Condensation in Pennsylvania RVs

Condensation in RVs is common and, over the years, I have had lots of questions regarding condensation,so we’re here to explain what it is and how to minimize it in your RV.

RV condensation, RV window condensation, how to prevent RV condensation

Condensation is defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as: a chemical reaction involving union between molecules often with elimination of a simple molecule (as water) to form a new more complex compound of often greater molecular weight.

Condensation happens when the surface the condensation has gathered on is cooler than the temperature of the water vapor that created the condensation. Where there is a high level of humidity from normal day activities, such as cooking or showering, condensation will form when this humid air comes in contact with colder surfaces, which causes dampness on surfaces.

While most RV manufactures can’t guarantee an elimination of all condensation, I would like to provide you some tips to lessen the condensation that happens inside your RV. When you’re cooking or showering, be sure that you’re using the roof vent fans. The fan will pull the moisture out of the unit, reducing the chance for it to collect on the windows and the walls. Using an extra fan to help move the air around inside of the RV can also help. Another idea to reduce the chances for condensation to form is to use the microwave to heat up water, rather than the stove, to contain the moisture and limit the amount that is allowed into the air. If no microwave is available, opening a small window while heating water on the stove will allow the moisture to escape. In addition, using a small de-humidifier inside of your RV will help with removing the moisture from the air.

The more you allow the moisture building inside of your RV to escape and move the air around so it has less of a chance to settle, the less condensation you’ll find in your unit. If you use these tips and adapt them to other purposes, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of condensation that forms on your walls and windows inside your unit.

If you need additional roof vent fans installed or your existing ones fixed, please contact your central Pennsylvania RV dealer, Lerch RV at 800-722-1236. Our RV service department will gladly help you out.

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!

Pennsylvania RVers Boost Phone and Internet Range with an Antenna

I came across this great post about external antennas for your RV or trailer. I would guess that 99% of all RVers travel with a cell phone to keep in touch, plus they have a laptop computer to get travel info and email. That’s all great and good as long as you stay in the city where the reception is good. But RVers usually don’t spend their vacations in cities, they like to explore the great outdoors in their RVs and trailers. Unfortunately, there may be times when you have to sacrifice the modern-day amenities of mobile phones and internet connections. However, if you get a long-range antenna, that possibility can be reduced.
Keystone RV, Keystone RV Dealer, PA Keystone RV, rv dealers Pennsylvania, Lerch RV, rv dealers, rv dealers York PA, rv dealers Harrisburg PA, rv dealers Lancaster PA, Open Range 5th wheel, Open Range travel trailers, Open Range 5th wheels, Open Range travel trailers, Open Range Roamer 5th wheels, Springdale 5th wheels, , used travel trailers Pennsylvania, used 5th wheels Pennsylvania, rv's Pennsylvania, used rv's Pennsylvania, rv parts Pennsylvania, rv service Pennsylvania

This omnidirectional antenna is a good antenna for maximizing your reach when you’re in the middle of nowhere!
Here’s one RVer’s method: This gentleman mounted a roof-mount style satellite dish base on the top of his motor-home, using the appropriate sealant to prevent water leakage. But instead of topping the mount with a satellite dish, he used U-bolts to mount a omnidirectional/tri-band cellular antenna. This one covers frequency ranges for both his cell phone and his wireless broadband/internet card.

He routed the connection cable from the antenna, down through the rig’s gray water holding tank vent line. Inside the rig he bored a hole into the vent line (where it was accessible from in the living area), routed the cable out of the vent line, and then used a sealant to both “keep the stink out,” and to act as a protective grommet to prevent friction between the vent pipe and the antenna coax. The whole shooting match plugs into either the cell phone, or into a jack in his broadband card. If your card doesn’t have a jack for an antenna, there are inductive couplers that attach to broadband cards, allowing you to rig them to an external antenna.

Once on location, it’s a simple job to climb up the RV’s roof access ladder, lift the satellite dish mount into its “working” position, then turn the antenna around to point to the nearest cellular site. With a 24dB gain, this setup will bring signal roaring in that might otherwise be lost in space.[RV Tech Tips]

Take the time this winter to add some accessories like this to your RV. Then in the spring you’ll have some new RV toys to play with!

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Making an old RV new again. RV Restoration.

1948 Westcraft Sequoia:the Redux

Unique Design Gets Modern Amenities

The Westcraft Manufacturing Company of Los Angeles and later Burbank, California, manufactured two different lines of trailers: Westwood and Westcraft. The earlier Westwood brand models included the Coronado, Montecito, Monterey, Tahoe and Sequoia. The Westcraft series included the Coronado, Montecito, Shasta, Sequoia and Yosemite models.

Westwoods were only built by Westcraft during the period from 1946 through 1948, and designs for each of these three model years were different and unique. The earlier Westwood series had a plain “bread loaf” appearance. The Westcraft company discontinued the Westwood models and began focusing exclusively on the “Pullman” roof Westcraft models by 1949.

westcraft travel trailer, RV, Lerch RV, camper, restored camper, RV restorationBoth types were top-quality trailers that used aircraft-construction methods with aluminum frame ribs, but they used heavier-gauge aluminum skin panels than many contemporary brands. All Westcraft models had painted exteriors, many in handsome two-tones. During the late 1940s and early ’50s, Westcraft trailers were considered to be among the highest quality trailers on the market. Thanks to their excellent construction, they rarely leaked at the outer seams, vents or windows, areas where many other trailers had problems. Unfortunately, production had stopped by 1955.

The 1948 Westcraft Sequoia featured here is owned by Justin and Anna Scribner of Bend, Oregon. Anna told us: “We found this trailer just outside of Vancouver, Washington. It was in pretty rough shape, but we instantly fell in love with it.”
To return it to its former glory, the exterior was stripped of its many coats of latex house paint, polished, etched primed and professionally painted. All windows were removed, all glass was replaced and window frames were all stripped and either polished or repainted. All window gasket and rubber was replaced. Both front, rear and all “trolley” or clerestory windows were re-screened with original-style copper screening.

westcraft travel trailer, RV, Lerch RV, camper, restored camper, RV restoration

The all wood interior turns the Westcraft Sequoia into a homey cabin on the road. Several modern amenities were added, all the while retaining the vintage look. A new awning was made, using Sunbrella fabric. All light bezels were rebuilt with new bases, but the original glass lenses were retained. Brand-new wheels were installed and painted to match with new white-wall tires. For safety, an entirely new LP-gas system was installed. The under carriage was prepped and cleaned, and rubberized under coating was applied.

The interior had to be gutted, with all existing cabinetry removed from the coach, repaired and re-skinned as needed and then refinished. Wall and ceiling panels were removed, and the trailer was reinsulated and completely rewired. The interior was then re-paneled using 1⁄8-inch birch, as would have been used in 1948. Expandable insulation was also shot into the floor, and a new sub floor was installed.

westcraft travel trailer, RV, Lerch RV, camper, restored camper, RV restorationEven the furniture stays anachronistic in the new Westcraft Sequoia.

Period-correct Marmoleum was installed with a border on each side with an inlaid Westcraft “W” at the entryway. A hidden surround-sound system was installed with a Blu-ray player and two 20-inch LCD screens, which are on motorized linear actuators that move up and down out of the cabinets. All of the appliances, including the stove, refrigerator and kerosene heater were dismantled, reconditioned and refinished to match; however the kerosene function of the heater was disabled for safety reasons.

Two forward cabinets were combined to make a bathroom, and a new toilet was installed. New stainless-steel counter-tops and a back-splash were fabricated and installed along with a new sink and faucet. An on-demand LP-gas water heater was added and vented through the roof. All new plumbing and drain lines were then installed.

Anna added, “We searched long and hard to find an original click-clack couch and finally found one in amazing original condition. All of the inserts for the trolley windows were re-manufactured on a CNC router; they are now better than the original with decorative metal trim. All cover plates, trim rings, etc. were also copied with a CNC machine and installed to match. Additional light fixtures were added in a tasteful way with several on a dimmer switch.”

westcraft travel trailer, RV, Lerch RV, camper, restored camper, RV restorationFor retro trailer campers, this is picture perfect.

Brand-new wooden blinds were installed with thick period-correct chocolate ribbons. Aluminum blinds were installed on the two doors and the original screen doors were reconstructed and refinished.

The final result is a great exciting travel trailer that looks like it did the day it rolled out of the factory, but includes some subtle creature comforts and safety features that weren’t available at the time.

Are you doing your own restoration project? Do you need RV parts?  If you do, give you central Pennsylvania RV Dealership a call at 800-722-1236.  Our RV parts and service teams will help guide you in the right direction.

Portions of this article are re-posts from Trailer Life Magazine.

Wiring 6 & 12 Volt RV Batteries Properly

In my last post I wanted to offer my readers some insight on RV Batteries.  Specifically 6 volt batteries vs a 12 volt battery.  Here is the follow-up article to that post. If you decided that 6 volt batteries are the way you are going to go on your camper. Here is the way to do it properly;

If you are going to buy new 12 Volt or 6 Volt batteries for your RV, it is important to know how to wire them properly so that you do not damage your RVs electrical system. Although this is an easy concept to understand, many people tend to get this wrong. Basically, there are two ways to wire your batteries: in series or in parallel. In RVs where 6 Volt batteries are used, you may need to use a combination of both these methods to get 12 Volt output and increase the amount of total Amp Hours simultaneously. Let’s discuss this further and provide some examples:

Batteries wired in series:

  • With batteries wired in series, the Voltage increases but the Amperage remains the same.
    • Example:  If you take two 6 Volt batteries that have a capacity rating of 220 Amp Hours each and you wire them in series, you will get a total of 12 Volts of power; however, the total Amp Hours will remain the same at a total of 220 Amp Hours.
  • With batteries wired in series, the positive (+) from one battery is connected to the negative (-) terminal of the other.  The remaining free positive (+) terminal and negative (-) terminal are used to connect to your RV.
  • This is how you create 12 Volts from two 6 Volt batteries.

Following is a graphic that represents two 6 Volt batteries wired in series.

six volt batteries wired in series

Take a look at the diagram above. Here we have two 6 Volt batteries wired in series. With the positive from one battery connected to the negative of the other battery you have in essence created one 12 Volt battery out of two 6 Volt batteries. As I stated before, when you wire batteries in series, the Voltage increases and the Amperage stays the same. That is why in this scenario we have 12 Volts output; however, even though each battery is rated at 220 Amp Hours, we are still only receiving a total of 220 Amp Hours. The only thing that has increased here is the Voltage. If in this scenario each battery was a 12 Volt battery, you would have a total of 24 Volts output (which would not be good for your RV).

Batteries wired in parallel:

  • With batteries wired in parallel, the Voltage remains the same but the amperage increases.
    • Example: If you take two 12 Volt batteries that have a capacity of 210 Amp Hours each and you wire them in parallel, the Voltage will remain the same at 12 Volts; however, the total Amp Hours will increase to 420 Amp Hours.
  • With batteries wired in parallel, the positive terminal connects to the positive terminal of the next battery and the negative terminal connects to the negative terminal of the next battery.
  • This is how you increase the total amount of Amp Hours you can get out of your battery bank.

Following is a graphic that represents two 12 Volt batteries wired in parallel.

two 12 volt batteries wired in parallel

In this scenario we have wired two 12 Volt batteries in parallel. As a result, the Voltage has remained the same (at 12 Volts) however the total Amp Hours increases to 420 Amp Hours, which is the total of the two batteries added together.

In my 5th wheel, I used a combination of series and parallel wiring. By taking six – 6 Volt batteries and wiring pairs of batteries in series, I can basically create three 12 Volt batteries that I can then wire in parallel to increase the amount of total Amp Hours that are available. Let’s take a look at how this works:

2 six volt batteries wired in series with a volmeter attached

Take a look at the diagram above. Since this scenario gets confusing for some people I am going to try to make it as simple as possible. This diagram consists of two 6 Volt batteries wired in series.  If you were to take a digital Voltmeter and measure the Voltage from the combination of these two batteries (holding one probe at the free positive (+) terminal and one at the free negative (-) terminal) you would get a reading of 12 Volts. For all intents and purposes, you can now think of this as one 12 Volt battery.  In this scenario the Voltage has increased but the amperage has remained the same.

Now if I want to ensure that I have more total Amp Hours for all my toys, all I have to do is take several of these 6 Volt battery combinations (that are wired in series to give me 12 Volts) and wire them in parallel. Take a look at the diagram below.

six volt batteries wired in series and paralled

In this scenario we have taken six – 6 Volt batteries and wired them in series and parallel to give us 12 Volts and 660 Amp Hours of battery capacity. How did we end up with 660 Amp hours? Remember that each 6 Volt pair of batteries wired in series gives us 220 Amp hours. We have now wired the three pairs of batteries in parallel and when batteries are wired in parallel, the amperage increases. So since each pair produces 220 Amp Hours x 3 pairs = 660 Amp Hours total.

*Don’t mix batteries. If you are going to install new or improved batteries, make sure they are all of the same type (AGM, gel or flooded) and make sure that they are all purchased at the same time and are of the same age. Mixing older batteries with newer ones will most likely limit the longevity of the newer batteries and cause them to degrade or fail sooner.

*Use true deep cycle batteries. Don’t get sold on marine batteries as they are not a true deep cycle battery and are constructed to be somewhere in between a starting battery and a deep cycle battery.

*Before you connect your batteries to your RV or inverter, use a digital voltmeter to ensure that you have wired your batteries properly to output 12 Volts. The last thing you want to do is pump 24 Volts or more through your RVs 12 Volt electrical system accidentally and ruin all of your electronics.

*When installing or working on your batteries make sure you use insulated tools. There is a lot of power stored in a battery. If you accidentally touch both battery posts with your wrench or touch the RV chassis, you could get shocked, burned or even short the battery out and cause it to explode.

*When working on your batteries use protective clothing, safety glasses, and rubber gloves to protect yourself from shocks.

If you have any questions on how to properly wire your 6 volt battery configuration or would rather allow an RV professional do it for you, give your Central PA RV Service Center a call at 800-722-1236.

Save $$$ in 2012…Go RVing!

Travelers save when they go RVing!

A study prepared for RVIA by PKF Consulting USA found a family of four that owns an RV can take an RV trip for 23 percent to 59 percent less than other types of vacations. For a couple traveling by RV, savings were 11 percent to 46 percent. Even after accounting for factors such as RV ownership costs and fuel prices, the study confirms that RV vacations offer greater savings than vacations taken by car or airline and requiring hotel/rental stays and restaurant meals.

PKF analyzed vacation costs to nine popular destinations for a family of four and a party of two adults and included different types of RVs and varying vacation durations. It also analyzed how theoretical increases in fuel prices could affect vacation travel costs.

RV vacations proved more economical than the other vacations, regardless of trip duration,  distance, or vacation region,  said PKF vice president Kannan Sankaran. “While fuel costs are a component of the overall vacation cost, they are not significant enough to materially affect the outcome of our analysis.” So fuel costs are not really a factor to most family vacations.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Winter RVing can be warm and cozy. Here is how…

Winter RVing can be fun.

Skirting can help keep cold air at bay.

The air is starting to get colder, the temperature is dropping and you may find yourself shivering in your RV or trailer. Even if you have chosen to go to a warmer area for the season, there may still be nights that are a bit nippy. It seems the climate has been unsettling with temperature variations all over the nation. However the most effective way to keep the heat inside of your rig is to have high grade insulation installed throughout it. Unfortunately, that can be a costly solution that could also keep your RV in the shop for a long period of time. There are other great tricks and products you can use to keep the cold outside this winter.

One of the most important things that you can do is checking your RV seals for leaks. If you have cold air coming into your RV then it will always be cold and you could be running your furnace too hard for little effect. Check your roof, windows, and doors to make sure that there is no cold air getting into your RV. If you do find little leaks or holes, then be sure to use a silicone sealant of caulk to stop the problem. It is common for air to come in from under the door. There are products out there that are designed to slip onto your door and seal off the interior.

If you have a hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors, then you may want to purchase an area rug or loose carpeting. This will help keep cold air coming through the floor and it will also hold heat better. Be sure that you keep your blinds closed, and use your curtains if you have them. The cold temperature of the glass can start to take out the heat in your rig, leaving you feeling like an ice cube. Another great product to purchase is a roof vent pillow. This item is inserted to the RV roof vent and is usually made of foam or some other type of insulator. This keeps cool air from being conveyed through your closed roof vent.

If you plan on living in your RV this winter, then you should be sure that your RV is ready to handle the cold. No one wants to go camping with Jack Frost, so make sure you keep him at bay. For great winterizing service and solutions be sure to visit Lerch RV.