Greg’s Pre-flight checklist for Casitas:
Having flown in the Navy for 20 years, I have done thousands of pre-flight inspections on aircraft. I do the same thing before moving our Casita. There are many complicated pre-towing checklist out there, but I use a streamlined method with little to memorize. I run this “pre-flight” every time I’m going to move the camper. Well I did skip it once and ended up running over my entire bag of leveling blocks.
My dad taught me this trick to check trailer lights: Turn on the tow vehicle’s parking lights and 4-way flashers. Now all the running lights on the camper should be on and the taillights should flash bright and dim, which checks all the light bulbs without running all over the place.
Can you change your spare tire?
Make sure you can change a tire when out on the road. Casita’s don’t come with jacks. First try the jack that comes in your tow vehicle and see if it’s tall enough to raise the Casita (by the frame, NOT the axle tube). Also make sure you carry a lug wrench and ensure it fits the lug nuts. Finally, how is your spare tire pressure? We get used to checking the main tires, but pop that cover off and check the spare before a trip.
Stabilizer trick for pre-2018 Casitas:
Forget about that metal rod that you are supposed to lever the stabilizer legs down with. Simply level the Casita and crank the tongue jack down 10 turns. Drop the legs on the stabilizers and then crank the jack back up 10 turns. Now the stabilizers are preloaded and no need for the rod! Reverse the process when packing up.
Flush that water hose:
Hook up your water hose, filter, and pressure reducer to the supply and turn it on briefly before connecting it to the trailer. This will flush out any critters or dirt in the hose before it goes into your Casita.
No hot water flow?
I’ve had several customers message me in a panic from their campsite. “Help! I have no hot water flow!”. More than likely one of the check valves on the water heater is stuck. Tap on them lightly with a hammer to free up the swing valve inside.
Casitas are wired according to house standards, not automotive. The black wire on the battery is the positive and the negative wires are the white and green. If you forget and hook it up wrong, replace the 2 blown 30 amp fuses in the converter and you’ll be in business.
Lots of discussion on how to run the fridge. Casita sums it the best- keep it on “auto” when it’s on, or turn it off and open the doors. Why? It’s very efficient to run it on propane while trailering and using AC power at the campground. The DC option is very wasteful and requires 15 amps, which most tow vehicles can’t even supply, therefore it’ll drain the battery. Times to use DC? Maybe when pulling to a gas station and the Casita will be sitting next to a pump, or a restricted tunnel that requires the propane to be turned off. However it’s only temporary, put it back on propane when you safely can.
Dexter (the axle manufacturer) says to inspect and repack the bearings every year or 12,000 miles. If you’re going that, you just as well should buy new bearings and the grease seal needs to replaced anyways. Every year is a little much, but every 12,000 or few years should be good. Don’t just pump grease into the fitting, it’s easy to push out the rear grease seal.
Some of the newer water heaters have an electric element so you can use it while plugged in to AC power and avoid using the propane. There are 2 switches to use this- the first is the little hidden black one that you get to from the outside access panel. It’s hard to replace and should remain on (down position) all the time. If you ever need to shut off the element (anode change perhaps), shut off the power at the breaker in the power panel.
Pulling the Anode:
It should be checked every year. Before taking it out, make sure the water heater is off or power is removed from the Camper. Shut off the water. Open a hot faucet or the P&T valve lever to bleed off the pressure. Now you can remove and replace the anode with a 1 1/16″ socket. Use some teflon tape on the threads.