Oh no, we left our RV at the campground for the week and returned to find our refrigerator had stopped working and I filled a trash can with rotten food. This could happen to any of us. We had our LP tanks filled before taking the fifth wheel down to the bay where we were planning to leave it for a month. We had it all set up and the refrigerator was running fine on electric when we left. The problem apparently started with a power failure at the RV Park when we lost 110 power.
That seems like a minor issue since the RV refrigerator is supposed to switch over to electric. Little did we know that we had to pressurize the LP to get any air out of the lines, or it will try three times to start and then give up. Simply starting the burner on our range would have saved us at least $100 on food and the time it took to clean it all out. It would have been a real mess if we had been gone longer than a few days.
The video below gives some great education regarding your LP system!
So, take time after you fill your tanks to simply turn on your stove and, this simple little step, may save you a big mess. If you ever have any questions regarding your RV feel free to contact PPL Motor Homes Houston, I know we’ll have an answer.
There are two things that every RVer should know: the weight of your RV and your current tire pressure. I’d say that these two things aren’t mutually exclusive either. First, the weight of your RV is of critical importance because it is very easy to overload your rig to an unsafe weight. It goes without saying that an overloaded RV is a dangerous RV.
Check out the video below for important data on your RV.
Now, tire pressure. This is an area of extreme importance that some RVers sometimes take a flippant attitude towards. You know, just looking at your tires and eyeballing your tire pressure. What’s the problem of this? Well, you very well could have created a dangerous combination of The Overweighted vs. The Under-Inflated. This imbalance can put unnecessary stress on your tires, thus increasing the potential for catastrophic failure. The video below explains both the importance of maintaining proper weight distribution and tire pressure.
So you see, just because you have space available, it doesn’t mean you should use it. Every trip should be well thought out in regards to what your are loading your RV with. If you have any questions about weight distribution, or maintaining the appropriate tire pressure in your RV you can call PPL Motorhomes and ask us any questions you may have.
Did you know that driving or towing an overloaded rig is a leading cause of RV accidents? Even a slight overload or unequal weight distribution can seriously restrict braking and steering, dramatically increase fuel consumption, and cause sudden blowouts or breakdowns. An overweight RV also creates the danger of early failure in your rig’s tires, brakes, wheels, drive train, and other components.This might be something you may not think about all of the time. Really, for many new and some seasoned RVer’s out there the “Gas and Go” approach to RVing can cause some problems down the road (pun intended).
So, how do you know if your RV needs to go on a diet? That’s actually an easy question. Your RV is overloaded if it exceeds any of the manufacturer’s established limitations for total load, axle load, or tire loading. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum amount your RV can safely carry. It includes both the wet weight and the cargo weight. You can find the appropriate weight limits by checking your owner’s manual for weight limitations.
So how do you lighten the load? Well, that’s another easy question to answer. If your RV turns out to be a heavyweight, go through it with a fine toothed comb and really think about what’s necessary and what’s not. Just because your rig has a lot of shelves, drawers and other storage space doesn’t mean you have to fill them all up. A really good idea is to simply remove all your belongings, then put back only the items you really need. If you can’t do it, maybe you should call that “Hoarders” TV show.
Here is something that is also often overlooked: tire pressure. Always remember to check your tire pressure before each trip. Poorly maintained tires can become a very real and dangerous issue, especially when combined with an overweight rig. Maintaining control of an RV with improperly inflated tires is a recipe for disaster.
The bottom line is a properly balanced RV, well maintained equipment, properly inflated tires and good driving can tame almost any road.
So, do you have to balance the tires on your trailer? PPL Motorhomes‘ short answer is, “Yes”. Just like the tires on your car, the tires on your trailer should also be balanced. Why? It’s simple and the exact same reason you balance the tires on your tow vehicle or family car. An unbalanced tire leads to excessive wear. Excessive wear can cause an unforeseen catastrophic blowout.The really scary part is that if you ask most trailer owners if they’ve done this, their answer will more than likely, be “NO”. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. You are playing with fire by not doing this.
If you’ve ever experienced a blowout in your trailer, you know how difficult recover can be. Even with a great sway-bar, you are still going to have to fight extreme forces that are pulling your trailer in an very dangerous fashion. Blown tires cause rollovers and increase danger to those you are sharing the road with.
I found a video from rollinontv.com that explains the effects of an unbalanced trailer tire. Take a look.
Diagnosing an unbalanced trailer tire can be difficult. Sometimes the vibration is so subtle its hard to notice, but that doesn’t mean damage isn’t being done to your tires. In fact chances are, if you don’t keep your trailer tires maintained regularly, you probably won’t notice an issue until you are stranded on the side of the road, scratching your head and deciding what your next course of action is going to be.
If you haven’t had your tires balanced, this spring season you should consider having them looked at. Nothing can ruin a trip more than NOT getting to your destination because of a malfunction that can easily be attended to with the proper preparation.
On thing you might want to pick up is a basic maintenance manual from PPL Motorhomes, because your tires aren’t the only components you should consider checking. The first step in solving any maintenance issue is diagnosing it. A reference manual from PPL Motorhomes can significantly help with keeping your Texas RV in top shape.
One of the thing that I don’t touch is the electrical system of our rig. At PPL Motorhomes, we are around electrical systems everyday, and electrical shock can still be a dangerous issue if we aren’t careful. If you think you have an electrical issue, you’ll certainly want to have it checked out immediately. The thought of inadvertently electrocuting yourself, or someone else really would take all of the fun out of your next trip. Now I just say that in jest, but in all seriousness, if any of you think that you may have some exposed wiring or have a connection that you know is faulty, the repair should be handled by an expert. In fact, I always call a professional if think I might be having an electrical problem. Below is a short story about why you should have an expert help you out:
If you have any questions about electrical issue, call PPL Motorhomes and we can help diagnose your issue. If need be, we will refer you to a qualified electrician. Electricity is very dangerous and can cause very serious injury. In fact, the entire shell of your RV can be lit up like a Christmas tree and you not even know it, so be careful and call a pro.
If there’s one thing that is a common issue that we don’t really talk about too often, it’s tire failure in your RV. It’s more common that you think. Tire failure in your New or used RV can happen at anytime and it’s almost always a result of under, or over inflated tires. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve blown a tire on your rig, you know how scary it can be. You also know how frustrating it is to have to replace that tire on the road. Not only do you lose trip time, but it can be dangerous changing that tire out on the side of a busy highway or interstate. Even still, do you even have a usable spare?
What if there was a system in place that can monitor you tire pressure at all time and alert you if you are running at low pressure, whereby virtually eliminating tire pressure related flats? Well you are in luck, PPL Motorhomes carries a great product that can alleviate the underlying stress of wondering if your tires are properly inflated and it’s called TireStat. TireStat is a commercial grade Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that is designed for RV’s,Trucks, Trailers, Buses, Off-Road, Construction, Utility Vehicles and Motor-Coaches. Proper tire inflation gives RV owners the ability to maximize fuel economy, improve tire wear and help alert you to a potentially dangerous low pressure condition all in an easy to install system. The TireStat is programmed to detect low pressure, high pressure, high temperature and rapid leaks using an exclusive rechargeable, Handheld Monitor which also functions as a portable tire gauge, which is pretty handy.
If you are an active RVer and you don’t have a tire pressure monitoring system on your RV, It might be something you may want to look into sooner than later. As most RVer’s already know, the last thing you want fouling up your new amazing RV adventure is a blown tire. If you have any questions about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, don’t hesitate to give PPL Motorhomes a call and we can explain in detail the reasons why having one is a really good idea. Of course, if you’ve already had a blow out, then you already know how useful a monitoring system could have been.
This is wonderful information for the Texas RV owner and auto owner. I don’t know how many times we have gone into a state of panic the day before we are taking our trailer out when we happen to see that the license has expired. I think it goes back to the old out of sight, out of mind thought. Receiving an email notification will definitely get my attention and it’s better for me to notice the tag needs to be renewed by a friendly email reminder than have a police officer pull me over to tell me they have expired. However, if you misplaced or deleted your renewal notice you can still renew the registration if you provide your county tax office with:
Your license receipt from the previous year
Your license plate number, or
Your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN)
It’s just that easy. Also your county tax office can also send out another renewal notice to you as long as there’s enough time left before your registration is set to expire.
Now if you don’t think that renewing your tags isn’t all that important, then keep in mind that allowing your registration to expire keeps you from renewing online or by mail. Furthermore, you could receive a ticket (up to $200) if you drive the vehicle on expired tags beyond the five-day grace period.
YIKES! That’s a lot of tacos…
For most of us, forgetting to renew the tags on your RV or car isn’t an issue, just remember that it can cost you some big bucks if you let it go.
Have any questions or comments for RV Nana or PPL Motorhomes, leave us a comment or give us a call.
OK, so you know that your holding tank is leaking, and since we’re being honest, it’s been leaking for a while. You can’t fool RV Nana. Think of the new year as your chance to fix that leaking holding tank. If you have a leaking holding tank, make it your new year’s resolution to fix it.
So, what is the next step?
Many people believe the only thing you can do is replace the tank. That option can be very expensive – from $300 to $800or more.
Even worse, it also takes your rig out of commission for a while – maybe several weeks. Tank replacement is an inconvenience for someone who uses their rig occasionally, but for the full time RVer it is much more than that.
What about repairing the tank?
If you have a leaking tank, look for the cause. If it is inherent weaknesses in the tank causing cracking there is not much can be done to prevent it. But if the problem is due to external damage or stresses, look for a way to prevent re-occurrence of the problem. If the tank is being damaged by dragging, simply adding drag wheels on the rear of your rig may eliminate the problem.
One important point if you are taking your unit in for repair. Make sure the tanks are flushed out and clean. Leave the dump valve open and let the tank dry out. Many service centers will not work on the holding tanks if they have not been thoroughly cleaned. Of course, the exception to this is if you are unable to dump and flush the tanks due to a malfunctioning valve, etc. If they do accept it to work on, you are going to get charged extra for the cleaning. Just remember, dumping and cleaning your own tanks is bad enough. If the service center has to take your rig to the dump station, dump it, clean it and maybe wait for it to dry, you are going to be paying for it.
There are basically three options of repair depending upon the type of tank you have.
Topical Adhesives – These are generally the two part epoxies that are normally used as a temporary repair. Since there is no adhesive that will permanently bond to LDPE or ABS, they are usually applied to plug a small hole or crack and are used with limited success. If the surface is roughened to allow better gripping and if they can be applied where there is little or no flexing, it increases the chance of success.
Since these adhesives are not of the same material as the tank, the difference in temperature expansion/contraction also plays a role in their successful use. Hot water run into a tank on a cold day can cause a major expansion/contraction that will loosen the grip of these adhesives. Most of the “Tank Repair Kits” that are found on the market are topical adhesives.
Thermal Welding – This is the process of applying heat to melt the plastic together. There are several methods of thermal welding. Each requires different special equipment and some skills in using the equipment, depending upon the extent of repair. For this reason, a limited number of RV service centers offer thermal welding. Some service centers who offer this service do not guarantee it to work but when performed properly it is quite effective. You may be able to find other businesses in your area which also specialize in plastic thermal welding.
There are several simple thermal welding kits on the market for around $200 that can be used quite successfully for small repairs after learning how. This may be a practical repair option for someone with the time and patience to work with it. Even though it is a fourth or half of replacement cost, the welding kit can be used repeatedly.
Thermal welding is the only permanent method of repairing LDPE tanks and can also be used for ABS tanks. One of the problems of thermal welding is it can be labor intensive for anything beyond minor repairs. This can make it quite expensive. This needs to be considered when weighing the option of repair vs. replacement.
Chemical Welding – This is the process of using a chemical that melts the plastic together. The most common example of this is plumbing cement. The plumbing cement melts the plastic of the pipe and fitting together creating a strong bond. Many times a plastic resin is added to the chemical to give extra sealing body to the joint.
Chemical welding works very well with ABS as a quick and permanent repair. Since most RV holding tanks are ABS, chemical welding is the most economical and efficient means of repair.
One of the advantages to chemical welding is the flexibility and ease of application. If you can reach the area with a paintbrush, you can repair it. It can be used with any size crack or hole and over large areas to strengthen the tank.
Another is, the tank can be put back into use within hours. If you are a full timer or waiting to use your rig this can be a big advantage.
Make a note of this, the major cause of failure for any type of tank repair is lack of cleaning and not prepping the tank properly. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for prep and application for the product you are using.
So, the next time you look under your rig and see your holding tank dripping, consider some of your options. Don’t just give up to replacing it when you may be able to repair it for a fraction of the cost.
How about this for a strange story? Last weekend we were camping and my husband noticed a small wet spot on the carpet near our bedroom cabinet. This cabinet happens to have washer/dryer connections, however, I am not one of those people who wants to do laundry while we’re out RVing, so they aren’t even hooked up. Besides, there is usually a Laundromat close in case I have to do an emergency load of wash. After we cleaned out this closet, we realized the water was actually coming from the water line to the washer. Having never used this connection, this was all a very interesting mystery to me. My husband found that the seat in the faucet had become loose and a small leak had started when we hooked up to water the night before. A few minor repairs (and several hours of using the fan on the carpet) got everything back to normal again. Apparently, the motion of the trailer on the road had loosened this connection slightly, and the pressure of the city water connection forced it to spring a leak. I am now adding one more thing to my checklist when setting up the trailer…check the closet water faucet for leaks!! So, glad we found it early or we would have had a big mess.
Having an RV is a great way to travel around the country with family and love ones. It is basically a home on wheels, minus some of the electrical appliances you use every day…but not many.
An RV uses only a small amount of power, hence it has a limited on board power source. Therefore, you cannot run multiple electronic gadgets at the same time using the existing power source or supply or it will drain the battery very fast. You would not want to be stranded by the side of the road just because your battery went dead.
To increase the power supply on an RV, many people are opting to installing a solar power kit on their vehicle. Trust me, this is money that will be well spent.
To save cost, you can actually make the RV solar system via a Do it Yourself (DIY) approach. The setup is quite simple with only 4 major components which are the solar panels, charge controller, battery units and power inverter.
The function of the solar panel is to collect the energy from the sun and converts it to electric current. This is done by using a semi-conductor material known as Photovoltaic (PV) cells.
You can purchase good quality solar panel from PPL motorhomes. For a RV, you may have to bolt the panels on the roof of the vehicle making sure it is secure. Panels to flying off your RV when traveling at high speed is a sure-fire way to ruin your vacation.
The solar array on the roof of the RV will be connected to the charge controller. The charge controller will take the electric current generated to charge a series of batteries. The type of battery most suitable for solar system is marine type or deep cycle battery. This kind of battery is more durable and can be discharged to a very low level without damaging the internal components. For a RV, 4 – 6 units of battery will be more than enough to fulfill the power needs.
Since all deep cycle battery can only store Direct Current (DC), the power inverter will be used to convert the DC to Alternate Current (AC). Most modern electrical equipment are designed to run on AC.
How much would it cost to make the solar system for your RV on your own? All of the parts can be purchased from major hardware stores. If you do your shopping during bargain or discount period, the whole setup can be built with a budget of less than $1,300.
Check into PPL Motorhomes, you save a more money than you previously had thought. Plus we have the people who can help you with your project.
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!