Cleaning Your RV: The Exterior

Lerch RV, Pennsylvania's largest Sprinter RV DealerLast week I posted some tips on how to best clean the interior of your RV, now we’re here to give you some tips on the best way to clean and care for the exterior of your camper. Taking the time to clean the exterior of your RV on a regular basis will allow you to notice any potential issues, such as leaks or siding damage.  Use the time while making your unit shine to perform some preventative maintenance.  Which will allow you to extend the life of your camper, while possibly easing the burden on your family budget.  RV problems can be expensive to fix, if left go too long.

First, we recommend that you clean it often and thoroughly to keep it looking shiny and new.  The longer dirt and residue sits on the exterior of your RV, the more potential damage it can cause. Some elements that can be highly damaging to your RV’s exterior if not washed off are road salt, road tar, bugs, bird droppings, tree sap, acid rain and UV exposure. These can cause corrosion, staining and chemical spotting. Be sure to always wash your RV soon after it is exposed to any of these elements. An added bonus is if you regularly wax your RV which will help protect the exterior. We don’t recommend taking your RV through automatic car washes, doing it by hand, while time-consuming, is the best way to clean the exterior of your RV. Even if you allow your camper to be parked on a permanent site, regular cleaning will allow you to enjoy your RV for years to come.

To clean the exterior of your RV, we suggest parking it in a place not in direct sunlight. First, spray it with water to remove dust. Next, using an abundant amount of clean water and a car-washing mitt/sponge and an RV washing brush, wash your RV from top to bottom. You can also use a mild car-washing soap. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Using extremely hot water and pressure can cause damage to the RV. Be sure to use caution and keep a pressure sprayer nozzle about 16 inches or more away from the RV. Also, use caution if you use a pressure sprayer around all attachments of the RV (doors, windows, appliance vents, etc.) When washing around glass with a pressure sprayer, hold the nozzle at right angles to the glass surface.  A pressure sprayer used in properly can damage  your RV, as well as force water into places where water should not be.

We recommend that you wax your RV at the very least once a year, two times a year would be great. To wax, apply a small amount of wax to a soft cloth and rub gently onto the exterior of your RV. Do not wax your RV in direct sunlight and do it after surfaces have cooled. This will avoid the wax drying out quickly. Do not use waxes that contain high-abrasive compounds. These waxes will remove rust and stains but they are also harmful to the luster of the surface since they may scrape off the coating. Do not use gasoline or paint thinners to remove road tar or other contamination to the painted surface. Use only approved cleaners to remove stubborn stains or marks.

In order to make your job easier when it comes to cleaning your new RV, consider having an exterior protection package, such as the Trident Exterior Protection System, applied to your RV before it even leaves the dealership.  This will prolong the life of that ‘new’ look as well as protect your exterior from many of the items listed above. Best of all most applications, such as Trident, are warranted for several years.  So why not help yourself protect your investment.

There you have it, some tips on keeping the exterior of your RV nice and clean. If you have questions about cleaning the exterior of your RV, be sure to contact your local central Pennsylvania dealer or your manufacturer’s customer service department.

Cleaning your RV, the ‘inside’ scoop.

I have posted about keeping your RV clean before, but usually focus on the outside.  However if you are like me and like to keep a clean house inside, below are some tips for the interior of your travel trailer or fifth wheel.  Keeping your Recreational vehicle or camper clean will help extend the life of your unit, plus a regular cleaning will enable you to become familiar with areas of your RV, and acts a great preventative maintenance visual check. You could discover a small problem before it becomes a major one.

So here with some helpful hints on cleaning the inside of your RV. First, it’s important to use the proper cleaning supplies and techniques to avoid damages that may happen to the interior surfaces of your RV. It’s always important to check with your manufacturer’s information for the recommended cleaning agents.  Clean only as recommended. If you’re ever in doubt about a cleaning product and what it might do to your RV, be sure to first test a small area out of sight. And please, don’t ever use flammable liquids or sprays to clean your RV.

So, now that the basics are out-of-the-way, we’ll break it down into areas of your RV interior.

Furniture Upholstery: if your furniture is covered in fabric or suede and it becomes stained or dirty, it is recommended that the fabric be professionally cleaned. You can refer to the specific manufacturer’s instructions for more care options.  For all vinyl covered furniture, water based cleaners are recommended, but not solvents as they may have an adverse reaction. Blot up the spot rather than rubbing to avoid saturating the area.

Décor items: Occasionally use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to dust things such as window treatments, curtains, blinds and shares. To help prevent mildew or mold on the shower curtain, clean it frequently. Décor glass can be cleaned with a glass cleaner to remove smudges. Be sure to take care around any etching that might exist on the glass.

Hardware & Sink or Shower Fixtures: Use a mild dish soap and water to clean these fixtures. Avoid harsh chemicals or sprays. For hard water spots, a mild solution of vinegar and water works well.

Paneling: Use a mild solution of soap and luke warm water with a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid abrasive cleaners as they could cause damage such as scratching or dullness. All-purpose spray cleaner works well for those stubborn dirt and grease spots. Harsh cleaners and organic solvents are not recommended because they can attack the vinyl.

Cabinetry & Tables: Simply dust with a soft cloth dampened with cleaning polish or mild detergent solution to keep hardwood doors, cabinet fronts and tables looking like new. Ammonia based products or silicone oils may cause damage if used over a long period of time so avoid using those types of products. Promptly wipe up spills to avoid potential problems.

Counter-tops: Avoid harsh chemicals such as drain cleaners, oven cleaners, etc. and do not let cleaners with bleach set on the top. Wipe those off immediately. For laminate counter-tops stubborn stains can be removed with a general-purpose spray cleaner. For solid surface counter tops soapy water, ammonia based cleaners or commercially available solid surface cleaners will remove most dirt and residue from all types of finishes. A damp cloth followed by a dry towel will remove watermarks.

Flooring: For carpet, be sure to vacuum regularly to avoid stains. If you have tough and deep stains, have them professionally steam cleaned. Spot removers can be used for minor spills. Always test the carpet for color fastness in an inconspicuous area before using any product. For vinyl flooring, it is good to periodically vacuum or sweep. Spills are easier to clean if wiped up before they set. Blotting with a paper towel should work. To clean more deeply, use a damp mop with water and a mild cleaner. Do not soak the flooring. Use care to avoid wetting the carpet edges. Also, don’t use cleaners that contain oil based solvents to avoid yellowing linoleum.

There you have it, some basic cleaning guidelines for the inside of your RV. As always, if you have questions, please contact your central Pennsylvania RV Dealer or your trailer’s manufacturer.

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.

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.

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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.

Camping Season Tips

Spring has arrived! And I have camping fever. As many of my friends and relatives do.  As the camping season begins, there is a lot to think about and plan for your upcoming camping adventures so we created a list of tips that can help your camping season run smoothly.

  • De-winterize and clean your RV a couple of weeks before your first camping trip.
  • Give your appliances and major components a look over. Make sure everything is in good, safe working order before you first trip. If you need any help call your central Pennsylvania RV dealer.
  • Pack your camper ahead of time with all the nonperishable items you’ll take with you on your camping trip. It’s helpful to pack things that can stay in your RV all season long so you don’t have to unpack and repack everything each trip. (i.e. blankets, pillows, dishware, games, etc.)
  • Book your campsites for the whole season as early as possible. With the popularity of camping, many campgrounds have been experiencing packed weekends.
  • Plan your meals ahead. Don’t wait till the last-minute to decide on the food you want to take.
  • Use recipes that call for the same ingredients to avoid taking along a bunch of different ingredients.
  • Be sure to do all the necessary maintenance checks before hitting the road to help avoid any mishaps while you’re on your camping excursion. No-one likes surprises.

These are just a few helpful tips to hopefully make your camping season go off without a hitch.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

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.

2011 Keystone Sprinter 297 RET-Save money PA

Are you looking for a new RV in Pennsylvania?  Are you looking for a great balance of storage, living space and sleeping capacity?  And are you looking for a great price on your new RV?
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Stop looking, the 2011 Keystone Sprinter 297 RET is what you have been searching for.  The Sprinter 297 RET was designed with the intention of providing the average camper with plenty of storage space, sleeping capacity and living space.  The Sprinter 297 RET can sleep up to eight people comfortably.  As well as store plenty of food and supplies for a good week-long camping trip.  And if you happen to be plagued by bad weather, you will have no worried about spending a rainy day inside this wide open RV.  Introduced as Keystone RV’s first product line in 1996, Sprinter’s goals were simple – Take the suggestions of our customers and make them the origin and foundation of the Sprinter design. As a result of these efforts, Sprinter offers you its proudest distinction between other brands – a product designed specifically to “MAKE CAMPING EASY.”

2011 Keystone Sprinter 297 RET travel trailer camper at Lerch RV, Milroy Pennsylvania RV Sales.

The Sprinter 297 RET reflects Keystone RV’s efforts to make your camping weekend as easy and enjoyable as ever.  The Sprinter 297 features a fully enclosed and heated under-belly, an adjustable power A&E awning, motion detector porch light, day/night privacy shades, a home theater system with LCD TV, and dual air mattress sleeper sofas, among other great features.  A full one year manufacturer warranty.  However the best feature of this exciting travel trailer just might be the price; $22,200.  That is a savings of over $3,000.  Come see how Pennsylvania’s largest Keystone Sprinter dealership “Makes Buying Easy”!