Must-Have Accessories for Camping With Your RV

One of the best things about being an RV owner is the ability to take just about anything and anyone you want along with you, wherever you go. But before you pack up your camper and hit the open road, make sure you’re properly equipped for whatever lies ahead with RV parts and accessories designed to make life easier.

To avoid using rest stops, which can be scary, at best, make sure your RV’s toilet is in great shape, and that you have adequate repair parts and chemicals to keep it clean, fresh and in ideal working order. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in close quarters with a bad smell emanating from the bathroom, so don’t skip this step if you want to travel in comfort.

You’ll also want to ensure you have adequate indoor and outdoor lighting, so whether you’re inside reading a book or outside watching the stars or playing cards, you can light up the night and stay safe at the same time.

Since space allows, you’ll also want to bring along kitchen and bath accessories, since you won’t be staying in a hotel and won’t have access to a typical bathroom area and supplies. Nature calls even when you’re out exploring it, so make sure you have the right kitchen and bath RV parts and accessories to stay comfortable wherever you go.

What Type Of Water Heater Is In My Travel Trailer?

Almost all travel trailers will come with a water heater ranging in size from 6 to 10 gallons. Listed below are the two types of water heaters your trailer could have. Some trailers with have both built into one heater.

1) Water heater with a pilot light – a pilot type water heater will work off your propane system in your trailer. On newer model trailers you are able to light the water heater from an electronic switch in the trailer. This type of water heater is known as a Direct Spark Ignition or DSI and are the most common in newer trailers. The only requirement for this type of system is you need to have a constant 12 volt source. If the heater does not light a red light will come on at the switch in your trailer letting you know that there is a problem. It is usually one of three things. The pilot light did not light after trying 3 times, your propane is shut off at the valve on the tank, or you are out of propane. Turn the switch off, correct the problem and turn the switch back on. If everything is working correctly the red light will remain off. If your trailer does not have a Direct Spark Ignition then you will need to light the water heater outside at the pilot light.

2) Water heater with 110 volt – water heaters that have 110 volt are going to be built in with your propane heater on your trailer. You will have two switches inside your trailer where you can either choose propane or 110 volt. When your generator is on or you are hooked up to electricity is when you can use your 110 volt water heater. The great thing about the 110 volt is it will not use up your propane supply and it heats up twice as fast.

Service Your Air Conditioner Before Summer Hits!

By not doing regular maintenance on your air conditioner you are losing about 6% of its cooling efficiency. If you have a 12 SEER unit in your home and are losing 6%, it is actually cooling like it is a 9 SEER unit. By getting routine maintenance done you can recover most of the lost efficiency from your air conditioner. By doing a regular tune up each year can maintain up to 95% of its original efficiency. By having a routine annual tune up it will save you money on your electric bill as well as reduce future repair cost.

There are several local air conditioning companies that will offer specials around fall and spring that you might want to take advantage of. Once the summer hits air conditioning become very busy and there rates tend to go up. Some companies will offer an annual service program which is a great since it is a reminder that your air conditioner will need to be serviced before the summer months hit.

When you have your air conditioner serviced is should include the following: check belts and adjust as needed, check system operating pressures, clean condenser coils, check amp draw from the compressor, oil fan motors and the most important one is checking the coolant level also known as Freon. If you system is even ten percent low on coolant it will cost 20 to 25 percent more to run. Your coolant levels should be checked every year.

In addition to the yearly tune up there are a few other items that should not be ignored. You want to make sure and change your filters every year. Keep debris and other materials away from the outside condenser unit. Try not to close off supply outlets in the house as this can be harmful to your system.

Even the most reliable air conditioning equipment needs routine maintenance. If you take care of your air conditioner on a yearly basis it will last longer and reduce the amount of repairs in the future.

Air Conditioning Repair Tips

When your car is in need of an air conditioning repair it is best to do a complete A/C inspection of all related components since the problem can be numerous things. You will first want to inspect your fan belts, related connections and hoses then move on to a visual inspection of the air conditioning compressor. Sometime this can be difficult since in many vehicles the compressor is well hidden. When inspecting the compressor you will want to look for any oil that might be leaking and check the clutch and bearings to make sure they are in good working condition. Next you will check the clutch in the compressor. If you look at the compressor you will notice there is an air gap between the bearing face and the compressor clutch. You will want to inspect the clutch air gap and make sure it falls into the proper specification. In order to measure the air gap you will need a gap gauge. Slide the gauge between the clutch and bearing face and make sure it is not thinner than 0.014 and no more than 0.030.

Inspection of the clutch in the compressor
If your compressor is driven by a belt then you will have a magnetic clutch on the input shaft that cycles the compressor off and on to control the air conditioners cooling function. If the clutch is worn is can be replaced separately. If the compressor is bad the new one may not come with a replacement clutch. It is best to install a new clutch if you are replacing the compressor.

Once the compressor is replaced it is a good idea to change the A/C hoses. When the old compressor failed it will put metallic debris into the system. This can result in blocked orifice tubes which can damage the new compressor. Making sure all the debris is out of the system is important to not having another failure with your new compressor.

Can My Thermostat Cause My Car To Overheat?

A sticking thermostat can cause your car to overheat and will not show up as a leak. This problem can be hard to detect but here is an easy way to check. Feel the radiator hoses when the car is running and if the top hose is cool or cold this means that the coolant is not circulating through the cooling system which means you could have a stuck thermostat. Normally the upper hose will be hot since the coolant is exiting the motor and getting ready to go through the radiator. The lower hose will always be cooler since the coolant has just gone through the radiator. So normal would be engine running at operating temperature and the upper hose is hot and the lower hose is cooler.

If you think that your thermostat is bad here is a way to test it. First you will need to remove the thermostat from the engine. On your stove boil water and put the thermostat into the boiling water. The thermostat should open when it reaches a temperature between 180 degrees and 220 degrees. If it does not open you will need to replace it. You will want to replace the thermostat with the same on that came with the car. If you look on the thermostat you will see a temperature rating stamped on the outside. It is always best to use OEM parts when available. You also do not want to change the temperature range of your thermostat. By changing the temperature rating you are asking for trouble.

Why Is Preventive Maintenance Important In Fleet Service?

Preventive maintenance is important in a fleet service of vehicles to keep your cars reliable and on the road. Your fleet service vehicles should go through routine inspections, servicing and necessary repairs to reduce the chance of breakdowns. A fleet car’s service should be based on the amount of engine hours, mileage, time or the amount of fuel used. Maintenance should include adjustments, testing, lubrication, inspection, repair and replace worn parts. To get the most out of your fleet vehicle repairs and inspection should be done on a scheduled basis.

Ignoring the scheduled service will lead to greatly reducing the life span of your vehicle. Some of the vehicles in your fleet may be prone to excessive breakdowns that will require expensive repairs, which leads to taking the vehicle out of your fleet when least expected or when needed most. By ignoring proper maintenance to your fleet can also lead to an unsafe vehicle that could put your employee at risk. If one of your fleet vehicles becomes unsafe due to improper maintenance or repair the fleet manager can be held liable for any damages. The bottom line is the vehicle must be safe to operate.

What Does Engine Sludge Mean And Should I Be Concerned?

The word sludge alone does not sound good, but when you put the word engine in front of it “engine sludge” it is as bad as it sounds for your motor. The sludge in your motor is made up of old and jellied oil that comes from heat, oil additives and extreme oil contamination. Sludge usually takes a long time to develop in your engine and builds up over time by skipping your oil changes when recommended or driving long distances past when the oil should have been changed.  Not changing your oil at the recommended intervals is the main reason your engine develops sludge. The reason for this is because over time your engine oil will become contaminated with acids, metal contaminates and water condensation that transforms into engine sludge.  By not changing your oil as required will increase the chances of sludge buildup and damaging all the moving parts in your motor.

Under the hood heat and long periods of motor stress can also lead to sludge build up in your motor. Another culprit is high humidity in the air. When the humidity is high it enters into your engine oil and creates the oil to get hard and sludge buildup. You can avoid this by following the recommended oil change intervals by your car manufacture.

Do not discard that your motor can get sludge build up over time resulting in engine damage and expensive repairs. Take notice of the driving conditions you face between oil changes and this will greatly reduce the chance of sludge developing in your motor.