Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rear-Ended. Tow Rig Isolator. Brake Controller. Tongue Weight. Test Air Brakes. Door Lifts. RV Tools. On-Line RV Repair Manual. Yellowstone. Peace Corps.


For "tRaVersing, or RV Day.      Bumper Snicker:

"Sorry for driving so close in front of you."

The National Safety Commission Alerts

"Safety is No Accident. Visit the National Safety Commission - America's Safety Headquarters for driver safety information, auto recalls and teen safe driver tips."

How Receiver Hitches Affect Rear End Collision Injuries

"Today, roughly 40% of the vehicles on the highway have receiver hitches – and although they are necessary for towing – they reduce rear end collision damage and INCREASE the risk of whiplash by creating a stiff "crash pulse".

The rear end collision is on the rise with all the distractions but there are energy absorbing products on the market that you can install into your receiver hitch that will soften the crash pulse and make your receiver hitch safer. Do your homework because you really cannot afford to be without one.

Here are some interesting rear end collision facts:

  • Approximately 75% of all rear end collisions are less than 10 mph.
  • 56% of all rear end crashes are straight on.
  • Only 14.2% of the people that hit you in the rear will miss your receiver hitch entirely.
  • 48% of the people that hit you in the rear – are not slowing down.
  • It is better to have under-ride than over-ride. Under-ride will give lower acceleration in the first part of the crash.
  • Low speed rear end collisions (less than 10 mph) accentuate the whiplash more than high speed ones.
  • 80% of all rear end collisions are caused by driver inattention.
  • The acceleration of the occupant when hit from the rear is 2.5 times or more then that of the bullet vehicle.
  • 94% of all rear end collisions occur on straight roads.
  • Women are twice as likely to end up with a whiplash injury as a man.
  • 32.1% of all fleet injuries are caused by the rear end collision. Rest of article at:

And the remedy:

'KILLS' Tailgaters On Contact!
"The rear end collision is the most frequent vehicle accident and it's getting worse. They're IMPOSSIBLE to avoid and NEVER your fault. 80% are caused by distracted drivers following too close. Worse yet, women and children are two times more likely to get hurt. If you have a vehicle with a receiver hitch it's time to FIGHT BACK. Stop tailgaters and parking lot lunatics from wrecking your vehicle, hurting your family and jeopardizing your insurance."  Visit


Optimum Trailer Braking.


"If there is one phrase I advocate it would be “you get what you pay for”. This phrase always holds true, regardless of what you are purchasing. If you are going to buy a product intended to perform a specific job it only makes sense to pay a little extra and get one that does the job flawlessly.   

Let’s apply “you get what you pay for” to an important topic like towing a trailer. For the sake of an example let’s say you purchase a 6,000 pound travel trailer to tow behind your ½ ton truck. The brakes on the truck are designed to stop the truck, but not an additional 6,000 pounds behind the truck. You are aware that you need to purchase an electronic trailer brake controller to supply power from the tow vehicle to the trailer’s electric brakes. You soon discover there are lots of different choices when it comes to electric brake controllers, and they come in a wide price range too. Do you purchase the $50 time based model and hope it works effectively? Stopping a 6,000 pound trailer is not something you should take lightly. It is a safety issue for you, your loved ones and everybody else traveling on the same road as you.

This is where the phrase “you get what you pay for” really matters. You have the choice to purchase a less expensive, very basic, time delayed electric brake controller and save a few bucks, or you can spend more and get a network based controller that plugs into the On Board Diagnostic II (OBD II) connector in the truck cab and gathers data from the tow vehicle to effectively manage the trailer brakes. The less expensive model sends a pre-determined amount of power to the trailer brakes every time you step on the brake pedal. What if the pre-determined amount of power isn’t enough for the current conditions? The more expensive model is a network based controller. This DirecLink network based controller can observe the engine, transmission and vehicle speed and then analyze all of the data to determine the proper level of trailer braking required to safely stop the trailer, based on all of the current conditions. It links with your vehicle’s computer network and uses multiple data parameters in a proprietary way to create amazingly proportional trailer braking. For safety, reliability, performance and longevity there is no question you should go with the better network based controller. More of article by Mark Polk:


Tech Tips from Mark Polk
"Hitch Weight or Tongue Weight (TW) is the amount of weight pressing down on the vehicle's hitch or 5th wheel connection when the trailer is fully loaded for travel. TW is a critical factor in how well the trailer will tow. Ideally for trailers that weigh over 2,000 pounds, TW should be 10 to 15 percent of the trailer weight. Take the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW), which is the actual weight of the loaded trailer, and multiply it by .10 and .15. This will give you the tongue load range you want to be in. Too much TW can cause poor steering, handling and braking. Too little TW can cause the tow vehicle's rear wheels to lose traction and contribute to trailer sway."


What is a battery isolator and why do I need one?

"A battery isolator is an electronic device that allows your truck or motorhome's alternator or converter to charge both the engine battery and the coach battery, but keeps the two systems separate or isolated so the engine battery won't be drawn down by the coach electrical system ensuring it will always start the vehicle.

Some motorhomes have a switch, usually a push button on the dash, that will bypass the isolator allowing the coach battery to temporarily be used to start the engine should the engine battery fail." From:


Is your RV tow rig protected with an isolator?

"Old friends called in the other day–could we take a look at their trailer? It had wintered over on an electrical hookup, and after hitching up and disconnecting from shore power overnight, the “house” batteries were dead–and so were those in the truck. What happened?

A little poking around revealed the house batteries were old and tested out at below “dead.” The truck batteries (two in this diesel rig) were certainly low, but nowhere near DOA. After being disconnected from the trailer and allowed to charge on a “smart” charger they recovered.  The failing trailer house batteries, no longer being “kept up” by the trailer’s converter (it being disconnected from shore power) had stolen juice from the truck’s starting batteries. Despite being sold a “tow ready” pickup, our friends learned to their chagrin that the rig wasn’t quite as ready as it might have been. A battery isolator would have prevented their problem. Happily the rig was still in their yard, and not out in the boondocks when this unpleasant discovery was made.

A battery isolator is a simple device that prevents the flow of between the tow vehicle battery and the house batteries. It can also be used between the starting battery and house batteries of a motorhome. When the tow vehicle (or motorhome engine) is running, the isolator allows the flow of current, charging the house batteries. But with the engine off, the isolator prevents the house batteries from “robbing” juice from the starting battery.

How can you tell if you have a battery isolator? For trailer folks it’s very simple. You’ll need either a DC voltmeter or a 12-volt test lamp. With the trailer disconnected from the tow rig, and the tow vehicle engine shut down, identify the “pins” for “power” and “ground” in your tow vehicle’s trailer electric connector. Set the volt meter for an appropriate reading, and place the red (positive) lead on the the “power” pin and the black (negative) on the “ground” pin. If using a test lamp, connect the clip to the ground pin, and touch the power pin with the probe of the test lamp.

If your tow rig is equipped with an isolator, you should have no indications of voltage, no glow from the lamp. Verify this by having someone start the engine of the tow vehicle. Now the meter should show voltage; the test lamp should light up. This indicates the presence of a battery isolator, protecting your starting battery. If you find you don’t have an isolator, it’s a good investment.

For motorhome owners, discovering if you’re protected by an isolator can be a bit more complicated. You’ll need to identify the wiring that brings voltage from the starting battery or engine alternator back to the house batteries. Once you’ve made that identification, you’ll need to disconnect the wires, then use your voltmeter or test lamp to make a similar test as was outlined above." From:

How to choose a battery isolator:


Testing your MH Air Brakes:

Here's a short trailer, (no, not a 14-foot towable!) with a sampling of scenes from the new DVD, "Testing Your Motorhome Air Brakes." This teaser is not yet public, but you get to see it now.
Though the DVD has not been officially released yet, you can pre-order today by contacting RVSEF at 321-453-7673 or by emailing Ask for the RV Doctor Discount!


Hydraulic Door Lift Kits For RV Storage Compartment Doors.
"See a video by the RV Doctor about how they work.  Eliminate those pesky wall clips, broom handles, and the "Hatch Headache!" Install Hatchlifts on all your storage compartment doors. The kits are easy-to-install and designed to fit standard RV style doors from 12" to 45" tall and up to 72" wide. Provide safe and easy access, even under Slide-Outs. Bedlift Kits and Replacement springs also available." Learn more and see a demonstration video by the RV Doctor Gary Bunzer.


What tools are essential for Rving?

"Years ago while pulling our Komfort travel trailer through Santa Rosa, New Mexico the wind began peeling the paneling off the upper side of the trailer. I had a cordless electric drill, but I didn't have any screws. We felt conspicuous driving through town with a flapping panel but I found a TrueValue Hardware store, purchased some screws and we were back on the road in no time. From that experience I learned to be better prepared.
Many Rvers bring tools along with them whether it's a weekend trip or they are full-timers. The kind and amount of tools you take largely depend on your style of RVing.
Toy people (those with toy haulers) will frequently bring enough tools to do minor surgery on a quad or motorcycle while other RVers have a different concept of what tools are necessary. Ultimately the essential tools for RVing depend on the style of RVing and the level of mechanical ability of the RVer.
Ray Bentsen from San Diego, California is a craftsman and made his own tool chest in one of his storage bays.




He made the tool chest himself from aluminum (I'm jealous).



I particularly like the way he organized his screwdrivers and a few other essential tools, however I usually need my screwdrivers handy at the location where I'm working, so I keep them in my portable toolbox.

As a full time Rver I bring along only the tools I need. If I haven't used a tool or set of tools for a year, I eject them. The tool I use more than any other is my cordless drill. The second most used tool is a utility knife followed by my multimeter and portable air compressor.
I keep a modest set of mechanic's tools. I value a professional grade wire stripper along with a supply of electric connectors. I have an assortment of drill bits, a grinding wheel and wire brush (for the drill) and a set of hole saws. I have a hack saw, staple gun, rivet gun, caulking gun, funnels, strap wrench and safety goggles.   I keep a box of replacement bulbs and fuses, bolts, nuts, washers and screws. I keep caulking on hand as well as several kinds of tape and adhesives. I pack a small spool of electric wire and an assortment of wire ties. I store my tools in an outside storage compartment except one – the Leatherman, which I keep inside the coach for quick jobs.
In the utilities bay I keep a pair of channel-lock pliers, a water pressure gauge, water pressure regulator and some extra washers.
Though they may not be considered tools, I use gloves when I hook-up my towed vehicle and they save a lot of wear and tear on my hands."   Tooling up for another great RV year – Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing.  From:


More DIY RV stuff: On-Line RV repair manual

"This On-Line RV repair manual is maintained by a working RV technician, for the do-it-yourself RV owner.

Give up my RV?The cost of a gallon of gas is ballooning out of sight, RV park charges are rising, repair shop rates are climbing, and the price of everything else is outrageous. So ... do we quit RVing?       Not I!        How about you?

Okay, if we want to continue RVing, how can we cut these costs?

One option is to do your own maintenance and minor repairs. If you save a trip to the repair shop by doing a chore yourself, you will save a minimum of an hour of shop time, in most cases. These days that translates into $100 or so. Now, $100 worth of fuel will get you maybe 200 miles of RV travel, more or less, for a bit of effort.       Good trade?

Do your own RV MaintenanceRV Maintenance

"Recreational vehicles need constant attention to keep them operating at their best. A good deal of the maintenance jobs can be done by the average owner with access to common tools and common sense mechanical skills.

A positive " I-can-do-it " attitude is the most essential tool!

This rv repair manual contains free, no nonsense how-to where-to and when-to information. Changes, new pages and new articles are being added almost daily. Take some time to explore this website ... it is well worth it! See the menu at the top of the page to explore ..."


On This Day

Yellowstone Park established, Mar 1, 1872:

"President Grant signs the bill creating the nation's first national park at Yellowstone.  Native Americans had lived and hunted in the region that would become Yellowstone for hundreds of years before the first Anglo explorers arrived. Abundant game and mountain streams teaming with fish attracted the Indians to the region, though the awe-inspiring geysers, canyons, and gurgling mud pots also fascinated them.

John Colter, the famous mountain man, was the first Anglo to travel through the area. After journeying with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter joined a party of fur trappers to explore the wilderness. In 1807, he explored part of the Yellowstone plateau and returned with fantastic stories of steaming geysers and bubbling cauldrons. Some doubters accused the mountain man of telling tall tales and jokingly dubbed the area "Colter's Hell."

Early in 1872, Congress moved to set aside 1,221,773 acres of public land straddling the future states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho as America's first national park. President Grant signed the bill into law on this day in 1872. The Yellowstone Act of 1872 designated the region as a public "pleasuring-ground," which would be preserved "from injury or spoilation, of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within."

For a nation bent on settling and exploiting the West, the creation of Yellowstone was surprising. Many congressmen gave it their support simply because they believed the rugged and isolated region was of little economic value."


Peace Corps established, Mar 1, 1961:

"On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State. The same day, he sent a message to Congress asking for permanent funding for the agency, which would send trained American men and women to foreign nations to assist in development efforts. The Peace Corps captured the imagination of the U.S. public, and during the week after its creation thousands of letters poured into Washington from young Americans hoping to volunteer.

By the end of 1963, 7,000 volunteers were in the field, serving in 44 Third World countries. In 1966, Peace Corps enrollment peaked, with more than 15,000 volunteers in 52 countries. Budget cuts later reduced the number of Peace Corps volunteers, but today more than 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in over 70 countries. Since 1961, more than 180,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 134 nations."



Misty and I went to get Jay for shopping day, but he was fiddling around with his ATV, so we got a late start.  We stopped at our local paper recycling to get some of the paper unloaded, then he had several stops to make in our town before we could head to Conroe, so we were really off schedule. 

The thrift shops had a few things that we wanted, and I bought a shirt and some CDs for my player.  We donated two more big boxes of stuff, but two thrift shops didn't want the big digital microwave that I had for donating, even though it was clean.  The third thrift shop was happy to take it.  The rest of the flattened cardboard boxes were under the heavy microwave, but they didn't get unloaded.  Jay's mother called to let him know that one of his sons had unexpectedly come to see him, so we had to rush back yesterday.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

Thanks for the air brake video, knew most of that but it was a good refresher.