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February/March 2012

It’s time to “dewinterize” P 8 e8 ge ag Pa

When refrigerators won’t cool Page 10

U.S. and Canadian propane regs Page 14

Diagnosing and repairing common oven problems P Paaggee 55

February/March 2012

Ovens 5

Diagnosing and repairing common problems with ovens

Seasonal Maintenance 8

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It’s time to think “dewinterizing”

Refrigerators 10 What to do if the cooling unit is the culprit 88 SSpprriinngg ssaaffeettyy cchheecckkss

Propane 14

Important differences between U.S. and Canadian regulations

Top This! 16

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Cleaning up after the tech wannabes


Board of Directors


From the Editor

18 New Products 19 Recalls

Certification Page 21

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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 Mike Molino, 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


Mike Molino, CAE RVDA Education Foundation President Ronnie Hepp, CAE Vice President for Administration Phil Ingrassia, CAE Vice President for Communications Karin Van Duyse Chief, RV Learning Center Mary Anne Shreve Editor

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Chuck Boyd Dealer Services Manager Susan Charter Associate Services Manager Hank Fortune Director of Finance Jeff Kurowski Director of Industry Relations Brett Richardson, Esq., CAE Director of Legal & Regulatory Affairs

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


February/March 2012

If it’s spring, it’s time to dewinterize! It’s time to start shaking off the cold and…dewinterize!

how to make accurate diagnoses that can save customers money and create goodwill.

In many locales, this is the time of year when owners start thinking about a new season of RVing and dreaming of their next great vacation. And now is a good time to remind them that their units are going to need a little maintenance before they take to the road.

Next up is a detailed discussion of common oven problems, written by Chantal Hershberger, a customer service and technical support group leader at Atwood Mobile Products. Some of the conditions she addresses include when the pilot lights but the burner refuses to come on; when the pilot refuses to light or to stay lit; when the oven goes out after one cycle and takes out the pilot; and when the range burner flame is too small.

Dewinterizing specials are a great way to ensure smooth sailing for your customers and to increase service department revenue. These special packages can cover many different categories, such as safety, cosmetics, accessories, water system flushes, and tire and brake inspections. RVDA Service Consultant Tony Yerman offers up ideas on what kinds of items and services to include in your winterization special, plus tips on marketing it to owners, in “If it’s spring, it’s time to think dewinterization.” When problems occur with RV refrigerators, the first thought usually is that the cooling unit is to blame. But that’s not always the case, according to Roger Ford’s story, “Diagnosing refrigerator systems.” Find out

This issue’s “Top This” column, by Steve Savage, covers a subject every professional technician will identify with--tech wannabes. These are individuals with no particular training who nevertheless believe they’re qualified to repair customers’ units. Instead, they can end up creating even bigger messes that experienced techs have to sort out. Read about one particularly unscrupulous “tech” Savage encountered. Mary Anne Shreve Editor 3930 University Drive Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 591-7130 x117

RV Technician Advisory Board 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


Diagnosing and repairing common problems with ovens By Chantal Hershberger Atwood Mobile Products is an industry leader in the RV appliance market, so it’s likely that you as a technician will need to work on these products at some point. Here are some troubleshooting guides to help you become proficient. Before attempting to diagnose oven issues, you must first understand the way the oven works. We will only discuss the newer model ranges, since these are the most common models. Anything prior to the models below would have been made with a mercury safety valve that’s no longer available due to regulations that prohibit mercury in a cooking appliance. Those models would need to be replaced rather than repaired. Sequence of Operation—Models 33, 34 and 35 First, a diagram and description of the main components:

Standard pressure regulator—This valve receives up to 13” W.C. gas pressure from regulated LP systems and reduces the pressure to 10” W.C. to the manifold. Manifold—a continually pressurized pipe distributing gas to top burner valves and oven thermostat. Oven thermostat—supplies gas to the oven pilot and main burner; regulates oven temperature +/- 25 degrees (F) Pilot assembly—consists of a thermocouple and a pilot hood where gas passing through the orifice is directed toward the oven burner pilot hole. The user holds the magnet in initially by pushing the knob in at the “pilot/push/hold” rotation and manually lighting the pilot. After approximately 5 seconds, the thermocouple input will hold the magnet in the open position and the user can release the knob and adjust to the desired temperature. Oven thermostat—senses oven temperature by means of a thermal bulb located in the upper rear of the oven. The oven control knob is set to the desired temperature calling for heat; the fluid expands in the bulb as the temperature rises, moving the seat in the thermostat from full open to partial open as the desired temperature is reached, thus maintaining the set temperature. The gas is passed from the thermostat to the orifice block in the main burner, entering the burner and igniting from the pilot.

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Oven burner—The oven burner remains on once the thermostat is turned on. The size of the flame changes to a high or low flame by the thermostat as regulated by the user setting the knob and the thermostat bulb sensing a satisfied oven temperature. The oven does not go to pilot between burn cycles; it goes to low flame. Note: The pilot gas line will remain open as long as the pilot is lighted and the thermocouple senses flame. If the pilot goes out, the magnet will drop out and shut off gas flow to the pilot. The oven burner is 5600 BTU. Common problems Now let’s address some common conditions, their causes, and how to repair them. These troubleshooting techniques are intended for use on Atwood products and are to be administered by a qualified technician in conjunction with the correct product manual and all applicable industry standards. Condition: Flame on range burners is too small or is yellow and leaves black markings on pans. • Check incoming gas pressure to ensure it is between 11- 13” W.C. • If the condition applies only to one burner, clean it or replace the burner valve. If it applies to all three, it may be a bad stove regulator. • On sealed burner units, make sure the burner is positioned on top of the burner tube and the burner gasket is in place and not damaged. Condition: Oven heats but food cooks unevenly or burns on the bottom. Page 6

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Poor oven ventilation--there must be at least one inch of room on all sides of any pan used in the oven. You cannot put foil over the oven rack to keep it clean, because this will not allow for proper air movement. Blocked vent--either the vent holes on the bottom of the range or the vent at the top (back) of the range could be blocked with insulation. This will affect air movement and cause food to burn on the bottom. The thermal bulb at the rear of the oven could be out of its clip or touching the surface of the oven wall. Put it back in its clip. If all this checks out, then check the calibration of the thermostat. The tolerance of the thermostat is +\- 25 degrees from the set point; this could make for a variance from the set point of 50 total degrees within accepted tolerance. Make sure the customer is preheating the oven for 10 minutes prior to cooking. If problems persist, you can add a baking stone or even a floor tile to the top of the oven shelf to help distribute the heat more evenly. Don’t add more than one oven rack, since airflow is so critical. If oven temperature seems to climb and climb, it could be that the thermo bulb wire was kinked when it was installed. This will require replacing the thermostat.

Condition: Pilot will light but burner will not come on. • Check gas pressure. • Make sure the thermocouple is fully engulfed in the pilot flame and fully

• •

inserted into the thermocouple holder. Test the thermocouple. The thermostat knob isn’t bottoming out on the face plate--if the knob doesn’t bottom out, the magnet won’t open. Check this by removing the knob and using pliers to turn the valve stem or by putting a piece of aluminum foil into the hole on the back of the knob and see if this allows it to bottom out. This condition can also be due to a bad thermostat.

Condition: Pilot won’t light or stay lit • Confirm gas pressure. • Make sure there are no blockages in the orifice, pilot assembly, or pilot line. • Hold the oven knob a full 30 seconds to the pilot position. • Check the gas assembly. • Confirm the thermocouple is inserted into the holder. • Readjust pilot so that the flame is fully engulfing the thermocouple. • Check for kinks in the pilot line. • If pilot flutters, this maybe a bad pilot assembly or orifice. Condition: Only part of the oven burner lights. • Check that holes are clean and free of blockages such as rust pieces, cobwebs, or other debris. • Adjust the air shutter if there is one on the model you’re working on. • Make sure the orifice isn’t blocked. Condition: Oven goes out after one cycle and takes out the pilot. Page 7

• • •

Verify gas pressure. Make sure the pilot is adjusted correctly. Replace thermostat.

Condition: The range top grates are warping, chipping, or flaking, or the stove top finish is wearing, chipping, or flaking. • First of all, don’t use abrasive cleaners or harsh degreasers on these items. Clean only with warm soapy water. • Make sure the customer understands not to use pans any larger than 9” in diameter on this range. Larger pans will trap excessive heat between the top and the grate and damage the finish of both parts over time. • Encourage customers not to wipe these surfaces while the range is still hot. Condition: Oven door won’t close. • The oven door springs are “sprung”-this typically happens when the door is leaned on while lighting the pilot. Replace the hinges and inform customer the door isn’t designed to hold weight. These are some of the most common issues seen with ranges but, as any tech knows, there are always new and mysterious occurrences! When something arises that isn’t covered by this guide, please call our technical support team at 866-869-3118 Monday thru Friday or 8:00am to 5:00pm EST, or visit our website at Chantal Hershberger is customer service and technical support group leader at Atwood Mobile Products.

Seasonal maintenance

If it’s spring, it’s time to think “dewinterizing” By Tony Yerman

As spring gets closer, think about the word dewinterization. People spend a lot of time and money preparing for winter, or winterizing, but what about preparing for the new season of use?

Due to the complexity of the RV, there are all sorts of areas that you can focus on for service and maintenance. Here are some categories:

Make it a profit center Just as we use winterizing to generate traffic into the dealership, we can also use dewinterizing to do the same. Call it a spring tune-up or whatever you like, but you should advise your customers to get their vehicles checked out after a long winter of non-use.

• • • • • • •

Many manufacturers and component suppliers have told me that letting an RV sit without exercise (a term I’ve borrowed from the Onan Owner’s Manual) is the worst thing a person can do. Parts dry out, seals shrink, and rust and corrosion develop. Of course, the customer wants to use his/her RV during the Memorial Day weekend, only to find out the Thursday before that nothing works.

The list could go on. The idea is to create offerings that every RV owner needs or can use without overwhelming them with expenses.

So try preparing a menu of services that help prepare the RVer for the upcoming season and charge accordingly. You could offer a specific dewinterizing service at a set charge, but don’t limit your sales options. Dewinterizing gives the customer an opportunity to re-evaluate all of his or her RVing needs. Every department in the dealership can get involved and offer some sort of pre-season offerings.

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Safety Cosmetic Usage issues or system operation Accessories Sealants Water system Connection equipment

Feature/ benefits in service We have all heard the term “feature/benefit” in sales. It also applies to service. A feature such as an LP safety test offers the benefit of peace of mind. Using this concept, you can offer and sell dewinterizing packages and promotions to old customers as well as new, promoting the idea of dewinterizing for a pleasant and safe season of RV use. Pricing the process A suggestion for a menu item might be a general checkup. This would include flushing, testing, and purifying the fresh water system and a slimmed down form of a pre-delivery inspection (PDI). The RV Learning Center’s Service Management

Guide gives four hours for a PDI on a new travel trailer or fifth wheel, and since we aren’t going to get as involved in the PDI as we normally would (bed and seat operation, adjustments, filling LP, and purging before system test, etc.), we could use that number and offer a discount of some sort. Since checking the fresh water system is part of the PDI, flushing and running water freshener (purifying) won’t add much time. With a shop rate of, for instance, $100 per hour, times four hours, and a 10 percent package discount, a customer could get a general checkup with water system flushing and LP safety check for about $360. Consider this though--if you want to add more value to this option, provide a free preliminary estimate for repairs to any problems found during the check out. The chances are that the customer will appreciate being alerted to any problems, and though he may not pay to have everything done, he will probably spend more money to have some of the issues addressed. Who wouldn’t pay for safety? You might offer an LP safety check which consists of a drop pressure test, a lock up test, and an operating pressure test, along with a tire, brake, and exterior light inspection for the price of a couple hours’ worth of labor. The Service Management Guide gives half an hour for an LP leak test and allows half an hour of prep time to jack the unit up and down for running gear work. Applying power to the brakes, spinning wheels to check for drag, and a quick adjustment shouldn’t take more than another hour on a tandem axle travel trailer. A safety check might cost the customer $200 and provide a season of peace of mind.

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Dewinterizing can also focus on the water system. A customer may want to have his water system flushed and checked for the season. The Service Management Guide allows .8 hours to flush out the system and half an hour to pressure test with air. In the northern states, people winterize and park their units in October or November and dewinterize in January or February to head to warmer climates after the holidays. Most local RV owners will be interested in this type of service as soon as the weather breaks in the spring. Start advertising about the time that area campgrounds open and turn the water back on for the season. In fact, put up ads at the campgrounds. It doesn’t take much equipment to perform these dewinterizing services, and if your dealership delivers any new units to campgrounds, you might have a tech or two there anyway. Service resources You may have noticed that throughout this article I referred to the RV Learning Center’s Service Management Guide. It’s a great tool to have. The Learning Center offers many tools in the form of manuals, labor and estimating guides, and technician and management training for the service department. These tools will help you create programs and services like dewinterizing for your service department. Check them out on page 22. 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


Diagnosing refrigerator systems By Roger Ford Absorption refrigeration systems used in RVs are small and quiet with few moving parts, but they do periodically fail, leading to complaints of insufficient cooling. When problems occur, techs often blame the cooling unit or even the entire refrigerator. But with training, they can learn to diagnose the real problem, potentially saving the customer money and stress and creating goodwill and extra business. The first step is determining whether there’s a control or cooling unit problem. Follow these procedures to diagnose: Procedure 1 Inspect the cooling unit for yellowing, which indicates a leak. Yellowing forms because of sodium chromate, a rust inhibitor, and is usually found in the boiler pack area (although yellowing can occur elsewhere).


Procedure 2 Open the refrigerator door and check for an ammonia odor, which indicates a leak in the lower evaporator section. If the refrigerator is a two-door model, open the freezer compartment and check for an ammonia odor in there as well. If detected, this

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indicates a leak in the upper section of the evaporator coil. Procedure 3 Probe inspection: Bypass all controls by unplugging the thermistor and setting it to the highest setting. If, within two minutes, a rapid boiling or a gurgling noise comes from the boiler section, the unit contains a leak and must be replaced or reconditioned. Ensure the heat element is the required wattage for a unit by probing the heat element with an amp probe.

Procedure 4 If no rapid boil is noted, level the refrigerator and allow the unit to run for approximately one hour. After a while, some warming should appear in the bottom absorber coil, some cooling observed in the freezer compartment, and significant warming present at the top of the steam line, just before the condenser. If these conditions are present, place a thermometer in the refrigerator compartment and allow the unit to run overnight. Check the refrigerator temperature the next day. Regardless of ambient temperature, the thermometer in

the refrigerator should read below 32 degrees. When troubleshooting while running on 110VAC, you should use a temperature probe in the refrigerator compartment. This will give an accurate reading while eliminating the need to open the door to the refrigerator. If using a standard refrigerator thermometer, place it in a bowl of water before testing (see below). That way, when you remove it from the refrigerator to read it, you won't lose degrees too quickly, allowing time to get an accurate temperature.

Removing the refrigerator from the RV This isn’t a difficult task, but it does take knowledge and in some cases requires two people. The following items are required: drop cloth, needle-nose pliers, two correct size open-end wrenches, a Phillips screwdriver, possibly a square head screwdriver, and a 3/8-inch plug for the gas line supply and a cap for the LP inlet on the refrigerator. For all of the following procedures, wear safety glasses. General procedures for removing a refrigerator from an RV: • Shut off the propane at

the main tank valve. • Mark the position of the 12vdc

wires. Disconnect the 12vdc wires and tape the positive wire. • Using two correct size open-

The next day, if the refrigerator temperature reads below 32 degrees, it proves that the cooling unit is working properly. There is a control causing the insufficient cooling, and it will need repairing or replacement. If the temperature is above 32 degrees, the cooling unit is causing the insufficient cooling, and it needs to be replaced or reconditioned. Normal refrigeration is considered 38 to 40 degrees in the refrigerator compartment, while 0 degrees is the target in the freezer compartment (all temperatures are nominal). If you’ve determined that the cooling unit has a leak, proceed to the next step.

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end wrenches, one on the refrigerator connection and the other on the brass flare nut, disconnect the LP gas line. Don’t loosen this nut without a back-up wrench as indicated. • Plug the gas line to the refrigerator

and check for leaks. Put a cap on the refrigerator gas valve. • Outside the vehicle, remove

screws or bolts in the lower rear section of unit (if any are present). • Inside the vehicle, cover the floor

and any other areas that could be damaged during the removal with a drop cloth. Remove the

refrigerator doors. This isn’t a necessity, but it helps make the load lighter.

* Remove the screws or bolts in the freezer compartment. (see figure 2)

• Remove the four (or six) screws

around the frame which hold the refrigerator to the wall. Sometimes they are only on the sides, while other times they are on the top and/or bottom. Slide the refrigerator out of the opening and remove it. Some may have a decorative cover that you must remove to access these screws. Cooling unit removal At this point, you can leave the refrigerator’s doors off or reinstall them to the cabinet. To remove the cooling unit from the refrigerator cabinet you will need: a Philips screwdriver, pry bar, and a 1x4x6-inch piece of wood. Tools in hand, proceed accordingly: * Remove the screws holding the evaporator fins inside the refrigerator compartment. (see figure 1)

Figure 2: Shelf bolts

* On the units with bolts, you will need to remove the shelf that the bolts were in. Do so by pulling it straight out. (see figure 3)

Figure 3: Refrigerator shelf

* Extract the thermostat capillary tube from inside the cabinet, if necessary. (see figure 4) Remove any control wiring on the back of the refrigerator in order to be able to remove the cooling unit. To ensure accurate reassembly, mark positions of any wiring and controls before beginning disassembly.

Figure 1: Evaporator fins

Figure 4: Thermostat capillary Page 12

* Next, place a protective barrier on the floor so that when you lay the refrigerator on its front, you protect the outer cabinet/doors. * Lay the refrigerator on its front on top of a protective barrier. You should now be looking at the cooling unit, which is on the backside of the refrigerator. * Remove the boiler pack, which is located on the lower right side. There are four tabs on the boiler pack. Unhook the tabs from their slots. Do not straighten them out, as they may break off. The easiest and safest way is to squeeze the cover, which allows the tabs to come out. Remove this cover by rolling it counter clockwise off the boiler and it will lift right off. * Remove the electric heating element by using a gentle twisting motion as you pull the heat element out of its sleeve. If any excessive force is required, wear safety glasses. If the heating element is hard to get out, heating the tube may help. * Remove the screw holding the sheet metal cover around the burner assembly. Remove the cover. * Remove the screws holding the burner assembly in place and carefully set the burner aside. (see figure 5)

Figure 5: Burner assembly Page 13

* Remove the screws holding the cooling unit to the cabinet. * The next procedure could be hazardous to your eyes--wear safety glasses at all times and have eye-flushing solution nearby. A note of caution: Pry only under the large tube exiting the evaporator. Exerting such force elsewhere could damage the cooling unit. Lift upward on the cooling unit tubing that passes through the urethane to and from the evaporator. A helpful hint: Create a downward pressure with your toes on the 1/4 inch lip of the refrigerator frame. If a pry bar is necessary, place it on the 1x4x6-inch piece of wood to protect the box. Different sizes of wood may be necessary for different makes and models of refrigerators. The cooling unit is now exposed and ready for replacement. Roger Ford is owner of Ford Refrigeration and the author of Ford Procedures Manual. He can be contacted at


Differences between U.S. and Canadian propane regulations By Tony Yerman

Working with the Learning Center and RVDA/RVIA Technician training and certification, I’ve learned that there are differences between how each country regulates and deals with liquid propane (LP) in RV use and in general. These differences play a big role in what technicians, service writers, service managers and even parts personnel need to know and understand. Any training or certification must take these differences into consideration as well. Most differences are safety related. Some are just basic industry related. Just as states in the U.S. may have different regulations, two different countries will approach the use and application of propane systems and safety differently. Regulatory agencies In the United States, the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Labor (specifically, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do most of the safety and application regulating of propane.

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In Canada, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Transport Canada provide the regulations to the provinces, which, in turn, interpret and administer them to fit their jurisdictions. Each country has associations which help interpret and assist in the application of all regulations. The United States has the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), and Canada has the Canadian Propane Association. It’s good to know these regulatory agencies, as well as the industry associations, to help in the safe handling and use of propane gas. What are some of the differences? The first thing a U.S. technician might notice is propane measurement. Pounds become kilograms and gallons become liters. The information on frame mounted tanks, as well as LP cylinders, will read differently. Canadian and American laws differ in who can handle propane. In the United States, some states require certification and some don’t. In Canada, a repair tech or anyone who even fills propane must be certified.

The length of time between manufacture date on a cylinder and the requalification time differs from country to country. In Canada, a cylinder must be requalified after ten years. In the United States, a cylinder must be requalified after twelve years. Why does this matter? Technicians in either country may never have the need to repair a propane issue from the other country. But at some point it could happen. Service personnel from the porter or parts man who might fill LP, to the service manager, writer, or technician who may have to perform a repair or advise on a propane situation, need to know that there are differences and where to find the information. Another reason to know that there are differences is for the purpose of training. Though Canada has certification and training specific to propane, for anyone handling it, the regulations and training will be different. Most RV-specific training is developed and administered by U.S. entities; therefore U.S. standards and regulations are taught and recognized. Canadians taking U.S. training or certification may confuse what they learn and may have difficulty passing U.S. testing and certification. At present, there are no country specific tests. The Learning Center has certifications and learning guides for service writer/advisors, service managers, warranty administrators, and parts managers/specialists. RVDA/RVIA has technician certification and training. Each was developed by the U.S. RV industry and contains information relative only to U.S. regulation and

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standards. Canadians taking U.S. training and certification tests must realize and adjust to this accordingly. The main and most important issue to all of this is customer and handler safety. Whenever there is a question, look for an answer and consider that you may be looking at a vehicle or system from another country. Related websites: Canadian Propane Association nt/article/11-safety/67-get-your-cylinderfilled-by-qualified-attendants.html National Propane Gas Association ageid=477

For information on the RV Learning Center’s training and certification resources, click here or go to

RVDA Service Consultant Tony Yerman is an Ohio-based master certified technician, repair specialist, and the author of the RV Damage Repair Estimator. He can be contacted at

Top This!

Cleaning up after the technician wannabes By Steve Savage

I told the owner that Every certified RV The tech wannabe told the every service call I technician spends had ever made to a fair amount of owner his circuit breakers the campground time having to were the problem. The was the result of undo the work of certified tech knew better. voltage being way what I will too low. Now the charitably call owner’s wife was technician yelling in the wannabes. Here background that are a few they weren’t going to pay for anything that examples that I’ve encountered. was the campground’s fault, and the tech wannabe was saying he’d fix it, but not with It was a mid-Sunday afternoon when I got a me there. So I simply wished him luck and call from the campground near my home. signed off. The proud owner of a brand-new, first-timeout travel trailer was having a problem. It It’s common for owners to tell me, “I’ve seems the end of his shoreline had burned taken out the old fill-in-the-blank, and now off. I’ll let you install the new one and wire everything back up.” Translation: “I’ve pulled The resident technician wannabe advised everything apart and have no clue how to him the circuit breakers in his camper were put it all back together.” the culprits. If the owner would make a run to Lowes and purchase a set of new ones, Even worse, though, is when tech the wannabe would install them for him. And wannabes do the same thing and then that is exactly what he did, along with charge owners for it. Last week, an owner putting a new plug on the owner’s shoreline. stopped by the lot where I was working to ask if I could put his air conditioner controls As you may have guessed, replacing all the back together. It seems the so-called breakers wasn’t the fix that had been technician in his park took it apart and promised. Things continued to smoke or nothing worked anymore. simply did not work, and now the owner wanted my opinion. I knew about this I recently stopped at a campground to campground’s problem from experience: complete a furnace repair. The furnace had Dialing up the voltage on the transformers been making noise, so the “technician” feeding the campground hadn’t made up for removed the screw that held the saddle its outdated wiring. Once the campground clamp around the motor. The customer said filled, nothing in the RVs worked very well with 90 VAC at the pedestal.

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the tech then told him, “Let’s just leave this out.” Things didn’t improve, so the technician’s assistant was sent out on a second trip. That visited ended with only one screw securing the shroud around the blower wheel. Finally, after the blower motor dropped and the blower wheel hit the surround, they called me. All of this might seem laughable to certified technicians, but given the industry’s lackluster support for the technician certification program, one can hardly blame RV owners for not knowing the difference between a wannabe and a certified technician. Now, here’s my final, favorite example.

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Not long ago, I was in a campground on a follow-up call for one of my dealers. Shortly before I arrived, another “tech” had completed five service calls there. He had charged each owner his $100 minimum fee, told each one he couldn’t fix their problem, and moved on. In short order, he collected $500, sold no parts, and completed no repairs. Maybe anyone really can be an RV technician!

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

Winegard intros new antenna

Winegard Co. introduces a newly redesigned over-the-air compact omnidirectional antenna, the RoadStar 3000, designed to continuously find and pull in all available VHF, UHF, and FM broadcast signals within a 35-mile radius of a parked RV. The RoadStar 3000 delivers free local standard and HDTV programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX, plus many additional sub-channels that carry 24-hour news, weather, music, kids’ programming, and movies. The 3000 series eliminates the need to manually aim and lock onto digital signals. Also included are a 12-volt DC power supply and receptacle and a two-way splitter for a second TV and optional cable input. The RoadStar 3000 is only 7.56 inches high by 14.88 inches in diameter and takes minimal roof space. Its new pedestal mount allows a fast, simple installation without special tools. The product’s 360-degree signal reception and enhanced amplifier help pull in weak signals from fringe areas. Antennas are available in white and black. For more information, visit

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Safer, tamper-resistant electrical outlets Roughly 2,400 children suf f er electrical injuries each year f rom a built-in shutter syst em incidents involving electrical outlets and receptacles. W irecon tamperresistant SCD receptacles f rom Hubbell have that prevents a f oreign object f rom touching the blade contacts if inserted into a slot. W irecon SCDs are completely insulated, don’t require a separate outlet box, and have an extended f rame to minimize air inf iltrat ion. W irecon's TR series is available in 15 and 20 amp single and duplex receptacles with matching wall plates.

A buffing system for RVs Shurhold’s Dual-Action Polisher, Buff Magic, and Buff Magic Pad provide a smooth, shiny RV with minimal effort. Buff Magic's proprietary abrasives work a finish from very dull to ultra-glossy. The Buff Magic compounding pad is a general-purpose cutting pad made of 100 percent twisted wool. It was designed to work with Shurhold's Dual Action Polisher and Buff Magic and is perfect for removing severe oxidation in only two to three passes on the surface.


Ford recalls some F-53 and F-59 motorhome chassis Ford Motor Co. is recalling certain model year 2011 and 2012 F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis because a transmission-selector cable needs to be replaced. F-53 chassis typically are used as the platform for Class A motorhome chassis, while F-59 chassis are used for delivery vans and other commercial vehicles. The company said the “prndl” cable that controls the transmission’s gear indicator display can break where it is attached to the transmission control selector arm on the steering column. If the cable breaks, the gear indicator display in the instrument panel will not move when the driver changes the gear position. This can prevent drivers from knowing whether the vehicle is in park or reverse, increasing the risk of a crash. Ford said it built the affected 2011 chassis from February 1, 2010 through July 1, 2011, and the 2012 models from May 10, 2011 through October 25, 2011. The recall includes 13,239 vehicles.

RVDA cautions dealerships that it is unlawful to sell a new motor vehicle subject to a NHSTA recall until the recall work is complete. Ford will notify owners and dealers will replace the transmission selector arm assembly and the ‘prndl’ cable assembly. Parts for the repair should be available in March. Retail buyers of a motorhome with a recalled chassis should receive recall notices in the next week or so, according to Ford. Dealers who need to find out if a motorhome in their inventory is subject to the recall can: 1. Call the Ford Motorhome Assistance Hotline at (800) 444-3311; have the chassis VIN number ready. 2. Ask your local Ford dealer for the status on Ford’s Oasis DMS system, using the chassis VIN number. 3. Contact the motorhome manufacturer directly. Click here to see the NHTSA recall notice.

CrossRoads recalls Rushmore, Elevation RVs CrossRoads RV is recalling certain model year 2012 Rushmore and Elevation RVs manufactured from June 1, 2011, through January 12, 2012, with panther style 16” 8-lug aluminum wheels. An incorrect wheel center cap that doesn’t provide adequate clearance to allow the wheel to fully seat on the hub face of the axle could cause a wheel to loosen and come off, leading to loss of control of the trailer and possible crash. CrossRoads will notify owner, and replace the center caps. Owners may contact CrossRoads at 1888-226-7496 or contact NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to . Page 19


Thor recalls some Dutchmen Voltage, Rubicon trailers Thor is recalling certain model year 2012 Dutchmen Voltage and Rubicon trailers, manufactured from July 19, 2011 through December 21, 2011. The trailer wheels may not be fully seated on the hub and may loosen and potentially detach from the trailer. Wheel separation can lead to loss of control of the trailer, increasing the risk of a crash. Thor will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the wheels and repair the trailers as necessary. Owners may contact Thor Industries Inc. at 1-937-596-6849. Owners may contact NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to

CrossRoads hydraulic brake pump recall Crossroads RV is recalling certain model year 2012 Redwood RVs manufactured from August 26, 2011, through January 18, 2012, equipped with a hydraulic trailer brake pump that could fail, resulting in a loss of braking that could lead to a crash, serious injuries, or property damage. Crossroads will notify owners, and dealers will replace the hydraulic pumps. . Owners may contact Crossroads at 1-888-226-7496. Customers may also contact NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to

Page 20

Winnebago parking brake cable recall Winnebago is recalling certain model year 2012 Access, Access Premier, and Itasca Impulse and Impulse Silver motorhomes manufactured from June 28, 2011, through January 25, 2012. The parking brake cable may rub on a metal support under the vehicle, causing it to fail to release, or over time abrade until it fails, resulting in the vehicle rolling away without warning, possibly causing injury or death. Winnebago will notify owners, and dealers will shorten the metal tube to provide clearance for the parking brake cable. Owners may contact Winnebago Industries Owner Relations at 1-641-585-6939. Customers may also contact NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to

Tiffin recalls some Phaetons, Zephyrs Tiffin is recalling certain model year 2011, 2012, and 2013 Phaetons and Zephyrs equipped with a Cummins ISB, ISC, ISl, or ISX diesel engine. The V-band clamp assembly used to connect the inlet and outlet cone sections to the diesel oxidation catalyst (doc)/diesel particulate filter (dpf) include a t-bolt which can fracture and fail, causing the clamp to loosen and the inlet or outlet sections to disconnect. In that case, hot exhaust gases create the risk of fire. Repairs will be performed by authorized Cummins dealers. Owners may contact Cummins at 1-812-377-5000 or Tiffin at 256-356-8661.

The RV Learning Center proudly recognizes the following

CONTRIBUTORS: Additional/New Contributions Received 7/01/10-7/01/12 Ace Fogdall, Inc. Affinity RV Service Sales & Rentals All Seasons (CA) Alpin Haus Altmans Winnebago American RV Automotive Recruiting Best Value RV Bill Plemmons RV World Bill Thomas Bill Thomas Camper Sales, Inc. Bowling Motors & RV Sales Byerly RV Center Camp-Site RV Camperland of Oklahoma, LLC Campers Inn of Kingston Capital R.V. Center, Inc. Carolina Coach & Camper Carpenter’s Campers, Inc. Circle K RVs, Inc. Crestview RV Center Curtis Trailers, Inc. Diversified Insurance Management, Inc. Dixie RV Superstore Bill & Kristin Fenech Floyd's Recreational Vehicles Fretz Enterprises, Inc. Sherman Goldenberg Greeneway, Inc. (Route 66 Dealer) Hartville RV Center Hayes RV Center Hemlock Hill RV Sales, Inc. Ronnie Hepp Hilltop Trailer Sales, Inc. Holiday World of Houston Horsey Family Memorial Fund J.D. Sanders, Inc. Jamatt RV Sales Jayco, Inc. Kroubetz Lakeside Campers La Mesa RV Center, Inc. Madison RV Supercenter Manteca Trailer & Camper Maxxair Vent Corporation MBA Insurance, Inc. McClain's RV Superstore Craig Mellor Mike Molino Rose Zella Morris Motley RV Repair Myers RV Center, Inc. Newmar Corporation Newell Coach Niel’s Motor Homes Noble RV, Inc. Open Range RV Company Pan Pacific RV Centers, Inc. Paul Evert's RV Country, Inc. PleasureLand RV Center, Inc. PPL MotorHomes Protective RCD Sales Company, Ltd. Reines RV Center, Inc. Rich & Sons Camper Sales Rivers Bus & RV Sales RV Assistance Corp. RV World Recreation Vehicle Center RV Outlet Mall Skyline RV & Home Sales, Inc. Spader Business Management Spader 20 Group #20 Stag Parkway Steinbring Motor Coach Tacoma RV Center Tarpley RV The Trail Center Tiffin Motor Homes, Inc. Tom Stinnett Derby City RV United RV United States Warranty Corporation Wilkins R.V., Inc. Winnebago Industries, Inc. The Kindlund Family Scholarship Endowment

Received 7/01/10-03/02/12 $3,500 $1,000 $49 $4,000 $5,000 $250 $30 $1,750 $2,550 $500 $500 $300 $16,000 $250 $750 $7,000 $1,000 $100 $3,000 $500 $1,000 $1,000 $2,200 $5,000 $10,000 $250 $250 $25 $8,300 $250 $100 $2,000 $275 $41 $5,000 $6,000 $250 $500 $1,000 $250 $10 $500 $501 $250 $1,100 $5,000 $100 $175 $25 $1,235 $1,200 $25,000 $1,000 $250 $900 $2,000 $500 $1,875 $1,350 $100 $42,179 $500 $4,500 $4,000 $2,000 $3,000 $250 $200 $250 $1,000 $1,700 $5,250 $250 $500 $250 $100 $2,500 $400 $2,000 $2,000 $4,200 $7,000

Total Received $37,100 $6,000 $37,049 $16,500 $50,500 $5,925 $30 $1,750 $7,550 $500 $20,500 $300 $36,000 $250 $3,850 $32,422 $6,000 $100 $4,000 $5,750 $1,500 $7,000 $14,400 $15,000 $50,000 $250 $250 $25 $13,300 $10,250 $5,100 $6,000 $325 $1,581 $25,000 $67,000 $2,500 $500 $18,500 $250 $3,510 $4,000 $4,501 $2,500 $13,100 $35,000 $100 $10,761 $25 $8,075 $2,000 $135,000 $1,000 $250 $900 $2,500 $36,500 $25,000 $76,350 $100 $110,963 $1,250 $22,025 $6,000 $16,850 $26,000 $1,850 $1,550 $250 $1,000 $1,700 $32,100 $250 $500 $4,500 $1,100 $18,500 $100,900 $2,000 $4,250 $13,600 $34,000 $270,000

Last Contribution Received 12/272011 8/30/2010 7/10/2010 7/11/2011 1/21/2011 1/25/2011 11/7/2011 5/12/2011 5/27/2011 10/26/2010 10/26/2010 12/16/2011 1/3/2012 2/1/2012 7/1/2011 7/11/2011 12/7/2010 3/30/2011 6/24/2011 6/28/2011 12/17/2010 12/7/2010 6/14/2011 8/18/2010 7/29/2010 10/19/2010 1/3/2012 2/23/2011 12/3/2010 6/28/2011 1/28/2011 9/16/2010 2/23/2011 6/20/2011 8/24/2010 6/17/2011 9/1/2011 12/3/2010 12/27/2011 12/2/2011 12/30/2010 8/22/2011 6/24/2011 6/30/2011 6/1/2011 6/14/2011 10/25/2010 2/17/2011 10/25/2010 11/4/2011 12/16/2010 10/28/2011 9/1/2011 6/20/2011 2/21/2012 4/6/2011 10/21/2010 4/14/2011 12/16/2011 8/12/2010 12/2/2011 12/20/2010 12/22/2011 11/2/2011 6/21/2011 11/23/2011 12/10/2010 6/10/2011 7/14/2011 12/2/2011 3/30/2011 11/12/2010 10/14/2010 7/7/2010 9/10/2010 11/01/2010 4/19/2011 2/6/2012 10/17/2011 4/19/2011 6/17/2011 9/30/2011

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

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

Online Training with FRVTA’s


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.

$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

DEALERSHIP REGISTRATION Company Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________ City:________________________ State: ____ Zip: __________ Phone: ______________________________________________ Fax: __________________________________________________ Mentor Name: ________________________________________________________ Phone: ______________________________ E-mail (at dealership) : __________________________________________________ Fax: ________________________________

**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, Riverview, FL 33578, (813) 741-0488, Fax: (813) 741-0688 Name on Credit Card: ______________________________________________________________________________________ Card Number: ________________________ Security Code: _________ Expires: ______________________________________ Card Billing Address: ________________________________ City:________________________ State: ____ Zip: __________ Card Holder Signature: ______________________________________________________________________________________

For more information, call (386) 754-4285 or go to Page 24

Page 25 file:///I|/SHARED/081FOUND/RVTechnician Magazine/EDITIONS/2012 issues/December_January/PDFs/Dometic ad.gif[1/6/2012 3:39:59 PM]

RV Technician  

RVDA's magazine for professional RV technicians

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