Road Work Play

Full Time RV Living Blog

Replacing Our Exterior Slide Seal

Replacing Our Slide Bulb Seal

The top slide seal on our camper was in pretty bad shape. With all of the Facebook posts we’d seen, it looked like replacing even a portion of these slide seals is super expensive to have done by a dealer. Being we love DIY we decided to do it ourselves. We began looking up slide seal costs. RV websites and a local dealer wanted over $400 for the single bulb seal we needed. Yes, over $400 for a single bulb slide seal.

We did some shopping around, and found exactly what we needed – actually, almost 20 foot more than we needed – on Amazon for less than $100. Yes, that $400 slide seal was less than $100!

As far as replacing your RV slide seal… If your wiper seal is still in good condition, as ours was, then this process is super simple. Here’s how we did it in less than a couple of hours.

Things you’re going to need.

Removing the Old Seal

For some reason, I was a dunderhead and did not start taking photos right away. We’ll have to work with what I have 🙂

Old Slide Seal

As you can see, our old seal was in bad shape. Cracking, smushed and, in some places, falling apart.

The first step, was to remove the staples on each end of the seal. This was done by using a pair of pliers, “jiggling” the staples, and pulling. With the staples out, it is simply a matter of grabbing the old seal, and pulling. Our seal was deteriorated to the point that it just pulled off, without even needing to slide it off the track.

Old Slide Seal Removed

With the old seal removed, we finally remembered to start taking pictures. Here you can see the bad condition our seal was in.

Slide Wiper Seal & Bulb Seal Track

With the old seal removed, you can see the track the bulb seal slides into.

Sealing Things Up

Now is the time to remove any remaining staples from the old slide seal, and seal the holes up with Proflex RV. If there are larger holes, like the one in the above photo that can be seen where the track meets the metal of the rv if you look closely, it’s a good idea to patch them with Butyl Tape before covering with Proflex.

We did this a little out of order, which is why you see bulb seal in these photos.

Installing the New Seal

Once your caulk is dry, or if you have clearance to add the seal without disturbing it, you can install the new bulb seal. Simply slide the new seal onto the track, and begin pushing it down the length of the wiper seal track. Our seal was done from one end – the starting end – by one person, and went on smoothly. If you seal sticks, you may need to have someone feed the seal along from the other end.

New Slide Seal in Place

Slide the new seal until it is in the location of the original. It should protrude slightly over the lower, vertical seal.

Cutting New Slide Seal

Cut the other end of the slide seal, leaving the same overhang as before.

If needed, you can now add any staples to hold things in place. We did not staple our seal down, as any time it could move, the slide will be holding it in place. You will also want to caulk any areas where water may enter your rig around the seal. Our seals are pretty solid already, and this was not required – but it’s always good to double check.

And, that’s it! We easily replaced our RV’s exterior bulb seal. The side slide seals use the same process, should any of yours be worn. While you have your ladder out, don’t forget to inspect your roof for any needed repairs. We have a post on sealing up your camper, if you need tips on that too!

How to Install a Digital Thermostat in Your RV

Installing a Digital Thermostat in an RV

If your RV’s thermostat is anything like ours has always been, it doesn’t work well. Our thermostat was getting bad to the point where barley nudging the temperature adjustment plus or minus 1 degree would cause a 10 degree or more difference for when the AC would cut on.

Taking a break from driving all over the country for 3 years, staying in the Florida summer heat – we had to solve this problem, and did so using a Honeywell Programmable Thermostat. This new thermostat works fantastic, and keeps our camper’s temperature regulated and comfortable.

The programmable features are neat too, in case you want it cooler during the day, a little warmer at night, and frigid like the arctic on the weekends.

You will need a small screwdriver, also known as a precision screwdriver, to loosen the screws in the thermostat. You can pick up a precision screwdriver set like this one on Amazon, usually for well under $20.

We have handy photos of the process, after the video.

**Always remember to turn off the breaker or disconnect power to any device before servicing it**

Making Our RV Door Handle Look Like New Again

After the paint dries, add a clear coat if you'd like, and do the reverse of the above to put everything back together.

The swing out handle to our RV was starting to look pretty worn out. Instead of replacing it, you know we did it the RV DIY way!

The whole process was easier than you may think and was done while traveling, with half the work done at our free camping spot in Levelland, Texas and a majority of the other half the work (after the paint fully cured) done at a Walmart on the way to the Waylon Jennings RV Park in Littlefield, Texas.

Here’s how easy it is to make your RV door handle look like shiny new!

What we used:

Our door handle, ready to start it's new life

Our door handle, ready to start it’s new life

 

Four Screws, two on each side, need to be removed. Once removed, the black cover on the front will come right off (you may have to pry at it a bit with your fingernail).

Four Screws, two on each side, need to be removed. Once removed, the black cover on the front will come right off (you may have to pry at it a bit with your fingernail).

 

Now, using a socket or wrench, remove the nut on this spring loaded bolt. Be careful that the spring doesn't pop off and get away from you - its not under much tension, but springs will be springs. Once removed, the bolt will pull out. Repeat for the top portion of the handle, and the handle can be removed.

Now, using a socket or wrench, remove the nut on this spring loaded bolt. Be careful that the spring doesn’t pop off and get away from you – its not under much tension, but springs will be springs. Once removed, the bolt will pull out. Repeat for the top portion of the handle, and the handle can be removed.

 

You'll want to remove any rust/oxidation, and knock off any blemishes that would make a bump in your new paint. We used our freaking awesome Black & Decker Matrix Drill, and a Black & Decker wire brush attachment. Black & Decker - if you're reading this, we use a lot of your stuff. You should consider sponsoring... Just saying.

You’ll want to remove any rust/oxidation, and knock off any blemishes that would make a bump in your new paint. We used our freaking awesome Black & Decker Matrix Drill, and a Black & Decker wire brush attachment. Black & Decker – if you’re reading this, we use a lot of your stuff. You should consider sponsoring… Just saying.

 

Pop off these black caps on each end, then, the rusty spots like the one seen here should be cleaned to the bare metal.

Pop off these black caps on each end, then, the rusty spots like the one seen here should be cleaned to the bare metal.

 

Clean the bar off, we used rubbing alcohol, and paint it whatever color you would like with a good pain, like Rust-oleum.

Clean the bar off, we used rubbing alcohol, and paint it whatever color you would like with a good paint, like Rust-oleum.

 

After the paint dries, add a clear coat if you'd like, and do the reverse of the above to put everything back together.

After the paint dries, add a clear coat if you’d like, and do the reverse of the above to put everything back together.

You’re done! You have a great new looking handle, for only a few bucks.

Replacing the Stove Vent Cover in Our RV

RV Stove Vent Cover

We recently were stopped in a shopping center during a pretty big storm, when we noticed water pouring in above our stove. After getting the ladder out and investigating the roof, then pulling apart the range hood to trace the water, we determined the issue was with the vent cover. The flap had broken, and was no longer keeping water and bugs out. We made a temporary fix, ordered a new cover and, when it arrived, here’s how we installed it.

Replacing An RV Entry Door Holder Catch With Metal! No more stretched out or broken door holders!

 

Let’s face it most RV parts are made of cheap plastic. More than likely you will keep your rv for much longer than the life of many of those cheap plastic parts.

Once a part has worn out you have two options. Replace it with the exact same part and hope it doesn’t break again or, replace it with metal.

This time we needed to replace the piece that holds the door open on our 2008 Forest River Wildwood 26tbss le. This would be the second time replacing it in two years. The part that holds the door to the camper stretches out rather quickly and no longer holds in even slight wind.

We went to our favorite local rv place because we happened to be visiting family in Richmond VA. Shout out to Hayden’s RV!

We looked around at all of the options. We had a few besides the style that kept failing on us. They were plastic and most stuck out from the side of the camper enough to hurt someone who wasn’t paying attention, or were a larger latch type that would not securely screw to our metal siding.

The other downside was that the only style that let you open and close the door without leaving your trailer was the style that repeatedly failed us.

We asked the store owner for advice. We wanted metal and low profile. He directed us to these awesome metal clips. They are l meant to hold pass-through hatches in the open position, but work beautifully to hold our door open too. They are very low profile, simple to install, hold the door securely in wind, and best of all should never need replacing again.

  1. Buy clips here.
  2. Remove old hardware from door and camper.
  3. Clean off all old butyl tape, silicone, etc from door and camper wall. If there was silicone used, be careful to remove every speck of it. Its nasty stuff that nothing else will adhere to it not even more silicone.  I suggest using mineral spirits and elbow grease. A plastic scraper like this is helpful too.
  4. Fill any old screw holes you will not be reusing with geocel RV or proflex. (The geocel doesn’t show dirt as much) Just please do not use silicone.
  5. Find a stud and line up you new catch so it holds the door open securely and mark the spot.
  6. Cut a piece of butyl tape to fit the back of the catch.
  7. Position the catch and screw it into the camper and stud. You want to screw it tight so butyl tape squishes out the sides and makes a tight seal. You want to see butyl tape squishing out of the sides and screw holes like in the photos below.
  8. Test that you put it in the right spot and it does indeed hold your door open.
  9. Pat yourself on the back. You’re done!

The supplies needed are linked in the instructions above. Just click on the blue words.

Stop The Water Loss – Adding a Shut Off Valve to Your RV Freshwater Overflow

Water shut-off valve on RV freshwater air outlet

When we first started full-timing in our Forest River travel trailer, we encountered one of our first mysteries. We’d stop, dump tanks, fill our fresh water, and a ways down the road notice our water tank was reading 1/3 to 2/3 full. Somehow, our Wildwood was losing water!

Then, one day, we figured it out. There is a hose attached to your freshwater tank, which lets air escape as you are filling it with fresh water. The way things are put together, this hose can start to have water in it while you’re driving down the road, and a siphon is created. Before you know it, your camper has lost around half of your freshwater, dumping your liquid gold on to the ground.

Believe it or not, one solution is amazingly simple, and with only a handful of inexpensive parts. Here’s what you’ll need, in order of assembly.

A simple hose clamp. This goes on first, before jamming the next piece in to your overflow/air outlet tube.
You will need to verify your tubing size coming from your camper. Ours was 1/2″, but your tube may be different. Our tube comes straight down, so we chose an elbow shape to make it easier to reach the next piece. You can go with a straight version if preferred.

To install, simply shove this piece in to your air outlet tube, and tighten the above clamp using a flat-head screw driver.

Elbo tube. This is your handy new shut-off valve. It will screw on to the above installed adapter, just like it would on a garden hose, giving you an On/Off switch to your air outlet tube.
Water shut-off valve on RV freshwater air outlet

The end result. A shut-off valve on RV freshwater air outlet

Once all pieces are attached, you are ready to re-fill your tank. Make sure you open your new valve before filling. If you neglect opening the valve, air pressure that used to escape through the air tube will instead, after a minute or so, force a nice splash of water back out of your tank, soaking you. Trust us. We know!

Once your tank is filled and the water starts running out the overflow as it always has, you simply turn your spiffy new valve and stop the flow. Voila! No more losing water from your overflow line.

Have you tried this, or have another great solution? Let us know in the comments!

Replacing Your RV City Water Connection

The inner-workings of our travel trailer’s City Water Connection became partially damaged during a winter freezing incident. The issue needed a repair when the connection fully broke, and would no longer function properly when hooked up to city water.

As always, we wanted to put together a quick how-to for those who may need to replace their RV’s city water connection.

Original City Water Connection. Remove the three screws to begin the removal process.

Original City Water Connection. Make sure your water pump is off, then remove the three screws to begin the  process.

Carefully cut the sealant from around the city water connection.

Carefully cut the sealant from around the city water connection.

Pull the original city water connection away from the wall. You will then be able to loosen the interior water connection

Pull the original city water connection away from the wall. You may need to work it loose, due to the sealant on the rear of the connection. Once removed, you will be able to loosen the interior water connection.
Note: Our water line may extend further than yours, due to a previous repair to our city water line.

Add teflon tape (plummer's tape) to the threads of the replacement city water connection, and screw on the interior water tubing.

Add teflon tape (plummer’s tape) to the threads of the replacement city water connection, and screw on the interior water tubing.

Add butyl tape (not shown in photo) to the rear of the new, replacement, city water connection to ensure a tight seal.

Add Butyl Tape (not shown in photo) to the rear of the new, replacement, city water connection to ensure a tight seal.

Align the original screw holes with the new city water connection. Press the new city water connection to the wall and apply slight pressure to "stick" the butyl tape. Tighten the three screws (do not overtighten, or they may stip the wood), and seal around the exterior of the connection with ProFlex.

Align the original screw holes with the new city water connection. Press the new city water connection to the wall and apply slight pressure to “stick” the butyl tape. Tighten the three screws (do not over tighten, or they may strip the wood), and seal around the exterior of the connection with Pro Flex.
.

That’s it! Now you can turn your pump on and check for any leaks. If none are found, you will want to wait the reccomended amount of time according to the directions on your sealant for everything to dry before connecting a drinking water hose.

How To Fix A Rip Or Tear In An RV Furniture Cushion

Tools For Repairing An RV Sofa

Box cutters and RV furniture don’t mix! Despite that fact we use them on a regular basis during our work day. We try not to open boxes on or near furniture, but sometimes in a hurry we forget. Two times over the last year that has led to disaster. We ended up with a cut in our rv sofa upolstery followed by another tear in our booth seat cushion. Here is how I fixed them. It might not be the prettiest job do to the fact that I am terrible at sewing but it is functional and will give a smooth result that is less noticable than a giant rip in your rv.

Tools For Repairing An RV Sofa

 

Tools Required:

  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Curved Needle
  • Upolstery Thread

1) Take care of those frayed edges! I did this carefully by singing the edges with a lighter. This kid of melts them together so the stitches don’t pull out from more fraying over time. You could alternatively use some Fray Stop or Aleene’s Stop Fraying. I went the cheap but more dangerous route.

2) Thread your needle and knot the thread at the end.

3) Begin at the end of the rip or tear to your rv fabric. Staring ont he underside of the fabric will hide the knot. You need to start your stitching far enough from the edge that you can insert the needle and have it come out on the same side you started with before doing the same on the other side. This will tuck the rough edge under the seam as you sew.  It will also make for a stronger upolstery repair.  If this sounds confusing here’s a photo of what I mean. Continue this process until you get to the end of the rip.

4) Taking care of the puckering. You will notice the fabric will pucker at both ends of the RV cushion repair. You can choose to leave this as it is or continue stitching until the pucker smoothes out. On our ripped RV bench seat cushion I chose to fix the puckering. This resulted in a longer line of stitches but gave a much smoother effect. I really like how it turned out. For the tear in our RV sofa I chose to leave the puckering as is since we cover it with a sheet. I may choose to flatten out the puckering later if we decide to use it uncovered.

5) after you finish stitching, weather you decide to fix the puckering or not, you can tie off with a sturdy knot. I made a stitch but didn’t pull it tight. Then I ran the needle through the stitch twice and pulled. Don’t cut that thread yet! Take your needle and insert it back into the fabric close to the knot. take a few straight stitches away from the knot. This makes it so your knot is sturdy and can not come out as easily. This will also make your know lie flat against the fabric instead of sticking up.

There you have it.

Adding a Coat Hook Should be Easy…

Coat Hook Mounted in RV

During the winter, we quickly learned how much valuable space a variety of coats can take up in a camper. Normally, mounting a coat hook in the wall is a fairly simple process and does not involve more than a screwdriver and about 5 minutes worth of work. So, we installed coat hooks that matched our decor and

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Replacing Our Magic Chef RV Oven Thermostat

Magic Chef RV Oven Thermostat Replacement

During a cleaning and inspection of our oven, Laurie noticed two lonely wires which turned out to be one wire that had melted in half.

CAM00909

Then, after a few times using the oven, we determined it was getting way hotter than it should. Let’s just say your stove top should never get hot enough to melt completely through the cord on your coffee pot when it is set to bake at 350. It was time for a new coffee pot and time to learn how to work on an oven.

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Keeping Our Camper Warm by Keeping the Cold Out

We’ll be spending our first winter as full-timers in our home state, Virginia. Our camper is not 4 seasons – heck, the waste tanks aren’t even enclosed. Our adventure this winter, will be keeping ourselves warm, our tanks un-frozen, and everything as comfy cozy as possible. In the process, we’ll be listing all of our modifications here, and all of our repairs as posts. Enjoy!

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Repairing Our First City Water Connection Leak

I guess it’s inevitable; eventually your water system is going to leak somewhere. While wintering in Virginia, we were doing an inspection of our water lines to make sure we were keeping everything warm enough to prevent freezing. That’s when we noticed the interior connection to the city water hook-up had a pretty steady drip, puddling water in the cabinet under our sink and into our rear wall.

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Recaulking Your RV – A Tale of Sealing Our Camper

Laurie Caulking Trailer Roof

Laurie wanted to re-seal our camper from the day we bought it. After noticing a small damp area next to our slide, she finally had all the reason she needed to purchase all of the tools and begin the process. Unfortunately, in her first few seams, she followed the advice found in some places on the internet, and that of the dealership, and used DAP silicon caulk.

Don’t Use DAP or Silicone Calk

This is our first piece of advice. The reasons include:
It will peel away from fiberglass and aluminum very quickly.

It is the hardest thing to remove… ever! Hours of scraping solvents and cursing will be required and it still may not be completely gone.

No other sealant, including silicone will stick to silicone, ever. Every last molecule of silicone must be removed before any other sealant will adhere to the surface you intend to seal.

Beware RV dealers will tell you to seal with silicone. Your buddies on Facebook will tell you to seal with silicone. Don’t do it. You will be resealing every six months or even sooner and the job will be almost impossible.

 

What Did We Use

After delving into the fine details of caulking a camper, we learned there were two main sealants we should use. For our roof, we used Dicor Self Leveling Lap Sealant. On all of the non roof seams, we used GeoCel Proflex. This is our quick Proflex tutorial.

Geocell Proflex has a special RV sealant; however, after a ton of research, we learned the standard Geocel Pro Flex
, used for roofing, is apparently the same- if not better quality- than the at times higher priced and harder to find RV sealant. Proflex is meant to bend and flex as the camper, fifth wheel, or class A, rolls down the road. Proflex is also easy to clean and paintable.

It’s Not as Hard as You Think

Laurie thought it was going to be very difficult doing the sealing job but, once she got started, she actually had a lot of fun. She picked up clear Proflex, to hide any issues she may have in her seams, and just went to town.

Most of the seams on our Travel Trailer were sealed with the factory butyl tape putty stuff. The seal were dry and cracking. Laurie went over every seam on our camper and only needed 3 tubes of Proflex. At 7.99 a piece at Ace Hardware, this job was incredibly inexpensive. It took her 3 hours a day over the course of about 4 days.

She started by cleaning all of the areas to be done with rubbing alcohol to prep the surface and remove any obvious loose dirt. She kept a cup of soapy water handy to smooth the bead of proflex as well. The process is not complicated. Run a bead of Proflex down a section of seam. She went in approximately 3 foot sections. Immediately dip a finger in the soapy water and use that finger to smooth down the bead. If you laid your bead too thick and have alot of excess proflex it is fine to just squish it into the seam in a spot you haven’t proflexed yet. It will set just fine and you won’t end up wasting any. Laurie chose the clear version which looked great even though she had never used a caulk gun before this project. She found the whole project to be a fun experience and really ended up proud of herself in the end.


Emptying & Cleaning Our RV Holding Tank with the SewerSolution and Magic

Sewer Solution

At some of the locations we stay, like Alan’s parents, a handy sewer hook-up is not always available. In looking for a way to dump our tanks, this is where we came across the Sewer Solution (Read our post on the SewerSolution). While it is an awesome product, we needed to dump into a sewer cleanout approximately 100 ft. away, and it seems the previous owners of our camper gunked up the tanks

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Adding Thumb Screws to Our Camper Vent Covers

Close up of thumb screw installed in camper RV vent

Tinker-ers, DIY-ers, and those of us that just want to check everything, often. We pull wood screws out of the vents, put them back, pull them out again, put them back. All of this wears down the wood, increases the potential of stripping out the hole, and is a general pain that consumes the time we could be doing what we want – inspecting and modifying things.

Our camper uses three metal grates to cover almost the entire area underneath our kitchen. We have accessed this often for cleaning, running CAT 5 network cable to our office desk modification, and for cleaning out all of the critter droppings we discovered when we fist purchased our home. Removal wasn’t easy, four long wood screws for each grate, and so we decided to make it a little more convenient. Everyone loves convenience.

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