How to live the RV Lifestyle in turbulent and unsettled times – Part 5

July 8, 2012 by Bob Difley · 16 Comments 

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our E-mail Digest or RSS Feed. We will then send you the stories that are posted each day in an e-mail digest. We use a service called Feedburner for delivery of these emails. You will receive an e-mail from Feedburner after you subscribe and you must click on that email to activate your subscription. Thanks for visiting and enjoy all the information! RV.Net Blog AdminBy Bob Difley In this series post Part 3 I wrote about some of the ways to save money on the road, covering what falls into most RVers five main expense categories: campground fees, fuel, food, repair and maintenance, and entertainment. I’ve already covered how to save on campground fees, fuel, and food. So let’s take a look at repair and maintenance costs. First an admission. I am well below the mid-point of RVers that at the top can pull and overhall their engine and transmission while boondocking without electricity or the internet to provide tutelege, and the bottom of the scale, those that have a hard time distinguishing between left-handed and right-handed screwdrivers. However, after gulping and swallowing after being presented with repair bills I decided to do as much as I could to avoid, or at least reduce, the amount I pay out to expensive repair shops. This calls for an anecdote. We were boondocking at Tecopa Hot Springs in the California desert when out forced air heater went belly up.  The elevation was about 1,300 feet and in January... Read more

RV Doctor – RV Electric Steps Stick In Out Position Since I Replaced Motor

April 20, 2010 by Gary Bunzer · 45 Comments 

Dear RV Doc, I installed a replacement motor for my electric steps (Kwikee). At first the steps would not work. I replaced the switch with the one that came in the kit and it seemed to work fine. Now the steps stay in the “out” position. When I open the door with the power on, the step cycles in, then back out. Please help! - Rob Dreissig, (Elk River, MN) Answer: Rob, Kwikee has made a change to their step controls to provide a safer and more robust operation. You should have received a new control unit, motor and switch in the replacement kit. The new switch is meant to work with the updated controls. In fact, Kwikee has changed the name of the switch from “power switch” to “override switch” due to its change in functionality. With the old power switch, you turned it to the “on” position in order to make the steps follow the door and you turned it off in order to have the steps stay in the current position. The override switch works differently. With the override switch “on”, the step will extend the first time the door is opened and stay that way until the switch is turned “off” or the ignition is turned on. With the override switch in the “off” position, the steps will be controlled by the logic unit and will follow the door with ignition override. You must replace all three components for it to work properly. If you did not receive a new control unit in the kit please contact Kwikee for the location of their closest dealer or service center. (Please... Read more

RV Doctor – My RV Furnace’s Gas Ignition Isn’t Working

April 13, 2010 by Gary Bunzer · 9 Comments 

Dear Gary, I have an Excalibur 8500-II furnace and the gas ignition has stopped working. The blower works fine but no spark to ignite gas. What could it be? - Mike Watt, (Winnipeg, MB) Answer: Mike, there are a few things that may be causing this, the most likely of which is low voltage, a faulty control board, incomplete ground circuit or loose wiring. Open the furnace access panel on the outside of the coach to gain access to the control board and wiring. Carefully unplug the wiring harness from the control board and visually inspect the plug and board contacts for damage, dirt or corrosion. If the board contacts show any sign of corrosion you can clean them minimally with a regular pencil eraser, completely with a chemical cleaner and protectant. If there is corrosion or dirt on the plug contacts carefully scrape it off with a fine screwdriver, dental pick or similar tool. Be very careful not to bend the connectors in the plug or they won’t make proper contact with the board contact strip. Check for voltage between the red and yellow wires with the furnace turned on. Any voltage lower than 10.5-volts DC will likely cause the system to malfunction. Check the connector wires for damage and loose connections, paying particular attention to the yellow ground wire. Securely re-connect the wiring harness to the control board and test the system again. If it still doesn’t work, I would suspect a board problem. The board can be easily removed and taken to a qualified RV shop... Read more

RV Doctor – Why Does The GFCI on My Brand New RV Keep Tripping?

April 6, 2010 by Gary Bunzer · 21 Comments 

Dear RV Doctor, I have a troubling electrical issue. Last year when I plugged in my brand new RV at the campsite the GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) on the pedestal tripped immediately. The campground had to wire up a standard non-GFCI outlet and then everything work fine. I took the RV into the dealer for service and everything checked out fine. They said that possibly the GFCI in the coach needed to be reset or I had moisture in the plug. Recently I took the RV out of storage and plugged it into my house which had a GFCI in the circuit and it tripped again as soon as I plugged it in. I’m taking it in again for service but I am expecting a similar response that everything works fine when they plug it into their GFCI outlet. Any ideas on what might be the problem? - Jeff Hayes, (Monroe, OH) Answer: Jeff, you clearly have an electrical problem within the alternating current (AC) system on the RV. I would avoid using it until this situation has been resolved. Plus I doubt I’d take it back to that same dealer. At least not until their technicians get some further training. As to the actual problem; the GFCI is tripping because it is detecting an imbalance between the hot and neutral conductors in the unit which usually indicates a leakage to ground on one of the wires. You can easily do some preliminary investigation yourself. Purchase a plug-in circuit tester from your local hardware store. They are inexpensive, reliable and invaluable when checking out AC electrical... Read more

RV Doctor – My Tow Car Lights Don’t Work with my Motorhome

March 31, 2010 by Gary Bunzer · 143 Comments 

Dear Gary, I have a 1999, 37-foot motorhome. It has a six pin connector for the tow vehicle. My tow car is a 1995 Geo Tracker. The Tracker has different bulbs for brake and turn signal. The car was towed by the previous owner with all the lights working. I cannot get my lights on the car to work with my motorhome. The wire colors on the car are brown, yellow, green and white. I ran a diode between the brake light and the green and yellow wires on towed car. Still no lights, I can however, get the lights to work by running another ground wire from my RV hitch receiver to the tow plate on the car. What concerns me with this is that with the coach lights on I get a spark on the extra ground wire when I hook it up or move it. What am I doing wrong? - Joe DeRado, (Port Charlotte, FL) Answer: Joe, because you have independent stop and turn signal bulbs you definitely need that diode kit. And I suspect that you have already found the problem. It is likely that a ground wire is broken somewhere and therefore the circuit cannot find a decent path to ground. Read more  Read More →

RV Doctor – Slideout Catching on Linoleum – Can I Replace It and How?

January 26, 2010 by Gary Bunzer · 5 Comments 

Dear RV Doc, The kitchen area in my motorhome is linoleum and the rest carpet. The factory replaced the linoleum once under warranty due to buckling and fracture. This was caused from the kitchen slideout roller coming across the linoleum when the slideout was moved in for transporting. Now, six years later the linoleum is doing the same thing and curling at the edges under the kitchen slideout causing the slideout to catch the edges when moving in and out especially in cold weather. I must replace the linoleum again as it is damaged from the above explanation. If I replace with linoleum again is it a good idea to glue it down? The factory did not do so either originally or with the replacement. I am also thinking of maybe going to a floating laminate flooring which might be better to resolve my problem. What is your opinion? How difficult is it to remove that kitchen slideout to properly get the new flooring under the slideout? I contacted the factory for information but received no answer whatsoever. Your opinion and help would be greatly appreciated. - Larry Reeves, (Metamora, IL) Answer: Larry, I’m not fully convinced every single factory actually glues the complete floor area due to the time and effort involved. If the edge of the linoleum is exposed to the slideout floor it is bound to start catching and peeling eventually regardless of how it is fastened. A properly designed slideout should have a wedge of Teflon or other low friction material running along its entire... Read more

RV Doctor – Leaking Aqua Magic Toilet

January 21, 2010 by Gary Bunzer · 9 Comments 

Dear RV Doctor, The carpet near the back of my Aqua Magic toilet is damp. I cannot see or feel any dripping from the water supply line. Are there internal seals that may be worn or damaged due to use?- Sonny Standridge, (Gretna, LA) Answer: Sonny, indeed, there are many internal seals and gaskets in the Aqua Magic toilet. If the water inlet line is secured properly and not leaking, chances are the water leaks only while flushing the toilet. This is an indication of a leak within the vacuum breaker component located internal to the toilet. It’s easily replaced and Thetford does have replacement parts readily available, typically at any RV parts accessory store. Occasionally the vacuum breaker may be subjected to highly calcified water that may cause a seal or gasket component to leak if a particle becomes lodged inside. There is an outside chance the toilet to flange gasket may be faulty and the toilet leaks as it drains into the holding tank, but your observation that the carpet is damp only at the back of the toilet (directly below the location of the vacuum breaker), is indicative of a faulty vacuum breaker. (Please feel free to comment, however, please also note that due to the volume of communications I receive from multiple channels I cannot guarantee a personal response in every instance. However, questions of an overall general interest may be considered and published in an upcoming RV Doctor column.)  Read More →

RV Doctor – Connecting Fuel Line Directly to Generator?

November 5, 2009 by Gary Bunzer · 7 Comments 

Dear RV Doc, Is it possible to connect a fuel line from the gas tank directly to the generator that I have added to my 23-foot Honey motorhome? Can we do it ourselves? I’ve been looking for any technical help for so long. Hopefully, you are the right one. - Marciano Miego, (Savannah, GA) Read more  Read More →

RV Doctor – RV Hot Skin Test How-To

October 26, 2009 by Gary Bunzer · 7 Comments 

Dear Gary, How do you perform a hot skin test on a recreation vehicle? Also I’ve heard you should still hot skin test a fiberglass sided RV by checking faucets, door frames and windows. How do you do that on a slick side motorhome? - Jay Jones, (Silverdale, WA) Read more  Read More →

RV Doctor – Dripping Shower Faucet When Hot Water Heater Is On

October 22, 2009 by Gary Bunzer · 19 Comments 

Dear RV Doctor, We have a single lever faucet on our shower that has a continuous drip when the hot water heater is on. I carefully replaced all the parts within the faucet with a kit, but to no avail. I understand that as water heats it expands, but where does the water normally expand to and how does it seek relief? I know that some water leaks through the hot water tank relief valve, but that is not an option that I like either. — Leon Hill, (Belleville, ON, Canada) Read more  Read More →

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