming loose on the edges and corners. I am sure that this is not Ethernabond that Monaco is using here. For now I will just use some Dicor and seal everything off. Next time I am up here I will start replacing the tape they use with Ethernabond. With the Polisher it took me 3 hours to get the roof done. Cleaned polished and sealed. I now move to the side walls of the coach. It took me the rest of the on Saturday and most Day on Sunday to get the coach polished up. This was the longest it ever took me to polish anything. By the time I had the polish job done I was beat. BUT it looked good. I used the generator for 2 days to do the polishing. I noticed that the generator got around 250h on the clock. I thing that is actually not to bad for a 7 years old unit. The entire coach only got 17,000 miles on the clock to the unit was definitely not used a lot by the previous owner. I decided that I should give the generator an oil change before I got home. I went to a local Cummins shop and got me filter. To my surprise the filter was only $7. One more thing done on my check list. We did one last trip for Thanksgiving. After that weekend it was time to winterize. I checked the owner manual for everything I needed to know. I must say that Holiday Rambler got a great 240 pages owner manual. The manual gives instruction for both methods of winterizing, Blow out the lines or use 5 gal antifreeze. I somehow don’t trust the blow out method. I live in Canada and it gets cold here (in fact we had snow the last 24 hours and it is May 19, 09 today). I am sure there is still water in some low points where the air simply blows over the water. So I choose the antifreeze method. So I start looking around for plumbing antifreeze. RV-store, Home Depot, Rona, Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart all carry the stuff BUT the price difference is huge. I took the cheap stuff at Wal-Mart and just to make sure I got 7 gal of pink. Totally motivated I head out to the coach. And start winterizing. I actually have the owner manual open for this. Point 1 of the manual instructs me to remove the in line water filter. Of cause by the time I am at point 16 no clue what point 1 was. So I hook up the antifreeze and open the kitchen faucet. Of cause I did not remove the water filter. The filter was only 2 trips old. Darn another $60 down the drain.... literally. Ohh well, I finished my winterizing project without any more problems. I used just over 6 gal of the pink stuff. Now I was planning to do an oil change on the engine. Now I continued my Maintenance Adventure and my brake fluid. There is a lot written online about Brake failure on the Workhorse W22 chassis. I had never done this before so I used the trusted Internet to find the information I needed. I choose FORD DOT 3 brake fluid. I chose to use the Ford fluid because it got the highest wet boil point of the DOT 3 fluids I found. I spend an other $20 on a vacuum pump. I clean out as much of the old fluid for my reservoir and refill with the new DOT 3. From there I went under the coach starting with the rear pumping out the old fluid making sure there is always enough new stuff in the reservoir so I will not get any air into the lines. This entire project took me less than 2 hours. By this time, it was time to start hibernating. If was already November. And camping season was definitely over. So I am putting my coach to rest for the winter.
  4. I think if you let the air out of the tires the smart car may fit into your basement storage Just kidding....last time I looked into it the smart for two was towable 4 down.
  5. September 23, 2008, was the big day. I was nervous and scared. A friend of mine drove to Red Deer, Alberta, with me. He has been driving motorhomes before and I felt like I need somebody with me who knew how to handle this beast. The delivery took around three hours. I found a few things that did not work the way I liked. A technician on standby took care of all the issues I presented. Now I just had to drive the baby home, 1.5 hours north to Edmonton. At first I was a little intimidated. This was a little bigger than the minivan I am used to driving. I took the motorhome around the block and the intimidation was gone rather quickly. I realized that this was actually fun. I went straight home. During my trip home I learned that My dash A/C was not working properly. In fact, the dash fan was only working on the highest speed. Darn! I was still too excited about the purchase, so I put this on the back burner and thought if that was all I found wrong with the MH I would be in good shape. My wife, Leah Ann, and I loaded up immediately because we have no time to waste and wanted to go try our baby ASAP. At home I noticed that my black-water tank showed 2/3 full. Probably just some TP stuck, so I make a mental note to flush the tanks good, after the weekend. We had planned a weekend trip at a local provincial park. It was the end of September, but the weather was a beauty. We went down to Pigeon Lake Provincial Park. It was already after the summer season. I filled up the fresh water at home so we did not have to worry about it. We were leaving home and suddenly my ABS light came on. What the heck? We drove around, used the brakes, and everything felt OK. Got to the highway and the ABS light went off! No Idea what that was about. We arrived in Pigeon Lake. While backing in our campsite, there was that intimidating feeling again. But to my surprise it went very well. Easier than I thought. Almost as easy as driving a Smart car. Now, slideouts out, leveling … done. I headed outside to plug in the power, put out the awning and … well, I was done. I could not believe it -- we had arrived at the campground and 10 minutes later were set up and all this without the usual argument with Leah Ann about backing up and leveling the trailer. Seems like the motorhome acts like a marriage saver, too. Our first weekend trip seemed to be going very well, until sometime during the evening my daughter called me to let me know that she could not flush the toilet. I moved in to investigate and found that the black tank was FULL. What … full? Hang on a second. Can it actually be that I got the MH from the dealer with full tanks? No way. This is disgusting. The dealer would not do that, would he? Darn. Now I am sitting on a campground after the camp season closes and therefore the dump station is closed and my tank is full. Washrooms are closed except one un-serviced toilet. Oh, well, let’s make the best of this. After the weekend out on the lake, we headed back home and the ABS flashed off and on for a while. But the brakes felt fine. Back in Edmonton, the first stop is the dump station in town. For sure, that tank was completely full. After dumping and rinsing, the tank the sensors showed empty. By Tuesday of the week after our first trip, I had a list of things that needed attention. The ABS light, the dash fan, the A/C and other stuff. Of course, the sale contract said “AS IS … NO WARRANTIES.†Great. Regardless, I gave Uncle Ben’s RV a call and talked to my salesperson. I complained about the incident with the full black tank and we talked about the other things that are wrong with the coach. He apologized and told me he would call me back in hour to see what he could do. Within 30 minutes he called and asked me to call the service department to book an appointment and they would take care of all my concerns. Yeah, right … for how much money, I thought. I had to have those things looked at, so I did make the appointment. I dropped off the coach a week later with my list. It took the service department two weeks and they called me that everything and said everything was done. I asked how much this fun would now cost me and was told “NOTHING.†The dealership would take care of everything. Now I was really surprised. Without me arguing, they picked up the tab. So I went back to Red Deer to pick up the coach. At the dealership, I was greeted by my salesperson. He once again apologized about the full tanks. He said he found out that another salesperson had the coach out for a week before I purchased it and did not dump the tanks. He would like to make it up to me and offered me a FREE PATIO RUG. WOW, that thin had a price tag of $129. I was happy as I could be. I took an hour to make sure everything I wanted repaired got repaired and I was satisfied with what I saw. An hour and a half later, I arrived home. Everything worked. The dealership had kept its promise to repair everything and I got a free patio rug. After what I’ve heard about how dealers work, I never expected this. But I am happy with this dealership. TO BE CONTINUED …
  6. Here we go! I'll give blogging a try. Never done this before. I guess I will write about my experiences with my motor coach, purchase, taking delivery and so on. Let me start by writing about our camping experiences in the past. If I go back all the way to the beginning, it actually started in December 1993 in Germany. I was a soldier in the German Armed Forces and just got promoted to Sergeant. I was sitting at our company Sergeant's Christmas party when the company chief approached a group of us because he needed to find one man to send to CFB Shilo, Manitoba, Canada. CFB Shilo was home of the German Army Training Establishment Shilo, the biggest training facility of the German Army. I became the choosen one to go to Shilo for 9 months. On March 17, 1994, I put my first foot onto Canadian soil. So that's how I ended up in Canada. Now it's many years later, and I have not been in the Army since 2000, but I am still in Canada with a wife (she is Canadian) and a 10-year-old daughter. Camping started around 1996 for me. The Army recreation office had 10 tent trailers available to us for $10 a night. This is where I got into camping. Me and my soon-to-be wife started to rent those 8-foot tent trailers and loved it. In 2000 I was finished with the military and I had all my immigration papers to stay in Canada. The army paid me to go to University and we moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. One of the first things we did after settling into our new environment was to look for a new camping trailer. We ended up with a brand-new 1998 Jayco tent trailer, to continue our fun. From there, in 2004 we moved to a new 2003 Trail Cruiser hybrid, which we mostly used on a seasonal site. In 2006 we moved to Edmonton, Alberta. Soon after, we moved to our current residence and became interested in upgrading into a MOTORHOME. By late spring 2007 the motorhome fever was in full swing. I started to do a lot of research about motorhomes. At this point we had no idea about anything motorhome related. It almost became a hobby for us to just go look around. When we first started our research we were looking into a Class C. The Class C seemed to be a little less intimidating for me. We knew nothing bout those. We spent much time at dealer lots just looking. We talked with owners we saw at campgrounds and elsewhere, and slowly narrowed into what we think we needed in a motorhome. One month later I came to realize that a Class C was NOT what I wanted. I asked a dealer for a test drive in a pre owned Class C on a Ford chassis. I learned that once the slideout is in there is no room in the driver cap for me. I am just under 7 feet tall and there was absolutely no room. I was not able to push the driver's seat back far enough to be comfortable. I felt cramped into the little space behind the wheel. After that, I knew there was no way for me to get a Class C. It just wasn't for me. By now it was later in the summer of 2007 and the looking around had stopped for us. I was disappointed and crushed by this test drive experience. All we knew was that we wanted to upgrade. We did not like the hybrid anymore. So now the idea of a Class A was surfacing; we were not too serious about it yet. Also, my wife was getting concerned about her job. She was working for an accounting firm and things weren't going well. So we continued the season in our Trail Cruiser and the motorhome shopping was dead. Winter came and went and the 2008 camping season was upon us. All winter, I did research on motorhomes and then my wife told me that she had quit her job. She could not do it anymore working at this accounting firm and was sick of it. She simply resigned without a new job on hand. That crushed my dream of the motorhome as well. Even after this blow, I dreamt on. Leah Ann knew that she had hurt me. But I did understand her, too. We kept on dreaming. The motorhome purchase was not completely dead yet. We kept going to RV shows and dealerships -- we were now looking for used motorhomes. Leah Ann found a nice job with the city of Edmonton. And we kept on looking. In the meantime, I actually fell in love with a Winnebago Class C built on a Dodge Sprinter chassis. I took the motorhome out for a test run and loved it. To my surprise, the driver cap was so much more comfortable than what I had experienced with the Ford Class Cs. I was amazed. However, the price was a little high. Even after hard negotiating, the price for this new unit was more than I was willing to spend for such a small motorhome. I had the dealer from $124,000 (Canadian) down to $92,000. Still too much when you consider that I could get a Holiday Rambler Arista for under $70,000. So we continued our search weekend after weekend. My dream went on. It was mid-summer 2008 and I had decided to put our Trail Cruiser up for sale. After talking to all the dealers, I had an idea what they would give me for a trade-in value. I placed a free add in Kijiji.com, with a few pictures just before I went to work in the morning. By the time I got home I had 18 e-mails from interested buyers. I lined up some viewing and actually got $1,200 over my asking price. Now we really wanted that Motorhome. Leah Ann was happy with her new job. So we intensified our search. AND THERE IT WAS. At Uncle Ben’s RV in Red Deer, Alberta, we found Motorhome we liked -- priced a little high, but we planned to work on that. It was a 2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer, Chevy 8.1L gas, Workhorse W22 chassis, 17,000 miles. We were able to get the price dropped by $30,000 below asking. On September 23, 2008, we took delivery of our new baby. TO BE CONTINUED ...
  7. The best thing would be for you take a close look at the owners manual. There is usually something in there about recreational towing. It will tell you if and how and under what conditions you could tow the vehicle.
  8. We purchased our Motorhome used. So I don't know if the coach was taken care of as well as it should. We went and purchased extended warranty. So far it has been good for us. Last time out I had problems getting the Fridge going on LP. If that will repeat next time I will have an other claim. On A new coach you expect everything in good working order. It just like every other insurance. As long as nothing happens you are not happy to pay the bill but once you need the coverage you are glad you got it.
  9. Here in Canada it varies by Province as well. I lived in Manitoba and there you need to upgrade your license for everyting with a compined weight over 10,500lb (truck + trailer). No matter if it is comercial or not. I now live in Alberta. I have a class 5 and at the back of my licence it states "two axle motorvehicle and RV's". Meaning no matter what it is, or how heavy it is, or how many axles it got, if it classifies as an RV, I will be good.
  10. Up here I can get a chip repair done for $25. It's not worth the hassle of those DIY-kits. Here in Alberta it is not uncommon to have damaged wind shields. I had a new windshield installed on my 08 Grand Caravan, last x-mas. By the end of January I counted 18 chips. Now I have a 2 feet long crack. I just get used to it. At this point i figured it will be cheaper to replace once it gets to bad. By the time I need the next one it will be time to get a new vehicle. I should mention that it is a company car and we replace vehicle every 18 to 24 month.
  11. Yes that is correct. I would drain the bleach mixture and rinse with clear water. That add the Vinegar. Drain and rinse one more time with clear water and you should be ready to go. Theoretically you can use less vinegar then what you used in bleach. However since you cannot determine how much bleach is left in your tank on a molecular level, I would use the same amount. Vinegar and cheap and does not cause any harm in that concentration. Also I hate to have to run 60 gal of water thrue the system 3 or 4 times. I will fill the tank once all the way with the bleach. Run all the faucets and let it sit for an hour, then I drain, fill the tank 1/3 run the faucets and take the coach for a little drive around the block. Drain and do it again with the vinegar with 1/3 fill etc. Saves me some water and I get to run the coach which is probbably not a bad idea.
  12. I am a Chemical Engineering Technologist and have professionally work in areas of water purifications. Sanitizing with bleach is controversial in the industry, simply because there is no safe level of chlorine for the human consumption. Bleach residue left in the tank can become a problem. However there is a simple solution to that. In chemistry we would write bleach as NaOCl. We could also write NaClO (which is not the correct way but will make it easier for now). Now you can see that we have NaCl present with some oxygen hanging around. NaCl is TABLE SALT. So, in theory all we have to do is get that lazy oxygen molecule away from the table salt. And the answer to that is acetic acid, or for those that don't know what that is, VINEGAR. The vinegar will turn the bleach into table salt and Peracetic Acid which will also react as a antimicrobial agent. The equation would be: NaOCl + CH3COOH ------> NaCl + CH3COOOH So how can we apply this to our RV's? It is OK to use a cup of bleach for every 15 gal of fresh water. After you rinse the tank and system out you use the same amount of Vinegar and rinse again and you will be fine. Don't worrie, the water will not tast like salt. The concentration is so small that you will not tast it. The peracetic acid is very unstable and in the concentration left behind will simply brake down. I hope I wrote this in a way for most people to understand what I am talking about.
  13. Hi Let's start by introducing myself and my family. We are a family of three: me, Carsten 37y my wife, Leah and my daughter, Jewell 10y We live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I moved from Germany to Canada in 1994 with the German Armed Forces. At the end of my tour in 1999 I immigrated to Canada. Today I work as a Field Service Technician for a Swedish medical device company, and my wife works (let me correct that), is EMPLOYED by, the City of Edmonton. We started tent camping in 1996 and soon moved up to an 8-foot pop-up. In 1999 we went from the 8-foot pop-up to a 12-foot pop-up and in 2004 we got a Trail Cruiser 23-foot Hybrid. At the end of last year we got into our first-ever Class A motorhome. We purchased a 2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 34SBD. And now we are official members of FMCA. Since we are still "young" and actually have to work for a living, we will be using the MH mostly for weekend trips around northern Alberta. I hope in the future to meet a lot of you folks out on the open road. Happy Easter, Carsten
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