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

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

RV flooring

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We want to update our motorhome with new flooring. Our carpet is ten years old and looking nasty. We have agreed on plank flooring, but we can't agree on who the installer will be. I want a professional and my husband wants to do it himself.

Don't get me wrong, he's a handy guy. My concern is the expense of doing it wrong and having it ripped up. It's not a house, it moves. I'm thinking there are methods and materials that differ from stick house flooring to RV. My husband say's, "A floor is a floor."

What are your thoughts on installation?
--Floored in Florence

Dear Floored:
I am no expert at flooring but let me take a shot. I have done two rigs in the past: the first one with glued down tile and the second with a floating floor. Even though I wouldn't agree with, "A floor is a floor," I would say they are similar.

If your husband is handy, he should have no problem pulling off this job. There are many things to consider. With a floating floor you will need to make sure you leave a quarter inch gap on the edges, seal the edges so that moisture does not get underneath and then trim it in quarter round. I didn't care for how that job turned out as the quarter round did not give a factory look when finished.

Since I am in Quartzsite this week I talked to Tim Klenk of Master Tech RV. His company performs the entire gamut of RV renovations. He recommends a product called Karndean. It looks like wood plank but it glues down like tile, allowing a nice tight edge.

Once you decide on a material and a method, I would suggest you do a lot of studying. Listen to the many opinions you can find on RV forums and decide how comfortable you are doing your own work.

You might want to split it up. Perhaps removing old flooring and furnishings, having a professional do the install, then replacing furnishings yourself. That can save you on labor.

You can't keep a good man down. If you stop letting him do stuff he will have too much time on his hands and start getting into trouble.

My wife used to go for handsome, but now she goes for handy.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

RV Troubled Waters

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are new at this RV game. This is our first winter with our brand new motorhome. We are loving the weather here in North Central Florida. However, my wife is not a happy camper right now.

We keep getting a rotten egg smell from our water. I think it is from the hot water tank, but I can't be sure. She thinks it must be caused by the motorhome water storage tank and does not want to use our water until we fix this issue.

I tell her it won't kill us, we just won't drink it. She is adamant about not drinking it, showering or even washing the dishes.

Am I being too flip about this or could it be a serious issue?
--Troubled Waters in Juniper Springs

Dear Troubled:
Like many questions I get, I just have to take a stab at what might be your issue. A couple things come to mind immediately. First, make sure it is a water system smell. It is very possibly one or more of your batteries could be boiling. That gives off a very sulfur, rotten egg smell.

The next thing that comes to mind is your water source. You sound like you are in the Ocala National Forest area of Florida. Many springs in the Ocala area are sulfur springs. Your water could be coming from just such a source.

Think back about where you filled last. If you are connected, check your source. I think I would be safe in saying it is not your tanks. If you find it is your water source you will want to flush your hot water tank occasionally and maybe your water storage tank. You will most likely find a recommended measure of bleach in the manufacturer's manual or a million places online.

If it turns out to be your batteries it is possible your coach converter is not shutting down when the batteries are fully charged. This is something you want to solve immediately.

It is not so critical if it turns out to be a water source problem. You could just put up with the smell and pretend you are visiting Yellowstone National Park.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

RV Airhead

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We spent a fortune on a tire monitor for our motorhome that is more hassle than it's worth. It works half the time and I am not sure it is even accurate.

My wife thinks I wasted money on a device that makes me more nervous with bad readings than if I didn't know at all what pressure changes were taking place.

Did I just get a lemon? Should I even worry about tire pressure? Am I being too cautious/paranoid? ----Airhead in Arizona

Dear Airhead:
The backbone of these devices seems to be the batteries that let them communicate. The valve relays power off those expensive little watch batteries. The main relay should be able to connect to your coach battery banks or run off AA batteries.

Ninety percent of the time it turns out to be a power issue that breaks communications between relays and monitor. I would suggest checking all of your batteries, possibly replacing them, then fire everything up and see what happens.

Since you have already invested your hard earned money in a system, why not benefit by it. Don't get frustrated. Get to know your system. Make sure you read and understand the manual, contact the manufacturer if you have questions, or hook up with a dealer that can fine tune and run you through the process of initializing.

If you are hauling a toad, it will save you a lot of money if you can see a problem before it gets critical. Same goes for the coach. If you can notice a low tire before it goes flat you will save yourself the danger of a blowout and the cost of a new tire damaged by running on low pressure.

One problem averted could pay for the entire system. Also, when working properly it will give you peace of mind. You would be amazed at how far you can haul a toad with a flat before you realize you have a problem. It can be very expensive, causing tire, wheel, strut or body damage in a very short distance.

So become an expert "Airhead."

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