I had the pleasure of talking with a bonafide RV restoration specialist.

He restores vintage and New RV's and everything in between.

I learned a lot from just spending the day about the difference from a by gone time to newer technology. He explained ,,as most of us know that the Older RV's were built to last,, like Dads old Chevy.. to last 20 plus years,, with quality,proud workmanship in each model. Time goes on and manufacturers were falling into a slump with RV sales dropping due to cost and fuel prices sky rocketing. Approx, 60% of the RV builders had to close shop because they couldnt sell their models.. people just couldnt afford them,, and add the cost of fuel to get around wasnt in the finances. The manufacturers had to cut a lot of corners just to ride out the RV depression. Add D.O.T's new regulations to reduce weight and E.P.A;s regulations to reduce emmisions.

So, The newer RV's,, Being a puller,pusher or trailer had to reduce weight. Another driving factor was,, The RV's were lasting to long,, making it tough for the dealers to sell a newer model to prospective return buyers.. The consumer would buy their rig and keep it 5,10,15 years,,Pretty much a ONE TIME SALE. The solution was like the automotive companies,,, build a car that needs replacing within 5 years,,and the consumer by then will want a new and improved spiffy model. So,, RV manufactures followed that idea. Build a basic rig to have a life expectency of around 5 years, and make a trade in more appealing. The manufacturers also cut employee count and outsource a lot of the process,Makes for a corporate tax loss if they get cost over runs.. the blame it on consumer confidence index. The model years from 2011 through 2015 was a very bad year for the RV industry as the buyer was again in full buying mode and more people were jumping on the wagon to buy and RV and take families on vacation,, in other words a good BOOM in sales. Production vamped up, and the demand was exceeding the the production, More and more Outsourced contractors did the final assembly and 1 out of 10 or 20 rigs was given a full inspection,, leaving a majority to slip through with shoddy workmanship and defects.Appliances were shipped in mass quantity,, 1000's at a time,, and the damage in transit was usually 5%,, and add the rapid build,, that damage count jumped another few points,, bounced around,carted down the assembly line quickly dropped in, hooked up and sent on its way. Several advocacy groups have confronted several RV manufactures about the workmanship and are finally getting the ball rolling on getting back to a better built RV intended to last a 10 yr life span. You will notice over the next couple years,, The so called smooth side laminates will be faded out and the ripple skins will be making a comeback, and the 1x2 framing will be upgraded back to the 2x2 and 2x3 framing. This includes wood and aluminum structures,, falling mostly on aluminum framing. The newer rubber roof applications are getting better with technology. Isometric roofs are finally getting better. The RV rebuilder still agrees,, He would rather repair and older rig,, pre 2000 over the new ones any day.One piece of wisdom he did pass on is,, The pre 1970's all had measurements on spacing in INCHES,, Not Millimeters. using the 12 and 16 inch spacing to keep it universal.

Keep on,, keeping on... Hope this bit of trivia and info helps someone,, I learned something new and wanted to share with other members.

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Comment by Rich Thomas on April 11, 2017 at 1:14pm

I just had to jump in on this. My old 78 Travelcraft has Three fuse blocks in the coach and one on the chassis under the dash. And as hard as it is to believe a forty year old RV can still have those pesky little covers , mine dose. That being all well and good, the placement of those fuse blocks makes it impossible to read what is on the cover as far of what goes to where, and at least one is all but impossible to remove the cover to read it; that alone may be why they are still there. I also have two separate locations for circuit breakers. so don't take for granted that a power loss is in the wiring because the main breaker isn't tripped. Look for a second breaker, mine is under the oven and the main is at the cable entry. My fuse blocks are located: one  at the entry panel, one under the seat of the galley behind the fresh water tank ( a really stupid place to put a fuse block) and one up behind the drivers seat. and lastly the chassis block in the normal place under the dash. Wiring is a tedious job and requires your best attention to detail or catastrophic failures can result. Not to scare anybody but just be as diligent as possible when doing this work. Good luck on your project. 

Comment by Lakota Wolf on April 10, 2017 at 4:49pm

Ahhhhhh,,,, the missing fuse block cover,,, They are just like socks in a dryer,,, I havent come across a rig that still had it in place. Maybe the 8th mystery of the world. In a case like you have,, what goes where? About this time you scratch your head. But as Underdog would say,, dont dispair, There is easy way to the madness before you. There is the,,, I will  do it myself method, and the I will need a helper. ,The second is usually best, but in some situations,,its I will have to tackle this project on my own as the family sits next to the campfire catching marshmallows on fire. Ok,, going to make this fairly quick and not drag it out to where you fall asleep reading this. Make sure you have power going to the fuse block, Big RED WIRE .

Ok,, you have power to the block,,(using a voltage detector or volt meter. I use a voltage detector 12v, with a long ground wire connected to a good ground). Run the probe along the contacts of the fuses one at a time,, making sure your getting power to each fuse. Now some fuse blocks have Multiple input power supplies,, hense meaning you might have to have the Ign key in the on position to make certain fuses hot. Inside turn all of your 12 volt lights and accesories on. Then pull 1 fuse at a time and see what turns off,, and Have yourself a chart made of the fuse block and mark off on the chart what fuse controlled what. After you have gone through the fuses, pulling one at a time isolating each one,, turn all the 12 v appliances and lights off... Next turn your Furnace heater to on,,, getting the blower motor going,, then pull fuses one at a time to isolate that,, and mark it.   Then of course turn the furnace off. Next turn your clearance lights, (not headlights). Its always good to have someone help at this time,, stand at the back and watch the lights.. Pull some fuses till they go out,, Mark it on your chart.

Sometimes the manufacturer with fuse EACH side of the rig, (left side and right side). It may sound tedius,, but its just a process of elimination...This is another reason to know why repair shops charge $90 an hour. After you have isolated the basics,, make a readable chart on a piece of heavy stock paper with a diagram of the fuse block and along each side of the fuse, mark what it controls, just like a house breaker box. And Tape your designed chart to the inside of a cabinet door,,, that way you wont lose it and it will be there for reference.

With Dodge and Ford,, it was a hit and miss whether the clearance lights was controlled by the under dash Park light fuse and / or both under dash and cabin fuse. Remembering back to the manufacturers built the rolling cab for multiple applications,, RV,'s Ambulances, Fire rescue, Plumbers, oil field,, etc. I have come across a custom rebuilt Class C that used to be an ambulance, and they took the rear cabin area off and put an RV unit on,, so technically it was an RV ambulance with extra heavy duty everything and the lights was controlled from a seperate fuse block,, under the seat.  There really is no Special order that the fuses are put in,, concerning top to bottom, side to side etc..

Comment by Tioga Sportsman on April 10, 2017 at 3:24pm

Thanks Lakota, that is some awesome information. I have one more question I would like you to pass on to the restoration master. You see, the fuse block behind the drivers seat did not come with a cover on it and I am wondering if it is a standard fuse block in which the equipment they protect are the same from top to bottom for the class C. I have no idea what those fuses go to.


Comment by Lakota Wolf on April 9, 2017 at 11:57pm

To Tioga Sportsman,,, Got some info for you... 1st off,, being older then 2 yrs old,, its next to imposible to obtain a COMPLETE wire harness for your rig. Class C rigs are NOT assembled at one plant, a.k.a. Ford,Chevy,Dodge,, (all in the Tioga chassis line up). The base chassis, Cab and frame are assembled at their respective manufacturers and shipped to the RV plant. These rolling chassis are drive ready,prewired from the factory, The RV company takes these chasis and install their floor designed plans on the rear frame, incorporating the cab into the living quarters shell. During the Cabin assembly,, they start with a hollow shell,, leaving the exterior sheet metal off. (shows the studs and insulation and wires) The shell is wired to a central location, (power distribution center), incl, the inverter and fuse box, A pigtail of wire then gets spliced into the harness of the truck chassis, (Charging system and running lights etc). The final touches are the exterior siding on many to be installed last,

Picture a slide in camper on the back of a pick up,,, slide it in,, plug it in and off you go.

Class C are of the same concept with the exception of the *slide in part being permanently affixed to the trucks frame. If your needing to Rewire the complete unit,, truck cab and camper,, it will require 2 seperate wire harnesses which are next to impossible to come by,,unless you find a same model year Dodge Van in local scrap yard with a useable harness thats still complete,, and then carefully removing it and labeling every connector and splice. As far as the camper portion,, You will end up running your own 16 and 14 guage wiring, from each light and 12 V accessory. Then running romax 12-2 w/grnd from the 110/120v outlets. Then tieing in the ends into a fuse box and converter/inverter. The ole RV guy said the rule of thumb in a situation like this is to make your own harness with several color coded spools of NEW wire and good connectors. When I have had bad wires in an RV, it was just get into the job at hand and start installing new wire, color coding it, (red,green yellow,brown,white and black). With fresh new wire, you will get years of service out of it.

To add another BUMMER,, is,, you would have to lay the harness out so you know what goes where etc, and take into consideration,, you have cabinets and appliances in your way, and you will never get installed the same way the factory did... Due to your rig already being assembled.

I whole hardely agree with him, and just replace your camper wiring with fresh wire and tackle a few lights at a time. (Wire pullers that electricians use and cable guys use are a life save to push and pull wires down thru a wall or ceiling.

Heres a link for wiring,, hope it helps,


Comment by Tioga Sportsman on April 9, 2017 at 6:01pm

Hey Lakota, can you ask this restoration master if he knows where I can get a complete set of electrical for my 76 Tioga Sportsman. And I mean all the electrical including the generator wiring to the RV and the floor plan wiring.



Comment by Rich Thomas on April 7, 2017 at 11:10am

Planned obsolescent's  ( spelling ?). Any way you spell it it is a term that should not be. I know through out the buying period of my life time you could see the useful life of a product get smaller and smaller. I believe things should last at least long enough to pay them off. I mean very few people can afford to go out and pay cash for a $60-$100 K RV. and set back and watch it degrade over just two to three years. The government stepped in on the auto makers to build better cars in the late 70's or 80's and they made better cars. But lately I've been noticing later model trucks starting to rust out like they did in the earlier ones. My first car was a 1969 Ford Fairlane I bought in 1972-3. it already had a rust hole in the right front fender. Now days cars are going to the crusher with little to no rust and the ones that do have rot are usually ones with paint or body damage that wasn't taken care of. I hope the auto industry doesn't  fall backwards. My hat's off to Ford for their foray into Aluminum bodied trucks. I hope new RV manufactures do start making good quality units and the Auto companies don't fall off the mark.



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