MOTOR HOME & TRAVEL TRAILER ADVICE - HELPFUL ARTICLES

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RV Buying Guide Checklist - How to Buy a RV

RV Checklist For Hitching Up RV

RV Ownership Tips

Be a Good Neighbor - RV Park Etiquette

RV Mouse Invasion - Solutions!

RV B uying Guide Checklist

Use this helpful list before buying a new travel trailer (5th wheels & motor homes are not specifically detailed, but this buying guide advice will be of great use to the 5th wheel or motor home buyer).

  1. Air Conditioning : 15,000 BTU low profile or 12,300 heat/15,000 coo l heat pump .   Central with ducted air is best.  Don't waste money on the heat-strip element option, it does not work well.

  2. Windows should be louver type to keep rain out , but some RV's do not offer this option .

  3. Make sure awning bracket arms are firmly drilled into wood frame, not just the thin siding or it will rip out on a windy day creating very expensive damage.  A center support with large long awning is needed.  Consider an automatic awning for ease of use.  Stay with white or light color as dark colors fade.  Yes, you can easily live without an awning.  If you don't have the automatic awning that closes in high wind conditions the manual awning can create serious damage to your RV and other RV's.  I have seen wind gusts rip the awnings right off the RV with great ease and toss them down the road sailing into other RV's in the RV park.  I rarely use the awning due to these reasons.

  4. The RV should have leveling jacks at four points; manual scissor or automatic hydraulic.

  5. Washer and drier combo unit is optional.

  6. Water heater: propane gas and electric heating element.  Atwood water heaters can replace the core tank.  Other brands require that you buy an entirely new water heater. 

  7. Generator: will you need an electric generator?  Will it operate your air conditioning?  If AC is not important, will it run your microwave oven, lights and entertainment devices?  Generally a 4,000 watt generator is required to run an RV with one 15,000 btu AC unit.  Consider a portable 2,000 watt minimum generator if your RV has no room for a large generator.  Also, is the generator frequency controlled so it can run computers, VCR/DVD players, satellite systems?  

  8. Satellite TV: do you really need a satellite dish?  If you do, get one.  A roof mounted dish is not recommended because the dish can't be moved.  If you are parked under trees the signal will be zero.  Keeping the dish portable is most practical so you can mount it anywhere needed to pick up a satellite signal.  You will also need a roof-mounted TV antenna with a 12-volt power amplifier for the times you do not want to start up the satellite system at rest areas, etc. and they will work with high-definition over-the-air broadcasts so a special High Definition TV antenna is not absolutely required.

  9. Consider where you will put your trash can and other items when cooking.  Walk about and locate electric outlets and where you will place your TV, VCR/DVD player and disks, High Definition or satellite receiver.  Is there room to install a small surround sound entertainment system?  How about a 32" flat screen TV?  What about room for the satellite receiver and DVD player?

  10. Computer space available?  Is it big enough?  Where are the electric outlets, phone for modem or holes in woodwork to run cables from computer to monitor, to printer, etc.

  11. Oven and range: try to get a four burner range, but three will do.

  12. Refrigerator; get as big as you can, but make sure it will run on AC power and propane gas.  Some RV's residential type refrigerators only work on AC power and your food will spoil when traveling because it can't switch to propane fuel.  Buyer beware.  What you want is called an AC power combination propane gas fired ammonia absorption refrigerator.  Also try to get a frost-free model.  In humid weather the frost accumulation on the coils will become a nuisance.

  13. Water heater: minimum of 6 gallons.  This must work on AC power and propane gas.  This way when you are camping in an RV park you are not using up your propane fuel to heat water.  And, when traveling you can switch to propane fuel and always have hot water if you need it.

  14. Entry steps:  try to get at least three steps.  Two steps will have you jumping in and out of the RV too much.  Automatic steps are a good feature so you won't forget to put the steps back before traveling.  Use our handy traveling RV Checklist so accidents do not happen!

  15. Towing:  if you plan to tow your trailer consider (seriously consider) the Reese Weight Distributing Duel Cam Sway Control hitch.  It is only about $75 more, but tows like a dream.  You can forget about trailer lurching and sway.  The hitch really works well.  If you plan to tow a 5th wheel, then consider the air bag hitch that softens the ride. 

  16. Storage: where will you put your hobby items, tools, oil, spare parts, paper files?  Storage is a critical component and there is never enough as you will soon find out.  Consider the bunk bed model to purchase because the bunks make excellent storage compartments.  You will be glad you did!

  17. Kitchen; where will you store pots and pans, dishes, cups and packaged food.  Make sure there is ample space and shelves to store these items.

  18. Does the RV have skid wheels in back to protect driveways from being scoured if you bottom out?  They also prevent damage to your RV frame.

  19. Is there room to attach or weld a generator table to the back of your RV?  This can also be used to store additional items.  Most tables need to be custom built so look for two I-beams located near the rear bumper. 

  20. Siding: fiberglass is the rave and for good reason; it is quieter, low maintenance, easier to clean, long lasting and looks good.  Get the siding that has a gel protective coating as your RV will look clean most all of the time and the color will not fade.

  21. Roof: rubber.  Before picking up the RV, on the sales contract too, note that you want the roof leak tested before delivery.  Make them run a hose and inspect for leaks on roof, windows and doors. 

  22. Power: most RV's only need 30 amp service.  When a RV has a washer & drier or two air conditioning units then 50 amp service is required.   If possible, go with 30 amp as campgrounds will charge you more money for 50 amp service.  A 50 amp service RV can use 30 amp with a simple power cord adapter, but don't use two AC units or run the washer/drier.

  23. Antenna: for over the air broadcast TV it should be roof mounted with a built in signal booster.  You will need it!  Another antenna on the roof for the radio.

  24. Lighting:  is the light sufficient?  You can try the 12 volt lighting, but look for the 110 volt light fixtures.  For reading, you will likely need to place a clip-on light somewhere near the couch or lounge chair.  How about reading in bed?  Is there lights for that?  Check out the bath room area too.  Can you see inside cabinets and drawers with the lights on or will you need to use a flashlight?   

  25. Exterior: where is the satellite TV jack?  where is the cable TV jack?  Telephone jack?  Fresh water connection?  Are the sewage control valves easy to reach and operate? Where will you store the sewer hose?  Fresh water hose? Cables for television?

  26. Almost every RV today has a slide out.  The living room slide-out is very useful.  Keep in mind the slide out should accommodate where you will reside in the RV most of the time.  Consider a rainy day or three or an illness keeping you inside the RV and see if the slide out is making room for you to live comfortable.  Be aware that a bedroom slide out may be sliding the bed to the left or right of the RV length and that can make your head elevated or declined on uneven ground.  You will need electric hydraulic jack levelers or you will not obtain a good night sleep.  Setting up the rig at each overnight stop is not practical.  You will often be using truck and other parking lots for overnight stops (even if you say you won't, you will).  My advice is to buy an RV with no slide out in the bedroom unless you have hydraulic levelers that level the RV with a touch of a few levers.  Make sure you know how to manually crank in the slide-out and you have the necessary cranking tool if the motor burns up!

  27. Batteries: a minimum of two deep-cycle batteries should be employed. 

  28. Heater: RV forced air heater is a fuel hog and will burn up your propane and battery power quickly, so fast you may not make it though the night before the battery is drained shutting down all heat in the RV.  There are alternatives.  You should not buy a catalytic heater because they do not heat the RV well, they get dirty and the catalytic element loses power.  Even new out of the box the heat output will keep you frigid cold!  I have had them and when you try a ceramic propane gas heater you will be nice and warm in the coldest weather.  I own a Empire Model SR-10T-2 (10,000btu) and it works great.  It requires no battery power, just propane fuel.  The drawback is that the flame is not vented and is exposed.  They are safe when used properly and used with common sense.  Like operating your stove top, don't use perfume or hair or bug spray near open flames.  Keep a side window cracked open for ventilation.  Key consideration to ask yourself when shopping for an RV, "Do you have space to mount this heater?"  Can propane gas line be easily installed to it?  Will the rising heat scorch a cabinet above the unit?  Nothing should obstruct the rising heat to the ceiling. 

  29. Bicycle: most RVer's have a bicycle and they carry them on the RV or other vehicle, but what about flat tires?  Yes, it ruins the day.  Consider getting "No-Mor Flats" tires for your bicycles and you will never have a flat again.  These tires are solid rubber, yet are soft, so the ride is still like a tire filled with air. http://www.nomorflats.com they are not expensive.  You may need a bicycle rack that mounts the bikes on the roof access ladder or RV bumper (if the bumper is strong enough, many are not).

  30. Slide out awning: the slide out roof can collect branches, leaves and dirt and when the slide is retracted can deposit some unwanted items into the RV.  Awnings help, but they still won't keep bugs and spiders out, sorry.  This awning is optional.  Yes, you can live without these awnings.

  31. Exterior Storage: how much storage is given?  You need a lot more than you think you will need.  Always buy the RV that offers the most storage inside and outside and you will be happy you did!  Is the storage practical?  A huge storage area, like in a toy hauler is of little use without drawers, cabinets and shelves!

  32. Warrantee; what kind of warrantee and how long and what is covered?  Where are the dealers that will make the repairs?  Must you drive a thousand miles or more  just to get something fixed under the warrantee?  Select a RV manufacturer that has a wide and extensive dealer network.  Fleetwood is a very big company.

  33. Exterior lighting should allow you to see your front steps and allow hitching up in the dark.  A yellow / amber color light should be used, not white as it disturbs your fellow RV neighbors and is hard on the eyes. 

  34. Buy an electric operated jack lift so you are not cranking the A-frame up and down to hitch up.  It is worth the price!

  35. All RV's must have a roof ladder.  Some RV's don't come with one and it is a big mistake and a disservice to the customer.  You will need to get on the roof here and there to patch a leak, remove tree branch, etc.

  36. Check with your insurance company what the RV will cost to insure.  It is a good idea to ask your agent what brands cost less to insure, then go shopping for the perfect RV from there.

  37. Overloading; it is hard to overload a travel trailer because they are inherently light weight by design, generally speaking.  The 5th wheel trailer is a heavy beast even when empty and will overload fast.  Not to mention the tow truck engine modifications, auxiliary fuel tanks, wear on brakes, etc.   With the travel trailer you can forget about needed engine modification to increase power, you won't need exhaust braking to stop, you won't wear out your vehicle brakes quickly at all (if it is a pick up truck with typical heavy duty towing package) and your fuel mileage will be fine so no extra fuel tank is needed.  The 5th wheel can be a bad choice unless  you are prepared to invest thousands of dollars in modifications.  Insurance for travel trailers cost less than 5th wheel trailers.  Something to consider.

  38. Extras; does the RV have a coat and key rack?  Wall clock? How about mirrors?  Windows should have blinds not cloth that can stain or get torn.  Flip up shelves? Exterior storage doors have latches to hold the hatch door open?  Is there a spare tire?  How long is the power cord? (30 feet would be nice, but if not buy a 30 amp or 50 amp extension cord).  Furnace and Air Conditioning filter easy to clean or tough to gain access? Get a propane gas tank indicator that lets you know when the tank needs filling. It is not nice to run out of propane.  You may have no heat, no cooking, no refrigeration and no hot water.  

  39. Dinette; some people like the free standing dinette, but there is a huge drawback to it; you lose valuable under the seat storage space and a convertible bed.  Make the right choice here.  How about a swivel or recliner chair? 

  40. Can the propane gas detector and the smoke alarm be temporarily shut off for a few minutes?  This is so cooking, perfume or cleaning solvent fumes that set off the alarm can be silenced while cleaning.  If no switch can be used can a fuse be pulled to disable the alarms?  Locate the fuse.

  41. A reversible large-blade and quiet low speed roof vent fan should be installed for ventilation.  Make sure that the fan is not near the sewage black water tank roof vent or it will draw sewer fumes into the RV.  Some RV's have the air roof vents located too close to the sewer vent so those roof vents can't even be used at all!

  42. Forced air heating and cooling vents should be directional so you can aim the air flow for maximum comfort. 

  43. Is there places on the wall or on cabinet doors to mount your monthly calendar, notes, etc.?

  44. Bed should raise up to reveal a lot of storage space for storing tools, clothing, blankets, portable fan and electric space heater, etc.

  45. Where will you store soiled laundry?  Look for a cabinet to store this laundry.

  46. Bath should have a bath tub.  You never know when you will need to soak a foot or leg from an injury.  Also, it can be used to wash clothes in a pinch, not to mention a bath is more comfortable.  The tub also acts as another storage container when traveling.  Bath or shower floor should be firm with no flexing anywhere.  If it flexes just a tiny bit it will crack and leak water.  This is a common and expensive problem, so make sure yours is supported firmly or get it in the sales contract the dealer will rebuild the tub floor prior to delivery.

  47. Solar panels are a waste of money and are high maintenance.  You have to keep cleaning them all of the time and they are usually installed on the roof.  Get a nice electric generator and use it.  Do this first.  Later, if you find yourself boon docking many months per year, then a solar system may be of value, but you will still need a generator on cloudy / rainy days and to operate microwave ovens, etc.  Solar is not a cure all for self-contained power.  Solar does not work at night. 

  48. Electric generator eats fuel, but is still a valuable component for any RV'er.  A small 2,000 watt portable generator will run everything except the air conditioning and uses little fuel.  I have used quiet frequency controlled Honda and Yamaha generators with great success.  Even a fuel efficient 1,000 watt generator will power lights and television, but not a microwave oven requiring 1,000 watts.  To run air conditioning a 3,000 to 4,000 watt generator will be needed and the fuel it guzzles is seriously expensive, but you may need one when traveling to rest with air conditioning at your command.  Just make sure you get a frequency controlled generator so it can run your computers and other electronic devices.  

  49. Furniture cushions easily replaced?  Can they be packed with higher density foam?  Some RV's foam is so bad it will need to be replaced in about two months time!

  50. Forget the nice looks.  Look at the quality of materials.  Are the cabinate hinges and locks good quality and easily replaced if they break?

  51. Get it in the sales contract that when the RV is prepped they will water leak test the roof, windows, slide-out seals, antenna and all roof vents and openings.  Also to verify the water pressure lines do not leak-down indicating a hidden slow leak.

  52. On the walk-through prior to delivery some dealers just walk you through explaining how things work.  Do not accept this.  Demand in the sales contract you will be given a full and complete demonstration walk-through to actually operate all devices to insure all items are working properly.  This includes awnings, slide-outs, oven, space heater, air conditioning, roof vents, doors, windows, cabinets, lights and power outlets, water system, phone and cable TV jacks, etc.  This will help prevent you from driving away only to discover many items are not even working!  This happens too many times and I have had it happen to me only to drive away and find things not working!  A new RV that had to be returned for warrantee work when it should have never even been delivered in the first place to the customer!  A good dealer who cares about their customers will perform this detailed walk-through with the customer present to verify these very important inspections.  A smart RV buyer will demand the full inspection prior to buying the RV!  Tell the dealer to set up the RV first, then you will buy it after it passes your inspection.  Dealers are selling RV's then do shoddy work to prepare the RV and stick the troubles on you to obtain warrantee work at your time and expense and inconvenience.  Buyer beware!

  53. Before deciding on a model you need to do two things.  Get rid of the salesperson so you can sit and think without interruptions.  Then sit in the RV and pretend it is a rainy day and you have to stay indoors all day long.  Can you be comfortable?  Walk around and mimic routine activities like cooking, watching TV, using  computer, taking a bath, sleeping, etc.  Are all these things acceptable to you?  Some floor plans just will not work for some people.  Also, do this with the slide-outs retracted to see if you can use the RV in this mode.  You can't always be opening your slide-outs in parking lots when traveling and a storm may keep you inside the RV all day long.     

  54. Bedroom:  lie on the bed to determine if windows are too close to your head.  Cool drafts can be punishing if your head or feet is right up against a window.  Also, check air conditioning vent.  It should be able to adjust away from your body when sleeping.  Electrical outlets nearby?  Is there easy to reach shelf space to place antacid pills, napkins, water or other bedside items?  Where will you store clean underclothes?

  55. Can you grease the wheel bearings using a simple grease gun?  What is the wheel bearing grease schedule for your RV?  You don't want to have to take the wheels off to repack the bearings every three to six months.  Yes, a grease gun can be used as long as you do not exceed two or three pumps of a hand-held grease gun so as not to over pack the bearings.  How often?  Every 6 months should be fine if you are traveling.  If parked for six months?  Do not bother to grease the wheel bearings.  When replacing wheel bearings be aware of cheap imported bearings of inferior quality can fail creating loss of control of the vehicle and/or expensive axle repairs.  Replace with USA name brands such as Timken ® .  Make sure the mechanic shows you proof of purchase of the Timken bearings.

  56. Is there ample room for a 32" flat panel television?  Room for a small home theater system?  Satellite receiver?  Look for an RV that has an exposed countertop to mount the TV.  A built-in cubicle will not work as with small picture tube TV's.  RV manufactures need to catch up with the times.  They are still making cubicles for TV's.

  57. Entry door should be no smaller than 24 1/2" otherwise the entire door and door frame must be removed to replace a refrigerator if it ever needs replacement.

  58. Examine the quality of the RV.  You can't readily see the defects inside the RV.  They will be hidden for the most part from your eyes.  Where you will see poor quality control is under the RV.  Examine how the screws are inserted that hold the siding, slide-out and other things together.  I bought a 31 foot Fleetwood Prowler RV that looked real nice, but later I found very serious problems of missing screws, loose screws, stripped screw holes with oversize bolts inserted to make up for the defect only to find that bolt also stripped, etc., etc.  I have found this Fleetwood RV to be very poor in quality control.  Even the interior screws do not hold and my shelves separated, drawers fell apart, floors squeak from delaminating with poor glue, roof leaked water in two places, poor caulking, slide-out bolts never tightened and stripped screws,  main electrical connections and the ground wires loose, loose, dangerously loose, RV awning not even installed into the supporting wood frame, etc.  This is likely a result of using unskilled and untrustworthy illegal alien workers who are not trained in assembling RV's and Fleetwood's own gross and incompetent failure to have quality control inspections.  In my case, this  Fleetwood RV never should have left the factory with these serious defects and is a serous health and safety risk.  Look elsewhere if you want high quality!  In any case, look under the RV no matter what brand you decide to buy! 

  59. Before you buy, examine water drain line configuration.  You don't want the sink gray water entering the black water tank.  Some RV's do this and it is legal according to the RVIA code.  Why?  Because your black water tank will always be filling up rapidly making you miserable always looking for a dump station!  It is a lamebrain idea to do this.  RV manufacturers that do this say it is so fresh water can enter the black water tank to help mix up and drain the tank.  It will, but to the RV owner's grief.  It is not necessary.  So, watch out for this problem before you buy your RV. 

  60. Axles:  Dexter Axles are common on towable RV's.  Dexter make upgraded axles that have grease fittings on the hubs to lube the wheel bearings and they even have a hub that requires no periodic greasing.  Consider ordering these upgraded axles so you are not having to pay for wheel bearing greasing which is labor intensive, expensive and should be performed each 6,000 miles. 

  61. Consider special ordering your RV from the factory with all the features you want.  Example:Interior colors were always, for dozens of years, bright and cheery with oak cabinets and white wallpaper, but the trend today are dark colors, even black cabinets, which are dismal and depressing.  When you special order your RV you can avoid buying a depressing interior color scheme.

  62. Stay clear of heavily exterior decaled paint schemes.  The decals eventually fade and are very tough to remove and the faded decals will make your RV ugly, ugly, ugly and so old-looking some RV parks will not let unrestored vintage RV's into their park so as not to create a run-down blight environment.  Read the RV park rules fine print!  If you can, special order without decals, or with minimum simple stripe decal.  It would be best in the long term to get an RV with no decals.  If you look at the old RV's in the 70's they had aluminum sidings with a green wide stripe running along the side of the RV.  Very simple design and the individual panels could be replaced to upgrade the faded painted section, or just repainted.  They still make aluminum siding and it has advantages over solid sheet fiberglass.  Fiberglass cracks from heat or road movement stress loads.  Consider buying an RV with aluminum siding as the sections can be replaced if dented or faded.  My next RV will have aluminum siding.  Fiberglass works, but many people do have problems with cracking.  Stay away from light brown or dark black fiberglass sidings as these colored-fiberglass-sidings will fade unevenly making your RV look like a junkyard in no time at all.  Large motor homes are going this route with rich, dark colorings which for the owner will become a huge financial mistake. White is still the best color for an RV.

  63. Aluminum siding may be better than fiberglass.  Aluminum is a bit harder to keep clean, but is easier to repair as the small panels can each be replaced individually whereas fiberglass is expensive slabs of enormous sizes.  Patches of fiberglass can't be used if the damage surface are is large.  Fiberglass does add some insulation value and perhaps a tad bit more sound rejection capability over aluminum, but likely not by much.  You can test this by visiting a RV dealership near a noisy highway.  The paint (no decals on aluminum siding) appears to last dozens of years even when exposed to direct sunlight and are easily painted over with a spray can if need be or replace the affected faded panels.  Fiberglass also deteriorates from UV rays which can require the giant slabs to be replaced and this will be very expensive for materials and labor and to then reinstall new decals.

  64. Where is the fresh water tank located?  If it located forward of the rear axle you can travel with it full of water as the added weight will stabilize the RV, but could exceed you Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.  Better to travel with 1/4 full tank of water.  If water tank is installed behind the rear axle you need to travel with less water just enough to wash hands and flush toilet when traveling as the added weight can destabilize the RV and cause a loss of control and raise the risk of a crash.  Try to find a RV with the fresh water tank forward or between tandem axles.

  65. Be careful of buying a RV with a rear kitchen as the heavy weight of the kitchen appliances will tend to unload the hitch and destabilize the RV. This includes motor homes too!  It will unload the front wheel contact from the ground, so beware of the danger of losing control of the vehicle.    

by James Russell Publishing All Rights Reserved.

RV Checklist for Hitching Up

  Use this handy list to remind you of the important things you need to do when hitching up your RV and unhitching.  You will find this free list to be invaluable to save you from disaster when traveling. 

  All it takes is to forget "just one time" to fold- up your entry steps, lock your awning or fail to lower your TV antenna and you will wish you had this list! 

The checklist is free!

Never rely on memory. If you forget just one item imagine the consequences!  Avoid repair bills and law suits!

Sample Only - click link below...

Click here to go to the RV Checklist page to print it out full-size.

RV OWNERSHIP TIPS

Article is being compiled.  Come back later to read it all.

  1. Hot Water:  If your propane hot water tank will not light, simply check the electrode spark gap.  It often gets plugged with a carbon deposit, dead bug or spider web.  Use a piece of cardboard or plastic to wipe the area clean.  Also, check the tiny gas orifice for the same reasons.  If electric hot water heater fails?  Check the fuse or circuit breaker before calling for service.  When buying a water heater get the Atwood brand as the hot water tank can be replaced.  If you bought a Suburban brand you must replace the entire unit.

  2. Wheels & Axles & Brakes:  Grease the wheel bearing each 3,000 miles.  Many RV's today have simple grease fittings so you do not need to take the wheel off and pack the bearing by hand, but don't add too much grease.  Replace wheel bearings with USA made name brand bearings.  Many RV trailers are coming new with inferior Chinese wheel bearings.  If you can, special order your axles to include Dexter brand axles with sealed bearings never needing greasing!  Also try to get disk brakes on your RV trailer.  If not, you can purchase upgrade kits.  If the RV axles have zerk grease fittings?  Mechanics say not to use them, but you can use them as long as you gently and very slowly apply grease to the fitting and use only two pumps of the hand-held grease gun.  The problem is people force too much new grease into the zerk fitting too fast which pushes the grease past the seals allowing grease to enter the brake drum area.

  3. TV:  You will need a small 12 volt DC powered television to use when traveling on the road.  This way no generator need be started.

  4. Solar Power:  Forget it.  Solar and wind power devices are a waste of money unless you are going to boon dock (live in the self-contained RV without external utility power) for many months each year.  Even then, you will still need a propane or gasoline powered AC generator.

  5. To secure a TV to a table top when traveling is easy using a ratchet-type nylon hold-down strap.  Place a rubber non-slip matt between the cabinet and the TV to stop any sliding and to protect the cabinet surface from scratches.  Now just wrap the TV once from top to bottom with the strap then snug it tight, but not too tight to harm the picture tube, just a snug fit.  The strap will hold the TV down to the cabinet top.  If you must, just bore two small 1 1/2"holes in the cabinet topside so the strap can be fed through.  One hole should be drilled behind the TV and one hole drilled in front of the TV.   This method works for small or large TV's with great ease and it will never become loose or fall when traveling.  The ratchet mechanism should be resting on the top of the TV so it will not vibrate against the glass or plastic picture tube.  You can use this method for flat screen TV or traditional glass picture tube TV.  This allows you to use a bigger TV than you normally would and you never need to remove and set up the TV each time you stop to camp. 

  6. Carry a spare propane tank gas hose.  This is the hose from the propane tank to the propane gas pressure regulator.  The propane gas slowly hardens the hose and then it fails by leaking.  This can happen once each two years.  You don't want a disaster on your hands while on the road with no propane to keep your refrigerator cold, to heat your home on a cold day/night and not be able to cook or run your propane gas powered electrical generator.  Many RV dealers do not carry the one that you will need, so get a spare right now before you need it! Some may even want to carry a pressure regulator as a spare.  If that regulator fails you will have no propane, period.  Just make sure you also have spare brass hose fittings that will fit the spare hose and the spare regulator.  Some replacement hoses will need special hose fittings to fit certain regulators.

  7. Want to lower the temperature in your RV refrigerator even more?  Just install a special battery-powered refrigerator fan sold at RV supply stores.  It will reduce initial start-up cool down temperatures by 50% and keep the refrigerator cool about 25% in normal use.

  8. Your refrigerator stops working.  Make sure the refrigerator is level then check it on propane fuel and then on electricity.  If it works on one but not the other you don't need a new refrigerator, just a new electric or gas heating element in most cases.  There are Websites to help you troubleshoot absorption refrigerators, check them out.

  9. Need electrical components to fix appliances in your RV?  Go to Dinosaur Electronics .

  10. Light Check & Safety Plug.  This device plugs into your RV 12-volt power cord and checks all the external lights, even the turn signals.  And if you break down?  The device will flash all the RV lights so you won't be a safety hazard on the side of the road.  Made by Coil n' Wrap.

  11. Tire Covers - Do Not Use Them!  What they do is trap moisture to corrode the brake linings as they wick water from the ground making everything inside the brake drums wetter.  They are okay to use in dry climate areas of the Western states.

  12. Skylight Sealant:  Do not use Dicor ® Lap Sealant on those large plastic skylights as the product is not compatible with all plastics.  This ban includes crank-up ceiling vents as the sealant is applied to the plastic flare and roof.  Instead, use Surebond ® SB-140 Skylight and Window Butyl Sealant

  13. Looking for new locks for your storage compartments?  The factory locks often come with the same key # CH751.  Prime Products part # 18-3315 comes with four identical-keyed locks to a package for less then $20 online.  This may keep the opportunistic thief out of your storage compartments.

  14. Need rubber seals for your RV?  Steele Rubber Products has them.

  15. Don't buy those RV refrigerator protection devices such as ARPrv's product to prevent overheating of the burner/heating unit because 1) Modern RV refrigerators don't need them as they operate off-level and they have their own safety devices 2) ARP's product is not plug and play for you have to do a lot of wiring and configuring the product which adds another layer of complexity to install and adds more complexity to shut the system off or on 3) The ARP is expensive at over $135.00,  4) ARP does not show in their installation instructions where to connect the ARP's wire to the control module which is a huge problem as one mistake can ruin the RVP or the refrigerator control module so you are left hanging how to install the device, so when you return the product for a refund,  5) RVP has hostile return policies where you lose shipping fees both ways you had paid to get the item and again to return the item and ARP bilks you out of $11 just for them to look at and inspect the product you returned to them, a fee to rob you of your money.  That is a hostile return policy.  Don't waste your money with these add-on devices because 6) if the ARP fails it can void your refrigerator warranty and add more complexity if the refrigerator does fail and burns down your RV your insurance company may not pay because you altered the refrigerator or the ARP somehow defeated or the factory safety system.  Who knows?  It is not worth the risk or chance in my opinion to alter the absorption refrigerator in your RV.       

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR - RV PARK ETIQUETTE

  1. Do not slam your entry doors or exterior compartment doors.  It sounds like a cannon exploding inside your neighbor's RV.  It is rude.  This also applies to stepping loudly on the floor of your RV, especially walking or jumping down stairs in a 5th wheel or kids jumping on the floor.  The booming noise can be unbearable to your neighbors and they will label you as "thumpers" "slammers" or "bangers" so make an effort to not slam doors. 

  2. Don't hang up clanging and banging wind chimes.  Many people despise the ongoing noise and racket as the noise penetrates your neighbor's home.  Be considerate, even if others still hang up wind chimes.  It is noise pollution.  Some RV parks have gone out of business due to the noise of wind-chimers taking over the RV park.

  3. Barking dogs is a no-no.  Keep the dog  quiet, on a leash and never leave it unattended where it will bark endlessly and pick up dog poop after your dog.  Violating these rules will get you evicted from most all RV parks.

  4. Do not warm up your diesel or gas engine as the exhaust fumes will enter your neighbors RV and seriously injure or kill them.  Start up the vehicle and slowly drive away where you can warm it up safely.  People have been sued for negligence over this matter and their insurance company will not pay the damages.  They have to pay monstrous amounts of money that bankrupts them and laden with court and legal fees, etc.   You could be next.  The same holds true for running electric generators.  Remember, carbon monoxide is odorless and it is a deadly poison coming from your engine.  Don't run the engine for more than one minute when near other RV's.  Even on windy days the poison can still enter the neighbor's RV across the street from you.

  5. No loud music.  Just don't play music from your tow vehicle or outside your RV. It disturbs the peace of the RV park.  Keep your TV volume low if you have your windows open.

  6. Don't run your generator when close to other RV's.  The fumes can kill the people near you with carbon monoxide poisoning.  You an only imagine the legal costs and grief you will then suffer.  At best, the noise will upset your neighbors and complain about your noise and exhaust fume odor.

© by James Russell Publishing All Rights Reserved. JamesRussellPublishing.com

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