Make Your Water Taste Like… Water

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Take care of your RV water system and in return, it will provide you with years of dependable service.

The potable water system in your house is pretty much maintenance free. The potable water system in your RV, on the other hand, requires some maintenance to keep it trouble free. Something I’ve run into quite often is the complaint that there is a stale odor coming from the RV water system.

When you return from a trip and you’re not going to use the RV for a while, you need to drain the entire water system to prevent it from getting stale and musty. You can start by draining the water heater.

Go to the outside compartment where the water heater is located. The drain plug, or petcock, is located in the bottom left hand corner. Remove the plug and open the pressure relief valve on top of the water heater to assist in draining. NEVER drain the water heater when it’s hot or under pressure. Next you need to locate the low point water line drains. It may take a while to find them, but I assure you they are there. There will be one for the hot and one for the cold water lines. This is the lowest point in the water system. Open these and let the water drain out. There’s one more thing left to do, find the drain for the fresh water holding tank and drain all of the water from it. At this point you can turn the water pump on for a moment to force any remaining water out. Do not let the pump continue to run once the water stops draining. Close all the drains. Now, do not make the mistake that this is how you winterize the RV water system. If you do, it can be a very costly mistake next spring. All we have accomplished so far was to evacuate the majority of water from the system.

If by accident you forget to drain the water system and you get that notorious stale odor all is not lost. You just need to sanitize the water system. Start by draining all of the old water out, and then close all of the drains. Take a quarter cup of house hold bleach for every fifteen gallons of water that your fresh water tank holds. Mix the bleach into a one-gallon container and pour it into the fresh water holding tank. Fill the fresh water tank completely full of water. Turn the water pump on, open all hot and cold faucets and run the water until you smell the bleach at each faucet. Close the faucets and let it sit for three to four hours. Drain the entire system and re-fill the fresh water tank with water. Open all of the faucets and run the water until you no longer smell any bleach. It may be necessary to repeat this process again to eliminate all signs of bleach from the water system. Once this is done it is safe to use your water system. It’s also a good idea to use a water filter at campgrounds and to keep bottled water on hand for drinking.

Happy Camping!

Get the Most From Your Camp Stove

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Do you love home cooked meals, hot and fresh, prepared with care. It gives you more energy and keeps me healthy. The same is true when you’re camping.  You should cook culinary delights on a well-maintained camp stove. Here’s how to make sure you can.

Don’t wait until you’re on the trail.

Test my stove before the camping trip. I make sure it works at home where you only a phone call away from the store or manufacturer.

If it’s a new camp stove,  boil water with it. This way you get used to its functions and find out what its quirks are.

  • Is it difficult to prime?
  • Is it stable?
  • Does it need a windscreen?

This will give you an idea of what to expect when I’m camping. It also burns off the protective oils and coatings.

If it’s an old camp stove, You’ll know if it needs repair. There is nothing worse than getting to the campsite and having to come back because your stove is broken.

Use the ideal fuel.

If your camp stove uses multiple fuels, and the manufacturer recommends one type over another, you always use the preferred fuel. Using alternative fuels can clog the burner or shorten the life of the camp stove. Only use alternative fuels if the recommended fuel isn’t available.

The wrong fuel can ruin your stove. If fuel has a funny odor, debris, or sludge at the bottom of it,  assume it has been contaminated, dispose of it properly, and get fresh fuel.

Water and debris can clog a fuel line. Use a fuel funnel outfitted with a small screen to pre-filter fuel, and check inside for water and debris before filling my fuel containers.

If you use disposable fuel canisters please try to recycle them, if not, dispose of them per the instructions on the can. Remember: Leave No Trace! Pack it in. Pack it out.

Tip: recheck your fuel containers before you leave. Murphy’s Law dictates that full fuel containers become mysteriously empty when you’re ready to use them.

Get spare parts and a maintenance kit. Learn to use them.

Again, home is the best place to try things out. Practice using the repair kit in this controlled environment. Get used to changing those tiny o-rings in proper lighting, not when you are shivering and hungry in the wilderness.

NEVER OPERATE A BROKEN STOVE. IT COULD CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY.

Clean your stove after each camping trip. A properly cared for stove can literally give decades of service.

Tip: Read the directions that come with your stove and maintenance kit. They have a lot more details about your particular stove than I can cover here.

Store your camp stove properly.

While camping, store my camp stove and fuel away from food (in a side pocket of my pack). Many camp stoves come with padded sacks or special stove cases for this purpose.

After camping, store my camp stove separately from the fuel, especially liquid fuels. When you’re done with my trip I remove all the fuel canisters from my gear. Leaking fuel canisters can ruin a pack or other nylon materials.

Having a camp stove is vital to your culinary camping enjoyment. Keep your stove working and keep yourself in good health. You’ll be glad you did.

Follow routine maintenance

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For the engine compartment, periodically check stud nuts around the carburetor and on the manifold for tightness. Make sure the carburetor is clean and the linkage pivot points are lubricated and free moving. Check all bolts and screws around the fuel pump and its lines for tightness. Drive belts on the fan and alternator, air conditioning and power steering must have the proper tension and not be damaged. Keep the air cleaner and fuel filter clean. Oil level and condition is critical on RV engines, so change it and the oil filter regularly. Watch for leaks around filter, oil pan and rocker arm covers.

The cooling system ranks with the oil in importance. To keep rust and scale from building up, thoroughly flush and drain the system at least every two years, refilling it with a good glycol-base coolant with a rust inhibitor. The radiator, radiator hoses and water pump must be checked for leaks and loose connections. Make sure hoses are firm; soft or cracked ones may blow under pressure.

A clean battery with tight connections, good electrolyte level and no corrosion will be dependable. Dust and caked-on dirt can harm the alternator, generator or even the distributor, so they must be thoroughly cleaned. All engine wiring must be in a position where jouncing from rough terrain or engine movement won’t cause chafing. Also, engine heat can melt insulation on electrical wiring, so make sure wiring is out of the way.

The fluid level in automatic transmissions is critical. Check it regularly. Automatic transmission fluid is usually red; when it looks brownish, it needs changing because it’s either dirty or has been burned through overheating. Inspect shift linkage for security, too.

Off-road driving is rough on chassis parts; shock absorbers, even heavy-duty ones, won’t last as long. Check their condition more frequently than you would on a car. Proper wheel alignment is necessary for good handling but is hard to maintain if you drive on rough roads. Check for bent tie rods and links. Front and rear wheel bearings should be inspected if the vehicle is used off road or the wheels are frequently submerged in water. Inspect for rust and corrosion on brake linings, too.

Tires and wheels are your only contact with the road when you’re under way, so they demand attention for safety as well as handling. Check rims for dents, lug nuts for tightness and tires for uneven tread wear, abrasions and proper inflation pressures. All wiring for external lights should get a complete checkup for tightness of connections, breaks and other potential malfunctions.

When you check over the engine compartment and chassis of your recreational vehicle, remember the two major troublemakers: dirt and vibration. Dust collected on back roads combines with moisture and packs the smallest crevice. Jolts from bumps and potholes are transmitted throughout the chassis and engine, gradually loosening everything that can turn. Routine maintenance should include cleaning and tightening.

Outdoor Recreational Vehicle Furniture

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Don’t forget outdoor recreational furniture when you’re stocking your RV for your first trip. Many RVers spend as much time outdoors relaxing as they do inside their RV, and you’ll need comfortable and durable outdoor recreational vehicle furniture if you want to be relaxed and in style outdoors. You can find a variety of comfortable and fun styles as well as a range of colors of outdoor recreational furniture.

As you shop for outdoor recreational furniture, you’ll find that your choices aren’t just limited to plastic chairs and tables. You’ll discover outdoor recliners, folding picnic sets, adjustable height tables, grill tables, and much more. Since you spend so much time outdoors when you travel in your RV, it pays to shop for the most comfortable and versatile outdoor recreational vehicle furniture you can find.

RV Replacement Furniture

If you’re searching for RV replacement furniture, you may be able to find surplus furniture online, or you might find it at local dealers who are closing out discontinued lines or old RV parts and replacements. Some RV furniture manufacturers put their surplus furniture online at deeply discounted prices, so you can save quite a bit of money if you shop around.

When you purchase RV replacement furniture, check with the seller to find out if the purchase price includes installation of the new RV replacement furniture and removal of the old furniture. If you’re purchasing a big piece of RV replacement furniture, such as a mattress or sofa, take time beforehand to make measurements to make sure it will fit in the door of your RV. Many items of RV replacement furniture are so large that you have to take out a window or the windshield in order to get them inside the RV.

Top Camping Dangers in Oklahoma

Camping in the great outdoors is a great way to get out and explore the wilderness, relax underneath the stars, and tell stories around the campfire.  It is a fun and exciting experiences for all involved but, there are a few precautions you have to take when camping outdoors.

black-bear-cubThe top camping dangers in Oklahoma include wildlife; more specifically, the black bear.  Since the 1980’s the black bear population has been on the rise in eastern Oklahoma when they were brought down from northern Minnesota.  Although the majority of the population stay away from human inhabited areas, if you are camping or hiking out in the wilderness you may run across one or two.

The main precautions to take to avoid bear encounters are to remember to not leave food or scraps lying out in your campsite.  Bears have a keen sense of smell and will search out food when they are hungry.  Try to make as much noise as possible when camping or hiking in the wilderness.  Black bears are more afraid of humans than Grizzly bears are, so the more noise you make, the less chance you have of sneaking up on a black bear and startling it into an aggressive state.

If you happen to meet a black bear face to face the best things to do is to fight back if you are attacked.  Do not try to run and hide or climb up a tree.  Black bears are avid climbers and run much faster than the average human.  Find a stick, branch, or tool of some sorts to fight back until the bear backs off.  Also, do not try to play dead. This does not work with black bears especially if they feel threatened.  Talk to them in a calm voice to let them know you are human but not aggressive.  Most will lose interest and leave the area.

coyote_wolf_sThere are other animals to be aware of when camping in Oklahoma, such as coyotes and wolves.  However, the black bear is the most widely populated and will come investigating if something attracts them to the area.  It is important to prepare yourself with bear repellent spray when camping in these areas of Oklahoma.  You can find it at most outdoor adventure stores or hardware stores in the area.

Follow these tips, along with the tips from tour guides and park rangers in the area and you’ll be sure to enjoy your camping adventures in Oklahoma.

Lewis RV Center

Visit our showroom in Oklahoma City, OK to pick up all of your camping essentials for your trips this year.  We have a full inventory of parts and accessories for your RV’s and camping needs. Stop by today or visit our website to view our online parts store. www.lewisrvcenter.com