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JJuunnee//JJuullyy 22001122


The Ins and Outs of Slide Outs Installation, Maintenance, and Construction Plus where to go for demo videos and more

Tire Safety, in the Shop and on the Road

New Products

June/July 2012

Slide Outs 5 The Schwintek In-Wall Slide System

Slide Out Construction 11 Slide Outs: What’s Underneath?

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Electrical Troubleshooting 14 Beware of Electrifying Experiences

Tires 17 Safety: In the Shop and on the Road

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Air Conditioners 19

AC Facts and Fiction

Top This! 1144 BBeewwaarree ooff DDIIYY pprroojjeeccttss 21 If it’s on the Internet, it Must be True


Board of Directors


From the Editor

23 New Products 24 Recalls

Certification Page 26

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Chairman Jeff Pastore Hartville RV Center, Inc. Hartville, OH (330) 877-3500

Director Andy Heck Alpin Haus Amsterdam, NY (518) 842-5900

Director Tim O'Brien Circle K RVs, Inc. Lapeer, MI (810) 664-1942

Vice Chairman Dan Pearson PleasureLand RV Center, Inc. St. Cloud, MN (320) 251-7588

Director Jeff Hirsch Campers Inn of Kingston Kingston, NH (603) 642-5555

Secretary/Treasurer Bill Koster Protective St. Louis, MO (636) 536-5704

Director Rick Horsey Parkview RV Center Smyrna, DE (302) 653-6619

Director Randy Packard Natl Assn of RV Parks & Campgrounds/Pine Acres Family Camping Resort Oakham, MA (508) 882-9511

President Phil Ingrassia, CAE RVDA Fairfax, VA (703) 591-7130

Director Newt Kindlund Kindlund Investments Winter Park, FL (407) 628-4211

Director Bob Been Affinity RV Service Sales & Rentals Prescott, AZ (928) 445-7910

Director John McCluskey Florida Outdoors RV Center Stuart, FL (772) 288-2221

Director Randy Biles Pikes Peak Traveland, Inc. Colorado Springs, CO (719) 596-2716

Director Matthew Miller Newmar Corporation Nappanee, IN (574) 773-2381

Director Eleonore Hamm RVDA of Canada Richmond, BC (604) 204-0559

Director John Myers Myers RV Center Inc. Albuquerque, NM (505) 298-7691

Director Steve Plemmons Bill Plemmons RV World Rural Hall, NC (336) 377-2213 Director Jim Sheldon Monaco RV, LLC Rancho Mirage, CA (760) 883-5556 Director Tom Stinnett Tom Stinnett RV Freedom Center Clarksville, IN (812) 282-7718 Director Brian Wilkins Wilkins R.V., Inc. Bath, NY (607) 776-3103


Phil Ingrassia, CAE RVDA Education Foundation President

Chuck Boyd Dealer Services Manager

Ronnie Hepp, CAE Vice President for Administration

Hank Fortune Director of Finance

Karin Van Duyse Chief, RV Learning Center

Jeff Kurowski Director of Industry Relations

Mary Anne Shreve Editor

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Brett Richardson, Esq., CAE Director of Legal & Regulatory

Liz Shoemaker Education Coordinator Butch Thomas Field Representative Tony Yerman RV Service Consultant Isabel McGrath Technician Certification Registrar


June/July 2012

Servicing Slide Outs When Newmar Corporation introduced the first power slide out in its Class A units in1990, it was an overnight high-end hit. The room-within-a-room created an immediate buzz, and other manufacturers quickly added them to their units. In the beginning, they were only found on motorhomes. But in no time, they started appearing on fifth wheels, trailers, and even folding camping trailers. In fact, some large motorhomes now have five. Since slide outs have become such a common component on RVs, techs need a good working knowledge of how they’re built and how they operate. Have you ever wondered how these rooms’ inner workings look? RVDA Service Consultant Tony Yerman recently visited a slide out manufacturer and took photos of the components under construction. He describes them in “Slide Outs: What’s Underneath?” In addition, an accompanying article by specialists at Lippert Components Inc. describes how to install and maintain the company’s Schwintek in-wall slide out

system. This system differs from others on the market because all mechanics and motors are housed within the slide room wall, allowing the slide room to be built off the production line. It also eliminates the need for adjustments, as with cable style slide outs. Between these two well-illustrated articles, you’ll gain a more complete understanding of this important feature. Electrical problems seem to be a constant for RV service professionals. Some of the situations are caused by DIY owners armed with a little—but not nearly enough— electrical knowledge. Techs need to keep potential perils uppermost in mind when they work on customers’ units. Read Steve Savage’s story on electrical troubleshooting to help prevent shocking experiences. Mary Anne Shreve Editor 3930 University Drive Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 591-7130 x117

RV Technician Advisory Group Randy Biles, Pikes Peak Traveland Inc. Tom Fribley, Fribley Technical Services Inc. Ellen Kietzmann, Blue Ox Gary Motley, Motley RV Repair Steve Savage, Mobility RV Service Tony Yerman, RV Service Consultant

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Slide Outs

Troubleshooting the Schwintek In-Wall Slide System By Lippert Components In 2010, Lippert Components (LCI) acquired the patents for the Schwintek In-Wall SlideOut system. The Schwintek system differs from all other systems on the market today because all mechanics and motors are housed within the slide room wall. This allows the slide room to be totally built off the production line. It also eliminates the need for adjustments, as with cable style slide-outs. It’s gaining in popularity with manufacturers because of its ease of installation compared to other systems. LCI unveils Lippert University Channel to help troubleshoot the Schwintek and other products LCI realizes the importance of communicating the ins and outs of this system, as well as other products, so it created a YouTube channel dedicated to educating others on it. The site, Lippert University, is available online now. The goal was to create a place where dealers, manufacturers, and owners alike can educate themselves on all their products. LCI will be continuing to improve and expand on its video offerings in the coming weeks and months. Here’s a quick summary of the Schwintek troubleshooting videos located on the Lippert University site: Video 1 “How to Replace a Schwintek Slide-Out Motor” (click here) Replacing the motor is very simple with the Schwintek system. Once the system is free from the side of the coach, the motor is easily accessible through the system’s bulb seal. This video then shows a clear and easy method for taking out the motor.

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Video 2 “How to Replace a Schwintek Slide-Out System” (click here) If for whatever reason a Schwintek system needs to be replaced in the field, this video shows you how to do it. Simply take off the bulb seal from the interior of the room, take the screws out, and run the room out threequarters of the way. Now all screws are accessible from the outside of the room. Simply take them out, while on the outside of the coach. Continue to the inside and push on the box. Unplug the wires and take the racks out. Video 3 “How the Schwintek Slide-Out Works” (click here) This video shows the user what the system is actually made of. We show how the motor attaches to the racks, how the motor comes out, and how the racks move in and out. Schwintek racks move in and out, parallel, at the same time. All mechanics interlock on the Schwintek torque shaft, and there are no welded parts. This video gives the user or technician a good idea of how the mechanism actually works. Video 4 “Schwintek Slide-Out System Trouble Shooting Tips” (click here) The Schwintek system’s circuit board will diagnose and tell the user what the issue is. If, for example, the slide-out will not go in because of a bad motor, the user can do an electric override using the provided switch, or, if a more catastrophic issue occurs, the user can do a manual override by disengaging the motor and pushing the slide room back in.

Understanding the Schwintek’s motors and control brain revisions Important: Always know what generation controller and motor you have before calling LCI customer service. This is integral to the troubleshooting process! Several revisions have been made to improve the Schwintek’s motors and controllers. Below are examples of which controllers go with which motors. Generation 1 (“B”) motor and controllers

Small diameter coupler goes with “B” motor only

Note: “B” motor has only

two screws

Generation 1 (“B”) motor and coupler

“B” controller only goes with Generation 1 (“B”) motor

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Side view: note connectors

Generation 2 motor and controller

New wider diameter coupler fits Generation 2 and 3 motors

Note: Gen 2 added 4-screw pattern and changed gear box

Generation 2 motor and coupler. Generation 2 also called “Tuscon” motor

C1- controller: compatible with Generation 2 AND 3 Motors

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Side view – note connectors

Generation 3 motor and controller

Note: coupler did not change

Note: Gen 3 motor eliminated spacer

Generation 3 motor and coupler

C2 controller compatible with Generation 2 AND 3 motors

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Note connection change

Special how-to section Changing a Schwintek motor the EASY way

When changing out a Schwintek slide-out motor, one of the most difficult jobs can be getting the motor to align properly with the coupler and screw holes. LCI has figured out how to make this job a whole lot easier, and all you need is a cordless drill charger and jumper harness.* Simply connect the motor to the jumper harness (figure A), then connect each end of the harness into a positive and negative slot in the charger (figure B). It does not matter which wire goes into which slot. CAREFUL: Once you do this, the motor will start running! Figure A

Figure B

Now that you have power to the motor, slide the motor into the bearing block and coupler (figure C). Figure C

Once the motor is inserted in the bearing block and coupler, you can connect power so it will rotate. After a few adjustments, the holes and coupler will line up, and your job is finished! *Note to technicians: Save your old harnesses for this purpose. Only red and black wires need to be intact to convert into a jumper harness.

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LCI is constantly striving to make its product better. One recent example: We changed the top part of the slide fascia (figure D) so that it can expose the motor from the INSIDE of the unit (figure E ). Before, technicians had to undo multiple screws and remove the column from the side wall of the RV in order to access the motor from the exterior of the unit. Now this job is much easier! Look for this feature in newer Schwintek installed units.

Figure E

Figure D

For more information, visit LCI Customer Service online at or call 574-537-8900.

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Slide Out Construction

Slide Outs: What’s Underneath? By Tony Yerman Lots of technicians work on RVs and their slide outs every day, but not many have been to a factory and seen just how all of the parts are installed. I recently toured a manufacturer’s facility and took photos of slide out mechanisms as they were being installed, before most of the rest of the unit was added. I thought I might share them with you and describe what you’re looking at--a chance to see what’s underneath. What will we see? There are several types of slide mechanisms today: electric motor driven, screw drive, gear drive, rack and pinion, and hydraulic. In this article, we’re going to view some travel trailer electric motor driven units. There are main slide units, which are usually mounted through the trailer chassis or to the main floor, and smaller units mounted above the floor on walls and on cabinet boxes. I have some interesting photos of a few of them. Travel trailer, main slide mechanism

Photo 1 Page 11

In photo one, you can see a screw style slide out mechanism. This type of system uses a type extender, which could be compared to a long tongue jack or a fifth wheel landing gear laid horizontally. The gold colored cylinder is a stop for the extender shaft. In either the extended or retracted position, the motor/ gear box will ratchet once pressure is applied to the stop. The nut you see is screwed to the end of the extender shaft and is holding the shaft to the extender support shaft. There are a couple of adjustments here. To the right of the gold nut, you see a vertical plate attached to the end of the support extension shaft. If you look closely, you can see slotted holes with bolts in them, as well as a bolt coming vertically from the bottom of the assembly. The slots and the vertical bolt are used to adjust the room up and down for proper ride of the main floor. There is a bolt in the square shaft just behind the vertical bracket. There are also bolts in slotted holes on the side of the same square piece. These are used for in and out adjustment. If you follow the shaft that the gold colored cylinder is attached to back into the chassis, you’ll see the motor/gearbox, almost all the way across. It’s covered in a plastic bag while the unit sits until the trailer goes to assembly. This would be the forward side of the slide room, and there is another extender back farther on the chassis for the rear of the room. This is what it all looks like

when the trailer chassis comes out of the frame shop where the slide out mechanism, as well as other items like axles or jacks might be installed. Travel trailer, small above-floor slide units

Photo 3 In photo three you see a bedroom with a bed slide mechanism. Notice that the slide is elevated. It will be attached to the bottom of the bed board. If you look to the left of the technician’s hand, you can see a black tab with three holes in it. This will attach the mechanism to the wall, below the slide out opening.

Photo 2 What we see in photo two are slide mechanisms mounted to a trailer floor assembly. There are actually two sets of slide rails for opposing slide out units, one set on each of the floor. There is a single motor drive on each slide out room mechanism. In this case, the motor drives a gear that rides in teeth on the bottom of the moving part of the slide bracket. When the trailer is complete, access will be available to get to the motor assembly so the entire room doesn’t have to be removed to get to it. Otherwise, you really wouldn’t see any of this.

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Photo 4 Though a bit difficult to see, photo four shows the slide mechanism as it will be in the vehicle with the sidewall on and the stationary bed box attached. Teflon strips

are attached to the top of the bed box walls and the bed board will slide across them.

Photo 6

Photo 5 In photo five we see another slide mechanism for a small above-floor slide room. The mechanism here is sitting upside down so that you can see the gear reduction drive. Take a close look at the motor gear box. Look familiar? Kind of like the drive for a power tongue jack? Toward the top of the picture, you can see the teeth of the strip on the bottom of the extender plate for the room. The round gears ride in those teeth and force the plate forward and back, or in and out, once it’s mounted to the bottom of the room, as in photo six.

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So now you’ve seen it. I hope that you have a little better understanding of how some of these units are built into the vehicles. Knowing about, and better yet, seeing how some of these pieces are developed and installed will give you a better understanding of just what you’ll have to do to access the units and their components, as well as make the necessary repairs and adjustments. RVDA Service Consultant Tony Yerman is a Master Certified Technician, an Ohio repair specialist, an RV Technician advisory group member, and author of The RV Damage Repair Estimator. If you have questions or comments, contact him at

Electrical Troubleshooting

Beware of Electrifying Experiences By Steve Savage

As any technician knows, shocks are an occupational hazard. Fortunately, in my experience, shocks of the 120-volt variety have not proven fatal, but they can leave me feeling angry, and here’s why. A recent job had me on the roof of a 2002 Holiday Rambler fifth wheel. It had two separate four-button stats, along with one low-profile and one standard rooftop unit. The older of the two was the low-profile model and it had already seen action at the hands of the local campground advisor, who had given the motor a handsome dose of WD40 in an attempt to free a recalcitrant motor shaft. This attempt was unsuccessful, and the drag was such that the fan would barely turn, leaving the owner to choose between a new fan motor and a new cooler. At first, the owner opted for an exact replacement for the failed unit. I seconded his choice, having discovered long ago that changing out the motor in this low-profile unit was likely to be a challenge. But then we discussed the price and, since he was planning to trade the unit in in the near future, I could see him shifting to the idea of a motor replacement. With a new motor in hand, I shut off the main breaker, as well as the breakers to the rooftop units. No sense taking chances. Back on the roof, I pull the shroud, bled the capacitor with my Fluke and then verified my work with a screwdriver across the capacitor terminals. Changing the motor on these units is almost always a bear. The

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An over-the-top do-it-yourselfer’s project

shafts are always rusted, and even a shot of penetrating oil seldom eases the process. It’s not bad getting to the collar on the condenser fan, and drilling down through the blower wheel cover to insert the Allen wrench is doable, but then things usually slow down. To speed the process, I use a saws-all to cut off the shaft to the condenser fan, which makes it much easier to pull the motor back, forcing the evaporator wheel off its shaft. I also cut the motor leads since the wires on the new motor will simply plug into the module board on the unit. Next, it’s time to install the new motor. Getting it into place with the limited clearance is no fun, but the job was going all right until the leads still attached to the board rubbed the condenser coil. At that instance, I happened to be leaning against

Note the open neutral in the junction box for the shoreline connection.

the coil, trying to lever the motor into place, and I received a significant shock. Actually, it was powerful enough to cause pain, an anomaly in my experience. I was able to pull away, but my arm hurt for a considerable time as I climbed down the ladder to see what was going on. The breakers were off, just as I had left them, but my meter at the pedestal found a hot neutral. I realized that that just might be related to the customer’s earlier request that, after I was done with the air conditioner, I check his ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), as he was unable to reset them. I mentally kicked myself for not remembering, while working on-site, to check the neutral- to -ground for voltage before putting my hands in things. With that job finished, I moved on to my next stop: checking on a water heater that was falling down on the job. This time I knew there was an electrical problem, in part because the owner was low on power and had multiple extension cords running to a severely dilapidated travel trailer. The cords go to a multi-receptacle. I unplugged the cords running around the trailer and went outside to check on the water heater.

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Shoreline cord end before it was redone correctly.

The water heater switch for the AC was down behind the gas valve, so I switched it off and pulled the cover over the element to check for continuity. I unscrewed the screw on the black lead, then the white, and left the leads hanging free. The element tests good, but while starting to reconnect the leads, my screwdriver happened to contact the white lead and the water heater pan just enough to produce sparks. Sparks, as in, the neutral lead is hot! The shock was less this time, but it gave me cause to unplug the water heater and check the plug feeding the extension cord, which in turn was tied to the water heater. I found that the fifty-amp receptacle couple to a 20-amp reducer had been wired to feed power from the neutral terminal. The trailer’s owner said the receptacle was wired for him by a local contractor, not an electrician. I rewired the receptacle, left a few dozen appliances unplugged, and the water heater was good to go. Later that week I was on my way to service a large fifth wheel that I had PDI’ed more than a year ago for one of my dealers. I was there last winter to replace a board on the furnace, but the owner didn’t yet have his

50-amp service in place. When he plugged into the now completed service at his warehouse, he wasn’t thrilled to see smoke rolling out of multiple appliances. Now, even in the worst situations, smoke doesn’t always equate to destruction, and I was hoping for the best. The owner, of course, was blaming the dealer. He didn’t know I had gone through the rig when it was still on the lot and knew everything had worked until plugged into his new circuit. The owner had already changed to his former 20-amp power supply and was even able to run one of the rooftop air conditioners. In fact, everything in the rig worked, including the second rooftop air conditioner. That meant the problem was his 50-amp service. I suggested he contact an electrician to check the long 50-amp cord running from the breaker box in his warehouse to his camper. The path went like this: breaker box to 50amp receptacle, 50-amp receptacle to very long 50-amp cord, and finally, 50-amp cord to the shoreline on the camper. In short order, the alleged electricians arrived. They did locate a disconnected neutral on the female end of the heavy extension cord and set about correcting the malady. They plugged back in and the owner went into the camper to check on their progress. He immediately stepped back out and announced nothing in his camper worked. I was losing patience. Pulling the cover over the breakers, I found voltages on some terminals to neutral of 258 VAC and 119 VAC from the neutral to grounding buss. Things were not looking good. After they left, I told the owner I’d be back in the morning to correct the problems. We plugged the camper back into the

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receptacle we’d used earlier, which made everything operational, but of course with limited power. Next morning, I first checked the connections in the warehouse at the breaker box. From there, I removed the cover on the receptacle in the warehouse and connected the neutral leg that had been cut off. Moving on, I connected the missing neutral to the male end of the 50-amp extension and redid the cover on the female end of the cord to fit the receptacle cover correctly. I hooked it all together and everything worked fine. I think there are a couple of lessons to be learned from these examples. The first is that it’s not a good idea to assume anything has been done correctly until you verify it with your meter or whatever means is appropriate. Otherwise, although you may not be killed, mistakes can be painful, and seeing smoke inside a camper is never good. The second is that it’s easy to take the ordinary for granted when we leave the dealership and work in the real world where power sources aren’t always viable and licenses don’t always mean a person actually has the requisite skills. In the end, our safety and the safety of our customers depends, not on what we think, but what we know! Steve Savage is a master certified RV technician, the owner/operator of Mobility RV Service in Bristol, TN, and a member of the RV Technician Advisory Group. His articles appear frequently in consumer and industry magazines.

Tire Safety

Tire Maintenance: In the Shop and on the Road Adapted from Michelin This is the time of year when RVs are out on the road in force, tallying up the mileage and putting lots of wear and tear on the tires. Your customers’ safety and RVing enjoyment are literally riding on rubber, and it’s up to you to help them keep those tires spinning. Part of your job is to thoroughly inspect the tires yourself when the unit is in the dealership, and the other part is to educate RV owners on what they need to do “in the field” to maintain their tires. Start the education process with the subject of proper tire inflation. Maintaining optimum inflation is the most important thing they can do for their tires. Underinflated tires cause irregular tread wear, decreased fuel efficiency, poor handling, and higher chances of sudden tire failure. Overinflated tires cause reduced traction, reduced braking capacity, uneven tread wear, and greater susceptibly to impact damage. Show customers how to determine the proper air pressure for their tires (the maximum load capacity and air inflation are stamped on the tire’s sidewall) and then demonstrate how to check the air pressure in each one. (All tire manufacturers have load inflation pressure charts. A complete load and inflation table for Michelin RV tires is available at Remind them to check their RV’s tire pressure at least once a month, and always before a trip. When they’re on the road, they

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should check every morning before setting off. And they should check before and after the unit has been in storage, since rubber tires deteriorate even when not in use. Recommend that owners get themselves a high-quality truck tire air gauge with a dual angled head to make it easier to check the pressure of inner and outer dual wheels. Explain that the correct way to check tire pressure is by wheel position when the RV is loaded. And do it when the tires are “cold” and have been driven for less than a mile, since the pressure in a “hot” tire can be as much as 10 to 15 PSI higher than in a cold tire. Finally, whatever you do to one tire on an axle should also be done to the other tire on that axle. Both you and your customers should frequently check for signs of aging and weathering, such as ozone cracks that appear in the rubber surface of the tire’s sidewall. If the cracks are deeper than 2⁄32

inch, the tire should be replaced immediately. To prolong tire life, cover them while they’re in storage, and avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Technicians need to inspect the unit’s tires at every service visit. Check both inside and outside sidewalls, tread, valves, caps, and valve extensions. Inform the customer of any bulges, nails, cuts, or aging cracks. Overloading is another enemy of RV tires, and it also damages brakes, wheels, and springs. Overweight RVs are hard to handle and less fuel-efficient. Show customers how to determine the maximum cargo capacity weight of their RV and how to balance out cargo loads to avoid overloading an axle or tire. Tell them where they can go to weigh their unit.

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Taking the time to teach customers how to take responsibility for their tires with these simple tips will help build trust and loyalty toward the dealership.

Air Conditioning

Air Conditioner Service By the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS)

Summer’s here and a new season of air conditioning repair is ready to begin. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide reminds service professionals about the facts and fiction of air conditioning service. Manufacturers are producing A/C systems that last longer and need less service. Changes include improved hoses, better sealing materials, and stronger connections. The goal is to provide the consumer with reliable air conditioning on demand. You can separate mobile A/C service facts from fiction below:

* United States federal law requires anyone who opens the refrigerant pressure circuit “for compensation” to be certified under Section 609 of the Clean Air Act. A shop can face serious fines for allowing uncertified employees to do this work. Technicians must have their certification available for inspection during the work.

* The same law prohibits venting any refrigerant to the atmosphere. All refrigerant needs recovering. After recycling, it’s reusable in a vehicle. If not recycled in the shop, the refrigerant has to go to a reclaiming facility.

* Before beginning repairs, always use a refrigerant identifier to protect your shop, staff, and equipment. You cannot mix

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refrigerants, and not all are the same. Each refrigerant must be recovered with a specific machine into properly labeled tanks. Some gases may also be flammable, presenting another hazard to technicians.

* You do not need to clean refrigerant in the system in the name of “maintenance.” When the system is recovered, the refrigerant will be cleaned by normal use of refrigerant recovery and recycling equipment.

* An operating system does not need additional oil or conditioners. In fact, additional oil may reduce cooling performance, and the use of incorrect lubricants may cause expensive damage. Always check the under hood label-most systems require a specific lubricant. A “universal” lubricant may not meet all of the manufacturer’s specific requirements.

* HFC-134a system lubricants are generally polyalkylene glycol (PAG) based, and vehicle makers do not approve the use of other lubricants. However, polyol ester (POE) lubricants are required for some electric compressors used in hybrid vehicles, and using PAG lubricants in those systems can result in mechanical problems and electrical hazards.

* Identify refrigerant leaks and then replace the leaking parts with quality components. Adding refrigerant to a leaking system does

not make economic sense for the customer and contributes to atmospheric pollution.

* Read and heed the label. Adding too much refrigerant to a vehicle’s A/C system can reduce cooling performance. Many modern systems use smaller refrigerant charges than before, and the only way to assure maximum cooling performance is to maintain the correct charge. “Top-off” service is not the way to go.

* Vehicle manufacturers install and recommend the correct products for their vehicles, and some systems contain industry-approved trace dyes to aid in finding leaks. Manufacturers do not install other chemicals, system conditioners, or products intended to stop leaks.

* SAE International has developed many industry standards for products and chemicals. Always look for a label statement that the product you are purchasing meets SAE standards.

* Adding a sealer to a leaking refrigerant system may not be the answer. Some aftermarket chemicals have caused damage to components and service equipment. Adding any other chemicals into a

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customer’s A/C system may become a costly mistake.

* Vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers, and service equipment makers have tightened their warranty policies regarding use of non-approved substances in their products. Chemical additives and other products may cost your shop and your customer a lot of money. As the A/C system ages, some loss of refrigerant is unavoidable and reduces cabin cooling. A quality service shop will have the knowledge and equipment to find the leak quickly and perform the correct repair. While some consumers still want the lowcost option of constantly adding refrigerant, it’s up to the professionals to convince them that the bandage approach doesn’t cure the real problem and may cost more if the compressor ultimately fails. As a professional service facility, you must provide the customer with cost effective repairs that return the system to reliability and preserve the environment. Today’s newer, smaller, tighter systems are just the beginning, and many more changes are coming in the next few years. You can learn more at

Top This!

If it’s on the Internet, it must be True, Right? By Steve Savage he damaged It’s 8:30 p.m. when something. He the phone rings. I thought perhaps answer it only the inlet and because it might be The Internet is a fount of outlet valves one of my information and weren’t allowing customers. But it’s wisdom…Or is it? any water to run just someone who through because found my number on they got too hot, the Internet and or maybe he had wants to ask me cracked the about a problem with combustion chamber, or collapsed the water his RV. He tells me he’s read some things diverter inside his heater tank, which now on the Net… required straightening. When I hear this, I grit my teeth and use my His second sentence, as well as those that “two-sentence rule,” which came about after followed, consisted of bits and pieces of I concluded that, thanks to the Internet, what he’d read on the Internet. When I told anyone can talk knowledgeably about any him I’d never seen or heard of what he was topic for one sentence, but their second describing, he seemed amazed. I asked if sentence usually gives them away. So, he’d read about them in anything published before I give credence to what anyone is by his appliance manufacturer, and he saying, they have to link together two acknowledged that he hadn’t—his sources correct sentences. were the “forum boards” on the consumer websites. Here’s an example: A caller one night wants to discuss his pilot model water heater, I suggested that a logical first step would be which he claims has been running for eight to verify that he actually had water in the or nine hours but isn’t producing hot water. water heater tank. I usually crack open the He says he winterized the heater by pressure relief valve on the front of the shutting off the bypass valves after draining water heater rather than opening a faucet, the tank. Now the tank is full but not because I’ve discovered over the years that producing hot water. water at the tap doesn’t necessarily equate to water in the tank. His first sentence sounds plausible--he drained the tank and shut off the bypass I suggested that he shut off the water heater valves. His second sentence headed into and check his bypass valves, making sure the grey zone when he said he inadvertently the inlet and outlet valves on the water forgot to open the bypass for about a minute heater were open and the bypass line was or two (running on propane) and was sure

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closed, before opening the relief valve just a smidge. He signed off, still skeptical and talking about getting his tools, seldom a good sign. Given the popularity of social networks and consumer forums, consumers are increasingly calling at any hour to ask for advice and then arguing with my suggestion and quoting something they read on the Internet. Try “lurking” on one of the RV enthusiast websites and you may come away with the same impression. Things start out with someone asking a question and someone else responding with an answer. The answer may even be a good one. But before long, others chime in, and sooner or later someone tosses out something from out in left field or quotes something from a manufacturer website but leaves out the first ten steps. In this flood of “information,” everyone is an expert. It’s as though the correct solution to a problem is dictated not by logic or science, but by majority rule. One night as I sat at my laptop, I “lurked” while someone asked for help troubleshooting the starting system on his Ford Super Duty. The starter wouldn’t turn

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over, and the first six responses on the website all suggested he buy new batteries. Finally, someone suggested getting the batteries tested before investing in new ones. I seconded the suggestion and pointed out that loose cables or a weak ground could cause this type of problem. The vote was six to two in favor of testing. I was on the losing side—the person with the problem later posted he got new batteries. He said they didn’t solve the problem, but the starter did turn the engine over a little. He concluded in his post that he now knew he also needed a new starter. I posted back, asking how he came to that conclusion. His response: “I banged on it with a brass hammer, and on the second time after the new batteries, it would try to turn over.” I bet he had a new starter by the next day. Yes, thanks to the Internet, everyone is now an expert, or at least thinks he is! Steve Savage is a master certified RV technician, the owner/operator of Mobility RV Service in Bristol, TN, and a member of the RV Technician Advisory Group. His articles appear frequently in consumer and industry magazines.

New Products

Chock & Lock Eliminates that Seasick Feeling

That unpleasant, seasick feeling that sometimes comes in a parked RV could be caused by the unit pitching forward and backward slightly as family members walk around inside. Ultra-Fab Products Inc. has solved the problem with its Chock & Lock series of manual stabilizers. Available in one or two-pack, the Chock & Lock eliminates front-to-back rocking motion by anchoring the opposing wheels of tandem axle trailers and fifth wheels. When engaged, the trailer wheels actually work against each other to arrest motion, regardless of ground surface or slope. With its tough all-steel construction and corrosion-resistant zinc plating, the Chock & Lock installs in seconds with an easy to use lever, collapsing to just 1.5" and expanding to 5". For larger tire spacing, the Ultra Chock & Lock XL collapses to 4.25" and expands to 10".

Page 23

Fifth Wheel on the Short Box: Husky 10 Moves the King Pin Back for Cab Clearance

Many customers would like to move up to a newer fifth wheel, but their short-bed pickup holds them back. The Husky 10 fifth wheel trailer hitch mount, which works with the Husky 16K or 26K fifth wheel hitches, can make a fifth wheel work on a short-bed pickup by moving the king pin back behind the rear axle for low speed cornering and maneuvering. Traditional roller assemblies are replaced with an innovative composite design, and a “no-bind� latching mechanism eliminates tension on the handle, allowing the flip lever to release and automatically lock in the next position. The driver simply puts the operating handle on the unit in the unlock position and drives forward or backward, eliminating getting in and out of the truck to pull or twist the handle until it disengages. A balanced system allows easy movement as the hitch head moves back to make room between the trailer front and truck cab. The Husky 10 is designed for units up to 26,000 lbs. with a 2-inch kingpin.


Crossroads Recalls Cruisers Crossroads is recalling certain model year 2011 Cruiser trailers, manufactured from August 5, 2010, through December 15, 2010, because of incorrect information on the federal ID tag, tire and loading information label, and RV cargo carrying capacity label. Inaccurate labels could lead to improper vehicle loading specifications, which could lead to a tire failure. Crossroads will notify owners and provide corrected labels. Owners may contact Thor at 937-596-7965 or Crossroads at 260-593-2866 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline (1-888-327-4236).

Forest River Gas Line Recall Forest River is recalling certain model year 2012 and 2013 Surveyor travel trailers, manufactured from August 12, 2011, through April 6, 2012. On certain units, the liquid propane (lp) gas line was routed and fastened along the bottom of the frame rail. When the trailer hits a bump, the positioning of the gas line may allow the "u" bolt on the axle to pinch the line between the main rail and the "u" bolt. The line may break and leak lp gas, causing fire, injury, or death. Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will re-route the lp line. Owners may contact Forest River at 1-574-389-4600.

Keystone Recalls Vantages Keystone RV Companies is recalling certain model year 2012 and 2013 Vantage RVs manufactured from October 12, 2011, through May 7, 2012. These vehicles were manufactured without protective (a.k.a. gimp) molding on the metal around the holding tank valves. The user may cut himself when reaching past the sharp edges of the access cut-out in order to operate the Page 24

holding tank valves. Keystone will notify owners, and dealers will install the protective molding. Owners may contact Keystone at 1-866-425-4369, or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline (1-888-327-4236).

Thor Recalls Outlaws, Avantis Thor Motor Coach is recalling certain model year 2008-2010 Outlaw and model year 2011 Avanti RVs manufactured from January 24, 2008, through September 28, 2010, equipped with Bosch hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic brake equipped motorhome chassis exposed to long periods of non-driving may experience diametrical brake caliper piston growth and reduced piston to bore clearance, potentially leading to brake drag and overheating. Freightliner Custom Chassis will notify owners, and dealers will repair the vehicles. Owners may contact Thor at 1-877-5001020 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline (1888-327-4236).

Winnebago Recalls Adventurers Winnebago Industries is recalling certain model year 2009 and 2010 Adventurer motorhomes manufactured from October 30, 2008, through September 9, 2011, and one 2009 Itasca Suncruiser motorhome built November 2009. Their chassis are equipped with Bosch hydraulic disc brakes which, when exposed to long periods of non-driving, may experience diametrical brake caliper piston growth and reduced piston to bore clearance, potentially leading to brake drag and overheating. Freightliner Custom Chassis will notify owners, and dealers will repair the vehicles. Owners may contact Winnebago at 1-641585-3535 or Daimler trucks at 1-800-5470712.

The RV Learning Center proudly recognizes these

CONTRIBUTORS Additional/ New Contributions Received 7/01/11-7/18/12

Received 7/1/117/18/12

Total Received

Last Contribution

Additional/ New Contributions Received 7/01/11-7/18/12

Ace Fogdall, Inc.




Newell Coach





Newmar Corporation

All Valley RV Center




Noble RV, Inc.






Beckley’s Camping Center


Bowling Motors & RV Sales

Received 7/1/117/18/12

Total Received




$20,000 $135,000


Last Contribution




Pete’s RV Center





PleasureLand RV Center, Inc.







$23,118 $110,963





Quality Drive-Away, Inc.

Byerly RV Center




Camperland of Oklahoma, LLC




Campers Inn of Kingston




Camp-Site RV




Circle K RV’s, Inc.




Alpin Haus Automotive Recruiting




Reines RV Center, Inc.




Rich & Sons Camper Sales













Skyline RV & Home Sales, Inc.




Spader Business Management




Tacoma RV Center




Tiffin Motor Homes, Inc.




Tom Stinnett Derby City RV

$500 $101,000





Rivers Bus & RV Sales RV Assistance Corp. RV Outlet Mall

Classic RV’s, LLC




Dinosaur Electronics




Fretz Enterprises, Inc.




Hartville RV Center, Inc.




Holiday Hour, Inc.




Horsey Family Memorial Fund




Topper’s Camping Center




United RV Center







United States Warranty Corporation




Kroubetz Lakeside Campers



12/02/11 Wilkins R.V., Inc.




Madison RV Supercenter



08/22/11 Winnebago Industries, Inc.







Mike Molino




Motley RV Repair




J. D. Sanders, Inc. Jayco, Inc.

MBA Insurance, Inc.

Page 25

The Kindlund Family Scholarship Endowment


RV Technician Certification Preparation Course Every RV Technician Can Have Access to Individual Self‐Study Training and Certification Preparation Interactive-Multimedia, Online Format • Combines text, audio, graphics, and video, with mentor-led technician community forum – all content is online (no extra books or handouts needed)

Developed by RVIA Available through the RV Learning Center

Corresponds to RV Certification Test Sections • Propane; Electrical; Plumbing; Brakes, Suspension & Towing; Appliances; Generators; Hydraulics; Exterior; Interior; Expandable Rooms; Miscellaneous (Welding Safety, Customer Care) • Fulfills 40-hour RVDA-RVIA Service Technician recertification requirement • RVIA RV Service Technician recertification requirement

Personal Progress Tracking

• Automatically tracks individual’s progress • Quizzes after each chapter and section with immediate feedback • 205 question assessment that’s similar to the RV technician certification test

Registration information

$249 per technician*

Company: Address: City/State/Zip: Phone:


In order for the program to function properly, each technician MUST have his own personal e-mail address that only he has access to.

*Quantity discounts available when registering four or more technicians at one time. E-mail or call 703-591-7130 for details. Note: Registration fee subject to change without notice.

Sign up the following RV technicians from our dealership: Name: E-mail: Name: E-mail: Name: E-mail: Send progress reports to the following supervisor: Name:



Method of payment

Important: • The RV Technician Certification Preparation course offers RV service technicians the means to prepare for certification through an online, self-study format. A computer with high-speed Internet is needed to access the course. • Visit for information about the RVDA-RVIA RV Service Technician certification program. The certification testing fee is not included in the course registration fee. • Registration gives the technician 365 days to complete the course by achieving 80% or higher on the final practice test. The technician should plan for certification testing within the enrollment period since course extensions are not available.

All registrations must be pre-paid in U.S. funds.

□ Check enclosed (make check payable to The RV Learning Center) □ Send invoice (RVDA members only) □ VISA □ MC □ AMEX □ DISCOVER C Cardholder’sName:_____ Acct. number: Cardholder’s signature: Billing address:

Exp._______ Security code: _ Return completed form to: RVDA I 3930 University Drive I Fairfax, VA 22030 I Ph. (703) 591-7130 I Fax (703) 359-0152 I

Page 26

10th Edition Service Management Guide (Flat Rate Manual) The expanded Service Management Guide offers over 100 pages of average work unit times for the most basic service functions performed by competent RV technicians. th

The 10 Edition of the Service Management Guide offers extensive updates and additions provided by dealers, service managers, and technicians.

It also offers all new Service Check Sheets that provide a valuable reference for service managers and technicians.

It is a great tool for the service department when working with extended service contracts.

The Service Management Guide is also available in CD-ROM.

The Service Management Guide is designed to provide reasonable guidance relative to the time required for competent technicians to complete assigned tasks. It is an important part of the service management system, but it is not intended to be the sole determinant of prices or rates charged in that sale of service. Manual or CD-ROM: RVDA Members $164.95

Non-Members: $330.00

Manual and CD-ROM: RVDA Members $275.00

Non-Members: $550.00

Order Online at - prices are subject to change without notice

Order Form – 10th Edition Service Management Guide (Flat Rate Manual) Name:____________________________________________________________________________________________ Company Name:___________________________________________________________________________________ Address:_________________________________________________________________________________________ City:__________________________________________State:________Zip Code:______________________________ Phone:___________________________________Fax:______________________E-mail:________________________ ___RVDA Member

___Non-RVDA Member Manual - # of Copies:___ CD-ROM - # of Copies:____

Method of payment (Please check one) ___Check enclosed (Made Payable to The RVDA Education Foundation) ___Send an invoice (members only) Credit Card: __Visa __Master Card __American Express Card Number:____________________________________________Expiration Date:___________________________ Name on Card:_____________________________________Signature:______________________________________ Billing Address:_________________________________________________________Billing Zip:_________________

Page 27

RVDA, 3930 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 591-7130, Fax (703) 359-0152, Email:

Online Training with FRVTA’s

DISTANCE LEARNING NETWORK supplier-specific advanced repair and troubleshooting classes designed to upgrade technicians’ skills. Completion of these classes qualifies for recertification hours. Classes are available 24/7 throughout the program year, providing maximum flexibility.

FRVTA–RV Learning Center Partnership $995 per year for each dealership location. Over 50 sessions available, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with full access to training through July 31, 2012. The DLN offers your dealership: • • • • •

Onsite training Group training No travel time or expenses Self-determined pace One fixed price of $995 for the subscription term

• Service Writers/Advisors – This three-hour program is valuable for both new staff and experienced personnel preparing for the RV Learning Center’s Service Writer/Advisor certification. • Greeters/Receptionists – This 50-minute session is suitable for all employees who need customer service skills. It includes a final exam and certificate of completion.

The DLN offers online training for:

• RV Technicians – The certification prep course helps technicians get ready for the certification exam. Your subscription includes unlimited access to more • Dealers/GMs – This program features important topics for management, including lemon laws, LP gas than 50 training sessions, reviews, and test preparalicensing issues, and the federal Red Flags Rule. tion sections. Also included are manufacturer- and









Mentor Name:


E-mail (at dealership) :


**High speed Internet access required. RVIA service textbooks not included** location(s) at $995 each = payment due: $


(select payment method below)

Complete lower section and mail or fax to:



Florida RV Trade Association, 10510 Gibsonton Drive, River view, FL 33578, (813) 741-0488, Fax: (813) 741-0688 Name



Card Number: Card Billing Address:


Security Code: City:

Expires: State:

Card Holder Signature:

For more information, call (386) 754-4285 or go to Page 28


Sel l i ngEl ect ri ca lSoa f et ySol ut i ons Fort hec oac handc ns ume r . WhyChoos eaPr ogr e s s i veI ndus t r i e sSur gePr ot e c t i onPr oduc t ?

RV Technician  

RVDA's magazine for professional RV technicians

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