7-way – 7 pole RV Travel Trailer Connector Wiring Color Code

Pictured below is the RV 7-way flat-pin umbilical connector, also called the 7 pole plug, which is the connector style most commonly used on RV travel trailers and fifth wheels This connector is made by many companies but they are supposed to be interchangeable and the wiring color code is observed among the various brands.

7 way RV plug image

As you can see in the illustrations below the back side of the connector body is labeled at each terminal. The labels are listed below with the function assigned to that pin.

When wiring the tow vehicle connector… with the exception of 96-98 Ford and Dodge pickups and SUV’s with factory installed trailer wiring… wire color alone should not be relied on, always test and match the function to the appropriate terminal.

Most RV travel trailers are wired to match the 7 pole plug connector colors but they should be tested when replacing a connector to be sure the function matches the terminal.

It should be noted below that the center terminal is labeled as an auxiliary circuit but is most commonly used for backup lights not as a ground terminal as many try to use it.

 7-way RV Tow Vehicle Connector Wiring Color Code

# Color Gage Circuit Function connector interior 1 white 10 common ground Tow Vehcle Connector Wiring Code 2 blue 12 electric brake 3 green 14 tail/running lights 4 black 10 battery charge (+) 5 red 14 left turn/stop 6 brown 14 right turn/stop 7 yellow 14 auxiliary/back up NOTE: #7 is the center terminal and currently is most commonly used for backup lights.

7-way RV Travel Trailer Connector Wiring Color Code

# Color Gage Circuit Function connector interior 1 white 10 common ground 7-way RV Connector Wiring Code 2 blue 12 electric brake 3 green 14 tail/running lights 4 black 10 battery charge (+) 5 red 14 left turn/stop 6 brown 14 right turn/stop 7 yellow 14 auxiliary/back up NOTE: #7 is the center terminal and currently is most commonly used for backup lights.

You may also want to read: Emergency Flasher for RV Travel Trailer Marker Lights

RV Tow Vehicle Basics… weight ratings, tow packages & hitches

Most pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans can be equipped to tow an recreational vehicle trailer. However, selecting an appropriate RV tow vehicle and the proper equipment to tow an RV trailer depends on the type of trailer and its size and weight.

There are numerous types of recreational vehicle trailers… including travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, and folding camping trailers. And these RVs come in all sizes and weights.

If you already have an RV tow vehicle, check the owners manual and review the manufacturers guide to see if if can tow the size and kind of trailer you want to tow. Look up its tow rating… the size, maximum loaded weight, and maximum tongue weight of a trailer that the tow vehicle is capable of towing. The vehicle owners manual contains these specifications.

If you are buying a tow vehicle, most automotive manufacturers make available to their dealerships printed towing specification guides with tow ratings and detailed information regarding extra equipment needed to tow a trailer. Never, ever, take a salesman’s, mechanic’s or any other persons word… ask for a read the manufacturers printed material.

You should understand that even though your neighbors 3/4 ton pickup can tow the trailer of your dreams it doesn’t mean your 3/4 pickup will. Tow vehicles equipped with a manufacturer’s tow package will most likely be rated to tow a substantially larger and heavier trailer than a similar vehicle not so equipped.

A manufacturer’s towing package upgrades a standard model and may include a heavy duty radiator, battery, flasher system, alternator, suspension, and brakes, as well as an engine-oil cooler, transmission-oil cooler, wiring harness, trailer brake controller, specific rear axle ratio, and special wheels and tires.

trailr hitch receiverTowing packages often include the trailer hitch receiver, which is mounted to the tow vehicle, but towing packages rarely include the draw bar, (sometimes called a ball mount), and hitch ball.

trailer hitch draw bar and hitch ball The draw bar is a separate assembly on which the hitch ball is mounted. The draw bar then slides into the hitch receiver on the tow vehicle and is secured with a locking pin.

The front part of the trailer that hitches to the tow vehicle is referred to as the tongue. At the end of the tongue is a coupler into which the hitch ball is inserted and secured.

A manufacturer may offer different towing packages to safely tow various sizes and types of trailers. Towing packages indicate both equipment that must be installed on your tow vehicle and equipment that is optional or recommended. For example, not all trailers require the tow vehicle to be equipped with extended side-view mirrors. But if you are towing a trailer that is wider than your tow vehicle, you will need extended side-view mirrors to see rear and side-approaching traffic. Also, a tow package suitable for towing an RV travel trailer may not be equipped to tow a fifth-wheel RV.

You may also want to read These Articles:
Why You Should Know Your RV Travel Trailer Weight
How to Weigh Your Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel RV
RV Tow Vehicle & Travel Trailer Preventive Maintenance Tips

RV Tire Care – the Basics for Motorhomes, Fifth Wheels & Travel trailers- RV Basics .com

There are two primary factors that affect tire life: proper application and good maintenance.

For most of us choosing the right tires for our motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer is easy, we use the size and type of tires originally installed by the RV manufacturer. However, while the tires installed by the manufacture may be adequate, they may not provide a sufficient margin of safety if the RV is loaded to the maximum GVWR.

To know if your tires are the right ones for your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer it’s important to compare the fully loaded weigh of your RV to the weight rating of the tires. Ask your RV tire dealer or the RV tire manufacture for a weight rating chart for your tire brand and model. Most manufactures also have these charts on their web sites.

When it comes to maintenance, keeping your RV tires inflated to the proper pressure is the most important thing you can do to insure their long life. Follow the guidelines in your RV owner’s manual if you have one. If you don’t have an owners manual then asked an expert, either a good tire man or your RV service tech.

The maximum pressure allowed for a tire is embossed on the side wall. That’s the maximum pressure when the tire is cold. It’s okay for it to be over that by as much as 10 psi if tire pressure is checked while hot. The proper pressure for your RV tire may not be the maximum tire pressure. The right pressure is determined by the weight carried by each tire on the RV and the pressure recommend by the tire manufacture for that weight.

Running a tire in an over pressure condition will cause uneven tread wear and may damage the constuction of the tire enough to cause a blowout.

Running a tire in an under pressure condition will also cause uneven tread wear and can cause damage to the side walls of the tire resulting in a blowout. Keep in mind that a tire can loose as much 1 psi per month and as little as 5 psi can make a difference in the load carrying capacity of a tire. So, it’s especially important to check your tire pressure before taking your rig on that first trip of the season. Then check tire pressure once a month.

Improper inflation pressure isn’t the only thing that can cause unusual tread wear. It may also be caused by a mechanical problem such as wheel alignment, a bent wheel or an unbalanced tire. I’m not going to go into the different tread wear patterns and what problems they indicate. It’s enough to say that if you spot unusual tread wear it’s time to see a mechanic. If you’re not sure what you are looking at is unusual then check with a mechanic or tire shop.

The amount on tread on an RV tire is not the best indication of the it’s condition. While some RVers put lots of miles on their rigs and may actually use all the tread on a tire most of us don’t get to travel that much. We maynever wear all the tread off the tires before they need to be replaced.

Ozone is the biggest natural cause of tire failure. Ozone is a gas which causes the rubber to become brittle which results in surface cracks which, over time, become wider and deeper.

Tire manufactures do not recommend any type of dressings or cleaners other than soap and water and say that keeping your tires clean is the best thing you can do to minimize ozone damage.

If you do use tire dressings they should not contain petroleum products or alcohol.

Since high temperatures and ultraviolet light accelerate this destructive process, covering your tires when not in use will also help prolong their life.

Tire manufactures recommend replacing tires five to seven years old. You can determine the age of your tires by looking for the serial number embossed on the side wall. Look at the last four digits. The first two of the four is the week of the year. The last two digits are the year the tire was manufactured. So, the number 0209 would indicate the tire was made in the second week of 2009. So if you have purchased an older RV check the date on your tires or ask your tire dealer. With the complete serial number they can determine how old your tires are.

Long Term Tire Storage & Care

Long term tire storage, or storage of seasonal use recreational vehicles requires special preparations. RVs should be raised on blocks, if possible, so weight is removed from the tires.

If blocking is not possible, tire pressure should be increased 25% from inflation required for the loaded vehicle. But do not exceed the maximum psi.The RV storage area should be level and well drained. Care should be taken to avoid prolonged tire contact with petroleum based substances: oils, fuels and asphalt.

The RV should be moved every three months to prevent flat spotting and ozone cracking at the tire sidewall flex point. Flat spots usually disappear, when the tires warm-up, after a 25+ mile drive. Flat spotting, which occurs on vehicles not moved for six, or more months may not disappear.

Tires on motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheels stored out-of-doors, should be protected by opaque covers to prevent damage from sunlight.

If it’s time for new tires for your RV, car or truck, consider new BFGoodrich tires installed by a trusted dealer.

One last RV tire care tip:

If you use leveling blocks under your tires the blocks should be large enough so the entire foot print of the tire will fit on them. If you have a dual wheel axle both tires must be completely supported. If you have a multiple axle trailer the tires on the side being raised should be supported equally.

You may also want to read: Determining RV Tire Age by Date Code and
Quick Tips for Exterior Care of your Motorhome, Fifth Wheel or Travel Trailer

Used RV Parts & RV Salvage Yards – Parts for Motor Homes, Travel Trailers & Fifth Wheels

ALL RITE EXTERIORS – 1500 Shelton, Hollister, CA 95023; (800) 262-6541. Collision-repair parts for all types RV exteriors.

ALL SEASONS RV – 10191 Government Way, Hayden, ID 83835; (208) 772-6581. A supply of new and obsolete Onan generator and engine parts, as well as manuals. E-mail: seasons@dmi.net.

ALL RITE EXTERIORS – 1500 Shelton, Hollister, CA 95023; (800) 262-6541. Collision-repair parts for all types RV exteriors.

ALRETTA TRUCK PARTS INC – Bldg#5B, Second Flr., One Watson Place, Framingham, Ma. 01701 ; ph. 508-788-9409 ; fax 508-788-9499. Manufacturer and Distributor of Dodge motorhome Class A and Class C service brake system parts including rotors, drums, friction materials, calipers, wheel cyl’s, hoses, hardware, and related parts. Also supplied for Ford and Chevy chassis. Inquire by phone or e-mail: brakeparts@mac.com

AMERICAN VINTAGE TRAILER & SCOOTER COMPANY – Los Angeles, CA (323) 932-1406. Specialize in restoring and renting pre-1950 trailers. Extra used vintage trailer parts, especially 1950’s Airstreams and pre-1950 Spartans. E-mail: trailergod@earthlink.net

ARIZONA RV SALVAGE – 2737 W. Lincoln, Phoenix, AZ 85009; toll free: (877) 824-8242, (602) 272-0301; fax: (602) 272-3072. New and used plumbing, cooling, lighting, appliances, windows, doors, holding tanks, hubs, rotors, axles, running gears and rear ends. Vast inventory, will ship nationwide.

ARRINGTON’S RVs – PO Box 209 Addison, AL 35540 (256) 747-2222 FAX (256)747-4482

BOB’S USED RV PARTS – RT 2 BOX 1145 High Springs, FL 32643 Phone: (386) 454 5733 Wide selection of used RV parts, we buy wrecked RVs.

BONTRAGER’S SURPLUS RV PARTS – 18719 E. US 12, White Pigeon, MI 49099; (269) 483-7017; fax: (616) 483-7786. Refrigerators, ranges, hot water heaters, furnaces.

BRANDON’S AUTO SALVAGE – Balrico FL (800) 282-7462 all types of RV parts for all types of RV

C & G TRAILER SERVICE – 9241 Sonrisa Street, Bellflower, CA 90706; (800) 662-3790. Authorized Airstream service center. Established in 1964. E-mail: cgtrailer@aol.com

CAMP TRAILER PARTS 2287 Millville Road, Lapeer, MI 48446; (810) 664-3080. Specializing in parts for Apache pop-ups.

CAMPER & RECREATION INC / Canvas Replacement division – W2299 State Hwy 98, Loyal, WI 54446; (800) 232-2079, (715) 255-8142; fax: (715) 255-9332. New canvas or vinyl tents for any pop-up, any year, any make or model. Lift system parts & replacement kits and other hard-to-find parts for pop-ups. E-mail: Info@CanvasReplacements.com

CAMPING WORLD – For inquiries regarding hard-to-find parts for such items as awnings and air-conditioners, call (800) 626-5944 and ask for Tech Services.

CINNABAR ENGINEERING INC – 116 Orval Street, Sandusky, MI 48471; (800) 720-2227. All original GMC motorhome parts and publications are distributed under license from General Motors Corporation. E-mail: GMCMH@aol.com

COLAW RV SALAVAGE – I-44 at exit 22, Carthage, MO 64836;Toll Free 877-548-2125. 80 acres of hundreds of RVs in stock for new/used/surplus parts.

COOPER RV SALVAGE 1300 Thornton St. Elkhart, IN 46514 (219) 293-3027 All types of parts for all types of RVs.

Cranes R.V. Refrigeration Inc – 25 California St., Vallejo CA, 94590 Tel: 707-552-0337 -Fax: 707-552-0929 Toll Free: 800-309-0535 Rebuilt RV refrigerators, cooling units, and used hard to find parts for rv refrigerators. email: Allan@CranesRV.com

Creative Coach Collision Repair and Design Center – 8250 State Road 33N, Lakeland FL 33809; 888) 234-3439, (863) 984-3439; fax: (863) 984-1876. Quality collision repair, custom paint, interior renovation, engine/trans/gen servicing, cabinetry, flooring, ceramic roof coating. Authorized warranty center for most manufacturers. Insurance claims specialists. email: contact@creativecoach.com.

DCM Company – a div. of RV Marketing, Inc. 2016 Borneman Avenue Elkhart, Indiana 46517
USA Toll-free 1-888-303-8570 Phone 574-294-6989 Fax 574-294-7599 customerservice@dcmco.com Serving the repair industry with repair parts and replacement glass and windows for van conversion repair; and motor home, motorhome, windshields and RV windows.

DIXIE TRAILER SUPPLY RV PARTS & SERVICE – 4135 N. Dixie Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334; (305) 565-9210. In business 27 years. New and hard-to-find trailer and RV parts.

D.T.I. INC. PARTS UNLIMITED – 304 N. Main, Middlebury, IN 46540; (800) 289-0919, (219) 825-5858. Reconditioned/scratch and dent appliances. RV appliance parts.

EDWARDS MOTORS – 4029 Central Avenue, Lake Station, IN 46405; (219) 962-4772. Specialize in mechanical renovation of older Dodge-powered motorhomes.

ELKHART SURPLUS SALVAGE – 28301 US 33 West, Elkhart, IN 46516; (219) 295-8903.

ELECTREX 108 E. Sherman Hutchinson, KS 67501(620) 669-9966 Custom manufacturing of electrical wiring harnesses, electrical assemblies, switch panels, clock panels and misc. electrical devices for vans and RVs.

FACTORY RV SURPLUS 1611 West Bristol Street Elkhart, IN 46514 (800) 325-1461 (574) 262-3327 johnnysurplus@gmail.com

FOREIGN ENGINE SERVICE – 5811 S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, Portland OR 97206; (503) 771-2526, (800) 349-3778. Parts and repairs for the LeSharo and Phasar motorhomes. Available stock for almost anything that is drive train related, including transmissions, engines and most related components.

GIANT RECREATION WORLD – 13906 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden, FL 34787; (800) 654-8475, (407) 656-6444. Three locations with more than 1 million dollars in parts inventory. E-mail technical assistance online by RVIA-certified technicians. Hundreds of appliance manuals and service prints available. E-mail: grwparts@giantrec.com

GRABER INDUSTRIES INC – 19100 Fairchilds Road, Constantine, MI 49042; (616) 279-5288. Obsolete and new RV parts and supplies, as well as building materials, carpeting and plumbing.

GMC Motorhome Parts Call 636-931-8282 – Committed only to the GMC motorhome. Offering parts for you classic palace on wheels.

HARMONY ENTERPRISES. 704 Main Avenue N., MN 55939; (507) 886-6666. Components available for any Harmony roof-lift system. Heco camper canvases are available for Palomino, Puma, Trade Winds, Winnebago and many more.

HOLIDAY ON WHEELS. Route 22, Patterson, NY 12563; (800) 416-0544. Dodge parts available for 1969-86 (M300-M600). Large inventory. Part numbers helpful.

HOWELL’S RV APPLIANCE REPAIR. 11366 N. Woodside Avenue, Santee, CA 92071; (619) 441-0066. New, used and reconditioned RV appliances.

ICKE’S RV SURPLUS. 701 W. Huntington Street, Montpelier, IN 47359; (317) 728-5668. New/surplus RV parts. In business 29 years. Four warehouses. UPS nationwide delivery.

INLAND RV PARTS AND SERVICE. 391 Elizabeth Lane, Corona, CA 91720; (800) 877-7311. Parts for older Airstream trailers.

LA PORTE’S PARTS DISTRIBUTORS 2444 N. Fifth St. Hartsville, SC 29550 (803) 332-0191 Unique inventory of new and obsolete heating, air conditioning and appliance parts; Duo therm, Coleman etc. Wholesale only – Please have your dealer contact them for you.

LOETSCHER AUTO PARTS – 4306 S.R. 574 West Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-3770

MATHER AUTO WRECKING, Sacramento, (800) 822-6110 buy Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Mitsubishi wrecks. Specialize in Dodge motorhomes.

MARTY MOORE’S INC. – 4019 Hicock Street, San Diego, CA 92110; (619) 299-3720; fax: (619) 299-1850. Complete RV repair and parts supplier. Large supply of new and rebuilt parts for Revcon Motorhomes. Will ship nationwide. martysrv@sbcglobal.net

MASTER TECH – 27575 CR 24, Elkhart, IN 46517; (219) 522-6224; fax: (219) 522-6302. OEM parts, manufacturer/distributor of RV components. E-mail: mastertechrv@qtm.net.

MIDWEST SALVAGE – 1700 N. State Road 5, Shipshewana, IN 46565; (219) 825-9822.

MOBILITY RV – P.O. Box 85, Hanlontown, IA 50444-0085, (800) 933-7742, (515) 896-2222; fax: (515) 896-2223. Winnebago/Itasca dealer and mail-order parts help. Specialize in LeSharo-Phasar.

NATIONAL RECOVERY SERVICE INC – P.O. Box 310, Liberty, NC 27298; (336) 622-7285. Rebuilds damaged RVs, engines, nose/tail cones, differentials, transmissions, and stock new and old hard-to-find parts.

NORTHWEST RV SUPPLIES – 86325 College View Drive, Eugene, OR 97405 – 866-678-7467 – Fax:541-736-5573 – New, Used, Surplus & Used RV parts. Monaco, Countrycoach, Safari and many more. Ships to US & Canada

QUALITY COACH (Div. Rec Ve Inc.) – Stump Road & Commerce Drive, Montgomeryville, PA 18936; (215) 643-2211. Appliances, interiors, brakes and hitches, as well as other parts available for Cortez, Dodge RV chassis, FMC, Revcon and others.

RV Doctor George 1142 Dixieanne Avenue Sacramento CA 95815 Email: doc@rvdoctorgeorge.com (916) 927-7837 Fax (916) 927-3866

RV Parts Outlet – 9620 SW Tualatin/Sherwood Rd; Tualatin, OR 97062 email: sales@rvpartsoutlet.com 866-333-0999

RV SPECIALISTS INC – 11865 S.W. Highway 54, Augusta, KS 67010; (316) 775-3098. RV repair service that has a good source of RV siding material.

RVS CORP – Recreational Vehicle Services. 10900 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill, CA 95037; (800) 821-2266, (408) 779-3173. Parts available for 1973-76 FMC 2900R; all molds, tooling, dies, fixtures, large parts inventory. Original parts and services and owner’s manuals.

SHAW & CO. 6374 State Rd. 303 Albuquerque, NM 87105 (505) 877-8949 Mainly trailers and large appliances.

State Line Salvage – 51027-2 State Road 13, Middlebury, IN 46540; (574) 825-7540. Van seats, tires, VCRs, TVs, drink trays, consoles and miscellaneous van/RV accessories.

Structural Composites of Indiana – 1118 Gerber Street, Ligonier, IN 46767 (206) 894-4083 Fiberglass replacement parts for Carriage RV brand travel trailers and fifth wheels. dana@scindiana.com

Todd’s RV & Marine – 2918 N. Rugby Road, Hendersonville NC 28791 Phone: 800-438-5858 Old stock new hard to find parts for Dometic, Norcold, Surburban and other appliances plus some body parts for Winnebago, HRC, Dutchmen. Contact: Jerry Chumbley

Vintage Campers LLC 2574 S. Strawtown Pike, Peru, IN 46970 Phone 765-473-8088 Specializing in all brands of riveted construction trailers from the 40s, 50s and 60s. We offer vintage trailer sales, restoration services, new, salvaged and reproduction vintage trailer parts. E-mail dan@vintagecampers.com

Vintage Trailer Supply (802) 225-8940 Hard to find parts for those who are restoring AirStream, Shastas, Serro Scottys, Spartans and dozens of other brands of vintage travel trailers.

Visone Auto Mart 243 Fields Lane, East Bernstadt, Ky 40729 – 606-843-9889 — Used RV parts. Specialize in rebuildable insurance salvage and repairable motorhomes.

VANDERHAAG’S INC – 3809 Fourth Avenue W., Spencer, IA 51301; (800) 831-5164, (712) 262-7000. Oshkosh and Winnebago surplus parts, plus new and rebuilt engines, transmissions, rear ends, wheels, manifolds and rotors. Installation available on all parts. Free mailer available.

WALT’S RV SURPLUS – 372 Tullock, Rialto CA 92376 – (909) 421-1107 – fax (909) 421-1883 Buy & Sell New, Used, Salvage, Overstock and Discontinued RV parts. Hard to find and Discontinued Parts a Speciality. info@waltsrvsurplus.com

WELLER AUTO – 2525 Chicago Drive, Grand Rapids, MI 49509; (616) 538-5000; fax: (616) 538-4159. Wrecked RVs – gas/diesel. Specializing in driveline components, new and rebuilt motorhome driveshafts, used engines, used/rebuilt transmissions, brakes, rotors, drums, Chrysler exhaust manifolds, ratio changes and axles. Also, generators, appliances, roof airs, glass, etc.

WINDOW COMPONENTS MANUFACTURING INC – (800) 382-9541, (305) 688-2521.

If you know of other sources and would like to see them listed here or if you find a bad listing, please contact Steven@RVbasics.com

You may also want to read: Owners Manuals and Service Manuals for Motorhomes, Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels Rvs

RV Roof Care and Maintenance – the Basics

The roof on your recreational vehicle is just as important as a roof on any landlocked house. It protects you and your home from some of the destructive forces of nature, Part-timers, as well as fulltimers, need to plan regular maintenance for the tops of their RVs. Proper roof maintenance will keep your rig snug and dry. Two types of roofing materials are generally used on recreational vehicles: metal and rubber.

Metal RV Roofs:

Metal roofs, usually aluminum, are found on many older motorhomes, travel trailers and fifthwheels. Regular cleaning and inspection are all that is generally required. I use regular automotive wash and wax, and clean our roof one or two times a year… depending on trees we’ve parked under, how long we stayed under them and what they dropped, or dripped, onto our roof. The birds that live in those trees make a difference also.

Black streaks down the sides of your rig are caused by run-off from the dirt, bird droppings, fallen leaves and other stuff that decays and is washed off the roof of your RV during light rains and heavy dew. Regular cleaning of your roof, especially just before the rainy season starts, will go a long way toward eliminating the cause of black streaks.

You may want to clean your RV’s roof more often than three or four times a year if you regularly park under sap dripping trees, fruit trees, trees that attract a large bird population or places where harsh environmental fall-out may settle on your roof. If allowed to stay on your rig for an extended period of time these conditions may result in unremoveable stains.

Rubber Roofs:

If your motor home, travel trailer or fifthwheel was made in the last few years, chances are it has a rubber roof. It’s not the natural latex rubber we normally think of though. It’s a material called Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) which is specially made for roofing. EPDM rubber roofing membrane is made to last 20 years or longer and usually has a 10 to 12 year guarantee, depending on the brand.

EPDM manufacturers advise that rubber roof membranes do not require the use of any protective roof treatment or roof protector product. The only maintenance recommended is cleaning the roof four times a year.

If you have owned a rig with an EPDM roof for a few years, you’ve no doubt noticed that the roof surface is chalky. Manufacturers say not to worry, this is a normal process of age and, and that even after 10 years, only 10 percent of the material is lost due to chalking. Plenty of roof is left.

Regular cleaning will reduce chalk buildup and minimize white streaks on the sides of your RV. The correct cleaning product is of great importance for your EPDM rubber roof. Never use cleaners or conditioners containing petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives or citric based cleaners on your EPDM roof. Using such solvents will cause irreparable damage and will most likely void your warranty. If you are uncertain about what is in the product, don’t use it. Of course each EPDM manufacturer recommends using their own brand of cleaner, but all approve the use of mild laundry detergent.

While EPDM rubber roofing does not need to be protected from ultra violet rays (UV ) and ozone, the manufacturers do approve 303 Aerospace Protectant as a safe way to resist staining and make future cleaning easier.

To reduce the expense, you may want to treat the whole roof once a year and do only the part of the roof that can be seen from the ground the rest of the time.

After the roof is clean and before you climb down, be sure to inspect all the roof seams, around vents, etc., to make sure the caulking is still in good condition. While you1re up there you might as well check the condition of all vent covers, the air conditioner cover and the TV/satellite antenna, etc.

You may also want to read: RV Black Streaks – How to Clean Them and RV Care Tips

Is it Safe to Travel with My RV Refrigerator on Propane?

By Steven Fletcher

Driving your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer with the RV refrigerator on while traveling is definitely okay as long as you operate on 120 volt AC or 12 volts DC assuming your unit has the capability to do so. To operate on 120 volts you will need a generator or inverter. RVers with motorhomes frequently run their generators so that they can use their RV’s air conditioner, TVs, Microwaves etc. They can also operate the refrigerator.

To operate on 12 volts DC, check with your RV mechanic to make sure your alternator and batteries will handle the extra load.

Remember, when you park the rig for more than a few minutes the rig must be level or the refer must be turned off to avoid damage to the refrigerator.

There is an ongoing debate about whether or not to travel with the refrigerator operating on propane.

After hearing both sides of the debate, I can tell you that there is no real consensus and both sides are adamant in their beliefs. As far as I can tell there is no right or wrong answer, it’s up to you to decide. Here are the arguments

Many RVers can see no danger in running the refrigerator on propane while on the road. They say they have traveled for years with no problems whatsoever. They point to the safety of propane powered vehicles and argue that we travel with tanks full of gasoline which is much more dangerous. Generally it is legal to travel while using propane, but keep in mind that it is illegal to have any open flames while near a service station fuel pump. And some tunnels and bridges may have restrictions too.

Other RVer’s, claim that traveling with the propane on is a disaster waiting to happen. They argue that in an accident a broken propane line could increase the possibility of fire, even an explosion. For them the only safe way to travel is with the propane tank valves closed!.

You may not have to travel with your refrigerator on at all.

If you travel less than four to five hours a day you can turn your refrigerator off and it will still stay cold enough to keep your food fresh. You can even open the door to get lunch or a cold drink if you don’t open it too many times.

If you decide to travel with the refrigerator off here are some tips for keeping things cold.

  • Start the refrigerator the day before you plan to travel.
  • Put cold soft drinks and beer etc. in the refrigerator the night before.
  • Pack the refrigerator full. Use the cold drinks to fill space.
  • Pack the freezer full.
  • Make sure everything is cold before you turn the refrigerator off.
  • Plan ahead… know what you want before you open the door and get everything you want at one time.

You may also want to read: Keeping Your RV Refrigerator Cool… the Basics

Keeping Your RV Refrigerator Cool… the Basics

RV refrigerators don’t work the same way your home unit does. Your RV unit uses heat to start a chemical reaction which, through evaporation and then condensation, cools the cold box. The primary heat source for RV refrigerators is a small propane burner. Many units include a 120 volt AC electric heating element for use when the RV is hooked up to curbside shore power. When you are not hooked up, obviously you will need to operate on propane. In camp, with shore power, it’s a matter of choice as to which you use; propane or 120 volt. You may prefer electricity simply because it increases the time between propane fill-ups. But a refrigerator uses very little propane compared to a water heater or furnace.

Some refrigerators installed in motorhomes also have a 12 volt DC heating element. These are often referred to as three-way refrigerators… propane, 120 vAC and 12 vDC. The 12vDC heating element draws several amps and can discharge a battery in a short time. Therefore three-way refrigerators are usually found in motorhomes and are intended to allow the unit to be operated while traveling. Remember, when the engine is not running the battery is not being charged by the alternator. Also, make sure the alternator in your vehicle is large enough to power all the lights, charge the batteries and operate the refrigerator.

It is important to keep an RV refrigerator level during operation to avoid irreparable damage. This is especially important in older units… pre 1986 or so. For newer refrigerators it’s only necessary to keep it reasonably level… if your motor home, travel trailer or fifth wheel is comfortable then the refrigerator is likely level enough. Before you use your refrigerator for the first time place a small bubble level on a refrigerator shelf. Adjust the the level of your RV until the refrigerator is level. Then find a countertop or some other place on the RV that also reads level. This will be your reference from now on. If you keep the level in the frig and you open the door several times to check for level the refrigerator can take an hour or more to recover.

Here’s some tips for getting the most from your RV refrigerator.

Pre-cool the refrigerator for several hours before use.

Put only cold things in the refrigerator… buy cold sodas and beer or pre-cool them in your home refrigerator.

Keep the refrigerator well stocked with items that hold the cold well. Things like cans of soda, beer and bottles of water etc. will give up some of their cold to the air in the refrigerator and help keep other things cold until the refrigerator can recover.

Plan ahead. Know what you will need from the refrigerator before you open the door. Get everything at the same time and put it all back at the same time.

You may also want to read: Is it okay to travel with my RV Refrigerator on propane?

Acme or POL valve required for RV propane cylinders & cylinder re-certification

The Federal government prohibited the sale and use of POL valves found on older DoT type propane cylinders. (POL is an abbreviation for Prest-O-Lite, for the company that first produced the valve). These valves have the familiar female left-hand-thread in the valve and are the type most of us currently have. Cylinders with this type valve were discontinued beginning in the year 2000, and may may no longer be refilled.

The old POL valves were replaced by a new Acme type which uses a QCC (Quick Closing Coupling) connector. This connector has an external (male) right-hand thread on the valve. A pigtail hose can be connected and disconnected by hand… no wrench required. These valves also have the old-style POL internal left-hand thread, so they can be used directly in place of the old valves without modifying your RV. If you like the no-tools convenience of new style connector you may want to replace your pigtail hoses with new ones having the QCC connectors.

The new ACME or QCC valve also contains an OPD (Overfill Protection Device). So you may find them called ACME valves, OPD valves or QCC valves, depending on the supplier. The OPD feature prevents accidental overfill of the cylinder. An internal float mechanism shuts off the valve when the propane tank is 80% filled. The 20% empty space is necessary to prevent the cylinder from venting large amounts of propane when the temperature rises. (ASME type cylinders in most motorhomes have had this OPD feature for many years). The new OPD valve also contains another safety feature – it will not release gas unless the pigtail hose is properly connected, even with the valve open.

POL Valves

The old-style cylinder valve is known as a POL valve, named for the manufacturer that devised it. You tighten the connector of the regulator pigtail by turning the fitting counter-clockwise, and you usually need to use a wrench to make the connection tight enough to prevent leaks. With a POL valve, if you open it with no fitting attached, propane is freely released. That’s why a plug is required to be screwed into the valve during transport of the cylinder and when it is stored or not connected to your RV. The plug is an attempt to prevent an accidental opening of the valve from creating a dangerous situation.

This valve also has a built-in bleeder valve the service technician uses to check for proper filling and a pressure relief device to prevent over pressurization of the cylinder.

ACME Valves

This valve is also known as QCC (Quick Closing Coupling) or OPD (Overfill Protection Device) The New ACME valve looks bulkier because there are external threads visible. The external threads don’t necessarily require a change to the connector on the end of the regulator pigtail hose. They are compatible, as the left-hand-thread fitting on your RV regulator will screw into the internal POL threads of the new ACME valve.

However, one of the benefits of the new connector is that it is designed to be attached to the cylinder without tools. You only have to hand-tighten the connector. And, you tighten as you would normally tighten a threaded fitting, by turning it to the right (clock-wise). So at the cost of a few dollars it may be good to replace the pigtail hoses.

Propane Cylinder Re-certification

If you have an older RV��you should know that according to Federal law, DoT cylinders may only be used for 12 years after their manufacture date. After that, the cylinders must be “re-certified” which provides another five years of use. The cylinders can be re-certified every five years thereafter.

Propane dispensers are legally required to look at the date stamped on the cylinder before filling it. Some dealers actually do look. We’ve been reminded a few times that our cylinders were about to expire. Check the date stamped on your cylinders… don’t rely on your rig’s model year even if the cylinders are original. It’s quite possible they are a year or more older than your rig. Ours were.

Re-certification is usually done by the large bulk propane suppliers but we found one of our local RV repair shops was certified to do the job and they do it for free! Call around to see who may do it in your area.

A safety note for you: Propane cylinders of the DoT design must be transported and stored in an upright position so the pressure relief device will function properly. Laying the cylinder on its side in the trunk of your car is a potentially very dangerous situation.
You may also want to read: Propane Safety Tips for RVers

How to Choose the Right RV Power Invertert for Your RV

What RV Power Inverter Should I Buy?

It depends on what you’re going to use it for. You don’t buy a 20-ton truck to pull a 10-foot camper. You don’t pull a large trailer with a tiny plastic car. If you only want to operate a computer or similar low-energy user, all you may need is a small (300 watt) inverter. If you’re going to run a microwave or power tools, you may need a 1,200 watt or larger inverter. You may actually find it more efficient to have more than one inverter.

Types of RV Power Inverters

Not brand, but type. Just as there are types of engines (gas, diesel, etc.), there are types of inverters (or different technologies). Cost plays a part. You may still find low-tech, square-wave inverters for sale. They’re grossly inefficient, using most of the electricity they consume just to run themselves. Their simple electronics lead to other problems also — such as square TV pictures. If you’re just going to run a simple item for a few minutes, you might get by with one of these but compare prices with power inverters using better technology… you may not much difference.

Technological advances have led to very sophisticated, solid-state inverters. From 100 to over 5,000 watts, ultra-efficient, with all sorts of advantages. Some of these use less than 10% of the energy consumed when fully loaded and way less than 1% at lesser outputs to operate.

At first glance, these Power Inverters are not cheap. But in terms of efficiency and the doller per watt cost compared to what you get out of them, they’re cheaper than the less-efficient units.

Some can be held in your palm and simply plugged into a 12VDC receptacle. Other, larger output models, require elaborate installation. Some have features and options well worth an added cost.

What Size RV Power Inverter do I Need?

Do you want to use a Microwave or mutiple appliances at the same time? You’ll need over 1,200 watts capacity. You’ll also need at least 200AH (Amp Hours) of battery capacity (to run a microwave for brief periods). You’ll need more battery reserve for longer periods and heavier loads. If you’ll be cooking full dinners for 30 minutes, you’ll need a 400AH battery capacity.

Just want to operate a TV or computer? Usually a 200 to 300 watt inverter is enough.

When it comes to buying an RV power inverter there are two ways to go:

One. Get a good, efficient 1,200W or larger inverter and feed the whole place. The best ones are 90+% efficient and no longer need to be matched to the load. They’ll do nearly as well running a small load as a big one. Incredible but true.

Two. If you don’t need a big inverter, consider having one or more smaller power inverters and use the size appropriate for the job at hand.

Maybe have an 800W for everything except a microwave. Perhaps a 300W for TVs, VCRs, stereos and satellite systems. A 200W palm-size may operate a small TV, small stereo, computer or breathing machine. The breathing machine is a prime inverter use. A palm size can be easily plugged into RV or tow vehicle cigarette lighter receptacle and can bring freedom to the camp-ground bound.

COST: The cost of power inverters, in general, has gone down over the years and they are more affordable now than they have ever been. But you need to compare barands and models carefully and be aware that the cheapest unit may not be the best ‘deal’.

A good quality, brand-name 1,200+ watt power inverter may cost over $1,000. A power inverter made specifically for RV use may cost even more.

A “variety pack” may cost about the same as a singler large power inverter but probably less. And an advantage of having a variety… you don’t have to buy all the power inverters at the same time.

RV BATTERIES: Technically, you can run anything you want from an inverter — if it’s big enough and you have enough batteries and if you have a way to keep the batteries charged. But an RV, while it may be a home, is not a homestead. Space and weight are considerations. So practically you woun’t be able to run your aircoditioner on a power inverter. And you probably won’t be able to run everything at once even with a large RV power inverter.

Small inverters can be used on a one-battery system with hardly any difference in amp draw. Large inverters will demand two batteries or four (or more) with heavy loads.

You may also want to read: RV Power Inverter Basics

Frequently Asked Questions by First Time RVer

On this page you’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions by new RVers about RVs, RVing and the RV lifestyle. If you don’t find your answer below you can use the link at the bottom to email us.

Q: Do most RV parks & campgrounds have showers/sanitary facilities?

A: Yes but midnight potty trips while camping are a bummer. On the up-side, many RVers avoid the sites near the bathhouse, so these spots are often available.

Q: Do most RV parks offer reduced rates for longer stays; i.e. weekly or monthly rates?

A: Most RV parks and Campground offer reduced rate for longer stays and often off-season rates are even lower. Government operated parks are an exception. They usually only have daily rates and often limit you to two weeks stays.

Q: Are pets generally accepted at RV parks?

A: Generally, yes, especially small pets. But it’s always a good idea to check before you arrive or make reservations.

Q: Are RV parks reasonably immune from the crime?

A: Yes. At the very least RV parks and Campgrounds are as safe as the average neighborhood. Usually they are much safer. Public campgrounds sometimes have a problem with thefts while snowbird RV parks almost never do. It depends on the park though so use good judgment. It’s always a good idea to lock your vehicle and RV and put expensive things away whenever you leave your site.

Q: How does one deal with laundry on the road?

A: Most commercial parks, have coin laundries. Campground guides will usually tell you if there is laundry. There is almost always a coin laundry in a nearby town. Some RVers have washer/dryers in their motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers.

Q: How do you get mail while RVing?

A: If you will be traveling for just a few weeks you may be able to have a relative, friend or neighbor forward your mail to you. Whoever you get will probably burn out quickly so don’t ask them to do it more than three to six weeks depending on how often you will have it forwarded to you.

If you plan to be on the road longer or full time make arrangements with a mail forwarding service.

Some RV parks will accept your mail but many will not. It’s a good idea to have it sent General Deliver to a nearby town. Keep in mind the General Delivery mail goes to the main post office in a town with more than one. Choosing a small town with one Post Office will make getting your mail easier. Ask the campground manager what post office to use.

Q:What is a battery isolator and why do I need one?

A: A battery isolator is an electronic device that allows your motorhome’s alternator or converter to charge both the engine battery and the coach battery, but keeps the two systems separate or isolated so the engine battery won’t be drawn down by the coach electrical system ensuring it will always start the vehicle,

Some motorhomes have a switch, usually a push button on the dash, that will bypass the isolator allowing the coach battery to temporarily be used to start the engine should the engine battery fail.

Q: How do you know if your roof sewer vents are clogged?

(1)Very bad odors. (first clean the tank)
(2)Very slow draining out of the tank. (first clean the tank)
(3)Water belching as it drains into the tank.(sinks,shower,or toilet).

How do you clean out roof vents?
(1)Small hand crank sewer snake.
(2)Garden hose down the vent.
(3)Small 11/2in. water-bag down the vent to blow it out.

Remember, RV roof vents can slide to far down into the tank and clog
themselves. To fix that, they must be re-positioned.

Contributed by, Preston Hall allprowaterflow.com

Q: We have winterized our Class C , but still plan to camp a few times this fall/winter.

Is there a way to still use the stool using portable water. Would having waste in the black holding tank ruin the tank in freezing weather.

A: We take about 10 1-gallon jugs of water and use the water down the sinks and toilet. We heat up water when we need it on the stove. Store the jugs of water in the tub or shower.

It won’t hurt the black or gray tank to use them. Just remember to top-off your black
tank before you dump.

When your put the RV back in storage remember to use a little RV antifreeze in all the p-traps, toilet, and shower.

Q. I’ve never owned a motorhome before but am now looking at 1977 GMC which is reasonably priced.

However, I’ve just learned that commercial parks sometimes won’t let people in old RV’s park there. Is this a common problem?

A. Older RVs, of any type, may be excluded from some high-end RV resorts that cater to the folks who own high priced motor coaches. But these types of Resorts are few. On rare occasions a park owner or manager may use the ‘your RV’s too old’ rule to exclude some really beaten-up, ill-maintained RV but again this is rare.

The vast majority of RV parks and campgrounds do not have any such restrictions and in any case if your RV is well maintained and has a reasonably good appearance (not new… just clean and presentable) you will not have any trouble.

In the off-chance you do get turned away there’s always another park down the road. So, don’t let it bother you. Just enjoy your new-to-you RV!

Q. When making camp site reservations, there is often a choice of back-in or pull-in spots.

Is there a standard side the campsite will be on, if you back in will the campsite be on the passenger side of the rv?

A. I can’t think of a time when a campsite didn’t have the ‘open space’ on the passenger side of the RV regardless of drive-in, back-in or pull-thru. I’d be willing to say that 99.9% of campsites are set up this way. If the one I was assigned wasn’t I would ask for another site unless there was a special reason… close to the beach… had a great view etc.

RV resorts that cater to motorhomes often have drive-in sites because the biggest window in motorhome is the windshield so to get the best view or whatever they drive into the site. But, the open spaces assigned to the site should still be on the passenger side. That said, I’ve seen motorhomes drive into a site that was set up to be a back-in just to get a better view out the windshield. In these cases the open space could wind up on the driver’s side of the motorhome depending on the site.

Q. Is an Extended Warrantee or ‘Breakdown Insurance’ an good idea?

A. Full Time RVer, Lew Mann Answers: I’ve been an insurance agent since 1975 so I know how to read insurance contracts.

After reviewing several forms of breakdown type plans 5 years ago I decided to purchase the Good Sam CSP* on my gas coach. The CSP was designed differently that other “extended warranty” plans I reviewed. However, when I traded up to my diesel coach the CSP became too expensive ($1,200+ per year) for the benefit received. Most items covered would cost less to replace than the deductible!

In my humble opinion, unless you have little cash resources, you should self-insure. That is to say, be prepared to pay for any repairs you may eventually need.

*Good Sam CSP is a mechanical breakdown plan that covers every part of your RV, Travel Trailer, and Tow Vehicle! For a FREE Quote Click Here

Q: I have two propane cylinders on my travel trailer. These are bigger than the ones I use on my gas grill which I take in and swap out when emptied. What’s the procedure for filling the larger cylinders?

A: I’ve not head of service that will swap the larger cylinders. Besides I know MY cylinders and what goes in them. And they’re not beat up like so many cylinders you get when exchanging.

Typical places to get propane cylinders filled include:

  • Propane dealers… usually the best price.
  • RV dealers & repair centers.
  • Campgrounds… usually the highest price, but you’re paying for convenience.
  • Gas stations… look for a large propane tank somewhere on the lot. Can be expensive.

You may want to read:
Propane Safety Tips for RVers and Recreational Vehicles
There are also two videos you may want to watch:
All about RV propane cylinders

Q: Professional Inspection of an RV Prior to Purchase

I know there are people who will inspect an RV before you buy it. I know you have to pay them for their service, but where do you look for these people?

A. Local RV repair shops and mobile RV repair techs should provide that service.

You will want to make sure they work from a comprehensive checklist and provide a detailed written report of any problems found. It would be nice if they also gave repair estimates.

A good survey takes time and expert knowledge, expect to pay between a $100 and $350 depending on the type of RV. A small travel trailer will cost lest than a large expensive motorhome.

Q: Do you know if there is a recommended weight ratio between a trailer, 5th wheel trailer or travel trailer, and the tow vehicle?

A: All suitable tow vehicles have two tow ratings…

Tow Rating – Weight a tow vehicle can tow. This figure may vary depending on the vehicles equipment, such as a manual or automatic transmission, if it us equipped with a ‘tow package’ and whether it is equipped with four-wheel drive. Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) – Permissible combined weight of the tow vehicle, rv travel trailer, passengers, equipment, fuel, etc., that the tow vehicle can handle.

These ratings are usually found on a plate on the driver-side door pillar but can also be found in your vehicle’s owners manual.

It’s your vehicle’s tow ratings that will determine the weight and size of trailer you can pull rather than a weight ratio.

If you are looking to buy an RV and do not yet have a tow vehicle most veteran RVers will recommend you buy the RV first then buy an appropriately rated tow vehicle

You can read more info about towing, tow ratings and how to weight your rig at at the links below.

RV Travel Trailer Towing Basics

  • Safety Tips for RV Fifth Wheel & Travel Trailer Towing
  • RV Tow Vehicle Basics… weight ratings, tow packages & hitches
  • RV Travel Trailer Hitch System Ratings
  • 7-way RV Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Connector Wiring Color Code
  • Why You Should Know Your RV Travel Trailer Weight
  • How to weigh your Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel
  • RV Tow Vehicle & Travel Trailer Preventive Maintenance Tips
  • Have a question not answered here? Email Us