Monday, April 19, 2010

Departure Checklist - they are very important!

We have friends who just bought a new motor home and had trouble with the air bags filling as they got ready to leave their campsite.

Has that ever happened to you?  Pretty scary moment!  What did YOU do?
All kinds of thoughts go through your mind (at least it did when this happened to us) including the worst:
     - we have a dud! I knew it!  This coach is a LEMON!;
     - those guys SHOULD HAVE TOLD US what to do before we left the dealer...;
     - what did I do wrong?!!,
     - NOW WHAT?!!-- (as they say in the Air Force:  "I am out of air speed and ideas..." ; it is Sunday and no one is out there to help...
     - we're STUCK and I am going to be here for a FEW? days; I am going to miss work, miss my___?...
     - this is going to COST us a bunch of $$$, I wonder if insurance will cover it?
     - there MUST be someone I can call...;
     - I wish we had a good INTERNET connection here!
     - it sure is LONELY at the moment....

In hindsight some of these things NOW, they can help you next time:
     - Call the factory service center or help desk.  (unless it is after hours, the weekend, long holiday break, etc)
     - Go through your factory books and reference manuals so you know where the 1-800 number is
     - Compile (or find a list) of 1-800 numbers and remember where you put them
     - Here's a link on Tiffin RV Network you may find useful:  (Click Here)  If so, print it out  (Note: this list was compiled a while ago so confirm the numbers listed are accurate.)
     - Search blogs and keep a mental note of who are experts and the technical type.  Write down their cell phone if available.  Most RVers are more than willing to help others in need....
     - Have a couple of FRIENDS numbers handy so you can call them.

BTW - We have a Tiffin 40' Class A Allegro Bus motor home

Here is our DEPARTURE checklist:
- Turn off water heater
- Turn refrigerator to LP position if it doesn't switch automatically
- Secure all sliding doors (between bathroom, bedroom etc)
- Remove everything from counter tops
- Ensure all drawers, cupboards and cabinet doors are closed
- Roll up mats, rugs etc and store
- Move driver and passenger seats forward
- Ensure local TV antenna is collapsed and folded down on top roof outside of coach
- Store all outside hookups (water hose, electrical cord, sewer hose)
- Turn ignition key to ACC position (or as we prefer--START engine)
- Look at gauges to make sure air pressure gets up to correct inflation (depends on your coach but that may be anywhere from 110 psi to 125 psi)
- Close all slides.  Watch from the outside (unless you are a solo) to make sure all close completely.  If necessary, do it again.
- Start motor home (if you haven't already) and press "STORE" button once on HWH panel
- Check outside to see that all jacks are fully retracted

***NOTE***  This is where we had trouble one time and the airbags did fill correctly.  Make sure you allow enough time [as in, DO IT SLOWLY for the airbags to go through their sequence and properly inflate ***NOTE***

(This is where we ran into trouble and our coach was still low to the ground after we completed the sequence.  Our problem was that we went through the sequence too quickly.  Another remedy may be to ***start the whole sequence over***)

Checklist - continued:
- you should be able to see the airbags
- Remove slats from under the jacks and stow
- Confirm the HWH system is operating correctly and continuing to blink (it may take a full 5 minutes and then will go to the STORE mode)
- Check underneath the motor home for any under neat the coach or laying on the ground
- Confirm all bay doors are completely closed and locked
- Pull out of campsite
- Line up toad
- Hook up tow bar and lights
- Set up toad for towing
- Check brake lights
- Set up auxiliary braking system (we have Blue Ox Patriot system)
- Confirm Tire Pressure Monitoring System is working (we have Pressure Pro)
- Confirm directions for the travel day
- Say a prayer (... no kidding, every day we ask for God's protection and safety)

Be alert, go slowly, relax, ENJOY YOURSELF and have the time of your life - WE ARE!!

So do YOU have a checklist?  If not, why not?  
What did I miss?

We find that we need it all the time so we don't get over confident or careless.   After all, we have been at this as full-timers almost 11 months now :)....

Thats our post for the day on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Hope it helps! Thanks for viewing and Following!


  1. Good post, Randy, and a great reminder for us all. We have departure and arrival checklists that we use religiously! It's far too easy to simply forget one of the many things that needs to be done and that could be the one thing that causes a major problem.

  2. We have been doing this for over 5 years and yes, we began with a list and still with every departure we go over our list. We each have a list, one for the inside stuff and one for the outside stuff. We make it a point that we go over the list out loud to make sure we do not assume and breeze through the list without actually confirming it is done. This list has been modified many times with new items and some we were able to dismiss but it is a habit that we do every time so we avoid any preventable mishaps from going on down the road.

  3. As any old flyer knows a good pre-flight inspection is a must and you always carried your pocket checklist for what ever type aircraft you were assigned in your kneeboard, today I am still required to preflight the bus before a trip, (The DOT walkaround inspection,)pre and post trip. While in police work I checked my patrol unit and all its equipment daily, the day you don't you will need something that isn't working. You have good habits no doubt formed in the Air Force.A pre departure checklist is a must and will save you grief later. Good to hear you didn't have any malfunction to repair. Be Safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  4. We have our departure check list too, but with a front diesel, we don't have air brakes or air bags, so making sure our air is up is not a problem. A simple thing that we seem to forget on the inside is to lock the fridge. If we are not towing and Loyce is in the car, that's about the time a gallon of V8 juice comes rolling forward under the dash. Or about 10 water bottles, as I hit the brakes. I have lock the fridge on the list at the top and the bottom!

  5. A check list is probably a good idea.
    I use the mental FLOW method, like we used flying the B 707 B 727 & B 737. It was always backed up with a list we used as a Sun visor.
    If I ever get a complex RV, I will make a list.
    Make sure you spend some time in the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. It is a world class place.
    There is a airplane museum in Willow Run, just West of Detroit, that has a plane no one else does. They have other planes also.
    My family in Detroit is doing well and they think I am funny for following a RV blog.
    Keep having fun.

  6. Thanks for sharing your checklist, its very helpful. :)


  7. Great list! We call ours: "GETTING ROADWORTHY" and we double check each other too. A walk-around is a must, and sometimes we do a second walkaround just to check things while at the dumpstation before we leave the park.

    The tire pressure monitors are a peace of mind for us, as opposed to thumping tires or using the handheld temp sensor monitor. Steve still gives them a good look-see, but the rig don't roll till we get a green light on the tire monitor unit.

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  8. We borrowed a checklist from a published RV tip book (we've forgotten the title). It was helpful as we set up our routine, but with 4 of us, we all have jobs assigned to do with set up and take down. Along the way, we stopped checking the list so diligently and eventually, the book was relegated to the bottom of the truck tool box. Yesterday, however, after making a short trek between campgrounds, we arrived to find the refrigerator had not stayed shut during travel, dumping a container of beans on the floor along with a carton of milk that fortunately stayed closed. The checklist would have made us double check that door and the little props that hold items securely in place while hitting those bumps in the road! Maybe we better dig that handbook out of the toolbox and use it again?