Category Archives: RV Inspections

RV Inspection we have performed.

TPMS Part 2

The installation of the TPMS involves, charging the unit (if required), coding the monitors to the location, mounting the monitors and then testing the configuration.  Total time, including reading the manuals was less than an hour.

My monitor came with a full charge.  Otherwise the manual says to plug it in for 15 minutes or so.  Speaking of which, read the manual.  You need to understand what you will be doing before you do it.  Some steps are time sensitive and the unit will reset if you don’t complete them in time.  Don’t worry, once you understand what has to be done, you have plenty of time to do it.

Kit 1

Kit 2

When you get your TPMS it has two sections of parts.  The top layer has the sensors and the monitoring unit.  The lower section has the instructions, mounting brackets, power cords, tools, screws, caps and mounting hardware for the monitor.

Setup is pretty simple.  You lay the sensor (one at a time) next to the monitor, press a button and it maps the sensor to the tire location.  Repeat for all of the tires.  All total this takes maybe 5 minutes.  This is an important step.  Placing a sensor on the wrong tire will give you a false reading.

After the sensors are configured, the system wants you to set up the alarm points.  High and low pressure are first based on each tire location.  This was the hardest section to do for me.  I had no idea what to set the high pressure at.  Low pressure was easy, I set it at 10 lbs below normal pressure.  I ended up looking at the tire side wall and finding the maximum pressure rating for the tire and added 10 lbs.  I left the temperature setting at 158 degrees F which was suggested in the manual.  You also select C or F.

Next you have to mount the sensors on each tire based on where they were recorded.  This takes some time as you also have to secure the sensor once mounted.  Security is an allen set screw.  In my case several of them were not able to be tightened and I had to remove them and put the set screw on the other side.  Each sensor has two locations for the set screw.  Of course Murphy dictated that over half of the set screws where on the wrong side.  You may also want to have a bottle of soap and water to make sure there are no air leaks.  My first tire had to use an extender (which I happen to have had laying around).  Of course the extender was bad and I had to use another one.  Another sensor wasn’t on tight and was leaking a little air.  Without the soap and water that tire would have gone flat.

Tire 1 Installation... problem tire

Tire 1 with the extender.

Tire 2 Installation

Tire 2 no extender needed.

With all of the sensors mounted, turn on the unit and wait, and wait and wait.  It takes about 15 minutes for the monitor to read all of the sensors.  As it finds a sensor it will display the pressure and temperature.  I knew from my pre-trip inspections that it was time to fill a couple of tires.  So I wasn’t surprised to see the tire pressure readings when the system had initialized.  The readings where close to what I got with a tire pressure gauge.   The sensors even showed a difference in temperature from the sun and shade effects.

Alarmed Low Pressure on Trailer

Shows an alarm for low pressure on trailer (different pressure settings)

Monitoring

Shows alarm condition for RV tire.  This was an inside rear tire reading in the shade.

Overall, I am happy with this setup.  It will save me some time on my inspections as well as peace of mind while traveling.  The alarms are hard to see and I will have my wife watch them along with the GPS and other co-pilot tasks.

The one complaint I have is that it takes 15 minutes or so after the unit powers up to find and register all of the tire sensors.  So this will become part of our pre-trip inspection which is done the day before we leave.  I normally check tire pressure prior to pulling out, but with this taking so long, it will be done the day before.

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

Videos… a couple steps closer

The video project took a couple steps closer this week.  I have been able to find the software I need to create and edit them and the software for the website to present and manage them.

I have been working on a couple of books as well.  Seems I am working harder now in early retirement than I was when I was working full time.  But thankfully everything is coming together that will make this the go to place for new recreational vehicle owners.

Speaking of the books, the first two should be ready to download from this site beginning the first week of May.  That is just a couple of weeks away.

I will be posting a free download code on the Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/RVInspectionService/), so if you are not a member, please sign up soon.  If you have friends that are looking for an RV, have them sign up as well.

Watch for another article that explains the book series.

Oh almost forgot, you will be getting a newsletter now as well.  All free of charge of course.  (Someday I will have to figure out how to make money with all of this).

Thanks everyone for all the great comments.  More to come.

Just wanted to let you know about the Facebook Page

I also have a Facebook Page that is used to support this site.  You can access it at Facebook Page.

I am starting to work on the video series.  It will cover the complete inspection process from roof to frame and everything in between.  Not sure how long this is going to take, probably a few months at least.  Also haven’t figured out what or if I will be charging for this.  I do plan on having a manual that will go with the videos.

Please let me know if you have any ideas or special interests.

 

Tip of the day… AC Circuits

Tip of the day… AC.  Electrical Systems on RV consist of 3 different circuits.  120 volts AC, 12 Volts DC for the house/trailer, and 12 Volts DC for the coach.  The 120 Volts AC is typically supplied by either the generator or shore power (don’t ask me why they call it shore power, I don’t know).

This 120 v runs the lights, microwave, tvs, stereo, refrig and air conditioners to name a few items.  Depending on the unit it may also run into an inverter and charge the house batteries.  The first place that you as the buyer want to check is the fuse/circuit breaker box.

This is the first place that the AC will be available.  You want to make sure that the circuit breakers and fuses are all operational and that no loose connections can be seen.  Next you will need a circuit tester.  This is a three prong device used to check AC outlets.  Test every outlet in the RV.  Making sure that the tester indicates correct readings.  Make sure you check the storage areas as well.  Note any outlet not reading properly.

Next you want to find the GFI circuit. This is usually in the bathroom.  It will have GFI and a test/reset switch on the outlet.  Press the test button and recheck ALL of the outlets.  Make a note of those that no longer work.  These are all controlled by the GFI Circuit that you just tripped.  Again, make sure you test the ones outside as well.  You will be surprised at the number of outlets that are wired together.

If your unit has a converter/inverter unit, it more than likely also has at least one circuit breaker.  This is a good time to test it and see what outlets are controlled by the unit.  Some will have 3 or more circuit breakers.  Test then individually so you can identify which is which.  When the lights go out because one of the kids is running the hair dryer, while the microwave and coffee maker are on, you will be glad you did this.