Sunday, October 6, 2013

Some RV maintenance this week.

Location, At Home

Last Monday I completed a major project on the RV.

This spring when I took the cover off my awning in preparation for my 10 days with the Visitadores, I noticed that some of the vinyl came off the underside of the awning. Not having time to do anything about it I used some trusty duct tape to stop any further deterioration until I could find a new awning.

Needless to say, 10 days in the wind while working in the back country didn’t do the awning any good. To get it home I just added more duct tape.

After several days of searching on-line I decided to order a replacement awning and do the replacement myself. After all, I had done a replacement many years ago to the awning on our Class C motorhome and it turned out just fine.

The replacement awning was from Dometic just as the original one on the RV and it was a fraction of the cost of one from Camping World. I briefly thought about taking it to Camping World but with the cost of fuel plus the awning it was just out of my price range.

I ordered the replacement in July and installed it last Monday. It came in a large cardboard tube like those used for cement forms. I still have the tube and am not sure what to do with it. Maybe I will advertise it on Craigslist.

Installation went well with help from my neighbor Paul. The only problem occurred when we started to put tension back on the tension rods inside the roller tube. There is an aluminum shaft turning inside of an aluminum bushing and these tend to Gaul. A little oil solved that problem. Oh, and refreshing our memory via a YouTube video as to which way to turn the tension helped also. The awning looks good.

I did have a mystery later in the week as my RV batteries seemed to be down in voltage. I checked the water level and added a little too each cell but that wasn’t the problem. Normally, I have the built in battery charger turned off and only the roof solar panels keep the batteries fully charged. Heaven knows we have had enough sunlight lately to keep the solar working at peak efficiency. I turned on the internal battery charger and left it on overnight. The next morning the batteries seemed to be fully charged so late in the day I turned the charger off and then after dark checked to see what the voltage level was. While in the trailer I noticed that the front closet light was on. Ah-ha, I found the source of the battery drain. Apparently I had left the light on after one of my many trips into the RV.

Today I decided to run an equalization voltage on the batteries. I do this with the solar controller which has an equalization switch which jumps the battery voltage up about 1.5 volts. With the batteries at full charge I run the equalization for two hours. While this is running, I remove the battery caps and lay a folded paper towel over the cells to keep acid from splashing out. The batteries do bubble during this process. I also unplug the 12v line from the refrigerator circuit board and make sure all other 12v appliances are turned off.

Hopefully this will keep my batteries in tip-top shape.

Sunset at Poipu beach, Kauai.