News from FMCA's technical experts
News from FMCA's technical experts
Whether you already have resumed RV outings or are making plans to do so, now may be a great time to tackle projects you've been thinking about related to your home on wheels.  Maybe you have time on your hands but need some inspiration.  We've got you covered this month.
In this installment of "Tech Talk," we're devoting the "Ask The RV Doctor" segment to a tribute to RV Doctor and Family RVing technical editor Gary Bunzer, who passed away in April after contracting COVID-19.  Gary was instrumental in the launch of this newsletter in 2019, and he contributed key elements for each issue thereafter.  He had so much more to offer when it came to educating RVers, but that was cut short unexpectedly.  Our thoughts remain with his family and friends as they grieve his loss.
As we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of this pandemic, stay safe, find creative ways to connect with others, and be sure to squeeze the most enjoyment possible from this RV life.
Safe and happy travels!
The FMCA Team
By Steve Froese, F276276

Critter Proofing Your RV

While vehicle maintenance is an important part of keeping our RVs in good shape, we don't always consider preventing insects, rodents, and other creatures from entering our vehicle as part of the upkeep.  Such things are an annoyance at best and can result in serious damage at worst.  Therefore, keeping critters out of your RV should be on your agenda. 
RV Video

DIY Upgrades With The Biggest Impact

Looking for some RV update inspiration?  Brian Pursel of RV With Tito shares his best DIY tips on his popular YouTube channel.  He's made a number of improvements to his RV over the years to customize the interior and exterior to better suit his family's needs and to improve the overall quality of their RV life.
Brian shares some of his favorites in his video 7 DIY RV Upgrades That Had The Biggest Impact.  He hits the highlights in the video but also shares links to more detailed videos to assist those who would like to tackle one or more of these projects themselves. 
Tech Tip
By Brian Pursel

Gas/Electric Water Heater Thermal Cutoff
If your RV has a gas/electric water heater, consider adding a spare thermal cutoff switch to your toolbox.  When this switch fails, as it did during our recent drive to Arizona, the water heater will appear dead and not even attempt to ignite the propane burner.

The thermal cutoff switch is a very inexpensive safety device designed to cut power to the water heater should the temperature around the heater and burner rise to unsafe levels.  This should never happen under normal circumstances, as long as the burner is functioning properly.

The thermal switch on my Dometic (formerly Atwood) water heater had fused or burnt out, as you can see in the photo.  Suburban water heaters have a similar device attached to the thermostat.  So, check your manual.
New Tech

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

"Smart" Battery Disconnect
Remember that frustration you felt as a child when the batteries in your toys ran out of juice?  It's 100 times worse when the batteries die in your RV because you accidentally left something on.  And it can be prevented with the Battery Guard 1000 from Intellitec Products.  The "smart" battery disconnect device, designed for use with 12-volt electrical systems, monitors battery voltage, warns you when the voltage is low, and automatically shuts down everything before the batteries are dead.  In addition to its automatic disconnect and reconnect feature, the Battery Guard 1000 can be controlled manually from a push button or a switch.

According to Intellitec, the heart of the system is a patented battery disconnect relay that can carry heavy vehicle currents even though it requires no power to maintain its open or closed positions.  The Battery Guard 1000 can be purchased individually for $94.  Also available is a "plug and play" kit, priced at $129, for new and replacement disconnect switch applications.  The kit includes a push button with an LED status indicator ring, a 10-foot harness, and a 10-foot extension harness.  •  (386) 738-7307
Solar Panel Tilt Kit
A solar panel achieves maximum energy yield when it's tilted at an optimal angle.  But making such adjustments manually means climbing onto an RV roof; aside from being a hassle, that can be dangerous.  You can make adjustments from the ground by using SolaRVector II, a patented, single-axis, remote-controlled solar panel tilting device.  Once the SolaRVector II is installed, a rooftop solar panel can be raised or lowered to any angle between 0 degrees and 56 degrees by pushing a button.  Company literature says it takes less than 20 seconds to completely lower or raise a panel.  And SolaRVector II automatically locks when lowered to the full down position to prevent damage in high winds or when traveling.  

SolaRVector II is compatible with many RV solar panels (check the SolaRVector website for specifics).  It must be installed so that it tilts to the left side or the right side of the RV.  One solar panel can be installed on each SolaRVector II device.  One remote control can work simultaneously with up to eight SolaRVector II devices.  SolaRVector II is designed and manufactured in the United States.  The price is $499; quantity discounts are available.  •  (619) 633-9132
Ask The RV Doctor
By Gary Bunzer, Technical Editor
For more than 40 years, people have been asking the RV Doctor for advice.  Countless RV-related quandaries have been solved with the wisdom that Gary Bunzer — commonly known as the RV Doctor imparted via his long-running question-and-answer column; his articles in Family RVing and other publications; and his seminars at FMCA events and regional RV shows from coast to coast.
Sadly, Gary lost a battle to COVID-19 on April 17, 2020.  And the RV industry lost an ardent supporter of RV owner and RV technician training.  One of Gary's passions was educating RVers and helping them to glean the most enjoyment possible from their homes on wheels.  He also dedicated himself to educating RV technicians and developing training material for them.
He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and a friend to many.  He was a great listener, and had a knack for making everyone feel special.
He also was the primary contributor to the newsletter.  Saying he will be greatly missed seems trite and inadequate, although it's true.  We know he would want us to pick up the torch and carry on with educating RVers.  So, that is our mission: To continue on the course the RV Doctor set for us.  Thanks, Gary! 
Our Picks

FMCA's picks for tips you need now.

Where The Rubber Meets The...RV 
Has the weatherstripping around your RV door seen better days?  If you want to improve the looks of the entryway and also dampen noise, the folks at Steele Rubber Products offer step-by-step instructions for a project that should be easy enough for the average RV DIYer.
Avoid These Top 10 Beginner Oopsies 
Watch as the Getaway Couple Jason and Rae Miller share their Top 10 Beginner RV Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them).  Maybe you've fallen victim to some of these oopsies yourself.  Perhaps you experienced others you'd add to the list as a cautionary tale to newbie RVers.  Be sure and watch to the end to see Jason and Rae experience an unexpected but fun surprise. 
It's Electric 
Thinking about an electric bicycle to enhance your RV travels?  Shawnna and Brian Johnson of Lyf Uninterrupted share their experiences after 100 miles of riding the foldable Lectric XP bike in this video.  They talk about their likes, dislikes, and the accessories they have added along the way.  Accessories include a smart bicycle helmet that connects to a smartphone and also synchs with your partner's helmet so you can communicate while riding.  How cool is that?
Benefits Spotlight

FMCA RV Insurance

When was the last time you obtained quotes to make sure your RV insurance rates are still competitive and in line with your current needs?  FMCA RV Insurance can help with that process.
FMCA RV Insurance is powered by the FMCA Coalition, a group of RV insurance specialists.  These experts know RVs and what it takes to maintain and repair them, and they know which coverages RVers need.  Whether you are a full-timer, a part-timer, or a weekend warrior, the FMCA RV Insurance folks can connect you with a policy that meets your needs.  And with one phone call, you can obtain quotes from multiple carriers for RV insurance, as well as auto insurance and even homeowners insurance in some states and provinces (Alberta and Ontario). 
As an FMCA member, you may qualify for a discount (discounts not available in all states and provinces or from all insurance companies), and upon request, you can obtain an annual policy review and rate comparison.
For information or to obtain a quote, visit or call (877) 589-3599. 
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