Everybody knows RV maintenance, don’t they?

    It was great growing up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in the early 70’s, the weather, the beach and the girls. What could have been better? Maybe having your Father owning a Motor Home and Trailer sales lot and getting to use a Motor Home to go on dates. To this day I cannot imagine what the fathers of the girls I dated and picked up in a 27′ Travco or a 23′ Lifetime thought. Yes I grew up around all types of campers and while in high school I was my Father’s service manager. I kept involved in RVs while I was in college working for 2 dealers in South Miami. Luckily for me the woman I married at the ripe old age (both of us) of 19 loved camping as much as I did. We moved from small travel trailers to fifth wheels to our current ride, a 2004 Winnebago Vectra. We are not full timers but intend on doing so as soon as possible. We belong to many camping organizations and camp once a month with a local chapter of FCRV. I enjoy working on old cars, diesel pickups and anything with grease on it. I hope to bring some things to the Blog I have picked up over the years to make your camper maintenance easy, safe and fun.

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    1. ArchyD

      Earlier in my existence I did a great deal of tent camping. Really roughing it was a great deal of fun. Recently though, we acquired a 29′ Winnie Minnie.

      I have absolutely no RV experience, but I do have a great deal of mechanical and fiberglass experience.

      We purchased the Minnie used with a whisky dent in the rear passenger corner. I have had a significant problem finding info on the structure of the outside wall of the unit.

      There are no greater problems than those created by the uninformed repairing something they know nothing of !

      Where can I find info on this and the miriad other things that can and do go wrong with RV’s?


    2. Depending on the year will depend on the structure of the siding. Earlier models used real fiberglass mat glued to styrofaom insulation with wood stringers used as vertical reinforcement. This type of construction resulted in alot of delamination of the fiberglass from the insulation board. Later models used a similar system except the fiberglass mat was much thinner and applied in a very high pressure roller system that eliminated some of the (not all) of the delamination problems. I have found that if I ground a small area around the damage with 180 grit paper and the used chopper type fiberglass cut up (fairly fine) and mixed with resin I could make repairs last. If the texture of the surrounding exterior wall was smooth I could sand out to match. If it was really smooth I would use some fiberglass body putty to smooth the finish even more.

    3. Our current coach is also our first coach. Prior to our retirement in July 2005, to my wife, “Camping” meant someplace that said “Marriott” across the front but didn’t offer late-night room service. We truely knew nothing about RV’ing proir to stopping by a used coach dealer out in ‘A-Crappy-Junkyard” (oops…Apache Junction, AZ, that is) to look at a used RV. The Dolphin we looked at was pretty cool but we weren’t “Wow”ed. We were about to leave without buying when we spied a 9-year old 37′ Mountain Aire Gas-er. At that point, I had no idea the differences between manufacturers, amenities, etc. so we just looked it over, liked what we saw and then made an offer. Of course, the tires were only so-so but I figured we’d get it back to So. Cal. (where we were staying) and go out to look for some new road-meat. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it that far. In fact, we only made it a few miles down the 109 degree Arizona freeway before the right front tire blew out, tearing off the fender and stranding us on the roadside. 3 hours later AAA got a big-rig tow guy out, we found the spare was good, got it changed and down one more off-ramp to the nearest tire dealer, replacing 7 of the 8 on the road, right there on the spot. Not an auspicious debut to our RV experience!

      Since then we’ve added over 30,000 miles to the odometer and absolutely love the experience of being on the road, seeing new places, meeting people. We’ve made some modifications to the coach, interior and exterior, but nothing that someone with a few tools and a few bucks can’t do.

      I guess the point of this post is to suggest to folks who are considering taking the plunge, that there’s so much more out there to be experienced than you’d ever imagine, don’t be afraid of it. If you’re not sure, get a mid-sized or smaller camper, 5th wheel or coach or even rent and make a few trips here and there. I can nearly guarantee, you’ll be hooked. The freedom, the comraderie, the adventure, are all worth the investment. Have a dog or cat? No need for a dog-sitter or kennel fees. Take ’em along. Heck, we travel with our two labradors and tabby and they absolutely love it. Never pack or unpack a suitcase, never wait in a crowded terminal, meeting someome else’s schedule (not to mention not having to undress, empty your pockets and be ‘wanded’ as you pass through the magnetic archway). Prepare whatever foods you love, when you’re hungry (at a fraction of the cost of eating out) or go out, if you choose.

      You owe it to yourself, your spouse, your family. It will create memories you’ll cherrish your entire life-long.