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Ask RV Bill - September 2017

Q- RV Bill, My question is about trailer axle alignment; I noticed some uneven wear on the front tires of our trailer. The local dealer wasn’t very helpful when I asked them about alignment.


Tommy Evans

A- Alignment on trailers seems to be kind of a lost art. There are two parts to alignment; toe in and toe out as well as camber. Normally, toe in or toe out is the leading causes for tire wear. The axles can be bent to correct the alignment and should be done so with laser alignment equipment rather than a tape measure as it is more accurate. There is a company that sells a product called Correct Track 2 that bolts on to the spring hangers allowing you to adjust the axles forward and aft up 1/8 of an inch in increments, to correct toe in or out and may solve your problem. This add on will not correct camber and can be used in the future should the need arrive.


Q- Bill, I am in the process of polishing my 1965 Airstream trailer. One side came out looking very good, in fact it looks almost like a mirror. I am having trouble with the other side. No matter how much I polish it, the finish looks kind of dull. Have you any suggestions, what I can do to make it shine like the other side? This is beginning to be more of a pain than I thought!

Jan S.

A- Jan, Airstreams are coated with a special clear coat when they are manufactured. More than likely, you have polished or buffed through what was left of the clear coat on one side. The other side may have had a fresh coat of clear or it was thicker and you just simply haven’t buffed all the way through it. You have a couple of choices; keep polishing until you get through it or use a paint stripper to remove it. The problem with paint stripper is that it will be a toxic chemical and you can’t just do the job in your driveway. I am assuming that the entire side hasn’t been replaced on your trailer because of an accident. Now that you have polished your way down to raw aluminum your trailer will tend to oxidize more rapidly in some places and others. You will either need to clear coat the entire trailer or keep waxing it continually to maintain the mirrored finish that you have produced. I actually worked for Airstrem when I first got out of high school. They are very well built and will serve you well for many years to come. Don’t give up on your efforts!


Q- Bill, The last camping trip I noticed that in the middle of the night about every half hour to an hour I hear the ShurFlo water pump run for a very short period of time. I have done some research. You know the Internet is always right, right?! The consensus seems to be that I have a water leak somewhere in the system. After extensive searching, it I have failed to find any kind of water leak. At this point I need a little bit of help, any suggestions?

Greg Becker

A- Greg, Over the years I have run across this situation several times, and it can be exasperating trying to track it down. One possible leak that you may not detect easily could be your toilet. The water valve in the toilet can begin to leak past the seal and into the bowl over a period of time and this is something that you would rarely notice. Another possibility is the water pump. It could be defective allowing internal pressure to bleed back from discharge to intake through the valve assembly. Another possibility could be the water heater, leaking through a pinhole in the inner tank that is leaking slowly on the floor. Because the water heater is it generally hidden, you may not see such a leak for a long time. You did not mention what model your pump is- I’m assuming it’s either the 2088 series or The Revolution, which are the two most popular water pumps for RVs.


Q-Bill, we noticed the other day when we were washing our Montana 5th wheel trailer that the rubber roof is starting to chalk and a little bit of black is showing here and there. What is the process that I need to go through to clean it and put some type of a coating on it? We would like to keep our trailer for several more years because we love the floor plan.

Tom and Nan Clute

A- Hi, Friends! When the white material on the rubber roof begins to wear off of the EPDM rubber roof membrane it is getting dangerously close to needing to be replaced. Dicor, the company that manufactures rubber roof material offers a rubber roof re-new kit. Estimate your square footage how many gallons of this coating you will need to re-coat the entire roof. You will only need 1 quart of the primer cleaner. As always, preparation is the key to success. The first step would be to hang plastic all the way around the trailer just below the rubber roof material; this will prevent cleaners and or material from running down the side of your coach staining the vinyl graphics. Using a medium bristle brush, scrub the rubber roof with Simple Green until all contamination is removed. Next, use the primer cleaner following the directions set forth by Dicor. Let the roof air dry thoroughly before you start applying the re-new coating. If you have to leave it overnight, be sure that it is thoroughly dry before the next process. If there is a threat of rain, do not proceed, if it does not thoroughly dry it can be washed off.


Q- Bill, my family and I are new to RVing; we bought a brand-new 2016 StarCraft trailer. My neighbor suggested that I get a Catalytic heater so that we don’t need to use our forced air heater when we’re camping in cold weather without hook ups. I have one battery and two generators in case we need to run the air conditioner. Should I invest in a catalytic heater? Or, should I run one the generators every day to recharge the batteries after the furnace runs it down?

A.J. & Laurie Swope

A- Great question! My suggestion would be go with the catalytic heater. If the battery gets week during the night, the furnace will stop running and it’s going to get pretty cold for you and the kids. The catalytic runs strictly on propane and does not add a load on the battery. Running the generator to recharge the battery takes hours and your trailer is only equipped with a small charger/converter. You would have to run the generator every day four or five hours to get the battery back up to 100%. With the wear and tear and fuel, it’s not an efficient way to charge batteries. You might want to think about solar panels and better batteries (6 volt) in the future. Solar panels will keep the batteries 100% charged during storage as a added bonus…and who doesn’t like those?!

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