What You Need to Know About Six-Slide RVs

I wrote an article awhile back about the problems and dangers that RV slide rooms create.

At that time, I had heard that manufacturers were starting to add an extra slide to the four that were already popular.

The excuse was, and always has been, that this is what people want and providing it will make them happy.

It will also make the RV manufacturers rich.

So, if four is good and five is better, why not add another one!

This is exactly what several RV manufacturers, Heartland and Keystone to name a few, are now doing.

So now people will find themselves dealing with the problems associated with six slide rooms if they’re not careful!

Yes or No?

I’m sure that many consumers will hail this new innovation as being wonderful, and will flock to dealerships to buy these fifth wheels.

However, before you grab your wallet and drive to your nearest seller, you might want to take a look at the pros and cons of buying a travel unit that has so many slide rooms.

The Positives

The truth is that adding an extra slide will provide even more living space than before.

Because of this, travelers will feel more comfortable.

Also, the extra room will be really great for full timers to have, especially those who remain in one spot for long periods of time.

There will be more privacy, more room to entertain guests and more spaces where children and pets can play.

The added space will give people more of a feeling that they are living in a small home than they had with fewer slide rooms, and that is a big plus.

However, people should be thinking about more than comfort before they decide to purchase such a coach that has so many slide rooms.

I wrote an article awhile back about the problems and dangers that RV slide rooms create.

At that time, I had heard that manufacturers were starting to add an extra slide to the four that were already popular.

The excuse was, and always has been, that this is what people want and providing it will make them happy.

It will also make the RV manufacturers rich.

So, if four is good and five is better, why not add another one!

This is exactly what several RV manufacturers, Heartland and Keystone to name a few, are now doing.

So now people will find themselves dealing with the problems associated with six slide rooms if they’re not careful!

RV Manufacturers have started producing RVs with Six Slides!
RV Manufacturers have started producing RVs with Six Slides! | Source

Yes or No?

I’m sure that many consumers will hail this new innovation as being wonderful, and will flock to dealerships to buy these fifth wheels.

However, before you grab your wallet and drive to your nearest seller, you might want to take a look at the pros and cons of buying a travel unit that has so many slide rooms.

The Positives

The truth is that adding an extra slide will provide even more living space than before.

Because of this, travelers will feel more comfortable.

Also, the extra room will be really great for full timers to have, especially those who remain in one spot for long periods of time.

There will be more privacy, more room to entertain guests and more spaces where children and pets can play.

The added space will give people more of a feeling that they are living in a small home than they had with fewer slide rooms, and that is a big plus.

However, people should be thinking about more than comfort before they decide to purchase such a coach that has so many slide rooms.

The Negatives

What You Need to Know About RV Slide Rooms discusses the problems that go along with owning recreational vehicles with slides, so I won’t repeat them here.

Except for one: the structural integrity of a coach.

If you go to the Heartland site and look at the floor plans of their 2017 six slide fifth wheels, notice the ratio of wall to total RV length.

There isn’t much.

Since those walls are what hold the slides in place, if the wall space is minimal, there’s not much there to sustain the slides.

Some will argue that it is not the walls that secure the slides, but rather the underpinnings.

However, I personally cannot wrap my head around the fact that something that is beneath a floor could, by itself, possibly hold what is basically a big, bulky and heavy room in place.

Road vibration and normal wear and tear weaken slides. If walls are not sound enough to sustain them, all sorts of problems can result.

Since the average slide can weigh upwards of 4,000 pounds, the weight that is added to the structure of a coach becomes increasingly significant.

Common sense tells you that walls that are only three inches thick, regardless of what manufacturers say, cannot possibly safely sustain multiple slide rooms without having serious problems at some point.

A 40′ Long RV With 6 Slides Can Lose More than 65% of Its Total Side Wall Space and 50% of Its Front and Rear Wall Space

Do the Math

The easiest way to support the above conclusion is to look at the floor plan of a coach that has six slides.

If you have a 40 foot long motor home and 26 feet of it are taken up with sidewall slides and the rear wall 8.5 feet wide is a full wall slide, this means that only 14 feet of the sides are solid wall and none of the rear wall is solid wall.

Manufacturers can argue all they want that the new construction methods eliminate the types of problems caused by slides, but when you lose 65% of your solid sidewall construction to slides and then lose another 50% of your front and rear wall construction to one more, this does not make for a very solid or safe travel unit.

The fewer the slides in an RV, the fewer the problems you will have.  6 is not a good number!
The fewer the slides in an RV, the fewer the problems you will have. 6 is not a good number! | Source

Listen to the Right People

If you go onto RV Forums you will find all sorts of opinions rendered by people who own recreational vehicles with slides.

Most will vouch for them, but few ever say how often they use their coaches for travel or how often they open and close their slide rooms.

The truth is that most people only travel for relatively short periods of time every year, and a fair number simply live in their units and rarely use them for vacations.

Thus, depending on who is giving advice, a person could state that he’s had his unit for five years and has had no problems, but it is very possible that he also

  1. only travels for one month each year
  2. doesn’t drive far when he does travel or
  3. doesn’t travel at all.

In the first scenario, the person who has owned his coach for five years hasn’t even used it for five total months!

In the second one, the miles traveled after five years might only add up to 5,000.

In the third, the number of slides on a coach would have no impact whatsoever in terms of affecting side or front wall integrity.

Furthermore, you have no way of knowing where people drive their units. There’s a big difference between road conditions on Interstate 10 in Florida and Interstate 10 in Louisiana. The one road is smooth and well maintained, while the other is one of the worst highways in the nation and has needed major repairs for years.

The point here is that when you read online information about RV slide rooms, you never know who is providing it or what the basis is for their advice.

So, where is the best place to get your information?

The More Slides an RV Has, the Greater Will Be Its Problems

Spend Some Time Talking to RV Mechanics

If you really want to learn about slide room stability and safety, take the time to visit the repair area of any big RV dealership and try to get the information you want from a mechanic who works on travel units.

I’ve done this several times, and the response has always been the same.

“Stay away from slide rooms if at all possible.”

I have consistently been told that the majority of the repair work these guys do is on slides, and it’s expensive.

In many cases, warranties don’t cover the cost.

This being the case, it should be obvious that the more slide rooms you have on a coach, the more problems you will have.

This means you will not only pay more to buy a coach that has more of them, you will pay more to maintain and repair them.

Tips and Compatibility Info for Buying a Used Camper Shell

A used top, selling for far below what it cost new, sounds like a great deal. But just be aware of a few things to consider before you buy.

  • A used shell that is damaged may not be cost-effective to repair.
  • A used shell may have come from a different truck than the one it’s sitting on, so you want to measure your own truck.
  • Truck beds, especially more recent ones, aren’t necessarily rectangular; they may be narrower in the rear than in the front.
  • Sometimes the shape of the rails and the shape of the cab and tailgate may complicate the fit.
  • The third brake light has to be visible in trucks made 1994 and later, and may complicate the fit for mid-’90s trucks. New shells since 1995 have brake lights built in.
  • Tonneaus need to fit more exactly than shells do.
  • If a used Leer or SnugTop shell has a serial number, you can call the company and try to find out what truck the cover was made for.

A Damaged Shell May Not Be Much of a Deal

The window on this used top is separating from the frame. There is no way to fix this, despite what the seller says. Silicone will not do it, and you cannot replace a pane of glass on these windows; the window itself has to be replaced.
The window on this used top is separating from the frame. There is no way to fix this, despite what the seller says. Silicone will not do it, and you cannot replace a pane of glass on these windows; the window itself has to be replaced.

Keep in mind that if major parts of the top you are looking at are broken, you need to look into the price of replacing those parts before you take advantage of that “deal of the century.”

Here is some information, broken out by make, about which years had which body styles. It will help you know what to expect when you shop for a used top to match your truck bed.

Ford Trucks

Ford 150/250

1980-1996. From 1980 to 1996, Ford F150/250 trucks had essentially identical beds.

1997-2004. In 1997, the Ford F150 was radically changed, most notably by making the bed tapered, meaning it’s wider in the front than it is in the rear. This was initially only done to the F150 line; the F250 and F350 heavy duty trucks remained the same until 1999, when Ford introduced the Superduty.

2004-2009. The F150 changed its body style and bed again in 2004 (except that in the 2004 F150 Heritage Edition, the bed and body are the same as the ’97 to 2003 truck). The F150 would remain the same until 2009, when the bed changed; but it changed only slightly, check the top of the rear corners of a new F150 bed and compare it to a 2004-08, you’ll see what I mean. Superdutys really haven’t changed much, as far as the bed is concerned, except that in about 2008 some Superdutys, not all of them, began including a fold-out step built into the tailgate. If your truck has it, the shell door will need to compensate for it. Leer and SnugTop shells have special molded pieces on the bottom of the door to account for it.

Ford Ranger

1983-1992. Ford Rangers have been around since 1983, and stayed the same all the way up to 1992.

1993-present. Rangers haven’t changed much since 1993, except that the flareside bed, also referred to as the Ranger Splash bed, is different.

Mazda Trucks

Any Mazda truck built from 1993 to now is identical to a Ford Ranger, for our purposes. In the 1998 to 2006 Mazda B-Series trucks, there is a slight difference: basically, the bed on those trucks has slightly narrower rails. Most shell manufacturers did not change their molds to deal with this variation. I think SnugTop is the only company that has a specific Mazda mold, if that is even still available. But honestly, it’s not that much different than the Ranger mold.

Chevy / GM Trucks

Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra

1973-1987. It’s important to remember that from 1973 to 1987, full-size GM trucks had perfectly rectangular beds. That changed in 1988 when they became tapered, much like Ford’s did in 1997. If you have a crew cab 1988 Chevy/GMC, however, it still has the 1987 body and bed.

1988-1998. The full-size Chevy Silverado pickups and GMC Sierras are the same from 1988 to 1998.

1999-2006: The Silverado/Sierra changed in 1999; however, some ’99 models, specifically the heavy duty 3500 model crew cabs, are the older body style. The full-size GM trucks changed again, like I said, in 1999. The 1999 to 2006 models are called the “classic” Chevys.

2007-present. The full-sized GM trucks changed again in 2007, but you have to be careful with 2007, because GM introduced the new truck mid-year. Thus a few 2007s still have the ‘06 body, which GM refers to as the “classic” body. The heavy-duty trucks retained the classic body until 2008.

Silverado vs. Sierra. Up until 2007, the beds were the same between a GMC and Chevy, but for the current body style, the bed of the Chevy Silverado is actually NOT identical to the bed of the GMC Sierra. The insides of the beds are the same; it’s the outside rails that are slightly different. The differences are very subtle, but they do affect the fit of most hard tonneau covers and bedliners. Try putting an over-the-rail GMC liner in a Chevy bed and you’ll see what I mean; one is just slightly wider than the other toward the rear of the bed. Could you fit a new Sierra shell on a Silverado bed? Yeah, probably the fit would be fine, but for a perfect fit, you’ll want to match make to make.

Chevy S-10/Colorado, GMC S-15/Sonoma/Canyon

1982-1992: The “S-10 years.” GMC called this truck the S-15 or Sonoma.

1994-2004: The S-10 totally changed in 1994 and stayed that way until 2004.

2004-present: After 2004, the old S-10 became known as the Chevy Colorado or the GMC Canyon. The shell for a ’94 to 2004 S-10 will most likely not fit the new Colorado/Canyons.

Toyota Trucks

“Toyota Truck” (SR5), Tacoma

The basic Toyota Truck is sometimes called the SR5.

1984-88. Some pre-1989 Toyota Trucks have have what is called a “Japanese” bed, meaning the bed rails roll to the outside. On just about any truck today, you access the underside of a bed rail from the inside of the bed, but a “Japanese” bed rail is only accessed from the outside. I don’t know much about what will fit Japanese beds, since by the time I started selling camper shells these trucks were fairly old and I rarely saw one come into the shop looking for a shell.

This is a 1985 Toyota with the imported or "Japanese"-style bed. Notice how the rails roll to the outside. Earlier years of this truck only used Japanese beds, but for this year, both Japanese and non-Japanese styles exist.
This is a 1985 Toyota with the imported or “Japanese”-style bed. Notice how the rails roll to the outside. Earlier years of this truck only used Japanese beds, but for this year, both Japanese and non-Japanese styles exist.

1989-94: From 1989 to 1994, the basic Toyota truck didn’t change much, except for the addition of a third brake light in ’94, something I already talked about. The bed is essentially the same as on the 1984-88 truck.

1995-2004: Midway through 1995, Toyota introduced the Tacoma, a name still used today, and the Tacoma stayed the same up until 2004. Will a shell from an older SR5-type Toyota fit a 1996 to 2004 Tacoma? Kind of. It will sit lower than the height of the cab, but the inside of the bed is actually the same as the older SR5 trucks. There are also differences between extended-cab shells and standard-cab shells on the 1989 to 2004 models.If you take a shell built for an extended cab and try to fit it to a standard cab, it will most likely rub the top of the cab, since it has an angle to it to compensate for the angle of the extended cab.

2005-present. In 2005, the Tacoma changed a lot. The new Tacomas have a composite bed: basically it’s all plastic, except for the outer skin and rear pillars. You cannot fit anything on these trucks that is not designed specifically for the post-2004 Tacoma. Whether you have an “access” cab, crew cab, or standard cab, there is no angle built into the shell, so you can swap one over to the other—just make sure you have the right bed length for the crew cab.

Toyota Truck Shell on Tacoma

This shell was technically built for a 1990 Toyota, but it's now on a 2003 Tacoma. As you can see, it's not a bad fit. Because it's a high-rise style, you can't really see where it doesn't match the cab roof.
This shell was technically built for a 1990 Toyota, but it’s now on a 2003 Tacoma. As you can see, it’s not a bad fit. Because it’s a high-rise style, you can’t really see where it doesn’t match the cab roof.

Tacoma Shell on Toyota Truck

Here is the opposite of the above picture-a 1995 to 2004 Tacoma shell on a circa 1990 Toyota. Notice the slight angle to the front of the shell, and how much taller is than the cab.
Here is the opposite of the above picture-a 1995 to 2004 Tacoma shell on a circa 1990 Toyota. Notice the slight angle to the front of the shell, and how much taller is than the cab.

Toyota T-100, Tundra

1993-1998: In 1993, Toyota introduced the mid-sized truck called the T-100 (which later became the Tundra). It came as a short-bed extended cab or long-bed standard cab.

1999-2006. In 1999, the T-100 became the Tundra. Now here’s the confusing thing to remember about the 1999-2006 Tundra models. They made both extended-cab or “access cab” trucks, and crew cab trucks. The crew cabs had slightly larger rear doors, and the beds are technically different, although they look very similar. The only standard-cab 1999-2006 Tundra was a long bed.

2007-present. In 2007, the Tundra completely changed. It’s not only larger in overall size than the previous years, but comes with a long-bed access cab, standard cab, short-bed access cab, or even a short-bed standard cab. The CrewMax (Toyota’s name for the Tundra’s crew cab model) only comes with the extra-short bed.

Dodge Trucks

Ram Truck

Pre-1994. It’s not very common to see a 1993 or older Dodge Ram truck. There just aren’t as many on the road as the older GM and Ford trucks, unless of course you’re cruising a badass old Power Wagon.

1994-2001: The 1994 Dodge Ram is so different from the older Rams, including a tapered bed, that I can guarantee those beds are not compatible with the older Ram beds. The new Ram style lasted through 2001.

2002-2008: The 2002 Dodge Ram went through some design changes and some bed changes. The front of an ’02 to ’08 Ram bed bows quite a bit.

2009-present: The 2009 Dodge Ram made a lot of changes, including factory plastic bed rails and a strongly curved rear tailgate.

Dakota

1987-1996. The Dodge Dakota, born from the Dodge Ram 50, has the distinct honor of being the only “mid-size” truck around. Model years 1986 through 1996 all have the same bed dimensions. One cool thing about the 1994 to 1996 Dakota is that the brake light, now required by law, was placed in the tailgate—meaning the shell itself doesn’t need a brake light.

1997-2004: In 1997 the Dakota body style was totally redone to resemble the more popular full-size Ram truck.

2005-present: The Dakota changed again in 2005, to the current body and bed style.

Nissan Trucks

“Hardbody”/Frontier

1986 (and a half)-1997: The most popular Nissan trucks were the infamous ‘hardbody” models, which later became the Frontier. Those body styles were around from 1986 (1/2)—the change was made in mid-year 1986—all the way to 1997. The 1994 Nissan presents a special problem, because, like I said before, that was the year it became law that all pickups have an additional brake light. On the 1994 Nissan, the brake light is highly obtrusive. In fact, you cannot remove it to install a shell; there’s a bracket inside that just can’t be taken off. That means your shell has to have a huge notch in the top of the roof to compensate for it. This is only an issue for the ’94. Nissan did make long-bed standard-cab trucks for these years, but they are not very common.

1998-2001: The Nissan changed for 1998 and became the Frontier, and for the most part, stayed the same all the way to 2004, except that:

2001-2004: In 2001, Nissan put this bulging plastic cladding and logo toward the top of the tailgate, which affects shells and tonneau covers. So if you have a 2001 to 2004 year Frontier, and want to fit a used top from a 1999 Frontier, you will have issues with the back door. It will not sit flat on the tailgate. Hard tonneau covers will not work at all in this scenario.

2005-present: The Frontier changed again in 2005, to the current body style.

Thanks to AxleAddict.

The Most Luxurious Pickup Truck Ever Built

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$6 Million Dollar Pickup Truck – The Most Luxurious Pickup Truck Ever Built?
What we have here is a Ford F750 pickup truck, which is trying to beat the best luxury RV, at his own game. Built by Dunkel Industries as a special personal project of Peter Dunkel whose company specializes in moving large equipment, it is named the World Cruiser. Made for covering continents in style, this beast has a kitchen, a bathroom, a lounge and is capable of sleeping 6 persons with the entire luggage they can think of since it has 4 tons of cargo capacity. In perspective that might be the most expensive rolling bed, due to the fact that this monstrosity costs 6 million dollars, which equates to 1 million per bed. Nobody is able to deny the luxury setup but we believe that the owner will have a bit of a problem explaining the price tag to a future buyer.
Would you pay 6 million for this, or does a 5 million dollar mansion and a million dollar RV sound better to you?

Your RV Door can lock you out, here’s how to cure the problem.

Outside Door Handle assembly for a typical RV

Outside view of a typical RV Door Lock and Handle Assembly
Outside view of a typical RV Door Lock and Handle Assembly | Source

RV Problem with Door Locks

You can run into a lot of strange problems when you own an RV.

And it often seems that the more luxury items and technical devices you have on your RV, the more opportunities you have for these strange problems to occur to yours.

I’m going to show you how to repair what I have found to be a problem that occurs more often than you might think, with some RVs.

The problem I had was a disfunction with my RV door lock mechanism.

My RV Door Locked me out of the RV

It was the last day before we left on our camping trip and we had gone through all of our regular check out procedures of the RV. We had even loaded the RV with our food supplies, clothes and other “might need” luxuries for our month-long stay at a campground in another state.

We were ready to go!

I had even pulled the RV over to our house and made sure; the fridge was running properly on Propane, our TOAD (that’s Tow Car to the novice) was hooked up, and then my wife and I tried to open the door for one more “walk through”.

But ….. the Door was LOCKED.

Shaking my head in frustration, I thought; No problem, right?

I took out my key and unlocked the door, or so I thought. It had made that nice “click” sound, so I tugged confidently on the handle.

Well, the handle moved halfway and nothing else happened, and the door was still firmly locked.

Now I had a problem, I thought to myself. After I had made several more attempts to unlock the door, I began to panic, just a little.

Finally, frustrated and cursing the whole world of RV’s, I grabbed my extendable ladder out of my RV storage, opened the passenger window and after cajoling my wife, she made a very un-graceful , but successful, entry through the window.

She walked over, lifted the inside door lever and the door opened smoothly.

Wondering what had happened, I spent the next fifteen minutes; closing, locking, unlocking and opening the door. I closed it easily and I closed it with a slam. I opened it with a light tug on the outside handle and I did this with a wild jerk on the handle. It worked perfectly every time.

Eventually, with a strange feeling of foreboding, I finally gave up on recreating the problem and we locked the door, went inside back our house and got a good nights sleep, so that we would be ready for our trip the next day.

But, I kept waking up thinking about what might have happened to cause the door to lock itself in the first place and, of course, when it might occur again.

The Problem Progresses, deviously!

Our trip to Virginia is a relatively long one and we stopped for the night in an Encore campground called The Oaks in Yemassee,South Carolina.

The Campground is almost exactly halfway for us and being a Thousand Trails member, I also get to stay there for free.

Anyway, after our six hours of driving and rest stops, we were all a little stiff. So, after hooking up to the campsite utilities, we decided to pour ourselves a glass of wine and walk around the campground to loosen up .

We do this regularly because we often meet other campers and we also get to see all of the amenities of the campground for later use or just for future reference.

We got out, locked the door, and then we spent the next hour wandering around talking to other campers and basically, just relaxing and clearing our heads.

Eventually though, we went back at our RV, and I inserted the key to unlock the door. I heard the comforting sound of that “click” that signaled the lock was working and then I pulled on the door handle.

It was LOCKED! Again!

After I spent my obligatory five minutes of ranting, my wife calmed me down and we had to get the ladder out and use our new way of entering the RV, through the *&^$&%$ window.

Of course, the door unlocked from the inside perfectly, and I spent another ten minutes trying to get the problem to repeat itself, to no avail. It worked perfectly every time.

So, we had out dinner, got a good nights sleep and drove the second leg of our trip to Virginia, the next day,

Once we were in our campsite at the Moose Club, we forgot about the weird lock problem. At least we forgot for a couple of days, and then, it happened again; we got locked out.

To make this story a little shorter, the problem kept getting worse and by the time we were ready to leave Virginia, the door locked itself, without a key being used; the door just had to be closed, and it would be locked.

Arrogance will get you every time

It was a very frustrating problem to have, I know, but my RV Door began arbitrarily locking me out of my RV.

We had owned our 2006 Fleetwood Bounder model 35E for about five months and we had racked up several hundred miles on it, as we camped around Florida.

Understand that this is the sixth RV we have owned over just the past dozen years, so we have picked up a few tricks about camping that a novice may not know.

And, I’m not bragging, but we have experienced enough strange things in our RV travels that we feel we have pretty much seen it all.

I guess that’s the first mistake you make when you are dealing with FATE. Fate is going to bite you in the Butt every time, when you get too arrogant. And it did attack me with this problem.

We were going on a trip to Virginia, at the time, where we would be staying for over a month in a nice campground that has a a number of very nice campsites and the campground itself is very clean and secure.

RV Inner Door Lock view

View of the inner door lock assembly
View of the inner door lock assembly | Source

The Search for a Solution

I got out that big briefcase full of manuals that they give you with every RV you buy. I rooted through every on of them, from the generic Fleetwood owners manual to each and every one of the technical manuals on all of the appliances in our RV.

You see, I was desperate and I was not going to miss anything that might help me make this problem go away.

At this point, in my mind, the door lock was the tool of a devil, out to thwart my goal of a happy camping experience. And I had to find the magic spell that would make everything good again.

Eventually, after several hours of reading, I realized that RV door locks are not something the manufacturers are not very concerned about how much the RV owner knows about their lock assemblies.

I had only limited access to the web through my Smartphone HotSpot function in the campground, so my searches were quick, and sad to say, did not give me any useful information on RV door locks.

So, we worked around this devilish self-locking door by only partially closing it whenever we left the RV. It wasn’t a great solution, but I was in a private campground where everyone looks out for each others camper and campsite.

You can leave pretty much anything outside for days and no one will go near it.

Long story short, we eventually got home, unloaded the RV and I parked it in my storage site; with the cursed door automatically locking itself, of course.

Inside View of Door with inner assembly swung out of the way.

Inner view of RV Door Lock with inner assembly removed
Inner view of RV Door Lock with inner assembly removed | Source

Getting Help from my Peers

Once I was home, I knew just the place to get help. I use a great web site run by RVers for RVers called IRV2.

This site has dozens of forums where other campers ask for and share advice on pretty much anything you can think of.

There are; manufacturer specific forums, model specific forums, maintenance forums, service forums, parts forums, travel forums, and just general discussion forums.

I didn’t go to this site while on the road because, often, if you have a unique and uncommon problem, it can take days before someone who has experienced the problem, or has some knowledge if it, actually sees your request for help.

Well, I described my problem, in detail, and less than 48-hours later I had two very good suggestions from two different fellow campers who had experienced the very same problem.

Now, armed with this great information, I went back to my RV, intent on taking care of this problem , once and for all.

The Heart of my RV Door lock Problem

One of my fellow campers and an IRV2 member (I won’t mention his name, here of course) described the cause of my problem to me and what to do in order to fix it.

It seems that the outer door handle of the RV door that you can see in the picture, moves an internal lever, that in turn pushes the “internal locking lever” to OPEN.

The real problem is that this lever can easily be bent slightly down and then it will not mate properly to the internal locking lever and the door will stay locked when the lock is turned or the handle is pulled.

It turns out this is a simple problem with a simple solution; and that solution is to get inside the assembly and bend the door handle lever back upwards so that it mates properly with the internal locking lever.

Bent Lever on RV Door Lock

View of Lever that need repair on RV Door lock
View of Lever that need repair on RV Door lock | Source

The Repair Process

You can see from the pictures that the repair process is simple and only requires two tools.

One is a “Star-Bit” screwdriver needed to remove the three screws that hold the outer and inner assemblies together. The other is a pair of pliers.

  1. First you remove the three screws on the inside of the door lock assembly with the special screwdriver.
  2. Then you swing the whole inside assembly out of the way, It will swivel on the inside door handle shaft.
  3. And then you use the other tool, a pair of Pliers, to bend the bent lever back up and into the proper position.
  4. Once this is done, put the inner and outer assemblies into place, align them properly and replace the three screws.

Then, if you did bend the lever properly, VOILA, you have a functional door locking assembly that will no longer lock you out of your RV.

Repair your RV Electrical problems

The Novice and Electrical problems

An RV is a complicated Electrical machine

The RV that you see today is a complicated machine with a lot of built-in electrical devices.

And, along with these devices comes complicated electrical control and protection circuitry.

This article is written to provide some basic but valuable information for the typical RV owner to help them with defining and repairing Electrical problems efficiently and safely.

Electrical Safety comes First!

ELECTRICITY Can KILL!

Please remember this when reading the information listed below.

The information provided here is for you to reference, and in no way should it be abused or used by someone that is unqualified to perform electrical repairs..

Electrical SAFETY:

First, when you start opening panels and messing around with Electrical systems, in an RV/Camper or at home.

There are several warnings you must observe;

WARNING-1– If you do not know what you are doing, do not touch anything, and call your RV manufacturer, or RV Roadside assistance Company, or if at home, your local Certified Electrician. Remember, again, ELECTRICITY CAN KILL!

WARNING-2– If replacing a BLOWN Fuse, or resetting a KICKED Breaker doesn’t fix the problem, you should seriously back off and call your RV manufacturers Service Center for advice.

Typical Coach Bateries

A typical pair of coach batteries and their connections
A typical pair of coach batteries and their connections | Source

Know the difference in a Major and a Minor electrical problem

Is there a Major Problem?

The RV owner, or especially the RV renter, should always make a walk-around inspection of their camper before they go on the road.

And one of the main things that they should be familiar with is the electrical system of the RV.

Oh, I’m not talking about knowing how to perform major maintenance on complex electrical gear and appliances, but rather know how to inspect for problems, and determine if the problem is major or minor.

A major problem might be having the fridge quit working and deciding whether to get into the wiring and propane management circuitry on the back of the fridge or not.

The electrical novice needs to stay away from such repairs, themselves. They are too dangerous and you should always contact a qualified service tech for resolving such problems.

But, a minor problem could be something as simple as re-setting a breaker that has “kicked out”, or replacing a blown fuse that is easily accessible, or some other simple problem.

Useful Electrical Terms and data

I have provided a long list of Electrical Terms and color codes for fuses, along with other useful data designed to help the novice be more comfortable with what they are doing when an electrical problem does occur.

Electric Multi-Meter:

One handy device for the RVer to have is a good Electric Multi-Meter.

There are very simple electric devices that you can plug into the wall, and an LED lights to indicate that there is power.

And on the other end of the spectrum of electrical testing devices is the Electric Multimeter.

This Multimeter is capable of measuring DC Volts, AC Volts, as well as electric current and resistance.

This device is very useful in the hands of a trained individual, but the Novice should not attempt to use all of it’s functions until they understand what they are trting to measure as well as any dangers involved in making the measurements.

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Think before touching Electrical contacts

THINK First:

I cannot stress this enough. Your Camper or RV was designed by professionals who planned things out pretty well..

They designed the electrical systems with Safety in mind, as well as for your convenience.

Each electrical device was installed on an electrical line that could safely handle the load.

The fuses and breakers were placed in the system for two major reasons.

1-The first reason is to protect the RV and you the owner from harm if an appliance or other electrical device or even an electrical line fails and draws too much current.

2-The second reason is to protect your RV and it’s electrical appliances and other devices if you plug your RV into an electrical service that is not regulated properly and you get electrical voltages that are too low or too high for your RV and it’s equipment.

So, when you get a blown Fuse or a kicked Breaker, your first thoughts should consider these highly probable causes. Especially, before you go tearing into your electrical system, and personally re-designing it by installing a larger than specified Fuse or Breaker.

Think, Think, Think, and then Think again.

Some Electrical abbreviations and so forth

The world of electricity has it’s own abbreviations and definitions that are used on components and parts. Below are some of these that might help when you need to replace a bad part.

AC——– AC is the designator for “Alternating Current” The voltage in your home is AC voltage, and typically, in the US is assumed to be 115VAC. Alternating current reverses polarity and flow alternately in both directions in a circuit.

Amp—— The name Amp is used to designate a measure of electrical current.

Capacitor– A capacitor is an electrical component that can store electrical energy, in other words it has a specific electrical storage capacity. A Capacitor often has a polarity and must be installed properly. The polarity is generally indicated by a stripe at one end of the part.

Circuit Breaker—– A Circuit Breaker is a device that is designed to open up or “throw” itself, when the current through it exceeds it’s designed limit. Unlike a fuse, a circuit breaker can be reset when it throws. FYI- many people do not realize that, if you have as circuit breaker that has kicked our regularly, it probably is no longer functioning at the original current level. It is a electro-mechanical device, and after repeatedly kicking out, it will often suffer from mechanical stress, and not be able to hold at the original designed current.

DC——— DC is the designator for “Direct Current“. Direct current flow constantly in one direction, commonly from the Positive lead to the Negative lead of a battery for instance.

Diode—– A Diode is an electrical component that allows current flow in one direction and impedes current flow in the opposite direction. The ends are designated as the Cathode and the Anode. The Cathode is usually marked by a stripe at the cathode end, and it allows current flow is from the cathode to the anode.

f———– The lowercase letter “f” is a designator for the value of a capacitor called “Farad“. Ex: 1uf mean 1 micro-farad.

Fuse—— A fuse is a device that is designed to destroy itself or “blow” when the current that passes through it, exceeds it’s designed current limit. It is a safety device used to protect electrical devices under adverse conditions. When replacing a fuse, always use one with the same current and voltage rating.

GFCB—– A GFCB or Ground Fault Circuit Breaker is designed, similar to a regular circuit breaker, to “throw” itself off when the current through it exceeds its designed current limit. Additionally, a GFCB will throw itself if even a small amount of current is detected between the “Hot” leads and the ground lead of the circuit breaker.These specialty circuit breakers are required in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and garages. These places are sites where the user of an appliance could possibly be physically touching ground through plumbing, metal or concrete floors, etc, and using an appliance that is not insulated properly. They are life-savers.

I———— The uppercase character “I” is the designator for electrical current or the Ampere, or Amp. Current can be calculated by using the formula: I=V/R, or Current equals the voltage divided by the resistance.

K———– The uppercase letter “K” is a designator for Kilo” or numerically 1000 would be one Kilo-unit. Ex: 1-KW means one Kilo-Watt.

m———- The lowercase letter “m” is a designator for “milli” or numerically 0.001 would be one milli-unit. Ex: 1-mW means one milli-Watt.

M———- The uppercase letter “M” is a designator for “Mega”, or numerically 1,000,000 would be one Mega-unit. Ex: 1MW means 1 Mega-Watt.

n———- The lowercase letter “n” is a designator for “nano, or numerically 0.000000001 would be one nano-unit. Ex: 1-nf means 1 nano-farad

ohm——- The word ohm is the a value of resistance to current flow.The resistance can be calculated using the formula: R=V/I, or Resistance equals Voltage divided by current.

p———– The lowercase letter “p” is a designator for “pico“, or numerically 0.000000000001 would be one pico-unit. Ex: 1-pf means 1 pico-farad.

resistor—- A resistor is a passive component used in electrical circuits to provide resistance to current flow.

resistor color codes: Resistors sometimes are round with a lead coming gout of each end, and often they have colored stripes around them. The color codes are as follows;

  • 1 = Black
  • 2 = Brown
  • 3 = Red
  • 4 = Orange
  • 5 =Yellow
  • 6 = Green
  • 7 = Blue
  • 8 = Violet
  • 9 = Gray
  • 0 = White
  • Gold – is an indicator of a 1% tolerance on the value.
  • Silver – is an indicator of a 5% tolerance on the value.
  • No color – is an indicator of a 10% tolerance on the value.

u———- The lower case letter “u” is a designator for micro or numerically “0.000001” would be one micro-unit. Ex: 1uf means 1 micro-farad, a value for a capacitor.

V———- The “V” upper case “V” is the designator for an electrical unit of Voltage. Voltage can be calculate using the formula: V=I x R.

W——— The upper case letter “W” is a designator for Watt.

Watt—— A Watt is a measure of electrical power. DC Power can be calculated using the formula: W=V x I.

Wire Gauges—– Wires used in electrical circuits come in many sizes. The size of a wire is selected by the designer to handle the specific current that passes through it, with minimal resistance to the current. Standard wire sizes or gauges go from 0 to larger numbers. The larger the gauge number, the smaller the wire size.

The Problem is not Always Electrical

There could be other causes for your problem

This is a very important thing to consider when you have a blown Fuse or Kicked Breaker in your RV. Remember, as I mentioned already, that your RV is a complex home on wheels.

Many of the appliances in today’s RV operate using; AC-voltage, DC-voltage, and Propane Fuel either individually or in combinations..

Often, even when in the Propane Fueled mode, the appliance will require DC-voltage for the Logic circuits.

And many appliances have sensors on their mechanical parts that will kick a Breaker or blow a Fuse, rather than allow the appliance to continue running in an unsafe mode.

FUSE RATINGS for replacing blown Fuses

In case you do not know this, standard Automotive Fuses are color-coded according to their Current rating, so what I have below is short list for your reference.

One note here though; If you have a blown fuse, replace it with the same rating blown fuse. NEVER use a higher rated fuse in place of a blown lower rating fuse.

There are so many things wrong with this, but there are 2 things at the top of the list that can happen; 1)- You can cause an electrical fire and destroy your RV, and 2)- You can cause the equipment fed by that fuse to be permanently damaged. Always remember, the fuse was designed for a normal operational load. And if it blew, something has changed.

COLOR AMP Rating

BLACK 1

GRAY 2

VIOLET 3

PINK 4

GOLD 5

BROWN 7.5

RED 10

BLUE 15

YELLOW 20

CLEAR 25

GREEN 30

How to Get Rid of RV Toilet Smell in Three Easy Steps

In just three simple steps, you can rid your motor home or camper of toilet smell forever.

It happens to everybody who owns a travel unit sooner or later. One day, you step into your RV and the smell from the toilet almost knocks you out. You have flushed regularly and even have put special cleaners into the bowl and tank, but the stench persists and permeates your entire motor home or camper.

You do not have to tolerate this problem. In fact, I can show you a way to eliminate it quickly and forever. If you want to do that, read on!

In just three simple steps, you can rid your motor home or camper of toilet smell forever.

It happens to everybody who owns a travel unit sooner or later. One day, you step into your RV and the smell from the toilet almost knocks you out. You have flushed regularly and even have put special cleaners into the bowl and tank, but the stench persists and permeates your entire motor home or camper.

You do not have to tolerate this problem. In fact, I can show you a way to eliminate it quickly and forever. If you want to do that, read on!

Keep your RV toilet smelling good!
Keep your RV toilet smelling good! | Source

How Can I Get Rid of That RV Sewer Odor?

Believe it or not, you can get rid of RV sewer tank odor quickly and forever by following the directions in this guide.

As soon as you step into any trailer, camper or motor home, you can tell whether there are problems because there is an easily recognizable and somewhat sickening smell that emanates throughout the unit.

It is coming from your toilet, and in order to get rid of the stench you need to find the problem and fix it.

My article, “How to Clean and Sanitize Your RV’s Black Water Holding Tank” will give you specific directions about cleaning your sewer tank, but you need to do some other things, too.

Why Does My RV Toilet Smell?

Your toilet smells for one of four reasons:

  1. Your sewer tank is damaged.
  2. Your toilet is leaking.
  3. It has not been thoroughly cleaned for some time.
  4. You have created a clog.

In most cases, you can correct problems 3 and 4, but for 1 and 2 you will need a professional repair job, unless you are extremely handy and are willing to deal with a messy situation.

Eliminate bathroom smells now.
Eliminate bathroom smells now. | Source

If You Know How RV Toilet Systems Work, You Can Avoid Problems

No matter the cause, you need to understand how RV toilet systems work.

  • To function properly, waste matter must be mixed with enough fluid to keep it from drying out. These liquids come from urine, bathroom showers, and/or sink water. When the sewer tank is kept closed, the incoming water keeps the waste from drying out. But if you keep the line open, the liquids leave and most of the solids remain and eventually the system stops working.
  • The problem is made worse if you use regular household toilet paper because it does not biodegrade. Even if you use RV grade toilet paper, too much of it will add to the problem.
  • Furthermore, whatever is in the tank, clogged or not, must be sealed. The flapper inside of the toilet is what takes care of this job.
  • If the flapper breaks or becomes blocked so that it does not close all the way, the odor from the black water tank enters the RV and makes it smell.
  • If there are no clogs or leaks, but there still is a smell, the toilet itself is dirty. Despite the fact that RV toilets are made of heavy plastic, waste and dirt leavings still can cling to them, dry up, and smell.

So, unless you have a problem that requires a major repair, the problems I just mentioned are easy to fix.

Step 1: Get Rid of the Clog

The lengths you must go to do a corrective clean out will depend on the severity of the problem. The worst case scenario happens when you try to empty the reservoir and nothing comes out. The fix for is not pretty, but it is the only way you can get rid of the smell.

The article I linked to above will tell you how to deep clean your system so that it starts working again and eliminates the odor.

You can hire someone to do this job for you, but it is not difficult and will cost nothing if you do it yourself.

Step 2: Scour, Sanitize, and Sweeten the Tank

  1. Once everything is moving again, you need to clean and scour the tank itself because all of that dry material is still clinging to its sides. Therefore, your toilet will still smell. If you read the article I have linked to above, it will tell you how to do this job, also.
  2. After you have done this, sweeten the tank with some Pine Sol or Spic and Span and a bit of water. Spic n Span is the better choice of the two because it will help to keep the inside of the tank scoured and free of the smelly debris that sticks to the tank’s sides.

If you maintain and use the tank properly after doing this, and use the correct enzyme chemical, such as the one I show here, in it on a daily basis, you should only have to do a deep clean like this a few times each year.

We use this product regularly, and it does a great job of turning waste into liquid and keeping sludge from forming on the sides of the tank.

5 Star Hotel on Wheels- Luxury RVs

The luxury RVs are the ones which have all the services readily available with spot on build quality.
Almaden RV provides with the latest insights on the Luxury RVsIf you love traveling, especially on the open road, then you probably appreciate a nice motorhome. The luxury of having your own vehicle with a bathroom, a kitchen, and all the other amenities that your house has makes adventuring in the wilds that much more enjoyable. Having space to lie down and legroom to stretch is a design feature that most RV drivers take for granted; the downtrodden students in their tiny, over-crowded Toyota with a 4-person tent packed into the trunk are likely at least a little envious.
countrycoastThe Luxury RVs are in full trend and can be customized as per the choice

Recent years have seen a rise of bus-converted luxury motorhomes, transformations of buses into state-of-the-art mansions on wheels. While it’s true that most of the added features of these pristine machines certainly aren’t necessary, they’re definitely enviable. If you’re lucky enough to have the cash to burn and don’t want to leave your luxuries at home while enjoying a road trip, why not indulge in some extravagant motorhome comforts? And who wouldn’t want to roadtrip with friends in an RV that looks like a top-of-the-line nightclub? We might typically equate yachts and limousines with seriously high-class travel,  but the following ten most expensive motorhomes on the market prove that the humble roadster can rival any of the most indulgent grown up toys in terms of extravagance and luxury.

Almaden RV provides with the latest insights on the Luxury RVs

Mercedes’ autonomous Future Bus just drove through Amsterdam

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Autonomy isn’t just for cars; Mercedes-Benz has created a self-driving city bus, too.

Mercedes-Benz revealed its latest creation on Monday morning. Called the Future Bus, it’s the first city bus that can drive autonomously.

Mercedes did more than just unveil the futuristic vehicle. It also sent it on a 12-mile route through the streets of Amsterdam.

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Bus interior

The bus uses Mercedes’ latest autonomous driving system called CityPilot. Like HighwayPilot, which allows the company’s semi trucks to drive more safely and efficiently down freeways, CityPilot enables buses to drive partially autonomously in specially marked bus lanes up to 43 mph. All of this is achieved with a human driver onboard to monitor for safety.

Future Bus can do more than just drive in special lanes. It can also arrive at bus stops, pass through tunnels, communicate with traffic signals, and brake for obstacles and pedestrians.

Unlike HighwayPilot, which Mercedes aims to send into production vehicles by 2020, the German automaker doesn’t intend to send Future Bus’ CityPilot system into production in its complete form. Instead, it will implement portions of the system — like driving to and away from bus stops — into its city buses. Additionally, Mercedes wants to use semi-autonomous tech to improve the efficiency of its zero-emissions powertrains.

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Future Bus does more than demo some production-intended technology; it also shows how Mercedes envisions a more comfortable, tech-heavy public transit of the future.

Specifically, in the “lounge” portion of the bus, riders can wirelessly charge their smartphones through inductive charging pads as well as check information on large displays.

There’s no word as to whether future Mercedes trucks will include such distinctive exterior styling to match the underlying tech. But here’s to hoping.

RV Restoring and Repair

RV auto repair and service by Almaden RV
Removing The Deteriorated Material

We removed the ceiling assembly and hold down bracket from the Coleman rooftop AC unit so we could better access the roof and ceiling damage. One of the bolts securing the rooftop AC to the hold-down bracket was loose and this may have been the cause of the leaking roof.

But the damage was so bad it was difficult to determine exactly where the leak originated on the roof.This camping unit, like many made today, relied on Styrofoam panels for much of the roof and walls, with this particular model using wood panels glued to the Styrofoam to give structural support.

We decided to add 4 pieces of angle iron as rafters to add strength to the 4x¾” boards we replaced in the ceiling. This added support would keep the AC unit from bouncing and recreating the roof leaks.

We also removed the stove and sink from the cabinet, as well as the cabinet itself. The floor would be replaced by new plywood and we needed to get to the rotten corner wood supports behind the cabinet.

The same was done in the bath next to the stove as it needed new corner wood replaced also. All wiring over the stove was detached until after the job was completed. This is recommended for all electrical wiring you may encounter during the repair process.

Removing and Replacing Damaged RV Interior

With the AC ceiling assembly and hold-down bracket removed, the damaged ceiling is ready to be removed and replaced.
With the AC ceiling assembly and hold-down bracket removed, the damaged ceiling is ready to be removed and replaced.
Replacing cabinets after rear wall and support braces were repaired.
Replacing cabinets after rear wall and support braces were repaired.
Although the floor was not completely ruined, an extra layer of plywood was added to ensure a solid floor.
Although the floor was not completely ruined, an extra layer of plywood was added to ensure a solid floor.

Removing and Replacing Damaged RV Walls and Ceilings

With the AC and stove/sink cabinet removed, we started out by replacing the wooden corner braces which the luan/Styrofoam panels were attached for strength and stability.

The thin paneling was discarded and replaced with new ¼” luan which may be stained or painted. The liberal use of Liquid Nail, or a similar adhesive, is highly recommended for use while repairing these RV’s and travel trailers.

With the AC unit removed, the four pieces of angled steel were inserted into the ceiling and attached to the replacement ¾ x 4” ceiling joists and covered with new luan paneling.

This thin plywood is great for bending into the correct shape which many RVs use for the interior ceilings and walls. It paints or stains great too.

Often thin sheets of paneling may be turned backwards to the wood side to substitute for luan and are occasionally offered at clearance prices at Home Depot or Lowe’s building supply stores.

We decided to add an extra 3/8” layer of plywood to the floor area for added strength purposes, even though the floor was still in useable condition.

Often, a water damaged floor will continue to deteriorate if it suddenly gets traffic on the surface and will eventually give problems if not recovered or reinforced properly.

1958 Franklin Travel Trailer

Camping in the Finger Lakes NY for Independence Day 2016

1958 Franklin Trailer by Almaden RV

New Upholstery and Electrical throughout

The 1958 Franklin Trailer is upgraded to all new upholstery and electrical connections, we are proud to witness a great RV restored to all the latest techs.

 

1958 Franklin Trailer by Almaden RV

Wife made all new curtains

1958 Franklin Trailer by Almaden RV

Ice Box complete with an ice pick (all original)

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Sink has a hand pump faucet as well as a regular faucet

1958 Franklin Trailer by Almaden RV
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Thats a closet there on the left, could be made in to a bathroom, but would be very tight

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