RV service tips

Advice from our Service techs

We have a 2005 Dutchmen's Denali 5th wheel. How do I adjust the hot water heater? It’s too hot and has burned me more than once.

The water heater in your Denali may be one of a few different models – most newer water heaters have a preset thermostat or eco/t-stat, set somewhere in the proximity of 138 degrees. If you have tested the temperature and feel that it is hotter than normal, your best option is to find out what model you have (this may be indicated on a sticker on the outside of your water heater or you can find out by calling the manufacturer with your 17 digit VIN number) then determine how the manufacturer designed that model. Overheating can be a safety issue. If you feel there is concern, contact your local trusted dealer for service, repair or parts assistance on a replacement partay.

Is there any way to get the hydraulic jacks to move if they’ve been stuck down?

There are many different jack manufacturers and types of jack design. The kind of jack you have will determine how to resolve a situation where the jacks are stuck in the down position. This can be a safety issue when considering how to lower your coach while maneuvering underneath it. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine what jack system you have and reference “emergency retraction”. Most manufacturers provide a direction to turn when that jacks have failed in a down position. This may vary, from releasing a valve to cracking a line. For optimal preparation in your travels, it‘s a good idea to review this information before departure so you’ll be prepared with the best plan of action in an emergency.

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We had our trailer roof resealed two seasons ago (re-caulked all the vents, vent pipes and skylights) and the new caulking is failing (cracked, loose and lifting off around) at many of the resealed areas. There have been no interior leaks but they are a concern. I expect another reseal must be done before the rainy season arrives and the risk increases. Needless to say I’m very disappointed and as this is not a minor expense, I expected the professional roof reseal to last much longer than just a season or two (the factory sealant lasted over four times this long). How long should the new sealant on a professional roof reseal be expected to last under normal use?

Because sealant is heavily affected by its environment, the manufacturer of your motorhome or trailer will typically only provide a 90 day warranty on all sealant. RV seal work is time consuming and expensive when done all at once. The best way to avoid this is to have your RV checked quarterly – we offer this inspection at Poulsbo RV for that very reason. We feel that if we can assist in keeping you on a maintenance plan with your RV, it will not only be protected but will keep expenses to a minimum. When sealant has any sort of defect, from a pin hole to a crack, it could be leaking. It is commonly assumed that if there is no water visible inside, it must not be leaking. But it definitely could be. Leaks come from outside; if there is no path for water to follow inside, it can collect in the roof, walls, even the floor for years before you see the resulting damage. This is why inspections are so important. In addition, as the years go by and the products that were

once new begin to age, plastics become warped and materials become further compromised, speeding up the aging process of the sealant. Sealants are affected by hot and cold temperatures, dirt, debris, pine needles and transit flexation. Aging parts can warp and lift the sealant as the RV flexes down the road. This is not only true for roof sealant but sidewall sealant as well. Keep your RV inspected and sealed along the way and it will help make the years worry free and enjoyable.

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I plan on traveling extensively all over the USA this winter with my fifth wheel. How can I reduce or prevent condensation or mold/mildew in my unit? I seem to have an issue with condensation building up on the windows every winter in my fifth wheel?

No matter where you travel, moisture is always an issue. Due to varying temperatures outside and inside, moisture is going to occur. To minimize condensation, mold and mildew it is stringently recommended to use one of the following products.

Air–Dryer 1000
Eliminates mold, mildew and moisture. Requires 110 volt for use, but is by far is one of the best products for moisture, mildew and mold control.
Eva–Dry Dehumidifier
Is also a very effective way to control humidity in your coach and requires very little maintenance to maintain and operate.
Dri–Z–Air
Is a moisture control system requiring pellets that absorb moisture and allow it to collect inside a container. The container does need to be emptied from time to time and reloaded with the pellets. You should be careful with this product because it is very toxic.
All of these products can and will help control moisture but by far Air Dryer 1000 is the best bang for the buck to control your moisture issues.

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I have owned my Bounder for a couple of years and have begun to notice that the potable water tastes funny. What could cause this? Do I need to change the water filter?

Fresh water tanks do require a sanitation service occasionally. However, you can prevent or prolong your tanks freshness by using several products designed to minimize or eliminate tank “funk”, or micro-organisms that cause odor or foul tasting water. We do recommend a tank sanitation service at some point. To prolong your tanks freshness we recommend the following:
Fresh tabs that are simple to use and will treat up to 15 gallons of water per tablet and come in a six pack.

Fresh tank sanitizer kit: it’s a little more involved but the results are typically more than adequate.

If your coach is equipped with a fresh water filter, it should be changed out. The recommended interval that I follow is: when I de-winterize, I change out the filter. Remember the filter has sat out of water for several months. During winter time, that alone could be the source of your taste and odor issues. If your coach is not equipped with a fresh water filter system, by all means you should install one, they are not that expensive and do more than just filter out debris.

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My family has owned our trailer for more than 20 years. During our last camping trip, I notice rust on several spots on the LP tank. Do I need to replace the tank or is a little bit of rust okay? How long are LP tanks good for?

Yes, your tanks should be replaced. Tanks have been upgraded to newer types in the last several years, now incorporating the OPD valves that prevent overfilling. If these aren’t in place, they need to be replaced. Under law, any tank not equipped with this type of valve is not supposed to be filled for use at all. It should be discarded and replaced. Tank life expectancy does vary depending on use and location. Generally tanks should last around 10 years. Regular inspections on the coach will ensure if any problems exist, and they can be addressed.

ddd

We are looking at getting a used class A in the 34 to 36 foot range. Probably 4 or 5 years old, 2007 to 2008 or so. We hear very definite pros and cons on both the Ford chassis and the Workhorse chassis. As a professional RV guy what would be your first choice?

From a service point of view, there really is no difference between the two chassis’s. Both require the virtually the same maintenance to be done at approximately the same mileage points.From a sales point of view, the biggest difference is that the Workhorse chassis sits lower to the ground and the engine compartment, or doghouse, is smaller. Ford chassis’s are still being built for new units but Workhorse chassis’s are not available, at this time.

ddd

On unlevel spots, I sometimes see front, or even rear, wheels off the ground with the weight of the coach being borne by the jacks. Is this good or should there be blocks under the tires?

It is not a good idea to level a unit where the tires are off the ground, especially the rear of the coach. Motorhome brakes lock the rear wheels, which means if you remove the rear tires from touching the ground, you have removed your brakes. It is recommend that if you need to raise the front of the unit to level, where the tires are off the ground, you should drive onto blocks for initial leveling and then use the jacks to fine tune the leveling of the coach.

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My RV has been parked since December 2011, should I put the coach up on blocks to protect the tires?

If the unit has a leveling system, I would recommend utilizing them to lessen the pressure on the tires to help prevent “tire memory”. I don’t believe completely removing the wheels is necessary. Tire covers would also be helpful in protecting your tires from sun and weather. If your RV is parked on concrete, it is recommended that you use pads or blocks under the tires to avoid flat spots on the tires. You will also need to make sure that your unit was properly winterized before it was stored.

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After using my generator power for 10 minutes to run the A/C, the generator shut off and now nothing works on battery power. Any help?

Your A/C should only work when you are on shore power or with the generator running. If you turned the generator off before turning the A/C off then you could have blown fuses or overloaded the system. Check to make sure the battery disconnect switch is in the “ON” position and there is enough fuel in the generator to run it. You will need to have more than a ¼ tank of fuel to run the generator. If both of those are okay, you need to check for proper 12VDC power to the coach and that all the fuses are functional. If those are ok, you will need to bring your unit to an authorized repair center.

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Where can I get reliable info on which cars are towable (all 4 tires on the pavement)?

This is a question we are asked just about every day. The best answer that I can give you is to check the owner’s manual of the vehicle that you are thinking about towing. Each vehicle manufacturer is different and we always check the manufacturer’s recommendations before suggesting a tow package for customers. We do see a lot of Jeeps that are flat towed. Another thing that you need to be aware of when picking a vehicle to be towed by your motorhome is the laws about auxiliary braking systems. Most states require an auxiliary breaking system in the vehicle that is being towed if it weighs more than 3,000 pounds.

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I have a 2000 Roadtrek 190 and want to know how to test the auxiliary battery. It operates lights and water pump when independent of outside electricity. Should it be enough power for microwave?.

The best way to check the house battery is a cell reading, the battery should read at 12.5 with hydrometer. The battery on a Roadtrek should be on the passenger side rear under a panel. You will need 110volt power to power the microwave. For the auxiliary battery to power the microwave you will need an inverter, or if you have an inverter possibly a larger one, and possibly a bigger bank of batteries.

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We are having problems with our Norcold side-by-side fridge. It has stopped cooling. It appears the cooling unit part of the fridge has stopped working . It is in our 2008 Winnebago Adventurer.

First, I would say that your Norcold fridge probably needs to have a recall kit installed. You should stop using the fridge and make an appointment to have the kit installed. If that does not solve the problem, my second suggestion would be that you have the fridge serviced, if it is has not been serviced in the last year.If your fridge is working on LP and not 110V, you may have a tripped breaker or a blown fuse in the unit.

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When I press the button to extend my landing gear, it does not work! What is the problem? Also, because the landing gear doesn’t extend, my slide outs don’t let out. Any suggestions on how to resolve these problems?

There could be many different reasons why the landing gear is not working. First, I would ensure that you have proper power running to the landing gear and that none of the fuses are blown. Are you plugged into shore power? If you have proper power and all the fuses are good, you should make an appointment for diagnosis and service.

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I have a Hijacker fifth wheel hitch and I put about 3,000 towing miles on it a year. The hitch is in my daily driver and is out in the weather all year long. I have not had any maintenance done on the hitch. What kind of maintenance does a fifth wheel hitch need? How often do I need to put additional grease on the moving parts?

The main thing about maintaining a fifth wheel hitch is lubrication. You should either use a Teflon/plastic block between the hitch-plate and kingpin or keep it greased. You can use white lithium grease on all of the other moving parts on the hitch, the white lithium seems to pick up less road grime and dirt than conventional axle or bearing grease. You want to work the components (pull the handle and watch the jaws) to ensure all are working easily and smooth, and ensure the pivots are working the same way. You should probably lubricate the hitch at least twice a year, it is a good idea to remove the old grease before just applying more. It is also a good idea to inspect all of the fasteners before each trip. Make sure all the bolts are tight and all of the pins are in place.

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While on a recent camping trip, the living room slide-out was having a problem extending fully. In the bottom right hand corner, I can see day light coming through. What can cause this to happen? How can this be fixed?

There are multiple possibilities on why a slide does not seem to function properly. There are multiple manufacturers and types of electric slides and many types of hydraulic slides. Some basics are to ensure that your batteries are fully charged. Also, if you have hydraulic slides make sure your hydraulic reservoir is where it is supposed to be. Ensure there is nothing physically blocking the slide from operating either exterior (trees, bushes, etc), interior ( cabinet doors or drawers, or a towel or shoe behind the trim), or underneath ( something slid under the slide from the inside).

Ensure the RV is level. That part can be a little bit tricky, if you are somewhere where you have to use quite a bit of leveling to get the RV where you want it then there is a chance that the frame has twisted enough to bind the slide, so it might be necessary, IN SOME SITUATIONS, to retract the jacks part way and inspect the opening of the slide to see how square it is and try to run the slides, then finish leveling. I know most manufacturers say to only run slides when level but SOMETIMES it is necessary. You just need to inspect first to make sure no damage will occur from rubbing on the walls.

Seeing daylight can also have multiple reasons, sometimes there is a trim that creates a gap between the wipe seals. Sometimes the wipe seals get caught and are folded the wrong way. The slide could have also come out of adjustment, or jumped a gear. Honestly if there is nothing visually wrong that you can see, I would definitely recommend setting up an appointment with Poulsbo RV service department and let us inspect and or make any necessary repairs or adjustments needed.

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was on the roof of my Rainier washing it and I noticed that there were several bubbles on the roof. Is this normal? What causes the bubbles on the roof? Does the presence of the bubbles mean that I need a new roof? Is there a way to prevent the bubbles from forming?

Bubbles do not mean that you need to replace the roof. While the bubbles cannot be removed, great care should be taken when cleaning around or over them. If a bubble is punctured, it can compromise the integrity of the roofing material. It is important to ensure that you have your roof inspected once every quarter and address any issues as they come up. Most roofs, when properly cared for, will last upwards of ten years or longer. We highly recommend that you use a RV cover for your unit to prevent UV damage to the roof and seams.

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The generator in my Allegro Bus is making a very odd surging sound when I start it. The Allegro has been in covered storage since October. What is causing the generator to make these sounds? Why does this happen? How can I prevent this from happening in the future?

Your battery could be low and it will attempt to charge itself at a high rate, hence the altering RPMs create a surge. Depending on the fuel you use and the quality of the fuel in the generator, the surging can be a result of poor fuel delivery or the firing of the engine.
If your generator is diesel, the surge can be considered part of the normal operation of the generator. The surge is called idle hunting and when the generator finds that optimum range to run in, it will stop surging. Another option is that you can be having fuel related issues. You may not have used a fuel stabilizer when one was needed, especially before you put the unit into storage.

No matter what type of generator you have it is important to run it for one hour a month, under a load, while it is in storage. Generators should also be serviced for every 80 to 100 hours of operation they have or at a minimum once a year. Ensuring that your generator is being maintained will keep it from failing at the worse possible moment.

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When prepping my trailer for a trip, I noticed that my patio awning has mold and mildew growing on it. How did this happen? What can I do to protect my awning from mold and mildew growth in the future? Do I need to replace the awning to solve the problem with the mold and mildew??

The basic cause of mold growth on a patio awning or any other awning is that the awning was put away wet. The good news is today’s awning materials are more resistant to mold than they used to be. This does not mean you can put it away and forget about it if you want it to last. What it means is if it is still raining when you get home and you have to wait for a few days or a week it will be ok. Just roll it out as soon as you can and wash it. And of course, let it dry before rolling the awning up. If you let it go too long and it starts to smell bad then it may be too late but you can try to clean it. Just do not forget to let it dry thoroughly before putting it away. If you need to get rid of the old fabric due to mold or if it is torn you can often replace just the fabric. It is usually cheaper to replace the fabric rather than replace the awning. If your awning is getting old then don’t spend money on it, get a new one. You can call any of our locations, ask for the service department and if you know the length of your awning we can usually give you a quote over the phone.

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My hydraulic jacks are really slow to retract. What can I do to solve this problem??

Hydraulic jacks are part of your motor home that truly makes life easier. But they do have limitations. Keeping your jacks extended while storing the vehicle to keep weight off the tires or to keep it level can allow dirt to build up or, especially in salt air areas, cause corrosion on the exposed jack cylinder shaft. Leaving the jacks down also stretches the springs that retract the jacks, which over time weakens them. The best way to solve this is do not keep your vehicle on its jacks during storage if at all possible. It is not going to hurt the tires to have the weight of the coach on them. If you want to keep your refrigerator on while in storage use blocks under your tires if only a small amount of lift is required. Before you take it out of storage clean the shafts with a dry towel and spray some dry silicone lubricant on the shafts.

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My 2001 Roadtrek has been in storage for the winter and while it is in storage, I go out once a month to start the engine and drive the rig around the storage lot for a few miles. I was told I needed to drive my Roadtrek "to keep the tires from getting flat spots". My question is should I keep the rig covered and just leave it all winter long or leave it uncovered so that I can start it and drive it around once a month?

If the coach is in covered storage then no cover is needed. If it's out in the elements, you should cover the unit and use tire covers as well. Weather checking, or surface cracks, in tires is not a good thing. As for driving the unit once a month, that is not a bad idea, to keep it lubed and charged. You will get flat spots on tires occasionally, these will go away after driving for the RV approximately 5-12 miles. It is quite normal to have flat spots occur during storage.

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