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Ask RV Bill - March 2017

RV BillQ- Bill, The last time I had my motorhome in for service my mechanic suggested I replace the serpentine belt as well as the others. I have a little over 58,000 miles in the motorhome is six years old. Do you have any input on this matter? You see my Apple computer-orientated brain is not up to the necessary tasks and services that my RV deserves and I so appreciate learning from you and the readers in this monthly column. We hope our paths cross one of these summers and I can share a campfire and a bottle of wine with you and your wife.

Thanks, Rich

A- Rich, A campfire and wine with fellow RVing friends is always welcome! Thanks for the kind words. Durango, CO is one of our most favorite locations to visit in Colorado. It is good that you are looking into this service for your RV before you go on a long trip again. If you consult the motorhome owner’s manual, it will give you the basic maintenance schedules to follow. Maybe set up an Excel file and reminder list for yourself to reference back to every few months and then when we get together, you can teach me how to do that lay out on my Apple! My recommendation is every 5 to 6 years and 50 to 60,000 miles for the serpentine belt. It is certainly more convenient to change the belts in your hometown rather than finding a place on the road that can hopefully accommodate you. Remember to note the maintenance schedule for your hoses and tires as well. Radiator hoses rot from the inside out making it almost impossible to detect when the hose is going to go. Be sure to keep records of when the maintenance is done so that you can refer back to them if you have any questions or, like me, simply forget when a service was completed from years ago. Thanks for the reminder to go check my own maintenance schedules right now!


Q- Hey Bill, It was great seeing you at the La Conner Preserve in Washington. I had a question about the humidity inside our RV. It seems as though when we wake up in the morning on these cold winter nights the windows are saturated and some of the walls in the bedroom are dripping moisture. We’ve tried wiping them down but I’m afraid we’re not doing enough. Can you give me any hints on this matter, or what do you guys do when faced with the same dilemma?

Be well, fellow RVer’s and Cyclists, Jack and Staci

A- There’s no question that condensation can be difficult to battle in cold weather when you’re not able to open up your RV and air it out. Single pane windows produce two or three times as much condensation is dual pane windows. While there are several products on the market, the option that I prefer is a dehumidifier. You will find many different makes and models from small to large, so look around and fin one that fits in the location you plan to place it. It’s easy to plug it in and let it do its job and empty the water collection bowl periodically. Another product that works well is called Dri-Z-Air. It uses a desiccant that attracts moisture quite well. The only drawback is you will need to keep several bags of the desiccant with you and empty the bowl periodically before it overflows- kudos for being mindful of this common RV problem and searching out a solution.


Q- Bill, The shower pan in my ‘06 Montana fifth wheel has cracked right around the drain in a perfect circle. My local RV dealer says it they I might be able to order a new shower pan but it’s quite labor expensive. Is there anyway at all that I can patch this plastic shower pan with some kind of Epoxy or glue? Can we use the same process on our plastic sink in the bathroom as well, it has a crack about an inch and a half long?

Thank you, Tom

A- Tom, Devcon makes a bathtub repair kit that comes in white. Essentially it’s a fiberglass repair kit designed for use in plastic tubs as well as your sink. Make sure that you drill a hole on either end of the crack to prevent it from creeping out from under the repair kit. If I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times: “As always, preparation is the key to success!”. Before you do the final installation after the careful preparation, wipe all surfaces with alcohol and a clean rag. As far as the bathroom sink inquiry- you may be able to remove the sink and install the patch on the back of it for aesthetic purposes. The patch kits do use a two-part epoxy that will start to heat up, so be aware that you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to do the patch, as it will start to set up. If you take your time and get the patch kit straight and level, it will look very nice.


Q- Hey Bill, I am having a really difficult time trying to find slide out seals for my 2009 Alpha fifth wheel. As you know, Alpha is out of business and my local RV dealer is saying that the necessary seals are no longer available. I really need to replace them as the rain is getting in through what’s left of the rotted out seals. What do you think about me doing the installation to save the cost of labor? It looks like it might be a little bit of a job but I think that I can peck away at it for the good.

Thanks for the help, Rodger

A- Roger, I understand that when manufacturers go out of business it can really create a problem when trying to find aftermarket parts. But be encouraged! There is a company called Clean Seal Inc,. that specializes in the gaskets and seals that you are in need of. They do have large selection of seals and I believe that they will have one to fit your Alpha. Go on their website, and carefully compare their seals to the specification of your old seals. I believe that Clean Seal Inc. will send you a sample if requested, and this will ensure that you were on the right track with your selection. As far as the installation, I have no doubt that you could probably do the installation. Once again, “As always, preparation is the key to success!”. One of their new seals for slide outs is called the Flip-N-Seal designed to replace a vast majority of slide out wiper seals. Be sure to reach out again if you have any other questions and good luck!

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