All posts by Raymond Laubert

TPMS Installation

Today I received my tire pressure monitoring system from TST.  This article is about the installation process.  I ordered extra tire monitors for the tow dolly.  I did not order monitors for the car.

Part of my pre-departure inspection is to check tire pressure.  I wanted to add the TPMS to make sure we were aware of issues that happen while driving.  Granted I will be able to cut this one step out of the inspection, but the TPMS will add a level of comfort knowing that if there is a problem with the tires we should be made aware of it prior to a major issue.

I chose the TST model for a few reasons.  Our rig came with a TPMS from another company that did not have replaceable batteries and you had to remove them to check the pressure or fill the tires.  I wanted a unit that had replaceable batteries and that you could add air without removing the monitors.  In addition, I wanted to be able to monitor the tire temperature as this is often an indication of a problem before the tire blows.  I ordered my from Amazon as they had the best prices and I am a Prime member so shipping was free.

Continued in next article

 

Nitrogen vs Air in RV Tires

Tires do not carry the load of the RV.  That is a pretty bold statement isn’t it.  But it is true, it is the pressure in the tires that carries the load, the tire just provides the container for the pressure.  Proper pressure in the tire ensures that the load will be carried as required along with increasing the durability of the tire and contributing to fuel economy.

Compress air has been used for decades in tires.  It is cheap or free to use and is widely available at gas stations, tire stores and repair shops.  So why would we want to change?  Compress air often comes at a price that is not related to the cost of the air we put into our tires but to the damage that the air does.

Damage you say?  What damage?  Compressed air that you get at your local service station contains varying degrees of moisture and oil depending on the compressor and relative humidity.  Air also contains Oxygen which along with the humidity causes corrosion and oxidation.  The compressor oil and other contamination that the compressor puts into the condense air causes the rubber in our tires to break down.

Nitrogen on the other hand has a lot of benefits. First it is a dry gas.  Which means it does not support moisture that contributes to corrosion.  Next it reduces the loss of tire pressure due to loss through the rubber. Third, since we have removed oxygen from the tire and the moisture we reduce the corrosion within the tire assembly.

Both Nitrogen and air filled tires will change their pressure as the temperature increases or decreases, but they are basically the same amount (1 PSI/10 degrees F.).  So both should be checked in the morning before driving any distance.

How can you tell if your tires have been filled with Nitrogen?  The caps on the valve stems will be green.  But what if you need to add pressure to nitrogen filled tires and there isn’t some place close by, what should you do?  The primary factor here is the pressure in the tires.  Remember it is the pressure that is carrying the load. So if the pressure drops below the amount required to carry the load, fill the tires to the proper pressure with air if that is the only thing available.  When you can, have the tire recharged with nitrogen to maintain the benefits.

Maintaining the roof of the RV

Last week, I talked about cleaning the roof of the RV.  This week it will be inspecting and doing minor repairs of the roof.  Again, caution should be the word of the day.  If your rig does not have an attached ladder, do not climb on the roof, use a ladder to work your way around the roof as you inspect.

First we are going to look for any obvious signs of damage to the roof. If you have used water to clean the roof, look for any puddles where the water pools.  These are signs of potential issues and should be watched.  Sitting water has time to work its way into the roof even with very minor pin holes. You also want to look for any damaged or pealing sealant around the vents, antennas, fans and air conditioners.  Any place where there is a whole through the roofing material.

What to do if you find or suspect an area that should be patched.  First using the information from last week, make sure you know what kind of roofing material you have.  For the most part EDPM and Fiberglass will use the same materials.  You have the choice of tape or sealer.

Eternabond is a tape like product that is used to seal tears and cracks.  The only negative is that it can not be used over silicone.  So if you have any places that you used silicone to seal, it will have to be removed prior to applying the EternaBond tape.  EternaBond is available in widths up to 36 inches so it can be used to cover a large area.

Another product that can be use is a liquid sealer.  The most common type is a self leveling sealer that spreads out as you pour it.  This naturally is not good for areas around the edge of the rig as it will slide off the roof.  But for the flat areas it is good.  Use this sealer when you have openings where cables or holes that go through the roof.  EternaBond would have problems sealing these areas.

For metal roof repair you can use Quick-Roof.  This is similar to the EternaBond in that you peal off the backing and lay down a smooth flat piece (in this case aluminum paper).

Maintenance Tip of the Week, Roof Maintenance

I have decided to get my butt in gear and start writing again.  So this series is going to be about maintaining the RV.  The articles will be a basis for the fourth book in the Perfect RV series.  I have no time table on when it will be published, but probably not until next year.

I will try to keep these articles geared toward non-specific types of RVs, but will need to cover the drive trains at some point.  In general I will start on the roof and work my way down the rig until we get to the frame.

If there is a subject that is near and dear to your heart, please let me know.  In addition, I will tell you right now that I am a Certified Dri Wash and Guard Director.  When it comes to cleaning, I will be mentioning these products and will be happy to sell them to you if you ask 🙂  Hey, I am retired and besides all this writing, I still spend money now and then, so making some while on the road is a requirement.

So, with all of that out of the way, lets start this weeks article on the roof of the RV.  If your RV does not have a ladder attached, my word of advice is DO NOT GET ON THE ROOF!  If you have a pop-up, hybrid, small travel trailer etc the roof is not made to walk on.  Use a ladder to do the inspection and cleaning.

Lots of things work against your RV.  Acid Rain, wind, sun, trees, bird, bugs and the list goes on.  There are two very good reasons to inspect and clean your roof.  First is to remove the dirt and debris, second is to inspect for damage so it can be repaired before it does more damage to the RV.

To clean the roof you want to use a soft bristle brush.  Do not use a pressure washer.  High pressure can tear holes in the material as it gets older.  Next do not use household cleaners on the RV.  These contain alkali or ammonia which will damage the roofing material.  I recommend using either Dri Wash n’ Guard (DWG) Ultra-Ion Waterless Car Wash or Ultra-Ion Green Cleaner.  Both of these products can be used on any roof.

What kind of roof do you have?  There are three main types of roofing material used today.  Rubber (EPDM), Fiberglass and metal (mainly aluminum).  The most popular being EPDM.  Keeping an EPDM roof clean means less nasty looking black streaks down the side of the rig and a cooler interior.   Some words of advice.  NEVER USE a product that contains citric or petroleum distillates as part of the cleaning solution.  These will damage the EPDM material.  Over time EPDM roofs may appear to become chalky.  To protect the roof, clean it thoroughly and then applies a protection designed for the EPDM such as 303.  As the roof gets older you may have to do this several times a year.

Fiberglass cleaning is simple.  Wash and wax at least once a year.  DWG Waterless Car Wash does both in one step.  You can use any good car wash and wax product as well.  Make sure you dry the rig well and apply the wax per the manufacturers instructions.

Metal roofs come in either painted or unpainted versions.  If your roof is unpainted (Airstream), you do not want to use harsh chemicals, abrasive or solvent cleaners or anything that can scratch the surface.  Airstream’s are coated with a protective coating and should not be waxed.  Over time this protective coating will begin to fade, peel and discolor.  At that point it should be removed and a new coating applied.

Painted metal surfaces can be treated just like your automobile.  Wash and wax as needed.  Again the use of DWG Waterless Car Wash will wash, protect and shine in one step without water.

Well I think that is it for this week.  Next time we will look at some of the areas around the roof that you should inspect for damage and how to repair them.

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Finding, Buying and Using the Perfect RV in Print

Hatfield, PA – July 9, 2015

According to RVIA.ORG, for 2014 there were more than 350,000 new RVs sold in the US which represents just 30% of all RV sales.  That means that in 2014 alone more than 1 million RV were sold.  RVIA.ORG also states that there are over 9 million RVs on the road today.  Finding, Buying and Using the Perfect RV takes the buyer from determining what is needed versus what is wanted and then choosing the Perfect RV for their situation.  Once the perfect RV is fund the book helps to determine if there are any underlying problems by walking the buyer through a comprehensive pre purchase inspection covering all major components of the RV. Finally, the author takes the new RV owner through the process of packing, weighing and using their new RV.  Making the process perfect from beginning to end.

Raymond Laubert is a Certified RV Inspector with the National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association (NRVIA).  He is also a 40 year camping veteran and currently traveling the USA on a full-time basis.  He has taken his experience and training with recreational vehicles and written an easy to understand book for those looking to buy their first recreational vehicle or upgrade to a different model.

“So many people today have no clue about buying this house on wheels.  Just like purchasing a house you need to learn about all of the ins and outs about finding, buying and using the RV. Unlike buying a house, there is no real estate agent to guide you, that is were this book comes in.  Helping you make your selection and reducing the chance of a lemon.”

Finding, Buying and Using the Perfect RV is available at http://rv-inspection-service.com/book-store for electronic versions or from Amazon for printed and Kindle versions.

Contact information:  Raymond Laubert, Author, rlaubertsr@gmail.com,
Removed from website publication
23 Pinewood Circle,
Hatfield, PA 19440

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Load Balancing the RV

This weeks article is on balancing the load of an RV.  Although it is mainly for the trailers, motorized RVs also have some limits.  So why should we worry about balancing an RVs load?  Well to start with, safety.  An unbalanced load is harder to pull, harder to control in emergency situations and in poorer weather.  In addition, it can put your vehicle in jeopardy.

The proper weight distribution is about 10 percent of the total trailer weight on the tongue of the trailer.  The way you pack the trailer will greatly effect this.  Too much weigh in the front and the tongue will be too heavy causing the tow vehicle to lift the front end, reducing steering capability.  To much weight in the rear will cause the tongue to lift taking weight off the rear axle and reducing your braking capabilities as well as traction.  Also too much weight in the rear will cause the trailer to sway side to side.  Even a light weight trailer in this condition can cause the vehicle to lose control and accidents can happen.

Now an equalizer hitch will help as it distributes the weight between the tow vehicle and trailer.  It works by transferring the weight from the tongue of the trailer to the front wheels for the tow vehicle.  But only to a point and only for front heavy loads on the trailer.  Rear heavy loads will still cause the sway and lifting of the rear end of the tow vehicle.

So how should you load the RV?  Start by placing the heavy items low in the RV.  Things like can foods, water, soda, beer, pots and pans, scuba gear 🙂 in the lower cabinets.  Put the lighter things up high, like left over potato chips, candy etc.  Also look at side to side weight distribution.  Place your tools on the opposite side of the rig from the propane tank.  Inside, distribute the weight from left to right as well.

Also remember weight is a major issue (Yes I know I harp on this a lot).  Your tires can only hold so much weight before they will blow out. Make sure they are properly inflated.

 

Good Sam Club

Getting an RV Inspection

Recreational Vehicles are a complicated and expensive piece of equipment.  They are our homes on wheels and as such have all the equipment we find in our homes plus some.  If you are a mechanic, you probably feel pretty comfortable about checking the chassis, engines, transmissions etc. but how about the heater, air conditioner, water and septic systems?  If your a builder you could take a good look at the construction, but you may be lost in the electronics.  None of us are trained in all areas of an RV and that is where an inspection by a certified RV Inspector comes in.

The inspection process takes a few hours and will provide the piece of mind that a home inspection brings when buying the house.  You get a third parties trained and certified opinion on the current condition and safety of the recreational vehicle.

If you want to do the inspection yourself, I would recommend that you read all of the articles here on RV Inspection Service and then read the Buying the Perfect RV book.  Once those are done, download the free inspection check list in the book store or you can find a Certified RV Inspector by going to NRVIA, just click this link

NRVIA Logo

Time to ask for help!

Your help spreading the word would be greatly appreciated!

As you may know I have taken a lot of the information I have posted on RV Inspection Service (http://rv-inspection-service.com) along with my background as a Certified RV Inspector and have written a book called Finding, Buying and Using the Perfect RV.  This book is now in print and available on Amazon (http://goo.gl/ch7Oi8) and other sites.

However, I need to raise some money to purchase printed copies for marketing.  My goal is to raise $1250.  I have a campaign running on Indiegogo.com (http://igg.me/at/RVBook) to help raise this money as being retired military and on Social Security doesn’t leave much extra sometimes.

This is donation based.  Your help in spreading the word would be greatly appreciated.  If you could post something with the Indiegogo link (http://igg.me/at/RVBook) on your Social Media pages that would help spread the word and help me meet my goal.

Thank you for your help.

Water Heater Maintenance Part 2 – Tankless Water Heaters

Maintenance of tankless propane water heaters is a little bit easier than their cousin the tank water heater that I covered before.  Some of the steps will be the same.  Such has removing power and propane prior to doing the cleaning.  Making sure the water is off and that you have a vacuum cleaner available.  The time frame for doing your cleaning will be the same and that would be prior to putting it into service for the first time in the camping season.  The reason being is that you want to make sure no critters or bugs have made it their home while it was in storage.
Start by inspecting the flue and hood areas.  Soot is a sign of incomplete combustion and if you find it start by cleaning everything in sight.  At this point if you haven’t found signs of bugs, then I would probably contact the repairman and have them check out the unit.  While you are in there cleaning, look for any signs of water leakage and give the pressure relief valve a quick open and close.  Unlike the tank systems, you won’t need to worry about pressure build up nor will you need to burb the tank to make sure you have the correct air bubble.
Now would be a good time to get some electrical contact cleaner like CRC and clean all of the power and electrical connections, including the battery for the RV.  When you are all done, it is time to turn on the water, fire up the unit and make sure everything is working as it should.  Then put your tools aware and enjoy the camping season.