Wednesday

In Case You Missed It: August RV News


Sit back and relax, we’re here to catch you up on all of the RV-related headlines you should know about for the month of August. We’ve compiled our favorite RV news stories to keep you in the know. Check out our top picks below.

Coachmen to Debut Spirit Ultra-Lite - Coachmen recently announced that their new Spirit Ultra-Lite will debut at the 2018 Forest River RV Expo in September. Coachmen, who is a division of Forest River, noticed the need for a competitive ultralight brand. The new Spirit lineup will feature five different floor plans ranging in lengths from 23-36 ft., with weights as low as 4,500 pounds. The modern interiors offer 83 1/2 inches of interior ceiling height and updated features. We are excited to see this new lineup in September. Read More

Image: Coachmen

Nissan Unveils All-Electric Camper Van - Although this news broke in late July, we had to keep you up-to-date with the latest news from Nissan. The company recently unveiled an all-electric campervan based off of their e-NV200 van that will be released in Spain. Nissan revealed two versions of the van, one based on the NV300 van and another based on the e-NV200. The e-NV200 just received a few upgrades including a new battery pack to improve its range to 124 miles This still isn’t the greatest range for a travel-oriented vehicle, which might limit the use of the camper. But, the van could still be a great solution for some travelers depending on how they plan to use it. Contingent on its success in Spain, Nissan has reported that they will consider bringing it to additional markets - and we are hoping the U.S. is on their list! Read More

Image: Nissan

Airstream Salutes Military and First Responders - Airstream recently announced they are launching a new program that is designed to offer military personnel and first responders factory rebates on the full range of new Airstream products. The folks at Airstream thought that saying “Thank You” was simply not enough and wanted to provide military and first responders with the opportunity to explore the country that they serve. The Airstream Salute program is available to United States active duty military personnel, veterans, retirees, members of the National Guard and reserves, certain military spouses and dependents, EMTs, firefighters and members of law enforcement. Kudos to Airstream - we love this idea. Read More

Image: Airstream

Renegade RV Introducing ‘Veracruz’ Class C Coach - Renegade RV, a division of REV Group Inc., just announced the addition of their all-new 2019 Veracruz Class C motorhome. The Veracruz features a king-size memory foam bed, a 40 in. LED TV, a Samsung Soundbar system, new lighting features, and so much more. The new Veracruz also provides 12,000 pounds of towing capacity and is available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The new model is offered in two different floor plans, and from what we’ve seen they look incredibly spacious. We can’t wait to see the new Veracruz on the road! Read More.

Image: Renegade

Airstream Classic Trailers Offer Smart Technology - In other Airstream news, the manufacturer announced that their 2019 classic models will feature the company’s Smart Technology. This technology will digitally connect owners to their RVs for an enhanced camping experience. So if you’re looking to “get away from it all” while still being connected, these new models could be perfect for you. Airstream’s Smart Technology allows 2019 Airstream Classic owners to control and monitor systems such as lighting, HVAC, awnings, vent fans, water, propane, and battery levels from anywhere. The 2019 Airstream Classics will also include one year of unlimited 4G LTE data. Read More

Image: Airestream

August has been a busy month for new models and we are excited to see what news September will bring - so stay tuned for our next edition of “In Case You Missed It”. Did any of these headlines spark your interest, or have one you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Tech Tip: RV Waste Management 101


It’s the topic that no RVer enjoys. However, waste containment and odor control are necessary aspects of RVing. FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer present RV Waste Management 101.

The Basics
Your RV’s waste plumbing is made of two components: the gray system (liquid waste) and the black system (solid waste). Gray tanks can be outfitted with a drain opening as small as 1-1/2-inch. Black tanks are required to have a 3-inch outlet. As many RVers know, any accumulation of waste within these drain openings or the holding tank system can lead to odors.

Nothing can ruin an RV trip faster than having holding tank odors permeate the RV’s interior, so let’s examine the common causes of RV odors…

P-traps
The first line of defense against invading fumes is the water lock, which is established by P-traps located below the sinks and tub/shower drains.

Long a staple in the plumbing industry, the common P-trap works well in residential homes. However, because of the seasonal nature of RVing, P-traps in RVs typically are used less frequently, which can result in the P-trap’s water seal becoming diminished. The jostling that occurs while traveling; improper siphoning action during highway turns and tank evacuations; or simply drying out from non-use can render the water seal ineffective at blocking odors. 

P-trap

In addition, the P-trap requires diligent maintenance, including frequent cleanings and freeze protection. If neglected, waste residue inside the trap can foster bacteria growth and subsequent odors.

However, there is an alternative to the common P-trap: the HepvO waterless sanitary valve. Available in the aftermarket and now found on many RVs right from the factory, the HepvO waterless valve replaces the P-trap, creating an effective seal against odors. This sanitary valve is constructed with a self-sealing, flexible, silicone membrane that allows water to flow through it but completely closes off when water flow stops. Therefore, holding tank odors are prevented from migrating up and through the sinks, tub, or shower. 

HepvO

The Toilet
As for the toilet, keep water in the bowl at all times, though that may be challenging when the RV is stored. Still, with water in the bowl, you are guaranteed that no holding tank odors can escape into the RV’s living area.

If your RV’s toilet will not hold water, chances are it is time to replace the internal seals and gaskets. You’d be surprised to see just how many seals are used in an RV toilet! Dry toilet seals are the main sources of black tank odors. Most toilet manufacturers offer gasket repair kits. Most likely, this type of maintenance will be necessary at some point during your RVing career.

Waste System Venting
Venting is required for both the black and the gray systems. How do RV manufacturers accomplish this? The common method is to run a length of thermoplastic ABS pipe from the holding tank up and through the roof of the RV.

The importance of proper venting cannot be overstated, especially as it relates to odor control. Without correct venting, sinks will not drain properly; bacteria can propagate; and holding tanks will not drain as quickly or completely.

Keep in mind, as a holding tank empties or a sink drains, fresh air must enter the drainage system. Since holding tanks rely solely on gravity for emptying, having air enter the system as sinks and tanks are drained results in a faster and more thorough process. To accomplish proper air flow, there are two types of vents used in RV waste systems: direct exterior vents and anti-siphon trap vent devices. 

Waste system venting

Vent Type #1 - Direct Exterior Vents & Maintenance
Direct exterior vents connect the waste system to the atmosphere outside. As mentioned earlier, most RV manufacturers install a vertical piece of ABS piping up and through the roof for both the black and gray systems. (If you own a small RV, it is possible your RV has a different type of direct vent: a side-mounted vent. Side venting is only permissible in the liquid waste system and only found on compact RVs.)

Sometimes RV manufacturers cut a large hole in the ceiling and roof during installation of the vertical vent pipe. Oftentimes, this opening is not sealed properly around the outside perimeter of the pipe. In other instances, the vent pipe itself may not extend far enough above the roofline; the industry rule is that the vent pipe must extend at least 2 inches above the roof. If the vent pipe is not sealed properly, tank odors can pass up the direct exterior vent; collide with the underside of the sewer vent cap; be forced back down the sides of the vent pipe; travel into the ceiling area; and then migrate to the living area.

To ensure this doesn’t happen in your rig, remove the sewer vent(s) on the roof and ensure the space around the vent pipe is sealed tightly. Also, make sure that the pipe itself stands at least two inches above the roof. If necessary, extend the vent by using a common ABS coupling and a short piece of pipe.

In addition, depending on how the vent is attached to the top of the holding tank, vent pipes have been known to fall down inside the tank below the surface of the waste, nullifying any venting action and allowing odors to exit the tank. By inspecting the vent termination on the roof regularly, this can be avoided.

Vent Type #2 - Anti-Siphon Trap Vent Devices (ASTVD) & Maintenance
The second type of vent is the anti-siphon trap vent device (ASTVD), nicknamed “check vents.” These are used as secondary vents to aid in draining sink fixtures. They allow air into the drainage system but prohibit air from passing out of the system. ASTVDs are installed in the liquid drain piping system at or near a P-trap inside a cabinet. Look under your RV’s kitchen and bathroom sink areas to find them. They are mounted at least 6 inches above the P-trap’s horizontal arm. ASTVDs do not allow odors to escape into the living portion of the RV, thanks to a pressure-controlled, rubberized, one-way valve. In other words: air in but not out.

The rubber membrane employed in ASTVDs can sometimes dry out and become stuck in the open position. If holding tank odors are prominent under a galley or bathroom cabinet near the P-trap, chances are it is time to lubricate the rubber seal inside the ASTVD. Use lubricant to moisten the rubber diaphragm. Since it is located above the actual flow of waste water, the ASTVD is simply threaded into a fitting above the trap arm and can be easily removed for periodic maintenance.

Tank Additives
Enzyme-based, bacteria-infused blends have proven to be the most effective type of tank additive. These blends actually digest the odor-causing molecules at the source inside the waste tanks, thereby eliminating odors rather than masking them.

Some holding tank treatments may consist of harmful chemicals such as formaldehydes. Try to avoid these if possible. The issue of chemical products has prompted many state parks, campgrounds, dump stations, and local municipalities to ban the evacuation of RV holding tanks if such chemicals are used.

Remember that, to a certain extent, RV holding tanks are living, thriving environments. Anti-bacterial soaps, detergents, or DIY treatments can destroy the “good bugs” that are beneficial in helping the elimination of odors.

Tank Monitoring and Blockage
Most RVs today feature some visual method to help owners determine the fluid levels in the holding tanks. This is normally accomplished with “through the wall” monitoring sensors attached to the tanks. Others use externally applied, electronic sensors. It’s those “through the wall” sensors that can be aggravating for RVers. False or inaccurate monitor panel indications caused by tank sludge and debris stuck on the sensor probes are far too common. 

The easiest way to avoid black tank blockages is to use copious amounts of fresh water during each flushing of solid waste. Always be sure to cover the very bottom of each holding tank with fresh water after each evacuation. Do not store the RV for lengthy periods with contents still in the tank.

A Happy Holding Tank… 
Being proactive when it comes to your RV’s waste system will reap its rewards for you and also protect the environment. If anything, it will ease offensive smells! A happy holding tank is a healthy holding tank.

And, remember, when working on your RV’s waste plumbing system, even when simply “dumping” the holding tanks, take safety precautions. Wear disposable gloves when handling sewer hoses and connections. And when using hand tools while working on these systems, be sure to clean and disinfect them after each use. 


FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.

This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.

Friday

Do You Have the Updated RV Trader App?


We have some exciting news - our app has been updated! If you haven’t downloaded the RV Trader app, what are you waiting for? The newly updated app features a completely redesigned home screen, allowing you to browse through hundreds of thousands of RV listings with ease. The modern design is faster than ever before and our app gives you the ability to access our content wherever you go.

We’ve also added a new recommendations tab on the home screen of the app, which shows you similar models based on your previous searches. You can easily filter your listing searches based on type, location, year, make, price, mileage, and so much more - which makes finding your new RV a breeze. While in the app, you also have the option to search for your nearest dealer (including their current inventory), so you can pay them a visit to take a full tour and test drive of the unit you’re interested in.

While you are navigating the app, you also have the opportunity to create your own personalized My Trader account. When you sign up for a My Trader account, you are able to quickly save the listings and dealers that you’re interested in - keeping them all in one place for future reference. The RV Trader app syncs with your desktop accounts once logged in, so you can easily access your saved listings on any device. 


We’re all about saving you money and getting you the best deal on your next RV. With price drop alerts from the RV Trader app, you'll be notified via a push notification and email when a unit’s price has dropped.

In the coming months, we’ll give you the opportunity to easily sell and take photos of your RV directly through our mobile app. This means you won’t have to access our website when you’re ready to put your RV on the market. We will also be adding a feature to pay directly through the app - stay tuned!

The updated app is currently only available for iOS users, but will also be available for Android users coming soon. To download the updated RV Trader app, visit the iTunes App Store today.









In Case You Missed It: July RV News


From new model announcements to two-wheeled motorhomes, this month has proven to be interesting for RV news. So sit back and relax - we’ll catch you up on the latest RV-related headlines you need to know about.

Volkswagen Announces Production of XXL Camper Van - Volkswagen announced a concept for a new California XXL camper van back in 2017 and the concept is finally turning into a reality this year. The new van will lose some of the “slicker” features of the concept van, but it will give VW camper bus buyers something bigger to think about. Volkswagen is keeping many details under wraps until the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon Show goes underway on August 24th. We’re eager to see all of the features of the van and any surprises VW might have up their sleeve. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as we know more. Read More.

Image: New Atlas

Leisure Travel Vans Offer Innovative Storage Options for Cyclists - The Canadian motorhome maker, Leisure Travel Vans, has recently released their Wonder Rear Twin Bed (RTB). The company felt the demand for a motorhome with a built-in bicycle garage and they stepped up to the plate. The RTB has the ability to carry two bicycles in an exterior garage and has a smart entertainment system, flexible bedroom, and versatile, multi-use furnishings throughout the unit. Many motorhome/trailer manufacturers are trying to cater to a more active type of buyer (ie: Winnebago Revel, modular VanDolt camper, and Turtlebacker trailer), as more and more buyers want the ability to easily carry all types of adventure gear. We love the concept and can’t wait to see if additional manufacturers adopt the idea. Read More.

Image: New Atlas

Architecture Student Builds Two-Wheeled Motorhome - We can confidently say we’ve never seen a two-wheeled motorhome… until now. 26-year-old, Jeremy Carman, created this two-wheeled prototype as his bachelor thesis at the Southern California School of Architecture. The prototype is based on a 1993 Honda CBR 1000 F motorbike and a Honda CR 500 motocross bike. The ‘Sleeper Box’ is mounted on the back of the bike and is 183 inches long, just under 39 inches high, and 86 inches wide. Jeremy plans on testing out its capabilities during a 20,000-mile trip from California to the southernmost tip of South America - good luck! Read More.

Image: RV Business

‘Tearstock’ Unites Teardrop RVers - We’ve all heard of Woodstock, but have you heard of Tearstock? Liberty Outdoors and Little Guy Trailers recently hosted their 5th annual Tearstock on July 12-15 in Mackinaw City, Michigan, where teardrop RVers united to build camaraderie, share stories and ideas, and tour other teardrop units. The event has grown from a 30 trailer gathering its first year to selling out over 150 campsites this year. Attendees came from all over the country to celebrate standing out from the crowd of campers and motorhomes. We love teardrop trailers and are excited that more and more people are seeing them as great options for traveling. Read More.

Image: Tearstock.com

We hope you enjoyed our compilation of top RV-related stories this month. RV news is always pouring in and we love sharing interesting headlines with you. What are your favorite stories this month? Let us know in the comments below!









Tech Tip: Keep Rolling! Tires 101


Have questions about your RV’s tires? Wondering if other RVers have the same concerns? Hesitant to ask your tire dealer?

FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer are here to help with some WHEEL-y good advice! Read on for our round-up of popular tire questions.

Is replacing my tires with the same brand and size really necessary?
It’s important to stay with the same size and load range based on your RV manufacturer’s recommendations. We always recommend staying with a brand you are familiar with, but there is no reason one cannot change brands, just not the size. 

Remember: Before purchasing any tire, be sure to check the age code on the tire’s sidewall. It is important that new tires be truly “new.” It is the actual date of manufacture that is important, even though the warranty time typically begins at the time of installation. 


My tires seem to be wearing unevenly. What is causing this?
It’s important to determine why your tires are wearing unevenly. Becoming aware of weight and balance issues is key to longer tire life. 

It is highly recommended to have your RV properly weighed using individual scales by an accredited RV entity such as the RV Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF). RVSEF provides this weighing service at most FMCA RV Expos .

By weighing each individual tire, you can determine if a side of the RV is exceeding a tire or axle rating. An RV can appear to be sitting level but can be out of balance in terms of weight. If this is the case, look for items that you can move to help distribute the weight. Every item packed in your RV adds up!

Another cause for uneven tire wear could be what’s called “spring sag.” When vehicles remain loaded over a period of time, the springs can be affected. For instance, if a trailer has had a 500-pound higher load on one side for several years and many miles, it would lead to uneven tire wear. However, this is not a difficult or expensive issue to address; simply have new springs installed and adjust your RV’s load to prevent future issues.

Can I swap LT tires with ST tires, or vice versa, on my travel trailer?
LT stands for “Light Truck” and ST stands for “Special Trailer.” Although both tires are rated for trailer use, there are distinct differences. Most manufacturers use LT tires because they too are rated for trailer use and are simply cheaper than ST tires.

For passenger tires (including LT tires), ride, traction, and handling are the key design elements and are achieved primarily by adding flex to the tire’s sidewall. This maximizes tread contact with the road, thus increasing traction and allowing the driver to maintain better control over the vehicle.

However, sidewall flexing is not a desired effect because it can cause trailer sway. The stiffer sidewalls and higher operating pressures common with ST tires help control and reduce the occurrence of trailer sway.

It is important to match the tires to the application and payload. Since ST tires are constructed with heavier materials, they are tougher and more bruise-resistant than typical passenger car tires. This is a plus because trailer suspension systems are generally stiffer and less sophisticated than automotive suspension systems. A tire designed to operate in the more demanding trailer environment will provide longer service life and be able to withstand added abuse.

The bottom line: trailers are more stable and pull better on tires designed specifically for trailer use, so it recommended to switch to the ST type. 


Should something be used to separate my tires from the ground while parked to help extend tire life?
Protecting your tires during periods of non-use will help preserve and protect the rubber. Though wooden blocking is commonly used, we also suggest placing a separation between the wooden blocks and the tires to avoid excessive moisture and/or heat build-up. Plastic, web-like blocks are readily available in the aftermarket. Look for a type that will drain and not trap moisture.

I’ve heard the sun can damage my RV’s tires. Is that true? 
The damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation virtually effects all tires. RV tires, in general, are more susceptible to this type of damage since they are considered a slow-wearing tire, meaning they typically are not driven as far or as often as regular automobile tires. 

The effect of unprotected UV exposure on rubber includes cracking, discoloration, and lack of physical mechanical properties. Tire makers use a carbon substance to combat the effects of UV radiation. Contrary to what some suppliers may say, there is no such thing as a permanent UV protector. However, here are a few ideas to help extend tire life:

Keep RV tires clean. Avoid heavy build-up of mud, sand, or dirt. Dirt on tires may act as an abrasive of sorts that could inhibit the natural wax protection achieved through normal tire flexing. Wash your tires regularly with mild, soapy water and a soft brush.

Inspect the tires regularly.

Inflate the tires to the exact requirement based on the actual weight of that tire position.

During short periods of non-use, keep the tires completely covered. When possible, remove and store the tires completely out of the sun and temperature extremes.

Regularly apply a non-petroleum-based preservative to all surface areas of each tire.

Purchasing quality tires and, thus, maintaining your tires will lead to safer and more fun RV trips. Always take the time to do your tire research to keep your rig rolling!

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.