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Old 12-12-2011, 02:47 AM   #1
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Default knowledge please!!! camper van

I am the new owner of a 1988 ford econoline camper van aquired through family) and don't know anything about it. Can someone tell me where I can get a free owners manual/ operating manual online? I need to know how to make the outlets work, how the fridge works, how to turn on the propane, etc. would love any advice or shared knowledge. Thanks!!!!
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

First of all, check the vehicle carefully in all storage spots for manuals. If there aren't any .....
You will not find one manual that covers all the appliances. You should look for manuals for each appliance -
Fridge - what is make & model? Then do a web search. Same with the furnace, toilet, microwave, etc
Propane operation - visit a propane dealer, ask for a fill up and info.
You can also do an advanced search in this forum. enter in some key words and read the results.
Happy camping!
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

thanks! I appreciate the reply. I guess I was hoping for a simple easy answer. haha
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

this might be a dumb question, but there are 110v outlets throughout the van, but they dont seem to function. Is there a built in inverter, or do I need to plug a generator into the outside recepticle of the van to get AC power? Is there a way I can get AC power without a generator? The van has 2 batteries under the hood.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

Try to identify every component. Post photos here if you are not sure what a part is.

Typically an older van will have a Converter. Basically, a converter takes 110 volt AC grid power (or generator power) and converts it 12 volts DC to charge the "house" battery and power 12v DC appliances.

If your van already has 110V AC outlets then it will have an electrical panel. You should be able to connect the van to an outlet on your home using an adapter for 15amp AC power or to a campground type outlet for 30amp AC power.

Yes, you can use an inverter or a generator for 110 volt AC power.

Do you have a 30amp electric cord to plug into campground power? Is it permanently wired into the van or is there an "inlet" on the outside of the van to attach the cord. Think of an "inlet" as the opposite of an "outlet". An inlet will have the blades or prongs of a plug but they are recessed for safety.

Powering your van though an "outlet" on the side is too dangerous. It would require a double male plug cord which is commonly known as a Dead Man's Plug.

A 30amp 110volt AC cord is very thick and heavy compared to a normal cord and the ends look very different than a normal 15amp (or less) 110volt cord used around your house.

Attached Images
File Type: gif 30ampRV.gif (4.5 KB, 1600 views)
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

Quote:
Originally Posted by craig3x
I am the new owner of a 1988 ford econoline camper van aquired through family) and don't know anything about it. Can someone tell me where I can get a free owners manual/ operating manual online? I need to know how to make the outlets work, how the fridge works, how to turn on the propane, etc. would love any advice or shared knowledge. Thanks!!!!
Just curious. What type/model of "camper van" is it? Is it a mainstream van conversion by someone
like Pleasure Way, or Leisure Travel, or Great West, etc.?
Does it have a van conversion company's name or logo on it somewhere, or is it a do it yourselfer?
If you can figure that out, post it up. There may be others on here with the same make/model or
something similar.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

Thanks! I will take some pictures and post them when I get the chance. Again, thanks for the replies and help!
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo

Do you have a 30amp electric cord to plug into campground power? Is it permanently wired into the van or is there an "inlet" on the outside of the van to attach the cord. Think of an "inlet" as the opposite of an "outlet". An inlet will have the blades or prongs of a plug but they are recessed for safety.




yes, it does have an "inlet" to plug a cord into on the outside of the van. My question is this the only way to get AC power for the outlet receptacles to power things like a microwave, TV,other appliances, etc? I want to camp in remote areas where I won't have the option to "plug" my van into anything, but I still want AC power. I will try to get pics soon
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

Depending on what you want to run, and your budget, your options will vary.
You could use a high capacity inverter, and some high capacity deep cycle batteries, and use some
renewable energy sources to replenish them, in addition to a generator, and your vehicle's engine/alternator.
If your talking about running AC it's usually considered impractical.
If you want to run microwaves and TVs and or large continuous draw appliances, you'll have to consider how
much total wattage/amperage you'll need in an average day of use, and then match your power supply and
replenishment strategy to cover that (plus a bit, maybe?).
Cost can be an inhibitor, but you can create systems that will do the very basics, or sky's the limit if you
decide to add solar/wind (yes, some use small wind turbines to recharge their batteries, no idea how well
it works ).

There are several forum members who can speak to specifics of renewable energy to recharge or to run
their electricity needs. I use my van's engine and a generator to recharge my 2 AGMs while we travel, but
that works for us, because we tend to tour more than stay in one place for days at a time. If we want to
make a brewed cup of coffee, we fire up the generator for a bit, everything else (Tvs, chargers, laptops,
etc.) runs pretty well off 2 small inverters I picked up at Batteries Plus last October. They plug into the 12V
system in the van and draw from the AGMs.
I don't think there's an easy answer, it depends on what you decide you need.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: knowledge please!!! camper van

Here's a list of typical camper van components to look for in your van:

Isolator separates house battery from engine battery
House Battery provides 12v power to the coach
House Battery Disconnect Switch disconnects the house battery to prevent discharge
Converter provides 12 volt DC and charges house battery when plugged into grid
Inverter gives you 110 volt AC from a 12 volt DC source
Generator used to provide 110 volts AC
110 volt electrical panel with breakers
12v distribution panel with fuses
Transfer Relay - automatically switches from generator power to grid power
Fridge
Stove top
Furnace
Thermostat
Water Heater propane or combo propane and electric, can DSI (lit automatically) or pilot light (manual)
Water Heater by-pass valve used when winterizing
Water Pump
City water connection lets you use campground water instead of onboard water
Fresh water tank
Fresh water tank fill
Fresh water tank drain
Waste Tanks
Waste Tank discharge valves black tank and grey tank dumping valves
Waste hose storage
Front seats may swivel to face rear of van extends the van living space
Propane detector 12v propane leak detector
C0 detector carbon monoxide detector
Smoke detector
Monitor panel showing battery charge state, water and waste levels
Propane fill valve
Propane shutoff valve
110 volt 30amp power inlet
Cable TV inlet
TV outlet

Maybe cross them off a list as you find them (I may have forgotten something). If your van is a factory conversion you'll probably have most of them.
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