RV Tips and Advice from our Technicians
Tech Tips & Information: Roof
When fall is fast aproaching that means a certain amount of cold weather, wind, rain, and snow. Here are some tips that will help you to keep the weather from doing any damage to your RV.
First, the roof of your RV is the heart of your RV, if the roof has a problem the integrity of your RV is threatened which will definitely shorten the life of your vehicle.
Your RV has either a rubber, metal, or fiberglass roof. You should inspect it yearly to seee how the roof is wearing and to see if the seams are showing any signs of cracking or loss of adhesion. If you see some cracking, but the seam is still adhered well, you can simply clean the crack with mineral spirits and apply a new layer of self leveling caulk on top of the existing sealant. However, if the sealant has lost its adhesion, then you must pull it up until you find sealant that is still adhering.b Once the sealant is up, then clean it with mineral spirits and apply the self leveling caulk in the seam. This applies to all three types of roof. The sealnt we most often use is $7.99 per tube.
Second, another area that is a potential place for a leak is your A/C gasket. Over time the gasket becomes crushed by the weight of the A/C and will eventually let water seep under the gasket.If your gasket has less than 1/2''' showing it is time to replac it. The cost of an A/C gasket is around $22.99. It is also recommended that you clean and treat your roof once to twice a year. We sell many products that are manafactured specifically for cleaning and treating roofs.
We will gladly inspect your roof and give you a free quote on seam sealing your roof or replacing your A/C gasket. Orif you would like to do it yourself we will answer any questions thatt you may have about the process.
Tech Tips and Info: Winterization
When the temperatures drop below freezing you need to make sure that your RV is fully drained of both fresh water and any waste water. For your fresh water system you will want to open your low point drains , drain your water heater, and also drain your water filter if you have one. In addition, we recommend that you use a blow-out plug, and using a compressor with your faucets open and your toilet valve open purge your system of any remaining water. For even a small amount of water in your toilet valve or a fitting can freeze causing a leak. Finally we recommend you pour some antifreeze down your pee traps because even after blowing out your system, there will still be water in the pee traps.
Tech Tips & Information: Awnings
Awnings are a great feature on your RV. It not only keeps you out of the sun, it extends your camping space. Here are some simple tips for the care, cleaning and operation of your awning. If you follow these simple tips you will help increase the enjoyment you get out of your awning and extend its life.
There are two types of awning fabrics acrylic, a cloth type fabric, or vinyl. A lot of people want to know if one is better than the other. The answer is not really, it is a matter of taste and preference. The only real difference is that the acrylic fabric is usally more expensive than the vinyl. Acrylic awnings have the color woven right into the fabric and they perform a little differently than vinyl in wet weather. It is water repellent, not waterproof. Since it is a woven cloth, it breathes and air circulates through the fabric so drew and rain can dry quickly.
However, you should avoid touching the underside of an acrylic awning when it is wet. This will break the surface tension and allow seepage through the fabric. If your awning gets rolled up wet, unroll it as soon as the weather allows. It should be completely dry before rolling it up again. This applies to both acrylic and vinyl fabrics. To keep your acrylic awning clean, simply hose it off occasionally and let it dry. Do not scrub your acrylic awning as this could remove it water retardant finish. If you need to remove a grease spot, use K2R Spot Remover, this is different than how you would remove a similiar spot from a vinyl awning.
While a vinyl awning is mildew resistant, mildew can still form on the dirt and dust that sticks to the awning. To avoid these problems you will need to keep your UV-protected vinyl awning clean. Use a mixture of 1/4 cup dish soap, 1/4 cup of bleach in five gallons of fresh water. Soap the awning with this mixture, then roll it up to soak for five minutes while you apply the mixture to the bottom of the awning. Next open the awning and hose it off with fresh water top and bottom. you may repeat this process if necessary. After the awning is completely dry, roll it up again. To remove a grease spot from a vinyl awning, use only soap and water. Do not use household cleaners, mildew removers or hard bristle brushes.
Here are some more things you need to know:
When the camping season starts make sure that the top and botton bracket screws are tight. If the lift handle is hard to operate, spray it with silicone spray. You may have to repeat this process periodically. You may also need to spray the bottom bracket release tab and rafter and support arms. One of the secrets to a long life for your awning is to keep it clean. Follow the cleaning instructions for your type of awning. If you get water streaking or experience seeping behind your awning rail, inspect the rail for loose screws or loose sealant. To avoid water pooling, lower one end of the awning for proper water runoff. For ease of hardware operation rub candle wax on all sliding surfaces. If you are expecting heavy or prolonged wind or rain or if you will be leaving the awning unattended, it's best to roll it up. Damage that is caused by weather is not covered by warranty. Finally, make sure the awning is extended high enough before opening the entry door.
Tech Tips & Information: Killing Your Generator's Carburetor
One of the most common generator problems we see are carburetors that have gone bad because the fuel has turned to varnish in the bowl of the carburetor. Most people do not realize that fuel begins to go bad in as little as thirty days. And since the carburetors that are being made today are sealed because of emission standards they cannot be rebuilt or adjusted.
There are two ways to prevent this problem. First, use a good quality fuel stabilizer. This will keep the fuel from breaking down and fouling the carburetor. Second, run your generator once a month for several hours under about 1/2 of a load. Typically you can accomplish this by running the air in the summer, or in the winter run a small electric heater.
Carburetors typically cost from $189.00-$299.00 and about $100.00-$120.00 in labor to replace. Their are rare occasions when you can clean the bowl and you might get some more life out of your carburetor, but those times are few and far between. So, the moral of the tech tip is add fuel stabilizer or exercise your generator monthl
Tech Tips & Information: Electric Trailer Brakes
Your wheel bearings, brakes pads, and magnets typically fall under the axiom of "out of sight out of mind." However, a few simple suggestions will keep you from having a headache while your enjoying your vacation. First, taking care of your wheel bearings will keep you from having potentially expensive repairs. Dexter Axle one of the leading makers of axles and trailer brake parts recommends that you repack your wheel bearings every 12 months or 12,000 miles. This includes removing the grease from your bearings, inspecting the condition of your bearings, add new grease and replacing the seals.
In the process of lubricating your bearings you should also check your brake pads, magnets, check your amp draw, and make any needed adjustments. When inspecting your brake pads light cracking of the surface of a brake lining can be expected under normal use. These pads do not need to be replaced. However, if the lining is deeply cracked to the shoe surface or is missing chunks, your brake shoes need to be replaced. When replacing shoes you need to replace both sides of the same axle.
Second, Dexter Axles recommends that after servicing your brakes, you check your brakes for any adjustment after the first 200 miles of operation when the brake shoes and drums have been "seated." Then every 3000 miles. Or as use or performance requires, such as high wheel temperatures and noises like rattles, grinding and clunks.
Third, after replacing your brake shoes and magnets you will experience a decrease in braking performance until the components have worn into the drum and finished the burnishing process. This process requires many stops to bring the new shoe's performance back to normal. This may take more than 100 stops to finish this break-in period with stops of 20 mph decreases in speed.