Pennsylvania RVers, do not loose your cool!

Your refrigerator is your most important appliance when it comes to your RV. Some of the advantages to having a refrigerator is not having to haul coolers around. Which means no more refilling the ice, emptying out water from melted ice, and lugging it place to place. These are the advantages to remember when it comes to keeping  your fridge working and not loosing its cool.

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There can be several reasons that refrigerators will fail to work correctly. With these various reasons, it is in the best interest of RV owners to know when to repair vs. replace. Typically, there are two brands of refrigerators located inside of RVs, Norcold or Dometic. Those brands run with the same concept. They operate by heating a closed cooling element with a gas flame or electric heating element. The cooling consists of ammonia-based liquid that is contained within a series of tubes. When the heat is added, the ammonia-based liquid will circulate through the closed cooling unit by releasing the heat out of the refrigerator.

When the fridge stops cooling as well as it should this means that the circulation of fluid is not working properly. One advantage to RV refrigerators is that there are no moving parts other than the heating liquid, making it easier to find the problem. Some common troubleshooting refrigerator Q & As are contained within this video.

 

Frequently the problem with RV refrigerators is time combined with lack of use. As the units age, the liquid will create a sediment that will settle at the bottom of the cooling unit. As this sediment builds up, the ability for your fridge to be cooled properly will decrease because the circulation will be hindered. When comparing a fridge that is used once or twice a year in a time frame of 5+ years, and a fridge that is in continual use, the fridge in continual use will be less likely to plug up. Any sediment build up that could occur will be delayed with the more frequent fluid movement.

The tall-tale of removing your RV refrigerator and turning it upside down for a time period to have it work again is questionable. The theory behind this is only somewhat explainable. When sediment occurs, it is possible to dislodge it for some time, but when it sits back in place again the sediment will settle and plug up the tubes once more.

Rebuilt cooling units are available for purchase but they are expensive and when added with the labor costs, it can be a pricey project that could have easily been spent on a brand new refrigerator.

** This information came from “The Fun Times Guide” on their article called “RV Refrigerator Stop Working? Tips For Repairing vs Replacing It”.

Pennsylvania does your RV stink?

Have you ever walked into a stale RV and wondered where the smell is coming from? Or are you trying to remove a smell in your RV after a long winter storage? The various smells and odors that form in RVs can be removed and taken care of. Here are 8 tips to removing bad odors from your RV.

1. Sewer Smell in the Bathroom
There are tons of chemicals that eliminate RV toilet odor on the market, each catering to the different ways your tank is dumped. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t help at all! Good ventilation for the black water tank is a must. The tank is vented out the roof of an RV. When traveling down the road, the wind can push wind down through that ventalation pipe, pushing the smell back into the RV instead of drawing out the odor. So…what do you do? You can install a special sewer vent that is designed to suck the odor out of the black tank with only a small breeze. See your local dealership to find out if they carry these special sewer vents.

2. Kitchen and Bathroom Drain Odors
When your trailer is not in use, water trapped in the P-traps under every sink and the shower can grow bacteria, spreading the smell throughout your RV. To keep the smell from forming, mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water. Pour the mixture down every drain and then dump what’s left into the kitchen sink so the mixture will go into the gray water tank too.

3. Rodent Odors in your RV
Dead rodents can be one of the worst smells in your RV. To remove the odor, find the dead rodent and remove it. Then scrub the area well, making sure to remove the odor and the bacteria/diseases that might have been left.

4. Bad Smelling Potable RV Water
When your water from your fresh water tank starts to smell or taste bad, it’s time to clean out the water system. The only way to get the fresh water tank system clean is to sanitize your RV water system with a diluted mixture of household bleach and water (make sure to rinse out the bleach mixture completely from your fresh water tank before use). If you keep having bad water issues in your fresh water tank system, consider installing a water filtration system.

5. Smelly RV Carpet and Pet Odors
The best way to remove smelly or pet stained carpets in your RV is to tear it out and replace it with laminate flooring. If you can’t afford to replace your carpet, another option is to get your carpet professionally cleaned. Invest in throw rugs to help keep your carpets clean and fresh as long as possible. You can also get your upholstery professionally cleaned, helping to eliminate any odors on your furniture too.

6. RV Refrigerator & Freezer Odors
To avoid a mildew or stale smell in your refrigerator and freezer, wipe down the inside with soap and water after every trip. Then leave the refrigerator and freezer doors left ajar to allow all moisture to evaporate. Leave either a shallow bowl or a box of baking soda in both the fridge and freezer will also help absorb any odors that may develop.

7. Stale RV Smells from Non-Use
If your RV has sat around for a while without regular use, a stale smell will start to appear. It’s usually smells, on top of smells, on top of smells! All in all…your RV needs to breath! Installing vent covers over the existing roof vents allows you to leave the roof vents open slightly, letting the hot stale air escape. Solar powered vents can also help you draw out the air more efficiently too. Removing the entire stale odor from your RV also involves doing steps 1 thru 6 and cleaning every surface in your RV. There are products on the market that claim they deodorized storage and mildew odors, but cleaning with regular household products work just as well.

8. Propane and Ammonia Odors
These two odors can mean big problems! If you start to smell a strong ammonia odor, the source will be the cooling unit of your refrigerator. The ammonia odor will be strong enough to bring tears to your eyes. There is really nothing you can do to fix it on your own. You’ll need to see the Service Department at your local Dealership, and be prepared for it to be expensive.

Propane odor can come from many areas and sources in and around your RV. Like the propane tanks, stove, oven, refrigerator, water heater, furnace, etc and the all lines that connect these appliances to the tanks as well. In order to detect a leak around the fittings, use a small brush and soapy water. Make sure to have adequate ventilation before you go looking for a propane problem. If you’re ever in doubt, call the Service Department at your local Central PA RV Dealership.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Watch “How to Control Moisture and Musty Smells in an RV” from Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor.

 

RV Odors: How to get rid of RV odors by the RV Doctor

**These tips for how to remove odors in your RV came from “RV Odor Problems: How to Remove 10 Different Odors from your RV” written by Curtis in the RV Section on the thefuntimesguide.com website.

Triple Towing: Legal or not in your state?

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Sometimes when traveling we just need to take a bit more equipment than the average family. For example you might want to tow a boat & a camper behind your vehicle. This is known as triple towing.  It is important to know your limits when it comes to triple towing.

Triple towing is illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However the good news is that in most states it is legal to tow two trailers at the same time behind your vehicle. It is allowed in the following States:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah

But things aren’t always just black and white so here are some exceptions to the rule. And the states listed above can change their laws at any time. States will have different variations of triple towing so it might restrict your abilities to triple tow.

Be sure to find out which states limit the total length of all 3 units to 65 feet. But in other circumstances the limit is 70 feet or 75 feet total length. Other issues you might find is that States can also limit the second trailer to recreational equipment, such as a boat, snowmobile, or ATV 4-wheelers.  Special endorsement on your driver’s license to tow any trailer over 10,000 lbs or to drive a motor-home that is over 40 feet in length is required in California.

Some good websites that contain the rules and guidelines for triple towing by State are Woodall’s Rules of the Road & Towing World. Although these websites do contain good information, it is important to know that rules and laws can change frequently and information can often times get mixed up so be sure to find out the latest rules and regulations before you plan your trip.  To do this, contact the Transportation Department or Highway Patrol in your State & the States you are traveling through.

Lastly, remember that safety is the name of the game when it comes to triple towing so be sure that you are properly following all safety measures and regulations. Triple towing requires a great deal of responsibility. This responsibility includes being able to maneuver in close spaces, using your brake with enough room to stop safely, and knowing how to back up all those units without causing a wreck. But most importantly, use common sense and watch your surrounds.

** This information came from “The Fun Times Guide” on their article called “Triple Towing: What You Need To Know Before You Pull 2 Trailers Behind A Car, Truck, or RV”.

***Lerch RV does not recommend triple towing.  And if you decide to triple tow, do so only after you know all the risks. Make sure you can see 200 feet behind the last vehicle you’re towing (towing mirrors help with this), and when you are backing up, you know how to maneuver your trailers properly. Check all State laws and guidelines when tripe towing or even thinking about triple towing. And remember it is illegal to triple tow in the state of Pennsylvania. 

****Article adapted from towing article found on Bish RV blog.

Pennsylvania’s Keystone Fuzion Toy Hauler Dealer, Lerch RV.

FUZION

It’s More than a Garage!

With automotive exterior lines and innovative interior patio door the new Fuzion is “More Than A Garage”. Boasting a stylish modern interior with custom furniture and cabinetry the Fuzion has a look that is unparalleled. One look at the Fuzion is enough to get your heart racing!  Manufactured by the Keystone RV Company, the Fuzion line up of fifth wheel and travel trailer toy hauler RVs is pretty amazing.  Currently Fuzion offers four different travel trailer toy hauler floor-plans that range from 30′ – 35′ in total length.  With unladen weights ranging from 6,700 lbs through 9,150 lbs., there is a Fuzion travel trailer toy hauler for everyone.

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Fuzion fifth wheel toy haulers are produced in eight different floor-plans.  Ranging from the Fuzion 310 at 35′ in length up to the Fuzion 412 at a total length of 41′.  The Fuzion toy hauler offers the avid RVer, a 102″ wide body, 3/8″ roof decking, 5/8″ one piece decking in living area, a full 1″ one-piece decking in garage area, 5″ wood trussed roof spaced at 16″ on center which gives you a full walk-able roof.  Aluminum framed, fully laminated fiberglass side walls sit on a frame of 10″ or 12″ steel twin I-beam construction. Solid surface counter-tops in the kitchen and bath are both beautiful and durable. The high-rise pull out kitchen faucet allows you to easily fill larger vessels in the sink, instead of elsewhere.  The Fuzion fifth wheel offers more and larger windows than any other RV in its class. And virtually all Fuzion windows open to bring in the fresh air.  Leather wrapped window treatments add style, while recessed lighting from above adds to the elegance.  And do not forget those day/night shades for privacy and functionality at all times of the day.

The garage area of a Fuzion is really a true multipurpose room.  It is just not a garage any longer, it is versatility.  Whether you plan on using the garage as your ‘Man-Cave’ for the weekend, or a bunk house that offers the comfort of home. The screened in porch and opening windows provide you with un-limitless ways to enjoy your Fuzion garage.

In conjunction with many great features, Fuzion offers two gray water tanks with 86 gallons of capacity, a black water tank with 43 gallons of capacity and 100 gallons of fresh water. For most models, 60 pounds of propane with automatic change over comes standard. A few upgrade options include a 5500 watt generator, double electric queen beds with opposing sofas, six point level system, 2nd AC with heat strip, dual pane windows, rear ramp patio with awning, and Fuzion’s intense full body paint.

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Keystone Fuzion toy hauler fifth wheel, in full body paint.

Whether you are bringing the toys along, or are looking for more interior storage space.  Stop by Pennsylvania’s newest Keystone Fuzion dealer, Lerch RV and take a look at the new 2013 Fuzion toy hauler fifth wheels and travel trailer offerings.

Pennsylvania RVers, how do you keep your clothes clean?

When taking weekend trips, it is easy to pack enough clean clothing to last throughout the experience. Week or month-long forays into the wilderness or over the roads are a different story. Many RV fans simply stop at a laundry mat or dry cleaner along the way, but this will not work if you want to spend a few weeks camping without heading back to town. It is even harder to rely on laundry mats when you are boondocking. Here are three simple ways to keep your clothes clean during an extended stay in your new RV Pennsylvania.

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Photo courtesy of Vince Fonseca

1. Washing By Hand

Before electric washing machines and automatic dryers were invented, all clothing had to be washed by hand. You can use your RV’s bathtub, kitchen sink or a washtub for this process. A bathtub lets you wash a larger load at once than a small tub, and will drain and fill quickly. Purchase a hand agitator, a small tool that resembles a vented plunger, from a non-electric supply company. Some laundry detergent, hot water and a little pumping with the agitator and you have a clean batch of clothes.

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2. Campground Facilities

If you choose to camp in RV parks or well-established state campgrounds, you may have laundry facilities available. Keep in mind the etiquette common to a laundry mat when using these facilities. Don’t leave a load of clothes in the washer all day while you hike or swim, even if there are multiple machines available. This also speeds up drying over hand washing, where you must hang clothes on a line and hope for a few days without rain.

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3. Small Washing Machines

The growing popularity of RV living has led to the development of small washing machines that fit on the counter of your new home. Crank washers are round containers that hold just a few articles of clothing. You pour in the right amount of water and detergent, and crank the handle. Your clothing takes just a few minutes to get clean. Electric washers and dual-purpose devices that also dry can fit into large coaches. Be sure to look for units designed to run off a 110 volt outlet, and consider the drain on your batteries.

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If your current RV is too small to fit a washing machine or tub into, visit  Lerch RV. We are Pennsylvania’s largest travel trailer dealer.

Pennsylvania RV owners keep your RV properly sealed.

On your RV regardless if you own a tow-able unit or a motorized one, sealants perform a very important function by keeping water from getting into places it should not get into. When manufacturers build RVs,  they incorporate many different types of sealants, including butyl/putty, black butyl-encapsulated foam, silicone (clear and colored), roof sealant and foam to the places that need it. However, over time, these sealants may become damaged by ultraviolet exposure, air pollution, freezing temperatures and exposure to other elements. That is why it is important to inspect, maintain or reseal your RV. Failure to properly maintain or re-seal your RV may result in serious water damage to the roof and other parts of the RV. For most RV owners, failure to maintain proper seals disqualifies your unit from coverage under the most Limited Warranties.

To ensure that you are properly maintaining and re-sealing your unit, here are a few things you or your dealer’s service team should do:

Visually inspect all seals and sealants, a minimum of every six months. Make sure to check the roof and all four sides of the RV including all moldings, doors, vents and exterior attachments. A quick walk around the RV before leaving may help prevent potential problems during trips and vacations. A little preventative maintenance goes a long way, especially when compared to the high cost of repairs. Another great time to have your RV looked over is during your annual state vehicle inspection(if your state requires your RV to be annually inspected).

  1. Have the sealant replaced if you notice any cracks, peeling, voids, gaps, breaks, looseness or any sign of physical deterioration. Re-seal at least one time each year as preventative maintenance.
  2. Always use the same type of sealant that was removed. Your dealer service or parts manager can help you obtain the correct sealant(s).

If you do find water inside of your RV, be sure to immediately have your local central Pennsylvania dealer check for the source of the leak. If the leak is not fixed, it may result in serious damage to your RV, which may not be warrant-able.

A small amount of time now, can save you a large expensive headache later!

Buying a used or new RV in Pennsylvania

Whether you purchase a used RV or travel trailer in Pennsylvania from an individual or a central Pennsylvania RV dealer, there are certain things you should check before making the transaction. Usually, a dealership,like Lerch RV will repair the RV or travel trailer, if needed, before selling it, so a used travel trailer or a used central Pennsylvania RV dealer  is a better option.

If you are buying a trailer from a private individual, make sure everything works.If the travel trailer or RV comes with a generator, start the generator to ensure it works. Let it run for at least 10 minutes. While the generator is running, check the interior. Turn on the lights. Start the refrigerator if it has the option to run on electric. Check the microwave. Check the faucets to make sure the handles, the shower handle and the drain plugs all work. There may not be water in the tank, but you want to ensure that the handles are not stripped. Some drain plugs have a handle on the spigot or the faucet — these are the things you need to check.

Make sure the toilet operates properly. The flush and rinse sliders — if you have that type of toilet — should operate without sticking, and they should not be loose.

If the travel trailer or fifth wheel RV has an air conditioning unit, turn the air conditioning on to make sure it works. If the heat uses gas, you may not be able to check the heat unless there is gas in the tanks. The same goes for the stove.

Once you are happy that everything works on generator, plug the RV into an outlet if possible. Check to see if everything works with the RV or travel trailer plugged in.

Check in all cabinets for roof leaks. Roof check around the vents for signs of leakage. In most cases, a dealership will repair the leak and fix the water spots on the ceiling, but they may not fix the water spot in the overhead cabinets. Check under the RV or travel trailer to ensure that the floor is not rotting out if it is wood. A lot of older campers were made completely of wood, which tends to rot, especially at the wheel wells. Check the tires. Make sure they have decent tread on them and that the tires do not look dry-rotted.

If you are purchasing a motorized RV, check all the fluids. The radiator should have antifreeze and water and it should be clean. Antifreeze could be green or orange, depending on the type used in that motor. Check the oil. The oil should look clean. Check the transmission fluid. Transmission fluid should be pink. If it is brown or smells bad — transmission fluid has a distinct smell when it is new, and smells pretty nasty when there is something wrong — there could be a problem with the transmission. Check the brake fluid.

Start the RV and take it for a test drive. Make sure the RV shifts correctly. If it has an automatic transmission and shift fine on its own, check it further by manually shifting it through the gears. At a stop, put it in first gear. Move forward. As the rpm raises, shift it into second, than third. You should hear or feel the shifts. If the RV has a tachometer, the tach should drop when you shift the transmission.

When you get back to the dealer or individual that you are buying the RV from, check the oil and transmission fluid again. The oil should still look clean and should not have a frothy look to it. If the oil looks frothy — almost like someone poured milk into the oil — the RV could have a head gasket problem. The transmission fluid should still be pink. Check around all of the hoses and make sure nothing is leaking.

If the RV engine runs smoothly and the fluids look good — and the price is right — you may have just found yourself your next great adventure.