Most travel trailers and fifth wheels being produced today have some sort of slide out. Some are small wardrobe-only slide, and some are the “Super Slides” that run a significant length of the side of the trailer. In all of these cases, some sort of maintenance will be involved. Here is a short little video about how to maintain and lubricate your slide system.
Mark Polk from RV Education 101 has been educating RV-ers for years. He teaches everything from basic mainternance to how to hook up your 5th wheel to your tow vehicle. I find him to be a great resource to help answer questions, and help those who are relatively new to owning a trailer or 5th wheel.
This video explains in an easy to follow series of steps to sanitize your fresh water system. This is something you will want to do at least once a year, but it can’t hurt to do it more than once…
Hello fellow campers.
I have been taking time to help keep you guys from having problems with your sewer system, and one of the most important things you can do at home, is a good cleaning. Get yourself a toilet wand, preferably one with a flexible end to it, so the water can spray all directions, not just from a single point. Another thing that works here is a rotary tank-rinser that is permanently installed on your black water tank. Hook up your hose, and spray it out good. But whatever you use, actually USE it.
This one simple task, which isn’t really all that difficult if you do it regularly, and use the Tissue Digester and probe cleaner chemicals at least once or twice a season, then you will prevent about 90% of your basic problems with your sewer system.
After all of the cleaning and rinsing, if you are going to be storing the camper for any length of time, think about getting a vented waste cap. This allows you to store the camper with the black and grey water tank valves open slightly, so that whatever gasses or smells are left in the tank, have somewhere else to escape rather than into the trailer. This helps prevent that toilet chemical smell inside the unit that I think everyone who has used or owned a camper knows what I’m talking about.
Ok campers, this concludes this portion of the lesson plan. Feel free to contact me with any questions about procedures, or products, or anything else that crossed your mind. See you next time, I’m going to go wash my hands.
One of the most common questions I get almost every day, is “how often do I need to re-caulk my roof?” My answer is almost always the same: If you need to ask, it’s probably time.
Most manufacturers recommend at least checking your roof every three months. It helps to use a good Rubber Roof Cleaner before doing any good inspection, preferably using a cleaner designed for use on a rubber roof that will add some extra UV protection. As an added benefit, regular washing of your roof will cut down on black streaks on the sides of the unit saving you time and energy.
When you look at your caulk, you are looking for small cracks, edges that are lifting up a little or areas that have gotten very thin over time.
If you see any of this, then it’s time to peel up the old stuff and run a new bead. People ask at this point, “Can I just go over the top with new caulk?”, and to that I say, I don’t suggest it. Old caulk doesn’t adhere to the roof as well as it used to, and if you apply new caulk over it, then the bottom layer is still not sticking well. Besides, you will use much less caulk if you aren’t trying to cover all the old stuff as well as the seam. So clean it up the best you can, and start fresh.
Next is choosing the right caulk for the right job. On the flat surface of your roof, use a self leveling caulk or “Lap Sealant” for this job. It is liquid enough to actually fill in air gaps and seams in your bead. It settles to create a uniform thickness. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO USE A LARGE BEAD! The trick is to cover the seam, and any screws, and the edge of whatever you are caulking around (TV antenna, refrigerator vent, etc…). The point is to cover any place water can get in.
No other single maintenance job is quite as important for long-term health of your trailer. One bad caulk job can cost thousands of dollars to repair, and is many times not covered under insurance. If you are worried or aren’t sure what you are looking for, call us and we can inspect it for you and give you some suggestions.
One of the most common questions we get asked by customers this time of year has to do with whether or not to cover their trailer during winter or long term storage (a few months or more). The answer is yes, you should. Also, what kind of cover would be the best? Well, I’ll give you some pointers of what to look for in a cover as well. Continue reading
This time of year, it is important to do a thorough checkout of your RV for loose or damages seals, as well as the rest of the things you need to do to fully winterize your trailer. No matter if it is a 5th wheel, travel trailer of a pop up camper. These items are probably the number 1 on the list of important seasonal checks.
Here is a video from the folks at RV Education 101, quickly explaining what to do to check out your trailer.
If you want a practiced eye looking at this stuff, feel free to call us and we will check it out for you.
RV DUMPING; NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK: Part 2 (Standing to the side)
Last time I discussed the things you need to do every time you use the sewer system, let’s review: The proper chemicals with a few gallons of water, and the proper tissue. Everybody caught up now? Good, let’s move on to the actual job at hand…
You may be at a site that has a full sewer hookup, or you may use some sort of Tote Tank, or just stop at the dump station on your way out, but the basic procedures are about the same, although the specifics vary from trailer to trailer. Hook up your sewer hose, pull the valves and wait for it to drain, then close the valves, rinse.
Do yourself a favor and invest in a good quality sewer hose kit. They may be a little more money, but not leaking on your shoes is totally worth it. Try to get a set that has a sewer fitting attachment, so that you get a good seal at both ends. Also get yourself some disposable dump gloves. I know some people have heavy rubber gloves they store and use over and over again, but I prefer to use fresh ones every time (and always stand to the side when taking off the cap to the dump valve, there is almost always a teeny amount of liquid in there).
After dumping both the black and grey water tanks, many places have a hose you can use to rinse your sewer hose, or if you have a sewer tank back flushing system, now would be a good time to use it. The more water you have circulating in that tank, the more effective the dumping is, and the less likely you will have issues later on.
Only one more installment to go: Home maintenance and Storage! I have goose-bumps. Seriously.
Nobody likes thinking about it, nobody likes doing anything about it, but it is the single most important element to a successful vacation: THE SEWER SYSTEM!!! This is part one in a series that will help de-mystify your black water system, and teach you prevent problems, and be a hero to your whole family.
It’s hard to get excited about this, but think about it, nothing can ruin a camping trip faster than a sewer backup, or plugged or leaking drain assembly. And if a few (fairly easy) steps are actually performed consistently, you should never have a problem:
- Use the chemicals. There are lots of different choices in toilet chemicals, both pre-mixed liquids, as well as pre-measured drop-ins. The chemicals do two things, they break down the waste and toilet paper, making the dumping (emptying) process faster and easier, with less chance of blockage or back-ups, and they deodorize the tank to help keep the odors in check. If you don’t know which one you like, try out a sample package, and see what works for you. And make sure whatever product you use, you add a couple of gallons of water into the tank to make sure you have good chemical coverage.
- Use the right toilet tissue. No, regular 1 ply T.P. is not the same as the T.P. specifically designed to break down in the toilet chemicals. There are a few different brands of this as well. You can shop by price if you want, but make sure it says that it is designed for RV sewer systems. Other “cheap” toilet papers lead to clogs and what I call “sewer spit wads” that can clog the drain pipes, and cling to the sides of the tank, and the probes that tell you how full the tank is leading to false readings.
There is a lot more to learn, but this is a good start. Next time, we’ll cover what happens at the dump station, and how to make it a clean and easy process.
The standard recommendation is that you re-pack your trailer wheel bearings once a year. This is because trailers tend to sit a lot and that can contribute to condensation inside the wheel and that can lead to rust which, in turn, leads to partials which can score surfaces and cause friction and bearing failure. Re-packing the bearings also makes it easy to inspect your brakes and running gear in order to detect and fix potential problems before they become a hazard.
Check the nuts, bolts, and other fasteners to ensure that the hitch remains secured to the tow vehicle and the coupler remains secured to the trailer. The connection point may require periodic lubrication to permit free movement of the coupler to the hitch ball. A light application of grease is also recommended on RV fifth wheel hitches.
Under inflation reduces the load-carrying capacity of your tow vehicle or trailer, may cause sway and control problems, and may result in overheating. This causes blowouts or other tire failure.
Over inflation causes premature tire wear and affects the handling characteristics of the tow vehicle or trailer.
Ozone UV rays and contaminants cause RV travel trailer and fifth wheel tires to deteriorate over time so for safety is recommended they are replaced every 3 to 5 years regardless of tread wear. Check your tire dealer or tire manufacturer for specific recommendations. On a regular basis, have the brakes on both the tow vehicle and travel trailer inspired. Be sure that necessary adjustments are made and any damaged or worn parts are replaced.
Always inspect seals around your doors and windows as well as the roof where ever sealing is evident. Sealing material should always appear clean and soft as well as completely covering the gaps. Dry, dirty, shrunken seals will let in water and cause damage. Click here for more info on roof maintenance.
Don’t hesitate to call your repair shop if something doesn’t seem correct. There are no dumb questions only informative answers. Many will not charge you to make a quick visual inspection of your unit and advise you if a more in depth look should be made.