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Posts MotorhomesofTX has shared:
Awnings are a great feature to have on your motorhome. There are several different types of RV awnings and they serve different purposes.
Window and door awnings provide shade and keep rain away from your RV windows or entry door. Slide-out awnings help to protect the top of the slideout from debris and water. And patio awnings can extend the living area of our outdoor world.
The awnings on your motorhome will provide years of reliable, trouble-free operation if you take the time to do a little preventive maintenance and cleaning.
Here are my top 7 tips for extending the life of your RV awnings.
1. The first step to maintaining your awnings is to understand more about the different types of awning fabrics. Fabric used on RV awnings is one of two types, acrylic or vinyl. Acrylic fabric is a woven cloth that lets air circulate through the fabric. This air circulation allows the fabric to dry quickly when it gets wet. Acrylic fabrics are water repellent, but not waterproof. If you have experience tent camping you know that you shouldn’t touch the underside of the tent when it’s wet. Touching the wet fabric allows water to seep through the fabric. The same applies to an acrylic awning fabric. Vinyl awning fabric is mildew resistant, but not necessarily mildew proof. Mildew can form on the dirt and dust that collects on the vinyl fabric. The mildew will be worse in high temperatures, high humidity and if the fabric is stored when it is wet.
2. When you open the awnings for the first time each year, or if an awning has been stored for a while, you will need to inspect the awning fabric for any signs of mildew or stains. Remember that vinyl awnings will mildew. To prevent dirt from imbedding in the woven fabric of an acrylic awning fabric, you should simply hose the fabric off on a routine basis. Avoid scrubbing acrylic awning fabric. Scrubbing can remove the water retardant finish. For stubborn stains, blot the approved cleaner on the acrylic fabric with a sponge or soft cloth.
3. For more difficult stains or mildew on a vinyl awning fabric, use an aftermarket commercial cleaner made just for awning fabrics. One method that seems to work well is to spray the inside and outside of the awning fabric with the appropriate cleaner and then roll it up and let it sit for several minutes. This distributes the cleaner over the entire surface of the awning fabric and allows the cleaner time to work. Open the awning and thoroughly rinse both sides of the fabric. It may be necessary to scrub stubborn stains with a brush on a vinyl awning fabric before rinsing. You can clean the awning hardware with the same cleaner you use to wash the RV.
Note: Never use oil-based or abrasive cleaners on awning fabrics. Clean and thoroughly rinse both sides of the awning fabric. Carefully follow all awning and cleaner manufacturer directions.
4. Inspect the awning fabric for any tears or excessive wear. Talk to your RV dealer about what materials to use to repair or patch the awning fabric. While the awning is out, inspect the awning hardware. The bottom awning brackets support most of the load from the awning. Check the lag screws in the awning brackets for secure mounting. Inspect the arm pivot holes for any enlarged holes or broken rivets in the handles. Check for a warped roller tube. If the roller tube is warped it will be noticeable when you roll the awning out. Inspect the awning end caps for secure mounting and any broken or loose rivets. Make sure the awning rail is securely mounted to the side of the RV.
Caution: Never attempt to remove the awning end caps. Spring tension can result in serious injury. Have any damaged or broken parts repaired before using the awning.
5. In addition to cleaning and inspecting your awnings, there are a few things to keep in mind when using the awnings, especially the patio awning. Always lower one end of the awning to allow for water runoff. The weight from water pooling on the awning fabric can cause extensive and costly damage. Any wind gusts over 20 miles per hour can also cause extensive damage to the awning and to the motorhome. Never leave the awning out unattended. If everyone is leaving the campsite, store the awning in the travel position. When you go to bed, store the awning. Even when you are at the campsite you should use awning tie downs to prevent any sudden damage caused by high wind gusts or a sudden storm. You have the option to position the awning arms straight down and stake them to the ground, but you will get better support if they’re attached to the bottom awning brackets on the side of the RV. Remember, it is much easier to prevent damage to your awning than it is to repair it.
6. Never store the awning when the fabric is wet. Allow enough time for it the fabric to dry completely, on both sides, before storing the awning.
7. Check with your RV insurance provider to make sure your RV awning is covered in the event of any damage. Some insurance companies require separate insurance coverage on the RV awnings.
April 3, 2014 by Long Long Honeymoon
Last year our 3000W Yamaha generator was struggling to power our RV’s A/C unit. It would run the A/C for a while, then overload. Then we got all hot and steamy, and not in an enjoyable way.
So we’re now using “Sea Foam” (http://goo.gl/Q1gO9Y) with the generator. The goal is to clean out whatever carbon & ethanol gunk might have been clogging the carburetor. So far, the Sea Foam seems to be working.
This begs the question: what the heck is Sea Foam?
Sea Foam has been been around since 1942. Many people swear by it. It’s a 100% pure petroleum product for use in all gasoline and diesel engines, including 2 and 4-cycle jobs like lawnmowers and generators and motorcycles. Like many fuel additives, it’s easy to use. It’s like wine: you just pour it in.
>Sea Foam claims to clean dirty engine parts internally by removing harmful gums and carbon build-up.
It also removes moisture from oil crankcases and fuel tanks, stabilizing and conditioning fuel to prevent it becoming stale.
Many people use Sea Foam for engine storage.
Sound familiar? Yes, these benefits are similar to those offered by Sta-bil, which we add to our equipment before putting it in storage. However, these products are similar but different. The focus of Sea Foam is upon the cleaning benefits, whereas Sta-bil is more about stabilizing the fuel. I think it makes sense to use both.
I’m particularly interested in cleaning our generator, which may be subject to bits of ethanol residue from its time in storage, not to mention carbon in the carb. Our test results have been very positive.
Now permanently affixed atop “Franklin,” our generator upon which we have decided to bestow a human name after several years of anonymous labor.
We added two ounces of Sea Foam into our generator fuel tank and turned on our Airstream’s A/C.
At first, the generator had the same trouble running the A/C as it had previously. It would work for a while and then veer into overload. Curiously, some black smoke was being kicked out the exhaust pipe.
However, about half an hour after the Sea Foam treatment, the generator began running noticeably better! As the Sea Foam dispersed throughout the fuel, it seemed to take effect.
In fact, after a while our generator was able to power our A/C without overloading. Color me impressed.
I have also put Sea Foam in our diesel truck SEEMORE (a 2007 Ford F250). Here the results were less noticeable. But to be fair, our truck is having a few problems with sticky injectors. I think we will need to replace the injectors before we can give Sea Foam a proper analysis with regard to our truck.
Overall, I am impressed with Sea Foam and will continue to keep a can of it handy — especially for our small engines.
Have you ever used, or do you currently, Sea Foam in one of your vehicles? Tell us if you think we're on target with this review.
With an average of 3,100 RV fires each year, there is no shortage of news stories across the U.S. and Canada about devastating losses due to recreational vehicle fires.
These fires caused seven deaths, 62 injuries, and approximately $41 million in damages each year.
These numbers reflect how important fire safety and fire prevention are to the RV lifestyle. Keep in mind a few safety precautions whenever you leave an RV for any amount of time.
Make sure that space heaters are turned off at night and when leaving the RV. Do not leave cooking unattended for even the shortest period of time. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace batteries yearly.
Following are recent reports on six RVs destroyed by fires that were caused by human carelessness.
Washington: Heater Cause of RV Fire
Peninsuladailynews.com reports that an old portable heater left on in a Winnebago was the cause of a fire that burned the motorhome.
East Jefferson Fire-Rescue personnel found flames shooting out of the roof of the 1972 Winnebago Chieftain after they were called to the fire at Sea Breeze Mobile Home Park. No one was hurt, but the vehicle was uninhabitable, according to reports.
The owner of the vehicle was absent at the time of the fire, which was reported by a neighbor who called 9-1-1 dispatchers.
The owner told firefighters he had left an old portable heater on when he left the vehicle about an hour and a half before, and that was determined to be the cause of the fire. Twelve firefighters from East Jefferson Fire-Rescue responded to the call.
Mississippi: Unattended Skillet Cause of RV Fire
Sunherald.com reports that a fire heavily damaged a 41-foot camper trailer on private property in Saucier on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Nobody was in the camper when the fire started. The cause was a skillet left on after sausage and bacon had been cooked, Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan said.
Nine firefighters and two engines from Saucier Fire and the Harrison County Fire Services responded when the fire was reported. Sullivan said it took about 10 minutes to put out the fire.
Maryland: Hot Water Tank Malfunction Cause of RV Fire
Heraldmailmedia.com reports that a hot-water tank malfunction started a fire that caused $60,000 in damages to a 2011 Keystone Raptor fifth wheel trailer and its contents near Hagerstown.
The RV, which contained a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, was a total loss, according to a fire marshal’s office news release.
Twenty-seven firefighters from Hagerstown, Leitersburg, Longmeadow, Maugansville, and Greencastle, Pennsylvania, took 15 minutes to bring the fire under control.
Ohio: Refrigerator Cause of RV Fire
Norwalkreflector.com reports that a motorhome fire started at the bottom of the refrigerator and spread to the wall.
Damages totaled $20,000 and the vehicle was determined to be a total loss due to major heat and smoke damage.
Three vehicles and seven firefighters responded. When they arrived at the scene of the blaze, flames had gone through the roof and one side of the motorhome. No injuries were reported.
Texas: Space Heater Cause of RV Fire
Weatherforddemocrat.com reports that an RV fire south of Weatherford on Christmas left a man, who was sleeping inside the vehicle at the time, with third-degree burns to several parts of his body.
The man’s mother indicated her daughter and her husband saw the smoke from their house nearby and went to the RV and helped him get out. Firefighters from Spring Creek VFD, Weatherford Fire Department and Greenwood VFD responded to the fire and found the RV on fire. Firefighters said the fire probably started due to a space heater.
British Columbia: Turkey Left Unattended in Oven Cause of RV Fire
Timescolonist.com reports that a cooking turkey left unattended in an oven caused a travel trailer fire.
View Royal firefighters were called to the Fort Victoria RV Park after neighbors spotted smoke coming from the trailer. Firefighters had the flames out quickly but the trailer suffered considerable smoke damage.
“It’s another ad for not leaving your cooking unattended,” said fire chief Paul Hurst.
“That turkey will be inedible.”
Remember, safety is no accident.
Written by: Jeanette Espinosa with Camping Road Trip, LLC
It's that time of year again: time to bring out your sleeping RV and get ready for another exciting season! But before you back out of the driveway and head on your next voyage you have to prepare your RV. The task of spring cleaning can be a daunting one and all of the work that is necessary can seem like a hassle. But, don't fret! Spring cleaning is a first step towards your new year, it's a way to get things organized, and can even be a way to bring your family together.
Spring cleaning is all about fresh starts and looking forward to what lies ahead. It can be easy to feel like cleaning your entire RV and the work that is going to be involved will be a burden, so let your positive outlook be your motivation for getting started early. When you start to feel burdened by the task ahead think about all of the places you'll go, people you'll meet, and experiences you'll have. Make a list of the places that you want to visit and, as even more motivation, make a resolution not to do any planning until you're finished spring cleaning your RV. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to travel to new destinations to have new experiences. Travel to a place that you have been to before, but this season really take your time and enjoy all that it has to offer.
Getting organized is one of the best aspects of spring cleaning. Think about all of the times that you thought something could have been useful, but you did not have it on hand. Have you realized that you really never use some of the things in your RV? Get rid of them! Having an organized space is about having a comfortable space. What could be more uncomfortable than a cluttered RV that you'll be spending the next few days, weeks, or even months in? Organize your living space in a way that gives you easy access to the things you use often, but doesn't crowd your space.
Get the family excited about the upcoming voyages by getting them involved in the cleaning. Divide the responsibilities according to difficulty levels. The adults can be responsible for the mechanics and ensuring that all of the appliances are still working properly. There is a lot that goes into ensuring that all the mechanics function properly, so if you're not accustomed to handling the inner workings of your RV then definitely seek the help of a professional. The children can be responsible for cleaning the outside. They'll feel like they're making a contribution and will gain an appreciation for what goes into maintaining the family RV. Having the entire family work on the RV will help everyone develop a sense of togetherness and anticipation for the upcoming travel season. This is always a great way to start your travels.
Spring cleaning doesn't have to be looked at as a burden. Yes, there may be a lot of work required, but think of the reward that you'll get in the end: you will be ready for a new season of travels, your RV will be organized, and your family will be traveling with a sense of togetherness that makes any trip more enjoyable! So get out there and prepare your family (RV included) for new adventures and new bonds!
Spring Cleaning Checklist:
- Clean the exterior and air out the interior of the RV
- Check for insects in the interior
- Look for deterioration and other signs of damage to the exterior and interior
- Change all oils and filters along with spark plugs
- Ensure the battery is functioning properly
- Have the fuel injection system serviced
- Have the water system flushed
- Check the functionality of the generator and other appliances
- Make sure all of the equipment is functioning properly (i.e. antennae, solar panels)
- Rotate or replace tires
- Reinstall fuses that may have been removed
- Ensure that insurance coverage is valid and up-to-date
Ten tips to keep your RV working smoothly - LoveYourRV.com
1. Lubrication – A little lube goes a long way. Keep all the hinges, locks, sliders, and basically anything that moves well lubricated. I find the best lube to keep on hand is a dry silicone type. Works well in almost all applications and resists attracting dirt.
2. Tighten – Our RV is basically a house on wheels and exposed to minor earthquakes during every trip. Things are going to come loose. Every so often grab a screwdriver and a wrench and give everything a re-tightening. This little preventative maintenance can save you big time. Pay special attention to items attached to the outside that may fly off during transit and safety risks. i.e. ladder rungs.
3. Clean it – Mechanically everything works better when clean, dirt and grit cause wear. A good coat of quality wax and UV protectants will keep the rig looking sweet and extent the life of many of the materials.
4. Tires – Inflate to recommended specifications and check them often. Inspect for any imperfections before travel. Keep lug-nuts tightened to proper torque settings. Minimize exposure to the sun.
5. Tanks – Sanitize the fresh water tank as often as needed. For me it depends on how much I use it, but usually every couple months I’ll run some bleach mixture through the system. I use some Borax and Calgon water softener in my black and galley tanks to clean and deodorize. Also when dumping I make sure to have a nearly full tank to properly expel the solids with a good flushing action.
6. Lights – Carry spares for every type of bulb your RV uses. Check the signal and marker lights for proper function before every trip.
7. Seals and Seams – Keep very close tabs on the external seals and seams. Look for any cracking or holes, especially on the roof. Water penetration generally causes the most damage to RVs of anything. One reason is the leak can go unnoticed inside a wall for a long period of time and causes rot and worse mold to develop.
8. Voltage Checks – Get yourself a cheap multimeter or tester lights and keep tabs on your main voltages. The main coach batteries should be between 12.4 volts – 12.8 volts when not being charged, anything below 12 volts is definitely too low. As far as the AC voltage goes, below 108 volts is too low and higher than 130 volts is too high. I highly recommend getting an EMS (electrical management system) to monitor things for you and provide protection when needed.
9. Look underneath – I know it’s a pain but its well worth inspecting under the rig every once in a while. Have a look for loose, corroding or broken items. A quick inspection can save you from being stranded on the side of a highway.
10. Exercise all systems – Systems that are left dormant in the RV for long periods of time should be run periodically. As an example when on full hookups for extended periods it’s a good idea to use the water pump occasionally and run the generator for a half hour or so every month.
11. Bonus Tip – Check your Smoke, Propane and Carbon Monoxide sensors on a regular basis. Make sure they have power or fully charged batteries.
Published in betterRVing.com, Fall 2012
The old RV adage says: when you combine a house and a car, you get the benefits of both...and all the chores, too. While this is true, there is one major difference. Coaches and campers are much more than a "house on wheels." Your RV was manufactured to move, custom-designed to face the rigors of life on the highway and routinely subjected to jounces, bounces, shimmies, and shakes. And, while every seam is sealed, the move and flex of travel can cause cracks and voids. Once moisture gets into your RV, the safety and integrity of your "house" can go downhill in a hurry. You must maintain it to this purpose, even when it is sitting still. Whatever make and model of motorhome you own, if you want your RV to be ready to roll when you are, routine maintenance is a necessity. With that in mid, here is a handy checklist of what needs to be regularly checked and professionally maintained.
FOR EVERY MOTORHOME:
- Fan belts
- Radiator and heater hoses
- Polarity and voltage
- Exterior lights
- Directional signals
- House and chassis batteries
- A/C filters
- Window seals and sealant
- Dump valve
- Entry-step lubrication
- House and converter charging system
- Generator oil and filter
- Generator air filter
- Generator fuel filter
- Tires (check for wear, pressure, and age)
- Water pump
- Water heater
- Clean and sanitize black and grey water tanks
- Clean/fill fresh water tank
- Slides and jacks
- Wiper blades
- Chassis lubrication
- Fluid levels
- Body and room seams (check for leaks, cracks, or gaps in sealant)
- Check fire extinguisher
- Check satellite, antenna, and entertainment systems
If you are accustomed to a passenger car or even a gas RV, your first diesel service appointment may be a bit of a shock. Compared to a gas RV, your diesel may use double or quadruple the amount of oil (14 to 35 quarts). The filters are larger, and there are more of them. plus, diesels generally have four batteries instead of two. But here's the good news: While each service appointment is more expensive, diesel engines can run longer and harder wihtout routine maintenance, so maintenance appointments are also less frequent.
- Check or replace air filter gauge
- Check engine oil and filter
- Replace fuel filter
- Lubricate slack adjuster
- Check water separator
- Check Aqua-Hot system
- Clean and flush outside radiator coils
- Check or replace hydraulic filters
Engine servince on a "gasser" will look and feel similar to maintenance on a passenger vehicle. Motorhomes use more oil than passenger vehicles, and the variuos filters are larger; but otherwise, your engine maintenance should include:
- Change oil (up to 8 quarts)
- Replace oil filter
- Replace fuel filter
- Replace air filter
- Clean and flush outside radiator coils
- Roof, body, and window seams and seals
- Slide seals
- Trailer frame (check for bends, cracks, warps, or rust)
- Locks and latch lubrication
- Entry-step lubrication
- Clean and lube tow coupler
- Service jacks and controllers
- Service brakes and axles
- Check shackles and springs
- Check roof air conditioning and A/C coil
- Change A/C filter
- Water heater
- Stove and burner
- Check outside lights
- Check battery
- Check charging systems
- Check 110 polarity
- Inspect breakaway switch and perform amp draw
- Inspect water system
- Check/fill clean water tank
- Clean and sanitize black and grey water tanks
- Check dump valve
- Check fire extinguisher
- Check satellite, antenna, and entertainment systems
Because all motorhomes are unique, be sure to consult your RV manuals or a qualified RV maintenance professional for the right times to check or service each of the following.