Roadtrek

Roadtrek

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

PUTTING THE HOT WATER HEATER INTO BYPASS

This is an article that we have been asked to write a number of times and it is a common question that comes up on Facebook groups and forums. The Suburban Hot Water Heater in the Roadtrek has THREE (3) BYPASS VALVES to put the hot water heater into BYPASS MODE when winterizing or when you want to take the hot water tank out of the flow of water in the plumbing.

Here is a photo of the hot water tank inside my Roadtrek 190:


You can see the three valves that need to be set here against the foam insulation around the hot water tank. I will go into detail about these three valves but using this photo, I am going to explain the flow of water in and out of the hot water heater. The water source can be from the water pump or from city water - the water that comes into the plumbing when you connect a fresh water hose with an RV water pressure regulator connected to the hose that is connected to an outdoor water spigot.

Take a look at the pipes in front of the foam insulation around the tank. There is one that goes across the tank at the top. There is one that goes across the tank at the bottom. There is one that goes up and down between those two pipes.

When the hot water tank is in use - NOT BYPASSED - the cold water comes into the hot water tank in the bottom tank. You can see the COLD sticker there next to the valve.  Inside the tank the heating unit makes the water hot and the hot water stays in the tank until you turn on the faucet hot handle or the hot handle on either of the shower faucets. When water leaves the tank, water is instantly put back into the tank at the bottom filling it back up again. As I have written in another article - the hot water tank is never empty - unless you remove the anode rod that is in the compartment for the hot water heater outside on the driver's side of the van. Now knowing this - this is how the valves work.

The valve on the bottom of the tank when OPEN lets water flow into the tank. When it is closed, the cold water does not go into the tank. Here is a photo of the bottom valve closed. Note that this valve broke on my Roadtrek and the service at the Roadtrek dealer replaced it with a metal handled valve - your valve will have a black handle if it is the valve that came from Roadtrek (just like the other valves you see in the photo).


THIS VALVE IS IN BYPASS POSITION. This is how you want to set your valve when it is to be put in BYPASS MODE. Notice that the valve is turned ACROSS the pipe (side to side). THIS VALVE IS CLOSED.   (If this valve was turned in line with that pipe - going from front to back - this valve would be OPEN - allowing water to flow into the hot water tank.) IN BYPASS YOU WANT THIS VALVE TO BE CLOSED - JUST AS IT IS IN THIS PHOTO.

We look next to the valve on the pipe going into the tank at the top of the tank. There is a red sticker that says HOT next to that valve. This is where the hot water comes out of the tank.




THIS VALVE IS IN BYPASS POSITION. This is how you want to set your valve when it is to be put in BYPASS MODE. Notice that the valve is turned ACROSS the pipe (side to side). THIS VALVE IS CLOSED.   (If this valve was turned in line with that pipe - going from front to back - this valve would be OPEN - allowing water to flow OUT OF the hot water tank.) IN BYPASS YOU WANT THIS VALVE TO BE CLOSED - JUST AS IT IS IN THIS PHOTO.

These two valves open or close the pipes that put water into and out of the hot water tank. They are important parts of the BYPASS three valve system - and in BYPASS they must be CLOSED. But we have a third valve - the one on the pipe that goes up and down between the other two pipes. This is actually the main valve for BYPASS. What this VALVE IS OPEN cold water goes from the bottom pipe (where it cannot go into the hot water tank any longer because the bottom valve is CLOSED) and goes up the up and down pipe. Take a look at the valve on that pipe -

 THIS VALVE IS IN BYPASS POSITION. This is how you want to set your valve when it is to be put in BYPASS MODE. BUT TAKE NOTICE  that the valve is turned in line with the direction of the pipe pointing UP. THIS VALVE IS OPEN!   (If this valve was turned across the pipe and the end pointing toward the cabinet opening - pointing toward the aisle - going across the pipe - this valve would be CLOSED and water could not go up the pipe. IN BYPASS YOU WANT THIS VALVE TO BE OPEN - JUST AS IT IS IN THIS PHOTO.

So what happens in BYPASS - cold water comes in at the bottom pipe and goes UP that up and down pipe and goes into the top pipe and then continues along in that pipe to the sink. IF you have your hot water tank in BYPASS - no water ever goes inside the hot water tank - and if you turn on the hot water faucet at the sink or the showers you will get COLD water coming out of the sink - even though you turned the hot water handle on. That is exactly what you want it to do.

Why do you want to Bypass the hot water tank? When winterizing if you do not bypass the hot water tank will fill with RV anti-freeze before that anti-freeze will go into the sink or showers and their respective pipes. The hot water tank is SIX GALLONS! You will waste SIX GALLONS of RV anti-freeze before every putting the RV anti-freeze where it is needed. And since the hot water tank is always full - well that is a lot of wasted anti-freeze! Emptying the hot water tank will protect it just fine. These valves and these pipes will fill with RV anti-freeze in the process I describe in my articles to winterize your Roadtrek.

So let's go back over this step by step  -

1) Turn the bottom valve ACROSS the pipe - CLOSING THE VALVE.

2) Turn the top valve ACROSS the pipe - CLOSING THE VALVE.

3) Turn the middle valve - pipe going up and down - in line with the pipe with the handle pointing UP - OPENING THE VALVE.

YOU NOW HAVE A HOT WATER TANK IN BYPASS!


 In the Spring to put the hot water tank back into the water system to provide hot water reverse these steps. In working position, all the tips of the valve handles point toward the aisle. The top and bottom valves will be OPEN and the up/down pipe valve will be CLOSED.

There is one thing you may want to also do - and this is up to you.  I get concerned that if we are inside the Roadtrek or traveling with it when winterized, one of us might - by accident - turn on the hot water heater switch on the wall - with the hot water tank empty. That will do serious damage to the hot water tank and hot water heater. There is a fuse (the hot water heater is a 12 volt appliance) - not a circuit breaker - in the Roadtrek fuse box for the hot water heater and that is all that is on that fuse. By removing the fuse you cannot turn on the hot water heater - no matter how the switch is set. JUST REMEMBER when de-winterizing to put that fuse back or your hot water heater will not turn on.









Sunday, September 3, 2017

HOW TO SWIVEL THE FRONT SEATS IN A CHEVY ROADTREK

The question of how to swivel the front seats has come up a lot about Roadtrek 170, 190, and 210s. Meryl is a master at it and I asked her if she would write an article about. Instead of her writing it she told me to watch and take notes as she did it one night on our recent trip. She makes it so easy and if you follow these steps you will be able to do it easily too - and you won't have to open the doors to do it! She starts with the passenger seat and there is a reason - so start with the passenger.


EACH SEAT NEEDS TO BE UPRIGHT ALL OR MOST OF THE WAY. DO THIS BEFORE YOU START!


SWIVELING THE PASSENGER SEAT:


 1. PUT THE WINDOW VISOR OFF THE CLIP AND DOWN TOWARD AND AGAINST THE WINDSHIELD.


2. CLOSE THE FRONT WINDOW CURTAIN. (Unhook the curtain straps and slide it around the passenger side window to the middle of the dash board.)


3. PUT THE RIGHT ARM REST DOWN IF THE SHOULDER BELT IS CAUGHT ON THE ARM.


4. RELEASE THE SEAT SLIDE UNDER THE FRONT OF THE SEAT AND SLIDE THE SEAT ALL THE WAY FORWARD.


 5. LEAN OVER THE SEAT TO THE SWIVEL RELEASE AND PULL IT UP and HOLD IT - ONCE YOU START TURNING YOU CAN LET GO OF THE RELEASE.


 6. TURN THE SEAT ALL OF THE WAY AROUND TOWARD THE MIDDLE ALL THE WAY TO FACING TOWARD THE REAR.  (Counter-Clockwise). YOU MAY NEED TO MOVE THE SEAT SLIGHTLY FORWARD OR BACK AS YOU TURN IF IT GET CAUGHT ON ANYTHING.


DONE!


SWIVELING THE DRIVER SEAT:


1. PUT THE WINDOW VISOR OFF THE CLIP AND DOWN TOWARD AND AGAINST THE WINDSHIELD.


2. CLOSE THE FRONT CURTAIN. (Just as you did for the passenger side.)


3.  RELEASE THE SEAT SLIDE UNDER THE FRONT OF THE SEAT AND SLIDE THE SEAT ALL THE WAY FORWARD.


4.  LEAN OVER THE SEAT TO THE SWIVEL RELEASE AND PULL IT UP and HOLD IT - ONCE YOU START TURNING YOU MAY RELEASE IT.


5. START TURNING THE SEAT TOWARD THE MIDDLE. (Clockwise)


6.WHEN THE SEAT HITS THE MIDDLE HUMP - GLOVE COMPARTMENT - STOP.


7. RELEASE THE SEAT SLIDE AND PUSH THE SEAT PARTWAY BACK. 


8.  NOW TURN TO THE MIDDLE.


(THE SEAT CANNOT BE TURNED AS FAR AS THE WALL OF THE WARDROBE. THERE IS NO WAY TO NOT DO THIS. THE SEAT WILL BE AT A SLIGHT ANGLE TOWARD THE MIDDLE AISLE - WHICH IS JUST ABOUT RIGHT TO SEE THE TV OR USE THE FRONT TABLE.)



 DONE!

Once the seats are swiveled you can slide them forward or back to where you like them. It is not hard to do IF YOU FOLLOW THESE STEPS IN ORDER. Just reverse the process to put them back facing front!


Even I can do it now and without opening the doors!  I had intended to take photos but it is just too close to get any meaningful photos of the process - but with these simple instructions you should not need photos.


THANK YOU, MERYL!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SEAT COVERS FOR A ROADTREK

In a recently past article - which seems so long ago - I wrote about a problem we were discovering with the "leather" seat covers on the seats in our Roadtrek. I had indicated then that I had found a glue that worked - fairly well to seal the small tears that we were finding. Well, not long after we found more areas in which the outer surface of the seat was peeling - and there were just too many to try to use the glue on without it looking terrible. We had to find something to cover these seats with.

As I had said then our looking at car/truck seat covers in the local auto stores and Walmart just did not seem that they would fit and work. I went back to the Internet and asked for help on a recently new Facebook Group specifically for Chevy Roadtreks.  There two members shared with me that they had found seat covers in Walmart that did fit - fairly well. With that we went out to Walmart to see if we could find these covers. Of course, when looking for something that was purchased years back it is not always possible to find the same "models'. We did find one of the same brands and bought two different sets to try. We also bought a seat and backrest pad to try as well - in case the covers that are available now did not work.

We purchased two different sets of "Dickie's" seat covers (a subsidiary of Kraco). One was sized for trucks and was a thicker fabric. It also had a side zipper for just one arm rest. The other was a thinner cover that was a "universal" fit including cars, vans, SUVs, and trucks.

We tried the thicker cover on the driver's side seat first - which is the peeling seat. This is the cover fit for truck seats - and the one with the zipper opening for one of the arm rests. We pulled it over the seat. Meryl opened the zipper to put the arm rest through and the zipper slide broke off in her hand. Well that was not a good sign for this particular choice of cover. We continued to pull the cover over the backrest and then onto the seat. We got the elastic strap under the seat from side to side to secure it. The cover was much too baggy - and was not a close fit at all. That cover came off the seat and packed back in the box to go back to Walmart - with the broken zipper pieces to show the store.

The thinner cover went on next. It slide on a little easier onto the backrest. There is no hole on either side for the arm rests so we had to stop above the arm rests with the sides. We continued to pull the back down as far as the top of the rear seat pocket. We pulled the cover over the seat and there is a small solid bar attached in cloth in the middle of the back of it to push through to the back of the seat where the backrest meets the seat. That pulled the cover that is over the seat nice and tight and fitted.  We put the elastic Velcro strap from each side under the seat toward the rear and attached the two where they met. It took some adjusting to get the cover straight on the seat back.

I had been concerned that the arm rests that are tight against the seat back without a cover would not fold back or fold down. With the seat cover back pulled back on the sides, the arm rests moved easily.

Standing back and looking at the seat the seat back was not well fitting. It was a bit baggy but just about passable. If there were no arm rests to work around and the cover could be pulled down all the way on the sides and back, it would likely fit better. But that is not possible with an arm rest on each side and not losing use of the pocket on the back. I sat on the seat and the cover felt OK.  It was not the best but it would protect the seat - at least if there is more peeling there will be a layer between the person sitting and the surface of the "leather" and there should be less abrasion.

Just to see how the seat and backrest pad would work, we put that on the passenger seat to try. This had two elastic loops on the back to go around the seat and nothing to hold the seat pad in place. As soon as I got in the car to get on the seat the motion of getting on moved the seat pad toward the edge of the seat. Sitting on the seat, any movement moved the pad. This would not do at all!

So - the seat cover that we tried on the driver's seat will be what we stick with - until we find something better - which is unlikely. The Roadtrek seats are not standard seats and are made for Roadtrek or modified seats for Roadtrek. You cannot go to a custom seat cover site that asks for make and model of the seat and put in Roadtrek - they are looking for a car/van year and model - and the stock Chevy 3500 seat is not the same.

Here is what the cover looks like on the seat -








You should find this cover currently at Walmarts in the auto aisles. The brand is Dickies. The writing on the stick on label says "Hudson Grey 3001170LD" and the SKU on the UPC code says "4338801170".

As I say, they are not perfect. They are OK and we will see if they hold up. Our seats are grey. They say the color of this is Hudson Grey - and on the seat it looks black. When I commented this to Meryl she remarked, "Maybe the color is supposed to be the color of the Hudson River." - which is pretty close to what it is.

Roadtrek front seats are pretty much all the same and this should fit, the same way, not only a 190, but also a 210, a 170 and even the Sprinters and the Dodge ProMaster Roadtreks (unless those seats have changed in the newer models).





Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Shake Out "Cruise" OR Go East, Old Man!

With the winter weather and the difficulty getting our Roadtrek backed down the driveway and into the four lane avenue that runs in front of our house, the one thing that I should do during the winter is take the Roadtrek out for a drive. No vehicle should sit for a length of time without driving, but as much as think that I need to do it in the winter it never happens. The first time since November that the our 190 was actually driven - and not just started, pulled twenty feet down the driveway to run the generator so as to not put the generator exhaust into the side door of our house, was in early May when we took it to our mechanic for an oil change and the required State Inspection. It was driven all of two miles to do that.

The last few times that I have started it on the driveway to at least run the engine, it sounded like a motor boat running. I decided that no matter what the Roadtrek has to get onto the road and be driven.

We planned a two day trip out of state. I no longer travel on Memorial Day weekend because places to go are just too crowded. I figured that the week after Memorial Day might be good to take a trip for a few days. Unfortunately, it has been a wet Spring and that week was no different. Going to places that are outdoors when it is going to rain is just not my idea of a good time. There was going to be one decent day and I planned a one day excursion - drive there and back the same day with the Roadtrek and that day where we were heading were reports that storms would be in that area. So much for that, but the Roadtrek had to be taken for a ride so we decided we were heading out anyway - just to drive and we would head toward the end of Long Island to one of the points. I may have talked about where we live before. Long Island is shaped like a fish with the head of the fish toward the adjacent island of Manhattan and the end of tail of the fish - literally shaped like a fish tail with two extended points is the other eastern end of Long Island. We had nothing planned to do when we got there. We had no place in mind to go. When we would get to the spot where the points split we would decide if we were heading for the south fork of Montauk or the north fork of Orient.

We had prepared the Roadtrek for a trip for two days anyway so it was already to go. Getting out of the driveway and into the street has taken as long as a half hour waiting for a lull in the constant stream of cars and trucks so as to back out safely and not be crashed into. The morning of our shake out "cruise" - as we would be cruising and not much else - we were able to get out into the road in just ten minutes - a big surprise to both of us. While on the driveway with the motor running I could still hear that motor boat noise. I said to Meryl - after she stood in the street watching for on coming traffic with a walkie talkie - and her saying - "GO! NOW!!!" meaning get into the street now or wait longer - that maybe it was a good thing that we had not planned to go very far.

When we had de-winterized one of the things that I did was check the tire pressure for air. We filled the tires that day to 60 front and 80 rear, but it was in the low 50's that day in temperature. Trip day it was in the upper 70's and as we stopped at a red light on the corner near our house, I checked the tire pressure on the dash. The fronts were both over 65 and the rear were both in the upper 80s! Oh boy, I thought. But there was nothing that I was going to be able to do about this now. I did not want to stop to let air out of the tires. There was no place to stop where if I took too much out, it would not involve a long process of getting out the inflator and filling them back up. They would just have to stay this way until we were back home - and again I thought that it was a good thing we were not going out of state.  Looking at the gas gauge the tank was just over half full - it had been almost full when we got home from out last trip in November but running the generator every month for two hours exercise plus other runs of the generator during that time to now, the van needed gas. The gas had stabilizer put in back in November and that was still in the tank. My thought that maybe the gas was why I was hearing a motor boat when the engine was running was the cause. We decided to drive to BJ's to buy gas which is a twenty minute trip in itself but it was in the right direction and the more driving that we did on this day the better.

New gas and the same noise - and not a noise I have heard before in this van or any other car/van that we have owned. No time to think about that now - it is time to take the Roadtrek for a ride! And off we went. Route 495 is a limited access highway that travels the length of the North Shore of LI. We got on that and headed east. It is one of only a couple of limited access highway on Long Island that the Roadtrek is allowed to be on. All parkways on Long Island are posted at the entrance ramps, "NO vehicles over 7' 10" ". On Long Island in the Roadtrek - or any RV - one follows the trucks. If the trucks can go on the road, so can the Roadtrek.

We were driving along at a good pace. The road was fairly clear. The Roadtrek was driving just fine. And then we heard on the radio that there was an accident on 495 at exit 58. At that point we were at exit 51. Then we saw an hazard ahead sign that said accident between 58 and 59 - right and center lane closed. At this point the road was still moving but eventually it was going to slow down to a stop to merge everyone into the left lane. I asked Meryl if she knew of a way around this and she said that the service road that runs along side would take us past there. As we saw the traffic starting to slow at exit 56 we got off.  We drove about two miles when this narrow road which went down to a single lane each way was stopped with cars and trucks completely. We crawled along until we got to a point that we could see that a traffic light with a 30 second cycle was the cause of the backup. Once through that we were back to driving along and as we saw the cars on the 495 now moving we got back on.

The 495 ends at the Town of Riverhead - which is just before the split of the forks. The 495 ended and we were now on Rt. 25 a street route that also goes most of the island on the North Shore east to west. We keep heading east. At this point this is a very suburban area - even though it is a very long way from urban NYC. There are the usual stores that line the road - Walmart, Home Depot, fast food restaurants (which we should have stopped at for lunch at this point) and the like. As we drove the road and the surroundings became much more rural. Then we came to the point that if we went right we would head south to the South Shore - heading then for Montauk Point and in doing so driving through the Hamptons (where the rich and famous live) along the way. - or keep going toward the northeast toward the north piece of the tail of the fish, Orient Point It had been a long time since I was along the North Fork so we headed toward Orient.

What is along the road here then changed. No longer were we passing chain stores but local stores and shops - bait and tackle shops, small marine stores, shops selling marine themed antiques and decor and all that goes along in  combined marine and farm small communities, That is a bit of an odd combination and as one gets further east you see less farm and a lot more marine. And the road goes from two lanes each way to one lane each way.

And then in a small town, we come to a road block. Several police cars along each side of the road and police officers (I could not tell if they were county, state, or local police - I am guessing local because the uniforms did not fit the usual county or state look) standing in the middle of the road - looking at the front of each car, truck and my Roadtrek passing by and pulling some over to the side where we could see papers being handed out windows to an officer and the officer looking at them. This was no criminal investigation - it was a traffic stop to make some money and I would say they were checking State Inspection stickers on windshields to make sure they were up to date. I kept going very slowly as I past the officer who was looking at me and then my windshield as I was passing him. I had a feeling he might just pull us over because of what we were in, but he didn't and we cruised on past. Meryl said to me, "And we have to go back through that on the way back." My comment was that maybe there is a way around this part of the road.  At least we were rolling along - at the 30 mph speed limit and not bumper to bumper going through the police stop.

So we cruise along. Meryl is reading out the names of the local business as we drive past them. Lots of quaint names - lots of non-Long Island typical businesses unless you are in an area on the Island like this. In between towns there were stretches of woods. Every so often we would go though a point where the water on each side of us could be seen. At one point the water was just feet away from each side of the road, but at this point these were just parts of the fork that narrows before it widens again. We were both trying to figure out when we might have been in this area before. Years ago we were invited on a coworker's yacht. Yep, yacht! He worked because he liked to, not because he had to - and he had married extremely rich. We were both certain that the "yacht club" where the boat was tied up at was in this area in this direction. We eventually passed the town where the boat had been. We will never forget that day - I don't do well on boats and this one was no exception - and Meryl had never really been on a boat before other than a rowboat and she recalls that night when we got home and the room would not stop spinning. Yep, this was where that boat was, all right! We kept going. That town is a large town and at the east end of the town, it becomes very small town commercial - with a lot of cars and a lot of people on the streets that are one lane each way and then the road comes to an end and one must make a left to continue anywhere - as if one turns right one ends up in the Peconic River. They can call this a river all they want - it is part of the ocean! So we make a left and the street now that the Roadtrek is on is getting narrower with barely enough room for two cars to pass each other much less a Roadtrek and a car and not to help things but there are cars also parked on each side of the street along the curb - and then we are facing a small truck coming toward us on the other side of the road. Up ahead I see a long opening between the parked cars and hoping the truck gets the idea, I move forward so that I can pull the Roadtrek to the side of the road there so he can pass. He saw what I was doing and as I got out of the way, he squeaked past. It is said that a Roadtrek can go anywhere - well we have encountered some roads in our travels where a Roadtrek should not go. I said to Meryl, "We have to get this thing off this road, NOW!" As we keep going we are seeing intersecting streets coming up but each was narrower than what we were on. We kept going and come to another end of the road though this time turning right heading east - bring us back to Rt 25 and it opened to at least two full size lanes one each way.

We were now driving close to the water on each side of us. While we had not much noticed the time, my body clock alarm was going off telling me that if I did not want to get into any problems I better start thinking about turning back toward civilization and lunch. There was no place to park the Roadtrek in any of the small towns we had been through, so this meant heading back a distance. But I also had this urge to keep going east - and we had seen a sign that said five miles to Orient State Park which is the absolute end of the North Fork. I was looking at waves on one side - and a little further waves on the other and I decided that even though we had come this far it was time to head back - but where to make a U-Turn with a Roadtrek on a two lane road with nothing on each side but mostly water? I saw a lot up ahead which turned out to be the entrance of a residents' only beach. I pulled in to turn around and got stares from several in the parking lot who knew that none of the local residents that belonged at this beach owned such a vehicle as we were in. We were going to head back. As we were pulling out of the parking lot back onto now West Route 25 there was water in front of us and a sign that said it was State Oysterponds preservation. Lots has been going on to save the oysters in the waters along Long Island from being over-fished out along with the lobsters, both of which has brought a lot of controversy - mostly from those who earn their living taking these out of the water and supplying the many seafood restaurants.

Now that we were heading back I started thinking about two things - driving back down that very narrow street through that town again and going back through the police stop - why press our luck! As we are driving we come to a sign that had not been anywhere along the way east - "Truck Route 25" pointing one way and "Local Route 25" point at a cut off. We were taking the Roadtrek on Truck Route 25 West!

We were still passing water on one side but more land on the other. In a few spots one can see land across the water - which is Connecticut across the Long Island Sound. When you live on Long Island many location pages on websites to show where a store you need to go to is located, it will tell you a place in Connecticut is just 20 miles away. Well, absolutely it is just 20 miles away if you go by boat or fly. If you are going to drive, that 20 miles could take you three to four hours. We kept going.

I decided that if we were going to pass the places we had seen to eat at on the way along - that we actually could park at, we were going to have to head back south on the North Fork (yeah) to pass them on local 25 that we came east on. We did come to one sign that showed we could do that there - and back we were on a small road but at least this one was wide enough for two vehicles to pass as long as we did not meet another truck going the other way.  We did get to have lunch (I should add that we do always carry orange juice and crackers just in case).

Now in the parking lot of where we had lunch, I am hearing the noise that we started out with. It had never gone away but with our focus on other things were were not listening for it. We start looking at what is on. All along the dash board air vent was open and on and off the dash A/C had been on. I turned off the dash A/C and the noise was still there. Meryl reached over and shut off the dash air vent fan and the noise stopped. We sat and listened closely. No noise. I turned the fan on again - noise. I turned the fan up to high - and LOTS of LOUD noise. That actually was good to hear, because now I knew that there was nothing wrong with the engine. I was not happy that I would have to get the Roadtrek out of the driveway again to get this taken care of - and looking at the time I was hoping that the service station that my two mechanics own would still be open by the time we got back. They close at six so there should be time - unless we got caught in westbound rush hour traffic which was likely. I looked at the gas gauge and realized that I had used a quarter of a tank of gas on this cruise and we should stop back at BJs to fill up - just so the Roadtrek is ready for a real trip.

When we got to the service station it was almost 5:30 pm. One of the mechanics came out - the one who has done just about all of the maintenance on my 190 since it was new - and said there were two possibilities. There was something caught in the fan motor or the fan, or there is a problem with the fan motor and it will need to be replaced. He looked inside the front of the van toward under the dash on the passenger side and decided that in the Chevy Express van the dash fan motor is under the hood. Good! This meant they did not need to pull the dashboard out to work on it. He listened and then felt the sides of the motor housing which is on the engine wall in front of the passenger seat and said it was the fan or the motor and he would not be able to tell unless he pulled it out - and said make an appointment. The appointment is in a few days as I am writing this which will be before you are reading this. He told me the part is easy to get and he can have it that day and get it in - no problem - if it needs a new motor assembly.** I don't know what this is going to cost me but it could have been a lot worse.

Is there a moral to this tale? No, it was just another one of my taking you along for a ride. One thing we all should learn is not to let the Roadtrek sit from early November until the beginning of June without driving it.

Oh yes, and the tire pressure. Well I let the Roadtrek sit over night and most of the next afternoon and checked the psi in all of the tires. Front 60, 61, Rear 80, 81. Just about perfect. The temp outside was not near 80 as it had been during the drive but it was near 70. If it gets really hot before we leave on a real trip, I will check the tire pressure again.

** The Roadtrek spent the morning at the mechanic and $107 later we found out that the "heater box" had been stuffed with leaves. The fan assembly had to be taken out and when he looked at the fan there were a couple of small leaves there and knew that this would not cause what was happening. He then went further in and saw the path the air takes from the fan was tightly stuffed with leaves and when the fan motor had been running these were being pulled into the fan causing the noise. He cleared out all of the leaves and made sure there was a clean path, put it all back together again and no more noise. My Roadtrek is parked right in front of my garage door (garage is too low to bring the RT inside). My neighbor has a tree with thin leaves in the middle of his backyard not far from our property line. The leaves from his tree blow everywhere - and I will often find them on the hood of my Roadtrek. I clean them away when I see them but apparently they are getting into the air vents and being drawn in. Other than coming up with a tarp with magnets to hold it on over the vent area in front of the windshield, I don't see much of a way to avoid this. The tarp is a possibility and will have to start figuring this out. I do not want to put a cover on the entire Roadtrek.







Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Getting Ready, Always Another Surprise, Part II

Part II

See the previous article for Part I.


So we has two more surprises in getting the Roadtrek ready for the season! One involved the Roadtrek physically, and the other involved the Roadtrek's emergency roadside assistance coverage.

So - the Roadtrek's physical problem. During the process of dewinterizing and sanitizing we are in and out of the inside of the van. At one point I was outside the open driver's door and Meryl was inside standing between the driver's and passenger's seats and looked down at the driver's seat. She said look at the seat and pointed. There were three tiny tears in the upholstery of the driver's seat. One of the tears was along the edge of a seam and was larger than the other two - this one was a tear about a quarter of an inch long - basically a small flap. The other two were not much more than pin holes - one of them hardly that. But once there is a tear or hole, it is destined to get bigger if nothing is done about it.

I am not sure what the Roadtrek seats are made of. It has been implied that they are leather. They may just be a leather look vinyl. The seats are made by Roadtrek and installed - they are not stock seats. They swivel 360 degrees. They have the name Roadtrek across the front under the headrest. They also have an arm rest on each side. These are not stock seats.If you go to any site that sells custom seat covers they want to know what make, year, and model car or van you have. No choices on any of these sites is "Roadtrek". So we started on a quest to figure out how to fix or cover these seats - to stop the tears from becoming major tears.

I started researching fixing vehicle seat holes. The most common method uses a paste that is mixed to match the color of the upholstery and then set with heat or with some, left to dry after pressing a textured sheet over the paste to make it look like the upholstery. I have had some really poor experience with this stuff and I will not use it again. My first encounter with this was with one of my cars. I followed all of the directions and the resulting patch was a globby mess - that eventually peeled away.  My second experience was with a Chevy service using this to fix a tear in a passenger van arm rest. That peeled away within a year. I was not going to use this stuff to fix the Roadtrek seat.

I looked for other alternatives and the best I could find were vinyl/leather flexible glues specifically for upholstery. I have a lot of glues at home. None list vinyl. I have some good glues. As a long time leather worker, I have glues made for leather - but each of the really good glues all say to do the same thing which is not going to work tears this small - you need to coat both sides, put them together and then peel them apart, wait five minutes and push them together again. Peeling a quarter inch flap with glue on it apart would rip it apart. I went to Home Depot - they had no glue for vinyl and leather. Lowes did - a vinyl leather glue from Locktite. We bought that. With a toothpick I applied a little glue to hole in the seat under the flap and the flap and put them together - with the tip of a clean toothpick. Then I went around the edges with a very little more glue. I coated the tiny holes with a tiny dot of glue. The package says tape together to hold until dry. I used painter's removable tape which I place over the holes and to the sides and not on them to pull them, closed. This needed to dry for 24 hours. After that the flap was sealed but one small edge remained open. A small coating of glue on that edge and another 24 hours to dry. It looks like this will hold, but I really would like a seat cover to be sure - and that is another problem.

We went to the chain auto parts stores that are here. They pretty much all have the same seat covers and none are going to work as is on the Roadtrek seat. If they have a high back to go over the built in headrest then they have no slots for the arm rests. If they are sideless they cannot be used on a seat with a built in headrest. There are covers for just the seat part and not the back to be found on Amazon but there are no dimensions and the Roadtrek seat is unusually wide. I know this because I have looked at several seat pads - that just sit over the seat and are strapped on - and these are all too small to cover the Roadtrek seat.

So what to do? Right now we are working on an idea. To buy a truck full seat cover, cut off most of the back, create a section out of what remains of the back to push under the seat and anchor there in some way - and only use the seat part to cover the seat. We did find a cover for a truck size seat which we could buy and return if that it is too small. That is currently in consideration. It seems that we are not alone - and others have told me that they too are looking for a seat cover to fit a Roadtrek seat.

And so finally - the emergency roadside assistance plan. When we bought the Roadtrek - way back when - we received a free one year of Coach-Net Emergency Roadside Assistance Coverage. Coach-Net is an RV specific policy with technicians who know RVs and they will send out a truck to help with someone who also knows RVs - and not the kid from the corner gas station in a tow truck as plans like AAA or the policy thrown in with your vehicle insurance policy. For years they have had gotten good reviews from RVers. Before we found out that we were getting the plan for free for a year we had decided that this was the plan we would purchase. We have renewed the plan every year we have had the Roadtrek - until now.

Here is what happened. Last year we renewed the plan. We sent the check. Got an acknowledgement of the renewal and were all set to face any problem that might come up through the year - which hopefully we would not have - and didn't. Now comes April and it is time to renew. Meryl tells me that we should have received the renewal notice by now and didn't and that I should go to their website and see about renewing there - or getting an application to send with a check. I go to the site and try to log on with my user name and password and a message comes up across the screen that my policy has expired and it rejects my login. I could not get on the site. The next day Meryl called Coach-Net. She is told by the rep that our policy has been expired for more than six months. Since our renewal date was not until a week later from the date of this phone call, Meryl - who is a lot better with this type of thing than I am as she gets direct where I would just get mad and start yelling - let him know that we sent a check last year for coverage to X date and what is going on? She was told that yes he could find that we had paid, but the renewal was NEVER ACTIVATED. Essentially we had no coverage the entire year. Instead of his saying that he would activate the policy and extend it through the next year, he just said that he would activate the policy through the coming expiration date!  Totally unacceptable, but he would do nothing else. That was it for us with Coach-Net! The President of Coach-Net is getting a letter along with a complaint filed with the State Attorney General's Consumer Division. We have also learned that we were not the only ones that this happened to in 2016. But we then had to decide on a new company.

Again, I went to one of the better Roadtrek groups on Facebook to ask. About one or two years ago, Roadtrek stopped giving a year of Coach-Net but became involved in it's own ERS plan with one of the big ERS providers. This is what they now give free. This was recommended to me by a few who have it. They too will respond with a Roadtrek technician on the phone and also will send out someone who knows RVs - hopefully, the Roadtrek but that may be too much to expect in some areas. The price is a little more than Good Sam's ERS plan but that plan gets mixed reviews. One signs up by going to a special website or calling a number on the Roadtrek website. I wish I had called that number instead of going to the website - as my experience in applying was not the best - and I am hoping that this is not an indication of what the service will be. I want to say right here that I have since straightened everything out through a contact I was given directly to Roadtrek - who responded and resolved everything. There is only an enrollment website for this plan. There is no website that you can go to that will show you your account and expiration date, or the services that you are entitled to. All of the services need to be accessed by telephone through one number that has a menu of choices including one that goes to an emergency response operator to report that you need help. The other services that this plan entitles you to are all accessed on that menu. This was a surprise as with Coach-Net their website accessed mapping software and other services - in addition to the phone number that got help to you when needed. Perhaps a phone access solution is better as one generally has phone service but does not always have data service or a computer near by.  According to Roadtrek, they have trained all of the response technicians who will troubleshoot whatever problem you might have on the road in your Roadtrek. That seems like a good idea - and since they no longer have this relationship with Coach-Net, this seems to be the plan to have with a Roadtrek. I hope never to need this service. Like any insurance, a good day is when you don't need to use insurance.

Well, we are set and ready to travel. We just took the Roadtrek to our mechanic for its annual maintenance. He changed the oil, checked all of the fluids, and did the State Inspection. I also asked him to change the air filter in the engine - as I am not sure he has changed it in the past. I checked the air in the tires myself and found them low - though the temp her is just at 60 degrees F - and I filled them. Before we leave on a trip I will check them again - and likely if the temps go up, I will be letting some air out.  When de-winterizing take the opportunity to check the air in your tires - and don't forget the spare.

One more tip - When dewinterizing, check the battery in your Roadtrek's smoke detector. Unlike the CO and Propane Detectors, the smoke detector is just a house smoke detector that uses its own 9 volt battery. Push the test button if you hear nothing or you hear a dim beep, change the battery. The smoke detector should come off the wall with a twist and the entire unit comes off in your hand. The battery is on the back of the detector.

Now all we need is a place to go...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Getting Ready - Always Another Surprise, Part I

Hello all! It has been awhile.

It finally - after what always seems like forever - became time to get the Roadtrek ready for the new season. The winter temperatures seemed to keep holding on. There were some odd days - even series of odd days where the temperatures were going up into the 70s (degrees F) and higher, but they would come and go - and nights were potentially getting cold enough to make problems if we dewinterized. It took until the end of April for the temperatures to begin to stay warm enough during the day - and infrequently cold at night to be able to remove the antifreeze from the plumbing and get the Roadtrek ready for the new RVing season.

We planned a day that would be comfortable enough outside to get wet to de-winterize. Now, just in case you think that since we have written all of those articles about de-winterizing and sanitizing the fresh water system, we just go outside and do it, well, no. Every year before dewinterizing I get the articles up on the computer, read them and print out the step by step guide to dewinterizing and sanitizing. And when we go out there - with all of the instructions in hand, I follow each one step by step because I know if I don't I am going to forget something or mess something up. And every year, I stop and read the next step before I do it. This year was no different.

Before we started we checked the date on the bleach bottle and saw that it was a year old. Meryl looked up how long bleach is good for and it is good for one year - so we went out to buy a new bottle of bleach. One way we discovered one year that we were de-winterizing was if the bleach does not overwhelming hit you with that bleach smell when you come close to the open bottle it is time to buy new bleach - and this one's odor was fading. So armed with a new bottle of bleach, I turned the outside house water on for the first time in 2017, pulled out of the things we would need for the process, and started.

The de-winterizing part is easy - it is all easy - and quick. The most time that any of this takes is filling and draining the fresh tanks the numerous times that is involved. Getting the antifreeze out is as simple as filling the fresh tank(s) with water and turning on all of the faucets, showers, and toilet and watch all of the pink antifreeze in the pipes flow out and go down the drains. But I am not going to go into the steps here - it is all linked above.  We started mid-afternoon and by the time we were ready to put the bleach into the tanks to sanitize it was getting late - late enough that if we were going to start flushing the bleach out after its sitting in the tanks and plumbing for four hours it would be dark outside. So the sanitizing step would have to wait for another day - and not the next day or the day after that because it was going to rain - a lot. So we put that off a few days.

So what surprises did we have. A few. The first surprise was opening the lid of the toilet and finding out that mold had grown on the inside of the bowl - above the level of the antifreeze that I pour into the toilet so that the toilet flap does not dry out over the winter. This is no big deal but it does have to be cleaned and that is something that I will go into later.

Another surprise took place right after we poured the bleach and water mix into the rear, internal fresh water tank through the tank fill hole in the frame behind the passenger side cargo door. The bleach and water (a gallon total) went right down. When I took the hose to fill the tank the rest of the way with fresh water, the fresh water came rushing right back out the fill hole! We have had a similar experience in the past - and always with the rear tank, but never at this stage of the process. It has happened after the bleach and water were drained out of the tank and we were refilling to rinse and flush the bleach out. It has never happened trying to follow the bleach mixture with the rest of the water! I pulled out my gizmo to fill the tank from the bottom up - which has worked in the past to get passed any gas bubble formed from the bleach sitting in the tank. I need to tell you that I have never heard from anyone else that has this problem - and we have it every year we dewinterize. A one tank system should not have this problem, but others have the two tanks - and no one has ever let me know that they too have this.

I pushed the thin tubing down into the tank fill hole down into the tank. The nozzle end was connected to the fresh water hose and I turned on the valve to let the water flow. And the water came shooting back out the fill hole! A few times in year's past with this I let the water keep coming up and out until it broke through whatever was stopping it from going down and into the tank. So much water was coming out that I stopped. So what to do? Meryl had the answer and suggested that I get into the van and roll it back and forth up and down the driveway, shaking up whatever was in the back tank.

I cleared everything out of the way and got in and started the engine. Meryl stood on the side and watched in the area of the rear tank. I pull back fast and hit the break, stopped pulled forward the same way - and then pulled back again. Meryl shouted that a huge amount of water shot out from the bottom of the van over the rear passenger side tire. She and I both knew that this is where the overflow valve of the rear tank is located. The only explanation is that the bleach and water give off enough gas in this small tank to the point that it forms a gas bubble that prevents the water from going down. Tossing the contents of the tank around like this broke that and the momentum of rushing back blew it out the only opening for it to go through - the overflow drain - which is on the top of the tank inside and piped outside. After that the tank filled easily. I realized as I started putting water down into the tank - and it was going down - that we probably blew out all of the bleach that we had put in - so we added another mixture of bleach and water - that all went down and the tank filled with fresh water. It all sat for 24 hours (only four are necessary) but again, by now it would be dark again to go out and rinse and flush the tanks. When we got back out, drained the bleach out, and refilled the rear tank to rinse and flush it, the water went right in!

Now, the mold in the toilet. The toilet in the Roadtrek is not porcelain. It is a plastic composition RV toilet used because it is very light in weight.  The company that makes this toilet, Thetford, says to never use bleach or any bleach product to clean this toilet. We have been looking for such a product that is actually going to disinfect and clean for a long time. What we have been using is dish soap, but with the mold I wanted something more that would kill the mold. We looked at various products that feature right on the label that they contain "NO BLEACH" and each one has some statement on the label about not using it on plastic.  We took the names of several and contacted Thetford which came back with their answer - NO! Do not use any of those! What should you use? "Well we make our own product - just order it." No local store sells this product. Camping World sells the product - a foaming spray cleaner - but they want over $10 plus shipping. I found another that sells the product for $7 BUT shipping is $8!  I went to a good Roadtrek owners forum on Facebook to ask what others use.

It seems the most effective disinfecting cleaner is white wine vinegar. Vinegar seems to be the universal thing to do anything and everything. Most of the things that I have tried that use vinegar have not worked at all - forget killing your weeds with vinegar, salt, and detergent. The weeds in my backyard flourished after being drowned in this mixture. On the forum group other Roadtrek owners insisted that this will work on the toilet - and it will not harm the toilet. We were suggested both using vinegar mixed with dish soap or just vinegar alone. As I write this Meryl has purchased a spray bottle and has the vinegar and is going to try it and see. I will report back when we have the results.

Then we had two more surprises which I will write about in Part II - come back in two weeks.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Review of the Classic Roadtrek Electrical System

We get a lot of questions from readers about the electrical system in their Roadtrek. We always are happy to respond and answer what we can. In 2012 and 2013 I wrote a series of articles that explain the electrical system in our - and in what I would call a "classic" Roadtrek. Classic meaning a basic system that does not include the new electric options that Roadtrek has introduced since my 2011, starting in about 2013/14. This means no solar panels, no lithium EcoTrek batteries, no VoltStart, and no Engine Generator. This does include coach battery or batteries, shore power plug in, an Onan built in generator, an isolater or separator, an engine battery, and a three in one inverter, converter, charger or two units - inverter and converter/charger.

I will start with a very important tool in understanding the electrical system in these "classic" Roadtrek electrical systems - a computer simulation of the electric system. To use you must specify a year and model in the drop down menu that is at the bottom of the left column on the page. Select 2010 for years 2010, 2011, and 2012 - and possibly 2013. If you have a basic electric system in your Roadtrek beyond those years select 2010 also. IN ADDITION, there is a link at the top of the Simulator page for NOTES.  This will open a PDF file that gives a great deal of explanation. I did not create the simulator nor write the "Notes". I was sent this link by Roadtrek back in 2011 and the author of the simulator has updated the Notes since.

ROADTREK ELECTRIC SIMULATOR

Next, some history as I know it. Originally the electric system used a converter/charger unit and in some (and not in some at all) an inverter unit. The converter/charger charges your batteries and takes 110 volt power and converts it into 12 volt DC power. The inverter takes 12 volt DC power and changes it into 110 volt AC power.

During the 2005 model year, Roadtrek began to change this. Instead of two separate units, they started to install a three in one single unit that provided all three functions - inverter/converter/charger. By 2006 the changeover was complete. If you own a 2005 Roadtrek you may or may not have the single unit - you may have the two separate units.If you have a model year before 2005 you have the two separate units. If you have a 2006 you have the single unit. The single unit installed in 190s, 170s, and 210s is the TrippLite 750. In the Sprinter models, there is also a TrippLite but a more powerful unit - greater in wattage than 750 watts. With the larger unit you can run the microwave oven on your inverter. With the TrippLite 750 you cannot.

At the end of 2010, Roadtrek made another change. They stopped using wet cell deep cycle coach batteries and started using AGM deep cycle coach batteries. The change over is complete with the 2011 Roadtrek model year.  I know many with 2010's that got deep cycle wet cell coach batteries, but some have told me that their 2010 came with AGMs - likely late in the model year.  If you have a 190 and have two coach batteries. With the AGMs these are two 6 volt coach batteries wired in series.

I am not going to go completely though each component in the electrical system again, as the articles from 2012 cover these fairly well - and those articles, I have been told, have helped many. I am going to link those articles here so that it is all in one place. Start with the first introductory article and then read the rest from there. Here are the LINKS -

THE ELECTRIC SYSTEM - Intro

BATTERIES

THE GENERATOR

SHORE POWER

THE INVERTER

LOCATING THE INVERTER

CHARGING THE ROADTREK BATTERIES

IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE INVERTER

LOW COACH BATTERIES AND THE GENERATOR

GETTING AN ACCURATE READING OF THE BATTERY VOLTAGE

THE BEST WAY TO KNOW YOUR BATTERY'S VOLTAGE 

PLUGGING INTO AN OUTLET THAT IS NOT 30 AMPS

To give you some brief information not covered in the above, your Roadtrek has either a Battery Isolater OR a Battery Separator. Each provides the same function BUT each works a differently to do this from the other. If you have a Roadtrek before 2006 (or 2005 IF your 2005 has the three in one inverter/converter/charger) you have a BATTERY ISOLATER. If you have a Roadtrek after 2005, you have a BATTERY SEPARATOR (specifically, a Sure Power 1315-200 Bidirectional 12 volt 200 amp battery separator. Either should be located in your engine compartment on the rear wall just about in front of the steering wheel. What these do is keep your engine battery and your coach battery(ies) apart and stop one from draining the other. The engine battery and the coach batteries are linked between these units BECAUSE while you are driving your engine battery will charge your coach battery - and similarly, when plugged into shore power or running your generator, your coach batteries will charge your engine batteries. (There may be some exceptions - see the simulator as this will show you exactly what happens when the engine is running OR the engine is off and you are plugged into shore power or running your generator- specifically for your year and model).  The change from a Battery Isolater to a Battery Separator came because of the TrippLite three in one unit which did not work correctly with a battery isolater. Be aware that the Isolater or Separator do not last forever. They can go bad over time. I have been told that when odd things start happening with your batteries and electrical system the first thing to do is have the isolater or separator checked. It can be tested to see that it is working properly. Now - just a personal observation. This past year I was not certain that the battery separator in my Roadtrek was functioning properly. I have since determined that it does. When I was unsure I set out to find the Sure Power 1315-200 Bidirectional 12 volt 200 amp battery separator to replace it. I assumed - never assume - that it was a common part. It is NOT. I contacted a few local RV dealerships (not Roadtrek) and they did not stock this - some had never heard of this particular model. I did locate it on the Internet at just a few RV parts retailers - in the middle and on the other side of the country. It is not a matter if it goes bad you can get a new one right away. You will wait to have it shipped to you or whoever is going to replace it for you. Interestingly, I have discovered the same thing about AGM 6 volt deep cycle batteries - 12 volt are easy to find - 6 volt are not.

Here are three links to help with the Sure Power 1315-200 Bidirectional 12 volt 200 amp battery separator -

LINK 1

LINK 2

LINK 3

Take your time reading the different articles referenced and linked in this article. Read them more than once. It takes some time to put all of this together and understand how this or that works - or even just what it is and does. 

So there you have it. I am still happy to help and answer your specific questions. It is best to use the Email Us link that is located in the column to the right on this page and email us directly rather than putting a comment on this article. It is much easier to interact with you this way and get the specifics. When you email, please remember to include the year and model Roadtrek that you have (or any RV - we get lots of questions on basics from non-Roadtrek or even Class B owners).




Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Camco Power Grip Electrical Protectant and Lube

For a long time I have been looking for some type of lubricant that will make the 30 amp power plugs and sockets come apart easier in the winter. The problem comes more from the plug and socket on the 30 amp RV extension cord than the Roadtrek plug on its power cord, but that has been a problem too.

When I hook up at my home in the winter to charge the batteries, I plug a 30 amp female to 15 amp male adapter into the socket of a 30 amp RV extension cord. The extension cord socket is plugged into the plug of my Surge Guard power protection unit and than then the Roadtrek power cord plug is plugged into the socket on the Surge Guard unit. Between the plugs and sockets I put Plug Dogs. (See my Plug Dog article.) This is done twice a month to keep my batteries charged.

In the summer months when it is time to put all of this away, the plugs and sockets pull apart with only a small amount of resistance. In the cold, it can be a real struggle to pull apart. The plugs stick in the sockets. Even with the Plug Dogs it can take a real heavy yank to get them apart - and there have been some days that some just do not come apart at all. So far, that has not been the power cord of the Roadtrek - and I can get that free with some effort and put the rest in the house and let them warm up enough to come apart. The socket on the 30/15 adapter can be very hard to come apart and I have had to pry that apart even after it has warmed. My concern all along has been if the Roadtrek power plug will not come out of the socket. I have thought that there must be something to use to prevent this.

I have asked on various forums and RV groups. I have been told dielectric grease will work for this by some, while others have said don't use dielectric grease. I have contacted two companies that make dielectric grease and have told that their product is not for this purpose. Yet, some have said it works with no problem. Some said just petroleum jelly. Others said WD-40. Others said never use anything petroleum based on electrical connections. I was about to either give up or take a chance when I found a product made by a well known RV supplies company that is made exactly for this purpose.

It is called Camco Power Grip Electrical Protectant and Lube - the lube part is what I want. Camco makes the RV 30 amp extension cord that I use. It has a big plug and socket each with a solid pull handle on them - "Power Grip" handles  - and this is "Power Grip" lube. The package and product description says that this is to lube the plug to come easily out of the socket (when you want it to). Other benefits are to protect from oxidation and to improve conductivity. It is for use with "all electrical adapters". It is made of a silicone grease mixture. No petroleum.  This may very well be dielectric grease - but it is not labeled as that.

I took a cotton swab and squeezed a small lump of grease unto the tip. A toothpick or a popsicle stick would work just as well. The label cautions about getting this on your skin, so while my inclination would have been to just put a dab on my finger and apply it, I was not going to ignore the warning. I took the swab and lightly coated the blades of the plugs including the ground post with the grease - each just before inserting it into the socket. I inserted the Plug Dogs where there were no plug/socket pull handles as I usually do. The plugs slipped easily into the sockets. When it is cold these take some effort to push them together - it was in the 20's degrees F while I tried the Lube. All lubed and connected. The 15 amp plug was plugged into the outdoor 20 amp socket on the house and power flowed. (The 15 amp plug was not coated - it never has been a problem pulling it out of the house outlet socket.)

I let the batteries charge for 24 hours. The next day was colder and snow was expected later in the afternoon. Without the lube I would have been very concerned about getting this all apart in this cold. I pulled the 15 amp plug out of the house outlet and proceeded to pull the plugs from the sockets. The one that has always been the hardest is the adapter socket from the extension cord plug and it came right apart. Great! Each plug pulled easily from the sockets. This stuff WORKS!

When the plug with the lube on the blades goes into the socket it is putting lube on the socket as well. I plan to put it on the next time I plug in as well. We will see how often it needs to be repeated. There are two more winter months to deal with and I don't want to find out the hard way that it needs to go on every time.

This product is NOT CHEAP. A ONE ounce tube cost me just under ten dollars on Amazon from a third party vendor. There were several vendors - some charging shipping and some not. I chose one that was about thirty cents higher in price than the lowest priced vendor offering free shipping because this vendor had a much quicker estimated delivery date than the lowest priced vendor. It was shipped the next morning and arrived three days later. Since this was coming halfway across the country that was pretty good!

If you have any problem with getting power plugs out of sockets, this works. It is Camco Electrical Protectant and Lube and its product number from Camco is #55013.





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We have no connection with the Camco company or Amazon. We have not been asked to review this product. We paid in full for the product from an Amazon vendor - and we have no connection with that vendor in any way as well.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Down Time

The Roadtrek is sitting on the driveway since we winterized in mid-November. There has been no real opportunity to go anywhere with it. We have emptied the cabinets of anything that will be a problem if it freezes. And last week Meryl moved some of the things that were in the house stored for the Roadtrek - mostly for winter/cold weather travel into the Roadtrek - not to be used but just to get them out of the house.

In the Northeast there is too much uncertainty with the weather and the extent that the weather can turn at this time of the year - at least for us - to travel other than for a day and back the same day, and the car gets far better gas mileage than the Roadtrek to do that. So the Roadtrek is in down time. I would say that the Roadtrek is in "Winter Mode" but with a 190, Winter Mode means something totally different. (It is when the interior water tank is kept in use and the exterior water tank is taken off line.)

Because the batteries are showing their age we charge the batteries twice a month and run the generator a few days after one of those charges for its monthly two hour exercise. The van gas tank is close to full and has two cans of Seafoam gasoline stabilizer/ethanol treatment in it just for the purpose of running that into the generator when it is exercised. An electric household space heater is inside the Roadtrek to put a half load on the generator when it is exercised.

So there is nothing really new or exciting to write about. There will be articles through the winter into the Spring - but they may not come even every two weeks. I know that there are a few things I have been thinking of writing about - perhaps taking out some of the how tos that wind up in the middle of other articles and putting those each into their own article. We shall see. There is also something that I have been looking to purchase for the Roadtrek that I am having a hard time finding - and when I do I will write about that as well.

But just so no one thinks the site has gone dormant - it is only hibernating for the winter with an occasional awakening and a new article.