RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 868

Issue 868 • March 20, 2018
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RVing Tip of the Day

Keep your RV tracking straight
 
By Greg Illes 
Many RVs don’t always drive straight down the road. And it’s not always someone else’s rig. If your rig is squirrely, you don’t have to just live with it – there are some remedies available to you. Sometimes the cause is a subtle error in driver technique; sometimes it’s chassis issues or other mechanical factors. Sometimes it’s just the wind. Turns out, you actually have control over all of these factors.
 
WIND is a nasty culprit, but at least it’s obvious. Those 30 mph gusts are knocking you almost out of your lane. There are only a few ways to deal with wind, and sometimes the best one is simply to park and wait for better weather. If you must drive on, keep your speed down (55 or less). Watch for breaks in terrain or foliage that will let surprise gusts pound you. Above all, steer deliberately and avoid over-correction. Only a truly severe wind can actually knock you over – but a more modest gust can cause an over-correction, and unintentional swerving off-road or into the other lane.
 
CHASSIS factors are much more insidious. They may have been around forever, such as with design deficiencies, or they may have developed gradually through wear of bushings, tires and/or ball joints. Have your RV checked regularly for alignment and suspension wear, and keep a sharp eye out for telltale tire wear. If you drive a motorhome, have a Road Performance Assessment (RPA) done by a certified provider. This assessment will tell you if anything is wrong with it, and also what might be done to improve it over stock condition.
 
Most chassis producers strive for the lowest cost, not the best handling. Cheap shocks and skinny sway bars are the norm. And then, the motorhome manufacturers load those chassis to near-max GVW. It’s a formula to guarantee flaky handling. Consider the addition of heavier sway bars, a tracking bar and/or a steering stabilizer if your coach doesn’t already have them. Be sure to get an expert opinion and installation on any potential modifications.
 
TOADS can have a dreadful effect on steering stability. If you tow, be sure your setup is properly installed, in good condition and legal. Too big a vehicle on your tow hitch can wag you around like the tail of a dog.
 
TECHNIQUE is maybe the hardest factor to deal with, because our egos get in the way of objective judgment. Do you have a tendency to over-correct? Do you clench that steering wheel like you’re hanging from a rope? Do you watch the lane right in front of your windshield instead of farther up ahead? Do you yank it into a turn instead of using a gradual “urge”? All of these quirks will lead to weaving and swerving, regardless of the quality of rig that you drive. There’s not space enough here to suggest remedial techniques, but if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might consider getting some instruction in heavy-vehicle operations. Sometimes just the awareness and some practice can work wonders.
 
Remember that you are the captain in command, not the victim of hapless circumstance. If your rig won’t drive straight, find out why and fix it. You’ll both be happier.
Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at www.divver-city.com/blog
 

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wal-mart-loc-748Walmart Locator: 
Find stores for shopping & overnight stays
This is an invaluable aid for RVers who occasionally spend a night in a Walmart parking lot. State maps identify where the stores are located in the USA. Detailed information includes city or town where each store is located, type of store (Walmart or Supercenter), availability of gas and diesel fuel, distance from Interstate if within 10 miles, and more. Published 2016. Learn more or order.


QUICK TIPS

Safer parking in parking lots
If you park your tow rig and trailer in a “normal” parking space in a lot, you’re likely hanging out into the driving lane. When making a short stop in a lot, put “safety cones” out in the drive lane to make sure oncoming drivers see the rig.

Test electrical currents with your fist, not your fingers
With electricity expert, Mike Sokol
I like to say there are old electricians and bold electricians, but not many bold-old electricians. That’s because we force ourselves into habits that create safe working environments. Anytime we touch anything metallic that has even the least possibility of being energized we use the back of our hand or knuckle for the final test. Yes, if we’re in any kind of electric wiring we always meter it twice, but let’s say you’re walking up to chain link fence, aluminum ladder or maybe the door handle of an RV in another campsite. Rather than just grabbing anything metal with the palm of your hand, scrape your knuckle on it first. In the rare instance that the object has somehow become energized, your hand will jump away from it, rather than grabbing onto it so hard that you can’t let go. That’s because you have more muscles in your hand that make a fist compared to the muscles that make it open up. In the event of an electric current going through your hand, the fist-making muscles win the tug-o-war and you’ll clamp down even harder on whatever you’re touching and you won’t be able to let go, no matter how hard you try. Far better to have your hand jump away from the object and disconnect you from the source of the current.  

Less messy way to repack wheel bearings
Repacking your trailer wheel bearings? It’s a good idea to do it every year, but many hate the job because it can be so messy. When repacking the bearings, wear nitrile gloves. They don’t tear, and they’ll keep the goo off your hands.

HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM
Hubby solved noisy LP detector by disconnecting it – Bad idea!


corps-book-748

RV Camping in Corps of Engineers Parks
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers manages more than 12 million acres of land and water nationwide. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. This book will guide you to more than 600 Corps-managed campgrounds with sites suitable for RV camping on nearly 200 lakes around the country. Many RVers believe Corps campgrounds are among the best out there! Learn more or order.


WEBSITES OF THE DAY 

Meetup
You love your wife, but she doesn’t like to fish, and she doesn’t like to kayak, and she doesn’t really care about how beer is made (wine, please.) Meetup is a great website for meeting other people and doing things together! Join an organized hike, learn fly fishing, or just meet up for happy hour at the local tavern. Join other RVers and outdoor enthusiasts and learn, or do, something new! 

RunPee
OK, this is technically an app, but they have a website too so we’re counting it because it’s just so great. You know when you finish your large diet Coke at the movies and, well, nature calls? The RunPee app will vibrate in your pocket when it’s the best time to use the restroom … e.g., nothing too exciting is happening during that scene. You can use it for movies at home or in the RV, too! Your bladder will thank you for this one.

SpeedTest
If anyone is familiar with slow and not-so-reliable internet speeds while on the road, it’s us. If you think we upload videos to our YouTube channel with no issues, you’re wrong. SpeedTest helps determine your internet speed, and your download and upload speed too. Trust us, it’s handy.

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.


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Bonus for joining: Get a $25 gift certificate good at 25,000 restaurants
Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by RVtravel.com which has toured its South Dakota facility and interviewed its very customer-oriented owner. Many plans available. Learn more. Or view the video interview RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury conducted with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes.


VIDEO OF THE DAY

What to do about bubbles on an RV’s rubber roof
In this episode of “Ask The RV Expert,” RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury talks with RV tech expert Chris Dougherty about a reader’s problem: bubbles on his RV’s rubber roof. What to do? 

CLICK THE VIDEO TO SEE THE TIP.
See all of our videos on our YouTube Channel.

2018 Large Scale Road Atlas now available
This 2018 Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas has maps of every U.S. state that are 35% larger than the standard atlas version plus over 350 city inset & national park maps & a comprehensive index. Road construction & conditions contact info is located above maps. Mileage chart shows distances & drive time between 77 North American cities & national parks. Tough spiral binding allows the atlas to lay open easily. Learn more.


MORE QUICK TIPS

Brighten your taillights
Taillights can get dim from dirty contacts. Make sure there’s no power to the taillights, then pull the bulbs. Use steel wool to clean bulb contacts and base; do the same for the contacts and base of the taillight fixture.

Where to mount your new flat screen TV
Replacing on old “tube” style TV with a flat screen in your RV? Think about mounting the new flat screen on a swing-arm mount that’s attached inside the old TV’s cabinet. You can swing the TV into the cabinet any time, and out for viewing from different areas of the coach. And no need to rebuild the cabinet to accommodate the new TV, provided it fits in the hole.
 
Do you have a tip? Send it to diane (at) rvtravel.com .

State, Regional, City and U.S. maps
A GPS is great, but there’s nothing like a folded map to plan a trip or guide you where you’re going once you’re underway. Just about every folded map you would ever need is here. Most sell from about $2 to $6. Check ’em out or order.


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LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
When a woman found out that she was pregnant, she lit up the phone lines telling everyone the good news. Later that week, she took her 4-year-old son Sam shopping. A woman there asked Sam if he was excited about the baby. “Yes,” he said. “I know what we’re going to name it. If it’s a girl, we’re calling her Molly and if it’s a boy we’re calling it quits.”

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Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com. UPDATED HOURLY.


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Pot of Gold
We have put the Pot of Gold contest on hold after another winner on Saturday. Here’s why


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.

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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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Related

3 Thoughts to “RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 868”

  1. Glenn

    Speed test app comes up as a privacy risk per Norton.

  2. Will

    As far as parking lots…the safest first move for a vehicle is always forward. If you can, back into your parking stall. That way if your RV is a bit long, your rear will hang over landscaping (if possible) and you front end won’t stick into the drive aisle.

  3. Mark

    Great news letter and I just learned that toads can be real problem!! 😉

    “TOADS can have a dreadful effect on steering stability. If you tow, be sure your setup is properly installed, in good condition and legal. Too big a vehicle on your tow hitch can wag you around like the tail of a dog.”

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