News from FMCA's technical experts
News from FMCA's technical experts
Are you as eager as we are for summer to arrive and to hit the road in the RV?  We're sure you are!  The frosty winter may have slowed us down, but it definitely did not put our enthusiasm for RV travel on ice.
We'd like to think that the entire summer travel season will go smoothly and be free of bumps in the road.  That doesn't always happen, though, and that's why it's good to have a trusted information source such as this newsletter at the ready - along with the many resources afforded by FMCA membership.
Read on for information that may come in handy now or later...
Safe and happy travels!
The FMCA Team
By Gary Bunzer, Technical Editor

RV Water Pump Troubleshooting Suggestions

Most RVs are equipped with a fresh-water pump.  Very small folding camping trailers or pickup campers might have something different, such as a hand-operated pump.  Though RV water pumps are quite reliable, at times the water pump may not perform as expected.  Following are a few instances of water pump failure and how to effectively troubleshoot the cause. 
RV Video

Installing A Cell Signal Booster

Does your job make a reliable cell phone and internet connection a requirement while traveling in your RV?  Or maybe you have more fun reasons for wanting to stay connected at all times!
For James Adinaro of The Fit RV, full-time work duties call, but he's fortunate to be able to work from anywhere, as long as he has a good cell phone connection.  To ensure this and to expand the places where he and his wife, Stefany, can roam in their RV, he relies on a WeBoost cell signal booster.  James recently installed the WeBoost Drive X RV cell signal booster and details the process in this video: 
Tech Tip
By Gary Bunzer

Adding RV Water Pump Switches
Larger RVs often come equipped with two or three individual water pump switches, which is handy for turning on the pump sporadically rather than leaving it in the "on" position all the time.  The secondary switch may be next to the toilet, or perhaps outside in the wet bay.  It takes special 3-way switches and a 4-way switch to configure two additional switches to operate the same resistive unit (the water pump).

For RVers interested in adding a couple more water pump switches in other convenient locations, here's the wiring diagram.  Notice that two individual 3-way switches and one 4-way switch are required.

Wherever the two new switches are installed, just remember that the 4-way switch must be positioned electrically between the two 3-way switches.
You should be able to find these switches at any big box store or electrical supply store, or can order them online. 

New Tech

A discussion of new products on the market to enhance your RV lifestyle. 

Mobile RV Scale
When it comes to determining trailer and motorhome weights, there is a BetterWeigh.  That's the name of Curt's new Bluetooth-enabled, smartphone-compatible mobile towing scale.  The patented device plugs into a vehicle's diagnostic port (OBD-II) under the steering wheel and uses a trademarked technology called TowSense to display a real-time readout of weights on a smartphone.  Its app is available for Apple and Android phones.

If you tow a travel trailer or fifth-wheel, BetterWeigh will determine the gross weight of the towing vehicle and RV, as well as cargo/payload weight, tongue weight, pin weight, weight distribution, and trailer brake gain.  BetterWeigh will provide the weight of a motorhome that is equipped with an automatic transmission, a single rear axle, and an OBD-II port.  According to the product description, BetterWeigh is accurate within plus-or-minus 5 percent.  The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $130.46.  •  (877) 287-8634
Brake Light Switch
Every motorhome owner who flat tows a vehicle should consider using a supplemental braking system.  With one installed, it's helpful not only to know whether the system is off or on, but that it's working properly.  That's the job of Roadmaster's Universal Wireless Brake Monitor and Switch System (part number 759530B).  

The product consists of a brake signal receiver that plugs into the motorhome's 12-volt socket; a transmitter (requiring only positive/negative/brake signal leads) that mounts on the towed vehicle; and a 12-volt infrared stop-light switch that attaches to the towed vehicle's brake pedal arm with 3M tape and nylon ties.  The stop-light switch measures the distance between the floorboard and the brake pedal with a cone of light, alerting the driver when the towed vehicle's brakes have been applied.  The product works with any supplemental braking system that moves the brake pedal.  The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $282.08.

Roadmaster, Inc.  •  (800) 669-9690
Ask The RV Doctor
By Gary Bunzer, Technical Editor
Q. Dear RV Doctor: I own an older 32-foot Wanderer toy hauler.  Recently on a trip, I noticed air getting between the siding and the walls of the trailer, near the leading edge of the sides of the trailer.  On my return trip home, the air blew the siding out like a balloon and popped the siding out from behind the edge molding.  I need to find out where the air is coming in.  I am unable to determine this, and I would like to repair this myself.  Any ideas?
Tom Maddow  •  La Quinta, California
A. Tom, if air is getting behind the siding, then water can also.  If I remember correctly, the Wanderer was constructed with what is called a "stick and tin" technique, which means you do not have laminated sidewalls.  Rather, the exterior aluminum "skin" is simply installed over a framework structure without a substrate of lauan or plywood underneath.  Insulation is encased between the aluminum siding, the framework, and the interior paneling - a very simple construction method only a few companies still use.
I'd recommend a thorough inspection.  First, I'd suggest that you completely remove the front edge molding on the affected side of the trailer.  After the molding is removed, carefully clean off all the old butyl sealant and set the molding aside.  Next, clean all sealant remnants still on the corner of the trailer. 
Our Picks

FMCA's picks for tips you need now.

Is It Time To Upgrade Your Faucet? 
Have you been contemplating an upgrade for the faucet in your RV kitchen or bathroom sink?  Maybe you have your eye on a high-arc kitchen faucet with a pull-out sprayer?  Or maybe a nicer faucet for the bathroom?  One that allows a little more access to the sink than the current version.  Craig and Bryanna Royal at Crazy RV Adventure have you covered with these step-by-step instructions for an RV faucet replacement.  One note from FMCA technical editor Gary Bunzer: be sure to use a thread sealant compatible with fresh, potable water.
Spring Shakedown Checklist 
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of preparing the RV for spring and summer travel?  Consult this Spring Shakedown Checklist from RV Doctor Gary Bunzer to help ease the process of spring prep so you can get started down the road and have some fun! 
Benefits Spotlight

Fight Fires At The Source

THIA by PROTENG® is a fully automatic, self-contained fire suppression device that can be custom-installed in RVs in areas at the highest risk of fire.  Common uses include protection for gas and diesel engine compartments, refrigerators, generators, inverters, transfer switches, and batteries.
THIA uses a nontoxic liquid gas to quickly put out fires, and it leaves no residue and does not cause corrosion. 
It comes in standard and heavy-duty versions.  The system's polyamide (synthetic polymer) tube filled with FM-200 ruptures when exposed to potentially threatening temperatures (exceeding 158 degrees Fahrenheit for the standard system and 194 degrees Fahrenheit for the heavy-duty system) and disperses the gas to extinguish the flame at its hottest point.
PROTENG® founders have become regulars at FMCA International Conventions, providing attendees the opportunity to have a system installed during the event.  For more information, contact PROTENG® at 561-PROTENG (776-8364).
To learn more, click here.  
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