Monthly Archives: August 2014

RV Daily Tips Issue 460. August 29, 2014 | RV Travel

Fill-up time: regular or premium?

by Russ and Tiña De Maris
“If a little is good, a lot more must be better!” It’s a common equation to a lot of problems, but as you’ve no doubt experienced, “It ain’t necessarily so.” And so it is when you pull up to the pump with a hungry fuel tank. Do you want to pump in “regular,” “midgrade,” or that high-octane “premium” fuel? Is a bigger octane number better?
The “octane rating” listed on a fuel pump is a measure of the ability of the gas to reduce engine knock. “Regular” must have a minimum octane rating of 87, midgrade from 88 to 90, and premium needs a rating of 91 or higher. The higher the rating, the slower the fuel burns, preventing “knock” when engine cylinder pressures are high.
When an engine runs at full throttle, cylinder pressures are naturally at a high level — you can expect a bit of knock then. Towing a rig, particularly when climbing a steep hill, calls for higher cylinder pressures resulting in some ping. But prolonged engine knock can cause damage. Fuel-injected gasoline engines automatically adjust for driving and performance conditions, squeezing the most mileage out of whatever gas your vehicle is burning.
What gas should you use? As a rule of thumb, fuel up with the octane grade your manufacturer recommends. Pumping in premium or even midgrade gas when your vehicle calls for regular won’t improve fuel mileage or engine performance, but will reduce your wallet’s thickness. If you consistently have knocking issues while towing, you may want to consider pumping in a higher-octane fuel. We say “may” with this caveat:
If your engine knocks or pings it isn’t necessarily the gas — it could be you have an engine problem needing work. You could have electronic control systems, ignition timing or exhaust gas recirculation problems. If you’re dealing with an older or high-mile rig, it’s possible you have a buildup of carbon in your cylinders causing the problem. Once engine problems are ruled out, consider pumping in the higher octane fuel. It won’t hurt your engine, and if knocking vanishes, then you may find using higher-octane fuel when towing helpful.
Gas with added ethanol can have an impact on your RVing. Ethanol, or grain alcohol — typically produced from corn — is often added to gas to reduce air pollution. Grain alcohol doesn’t have as much energy per gallon as gasoline, so your tow vehicle or motorhome will indeed use more gas per mile driven. Industry says you may see a 3 percent drop in fuel economy with the use of 10 percent ethanol — many drivers say they lose a lot more. If you fill up without ethanol, or at least less than 10-percent ethanol, you’ll get better fuel economy.
I have read many articles about this topic for many years and for the most part it is true. But as with all things there are exceptions to the rule. Case in point are some if not all big block gas fueled trucks (and I do mean all) most will run just fine day in and day out running on regular fuel, but when you put a full load on the motor (towing a heavy trailer) I have NEVER found one truck no matter weather out school (carburetor) or new school with fuel injection that does not run better, run cooler, get better fuel mileage on premium fuel! Why well a lot of it is explained above and without getting into a long explanation and engineering I will leave it at it will run better, make the motor run cooler and with all above and my info it makes your motor last longer.
And I say this with over 20 yrs of being a A tech and work on all types of engines and brands, and yes I do own a big block at this time it is in a gmc 2500hd with the 8.1 and the Allison trans, so you can do what you want but I will go with what works.

Water \”accessory\” fittings you need

Water “accessory” fittings you need
Russ and Tina DeMaris

 

 

 

If you’ll be camping in a park with “city water,” that is, water from a faucet, there’s some good accessories to keep in your RV storage compartment. These can make your visit easier–even safer for you rig. Inexpensive, you’ll bless yourself for having them when you need them.

Even before you hang the hose on the tap, there are a couple of helpful devices you might need. First, there are situations where the “threads” on the water faucet are stripped, or deliberately not there–to prevent folks from hooking a hose to an otherwise good spigot. Assuming you have the right to the water, a little device known as a “water thief” can help out here.

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The ‘thief’ a rubber sleeve that snugs over a spigot, and at the other end, a brass threaded connection allows your water hose to hook up normally. If you’re filling up your tank, just slip the thief on the faucet, hook up your hose, and fill away. If you’ll be putting any real pressure on the hose–say hooking it directly to your “city water” inlet on the RV, you’ll need to use a hose clamp to snug the rubber sleeve end onto the faucet.

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A water pressure regulator can also save you lots of headaches. Typically RVers complain that the pressure they encounter in a campground or RV park is too low, but it only takes one case of over pressurization to blow a fitting in your rig to really make your blood boil. A simple RV water pressure regulator can prevent over pressure from doing real damage. Where do you put it? We’ve seen plenty of RVers who hook the things between the water hose and the city water inlet on the rig. But why not protect the water hose too? Hook it on the campground faucet, thence to the hose and all your bases are covered. Yes, there is a slight fall-off of water volume when you use this rig, but the peace of mind is usually figured to be worth while. Is it worth the extra money to buy the fancy “adjustable” water pressure regulators? Not from what we’ve heard. Some say they simply don’t work as advertised.

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Finally, a fitting you probably do want between the hose and the city water inlet is an entry elbow. If your water hose kinks or bends where it mates up with your water inlet, you can be sure water flow will be impaired, and a premature death of the water hose is likely. For less than $10 you can buy a metal elbow that allows the water hose to hang vertically, rather than cramped.

                                    

RV Tech Tips Newsletter: Issue 13 | RV Travel

Quick Tips

Mice, mice, mice
The warm season is the perfect time to inspect your coach for signs of rodent damage or places where they can get in and seal the holes up. It’s easy! Your local home center sells a selection of foam sealants that spray into cracks, crevices and openings. Large openings can be filled with medium-expansion foam but be careful of which foam you use as some can hydraulically damage spaces they’re sprayed into as they cure and expand, pushing the surfaces apart. Screening and hardware cloth can be used in some cases to help keep mice out where other methods of sealing aren’t indicated.

I want to tell people about [fresh cab] it has been the best way to work with mice in your rv or home. More and more locations are stocking it, or you can buy it direct from the company.

Insect infestations
Just like your home, your RV is a prime candidate for a new insect nest (bugs like RVing, too). Once the bugs are in they’re hard to get out, so be proactive! Treat the spot your RV is stored on with ground pesticides recommended by your local home and garden center. This is especially important right around where the RV touches the ground in any way. When parking at a campsite look around for signs of bugs like anthills. I always carry a can of spray with me so if I see this, I can treat the area before exposing my expensive coach to an invading army.

The same rules for avoiding infestation at home apply here. Cleanliness is key: Clean the inside of the coach, especially the kitchen, the floor and under the cabinets. The smell will attract the bugs. If you end up with bugs in the RV, go after them right away. Your local home and garden center or a professional exterminator can help. Remember, the longer they’re in there, the harder it will be to eliminate them and the more damage they can do!

There a lots of ways to keep ants and other critters out of your coach, look around the net and you will find some great ideas on how to do this very easily and on the cheap

RV Tech Tips Newsletter: Issue 13 | RV Travel

RV Gadget of the Week 

Oxygenics BodySpa Kit

Ever wish you could get a little more out of your RV showering experience? You can with the Oxygenics BodySpa Kit.

This replacement RV shower nozzle system uses jet technology to really increase the pressure of the shower spray without increasing water flow. “Patented technology increases oxygen content in your water and self-pressurizes for the best shower experience possible,” the company says.

We installed this shower head in our Coleman test coach and found it to be a really nice shower, whether working on the water pump or off the campground water connection. The shut-off is large and easy to use and cuts off 99 percent of the water flow, which is a marked improvement over other RV shower heads. The company guarantees the unit will not clog.

The kit comes with everything you’ll need to install the head, including a new wall mount, a 60-inch hose, screws and adhesive double-stick tape. A battery-powered drill driver is very helpful for this installation. Also, we decided to move the shower head to a different spot, so we needed matching silicone sealant to seal up the old screw holes. The Oxygenics BodySpa is available in several finishes from Camping World, or Amazon.

I can also tell you I have owned this shower head since it first cane out a few years ago. I love it and it works better that they say it says.

RV Tech Tips Newsletter: Issue 13 | RV Travel

By Chris Dougherty
Editor of RV Maintenance Tips 
and Certified RV Technician

Quiet avoids the riot!

I am often asked why RV or quiet portable generators are so expensive and “Why should I spend the money?” There’s the old saying that you get what you pay for, and here’s what you should expect from a portable RV generator:

1. Quiet. RV generators and portable high-end inverter generators have technology which allows them to be substantially quieter than their contractor counterparts. Start a contractor generator in a park or campground and two things happen: the wildlife runs like the wind and your fellow campers will come after you with a harpoon! The National Park Service prohibits any noise-producing device or activity that meets or exceeds 60 dBA (decibels) at 50 feet from the source. Contractor generators are as high as 71 decibels, according to a study by the San Dimas Technology and Development Center. While many of the contractor generators may not be “illegal” to use, their excess noise is a disturbance to your fellow campers and the environment.

Generator cases and the exhaust systems allows for the quietness of these units. The engines are well insulated for sound, but are designed so they can breathe and stay cool at the same time. Here is a National Park Service compliant generator.

2. Spark-arresting technology. “A spark arrestor is a device that traps or pulverizes exhaust carbon particles to a size below 0.023 inch in diameter; as they are expelled from an exhaust system. Trap style spark arrestors must have a method for cleaning of accumulated carbon particles. When operating or using any internal or external combustion engine, a spark-arresting device must be properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order meeting either the U.S. Forest Service Standard 5100-1a (as amended), or appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practice J335(b) and J350(a) 36 CFR 261.52(j).” —USDA.gov.

In other words, when selecting a generator you must be assured that it has a spark arrestor.

3. Selection of fuel type. Built-in RV generators are available in gasoline-, diesel- or propane-powered models. This is extremely helpful for fitting a generator to any type of size RV. They are also available in sizes ranging from about 2500 watts up to 12 kilowatts or more!

With portable units, the inverter-type units are usually the quietest. There are many manufacturers out there these days, so be sure to shop around and review them carefully. Make sure they’ll handle the load you need them to handle and that you actually can carry them along — as some generators are large and heavy. In addition to the generator itself, you need to have fuel, cords and a way to secure the generator to the RV so it doesn’t run off.

Lastly, when choosing a generator make sure that service and parts are readily available. Some of the cheap generators are just that — cheap. When they fail, getting them fixed can be almost impossible!

RV Daily Tips Issue 457. August 26, 2014 | RV Travel

RVing Tip of the Day

Do you really need solar panels on your RV?
by Jim Twamley
Many RVs sport solar panels, and they can be quite handy. On the other hand, solar panels aren’t inexpensive — and  so the question is whether you need them for your style of RVing. 
Solar electric systems have been a part of the RV scene for several years and they are effective electric power producers. These systems use photovoltaic modules to turn sunlight into electricity. The good news is they are becoming more effective and less expensive as new technology grows.
To use a solar system, your RV will need to be wired allowing the solar panels to charge the house batteries through a charge controller. A charge controller is very important because it regulates the amount of electricity sent to your house batteries, preventing over- or under-charging conditions. If you have enough solar panels and batteries you can generate enough electricity to live comfortably without ever being plugged into an external power source. To use your AC appliances, you’ll also need an inverter to change 12-volt DC to 110-volt AC power. That adds to the expense figure, and the more power you use, the more batteries (and solar panels) you’ll need.
If your style of RVing includes extended periods of time in the wilderness away from electricity then you have three choices:

1. Use candles,
2. Use a generator, or
3. Rely on solar energy.

If you rarely boondock (camp without hook-ups) then you really don’t need a solar system. Some RVers like to have a solar electric system “just in case,” but they rarely use it. When I ask them what they mean by “just in case,” they usually mean the power grid going down or natural disasters — in any event, they’re prepared “just in case.”
Whether or not you should go to the trouble and expense to install a solar electric system boils down to how you choose to camp. If you are or plan to become a serious boondocker, then you’ll need an efficient solar electric system. If on the other hand you almost always stay at RV parks, then you seriously don’t need solar. If you store your RV without keeping it connected to shore power, consider installing a small solar electric system. This will keep your batteries charged and ready to go (provided you do proper battery maintenance).
Many boondockers also use wind-powered electric generators for additional power. Whether or not you need wind power depends a great deal on how and where you camp. There are many reputable companies that will sell you a kit to install a system yourself, and there are also dealers who will do the installation for you.
Keeping you charged up about RVing —Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing

Outside Our Bubble | Stepping out of our comfort zone

Outside Our Bubble | Stepping out of our comfort zone

via Outside Our Bubble | Stepping out of our comfort zone.

 

Lots of great RVing tips and tricks; honest reviews of locations, restaurants and equipment; tech tips from an expert; product recommendations (or not); even a live web cam! Voted a Top 50 RV travel blog.

Take a look at some of the great tips and tricks to being in you rv

“Keep-on-hand” items for RV repair work

RVing Tip of the Day

“Keep-on-hand” items for RV repair work
by Russ and Tiña De Maris
If you’ve been on the road at all, you’ve experienced it: Something on your rig broke. You can’t always get help with the fixing you need to do it yourself. Being prepared with a few tools and some of the essential “emergency supplies” can go a long way to making it easier. What should you have on hand?
Absolute essentials are screwdrivers of both the slotted and Phillips variety, in various sizes. Look around your rig, too, and see if the manufacturer has used specialized fittings that “normal” screwdrivers won’t fit. Clutch screws (which look like little bow-ties) and Torx (star shaped) aren’t uncommon. Wrenches are necessary, too, for tightening bolts. While you can maybe “get by” with a couple of adjustable Crescent wrenches, having combination wrenches that won’t slip off the nut and bang up your knuckles is a help. A hammer is a versatile tool, even though you’ll find few nails in most RVs. A sharp utility knife is invaluable. And don’t forget the lowly tape measure.
Some specialty items: A good tire gauge — not a cheap, two-dollar “stick type” (although that’s better than nothing) — but a dial gauge is probably best. If you have dual tires, you’ll need the crow-foot tire gauge to be able to access all tire stems. Find them at truck stop convenience stores. A bottle of soapy-water solution is handy to check for LP leaks. Use a 50/50 liquid dish detergent and water solution either in a spray bottle or use a little paint brush to dab the solution on any suspect joints or cracks.
Electrical issues hit every RVer, so get an electrical multimeter. These devices measure both DC (battery) and AC (shore power) voltage and are invaluable for tracking down issues. If you’re willing to learn more about running down problems, look for one that measures current (amps), as well. While you’re dealing with electrics, get yourself a good wire cutter/stripper; and we highly recommend an electrical crimping tool along with an assortment of crimp fittings. While not critical, a pair of needle-nose pliers make electrical work much easier. Don’t forget a couple of rolls of electrical tape. Find out what sorts of fuses your RV (and tow vehicle) use, and carry spares. The same holds true for extra light bulbs or fluorescent tubes.
Also helpful to have on hand: Duct tape. Buy the best you can afford. “Gorilla tape” is really great. It sticks well and wears well. Get a short roll of Eternabond tape, too. This stuff will fix a tear on almost any type of RV roof, siding and other stuff, too. It’s pricier than duct tape, but duct tape won’t fix a roof leak. A short roll of “mending wire” or a coil of baling wire will help you “jury-rig” a variety of fixes. Teflon tape, from the plumbing supply area, will help you fix leaky pipe joints, and maybe even a roll of the “yellow” pipe tape for gas joints.
A rechargeable, cordless electric drill is at the top of our list for non-hand tools. We can drill holes, drive screws, even stir paint (with the right attachment). And we even keep a “corded” 3/8-inch electric drill on hand. With the right socket fitting, we use it to jack up and down our travel trailer stabilizer jacks. Works a whole lot faster than bending over and hand-cranking them, and then it’s always available when a big drill job comes along that’s too much for the cordless unit.
Where to keep it? Keeping screwdrivers, a utility knife and a tape measure in the “junk drawer” in the kitchen makes it easier for both of us to get what we often need in a hurry. For the regular repair guy, I find having two different tool bags useful. One keeps the heavy-duty repair tools like wrenches and assorted drivers together. The other is strictly “electrical,” with the voltmeter, specific electrical repair tools and supplies, and is nice for just grabbing and going to the “scene of the crime.”
Set yourself a budget, hit the stores and don’t forget pawn shops — they’re often a great place to pick up bargains that can help you make fixes on the road.

Technically Speaking: Slideout Maintenance Video – YouTube#t=87

Technically Speaking: Slideout Maintenance Video – YouTube#t=87

via Technically Speaking: Slideout Maintenance Video – YouTube#t=87.

This is a good video to get you going resetting your slide in your rv, most if not all will need to be adjusted at some point while you own your rv.

SO hope this help all of you out with regards to this topic

Learn about fresh water in your rv

Learn more about the pumps used to give your fresh water in your rv while dri camping, some of these pumps used can give you that shower you only dreamed about.

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