Welcome 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.
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July 22, 2020
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DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.
What is a “diesel pusher?”
A diesel-powered motorhome is one with a rear engine, the standard setup on virtually all diesel-powered motorhomes, although front-engine diesel chassis are also available, mostly the shorter Mercedes Sprinter chassis. Most gasoline engines, on the other hand, are in the front of the motor coach.
What is a “bumper puller?”
It’s a slang term for a travel trailer, also known as a “bumper pull.” These can be pulled with a common trailer ball hitch – for some lightweight trailers with the ball mounted on the bumper of a car or truck, while heavier trailers require a tow ball mounted on a hitch system, bolted or welded to the vehicle frame. Contrast these trailers to “fifth wheel” trailers, which require a special hitch mounted in a pickup truck bed
What are the biggest RV manufacturers?
The big three, which control about 80 percent of the market, are Thor, Forest River and Winnebago. About 80-85 percent of all RVs are made in Elkhart County, Indiana.
Watch where you point your vents!
Got “pointable” air conditioning vents in your RV? Be careful how you point them! If you accidentally aim them at your thermostat, you may find the a/c system cycling erratically. The same is true for heater vents blasting at the thermostat.
Size does matter
Is your vehicle licensed properly for its size? Some jurisdictions will move you from personal class to commercial class simply because of your licensed GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). Be sure this doesn’t happen to you as the rules change significantly. Being classed commercial may limit your hours of driving, keeping log books, having restricted routes, need to carry specific equipment, etc. —Thanks to George Bliss
While we’re on this topic …
Are you licensed properly?
In many jurisdictions, if you only possess a regular driver’s license you are not allowed to pull a trailer over 10,000 lbs. (4600 kg). If you’re not licensed properly, and in the event of a claim, your insurance company could deny you coverage. You could as well be ticketed or shut down on the side of the highway. Don’t put yourself in a position that will cause you grief. If you’re not sure, check with the licensing standards department of your state/province. Our thanks, again, to George Bliss
Make sure your pet is comfortable when traveling
Introducing Rover or Fluffy to RV travel? Make sure they have a comfortable bed for traveling. If you’re headed for cold or damp country with an older pet, consider springing for a heated pet bed. Whatever you choose, let your pal get used to it at home before traveling.
Don’t let your tire pressure get low
Tire load ratings are great – provided you keep the tire at the recommended inflation rate. If the tire pressure is low, forget the weight ratings – you’re playing with fire in the form of excessive tire heat that can blow your tire in flight.
We welcome your Quick Tips: Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople
SLED: Reference is quite often given to a customer’s old trade-in coach which is usually “beat up” and worth little or nothing.
Another one next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.
If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?
From the editors: We asked our readers this question recently. Here is one response:
“I would say they should do their research and take their time looking. Don’t buy on impulse. Don’t get hypnotized by glam, glitz, and floor plan. The internet is a great resource, all the information is there.” — Marty Chambers (more from Marty tomorrow)
The best book on RV electricity!
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
Random RV Thought
If you want to be absolutely sure that an RV park where you plan to spend the night has a space available, call and/or make a reservation, even in the off-season. You never know if there’s a special event in the area that might have the park booked solid.
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• 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!
Read previous issues of Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletters here.
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.
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.
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I recommend that you check with your state DMV on license requirements. Wisconsin does not require RV drivers to have a CDL unless the unit (trailer or motor home) is over 45 foot long. There is not a weight limit as long as it is not a commercial vehicle.
Re: Random RV Thought -Please! If you make a reservation please honor it – or cancel it so someone else can have that spot. In all the campgrounds visited this summer which take reservations typically only ~30% of sites are actually utilized. There are “Reserved” signs on sites – usually with check-in/checkout dates – but we found many un-occupied on the check-in date, as well as on the AM of the next day. Some with multiple days reserved remain empty the entire time!
Meanwhile – we witness many people cruising through looking for an empty, un-reserved spot.
Talking with Rangers & campground hosts they too have noticed that many reservations are left empty. Seems that many with $$ do not care if they make it or not. Reservations are made well in advance – and paid for. If they cannot make it – they don’t care about losing the cost of a few nites. But if only they canceled what they could not take then it opens up many sites for those hoping for FF avail.
I agree wholeheartedly. We saw a lot of campsite revervations unused. The campgrounds need a no show by a certain time you loose policy.
I’d add back road driving etiquette to Thom’s campground etiquette suggestion.
Just a thought, but a piece or two on campground etiquette might be helpful for those of us new to RV life. No one wants to be “that guy” on the campground.
What kind of air compressor do you recommend? Brands?
You should consider the amount of pressure you’re adding to a tire. There are tankless and tank type air compressors. As to the tank type, if your tire takes 85 psi, and your compressor shuts off automatically at 100 psi, here’s the protocol. Air up the compressor, put 3 or 4 lbs of air in your tire. Release air from your compressor tank. Let the compressor top up to 100 psi. Add 3 or 4 lbs or air to your tire. Repeat again and again and again. An air compressor that tops out at 100 psi is great for car tires but for your truck and/or trailer tires that take much higher pressures, get a compressor that tops out at least 120 psi. The higher rated compressors will cost just a few dollars more but will save you a lot of aggravation. As to tankless ie: 12volt compressors I have had no luck with these at all. Some are “rated” to 250 psi but I found them to be totally useless.
Viair. Carried a 74P with 65 psi LR D tires. Upgraded to a 300P-RVS with 80 psi Load range E tires.