PPL Motorhomes: Are You At Risk Of Electric Shock In your RV

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.

PPL Motorhomes: Monitor Your RV’s Tires to Prevent Failure

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.

PPL Motorhomes reminds RVers to Renew their tags

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.


PPL Motorhomes: This New Year, Fix that leaky holding tank

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 $800 or 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.

 

PPL Motorhomes: Washer/Dryer Connections in your RV may lead to leaks.

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.

PPL Motorhomes thinks you can benefit from solar power

 

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.

Do You Know What it Takes to Be an RV Owner?

Putting effort into researching, choosing and buying your first RV is commonplace, but many prospective RV owners are not fully aware of the realities of RV ownership. There are many things to keep in mind if you are getting your first vehicle, such as driving, breakdown assistance, insurance, storage and maintenance.
Insurance for RVs are usually provided by specialist providers who operate only in the leisure vehicle arena. Use magazines and the internet to research what’s appropriate for your needs – you should find better value compared to normal car insurance as usage is normally much reduced compared to the family car.

Parking the vehicle at your residence can be an issue for some. If you do not have extensive garden and driveway space around your home, you may be looking at on street parking. This will be either illegal, dangerous, annoying to neighbors or all of the above. Some owners may wish to house their vehicle indoors to avoid any winter damage typically caused by ice, rain and sun. Consider storage facilities  – these can be both indoor and outdoor. They usually provide a level of security such as lock up, video surveillance etc. Many RV owners choose to use this facility during the winter months only, when they have no intention of using their vehicle. Consider also the damage that certain tree types can do to a RV, if parking under trees.

Finally, be aware of the regular servicing that RVs require. The habitation area requires certain procedures to be undertaken at regular intervals. Some of this servicing requires expertise not normally undertaken by the average owner. Likewise the vehicle engine and mechanical parts require regular servicing from a qualified mechanic.

Hopefully this has pointed you in the right direction to start acquiring the knowledge to owning a PPL Motorhomes RV. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

LP “Beep” Means Danger: The skinny on Lp detectors and Regulators

 

A dear friend of mine was talking to me about her RV and I almost came unglued when she told me how she had dealt with the beep from her LP gas detector.  After a long day in the office, she went back to her Houston home (her 5th wheel trailer) ready for a glass of wine and some much needed rest.  A few minutes later she heard that annoying beep (it is annoying because it is supposed to get your attention) from the LP detector.   She hit the reset button thinking that would solve the problem and it just kept beeping.   Being too tired to deal with it, she just took the battery out and turned off her hearing aid so she could get some sleep.  She’s actually lucky she woke up the next morning.  That beep means there is something wrong and LP gas is not something to fool around with.

The next morning, all bright eyed, she decided to investigate the cause of the beep.  As soon as she opened the outside compartment she could smell the strong smell of LP gas.  Apparently she had an LP regulator leaking on her LP tank so she immediately turned off the valve and the leak stopped.  Now all she has to do is have someone come out and repair the connection.  This story has a happy ending, but it could have ended much differently. She was lucky.  LP Gas is dangerous and needs to be taken seriously.  Don’t ignore the beep!!

 

RV Air Conditioning Replacement – Tips to help you keep your cool.

Here in Texas we are experiencing those hot triple digit temperature days, and if your RV air conditioner goes out, it could be one of the worst days of your life.  This happened to our cousin last weekend and it didn’t take long to find out that a mobile RV technician could replace it in about 7-14 days.  After all, it is the middle of summer and they are busy, too.  That might be acceptable if you are in between trips, but for the full time RVer this is a nightmare.

Fortunately, they had a couple of people who came to their rescue to replace the AC unit.  Having just recently replaced one for a friend, they knew exactly how to do it.  The only thing they didn’t know was that you have to make sure you buy a replacement that is the same brand and model as the one you are replacing.

 

After about 4 hours in the heat (inside and outside the trailer) they finally called PPL’s RV Parts Superstore where they purchased the new AC and decided it was time to ask questions.  Within about a minute or two they found out they had more work ahead of them.  You see they were trying to replace a Coleman AC unit with a Duotherm and it just won’t work.  The wiring is completely different, so they had to take the new one down, return it and buy the correct one.  Double the work and frustration!

 

Now the moral of this story is that when replacing RV appliances it is a good idea to take the model and serial numbers with you when you purchase the replacement parts.  In addition a simple picture of the thermostat and ceiling assembly could have helped the parts store identify their needs.  Take a few minutes to save a lot of time.

 

Of Mice and Men: Avoid Mice Mess in your RV, Houston

One of our customers at PPL’s RV Parts Superstore was chatting with me about her RV experiences…over 10 years in a Class C mini motor home and this was her first year to have a problem with mice. She, like so many RV owners, cannot park her RV at her home because of deed restrictions, so she parks at a local storage lot.  Unfortunately, this storage lot is located next to a field that was recently cleared for construction.  I guess those little mice had nowhere to go so they found her RV to be a nice new home.  By the way, mice can do some major damage to an RV.  In this instance, it appears they came in through the hole by the plumbing line under the kitchen sink and decided to chow down on everything in site…including the electrical wires leading to her microwave and refrigerator.  Needless to say, she had an expensive house guest to clean up afterwards and she was very frustrated to have to cancel an upcoming trip.  This got me thinking so I started asking for suggestions on how to get rig of these pesky creatures and RVers are always so helpful with suggestions:

  • Bounce Dryer sheets – Yes, apparently mice do not like that clean fresh smell of those sheets we use in the dryer at home.  One RV owner told me to place them in all the cabinets, under the silverware trays and in all closets and compartments.  I was told that only the original “Bounce” sheets work…apparently “spring fresh scent and lavender don’t do the trick.”
  • Mothballs – This is the sure way to make your RV smell like grandma’s house.  The mice will stay away, but I’m afraid my friends and family will stay away too.  There are many RV owners who believe in scattering mothballs in the outside compartments and tell me it really works.
  • Steel Wool – We have done this little trick for years.  We simply place some steel wool around each pipe or electrical opening and the mice will not pass by the steel wool.  It’s an easy fix, but I think I’m going to add Bounce sheets to my steel wool plan and go for the double duty plan.

These are simple, inexpensive “fixes” that could save you hundreds in repairs.  I have heard of major damage caused by rodents and, hopefully, you will take time to try a couple of these tricks and save yourself a headache down the road.

If you’ve had experience with these furry little pests, tell me about it. How much damage did they cause? What did you do to get rid of them? If you’ve recently had these uninvited guests in your RV and need a few replacement parts, check our our online catalog.