Care of Refigerator/Freezer

After a camping trip most of us need to turn off and defrost the refrigerator/freezer in our RVs. Obviously, we will soak up the residual water with towels, but my wife has found a great way to dry up any remaining moisture. She simply props the door open and places an electric fan in the kitchen blowing into the refrigerator/freezer. If you have shore power where you store your rig this will dry things up easily overnight and you can then close the door without fear of mold or mildew. Some kind of a desicant such as baking soda or charcoal on a paper plate will help keep things smelling fresh inside.  There is much debate over whether to leave your refrigerator running while in storeage or to turn it off. It really doesn't matter much either way, but when I turn mine off I make sure to start it back up at least two weeks before a scheduled camping trip to make sure that it is working properly and to give me time to arrange for repairs if it isn't.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net             Top

          Keep Water Hose Clean

I'm not talking about your garden hose, that we all know that we shouldn't drink out of, but the supply hose from the outside faucet to your ctiy water connection on the camper.  To keep this hose as clean as it was when you bought it, connect the two ends together as soon as you remove it from the camper and drain the execss water from the hose.  This will prevent dirt and debris as well as bugs from entering the hose. 

Submitted by Brad
bradf@thisoldcampsite.com          Top  

            Truck Bed Coating

Do you have some painted parts of your RV or some things around the house that are starting to look a little shabby? You know, things like RV entry steps, king pin box or hitch coupling? How about visible parts of the trailer frame or the 5th wheel hitch in the bed of your truck? I'm sure the list of these things could go on and on. The reason for this is that some things just are not primed very well if they are primed at all by the manufacturer and this causes unsightly rust to show through the paint. I got tired of my 5th wheel entry steps looking so bad and I found out about a product called Duplicolor Truck Bed Coating. There is also an identical product called RUST-O-LEUM Truck Bed Coating. These two products seem to be the same except for the label and can be found at auto parts stores or even at Walmart. These products come in aerosol cans and are used extensively by motorheads that restore classic cars or build hot rods. They like to spray this stuff on the frame rails, engine compartments under fender wells and other places. I've even seen people paint the inside of their Jeep body tubs with this stuff. It is not as rough as spray-in bed liner like Rhino Lining, but is a nice sort of rubberized finish. The cool thing is that dirt just doesn't seem to stick to it and there is very minimum surface preparation. It sure makes my entry steps and kingpin box look good and it seems very durable.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                   Top

               Uses for Bounce®

Bounce seems to be a very versital product used for things other than anti-static and freshening your clothes during drying.  My wife has been using Bounce sheets in our camper while it is in storage in order to keep it smelling nice.  I recently ran across a list of other uses for Bounce.
1. Not only will it keep your trailer smelling nice but it keeps mice out of the trailer.
2. It repels mosquitoes.  Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.
3. Eliminates static electricity from your television or computer screen.
6. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resetting.
7. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors.  Clean with a sheet of Bounce.
8. Put Bounce in your vacuum cleaner.
9. Prevent musty suitcases.  Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.
10. To freshen the air in your vehicle, place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.
11.Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan.  Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean.  The anti-static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan.
12. Eliminate odors in wastebaskets.  Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.
13. Collect cat hair.  Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.
14. Eliminate odors in dirty laundry.  Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.
15. Deodorize shoes or sneakers.  Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight.
16. For you golfers.  Put a Bounce sheet in your back pocket to keep the bees away.
17. Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them.  It will keep them smelling fresh.
18. Wet a Bounce sheet, hose down your car, truck or camper and wipe lovebugs off easily with the wet Bounce.
Note: Bounce is a registered trademark.
Submitted by Brad             Top

                          Air In Your Water Lines

We all know that if you drain the water from your tanks that the next time you plug into a water system, you will have air in the water lines until the water fills the lines.  That's to be expected, but how about when you are traveling and you hook up to a water line?  When you hook the water hose to the water bib outside of the camper, you should turn the water on and let the water run for a few seconds.  This accomplishes two things.  First, it will clear any discolorization from the water facet.  Sometimes you will get a rust color from some facets and this might be rust.  Second, it will take the air out of the water hose before you hook up to the camper and therefore you should not have any excessive air in the lines when you turn your facets on the first time.  This technique was pointed out to me by an experienced camper who happened to be watching me hookup at the Ole Town Cotton Gin RV Park in Goodlet, Texas.

Submitted by Brad                               
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                           Slideout Clearance

Have you ever leveled and unhooked your trailer in the campsite only to find that you don’t have enough clearance to fully open one or more of your slide-outs because of trees, posts or other obstructions? ‘Makes you feel a little mentally challenged, doesn’t it? I make sure that I have enough clearance by using something that is always in my 5th wheel and is very easy to use – my awning wand. Every RV with an awning has one of these anyway and the trick is very simple. When the rig is set up and the slides are opened take your awning wand and hold one end of it against the side of the RV next to the slide-out (either front or back) and mark the wand indicating the width of the slide-out. I use blue masking tape, but anything suitable will work. I do this for all slides on both sides of the trailer. Now I grab the awning wand and check for slide-out clearance before I unhitch.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                             Top

                         Protecting Your RV-Q

My wife, Myra, gets credit for this one. If your RV has an RV-Q (a propane grill that attaches to a bracket on the side of the rig and ties into the RV’s propane system) you can protect it from the elements while set up in camp by covering it with a tire cover that is designed to protect RV tires from ultraviolet light. These are marketed under the name, “Tyre Gards” and come in pairs. You can use the other one to cover your Coleman stove and then everything matches. The smallest available size is what you need.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                             Top

White Box

             Monitoring Voltage

Under and over voltage can be a real problem in campgrounds.  Some campgrounds do not maintain their electrical connections as they should and some older campgrounds may not have  been wired for the capacity that they now experience, especially in the summer months when there is a large demand for electricity.  One thing that you can do to help yourself, is to buy an inexpensive voltmeter that plugs into an AC outlet and leave it there so that you can check it several times during the day.  The meter does not provide protection but will help you monitor the line voltage in your camper.  If the voltage is out of limits, it can cause serious damage to your electrical equipment.  At one campground that we visited, the line voltage dropped to 106 volts.  My wife noticed it and brought it to my attention.  By the time that I ran out to disconnect the electrical cord, the cord was so hot that it was starting to melt.  The unit pictured below runs about $17.00 and can be found at most camper supply stores.  There are other types as well as several different types of surge protectors that can be plugged into the electrical pedistal to help protect your camper's electrical equipment.

Submitted by Brad         Top

                                 Heat Register

Has anyone ever dropped something like a piece of jewelry down one of the central heat registers in the floor of your RV? Well just kiss that goodbye. This makes for some frustrating and unhappy times (Don’t ask me how I know). I have protected us against that unfortunate eventuality by removing the plastic heat register covers, placing a piece of window screen cut to the appropriate size into the hole and reinstalling the register cover. Now if anything were to fall into the heat register it wouldn’t go any farther than the screen. This is inexpensive and doesn’t show at all if you use black or dark colored screen.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                           Top

                               Water Damage

Water damage is probably the worst thing that can happen to a camper, short of having a catastrophic wreck.  This is something that everyone who owns a camper must guard against and it is faily easy to do.  Camper manufactures recommend that you check the seals on your roof once a year.  If you find any cracks in the seals or small holes, they must be resealed immediately, otherwise water will seap down into the roof area and eventually cause it to rot.  Use a recommended rubber roof sealer.  Any other areas around the camper where you have joints that are caulked, you must check them to make sure there are no cracks or holes in the joints.  If there are openings , then they must be immediately recaulked.  This can be done by using a clear silicon sealer.

Do yourself a favor and do some preventive maintainance against water damage and your camper will last a very long time.  If you think that you have water damage, take your camper into a service shop and have it checked.

Submitted by Russell RV                        Top

                               Airconditioners

Summer is rapidly approaching, which means that those of us who are using or will be using the airconditioners in the camper need to do a little preventive maintanance in order to keep the units operating properly.  This requires that you to climb on top of your camper and remove the airconditioner shroud.  You need to clean and inspect the unit.  If you are able, use a compressed air source to blow the dirt and other debris from around the unit.  If the coils are extra clogged, you can buy a coil cleaner at an auto parts store and use it to clean the coils.  You should then drop the interior unit and tighten the bolts that hold the unit in place.  Clean the air filter frequently to keep the unit running efficiently. 

The above proceedure requires climbing on your roof which, for some people may not be practical or recommended due to the danger of falling.  You should do this at your own risk.  If you need this done you might want your nearest service specialist to perform the task.

Submitted by Russell RV                     Top

                         Changing Bed Linens

Do you ever have difficulty changing bed linens in your RV because you can’t move that big, heavy mattress around in order to get everything tucked in? The underside of the mattress doesn’t slide around on the particle board base at all. My friend, Myrtle Broussard, came up with a great idea for making this task much easier. Place a felt backed vinyl table cloth under the mattress and on top of the particle board (felt side down and vinyl side up). You may have to use two table cloths for a king sized bed. Just cut them to fit. You can now move the mattress around as needed to change the linens with no problems.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                           Top

                                  Medications

Did you know that if you are on certain medications you will be unable to smell propane? It's true. Some of these meds are Coumadin, Digoxin, Warfarin and Atenolol. There may, in fact, be even more than this. Of course, different meds may affect you differently than they do someone else. Be sure to consult your doctor about any side effects of the medications you are taking and be sure to check your RV's LPG alarm and make sure it is working properly. You may not be able to depend on your sniffer.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                             Top

                           Step Extender

Have you ever found that the bottom entry step of your RV was just a little too far from the ground for comfort? This potentially dangerous situation could result in an accident for you, a family member or a guest. Many of us have used wooden crates, bricks or boards for a makeshift step on the ground to help the situation, but these could move or become unstable causing their own set of problems. There are step devices intended for this purpose available at Camping World and other RV supply centers, but they can be expensive. Something that is very stable and much less expensive is a platform that is used for “step exercise”. These are available wherever exercise equipment is sold. They are adjustable at each of their four legs, are very stable, cost-effective and easily stored and carried.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                                 Top

                          Leveling Your Table

If you are like me, you enjoy cooking outside your RV on a camp stove, table top grill or other outdoor cooking appliance. Like me, you have also found that finding a level surface on your parking pad or in your campsite can be a challenge so you look for rocks or scraps of wood of the suitable size to shim up under the table legs and level things up. I got the idea for the perfect camp table leveling device (I’m smarter than I look). Next time instead of looking for rocks or boards you can level your table perfectly by using one or more of the molded plastic wheel chocks. These are inexpensive, generally yellow in color, are light weight, easy to store and have little “steps” molded into the curved surface that is designed to go against the tire when they are used for their intended purpose (chocking the wheels to prevent the trailer moving). The foot of your table leg will rest securely on one of the “steps” depending on how high it needs to be. You can easily adjust the height in fractions of an inch up to about five inches. These work great and you will never have an unlevel or wobbly camp table again.
Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                         Top

                         Are Bugs Bugging You?

One way to help with the inevitable removal of bugs from the front of your camper, is to keep it clean and polished.  The slicker the front, the harder it is for a bug to stick and the easier it is to remove those pesky ones that do stick.  Another method is to rub the front of the camper with baby oil, yes I said baby oil.  It is the same principal as polish that will keep the front slick.  When you get to your distination, you can take a wet rag and rub the bugs off.  Those of us who live in the south and are faced with billions of "love bugs" can use all the help we can get to get that black mess off the camper.

Submitted by Russell RV                         Top

Tech Tips @ This Old Campsite Dot Com
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                          Back-up Lights

‘Ever wish you had some back-up lights on your trailer? I put some on my travel trailer years ago and they worked great. Just go to Wal Mart and buy an inexpensive set of small fog lights and mount them on the back of your rig. I mounted mine under the back on the frame where they were protected and they don’t even show. You can wire them through the plug and they will come on with your tow vehicle back-up lights, but I wired mine to the trailer battery using an inline fuse and a switch mounted inside a storage compartment. That way I could get to the switch when I needed back up lights and I also had additional light in that part of the camp site when needed.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                           Top

                        More on Water Damage

In another tip, we covered the necessity of making sure that all of your seals are in good shape with no cracks or holes to prevent water from leaking into the camper.  Another source for water damage is by having a water line break or one of the water line seals spring a leak.  If this should happen you could have major water damage in a short period of time.  If you are in your camper when this happens, you would notice fairly soon and be able to negate some of the damage.  If you are not there, then major damage could be done.  It is a good idea to turn your water off if you are going to be away from your camper for an extended period of time.  This might seem to be a big inconvience but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Remember, these campers take a beating on the road possibly causing connections to come loose.  Another preventive measure would be to pull your slides in if you are going to be away from your camper for more than several days.  This could prevent you from missing a leaky seal around the slideouts if it rains.

Submitted by Russell RV                       Top

                             Tire Expiration Date

Did you know that your tires have an expiration date? Well, not really, but they do have a manufacture date molded into the sidewall. Mine say “31 07” meaning that they were manufactured during the thirty-first week of 2007 or sometime in June of that year. I took delivery of the rig in November of that year so the tires were really new and that’s good. Why does this matter? Because most tire failures happen during the sixth year of tire life (not service). That’s right. After under inflation and overloading, tire age is the biggest cause of blow-outs in RVs and we all know what kind of damage that can cause. Should you replace old tires even if the tread is good and they look otherwise new? That depends entirely on your individual tolerance for risk. I, for one, don’t intend to push my luck. This tire thing could easily be a whole article by itself so look for that in the near future.
Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                          Top

                               Changing Oil

Do you change your own oil in your tow vehicle? No? Well, with rising fuel costs and other factors that’s one way you could save some money and get a lot of satisfaction in a job well done. The main reason most of us don’t do this is the mess of draining the old oil. Most diesel pick-ups hold fifteen quarts of oil and that comes out really fast and splashes everywhere. To eliminate this mess remove the oil fill cap and place the tube of your shop vac over the oil fill tube on the engine. Then turn the shop vac on. No, you aren’t vacuuming oil out of the engine – just pulling a very slight vacuum on the engine’s internals which won’t hurt a thing. Then go under the truck and remove the oil drain plug. Have a catch pan in place just in case. You will need the pan in a minute anyway. No oil should drain at this time. You will probably hear air bubbling up through the oil in the pan. Go back up top, turn off the shop vac and remove it from the oil fill tube. The oil will now drain normally and you won’t get the dreaded oil bath.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                                 
Top

                        Propane Tank Caution

This tip is safety related and involves propane. Some of my friends in law enforcement learned this at workshops and seminars and they passed it on to me so I could share it with you. Illegal drug dealers and manufacturers of methamphetamines use propane cylinders to store anhydrous ammonia that is used in meth labs during the manufacturing process. They get the cylinders at Wal Mart, Academy, Kroger or anywhere that you can exchange propane cylinders. The problem is that anhydrous ammonia is very dangerous, toxic and, especially corrosive. It will eat away at the brass valve as well as the steel body of the tank and it does this from the inside – out. This could easily cause a sudden, catastrophic, and potentially deadly failure of the tank and valve. When exchanging propane cylinders look for a greenish blue stain on or around the brass valve area. This is caused by the ammonia reacting with the metal. If you already have a cylinder with this stain DO NOT use it. Call your local emergency services for instructions and help in disposal. I, for one, do not intend to exchange propane cylinders; I will get them refilled.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                         Top
                               Propane Oven

Do you find that your RV’s propane oven does not heat evenly? Whatever you are baking may be a little scorched on one side and underdone on the other. This can easily be fixed by placing a ceramic floor tile on the oven rack beneath your baking pan. The tile will cause the heat to be much more evenly distributed. No more scorched cookies.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                                Top
                        Vehicle Cruise Control

Should you use your vehicle cruise control in the rain? Don’t do it. In information from The Texas Department of Public Safety I have learned that if your vehicle begins to hydroplane the cruise control thinks that the vehicle is slowing down and will cause acceleration in order to maintain the set speed. During a hydroplaning condition this is very dangerous and can cause the vehicle to take off like an airplane potentially causing a serious accident. In some new cars the cruise control is actually disabled when the windshield wipers are turned on.
 
Submitted by Warren Petkovsek             Top
wpetko@sbcglobal.net
                            Electrical Converter

How do you check the electrical converter in your rig to see if it is still good? Do you even know what a converter is? Well, the converter does just what it's name implies.  It converts 110 volt electrical curent to 12 volts to run the low voltage (12v) lights and appliances in your RV. It also keeps the battery charged when you are pluged into shore power. They do go bad from time to time. I've had them go out on me twice now and it is an unpleasant surprise. To check if your converter is operating correctly just go to the panel in your rig where you check water tank levels, turn on the water pump and, usually, the electric water heater and push the button or switch labeled "Battery" when the rig is plugged into 110 volt "shore power". Indicator lights will illuminate showing you the state of charge on your battery. It should read 100% charged. If not then your converter is bad or going bad. This will result in a dead battery which affects 12v lights as well as the refrigerator and wall thermostat which will compromise the heating and air conditioning. If you find that your converter is bad you will be able to replace it before your camping trip and avoid an unpleasant and possibly more expensive experience.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                        Top

Camping World
Picture of Voltmeter
This Old Campsite

  Easy way to "De-Bug" the front of your rig

Wet a dryer sheet and gently go over the bugs. They are removed with little or no elbow grease. Wipe with a dry chamois. Bugs gone. Wax is not.

Submitted by Dot Ferris                         Top

Presented here are tech tips that will help make your Rving a little easier. If you have a tech tip or an idea on how to make some of you RVing chores a little easier, please let us know and we will present them here on this site. All you need to do is to click on the tech tip form , fill in the required informatin and submit it. Your fellow RVers will appreciate the help that you provide to them.

                             RV Refrigerators

RV refrigerators that operate on propane are called absorption refrigerators.  The coil system on the back of the unit carries ammonia gas & hydrogen that absorbs the warm air out of the refrigerator box as the mixture flows downward through the coils.  If the coils are not positioned in a way that allows the fluid to drain properly, then the refrigerator will not cool effectively.  When this happens, the long term affect of improper drainage is that the fluid overheats, will crystallize and form a blockage within the coil.  Therefore, it is important that the RV is level when parked and the refrigerator is running.  This will allow for proper drainage.  Otherwise each time it is not level it decreases the overall life of the unit.  Also, be sure to keep the interior clean with soap and water and prop the door open when in storage.  Doing these things will help you enjoy trouble free long term use.

Submitted by Brad Fuller
bradf@thisoldcampsite.com                          Top

               What to Do When Your Electrical
                       Converter Goes Bad


All RVs have an electrical converter. This device converts 120 volt electricity or “shore power” to 12 volt DC power which runs lights, slide-out motors, and other 12 volt appliances as well as keeping your coach battery or batteries fully charged. When the converter goes bad your battery will go dead and you will lose 12 volt power. Since the wall thermostat for the furnace and air conditioning also uses 12 volt power, you will lose your heat, air conditioning and refrigerator if you lose this 12 volt power as well. While I’ve known RVers who have gone ten years or more and never had to change out a bad converter box, these converters typically last only five or six years.

I’ve changed out four of these converters over the years for myself and for friends and it’s not a big deal, except that it is always inconvenient when this happened during a camping trip which is nearly always the case. Our 5th wheel will be six years old this year and I’m looking for my converter to go bad as well. I’ve even thought about buying one and having it on hand so I’ll be ready to change it when needed, but there is a problem with this; the warranty begins on the date of purchase so I will lose coverage while waiting to install it.

I learned the solution to this from a fellow RVer who was camped near us. His converter went bad so he simply hooked his battery up to a battery charger. This enabled him to finish his camping trip without having to find a converter and change it. He was also able to shop around and get the best price instead of just getting what was available where he was at the time.

While using the battery charger the bad converter can be removed. It does not have to be in place for the circuit to be complete and everything will work fine.

It might also be a good idea to use one of the “smart chargers” like the Battery Tender that will not overcharge and damage the battery.

Submitted by Warren Petkovsek
wpetko@sbcglobal.net                                   Top

                  Ratchet Strap Stabalizing

To help stabalize your trailer, you can use ratchet
straps in a X pattern as seen in the pics below.
It seems to take a lot of the side jiggle out.
Submitted by Terry Dopper                              Top
Ratchet Strap Stabalizing       New