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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

RV Slide Flooring Fear

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have discovered a dirty little secret the RV industry has. I am sure we are not the only ones who feel entrapped by manufactures and dealers when it comes time to replace carpeting in an RV with slides.

We just discovered that the cost of putting new wood plank flooring down was going to cost us over seven thousand dollars because the slides have to be removed. The materials cost one-tenth of that, so labor is where they make all the money.
Now we know how people felt when Jesse James boarded a train and left with all their valuables. 
--Watching our money slide away in Sarasota

Dear Sara:
I hope you still have your hand securely fastened to your wallet. If you want work done on your rig you don't go with the first pitch you hear and consider it the gospel according to the manufacturer.

There is usually an easy work around to your dilemma but you have to work at figuring it out. I recommend using RV forums so often, I am probably beginning to sound like a broken record. But again in this case, that is where your answer lies.

There are all kinds of slide mechanisms. You have to figure out how yours function. You may have more than one type. Common slides are supported by rollers or friction shoes. Going from carpet to vinyl can sometimes cause scratching so you need to understand your slide mechanism and often do a work around.

I couldn't agree more that the industry is steeped in a tradition of highway robbery when it comes to inevitable renovations. Two of the biggest rip offs include interior flooring and exterior finish.

I have done a couple flooring jobs in my RV's over the years. If you are handy it is really no more complicated than doing work on your home.

My suggestion would be to leave the flooring under your slide in place. Cut the carpet in front of the slide and use staples or a transition border to secure the carpet under the slide. When you bring the slide in the first time you can put a thin protective surface down and see if the slide runs on it. If it does you can buy "slide slickers" that are made to protect your new flooring from the slide mechanism.

An easier solution is to use an area rug in front of the slide on your new flooring. That will protect the new flooring and let your slide work the same way it was designed.

One of the best resources online for information is a guy named Ernie Ekberg. He specializes in RV floor renovations. Not only will he do your job much more reasonable, he is very generous with his knowledge and seems to be willing to help those who want to tackle the job themselves.

You will also find a plethora of opinions online as to which type of flooring to use. That is a personal choice but you should consider what is involved with each type, pros and cons, care etc.

Do your homework. A fool and his money are soon parted.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Needy RV

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband is a sucker for every pitch that comes down the pike. He is always buying some gadget that is going to save us money in the long run, save our lives in an emergency, or save our equipment from impending doom.

Since we bought our RV it's always something. A chemical for the toilet that will kill the smell and save the valves, gadget for the refrigerator that will keep it from exploding into a fireball, a water filter and pressure gauge to save our plumbing, or a surge protector to save our electrical system.

Last week we needed a tire monitoring system to let us know we have a flat. Do we really need all this stuff​? ​

If it is so important, why didn't it come on our brand new motorhome. It cost​s more than our first t​wo​ houses. Seems like they could have included all these gadgets if they are so crucial.
--Pitchy in Palm Springs

Dear Pitchy:
Many of these things can be purchased with a new rig. Some are personal choices you might want to think of as insurance policies. It is no different than deciding if you want to purchase the extended warranty on a new electric toothbrush.

People that have never owned an RV often do not realize what they may need or want. After you get a few miles under your belted tires, you start making decisions on items that may help you monitor your equipment, make your environment safer, or give you some peace of mind.

I agree that some seminars are geared toward sales. I have been to many that tend to exaggerate the possibilities of problems in an effort to convince the audience to make a buying decision.

There are enough RV forums online that can give you first​-​hand experience with all these problems. Use this resource to get a second opinion on any options, gadgets, or solutions that come across your radar.

Some things you can live without, but I would give cautious thought to safety items.

Some equipment monitors are designed to protect you from situations that are not at all common. These are items that you will have to decide on an economical basis whether the cost outweighs the risk for you personally.

You probably don't need the doorbell that plays 34 different songs​,​​ ​but then​,​ who knows, your husband may go to that seminar too.

Just don't let him get satellite TV. He will spend all day watching QVC.

  --Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

RV solo flight

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are headed ​on ​a trip through the Maritime Provinces of Canada this summer and fall. We have met several other RVer's who are doing the same. ​

We have some friends that we enjoy doing things with on occasion, but we do not want to travel with them full time in a caravan fashion. We have dropped subtle hints that we plan to travel on our own, but they continue to plan a trip with us.

Would it be rude to tell them in no uncertain terms that we do not want to travel with them? We find it uncomfortable confronting this dilemma.
--Bound for Sorry in Sarasota

Dear Sorry:
It would be rude not to make it clear to them. It sounds like it has already gone too far.

Most people would understand if you explained your feelings about not wanting to travel as a group. There are other ways to fashion such a trip where you may or may not meet up occasionally.

Traveling in a group often means making decisions as a committee as to when you are leaving, where you are stopping, when to eat​ etc...​ It can be wonderful if you have a group of people that want that travel style, but miserable if you don't.

Some people need a group to feel safe and comfortable. If your friends are that way you should make things clear to them so they can start looking for others that would not mind traveling with them.

If you cannot bring yourself to telling them, you will make yourself miserable and most likely ruin the trip for everyone involved.

You may also ruin the relationship you have now as occasional camping friends.

--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink