Tracking Your RV Maintenance

It’s relatively easy to know when your tires need changing and rusting needs a touch up, but how are you keeping track of all the routine maintenance that needs to be done on your RV? Not everyone can be an expert in keeping every little piece of your travel trailer or motorhome up to date, so there’s bound to be something you don’t know how to care for. As usual, there’s an app for that!

maintainmyrv.com is now a part of RV LIFE Pro Suite, which for $49.00 per year sets up a schedule customized for your RVs maintenance timeline based on schedules already recommended by RV manufacturers. You will get an email alert when it’s time to maintain a part or get service, and can track expenses, key dates and fuel consumption.

The best part? Tracking up to 3 vehicles means you can also keep up with the car or truck that’s towing your RV, ensuring smooth sailing on camping trips. Give it a try, they offer a 7-day free trial!

If you want to take care of your RV without outside help, there are a few common fixes you may want to get a jump on. Inspecting the unit’s roof and seams to look for any leaks or holes is important to reduce leaks, so don’t forget to check those skylights!

Checking your tire pressure should be done before every camping trip, just as you’ll need to check your car or truck’s pressure if you’re towing a travel trailer. It’s also a good idea to check on the battery life and waste systems before each trip, as either of those acting up could make camping very unpleasant.

Each spring, check on your RVs brakes and slide outs, pursuing professional service if necessary. This is also a good time for an oil change and possible air conditioner filter replacement. Putting each of these critical RV maintenance items into your calendar now will help you preserve your RV’s value and avoid a disaster situation at the campground or on the road.

For more RV maintenance tips and tricks, check out our Pete’s RV Center YouTube channel which includes a playlist of your most common camping questions.

The Importance of RV Slide Toppers

Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel resident Randal Murray delivers a crucial RV question: “What is the importance of slide toppers (aka slideout awnings)?”. When it comes to protecting the vitality and value of your RV, slideout seals found around the slide are the lifeline to the health and well-being of your camper. As Randy explains, if you compromise or damage those seals then you risk water potentially penetrating into the camper provoking damage over time. Randy presents a prime example of just how well slide toppers can defend your camper after a weekend at the campground. Sprinkling a box full of debris on the slides to simulate a weekend of buildup, you can clearly see that everything rolls off as the slides are brought in.

A highly-affordable investment, slide toppers can save RV owners thousands of dollars in repairs! For just a few extra dollars a month, their installation can be built right into your new RV payment plan.

Video Transcript for “The Importance of RV Slide Toppers”

Randy: Hey, guys, Randy with Pete’s RV TV here again today, another quick tip segment for ya from Pete’s RV Center.  We’re in the shop today at Pete’s RV, the Vermont location. A little noisy place, very busy place this time of year, as it always is.  Today I’m gonna talk about the importance of slide toppers and how they can protect your coach, especially as you start to get some age on the coach.

     A slide topper covers a slide topper, it covers a slide box, which, it keeps all the elements off the top of your slide, rain, snow, whatever, if your slide’s open in poor weather.  It keeps the sun off the top of your slide, so it’s gonna lessen the maintenance that’s needed to be done on the slide roof itself.

     It could help with a potential leak on a slide box.  If you were to have a leak, when the water pouring right on this, obviously it’s gonna rear its head into the coach very quickly.  With a slide topper on here, we’re not going to have water puddling against our seals and things like that, so it’s gonna really help out with that effect as well.

    As you can see, the slide topper here is gonna attach to the body of the coach, comes in the, the roller tube is on the outside of the coach.  So as we roll this in, any debris that is on the top will also fall off, and I’ll show you that in just a minute. We can also see how it keeps the roof of the slide out of the elements, another important feature, as I just mentioned.

    So when we’re camping up here in the Northeast, especially state campgrounds, things like that, most campgrounds around the country, actually we’re gonna tend to be around some trees.  Pine trees are a particular favorite up here in the Northeast. So when we’re out there, we have our slides open, we’re staying for a week or so on our family vacation, sticks, pine needles, leaves and things like that are gonna come down and get on the top of the slide roof.

    And when we close our slide without a slide topper, all that debris stays up on the roof unless you get up there and clean it off.  When that happens we’ve actually compromised our seal with the slide closed, we bring the unit back home, sits next to the garage for a few weeks until we get to go back out on our outing, with a compromised seal, we’re gonna see some water on the floor.

    So let’s take a look up on the roof, and we’ll show you how this kinda works. Okay, so here we are up on the roof of the unit with the slide topper on it, and,  We re-situated Josh so you can see the top of the slide topper, and you can see that no real portion of the top of the slide’s exposed. The slide topper is covering everything, which is what we want.

    So right now what I’m gonna simulate what would happen if you’re camping up here in the Northeast, and I’m just gonna take some debris that I kinda picked up outside there a little while ago, and I’m gonna put this on top of the slideout. Now normally with a slide topper, this would all end up on the roof of your coach.

     As I mentioned a little earlier in the video, when you bring this back in, all that stuff is gonna stay up there and compromise our seal, and potentially damage the seal, and that’s not something that we want. Those seals are very important for protecting our coach when we’re not using it.

    So let’s go downstairs again and we’ll re-situate the camera, and we’ll show you what happens when we bring the slideout in, and why this works so well, and why it’s so important to have these on our units. Okay, so here we are down below, and as you can see, we’re using our new brand–new Outback Fifth Wheel as our test model, so kind of excited about that.

    Let’s go ahead and bring in the slide, and we’re gonna watch how this guy protects our coach. So as you remember in the video, I poured some stuff up there, and you can see with having the roller tube on the body of the slide, everything is just gonna run right off, so we’re gonna protect our slide seals. We’re not gonna leave any debris up there to compromise those and cause potential leak down the road.

    And there’s the slide closed. Everything on the ground, not on the roof, right where we want it. We’ve protected our slide.  Everybody’s happy. We can put this away knowing that we’re not gonna have any damage to our seals or any water inside the coach from the roof of that slide when we’re not using the coach.

    So there we go, folks. Another quick tip segment with Randy from Pete’s RV Center. Thanks again for watching our quick tip videos, and make sure to check us out on Facebook, and keep an eye out for those new videos. Thanks for thinking Pete’s RV, and happy camping.

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.

How To Winterize Your Camper

Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel resident Randal Murray is here to provide expert instruction on how to winterize your RV water system for end-of-season storage. Demonstrating on a Keystone Bullet Premier 19FBPR travel trailer, Randy takes viewers through all of the critical steps for properly winterizing your camper including: Tank Draining, Bypassing the Water Heater, Introducing RV Anti-Freeze to Lines, and Pressurizing the Water System. Please remember that this is a basic RV winterization demonstration. All campers come equipped differently, so be sure to consult with your owner’s manual.

Video Transcript for “How To Winterize Your Camper”

Randy: Hey, folks. Randy with Pete’ RV TV here again today, your local internet dealer.  As you’ve probably noticed, the kids are back in school and the leaves are starting to change color, so it’s time for us to start thinking about winterizing our campers. So today’s segment, I’m going to take you through this brand new Bullet Premier and I’m going to have, teach you how to do a basic winterization. I’ll go through, the tools necessary and all the steps to, show you guys how to winterize your RV.

    All right. So, back in my days in the service department, these are the things that I would kind of take with me to go an do a winterization, so I was prepared to do any camper that was out there. So, as you can see, I’ve got my screw gun with a #2 screw tip in it to access the back of the hot water heater once we get to that stage. I’ve got a couple pair of channel locks here. And the out hood of the hot water heater has got a plastic plug. That’s how I would pull those out. Suburban hot water heaters have an anode rod in it, 1-1/6″ socket. Depending on which water pump we had, either a jet pump or a sure flow pump. Sure flow pump’s going to be a 1/2″ male pipe thread fitting. Jet pump’s going to be a quick connect fitting. So you’re going to want to check out what kind of pp and what kind of water heater you got to provide yourself with the proper tools, before you go ahead and winterize.  I’ve also got a roll of paper towels here to clean up my mess when I’m done. Couple gallons of antifreeze, and I’ve done thousands of these, so I can usually get by with two gallons. You may want to get yourself three or four if it’s your first time out there. Just make sure you’ve got enough. It’s not fun to run out in the middle of the job when you’re not quite done, so just make sure you’ve got enough product to do the job.

    Okay. So here we are, at our hot water heater. And the first thing you want to do when you winterize your camper after you know you’ve got all the proper tools is, we want to empty all the tanks. So we want to empty the fresh water tank, the black water tank, the galley and the gray tanks, and most importantly, our, our hot water heater tank. So, this guy here happens to be the Atwood with the plastic plugs, so we’re going to use our channel locks on this one. One very important thing before you empty your hot water tank is, if you’ve got an electric hot water heater element, we want to make sure that that device is shut off. Once we drain the water out of this tank, if this camper gets plugged in, that element will come on, and with no water in that tank, it will burn out the element, and it will need to be replaced. So before emptying this tank make sure, the electric elements are off, from the switch inside to the service switch on the water heater, or even the breaker inside your RV. That way we won’t run into troubles down the road.

    So anyway, back to our water heater. I’m going to drain this guy off right now. So we’ve got the plastic plug down here below, as I mentioned. So I’m just going to loosen this guy up. Now to relieve the pressure on the hot water heater so we don’t get a blast of water coming out here, I’m just going to crack this relief valve, which will also help it drain out a little better. It’ll let some air go into the top of the tank as we’re, emptying the tank out. There’s the plug. There’s our water coming out. Relief valve’s open, so a good flow of water. When you put this back in, you’re going to want to put some Teflon tape on, or some Rectorseal to seal that up, so you won’t have any leaks in the spring.

    So after we’ve dumped out, hot water heater from the outside of the unit, what we want to do is use that approximate location to find the back of the hot water heater inside the unit. This particular one here is located in this cabinet for us. So what, what the water heater bypasses and what you’re going to see on the back of the hot water heater when you access it is a series of valves or maybe one valve. What we, we don’t want to put six gallons of antifreeze in that hot water heater tank. So what we want to do is connect the hot and cold plumbing lines together so we can go ahead and winterization the hot and cold side of our camper without filling up that tank. So this guy here is the three valve system, which we’re going to see in older campers that are out there. What I’m going to do is just turn these valves in the opposite position as they are right now. Right now they’re in the use position, so we want to turn them into the winterization mode. So cold line off. Outgoing hot off. And our connector pipe between the two, we went to put that on so the antifreeze can travel into the hot side of our plumbing system.

    So what we’ve got here in this particular unit is, the single valve system, which we’re going to see in some of the newer product out there. And, they’re using, a check valve in the top of the tank, rather than the three valve system. So all we need to do, right now that valve’s horizontal, that’s the use position. But we need to go flip it to vertical. That way we’re allowing the antifreeze to flow up, the connecting pipe and into our hot water plumbing system.

    All right. So, I know where the particular water pump is in this unit. If you’re not sure where your water pump is in your unit, you can go ahead and, turn the water pump on and listen for it audibly. You will hear the pump run. It’s not going to hurt to run that pump dry for, a few minutes while you locate the pump. Once you’ve located the pump, then we need to go ahead and access it. I’ll just finish removing my screws here. And down below here I’ve got my, water pump. In this particular coach we’ve got the jet pump, so I’m going to be using, this fitting here that works in conjunction with the jet pump. Now, to, to figure out which side is the incoming end of the water pump where we want to hook our hose to to draw the antifreeze from, how I typically do it is, there’s going to be a flex line coming off that pump, going usually to the underbelly or to our water tank where our fresh water is held. On the other side of the pump you may see a T or some hard plumbing to it. So usually that single flex line is going to be your incoming side of the pump.

    So what I’m going to do right now is undo that. You might get a little water run out there from the head of the pump. That’s what the paper towels are going to be for, to clean up a little bit. Now I’m going to install my winterization hose, which I’ve done here. And again, if you’ve got a Sure flow pump, which is going to be a, a metal case with a, with a black head on it, we would use a 1/2″ male pipe thread, where the jet pump is a quick connect fitting.

    Here we are with our antifreeze. I’ve got my hose hooked up. This particular one, I think is going to work best for me to set this down here to draw from. I’m going to go ahead and insert my hose into the antifreeze jug. Then we’re going to go, turn the water pump on and start running our faucets. Now, before we turn the water pump on, we want to make sure all the faucets are closed. We’ve already also done our hot water heater bypass, so with all the faucets closed, we’ll turn the pump on and start winterizing.

    Here I am at the kitchen sink. I’ve turned my water pump on. We’re starting to draw out of that, antifreeze jug that we just hooked up. So what I’m going to do now is turn the cold water on, and I’m going to run it till I see pink. It’s pushing some air out of the system. And there’s a good pink flow. I’m going to do the same on the hot water side. Now sometimes, I’ve heard before that it’s best to run, you know, the farthest sink away first, and then work yourself towards the pump. I’ve done thousands of these, and I’ve never had an issue, and I don’t, there’s no real rhyme or reason. I just make sure that I get a good pink flow, on every faucet before I put it away. The pex plumbing will take freezing, even if there is a little water in it. It’s our fixtures and our, our connections, the plastic fittings, that do not take the freezing. They will crack. So, I usually just start with the closest faucet to me and run both until I see pink.

    Same with the bathroom sink. Nice pink flow there. And again on the hot water side, and we’ve got good pink there. So next I’m going to do the toilet, and this guy here is a foot flush. So I’m just going to, flush the foot flush till I see a good flow of pink to get it up in that valve there. Here we are in our shower, and I’ve, removed the, the shower head and brought it down here so I can, can kind of control the flow. Again, cold, hot. Now I’m going to run it up through the shower head. And I’ve got good pink everywhere there. So we’re good to go. Some people will actually undo the shower head, from the faucet to alleviate any water or antifreeze that may sit in there through the winter months.

    So a lot of coaches are coming equipped now days with some sort of outside shower or hot and cold running water outside, so we want to make sure that we get that. I can honestly say that I’ve forgotten it in the past. So, just make sure you put this on your list of things to do. So, again, turn the water on till you see pink. A good way to see it out here is run it against the body of a white coach, make sure that you’ve got the water out. And we’ve got good pink there. Before I came outside, I switched over my antifreeze jug, because I noticed it, I was running a little bit low. And you’ll have to do that throughout the process, depending on, how much you use, obviously. So. Anyway, the system is, winterized with the water pump. We’ve got one more step and we’ll be done.

    To complete our last step, and this is a very important thing to do, after we’ve done all the water receptacles, i.e., the sinks, the toilets, the outside showers, everything like that, really important, we need to come back in the coach and turn off our water pump. The water pump pressurizes the system at about 40 PSI. So we want to turn that pump off so we no longer need to pump antifreeze through the system. And the next thing I’m going to do is I’m going to come in and I’m going to open the cold water faucet. So I’m relieving any pressure on the system whatsoever, and we need to do this to winterize the city water fill. So, now you can see this has stopped running. I’ve alleviated all the pressure on the, on the water system. Now we can go outside and do the city water fill, and we’re going to be done.

    So after we’ve turned off the water pump inside, and, we’ve relieved the pressure on the system, we want to come outside to our city water fill. And this is where we’d hook our garden hose if we were at the campground. And this often gets overlooked, and I’ve seen a lot of them change because of it. So first thing we want to do is pop this screen out here. And there’s a check valve in here, so when we’re using our water pump, water doesn’t spray out the city water fill. Now, if I were to press this in while it was still under pressure, it would allow me to press it in, but it ruins an O ring in there. So that’s why it’s really important to alleviate that pressure on the system that the water pump has provided for us before we push this check valve in. So now with the water, off, pump off, system we left the pressure, I can go ahead and pump this in and you’ll see water run out. I’m just going to hold that in there, and now I’ve got antifreeze. Our system has been winterized.

    All right. So after we are done with our city water fill, what I like do is I take the paper towels that I mentioned earlier in the video. I like to tear off a couple of them and kind of leave some in the base of my sinks and my shower. That cleans up the little bit of antifreeze that, may have been left in the sink or the shower. I also, it’ll catch any residuals that will come out of here. If you have any antifreeze left in the jug, from your winterization process, you can go ahead and pour the extra down the trap. It’s a little bit extra line of defense there. Again, all these things can be purchased, at our Pete’s RV online store. That can be, accessed from PetesRV.com. There’s pump converters and things out there that might make your winterization process easier.

    The other thing with this video that we’ve just made is, I kept it very simple, down to basics on this. There is some devices out there that do need attention that I did not mention in this video, sewer flushes, washer and dryers, ice makers, things like that. That’s stuff you really want to bring to your local dealer and have done. That way you won’t have issue with it in the spring. But, this, this should, get you going on where you need to be, and maybe give you little pointers, and I hoped you learned something. So thanks again for watching Pete’s RV TV with, Randy here today. Again, you can come see us at Pete’s RV online, http://www.PetesRV.com. Visit our online store [petesrvparts.com], or our Facebook page [facebook.com/petesrv]. We’ve always got some great things going on there as well. So, thanks again for thinking Pete’s RV, and happy camping.

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.

How to Reseal Your RV

Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel resident Randal Murray is here to give you all a quick tutorial on how to properly care for and maintain the seals around your RV that need to be caulked. Randy wants to show you how to help properly maintain your RV for years of enjoyment, and one fix that he sees a lot of people attempt, and not always do well, themselves is resealing seams on the RV with new caulking.

First off he goes over what you are going to need to do the job; proper caulking for the surface, a quality caulking gun with stopper, oder-less mineral spirits, clean rags and sometimes a razor blade to clean out dry, cracked caulking. To begin with Randy wets a rag with mineral spirits to clean and prep the surface he is going to be sealing making sure to get the entire area including behind the wiper seal. Once everything is cleaned and dry you can get your caulking ready to use and set up in the gun. Make sure not to cut too large of a hole in the caulking tube as too much can interfere with doing a proper job. Placing a thin bead of caulk along the seam, Randy works his way in a single, fluent motion. The key to doing this job is using the mineral spirits on your finger to help press and spread the caulking into the seam, giving it a professional look and tapering each side to help shed water. Make sure to not do too long of an area, start small and slow so you can work your way up. The same process is done for a vertical seam as well, but make sure that you start with a clean tip to ensure you get a seamless bead.

Video Transcript for “How to Reseal Your RV”

Randal Murray: Hey guys, Randy with Pete’s RV TV today. Another quick tip segment for you.Today we’re in the Burlington, Vermont location shop and I want to show you how the industry puts on these great looking caulking jobs to seal up our corner moldings and the base of our slides and other areas around the coach. I see a lot of units come in where customers have done their own caulking job and they just don’t look so good and they’re not sealing very well either. So let me show you some tricks that I use when I do it. It makes it look good and makes sure that we get a great seal.

So first of all, a few things that we need. We need some caulking, and if you go to your local RV dealer or come to us, we’ll show you the best stuff to use for the right surface and the right job, so we’ll instruct you on that, and any local RV dealers should be able to take care of that. I also like to use a quality caulking gun. Now, there’s one that you can buy that costs like $1.99 at the big box stores, the Home Depots, the Lowe’s and things like that. This one is actually a little bit more expensive, about 15 or 20 bucks, but it’s a lot more manageable and it makes the job a lot easier to do, so I do recommend if you do own an RV, invest in a good caulking gun and you can use it for other things around the house as well. This actually does have a stop on it so I can stop pushing. So the caulking is not coming out of the end of the tube and just very nice control on Very easy to use. So invest in good caulking gun.

One of the most important things that makes me look good too is odorless mineral spirits. Odorless mineral spirits is the active ingredient in a lot of the caulking out there. This is the one we use. I like the odorless ’cause it doesn’t stink quite as bad and it’s super easy. It’s just a light duty paint thinner, but it’s going to help us work the caulking and clean the surface as well, which is very important. So let’s get started. So we can get sealant gaps on our coaches from them just being used. Only roll a camper down the road, it’s like putting your house through a 3.4 earthquake on the Richter scale every time it moves. So lots of moving parts, lots of things that can open up for sealant gaps and we need to maintain these just like we maintain the seals on our roof. So first thing I do is I’m gonna clean the surface before I go ahead and apply. So I’m just going to take white rag here and I am going to put some mineral spirits on I go ahead here. And I fold it up just for ease of use. Now I don’t need to soak, soak the rag, but I do like to get it damp, kind of like that. I also always have another clean rag on me as well, so we want both of them. So let’s clean the area here at the base of this slide. And I’m just going to take the mineral spirits and just wipe the area that I am going to clean and that’s going to help get the dirt off the existing caulking, clean the surface, and allow us to get good contact and good adhesion when we apply the caulking. So I’ll get that wiped down pretty good. Get all the dirt and grime off, tuck back my wiper seal there in there. If the caulking is really old and dried and cracked, we probably will want to remove that with some sort of razor or some sort of scraping blade. This one’s not too bad, so I don’t need to get that tool out, but you may. We don’t want to go over bad caulking and we want a real flat surface to make sure that we get a good looking caulking, a joint, and a good seal. If it’s really bumpy, it’s going to be really hard to maintain that quality of the look and the seal and ensure we have no leaks. So get this cleaned up pretty good there.

Now, I’m going to take my caulking. We’ll set this here for a second. The other thing that I see a lot of people do is they put way too big a little hole on the end of the caulking tube. We do not need a whole lot of material and having too much material is going to actually make it not a good looking job and hinder, uh, our sealing process. So I’m going to take and just put a small, small hole in this. I’m going to put it at about a 22 degree angle too. That allows me just to work it a little bit. I like it to be nice and straight at my angle, that way I’m not pushing into the caulking when I’m doing it, so it looks pretty good. Put my knife back in my pocket here. And I’m going to fill the tube. I don’t know Karl, if you can see that white coming up through that clear plastic tube there. I’m going to get it to the end so we get all the air and everything out and I’m going to stop it by hitting my button on the back of that good caulking gun that I just referred to. So our area is clean. I’m going to take the dry rag and just wipe any excess off from a cleaning process, make sure we get all the dirt, all the mineral spirits and everything off, and then we’re going to go ahead and start to apply. Again, I’ve got my mineral spirit rag in my hand because I’m gonna use that here in a minute. It’s gonna become very important.

So now I’m gonna pump this thing up and I’m going to start to apply and I’m not going to put a huge bead. I don’t need huge bead. Kind of pushing it into the crack, into the transition, right straight across. We’ll stop right there. Don’t go too far because you want to be able to work the area that you’re doing and if you go too far, you may start getting a skim coat over the top of it. So now this is the trick that separates the men from the boys. After we get a small bead on there, I’m actually going to take that wet mineral spirits soaked rag, mineral spirits soaked rag, and I’m going to put a little on my finger and this is where we get a good looking job. So I’m actually going to take my finger and I’m going to go about four to six inches and then I’m going to clean my finger and I’m going to continue that process down my whole caulking joint. What that does is it pushes it into the crack, seals any cracks that are there. It also tapers, so we get a nice transition. We don’t have a place where water is going to sit or moisture is going to sit. We’ve pushed it into the crack and we’ve finished it off and I’m actually going to go back to the other way and just get any excess off. Well, Karl, if you want to take a look at that, that’s not a horrible looking caulking job. We’ve tapered both the edges. We’ve pushed the caulking into the crack. We don’t have a ton of material on there. We don’t need a ton of material on there. Any water that runs down the slide box will go right over that caulking joint right off the side of the slide box, just the way we want it. Now, that was easy. That was the horizontal one. Let’s do a quick vertical one here just so we can show you that as well, and it’s gonna be kinda the same way. Gonna take my mineral spirit damp rag here. I’m just going to clean the area. Get that dirt and debris off there. Make sure I got good adhesion. Clean the area up really good. I’m gonna take my dry rag and again, get any of the excess off, dry it out where I run my caulking. Back to the caulking gun. Again, notice it’s not continuing to push out because I have a good caulking gun and I can take the pressure off it very easily. I’m going to make sure I clean the end of my gun so I’m starting fresh. I’m just going to go up here and again, start that bead. Nice, easy, small bead. I’m pushing it into the crack as I go. I don’t need too much material. If you get an air bubble, you can back up a little bit. Not a big deal. We’re just going to go down, nice fluid motion. Make sure to only do what you can work as well, so if you can only do two or three feet until you get good at it, just do that. Back to the mineral spirit rag. I’m going to put it on my finger again and I’m just going to start drawing down, again cleaning my finger about every three or four inches. The mineral spirits is going to give us a little bit more working time as well, and I’m just doing a light touch here, giving it a nice taper. I’m just kind of feathering it in so you can’t see where I’ve started and stopped. I’m going to go down there and you can see how quick and easy this is. Karl, if you want to take a look at that job there, and that’s how the guys do it at the factory and it’s super simple to do. Nice and easy. It looks professionally done and we’ve got a great seal, a great taper, and we have penetrated both sides of the surface plus sealed our joint.

So if you do my couple little tricks here with you’re caulking gun, get a good caulking gun, use mineral spirits, make sure you dampen your finger. Don’t put too much product on, all that’s going to do is push out and get all over the place and get real ugly while you’re playing around with trying to clean that up, the other stuff’s going to skim over and make it really hard to work. So if we just do a little bit, taper it in, keep things clean, there’s no residue left on my finger when I’m done. Life is good. That’ll seal all your cracks. That’ll make a great taper and a great looking caulking job when you’re done and they’ll take a professional did it, not just you. So thanks again for watching Pete’s RV TV with Randy today. I look forward to seeing you on the road, and happy camping!

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.

12-Volt Dual Battery Setup

Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel Resident RV Expert Randy Murray displays how to properly connect two 12 volt batteries in parallel for added dry camping power. By connecting the campers positive wire to the positive terminal on one battery and connecting the campers ground wire to the negative terminal on the second battery, Randy illustrates the correct way to achieve equal battery drain and how to ensure top notch battery life.

Rather than a single battery connection where you will be required to replace it with a fresh battery, a dual connection alleviates this procedure and provide more even use of battery life. With the use of jumper wires (one for both positive and negative as Randy explains) that are equal or greater to the gauge of wire found on your camper, connect each line to the corresponding positive and negative battery to complete the connection and enjoy some extended dry camping.

Video Transcript for “12-Volt Dual Battery Setup”

Randy:  Hey guys. Randy from Pete’s RV here today, another quick tip segment for you. This segment is going to be for our dry campers out there or the people looking to get a little bit more longevity out of their battery. So hooking up a couple batteries on to your 12 volt supply camper.

    What we’re going to do here today is we’re going to hook up 2 batteries in parallel. So we’ll have 2 12 volt batteries to provide power to our camper so we can use it off the grid for a little while longer. First thing you want to do when you’re hooking something up in parallel is figure out which is positive and which is negative on your battery. This is very important for us. And the next thing you want to do is you want to make yourself some jumper wires or you could purchase these at an automotive store, or we can make them for you here at Pete’s RV as well.

    So when we’re hooking something up in parallel, we’re pretty much going positive to positive and negative to negative. Back to the jumper wires that I just talked about, is we want to make sure the jumper wires that we use are going to be equal or a greater gauge than the wires that are on the camper. If we use wires that are too small, now our wires become the fuse, rather than the fuse that we’ll have inside the camper to protect this coach. A smaller wire could actually heat up and melt, where a larger wire will not. So we want to make sure that those wires are the appropriate gauge.

    So we’re going to go ahead and put these batteries up here on the camper, show you how to hook them up in parallel, give you a little bit more longevity out of those batteries when you’re dry camping.

    All right, so here we are on the front of our Bullet Premier that we have here in the Burlington, Vermont location showroom. I’m doing this video today without battery boxes, which we would usually install on here to protect the batteries but a little bit easier to see it while shooting the video so we’re going to leave those out today.

    So what I’ve done is I’ve situated my batteries on the A-frame here. This, , unit is set up to take 2 batteries. And I’ve got my ground wire and my positive wire that normally feed the camper on a one battery set up. Now you can always tell your ground wire because it’s going to be hooked to the A-frame or to the chassis of the coach, and that’s how we achieve ground throughout the coach.

    So I know this wire’s my ground wire because it’s hooked right here to the A-frame. This black wire here is going to be my positive wire, because it goes to back to one of the resetting breakers on the front of this camper. So I’ve hooked my battery to the positive, and I’m going to take this ground wire and I’m actually going to hook it to the negative on the opposite battery. That way we’re pulling both of these batteries down together. If we hook them both to one, chances are the second battery is going to be pulled down at the same rate as the first battery.

    Another important thing when you’re doing a set up like this is to use batteries purchased at the same time. If you use one older battery and one newer battery, you’re only as good as your lower battery, and that’s going to shorten your battery life. So make sure the, batteries are equal and purchased at the same time and they start out fresh.

    So I’ve got the negative, the positive hooked to the positive over here on the battery, which is going to be kind of hard to see there, but I can see it here. I’ve got the negative hooked up here. So now what we, we’re going to want to do is hook up another positive wire from the positive of this battery to the positive of this battery. We’re going to go ahead and put our nuts on now. Lock that down there. I’ll put this guy on here. Good idea is snug these up pretty good, and make sure that the terminals are very clean and the battery connections are very clean on your wires as well. That way you’re going to get the best voltage you can have supplied to you.

    I’m going to set this one over here to the negative. Turn it around, a little bit easier to hook it up for us. Put that nut on there. Tighten that down. I’ll go back and snug things up later with one of my wrenches. I’m going to hook this negative here. So now we have just successfully hooked these 2 batteries up in parallel, so it’s going to give us 12 volt supply to the coach and going to give us a lot more longevity when we are using this camper in a dry camping situation. Now these batteries will be charged while we’re driving down the road. If you’ve got an appropriate charge line in the truck, that’s the best way to charge these batteries.

    But there’s a simple parallel hook up, positive to positive, negative to negative. Make sure you put your positive from the trailer on one battery, your negative from the trailer on the other battery. That way they will decell at the same time, and make sure your batteries are purchased at the same time. We’ve always got discounted pricing here on batteries at Pete’s RV Center so we can take care of you in that regard as well.

    So there it is in a nutshell. Parallel wiring two 12 volt batteries.  This’ll get you where you need to go on your dry camping. Thanks again for watching Pete’s RV with Randy today, and  come see us on our Facebook page. Check us out on YouTube as always. And once again, thanks for thinking of Pete’s RV and happy camping.

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.

How to Level Your Camper

Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel Resident RV Expert Randy Murray provides step-by-step instruction for leveling a camper. For his demonstration, Randy uses a Keystone Cougar Xlite 28RBS travel trailer. Proper techniques include slideroom out first and then leveling left to right, using an arm’s length to gauge enough space for slideout to open, and putting down stabilizer jacks after the camper is successfully leveled.

Video Transcript for “How to Level Your Camper”

Randy: Hey, folks. Randy here with Pete’s RV TV today. We’re in the gravel pit, behind the Pete’s RV, the South Burlington Vermont dealership. And I’m gonna give you a couple tips on, the best way to put your new camper, on your campsite and get it leveled up so you guys can enjoy your, your camping weekend with your new RV.

    Today we’re here and we got a brand new, Cougar X-lite, 28RBS that we’re gonna be using for our test model. And so I’m just gonna give you a couple tips and, here we go.  All right so here we are, backing them to our campsite. So all you wanna do is just kinda line up and pick your spot that you want the camper to be on the campsite and then, go ahead and back ride up, onto the site.

    That looks pretty good right there. All right, so now that we’ve backed on, our desired spot on, our campsite at, at a local campground or wherever we might be camping this weekend. Good judges. I know we don’t have any trees right here in, in the gravel pit, but most campsites do have some trees. So how I judge the distance to my slide, for trees that may be in the area is I … I simply put my back against the camper and put my arm out.

    Now, the end of my fingers represents, a slide that’s fully out. So if there’s any trees close by, this is, a great way to kinda measure it with, all the stuff that you have available on you all times. So make sure there’s no trees in the way, end of the fingers is a good judge. Okay, here we are on our next step.  As you can see, I still have the trailer hooked to the truck and I’ve gone inside and I’ve actually run my slide out out.

    Now when we put a slide out out, that’s gonna shift the way on the trailer and actually make it lean to the slide outside a little bit. So we need to compensate for that when get to slide that out and we get on the slide to make this thing level. Now, on this camper here, I’ve installed a couple levels on the side that we can purchase, in the Pete’s RV Store, or Pete’s RV online. This just really helps level on the camper easy spots to see as we’re doing it on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

    So, I’m looking at my level here and it looks like we’re leaning a little bit to the slides, as I mentioned we may be. So what I’m going to do is, mark where my wheels are and I’m going to, pull the truck ahead a little bit and make some adjustments onto the wheels so we level this camper out. All right, so here we are in the back of our trailer. Now, I’ve marked my wheels and I’ve pulled the truck ahead just a hair because I’m gonna back up onto this block here to help level the camper out.

    Now a lot of people think that they can level a camper with a stabilization jacks. That’s not really the case. These guys are just more meant to stabilize the camper you know, give a stability once we are leveled. They’re not meant to lift the weight of the camper to compensate for the weight to slide the, transverses onto the side. So what a misconception there, but if you do it this way, you’re gonna be right and you’re not gonna hurt your jacks.

    So what I’m gonna do now is I’m gonna get back in the truck and I’m gonna back up onto this block here which will lift this side of the camper and hare, give us a nice level floor inside. All right, so as you can see, I backed the truck up now, with the trailer and we’ve backed it onto our tri-leveler and I’ve checked the levels in the front. So we’ve got our left to right level now. We’ve compensated for putting the slide out out.

    So what I wanna do at this point is go ahead and put my wheel chock in front of this wheel here so the trailer can’t low, roll forward once I unhook the chock. And once I unhook the chock, we can get our front to back level and then we’re gonna be camping. So as you can see here we’ve backed up on the tri-leveler and I have installed the wheel chock in front of the wheel. So when we unhook the trailer from the truck, we won’t roll forward.

    All right, so as you can see I’ve unhooked the truck from the camper and at this point, we’ve already got our left to right level as we saw a little bit earlier in the video. Now we wanna get our front to back level. So again the truck unhook from the camper. I’m gonna look at the level on the side right here and I’m seeing I’m sitting a little bit high in the front from unhooking from the truck. So I wanna go ahead and, use my tongue jack to lower the camper this works really easy than electric tongue jack as well. (Turns the tongue jack).

    So that looks pretty good right there. So now, we’ve got our left to right level, we’ve got our front to back level. We can go ahead and, put down the stabilization jacks. Okay, so here we are at the stabilization jacks if your camper has electric, stabilizes on it, you go ahead and run them down. This particular one here has the manual operation. I like to use, my screw gun with the appropriate size sucking on it. Run the jack to the ground and snag it up.

    So to finish up by running around to the other three jacks on the camper, I went ahead and put those down. So we’re a level after right, front to back, all the stabilizer down. We’re gonna be ready to start camping. Hope these tips helped you on getting a new unit onto your site and thanks for picking Pete’s RV and happy camping.

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.

How to Clean Your RVs Holding Tank Sensors

Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel Resident RV Expert Randy Murray discusses a multitude of ways to clean your gray/black water holding tank sensors, clearing all inaccurate monitor panel readings from your camper. Sometimes you may get a full tank reading on the monitor panel inside your camper even after you’ve dumped your gray and black tanks.

Randy notes that this is generally caused by a build up of waste materials or anything that might have made its way down the toilet. These items can block the sensors preventing the correct read out.

Randy provides a few preemptive approaches to make sure you won’t have to deal with that faulty reading. The first is making sure before you flush that you add extra water so the toilet paper (making sure you use RV toilet paper) won’t clump up or dry out to the inside of the tank walls, the next is making sure the tanks are as full as possible (making sure not to overfill) before they are dumped.

Randy suggests the use of a tank flush chock to assist in filling your holding tank before it’s dumped. The good news is that there are other tools for when all else fails.

The first one Randy recommends is what’s called an RV swivel stick, which he explains attaches to a hose and sprays around water at a high velocity to break down any tank buildup. Depending on whether you own a travel trailer or fifth wheel, a longer flexible version is available for the harder to reach holding tanks.

Lastly, filling up a 5 gallon bucket with hot water and pouring it down the toilet should help alleviate the issue by steaming away the blockage from the sensors.

Video Transcript for “How to Clean Your RVs Holding Tank Sensors | Pete’s RV Service Tips”

Hey guys, Randy with Pete’s RV TV again with you today. Another quick tip segment for you. Have you ever gone out on a camping weekend, and you’ve dumped your tanks after the weekend, and you come back into your camper, and you get a false reading on your black or your gray tank kind of like that.

Looks full and you know it’s not. You just dumped it. Well, I’m going to take you into the bathroom here in just a few minutes, and I’m going to show you a couple of tricks to alleviate that problem for you. So let’s go take a look into a bathroom.

Alright, so here we are in a bathroom at one of the RVs we have here at the shop at Pete’s RV Center. Kind of an awkward place to have a conversation or shoot a video, but here we are anyway. Good information. So as I was mentioning earlier at the monitor panel, you know you’ve dumped the tank but it’s still reading full on you monitor panel.

How this happens is we have black ABS plastic tanks underneath our RV which are our holding tanks, our waste water holding tanks. And we actually spin weld metal sensors into the side of those tanks and hook wires to them that go back to that monitor panel. So we use continuity of what’s in the tank. We especially see this happen on the black tanks because some slime, and some sludge, and whatever else we throw down the toilet gets caught up on those sidewalls and will actually give us that false reading.

So a couple important things I want you to do while you’re camping that will help alleviate this, or make it easier for you to clean it if the problem does arise. when you have solids or paper present in the toilet bowl, I need you to fill up that toilet bowl before you dump.

Obviously if you’re dry camping, this is going to be a little harder for you to do because you want to get as much longevity out of that tank if possible. But if we’re at a campground where we can dump whenever we like, this is a great way to do it. So if there’s solids or toilet present in there, I want to see you fill that bowl up with water. I want to get as much water as I can in that bowl before I dump.

What that’s going to do, is it’s going to do things for us. It’s going to put more water into the tank, and it’s also going to help solidify anything that we put in the tank in conjunction with our toilet chemical. Make sure you’re using the appropriate RV toilet paper.

Any toilet paper that is built for a chemical toilet will work on this. It breaks down a lot quicker than some of the household toilet papers we use for septic systems, so important to do that. So we just fill that guy up and dump it, as much water as we can. Most of your today’s toilets out there will have a way where you can step on it halfway and get some water to it, and that way we’re going to get as much into that tank as possible. If you do that that will help out.

The next thing you need to do, if it does arise, especially when you’re at the campground where you can dump where you want, we’ve got these couple of little options here that work really good. And a lot of today’s new units are coming with sewer sprays on them or some kind of tank wash spray that is hooked up to the side of the unit that actually sprays inside that tank.

Here’s a couple of options that we sell in our store. We call them swizzle sticks in the shop. Heh. You hook the garden hose to this end. It’s got a little on and off valve, and it’s actually got a sprayer that spins around at a very high rate of speed down here and will actually wash the side wall of your tank.

Here’s one that’s a little bit longer. If you own a fifth wheel, this is going to be tough to do because usually the tanks are very far away from the toilet, which are not in a travel trailer situation. So fifth wheels are a little bit tougher to do. So you can use those methods.

Another method that I use when I’m at the campground is before I leave, if my tanks are getting full, I’m going to fill that tank up with water. Now, be careful when you’re doing this because you don’t want to overfill the tank and have a mess or have it come up the toilet, but I want to fill that tank up. A lot of people I see at the dump station here at the dealership, they’ll bring a garden hose in or dump it.

You can also purchase one of these guys here. This is what my prep techs use when they are prepping a camper out to make sure everything’s working properly. They’ll drop that right in and it will keep the water on while it’s filling that tank. Again, make sure you keep an eye on that tank, because if this comes up through the toilet it’s not going to be a fun thing to clean up.

Once you’ve got that tank filled, let it sit for an hour or so. Maybe do it in the morning on the last day there, while you guys are picking up. Then go ahead and pull that valve. Now that water that’s in that tank is probably going to clean those sensors off. Sometimes I’ll even put a little chemical in there. That should clean it off, get everything taken care of for you in conjunction with one of those swizzle sticks there, and the extra water we put in. That should keep those tanks reading clean.

Now, if you have one that’s not … again, typically it’s the black but sometimes I do see it on the gray. You can fill up the gray the same way. Even put a little toilet chemical down the gray and it will help out with odors. Gray odors are just as bad as black odors. I’ve had tanks apart and they really stink. So pour a little toilet chemical down in that gray water you’re using before you dump as well. It’s not going to hurt anything, plus it will keep the sensors clean.

On the really hard to clean sensors, or if you have one now that’s been dirty for a long time and are reading full for a long time and you want to get that one done, warm water. I’ll take and fill up a five gallon bucket, and I’ll dump it down the toilet of an empty tank with, of course, the valve closed on the outside. And the steam from that warm water will actually help loosen up any solids that we might have stuck to one of those sensors inside the tank. I’ve done that on numerous occasions and had very well, great, success with that as well.

There is also product that you can purchase at an RV store that you can put. It’s called a tank sensor cleaner. I put that down in there, or toilet chemical cleaner, or toilet chemical works pretty well as well. And if it, again, it’s one of those tough ones, let it sit in there for 24 hours before you dump. Even if you’ve got to take it home and bring it to the RV dealer a day or two later after letting it sit in there. What that liquid is going to do is, it’s clean liquid, it’s going to just soften up all the material on the side of the tanks that may be giving us that false reading.

Now, on the rare occasion that doesn’t clean it out, you may need to add a new well nut or something on there. We do do that occasionally at the dealership. But those tricks that I’ve just shared with you, that gets it about 95% of the time. Hopefully, if you’ve got one of your tanks and you try my tricks, it’ll help you get that reading at empty so you can have an accurate, you know, know what’s going on in your tanks and know how full they are before you dump them. Really important with the black tank.

Once again, let it fill up as much as you can while you’re using the RV before you dump. This is going to help us evacuate the tank properly and can keep those tank sensors reading clean. And it’s also going to give the chemical enough time to break down the solids and break down the paper.

So use a lot of water if you can, if you’re not in a dry camping situation. If that doesn’t work for you and you still get a false reading, fill the tank up with water, let it sit for as long as you can before you dump. That should clear out. If it’s a real toughy, get yourself five gallons of hot water and dump it down that toilet. Let that sit around for a little while, and that’ll actually steam the sensors. And then you can go ahead and flush the tank really well. And you can try the products that I showed you earlier, the swizzle sticks and things like that.

So hopefully this helps you clean those tank sensors. Thanks again for stopping in, checking out our quick tips with Randy. And always check us out on our Facebook page, and we’d love to see you on the YouTube channel as well. Thanks for thinking of Pete’s RV and happy camping.

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.

How to Properly Use The Air Conditioner in Your Camper

On the Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel, Randy Murray gives a quick important lesson teaching us that air conditioners work by removing warm air and moisture from around the room, which then gets sucked outside leaving the room cooler.

In order to make sure your AC is running properly, Randy shows us how to remove and check the air filter to make sure there isn’t a buildup of dirt and dust hindering performance. Making sure the fan is on will increase efficiently with the AC system, as well as making sure that all doors, windows, and shades are closed to prevent heat from working its way back inside the camper.

Randy advises turning on the AC when temperatures are cooler (typically early morning) for optimal air flow and a cooler camper throughout the day. By using the quick cool option to restrict airflow from the ducts, the AC can effectively cool the room faster and when it reaches a temperature to your liking, airflow can be redirected back through the vents for everyone to enjoy.

To learn more from Randy and stay up to date on all things Pete’s RV be sure to visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Video Transcript | How to Properly Use The Air Conditioner in Your Camper
Randy: Hey guys, Randy with Pete’s RV TV today, another quick-tip segment for you. Today I’m going to talk about air conditioners and the proper way to use them. I’ve been taking a lot of calls around the country and we’re in the middle of our warm season in Vermont, the little warm season that we get up here in the northeast. But people are having trouble with their air conditioners freezing up. People are saying they’re not cooling properly for them. And sometimes that’s the case, but usually it’s operator error about 99 percent of the time.

When I went to RVIA school back a million years ago when I first started in the industry and got certified to do this kind of stuff, one of the first things they taught me about air conditioners is they don’t make cool. They remove heat and they remove moisture, as well. cool just happens to be a byproduct.

So, when we allow our coach to heat up inside, we go to the pool all day, we’re out shopping or doing, visiting the sights around the area and we’ve got the air conditioner off, we go back to our camper at 5 o’clock at night. It’s 100 degrees inside the camper. We turn that air conditioner on. That air conditioner actually has to pull the heat out of the carpet, out of the bedding, out of the couches, out of everything inside before we start to feel cool.

So what I want you to do is I want you to do is turn that air conditioner on in the morning. it’s a little bit cooler at night, so when it’s a little bit cooler at night, of course, the coach stays a little bit cooler. So when you get up in the morning set that thermostat at about 65 degrees, 67 degrees. Let’s maintain that cool from the night before. Now, if we never let our coach heat up, the air conditioner is going to have to work a lot less hard to maintain that cool and we’re actually saving energy.

The other thing that we want to do with our air conditioner, too, is while we maintain it while we’re using it is we want to make sure that the filters are clean. So we can remove that very easily on this guy here and we just want to take this guy out and make sure it’s vacuumed. If it starts to turn brown that usually means there’s a lot of dust.

Another thing that makes an air conditioner work very effectively for us, or makes them work better, is more air flow. So with a clean filter we can get more air through this air conditioner, especially on those [00:02:00] hot, humid days.

the other thing we’ll, we’ll want to do is we want to set our fan on high. I usually use the auto setting on mine, if you let the air conditioner run all day. Again, the more air that we’re moving, the more heat we can take out of the coach and expend outside and put the cold air back inside the coach. So fan definitely on high.

We also want to make sure our doors and windows and vents are closed. I went to a camper on a campground the other day. A lady says, “My air conditioner is not cooling very well. Can you take a look at it?” I went inside. I put my hand up to the air conditioner, it was cooling just fine. What she had was both of her doors were open. She had some vents open, a couple windows open. So what that air conditioner was doing was pulling the heat from the outside and just getting rid of that and returning it so it could never bring the temperature of the coach down because it was just kind of maintaining.

What these guys will do is they’ll actually do about a 20-degree air differential, air temperature differential. So, it sucks in here, blows out here or out through our vents, and it’s going to be about a 20-degree differential. Now, if it’s just pulling air from a door, it’s never going to really bring the temperature of the coach down, so make sure all windows and doors and vents are closed. and again, that high air flow moving through the air conditioner is going to get that heat escape faster and help us with freeze up a little bit, too. The moisture will actually pass over the evaporator coil a lot quicker and not have a tendency to grab on there.

Another thing, we just got to our campgrounds, its 5 o’clock at night, we’ve been traveling all day, inside the camper it’s very hot because it’s a hot day out, so you got to turn your air conditioner on to cool this guy down. Instead of forcing it through the vents, if you’ve got a ducted air conditioner, open up the quick-cool option. This way we’re going to get a lot of airflow and we’re going to cool the coach down a little bit quicker.

Once we bring the temperature down, we can go ahead and close this and we can go through the ducts. The ducts are going to restrict the airflow a little bit, but once we bring the coach down the air conditioner is running efficiently, then we can go ahead and put it through the vents in the ceiling.

So if you try out my quick tips here, run it on high, set it in the morning, let it run all day to keep that cool inside so we don’t have to remove all that heat from building up in the sun all day. Also, if you can close your shades and things [00:04:00] like that, keep the UVs down, that’s going to help out a lot as well.

But all these should help you make your air conditioner work a lot more effectively for you. Save a phone call to me and just have a better camping experience, keep you guys cool. Now, out there having fun, you get hot, you want to come into a cool area, at least I do, and it makes it a lot more fun when you’re drinking a soda or whatever while you’re watching TV, as well.

So thanks again for watching Pete’s RV with Randy today. keep an eye out for our quick tips. Join us on our Facebook page. Sign up [ 00:04:26] on Youtube and happy camping (laughs). Have a great one.

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.

How to Back Up a Camper

Backing up your travel trailer or fifth wheel can cause stressful and anxious moments when trying to navigate into a tight campsite or driveway. Have no fear! Pete’s RV-TV YouTube Channel Lifestyle Consultant Randy Murray is here to help sharpen your backing up skills.

For starters, always try to pull up to the camper’s final destination on the driver’s side. This allows you to get a better direct and mirror view as you back into a site or driveway. Before proceeding, park and get out of the vehicle to inspect your surroundings. Look for low lying obstacles such as stumps, branches, sink holes and drainage pipes. Inspecting your surroundings also ensures the camper is going to be set up in proper proximity to electrical, water and sewage hookups, and plenty of room to open slideouts.

Randy proceeds to demonstrate a backing up technique (with an Outback Terrain 299TBH) focusing on making the camper’s wheels the pivot point while steering, and then counter-steering as the camper begins to straighten. One of the best takeaways is to unhitch the camper and reposition the towing vehicle if your facing jack-knifing due to limited space for turning. It will save you the grief of pulling forward and back multiple times for minimal results (i.e. the scene from Austin Powers when he is trying to turn the golf cart around in the corridor of Dr. Evil’s lair!).

Video Transcript | How to Properly Use The Air Conditioner in Your Camper

Randy: Hey, guys. Randy with Pete’s RV TV here today. Today we’re on our way to the Lone Pine Campground in Malletts Bay, Vermont. We’re going to show you how to back up a camper and put it on the site. So we’ll be there in just a minute, and we’ll catch up with you then.

    Hey, here we are at beautiful Lone Pine Campground. They’re nice enough to let us use the site today. So, I’m just going to pull past my site. We’re going to be on site 31. I’m going to hop out and take a look at the site and see where I want to put this camper and then we’re gonna go right ahead back around the site.

    Okay, so what I’ve done at this point, and this is the easiest way to put your camper on the site, is I’ve driven past the site, and I’ve got the site on the driver’s side of the truck. I do that on purpose so I can see where the slide side of the off door-side of the camper is going, because that’s the side that we want to keep as far this way as possible to give us more real estate on the usable part of our site. So, if you can all, at all do that when you pull up to your campsite, try to keep the driver’s side on the, on the site’s side, not all the time you’ll be able to do that, but if you can it’s definitely going to work in your benefit.

    So, at this point I just kind of walk the site and see what I’ve got to, that I’ve got to avoid, or if there’s any trees in the way. We see we’ve got a big stump here. I see my power pedestals over here, so I’m gonna wanna keep my camper, keep in mind that I’ve got a slide that’s gonna go out, but I want to keep my camper as far this way as possible to give me as much real estate on that side, as I’ve mentioned before. So, this looks like a pretty open site, which most campsites are. We’ve just gotta contend with the stump there. My power cord’s gonna be in the back, so that’ll work out perfectly for me. So, I guess what I’m going to do now is just hop back in the truck, and see if we can negotiate this guy on the site.

    Hey, so I’m gonna pull ahead just a hair, and I’m going to kind of put the tail on my camper headed in the right direction that I want to back this guy up on. Now, very important at this point is remembering that our wheels are pivot point for our camper. So, that’s where the camper is going to turn, so I don’t want to watch the front of the camper or the back so much, I want to keep my eyes on the wheels. So, here we go.

    And sometimes when I’m driving a different truck, this truck’s working out pretty well, but sometimes I’ll even angle the mirror down so I can see the wheels a little bit better. Want to make sure I got nothing going on on the other side of me. I’m just letting the camper kind of do the job here, keeping an eye on both mirrors; and obviously turn the steering wheel the opposite way that you want the unit to go. And as you start getting close to where you want to be straight, that’s when you want to start counter-steering.

    We’re getting the unit on there pretty straight; nothing on the other side. Well, I think I’m gonna hit this one pretty good right off the bat. Now, if you’re finding that you’re not backing on straight, or you know, that the camper just keeps jackknifing on you a little bit, maybe don’t have enough room in front of the truck to get the truck out where you need it to to get you straight, you always can put the truck back in drive and pull forward and straighten the trailer out. So, if you’ve gone too far…too far past, and the camper’s going the wrong way, or the, the back end of the camper is gone too far the way you don’t want it to go, simply put the truck in drive and pull straight ahead, and that’s gonna straighten the unit out for you.

    So, we’re gonna just back this guy up here. And I think I’ve hit my mark. Now, this is the point where, if you’ve watched my leveling video, is where you want to get out and check the camper for level; so, that’s what we’re gonna do right now. Okay, so that first time went very easy because there’s not a whole lot of people in the park. So, now I’m gonna try to simulate a full park with cars and campers on my other side, and I’m gonna try to keep my vehicle on the road without going on the lawn over there like I did on the last pull-in.

    So, this time I’m going to start backing up a little bit sooner, so I’ve just got my camper kind of headed. And you can see, like with the camper headed, it’s gonna start to turn even with my truck straight. And the camper is just starting to turn more and more, so I’m gonna compensate just a hair now for it. Now, I’m really gonna jack-knife this camper, and try to swing this thing around. Now, I can start to turn my truck a little bit. So, I’ve stayed on the road for the most part, I’ve got my camper pretty straight, but you’ll see that the back end of the camper still wants to swing around because I don’t have enough room in front of the truck to get it to where I want to go, and this is where people mostly run into trouble.

    So, I’ve got a trick for this too. If I keep backing up my back end of my camper’s just gonna keep swinging where I don’t want it to swing. A lot people will go back and forth and back and forth and they never find that happy spot. So, what I’m gonna do at this point, is I’m just gonna stop the truck right here, and I’m gonna unhook the camper. Sounds crazy, but this would get you out of a pinch in a second.

    Okay, so as you can see we turned off the camera. I’m back … I unhooked the truck from the camper, I re-situated my truck, so now my truck is straight in line with the camper, and we can continue to back up on the site, and now we’re not gonna be jackknifing or having the camper off-angle on our site because I’ve now straightened the truck out, and that was out problem. So, I’m gonna hop back in the truck and finish backing up on the site, and we’re gonna be good to go here.

    Okay, so here we go. Back up for our final destination. If you got somebody with you, behind you to keep the, an eye out, not a bad idea. Think that looks good right about there. So, at this point I’m gonna get out and do a couple of the checks that I like to do just to make sure I’ve got enough room. That way we know we’ve got our stump here, so I’m gonna do my arm check. We’ve got plenty of room there. I’m right off my electrical box, my electrical cords gonna be here, so I’m within my 25 feet here. I think this looks like a great spot. I’m gonna run the slide-out out, and put, check the levels on the front of the camper, and see if we’re level and then we’re gonna take it from there.

    So, in a nutshell, a lot of people get intimidated by this, it’s a really simple process. Don’t care about anybody watching me. I’m just focused on what I’m doing. Does take a little bit of practice, you’re not gonna hit the mark on the first time out, but the more and more you do it, and the less you worry about other people watching you, the easier it’s gonna be for you. So, just follow my quick steps, make sure you watch your wheels, watch your mirrors, if you can’t get the camper exactly where you want, unhook the truck and re-situate the truck, and the next time you’ll be right on the site right where you want it.

    So, thanks again for watching Pete’s RV TV, with Randy today. New segment here for you, hopefully this’ll help with make your camping a little bit easier. Check out our other videos. Check out our YouTube channel, as well as our Facebook page. We’ve always got a great information on there as well. So, thanks again for watching Pete’s RV, and happy camping.

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.

Basic Camping Essentials

Basic Camping Essentials | Pete’s RV Quick Tips

PetesRV.com expert, Randy Murray provides an overview of basic camping essentials and the tools required to make your next trip safe, worry free, and fun!

Video Transcript for “Basic Camping Essentials | Pete’s RV Quick Tips”

Randy: Hey, folks. Randy with Pete’s RV TV here today. Another Quick Tip segment for you. I just want to take a couple minutes and show you some of the things that I bring me … with me when I go camping.

I take a lot of phone calls from customers that have small problems while they’re camping that do arise. and when I direct them on the best way to take care of that problem, they need a couple tools that, they may not have with them. So, if you put together a basic tool kit, when you go camping, leave it right in the camper, no problem whatsoever. We can talk you through most anything.

So, some of the things that I bring with me is, first of all, I always bring some sort of, like, source. Either something I can put on my head, or … This little guy right here in kinda neat. We sell him in the store. It’s got a magnet on the back, so we can stick it to a piece of metal in the camper where I’m working there. It’s got a hook on it and it gives me some light underneath the cabinet or in the front storage compartment or by the battery, cause nothing ever goes wrong in the daylight. It always happens at night, especially if you go camping with me.

So, a couple lights, which are nice to have, or even if you’ve got just a regular flashlight that you store, and keep charge in the camper. Another thing I bring is I’ve got a bag of fuses. So, every fuse … every camper has multiple different size fuses in them. So, I kind of got a bag of … Just, a variety of everything that I run into in a camper and a good thing to have with me. Roll of electrical tape. Never know (laughs) and you can fix most anything with electrical tape, if needed.

I also bring some crimp-connectors, which you can buy in a kit like at, your local, home goods store or something like that. And these are just if I have to re-attach a wire, or we have to shorten something up, or we have a mishap or something pulled loose. Just, to be able to make a crimp connection is nice. That will also work in conjunction with a pair of crimping pliers. And, again, sometimes the kits you purchase will come with an inexpensive pair of pliers that you can use, to get by for the weekend.

Now, most campers are built with, screws, obviously. And the type of screws they use are a square-tip, or a screw had has got a square tip, so you need a special square tip, to go to those screws. And that’s this guy right here, if Josh can pan in on it, and you’ll see I got a Phillips right next to it.

most people have a Phillips, because that’s what we have at home. Campers are a little odd, and they require that square tip. So, this tip that I purchased from, again one of the local box stores. It’s a Milwaukee kit. I think it cost like $20. It’s got everything I need in it. It’s got, screw acceptor for my screw gun. You will need a screw gun as well. and it’s got the square tips, it’s got fill-ups, it’s got a couple torques here, and it’s got spares of all, because if you lose them like I do, nice to have a spare. But anyway, for the cost of this kit, I think it’s just a great kit to (laughs) … I have one at home, and on my carry-around tool box that I do bring with me when I go camping.

Sheet-rock knife, or a box cutter. This one actually folds up like a jackknife. I actually carry this one with me all the time, right in the pocket of my pants, but, good to have. you never know when you’re gonna need that. Wire-strippers, and cutters. Again, if we have an electrical problem … A lot of times, we can talk you through it, or you can find it very easily yourself, but having a good pair of strippers on board, it makes that job a lot easier for us stripping that wire back.

I like to bring a couple pair of channel locks if I’ve got a plumbing issue, and usually I can get by with a bind if I got to tighten something up with a channel locks. And again, this can be purchased at your local box store. Christmas is a great time to pick this stuff up because they’ve usually got kits on sale, relatively low price. And you don’t need the best ones. A lot of these tools are very expensive tools. This is how I make my living. You don’t need the best tools for your basic kit that you keep in your camper.

I usually will carry a Phillips and a regular screwdriver. These are like mid-size so they’re pretty much good for almost every application, unless it’s something specific. we’ve already talked about the crimpers. I do carry a pair of side cutters with me. Sometimes these are just a little easier to make a cut close to something or pull a staple out that may be in our carpet or what have you. But, again, pair of side cutters.

Needle nose. You can always get yourself out of a bind with a pair of needle nose. Especially, when you drop something in that spot that my little fat fingers can’t get into. Needle nose, it makes it very easy for that. there is some neat, small kits out there. Again, the big box store, Sears, all of them have kits that have couple different size open end box wrenches. This is one of the ones I carry in the small kit that I have that’s all over my toolbox cause I left it open. i also bring a couple of adjustable wrenches with me as well. Reason for the adjustable wrenches is, they’re adjustable. We can use them for almost any size, anything to get you out of a bind.

Again, these aren’t tools to, you know, fix the problem per se, but enough to get us by for the weekend before you can get it in for service and get it ap- repaired appropriately. an electrical tested. This particular one right here is for 120 volt power. Pretty much, I’m just going to plug it into the outlet and it’ll tell me if my power is good, tell me if it’s wired properly, and tell me if power is present. So that’s a good one. I take phone calls a lot where, “My TV’s not working.” “Well, do you have power at the outlet?” “I don’t know, Randy.” (laughs) well, I’m gonna- Having you plug something else in, but if you’ve got a quick electrical tester to plug it in, then you can tell me.

This guy right here is for checking 12 volt power. It’s called a stab tester, 12 volt tester. We’d hook this into ground or anything pretty much metal on the camper and then we can test our fuses with this guy here. I’m gonna have Josh pan in on one of these fuses here. This is a great way to test our fuses so if you can pan right in on that and see the two metal tabs on either side of the 40 there, Josh. Each one of those is a test point so I can test if I’ve got power coming in in the fuse and I can test if I’ve got power going out of the fuse.

So when you’re looking at a whole fuse panel and you’re trying to determine which one is the one for your furnace or your LP detector, something like that, which is labeled incorrectly, by testing both sides, as well as the fuses, we can quickly determine whether one is blown or not. And again, we would do that in conjunction with this tester here. This will also test if we’ve got power at breakers and things like that on the 12 volt side of things so when you call me up and tell me that your slide outs not going out, I’m going to ask you if you’ve got 12 volt power to the breaker going through the breaker to the slide out. This is a great way to test that.

This is another tester that I carry with me. Kind of [00:06:00] on the same lines of this one here, but I can actually put this next to any wire and it’ll tell if it’s 120 volt wire and it’ll tell me if I have voltage present rather than putting it into an outlet. It’s called a [wiggie 00:06:09] tester.

Multimeter. This is what I love for customers to have cause we can do all sorts of testing with this guy here. Not everyone’s gonna put this, in their tool box that they keep in their camper because these can be a little bit more pricey, but if you’ve got like an inexpensive version of this and one of these, which aren’t too bad, we can usually get by anything.

So anyway, there’s just some of the tools that I bring with [00:06:30] me camping and, again, enough to get you out of trouble in a pinch. maybe not make the final repair, but definitely continue on with your camping weekend if you are having a small problem. So, just wanted to share that with you guys and if you’re looking for presents for Father’s day, birthdays, or even Christmas, great time to put this little tool kit together and can be done for relatively, inexpensive on the Father Day, on the Christmas side of things, cause that’s when we see a lot of tools on sale at our local box store. So, thanks for watching Quick Tips with Randy today. look forward to seeing you on the road and happy camping.

The video of this presentation by Pete’s RV Center is available at: https://youtu.be/ayHDTJQinGw?list=PL90E8009ADFC48C0F

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.