Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RV Issues

I’ve been silent the past couple days trying to get my head wrapped around the almost constant rain, the leaks, and the failing braking system.  I’m not sure I’ve processed it all, but at least I feel like I can write about it without it sounding like a rant. I thought a couple flower pictures from times past might make things a little more cheery.

It was cloudy most of the day Saturday and started raining sometime during the evening.  We’ve had a few hours of occasional sprinkles yesterday afternoon, but for the most part it has rained nonstop since it started and some of that time very hard with accompanying thunder and lightning.  I don’t mind the rain.  I don’t even mind hiking in the rain if it isn’t a downpour, but by the third day I’m not so happy with rain anymore.  It’s hard to keep that pep in my step, a smile on my face, and a perky attitude.

That’s where I am with the weather.  Now let’s add to that the leak business.  I was convinced our leaks were fixed, but apparently not.  Well, let me rephrase that--all of the places where we noticed water before are dry.  Now we have water that seems to be coming in at the very back passenger-side corner in our bedroom.  Not sure if this is a new leak or an old one that has just found a different spot to show itself.  Whichever, it’s a problem.

Gene has decided to put the leak on the back burner for the time being and concentrate on the failing Even Brake.  Roadmaster Even Brake is the brand braking system we use in our car when it’s being towed.  We inherited this system when we purchased this Class C so we’re not sure towing hours (miles) it has on it.  Our understanding from our dealer is that the original owner of our motor home had had a Class A before purchasing this Class C.  That Even Brake could have been used for a long time.  Anyway, Sunday morning when we hitched up to come back to Nashville, Gene connected the Even Brake and ran it through the test cycle.  The Even Brake would not complete the test cycle and displayed the red “failed test” light.  That had happened only once before during the year we’ve been using it and that time it was a matter of not having the device attached to the brake pedal properly.  Gene undid everything and started over only to get the same red light result.    He fiddled with it for a while (in the rain) and finally decided just to tow without it the 100 miles back to Nashville.

Monday morning, while I was at the doctor’s office for my annual physical, he read every word of the Even Brake owner’s manual.  During the respite from the rains yesterday afternoon, he worked with it again, but always with the same result.  He called the Even Brake folks in Portland, Oregon and for a mere $300 he can package the whole thing up and mail it to them and they will be happy to fix whatever’s wrong.  That’s a whole lot less money then either of us thought it would be so we’re happy with that.  However, before we send our equipment across the continent, Gene thought a trip to our local Camping World would be in order.  This is the same Camping World that installed the second car towing package, including the Even Brake components, last fall.  We have an appointment with them Wednesday morning.  Sure hope they can fix the problem and sure hope it doesn’t take all day.
Mountain Avens

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Gene was researching a question that had come up about exercising the motorhome engine during the times when we sit for several months without moving.  We had heard from other motorhome owners that the engine should be exercised once a month by driving it about 100 miles.  The question came up when Gene saw in the May/June issue of Escapee Magazine a question to Mark Nemeth.  Here’s that question:  “I have a question related to my new engine in my 1995 Bounder with 454 Chevy.  I am usually parked 10 months of the year, so should I start the engine and run it periodically?  How often and how long should I run it to keep the seals from drying out?”

This is Mark’s answer:  “The best thing would be to actually drive the RV for 30 miles or so every month or two.  That also helps keep brakes free, tires exercised and all fluids circulated.  If that’s not possible, you should run the engine once a month at 1,000 to 1,200 RPM until it reaches operating temperature (or at least 30 minutes).”

In the Jun/July issue of Escapee Magazine, Mark had this to say about that same question--”I may need to rethink that strategy”.  That comment was prompted by a comment he received from another reader who had this to say about that:  “I was given a differing opinion by the Ford Motorhome Chassis Hotline.....I was told that the most harmful thing that is done to an RV engine is the dry start, which they define as one where the oil has had time to completely drain from the bearing surfaces, and they say that period is between two weeks and one month.”  This reader was also told that “the second most harmful thing done to most motorhome engines is to start it and allow it to idle and, that even if you increase the engine RPM, it is very hard on valves and other components to start it unless you are going to drive it for at least 20 miles at highway speeds.”

I’ll have to say that makes a whole lot of sense.  Gene thought so, too, so he asked around.  He called the Ford Motorhome hotline and they told him that if your only sitting a couple months, don’t worry about it.  They also suggested that if possible it should be started every couple weeks and idle for 20-30 minutes.  What?  Obviously, hotline folks at Ford are not in agreement.  Since Gene was taking our motorhome in for service, he also asked the folks at Mid Tennessee Truck for their advise.  They suggested driving it at least 30 miles every month or even every 2 weeks.  He also called Four Winds Hotline and their response to the question was “call Ford”.  I’m not sure this issue has been resolved.  I’m not sure we’ve learned anything, either, except maybe that everybody has a different answer.
Arctic Poppy

By the way, this week marks our 6th year anniversary as full-time RVers.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Sorry to read of your leak situation. I've had my share.
    We had a class A motorhome for roughly ten years on a Ford F50 chassis with the V-10, and the advise I got about leaving the thing sitting for any length of time was, "It's better to leave it alone, and not start it at all, unless you plan on taking it for a drive."
    There was no mention of a distance, but obviously long enough to get everything warmed up etc. Along with that, it's a good idea to add a container of gas stabilizer such as "Sta-bil" or a similar product if the gas is going to be in the tank longer than say, 90 days.
    So when I'd go to exercise the generator once a month, I'd try to take it for a drive, depending on road conditions of course. (Canadian winter. Gah!)

    Good Luck to you.

  2. It's sure confusing to know what to do about running the engine. I do it every two weeks or so, but don't drive it anywhere. I've had more problems when I didn't do that than when I did. Who knows?

  3. Happy sixth anniversary to you all!!..hope you have many more happy years and safe miles!!!

  4. Congrats on your 6th year of fulltiming - that's a great achievement.

    I've often wondered about how MH owners take care of the engines but I don't have any clues either as we have a 5'er. Who knows?

  5. After reading your blog about the issues of RVs, i was wondering why didn't you sort out the issue regarding leaking and falling of braking system.you should have replace engine due to which your RVs has issues. Any ways, Happy 6th Anniversary to all of you.Hope you have more happy year and safe miles in future.
    Used Rvs for sale