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RV University this Week 3/30/2009

  • Monday, March 30 2009 @ 03:08 pm UTC
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RV News and Stories

RV University this Week
Your weekly source for interesting
RV articles, tips, tricks, video clips and advice

From the Industry Leader in RV Education:
RV Education 101
U of RV Journal #10- March, 30 2009

“Learning is not attained by chance,
it must be sought for with ardor
and attended to with diligence.”
~ Abigail Adams


Hi Everybody,
I received an email from a reader the other day, who 5 years ago was involved in a bad accident while towing a trailer. The accident was a result of a sudden wind shear, causing the trailer to start swaying out of control. Here is an excerpt of the email, from Mary, the driver of the vehicle.

"Then on the way home, I was feeling confident having traveled Highway 12 built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) during the 1930's. And now it was time to be headed homeward. When I had a chance to leave Highway 89 which goes through small towns, for the big Interstate 15. I did so. Still watching the road and traveling at a safe speed.

We were hours into our trip northward. We had passed through a few rainstorms. Dropping our speed for the weather. Suddenly the truck and trailer experienced difficulty. Before I knew it, we were out of control. The truck with the trailer still attached had rolled and now was resting on it's passenger side parallel to the freeway off the shoulder. Lucky for us, no other vehicles were involved in our accident. There were good Samaritans that stopped to pull us out of the wreckage. One person used their "On Star" to contact the Highway Patrol. Blessed by our use of seatbelts, we were uninjured except for bruises and a small cut. The pictures are unbelievable, it was a total loss. Our truck was sturdy to save us as we rolled, but our trailer was flattened.

I just could not imagine what had caused us to lose control. As I was sitting in the Highway Patrolman's car and he was completing the accident report. He calmly looked out the window and said, "You were traveling 60 miles per hour and a microburst hit you." A microburst is wind shear. Just like airline pilots experience. Incredible, here we were. Enjoying a trip and then it hit us. I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful for fun along the way. Even if this was my last day, it was filled with good things. However, we were able to go on and get another truck and trailer. And can you believe it, 5 years later."

Mary went on to ask me if I had any hints or tips to offer on trailer brakes, controlling sway, and what to do when you experience something like wind sheer, cross winds, or towing in windy conditions. After reading Mary's email I thought it would be an appropriate topic for this week's feature article, so be sure and check it out.

And Mary, I was extremely happy to hear that everyone was okay and that you didn't let that terrible experience stop you from RVing.

We will be discounting our Trailer Towing, Weights, Hitchwork & Backing DVD for "This Week's Special"

Travel safe & Happy camping

Trailer Braking, Trailer Sway & Windy Conditions
Let me begin by saying that the safest measure for traveling by RV in windy conditions is not to travel at all. RV’s have a great deal of mass (length, width & height) and when that mass is confronted with strong wind gusts, crosswinds and/or wind shear the results can be devastating.... Read the article

BY Mark Polk

Inverters are nice to have at times when you are dry camping and/or when you don’t have access to 120-volts AC. Batteries produce power in Direct Current (DC) that run at low voltages. Power companies and AC generators produce sine wave Alternating Current (AC), which is used to operate 120-volt appliances and electronic equipment. An inverter takes 12-volt DC power from your RV batteries and electronically changes it to 120-volt AC. Some RVers use an inverter just to watch TV or for their personal computer. Other RVers use an inverter to operate microwaves, coffee pots or other larger appliances. When you purchase an inverter the inverter’s output capacity must be capable of operating the loads that will be placed on it.

Inverters have two different capacity ratings. Continuous output rating and surge capacity rating. Continuous output is the maximum wattage the inverter can output for a long time period. Surge capacity is the maximum wattage the inverter can output during initial start up. All appliances require more power when they start, compared to what they use when they are running. They can use as much as two or three times the amount to start then what they use to run, so the starting power required for any appliance that you plan to use with the inverter must be within the surge capacity rating. There are modified sine wave inverters and true sine wave inverters. A true sine wave inverter is more expensive, but they are capable of producing power as good as the power company and all appliances and electronic equipment will run as they are intended to. Keep in mind you are drawing the power from your RV batteries and any power used has to be put back in through some type of effective charging system.

Navistar Considers Acquisition of Monaco Assets-
Navistar International Corporation (NYSE:NAV) announced
that the company has issued a non-binding letter
of intent to purchase
certain assets and assume certain
liabilities primarily associated with the recreational vehicle
manufacturing business of Monaco Coach Corporation

RV Education Crossword Puzzle
This play and learn crossword puzzle is "RV Electrical Savvy".
Have fun, play and learn.

...with Mark
Q. In your E-book you say to never back up a motorhome when you are towing a vehicle. My question, you see lots of motorhomes pulling boats, if you can't back up pulling a toad how do they launch their boats without backing up. Thanks in advance

Mark Says:
The reason you can back a boat trailer, but not a toad is that the boat trailer doesn't have a set of steering front wheels.

A while back an engineer at Blue Ox experimented backing several towed vehicles. The results weren't good. One person would drive the motorhome and another would attempt to steer the front wheels of the toad. The problem was, in every test, the front wheels would unexpectedly turn drastically to one side making the steering wheel violently spin out of control. If a person has their hands or arm caught in the steering wheel the results could be a broken finger, hand or arm. Even when they attempted to back straight back the wheels would turn, and it was with other manufacturers tow bars too. You should never attempt to back a toad!

Here is how the engineer explained it:

"The reason this happens is not the tow bar but rather the caster angle in the front end of the towed vehicle. Caster is the forward tilt of the steering axis versus vertical. It provides steering stability, steering returnability and cornering ease. In reverse, the caster angle makes the wheels want to turn around the other direction like "casters" on your office chair or shopping cart. We all know they can't turn all the way around on a car, but they will turn off to the side as far as the steering mechanism will let them. This is virtually undetectable from the driver's seat in the motorhome making this a very scary situation. If you continue to back up, after the wheels have turned, the tires "scrub" or slide sideways causing damage to the tires. Other things caused by this are; severe stress to the steering components, suspension and towing system components."

I hope this helps answer your question.

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About us:

Our goal with RV University This Week is to provide you with helpful information to make all of your RV experiences more enjoyable. I left my position as an RV Sales and F&I manager in 2000 to start my own company, RV Education 101. We produce educational videos, DVDs and e-books on how to use and maintain your RV. The reason I left my job was due to my concern about the lack of educational and safety awareness material available to the RV consumer, in other words, you. We are a small company. My wife Dawn left her position in RV sales to help start the company and is our Sales and Marketing Director. We currently have a 35-foot Class A motor home. We have two boys, Tyler 12 and Josh 18, both avid RVers and two dogs, Gracie and Buck. Gracie is the good one. If you would like to learn more about us and RV Education 101 feel free to visit www.rveducation101.com

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