Filed under: Navigator, RV Maintenance
Mark, My Words: Q & A with Mark Nemeth – February 2013
I hope your New Year is progressing well! As the weather starts to warm up a little here in East Texas, I’m thinking about the upcoming RV season. I hope you are, too! This month, we’ll talk about tires, 12v issues, brakes, and bears!
I have a 1998 Komfort 25 RT. It has a ladder on rear of trailer. My concern is, can I get on the roof without doing it damage? I weigh 200 lbs. and need to clean the roof. If I can get to it, what should I use to clean it? Thank you, Richard
Most RVs that have ladders installed also have roofs that can be walked on. The installed ladder should be adequate to support your weight; just be careful when using it, as it is very steep and narrow. Once on the roof, make sure that it does not flex excessively with your weight. A little “give” is OK; a lot probably means that you should not walk on it. You can avoid all of that by simply using a residential step ladder or extension ladder along the side of the RV. With a long-handled brush, you can do a pretty fair job of cleaning the roof from a ladder. However, it is definitely easier to do it from the top. Just be really careful; soapy water on that roof will make it super slippery. If your RV has a rubber roof, use a cleaner that is specifically made for rubber roofs for the best results, and be sure to rinse down the sides of the RV to avoid streaking. Metal and fiberglass roofs can be cleaned with just about any soap that would be safe to wash a car with.
My name is Karen, and I have a 2004 Wildwood travel trailer. Recently I’ve noticed that my refrigerator keeps shutting itself off, and I have to keep checking on it and turning it back on. It may stay on a day or two before it shuts off again. Could you please help me figure out why? Thank you.
If the failure occurs only when you are operating the refrigerator on propane, the problem may either be a dirty or corroded burner, or a problem with the igniter board. What may be happening is the flame is being restricted by a dirty burner, or the igniter system is not 100 percent reliable in lighting the burner. Often, problems of this sort can be fixed by simply cleaning the burner and electrodes. If it persists, the igniter board may need to be replaced. It is fairly easy to clean the burner; just remove the metal shield for the burner and use a small wire brush to clean the slots in the burner and the spark electrodes. Any RV service facility can probably do this for you at minimal cost. If the refrigerator is failing when operating on AC power, then the problem is most likely in the refrigerator control board. Troubleshooting the control board is something that is best left to a refrigerator repair shop.
We are full-timing in a 2000 Monaco Diplomat 38A. We use a Progressive Industries EMS 50 PTC. Have a Trace Freedom 2000 inverter. The tech told us to turn it off at the “remote” inside the coach when parked hooked up to 50-amp power. I have gotten other opinions that you should not do that. Please tell me what to do and why. Also, I have ordered a Magnum MS 2812. I did this because we were initially told our inverter/charger was broken; we were having electrical problems that turned out to be a very, extremely (like 4 to 5 turns) loose BLACK hot leg in the breaker box inside the coach. Magnum says, install the new box with 4/0 wire; we currently have 2/0 wire from inverter/charger to batteries, etc. The tech says the 2/0 is fine. We want the 4/0 because it is what Magnum says to have. OK, so does that just mean the wire between the Magnum and the connections or also in between all the batteries in their series? Thanks, Pawnotes
On the first question, it really doesn’t matter a lot whether the inverter control switch is on or off when you are plugged into shore power. I would turn it off simply because there is no need for it to be on when you are plugged in. Most RV inverters sense the availability of AC power from the shore power connection and shut the inverter function down. If your inverter is also the battery charger, it will shift to charge mode at this point, and the on/off switch will not have any effect on the battery-charging function. It only controls the inverter function. As far as the wiring goes, the manufacturer specifies a wire gauge that should be used to hook up the inverter to the battery bank. It is in your best interest to use the gauge wire that they specify, to insure that the inverter maximum amperage demands will be met and to minimize voltage drops in the wiring. All of the battery interconnect wires should also be the same size wire, for the same reasons. Bigger is almost universally better when it comes to wiring 12-volt power systems. Larger wire reduces losses and can safely carry more current. I would go with the 4/0 wiring for both the inverter connection and also for the interconnects between batteries.
We have just returned from a three-week trip to Alabama and back to Sioux Falls. After blowing the water out of the lines on our 2010 Sierra, I hooked the pump up to suck RTV antifreeze and distribute throughout the camper. To my surprise/horror, the pedal-operated toilet kept running. I filled the bowl with antifreeze and repeated operating of the pedal; it would not stop it from filling. Where should I start looking? Corby
Most RV toilets have a water inlet valve that is operated by a lever or linkage that is attached to the pedal. If that linkage comes loose, it may behave exactly as you describe. In most cases you will have to pull the toilet to access the valve and its actuating mechanism. The good news is that parts are readily available for most toilets, and it is a fairly straightforward job to repair them. It is also possible that a small bit of debris is stuck in the valve, preventing it from closing. If in doubt, replace the valve; they are inexpensive, and as long as you have the toilet out, it’s a good time to just do it.
I recently noticed what appears to be a small area of delamination high and forward of the slide on the driver side of my 2006 Jayco Greyhawk class-C. If the leak is stopped, can I assume that, by having the roof resealed and no further leakage occurs, no further structural damage will happen? Thanks, Frank
You know what the word “assume” means, right? First, make absolutely sure that any leaks have been eliminated. Then, my advice is to watch that area closely for any signs that it is growing in size. If it is, you may need to have it evaluated by either the manufacturer or by a shop that specializes in sidewall repairs. Often, when a water leak causes a delamination, the damage may be more significant than it first appears. If there is any moisture still in the wall, it can continue to spread. If it does not grow, and the delamination is not causing any problems and is just a cosmetic issue, you can probably not worry about it.
We bought a new Komfort (2012) 2027RL travel trailer. I can’t seem to find where the water pump is located for the purpose of winterizing the trailer. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much for your time. Nian
If you have an owner’s manual for the trailer, it may show the pump location. Calling a dealer may also help you find it, but I have an easier solution: The pump will normally be located in a compartment or cabinet where it can be accessed fairly easily. My advice is to turn the pump on and find it by ear. They make a fair amount of noise when operating, so you should be able to locate it. Good luck in your search.
Mark Nemeth has been involved with all things RV for more than 15 years, including almost five years on the road as a full-timer. He is the RV education director for Escapees RV Club and oversees the highly acclaimed RVers’ Boot Camp and SmartWeigh programs. Do you have a question for Mark? Please submit your question via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember, material will be edited. Because of the large volume of material and correspondence submitted, individual replies will not be possible, nor can we acknowledge receipt of your material. Selected questions will be answered in future issues of the RV Navigator newsletter in the Mark, My Words column.
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