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Category: Safety on the Road

RV Mountain Driving Part 3: Road Hazards

November 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

RV Mountain Driving Part 3: Road Hazards

RV Mountain Driving In addition to navigating steep grades, RV mountain driving comes with a few unique hazards. Let’s take a look at some. While wildlife can be encountered on many highways, some mountain roadways have an additional animal, the mountain goat, that often wanders on the road.  Rugged terrain can also make the road edge an appealing passage for wildlife on the move.  Combine this with the twisty roads and reduced forward view, a shorter warning of wildlife is to be expected. Rock slide warning signs are common in the mountains. While a rock slide is highly unlikely, the possibility of encountering some small rock pieces on the roadway can be very real, particularly after a heavy rainfall.  These rock fragments are jagged and can damage or destroy a tire.  Reducing speed when such warning signs are posted can increase your maneuvering and stopping ability. When operating in mountain ranges that are snowcapped, precipitation can be encountered even on a clear day. ... [Read more...]

RV Mountain Driving Part 2: The Descent

November 29, 2014 by · 5 Comments 

RV Mountain Driving Part 2: The Descent

RV Mountain Driving Perhaps the most white-knuckle experiences during RV mountain driving occur while descending a steep grade. The heavier the rig, the more daunting it can be. But it does not have to be if you follow a good plan. When approaching a grade that is descending, slow to the speed, or slightly lower, that you intend to descend at prior to reaching the crest. Select a lower gear to maximize engine RPM and driveline resistance. Maintain any excess speed by short, hard applications of the service brakes. Remember, the wind resistance is now working with you, and can aid you to keep a comfortable speed. If equipped, engage the exhaust brake or single speed Jake. Observe both speed and engine RPM during the descent and control same, if required, with short, firm service brake applications. Tip: Get to know your speed in each gear when the engine RPM is at the optimum braking speed; for a diesel, about 90% of the maximum governed loaded speed. If you can’t always remember this... [Read more...]

RV Mountain Driving Part 1: The Climb

November 28, 2014 by · 6 Comments 

RV Mountain Driving Part 1:  The Climb

RV Mountain Driving RV mountain driving can have its challenges.  This is the first part of a series of three dealing with some of those challenges. The Climb: Before venturing up into the mountain range, be sure you have adequate fuel for the run.  You will be burning more fuel per mile and gas stations are all but nonexistent in the mountains. The ascent up long, steep mountain grades takes a lot of power.  It places a heavy load on your engine and transmission, which can cause their temperatures to rise quickly.  You must keep the engine RPM towards the high side.  This includes even diesels that attain the highest torque at a fairly low engine speed. The higher speed helps cooling of the transmission and also increases the efficiency of the motor cooling package. Accomplishing this with the transmission selector in “Drive” would require holding the throttle wide open.  Otherwise, an upshift can occur.  So, you must manually select a lower gear appropriate to the speed you... [Read more...]

Boondocking in Commercial Parking Lots

November 27, 2014 by · 9 Comments 

Boondocking in Commercial Parking Lots

Boondocking in Commercial Parking Lots Boondocking in commercial parking lots has become very common for RV travelers in all areas of the country.  These are establishments such as Wal-Mart, Cabela’s, casino locations and the likes.  The majority of these dry camping stays are only for a short overnight period, arriving late and leaving early.  In many cases, the RV traveler shops or at least spends a few dollars at the business at that location. Because these businesses are so RV-friendly and supportive, it is only fitting that we give them some of our business, as well as not abuse this offering.  Unfortunately, there are people that do not adhere to that model.  These people will spoil it for all as has happened in some areas.  Let’s look at some of the do and don’ts of RV dry docking on private property. Do: Confirm with the management of the property that your overnight stay is allowed. Do:  Park in a safe area away from the busy section of the lot. Do: Patronize... [Read more...]

Trailer Hitches

November 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Trailer Hitches

Trailer Hitches Trailer hitches are found on just about every pickup truck, SUV and of course motorhomes.  These hidden hitches consist of a square receiver, 1-1/2” to 2-1/2” which holds an inserted drawbar and ball.  Mostly motorhomes use these to flat tow a vehicle.  This uses a hitch assembly that is fastened to the front of the towed vehicle and pulls it with all four tires on the ground.  Thus, in this case, it has no tongue weight or downward weight on the hitch itself. There are, however, motorhome owners that choose to tow a trailer that carries their car or other payload.  This type of towing requires a certain amount of weight on the trailer hitch at the ball.  This weight must be about 10% of the overall gross trailer weight, which includes the payload.  If the amount is much less than this, a dangerous situation can result as the trailer may tend to wag from side to side while towing. In an effort to reduce the risks of being too light at the hitch, people may overload... [Read more...]

RV Security Lights

November 23, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

RV Security Lights

Arcon “Scare Light” for your RV. RV Security lights are found on many trailers and motorhomes.  Essentially, they are just a white-lensed exterior light that is mounted up high on both sides of the unit.  They are also referred to as “Scare Lights”.  They create very bright lighting around the outside of your camper to hopefully ward off intruders. They also provide some useful benefits apart from the “scare thing.”  Their elevated light position serves as great lighting for after-dark patio activities in camp.  They are also great for lighting both sides of the RV during your walk outside when your pet just has to go out.  Some people even use them as a signal while in a campground.  If the light is on, we are up.  You are welcome to drop in. These lights are a relatively low priced option on a new unit or can be purchased as an aftermarket add-on.  They are fairly easy to install on any RV.   L.E.D. Lighting A great upgrade would be to replace the light... [Read more...]

Understanding Shore Power

November 1, 2014 by · 3 Comments 

Understanding Shore Power

RV Shore Power Service Understanding shore power is essential to properly manage your electrical usage in camp.  Motorhomes, depending on size, may be capable of using a 30 amp or a 50 amp service maximum.  With adaptors all will operate on a 15/20 amp, albeit a minimum service. There are three basic service sizes provided in campgrounds in North America. 15/20 Amp Duplex will provide 15/20 amps at 120 volts or about 1,800/2400 watts of power. 30 Amp RV receptacle will provide 30 amps at 120 volts or about 3,600 watts of power 50 Amp RV receptacle will provide 50 amps at 240 volts or 100 amps of 120 volts or about 12,000 watts. You will notice that going from a 30 amp to a 50 increases the available power by 333%.  That’s over three times more power.  This is due to the 50 amp service has four contacts.  These are ground, neutral and two 120 volt hot lines.  Providing these two hot lines, L1 and L2 are out of phase, they will deliver 240 volts when used on a 240 appliance, like... [Read more...]

Tech Tip: Give me a Sign

October 15, 2014 by · 3 Comments 

Tech Tip: Give me a Sign

GIVE ME A SIGN After seeing the safety benefits of turn signals mounted under side-view mirrors, I decided to install a pair on my motorhome. I purchased two sealed amber LED lamps complete with pigtail wires. I removed the sideview mirror assemblies and drilled the necessary holes in the bottom of the arm, then mounted the lamps. I added crimp-on terminals to the pig tails and fished a set of wires through the firewall. I spliced onto the existing turn-signal wires, connected the crimp-on terminals at the mirrors and re-installed the mirror assemblies. John Theobald, Des Plaines, Illinois

RV Departure Check List

September 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

RV Departure Check List

RV Departure Check List People use checklists to avoid missing something during a particular procedure.  Mostly these are used for routine operations, for example, a list of things a pilot may carry out prior to takeoff or landing.  The fact that this procedure is carried out many times is exactly why this is done.  When we get too comfortable doing something, it becomes far too easy to shortcut or miss an item. Along this same line, preparing to depart camp in a trailer or motorhome also requires a list of procedures. Failure to carry out some may lead to damaging the RV, personal injury or other collateral damage.  So, let’s look at some of these items you would need on your RV Departure Check List: Disconnect and store all attachments from the camp services.  Many incidences of pulling away still connected have resulted in damage to the park’s service pedestal and destruction of an RV’s electrical bay door. Retract all TV antennas and physically check that they are stored. ... [Read more...]

What To Do When It Storms at Your Campsite

September 7, 2014 by · 4 Comments 

What To Do When It Storms at Your Campsite

You’re­ on what you ho­pe­ will be a leisurely RV camping­ trip. It’s a warm summer afternoon. Suddenly, a few raindrops splat your arms, and before you know it, the sky opens up. Then you hear thunder in the distance. What should you do to ensure your family’s safety? Following heavy rains in the mountains a wash separating the campground from the entrance road at Catalina State Park near Tucson flooded stranding campers for several days. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Stormy weather can happen at any time, anywhere. While yo­ur best choice depends on the severity of the storm and your location, being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival. Knowing what to do before, during, and following severe weather is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Be Informed Know the risk in your area for hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms, damaging winds, dust storms, blizzards, ice storms, and other severe weather phenomena. NOAA... [Read more...]

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