If you’ve gotten your rig ready to be stored over winter, you probably already know about the importance of preparing your RV plumbing to withstand intractable cold weather. But have you thought about how your RV batteries will handle the onslaughts of Old Man Winter? Provided your rig will be stored somewhere in the lower […]
Winter’s frigid freight train blasted into the U.S. early this year, causing more RVers to think seriously about heading south to escape the cold. Don’t let anybody fool you, the Desert Southwest may be shirtsleeve weather by day, but winter nights can be down right chilling.
If you plan on staying on that low-cost desert land, how can you warm up without wiping out your battery bank? There are some attractive and relative easy alternatives. First, consider that the typical RV furnace chews up both propane and electricity. RV furnace design is taken from land-based forced air systems, which heat up the air in an enclosed firebox, circulating cool air over the outside of the firebox, and blasting it out through the rig with a fan.
While the price of lead isn’t skyrocketing, the prices of batteries made with this heavy metal are anything but light. Buying just one RV battery will require more than a hundred dollar bill, and if you’re buying name-brand six-volt batteries, it can blast a couple of them in short order. But until we have to pass cash across the counter to replace a bum battery, we don’t think much about those mysterious black boxes. We should. After all, a little bit of battery maintenance can save a lot of money.
Under the hood of your tow vehicle, hidden away in a “black box” somewhere, resides your truck’s electronic brain, which controls the engine to ensure eco-compliance, and deliver good fuel economy—generally balanced against engine performance. We learned a lot about that a few years back when we bought a used diesel pickup. The original owner had spared little expense in souping up the 1996 diesel for towing—including the installation of an aftermarket performance chip, an add-on device that typically increases engine performance.
We were happy as little clams until that aftermarket chip conked out, and we were back basically to the “stock” settings that the truck manufacturer had built into our rig. We called the chip manufacturer and were assured we could easily replace the chip for a few hundred dollars—and we gave it some serious thought. But about the same time, we happened upon an idea called a tunable chip.
If you’ve ever dealt with that gnawing, frustrating sense of doom that comes when you’ve tried and tried, but you just can’t seem to maneuver that blasted trailer back into that narrow little slot, you’re not alone. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to do a “missed approach” move when trying to back our trailer off a narrow little street into a tight spot, right next to a building we don’t want to hit. For the Mrs., it often boils down to putting her hands over her ears and going somewhere else, while the chief pilot sweats bullets trying to get the beast back in its assigned parking spot.
Maybe you’ve got a top-notch restored trailer, and you’re fearful that somehow, in backing that pristine rig into the spot, you’ll miss a blind spot, and “bango!” mess up that once-pristine finish. You may be a candidate for some of the latest trailer technology that’s hit the U.S.: Power Trailer Movers by Purple Line.
We’re not fans of thriller movies that scare the bejeebers out of viewers. However, we’ve been suffering a little haunting of our own in the old RV for a few days. It all started when we began readying for our summer tour. When the Arizona monsoon makes the weather unlivable, we move out of the “big house,” and into the travel trailer where we can keep the place cool for a couple of weeks while we tie up loose ends and get ready to travel to cooler climes.
Our little RV is what I like to dub “a project rig.” In the wife’s mind, it’s a never-ending project that constantly throws open new opportunities to expand my repair skills. Lying in bed the first night, our slumbers were disturbed by a periodic “purrummp!” noise. We’d just about get to sleep when that “purrummp!” would punctuate the otherwise stillness of the night.
To the gastronomically driven RVer, there’s nothing much more discouraging than the food supply not being edible. For some of us, hot food should be hot, and cold food, REALLY COLD. Sad to say, for many RVers, the refrigerator seems to be a mystery appliance, and many find themselves suffering not-so-cold stuff. Keeping your food cold with an RV refrigerator requires a little different line of thinking than the chill-box back home.
For the RV do-it-yourselfer, fixing electrical problems is never too far away. A big part of RV electrical repair work involves putting wires together—making that big connection. When it comes time to join those wires, how do you do it?
Sad to say, some RVers, being unacquainted with the stresses that work on RVs, simply twist wires together, slap a little electrical tape over the connection, and blissfully head off down the road. A little vibration, a little moisture, and that fix will soon come apart—possibly with disastrous consequences.
Others take a step further: After twisting the connection together, they add a wire nut, which technically is a trademark name for a twist-on wire connector, although in the United Kingdom you’ll find such connectors sold under the name Scru-It. Hey, we don’t make the names up, we just report ’em. In any event, personal experience and advice from professional techs often points up that twist-on wire connectors often don’t hold up to the rigors of the shaking and baking that an RV puts them to. We’ve had them fall off, burn out, or otherwise give up the ghost.
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine.
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind.
So sang Seals and Crofts. But for the RVer in a hot climate, the only summer breeze that’ll make them feel fine is the one blowin’ chill through the vents from their air conditioner. Yes, the hot days are already on some of us, and soon we may all need that brisk flow while traveling.
Is your air conditioner up to the task of keeping you cool? A little springtime maintenance can make the long, hot summer a great deal more bearable.
Old geezers. We hate thinking of ourselves under that label. Sad to say, if you’re part of that generation that can recall the Vietnam War without having to have a history teacher tell you about it, then you’re probably under that old geezer label. For us, some of the most mysterious of RV technical issues surround electronically controlled appliances.
Back in the old days, as some of us recall, we didn’t have fancy control boards on refrigerators, furnaces and water heaters. Of course, back in the old days, a lot of us had to go outside in the cold or heat to light off those selfsame appliances.
Frustrated with a frigid RV furnace, our friend Joe tried everything he could. The thing refused to light and made odd noises. He’d switch it off, wait, and try to relight it. The final relight cycle was the culmination. A hearty “Kaboom!” retorted like a cannon shot. After ascertaining that certain muscles in his body hadn’t failed him at a critical and embarrassing time, he hustled outdoors from whence the noise had come. Sure enough, on the ground around his furnace vent, the telltale remains of a mud-dauber nest. The poor creature had built her nest and laid a precious egg in Joe’s furnace vent, only to be swiftly evicted.