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Questions About Picking Up Our New Casita

Factory inspection

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#1 desertbill

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 04:02 PM

Having a Casita to replace our pop up tent camper will be  exciting.  If all the rain does not delay production, we should have it the end of July.  A few questions please.

1. I understand that Casita is not responsible for the appliances and equipment.  Does this mean that if i drive out of their factory and find out the same day that the refrigerator or water heater has a problem, I have to call the equipment supplier and not return to Casita?

2. Does Casita test the items they install?  If so, I wonder why the propane tanks do not come full of propane and tires and wheels not balanced?

3. Should I check operation of all appliances before leaving the factory? It sure would take a long time to test the refrigerator on gas and electric. So, looking for tips on what should be tested prior to leaving the factory.

4. When placing into storage for many weeks, should the battery be disconnected?

5. We are looking forward to a very slow leasurly trip from the factory back to Phoenix.  This summer trip will be a good test of the A/C and refrigerator. 

 

Thanks so much. 



#2 Meadowlark

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 06:35 PM

1. I am not sure about the appliances,etc.  I DO know that when they give you the big pack of instructions, manuals, etc  on all the applicances, the axle, etc, several of them (i.e. the Dometic refrigerator) have warranty cards with a VERY NARROW time frame in which to send them in. .For instance, Dometic (the fridge) gives  you only 10 days (that's including weekends) from the day you take possession of the camper in which to send in the warranty card. If you wait until after the ten days they won't honor it. Oh, they want a copy of the Proof of Purchase too. 

 

The warranty on the fridge is good for one year. I can tell you from sad experience, the Dometic refrigerator is junk. Ours has never worked right. When we used the warranty to cover repairs Dometic dragged their feet and did not want to honor it. They claimed we'd abused the fridge but we didn't. It just didn't work right. But because we'd sent them the card immediately, they were bound to cover the repairs. Which didn't work..;-(

 

So take a cooler. No matter where you go, if you can get fuel, you can get ice.

 

What is advised is that you drive about 45 miles from Rice to a camp ground for the night. Then run EVERYTHING, make sure everything works. Look under the sink for leaks from the sink (another problem we experienced but didn't think important enough to turn around), run the range (make sure you open the vent over the range, and it helps a lot to open the roof vent when you operate the range.)

 

This way, if something that Casita is obligated to fix doesn't work (or things fall off, i.e. rivet caps) you aren't so far that it's a PITA to turn around and go back. Right now that may be a problem...Clover (one of our Texans) says that many of the State Parks are closed due to flooding and damage. I would make a decision as to what campground you're going to stay at and call the Texas State parks (I'm sure there's a website) to find out the status of the park.

 

One of the things I've heard mentioned that we did not experience was the first night, after a drive, there's a fine dust of 'stuff' that gets shaken out of the carpet, etc on the first ride. Also some folks have mentioned a 'new car' smell or a 'new carpet' smell. That we did not experience, either as we had to wait a few months before we could pick ours up so it sat on the lot.

 

2. Not being an employee of Casita, I can't speak to whether they test the appliances or not. I believe they do not.

I don't know why they don't fill the propane, but fear not, there is a propane place not very far at all from the factory, you can get there by staying on the frontage road. When we went there the young man was very familiar with Casitas and filled up our tanks.

 

Nor do I understand why they don't so something as simple, and professional thing as spin balance the tires. When we picked up our 2011 there was some propaganda in the packet saying the tires were top notch and didn't need balancing. When we got home we bought REAL tires, (Maxx 8008) which were very expensive but have definitely paid for themselves in ride, trustworthiness and wear.  are the original tires bad? In my opinion, they were cheap Chinese junk tires. We drove ours about 5000 miles and noticed tread wear!  Some folks here on this forum are quite happy with the original tires, and more power to them, but I'm far happier with the Maxx tires.

 

3. I don't see why you couldn't test at least the fridge and the AC/heater strip in the ceiling, the fans, etc. at the factory, but it would probably entail your using their electricity. I  don't know if they'd allow it.  Beware-if you run the fridge on DC it will drain your battery like THAT. If you're going to stop for more than an hour, disconnect the Tow Vehicle connection. Don't forget to reconnect, that connection is not only your running lights but your BRAKES as well. Stopping is WAY more important than going.

 

The furnace runs on 12 volt so you can at least see if it works, even before you get propane. The furnace is LOUD but it will warm the Casita up like that.  The hot water heater is very dependable. Make sure you have water in it before you turn it on and MAKE SURE they show you how to open the valve to it! Have them tell you how to adjust the Sway Bar, make sure the indoor lights work (also 12 volt), check the running lights, the brakes, etc. About the only thing they did for us was fill up our water tank, which allowed us to test the faucets and toilet. If you're going to be in hot country make sure you haven't blocked off the air vent to the power converter underneath the bed, it's right next to the hot water heater compartment. I'm not sure if I have the correct name for it but it will come on automatically if you're running a lot of appliances at once.

 

4. Most of the folks here on the Forum disconnect the battery and remove it completely from the camper when we are putting them in storage for a while.  We put ours on a trickle charger. So I would say yes, it's probably smart to disconnect the battery if you're going to store it for a long period of time. If you have access to power when it's in storage and you live in a damp climate(I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains a lot) it doesn't hurt to run a dehumidifier to keep things dry inside. The Dry-Z-Air packs work, too, but in my climate they last about three days.

 

5. Have a good safe trip. YOu will find tons of good information on this forum and the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. And enjoy your Casita!


Edited by Meadowlark, 21 June 2015 - 06:38 PM.

These are the voyages of the small ship, "Grus Egg".

2011 17" Spirit Deluxe, "Grus Egg"

 

"Civilization began when we stopped eating horses and began riding them."


#3 desertbill

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 07:52 PM

Thanks for the quick reply.  Perhaps I need to ask Casita if they will fix anything once I leave their factory.  Imagine the horror if auto companies had the same policy, "do not bother us if anything goes wrong", call the comapny that made it.  Imagine calling the manufacturer of the car radio, heater, brakes, A/C, lights, transmission, engine, etc.   Looks like R/V suppliers do not stand behind their products as do auto manufacturers.  I still wonder if, one mile down the road, a problem occurs will Casita fix it or ask us to call the manufacturer of that part. Feedback from other buyers would be appreciated.  Does Casita turn on any of the equipment and test it?  Thanks.



#4 SoloMatt

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 04:46 AM

Welcome Bill-- you will love your trailer! That said, Casita will not fix your 3rd party appliances, unless that appliance is clearly failing due to an installation error. If the failure is operational, they will refer you to the manufacturer. Even if you're one mile down the road, 5 minutes after pickup. I would check over everything with a fine tooth comb and attempt to operate as much of the trailer as possible before leaving the factory. Also, if you do plan on addressing any issue with Casita in person, be ready to spend at least a night or two in a hotel (or a tent!). And never pick up on a Friday.

Edited by SoloMatt, 22 June 2015 - 04:58 AM.


#5 Librarianocnj

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 04:58 AM

Be sure to look at all the videos from the factory.  It clearly shows them attaching a propane bottle up to the trailer to demonstrate and check the propane appliances. The guide says your gas and electrical appliances will be temporally hooked up and demonstrated.

 

Also get the CASITA TRAVEL TRAILER A-Z OWNER'S GUIDE fom  http://www.lovemycasita.com/ it's well worth the money.  It might actaually be the best written guide I've ever read and as a Librarian that says a lot.  The guide says your gas and electrical appliances will be temporally hooked up and demonstrated.

 

The guide also recommends that you stay in a close campground over night, recoments  checking all the appliances, the exact order to check them in and says that if you find a provlem you can return to the Casita factory the following day for any repairs/adjustments/replacements.


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#6 Bluedog

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 07:54 AM

When you pick up your trailer, they will do a step by step overview of the trailer and all of its functions. They will use their own propane bottle to demonstrate the functions of all of the gas appliances. If you are not clear about anything, ask questions, they will give you undivided attention until you understand.

 

As far as storage goes, I would at the minimum, disconnect the battery, if it is not in use for a month, I would pull it out and put it on a trickle charger.

 

If you leave the trailer plugged in using the on board charger, it will overcharge and ruin the battery fairly quickly. Lesson learned on my part.



#7 desertbill

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 12:40 PM

SoloMatt, thanks for confirming my fear that Casita will not stand behind the appliances they install.  Thank goodness auto manufacturers will stand behind equipment installed in their cars.  Looks like Casita buyers need to come up with a comphrehensive test and inspection program to implement before making the final payment.  Things that come to mind include.

1. Test A/C to see if cold air comes out and confirm the heater strip works.

2. Determine whether refrigerator is working on both gas and A/C.  I have no clue how to do this in the factory but will ask them.

3. Confirm that the water heater is working.  How to do this?  Can we fill ti with water and wait for it to heat?

4. Confirm that each electrical outlet works.

5. Confirm that the overhead and other vent fans work.

6. Confirm that each stove burner works.

7. Confirm that each light bulb works.

8. Confirm that propane leak detector functions.  Probably cannot test via leaking propane.

9. Confirm that tables can be disassembled.

10. Door lock function

11. Awning function

12. Check each stabilizer jack.

 

This is going to be fun.  I am going to start creating a comphrehensive check list and a list of questions to ask.  Yes, we did buy the Casita book that so many recommend.  It is excellent and we are thrilled to have it.  However, it was disappointing to read that new owners first two stops should be to pay someone to remove the wheels and balance them, and to fill propane tanks.  Golly, this should be done at the factory.  I wonder how many new owners have their wheels removed and balanced after leaving the factory? 



#8 SoloMatt

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 02:23 PM

I see both sides of it. I definitely had a less than stellar experience with Casita service, even though the trailer is fantastic. That said, I also don't think it's entirely fair to compare them to an auto manufacturer. They are probably more similar to a prefab home builder or tract construction firm, as they're making tiny houses on wheels. And, while I don't have much experience with buying newly built homes, I do believe that the general practice is to refer a new home owner to the maker of 3rd party appliances if something goes wrong, rather than the architect/home builder.

Am I right on this?

Edited by SoloMatt, 22 June 2015 - 02:25 PM.


#9 Us burros

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 02:46 PM

I see both sides of it. I definitely had a less than stellar experience with Casita service, even though the trailer is fantastic. That said, I also don't think it's entirely fair to compare them to an auto manufacturer. They are probably more similar to a prefab home builder or tract construction firm, as they're making tiny houses on wheels. And, while I don't have much experience with buying newly built homes, I do believe that the general practice is to refer a new home owner to the maker of 3rd party appliances if something goes wrong, rather than the architect/home builder.

Am I right on this?

Matt, IMHO you are closer to right than to wrong.

 

My suggestion to desertbill is, read the warranty papers Casita gives you. If you do not agree to their terms, do not hand over your money or accept the trailer.



#10 John Craver

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 10:08 AM

SoloMatt, thanks for confirming my fear that Casita will not stand behind the appliances they install.  Thank goodness auto manufacturers will stand behind equipment installed in their cars.  Looks like Casita buyers need to come up with a comphrehensive test and inspection program to implement before making the final payment.  Things that come to mind include.

1. Test A/C to see if cold air comes out and confirm the heater strip works.

2. Determine whether refrigerator is working on both gas and A/C.  I have no clue how to do this in the factory but will ask them.

3. Confirm that the water heater is working.  How to do this?  Can we fill ti with water and wait for it to heat?

4. Confirm that each electrical outlet works.

5. Confirm that the overhead and other vent fans work.

6. Confirm that each stove burner works.

7. Confirm that each light bulb works.

8. Confirm that propane leak detector functions.  Probably cannot test via leaking propane.

9. Confirm that tables can be disassembled.

10. Door lock function

11. Awning function

12. Check each stabilizer jack.

 

This is going to be fun.  I am going to start creating a comphrehensive check list and a list of questions to ask.  Yes, we did buy the Casita book that so many recommend.  It is excellent and we are thrilled to have it.  However, it was disappointing to read that new owners first two stops should be to pay someone to remove the wheels and balance them, and to fill propane tanks.  Golly, this should be done at the factory.  I wonder how many new owners have their wheels removed and balanced after leaving the factory? 

Also turn on the water pump, check each faucet and every water connection for leaks.    There have been reports of Casita not hooking up the waterlines under the sink causing flooding. 



#11 Meadowlark

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 06:19 PM

desertbill,

 

: #2. The refrigerator demands that it be level to work on propane. Ours, especially is so finicky that it seldom works. Take a  a small level with you. When you level the trailer (via back and forthing on leveling pads/blocks,) place the level  IN THE FREEZER compartment and go by that reading, NOT by the leveling bubbles on the side which, I'm sorry to say, aren't always installed level. Go figure. It takes a special talent to install a bubble level unlevel. We learned that one the hard way, too.

 

#3-when we picked our 2011, the hot water heater had water in it. The water heater heats up very quickly. Again, make sure you understand the positions of the  valve (under the bulkhead on the left hand side of the camper, just inside of the hot water heater itself. YOu do not want to run the hot water heater without water in it.

By the way, check on the spade electrical  connector for the hot water heater on/off switch. It is in the compartment under the seat bulkhead aft of the table. We keep a tool box in there and sometimes it comes loose when we're moving stuff in and out of the compartment.

 

 

#4.  Electrical outlets: That's a good idea. We didn't do that (check to see that each outlet works). Ours do, although the one on the bulkhead just below the range (on the bed side) sometimes faults out (it's a GFCI)

 

#7 you might want to consider replacing the 12v light bulbs (which are regular ol' car light bulbs) with LED's when you get a chance. WHile they can be spendy, they more than make up for the cost with better light and far less voltage draw.

 

#8 I can speak from experience...the propane leak alarm works. I mean IT WORKS and not just on propane. It will go off with anything: rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover (acetone), spilled wine!. Sometimes it will go off if you didn't light the burner successfully the first time. The other thing that works too well is the smoke alarm. They put it at ear level. So if you are cooking and get a little bit of smoke, it will split right through your brain at about 200 dB. Which is no fun when it's 1 a false alarm 2, the cat is panicking and bouncing off the walls,  3 you are screaming in pain and 4 it's raining cats and dogs outside. There is no off button that we could see. We removed the smoke alarm after the fourth or fifth false alarm.

 

#10 the door can be dicky. We hadn't been on 1-35 more than ten minutes after leaving the factory when the door popped open at 60 mph.  Fortunately my husband (who was driving) doesn't question orders when I scream them...we pulled off at a very convenient off ramp. Now we travel with a bungee cord (thank you, Carol Christensen, for that great tip) over the door. Don't slam the door, lift the latch when you're shutting the door and close it that way. Lock it with both locks, then PUSH on the door until you hear a click. You might have to adjust thedoor latch striker plate, which is easily done. Dex  and Us Burros taught me how to fix it. Its here somewhere on the forum. It's not bad idea, either, to arrange your mirrors so you can keep an eye on the door while towing.

 

#11 Again, one of Carols' suggestions for the awning: put a small bungee cord on one end of the closed awning before traveling. While it's never happened to us, we've heard horror stories of the awning opening up on the highway and trying to fly away, with much damage to both awning and casita. And the awning manufacturer tells you to stow the awning when it's raining, it's meant for sun shade, not rain cover. But there are times when it gets wet anyway. Keep one end lower than the other when it's deployed to allow any rain to run off, and as soon as you can when you get home, open it up to let it dry completely. We cary a dust mop to brush off the awning before we stow it, and when we get home, we vacuum the channels to get needles, gunk and stuff out of them.

 

You've hit everything but I would suggest also checking the location of the fuse block. The fuses are the 'little' flat spade type available just about anywhere they have automotive stuff. 

Make sure the water tank drain plug is on securely.

We have a "Casita tool box" (a repurposed tackle box). In it we carry a spare hot water tank anode, a socket and rachet for the same, plumber's tape, extra fuses, a rivet gun and rivets, silicone sealant,   extra cotter pins (for the sway bar) all sorts of things. I should dig it out and make a list of what's in there. It's saved our butts several times.

 

You've done a lot of thinking and planning. You're going to enjoy your egg, I promise. We love ours.

 

By the way, when put the Casita into storage, it's a good idea to blow out the water lines and putting in RV antifreeze. I believe the blow out plug came with the Casita, but I can't remember. One of the things to blow out is the hot water heater. Have them show you where the pressure release valve is on the hot water heater and release it before you remove the anode.


Edited by Meadowlark, 23 June 2015 - 06:23 PM.

These are the voyages of the small ship, "Grus Egg".

2011 17" Spirit Deluxe, "Grus Egg"

 

"Civilization began when we stopped eating horses and began riding them."


#12 desertbill

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 02:45 PM

Thanks Meadowlark for all your suggestions.  I am busy reading lots of info on the forum and copying the valuable stuff into a Word file.  So far about 20 pages of tips.  Also have read the A-Z manual twice and taken 22 pages of notes.  Also saw each factory orientaiton video twice.

 

We used a Coleman pop up camper for 16 years so have some experience  One big decision is not to use the Casita hot water tank, toilet, shower or sink.  Sounds strange but we did well heating water on the Coleman stove and washing dishes in a pan, plus using the campground toilets and showers.  So, current plans are to keep the Casita as long as desired then sell it with a never used toilet, shower, water tank, water heater, gray water tank or black water tank.  Sounds weird but so far that is the plan.  We also plan on installing suitable propane connections to use an outdoor stove when possible.  Also looking forward to installing a system to more easily remove the battery.  We saw a web site explanaiton of how to achieve this with a one dollar cent piece of wood.  It seems that the battery should be on a pull out drawer or tray.

 

Regarding pickup we are aware that several of the nearby campgrounds are currently closed.  We hope to find someplace close to the factory to camp the day of pickup the end of July.



#13 tractors1

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 04:50 PM

I learned to have the factory not install simple stuff on my trailers, just leave the items loose in a bag. Particularly the levels; I find it easy to use a 1 ft plastic level on the belly band and you have 4 fewer holes in the trailer to leak. Once you get it level you can tape on the factory levels with VHB tape instead of rivets. Same on the wire baskets - you might want them installed different from the factory locations if you use them at all - pretty worthless to me as all the smaller stuff just falls out or gets hung up.

 

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#14 kbkeck

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 01:21 PM

Reading through this feed has given us some new questions to ask all of you.

 

1.  Where did you stay the first couple nights after picking up your Casita? 

Our plan is to go to 1000T @ Lake Whitney which is over an hour away.

 

2.  Where would you suggest we get our tires balanced?    Our propane tanks filled?

 

Thanks to all who have written on this feed.  This information will be invaluable when we arrive in Rice on Sept 5.

Karl & Barbara Keck   :unsure:

 


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#15 clairemr1

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 05:43 AM

    many folks camp at high view cg or waxahachie creek cg, both on lake bardwell for their shake down trip,half price camping with senior interagency pass, it's 20 miles or so from the factory, if you find something that needs tweeking/adjusting, easy to get back to the factory for the fix. best of luck, you'll love your casita


Edited by clairemr1, 07 May 2016 - 06:23 AM.

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