Tip of the Week

May 2003 - 

Replacing a 14" X 14" Vent Lid

When trying to purchase a vent lid to replace a cracked or broken one, it is not the size that matters.  Today there exists 3 replacement vent lids that all measure the same size (14" X 14"), however, they will not cross fit.  The import thing to take note of is the way the vent lid attaches to the frame or vent base.  Each of the three replacement lids uses a different hinging system.  

The Jenson Roof Vent uses a plastic hinge with a long thin metal rod going through it to secure the lid to the base.  
The Elixer Roof Vent has two small metal clip on the outside of the lid that secure the crank bar to the lid.  This vent uses a screw in either side of the hinge to secure it to the base.
The Ventline Roof Vent has a c-shaped channel on both the lid and the base.  The lid is slid over the base channel and secured by pulling out the 2 metal tabs found at either side of the c-shaped cannel.

If in doubt about the lid you need, it never hurts to just bring it in and match it up! 

Installing Anything on the Outside of Your RV

When attempting to mount anything of the outside of your RV don't forget to use RV putty tape.  This gray gum-like substance keeps the water out and prevents a simple cable hatch installation from becoming a rotten sidewall later on.  The tape is easy to install it just requires that you peel off the paper backing and place the putty behind the object you are mounting.  Once the object is mounted  some of the putty will leak out the sides.  To remove the excess putty you can purchase a "putty pick" at your local hardware store or a pen lid works quite well.  Once the excess putty has been removed you can now run a bead of caulking around your object.  

Don't forget that may household silicones are not designed to stick to metal or for outdoor use.  Be sure to use a parbond based product or a marine grade silicone.  These products are readily available at your local RV shop. 

June 2003 -

Burning Your Dome Lights

Most RVs have funny little 12V dome lights installed in the ceiling.  These lights come from the manufacturer with 1141 light bulb installed inside them.  However, over time these bulbs tend to actually burn holes in the plastic lens covers or turn them brown and brittle.  An easy solution to this problem is to replace the offending bulbs with a 1003 bulb.  The casing on this bulb is a bit smaller and the bulb itself does not tend to get as hot - better still there is no noticeable difference in the amount of light.  

Vehicle Mirrors

When towing an RV visibility is very important.  Don't forget that the mirrors on your vehicle should allow you to see the back corners of your RV on both the drivers' and passengers' side.  If you can't see that far you should seriously look at investing in a set a towing mirrors.   

Small holes in your awning

RV awnings take a great deal of wear-and-tear over the course of a camping season.  If your awning has a rip or small hole, caused by tree branches, drifting embers etc, try a little VLPVLP or Vinyl Repair Product is an excellent and economical way to add life to a torn awning.  This product will join a tear or when used with a small patch repair a hole.  We find it works very well and lasts!     

July 2003 -  

Water Pressure Regulators

In Peterborough we have a local campground that is located right inside the city.  What is interesting about this is the water pressure!  The water pressure in this campground is actually city water pressure - however your RV is not designed to handle it.  Your RVs water system can only tolerate approximately 50psi.  To ensure that you don't have too much pressure in water system we recommend that you travel with a Water Pressure Regulator.  This device screws into you city water hook-up and regulates your water pressure between 40 and 50psi.  

August 2003 - 

Water Filters

Your water filter is a very important part of your safe camping experience.  Often times however, we forget to change it.  Your water filter should be changed at least once a year/season as per the manufacturers directions.   When was the last time you changed yours?  

September 2003 -

RV Extension Cords

If you have 30 amp electrical service on your trailer, 5th wheel or motorhome and you are going to plug in to a 30 amp receptacle at the campground please remember to always use a 30 amp extension cord if you need the extra reach.  Due to the extra cost of purchasing a 30 amp extension cord, sometimes it is tempting to step your 30 amp power down to 15 amp and then back up again to 30 amp at the post.  However, this is very hard on your power converter and  may actually cause it to fail.  A broken power converter can be very costly - please avoid this by always using a proper extension cord.  (Please Note:  This applies to 50 amp service as well)

October 2003 -

To Tarp or Not To Tarp

As many of you are getting ready to put your RVs to bed for the winter, I find that I am getting many questions about the best way to ensure that your RV stays clean and water free over the winter.  Basically, you're asking, "Should I put a tarp over the roof of my RV this winter?"

Although tarping your RV may seem like a good idea - Yes, it will keep the water off the roof - there are many drawbacks.  As tarps generally are not breathable it will store any water, moisture or condensation underneath it.  This allows the water the whole winter to find the easiest route into your RV.  Also, tarps generally tend to be a bit rough on the exterior of your RV potentially scratching and wearing the exterior finish. 

Given this, you have a couple of options to protect your RV from our harsh winter weather.  First, you can check the roof for leaks, and areas that need to be re-caulked and then just leave it.  If you are concerned about the exterior give it a good wax to maintain and protect it from the elements. 

The other option is to invest in a breathable RV cover.  There are many on the market at many different price points.  These covers are waterproof and therefore, won't allow water onto your RV while it is being stored.  They are also breathable and therefore, unlike the tarp, will allow moisture trapped underneath to escape.  Also, they are designed for RVs so they are gentle on the exterior finish. 

Air Conditioner Covers

Many of you may not realize but the shroud on your air conditioner (the large white or off-white plastic cover) is a relatively expensive item to replace if it becomes broken - that is if it is even still available to purchase.  A shroud can cost anywhere from $150.00 to $300.00 depending on the make and model of your air conditioner.   One way to protect your air conditioner shroud from deterioration because of exposure to UV rays is to cover it with an inexpensive vinyl air conditioner cover. 

These covers range in price from $30.00 - $36.00 and are a custom fit for each air conditioner model (so have a look at what you have before you head out to purchase one).   They are equipped with a drawstring tie and therefore may be kept on while traveling but need to be removed when the appliance is in operation.  For not a lot money you may add years to the life of your air conditioner shroud and with winter just around the corner now is the perfect time to purchase such an item. 

Winter 2003 -

Why you need to always use anti-freeze!

When winterizing your RV it is very important to use RV anti-freeze.  Often times in my parts store, I have customers tell me how they never use anti-freeze in their RV's water system.  They often claim that this has never been a problem for them.  The customer just blows out his or her lines with compressed air and leaves it for the winter. 

However, given that most plumbing fixtures in your RV are plastic, you would require too much air pressure to actually blow all water out of the plumbing system (you would probably split your lines before all the water was out).  Often times water is left in the faucets and toilet specifically.  Over the winter, as that little bit of water expands, it damages the inner workings of these fixtures.  This means in the spring you are often left with a dripping tap or a leaking toilet - (it might interest you to know that we sell most of our toilet ball values in the month of May).  Given that the cost of two gallons of 'good' anti-freeze is less than $12.00, you might consider it money saved - The cost of a new toilet ball valve is often more than $30.00. 

Buyer Beware

We've had another interesting issue come up with one of our customers this past week.  A new customer recently traded her tow vehicle for another.  She had spoken with her sales person and determined that her new vehicle was rated to tow 5000 pounds, given what she would towing this rating was adequate.  After owning and driving the vehicle for a short while she received a telephone call from her dealer.  The dealer stated that her vehicle was not actually rated to tow 5000#s, as they had originally claimed.  Instead the vehicle was rated for 3500#s.  This rating was far lower than what they required.  Furthermore, there were now questions being raised about the warranty of her vehicle if she continued to tow as though the vehicle was rated for the heavier amount.  

Needless-to-say, the customer was in a tuff spot.  Her old vehicle was actually rated correctly for her towing needs, however, it was long gone.  Given, that she purchased her vehicle new, she would be forced to absorb the hefty over-the-curb depreciation the affects all new vehicle sales, if she traded the vehicle in for another.  Furthermore, she was left with safety concerns about her vehicle's ability to handle her towables. 

This situation is not unique!  I hear customers in my shop every day with unrealistic expectations about what their vehicle can actually handle based on its size and tow rating.  Often times these expectations come from eager automotive dealers, who might not be well informed about the tow rating of their vehicles (or potentially unscrupulous dealers who might not have the best interests of their customer at heart).  It is important to have realistic expectations about your tow vehicle, if you are unsure whether your automotive sales person can provide you with this, I would recommend checking with the automotive manufacturer.     

Spring 2004 -  

Slide Out Maintenance

Just a quick tip today, short and to the point - Do not use grease on the working mechanisms of your slide out!  

Grease attracts dirt and other particles and can cause your slide out mechanism to bind and seize.  "Protect All" makes a product that will not attract dirt and debris and can be easily applied to keep things sliding smoothly.  Check it out in our parts store.   

Black Streaks #1

This tip came to me through my customers.  We know that nothing is more frustrating than those pesky black streaks  - However, putting close pins on the end of your rain gutters will prevent the dirty rain water from streaking the side of your lovely clean RV.  Take a look around during your next camping trip I bet you'll see many Rvers practicing this tip! 

Summer 2004 - 

Black Streaks #2

For all of you with a rubber roof you can seriously diminish the number of black streaks by keeping your rubber roof clean and treated.  

Many of your black streaks are cause by the roof oxidation running down the side walls of your RV.  By cleaning and treating your rubber roof you can reduce the rate of oxidation.  As a result a cleaner RV!  - Not to mention a healthier rubber roof.

          *  Please only use products on your rubber roof that were specifically 
designed  for that purpose.  Failure to do so can result damage to your
          rubber roof.