barry4495

 does the exit window open on 166? votes

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Hi all- my brand mew 166 arrived today and I am new to these campers. I was expecting a useless manual and I got one! Anyway, I must have spent a good 15 mins determining that the window marked "exit" apparently does not open? Really? Does anyone know why then there is a screen on it? What am I missing? Really appreciate the opportunity to share my experiences and to ask questions!- Barry, Longmont, Co
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Brian & Kathy
Barry. We have a 177se and I assume it has the same exit window. See the arm with the red handle, it swings in the middle. Just lift up on the red handle till it clears bracket, swing to the left till straight out, push arm toward the out side, window should open There is a notch on the red handle that will catch in side the window to keep it open. Getting it to catch is a little tricky.  One thing nice about this window is we should be able to leave it open in the rain. I wish there was some way to have window part way open   just a crack. Hope this helps, Brian
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barry4495
Hi Brian and Kathy- I will try this ASAP...it is a bit difficult to get to the red handle since my camper came with this unbelievably thick and heavy mattress which is great but makes getting to the handle difficult...also I notice what looks like a latch on the outside that probably has to be open now that I think about it....and I was worried that if I get too aggressive the entire window might pop out(!!) as it is an egress window...so I want to try this all with someone outside to make sure that doesn't happen...it would be really great if I can get this window to work as I was kind of bummed because the window over the dinette/2nd bed with the hard cover to protect it from rocks doesn't open and the camper does not have a fantastic fan (my Chalet has one!)...which I might splurge and have installed (I dont want to cut into the roof myself!)...I'll get back to you as soon as I can get help....thanks very much!!!! Barry
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barry4495
hey- I got it to open...you have to bend the mattress over and hold it back to gain access to the handle. The window probably did not open yesterday for me as it was a bit sticky- first time open? And it latched real easy. BTW, mine opens just a crack without having to latch it...I'm surprised yours doesn't! But this is really great. Thanks again!!!!- barry
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Robin C
Barry,

I added a 3" memory foam topper to the factory mattress, so I too had difficulty opening the egress window. I fixed that by taking a bread knife (or any knife with a serrated blade) and cutting out a horseshoe-shaped hole in the topper so the window's arm has room to swing to the left. With our sleeping pillows over it, we don't even notice the cut out part.

There is a fan in the shower of the 166. We got a Fantastic Fan in the main cabin because we special ordered it. Since you're in Longmont, give Ketelsen RV a call and ask the parts or service department if they could install one for you. They carry Retros and I've seen Fantastic Fans in their parts store.

Robin
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barry4495
Hi Robin!!
Thanks for your comments. I wish I could cut into the topper but I don't even have one. The camper came with this unbelievable ($700!) queen mattress which is about 8" thick so I don't think I want to cut into it [smile])). I am pondering the fantastic fan. I want to go out on a trip first (a week from Monday!!) and see how it goes without the fantastic fan. I have a portable 12v fantastic fan that I could use; obviously I have to find a good window to set it in. I bought a 12v extension cord so I don't have to install another 12v outlet (maybe I will someday- would be nice to have one by the dinette/front door!). I guess the folks who make these campers figure you in RV parks using AC...I almost never end up there so battery power and 12v appliances is how I go. Speaking of which I was amazed at how little power my small 17" TV/DVD combo uses even with a power converter (it has no DC plug). Uses 28 watts which is next to nothing so I am excited about having it for DVDs. You might wonder- why am I even leaving my house at all if I want all these gadgets and all [smile]))- Best- Barry
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Robin C
I didn't know there were so many 12V appliances! In two years, we've only had a campsite with hookups once. I had a teardrop camper before I got the 166, and the only thing we used the 12V outlet for was recharging our phones, iPads and iPods. I'm waffling on getting a generator, so I have to be aware of how much drain I'm putting on the battery. I found out that all the lights inside the camper have LED bulbs, and I changed the bulbs in the exterior lights by the door and by the LP tank to LED.

I'm amused that the 166 comes with a microwave. It'll make a good storage cabinet. ;-)

You mentioned that you got a "useless" manual. I didn't think it was too bad. Didn't you get the big ziplock bag of manuals for all the different appliances? They're very useful, particularly for some of the appliances that will be affected by camping at high altitudes.

Robin
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barry4495
Hi Robin- Oh there is a ton of things you can run on 12v. The one I use the most is a TV/DVD combo. They are so efficient now that a good 12v battery (I have always had 2 batteries in parallel) can run it for many hours. I have a 12v coffee maker (well, I don't use it much), a 12v  bose wave radio like stereo amp that draws on 12v, a 12v oven (although I use my Coleman oven on a stove top most of the time), 12v extension light (although other lights work on regular batteries), 12v fans like I discussed, and probably a few more gadgets. I also own a meter that you plug into an outlet that when you plug your AC appliance into it tells you how many watts, amps, volts etc it is using. This is very useful for knowing what the draw in your  battery is. Your replacing your bulbs with LEDs is a great way to save battery power! I did notice that my converter (DC to AC) only gives me 118 volts (not the 120-122 I get in the house) but my TV worked fine. My guess is as the battery drains there won't be enough voltage to run the TV but I also have a battery powered DVD player (no TV) and that runs in even less power (as much as a cell phone!). Also, when plugged in it is also good to keep in mind how much you are drawing AC since you could exceed the 30 amp service with the microwave, AC, etc on all at the same time.

Hey, on another subject, do you cover your trailer or do you just assume the thing (looks!) bullet proof and that keeping it parked outside all the time (sun, rain, etc) is OK? Or are you lucky enough to have a garage for it? My garage will fit it (I think?) but it would take up too much room so I leave my camper outside. I can't readily find info on covers for this thing.

Oh yes, on the manual, just about everything I needed an answer for is not in it. Its probably me being so anal but it took me forever to discover the switch for the lights (huh you say!- I thought they were pump switches!) on the interior; nothing about it in the manual, nor the exit window operation, how best to use the hot water heater and how long it takes to warm up, should you empty it if you don't use all the water, is it "safe" to drive with the fridge running on gas (I only have the 2 way fridge! boo!! I wish it was the 3 way I have in my other camper so it can run DC), no info on the lights in the storage compartment that I discovered by accident, no info on the holding tanks if they drain on their own and capacity (although I think I know what they are), how best to care for them, etc etc. I guess I'm a crank but even the Riverside folks admit the manual is deficient because they try and write one to cover every model which translates to no specific information on anything. Yes, I did get the plastic package and even those manuals are not specific to the fridge type, water heater type, etc.

After all this, I LOVE the camper so far so I hope I have not curbed your enthusiasm! - I have been loading it up and having fun placing hooks and whatnot to create shelves and places to hang things. Every inch counts! have fun! And thanks again for being chatty with me!- barry


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Helga Golley
barry4495 wrote:
Hi all- my brand mew 166 arrived today and I am new to these campers. I was expecting a useless manual and I got one! Anyway, I must have spent a good 15 mins determining that the window marked "exit" apparently does not open? Really? Does anyone know why then there is a screen on it? What am I missing? Really appreciate the opportunity to share my experiences and to ask questions!- Barry, Longmont, Co



This is an egress window. (emergency window) should you be able to escape due to emergency such as fire near door. It has a  screen so that you can open for ventilation . Just push handle towards outside past the locking lip, bring handle towards you, and wiggle to lock in place for ventilation. Reverse process to close.  

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barry4495
Thanks! I eventually figured it out and other things. I think my camper sat for a very long time so things were a bit sticky like the dinette table which also would not open so it can be made into a bed. I had to get out some tools to loosen it up. When things don't work as they should I immediate think there should be instructions for it rather than force things and thus my questions. The window was the same way. It was kind of stuck closed and once opened works much easier. Thanks again!
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Robin C
Hi again, Barry :-). Like you, I love, love, love my 166 and can't wait to go camping with it, finally. And it's good for us to be chatty. . . answering questions for each other as we learn the ropes. We don't have some of the nice features that the 177 and 176 owners have, so it's good to find other 166 owners that we can compare notes with.

I don't have a cover for my 166 and I don't have garage space for it (even though we have a 3-car garage). For now, it's parked off to the side in the driveway so I can look at it and poke around into all the nooks and crannies and learn as much as I can. I'm waiting for a larger storage unit to become available so I can keep the camper out of the sun and weather when it's not being used. I kept my teardrop camper in a storage unit for two years when it wasn't being used, and I think that kept the caulking and weather stripping and tires in good condition.

Regarding the water heater, I'm not sure about whether you'd have to empty it if you haven't used up all your fresh water (good question, btw), or how long it takes to heat up the water. According to the owner's manual, using the water heater above 4,500 ft in elevation could create problems because the gas burner is designed to work best at below 4,500 ft, and using it at a higher elevation can result in the flame creating more soot and carbon monoxide unless I have the dealership retrofit it with a burner with larger orifices. So, starting out, it looks like I might not be able to use the water heater at all, and just keep the bypass closed. The manual does say on the front page to drain the water heater if subject to freezing temperatures.

For the refrigerator, the manual says you can run the fridge on LP while you're driving, (I have the simplest model they have) and then switch it over to electric if you have hookups or a generator at your campsite. The refrigerator owner's manual also warns against using LP to run the fridge at high altitudes, unless I have the element retrofitted by the dealership.

What do you need to know about the lights in the storage compartment?

About the water tanks, according to the info sheet from Riverside RV that has the specs chart for all the models, the 166 has a 11 gal fresh water tank, a 18 gal grey water tank and a 5 gal black water tank. There's no electronic monitor in the 166 that shows the condition of the battery or the water tanks (I know, what a bummer), so we'll have to rely on observation. I asked the Parts Manager at Ketelsen how I can know if the grey water and black water tanks are reaching capacity, and he said that if the grey water tank is full you'll see water backing up through the shower floor drain (oh joy), and to check the capacity of the black water tank we'll need to open the flushing valve in the toilet and look down into the tank (blech). The tanks don't drain on their own. There's good videos on YouTube about how to flush your tanks - that's how I'm learning how to do it. The 166 doesn't have a flushing system inside the tank (maybe it's an option folks can order - I didn't), so I have a flexible wand with a rotating spray head that attaches to a hose that gets inserted down into the toilet in order to flush the black water tank. Maybe once I learn how to do it it won't seem so difficult. For now, every time I think about flushing those tanks it makes my head explode. I think most of the time I'll end up using the campground toilets or my trust Luggable Loo 5 gal bucket with seat and lid and plastic bag liners. I may end up using the shower (when at lower elevations so I can have hot water) or just use the bathroom for storage.

Yes, the generic Riverside RV owners manual covers all their models, but if you look closely at your appliance owner's manuals they usually list different model numbers and contain specific information and instructions for your specific model. Look at all your appliances for the stickers that say what model your camper has. For example, my water heater is model SW4D which is the Suburban Direct Spark Ignition 4 gallon model. I'm hoping you got the same manuals I did in that zip lock bag. You got your camper new from a dealership, so hopefully you got them. If you think it'd be helpful, I can send you a list of all the manuals that I got with my 166, so you can see if you're missing anything. As far as products you might need to help take care of your tanks, the Parts Dept. at Ketelsen RV has lots of different things. The Service Dept. is also good about answering questions. I've emailed them about questions I have; I've even sent them pics from my phone to help describe my problem, and they always get right back to me. The Service manager, Bill Dunning, even made a little video on his phone and sent it to me when I couldn't figure out how to remove the covers on my interior lights. They had a de-winterizing workshop in April, and they'll have a winterizing workshop in the fall.

Let's keep sharing info. BTW, Tim S also has a 166. He's posted really good pictures and info about how he removed his factory retractable awning and replaced it with a vintage-type rope and pole awning. I'm going to have to do that too - the factory awning on the 166 is too small and it's difficult to open and close the doors when the awning is deployed.

Robin
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barry4495
Hi Robin- thanks! Your info is better than the manual for sure! I am learning about the unit from trial and error! yesterday I could not get the dinette table down (felt stupid!)....then got determined and discovered it needed more prodding with a screw driver and it finally popped down. I think my camper must have sat a very long time as the window was the same; very difficult until it opened. Like being too sticky. I am always hesitant to force anything and thus some of these problems- It feels less bad to be careful and not brake things rather than force it. I do wonder about the water heater and winterizing it but I have plenty of time to learn that stuff! BTW, I have used my Chalet RV fridge on propane at 10000 ft and it worked fine so I am hopeful with the 166. If the hot water doesn't work that's OK as I rather have the fridge than the hot water and maybe both will work. If they turn out to be a big problem I will go to Boulder RV and ask them about mods- actually I can ask tomorrow since my Tacoma is in for a new brake controller (boo whoo). I did not think the black water tank needed flushing each time it is emptied but I guess that is a good idea. I was just going to add the chemicals that I added to my port-a-potty and figure that is good enough but I will watch the video you suggested. One of the main reasons I bought the camper to upgrade from the Chalet RV was for the bathroom so I am going to make a special effort to learn how to do all that stuff. I already bought a portable holding tank to empty the black and grey water tanks so I can just dump them in my house septic rather than finding a dump station. But I don't want to not use the in house facilities as this was #1 reason for my upgrade. Of course if bathrooms are easy and close I will use them, only makes sense. I am still looking into covers; a friend suggests I get its own shelter. That might be a bit overboard although it is a possible if I want to spend several 100's of dollars...we'll see...anyway, thanks again....I am headed out in 7 days for 2 weeks and I am feeling confident as I have tried everything (even did a run through flush into the portable holding tank) and all I need is for the brakes to work and I am good to go....Best Barry
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Todd Hunt
Hey Robin

I read you post about using the wand to flush the black tank. I use a device that makes flushing very easy and all outside. It's a clear elbow with its own valve and hose attachment. You simply empty the tank and then refill it from the hose Atacement and then empty it again until it's clear. Mine is called the flush king. There are other brands.
It's super easy and clean.
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