Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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Ask Dave: Why does the electric tongue jack only work intermittently?

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Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses electric tongue jacks.

Electric tongue jacks

Dear Dave,
My electric tongue jack won’t operate under load conditions. This is a Husky Brute Jack. It works retracting all the time, but only intermittently extending under load. I have checked that the batteries are good, lifted the jack, scraped the metal frame to ensure good contact as well as ground wires bolted to frame. —Jim

Dear Jim,
If the electric tongue jack retracts fine but is intermittent under load the first thing I would check is the battery. This is a common issue with lead acid batteries as they can get sulfated and seem to have a full charge, but drop dramatically under load. I would put a battery charger on the battery that is powering this jack and see if it still has issues.

According to their technical support, this jack has a ball screw design that reduces friction and amp draw. It is greased at the factory and not designed to be opened after leaving the factory. The rep recommended lubricating the leg going into the ball screw housing with a lithium spray or even “Vasoline”. I would suggest the lithium spray as it will not collect as much dirt and grit that could get up into the ball screw housing.

Check ground wire connection

Another item to check is the ground wire connection to the frame, as this can get rusty or loose and cause a poor connection. When it is not working, maybe even wiggle that slightly. Then check all wiring going to the controller to ensure there are no kinks, scrapes or bare wires that could create what is called an open connection.

If all that is good, then it’s most likely the motor getting weak. Document all conditions you can find when it does not work. What is the ambient temperature? Is it wet outside from either rain or dew? Does it happen at the time of disconnect or connecting? Any factors that might help isolate a condition would be beneficial.

Read more from Dave here

Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR DAVE?

Ask it here. Please be as brief as possible. Attach a photo or two if it might help Dave with his response.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

##RVDT1713

Are you shopping early for holiday gifts this year?

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If you’ve been reading or watching any sort of news, you’ve probably heard that supply chain shortages may affect holiday shopping this year. There still aren’t enough cargo containers to keep up with demand, and those that are coming in are being delayed due to the pandemic.

Children’s toys may see the worst of the shortages, so if you’ve got kids or grandkids in your life, you may want to start shopping early…

This year, will you shop early for holiday gifts? Tell us in the poll below. Thanks and happy shopping!

You can do way more with leaf blowers than you think! Here are 6 other ways to use them

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If you think leaf blowers are just for blowing leaves into piles to easily pick up, you’re wrong! We originally packed our leaf blower into our RV’s basement for a work-camping job. It didn’t take long to discover many other handy ways that the leaf blower helped us as we traveled in our RV.

Here are a few ideas for more ways to use leaf blowers:

  • The leaf blower easily gets rid of small sticks, leaves, and other debris on top of the slide-outs. We use the blower each time we retract our slides. The same goes for the awning. A quick blast of the leaf blower and dust, spider webs, and more are gone! Ditto for your outside patio mat and/or toy hauler deck. A leaf blower works much easier (and quicker) than a broom.
  • Use a leaf blower to clear dust, leaves, and more from the bed of your truck. (Be sure to remove loose items first!)
  • A light covering of snow is no match for a leaf blower. Use it to clear the windshield and get on the road sooner. A leaf blower will remove that green pollen haze on your windshield, too.
  • Use the leaf blower to dry your newly washed vehicle. Start at the top and blow downward, back and forth, for no spots or streaks.
  • Parked under a tree? Use the leaf blower to clear your roof of acorns, pine needles, and other debris.
  • Can’t figure out how to sweep out your basement storage area? Remove all of the basement items and then use the leaf blower to completely remove dirt, sawdust, sand, and any other detritus from the storage bay.

Cautions

  • Always wear safety protection: earplugs, dust mask, goggles, and gloves.
  • Make sure no children or pets are nearby. The leaf blower can potentially hurt a passerby as it kicks up dust, rocks, and sticks.
  • Always let the leaf blower’s engine cool down before refueling. This will prevent gas vapors from igniting if they contact a hot engine.
  • If your leaf blower has several power settings, always choose the lowest setting possible. A powerful blower can easily damage frayed or degraded materials. Experiment first with a low-setting mode before proceeding.

##RVDT1713

Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 122

rv travel logoWelcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from RVtravel.com. The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for brand-new RVers – those in the market to buy their first RV and those who just purchased theirs. If you are an experienced RVer, this material may be too basic for you.

This newsletter is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thanks to all of you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 

If you did not get an email notifying you of this newsletter, sign up here to get one every time it is published.




DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.

Today’s Tips of the Day:
What to do about a sticky slideout
Ask Dave: Why did the lithium battery explode and flame up?

Today’s RV Preview:
Cercle Touring Bike


RVing Basics

Don’t assume there’s a dump station where you’re headed

Do not assume that a public campground where you are headed has a dump station based on what you read in a directory or other literature. Sometimes you will find it has been closed for repairs or even for good. If you show up with full holding tanks, expecting to dump on arrival, you have a problem. It’s always a good idea to seek out a location to dump before you arrive … just in case.

Use “Truck Entrance” when fueling at truck stop

When approaching a truck stop, look for the “Truck Entrance” sign. Don’t go in the “car” side if you want the truck pumps. You typically cannot drive from one side to the other without exiting the property. You may find “RV Lanes” and these usually have both gas and diesel tanks. Larger rigs may have trouble in these RV Lanes. Truck lanes may not take credit or debit cards. You usually have to pay inside. Thanks to Ron Jones at AboutRVing.com.


The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 50+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order.


Quick Tips

It’s important to know your campground location
Always know the name and location of your campground including your site number (and GPS coordinates if possible). If it’s a public campground with no street address, then know which highway it’s along and the direction of the closest city. In an emergency you may have to call for help. If you don’t know where you are, you may have a serious problem.

Reader Pat Mitchell suggests if you’re concerned about being involved in an emergency situation while away from your rig, you could do what he does. “I usually just pick up a park brochure from the campground office to leave in our truck. It’s always handy and if we are in an accident, the location of our camper and other details are right there with us.” Thanks, Pat!


“If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?”

From the editors: We asked our readers this question. Here is one response: 

“First two nights, stay close to the dealership where you bought the RV.” —Antoine Berthiaume


RV SlippersMAKES A GREAT GIFT!
A cozy gift for your favorite RVer! 

These adorable trailer-themed slippers are just what your favorite RVer needs to get them through the winter months. They’re ultra-soft, warm, and comfortable and have nonslip soles so you won’t slip and slide across your RV’s floors. They come in two sizes, S/M and L/XL, so every foot will be happy! Check ’em out here.


Random RV Thought

A flashlight is like magic – a beam of light from your hand. There are plenty of neat devices in this world but, really, how cool is it that you can hold a small cylinder in your hand and with the flip of a switch or the push of a button, it will light up the night? If you were lost in a dark forest, what would you rather have, $1,000 in your wallet or a flashlight in your hand?


RESOURCES:
• If you buy a defective RV and are unable to get it fixed or its warranty honored, here is where to turn for help.

• If you need an RV Lemon Law Lawyer, Ron Burdge is your man.

Why you should never finance an RV for 20 years!



RVtravel.com Staff

Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, Randall Brink, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, and Chris Epting. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

Honorary CorrespondentsLoyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later. 

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

CONTACT US
Editorial (all but news)
: editor@rvtravel.com
Editorial (news)
: mikegast@rvtravel.com
Advertising
: Advertising@rvtravel.com
Help desk:
 Contact us.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2021 by RV Travel LLC.

Foretravel RV recalls some motorhomes. Window adhesive could fail

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Foretravel, Inc. (Foretravel) is recalling certain 2020-2022 iH-45, Realm FS605, Realm FS450, and iC-37 motorhomes equipped with Hehr 6400 Series windows. The adhesive that bonds the vented portion of the window may fail.

Adhesive failure may cause the vent portion of the window to detach, increasing the risk of a crash or injury.

Remedy
Dealers will inspect the windows, and replace the vent if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed in October 2021. Owners may contact Foretravel customer service at 1-800-9556226.

Notes
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153).

##RVT1023

RV Daily Tips. Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Issue 1712
Welcome to another edition of RV Travel’s Daily Tips newsletter. Here you’ll find helpful RV-related and living tips from the pros, travel advice, a handy website of the day, tips on our favorite RVing-related products and, of course, a good laugh. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate you. Please tell your friends about us.

If you shop at Amazon.com we’d appreciate you using this link. We get an itty bitty commission if you buy something, but they add up and help us pay our bills (including our hard-working writers!).

Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.


Join the RV Repair Club!
Special offer: $3 for one year premium membership (reg. $65). Get a full year of streaming access on any mobile device to hundreds of premium RV how-to videos, great projects, and repair and maintenance tips from RVing experts including RVtravel.com’s Dave Solberg. Learn more or join for $3.


Today’s thought

“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” ―Isaac Asimov


Need an excuse to celebrate? Today is National Seafood Bisque Day!

On this day in history: 1789 – John Jay is sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United States.



Tip of the Day

What to do about a sticky slideout

By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.

Dear Chris,
Lately my larger slideout really moans and has a hard time retracting. Sometimes my wife and I are pulling on the slider’s walls the best we can or pushing to get it out perfectly straight. It’s scary to the point I panic on whether the slide will complete its retraction. Taking in the larger slide seems better than if we pull in the small slide first. Better weight distribution, I think. In case the slide doesn’t come in one of these days, what can we do? A manual ratchet somewhere? Should I have my mechanic adjust something or lube something? —Ken

Read Chris’ advice.

Yesterday’s tip of the day: Secret storage? You have tons of it in your RV – just open that cabinet door! 


Today’s RV review preview…

In today’s column, industry insider Tony Barthel previews the Cercle Touring Bike. He writes, “The idea, according to its inventor, was to come up with a bicycle that could also incorporate overnight accommodations.” This thing is pretty neat – check it out.

Did you read Tony’s review yesterday of the Ember RV Overland Micro Series? If you missed it, you can read it here.

For previous RV reviewsclick here.



Is this your RV?

If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific time today, October 19, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV here (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.

We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.


Ask Dave

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club

In Dave’s column Monday-Saturday he addresses a reader’s technical question with his expert advice. You’ll learn a lot!

Why did the lithium battery explode and flame up?

Dear Dave,
On a camping trip, our neighbors had a lithium battery that exploded and flamed up. I tried to put it out with my fire extinguisher. It helped, but I read later that you need to use water and special blanket, or a class D extinguisher. In your opinion, how safe are lithium batteries, and what precautions should one take with them? Thanks. —Les

Read Dave’s response.

Did you miss Dave’s column yesterday where he answered the question: What are the red specks in my water from the campground?

Safety device helps prevent RV refrigerator fires

When an RV fire traces back to the refrigerator compartment, it tends to make RVers a little uneasy. After all, the thought of your rig going up in smoke while all you’ve done is tried to keep your chitlins chilled can be a real nightmare-producer. Enter Fridge Defend, billed as “A new pinnacle of development for an RV refrigerator safety,” with an updated refrigerator safety control. Learn more.

Yesterday’s featured article: Avoid smacking low bridges with this new 2022 road atlas


Reader poll

Do you bite your nails?

Chomp, chomp. Tell us here.


Quick Tip

Storing big cooking pots

If you occasionally need a large pot (such as a Dutch oven or stock pot), store it in one of the outside compartments, underneath. Typically, there isn’t room inside to conveniently store large pots, but you do need one on occasion. Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.



Website of the day

RV hacks on YouTube
This isn’t so much a website… but have you ever searched “RV hacks” on YouTube? Well, if you do, this is the page that comes up. You’ll learn A LOT of neat stuff in these videos.


And the Survey Says…

We’ve polled RVtravel.com readers more than 1,500 times in recent years. Here are a few things we’ve learned about them:

• 14 percent of our readers are just getting started RVing and know very little about general RV knowledge.
• At the time of the survey, 32 percent were currently in their RV (64 percent were in a sticks and bricks home).
• 20 percent have had to walk at least one mile for help after a vehicle breakdown, and 13 percent have had to walk more than one mile! Yikes!

Recent poll: If Jeff Bezos invited you to ride on his next trip into space, would you accept?


Recipe of the Day

Game Day Fire Cracker Shrimp
by Carol White from Fort Lauderdale, FL

These fried shrimp are BIG on flavor! Frying them in coconut oil adds a hint of sweetness to these light and crispy shrimp. Tossing the shrimp in a sweet chili sauce gives them a kick of spicy and sweet flavor. An easy game day snack for your next football party.

We’re going to have to try these – they sound delicious! Get the recipe.

See yesterday’s recipe: Crunchy Smoky Pork Chops


Trivia

Today, “freelancer” refers to a person who works on their own terms and completes contract work for one, or multiple, companies. The original freelancers weren’t writers, though. In the early 1800s, the term referred to medieval mercenaries, “free lances.” They were soldiers free of commitment to a particular country and instead worked for whoever offered the best pay.

*What kind of vehicle do we have to thank for our paved roads? Yesterday’s trivia answers that question!


????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
We can’t stop giggling. If you own a dog, there’s no way you won’t giggle at this too.


Readers’ Pet of the Day

“Maggie Mae was our 17-year-old Blue Point Mitted Ragdoll who enjoyed traveling over 10K miles with us in our motorhome. She was definitely the queen of the coach. Unfortunately, on a trip to the Oregon Coast in 2019, she became ill and crossed the Rainbow Bridge when we returned home. Fast forward to 2021 and we now have a new travel companion and bundle of joy, Bella Mae, who has stolen our hearts. We picked Bella up from a private Ragdoll breeder in San Diego and are looking forward to many more happy miles with our new bundle of energy and joy!” —Gregory & Carol Brott

Send us a photo of your pet with a short description. We publish one each weekday in RV Daily Tips and in our Saturday RV Travel newsletter. No blurry photos, please! Please do not submit your photo more than once. Thanks!

Here’s everything to do if you lose your pet. This is an excellent resource


Leave here with a laugh

Last week I was approached by a wizard who needed help with some writing. He wanted me to proofread one of his scrolls. Actually, it was more of a spell check…


Did you miss the latest RV Travel Newsletter? If so, read it here.
Oh, and if you missed the latest Sunday News for RVers, make sure to catch up here.


Become a Member!

This newsletter is brought to you Monday through Friday by RVtravel.com and is funded primarily through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you! IF YOU APPRECIATE THIS NEWSLETTER and others from RVtravel.com, will you please consider pledging your support?  Learn more or contribute.


Join us: FacebookTwitterYouTube



RVtravel.com Staff

Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, Randall Brink, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, and Chris Epting. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later. 

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

CONTACT US
Editorial (all but news)
: editor@rvtravel.com
Editorial (news)
: mikegast@rvtravel.com
Advertising
: Advertising@rvtravel.com
Help desk:
 Contact us.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2021 by RV Travel LLC.

RV Preview: Innovative Cercle Touring Bike

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I am currently on a road trip to revisit some of the sights I feel I’ve missed along Route 66 in Arizona and New Mexico, primarily. It also puts me in a part of the country where winterization isn’t likely to be in anybody’s plans. 

But what has surprised me is how many people I’ve run into who are riding bicycles across the country. Quite literally. One gentleman I spoke with started in Maine and won’t finish his ride until he hits California. And he wasn’t the only one. I ran into people going along the southern U.S. and people doing circles starting from Colorado and other places and doing big round tours. 

Cercle Touring Bike is an RV?

So when I revisited some saved emails, I realized that the Cercle Touring Bike concept that Chuck Woodbury sent me a while back actually might make for a great RV review. I’m sure there are some of us who might actually be interested in getting one, but more of us are going to enjoy reading this from in front of our electric fireplaces in our theater seats. 

Something for everybody, eh?

Is it an RV?

First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room. Is this really an RV? Or would it be if you could buy one at your local bicycle shop? Well, perhaps. 

The Cercle bike starts as a two-wheeler that almost takes on the appearance of an old Penny-Farthing bicycle. There’s a huge “hoop” in the middle with a wheel at either side. 

Halfway down the back of the “hoop” is the bicycle seat and up in the middle are handlebars. Like you, I was curious how in the wide, wide world of sports those handlebars controlled that front wheel. But, apparently, inventor Bernard Sobotta from Austria’s FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences has figured that out by using cables in the frame to control that front wheel. 

The idea, according to its inventor, was to come up with a bicycle that could also incorporate overnight accommodations. 

But wait, there’s more…

Within that circle is a 7.7-pound folding module he refers to as the CampingCompanion. 

While the bike is on the road, that module folds flat in line with the rest of the frame. When it’s time for a rest you just drop down the two-legged kickstand and start the transformation. 

That CampingCompanion can fold out to become a chair with a table in front. As the day grows later, it can be folded completely flat to provide a bed. 

In the various compartments on the bike the rider can store an inflatable mattress, which gets inflated courtesy of one’s own hot air. 

The Cercle bike can even stow a tent along with the rest of your gear

Recent illustrations of this entire contraption even show a tent that you can stow to provide shelter. While some of you will read this and think, “no way is all this happening,” I have to tell you several of the cross-country bicyclists I encountered on this trip did, indeed, have tents, sleeping bags and even cooking provisions stuffed into various pouches and compartments hung from the sides of their bicycles. 

Bernhard is presently on an internship with German bike builder Portus Cycles, where he hopes to learn new skills which will go into the creation of two second-generation Cercle prototypes. Plans call for him and his friend Liam Cornwell to then take those bikes on a round-the-world tour, beginning next May. 

Ultimately, he’d like to open a small factory where several Cercle bikes per year are hand-built to clients’ specifications.

Follow the Cercle Touring Bike process

You can follow the process of this innovative two-wheeler via Instagram at @cercle_the_world or on Facebook and YouTube under the name “Cercle the World.” 

Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

##RVDT1712

Ask Dave: Why did the lithium battery explode and flame up?

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Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the “RV Handbook” and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries

Dear Dave,
On a camping trip, our neighbors had a lithium battery that exploded and flamed up. I tried to put it out with my fire extinguisher. It helped, but I read later that you need to use water and special blanket, or a class D extinguisher. In your opinion, how safe are lithium batteries, and what precautions should one take with them? Thanks. —Les

Dear Les,
There are several aspects to your questions, which are great. Hopefully, nobody got hurt.

First, I think it is imperative for every RVer to educate themselves on fire safety. I helped produce the RV Safety and Education Foundation’s 9-course safety program several years ago. We did extensive research with Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy. Mac is the leading expert on RV Fire Safety and used to conduct seminars at rallies and conventions. He was also a contributing writer for several organizations, including RVtravel.com.

We shot several videos, and one of the critical ones was knowing how to use your onboard fire extinguisher.

For years, the fire extinguisher by code has been the 10 BC-rated extinguisher. It will only be effective in 10 square feet and only cover a B- or C-type fire. This means it is not effective on an A-type fire. That is anything that can leave an ash, such as wood, carpet, fiberglass and more. That is the majority of most RVs! Hopefully this has changed recently, but 10 square feet is a small space to be effective!

Types of fires

Class A – Trash, wood, paper, or anything that will leave an ash

Class B – Liquids such as motor fuels or propane

Class C – Electrical equipment

Class D – Combustible metal

If your rig had a 10BC fire extinguisher, it would be effective on the electrical part of the equation, but not on the Class A, which would have been the battery cases, compartment liner, sidewall material and others.

A Class D fire is defined as a combustible metal such as magnesium, aluminum, and even lithium.

I do think the fire blanket is a good choice and you can find them at Amazon.

I suggest RVers purchase a larger rated unit that covers A, B, & C class fires. In fact, I suggest you get several extinguishers. Have one inside the rig, one in the bedroom, one in storage, and another in a tow or towed vehicle. This is not to scare people, and I’ll get a ton of comments that it’s overkill and not necessary. However, it only takes once, as you have experienced. Then learn how to use the extinguishers and remember where they are located.

High quality lithium

Now, to the second part of the equation: Why did it happen and what can be done to prevent or reduce the chances of it happening?

I am not that familiar with lithium technology, so I contacted my source at Expion 360. I have worked extensively with Zamp Solar. The founder, John Zamp, sold the company (now Dometic) and started Expion 360. Here is what I have learned.

Without having information on the type/brand of battery involved in the issue, the charging system, and the type of installation, it’s impossible to determine what caused the failure. Plus, was it a gradual overheat situation that actually started some other material close to the battery, connections, or charger on fire? Lithium battery fires are fairly uncommon, so it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause without having more information.

However, what research they do have with cheaper batteries over the years is overcharging and incorrectly fused components on inexpensive batteries causing failures.

As with anything, you can always go cheaper. If the public doesn’t know the difference, they will buy on price. This is so huge in the RV industry. The higher-priced lithium batteries utilize UL-rated steel casted cells and a battery management system.

Upgrading to lithium batteries

Mike Sokol has great articles about upgrading batteries and how you can’t just drop a new set of lithium batteries in your unit without making sure your charging system is compatible. As I’ve written several times, the conventional charger with your distribution center, called a converter, sense the batteries are low and just ramps up a 13.6-volt charge until the batteries reach 12.6 and then drops off to 13.2 volts. A multistage charger such as an inverter, solar panel with charge controller, or Progressive Dynamics charge wizard will do the multistage charge. They are not compatible with the lithium battery charge protocal and could overcharge if not set up correctly.

As a final note, the Expion battery has a battery management system that will sense extreme overcharging and discharging as well as temperatures to reduce the potential of such a disaster. I would suggest checking them out here: expion360.com/pages/rv

Major points: Get good batteries, make sure they are compatible with your charging system, get the right fire safety equipment for your needs, and understand how to use it.

I applaud you for the assistance and request for more information! Thanks!

Read more from Dave here

Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR DAVE?

Ask it here. Please be as brief as possible. Attach a photo or two if it might help Dave with his response.

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Do you bite your nails?

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If you bite your nails, you aren’t alone. It’s said that about 20-30 percent of the U.S. population are nail biters, and up to 50 percent of all teenagers are too. That’s a lot of nail chompers out there!

Are you one of those people that always bite their nails? From anxiety? Boredom? Hunger? Do you bite them sometimes? Never? Please tell us in the poll below.

If you broke your nail-biting habit, please tell us how in the comments – you may help some fellow readers (and staff members) out. Thanks!

What to do about a sticky slideout

By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader about a sticky slideout while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.

Dear Chris,
Lately my larger slideout really moans and has a hard time retracting. Sometimes my wife and I are pulling on the slider’s walls the best we can or pushing to get it out perfectly straight. It’s scary to the point I panic on whether the slide will complete its retraction. Taking in the larger slide seems better than if we pull in the small slide first. Better weight distribution, I think. In case the slide doesn’t come in one of these days, what can we do? A manual ratchet somewhere? Should I have my mechanic adjust something or lube something? —Ken

Dear Ken,
In your particular case, the issue you’re experiencing with a sticky slideout is probably from one or more of three things. First, you probably have what is called a rack and pinion slideout system with the gears and slide rails underneath the room. Since the room is going in and out cockeyed, I would think that either a shear bolt has snapped in the bar crossing between the two sides, or a weld has broken in the same area on the rack.

Another thing is the slide mechanism could be in need of adjustment and lubrication. Lastly, it may be possible that something is jamming the room, most likely from underneath. It can be something as simple as a shoe or pet toy, a broken slide roller, or swollen wood from a leak. In these cases, it may be best to have a technician have a look.

Some slide mechanisms have an easy way to ratchet them in. Others have a small switch on the motor that unlocks the gears and allows the room to be slid in manually. You need to reference the owner’s packet for your coach to see what you have. If there’s nothing there, go to the slideout motor and look for identification there. Once you have the make, model and serial number (if there is one) from it, you can go online to look up the company and get in touch with them directly. Some companies like Lippert Components and Power Gear have a lot of their technical manuals available online.

Related:

What to do about squeaky slideouts

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Artificial Intelligence might approve your next RV loan

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If you’ve purchased any sort of vehicle at a dealership in your lifetime, you’ve likely found yourself cooling your heels in a tiny office while the salesperson disappears for a “quick meeting” with the dealership’s sales manager.

That “good cop/bad cop” sales dance might soon go by the wayside thanks to artificial intelligence.

RV Depot, a Texas-based, family-owned RV dealership that sells new and used RVs in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and Cleburne areas, recently inked a deal with a company called Scienaptic to use software powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that could transform the way RV loans are approved.

“By employing Scienaptic’s platform, RV Depot is positioned to offer enhanced, automated credit decisions to help increase credit availability for its customers,” Scienaptic said in a recent release.

In theory, artificial intelligence would allow an RV dealer to enter the pertinent information on a loan applicant and have an approval (or denial) of their loan back in seconds instead of the long, long wait to which many RV buyers have grown accustomed.

“We’re delighted to partner with Scienaptic to provide our customers with instant credit decisions and transform in-house financing. Scienaptic’s platform will automate our underwriting process and help us continue to stay true to our philosophy of saying ‘yes,’ when others say ‘no,’” said Steve Greig, chief executive officer of RV Depot.

“We are very pleased to help RV Depot support the financing needs of its customers,” said Pankaj Jain, president of Scienaptic. “Our technology will make their underwriting process more efficient, allowing them to grow their client base and better serve them while reducing risk. We look forward to enabling RV Depot say ‘yes’ to more customers.”

To find out more about Scienaptic’s new loan approval platform, click here.

##RVT1023

Road & Home adds consumer electronics to its product lineup

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Road & Home is a sponsor of RVtravel.com. The following is an edited, condensed press release from the company. We received no payment or other benefits for posting it.

Cranbury, NJ (October 13, 2021) – Road & Home has announced new consumer electronics to its product line designed for the mobile home and RV industries.

The company’s catalog of products includes such items as hardware, lock sets, faucets, RV hookups, and more, all of which can be found on its website. Visitors will also find the beneficial “Ready for the Road” checklist and customer blogs that offer tips and suggestions such as “Road and Home Summer Safety Ideas for Your RV” and “Tips for Proper Waste Management.”

New additions to the Road & Home catalog include the consumer electronics that make life on the road even more fun. For example, the Road & Home Amplified Digital HDTV Antenna (Retail Price: $35.99) is a thin indoor TV antenna that receives local HD and digital TV broadcasts. It receives reception from 40 miles away and even boosts weak signals, allowing for a broader reception range. Easy to set up, the antenna comes equipped with everything needed for operation. Another customer favorite, the Camera Dash 1080P with Video Recorder (Retail price: $35.99), gets rave reviews for its crystal-clear high resolution quality. The 90-degree ultra-wide-angle lens attaches to the dashboard and provides a larger viewing angle with a built-in G-sensor, microphone and speaker.

For a complete line of Road & Home products and more, visit RoadandHome.com.