Friday

In Case You Missed It: November RV News



It’s hard to believe it’s almost Thanksgiving, but the despite the holiday season, RV news hasn’t slowed down. As always, we are here to keep you informed with the latest RV news you need to know this month. Check out this month’s top headlines below.

SylvanSport Debuting Platinum GO Camper - The North Carolina based company, SylvanSport is rolling out a VERY limited edition of Platinum GO models - 15 to be exact. These Platinum GO models will feature a two-tone silver and gray tent package - changing it up from their original silver and green colors. The platinum theme will also continue throughout the inside of the unit with four gray self-inflating mattresses. The storage lid comes in charcoal black and tires are mounted on custom blackout anodized aluminum wheels. The unit will go for $9,995 - get them while they’re hot! Read More.

Southern California Shuts Down Several State Parks Due to Fires - In more serious news, several California national parks have been closed due to the recent wildfires happening across the state. Park officials say all employees have been accounted for, but some of the parks have sustained serious damage due to the fires. We encourage you to visit the parks’ websites if you are planning to visit to make sure they are safe from these devastating fires. Read More.

Winnebago Comes Out With Camper Van - Winnebago has surprised the RV community with the introduction of its new Revel 4x4 camper van. The manufacturer is typically known for their larger models, so the compact model is an exciting change. The 4x4 camper van is a Mercedes Benz Sprinter-based rig, powered by a 188-horsepower, 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbo diesel engine, and made for rugged outdoor sport and camping trips. This new model is aimed at expanding the market to reach a younger, sports and adventure-oriented crowd. You’ll want to see this unit for yourself. Read More.

Bowlus Road Chief Adds New Model - When you think aluminum trailer, Airstream comes to mind, but there's a new brand on the market - the Bowlus Road Chief. They’ve recently come out with a new model, Road Chief 26, that combines 30s style with modern amenities. The Road Chief 26 can now sleep 4 campers thanks to an extra two feet of length. The model also houses a spacious kitchen and a separate toilet and shower rooms - no wet baths here. This model will cost ya though - it comes in at $185,000, but we think all of the amenities and style are well worth the price. Read More.

Lots of new models this month! We’re always happy to fill you in with the latest RV happenings. Let us know what your favorite story was in the comments below and stay tuned for next month’s edition of “In Case You Missed It”.
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Why Choose a Class C Motorhome? (And What to Look for When You Do.)



Mention that you're looking at a motorhome and most non-RVers think of a Class A -- the bus-style coach built on a specially designed commercial chassis.

Yet the reality is that the majority of motorhomes sold every year are Class C's, which are built on an automotive van or truck frame, with the motorhome body appended to the original cab.

According to Niles Whitehouse, Product Manager at Winnebago, there are some very good reasons these motorhomes are so popular.

Class C Advantages

"For one thing, many people are more comfortable driving a Class C coach, because the experience is similar to driving a large pickup. In addition, Class C coaches are typically more economical to buy and to operate, as they tend to be more fuel-efficient.

"And because they're smaller than a Class A, they're easier to maneuver in campgrounds and can go some places you might not want to tackle in a Class A motorhome," Whitehouse noted.

When it comes to floorplans, modern Class C's make the most of available space. Most have a sleeping space over the cab; that bed, coupled with a bed in the rear, plus a sofa or dinette that converts to another bed, means that a Class C coach will often have more sleeping capacity than a typical Class A, so it's no wonder Class C's are popular with families.

Many C's have slideouts that add to the living space. For example, Winnebago's Outlook 27D floorplan has two slideouts, allowing Winnebago to put both a walkaround queen bed and a roomy bathroom in a 28'8" long coach.

A New Approach

Outlook Exterior

The Outlook, introduced last year and debuting dynamic new exterior graphics this year, represents a new approach for Winnebago. "Our 'voice of the customer' research told us what most people wanted in a C, and we pretty much took everything on that wish list and made it standard. That really simplified production for us, and allowed us to bring the Outlook in at a lower price point," Whitehouse explained.


Outlook Interior

Each of the five Outlook floorplans (which range in length from 24'2" to 31'10") features a full galley, overhead bed, convertible dinette, and a long list of standard amenities

"They're fully equipped, right out the door," said Whitehouse.

Finding the Right "C"

When it comes to choosing the right Class C for your family, choosing the floorplan is important -- but so is the build quality.

Looking at things like fit and finish can tell you a lot. Do the drawers glide smoothly? Do the doors close solidly? Is that bead of caulk being used to hide sloppy workmanship?

Also, consider the quality of the 'support systems' -- things like the plumbing and electrical systems. Is the generator the right size for the coach? How about the holding tanks? Does it include or is it pre-wired for solar power?

Finally, consider the things you can't see: how solid is the framework around the coach? How solid is the warranty? And how solid is the company that's standing behind the warranty?

The answers to those questions will help you find the perfect Class C motorhome. Happy hunting!

Learn more about the Winnebago Outlook here.


Trader Online Web Developer

FMCA Tech Tip: Should I Perform Preventive Maintenance On My RV?



There’s a choice every RV owner must face - preventive maintenance or crisis repairs. There is no third option. To help cut costs, many RVers attempt to perform preventive maintenance on their RVs themselves. 

Know your options with these tips from FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer. 

$$$ 

Consider this: A typical RV with a generator, two roof air conditioners, and a slide-out or two has a minimum of 18 to 22 retail hours of mandated maintenance that needs to be performed each and every year! At an average retail labor rate of $120 per hour, that’s more than $2,600 spent per year just trying to avoid a major problem.

Alas, it’s important to note that not all components on your RV will automatically self-destruct if these hours of maintenance are not performed, but it is highly recommended. If systems are maintained and checked periodically, you will gain additional life from these products. 



DIY Preventive Maintenance

There are several seasonal maintenance tasks that you may want to consider doing yourself to cut costs.

Some of these DIY maintenance tasks include:
Is there a task that definitely requires a trip to the service center? Read this before scheduling your appointment.

A little time and effort now can prevent major expenses down the road. Happy RVing!

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.

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.
Trader Online Web Developer

RVillage Helps Bring RVers Together


RVillage App

Buying an RV is a huge, exciting purchase that gives buyers the opportunity to take their home on the road while experiencing the world in a whole new way. But sometimes the road can get lonely, and it’s often difficult to meet people while traveling - and that’s where RVillage comes in. RVillage is a free social network platform specifically designed to help RVers connect with one another while traveling. Founded in 2015 by Curtis Coleman, RVillage has continued to grow with more than 100,000 users currently and a new member joining roughly every 3 to 5 minutes! 

RVIllage Founder, Curtis Coleman

Since the site was built for RVers by RVers, it’s easy to set your location through the site so you can immediately see other RVers who are close by, communicate with them, and meet up with them along your route. Another amazing feature RVillage offers members is the opportunity to join one of their 3,000+ crowdsourced groups on their site. These groups range from RVers who are into boondocking, full-timers, LGBT RVers, RVers who like crafting, motorcycling, hobby-related groups - the list goes on and on. There’s a group for everyone on RVillage, and if you don’t find one that fits your needs, you have the option to create your own. RVillage is truly what you make it, and the platform is an excellent way to connect with RVers from across the country and world. 

RVillage Explore Map - Current Location

You might be wondering, is RVillage just for people who own RVs? No! RVillage is a place for RV owners, enthusiasts, and dreamers. The site is a great place to conduct research and ask other RVers questions. After all, the best place to get information is from each other, so if you’re in the market to buy an RV, RVillage has thousands of people on their site that know the process and can help you along your own buying journey.

When you sign up to join RVillage you’ll immediately receive access to all of the 3,000+ crowdsourced groups mentioned above and you can start connecting with nearby RVers right away. We know safety is a huge concern when joining new platforms, but RVillage takes that stress away because they are committed to keeping your information safe and private on their site. In fact, there is no personally identifiable information required to sign up other than a username and an email address - it’s so easy.

RVillage - Explore Map Route

For more information or to join the “RVillagers”, as they like to call themselves, visit: RVillage.com. Once you get familiar with the RVillage website, you can then download the RVillage APP for iOS or Android as it will make more sense for you and you can begin making those important connections along your way.


Trader Online Web Developer

Thursday

Choosing the Best RV Exterior Care Products



Did you catch our article last month about maintaining your RV’s exterior (Link to September article if possible)? FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer are here to help you find the perfect products for your RV.

Five Conditions That Affect Product Performance
Did that polish work great for you, living in a colder climate, but not so great for your friend who lives on the beach? Simply put, some exterior products simply work better in different conditions.

There are five factors to consider when choosing a product to maintain your RV’s exterior:

Climate
Variations in temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, and even the proximity of the sun can have an effect on how well a certain product will perform.

Location
Whether the RV spends an abundance of time parked in an industrial area, a wilderness area, the city, or out in the country can have a significant impact.

Environment
Air quality, in particular, can have an impact. How much smog or airborne pollutants are present in the air?

Age of the RV
Certainly, the older the RV, the more chance of it sustaining a deeper level of oxidation.

Amount of effort exerted during the cleaning process
The elbow grease you employ when using a particular product may be directly proportional to your success.

Five Steps to Choose the Perfect Product for Your RV

Know Your Material 
First of all, be sure you know the type of material you are attempting to protect or restore. Some products, when applied to an incompatible surface, may actually cause more damage than any pre-existing condition. For instance, never use petroleum products or wax on vinyl stripes or design elements.

Read the Label
Second, read the label carefully and follow the directions explicitly before applying the product. Understand the supplier probably knows more about its product than you do. It can be difficult to succumb to “reading the directions,” but in this case, it is the best advice.

Test!
Try the product on an inconspicuous location first. See whether you can obtain a small sample of the surface you wish to clean, polish, wax, or otherwise protect or restore and test the product on that piece. If that’s not possible, try the product in an area that is hidden or not readily visible, such as inside a wheel well, behind a bumper, etc. Better to discover its effectiveness, or lack of, prior to slathering it on the entire sidewall.

Pick a Reputable Brand
Stick with a reputable brand name. Check for contact information printed on the label or container. Notable product suppliers will have their address, phone number, and website info prominently placed on the product. The good companies will have a toll-free phone number. Any reputable firm will welcome feedback, whether pro or con. 

Don’t mix!
This is your RV, not a cocktail. DO NOT MIX PRODUCTS! Find the preventive maintenance products that work best for you and stick with them. Avoid switching products every time you hear of something new. If your travel habits or home base changes, then it may be necessary to switch to a different product; however, until one no longer works for you, staying loyal will have a positive outcome most of the time.

Take it from the experts – maintaining your RV’s exterior surfaces can be a challenge if the products you choose don’t have the intended results. Hopefully these tips will help you maintain that showroom look for many years or at least reap the return on your investment come trade-in time.

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 https://join.fmca.com/trader18



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.
Trader Online Web Developer

In Case You Missed It: October RV News


It’s that time again. We’re here to hit you with the latest RV news you won’t want to miss for the month of October. We’ve got some great stories for you, so let’s dive right in.

Sealander RV Transforms into a Small Houseboat - A company out of Germany has developed the Sealander, a vehicle that combines a towable RV and a boat all in one. The floating pod is made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic that’s lightweight and can be towed by a mid-sized SUV. When a user is ready to transform the towable into a boat, an outside motor is easily connected. The inside of a Sealander has two leather benches that can be converted into a bed. While transformed into a boat, users have the option of enjoying an open-air cruise. We love to see this type of innovative technology entering the RV space. Read More

Image: RV Business

Venture RV Unveils Stratus Trailer at Open House - Venture RV recently unveiled their new Stratus lightweight travel trailer at this year’s RV Open House. The new Stratus interior was designed to have a more urban/sleek vibe. The model is available in six floor plans and starts at 4,500 pounds and 24 feet. All floor plans include a sizable pantry, an eight-cubic-foot refrigerator, and a 60 in. by 80 in. queen mattress upgrade. The Stratus is also dog-friendly with a doggie dish cubby and dual-purpose Venture bottle opener/doggie tie down. You’ll want to see this new unit for yourself. Read More

Image: RV Business

Winegard Introduces Connected App for Easy Access - We’ll admit it, we still love the option of taking technology on the road with us and Winegard is making it easier. Winegard, a leader in the design and manufacturing of quality antenna products, recently announced the release of the Winegard Connected app that is compatible with 4G LTE hotspots and WiFi range extenders. The app was designed to ensure a simple setup and consistent operation across all of Winegard’s connectivity products - no network setup required. With the app, you’ll be able to easily connect with friends and family on the road, just like you would be able to do at home. Read More.

Are Celebrities Driving Up Airstream’s Sales? - Forbes recently reported that the iconic silver-bullet-silhouette recreational vehicle was recently mentioned on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Matthew McConaughey was a guest on the show and shared that he took his family on a wilderness trip in their Airstream. Airstream’s CEO said that conversation was organic and they do love the association, but their products are for everyone - not just celebrities. The company’s growth is record-setting, with a 24% growth year-over-year, and think the celebrity acknowledgment can’t hurt! Read More.

We love keeping you in the know and now you’re all caught up! Stay tuned for next month’s edition of “In Case You Missed It”. Let us know your favorite story in the comments below.

Trader Online Web Developer

Tuesday

In Case You Missed It: September RV News


It’s time to hit you with the RV news you need to know this month. September has been a busy time for the industry and we’re excited to catch you up on all things RV. Check out the top headlines below.

Thor Set to Become Largest RV Maker in The World - Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. has just announced an agreement to acquire a German recreational vehicle manufacturer for approximately $2.4 billion. Once the deal is complete, Thor has stated that the deal with Erwin Hymer Group SE will create the world's largest RV maker. This deal will give Thor an entrance into Europe. Erwin Hymer Group SE currently employs more than 7,300 globally and their RVs are sold through a network of over 1,200 retailers. Both companies have noted that there should be no change in employee headcount as a result of the acquisition. We’re interested to see how this all plays out for Thor! Read More.

4G LTE and Wi-Fi Now Come Standard in Keystone Line - Keystone wants to make sure RVers have the ability to stay connected, so that’s why they are equipping their entire towable lineup with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi ready capability. The new Furrion technology is set to roll out at the Sept. 24-27 Elkhart RV Open House. The new technology offers an antenna that integrates 4G LTE and Wi-Fi with standard VHF/UHF/AM/FM reception, and the Wi-Fi and cellular signals are routed to a wall-mounted base inside the trailer. We love to see manufacturers step up their technology game! Read More.

“America’s Largest RV Show” Comes to a Close -
The Hershey RV show held from Sept. 12-16 at the Giant Center in Hershey PA, tallied a final gate attendance of almost 60,000 people - just 5,000 attendees shy of last year’s show. The lower numbers were reportedly due to Hurricane Florence, but many vendors and manufacturers saw growth in sales. The show had 156 booth vendors and about 1,400 RVs from 42 manufacturers - we’ll highlight some big releases at the show below. All in all, America’s Largest RV Show was a great success and we want to give a huge shoutout to all of the attendees that stopped by the RV Trader booth - we’ll see you next year! Read More.

New Releases at Hershey - As we mentioned above, Hershey was full of new models. Check out a few new releases you won’t want to miss below. 
Like we said, September was packed with RV news and we’re excited to see more exciting headlines as we head into fall. Which new model are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!
Trader Online Web Developer

Tech Tip: Maintaining Your RV’s Exterior



Take pride in your home on wheels! Read these tips from FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer to keep your RV’s exterior looking its best.

The Roof
Get into the habit of inspecting the roof often, preferably once a month. Pay special attention to the seams, edges, moldings, caps, and anything else attached to the roof. Realize that any screw or mounting method used on the roof can become an entry point for moisture. Water intrusion is the largest threat to the integrity of any RV.

Keep the roof clean. Use a soft broom every couple of weeks to sweep away leaves, dirt, and road grime. Look closely for evidence of mold and mildew, especially on synthetic surfaces. Remove bird droppings or tree sap as soon as it is spotted. Small problems will not go away on their own. Left unaddressed, small problems will only worsen and quickly move (along with its associated cost) from the preventive maintenance stage. Wash the roof with the appropriate cleaning agent four or five times each year. A clean roof is simply easier to inspect!

And, finally, know what material forms your RV’s roof. Be sure the products you employ are safe for that roof surface material.

Sidewalls
Learn what material is used on the exterior of your RV’s sides. Is it painted aluminum? Fiberglass? Filon or another FRP derivative? ABS or PVC plastic? Are steel components used? If you own a Type C motorhome, don’t forget about the cab portion and its exterior surface.

Scan the sides of your RV and start counting how many components are attached: storage bay doors, refrigerator vents, furnace vents, city water inlet, etc. Every attachment point is a potential source for a water leak.

Inspect all seals around the sidewall openings. At the first sign of a deteriorating sealant, reseal! In severe cases, it may be necessary to completely remove the component and reinstall using fresh sealant. In other cases, a quick but correct application of a silicone sealant over the suspected gap may be all that is required.

Next, check for black streaks. Unfortunately, every RV is susceptible to those nuisance black streaks caused by four elements: dirt, moisture, time, and neglect. This video explains how these streaks form

When using any type of black streak remover, never apply the solution directly to the surface of the sidewall. Always moisten a clean, soft cloth with the remover and try to keep within the boundaries of the black streak. All black streak removers contain components that will remove existing wax, so areas treated with the remover will need to be re-waxed.

Unless the black streak is deep-seated and has become oxidized, it eventually should come off or at least be minimized. If the black streak has oxidized into the finish, other products exist that can address this specific type of problem. But, remember, it’s crucial to use a product compatible with your RV’s exterior surface to prevent further damage – read those labels!

Fiberglass Caps
Many RVs have some form of plastic caps covering their front or rear ends. Over time and with exposure to UV rays and ozone, the appearance of these fiberglass caps can become dull or fade to a certain extent. This is the first degree of oxidation. Whenever sunlight, heat, and moisture collide, oxidation can be expected.

The second level of oxidation results in a pronounced chalking of the finish. You’ve probably seen front and rear caps that display a distinct, blotch-like chalky residue that can be wiped away with a moist rag. Neglected further, the cap surface eventually can crack and deteriorate and, in the process, cross the line between restorative maintenance and damage repair. If individual fibers become visible in the fiberglass, it may require a repair out of the DIYer’s realm.

It is imperative that fiberglass front and rear caps be protected with wax or polish. Plain old car wash soap is a good option because it does not remove wax as detergents do. Polish is similar to wax, but some polishes and polishing compounds actually contain trace amounts of abrasives.

Undercarriage
The underneath surface of the RV is the “forgotten” exterior surface. The main concern is critter infestation. Look for large gaps around exposed plumbing that may pass through the floor and subfloor. It’s important to seal around all gaps that can trap moisture and road debris.

Look for loose or damaged sections of the underbelly, regardless of the types of materials used under there. Some RVs have sealed underbellies, while other RVs may be open to the bottom of the subfloor. Others may have only a soft plastic wrap encasing the floor insulation. Look for anything that appears out of the norm. While you’re down there, check all chassis and suspension components for damage or irregularities, and look for evidence of water leaks. If you use the RV in winter conditions where salt is used on the roads, check for rust.

Stay Tuned
Next month we’ll cover the best products to use on your RV’s exterior. Stay tuned!

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. Exercise caution when working on the roof. Prior to making any RV service decision, including roof maintenance, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.


Trader Online Web Developer

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!
Trader Online Web Developer

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.
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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.









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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!









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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.



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Music Festivals Ideal For RVers



If seeing all of your favorite bands at once while camping and enjoying the great outdoors sounds amazing to you, attending a music festival might be in your future. Music festivals are all the rage right now - and it’s easy to see why. There’s truly a festival for everyone - whether you’re into bluegrass, heavy metal, indie rock - you name it, they’ve got it. While these festivals are all awesome, some unfortunately don’t include RV parking. Lucky for you - we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 upcoming festivals that are RV-friendly across the United States.

Upcoming Festivals

Electric Forest (June 21-24 and June 28- July 1) - Electric Forest is a two-weekend music festival with a focus on electronic and jam band genres. The festival is held in Rothbury, Michigan where tens of thousands of people gather to dance, camp, and enjoy the music. The festival also offers art workshops, a hammock filled forest, a waterpark, yoga, and more. Electric Forest also offers on-site RV parking to attendees. This year’s lineup includes: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Griz Live Band, and more. Check out all that the forest has to offer here.

Image: Electric Forest

FloydFest (July 25-29) - FloydFest is family-friendly folk music and arts festival held in Floyd, VA. You’ll enjoy incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on-site RV parking, making it a great road trip destination. The festival features local arts and crafts, dance workshops, yoga lessons, children's activities, and so much more. Some of this year’s headliners include: Foster the People, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Gov’t Mule. Learn More.

Image: FloydFest

Summer Meltdown (August 2-5) - Summer Meltdown is held in Darrington Bluegrass Park, about 1.5 hours Northeast of Seattle, WA. This RV-friendly festival is the largest locally-produced independent camping and music festival in the Pacific Northwest. The festival includes a kids-zone, a beer garden, and of course - tons of amazing musical performances. Some of this year’s lineup includes: Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, and more. Check it Out.

Image: Summer Meltdown

WE Fest (August 2-4) - WE Fest is the world’s largest country music and camping festival held in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. This festival is home to some of the biggest stars in country music and features more than 20 artists each year. Festival goers can expect on-site parking for RVs and campers, amazing performances, nearby beaches and tons more. Do note that WE Fest does not recommend children attend. This year's headliners include: Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Justin, Moore, Chris Young, and other artists you’re sure to know. Read More.

Image: WEFest

Telluride Blues and Brews Festival (September 14-16) - The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is you guessed it, a blues fest, located in the historic mining town of Telluride, CO. You’ll be surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains while enjoying musical performances, more than 50 craft breweries from across the country, comedy shows, kids activities, and more. Do note that RV parking for Telluride is limited to rigs under 30′ long. This year’s lineup includes bands like: Robert Plant, The Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, and Gov't Mule. Learn More.

Image: Telluride Blues and Brews

Other Festivals to Look Into 

If you’ve ever attended a music festival, you know you need to get your tickets early to avoid higher rates and sell outs. Check a few additional RV-friendly festivals that have already happened, but you can plan on attending next year.

Firefly (Dover, DE)
Bonnaroo (Manchester, TN)
Summer Camp (Chicago, IL)
Mountain Jam (Hunter Mountain, NY)

If you’re into RVing and music, the music festival scene is no doubt a perfect fit for you. Let us know if you’ve attended or plan on attending any of these RV-friendly music festivals this year. Which ones are your favorite? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
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4 Keys to Saving Fuel on Summer Trips



Rising fuel prices may leave you wondering if you should still hit the road this summer. FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer have compiled four steps for all RV owners – gas or diesel, motorized or towable – to combat higher fuel prices.

#1 – Slow Down
It’s a matter of science: increased speed uses more energy and, therefore, more fuel to overcome increasing air resistance. The relationship is approximately a 3:1 ratio. What this translates to is that for every 5 miles you drive over 60 MPH, fuel economy drops roughly 8% for the average passenger vehicle. This drop is even greater for a motorhome or vehicle pulling a large travel trailer or fifth wheel.

It is believed by many that 55 MPH is the appropriate speed to maximize fuel efficiency. This, of course, depends on your specific vehicle, but slowing down is one sure way to improve fuel economy. RVers are encouraged to slow down anyway, if just to enjoy the scenery!

#2 – Drive Shorter Distances
Another way to get the most out of each fuel fill-up is to drive shorter distances and spend more time at a single location. Why not experience the lifestyle closer to home rather than heading out of state? Search for a nearby campground and make it your “go to.” In fact, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), reports that 21% of RVers will reserve a seasonal site at a campground this summer and visit it on weekends.



#3 – Inflate Tires Accurately
A lesser known means of saving fuel, as well as maintenance costs, is to be sure all RV tires are inflated to the correct air pressure. This is only achievable by knowing exactly how much weight each tire position is supporting. Tire manufacturers publish recommended maximum inflation charts for every tire size.

It is important to note that the pressure indicated on the tire’s sidewall is the maximum inflation pressure for that tire and NOT the recommended pressure. Furthermore, the RV maker or your RV dealer will not publish a suggested pressure either. Simply put, manufacturers cannot predict how much gear you will load into your RV; each RV’s weight is unique.

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.

Watch this video to learn more about proper RV tire pressure.

#4 – Minimize Idling
Idling results in wasted fuel. When idling, the fuel consumed results in 0 MPH. Plus it’s not beneficial to the environment. Turn off the engine when stopped or parked for any lengthy period of time.

RVing = Still Saving You Money While rising fuel prices are a hot topic, RVing continues to be one of the most cost-effective and enjoyable forms of travel for many. According to survey results collected by the RVIA, RV travel saves a family of four 27% to 62% compared to the cost of other types of travel.

So don’t let high fuel prices minimize your excitement about summer RV trips. Remember, RVing is more than a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. Enjoy the ride!

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.
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