Tips for Replacing Your RVs Ventilation (Roof) Vents.

RV Roof Vent at Lerch RV.com

Typical RV Roof Vent

RV vents may not be at the top of your priority list if it needs some fixing or replacing, but it should be. Good ventilation is very important to a healthy RV lifestyle.

Here’s a video I found while reading other RV related blogs.  This video is very helpful in providing information of the importance of proper ventilation and how to replace the ventilation system is necessary.    It shows installing the new vent from the outside in, including drilling new holes and hooking up the electrical, which is something some people dread doing. However with a few simple steps, you can save yourself money and have the pride of tackling the job yourself.

As you can see from the video, it’s very important to work with a clean surface when you place in the new vent so that the caulking sticks. And even more importantly is the safety of  correctly matching up the electrical wires. When in doubt, you should check to make sure the polarity is correct with a volt meter. You don’t want to shock yourself now do you?

You should check all of the ventilation vents on your RV at least twice a year to make sure that they are in proper working condition and most definitely fix those that are not.

Should you have any questions, would like some advice or need a professional to help install the vents for you, look no further than your Central PA RV Dealer, Lerch RV. Our fully staffed RV service department would be glad to help you out!

Camping APPs for IPhone and Android are abound….

Camping is supposed to be fun and relaxing. A time to get away from the pressures and stress of home. However for those of us who can not totally disconnect from home or the outside world, there are many ‘camping’ related apps abound. So why not ‘have a reason’ for carrying your smart phone around while camping. A small list of available apps for the iPhone and Android operating systems is below. If you personally use a camping related app, please share it with us.Iphone image.

Campfire Games for the Android OS. A free list of games that are fun to play while sitting around a campfire. This link takes you to the ‘pro’ version, however a free version is available. Game objectives and rules are laid out so there is no last second cheating. Follow the Leader, 20 Questions and Movie Connection are some examples.

Creepy Tales for the Android. Is there anything better than sitting around a campfire at night sharing scary stories. This is one of the more popular aspects of RVing. Now, you can add 100 more creepy stories, legends and myths to your list. The ‘tales’ run from kid level to adult, so you can adjust your story to your audience type.

The RV Checklist APP for the iPhone is for RVers by RVers. This app includes RV centric check lists on what to do when arriving at and departing from your campsite/campground. Short and long lists are available. Be sure to check this out.

101 Camping Recipes for the iPhone, the name says it all. This app is only .99 cents and features an array of tried and true recipes specifically for campfire cooking. This app is also available for the Android operating system.

All Trails Hiking app is available for the iPhone. This app is free, and allows users to browse more than 40,000 trail guides detailing activities like hiking, biking, and even popular fishing spots.

Dish Network Satellite Finder APPDish for my RV Satellite Finder is a pay for app available for the iPhone. For a small $2.99 fee, you have a great tool to help you set up your Dish Network Satellite feed. Simply point your iPhone skyward and view the screen as it locates Dish Networks satellites, which appear as red dots, making it easy to get the best positioning for optimal reception. This app requires no internet connectivity to work.

Fish Navigator for the Android. Now here is an app for all you fishermen/women out there. Now you will always know where the fishing hot spots are with this free app. This is a must have for those serious anglers. Does it work? I’ll let you decide.

I do not own and have not personally tried any of the above apps. There are many, many more RVing related apps out there, both free and pay for apps. Do they are work as advertised, who knows, however they are fun and those apps give you a reason to carry around your phone while out camping. If you currently use an app while camping/RVing, please share it with your fellow readers. And if you happen to try any of the above apps, share your thoughts with us as well.

RV Add-on’s that Make RVing great!

Today’s RVs are usually loaded with great amenities like flat screen TV’s, DVD players, awesome sound systems, etc. and definitely make your RVing lifestyle very comfortable. But how can you make it even better? There are tons of add-on’s you can do to take your RV up a notch.

The Best RV Accessories

A self-aligning satellite dish is one of the most popular RV add-ons. After all, you don’t want to miss your favorite TV show while you’re rolling down the highway.

You want to be entertained outdoors too? You can have your side storage compartment converted to an outdoor entertainment center. Many different things can be mounted in the side compartment of an RV, including stereos and TVs.

If you’ve ever been to a NASCAR race and walked through the pits, then you’ve probably noticed that the luxury coaches that the teams use as their corporate headquarters are decked out with every possible RV accessory you could imagine. When they open their outdoor storage compartments, you can find everything from ice machines to extra freezer space for the kitchen!

Do you like to show your stuff when it comes to outdoor cooking? How about a swing-out stainless steel grill? You can have one mounted so it swings around the end of your RV trailer creating a picnic table, as well as a cooking station.

An RV awning is the most desired accessory of all. Many RVs come from the factory without this marvelous shade maker. RV dealers can easily add this to the sales ticket and have it ready for you in no time at all.

You might also want to consider RV window awnings for every window. They help keep your RV cool in hot climates. Plus, they keep the glaring sun out of your eyes when you’re inside the RV.

The list of available RV accessories aimed at making life easier on the road (or perhaps just more luxurious) is virtually endless. Many can be added during the building process at the factory. Your salesman can include most items when you’re ordering your new RV.

For items that you may want to add later on down the road, your RV dealer will be happy to arrange installation for you. When it comes to installing some electronic devices, they may bring in an outside specialist to make sure everything is done to perfection.

You say having a back up camera would be a good idea, but your motor home didn’t come with one? Not to worry. One can be added in a matter of a few hours labor.

Everything from a talking navigational GPS unit to a brand new dishwasher or ice maker can be added to your Motor Home before or after you drive it off the lot. Pretty much the only limitation is your imagination and the size of your wallet! [Source: RV Road Trips]

You can always head to Lerch RV where they can help you find the perfect add-on that you’re looking for. What add-on have you been considering for your RV? If you need help give our Lerch RV parts department a call at 800-722-1236.

Lerch RV’s 34th Annual Open House. Come join in on the fun.

Lerch RV’s 34th Annual Open House May 5-7, 2011

Mark your calendars for our 34th Annual Open House Weekend. Join us once again as we celebrate 34 years of selling family fun and memories. Come stroll the lot and browse our entire inventory of 200+ new and pre-owned travel trailer and fifth wheels at your leisure. Take a look to see the newest offerings in trucks from Lake Chevrolet and Calkins GMC. Do not forget to grab a bite to eat as well, from our wonderful selection of edibles or just grab a hot dog as you browse. So drive a little and save a lot.

Compare our prices and SAVE!

Lerch RV's 34th Annual Open House, May 5-7 2011
Click on the image above to visit our Open House Sale Flyer

Lerch RV on YouTube Lerch RV on Facebook Camping PA.com

Visit our Facebook Page and enter to win a $100 Sheetz Gas Card!

Visit CampingPA.com to enter to win a free, all expense paid weekend of camping. Including the use of a RV rental.

Frugal Fridays...Buy $50 Lerch RV Gift Cards for $25

Visit We Are Central PA.com’s Frugal Fridays to buy a $50 Lerch RV Gift Card for $25.00, half the price. Limited quantities available.

May, 2011 is RV and Camping month in Pennsylvania!

Here we go, straight from the Governor’s office!

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has signed a proclamation designating the month of May, 2011, Recreational Vehicle and Camping Month.

It is nice to see that those who have the power that be, recognize that camping and the RV lifestyle is alive and well in the commonwealth.  With campgrounds continuing to be full, travel trailers and fifth wheels being sold and towed of our lot here at Lerch RV, and families making great memories.  It makes you just want to smile!  Enjoy your camping trips this camping season… Safe travels and Happy RVing!

Uphill – Downhill, tips to save those RV brakes….

Mountain driving can be a bit challenging at time and it can be especially hard on your RVs brakes. You need to be extra cautious on these roads and definitely take your time. And it’s always good to know in advance exactly what your RV is capable of handling.

Uphill Tips

  • When climbing long inclines, your RV needs to be operated within its power band.
  • The power band is a span of engine RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) where you have the maximum horsepower available to handle the extra load imposed when going up long inclines.
  • This becomes even more noticeable with diesel engines. Their power band is usually a rather narrow band of RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) . When operated within their assigned power band, you will have a tremendous amount of pulling power. Fall below that RPM, and it will do you no good to push harder on the throttle. All you’ll get is more black smoke coming out of the exhaust.
  • To stay within the power band, you must downshift to a lower gear, and you may even be required to  let off the throttle a bit so the engine can work more comfortably. Pushing too hard will only create more heat and increase the likelihood of overheating.
  • The whole point when climbing long inclines is to adjust your gearing, so you will remain within the comfortable RPM range that your engine likes. Maintaining a certain speed because the sign on the side of the road says that’s the speed limit may be impossible. Slow down and use a lower gear instead.

Down-hill Tips

  • So you’ve safely crested the high point in your RV. Now it’s time to come down the other side of the hill.This is where you make your engine and transmission work to hold you back. That way, you save your brakes for when you really need them.
  • The time to set up your downhill decent strategy is at the top of the hill — well before you’ve picked up so much speed that you’re in trouble.
  • You only have one set of brakes. If they get too hot, they may fade away and your RV will become a runaway train — a situation rapidly headed for disaster.
  • Experience will teach you how many gears down you need to drop from top gear in order to descend a hill without constant use of the brakes. If you’re new to steep descents, it’s best to error on the safe side by going down a hill in too low a gear. You may be slow, but at least you’ll be safe. It’s very hard to go back and have a do over, if you picked too high a gear at the top of the hill.
  • Many diesel engines are equipped with a retarder that will help hold you back. It functions by blocking off some of the exhaust gases from your engine. This helps to keep the engine from revving too high when the weight of your RV is trying to push you down the hill.
  • Some large diesel pusher motorhomes are also equipped with jake brakes.  A jake brake is an engine-mounted device that turns some of the cylinders into an air compressor when you let your foot off the throttle. Jake brakes are a very effective way to control your descent speed without the need for constant braking.
  • If you find yourself going downhill faster than the engine and transmission can hold you back, your braking should be done in short bursts. It’s far better to brake hard for a shorter distance than to ride the brakes for a long period of time.
  • The longer you apply the brakes, the hotter they will become.  At some point, they may just fade away — leaving you helpless and unable to slow your RV to a safe speed. Overheating your brakes can also do permanent damage to your RV’s brake components. Rotors, drums, and shoes can all be quickly destroyed by riding your brakes too long down a long hill. [RV Road Trips]

When you’re towing  on a mountainous road, we think you should just enjoy the ride and take it nice and slow and be safe rather than sorry.

Hitch up your 5th wheel and let’s roll.

When heading out on the road, whether to go on your next trip, or to come back home from the trip you are on. You may find yourself just going through the motions.  Sure, you may have done this many, many times before, but a simple lapse in judgment can have disastrous results.  Becoming complacent at anything is dangerous. Whether making sure all your provisions are packed, to cleaning out your rig, sometimes your mind just may be somewhere else. This goes for hitching and unhitching you fifth wheel as well.

The best way to get around the malaise that may occur when hitching and unhitching your fifth wheel is to make a check list for every trip.  This will help you stay focused on what you need to do, without you having to wonder if you forgot anything.  I found a great checklist that you can use from rvbasics.com that will help you get your fifth wheel hitched and unhitched safely and quickly.

Fifth Wheel Hitch Installed

Fifth Wheel Hitching

  • Raise or lower the 5th wheel trailer to set the 5th wheel kingpin to proper hitch height .
  • Drop truck tailgate … if you don’t have a special tailgate.*
  • Open locking bar on hitch.
  • Back under trailer until hitch engages the fifth wheel kingpin.
  • Secure hitch locking bar on the fifth wheel hitch.
  • Put truck in forward gear (don’t give it any fuel/acceleration)
    and ‘bump’ the hitch to make sure it is locked.
  • Connect umbilical cord/power cord and breakaway switch cable.
  • Check fifth wheel trailer lights and brakes.
  • Raise pickup truck tailgate. *
  • Raise 5th wheel trailer Landing gear.
  • Remove wheel chocks from trailer wheels.

Fifth Wheel Unhitching

  • Pull into the site/storage, and situate the trailer where you want it.
  • Chock the wheels tightly so the trailer will not move.
  • Drop the fifth wheel landing gear. (important!) Do this first so you won’t forget!
  • Disconnect the umbilical cord and breakaway switch cable.
  • Drop the truck tailgate… if you don’t have a special tailgate, a V-gate at they are called. *
  • Gently put your truck into reverse… don’t give it any fuel/acceleration. This effectively moves the 5th wheel kingpin off the locking bar which will allow you to easily disengage it.
  • Shift in to neutral, step on brake and apply parking brake.
  • Disengage the kingpin locking bar on fifth wheel hitch.
  • Slowly drive away. Making sure the kingpin is clear of anything in the truck bed and the umbilical cord and breakaway cable are not snagged.
  • Raise truck tailgate. *
  • Adjust 5th wheel height to proper front to back level.

*Disregard this step if you have a notched fifth wheel tailgate or you do not have a tailgate.

(A great trick to keep in mind of making sure your fifth wheel is hitched properly, is to paint the locking jaw/mechanism of you hitch bright white. This will allow you to visually see that the jaws are locked around your pin properly. Even in low light levels.)

Make sure that you go over each step in the above list and make sure that everything is where it needs to be.  While you may be thinking about everything you are going to do when you get to your camp site, you may forget to take care of the business at hand.  Once you have everything checked off, then its on to the open road! If you have any questions about how to hitch or unhitch your fifth wheel, be sure to contact Pennsylvania’s Largest Keystone and Open Range RV Dealership and we will gladly answer any questions that you might have.

Camping Activities for the kids? Do away with the “I’m bored syndrome”.

I came across this posting on the forums of Camping PA.com.   Camping is always enjoyable when the kids are having fun.  I know from personal experience, having two of my own.  If you have anything else to add to this list, please share.  Happy camping!

Here is a list of interesting things you can do with the kids when you go out camping! at one of our sponsoring campsites…

#1  Get the kids involved in the camp work. Work doesn’t sound like much fun, but things like pitching a tent, building a fire and cooking food can be a lot of fun for kids, particularly younger ones who aren’t used to having that level of responsibility. Don’t just let mom and dad do all the work–get your children involved in gathering firewood, building a fire pit, picking a place to pitch the tent and pounding in stakes.

#2  Hold a wilderness scavenger hunt. Designate a list of different plants, objects, rocks and wildlife native to where you’re camping and have the kids scour the surrounding area for them. To make it both rewarding and competitive, have a prize ready for whoever completes the list first. Just be sure to make them aware of harmful plants, animals and insects before they head out.

#3  Build a fort. Pretend that your tent has been lost in the woods and that you need to make shelter for the night. Get your kids involved in planning and building a shelter with available supplies like logs and branches. Building a fort is almost always an activity children will enjoy.

#4  Go on a nature hike. Get your children to enjoy and appreciate their surroundings by looking for wildlife. Bring a guide of animals and tracks and walk around the forest in search of footprints, animals, flowers and plants. In addition to looking, engage the other senses, including smell and hearing, on your search for wildlife. Bring additional tools to make it more fun, such as binoculars.

#5  Play survival games. Get your children thinking about what they’d do in a survival situation. Have them gather water, food, shelter and fire supplies. Try building a fire using only elements found in the wilderness for an educational activity. Use a guide to determine what plants and animals could be food sources in an emergency. Also teach your children navigation skills. Do make sure they know this is just a game, and don’t let them eat or drink anything they shouldn’t.

Alternately, pretend that you have to leave camp immediately. Have your children decide which items are essential to take with you and what should be left behind. Then navigate to “safety.”

#6  Play games. Some games that work well at a campsite include horseshoes, corn-hole and badminton.  The ever popular game of ladderball/ladder golf. Plan these games before your trip and pack accordingly.

#7  Hold a story contest. Telling ghost stories is a classic camping activity. Hold a contest to see who can tell the scariest, most believable story. Plan this ahead of time to give your children time to think and even to write their story. This will stimulate their imagination and may even get them to do a little “school-like story writing” while in the woods. Give bonus points for use of props or acting during their story.

I thought this would be fun for anyone with kids.

A Checklist Before Hitting the Road (with your RV)

Many RVing accidents occur because of simple neglect or carelessness. Forgetting to check one area of your RV could end up in a disaster, costing you thousands in repairs. To make all of your camping trips carefree and easy, make sure to do a safe check before leaving the driveway or camping site to return home.  Here are 3 distinct areas that need to be checked before hitting the road.  Regardless of it you are towing your coach or manning the wheel of one.  Safety should always come first.

Open Range H397 RGR from Lerch RV

Open Range H397 RGR Toy Hauler from Lerch RV

RV/Trailer Check:

  1. Disconnect all power, TV, phone, water and sewer lines. Make sure all lines are rolled up and securely in their storage areas.
  2. Visually inspect the inside of the unit. Make sure all furniture is secure using straps, do not forget to secure those TVs. Put away anything that might roll around and damage the interior.
  3. Retract jacks, steps and awnings. If you have a slide-out, make sure it has slid back into the trailer and is secure.
  4. Make sure all storage and main doors are closed and latched or locked.
  5. Look under the coach for signs of any fluid leaks.
  6. Make sure smoke and propane leak detectors are working
  7. Double-check tow bar and safety cables
  8. Check your brake lights, tail lights and turn signals are working properly.
  9. Check to make sure your air brakes, parking brake and tow brakes are engaging properly.

Propane Check & Tips:

  1. Never paint your LP tanks a dark color. It will absorb the sun’s rays and can cause it to over heat.
  2. Don’t travel with the stove, oven or heater burners lit.
  3. Never refuel while any propane appliances or your engine is running.
  4. If you have an older propane tank, make sure it has an overfill protection device. Most places will not refill LP bottles that do not have this important safety device.
  5. Have tanks regularly checked by a certified dealer.

Engine Check:

(on your tow vehicle or if you are driving a motor home)

  1. Check oil, transmission and coolant levels
  2. Inspect tire inflation pressure and tread wear on your truck and trailer.
  3. Check all your brakes to make sure they are engaging properly and the lights are working.
  4. When driving, know your surroundings (weather, overhangs and ground hazards)

Outback purchased from Lerch RV

Camping Season is here!

An Extra Safety Tip:
Practice S.A.F.E. Cornering – When pulling a trailer, fifth wheel or driving a motor home, you have to compensate for the extra weight, height and length of the vehicle when taking corners. Use S.A.F.E. when turning corners with your RV.

  • Slowly approach the turn.
  • Arc the turn, taking a wider turn. Watch your surroundings and the cars around you.
  • Finish the turn completely. Don’t straighten the wheel until the back-end has cleared the pivot point.
  • Experience is key. The more you drive your RV or tow your trailer/fifth wheel, the more practice you will have – improving your RV towing skills. And in the long run, making your RVing experiences more enjoyable and memorable.

With camping season finally beginning here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The above check list should be useful.  If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of your unit, please feel free to contact our service department.

RVing – A Good Vacation Option For Your Family!

I came across this article while reading some RV related blogs.  I thought it was a great reason to go RVing!  This article goes along with one of my previous blogs as to how affordable RVing/camping can be.  Even in the economical times we are experiencing.  Hitting the road towing a travel trailer, fifth wheel, pop up or even behind the steering wheel of a motorized coach, you make memories that are going to last a lifetime.  So take a few moments to read this article and determine if RVing is one of America’s greatest things to do.

Have you ever been camping in an RV? Well, according to the RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association) almost one in 12 vehicle owning households in the U.S. can answer yes to this question. If you answered No to this question, then stick around, this article is meant for you.

If you are like most people you lead a very hectic life. You feel like you are working harder now than you ever have before. The end result is you have less leisure time to spend with your family. So, once it is time for your vacation you are ready to get away from it all, relax and spend quality time with your family.

Going camping in an RV is an option you should consider for your next vacation. The reason is simple, it will allow you to slow down and unwind. And who does not want to do that? When you go RVing you don’t have to worry about missing a flight, losing your luggage or renting a car. You do not even have to worry about unpacking your luggage, as everything you need is already in the camper .

Our extended family has been enjoying the RV lifestyle for 34 years in some form or another. From one night stays to extended weekend stays. Over the years our extended family has visited many campgrounds, state and national parks. Don’t get me wrong: we have gone on vacations where we flew to our destinations, because of time constraints. We have even flown over the Grand Canyon a couple of times on commercial airliners. The pilots were always kind enough to point out that if we looked out the windows, we could see the Grand Canyon, and I have to admit it looked pretty good from 35,000 feet. But it wasn’t until we actually drove an RV into the Grand Canyon National Park and looked over the rim and saw it from ground level, that we realized its true grandeur.

An RV is a vacation home on wheels with one exception. One day you are in the mountains; the next day you could be at the beach. Try that with a vacation home. RVs come in all shapes and sizes. If you are looking for accommodations similar to those found in some of the best hotels in the world you may want to look at a Class A Motor Home or Fifth Wheel Trailer. If you want a more rustic experience, you might want to look at a Tent Trailer.

Regardless of which type of RV you choose, you may find that vacationing in an RV provides more time to relax and bond with your family. While RVing, getting to your destination is half the fun. You will be surprised by some of the interesting places you run into along the way. Seeing all of this at ground level makes a difference too.

I hope this article has piqued your interest in taking your family on a RV Vacation Adventure. I am sure that you have many questions. The internet is a great resource to get those questions answered. There are websites that have information on RVing, the Types of RVs available to both rent and buy and tips on what to see and do along the way.  I can honestly say that my worst RV vacation was still better than my best traditional vacation. The memories of our RV camping trips will last us a lifetime.

Your next family vacation may be the ideal time to go RVing and create some excellent family memories of your own.

If you don’t know what RV type is right for your family, please contact your locale Central PA RV Dealer. For over 34 years we have been helping families have fun.