Power System Enhancements
Flow-Rite Battery Watering
Since this new Diplomat
is an all-electric coach, it came standard with a bank of six
6-volt deep cycle batteries and a
Magnum 2800 watt pure sine
wave inverter/charger. However, it did not come with the
batteries mounted on a pull-out tray, which make all those
batteries a little
hard to maintain. The solution was to get a Flow-Rite
Battery Watering System from
RVUpgrades.com. Each Flow-Rite RV 2000 watering kit
services two batteries, so I needed to buy three of those, plus
one RV-2020 hand pump, which will easily feed water to up to six
batteries. You install the caps and hoses such
that the water from the hand pump will enter near the middle of
the battery bank and then flow out to each individual battery
cell. Click on the picture to the left for a
This thing works amazingly well.
Once you get it installed, all you do is connect the hand pump
tubing to the system, and stick the other end into a jug of
distilled water, and pump. When it gets hard to pump,
you're done. Each battery cell cap is made so as to leave
the proper air-gap at the top of each cell.
Battery Maintenance System:
Another addition to the battery
compartment is the
PowerPulse Battery Maintenance System for the house
batteries. You can see it mounted up next to the cut-off
switch. The PowerPulse uses power from the batteries
themselves to send a pulsating DC current back into the
batteries which prevents sulfates from building up on the
plates. They advertise that this will prolong the life of
the batteries by about 3 times. One unit will maintain up
to six 6V batteries. I had one of these on my last coach
and I can verify that it will indeed significantly prolong the
life of your batteries. Some owners have installed a
second unit for the two chassis batteries.
Remote display in Aqua Hot Bay: The coach came with a TRC Surge
Model 40350RVC Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) with Power
Protection. What this does is combine the Transfer Switch and a
sophisticated Power Protection Unit (similar to the popular
Progressive HW 50C) into one unit. But it is mounted on
the curb side of the coach back in the inverter compartment.
The read-outs from the Power Protection System appear on the FireFly control panel in the gallery area inside the coach.
However, you want to be able to monitor the power at a
campground as you plug in to the park pedestal, and the power
cord reel is in the Aqua Hot bay on the road side of the coach.
Fortunately, Surge Guard makes a remote display that you can
mount anywhere. So I had my dealer run a network cable to
the Aqua Hot bay, and I mounted the monitor on the door near the
power cord reel using industrial grade Velcro. The thick
plastic "Velcro" creates a gap between the door surface and the
monitor, which should shield it from any moisture on the inside
of the door. I also laminated the instructions
and fault codes and mounted that next to the monitor.
Moved Power Reel Switch:
The coach came with a Cablemaster CRR-50 Power Cord Reel. When they built the
coach, they mounted it upside-down, to the overhead of the Aqua
Hot compartment right up against the forward bulkhead, as shown
in the picture to the left. That put the switch behind the
reel next to the bulkhead where it was very difficult to reach.
Since you had to reach behind the moving reel, it would have
been easy to cut your hand while reeling in the cord.
As part of the initial coach prep, I asked my dealer to switch
the switch around to the other side of the reel, where it could
easily be reached. You can see that in the picture on the
|Air Hose Mount:
Here is a cheap and useful mod. I wanted to use the
space in front of the generator to mount my air hose, rather
than taking up space in a storage compartment. I bought
two metal J-hooks for $1.98 each and screwed them to the frame
of the generator slide. The coiled air hose and attached
tire gage fits perfectly there secured with a short rubber cargo
strap. Then the drip shield fits over top in its original
Folding Driver's Table: There is no area in the front of
this coach to set anything down while underway, like a small
computer, a book, snacks to munch on, an extra drink, etc. We
were really going to miss that until we found
Tower Stool Company, a small family company in Faith, South
Dakota who specialize in making folding wood furniture for truckers
and RV owners. This Driver's Table is the perfect solution.
The top is 15" X 15" with a lip around the edge so things won't roll
off, and two cut-outs for drinking cups and mugs. We
have a rubber backed carpet between the two front seats, so the
table tends to stay put while underway. The
table is extremely sturdy with reinforcements and metal locking
clips that lock it in the open position while in use. But it
folds flat to just 4.5" for storage when not being used. We
can stick it under the bed, or in the basement. As you can
see, they even stained it for us to match our coach.
bought one of these
folding RV step stools from them to make it easier to reach the galley cabinets and microwave.
Take a look at the
two links above. This company is now showing pictures of our
coach on their web site.
||Full Length Mirror:
There was no full length mirror anywhere in this
coach, so I took off one of the closet doors, took it to a glass
cutter, and had him cut a 1/8" mirror to fit on the back of the
door. The mirror was then attached with 3M automobile
exterior trim tape and reinforced with plastic mirror clips screwed
on the top and bottom
Headrest Covers: If you are wondering
about the covers on the tops of the captain's chairs, my wife made
those out of plush terrycloth hand towels - two for each cover sewn
together on three sides. They protect the leather seats from
rubbing against the inside retracted slide edges while underway when
the seats are moved back as far as they will go. All the
seating throughout the coach, including the expandable L-sofa, the
European style recliner, and the dinette are leather residential
style seating made by Villa.
AirForce One Air Brake System for Toad: When we replaced our
light-weight Suzuki toad with the heavier GMC Acadia in 2013, we
also replaced our original US Gear electronic brake system
SMI AirForce One air brake sytem. When trading up to the
2017 Diplomat, we installed only the parts needed on the motorhome,
as the system was already installed in our toad. There are
no controls in the cockpit.
The system is completely invisible both in the cockpit and in the
toad (except for a black box and some other parts under the hood.) There is an LED light that I can hang from my car's rear
view mirror, so that I can monitor in the back-up camera that the
toad brakes are being applied. Service air from the coach is transfered to the towed
vehicle via an easily connected air line between the two vehicles.
When the motorhome brakes are applied, the control unit installed
under the hood in the towed vehicle, applies the car brakes
with a force that is exactly proportional to that of the motorhome.
Switch: On our GMC
Acadia, the towing instructions call for removing three
fuses - one 50 amp fuse under the hood and two smaller
fuses in the battery box behind the passenger seat. So
I would not have to do that, I had the shop include within
the pigtail a 12v feed from the motorhome to the car battery
to keep it charged. This works fine, however I
discovered that without pulling the 50 amp Batt1 fuse under
the hood, mileage was accruing on the car's odeometer while
towing since the key has to be in the "accessory
position" to unlock the wheels. So rather than having
to pry up the cover and pull that fuse all the time, I
installed the high current RVing FuseSwitch from
Plus.com. This switch contains a relay so as to
limit the ill-effects of high-current switching. I cut a slot
in the fuse box cover to feed the wires through, and then secured
the switch to a panel right beside the fuse box with a piece of
Velcro. It's now a simple matter of lifting the hood and
flipping the switch from "Drive" to "Tow", which mimics pulling the
|The Sani-Con: The Sani-Con Sewer macerating pump discharge system was not a
"mod". REV is currently including the system on all
of their Monaco line coaches. But I have to
add it here on the enhancements page because for me, it simply
eliminates all the "annoyances" generally associated with the
conventional dumping method. The picture below shows the
difference between a standard sewer drain hose and this system.
What the Sani-Con does is take the discharge from your black and
gray tanks, grinds it up, and then forcefully pumps it through a 1"
hose to the sewer hookup. This makes both sewer hook-up and
emptying the tanks unbelievably easy and sanitary, while also
lessening the time it takes to set up and leave the
system comes with 21' of expanding hose that just slides in and out
of the service compartment. For those times when more length
may be needed, I ordered an extra 25' of hose from
The picture on the lower right
shows the pump that is installed behind the panel. Notice on
the far right side of the picture that there is a short clear hose
that bypasses the pump. (Click on the picture for a larger
view.) For extended stays, you can leave the knife valve to
the gray tank open, and it will empty as you use it without the need
to run the pump.
This system can be added as an
aftermarket option to almost any coach. If one didn't come
with mine, I would have added it.
Here are some
useful tips I've
learned for using the Sani-Con system.
A Future Mod?
Pad Entry System:
previous 2007 Diplomat, we installed a
TriMark lighted keypad by the
entrance door that worked with the TriMark Lock System. You
can see a picture of it here, and you can go to our
2007 Mods Page for more details. I've already looked into
that for the new Diplomat, but discovered that it does no use the
TriMark system. Instead it uses a proprietary keyless lock
system made for Fleetwood by Magnadyne. I checked with
Magnadyne and that system has no compatable exterior keypad.
So in order to install an exterior entrance keypad, we would also
need to "upgrade" the keyless lock system to a TriMark system.
That would be easy enough to do, but
a bit costly, and the current system and key fobs do work reasonably
well. So the question would be... Is this mod worth the
cost of replacing the existing system and key fobs? While I
very much would like to have an exterior lighted keypad again, this
mod is going on the "back burner" for a while while we use the coach
for a longer period of time. What the new coach does have that
the older Diplomat did not, is electronic locks on all the bay
doors, which is very nice. Of cource I could enable that
feature with a TriMark system as well.