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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

RV Lonesome Dove

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have just started doing more remote camping or, as some of our friends call it, "boondocking."

My husband is much more comfortable with this arrangement than I am. We are not just parking on the side of the road somewhere. We are birders and we like wild, natural places.

I am very comfortable staying in most of these areas, I just don't like heading out for the day and leaving our RV and all of our worldly possessions. We have never had a problem, but I think about it all day long while we are out hiking or driving around the area.

Should I just "get over it?" Am I being too paranoid?

Thoughts please.
--Unsecured in Utah

Dear Unsecured:
We all have our own threshold when it comes to security. Every boondocking site has its own set of circumstances. Sites can be too populated, too unpopulated, too remote, too accessible or even on the cusp of illegal. I think we have stayed in all those places and I will admit some of them made me a little nervous, and my wife very nervous.

You have to decide between the two of you where you draw the comfort line. Personally, I would feel better leaving my RV for the day in a well used BLM desert than a Walmart parking lot. When traveling we use Walmart for overnight stops a lot, but seldom do we leave our rig there and go off to town.

I would suggest making your RV look occupied as much as possible, learn as much about the area as you can, and try to find others camping.

Once you have made your decision, go with your gut and enjoy chasing your birds. Stuff happens, and it can happen anywhere. If you talk with other RVers that boondock, you will discover that few have ever had major problems.

That said, my good friend just had half a bike stolen off the back of his motorhome while parked next to a very nice urban bike trail. He had his expensive mountain bike locked, so the thieves just took the front suspension and wheel.

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” --George Burns

--Keep Smilin', Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

RV water world

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
It's jump or swim around here. I need your help. I feel like I am married to Jacques Cousteau. We have had a water leak for almost 2 years. My husband refuses to have someone else solve his problems. We did stop at the Winnebago factory last year on the way home, but they were too busy to look at it. He then bought a cable with a camera on the end to explore the nooks and crannies of our rig where the holding tank is situated. That device turned out to be a joke and he sent it back to Amazon.

Yesterday he came in with a big grin on his face and said, "Eureka, I found the leak!" Although the leak seemed to be coming from the top of the tank, it actually turned out to be a small crack in the tank just at the top edge. This crack location made it look like the water was coming over the top edge of the tank like a waterfall. I felt relief until I realized that now he is on to the discovery phase of the fix. You might say he is fixated.

Should I just let him do his thing or have him committed? --Donna in Dripping Springs

Dear Dripping:
It seems like a long time to have a water problem. I hope it has not caused more problems than you currently have. There is an old adage, "Penny wise and pound foolish." Letting a problem go too long might cost you more than just aggravation in the long run. Glad you finally discovered the cause.

I know that Winnebago roto-molds their own tanks. I believe they use low density polyethylene. About the only way to repair them is plastic welding. Your husband can attempt it himself inexpensively by purchasing poly welding sticks of the same material as the tank. It can be melted with a soldering iron. I have also seen a new product called "TAD poly weld" that claims it will adhere to, and seal, polyethylene.

Your other choice would be to have the tank replaced, which in most cases involves more labor costs than material. Hopefully one of the cheap fixes work.

I would wait until the work was complete before having your husband committed. --Keep Smilin', Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Beady RV tire people

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I have heard that owning a motorhome or a boat has been compared to throwing money into a black hole. We have been experiencing that lately. We bought six new tires a couple years ago at the cost of almost $4,000.

Recently, we decided to add a tire monitoring system that we see advertised in RVtravel.com (TireTraker). What we didn't realize is there is a possibility of problems if our tires have balance beads in them. We never even thought about this when we purchased tires. We now see on our tire invoice that our tires were balanced with beads instead of weights.

My husband wants to just buy the monitor system and take our chances that everything will be fine. I don't want to spend $500 to see if the beads will clog the sensors or not.

Can you talk some sense into my husband's careless attitude about sensors?
--Tired in Tucson

Dear Tired:
I emailed TireTraker and received this answer from the company:

 "As long as a filtered valve core was/is installed there would be no issue. If it’s just the normal valve stem, then the beads could leak and damage the sensors. The Lifetime warranty covers the monitor and the sensors should they fail by no fault of your own. We would repair/replace any components for the duration of your ownership."

You might monitor the comments on this post. Perhaps someone has tried using a pressure system with balance beads and will post their experience. I do know you will spend as much to have your beads removed as you will on the system. I also have balance beads, and like you, had no clue I was getting them. I just assumed when I bought tires I would get weights.

For those thinking about tire purchase it would be wise to make that decision ahead of time and not let some tire business make it for you without even asking. Someone specializing in RV tires will probably have the equipment to balance large tires. Many businesses do not and opt to toss a bag of beads or powder in each tire for balancing.

I am no tire expert, but have been told by a few professionals that the powder can damage tires and wheels.

At this point your cheapest option would most likely be new filtered valve cores. I am curious myself and will ask Chuck if he can query his tire expert. (We have asked RV tire expert Roger Marble to weigh in on this subject, and he will post his comments below.)

Until then keep a close watch on your husband's beady little eyes and don't let him do something foolish without first exploring all other options.

--Keep Smilin', Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink