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Sometimes you can do it yourself…sometimes you can’t


An RV is a lot like a house, there is always something that needs to be fixed. As with a house, there are things in the RV/camper that you might have the ability to fix yourself and then there are things that are beyond your expertise and need to be deferred to a professional. The main difference between the RV/camper and a house is that the RV takes a beating when you are out on a trip. Things can break just from the jostling that the RV experiences each time you travel down the open road.

When I started camping about 10 years ago, I truly knew nothing about RVs. It didn’t take too long to learn that things go wrong with a RV more quickly than they might with a fixed home. In the first year of ownership of our Everest, the day/night shades broke several times. Each time it was a different shade. Since the unit was in warranty I was able to have them fixed for free. Shortly after the one year warranty expired, one of the shades broke again. What was breaking was the plastic knob that held the cords tight. It was a really poor knob design. Rather than pay $90.00 per hour to have the shade fixed, I learned how to do it myself. The first one took a long time but after that I became very proficient at restringing the day/night shades.

Last year we went through a hail storm and the vent cover over the bathroom had several holes put in it by the hail. I used duct tape for a temporary repair until we got home. Then I bought a new cover and figured out how to replace it rather than pay someone $90.00 per hour to do the job. I posted a blog on that repair.

My latest job was to replace the outside exhaust vent for the stove. The flap broke at some point and was supported only on one side. Rather than pay for the repair, I bought an exact replacement and figured out how to install it. Anytime you replace something through a hole in the RV, you need to be sure and seal it correctly so that rain water doesn’t enter the RV. Butyl tape and caulking will do the job. The Butyl tape, something I had learned about from a previous repair, is used between the part and the surface of the RV. The caulking is used around the edges after installation. Each time I have to do a repair, I usually learn something new. If I’m unsure about something, I seak out advise.

So there are a lot of things that you can do yourself without resorting to calling a repairman. Most of the things that you can do yourself are small not difficult projects.

We just returned from a camping trip to Gulf Shores, AL where we stayed at Anchors Aweigh RV Resort. Before we leave on a trip and when we return from a trip, we are able to park our 5th wheel on the street next to the house. We are then able to load or unload the camper. Yesterday while unloading I needed to open the kitchen slide-out to get to the pantry and remove some of the can goods. The slide went out normally but when I tried to pull the slide in, it came in crooked. One side didn’t want to move. After some effort, I was able to go outside and push on the slide while my wife operated the switch. There is obviously something wrong with the slide so it needs to be attended to. This is one of those projects that will be left to a professional.

Sometimes I get tired of all the things that go wrong with these RVs, but my wife continues to remind me that it’s all a part of camping. However, she doesn’t know how to use a screwdriver!

Exhaust vent

Old exhaust vent showing broken flap

Exhaust vent hole

Hole left after removing the old exhaust vent.

New exhaust vent

New exhaust vent after installation.

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