It’s something we don’t think about until something goes wrong with it. We’re usually driving on the highway, listening to our music and anticipating getting to our campsite so we can start enjoying the time spent with our families, when disaster strikes. An improperly maintained undercarriage on your travel trailer or fifth wheel can mean you’re stuck on the side of the road waiting for a repairman to come help you out. Here’s a few things to look for on your undercarriage before you head out to the wilderness.
Rusted U-bolts and Hangers
We all know rust will happen, but at some point, those u-bolts and hangers will become frail and you run the risk of them breaking when you hit a bump. If they’re looking like the need to get replaced, don’t wait on it. Get it done and stay safe!
Double Check Those Springs
If you’re using an axle that requires springs (not a torsion axle), a broken or worn spring can affect your ride and your ability to stay level when parked at a campsite. A broken or worn spring means you’re carrying too much weight and they are buckling under the pressure. Get a new set of springs and don’t take the RV out until you get them replaced!
Grease Those Axles
I’ve heard way too many horror stories of people driving down the road and their bearings fail enabling a wheel to fall off. That’s right, a wheel just fell right off while they were in motion. The maintenance is simple here, folks: Grease those bearings!
Air Up Those Tires
If you’ve got a couple of tires running low on air, your truck is working harder than it should and that means your miles per gallon are going downhill. Keeping your tire pressure where it needs to be also minimizes the chance of a blowout, leaving you to change your tire while you’re on the side of the road. Not a fun time for anyone.
Drop by PPL Motorhomes
Whatever maintenance you don’t feel comfortable performing on your own, we can take care of!
This is something that every RVer needs to know: Dumping and Cleaning your septic system. One of my goals with to educate RVers a little on how to maintain the creature comforts of their RVs so that they continue being comforts and not pains. In this case, having your own private restroom facilities in your RV is fantastic, but it doesn’t come without one big drawback… dumping and cleaning.
Now, no one truly likes talking about this stuff. But, like everything else on your RV it’s going to need attention during every trip and that means dumping and, ultimately, cleaning your black water tank facilities. Let’s just say that, “yes, it’s a dirty job” and “no, you can’t avoid it”. So what’s the best way to tackle this stinky chore? Check out the video below from RV Geeks. They do a really good job at explaining what you can expect and how you can make this a quick and painless job.
Sometimes RVing isn’t always green pastures, beautiful scenery and amazing cookouts. In order for your RV to give you years of hassle free service, you are going to have to keep up with your regular maintenance and cleaning processes. Unfortunately dumping and cleaning your black water tank and system isn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but it has to be done. If you use the video above as a simple guide, I don’t think you’ll have any issues and will be able to complete this task quickly and mess free. Make sure you subscribe to their YouTube channel too… lot’s of really great info to be had there.
If you need septic system parts or products, PPL Motorhomes has a huge selection of pretty much everything you’d ever need to perform a repair, or do a quality cleaning . If you have any questions about your black water system, don’t hesitate to give us a call, I’m sure we can help you out.
As you probably are already well aware of, UV can severely damage your RV’s roof over time. If you think about it, your roof is exposed to the elements almost continually when not in storage. UV can cause cracks and deteriorate caulking and sealants. It’s important that you check the condition of your roof every year. A leaking roof can really cause some serious damage to the interior of your RV. At the very least, it will totally ruin a trip if you encounter heavy, or continuous rains. Fortunately, there is something you can do on your own to maintain your RV’s roof. PPL Motorhomes offers a great selection of repair kits that you can work with at home and reseal, or fully repair your RV’s roof. A great product is Brite-Ply EPMD rubber roofing, it’s long lasting and very easy to apply
Photo from PPLMotorhomes.com
Brite-Ply EPDM Rubber Roofing makes recreational vehicles quieter by eliminating roof rumble and noise from wind, rain and hail. It assures a water tight roof that is maintenance free and saves energy through its heat reflecting characteristics. EPDM sheeting is highly puncture resistant, has superior tensile strength and tear resistance, and is both reflective and refractive to UV rays. The best part is that Brite-Ply EPDM Rubber Roofing passes the 20 year accelerated aging test with no discoloration.
If you have any questions about Brite-Ply EPDM, or any other repair kit, or service PPL Motorhomes offer, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you keep your RV roadworthy at all times. If you have any other products you’d recommend for roof repair, let us know, we’re always interested in hearing about new products that make the RVer’s life easier.
The awning, is it the greatest RV accessory ever? I’ll tell you that it’s at least in the top three. Here’s why I think that. Now when it’s Summer here in Texas, well it’s just dumb not to have some way to manufacture shade. But what about now? It’s no secret, I love Autumn and here we are just rolling into the Fall season Leaves are changing colors and a cool light wind are blowing. There is simple nothing like sitting out underneath our RV awning as if on Nature’s stage enjoying milder weather. Plus, any time you can knock out direct sunlight, even during the cool months, you are going to have a much more pleasant time by keeping your RV even cooler by keeping direct sunlight out of it.
With that being said, I have seen so many RVs out on the road recently that have holes, tears and pieces missing from it. I don’t know, maybe they are thinking, “Meh, it’s getting cooler out, I probably don’t need it.” Or, “I’ll change it when the Summer RV season is here”. Well, then guess what happens? They forget and are without a good awning for their first trip of summer.
I make sure to take good care of mine, simply for the fact that here in Texas, you want that shady spot, What I do is, before I head out for a vacation, I unroll my awning and wash both sides and allow it to dry totally before rolling it back up. Then I’ll check it for punctures and holes. Small holes can be patched using a dab of vinyl adhesive. Larger punctures and rips will likely need vinyl repair kits. Take care of it before it gets worse, and trust me, it will get worse. I also make sire to clean all of the hardware and check all of it to make sure it is all still working properly, if not, I’ll replace it.
Here’s another tip. If it’s windy outside, I’m talking 15-20mph gusts, roll it back up. Winds that strong can tear holes and rip through awning materials like a hot knife through butter. Finally, don’t let rain pool on your awning for too long. Leaving collected water on your awning for an extended period of time could bend your hardware and tear the fabric.
That’s all I got for now. I’ll bet you are wondering what the other 2 top RV accessories were. Huh? Well that’s entirely up to you. I just know that RV Nana can’t live without her awning.
Oh, if I could avoid writing about this subject I would, however, being an RVer, maintaining your sewer hoses and septic system is of paramount importance. One of the things that we offer here at your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes are some of the best hoses in the business, including lines from RhinoFLEX.
RhinoFLEX Sewer Hoses are tough, flexible, and stays in place when you set it up. When compressed, the 10′ hose is only a 32″ long rigid pipe – easy to handle and store. When pulling it apart, it may be shaped to fit your situation, and it stays that way.
Three wraps of vinyl over steel-wire core minimizes pinholes and other leaks caused by rough scrapes and abrasions. Comes in 10′ and 15′ lengths, plus a 5′ extension with coupler. These hoses fit all standard 3″ fittings.
If you have any questions or comments about septic systems, or the parts contained there-in, don’t hesitate to call PPL Motorhomes.We’re not shy, or embarrassed to have this conversation with you and answer any question you may have. Remember, having a properly functioning system is not only good for the environment, it’s good for your health!
Oh, one last thing, GLOVES! You don’t want to perform any septic work without wearing disposable latex gloves. They are inexpensive, disposable and come in really “handy”.
Rodents in the RV is a problem. Someone sent the picture above to our Boyde today talking about their RV and a problem they had. Like many RVers, they parked their trailer or motor home next to their garage or barn out in the country or at a storage facility. Of course, we all go into our units at least once a month, clean the floor, start the engines, check the batteries, but none of us really check out the compartments. These critters must have been having a party for months. It made me think that we all do need to take time to check the compartments, refrigerator, water heater, LP systems and all the storage compartments.
Amazingly, critters can and do get into the smallest crevice. Think of it this way: If the hole is small enough to fit their head through, they’ll figure a way to get the rest of themselves in too.
Of course, I have heard all kinds of preventative measures…
Steel wool tucked into every pipe crevice under the sink
Moth balls or moth ball flakes in the compartment (if it doesn’t scare off the rodents it is still guaranteed to make your RV smell like your grandmothers closet)
Tucking Bounce fabric softener sheets in every drawer, cupboard and closet tends to keep them away
Putting a dog flea color in the refrigerator and water heater compartments tends to repel pests and rodents
Even sprinkling fox urine inside of compartments
All good hints. Except for that last one. That one I think I’ll pass on for now. Of course the best way to stay rodent and pest free is to routinely check ALL of your compartments and look for any signs of activity: Food, Footprints or Feces…the 3 Big “F’s”
What is your helpful hint? I’d love to hear how you keep your RV pest free! Please share them with us.
Do y’all remember the lines at gas stations during the 1970’s? Do y’all remember President Jimmy Carter coming on TV to explain how tire gauges work? Well we’re going to talk fuel economy a little bit today. The summer driving season is upon us and granted, RV’s aren’t like driving a Prius…but…there are several things you can do to squeeze more miles out of a tank of gas and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
Oddly enough one of the biggest influences on the range of your fuel tank is your right foot. For those of y’all who are lead foots or think your RV is a dragster, I’ve seen figures that show a negative effect on your range from five to thirty three percent! For the same reason, use your cruise control whenever possible. That constant speed, and constant RPM equates to a more efficient way of converting your fuel to miles. On the other side of the same coin, don’t just let the RV idle for long periods…just shut off the engine if it’s going to be more than a few minutes.
Sometimes an increase in economy can be achieved just with regular maintenance. Something as simple as a broken oxygen sensor can impact you by forty percent. And the same goes for the rest of the emissions systems, remember these engines are basically air pumps so anything that affects the air flow through the engine will affect your gas mileage. So with that said, air filter maintenance is also a key component to maximizing your mileage. Keep it clean or replace it often especially if you’re driving out west where there is a higher level of airborne dust.
So to recap…by all means check your tire pressures, don’t drive like a teenager, and keep up with the maintenance on your RV and the cost per fuel stop won’t be any higher than it needs to be. Also, we can help you get down the road with parts and accessories over at the website, so come say howdy!
I suppose in the past there were phrases that would strike dread into the hearts of everyone who heard them. Phrases like: “Honey, the Smiths next door have The Plague” or “Darling, I just heard the Mongols are headed this way or “Snoogums, we just got a letter from the IRS”. Well I have one you can add to that list that is worse: “SUGAR, THE A/C IS OUT!”
Texas summers are world renowned for being just a little bit special when it comes to heat. Heck, summer takes up four seasons here in Texas! The rest of the country has regular old Summer, but we here in Texas have “Almost Summer”, “Summer”, “Still Summer”, and when all that is over we have our fourth season “August”. So hearing the news that the A/C is out is almost enough to make you pack your bags and mosey on north to find out where I-35 ends. But before you get to packing, and sweating while you do it, I have an alternative solution.
Replace that old, no-account, nappin’ on the job air conditioner with a new Coleman Mach Air Conditioner. They’re pretty inexpensive and brother they pump out the cold. Depending on what size RV or travel trailer you have, Coleman has an A/C to match. They easily install into a standard 14″ roof hatch, run on 115V, and come in either ducted or non-ducted models. If it were me, I’d buy the highest rated BTU unit, then get another one, crank ’em both on high and just revel in the cool. That way I wouldn’t need any ice in my tea, Ha!
If you’re interested in learning more about these units, click right here and you’ll be whisked away to our website where you’ll even find them on sale. There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep on a Texas Summer night when the A/C is out, so let’s get the RV coooooooooooooool!
Have you ever watched the endless minute adjustments being made by folks who may not use their fifth wheel hitch very often? Forward, reverse, forward, reverse, forward, reverse, pull out, readjust, start over. It’s even worse when they’re driving a long bed truck and the adjustments have to be amplified to counteract the longer pivot. Sometimes I just want to go knock on the window and ask if I can hitch ’em up real quick so these folks can get down the road, but I can never decide whether or not that would be rude or helpful. As they get more and more frustrated, you can just imagine them cursing the hitch, the truck, and the trailer.
Well I’m here to ease that frustration in a not-rude, very helpful sort of way today! For you long-bed truck having, fifth wheel trailer dragging folks who are tired of feeling like you’re wasting your time getting hitched up, Pullrite has an awesome light weight, high mounted fifth wheel hitch that will be the answer to your prayers! First of all the hitch is touted as the easiest fifth wheel hitch in the entire industry to couple. Secondly, it IS light, weighing in at only 52 lbs which means the UPS guy won’t even break a sweat lugging it to your door. And thirdly, what Pullrite has done in the engineering of this hitch is incredible.
What they’ve done is combine the functions of the hitch plate, rocker arm, and crossmember into the king pin adapter, which clamps to the trailer’s king pin and mounts an upside down ball hitch. Then, a gooseneck coupler is mounted upside down onto a base which attaches to most industry rails (unless it has the bole mounted in the middle, call for details). A funnel is mounted to the gooseneck coupler so instead of fine-tuning your long bed truck, all you have to do is contact the ball with any portion of the funnel and you’re all hitched up! Plus, the funnel and ball are completely visible from the cab! How easy is that? They are available right HERE. You’re welcome!
Let’s admit it, sometimes we all procrastinate. For example, let’s say you’ve got a trip coming up where you’re going to take your beloved RV all the way across the country to some far-off destination where you get to go-see-do all kinds of neat stuff. The destination is wonderful and you’ve told all your friends what you’re going to do. You have the whole thing mapped out right? Well…maybe just the first night or so. You haven’t quite found a campsite out there in the middle because it doesn’t seem like many of the campgrounds out there have a website and you’ve been too busy to call.
When you finally do get around to calling, the person on the other end of the phone reserves you a spot but doesn’t inspire much confidence in you that they understand what you want or need or what you’re even doing there. Once you finally arrive at the campground a little while later, you could swear you can hear banjo music and you start thinking about running away as fast as you can like Ned Beatty should have done in the movie “Deliverance”. But you’re tired after a long day’s travel and now you’re stuck for the night. Thank goodness your RV is equipped with a permanently mounted surge protector because it looks like these folks have only recently even heard of electricity, much less know how to wire up the pedestal.
Matthew Hogan/Flickr Creative Commons
Which brings me to the point. Mount a surge protector, or bring a portable one with you, so you know that your RV or travel trailer’s electrical circuits will be protected. Over voltage, under voltage, power surges, open neutrals, etc etc etc can all wreak havoc with your electrical system. Protect your investment, and prevent that awful burning smell by just installing that surge protector between your RV and the campground owner’s cousin’s wiring job on that pedestal, we’ve got them in stock right HERE!
I have been with PPL Motor Homes since 1980 and have been fortunate enough to grow up with the company. A native Houstonian, I have been blessed with years of wonderful experiences and memories of RVing with family and friends. With 3 children, 8 grandchildren and a ton of friends who I refer to as my adopted family, I was a Nana long before I became RV Nana. I was blessed to have shared this lifestyle with my late husband, a Cajun from Lafayette, and his spirit will live on in all of us as we continue down the road of life.
My life with PPL has given me so many wonderful chapters, from sharing my RV experiences as RV Nana to working with the Texas Campground Owners Association and holding the position of President of the Texas RV Association from 2011-2013, so it’s easy to see that the RV lifestyle is my style. Watch for me on the road …I’m the one with the RV Nana license plates on my car and RV, and share your RV experiences with me. See you soon!