Issue 850 • February 15, 2018
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RVing Tip of the Day
Keep your holding tank valves from sticking
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
There’s a parallel to the old “You don’t miss your water ’til your well runs dry” tune. It’s called, “You’ve got no place to ‘go’ if your holding tank valves won’t open.” Yep, a stuck (or broken) holding tank valve is a really big issue if it happens, but can easily be prevented.
All that “goop” in your black water and gray water waste tanks is held in place by their associated dump valves. A little plastic “paddle” rides between two rubber seals, preventing the stuff from rolling out. Attached to the side of the paddle is a stainless steel rod and attached to that is a small T-shaped handle that allows the rod to pull back the paddle and allow all the contents to flush forth.
A couple of things can get in the way of a simple operation. If the rod gets stuck or the handle breaks, you have a decidedly difficult issue. Maintenance is easy and inexpensive. First, keep the rod well lubricated. When you dump your tank(s) and the handle is pulled to the open position, simply shoot the stainless rod with a good shot of silicon- or Teflon-containing lubricant spray. Now “work” the valve open and closed a few times. DO NOT USE the old standby, WD-40. WD-40 can get into the seal at the end of the rod shaft and gum it up, making it extremely sticky.
Next, keep an eye on the valve handle. If that T character breaks, opening the valve is tough. Replace it if it cracks, or if any part of it breaks off. Again, it’s an easy fix, if done properly. With the valve open and steel rod exposed, wrap a rag around the rod and grasp the rod firmly through the rag with a pair of pliers. Now turn the handle counter-clockwise by hand to remove it, and screw a new one on firmly. Be careful not to ding or in any way damage that steel rod, as a rough rod can create problems – like tearing up the shaft seal.
Do you need to lubricate the plastic valve paddle? Probably not. Holding tank treatment manufacturers often boast about the “lubricants” they include in their formulas, but plenty of RVers don’t use any sort of tank treatment at all and few have problems with sticking valves that could be cured with lubricants added to the tank.
Yesterday’s tip: Care and feeding of your shore power connection. Part 1.
Did you miss the latest RV Travel Newsletter? If so, read it here.
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Easy way to add water to your batteries!
Never, ever, let your automotive or RV deep cycle batteries run out of water. Here’s a simple way to keep them topped off for maximum performance and long life. Just use this syringe with distilled water. So easy. Learn more or order.
Take it easy on the speed bumps
If you take your RV across a speed bump, you may find it pops open cabinet doors. Avoid this issue by taking on the speed bumps “dead-on” and slow, rather than hitting them at an angle. An angle approach causes more coach rocking.
Clean your Plexiglas shower door without scratching it
If your RV shower door is Plexiglas, it’ll scratch real easy. Here’s a recipe/directions for cleaning without scratching: To an empty spray bottle add 1 cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of dish-washing detergent. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar. Mix contents GENTLY. Now spray the Plexiglas with a light, thin mist. Let sit a few seconds and wipe clean with a soft, lint-free cloth. Wipe in large circles. Repeat until clean.
Preserve the coating on nested cookware
Don’t let nested coated cookware scratch while bumping down the road. Toss oven pads, dish towels or even paper towels between the pans.
HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM
Why would you want a composting toilet?
RVers Guide to Dump Stations
It’s a fact of RV life! Sooner or later ya gotta dump yer RV! But where? You can’t just do it any ol’ place! The cops will be after you like a fly on you know what! So here’s the solution! Get this inexpensive book and keep it handy when your RV has got a big urge to “go!” If your RV could talk, it would say “thank you.” Learn more or order.
WEBSITES OF THE DAY
The 40 best places to travel back in time
You can learn about history by immersing yourself in a different era by heading to some of the best living-history exhibits, festivals and events across the country. Whether you want to experience traditional colonial crafts or a Wild West gunfight, here are the 40 best places in the U.S. to travel back in time.
Minimalist camper van is a designer’s dream
Wow! This German-designed camper van is stunning! How so much can be packed into such a small space, and done with such elegance, is very impressive!
Foods that can be used as cleaning products
Ketchup for metal polish? Onions to clean your grill? Banana peel to polish your silver? (OK. Maybe you don’t store your silver in your RV.) Check out these tips for cleaning items inside and outside your RV. Save money and cut down on harsh chemicals!
Stinky holding tank odors? Here’s the solution
Eliminate disgusting tank odors for less than $1 per treatment with formaldehyde-free Unique RV Digest-It. Unique’s highly concentrated, non-toxic blend of tank cleaning microbes maintains clean sensors, eliminates odors and liquefies the solids in your tank, ensuring no backups. All without harsh chemicals or dangerous ingredients. Try it once and you’ll be shocked at how clean your tank can be! Learn more or order.
An RV technician’s guide to essential tools for RVing
Chris Dougherty, the former technical editor of RVtravel.com, lists the best tools to carry in an RV to deal with routine maintenance and emergency repairs. Chris is a certified RV technician so he knows his way around an RV. Take a few minutes to watch this video, and consider adding a few items to your traveling toolbox.
See all of our videos on our YouTube Channel.
Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
This Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum is compact and it works great. Plus it converts to a hand vacuum in a snap! It’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20.
MORE QUICK TIPS
Ever find you need to park the rig with part of it “sticking out” in traffic, either on a street or in a parking lot? Pick up a set of “sport cones” from Walmart. A little shorter than standard traffic cones, they still stick out like sore thumbs, are inexpensive, and can be easily stored near the driver (or navigator) seat. Great for marking “occupied” campsite, too.
Keep the keyholes clear
Some bugs like to lay eggs in cozy little spots – like in the keyholes of locks on RV storage compartments. Once in there, the stuff’s like glue. If your locks are steel, get small disc magnets from the hardware store and “stick” one over each lock.
LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
A motorhome broke down on a busy highway, so the driver pulled to the shoulder. He jumped out his driver side door, walked around his rig and opened the door to the coach. Out popped two men in trench coats who then stood behind the RV and opened their coats, exposing themselves to the traffic, causing several fender benders. Later, when questioned by an angry state trooper why he pulled such a stunt, the RVer replied, “I was broken down, so I just used my emergency flashers!”
Pot of Gold. Did you win?
Here are today’s Zip and Postal Codes. If you’re the winner, let us know immediately. If you are, you’ll win $118. Good luck!
RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Deanna Tolliver, Mike Sokol, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com .
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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