Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trailer Side-Shifter. Parking. Pledge For Toilet. Recoating Roof Revisited. Stinky Sink. Fruit Flies/Ants. Noisy Water Pump. Shopping. Meat.

Slide your 5th wheel out of tight parking situations
"Anybody who has ever pulled a trailer knows how difficult and frustrating it can be to get out of a tight squeeze in a parking lot, RV park or campground. Often, car drivers or even other RVers can snuggle up bumper-to-bumper or park alongside you without thinking about the space you need to pull your fiver out of its resting place. Here's a new product that can solve that problem for any size fifth wheel all the way up to commercial tractor-trailer rigs. Whether or not you would ever invest in a SideShifter®, you have to admit it's a pretty cool thing to watch."


Here are three tips for RVers with fifth wheels & and other type of pull rigs.
1) Refrain from parking on grades as much as possible. Ask someone to guide you when parking. Make sure that blocks are
placed on the downhill end of your trailer wheels before taking your foot off the brake pedal, apply the parking brake, then change into Park, before taking your foot off the brake pedal. This sequence in parking is very crucial to ensure that your trailer is not locked in Park because of the excess load on the transmission.
2) When uncoupling your trailer, blocks must first be put at the front and rear of the tires. This is to make sure that your trailer does not roll away once the trailer hitch is released.
3) Also before uncoupling your trailer, jack stands should be placed under the trailer to avoid any injury that may be caused by sudden jolting because of unbalanced loads.  You can use your awning wand to get them in place.

Lemon Pledge Good For Wood And The RV Toilet

"Alright, I know you are anxious to know why Lemon Pledge is good for the RV toilet. I was at an RV dealership and was talking to a knowledgeable RV tech about my leaking water seal on my RV toilet.
I have a Sea/Land type toilet that uses a rubber gasket and a foot operated ball lever. The plastic ball moves back and forth across a rubber donut shaped disk and is supposed to trap the water in the bowel when closed. The trapped water prevents noxious odors from entering the RV which is a very good thing. He told me that if the seal was not cut or the ball not gouged, then I may be able to clean around the rubber seal and treat it with Lemon Pledge. He says that years ago before Dometic bought out the Sea/Land toilet company they used to tell you this in the owners manual.

I turned off the water, opened the ball and pushed the rubber seal down about one quarter inch with my fingers (I recommend using rubber gloves for this procedure). I used the blade of a screwdriver and carefully scraped all the Arizona hard water build-up off the top of the rubber seal being careful not to puncture or tear the seal. Soaking it down with Lemon Pledge was easy, just push down on the seal and spray it. Let it set for five or ten minutes and then turn on the water and test it. Now my toiled retains water and my wood is happy to get the Lemon Pledge leftovers."- Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing . From:

Recoating your RV rubber roof–an important revisit

Posted by Russ and TiƱa DeMaris Published in do-it-yourself
"A while ago we shared thoughts on how to preserve your RV’s EPDM rubber roof. We shared our experience of using a product called Heng’s Rubber Roof Coating. Since that time we had occasion to try and purchase more Heng’s for an RV buddy who wanted to coat his roof. A conversation with an RV supply house salesman left us with our ears ringing and plenty of questions.
When we visited the shop where we bought a couple of gallons of Heng’s to get more, they were sold out. A visit to a neighboring RV supply house found no Heng’s, and a lot of blab. Here we were told that Heng’s wasn’t reliable, it wouldn’t last, the only thing to use is Dicor’s roof coating, preceeded by Dicor’s primer. Visions of our two-coats-of-Heng’s peeling off the roof left us puzzled, and rightly concerned. So we trotted our concerns out in front of one of Heng’s product representatives. We share our findings with you for your consideration.

First, does Heng’s last? The answer from RVers who have tried the product are all over the map. Some users report they’ve had great success, even claiming their application lasted some 15 years. Seems a bit like a Methuselah roof to us, but there it is. Other users report their coating lasted two or three years. So where does reality sit?  The Heng’s rep said based on their experiences with customer feedback an average seems to be three to five years for a properly applied coating. Additionally, a roof that’s “almost gone,” badly weather worn, just won’t hold up for long–with any product.
To make your roof coating last, Heng’s recommends, first–don’t cheat and go too light. Yes, the instructions on the can indicate you can thin the material. Don’t be penny-wise! If you do thin it, thin it as little as possible. Apply a light coat, followed up with a second coat, but be sure to allow the full four hours dry time between coats.
Heng’s also observes that their coating is vulnerable to moisture until well cured. They recommend watching the weather closely. Do your best to keep rain, frost, and dew out of the forecast for 24 hours after the coating goes on.

Next, be careful how you prepare. In our first version of our last story on roof coatings, we mentioned that we used Dawn dish detergent and water for a cleaner. We’ve since had to eat our words. The Dawn recommendation came from rubber roof sources, and we followed it. The Heng’s folks recommend using Tide laundry powder and water. Tide not only cleans the roof, it also scuffs up the surface, giving a good base for the product to adhere to.
Additionally, something in the Dawn product is often indigestible to the Heng’s Rubber Roof Coat. Some users have reported they can’t even get the Heng’s to adhere to a roof cleaned with Dawn. In our case, the roof coating adhered just fine and is still sticking on there. We’ll report back if we have a catastrophe. We did, however, thoroughly rinse our roof.

Finally, EPDM roof longevity–with or without a roof coating–is highly dependent on weather conditions. From our own experience, UV rays raise Cain with a rubber roof. We steadfastly disagree with RV salesmen who swear an EPDM roof will, “last the life of the RV.” When we tried pinning one down on this statement he backpedaled, suggesting rubber roofs do last, provided you store the rig under cover when not in use. Where that leaves fulltime RVers and snowbirds is a whole different question."

From Me:  When we cleaned and recoated the cargo trailer's rubber roof we went Dicor all the way, I didn't want to take any chances.

Polk’s Top 7 Steps to Maintain a Rubber RV Roof

Mark Polk, motorhome and motor coach maintenance expert
"About 20 years ago, RV manufacturers began using rubber roofing membrane on RV roofs as opposed to other roof coverings such as aluminum. Among the reasons for the industry's shift to rubber roofing: It was lightweight, seamless, easy to install, easy to maintain, cost-effective, and ozone- and UV-resistant.
The rubber membrane itself will last 20 years or longer, but certain preventive and scheduled maintenance procedures must be followed to maximize the life of a rubber RV roof.
Here are my top 7 steps for a healthy rubber roof……."
More at:

RV Waste System Plumbing Odors Under One Sink Only
Posted by RV Doctor
"I have two bathroom sinks in my coach. One with the commode and one next to the shower. The one in the hallway of the coach has a terrible smell. It is not all the time, but I cannot pin-point what is causing it. This has been going on for a few years now. I have poured the stuff that takes away smell down there and even used apple cider vinegar. Nothing seems to work. It is just that one drain.  Any suggestions? "Kathy P. (Sioux Falls, SD)

"Kathy, chances are you have a faulty anti-siphon trap vent device (ASTVD) under that sink. It’s a small ABS plastic fitting found near the P-traps under most RV sinks. Its purpose is to allow air into the drain system to help drain the sink, at the same time it prohibits gases and odors from coming in from the holding tank and drain piping. It is constructed with a spring-loaded rubber diaphragm. Oftentimes this rubber membrane will dry out and not fully seal against the rising odors out of the waste system.
Other times, the spring simply wears out. If you look under your sink and follow the horizontal ABS piping as it leaves the P-trap, you’ll likely find the ASTVD situated a few inches above this horizontal arm. It’s a simple, screw-on fitting. In some cases, the rubber membrane can be renewed by applying a lubricating grease; I recommend Dow 111 grease. It’s a relatively inexpensive component and is easily replaced by any RV handyperson since it does not require any sealant and is only hand-tightened in place. They can be purchased or ordered through any RV parts department or even on-line.

Another thing to consider, especially if you need a little more room under those sinks, is to replace all the P-traps with a HepvO waterless sanitary valve. When using a HepvO valve, an ASTVD is not needed at all. Plus there is zero maintenance (no winterizing, cleaning, etc.), when using a HepvO valve. But one of the biggest benefits is the added storage space under the sinks. This is the route I highly recommend! Read all about the HepvO waterless sanitary valve.
Also, while we're on the topic, here are my recommended holding tank dumping procedures, which also mention the HepvO.
And since I’m loading you up with websites, here’s a short video I did regarding the HepvO valve."
You’ll also find more helpful information at the new, Sweet Smelling Blog.

Fire Safety Tip from Mac McCoy
"Grease, oil, and road dust build up on the engine and transmission, making them run hotter. The grime itself usually doesn't burn, but if combined with a fuel leak or short-circuited wire, a fire could start. Keep your coach's underpinnings clean, and it will run cooler, more economically and longer."
 Learn more about Mac and fire safety.

Boondocking tips with Bob Difley 
Save propane with this hot water heating tip
"Instead of leaving your hot water heater on using up propane, turn it on about 10 minutes before using and then turn it off. There will still be enough hot to warm water in the tank for most of the day for washing hands etc. You will save propane and you won't be annoyed by the heater turning on and off all night trying to keep the water hot."


GOODBYE FRUIT FLIES #1 To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2 inch with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid;… Mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!
GET RID OF ANTS Put small piles of cornmeal, or grits, where you see ants.
#1 They eat it, take it 'home', can't digest it so it kills them.
#2 It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

Very Loud RV Water Pump

We have a new 27-foot travel trailer RV. The first time we used it the water pump was very loud. What can we do to quiet it down? Kim H. (Cheyenne, WY)

Kim, the first thing you can do is check to see how the pump is actually anchored to the RV. Is it securely mounted on a non-vibrating surface? Most are installed flat on the floor or the bottom of a wet bay. Also, be sure the rubber isolators are in good shape. Yours probably are since you state it’s a brand new coach. Next make sure none of the fresh water tubing is hitting against any surface, floor, wall, partition, etc. You may need a flashlight to view the tubing as it leaves the output port of the pump. Some manufacturers may be lacking in their securing of the tubing as it is routed throughout the coach.
If the original installation appears solid, there are two aftermarket products that may help. One is a “Silencing Kit” produced by SHURflo. Scroll part way down this page. It is applicable to any water pump, by the way. Any RV parts department can order this kit for you; part #94-591-01. I’m assuming your fresh water piping system consists of PEX tubing.
For an optimum installation, it’s best to have a double loop of flexible water hose connected directly to the pump before it is connected to the semi-rigid PEX tubing (unlike the photo above). Not all manufacturers do this, unfortunately. But adding the SHURflo “Silencing Kit” performs the same function.

If that doesn’t work, you may require an in-line accumulator (further down on the same page above). It simply installs in the cold water system, downstream of the pump. The accumulator is charged with a cushion of air and acts like a shock absorber while the pump is operating. All water pumps create a vibration when operating, so controlling the amplified effects of that can be minimized with either product.

From Me:  Another way to help quiet a noisy water pump is to mount it on a mouse pad or two. Also get some pipe insulation, and slip it over any water lines which are touching anything, like through cupboard partitions, as they travel through the RV. 
If the pump comes on when you are not using any water, it usually means that you have a small leak somewhere.  Turn the pump off at night and when you are gone, it can save you from having a flood if something should come loose.  


Jay and I went shopping in the next town.  One of my rare trips to Walmart as I had something to return, so I bought my fruits and veggies there.  That's another reason that they don't mind you returning things, they know you will shop while there.

There isn't much that I will buy at Walmart, especially not their meat or deli items.  Their meat is factory-farmed, ( ) cut up and packaged before it is shipped to the stores, so antibiotics, additives, preservatives and gasses have been added to keep it looking red. It is not naturally "Raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones",  so it does you more harm than good, and the nutritional content is low, so your body craves more food.  
If I do buy deli meats they have to be "No nitrate or nitrite added", and Walmart does not sell deli meat like that. I rarely eat anything that comes in a box, or a tub as that is processed food, so that doesn't leave much except the Auto Dept.  But I did find some 1200mg Calcium with 1000mg of Vit. D, which was cheaper than at the Dollar Store.

When we arrived at one thrift shop, we waited and ate lunch in the van as it started pouring down rain.  We saved our left-overs for another stop where we knew there would be 'parking lot birds' looking for handouts.  We had to paddle through puddles to get into the store, but it was worth it, as I bought a nice pair of like-new jean shorts at half-price. ($1.50)
Another rare stop at the big Goodwill Store, but as usual we couldn't justify their high prices. Each time we go there, maybe once a year, we say that we won't return, but we hoped that they might have come in line with the other thrift shops in the area.  There is another even bigger thrift shop called Angelic, which is just as nice a store, and their merchandise is priced half what it is at the Goodwill.  The Salvation Army store has better prices, too, but they are at the south end of Conroe, so we don't get there very often.

At Krogers I found some good deals on some salmon, and a few other items, and we left the lunch scraps for the birds.

Not really much to report for yesterday.


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