Saturday, December 5, 2015

RV Stocking Stuffer Ideas From Facebook

I am sure most of us have gotten the big RVer Christmas Gift for this year and just need a few odds and ends to fill in.  If that is the case and you need some small RVer gift ideas here are a few that have been suggested by people on Facebook.

A. First is smoke and fire alarms for the basement storage of a TT or 5th wheel.  Are you protected in those areas?  I wasn't but I am now.
B. Next is a product that is used to replace that foam filter stuff that you find when you clean the Air Conditioner cover.  You don't do that?  Never knew that there was a filter behind the ceiling A/C grate. Well now you do.
You will need to cut the filter material to match the current filter.

C. How about a protectant that you can spray on just about anything on a RV to protect it from Sun and weather.
Regular use gives 100% prevention of UV caused slow-fade
303 Aerospace protectant keeps UV-sensitive materials "like new" year after year.

D. When you have a squeak what do you use to get rid of it? When something is hard to turn what do you use to free it up?  You should not be using WD-40. You should be using.

Contains PTFE for long-lasting protection
Withstands extreme load carrying situations
Displaces moisture and seals out corrosion
E. For those black tank watchers.
ODOR FREE: absolutely no chemical or sewer smell
ORGANIC: biodegradable, environmentally friendly, septic tank friendly
EFFECTIVE: in extreme hot & cold temperatures ( over 100°f )
EXTENDED DUMP INTERVAL: keeps on working ( don't have to add more before dumping )
LIQUIFY: waste solids & most ordinary household tissue ( no expensive special tissue needed )

F. To repair a tire on the road or dry camping you need one of these Tire Repair Kits.
G. When you need to wash off your tow vehicle the front of the RV and you don't have or can't use any water.
Can be used as Waterless Wash or Just spray on after wet washing to Wax As You Dry. Works on wet or dry surfaces. Kit includes 1 full 32oz spray bottle , 1 mini bug scrubber and 3 Microfiber towels. Waterless Wash up to 8 cars or Wax As You Dry 12 cars. Leaves a non-stick UV protective coating on ALL surfaces

H. To keep things frozen while going to your campground try this.
Nu-Ice is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, chemical freezer pack capable of maintaining a sub-zero temperature "charge" in a freezer or other insulated environment for an extended period of time. This is accomplished by charging the pack to initiate the simple chemical reaction within the pack. The pack immediately begins to absorb energy (heat) and emit sub-zero temperatures once environment temperatures begin to rise. These packs are safe, environmentally friendly and re-usable up to five years! Therefore, the Nu-Ice packs are a great alternative for gas emitting dry ice as our pack do not require special handling, training or costly haz-mat shipping fees. 5 lb.

I. With all the rubber weather seals our RVs have we need a rubber protectant.

Gummi Pflege is a special rubber treatment that conditions rubber weather seals on car doors, windows and trunks reducing squeaks, rattles, wind noise and potential water leaks. Gummi restores color to dried out rubber and keeps them elastic while protecting them against the damaging effects of heat, freezing temperatures and UV rays. It uses a petroleum free, water-based formula. Easy-to-use shoe polish type applicator makes application simple without the mess.

J. To dry you off quickly and then dry itself quickly you need a special quick drying towel.
Microfiber with super soft ultra-suede finish
Remarkably absorbent and fast drying. Machine washable
Features a silver-ion antibacterial treatment. The microfibers are given a permanent coating of silver ions, which prohibit the growth of bacteria and other microbial life. The result is a towel that doesn't smell or transmit germs
Packaged in Mesh Bag
Sizes XS: 12" x 24", 1.3 oz; SM: 16" x 32", 2.2 oz; MD: 20" x 40", 3.6 oz; LG: 24" x 48", 5.1 oz; XL: 30" x 60", 8.1 oz

K. How about a nice flag or turn it into a picture to hang in the RV?

L. All most every RVer that I know likes Donuts.  With below you can make your own fresh daily.
Pan makes 6 standard donuts at a time, each 3.5 inches/9cm diameter
Durable nonstick coating helps ensure effortless food release
Recipes and instructions included
Hand washing recommended

Until Next Time.

Don't forget to join the Weekend RVers on Facebook a no DRAMA place with Hints, Tips, Free Stuff, Recipes, for every kind of RVer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Don't Like Your RV Faucets? Change Them!

As you might have guessed, RV manufactures do not use the best or the most expensive faucets when building your RV.  You might just love your sticks and bricks faucets and hate your RV faucets. What can you do with those RV faucets?  Replace them with new faucets.  You can use regular sticks and bricks faucets.  The only thing you need to do is measure the spacing between the handle holes.

Faucet Hole Spacing

Be sure to turn off the water to the RV and relieve the pressure (if any) in the hot water tank. Then turn on the hot and cold handles of the faucet you want to replace.  Clean out the stuff underneath the sink. Get a flashlight and look up underneath the sink and see how the water lines are hooked to the current faucet. You may have to get yourself up under the sink bottom to see what is going on. But you should see something like the photo below.
Faucet Water Connection Under The Sink

Sometimes a red plastic pipe is used for hot water and a blue or white plastic pipe is used for cold.
The fittings should only be hand tight.  If they are on the faucet stem harder than hand tight use a Channel Lock Pliers 
Channel Lock Pliers 

and carefully loosen the fittings. Now you should see two black or blue flat plastic nuts with wings sticking out. See photo above for the flat nuts above the white water line.  Use you channel lock pliers to loosen and then remove these nuts.  What you have left should look like below.
Bottom of faucet shafts without water lines or black plastic wing nuts
Now you can pull the faucet out from the top.  Clean off the area where the old faucet was and get ready to install the new one.
For the kitchen faucet you can use. (Low Cost Kitchen Faucet )
Low Cost Kitchen Faucet 
You can also use a kitchen faucet with an integrated sprayer. (Kitchen Built-in Sprayer Faucet)
Kitchen Built-in Sprayer Faucet
You should double check the water feed line spacing before you make your purchase.
Here is a chance to put the faucet of your choice in the color and style you want into your kitchen.
So how do you put everything back together? Clean the area that the old faucet sat on with your favorite cleaner.  You want to make sure there is nothing on the top of the sink where the new faucet will be going.
Put the new faucet together according to the manufacturer's instructions.   Then apply some Kitchen and Bathroom Caulk
Kitchen and Bathroom Caulk

around the bottom of the faucet (unless the faucet manufacturer says not to.)

and put the water stems into the holes in the top of the sink.

Bottom of faucet shafts without water lines or black plastic wing nuts

Put the black flat nuts back on and tighten them down tight.  You can use your pliers to tighten the black nuts down to be sure they are tight.  Then put the water lines back on.  
Faucet Water Connection Under The Sink
Caution If the faucet stems are metal you may need to use plumbers tape.
Plumbers Tape
Just wrapped the tape around the metal stem before you screw the plastic water line back on.  If the faucet stem is plastic you should not need the plumbers tape. Make sure the new faucet is turned off and then turn on your RV water CHECK FOR LEAKS and enjoy your new faucet.

For the bathroom sink you can just follow the above instructions for that sink as well.  The bathroom sink is where you can get fancy and make something that is really yours.
Bathroom Faucet

Brass Bathroom Faucet

Until next time.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

To Lube Or Not To Lube That Is The Question

Answer: To Lube.  Most RVers lube the hitch and maybe the ball of the pull-a-long with Reese Hitch and Ball Grease
Reese Hitch and Ball Grease

that is what I use.  But is that all there is?  Does lubrication of the RV stop there?  I am afraid not.  Let's see what else needs to be lubed and with what type of lubrication to make RVing fun and safe for you and your family.

Ok we have covered the ball and hitch but what about the tongue jack and shaft for the front foot?  Most of us do not even remember the last time that was lubed do we?  Well you're in luck.  Most of the time no lubrication will be required.  Just clean the part that goes up and down to remove the grime that maybe there and you are good to go.  However if while turning the handle and the crank tightens up you should squirt some White Lithium Grease in the top gear area.
White Lithium Grease

This is good for a quick field repair but for a better fix keep reading.
Yours may differ but you get the idea, right?
 Access to this gear area can be found by a small hole just below the handle on the tube or you may have to remove the handle and lift up the top cover to expose the gear area or in some cases the top cover just above the crank will pop off and allow you to add some grease.  Some of the newer tongue jacks  come with a Zerk fitting that you can use a grease gun to pump grease into the tongue jack.
I'll bet some of you are lucky enough to have one of those 12 volt power tongue jacks that raise and lower the RV with the push of a button.  (I am saving for one of those myself.)  Cleaning of the pipe that goes up and down is fine, but beyond that follow the manufactures instructions for maintenance and if the tube hangs up be sure to take the unit in for service.
 Next comes the stabilizer jacks.  The ones on my KZ Spree are manual crank down so there is a lot to lube.

First clean off the screw, getting the threads good and clean.  Then apply spray white grease to the threads, watch for drips.  Next lube the driver area in the front of the jack with T-9 Lube Spray
T-9 Lube Spray

it is the best spray for outdoor lubrication I have found.  While you have the spray out get all the pivot points on the jack.  You may have to crank the jack up and down a few times to find them all.

Then we have the folding entrance steps.

As each trailer step is a bit different it is best just to tell you to locate the folding points and use your T-9 or spray white grease to lube those points  It is important to not allow the pivot points of the steps to rust or be bent by forcing the steps open.
Be sure to check the door hinges of the RV to be sure that they are smooth operating opening and closing and that the handle and lock operate smoothly.  T-9 here is the best choice.

Every two years or 5000 mile whichever occurs first you should have the wheel bearings checked and repacked with grease.  You don't want the tires to fall off the axles do you?  Anyway, while the Technician is there repacking the wheels have him check the breaks as well.

Until next time.

Why not join the "Weekend RVers" Facebook group? We cover the range from newbie to Fulltimer so stop by.

Campfire Safety

As we all get ready to start camping or have already started.  I am reminded that in many parts of the USA you can not have a campfire do to outdoor burning restrictions caused by the lack of RAIN.  So many of us remember the nights spent by the fire watching the sparks work their way up into the air from the burning logs and hearing the original snap, crackle, and pop. (sorry Kellogg)  Well things have changed that's for sure.  First in many states now you can not bring firewood from one state to another or even from one part of a state to another do to bugs, worms, and what have you.  You must use the firewood that is at the park store or Ranger station.

How far is too far to move firewood? And what is meant by "local" firewood?  When discussing local firewood, I am referring to the closest convenient source of wood that you can find. That might be from down the street, or a state forest in your county. As a general rule of thumb, 50 miles is too far to move firewood, and 10 miles or less is the max firewood should be moved.  In many states there are rules, regulations, and quarantines that clearly state how far is too far. Always acquaint yourself with local rules and regulations when transporting firewood from one jurisdiction to another.  Find out more here Don't Move Firewood .
So you buy some firewood from the Ranger's supply at the park and you can burn it during the time you are in the part but you have to leave what you do not burn behind.  How can you make a camp fire fun and exciting?  Well, S'mores are fun to make S'mores.

When you are done making the S'mores you might want to be amazed by the camp fire northern light show.  Camp Fire Northern Light Show .

Now sit back and enjoy the rest of the evening and watch the light show from your camp fire.

What happens when you can not burn wood but you still want to sit around a campfire.  Well the solution for that is the gas campfire.  Most RV camping areas do not have a problem with the gas campfire even if there is a burn ban because the fire does not give off sparks and with the turn of the gas valve the fire is off.  You can still make those S'mores the kids want and you can still enjoy sitting outside of the RV around the campfire.  See Portable Gas Campfire for what I am talking about.
This portable gas campfire runs off of LP gas either the little 1lb green cylinders (runs for 2hrs) or the 10lb gas tanks.  It runs for hours and the red cover is used for storage and to elevate the gas campfire off the ground.  Also the red cover has the carry handle attached.  With the extra accessory you can even cook on the campfire just like a fire log one.
With any fire outside you need to have a fire extinguisher at the ready just in case.  Not just for grass fires. Fire Gone White/Red Fire Extinguisher - 16 oz 

Fire Gone White/Red Fire Extinguisher - 16 oz

Until next time.

Bugs, Bugs, And More Bugs

Now that Spring has finally sprung, and Summer is on the way, it is time for the bugs of the RV campgrounds to rise up against their camping overlords.  I am sure that you have had your fair share of bugs either the crawling type or the buzzbomb type. I will try to give you some hints and tips on how to get rid of both types safely and cheaply. 

 So lets go.
Ants we all seem to collect them either during storage or while camping. Here is a cheap and pet safe way to get rid of them both in the RV or your sticks and bricks.

You need to mix in equal parts of

1 part baking soda
1 part powdered sugar (not the granulated kind used in coffee)

You will need.
1 lid from any jar

Mix the baking soda and powdered sugar and put into jar lid and put out where you have seen the ants. It will not be long and the ants will be gone. So you may ask why this works. Inside of ants there is an acid type fluid when mixed with the baking soda causes the ants to explode. If you or the dog should eat the mixture nothing much happens, it just doesn't taste good.

Corn meal is another safe way to get rid of ants, but it can be a bit messy. Just sprinkle the meal around the nesting area or along the ant trail. In a day or so the ants will be gone.

Stink Bugs
These little devils are not native to the USA but, like many of our ancestors have immigrated to a better life here in the USA. So how do you get rid of them now that they have hitched a ride in your RV?

In a spray bottle, combine 32 ounces of hot water and three-quarters of a cup of Dawn dish washing liquid and spray the exterior of your RV's, windows, and doors. On the inside spray around baseboards inside cabinets, closets, and any other dark area inside the RV. For an extra kick, you can use the anti-bacterial variety of dish washing liquid, but understand that it contains additional chemicals. Of course a good bug spray will also work but might not be safe for Fido.


You are getting your RV ready to go for spring and you spie a wasps nest or several wasps returning to the same spot time after time. What can you do? Well spray the area or nest with WD40 and that will rid you of the nest or neutralize the area that the wasps were going to use to build their nest.

There are also a variety of commercially made glass wasp traps that claim that they are helpful in reducing wasp populations in the area. The trick is to make sure you keep replacing the bait, as wasps like fresh bait. And also, please consider using savory bait, such as tuna, as that will attract the yellow jackets and wasps, but not honeybees, which a sweet bait will. The glass traps are actually very pretty, but you can also make your own inexpensive version out of any type of plastic bottle (soda pop bottle, or water bottle). Follow these instructions to make your own.

Mud Dauber (Wasp)

While these wasps are non aggressive to humans, they do cause problems to RVers by getting into places they should not be.  Like gas orifices of the heating system, hot water system, and refrigerator.  The best defence here is to plug the holes leading into these areas of the RV.  See below for screening suggestions.

The scourge of the RV camping experience the Mosquito. First how do you keep them off you? Use Skin-So-Soft. You can purchase here Skin-So-Soft and it really does work for several hours. It is safe for kids and does not contain Deets. However during scientific tests, Deep Woods Off, proved to be the best you could buy in keeping Mosquitoes away from you. BUT it does contain DEETS. Please be careful when using Deets around children. Be sure to follow directions for use of the product.

So what about those flying around? We need to construct a mosquito trap. Please see below;

 Take a plastic water bottle and cut the neck off. (The neck is the cone part of the bottle including the cap.)

Flip the neck upside-down, removing the cap first, and place the neck into the bottle.

Tape and/or staple the top together or punch a couple of holes and keep them together by two screws, which you can even use to hang the trap up.

Bait the trap. Mix 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar with 8oz of hot water. Mix thoroughly and allow to cool. After the mixture cools, pour into the bottom of the plastic bottle. Add 1/4 TSP of Yeast. DO NOT MIX!!! The mixture gives off carbon dioxide that attracts the Mosquitoes.

Tape some string to the bottle, (or make holes and put the string through) and hang it up near where you plan to be either outside or inside.
Once the Mosquitoes are tricked into going in they can't figure out how to get out, so they get trapped and die.

Dispose of the Mosquito trap regularly whenever the number of dead Mosquitoes does not appear to be increasing.

You are now finished. You have saved the planet and your camping area from thousands (well maybe hundreds) of Mosquitoes.
We thank you!

So how do you stop or slow down bugs getting into your RV when the front door is kept closed most of the time?  You put screens over the openings caused by the water heater, furnace, and refrigerator.
Lets take each one and see what can be done.
Water heater.  You can buy a water heater vent screen, such as this one, Flying Insect Screen

Flying Insect Screen
and install it (easy DIY project) over the water heater RV vent.  I have a KZ Spree and could not find a water heater vent cover so I covered the inside of the water heater cover louvers with insect screen and used silicone to bond the screen to the metal water heater cover.  Works great.
Furnace vent. You can buy a furnace vent screen, such as this one, RV Furnace Screen

Kit comes with everything you need and will keep the Mud Daubers out.
Refrigerator Vents.  You can buy a refrigerator vent screen, such as this one, Refrigerator Vent Screens

I installed these on my KZ Spree and use some zip ties to hold the screens in place so they would not move around.  This was an simple DIY project and will keep the bugs and Mud Daubers out.  Check around windows and doors for any cracks or small openings that may have developed and keep storage doors closed while camping and you should keep the bugs out and enjoy the indoors as much as the outdoors.

Until Next Time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Waste Treatment Tank (The Black & Grey)

I do not plan on explaining how to dump the grey and black tanks on your RV.  What I would like to do is to explain how to stay out of trouble in dumping your tanks and dis-spell some of myths on when to dump your tanks.

So what is the main differences between a sticks and bricks waste disposal and your RV.  First there is no worry about getting rid of the waste at your sticks and bricks.  You let water splash into the sink and it just disappears down the drain.  No matter how much water you put into the sink.  You flush the toilet you never have to worry about sewer smell coming back-up  and if the toilet gets clogged up you just plunge a few times and presto the waste is gone.
None of the above is true for your RV.  If you put too much water down your sink, you will over fill the grey water tank and the waste water will flow into your bathtub or shower.  If you leave your waste slinky hose hooked up with the open/close valve on you RV open you will invite sewer gas from the campground into your RV.  Because your toilet is on top of your black water tank there is a limit to how much waste you can put down there as well.  Also if it gets plugged up, plunging it will not help!
So what to do.  For the smell problem that might occur in the grey water tank I use Grey Water Tank Smell Killer.  It works.
Grey Water Tank Smell Killer

As for the water back-up you should dump your grey tank every two days while camping or sooner if the water starts to back up.  This is the tank you can dump before you leave for home.
The grey water tank should be the last tank you dump before you head for home.  After dumping it you need to add approximately 1 gallon of clean water back into it and one of the grey water tank smell killers and you are good to go.
Now the black water tank the scourge of RV camping.  There are a lot of does  and don't about this tank so let's get started.
No matter what you hear or read most all of the sensors that are supposed to tell you how full the black water tank is, do not work.  I have been told and it has been proven that the sensors mounted on the outside of the tank do seem to do a better job than those sensors that are inside the blackwater tank.  Most of the crazy ideas floating around about how to make the sensors inside the black water tank work also do not work.  To fix the problem of , how full is the blackwater tank.  So how do you know when it is time to dump the tank?  Look down inside the toilet and if you see blackwater, hear gurgling, and stuff floating, it's time to dump the tank.  So what can you do to improve how the black water tank works.
Use only quick dissolving toilet paper in this tank.  Toilet paper made just for RV is fine such as RV 2ply Toilet Paper or septic tank safe toilet paper.  But you can use just about any toilet paper that will quickly dissolve.  To test any brand of toilet paper to see if it can be used,  take a glass jar with a lid.  Fill the jar about 3/4 full and add a single sheet of your toilet paper to be tested.  Put on the lid and give the jar three quick shakes.  If most of the sheet of toilet paper is broken up and coming apart you are ok to use the toilet paper tested.
Check here for more details RV Toilet Paper Safe .

We have safe paper what next?  How about something to get rid of the smell and help break down the waste. I would suggest Black Holding Tank Deodorizer and Dissolver
Black Holding Tank Deodorizer and Dissolver
This should be added to your black water tank regularly.  I add one tablet after each time I dump my black water tank and another during hot weather if there is a smell problem.

Here is another possible black tank treatment Oxy-Kem that comes highly recommended.  I have not tried it so I can't comment on how well it works, but I do plan to and will let you know.

Here is an all natural black tank cleaner that really cleans the tank as well as the sensors.  I have not tried it myself but all of the reports I am getting say it works.Unique Black Tank Cleaner

Do not dump your tank unless it is full or near full.  I know what you must be thinking but we never fill it over a weekend trip.  I realize that maybe the case but, you need to fill it up manually and dump it before you leave the park.  You do not need a hose or make this a big deal just flush the toilet and insert one of these things.
 Johnny Chock

Johnny Chock
Let the toilet run for approximately 10 to 15 minutes depending on how full your tank is.  If you can see the water in the black tank from the toilet that is full enough.  Remove the Johnny Chock and store.  Now dump the black tank like you usually do.  Add about a gallon or more of water (you can run the toilet with the Johnny Chock for 2 to 3 minutes and that should do it.  Drop in one of your black tank tablets and you are ready for the next outing.

Never leave the black tank drain valve open.  You are just asking for the smells of your neighbor's sewer to come up into your RV.  If you dump your holding tank to frequently you will have a build up of solid waste called the black pyramid of death (just an expression).  This is a problem you do not want and could cause an very expensive repair.  To prevent the "pyramid of death" you need to flush your black tank when it is at least 3/4 full and refill it so that there is some water splashing inside as you  drive back home.

One of the things you hear and I have tried is to add one cup of cheap dish washer liquid soap to break-up waste and Calgon to lube the inside of the tank.  Does it work?  I have been using it and have not seen much of an improvement.  I plan on using this in the grey water tank next to see if it makes a difference to that tank.

Quick Guide To Waste Tank Dumping
  1. Grey Water Tank can be dumped anytime.
  2. Use a tank treatment when needed. (to reduce smell and add microbes)
  3. Dump Black Tank when at least 3/4 full.
  4. Add small amount of water to both tanks after dumping. (up to 2 gallons)
  5. Use the grey water to flush out sewer hoses.

Until Next Time.