RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 870

RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 870

Issue 870 • March 22, 2018
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RVing Tip of the Day

Don’t let your tow bar take you (or someone else) out
 
By Russ and Tiña De Maris 
photo: Jim Twamley

Imagine looking in the rearview mirror and seeing traffic behind you scattering in every direction – trying to avoid your toad. It could be every motorhome owner’s nightmare: a runaway towed car because of a fault with a tow bar. Make sure this stays a nightmare and not a real-life scenario; keep up with tow bar maintenance.
 
What could cause a tow bar failure? Most often it’s abuse, and sometimes age. Folks with the tow bar industry say that the most common form of tow bar abuse is backing up, a definite no-no, or because of jackknifing the toad when a panic stop is made and there’s insufficient or non-existent towed vehicle braking. The stresses placed on tow bar components because of these actions can severely compromise or kill your tow bar system. NEVER back your toad vehicle with the tow bar – it’s as simple as that.
 
But what about age? At what age should you consider retiring your tow bar? Like the joke among us old folk runs, it’s not so much the age, it’s the mileage. Your tow bar is a lot like you: Every mile you put on the tow bar begins to slowly wear away at the joints. There’s not any real practical “joint replacement” operation available for tow bars. At least once a year, experts recommend, push and pull on your tow bar, feel for looseness. If it feels loose, have it inspected by a professional.
 
What applies to the tow bar also applies to that all important connecting surface to the vehicle: the baseplate. Here’s an inspection habit for you. Every time you hitch up the toad car, grab those connecting points. Pull up and push down. You should feel “give” in the toad car’s suspension system, yes, but never should you feel looseness or “give” in the baseplate or connecting bracket. If you feel any give or looseness, towing can put you at big risk. Don’t tow. Get it fixed.
 
Check out your tow bar manual for lubrication instructions, and follow the suggestions given. Tow bars and accessories need to be cleaned and lubed with regularity. And when you’re not using the tow bar, store it away from the weather. Rust can cause you grief over the long haul.
 
Need a new tow bar system? Have a reputable shop do the install, and ask them to walk you through the hitch-up procedure. Smart RVers will want to use their phone or video equipment to make a record of how it’s done for future reference. Keep a copy of the owner’s manual in the rig and in easy reach.

Read yesterday’s tipGetting all the watts from your generator.

Did you miss the latest RV Travel Newsletter? If so, read it here.

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90-degree-hosePrevent hose crimping and strain
. . . and extend RV hose life
This 90-Degree Hose Elbow eliminates unnecessary stress and strain on all RV water intake hose fittings. The elbow, with an easy-grip connector, is made of brass and is lead-free. Learn more or order for a great price!


QUICK TIPS

Only use distilled water in batteries
When topping off battery cells, NEVER use anything other than distilled water. Bottled water contains minerals (that’s why it tastes so good!). Bottled water may be good for your cells, but it’ll raise Cain with your batteries’ cells!

Check ground wires to fix electrical problems
With electricity expert, Mike Sokol 
If you’re having strange electrical problems with headlights, running lights and turn signals, time to check the chassis “ground” wires for tightness and corrosion. Due to road salt and vibration, many times they’ll develop a high resistance connection, which can result in crazy computer codes, turn signals that blink too fast, and even intermittent brake light operation. If anything looks suspicious, best to disassemble the grounding connection and use emery cloth to remove any corrosion. After everything is clean and bright, reassemble it making sure you don’t over-torque the bolts and strip any threads. Star washers are a great addition to the ground “stack” if it doesn’t already have them since they pierce the rust (oxidation) and grab onto fresh metal.

Make towels stay where they belong

Towels fall off towel bars in transit? Get some sticky-back Velcro tape and stick the prickly side up on the towel bar. Towels won’t run away!

HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM

Come on, keep it clean out there when camping.

fridge-fan651Keep your food cool with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this!  Learn more or order from Amazon.com.


WEBSITES OF THE DAY 

Our YouTube Channel!RV Travel, RV, YouTube
Watch RV Travel’s very own YouTube channel, where we cover all your favorite topics. Subscribe and get notified every time we post a new video. 

GearTrade
Want to swap out your old hiking boots for new ones? Need a new North Face windbreaker? GearTrade allows you to buy and sell used gear from top-quality brands. Outdoor adventures ahoy!

GeoGuessrGlobe, Earth, Planet
Have some time to kill? We don’t! But we sure love this website anyway. As you “play” you get dropped off in different locations around the world (they use Google Maps for this) and you have to guess where you are. It’s an interesting way to learn your geography and terrains! 

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


slideout-seal656Protect your RV’s slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order


VIDEO OF THE DAY

How to organize an RV basement
The RV Geeks show you a great way to organize your RV’s basement storage area. These areas can quickly get cluttered, making locating items difficult and time-consuming. This system makes a lot of sense.

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

slide-out-covers-655slide-out-guards-655Protect yourself and others from sharp edges of RV slideouts!
Cut your head just once on a sharp RV slideout and you’ll race out to buy a set of these so it never happens again! Camco’s Black RV Slide-Out Corner Guards offer a simple solution to the danger posed by sharp corners on RV slideouts (think about kids running by!). Simply place them on each corner of the slide to provide a cushion. Easy to install, no tools required. Learn more or order.


MORE QUICK TIPS

Easily reach otherwise out-of-reach controls
Some motorhomes and fifth wheels have high ceilings. For those of us who are “altitude challenged,” reaching the switch on the bathroom fan can be like reaching the unreachable star. Get a 4-foot section of 1/2-inch dowel rod, stick a rubber furniture glide on it, and use it to hit the switch. Bore a 1/4-inch hole in the other end to turn the vent crank.

Pet microchip registry information
Remember to keep your address and other information up to date with the registry for your pets’ microchips. Otherwise, how will your lost pets be able to find their way back to you? Thank you to Bob and Brenda Rogers for this important reminder!
 
Do you have a tip? Send it to diane (at) rvtravel.com .


mice-653Keep rodents out of your RV!
The positive reviews on this make it a best bet for keeping your RV rodent-free. This is the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 100 days with a “woodsy” scent that’s pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It’s safe around kids and pets so no safety warning is required. 98% biodegradable. Used effectively by the RV Travel staff. Learn more or order.


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


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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Related

8 thoughts on “RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 870

  1. robert maher

    I have a roadmaster tow bar and it got loose and dirty in side of its self and sent it to Roamaster and they rebuilt it for me at no cost now I use swim noodles split in half that just fit the slide out parts and keeps them clean and now its just fine and works well. love the bar. Not a full timer but I like it.

  2. Rick Hubert

    Re: Mike’s Tip for making sure that ground wiring is properly connected:
    1> Corrosion Prevention – Absolutely agree about the need for clean metal-to-metal contact for not only ground wires, but all wiring connections. But just cleaning contact patches, wires and terminals is not enough – because as soon as water & dirt get back into those areas you are once again faced with the same problem – corrosion, rust, etc.. So to prevent that I have been coating all contact surfaces with grease (both before and after assembling the connection) to help keep out moisture and to preserve those connections. Have used various di-electric greases successfully but found that a synthetic grease (like Mobile 1) works just as well because it does not dry out. Thoughts?
    2> Use of Stainless Steel Hardware – I also use stainless hardware where possible for grounding and wiring connections. The Bus bars I got for upgrading my house battery/solar system are 100% stainless. So Mike – my question is – for electrical work is stainless steel hardware sufficiently electrically conductive? I have heard that Stainless is not as good as copper, but for it’s ability to withstand moisture and not corrode is it a good trade-off? When I got new house batteries they came with SS nuts on the battery posts, and as I said my Bus bars are totally Stainless.
    Thanks!

  3. Jon

    I answered no because the heated mattress pad is under the sheet. Wouldn’t be without it!

  4. Carole Somers

    Re: electric blankets
    We like our bedroom on the cooler side but it is so nice to slide under nice warm sheets under an electric blanket or bed warmer. We use them at home also.

  5. Snayte

    I answered yes but we actually use a heated mattress pad rather than a blanket.

  6. John Koenig

    RE tow bars. I’ve seen Blue Ox reps at several RV events in the mid-west. For a nominal fee, Blue Ox techs will examine and service Blue Ox products on site. I’ve never seen Roadmaster techs at a rally but then, I haven’t attended an RV event in the Pacific Northwest; maybe Roadmaster does offer a similar service but, only closer to their home base. If I had a Roadmaster product, I’d certainly contact them to find out.

    1. Jon

      I have been to rallies and, while out having fun, I have returned to find a note on my door saying that Roadmaster has come around and checked and serviced my tow bar as a courtesy.

  7. livingboondockingmexico

    We almost always boondock and find that a regular electric blanket used under the sheets keeps us warm and toasty. We keep it on the lowest setting and find that it has little effect on our power storage at night. No need to be cold when using solar or boondocking.

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