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RV University This Week 7/13/2009

  • Monday, July 13 2009 @ 05:15 am 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 #24- July, 13 2009

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes. " ~ Marcel Proust, French novelist


Hi Everybody,

I hope everybody had a great 4th of July. We enjoyed our vacation and our 4th of July celebration with family. My niece and our son both won third and second place trophy's respectively in a youth fishing tournament, and as usual the fireworks were lots of fun.

Along with taking vacation comes getting behind at work. It's a vicious cycle. Needless to say it will take a few weeks to get caught up again, but the good news is we are already planning our next RV trip. Right now it looks like it will be a short excursion to the beach.

When I took my mother and nephew back home after our vacation I used my truck rather than the RV. My sister is moving to North Carolina and I was going to pull a U Haul trailer back with the rest of her belongings. The U Haul trailer rental experience turned out to be worthy of writing about in this week's feature article. If you think you will ever need to rent a cargo trailer from a U Haul rental company be sure to read my article before you go to rent the trailer. I'm just glad it was me renting it and not my sister!

After the trailer rental fiasco I decided we should offer our Trailer Towing & Backing DVD on sale this week.

Happy Camping and enjoy the newsletter!

Are U Haul Rental Trailers/Companies Safe?
It seems like every time I turn around I read about an accident involving a rented U Haul trailer. The trailer started swaying and the driver didn’t know what to do, the vehicle was under-rated for the loaded trailer weight, the tire came off while traveling down the highway, or the safety chains weren’t connected. It makes one wonder if U Haul trailers and the companies that rent them are safe. Well, recently I had the opportunity to experience the trailer rental process first hand....... Read the article

BY Mark Polk

Tip #1 RV refrigerators are much different than the one in your house. They don’t have compressors and they work off the principle of absorption. You should turn the RV refrigerator on several hours before putting food in it. It is best to leave it on overnight and put your food in it just prior to leaving. Always keep a small thermometer in your RV refrigerator so you can monitor the temperature. Food can begin to go bad at about 40 degrees. Some things that will affect the inside temperatures of your RV refrigerator are:

1) Putting warm food in the refrigerator. If at all possible put cold food in the refrigerator and freezer prior to leaving on a trip.

2) Packing the food to close or putting too much in the refrigerator. Air must be able to circulate around the food for the refrigerator to operate properly. Keep a couple of day’s supply of food in the refrigerator and replenish as necessary.

3) Put a small battery operated fan in the refrigerator to assist with air circulation.

4) Continuously opening the refrigerator door and leaving it open for periods of time will affect the efficiency of the refrigerator.

5) The RV refrigerator must be close to level to operate properly.

The outside temperature will affect the operation of the refrigerator. In hot temperatures try to park the RV in shaded areas, especially on the side of the RV where the refrigerator is located. You can also install a thermostatically controlled refrigerator vent fan that will move the hot air out from behind the refrigerator and make it operate more efficiently

Tip #2 Electrical adapters are a necessity for RVers. Eventually you will be in a situation where you have to use some type of electrical adapter to make a connection at a campground. It may be an outdated campground or isolated area that only provides 15 or 20-amp electrical service. There are adapters that will go from your RV type plug and size down to household type outlets and adapters that go from household type outlets to campground RV connections. It’s nice to have these adapters on hand when you need them, but you must exercise caution when you use them. If your RV is a 30-amp or 50-amp system and you use an adapter to plug the RV into a 15 or 20-amp outlet this severely limits what you can operate in the RV. The roof air alone can draw up to 15-amps when it initially starts. If you place too much of a demand on electrical adapters, or use them for extended periods of time they can overheat and melt resulting in damage to the RV power cord or electrical system.

...with Mark
Q. We have a 2007 Expedition that we use to tow our boat and trailer combination. The Expedition's tow rating is 6,000 lbs. Our boat and trailer are 5,500 lbs. The truck porpoises the front end up and down rhythmically when we tow over concrete freeways with tar strips. This condition is non-existent on good roads and blacktopped freeways. I thought I would also let you know that I once owned a 1990 F-150 that was new at the time and we towed the same rig with it (with exactly the same problem). Some people have suggested installing air bags on the Expedition, some others suggest a weight distributing hitch (which would be a bit of a challenge, because the trailer has surge brakes). I estimate the tongue weight at no more than 500 lbs, and closer to 400. Any thoughts Mark?

Mark Says:
Many times porpoising is a result of a suspension problem, especially for a motorhome. Unfortunately you have the perfect recipe for porpoising with your tow vehicle and trailer. A fairly short wheelbase (by this I mean shorter than most motorhome wheelbases which commonly experience this same problem) a lower amount of tongue weight with a boat, no weight distribution hitch (and as you mentioned difficult to add with surge brakes), and poor road conditions with tar strips in the road to put the porpoising motion in action.

The bad news is each and every vehicle and towing combination is different and requires different fixes to solve problems like porpoising. Sometimes the answer is new shocks, adding airbags, a WDH, driving techniques, or something as simple as tire pressure. It's obvious that your problem is related to the road conditions with the seams (bumps) in the road contributing to the bouncing motion. I can't begin to tell you what is causing this in your particular situation, but I would guess the tongue weight has something to do with it. Could something like adding airbags help control the bouncing? It's quite possible, but there is no guarantee. I think a WDH would be helpful, by distributing the weight evenly to all axles, but the surge brakes all but eliminate that.

What I would suggest is going to some of the trailer and boat towing forums and ask other people if they ever experienced this with a similar tow vehicle/boat combination and see what they did to correct it.

Here are a couple links for forums. Just do a search on porpoising
iboats Boating Forums....

Open Roads Forum...


Q. Mark, when we are traveling and we go to open up the frig everything falls out. Do you have this problem and have you found anything that would stop things from falling out?

Mark Says:
They have aftermarket refrigerator bars that you can use to help prevent things from moving and falling in the refrigerator while you are traveling.

Here is a link to one type, sold at camping world.

I hope this helps.


Q. Mark.......I was asked "why" I cannot "back up" with my Saturn tow-car attached......I did not have an answer? Can you explain? Thank you much,

Mark Says:
If you are using a tow bar the main reason you can't back is that while backing the front wheels of the vehicle will turn to one side or the other making it virtually impossible to back up.

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!

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."

If you are trying to back the vehicle when it's on a tow dolly the tow dolly will turn, but the vehicle on the dolly will try to stay in a straight line. The results are the tow dolly fender will hit and damage the side of the vehicle on the dolly.


"Beware of not so reputable campground owners" sent to us from a newsletter reader"

Hi Mark. Hope you had a safe and fun 4th! We just returned from a (RV) trip. (The campground) recently changed owners. We had read, prior to the trip, multiple complaints regarding this particular campground.

When booking a site over the phone my wife asked if there were any other charges for amenity uses, which most places do. She was told that the $54.00 site fee, {W/E/S}, covered everything and that the indoor water park was not open any longer so therefore not available. OK. Great. So off we went on a 4 1/2 hour drive and three days of R & R. When we pulled in my wife was told that an additional $8.00 per person per day was still to be paid. ANOTHER $120.00. She lost it! It was not only the fact that we just drove over 4 hours and no real alternative, but she specifically asked about any "other" fees and was verbally told no.

We have passed on many other campgrounds due to the high prices so she checks and even double checks that their aren't any hidden add-ons. At this time I was getting upset too. No managers were available, as was complained about on the Internet, so I calmly told the girl working there that unless a manager can rectify this I wasn't moving the motorhome. Long story short, the girl was informed to give us the wristbands and collect no additional money. This was classic "bait-and-switch". We were so far from home that we would have been stuck staying there and NOT being able to use the pools, slides, etc., or trying to find a campground at last minute on July 2nd. Good Luck.

I am only relaying this to hopefully alert others fellow campers to the few BAD park owners. I will be telling the (people who own the campground) of this incident as well as any other camping media that will print it. Their were other situations that arose, though I won't bore you any longer. I just figured you get thousands of viewers to you web material. Thanks, Mark. See ya' near the pool!

Mark Says: I am sorry to hear about your experience. One suggestion is to have the campground fax, e-mail or mail written confirmation of all fees to be charged pertaining to your specific reservation. That way you will have it in writing if there is a dispute.

Family’s decision to take their RV to Disneyland
was “a decision that cut their costs by more than half,” GMA’s Elizabeth Leamy reported.

New Hybrid Motorhome
Jones & Son Chassis, Inc., North America’s premier custom motorhome chassis designer has entered into an exclusive agreement with SSC Green Inc. of West Richland, Washington to integrate SSC Green’s All Electric Scalable Powertrain (AESP) to produce a hybrid motorhome chassis platform ...

Check out this week's poll: "Have you ever run the generator while sleeping?" To participate in the poll look on the left hand column of RV University towards the top

Mark's RV Garage

After Mark's U-haul rental experience we thought we would feature this video tip on safe trailer towing. If you have any ideas for future topics you can email me at Mark@rveducation101.com

This RV video tip is: "Towing Safety"

Let RV Education 101 help you save money in 2009

Trailer Towing: What to Know Before You Tow e-book If you’ve ever had questions or concerns about towing, weights, hitch work and backing this e-book has the answers. Mark Polk, the owner of RV Education 101, stated that he wrote this guide because these are topics that the RV consumer needs to understand so RVing can be fun rather than worriesome. The guide is packed with information on subjects like properly matching your tow vehicle and trailer, trailer weights, backing techniques that really work, proper hitch work, towing tips, driving tips, controlling sway, weighing your RV and much more.
*NOTE: This electronic file is to be downloaded immediately after purchase and is delivered in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.You can read it on your computer or print it for reading later. You can also save this instant download to a memory stick or disc and take it to a print shop to have it printed and/or spiral bound. *It is a copyright violation to share these files with anyone other than the purchaser.....
sale price: $10.95

Dinghy Towing e-book A motor home offers us the freedom to explore the open road. We can go where we want when we want. But what happens when we arrive at a destination where we plan to stay put for a day, a week or a month? How do explore the area, or take a quick trip to the grocery store? One option is to disconnect everything from the motor home and take it. What a pain this can be just for a loaf of bread. Another option is to tow a vehicle behind the motor home. Now when we need a loaf of bread or want to take a day trip we have our transportation readily available. This makes much more sense, but just how do we do this? That's what this e-book is all about. It will explain everything you need to know about dinghy towing in an easy to understand format. Our goal with this e-book is to help you learn how to properly tow a dinghy, and to assist you in making the right decisions to meet your particular towing needs
*NOTE: This electronic file is to be downloaded immediately after purchase and is delivered in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.You can read it on your computer or print it for reading later. You can also save this instant download to a memory stick or disc and take it to a print shop to have it printed and/or spiral bound. *It is a copyright violation to share these files with anyone other than the purchaser.....
sale price: $10.95

Camping/RV Battery Chargers BatteryMINDers® are the new generation of SMART, pulse type "computer-on-a-chip" chargers, that safely charge and maintain all size / type / brands of batteries including starter, deep cycle and sealed types including AGM “dry” made by OPTIMA, ODYSSEY, EXIDE, INTERSTATE, et al. They do all of this without ever overcharging, no matter how long they are left on charge – days-weeks-or even months. Dubbed the chargers with "brains," they are the first to fully-automatically reverse the primary cause of early battery failure known as "sulfation". Sulfated batteries once considered beyond recovery can now be brought back to long-term useful condition. Certain models of BatteryMINDers® can more than double the useful life of new batteries.

General and Unsubscribe Info

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 http://www.rveducation101.com

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Happy Camping,

Mark & Dawn


RV Education 101
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Copyright 2009 by RV Education 101

RV University,a site providing Recreation Vehicle safety, RV maintenance information, RV tips, RV advice and RV instruction for using and maintaining an RV by Mark Polk.
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