Thursday, August 22, 2013

RV Floor Safe. RV Batteries. New RV Roof Coat. Hospital Finder. RV Tips. THE SCOOP For Backing Trailer. America's Cup. Hurricane Andrew.


For “tRaVersing Thursday”, or RV Day:

How to install a Stealth safe in the floor of an RV

“Here's a demonstration of a small, secure floor safe that is easily installed in a wood floor of an RV. Would-be burglars will likely not ever even find this, and if they do it will be incredibly difficult for them to remove or open it. In this video, see how it's done.”

“When installing a safe on the second floor, in wood floor or an RV, a Stealth Q-200K is the best safe for the job. A surprising easy installation, and you have a hidden safe (if they can't find it they can't steal it)”


Taking care of batteries, high-tech style

“Sometimes batteries seem ridiculously simple — we tend to see them as either working or dead. But there is way more than meets the eye in this 2,000-year-old technology.

RV batteries are made with lead plates interleaved with lead-dioxide plates. The plates are immersed in sulfuric acid, and the electrochemical reaction creates the battery effect. The whole bundle is wrapped up in a big plastic box with the electrical terminals on top.

As current is drawn from the battery, a chemical change occurs which causes both plates to begin to change into lead-sulfate. Normally when the battery is recharged, the lead-sulfate layer is converted back into lead and lead-dioxide.

This is where a major wrinkle arises. After extended use or even prolonged storage, some of that lead-sulfate begins to change from a fine-grained powder-like state into crystals. The crystalline structure prevents the lead-sulfate from changing back into lead and lead-dioxide, and the battery is described as "sulfated." This is literally the beginning of the end of a battery's life. When enough sulfation builds up, the battery plates become increasingly unable to perform their function — the battery becomes a very expensive, acid-filled boat anchor.

Because a battery in storage has a self-discharge component, it is common to find heavy sulfation occurring in fresh batteries after extended storage. Frequent discharge/recharge cycles are actually good for a battery because it does not provide time for the sulfate crystallization to occur. You can avoid the worst of sulfation influences by keeping batteries fully charged as much as possible, and never storing a discharged battery.

Once sulfated, batteries at one time were relegated to the recycle bin. However, there are now affordable devices which deliver a specialized pulse charging current. These battery chargers and maintainers (sometimes called desulfators) are sold by a number of vendors. A predominant player in this area is BatteryMINDer®, providing multiple models priced from $50-$150. See and automotive websites for details and reviews.

Keeping your batteries connected to a desulfator while stored is one of the best methods to prolong battery life, not to mention that it will keep your batteries at full charge for your next use.  For a lot more detail on batteries, there's a terrific write-up in Wikipedia.”  By Greg Illes


Getting ready to apply a new RV roof coat

Just like painting, much of the work in coating an RV roof is in the preparation. Roof coating is a multi-step process, beginning with lap sealant replacement or touch-up performed one to two weeks ahead of the actual coating. This will allow the sealant to be well-cured before the coating covers it, helping the sealant and coating to bond with maximum effectiveness. In the same vein, peel-and-stick patches are best applied one or two days before coating.

Next comes cleaning. A very clean surface is key to making any coating stick well. First, sweep any loose dirt, debris, sticks, stones or leaves from the roof. Then use the appropriate Dicor Products cleaner/activator for your kind of roof and for the coating system you are using.

The type of roof you have will determine the type of coating system you will be applying to the roof surface. Each roofing material has its own individual characteristics that require a certain type of coating system. Because of this, Dicor Products offers three coating systems: one for EPDM and TPO, a specially formulated roof-coating system for fiberglass, and a metal roof-coating system.

imagesCA6GJ0I2 Tip: Mask off sidewalls. For the cleaning and coating procedure, I always mask off the sidewalls and caps of the RV with a good-quality tape, such as FrogTape. The cleaning/activator agent is designed to loosen dirt from the roof material. The chemicals in the cleaning and coating materials are made for the particular roof material they are acting on, not for your sidewalls and end caps. Masking off the sidewalls and front and rear end caps takes a little more prep time, but then you don't have to keep constantly rinsing the walls and end caps (unless you like the exercise). This prevents the dirt, debris, and cleaning agent from having an opportunity to affix themselves to the sidewalls and end caps. It also prevents any accidental contact with the coating and these surfaces. It's easier and safer all the way around.

imagesCAFVOMC0 Even bigger tip: Read the instructions! Before starting anything (listen up, guys), read the instructions! Different cleaning and coating formulas are made for different roof materials. I have been mostly talking about EPDM and TPO roofing here, but there are materials, processes, and products designed for fiberglass and metal roofing as well. Such instructions can help you make best use of your time and your product.

As for your tools, I find a medium nap roller is the best way to apply the coating material.”  Courtesy Dicor Corporation


RV Tips:

U.S. Hospitals. “In an unfamiliar place but need a hospital? Head here to find one:”

Roof air to the rescue
”Motorhome dashboard air conditioner not cutting it? Cut off the dash air, turn on the roof air. If your rig is equipped with an on-board generator, turn on the generator and fire up the roof air. Cools your rig much faster and better than the puny dash system.”

Keep your fridge cool
”RVing in hot, sunny weather and the refrigerator isn't keeping its cool? If the fridge is on the awning side of the rig, keep your awning out to keep the "back side" of the refrigerator shaded. If not, add your own fridge awning with a piece of shade cloth.”

“Do a Google map/satellite search of an RV park where you plan to spend a night. You will get a good idea of its terrain, surrounding lands, roads in the area, and if railroad tracks are close by (too often the case, which can mean noisy, sleepless nights).”

Can't get cable on your RV TV? Simple troubleshooting tips.
”A frustrated RVer complained that whenever he stayed in a campground, he couldn't get a good TV signal off cable. Often times, he couldn't get anything. What's to be done?” Here are some ideas.

How to lubricate your Blue Ox towbar
”When the arms of your towbar are feeling kind of "sticky" (requiring a stronger pull to extend or retract them) it means the grease inside the bellows has begun to get old or dry and needs to be replaced. The RV Geeks re-lubricate their towbar every year as part of an annual spring cleaning and maintenance.” Here's how they do it (article plus video).

Avoid waiting games at the RV service center
”An RVer relates a tale of taking his rig to a service dealer. With plans for using the RV in a week, he explains his deadline and the dealer agrees service will be done in time. Sure enough, on day six the owner calls the service facility and is told, "Sorry, we're still waiting for parts." Other RVers have similar complaints: Seems like their rigs spend more time in the shop than out on the road. What's to be done? Don't let delayed service times ruin your RV trip.” Here are some tips that may help.

Handling tips for the new fifth wheel driver
”For those new to fifth wheel towing, or just contemplating getting one, backing and hitching are often concerns raised. If you "cut your teeth" with a travel trailer, making the transition to a fifth wheel is a bit of a learning curve, too.     One approach is to paint or tape a stripe on the dead center of the front of the fifth wheel where you can see it in the truck's inside rear view mirror. Another tape stripe is placed dead center on the truck's rear window. Straighten up the mirror, look in it, and line up the trailer stripe and truck stripe as you back up.”  Read more.

How to deal with truck camper porpoising?
”You've loaded up your truck camper and hit the road. Suddenly, at one moment your truck nose is pointing up at the sky, the next it's pointing at the pavement. "Porpoising" can be a nuisance phenomenon at best, and at worst, can actually damage your truck or even cause an accident. If you've experienced this nasty bit of misbehavior, you surely don't want to have it happen again.” What's to be done?

Emergency kit
”Be sure to carry an emergency supply kit that is easily accessible. Suggested items your kit should contain: flashlights, batteries, rain ponchos, bug spray, a portable weather radio, first aid kit, non-perishable packaged or canned food, a manual can opener, blankets, prescription and non-prescription drugs, pet supplies (to include a photo of your pet if it should get separated from you), bottled water, and any special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members. Customize the kit to your specific needs.”  Tech Tips from Mark Polk

Tire balancing
“Balance your tires. Uneven wear, once it is severe, can’t be stopped by balancing. Replace worn tires before starting a long trip. You don’t need the aggravation of replacing one on the road.”  From: Bill's Hints

Check your RV's water connections
"One more for your maintenance check list: water connections. One RVer heard a strange noise and found his black water tank flush system had popped loose, pumping water into the basement storage area. Good thing he was home at the time!”

Plastic water heater plug
”Got an Atwood water heater? You may find the drain plug isn't metal, but plastic. These have been known to get brittle and break. On your next flush out, replace with a new drain plug.”

Scenic Byways. “Learn about America's most beautiful drives. Order a free map at:”

Better lighting — less expense
”Have any "pillow"-style light fixtures in your RV — the ones with a two-lamp switch arrangement? Reader Fred E. Campbell does, and he's got an ingenious suggestion. He replaced the "primary" incandescent bulb with a low-current LED bulb, leaving the "secondary" bulb in place. Fred writes, "With this method, I experience the best of both worlds and a higher degree of power management. This method also saves a few bucks by requiring only a few of those expensive LED bulbs. There is virtually no sacrifice in light output, only a power saving."”

Adding replacement RV batteries

“Dear Gary,  I just recently purchased a used Class A Newmar coach. Where do I find out what rating of battery needs to be used for replacement? The specific gravity on the existing batteries are low and after charging, is not coming up. The batteries are weak after only 8 hours of using a very light load. They are five years old. I have no clue as to what amp-hour I should be using.” —Rich W. (Virginia Beach, VA)   Read Gary's response.  The RV Doctor


THE SCOOP: How to Back up a Towable RV

“How to back a travel trailer into a campsite, Sean Michael shows you an easy trick to help you back into a campsite with your travel trailer.”


On This Day:

U.S. wins first America's Cup, Aug 22, 1851:

“On August 22, 1851, the U.S.-built schooner America bests a fleet of Britain's finest ships in a race around England's Isle of Wight. The ornate silver trophy won by the America was later donated to the New York Yacht Club on condition that it be forever placed in international competition. Today, the "America's Cup" is the world's oldest continually contested sporting trophy and represents the pinnacle of international sailing yacht competition.”


Hurricane Andrew pounds Bahamas, Aug 22, 1992:

“Hurricane Andrew hits the Bahamas on this day in 1992. There and in South Florida, where it arrived two days later, the storm was responsible for the deaths of 26 people and an estimated $35 billion in property damage. Hurricane Andrew was so concentrated that it resembled a tornado in its effects.

In the early morning of August 24, Andrew came ashore at Florida City, about 20 miles south of Miami. It had winds of 140 mph with gusts up to 212 mph. Rain was not a big factor in the storm, since it was moving very quickly and had a relatively compact punch, but it was still incredibly destructive. In Kendall and Homestead, Andrew uprooted every tree and destroyed 90 percent of the towns' homes. The Homestead Air Base was also demolished and all of Dade County lost its electricity. There were reports of trucks being thrown through the air and steel beams flying 150 feet. The 210-ton freighter Seaward Explorer lost its anchor and was carried over the entire landmass of Elliot Key.

In all, 25,000 homes, 8,000 businesses and 15,000 boats were lost to Hurricane Andrew. Even zoo animals were killed or pushed out of their homes. There was extensive reef damage and approximately $1 billion worth of crop losses. It took only 4 hours for Andrew to clear Florida and reach the Gulf of Mexico. Once there, it continued on to Louisiana, but, by that time, had lost considerable strength. Still, it spawned several tornadoes and retained hurricane status until August 26, when it was downgraded to a tropical storm.”



Nala-in-kitten-bed Nala, my foster cat, asks to go in my Grooming Room once a day, even though the AC isn’t on in there.  She likes to get in a cage which has the door open and a bed/toy in it, and just lay there.  If that’s what she wants, that’s OK by me.  

Misty and I went to get Jay, and we had our walk down there.  Jay’s thinking cap is on a bit straighter since he hasn’t been drinking so much, and he could see some defects that had to be addressed before the roof can go on my screen and front porches.

String-line-on-rafters He was cutting off the rafter tails at an angle when he realized that the rafter tails are not all even, so he ran a string line on them.  Now the fascia boards will be level.  (The rafters aren’t all painted yet) 




We also put the trim on the front of the screen porch at the bottom of the panels.

We just got one fascia board installed, but we felt that we had accomplished a lot towards the curb appeal yesterday.

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