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RE: Cleaning A/C coils: DIY or hire a pro? (See March 8 update)

Taking the box apart is not at all high tech. No hourly employee is needed, you can re-tape it yourself just as well as an RV guy who hurries thorough it. Duct tape is literally made for AC ducts and sealing off air. Use the shiny metal-looking tape, not the dull gray tape. If you need foam then reuse what you removed or use anything similar. This is one of the least complex systems on your RV, all you are doing is sealing off very very low pressure airflow.
ajriding 03/10/22 10:16am Tech Issues
RE: Convert RV fridge to residential

Bad idea for boondockiing. Those who install resi fridges tend to drive from outlet to outlet and are always plugged into hookups. This is just not a good solution for an RV. Running an inverter to run a fridge is just not a good use of available battery power. You will be replacing batteries more often due to cycling them regularly. There are electric DC fridges that will run more efficiently and could work for boondocking. Are you not wanting the propane fridge because of high outside/ambient temps? That makes sense as the propane absorption fridges do have limitations and needs at higher outside temps. The best solution is to address the weaknesses of the propane fridge or to install a DC fridge that uses a Danfoss -style compressor. The chest fridges are the most efficient, but there are front opening fridges also. There are also kits to convert a propane fridge to a compressor DC fridge, but this is only for a few select models and requires some know-how and time. My advice is that you will be glad to have spent extra money to do it right than to have dying batteries constantly from trying to run a resi fridge off grid
ajriding 03/09/22 10:31am Full-time RVing
RE: Time to prepare

I Was thinking about a trip also. I watched the weather channel and then did some laundry. Epic!
ajriding 03/06/22 04:16pm General RVing Issues
RE: Circuit breaker or fuse?

Houses used to use fuses, but now circuit breakers, obviously, you can just reset them when they trip instead of buying a new fuse each time. Breakers also work as an on/off switch. I have one of these in a 100amp and it works just fine, $15 or so, though I havent tested it or made it trip. ebay link to 300 amp breaker ebay 300 amp breaker I actually have 4 total of different amp ratings for my solar and battery and vehicle connections. There are also breakers that will reset themselves after they trip after they cool down, so are kind-of an automatic resetting breaker, kind-of. Of course you will probably never trip a fuse anyway, so not a big deal to have two spare fuses on hand either. * I dont get why you would want to buy an expensive shut-off switch, then put in a fuse when a breaker is bother a switch and a "fuse" in application.
ajriding 03/06/22 04:12pm Tech Issues
RE: Where to start with wdh adjustment for new truck?

No, as others said, use your sway control if it makes you feel safer and if you think you might need it. Someone is talking about electronic sway control where the trailer brakes are applied and things happen with the motors and brakes automatically. IDT this is what OP means by sway control. He likely is talking about the little shock absorber on the hitch that helps prevent sway. My point is, do you need sway control? I have never needed it. My trailers are always loaded and weighted correctly and even if I try to make the trailer sway it corrects itself with no input. If you dont need it then you dont need it (not to say having it is not a safety feature). As for tongue weight. Yes, the WDH does transfer weight to the front axle (and or rear axle of a dual axle trailer), but that is not a huge amount of weight. 600 lb tongue weight is not a big deal for a big truck built to carry payload back there. And keep in mind that the WDH is only transferring that weight when the truck is level or the hitch is lower than the wheels of both vehicles, not when the hitch is higher. Some newer trucks can self adjust ride height, using air, and will self adjust when you drop a 600lb tongue weight on it too. That 600 lbs is doing nearly nothing to the front end of a big truck. Do the math and you wonder why you even bothered to use WDH if not for the lack of height adjustment. Dont get me wrong... WDH are great things and a great solution when needed, but are not always necessary.
ajriding 03/05/22 09:06am Towing

My batteries will usually be below 12 by morning. I used to camp / boondock a lot when I used it for work, but use much less now. Batteries are maybe 8 years old, and still going strong. They are GC batts. The answer is not absolute. There is a balance between using the batteries for your needs, conserving voltage to "save" the batteries, and the fact that you likely will not use them enough to cycle through the life supply of what they can do in a reasonable amount of years. Most RVers will need 20 years to cycle through half of the available cycles a battery can do. I think 20 years the battery will die of other causes than life cycles first. You have to know what your needs are. A full-time RVer who uses a lot of battery power will need to be judicious with his power use, where a weekender can ignore largely what he does.
ajriding 03/04/22 08:03am Travel Trailers
RE: Battery On/Off Switch

The answer is, anywhere you want it. Were is going to be convenient to have access to it? Close to the battery of course as you can. Another option is to use a solenoid switch, the old mechanical kind, or a large relay to connect/disconnect. The only advantage of this method is you can put a small switch anywhere in the camper to operate the solenoid switch or relay. The switch will draw a small amount of power, so it will be a drain, but using a relay you can wire it that when you cut the battery OFF that the switch uses no power. This is called NO I think- Normally Open. The other setting on a relay is NC - Normally Closed. It would be the 87a terminal on a typical relay, where when no power goes to the relay the relay conducts the power, and when power is sent to the relay via the switch the relay cuts the battery power off. If you conect to the 87 terminal it is the opposite. So, you can wire it that turning the switch off (using no power) also cuts the battery off. This means that when you have the battery power on the switch will use a tiny amount of power too. You would have to wire the switch directly to the battery so that when the battery is cut off the switch is not dead also. If interested we could walk you through this in more detail. Also, a cheaper route is to use a circuit breaker instead of the big expensive on/off switch. Breakers for DC come in many amp ratings. I use a 100amp breaker for the battery cutoff.
ajriding 03/04/22 07:45am Tech Issues
RE: Cleaning A/C coils: DIY or hire a pro? (See March 8 update)

Do yourself. Just spraying water on it will do the majority of cleaning. It all should be waterproof. Of course, you take the white cover off to do this. The pro AC guys have use a cleaner they spray on the coils, let sit, then spray off, it gets it clean with little need for a brush. Also, spray from the inside out if you can to blow the dirt out, not in. Clear any debris or bugs out. That's about it.
ajriding 03/04/22 07:36am Tech Issues
RE: Where to start with wdh adjustment for new truck?

I have never had a trailer sway after about 5 owned trailers. The only sway I have experienced was towing a truck backwards on a tow dolly above 55mph. Make sure you need it. Sure, it is going to maybe be safer to have sway control, but it is more safe to wear a helmet to drive, so consider priorities here. Did you tell us your trailer and tongue weight? If your truck can adjust for payload automatically through airbags then that eliminates part of the reason to have WDH. If your truck can handle the tongue weight with no issues then that eliminates the other half. I used WDH when needed, but it is so much nicer without it.
ajriding 03/04/22 07:32am Towing
RE: No Power to 7-Way Plug?

Now you are learning RV stuff. congrats. If you really need to charge the camper battery from the truck, then you can use bigger wire, and not go through the thin wires around the fuse box. Make sure that stud #1, that some say is on all the time, is NOT on all the time or if you forget to unplug the trailer from the truck you could run down your truck starting battery. You need the trailer 12 volt power to be connected to the ignition somehow, and not straight to the on-all-the-time battery. Sounds like previous owner did some home-brew electrical kanosh work... but you got it working, so good nuff for now... Other option is a DC to DC charger.
ajriding 03/03/22 06:51pm Truck Campers
RE: Doing without propane

No, solar panels will not compromise your roof, not any more than sitting on a chair will compromise the chair, even less in this example. You will need a hole or entrance through the roof, so that is a compromise, but you already have a lot of holes for vents. The Fridge vent is a hole you can use if needed too. The weight of a panel is nothing on a roof. I hear people say this but the most common end of life issue for RVs is roof leaks causing rot. In theory if you are religious about it, it can be OK but it adds more holes and more places you can miss a leak. Back in real life, yes, it increases the chances of leaks. Honestly, I would love if they switched to mini-split air/con units and wall mount vents, so you could largely eliminate roof penetrations. That would eliminate a lot of roof leaks. I mean... who knows what he is asking about "compromise the roof"? I was thinking he was concerned about the weight, and that is just a silly question, so maybe he was talking about a bunch of screws being drilled into it. This is why to use the VHB tape. His description was too vague to go too far with advice.
ajriding 03/03/22 06:44pm General RVing Issues
Tow vehicle solar supplemental

Anyone aded solar panels to the TV to feed the trailer? I am outta room on camper. I know how to do it, so I am not looking for suggestions or instructions, rather I am interested in hearing how it worked and any issues a person who did this might have had (not any ideas on what could happen thanks).
ajriding 03/01/22 07:04pm Tech Issues
RE: Axle Bearing Service - Dos and Dont's???

Do it yourself so if out on the road you have the knowledge already to inspect/fix/repair it. Easy for anyone half-handy. Car bearings can go 100's of thousands of miles, so why is 10,000 miles a concern? IDK why trailer bearings need service so often when there are cars with 300k that have never been looked at, serviced or anything and are fine... You do need to adjust your trailer bearings often, every few thousand miles, and adjust the brakes unless they are self-adjusting, or at least inspect them. etrailer dot come has good info for all the above. Lift the wheel/axle and wiggle the tire hard and if there is play you need to adjust. If the wheel drags when spun then needs adjust. If it sounds dry then needs grease. Not too much grease or excess will spill into your brakes. The bearings do not have to be perfect to work, they just need to spin and not be loose one second and too tight the next. I have seen worse bearings on cars that have gone thousands of miles. If able it is best to have good bearings, but do not panic if you are out on a trip and discover they are not perfect. Grease will cover a lot of sins and get you home safely usually.
ajriding 02/28/22 08:52am Travel Trailers
RE: Wood holding tank?

kinda ranks up there with wooden boats, wont they leak then sink?
ajriding 02/28/22 08:29am Truck Campers
RE: Doing without propane

No, solar panels will not compromise your roof, not any more than sitting on a chair will compromise the chair, even less in this example. You will need a hole or entrance through the roof, so that is a compromise, but you already have a lot of holes for vents. The Fridge vent is a hole you can use if needed too. The weight of a panel is nothing on a roof. Did I read someone said a new tank is $1,000? No. Shop around. You could even find an RV in a junk yard with a perfectly good propane tank if needed, and pick it up for dollars. If money is an issue then plumb in the bbq tank and use them, they are cheap and easy to come by. your brother-in-law will give you one just for feeling sorry for you.
ajriding 02/28/22 08:27am General RVing Issues
RE: onan 5500

lol. They will die of use not lack of use. The carb will suffer if not ever used as it can clog, but that can be undone or replaced cheaply, but wear on the cylinder walls is harder to un-do. Bearings will wear out and maybe can be replaced or not. Seals will wear out and can dry out which can be from non-use due to oil not getting the seal wet often enough. Do run the generator several times per year. Keeping fresh oil in is critical. If it has an oil filter that is a big bonus. A clean air filter will also keep debris out of the cylinder. Air blast the generator head to blow off dirt and dust and minimize wear from grit there. Just blow compressed air in where you can the best you can. The old generators that ran 1800 rpm and had big pistons will last longer than the smaller 3600 rpm of similar output mostly due to the speed, but also due to smaller parts having to undergo the same workload that wear faster than the big-ole parts. Nothing you can do about this difference, just know it so you do not compare them.
ajriding 02/26/22 03:21pm Tech Issues
RE: Why do trailer brake shoes cost so much?

I have always found etrailer dot come to be great prices, and they have great customer service, and great prices... I dont work from them, just buy. Yes, volume. How many trailers do you see out there on the road compared to cars? It is not that trailer pads are expensive, it is that there are so many cars/trucks with similar pads/ similar applications that car/truck pads are sold cheap due to volume. SImple economics. I set my trailer brakes to just stop the trailer, nothing more, and when I had the cheapo timed controller I would just turn the brakes off in city traffic. the proportional controllers are so much nicer....
ajriding 02/23/22 08:09pm Tech Issues
RE: Would $7 per gal effect your RV lifestyle?

Yep, I rethink it all. For big cross country trips it used to be $750 in gas, now its over $1,000, and $7 per gallon would be over $1,500... If I want to tool around the western states it is even worse as those are the blue states with high prices, so I would be more cautious with trips and plan for the least miles driven between stops. I might consider a trip closer to home instead. For local trips the cost is $20-40 so that is not a trip killer. What hurts is the driving for normal life, which is a lot more miles than an RV trip.
ajriding 02/23/22 08:01pm General RVing Issues
RE: Doing without propane

No, your options are really just propane. You can use the 1lb cans for a buddy heater or similar, or use the 20lb bbq tanks that fit your RV. Make the 20lb tank happen. You need batteries for boondocking multiple days and also solar. solar is fine in southern states in the winter depending on your needs. It works for me even in the forest, which of course is leafless in winter. Two golf cart batteries are a good investment and are more robust than the marine battery. The lithium batteries are low enough price that if you camp a lot it can be worth the investment assuming you will stay with it 5-10 years. Again, solar. Do not get the flexible panels, glass only. 200-400 watts is typical, and an MPPT controller that fits the system. Go 24 volt and let the controller change it to 12. By going 24 you use smaller wire from the panels to the inside controller and the controller is always supplied more than 14 volts. This is running two panels in series. Panels are 18 volts, so thats really 36 volts in series, but it is still called 24 volts. dont try to understand this.
ajriding 02/23/22 07:55pm General RVing Issues
RE: Upgrades to make my generator quieter

A lot of the gen noise is coming from the valves, so keeping them adjusted helps a little bit. Insulating around the engine body to silence the valves helps more. So, especially if you have older Onans or similar then check the valves, it is easier than you think, but you need the feeler gauges sold at all autoparts stores I had my gen mounted to the front of the truck in receiver hitch, so it was farther out and more isolated for vibrations.
ajriding 02/23/22 07:47pm Truck Campers
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