Friday

Winnebago: New Uses For An Old Favorite


For many years, the Winnebago Adventurer was not only the flagship gas-powered model for the brand, it was one of the most-recognized nameplates in RVing.

Then, for a brief period, the model took a hiatus from the Winnebago lineup. "Over the years, the product moved further upmarket, and we felt like we needed to hit 'pause' for a bit," noted Niles Whitehouse, Product Manager for Winnebago's Class A gas lineup.

The Adventurer Returns


Now the Adventurer is back at a lower price point, with five floorplans ranging from 29 to 37 feet and a pair of available options that distinguish it from most other RVs on the road today.

The first is the All-Weather Upgrade Package, which adds a second high-efficiency air conditioner with heat pump as well as a 5,500-watt Cummins Onan® Marquis Gold™ gas generator, 50-amp. power cord and automatic changeover switch.

"The Adventurer uses our trademark Thermo-Panel construction, so it's already very well-insulated. The All-Weather Package adds some extra oomph to the cooling, so folks will be comfortable just about anywhere you can take an RV," said Whitehouse. "And of course, when it's cool out, the electric fireplace (in the 35F and 36Z floorplans) will take the chill out of the air."

Wheelchair Accessible


The second option is actually a series of modifications that turn the Adventurer into a fully accessible home on wheels for wheelchair users.

Part of Winnebago's Accessibility Enhanced model lineup, the Adventurer 30T AE includes a platform wheelchair lift on the passenger side, plus a powered roll-up lift door to make independent entry and exit simple and easy. Inside, the hallway and bath areas have been expanded to accommodate wheelchairs, there's a roll-in shower with assist bar -- even the appliances and switches have been relocated to make RV travel and living easier.

Winnebago has been modifying their motorhomes to make them wheelchair-accessible for more than three decades. But according to Jamie Sorenson, the company's Director of Specialty Vehicles, the new Accessibility Enhanced Adventurer is part of a whole new approach.

"In the past, we would start by taking a fully built coach just off the line, and extensively modifying and customizing it afterward. Now, we are building three models -- the Adventurer 30T, the Intent 30R, and the Forza 34T -- as Accessibility Enhanced models right from the start. That saves time and materials, and allows us to price them pretty attractively.

"We're doing this both for long-time RVers who may be facing some new mobility issues, as well as for wheelchair users who may not be RVers currently, but who want to maximize their comfort and flexibility as they travel."

The three Accessibility Enhanced models will make their debut at the Tampa RV show, after which they will be available through select Winnebago dealers.

A Guide for Great Listing Photos


It’s no secret that the buying process is changing, and with technology on the rise, online research is becoming increasingly important to buyers before they make a purchase - large or small. That’s why taking high-quality photos is crucial to get more eyes on your listing. Interested in upping your photo game? We’ve got 8 easy tips to make sure your listing photos are painting a clear picture to potential buyers.

Make it Shine - We know cleaning an RV can take time depending on the size, but a deep cleaning can have the potential to make or break a sale. It’s important to know that buyers want to see their potential unit in tip-top shape not just before making a purchase, but before even coming to see it in person. New or used, you’ll want to make sure the outside of the unit is washed, and that the inside of the unit has had a full detailing.



Use the Right Camera - Consumers are likely to move along to the next listing if your photos are grainy or blurry. So our question to you is, are you using a high-quality camera to take your listing photos? You’ll want to make sure that you have a fairly newer camera to ensure that your photos are crystal clear. Keep in mind, most smartphones have incredible cameras and can be great options for taking photos. If you want to take your photos to the next level, consider buying an updated point and shoot camera. They are very simple to use and take extremely clear photos.

Shoot at the Right Time of Day - Ask any photographer and they’ll tell you, lighting is everything when it comes to taking photos. That’s why it’s so important to keep in mind the time of day you’re taking your listing photos. We recommend avoiding taking photos midday when the sun is at its brightest and lighting can come across as harsh. Shooting during the morning or late afternoon is ideal for capturing “warmer”, less washed out photos. As long as it’s not raining, cloudy days can also be great photoshoot days - just make sure it’s not too dark outside! While taking photos inside of the unit, highlight the natural light that the unit provides by opening up all of the windows while shooting. If there are darker areas inside, we suggest turning on the cabin lights as needed - avoid flash if at all possible.

Keep in Mind Positioning and Location - When taking listing photos, you’ll want to keep in mind where you’ve positioned and parked the RV. Make sure that the unit you are trying to sell is the focal point of your photo. While inside the unit, stand in corners and point the camera outward while taking photos to make the unit feel larger and longer.



Take a Few Test Photos - It’s important to take your time while shooting your listing photos, as they are a crucial part of your listing. Take a few test photos of your unit to make sure the lighting is right, the images are clear, and that you are satisfied with the outcome. If you aren’t pleased with the photos you can take a step back and see what might need to change to enhance your photo (positioning, lighting, etc.).

Have a Variety of Photos - Consumers want to see photos and LOTS of them. Potential buyers want to see the entirety of the unit even before coming to see the unit - they want to picture themselves in their new RV on the road to their next destination. To paint your buyer a clear picture, we suggest taking a few full shots of the outside of the unit (showing the whole RV) as well as detailed, close-up shots. When taking indoor shots, we suggest showing all aspects of the unit. We recommend having a full outdoor RV shot as your main listing photo to grab the customer’s attention right off the bat, then they can explore more photo options as desired.

Be Honest and Authentic - It’s extremely important to be honest and authentic with your customers. Don’t hide the imperfections of the unit you are trying to sell. If the unit has a few dings or scratches, or if there’s a tear in upholstery, consumers deserve to know. It’s also a good idea to stay away from using stock photos of your unit - consumers appreciate original photos and want to see exactly what their potential unit looks like.

Highlight Special Features - Does the unit you’re selling have any special features like extra storage, great natural lighting, or new technology? Make sure you are highlighting them in both your listing photos AND descriptions. As we mentioned earlier, consumers want to picture themselves in their new RV, and showing them unique features will having a higher chance of piquing their interest. 


We hope that these 8 tips have helped you realize taking listing photos doesn’t have to be difficult. Taking the right photo can take some practice, but your buyer will thank you in the end.


FMCA Tech Tip: Charging RV Batteries



Is your RV battery fully charged? Learn how to check, thanks to FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer.

About RV Batteries
Batteries used in RVs are lead acid batteries, which means they have several cells connected in series. Lead acid batteries do not physically make electricity; instead, they store electricity. The size of the lead plates and the amount of electrolyte the battery contains determines the amount of charge a battery can store.


Batteries are the heart of any RV. They provide power for lighting, fans, water pumps, and other 12-volt accessories. Eventually, though, batteries discharge. How long they hold a charge depends on how much they’ve been used and their condition. Boondocking, in particular, places demands on batteries and requires a bit of power management to ensure they retain their charge long enough to allow plenty of use between recharge cycles.

How to Tell When a Lead-Acid Battery Is Fully Charged
  • Monitor the specific gravity of the electrolyte in each cell as the battery accepts the current from the charger. 
  • As the battery charges, the specific gravity will continue to rise in each cell. At some point, the specific gravity will stop its ascent and remain stable at one reading (hopefully around 1.260). 
  • When the specific gravity remains at its highest reading (regardless of the value of that reading) for a period of two to three hours, the battery is fully charged. It simply cannot accept any more current. 
Note: If it plateaus at a much lower reading than 1.260, further troubleshooting is in order; it may be time to replace that battery.

Further Reading
Inexpensive digital voltmeters can help RVers avoid costly repairs. A DC meter indicates whether the RV batteries are properly charged, and such information can prolong battery life. Read more about these devices: https://familyrvingmag.com/2018/03/01/rv-voltmeter-installation/

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Join today for just $50 — a savings of $10 just for RV Trader readers. Learn more at https://join.fmca.com/trader18.

An important safety note: Whenever you’re working with RV batteries, make sure to wear gloves and safety glasses to prevent injury.

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.


Snowy Destinations


Whether you live in a naturally snowy climate or just pine for one these destinations are great spots to truly enjoy the winter weather. The three spots we picked out all have a unique charm to them - but are not the big resorts you’ve likely heard so much about.

Mammoth, CA
Mammoth is a great destination for skiers and non-skiers alike. The mountain itself has more open terrain to explore than any other ski resort in the country - which is impressive. And, if that wasn’t great enough - it is also known for being uncharacteristically sunny throughout the year - with more than 300 days of sunshine on average.

If you aren’t up for skiing, you can check out the Village at Mammoth Mountain - which is full of cute shops and restaurants - or ride the Gondola up to the mountain’s summit for some breathtaking views of the snow-covered surroundings.

If you’re looking for a day trip - check out June Mountain Lake - which is possibly more beautiful in the winter than it is during the summer.

Midway, UT
Make sure you pack your bathing suit…is typically a recommendation you would expect to find in an article about the best snowy destinations - but you’ll definitely need one for this stop. The Homestead Crater is a hot spring found inside a 55-foot tall limestone rock and was slowly formed by the melting snow. The coolest - and possibly creepiest - part is that the crater is completely dark. They do have some lights, but overall, it’s dark water. To get a better view - you can even look into scuba diving there. Afterward, hike to the top of the limestone rock to see a view of all Herber Valley - which includes Herber City, Midway, and Daniel - and take a look down on the hot spring and swimmers below.

Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboard Springs, in our opinion, has one of the cutest ski villages around. This particular town is bustling throughout the year with great events and festivals, including a Hot Air Balloon Rodeo.

In the winter, Steamboat is known for their “champagne powder” - the term coined to describe their light, fluffy snow. After hitting the slopes - should you choose to - the Yampa River Core Trail is a great pastime. It runs from one side of Steamboat to the other along the frozen river. As you walk along the trail - it kind of feels like you’re walking through a winter wonderland.

Wondering where Steamboat Springs got its name? From the hot springs that are found throughout the surrounding area, of course! There are two famous ones - the Old Town Hot Springs and the Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Both are relatively close to downtown Steamboat - and would be great to relax in after a busy day in the wintery weather.

Winter weather doesn’t last that long - so make sure to plan a trip to enjoy these snowy destinations that are guaranteed to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a real-life snow globe.

Thursday

Tech Tip: RV Furnace Maintenance


RV owners — especially those who embrace winter travel — should be proactive in preparing the forced-air heating system when the thermometer dips. Know how with these tips from FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer.


About RV Furnaces
An RV forced-air furnace is a sealed combustion system, so it is relatively easy for owners to perform a few maintenance procedures to ensure that warm air will circulate when needed. This is not to say the need for professional attention is eliminated altogether. As with any propane-burning appliance, it is still vital the delivery line pressure be measured and adjusted, the regulator be tested, and a deeper cleaning be performed periodically. Also, it is imperative the complete propane piping system be tested for leaks at least once per camping season.

There are, however, a few simple steps all RV owners can follow to avoid shop labor costs. I’ve always maintained the four crucial areas regarding the RV forced-air furnace are as follows:
  • Cleanliness of the furnace 
  • Proper routing of the ductwork 
  • Return airflow 
  • DC voltage supply 
All RVers should carry a decent digital multimeter (DMM), a few hand tools, and standard cleaning supplies so these four areas can be addressed before the onslaught of winter.

Furnace Cleanliness
  • Vacuum and wipe down all portions of the furnace you can easily access. Simply keeping the unit free of accumulated dust and dirt will help ensure proper operation.
  • Vacuum in and around all areas of the furnace compartment, including the floor ducts. In some cases, it may be possible to remove a front panel to gain access to the interior portions of the furnace enclosure. In other cases, access may be gained through a panel from outside the RV. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down all metal components.
  • Take time to fully inspect the intake and exhaust vents on the exterior of the motorhome. The fireside stories you’ve heard of wasps, spiders, mud daubers, and birds possibly building a nest inside that intake/exhaust assembly are true. Obstructions in the intake tube will cause an overly rich mixture at the burner, resulting in incomplete combustion. Obstructions in the exhaust tube can be a fire hazard. Neither situation is good for you, the furnace, or the motorhome. 

Ductwork Routing
Some RVs have flexible runs of ducting; others are built with rigid in-floor ductwork. Most flex ducts are routed above the floor, inside cabinets, under sofas, etc.

Inspect the routing of every run, since they’re usually easily accessible. Look for extended runs and collapsed or pinched ducts. Longer-than-necessary branch ducts sometimes can be shortened to eliminate heat buildup. Excessive heat can cause the furnace to short cycle. Try to vacuum or wipe away dirt or dust inside each duct as far as you can reach.

Inspect all adjustable heat outlet registers, making sure most of them are fully open. The number of ducts routed throughout the RV is determined by the BTU rating of the furnace. In order for the furnace to operate properly, a certain number of ducts must be connected to its manifold. If too many of those ducts are closed (or not enough ducts are installed), the chance of a short-cycling sequence increases.

Return Airflow
For proper operation, all forced-air furnaces require a specific amount of fresh air be returned to the furnace enclosure. This is accomplished through a grille or a set of louvers mounted somewhere within the RV’s living space. Do not block or modify this grille in any manner. Be sure the return grille and the area immediately behind it are free and clear of obstacles.

DC Voltage Supply
The proper amount of DC voltage is crucial to the safe and efficient operation of the forced-air furnace.

Most modern furnaces operate at a voltage input between 10.5 and 13.5 volts DC. Of course, 10.5 volts is basically a dead battery (100 percent depth of discharge), so more than likely, the conscientious RVer will keep the battery bank at a higher level of charge. I stress the 50 percent rule; never discharge to below 50 percent of capacity, unless necessary. But it’s not uncommon for a somewhat-depleted battery to provide less-than-sufficient voltage, especially during a dry camping endeavor. Low voltage causes the blower wheel to spin slower, perhaps too slow to properly close the sail switch. The sail switch initiates the heating cycle by powering the circuit board, which in turn opens the gas valve and creates the spark that ignites the main burner.

On the flip side, too-high voltage coming into the furnace also can cause problems. Never power the furnace directly from a battery-charging device, converter, or off-line power supply. The incoming voltage must be “filtered” somewhat. This is accomplished by connecting the furnace to a battery circuit within the RV. Maintaining a clean, properly charged battery bank is essential for optimum operation of the furnace.

Summary
Serious and seasoned RV owners understand the importance of proper preventive maintenance. Following these few quick and easy procedures will give your heating system an advantage in the cooler months.

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Join today for just $50 — a savings of $10 just for RV Trader readers. Learn more at https://join.fmca.com/trader18.

An important safety note: RV owners should never remove any component on the sealed system that is held in place with a gasket. Breaking the seal on any gasket potentially can cause a dangerous carbon monoxide leak.


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.