5th Wheel & RV Trailer Insights

Tag: 5th Wheel

The Day I Added a 5th Wheel to my Vehicle Collection

by on Jun.06, 2013, under 5th Wheel, Fifth Wheel

If you were to go back in time to about 30 years ago and ask me what a 5th wheel was, I would be thinking only of a spare tire on the back of a truck or in the car.

Back then, I was someone who was working hard at getting up the corporate ladder; taking up the slack where others were letting it go, being the first to volunteer for any extra work. I was the model employee for the average American corporation. All the God-given hours, I was using them to enrich myself and my family.

The only trouble is that I didn’t notice that the most important things in life were slipping. I was in the middle of the circular treadmill with my eyes focused on only one spot. Instead of looking after those that were closest to me, I ignored them for the sake of trying to better my career.

Of course, I was trying to fool myself all along about what I was doing. I kept saying things like ‘I’m only doing it for you’, but they didn’t appreciate what I was doing ‘for them’. What they wanted was my time, but instead of that, I gave them nothing. Except money.

I was good at making money and (in fairness to me) the day did come when I was able to look after all my family needs and was still able to afford a really fine RV trailer. It had all the mod cons – TV, soft upholstery, Wi-Fi, aluminum tow dolly, all the kitchen facilities you could need, plenty of room for the kids.

The only trouble was that almost all of my kids were now over the ages of 18 and didn’t want to come with their dad on vacation any more. They had grown up almost without my noticing it and now it was too late to give them the time that was the only thing that they wanted. They weren’t waiting around all those years for me to save up and buy this overgrown car trailer. That was my dream and I had missed the boat.

Despite all of this, I still get on quite well with my kids. It’s just that they don’t have much trust in me anymore because they were sick of me going on about this thing that never happened to them during their childhood – which is when they wanted it to happen. I might as well have bought a dump trailer or a motorcycle trailer.

But despite all the missing of the boat, my life did change for the better that day that I brought that 5th wheel into my life. Things changed because at least I was getting to live out my dream. I was depressed for a while about it all, considering how I had failed my children and how I should have realized it from the start, but I soon came to realize that the kids didn’t suffer any major trauma or upsetting childhood and then I thought that at least I was setting them a fine example by fulfilling my dream in the hope (and belief) that this would inspire them to do likewise. In fact, I actually sold the house and moved into the RV trailer full time with my wife and youngest kid Vincent.

My eldest boy Rance is a case in point in terms of dream fulfillment. All the guys were really supportive and I could see that they were thinking that it was better late than never, but Rance went and bought an equipment trailer and he’s planning on converting it into a trailer that you can live in. The next youngest Ginger is another guy who’s taken to loving the trailer scene. He always had a utility trailer in which he carries all his stuff around.

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Full-Time Life in an RV is a Vacation on Wheels

by on Mar.31, 2013, under Fifth Wheel, RV Trailer

Things are changing in the world today. More retirees than ever are purchasing RVs and the occasional RV trailer in order to spend the remainder of their productive lives enjoying the sights and visiting friends and families while still maintaining a home. The only difference between this home and the one they maintained when they were still working is this one just happens to have wheels on it and can travel all over the country.

You will find many variations among the full timers: some still have physical homes in warm localities where they go to visit during the winter while others choose to sell their homes and invest all the capital into the purchase of a recreational vehicle that will carry everything they need as they leave their brick and mortar homes behind. The majority choose to gradually move into the RV lifestyle and gain the knowledge over time that they can use a little bit of ingenuity to recreate the comforts they had when they were living in a stationary home.

While there are many varieties of RVs available, they all fall into one of two categories: motorhomes that you drive or a trailer RV that requires the use of a tow vehicle. Motorhomes are a little pricier because they have an engine. You can purchase them in a variety of sizes with prices that range from inexpensive to extremely luxurious. These RVs fall into three different categories:

Class A

The class A motorhome is what usually comes to the minds of most people when they hear the word. These RVs include built in living accommodations—or at least they play an integral part of the vehicle. It’s possible to find models as long as 44’ in length, but most of them are a few feet shorter.

Class B

The Class B is also called a conversion van and is much smaller than the Class A; as the description implies, it is approximately the size of a van. These RVs are great for camping and overnight trips, but they are not recommended if you plan to spend any extended period of time traveling.

Class C

The Class C RV is built on a truck chassis and has the cab section attached. You will notice an overhanging cab attached; this extends over the driving area and while it is usually used as sleeping quarters, some people use it as an entertainment area to house televisions and stereo equipment. The size of a Class C RV usually falls between the Class A and Class B.

The majority of people who drive a Class A or Class C vehicle usually tow a car as well so they are able to make side trips without having to drive a big recreational vehicle down city streets.

While there are actually many other varieties of RV trailers, most full-timers travel in one of two models, both of which look very similar. The only difference is the method used for towing.

A travel trailer is a one-level unit. It is necessary to have a bumper or frame hitch for towing this type of RV. This particular type of RV is the least expensive alternatives for full-time RV living.

The second alternative is the 5th wheel. This type of RV has two levels and requires a pickup truck that is equipped with a special hitch in the truck bed for towing.  In spite of its additional cost factor, the 5th wheel is considered safer to tow. 5th wheelers are nice to stay in.

The reason it is less expensive to own a RV trailer that you tow instead of an RV you drive is because they don’t have engines. Instead of a costly engine, you just tow them to wherever you’re going and then unhitch them when you get there. You can then use the tow vehicle to get to local places you need to go.

Which vehicle should you choose? The selection is a personal choice; some people like the open look of a Class A, B or C along with the fact you can pick up and drive away without going to too much trouble. In addition, you have more flexibility because you are able to tow a car or motorcycle trailer easier than you are able to do with a trailer RV.

On the down side, a travel trailer or 5th wheeler basically restricts transportation to the tow vehicle. You can certainly tow a utility trailer behind you, but it’s a little difficult. They certainly do have their advantages beginning with the fact the inside space is devoted completely to living accommodations. They are also less costly, so they are excellent choices for those who aren’t quite sure about spending long periods of time in a travel trailer. I love trailers.

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Top Tips on Purchasing a 5th Wheeler

by on Feb.27, 2013, under 5th Wheel, Fifth Wheeler

Making the right decision about purchasing a 5th wheel trailer can be a difficult one, especially for a new entrant into the world of the RV world. The following tips will help those new RVers make the right decision and choose the trailer that suits their needs the best.

  1. One of the biggest problems with a toy hauler is once all your gear is loaded it tends to become quite heavy. This means you need to think about a rather large tow vehicle in order to get your 5th wheel toy hauler trailer where you need (or want) to be. Fortunately there is an ultra light model that is easier to tow even when it is fully loaded. Check your load weight on your tow vehicle.

The other advantage to the ultra light toy hauler is it is much easier to hitch up and usually only requires one person to complete the job. Other ultra light models help save weight by incorporating a pop-up, lightweight sleeping area that also includes a platform for the transportation of your toys. These are extremely lightweight and flexible in addition to offering additional sleeping options for larger families or guests. The pop-ups fold away when they are not needed, so you can save on space and weight.

  1. It is more financially sound to purchase a used 5th wheeler instead of paying the extra money for a new model. As long as you shop carefully you can save a great deal of money on a used model while still finding all the features you want if you shop online. You do need to exercise some caution: if you buy from a private party always make sure you get everything in writing before you buy. You also want to find out how much they used the fifth wheel trailer and why they want to sell it. 5th wheelers are so cool.

Another thing to avoid is buying any 5th wheel trailer that has been sitting idle for more than a year. When a fifth wheeler sits idle for such a long time a variety of structural and component problems can develop. This can include everything from dry rot in the upholstery to rotting wood, leaking ceilings and much more. The best way to avoid these types of problems is to buy your 5th wheeler or toy hauler from a reputable RV dealer. Another place to avoid is eBay because of the impracticality of inspecting the fifth wheel before bidding. I love trailers.

  1. Because of the popularity of the toy hauler trailer, it can sometimes be difficult to find a used dealer in some areas. Fortunately it is also possible to shop online in order to find the best deal; this makes it possible to shop from dealers all across the nation in to find the model that is exactly right for you. You can also grasp an idea of how much you can expect to pay for the used toy hauler trailer you are interested in buying.

Never purchase any kind of trailer without thoroughly inspecting it first. You need to inspect the brakes, tires, shocks, suspension, hoses, belts, seals and batteries in addition to checking the interior condition and amenities. It is also essential to obtain a warranty or written agreement when you are purchasing a used model just in case there are any hidden problems that don’t show up during your inspection.

  1. Fifth wheel trailers have several advantages over ordinary travel trailers. The fact that they connect to the bed of the tow vehicle allows them to offer more room in the design and layout. This area that connects to the bed of the truck is higher than the rest of the floor plan which offers additional room for sleeping as well as a more open floor plan. This raised area also means most 5th wheel trailers have more storage space as well.

Another advantage is a 5th wheeler is easier to hitch and unhitch and usually only requires one person to do the job. They are also much more stable than traditional travel trailers and have a higher ceiling with more head room.

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Me and my 5th Wheel in the Nevada Desert

by on Feb.24, 2013, under Fifth Wheel

I love to bring my trailer to the Nevada Desert every summer when it’s vacation time. I know that many of you will be thinking of a barren and featureless place with almost no life in it, but it isn’t all like that.

If you follow the trail of the RV trailer set as they wind their way north from the city of Reno and keep going for about an hour, you come to a place called the Hungry Valley Recreation Area. You’ll find the landscape is not what you might be expecting at all for a place that calls itself a desert. There’s a lake called the Pyramid Lake right beside it and the gathering of people who have come to know each other through a shared passion for life on the road is a regular occurrence.

Folks come from all over California, Nevada and beyond, towing their home-from-homes behind them. They come with their families and friends and a positive attitude packed into their RV trailer or their toy hauler trailer, their 5th wheel friend. Why some of them make it in an equipment trailer packed with a tent or even a motorcycle trailer. But all are welcome and all come with fun in mind.
I enjoy the desert.

This area is famous for a natural feature known as the Moon Rocks. It’s a rocky hill amongst a forest of hilly rockiness. At least that’s how I decided to describe it with my buddy Brad when we were sitting around the camp fire on the first evening of last year’s gathering; after we both had a few too many. I wrote it down straight away so that I wouldn’t forget it. He was one of the “irregulars” – coming to the meeting with his dump trailer bouncing around hanging off the tow dolly at the back with a two-man tent inside for himself and his girlfriend Sadie.

The Moon Rocks are so called because they look as though they have no earthly business being there. All in all, they cover about ten acres of highly strange and unearthly terrain. They’re sharp formations of granite pointing into the sky. The whole place is an earthly magnet for those who like a vertical challenge when climbing.

When those crazies go climbing, they sure attract plenty of onlookers. They sometimes even tow their 5th wheel or toy hauler trailer closer to get a better view of proceedings and set up their camping chairs outside. Very often, it isn’t so much the ascent that’s entertaining rather than the descent. It can be a lot more difficult for the climbers to climb their way down than to get up. I love trailers.

I’m quite a veteran of the place by now, although I have never had quite the experience that I had the last time I was there. It was the same evening that Brad and I sat up late solving the problems of the world, performing all kinds of crazy alterations to his utility trailer. That morning at about 7 o’clock, there were no sounds of any man-made machinery. Instead, it was the sound of nature – coyotes in the near-distance and various birds singing. I had actually never heard these sounds so clearly in all the years that I had been coming here in my RV trailer. The whole place was full of color – there were blooms of yellow and orange and blue that were flourishing because of the heavy rain that had fallen two days previous to our arrival. The earth all around was like bread dough – maybe a little bit lighter and more brittle, perhaps. My buddies and I reached the first ridge and looked back. The view from there and the camp took our breath away. The weather felt mild enough for it to be early summer, but it was still winter and the hills all around were topped with snow. Green was bursting through and the colorful flowers were mixing with the green. Cows grazing peacefully – it all reminded me of a mixture between “The Sound of Music” and “Shane”.

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Reasons to Buy a 5th Wheel Travel or Teardrop Trailer

by on Dec.10, 2012, under 5th Wheel, Car Trailer

If you’re trying to make a decision about buying a new RV trailer, there are two possibilities that might meet the needs of most people. Have you thought about your next recreational vehicle? For some people the choice may be between two types: a 5th wheel travel trailer or a teardrop trailer. Why would either of these choices work well for the average RV owner? There are several things you may want to consider before making a choice.

The downturn in economic conditions and most especially in the housing market has made the purchase of huge mansions an economic disaster for many potential home buyers. It’s possible recreational vehicles will soon see the same fate. With the high cost of fuel, it’s not difficult to see how the concept of “less is more” theory can also refer to the RV industry.

Full-Time RV Living

Many people are considering the concept of living full time in an RV trailer, especially after retirement. The other thing that comes to mind is new vs. used, but many times it’s quite possible to find a good used RV for just a modest investment. They are less costly than new RVs and provide a great means for vacationing and even living full-time for those who desire the over the road lifestyle.

What is the best vehicle for full-time living? While this will vary from person to person, a great choice is a used 25 foot 5th wheel trailer that includes a modest size living room slide out. The slide out trailers offer more room. To add additional space you might want to consider the bunkhouse model even if there will only be two of you traveling.

Some of the things you may want to consider when you are looking for the right trailer RV or 5th wheeler to buy include the following:

  • It is substantially cheaper to buy a used model. You can save fifty percent off the price of a new trailer for one that is five years old, and even more for a ten year old model.
  • Lacking running gear, you can buy a set of tires and you’re good to go. The worst thing that night happen is you may need to replace the refrigerator.
  • You can remodel and upgrade a used RV trailer to fit your needs.
  • You can use the bunkhouse as a laundry room. All you have to do is get rid of the bunks and install a stackable washer and dryer. You can use the extra room for hamper space, additional closet space, or a place for your cleaning supplies such as a mop, broom and dust pan. If you get rid of the carpeting you won’t need a vacuum cleaner, but if you so desire, this is also a good place for that.
  • You can usually tow a 25-foot 5th wheel trailer with a five/eighths ton pickup truck. This will provide a smoother ride and better mileage that trying to haul a 38-foot trailer with a one ton pickup. I love 5th wheel trailers.
  • Smaller trailers are easier to maneuver when you need to get into tight spaces.

The Teardrop Trailer

Some search online will provide you with many design options for the teardrop trailer. You can also buy a shell and outfit it in the way that suits your needs best. Some of the things you might want to have in your 5th wheeler or trailer RV include:

  • Extra battery capacity
  • A solar panel
  • A water system
  • A gas refrigerator

Some other things you may want to add to your teardrop trailer include:

  • HF/VHF ham radio for those times you are out of cell phone range
  • Portable shower (for obvious reasons)

If your idea of the perfect camping trip is cooking outdoors you can choose the clam shell model. You can tow this trailer RV with a smaller pickup thus allowing it to maintain fuel efficiency that larger trailer RVs and motor homes cannot match. I’m ready for a trailer vacation.

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Getting to know the Different Utility Trailers

by on Oct.03, 2012, under Utility Trailers

Let’s start with a definition of what it is: A utility trailer is a device that is pulled by a vehicle without having any independent means of propulsion itself. So, the trailer can be pulled by a truck, or a car usually. But it can be pulled by any mechanically-propelled machine. I’m the proud owner, for example, of a motorcycle trailer, while my neighbor has a car trailer.

They can be used for the convenient transport of all manner of bulky object (and that includes humans!) from bricks to badgers.

For most of us, we may never come into close contact with a utility trailer in our lives. That is to say, we may never use one at all. But that would be a shame. As a trailer owner myself, I can attest that it was one of my most proud purchases I ever made in my life – and this is coming from a guy who has bought a lot of worthless junk in his time.

If you’re moving house, for example, what are you going to do? Sure – you could hire a van or maybe you know someone with a fifth wheeler, but if you have your own utility trailer, then you can do it yourself, pack all the stuff yourself the way you want it and unload it all again with you in charge. I might sound like I’m rabbiting on here, but I do know what I’m talking about. The last time I had to move house was about eight years ago. At the time, I didn’t have a car trailer, so I was kindly offered the use of a flatbed trailer from a buddy of mine. I couldn’t believe the thrill I got from being able to fit so much stuff in each journey. It opened my eyes and I’ve been a happy man since.

Not Just for Moving-House Days

Of course, the trailer isn’t just for the very rare days that you need to move your whole house. Where the utility trailers really come into their own is in the more regular, everyday chores that they are so useful for. Hauling timber, for example. If you need lumber for DIY or for burning, you just pop that sucker into your trailer and off you go, buddy!

Here’s another example: Last Spring, I needed to get some horse manure from a friend who lived about 10 miles away. If I didn’t have that atv trailer, I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of her offer. My garden produce was great this year.

Trailer Types

Okay. So you want to get a trailer but don’t know which one? In the listing following, I’ve attempted to include as comprehensive a list as I can manage. If I’ve left anything out, don’t hesitate in mailing me or shouting really loud.

Open or Enclosed?

This is a good first question to start with. This all depends on what sort of stuff you want to transport. If it’s messy like manure or seaweed, then you want an open trailer, but if you’re transporting furniture or something more prone to weather damage, then you might want to think about a
toy hauler as opposed to a flatbed trailer. The other issue you might want to think about, of course, is security. The enclosed trailer is one that can be safely locked along with its contents, while the open trailer is… well, open.

Most people will go for the open trailer. This is down to needs and price. The enclosed variety will set you back much more than the open one, which is usually a simple enough piece of carpentry tied to a steel frame with wheels and a tow dolly attachment.

The open trailer can be used for a wide variety of things too and they’re simple and uncomplicated to clean them. My motorcycle trailer is an open one and I’ve seen how difficult it can be to clean out the covered type afterwards when you’ve got dismantling to do. My neighbor never stops complaining about his covered car trailer.

Folding Trailers

These are a very attractive option for a couple of reasons. First of all, they can be folded as the name suggests and this means that they don’t take up muck storage space when not in use. They can be attached to pretty much any kind of vehicle, including a fifth wheeler and they are generally strong and sturdy enough for all the heavier –duty stuff too. And, it’s no problem if you want to use it as an atv trailer. A further benefit of the folding trailer is that it usually comes with a sliding feature, which means that when you get to where you want to dump your stuff or taker out the atv, then you just press the button and the bed lifts up.

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How To Make An Educated Decision On An RV Trailer Purchase

by on Sep.06, 2012, under RV Trailer

Electing to purchase a toy hauler, car hauler or RV trailer, is the easy part. Knowing what to look for as you whittle down your choices, well, that part takes knowledge, skill & depth. So, we’ve condensed the incredible knowledge base of an acknowledged trailer expert, to make things easy.

As soon as you’ve isolated a trailer brand or type, it’s time to get serious. This means going over the air conditioning vents and plumbing as well as the side-seams, antennas, screw-heads, roof sealing seams and gaskets, all to an eye for seamless fit. Inspect the windows, one by one, double-checking for faultless alignment and seals. Examine every ramp & external door for gaskets and be sure they feature a positive seal. Accurate alignment means doors that can stand up to years of slamming, slapping and grabbing. Go over the specs with a fine tooth comb, to make sure your new toy hauler trailer’s ramp will safely accommodate your ATV’s weight.

Give the doors and door mechanism a critical, once over, making sure they operate fluidly. Every hinge should demonstrate a secure, super-tight, fit. Look to make sure there is no water damage or leaks. And, be sure every light switch and fixture comes on without hesitation. Trailers with generator compartments must be inspected to insure the generator compartment’s door fits snuggly and that the exhaust is not placed too closely to any of the windows.

Every RV trailer should feature intelligent design sensibilities. Can you reach the TV, Phone, Electricity, Water & Gas, fairly easily? What about the dump-valves required for proper elimination? It’s your job to make sure that everything works as designated and that the dealer answers all your questions. Do not allow a single, solitary valve to remain a mystery. Electrical hook-ups, TV cable inlets, phone hook-ups, electrical power-cords, freshwater hookups and gas or propane valves, should all be explained to you in detail. And, remember to flush out the holding tanks a few times, for practice.

Don’t forget to locate the propane regulator, so that you can confirm that it’s well configured for down-wind ventilation & that its reinforced tank features a properly designed, “hold-down,” system.

Dual tanks require understanding how your regulator isolates and swaps out the tanks. Know the location of your trailer’s master propane or gas, shut off valve & check that it’s working. Remember, no matter the type of trailer, be it toy hauler, RV trailer, enclosed or car trailer, make sure the wheel and tire sizes all match and that they’re the correct rating for your trailer load capacity. With a busy trailer dealership, sometimes tires are used for temporary transportation, as they’re coming off the shipper’s truck, that aren’t specific to that trailer. All it takes is one trailer employee forgetting to swap out the temporary tire and you’ve got a mismatch. So, don’t forget to double check for tire compatibility. And, make sure you check the trailer’s tire pressure is up to snuff. You’ll quickly learn that the pressure levels for trailer tires are much higher than those for light trucks and cars.

We can’t stress the benefit of awning ownership, enough. They can turn any toy hauler trailer, RV trailer or enclosed trailer into your own, indoor/outdoor get away. If you do opt for one, scrutinize the springs, locks and support alignment as well as making sure there are no punctures or tears in the awning fabric.

All RV trailers, toy and car haulers should be subjected to a complete chassis review. Both plumbing and wiring must be securely fastened to the trailer framework. We highly recommend looking under the bottom of the trailer to see if it’s been painted or left raw.

Double check all the lights of the RV trailer, enclosed trailer or toy hauler you’re inspecting are in good working order. This particularly means the three bar lights, the tail and clearance lights. On RV and toy hauler trailers, the interior and porch lights require extra scrutiny. We can’t emphasize the importance of really taking your time with this detail. Do they really provide enough light to read and go about your business? How’s the lighting in the bedroom, eating-space and kitchen? Are you truly happy with it? Can you reach the switches easily? And, if the battery comes with a kill switch, check that out too.

If you’re buying an RV trailer or toy hauler with built-in appliances, do an operational test, and understand how to use the generator, furnace, water heater, stove & oven, air conditioner, microwave and refrigerator. Don’t hesitate to ask the sales representative to walk you through each device. Make sure you understand all the controls/status lights on all the appliances.

RV trailers and toy hauler trailers have a fresh water pump that pressurizes the entire water system for your coach, providing you with both hot and cold water. Get to know where it’s located, which fuse it utilizes, and how to drain the fresh water system for storage and winterization.

Check your tow vehicle for a receiver-type hitch. It will look like a 2” square tube under your bumper. If you’re mounting a ball-mount to the bumper, check its towing capacity; make sure your equipment will tow the trailer of your dreams. Don’t worry if you aren’t equipped with a receiver hitch, or bumper mount; most dealers offer quality aftermarket products designed to accommodate your trailer. Also check your tow vehicle for the trailer wiring needed to get electrical power to the trailer’s lighting system, clearance lights, stop & tail lights. The trailer industry uses two predominate plug styles. On flatbed trailer, enclosed cargo or landscape trailer models, (without brakes), 99% will use a 4-way flat plug connector. This is 4 prongs all in a row. The most common system on an RV trailer, toy hauler,
car hauler, or utility trailer with brakes is a 7-way round, RV blade connector.  If you have a factory installed tow package, from any of the major automotive tow rig manufacturers, this is the trailer plug you already have. Don’t worry about any of these issues, as there are plenty of options and accessories to accommodate most trailer towing and electrical connection situations.

If you’re serious about a new trailer purchase and you implement the advice offered here, you’re sure to make a far more educated buying decision when purchasing your next trailer. You’ll have far more ammunition to negotiate with the trailer dealership, who will know you’ve really done your homework and come prepared.

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10 easy maintenance tips for camping in your new fifth wheel, motorhome or RV trailer

by on Mar.28, 2012, under Toy Hauler

It’s been almost 5 years now since we purchased our first RV. It was a little class C and I can still remember how excited we were as we pulled off the lot and drove away on our own; we felt that we had the whole world ahead of us to explore.

We had such a good time that we sold that little class C and bought a new 5th wheel a couple of years later.  We spent more time on the road exploring this country and learning about our new life. We asked for advice about a variety of things, including maintenance, from the “old timers” who’ve been doing this for years. We soaked up every bit of information we could read and although we made quite a few mistakes in the beginning, we chalked them up to experience and vowed to look at every mistake as a chance to learn.

In the beginning we made a lot of errors, but the people in the RV community were very helpful and we met a lot of different people who gave their time to help us, through advice and hands-on assistance. None of them would ever accept payment for their services; the only request they ever made of us was to pass on our knowledge to new people who would one day need it. If you’ve recently purchased a new RV or are considering doing so, this article is for you.

  1. Develop a maintenance habit. Prepare a checklist of projects to be performed on your trailer RV and make sure to specify how frequently each item needs to be done.
  2. Check the hoses before each trip. Water and sewer hoses can crack rather easily, especially if they’re left unattended for long periods of time.
  3. Check the tire pressure before you drive your RV anywhere. This maintenance tip will prevent blowouts and improves gas mileage. Keep an eye out for dry rot; RV tires are generally only good for about 5 years. Utility trailers, car trailers , and your cargo trailer should also have their tires checked before each trip.
  4. Clean holding tanks regularly. The bacteria that live in gray and black water tanks need to be flushed away routinely to prevent unpleasant odors from leaking into your RV. You don’t want to spend several days on the road in a recreational vehicle that smells like an outhouse.
  5. Check the fluid levels in automatic transmissions regularly and perform frequent oil and air filter changes.
  6. Perform regular battery maintenance. Clean the battery regularly and always do a check on the charge before each trip.
  7. Check the brake pads on your RV at least once a year and replace them as needed.
  8. Keep RV supplies on hand at all times. Carry them in the storage compartment outside your vehicle or place them in an enclosed trailer to carry along during trips. Some items to include are a toolkit, leveling blocks, a pressure regulator for city water and extension cords. These are just a few suggestions; as you become more comfortable with your RV you will want to add items personalized for your own vehicle.
  9. Perform regular maintenance on your air conditioner. I have found that almost all air conditioning problems could have been prevented with a little effort. Clean the air filters at least biweekly when the air conditioner is in operation. If the motor has oil ports, carry non-detergent oil in your utility trailer for touch ups. Be aware that the motor only requires a few drops of oil annually. Clean the condenser coil twice a year by popping the cowl off the air conditioner and carefully brushing the dust off the fins.
  10. Buy the highest-quality products you can afford. If you decide to haul an ATV or purchase a motorcycle trailer, make sure it is of the best quality possible and be sure to check the axles regularly to avoid leaving your trailer on the side of the road.

These are only a few of the maintenance suggestions out there for new RVers. Before taking your new 5th wheeler or motorhome out on the road I would advise you to read everything you can on the subject to avoid mishaps. You may wish to consider joining an RV club. Not only can they provide you with savings at many campgrounds, they are also filled with information on how to keep your investment working like new. Above all, talk to other RVers and learn from them. They’ll provide you with a variety of tips and tricks to make your travels as smooth as possible until the day that you’re able to pass the information you’ve learned onto the newer generation of campers.

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5th Wheel Brakes And Proper Installation-Learn The Tips And Tricks From The Pros.

by on Jun.14, 2011, under Fifth Wheel

Many people don’t know what determines the need for brakes in an RV type trailer. Basically, any trailer weighing over 3,000 lbs., should be equipped with brakes. (For rules specific to your state, contact your local DMV.) So, does your RV trailer, fifth wheel or car hauler have brakes? Approximately 99% of these types of trailers sport electric brakes. So, how do these types of trailers differ from tow vehicles? The big distinction is that while tow vehicles use hydraulics to activate the braking system, 5th wheelers, car haulers & trailer RV types utilize electricity. Other than the way they’re activated, electric trailer brakes work in much the same manner as the hydraulic drum brakes found on cars and trucks. This article focuses on the best methods for confirming your 5th wheeler, car hauler or RV trailer’s electric brakes are working properly, without having to go to the trouble of tearing down the system.

In the front section of your trailer, referred to as the tongue area, you should see a breakaway switch (fig #1) and a small battery (fig #2). These two items work in concert as an emergency backup system. If the trailer should separate from the tow vehicle, this system will automatically trigger the brakes. When the breakaway switch plunger  is pulled out, it activates the breakaway switch. This switch allows battery power to be sent to the braking system, which applies the brakes, stopping the disengaged trailer.

What’s the best way to determine whether your 5th wheeler or car hauler‘s breakaway system is truly working properly? First off, we recommend a simple test that should be utilized every time you hit the road. First, pull the emergency switch plunger from its receptacle (fig #3). Using a screw driver, find a wheel with a brake drum and touch the screw driver to that brake drum. (fig. #4). If the screw driver feels as if you’ve touched a magnet, this means your emergency breakaway battery and breakaway system are in good working order. This is because, be it RV trailer, fifth wheeler or car hauler, the trailer’s braking system uses an electromagnetic brake engagement system. When a current is sent to the brake magnet, the magnet surface comes in contract with the brake drum and magnetizes the drum. Since we’re discussing magnetized drums, it’s important to know that after several years of use, your RV trailer or fifth wheel ‘s brake drums may become permanently magnetized.

When this occurs, it’s important to be able to distinguish this problem from problems with brake shoes, brake clusters or brakes simply needing an adjustment. This could save you unnecessary part replacement or diagnostic costs as well as the hassle of having your system completely torn down. As soon as you feel that your car hauler or trailer RV brakes aren’t working properly, first, disconnect the trailer electrically (fig. #5) from the tow vehicle.

Next, take a screw driver and touch it to the brake drum. If the screw driver is drawn to the brake drum as if it were a magnet, your drums are now magnetized and are going to have to be replaced. (figure #6).

Folks are very curious about a brake’s internal configuration and what prompts this issue. Bottom line, it’s pretty much like the effect created when two magnets repel one another. They’re expected to attract one another, so, clearly something is out of sorts. Here, you’ve got an electro-magnet, prompting the braking system with its strong magnetic current. It dominates the drum with its stronger magnetic pull, but, cannot work properly if the drum starts repelling it, no matter how modestly. When the electro magnet and the drum are working correctly, you can set the brake control head to its highest power, without locking the brakes. Once a drum becomes magnetized, the brake magnet can no longer interact correctly with the brake drum’s surface. This leaves you with brakes that feel slightly engaged, yet will not brake at full power.

Always be conservative about your trailer brakes. Check them annually. Spring’s a great time for
RV Trailer owners, keen to get their gear ship-shape for the upcoming year of trailer fun. Contact your trailer’s manufacturer for safety instructions specific to your equipment. All reputable manufacturers should offer materials designed specifically to help you stay compliant and as safe as possible.


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Proper Maintenance Of 5th Wheel Brakes-What The Professionals Want You To Know.

by on Jun.14, 2011, under 5th Wheel

Many people don’t know what determines the need for brakes in an RV type trailer. Basically, any trailer weighing over 3,000 lbs., should be equipped with brakes. (For rules specific to your state, contact your local DMV.) So, does your RV trailer, fifth wheel or car hauler have brakes? Approximately 99% of these types of trailers sport electric brakes. So, how do these types of trailers differ from tow vehicles? The big distinction is that while tow vehicles use hydraulics to activate the braking system, 5th wheelers, car haulers & trailer RV types utilize electricity. Other than the way they’re activated, electric trailer brakes work in much the same manner as the hydraulic drum brakes found on cars and trucks. This article focuses on the best methods for confirming your 5th wheeler, car hauler or RV trailer’s electric brakes are working properly, without having to go to the trouble of tearing down the system.

In the front section of your trailer, referred to as the tongue area, you should see a breakaway switch (fig #1) and a small battery (fig #2). These two items work in concert as an emergency backup system. If the trailer should separate from the tow vehicle, this system will automatically trigger the brakes. When the breakaway switch plunger  is pulled out, it activates the breakaway switch. This switch allows battery power to be sent to the braking system, which applies the brakes, stopping the disengaged trailer.

What’s the best way to determine whether your 5th wheeler or car hauler‘s breakaway system is truly working properly? First off, we recommend a simple test that should be utilized every time you hit the road. First, pull the emergency switch plunger from its receptacle (fig #3). Using a screw driver, find a wheel with a brake drum and touch the screw driver to that brake drum. (fig. #4). If the screw driver feels as if you’ve touched a magnet, this means your emergency breakaway battery and breakaway system are in good working order. This is because, be it RV trailer, fifth wheeler or car hauler, the trailer’s braking system uses an electromagnetic brake engagement system. When a current is sent to the brake magnet, the magnet surface comes in contract with the brake drum and magnetizes the drum. Since we’re discussing magnetized drums, it’s important to know that after several years of use, your RV trailer or fifth wheel ‘s brake drums may become permanently magnetized.

When this occurs, it’s important to be able to distinguish this problem from problems with brake shoes, brake clusters or brakes simply needing an adjustment. This could save you unnecessary part replacement or diagnostic costs as well as the hassle of having your system completely torn down. As soon as you feel that your car hauler or trailer RV brakes aren’t working properly, first, disconnect the trailer electrically (fig. #5) from the tow vehicle.

Next, take a screw driver and touch it to the brake drum. If the screw driver is drawn to the brake drum as if it were a magnet, your drums are now magnetized and are going to have to be replaced. (figure #6).

Folks are very curious about a brake’s internal configuration and what prompts this issue. Bottom line, it’s pretty much like the effect created when two magnets repel one another. They’re expected to attract one another, so, clearly something is out of sorts. Here, you’ve got an electro-magnet, prompting the braking system with its strong magnetic current. It dominates the drum with its stronger magnetic pull, but, cannot work properly if the drum starts repelling it, no matter how modestly. When the electro magnet and the drum are working correctly, you can set the brake control head to its highest power, without locking the brakes. Once a drum becomes magnetized, the brake magnet can no longer interact correctly with the brake drum’s surface. This leaves you with brakes that feel slightly engaged, yet will not brake at full power.

Always be conservative about your trailer brakes. Check them annually. Spring’s a great time for
RV Trailer owners, keen to get their gear ship-shape for the upcoming year of trailer fun. Contact your trailer’s manufacturer for safety instructions specific to your equipment. All reputable manufacturers should offer materials designed specifically to help you stay compliant and as safe as possible.

 

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