RV Tips and Tricks

Ask RV Bill - July 2016

RV BillQ- I have a 2012 Montana with four slide outs. It came equipped with the six point leveling system. The problem I’m having is the trailer sits so low the rear jacks have scraped the ground a couple of times. Should I raise the jacks up a little bit higher? I believe there are some extra holes in the Frame mounting bracket would allow me to the raise them a couple of inches. Then I worry about the spare tire hanging too low, as it would hit the ground before the Jack’s would.

I am open for suggestions and would love to hear yours.


A- Randy, It seems like most of the Montana trailers are suspended too low, in my estimation. My recommendation is to raise the trailer a few inches for better ground clearance and all around convenience. Check to see if the axles are under the leaf springs or if the leaf springs are on top of the axles. If the leaf springs are under the axles, have them installed on top of the axles. The labor is about 3 hours plus the 4 spring brackets. Any good RV repair center should be able to handle that task. If you want a better and softer ride that will extend the life of trailers construction, I would look into the Liberty Rider Suspension System with the Joyrider2 Shock System installed. I have installed a couple of these suspension systems and I am quite impressed with the ride quality over the standard leaf spring suspension without shock absorbers. Would you drive your truck without shocks? No way.


Q- My refrigerator in my 1998 motorhome has stopped cooling on either gas or electric. The high price of a new refrigerator is prompting me to investigate other options. I’ve heard that turning the refrigerator upside down will get the bubble out of the cooling unit. Didn’t work. Do you think it’s worth replacing the cooling unit or should I buy a new refrigerator?

Thanks, John

A- Hi, John. Your 18-year-old refrigerator it is long past the average life of a gas/electric absorption type refrigerator. I would recommend replacement with a newer model. One of the reasons would be if other problems arose with the refrigerator such as the circuit board, laying out another for $500 in repairs would get you very close to the price of a new refrigerator. You may be limited on a new model with the cut out dimensions of your current refrigerator. I would try to stay away from the new helium type cooling units as the old standby hydrogen facilitates the evaporation of the ammonia much better than the new helium gas type cooling units.


Q- Bill, just in case you get questioned about slide out problems in the future, here was the solution for mine. When Power Gear took over Kwikee, they moved the 12-volt motor encoder from a separate mount to inside the motor casing. The fault code is a motor failure, whether it was truly motor failure or encoder. If you get a 3rd party rebuilt motor, it may not contain a new encoder.  Mine was fixed after a lunchtime conversation with some of the older mechanics that recalled problems with encoders regardless of the fault code.

For now, my slide out works. Thank you!

My Inquiry; Have any of your readers experienced constant plugging of the toilet?  It seems every time I take a trip, my toilet plugs right at the joint where the toilet drain enters the black water tank.  I can clear it but I hope there is a way to stop it.

Thanks for the good work, and info- maybe we’ll see you on the road.


A- Hi Dan, it’s good to hear from you. Dan’s original question from a few months ago was about his slide-out issue in his Winnebago motorhome that has been a bearcat to solve. The two eclectic motors on the slide out mechanism were both turning but would not stay in sync with each other. As the slide room extended, one edge lagged behind, causing the slide room to jam. After much ado over the course of 2 years, the issue has been resolved and Dan was reporting in on the mysterious issue that might be helpful to one of our readers.

Now to answer another inquiry regarding the toilet; Itasca and Winnebago are notorious for clogging on the down tube between the toilet in a holding tank. They have installed a 45° fitting on the way down which restricts the flow. Here is what I suggest to help with this issue; First of all, the most important factor is using the proper toilet tissue. Thetford has a good quality tissue that dissolves well in water. We use White Cloud that may be purchased at  Walmart and it works just as well. Perhaps the most important tip is to have all of the females that use the motorhome put the tissue ina trashcan with a lid after they urinate. I assure you that it will not smell as it is only one or two drops of urine. You would be surprised how fast it adds up when the tissue get tossed into the toilet bowl with such little water to help it dissolve. Due to the design of the down tube between the toilet and the holding tank, you will need to add more water in the bowl of the toilet when flushing solids.



Q- RV Bill, I need your help. I know you are a full timer and a Master RV Technician. I see so many different water hose sets ups that I must know; Do I really need a water pressure regulator and why? If so, which one actually works and where do I buy it? Thanks!


A- I’m happy to help you, Dillon. Yes, it is prudent to always use a water pressure regulator the park’s water spigot and your RV water hose. The rule of thumb is no more than 50 psi in RV water systems. The key is getting volume while maintaining 50 psi. A small, residential style water pressure regulator is what I recommend. This item can be found at any home supply store. The small, in-line a regulator limit the volume of water through restriction and greatly reduces your water pressure. These regulators do not come with hose fittings but they are available where ever you make your purchase.

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