RV Expert Center
Power Trip, I have a 1989 Class A motorhome that I purchased used. It’s in nice shape except for one problem: When I plug the power line into a GFCI plug, it trips the connection. The RV has a GFCI in the bathroom that seems to be working. Got any ideas? - John Wimbish The problem could be in your RV or in the park wiring. It’s important to know if the same GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) on that pedestal trips when another RV is connected to it, or is it just yours? Also, can you try another GFCI-equipped pedestal? Perhaps at another site? A single GFCI may be weak or faulty, but it’s also possible the entire park is miswired. With the RV plugged into a source of 120 volts, check each receptacle in the coach with a volt-meter and a polarity tester. You may find a receptacle with reversed polarity. Also, the GFCI in the RV could be wired incorrectly, allowing the “hot” lead to cross over to the neutral bus bar since both sets of wires connect to the GFCI in the coach. With all power removed from the rig, remove the GFCI receptacle in the bathroom and label each set of wires entering the receptacle box. Note the contacts on the GFCI are labeled, “line” and “load.” The incoming black and white wires connect to the “line” terminals and the remaining black and white wires, connect to the “load” terminals. You may have to electrically activate the system to determine which set is which. Take care if you do plug the coach in. One set will be “hot.” Use your voltmeter to determine the “hot” line wires. Unplug the coach before making the final connections to the GFCI receptacle. If that doesn’t clear the problem, it will be necessary to perform a hi-pot test. A visit to your local RV service center may be in order.
Fragrant Furnace, I have a Duo-Therm furnace, model #90130.001. When the propane tank is almost empty, the furnace gives off an awful gas odor in the RV. Is there anything one can do to eliminate this odor? - Ned Irwin The LP odor seemingly emitting from your furnace is usually attributed to the the level of fuel in the container. A chemical odorant, ethyl mercaptan, is induced into liquid propane during the distilling process to ensure that if a leak occurs, the user would indeed be made aware of it. Liquid propane is inherently odorless and colorless, so the odorant is added as a safety feature. When a container is near empty, the percentage of mercaptan relative to the remainder of the liquid fuel is greater than normal. When LP is utilized in RV appliances as a vapor during this low-level situation, some of the smell can seep into the appliances and become evident to the user. In furnaces, this phenomenon is usually kept to a minimum since the furnace is a completely sealed system and uses outside air to mix with the LP for combustion. But it can happen since the 900 series Duo-Therm furnace utilizes a different type of burner configuration, which forces an extremely rich mixture into the combustion chamber. You probably don’t have a problem as long as the smell doesn’t occur when the LP is high. To be sure, you should have your coach thoroughly leak tested using a manometer.