Basic RV Battery Information

Is there a more annoying sound than turning your RV key and realizing your battery is dead?  Making sure your battery is working properly is very important.  If you ever had this happen to you, check out the following information to help you out the next time!!

Some Basic Battery Info

In today’s RVs everything relies on 12-volt batteries to function–everything from the roof air conditioner to the refrigerator. Once the roof air conditioner and the refrigerator are turned on they run on 110V, but the computer used to start the air conditioner and refrigerator uses the 12-volt. In addition, your water heater and your furnace are also all 12-volt operated.

Without your batteries in working condition none of these things would work properly and the simplest daily functions in your RV would be impossible to carry out.

The type of batteries in your RV should be deep cycle batteries. This just means essentially that they are designed to store a large amount of power, discharge that power very deeply, and recharge over and over again.

To get the most out of your deep cycle battery and have it last as long as possible before you have to pay for a replacement, you’ll want to spend the few minutes it will take to maintain it.

RV Battery Maintenance – Filling With Distilled Water

With proper maintenance an RV battery lasts an average of 5 years. To achieve a longer life span one important thing you’ll want to do is keep your batteries full with water (distilled water is recommended).

To get started remove the battery cap and give a look in there. You’ll see a tube going into each cell with slits up the sides. These slits allow the gases to flow from cell to cell. Fill until the water touches the bottom of the tube and be careful not to overfill.

If you overfill and cover the slits in the side of each tube you will see liquid oozing from your caps and making a mess of everything around there. Battery trays and connections will all stay cleaner if you take care not to overfill and maintenance is done correctly.

When To Get A New Battery

If the lead plates are not covered in water when you check them chances are good you need to get a new RV battery. At this point, if the battery is not completely ruined then you’ve at least taken a lot of the life out of it.

The best and most inexpensive way to avoid this problem is to not let the water get that low. If you regularly follow the above maintenance strategies you will maximize the lifespan of your battery and only have to worry about this when it’s unpreventable.

Charging Your RV Batteries

There is nothing more important than keeping your battery’s connections clean with the above process, but it is also important to keep them consistently charged.

When doing this, keep in mind realistic timeframes to charge up. If your RV batteries are reading low on the monitor, it will take around 72 hours to charge them. If you just charge them for a day, as some owners may do right before a trip, they will only have 1/3 of the total charge.

Think of your batteries as a 5 gallon water bottle. You can pour the water out quickly and easily–that’s apparent enough. But imagine the only way you can fill the bottle back up is through a separate hole the size of a pencil. The refilling will take much more time. In other words, it is much easier to drain your batteries than it is to recharge them.

It doesn’t hurt your batteries to be low on charge, but it will make your life easier just to keep them charged up.

When storing your RV for two months or more, you will want to make it so your batteries do not discharge. To do this, simply disconnect the ground wire. Your batteries cannot discharge without this ground (unless the battery is already bad, of course).

Dry CampingIf you try dry camping–that is, camping with no electrical hook ups–all you need to do is run your generator three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening and you will be fine forever.

If you don’t have a generator consider getting solar power, it works extremely well and I highly recommend it. However, if you don’t have a generator or solar power and want to go camping, the key is just to not bring your kids (They never seem to turn a light off! Ha!)

Other Relevant Info

Most RVs have a 2 amp draw (or more) on the engine starting battery even when the batteries are turned off using the auto disconnects. This is the factory setting. I don’t like it this way, so don’t get mad at you RV technician, it isn’t his/her fault.

Having the RV plugged into 110V shore power will not charge the engine battery, so if stored for a long time, disconnect the grounds at the engine battery. They only charge when the engine is running.

NOTE: To all RV owners, if you are plugged into 110V shore power remember to leave your house battery’s disconnect on. Batteries won’t get a charge if they are off and it overworks your converter charger big time if the disconnect is not on. You should have the engine battery off because remember it won’t get charged from the converter anyway.

I hope this was helpful info for you and your RV health!  Please leave a comment with more suggestions or good RV battery stories!

[Source: Money Saving RV]

Stabilizing Your Fifth Wheel

What happens when you travel a good distance to get to your destination then you realize that the5th wheel isn’t stable? Don’t panic. It happens all the time, and with the right tips, it doesn’t have to be a tremendous hassle.

Uneven Ground Makes an Unsafe RV

First, check for a shaking sensation. When your 5th wheel is unstable, this may be your first clue. Besides the fact that it is probably uncomfortable, this unstable nature could be hazerdous to your family or others. That is why it is always crucial that you find level ground for your trailer.

When at a campsite, you do not always have the options that you really want as far as parking goes, but finding the most level ground possible is of the upmost importance. Every campsite strives to be as level as possible, but with RVs constantly coming in and out, it is understandable that it could change the landscape.

5th Wheel Stabilizer

When the ground is not even, a stabilizer comes in very handy. They attach towards the front, typically at the king pin to act as a stabilizer to level the fifth-wheel and reduce movement. They are available in both electric and manual styles for your convenience and easy use.

There are many kinds of stabilizing jacks available: C-shaped stabilizer, telescoping jack stabilizer, hydraulic jack, and tripod jack. While many campers use the tripod jack, you will need to do a little analysis to find with is right for you.

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Checking the Adjustments

The most important part of a stabilizer is its ability to adjust. Make sure you check out the footpads of the stabilizer to make sure they move so that they can perform height adjustments. These footpads, even when attached to the trailer, should be capable of move inward and outward.

Along with the moveable footpads, your stablizer also needs to make the smaller adjustments to make sure you get it perfect. Generally, these are made with a turn screw adjacent with a stabilized adjusting level. Remember, if it is not easy to adjust, then you won’t use it. Therefore, thoroughly check the ease of adjustment before you buy.

Checking the Weight Limit

Finally, you should definitely check out the weight capacity of the stablizer you choose. . For example, a stabilizer that will hold up to 5,000 lbs will cost you around $100. But be prepared to pay more the bigger your RV is.

A stabilizer makes traveling in your Fifth-Wheel much easier and safer. Once you start using one, you’ll wonder how you ever camped without it.

 

WIT Show and Tell Rally

At Pleasureland RV, we like to host RVers from time to time to come stay in our lot and use our facilities.  One of these occasions was this past weekend when the Winnebago & Itasca Travelers – Winnehaha & Sundowner Chapters, Show & Tell Rally was hosted in our facilities.  People started pulling in their RVs on Friday and by the time things were in full swing, there were 45 coaches in all!   We had workshops, dinner, entertainment, etc. for them. Included in the weekend, they had a motor home building workshop on Saturday with legos (check out the pics below!) and a Cal-Tex workshop.  Saturday night  dinner was made by our own Bill Moran and we provided entertainment afterwards.  The weather was very chilly, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!

Make sure you check out the photos below to see all the fun!! Make sure to leave a comment if you were there and let us know what you thought!!

 

 

St. Cloud, Got your Keys?!?

There are a few situations that people get themselves into that absolutely drive them crazy.  One of these situations is losing or locking your keys in your car or RV.  Even if you have some sort of roadside assistance company such as AAA on your side, it can still run you upwards of $150 to have a new keys made for you.  If anything could make that situation worse, it would be having to shell out money to resolve the issue.

Are there some things you can do to prepare for the situation?? Absolutely!!  I came across an article that has some such suggestions to help you prevent a costly situation:

Main Set… Separate one set of keys into three groups–Door key, Ignition key, and all the rest. Carry the door key when you lock and leave the RV. If you have a motorhome, leave the ignition key inside–keep reading to find out where. Store the rest of your keys (compartment, fuel door, etc.) near the front in case you need them.

Backup Set… Keep a set in your other vehicle–just in case.

Emergency set… Get one of the magnetic key holders used for hiding keys. Put one door keycompartment keyignition key, and a fuel door key inside. Hide it well. Crawl around underneath and find a great hiding place not visible by just walking around and looking at the coach.

Test the magnetism. Is it easy to remove? Can it fall off? Secure it with one of the plastic electrical ties. Cover it with mud or spray paint it to look like the background. Do not make this easy to find or access and make it impossible to see. After all, it is only for emergencies.

Additionally, in our seminars, one topic that always comes up is the number of RVers that forget to crank down their TV antenna or satellite dish before driving out of the campground. Since your ignition key will be separate from the others, when you crank up your TV antenna or satellite dish, hang your ignition key from the crank. That way, you can’t drive away without being reminded to crank down these items. Without a firm reminder, you will forget at some point but if so, it’s only about $150.00 to replace the antenna. The only way to ensure you will remember to crank it down is to force yourself to reach up there for the ignition key.

Have you ever locked your keys in your RV, or even lost them??  Leave a comment below and let us know!!

[Source: New RVer]

Record Turnout this Summer at National Parks?

Getting tired of seeing gas prices go up and up and up?? If you are, then you can join the rest of the travelers this summer scurrying to find a sensible vacation for this summer.  Rising gas costs affects virtually all kinds of travel, from airplanes, to cruises to automobile travel.  When gas prices are high overseas or international travel experience a humungous drop, which in turn boosts domestic travel for families.  One such ramification of increased domestic travels will affect the RV community, available space at National Parks become limited.  According to the National Parks Service:

“Last year more than 281 million people visited America’s 394 national park areas. This year, the park service expects attendance figures to increase by 10% or more as people seek less expensive vacation destinations closer to home.”

So how will this effect both public and private campgrounds as well?  RVT.com had this to say:

Increased visitor volume is expected to further strain the competition for the limited number of onsite RV camping spaces available at national parks. Typically, only a portion of national park campsites are available for advance reservation. At the most popular national parks a certain number of campsites are available only on a first-come-first-serve basis to accommodate campers. RV campers should consider booking camping space at a nearby RV park and purchasing an inexpensive multi-day park pass.

Even if an in-park campsite is available, RV campers often prefer to book a reservation at a nearby private RV campground. Private RV campgrounds typically offer amenities not available at national park campsites, including more spacious campsites, Wi-Fi, swimming pools, playgrounds, an onsite camp store and onsite firewood.

So will how will the increasing gas prices effect your travel?  Do you plan on RVing instead of taking some other form of transportation? Leave us a comment below and let us know how you are affected.

Source [RVT.com]

Budget RVing?

We can never save too much money. So between boondocking, clipping store coupons and eating in more often, it will all add up!

Boondocking is one of the best ways for RV traveling on a budget. Boondocking is defined as staying in a spot that’s fairly remote and undesignated. You have no hookups since you are out in the middle of nowhere. There are many places to boondock even for extended stays.

You will discover more places and data if you Google ‘free boondocking areas’. Also, you might have considered trying to seek out places to dry camp. Dry camping means that you will be staying inside of a state park or RV park without using any hookups.

Overnights that are easy on the budget are found in relative’s driveways, parking lots and several RV campgrounds or parks that are fitted with dry camp areas. These usually are very low cost or free.

Rent varies at RV parks, based on the region and season. RV ‘parks’ are the just like RV ‘resorts’ and ‘campgrounds’. Resorts tend to be higher in cost and also have more activites for tenants. Campgrounds have less and cost less. Those called ‘RV parks’ may be in in between these two. This may give you an idea of which one works together with your RV budget.

Amenities in these places can include water, sewer, electric, TV cable, and Wi-Fi. Additional recreational activities could be a swimming pool, horseshoe court, golf course, and more. Basic overnight or weekly charges usually cover the initial five amenities listed above, but that may vary. Additional activities can be free or use a usage charge.

If you vacation at least seven days at an RV park you can save some money. Weekly rates are likely to be lower than the whole of 7 overnights. Lots of places  charge for six nights and also you get the seventh free. If you will not be staying more than six nights and also you belong to Good Sam Club plus the park is a Good Sam Park you will definately get a discount usually only good for those first six nights and sometimes for cash customers only.

Monthly rates (usually 28 days) are more reasonable than four weekly rates and will likely be plus electric.

Even if you happen to don’t remain a complete 12 month year, many parks offer seasonal or yearly rates that can be reasonable. Budget minded like these parks. There are actually RV parks with full hookups and amenities that charge as little as $800 per year for a site. Take into account that you get what you pay for, but not always.

Use the web to discover information about RV Parks in your locale. While planning a stop at an unfamiliar area, ask other RVers for their park suggestions. Strive to choose a park fits your wishes. Then just sign up for a day or two if it looks questionable when you get there. In the event you do not like that park, two days will give you a chance to locate another.

You certainly don’t need to stay a couple weeks or even a month in an RV park you don’t like.

You should be able to find parks that both fit within your budget and that you like. There are many parks to choose from.

And if you want to trade in your RV, now is a good time to do that too!

 

Check out the New Dutchmen Travel Trailer

Here at Pleasureland RV, we sell a wide variety of Recreational Vehicles.  Among the brands we carry is the Dutchmen.  They are known for their Fifth Wheel, toy and travel trailers.  I found this video that gives a good tour of the interior, exterior, and accessories that grace these beautiful RVs.  Among some of the features that are included on this RV include:

  • Smoother Aerodynamic Design
  • Power Adjusted Awning
  • Built-In Outdoor Kitchen Space
  • Improved Entertainment System with Indoor and Outdoor Speakers
  • 40% more Shelf Storage Space Inside Dutchmen
  • “The Dutchmen Den” for the Children

Check out the below video and come see PleasureLand RV if you want to take a closer look in person.  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of the new Dutchmen Travel Trailer.

 

RV Maintenance When You are Staying Awhile

There are certain procedures to that you make when you open up your RV for the season as well as when you must put your RV away.  But what kind of maintenance do you need to do when you are staying at one place for an extended period of time?  I found an interesting article that has some helpful hints when it comes to the maintenance of your RV while using it in one stationary place.
  • Inflate the tires to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Tires can lose as much as 2 to 3 psi a month. If you stay in one spot for three or six months the tire pressure could be dangerously low. If the unit is not being moved check and adjust the tire pressure on a monthly basis. If you notice any damage, have the tires inspected by a professional before using the RV. Tire failure on an RV can be extremely dangerous and can cause costly damage to the RV. Keep the tires covered with covers that block out the sunlight when the RV is sitting in one spot or not in use.
  • Place some type of RV leveling blocks between the ground and the tires. Be sure that whatever you use is larger than the footprint of the tire. No portion of the tire should hang over the edge of the tire block. This can cause internal damage to the tire. You also don’t want them exposed to constant cold or moisture, like sitting on the frozen ground. The wood or blocking acts as a barrier between the tires and the ground surface they are being stored on.
  • If it’s a motorized RV you should fill the fuel tank prior to parking it for a long stay and add a fuel stabilizer. Run the engine and the generator long enough for the fuel stabilizer to get through the fuel system. If you are not using the generator you should exercise it monthly with a minimum of a ½ rated load on it. Consult your generator set owner’s manual for rated loads.
  • Check and fill the water levels in all batteries and make sure the batteries stay fully charged. The electrolyte levels in batteries will be depleted through long term use. Check the water levels once or twice a week depending on usage.  Don’t check the voltage when the RV is plugged in, you will get a false reading. For a true reading of the batteries they should be tested after resting for 12 hours. Resting means the battery is disconnected from any charger or any load for at least 12 hours.
  • Change the oil and oil filter on the engine and the generator prior to long stays or long term storage. Acids accumulate in used oil and can corrode engine bearings.
  • Routinely test the operation of the carbon monoxide detector, LP gas leak detector and smoke alarm. Check the fire extinguisher monthly to make sure it is fully charged. Clean or replace air conditioner filters as required.
  • Complete your normal pre-trip checks before heading out on the road again.
All of these are helpful tools in making sure that your RV is in the proper condition when you head back out on the road after an extended stay.  Before or after your trip make sure you stop on by for a quick look by our trained experts at PleasureLand RV.

First Aid Kit Musts for your RV

Emergency situations are always unexpected and it is crucial to be prepared when disaster strikes. You can easily customize your own first aid kit to fit your exact needs and generally save money while doing so. Before heading off you should always consider where you will be traveling, what type of climate you’ll be in and what type of activities you may be doing. Anytime you decide to take your RV out on the open road, it is essential to be prepared in the event of an emergency.  The American Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits should include the following:

Supplies

  • absorbent compress dressings
  • adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • adhesive cloth tape
  • antibiotic ointment
  • antiseptic wipes
  • aspirin
  • blanket
  • breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • instant cold compress
  • non latex gloves
  • hydrocortisone ointment
  • scissors
  • sterile gauze pads
  • oral thermometer
  • tweezers
  • First Aid instruction booklet

Extras to consider

  • whistle
  • nail clippers
  • jackknife
  • a fire steel to start a fire
  • water purifying tablets
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • disposable camera
  • cell phone and charger

Tips

  • Be sure to store your kit in a place out of reach from children but easily accessible to adults.
  • Include personal items including medications, emergency phone numbers and any other items your doctor may suggest.
  • Be sure to check that the kit’s contents before each trip and make sure to check expiration dates on each item.
  • Learn about the contents of the kit and how to use them in different emergency situations. Having the supplies means nothing if you do not possess the know-how to use them.

It is always important to make sure that you are ready for anything the road can throw at you.  Before your next road trip, would be a good idea to start putting together an RV first aid kit.  Leave a comment below with anything you would like to add to this list.

[Source: American Red Cross]

7 Tips for Driving Your RV in the Rain

There are a lot of things that you can control on your RV trips.  You can make sure you pack everything and that your RV is tuned up, but weather is something you just have to deal with.  Like a car or a bike, riding in the rain takes precaution and safety.  I came across some useful tips to help you maneuver through the bad weather on your next trip over at rvtravel.com.  Here are a few:

Be the middle-man:  If you have an option of which lane to occupy, take to the middle. Most roads have a crowned surface to encourage water to run off to the side.  The center lane is often on high ground, and so less water accumulates here.

Slick ‘em up:  The places you’re most likely to encounter greater road slickness are where oil (from vehicles) can accumulate.  Read that as intersections, parking lots, as well as on and off ramps.  If it’s been some time since the last rain, you’ll also find high traffic areas are slick too.  Why so?  Take your typical freeway lane–after weeks or months of traffic dripping oil and fluids, the first rain to come along washes the oil off the drop spot, and mixes it with water, making for a slick trip.

The eyes have it:  When it rains, make it easier on your own–and others–vision.  Turn on your headlights for greater visibility.  Yeah, there may be a bit more glare, but better to be seen.  Turn on your windshield wipers, of which you’ll have changed the blades every 12 months.  Seems extreme, especially if you don’t live in rain country, but if you’re a desert dweller, you’ll find UV radiation and heat eats up your wipers faster than using them like those folks in the Northwest do–every day.

Exercise self-control, not speed control:  Time will tell whether or not vehicle speed control units may actually contribute to loss of control on rainy roadways, but this much is certain:  Speed control use slows the driver’s ability to note and respond to changes in road surfaces.  Save it for dry pavement.

Be treadful! Generally speaking, the deeper your tire tread, the less likely you are to hydroplane on a wet road.  And other drivers’ tires can help, too.  How?  If you track behind another driver (at a SAFE distance) in his tire tracks, you’ll find less water there–he’s already “dried out the road” with his passage.

Give it a (correct) brake:  If you have anti lock brakes and find yourself needing a slowdown, don’t pump–press and hold, the same as you would on ice.  If you don’t have ABS, then indeed, pump-release-pump-release to keep yourself out of trouble.  And if you’ve driven through water, to dry your brakes, lightly tap them a few times to dry the linings.

Don’t play Moses:  You can’t part the Red Sea with your RV.  As the good folks in Arizona will tell you, NEVER cross a flooded wash.  It takes but a few inches of water to push a vehicle off the roadway and into harm’s way.

Safety is concern number one when traveling and should be treated as such.  Hopefully you will take these tips seriously and be careful out there on the road!!  Leave a message below and let us know if they left anything out.