RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 1227

27

Friday, December 6, 2019
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 will do some of your holiday shopping at Amazon, please consider doing so through our affiliate program. The modest commissions from your purchases help us pay our bills (and you don’t pay any extra). Click here to browse or shop.



Today’s thought

“Have you ever noticed how ‘What the hell?’ is always the right decision to make?” ―Terry Johnson

Need an excuse to celebrate? Today is National Microwave Oven Day!



Tip of the Day

One experienced RVer’s advice on new vs. used motorhomes

From Bill Myers: Since getting started with motor-homing twenty five years ago, I’ve bought two brand-new motorhomes, and more than a dozen used ones. I bought the new ones because at the time, I didn’t know any better and thought buying new was the safest way to go. I was wrong. I learned that when buying new, you can have just as many problems as when buying used.

I also learned that when buying new, if you finance the purchase, you’ll likely be “upside down” on the resale value of the motorhome versus what you owe on it – often for most of the term of the loan. This makes it difficult and expensive if you want to sell or trade it in.

Buying a new motorhome should be a joyous occasion. And sometimes it is. But often, the joy disappears when you discover defects in workmanship, handling issues and costly repairs not covered by warranty. Even though the new motorhomes I purchased didn’t give me the long-term joy I’d hoped for, I’m grateful to have gone through the process.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned from the experience was how easy dealers make it to buy a new motorhome – as long as you have good credit. That said, many buyers of new motorhomes are delighted with the experience and are happy with what they paid and the quality of the motorhome they purchased. Most will have purchased a quality brand of motorhome from a reputable dealer that provides better than average before-and-after-the-sale support.

My advice: Don’t rush into the purchase of a new motorhome. Dealers know you’ll be in awe when you first walk into a new motorhome. They also know if they can get you to “sign on the dotted line” before you have time to go home and think about the purchase, it’ll be an easy sale. Again, be a reluctant buyer. Never purchase on the first visit. Do your research and if you do decide to buy, be a tough negotiator.

From Buying a Used Motorhome – How to get the most for your money and not get burned   Available on Amazon.com.

Do you have a tip? Submit it here.


Mystery of the smoking shore power connection

When Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor, he received a question from a reader regarding a smoking power plug. The reader had been watching his ammeters closely to make sure he wasn’t exceeding the electrical usage limit, but even below the maximum allowable usage the power plug outside was smoking and melting. Chris explains the probable cause.


Hanging out with mops and brooms
RV Travel Newsletter Issue 912Most RVs aren’t equipped with broom closets. Got a basement storage compartment long or wide enough to stick those long-handled tools? Stick ’em up to the ceiling by attaching spring-loaded broom clips to the lid of the compartment. Here’s the ever-RV-popular Command Strips version.


You may have missed these recent popular stories…


Reader poll


Clean your microwave with no hassle! 
RV Travel Newsletter Issue 910Is it hard to scrub off all that crusty gunk in your microwave? Admit it, when was the last time you cleaned it? Angry Mama, the miracle microwave cleaner, is here to do the dirty job for you! Add water and vinegar (maybe some lemon too) to this feisty lady and watch her steam away the mess. Within minutes your microwave will be sparkling! Click the image to watch video. Be right back, we’re buying one here!


Helpful resources

NATIONAL TRAFFIC AND ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION.
ROAD AND TRAFFIC CONDITIONS ACROSS THE NATION.
WEATHER ALERTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.
CURRENT WILDFIRE REPORT.
LATEST RV RECALLS.


Quick Tip

How to tell if the black tank is almost full

Just before the black tank gets to the full stage, the toilet will start to sound a little different and a small burp or bubble of air will happen. This means the waste level is above the vent pipe and it’s time to dump! Thanks to Ray Burr at RV Happy Hour.


Random RV Thought

Always keep your motorhome or tow vehicle’s fuel and propane tank filled up in case you need to rush out of town in an emergency.


Great product, Brite Wash, promises effective RV cleaningClick here to learn more.


Website of the day

Etsy
“Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods.” How about using this to make money from your RV? Or to shop for some terrific and unique items (perfect for the holidays!) – or browse through on a rainy day.


Clubs and useful organizations
PLEASE NOTE: We may receive an affiliate commission if you join any of these.

• Harvest Hosts: Stay free at farms, wineries and other scenic and peaceful locations for free. Save 15% on membership.
AllStays: The best website for RVers! Your membership will become your RV-bible.
Overnight RV parking. Directory of more than 14,000 locations where you can stay for free or nearly free with your RV. Modest membership fee.
Boondockers Welcome. Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Modest membership fee.
Escapees. Best Club for RVers: All RVers welcome, no matter what type of RV, make or model.
No-park Walmarts. Best directory of stores that do not allow overnight stays with RVs.


Camco vent insulator keeps you cool!RV Travel Newsletter Issue 909
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order here.


Trivia

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $310 million on pet costumes last Halloween.


Leave here with a laugh

Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com
Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com
. UPDATED HOURLY!


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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.


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RV Daily Tips Staff

Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editor: Diane McGovern. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

This website utilizes some advertising services. 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.

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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27 Comments
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Eric
7 months ago

I don’t think I’ve replaced a headlight at all in 25 or 30 years, just a couple of brake lights. We had the last vehicle for 14 years.

DW/ND
7 months ago

Interesting Pole on headlites. I have changed the right outside (low beam) sealed beam on our 1994 Class A twice in 10 years. That lite get moisture inside the sealed beam! How does that happen? The connectors are sealed into the glass! The current lite has moisture beads now! The other three lamps – no problem! So, where does the moisture come from? Anyone have an answer? Thanks.

TravelingMan
8 months ago

“Quick Tip
How to tell if the black tank is almost full”

For those that are new to RVing…

Factory installed tank sensors are wholly inaccurate. Previous polls on this site also substantiate this information. Deposits of paper and “other” things get stuck on the sensors. A perfectly empty tank can still read full as a result. Some folks have tried other methods such as dish washing soap, ice, hot water, and other methods that may work with mixed results.

There is another way to know your tank is full or close to it besides using sensors or sound. “Sound” is also a good indicator but in addition to that method, the closer to full, the more it smells (even if you use chemicals). You’ll want to dump for sure when you can’t take the smell any longer.

“Splash Back” is another indicator. Air will get trapped and when you flush, it bubbles back before it goes down.

If the three fail to warn you of impending doom (sensor, sound, smell), you’ll probably get to see a brown liquid coming out at the base of the stool at the floor flange. From there, it will ooze on the floor or into the basement. At that point, you certainly can’t miss it.

There are external sensors that tend to do better than the internal sensors. You can purchase them after-market and use the wires directly from the internal mounted sensors.

We are full-timers. Our black tank is 52 gallons. Without being conservative, we can average about two weeks for 2 persons. Sometimes 3 weeks if we are a little more conservative before we require dumping. Maybe this will help you gauge when a dump may be pending (no pun intended) 🙂

TravelingMan
8 months ago
Reply to  TravelingMan

Also…This is very important….Try NOT to dump your black tank unless completely full. And try to make sure your gray tank is also pretty full. You will want to flush the black first. With it full, you will get a better flush of the product in the tank. For us, if I have a water connection, I will connect the water to the black tank and perform a second full flush. Check the GPM rate of the water dispensing source using a 5 gallon bucket. Turn the water hose on full open and start to fill the 5-gallon bucket. At the same time, use a stop watch (usually an app on your cell phone) and time how long it takes to fill the 5-gallon bucket. Take the time recording and divide by 5. That will give you the GPM rate. Then, figure your tank size and divide by the GPM rate. From there, you can tell how long it takes to fill your black tank back up. This method also works with your potable water as well. You’ll know when to shut the water off without having to go inside and watch (although a backup person is not a bad idea just in case). You will want the gray tank as a final rinse of the sewer hose when you complete the black tank.

KellyR
8 months ago

The only time I can remember changing a headlight was actually changing a headlight on my 1963, 6 volt, VW Westfalia camper. Both went out at the same time while crossing the Mississippi near New Orleans. That would have been 45 or 50 years ago.

Gary Reed
8 months ago

We use the propane on the water heater. the ac I do not use the electric on the hot water heater. We use the

Drew
8 months ago

I’m not getting it. The man bought at least 14 rv’s over 25 years. Out of those 2 were new and a dozen or so were used and he suggests the used ones might have been a better way to go.

Carl
8 months ago

I answered the Reader poll “May have done it a few times” because, when replacing a burnt out one with an LED light, and the other good light is an older incandescent light, I change both! Otherwise I only change one.
I dislike seeing an oncoming car with different types of light!

Gene Bjerke
8 months ago

The best way to buy an RV is an issue we see on these pages frequently. For whatever it’s worth I am adding my (probably overpriced) two cents worth. According to all the good advice (other than renting one first to see if we liked it) we went about it all wrong. We went for a Roadtrek Class B based on liking a friend’s vehicle. We went through two used rigs in the first two years, basically getting our feet properly wet. Then we went to a dealer in Florida and traded in on a new Roadtrek right off the lot. I wanted that model because I decided I wanted diesel. That was 2010, and I am sure I will never get the rig paid off.
That said, I am basically happy. I think I was lucky rather than smart. First off, Roadtrek has always been a well-respected brand (sorry about their recent problems, but they seem to be back on track). We bought the new one from a dealer that was recommended by the manufacturer (we live in Virginia, so we went out of our way to use them). I periodically check the Blue Book on my model and year and so far it should fetch more than the balance on the loan. Meanwhile, we have had basically good service from the machine. After nine years (and about 124,000 miles) we have it set up to our likes and preferences and would not sell or trade it for anything. Our only regret is that we can’t spend as much time on the road as we would like, but not because of any problem with the rig.
So I guess the bottom line is: if you are not all that smart, it helps a lot to be lucky.

Joe
8 months ago

Before plugging into the power pedestal I use a light coating of contact grease on my shore power plug. It makes it slide in easy and helps to make a better electrical connection. Before storing the cord I clean the contacts off so the left over grease does not attract dirt. I also keep a can of contact cleaner on hand and will also spray the female receptacle slots to help clean them up, just make sure the power is off and you check it with a meter first.

Steve - Alaska
8 months ago

We have owned several slide in campers, one class C, and two new fifth wheelers! This year we purchased a used class A diesel pusher. The new 5vers, purchased locally, each had small issues that the dealer fixed with no hassles! The “A” was our first and my wife and I are in love with it. We were going to take a 3 month journey across the lower 48, but first I took it to the Cummins dealer in Coberg Ore to get it serviced. Make a long story short, it cost us $30K to get it road worthy! I was ready to spend some cash on it, but this rolled us over the cliff and so we did not get to make it through the lower 48, and wondered if it would even get us back home to Alaska! It did and we had a wonderful month long trip home through Canada.

Yes, I know, shoulda done more home work on the rig, and I bought it with my heart, not my head! That said, my wife and I are absolutely in love with the coach and are slowly bringing it back to life! Buying new would have subjected us to a lot of unknowns and fixing this rig up means we can do what we want, when we want!

I turn 73 in a couple months and plan on driving this one until I can’t! And the wife and I are not afraid to take this one anywhere we want, including up in the HooDoo Mountains to ride our Polaris RZR with friends. Not sure I would want to subject a new class A to that kind of driving and camping!!

New is nice, but used and fixed is satisfying!!

Harry
8 months ago

We purchased a new rv this year, just over $100,000, not a half million $ Coach, traveled for 5 months and 5,000 miles with a toad, never had to go to any dealer for any kind of repairs, no breakdowns, everything worked, refer, ac, furnace, solar, generator, Truma hot water, shower, awning, etc.
Sure, a few screws came loose, easy fix but no horror stories. Good new ones are being built!

Snayte
8 months ago
Reply to  Harry

Which brand did you buy?

Alvin
8 months ago
Reply to  Harry

Harry you are lucky. Not many folks have such a story to tell. Not to second guess your story one bit not at all, but from the perspective of a guy who spend over four decades in an automobile dealer environment, I can tell you that after a sale few people went away and we never seen them again, at least from a warranty perspective. The vast majority went home and picked the vehicle apart and were shortly at the service mall with their list. In the days of the carburetor, gas mileage was the top complaint, which very seldom we could help them with.
I bought new 2 years ago, the current Forest River product replacing the piece of junk I bought (duh yup they reeled me in too) from the big guy in the game, who got it back with all 42 faults, seven of which were safety related.

The current rig we paid (cash – buying an RV on credit to me is nuts) “just over 100,000” for to, and we’re basically quite happy. There were some small things wrong with it initially which I repaired. The real bummer was having to replace the Michelins (with 18,000 miles on them) while 1000 miles away from home this summer past. I have still to work out something on that matter with the company. Other than refitting the entrance door, which was touching the body in the upper left region I have been happy as a kid with a new toy. All systems work as they should and the rig is a joy to drive.

As for that FORD v-10 powertrain, you can’t beat it – that coming from an old GM man (who has owned dozens of General Motors vehicles) is compliment supreme.

M. Will
8 months ago
Reply to  Harry

Am glad that you have had such a great experience with your motorhome. Its to bad more people can’t honestly say the same!!

Bill
8 months ago

When replacing headlight lamps, I always replace both. I save the good one and when one of the new ones burns out I install the used one I saved. Then when one of them needs replacement, I buy 2 new ones and continue as before. Don’t have to buy new ones as often.

tom
8 months ago

Keeping the RV ready to go on a moments notice is very important down here in hurricane country. We do have good general warnings, but to hesitate is foolish. You would end up competing with the other unprepared for needed fuel and supplies.
I would believe this ready-to-go attitude is also important in fire country and other natural disaster prone areas.
Tell other family members out of the strike area where you are going and have a means of communications that will work. Shameless plug for amateur radio.

Danny Wells
8 months ago

I’ve been driving since 1956 and can’t remember when the last time I’ve had to replace a head light. My guess is I haven’t had to replace a light since the mid 70’s

Sink Jaxon
8 months ago
Reply to  Danny Wells

HA! good comment, I started driving in 1975 and I vaguely remember replacing one in the 80’s once. But I did work at a GULF service station and remember replacing a few while employed there.

Alvin
8 months ago
Reply to  Danny Wells

I’ve replaced a few headlights as a GM tech, but driving since 1965 I can count on one hand the number I’ve replaced on the many vehicles I have owned. Headlights (more specifically the bulb which is what I believe we are talking about here) are one thing the industry has improved on over the years to the point they’re pretty well bullet proof.

Wolfe
8 months ago
Reply to  Alvin

Whaaaaaat??? I’ve changed headlights 5X on my current car… every couple years is typical on every vehicle ive owned. My truck has “extreme rough duty” bulbs and has gone 3 years so far…

Susan
8 months ago

You can end up upside down on a used RV as well. We are “kicking tires” now and the rates/terms of the financing are as tricky as new. A 20 year loan for people in their 60/70’s? When buying used one runs the risk of purchasing a rig that has never been properly maintained. Without service records you have no idea what has been done or if there were any problems. Two rigs we looked at both had open safety recalls (not recent). It’s a crapshoot new or used. And if no one buys new there won’t be any used untis to buy. Bottom line – buyer beware and be educated!

Bob p
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan

There will always be used RVs as there are some people who always buy the newest or best new thing to come out. They wouldn’t lower their status symbol to buy USED.

Bill T.
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Absolutely. You have to do your homework first. Thanks for the mention of service records. I would like to think that most folks who have had the RV for a while have maintained it to the best of their ability and have records for recalls and heavy maintenance work. However, a lot don’t and are most likely are selling the rig because they are in debt and can no longer afford it, or it’s a piece of junk and they are trying to offload it. From the above article “One Experienced RVer Advice” I would like to add a comment about not being afraid to buy new. With proper research and financial planning, buying a new rig and having it paid for in less than 10 years can be great. This is what we have done and its good to know we are the only ones to have slept in the bed and know it’s history so we don’t inherit someone else’s junk. This is just my opinion and thank you for mentioning about the fact that folks can be “upside down” on used rigs as well. Buying new is okay and nothing to be feared, regardless of what some might say.

Gray
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan

How about insisting on service records from the seller of a used RV? No records, no sale. Follow that up with a few hundred dollars to hire a complete inspection by a qualified mechanic/technician before buying that final candidate. Why go blindly into a purchase? Even a used RV, if it’s a late model, quality unit, is costly enough to demand due caution and prudence. After all, this should be a long-term _investment_, right? (Even though I’d argue that NO vehicle is an investment. It’s more of a splurge for personal enjoyment.)

Alvin
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Susan good luck in your search. Let me weigh in. If you read my comments you know I worked continuously in the automobile biz for over four decades. this experience for those like me who use this life as a learning journey, is one of immense value.

My thought on new/pre-owned.

There’s lemons in both, and one can cost as much as the other. I have known people to “invest” (vehicles are rarely investments) surreal money repairing junk they bought, unknowingly – money they will never recover.

Believe me when I say, if the neighbour has a motorhome, truck, car whatever, he or she has taken superb care of that vehicle will not leave the neighbourhood, there will be a line-up to buy it. Those cream puffs rarely get to the dealer. The biggest difference from a dealer perspective in new and pre-owned (used) is this. The pre-owned will be dressed up to fool the eye, the mind, and the wallet to reel you in – the new one will be sold on a hope and a prayer that all the folks on the line got all the screws, bolts, clips and thousands of other parts that make your rig whole in the right place and at the right torque. You will be the test bed in both instances. One will cost you a fortune up front the other may as well.
Good Luck, and don’t to forget to check the date code on the tires and……..

Susan
8 months ago
Reply to  Alvin

Ha ha! Looked at a brand new 2019 Newmar Ventana LE with 3 year old tires on it! Makes you wonder… 😉