Archives for March 2019
Slide outs are increasingly popular on caravans, fifth wheelers and motor homes. Here are our top slide out maintenance tips from our professional team to keep your slide out working smoothly.
Our number one tip – Get your slide out serviced annually
An annual service will keep all the moving parts including the rollers, tracks, connection joints and seals lubricated and aligned so your slide out stays working smoothly. Seals on a slide out need to be inspected and maintained annually and replaced every five years or so.
Keep the roof of the slide out clean – a slide out awning is your best friend
Sticks, leaves and dirt can damage the slide out seals and be brought inside your van when you slide back in. Sticks and leaves interfering with the seals are a common source of slide out leaks. If you notice a leak, then this is a good first place to check. A slide out awning is a great choice if you have a slide out. The awning will work to keep leaves, dirt and sticks off the slide out roof. Slide out awnings retract automatically with the slide out and automatically tension when extended.
Rubber seals on the slide out should be wiped down when you clean the van
Use a rag to wipe away dirt and dust from both sides of the seals. Seals will sometimes require lubricating with a slide out lubricant. This is done as part of a slide out service at the RV Service Centre but may need to be done in between services.
Wipe down the tracks
Keep the tracks clean of dust, sand and grit and lubricate with a dry lube like silicone spray or Inox. Keeping the tracks clean is important to avoid dirt getting into the motor. This can save you on costly repairs of the motor.
Keep the floor rollers free of fluff and dust
This can collect much like the fluff and dust that accumulates underneath a fridge.
Tips for problem slide outs:
- Don’t force it. If the slide is stiff or making unusual noises it’s time for a service.
- If you find one side of the room is coming in faster than the other or not coming in squarely either left/right or top/bottom then it is time for a service.
- If the slide out is stuck then depending on the system you may be able to put it into manual mode and push it in.
A small amount of slide out maintenance and a regular service will keep your slide out working smoothly. For your slide out service, repairs or installation of a slide out awning, give our professional team at the RV Service Centre a call.
Would you like the extra outdoor space of an annex for your caravan or camper?
An annex is a terrific way to add weatherproof space to your campervan or caravan but there is no escaping the fact that a canvas annex with poles is a heavy bit of kit which takes a bit of time to set up. For the time involved in setting one up and the amount of space it takes to store, many customers say a canvas annex is only worthwhile setting up and packing away if you are going to stay in one spot for more than a few days.
For a fast set-up, value and lightweight annex option, take a look at the Orbit Air Annex.
The Orbit Air Annex range has no poles but is made rigid by inflating the frame with air. It is a quick, one person set-up (Orbit say 3 minutes) and there is an optional Air Capsule extension which would be ideal for sleeping extra guests or pets or storing toys like bikes. The Orbit Annex range has a three layer system – waterproof canvas, clear screens and fly screens with a wind skirt to seal around the van.
Now, our team were skeptical about the rigidity of a pole-less air inflated annex but on servicing an Air Opus camper trailer, which has the same air-inflating technology from the same manufacturer, we were impressed with just how solid a pole-less system could be.
The Orbit Annexes are Australian designed for campervans and caravans and being pole-less are lighter and faster to set up than a traditional canvas annex. They come in a range of sizes to suit. Give us a call or come in and see us at the RV Service Centre for more information and sizing for your van. If you are not needing the full weatherproof option of an annex then an awning with a privacy screen or two is the way to go. We stock a full range in store and can install your awning on your caravan or camper while you wait.
Selling your caravan? To sell your caravan, campervan or any trailer with an ATM over 750kg privately in Queensland, you will need a Caravan Safety Certificate (roadworthy) and Caravan Gas Certificate if the van has gas appliances.
The Caravan Safety Certificate is valid for 60 days from the date of issue and the Gas Certificate is valid for 90 days. It is required by law to obtain the Safety and Gas Certificates before you advertise the van for sale. Having the Safety and Gas Certificates before you find a buyer avoids delays and, if there are items to be rectified, lets you know your costs before you sell the van.
Here are our 7 tips of what to check before the inspection to help pass first time:
Check the tyres
Look for signs of wear, perishing or cracking. Tyres often wear unevenly on caravans so you need to check both the inside and outside surfaces. A minimum of 1.5mm tread depth is needed to pass. The spare tyre is also included as part of the safety check so must meet the same requirements.
Ensure all exterior marker lights are working properly
Replace bulbs as needed. Often older vans have incandescent bulb lights which are dull either due to the wiring, bulb or the covers. These often require replacement with full led versions.
Check that exterior reflectors are present
Inspect the safety chain
Look to see that it is not worn and complies with the specification of the van.
Check that the coupling is in good condition
Couplings are often missing the safety lever – spares are available in store.
Check that gas bottles are in date
If your van has gas appliances then gas bottles are required to pass the inspection. They have a life of 10 years from the marked date. If your bottles are out of date you can still swap them at a ‘swap and go’ place with no extra charge normally.
Inside the van you will need:
- a working smoke alarm (in date)
- a working fire extinguisher (in date)
- vents – lower and upper. The lower vent is normally in the door and upper vent is usually near an overhead cupboard or built in to a (permanently vented) skylight. These need to be unobstructed.
A quick check of these 7 key parts of your van will help to pass the Caravan Safety Certificate and Caravan Gas Certificate inspections. At the RV Service Centre we provide Caravan Safety Certificates and Caravan Gas Certificates. We can assist with rectifying any items that would fail your certificate and keep the necessary replacement parts in stock in our showroom. Give our friendly team a call to book in your inspection.
Caravan wheel nuts. If they aren’t tightened correctly the wheels can fall off.
One customer recently had the misfortune of a wheel coming off his fairly new camper, shattering the brake drum and causing a lot of damage to one side of the van. The cause of the wheel falling off was due to only two of the six wheel nuts being tight. The two that were taking the load popped and the other four loose nuts failed. Holiday over and a major repair job. Correctly tightened wheel nuts on your caravan or camper are critical but something that can easily be overlooked.
Ideally caravan wheel nuts need to be firm but still able to be taken off manually if you need to change a tyre on the side of the road. If the wheel nuts are too tight, as can happen when they are tightened with a pneumatic rattle gun at the tyre shop, then it will be near impossible to loosen them by hand if you need to change a tyre. When our team carry out a service at the RV Service Centre, we tighten the wheel nuts with a torque wrench to a particular setting. This is a secure setting and firmer than hand tightening but will still allow the wheel nuts to be taken off manually to change a tyre. The exact torque depends on
- stud diameter and thread
- type of rim (e.g. steel or alloy)
- manufacturer specs
Torques can vary from 100 to over 230Nm – so there is a very big variation, and needs to be set correctly.
When fitting the rim/tyre back to the van, follow these tips:
- Start all bolts or nuts by hand to prevent cross threading
- Tighten bolts in sequence above
- Re-torque within 200kms
- No lubricant should be used on the threads of either the stud or the nut, but these should be clean and free form rust or corrosion.
Servicing your caravan, pop-top, camper-trailer or motorhome ensures that your rig is ready for the next 10,000 kms of trouble-free touring and reduces your risk of any nasty surprises, like a wheel falling off. Our comprehensive RV service program checks everything in your van from wheels to cupboards, to ensure safe, relaxing travel. If you are due for your 10,000 km or annual caravan service, give our team a call to book in. At the RV Service Centre we offer servicing at our Toowoomba workshop or our Mobile Service team can service your van on-site at your home, work or at the caravan park.