12/09/2014

Measuring for Replacement Doors

If you live in a mobile home, you know how frustrating it is to find information on replacing your doors. There are many ways to measure for a replacement door, but Elixir recommends that you measure your rough opening and select the replacement size which is closest. All mobile home door sizes are based on their rough opening size. If you were to remove your existing door, the opening in the wall is the rough opening (see photo to the right). That is the measurement you need.


Taking your measurements for a Combination House Type Door

In most cases you will have to take measurements prior to removing the door to avoid exposing your home to the elements. In that case, we suggest that you pull back your trim inside the home to expose the door jamb. Measure from outside of the jamb to the outside of the other jamb both in width and height. This will give you the correct rough opening. You will also need the width of your jamb, ie: 4" or 6".






Taking your measurements for a Single, Outswing Type Door

The most common mistake when measuring a mobile home door is to measure the door itself - this will result in an incorrect size. The correct way to measure a rear door if you don't know the rough opening is to measure the lid of the door (see photo at right). The lid is larger than the pan and is the side of the door that faces the outside of the home. The pan is inside the home. If you measure the lid, it will match the rough opening of the door.


Taking your measurements for a Storm Door

Storm doors use the same rough opening measurement of the combo door it will be installed upon. Do not measure the storm door but instead measure the jamb as if you were measuring a complete combo door.

Is my door left hand or right hand?

Go outside into the yard, turn around and face the door, whichever side the hinge is on, determines left hand or right hand. This is the same for rear doors, combo doors, and storm doors.

A Reminder on How to Winterize your RV

We posted this a few months back, but since it's getting colder we wanted to repost this as a reminder.

Draining the Water and Drying the Water Lines

  1. Allow all water to drain from the fresh water holding tank. To drain the water from your RV, you'll need to open what's called the "petcock."[1] Do not be tempted to drain the water heater yet -- that has to be done after you add antifreeze.[1]
  2. Drain the black and gray holding tanks. You should also flush both tanks at this time.
    • If your RV does not come equipped with a built-in system, you should clean the tanks out with a wand or a product designed to clean both of the tanks.
    • Take all the tanks' contents to your local dump station.
  3. Open any cold and hot water faucets in the RV. That includes those for the sinks, toilet and shower. If you don't, air can't come out the other end!
    • Flush your toilets a few times to make sure all the water's gone!
  4. Attach a compressed air adapter to the RV’s water lines. This is commonly known as a "blowout plug." It can be purchased at our store.
    • Technically, it's attached to the "Water Intake Fitting."
  5. Use a standard air compressor, such as one used to inflate tires, to blow air through the water lines. The air from the compressor will force any remaining water out of the lines. This isn't 100% necessary, but it helps to keep your antifreeze from becoming diluted.
    • Pressure should be 30 pounds per square inch (maximum of 50 psi).[2]
  6. Replace caps on all the drains, and close all the cold and hot water faucets. Re-close your petcock, too.
  7. Detach the compressed air adapter from the RV. And the compressor along with it! 

Adding Antifreeze to the Plumbing System

  1. Choose your method of adding antifreeze. There are three ways to do this:
    • From the inside using a water pump conversion kit.
    • From the outside with a hand pump.
    • With or without a bypass.
        • We'll be addressing the water pump with a bypass method. The science behind the pumps is the same. However, without a bypass, you just have to add much, much more antifreeze. Regardless of whether or not you have a bypass, do not drain your water heater before adding the antifreeze.
    • Disconnect the water line that connects the fresh water tank to the fresh water pump. Attach the pump upstream of the water tank. That is, the antifreeze will go in before the tank.
    • If possible, bypass your water heater. This will save you gallons and gallons of antifreeze. You don't have to do it, but it makes everything much simpler. A few RVs have them built in, but most do not. To bypass your water heater:[1] 
      • Turn off the water heater.
      • Disconnect the water supply (the above step).
      • If installing for the first time, disconnect the hot and cold lines going in and out of the water heater.
      • Connect the bypass, following the instructions on the package.
      • Close off the same hot and cold lines and open the bypass.
    • Place the disconnected end of the water line in a jug of RV antifreeze. That's the pink kind, not the green kind. The pink kind is RV antifreeze, which is GRAS -- generally regarded as safe.[1] The green kind is toxic. Not that you'd be swallowing any, but, you know, just in case.
      • Approximately 2 to 3 gallons (7.6 to 11.4 liters) of antifreeze should be enough to fill the RV’s entire plumbing system, provided a bypass is installed. If you don't have one, you need as much antifreeze as the water heater can hold, usually 6 to 10 gallons.[2] 
    • Turn on the fresh water pump, and allow it to run as it pulls the antifreeze into the plumbing system of the RV. Alternatively, as discussed, use a hand pump connected to the city water hookup.
    • Start from the highest and work to the lowest point in the fresh water system. You'll probably start at the kitchen sink -- turn on the hot faucet and run it until it turns pink -- that is, filled with antifreeze. All the water has been flushed from the system! Then, run the cold faucet until it's pink, too.
      • The general order is kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, toilet, and outdoor shower. Run each of these until you see a strong shade of pink in each.
        • You may need to flush the toilet several times until the RV antifreeze comes out at a steady rate. 
    • Pour about 3 cups (.72 liters) of antifreeze into the toilet and in each drain. This includes the washing machine, ice maker, and outside shower! Don't forget about those. The specifics of your RV will need to be taken into account here. Refer to your manual for more specific guidelines.
    • Take the water line out of the antifreeze jug, and reconnect it to the fresh water tank.
    • Locate the water heater, remove the plug and drain it. This is always done last.[1][3] 

     Completing the Final Details


    1. Remove all food, laundry, and valuable items. Kind of a big duh, huh? The last thing you want is an exploded two-liter of orange soda all over your fridge. Not to mention mice and ants.
      • And as for valuable items, why would you leave them in an RV for six months? And the laundry, well, it's just best to leave everything clean so when you come back in the spring, there's a lot less work to do.
    2. Fix anything that's broken. Your RV is going to be sitting and stewing for a while -- not good for any machine (or human for that matter). To make sure it makes it through, fix everything now. You'll be glad you did.
    3. Cover all vents and holes. Hopefully you already have some type of mesh guard for your exhaust pipe and whatnot to protect against mice, but make sure all the vents and holes are covered now. You don't want birds (think of the roof), rodents (pipes), or bugs (seams) making your RV home.
      • Check the entire RV for places that bugs or animals may be able to get into. Just because you're not using it doesn't mean they should get to!
    4. Take the weight off the tires. If you leave that much weight on the one side of the tires, they could grow weak over time. So leave your RV on blocks, taking the pressure off the tires.
    5. Cover it with a breathable material. While you don't want snow and rodents getting into your RV, you also don't want mold and mildew to start growing underneath your tarp. So if you do cover it, cover it with a material that breathes.
      • You may want to put rags on top of the sharp corners of your RV so that breathable material doesn't rip. For good measure!

    Warnings


    • Be sure to open the pressure relief valve when draining the water heater. Allowing the water to drain while it is under pressure, or hot, can lead to injuries.
    • Never use automotive antifreeze in the lines of an RV, as this can cause damage to the plumbing system.

    Things You'll Need


    • Pump (water or hand)
    • Bypass kit (optional)
    • Antifreeze (minimum 3 gallons)
    • Tank-cleaning wand
    • Tarp of breathable material
    • Air compressor
    • Adapter ("blowout plug")


    Sources and Citations
    ↑ 1.01.11.21.31.4http://www.camco.net/assets/catalog/winterizeRV.pdf
    ↑ 2.02.1http://www.kinstler.com/how_to/winterize_an_rv/how_to_winterize_rv.html
    ↑ http://winterize.adventurerv.net/
    http://www.thecampingsource.com/item/RV__Winterizing_a_RV/id/561/category.aspx
    http://koa.com/familyzone/camping101/articles/rvmaintenance_506.htm
    http://www.fmca.com/polks-top-7/2807-top-7-steps-for-winterizing-your-rv-plumbing-system
    http://www.gonecamping.net/stories/winterize.html
    http://www.wikihow.com/Winterize-an-RV

    11/19/2014

    Gooseneck & 5th Wheel FAQ's


    What is the difference between a gooseneck and a fifth wheel trailer hitch?

    Both a Gooseneck Hitch and a Fifth Wheel hitch are designed for use in the bed of a pickup truck. The main difference is the type of attachment. Gooseneck towing uses a ball, which is in the bed of the pickup truck, and a coupler, which is attached to the trailer. Fifth wheel towing is just the reverse. The coupling device, the fifth wheel hitch, is in the bed of the pickup truck and attaches with a kingpin, attached to the trailer. Gooseneck hitches are most often found with horse and other agricultural-type stock trailers. Fifth wheel hitches are used primarily with travel-trailer style RVs.

    I have a 5.5’ bed; can I install a fifth wheel?

    Installation of a fifth wheel on any bed less than 6' is not recommended, due to trailer to cab clearance. Any bed between 6' and 6.5' should have a roller installed to make tight cornering possible.

    I have a fifth wheel camper trailer, and I would like to know if I can legally tow a boat behind my camper trailer down the road?

    Yes and No.  When it comes to state laws on triple towing there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Many states and providences do allow this, however they all have different rules and regulations.  For instance, in Arkansas it is legal to triple tow as long as the combined length of all three vehicles is less than 65ft.  This is true in many states however some like Wisconsin require a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) to tow two trailers.  Anytime you are unsure of towing laws you should call your states highway patrol to get sound legal information.

    Why can't I tow with my fifth wheel roller in the maneuvering position?

    Towing with your 5th wheel roller in the maneuvering position puts the tongue weight of your trailer behind the rear axle. This puts too much weight on the back of the vehicle causing the front to be too light, giving you both braking and steering problems.

    11/04/2014

    Selecting the Right Hitch

    It is critical that you understand your vehicle's maximum towing capacity before you begin towing. If you exceed the manufacturer's rated capacity you are creating an unsafe driving situation, and you are very likely to damage your vehicle's engine, transmission, rear axle, brakes and wheel bearings, and you will void the manufacturer's warranty.

    If you have not yet purchased a tow vehicle, remember that in general, AWD and 4WD vehicles have a lower towing capacity than a comparable 2WD vehicle. Pickup trucks with extra-cab and crew cab designs also tend to have lower towing capacity than comparable standard cab designs. It pays to research towing capacities thoroughly before you buy, and it's always best to buy a tow vehicle with a much larger towing capacity than you intend to use.

    Checking Your Vehicle's Owner's Manual

    Your best means of determining your vehicle's towing capacity is to read your vehicle's owner's manual and to compare the information there with the certification plate on your driver's door sill. The owner's manual will provide detailed instructions and limitations, usually accompanied by tips for safe towing. If your vehicle is not capable of towing any trailer, that will be stated explicitly in your owner's manual. If you do not have a copy of your owner's manual, many automakers allow you download a copy freely from the Internet.

    Finding Your Vehicle's Compliance Certification Label

    After you've read your vehicle owner's manual, it's a good idea to double check the compliance certification label. This is typically a sticker placed somewhere in the driver's door sill area. This label will have several fields, labeled with acronyms such as "GVR," "GAW," and "GCWR." These fields are defined as follows:

    • Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)

    This is the vehicle's standard curb weight, plus an allowance for a standard amount of luggage, gas and passengers, as predicted by the manufacturer. Of course, your vehicle's actual weight will vary depending on how much luggage, gasoline, and passenger weight you have actually placed in the vehicle, so the GVW is an approximation.

    • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

    This is the maximum safe actual weight of your vehicle. If you exceed this weight, the vehicle's engine, transmission, brakes, and so on will be stressed beyond their design limits.

    • Gross Combination Weight (GCW)

    This is the actual weight of your vehicle (GVW) plus the actual total weight (not the tongue weight) of your trailer. This number must not be higher than your vehicle's GCWR.

    • Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)

    This is the maximum safe weight of your combined vehicle and trailer. This weight includes all people, luggage, and other material. If your combined towing setup exceeds this weight, your vehicle's engine, transmission, brakes, and so on will be stressed beyond their design limits.

    • Gross Axle Weight (GAW)

    These numbers are the weights expected to be placed on your vehicle's front and rear wheels. The two numbers are likely to be different to account for engine weight and other factors.

    • Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

    This is the maximum safe weight that can be placed on your front or rear wheels. The two numbers are likely to be different to account for engine weight and trailer tongue weight and luggage. If you exceed this weight rating on either the front or rear tires, you can create a dangerous driving situation or even damage your vehicle.

    Checking Trailer Weight

    After you understand your vehicle's weight capacities and general towing capacity, you need to learn your trailer's weight. Unless your trailer is home-built, it will have a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate installed somewhere.

    VIN Plate
    This plate not only carries the trailer's serial number, it also lists the trailer's unloaded GVW and a maximum GVWR for the trailer and a GAWR for each axle on the trailer.

    The below chart shows representative weights for a number of commonly-used utility trailer styles.

    Commonly Used Utility Trailers
    If you don't have access to a VIN plate or other weight information for your trailer, or if it's hard to estimate the total weight you're adding to the base GVW of the trailer, the best way to find the weight is to load your trailer as you expect to use it and take it to a vehicle scale.


    Such scales are sometimes available to recreational users at state highway weigh stations, refuse transfer stations, and commercial truck stops. The advantage of this method is that you learn the actual weight of your loaded trailer. Be sure to call ahead and confirm that you are welcome to use these scales, however.

    Checking Tongue Weight

    The last capacity you have to consider is your trailer's tongue weight. That's the weight on the coupler when your trailer is fully loaded and ready to go. In general, you want to try for about 10% of the total trailer weight to be carried on the tongue. Most receivers and other hitches assume that the tongue weight will be about 10%, and sticking to this ratio helps improve your towing experience.

    You can measure your trailer's tongue weight with a common bathroom scale if it's less than about 300 pounds. If the weight is greater than 300 pounds, you can use some boards and pipes and set up a test as shown in this image:

    Using this setup, you take a reading off the bathroom scale and triple it to find your actual tongue weight.

    Keep in mind that you can change your trailer's tongue weight substantially by changing the way you load the trailer. If you place more weight in front of your trailer's axle(s), you will generate more tongue weight. If you place too much weight behind the axle(s), you can actually generate negative tongue weight.

    If you have too much tongue weight, your combined tow rig will sag at the coupler and you will find that your tow vehicle has to work much harder to pull the load. If you do not have enough tongue weight, your trailer will tend to wander and if you have negative tongue weight, your vehicle's rear tire traction can be reduced with dangerous consequences. Always strive for about 10% tongue weight and you'll get better results.

    Shopping for a Hitch

    When you know what hitch class you need, you can contact us about the designs that are available. We may have some recommendations for your particular vehicle. Some hitches are made to be unobtrusive and hide under your vehicle's bumper, while others are designed to be more prominently placed or can not be hidden due to the vehicle's undercladding. You have many options in hitch style, quality, finish and in some cases even color, so investigate and invest in the trailer hitch that best meets all your functional and aesthetic needs.

    If your vehicle came with a hitch installed by the manufacturer, check to make sure that the class of hitch on your vehicle matches your needs. If not, you can usually find a good aftermarket hitch with increased capacities - but again, never exceed the manufacturer's rating capacity for your tow vehicle.

    The below chart shows representative weights for camping and travel trailers, and also relates those standard trailer weights to appropriate hitch classes.

    Commonly Used Camping & Travel Trailers

    Types of Hitches

    When you go shopping for towing equipment, one of the most bewildering choices you face is selecting a hitch. There are many different options available, and it's easy to become confused about the details of each kind and class of hitch. 

    Figure 3-1 shows the most common trailer hitch classes, with information about the maximum trailer weight and tongue weight allowed. In this figure "WC" stands for "Weight Carrying," meaning a basic ball mount and coupler. The "WD" ratings are higher, and those limits require you to use a Weight Distributing ball mount. "TW" stands for Tongue Weight, which is the weight on the trailer coupler when the trailer is fully loaded.

    Figure 3-1
    The receivers shown in Figure 3-1 are the most commonly used towing solution. However, both lighter and heavier-duty options are also available. The following definitions will help you understand the full range of options. The definitions are listed in order from lightest duty to heaviest, followed by definitions for Weight Carrying and Weight Distributing hitches and Front Mount receivers.

    Bumper Mount



    The most basic trailer hitch for a passenger car, SUV, or truck is simply the vehicle's bumper. Most truck bumpers and many SUV bumpers come equipped with a hole in the center of the bumper sized to accommodate a standard trailer ball. If your trailering needs are limited to less than 1,000 pounds and 100 pounds of tongue weight, this style of hookup and some basic wiring may be all that you need. Although some bumpers are rated for towing, use caution and never exceed the capacity of the lowest rated towing component.

    Bumper Hitch

    Bumper Hitch
    One of the problems with a Bumper Mount for a trailer ball is that unless you purchase a quick-change trailer ball, you're limited to one ball size. Sooner or later, you'll need to tow a trailer with a different-sized coupler. A light-duty solution is a basic bumper hitch. These devices are available in a variety of designs that bolt to your vehicle's bumper and provide a standard 2-inch ball mount receiver and safety chain attachment points. While these devices resemble a class 1-5 hitch, remember that they do not add any weight-bearing capacity to your vehicle. Your basic bumper rating is still in effect. Weight distribution hitches can not be used in conjunction with this type of hitch.

    Class 1 & 2 Receivers

    Class 1 & 2 Receiver Hitch
    These light-duty receivers are generally designed for passenger cars and smaller Crossover SUVs, but can be found for many makes and models. These classes use a smaller 1 ¼-inch receiver tube for the ball mount. Class 1 hitches are rated to tow trailers up to 2,000 pounds with 200 pounds of tongue weight, and Class 2 can handle 3,500 pound trailers with 350 pounds of tongue weight. It's important to remember, however, that these hitches do not increase the total weight that a given vehicle can tow.

    Class 3 Receivers

    Class 3 Receiver Hitch
    The most common receiver class installed on full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. If your full-size truck is equipped with a tow package, it's probably a Class 3. These receivers have a 2-inch square receiver tube. Class 3 receivers can handle up to 8,000 pound trailers and 800 pounds of tongue weight with a weight carrying ball mount, or up to 12,000 pounds and 1,200 pounds of tongue weight with a weight distributing hitch. This generally exceeds the towing capacities of most non-commercial vehicles, so a Class 3 hitch is rarely the limiting factor when towing.

    Class 4 & 5 Receivers

    Class 4 & 5 Receiver Hitch
    These receivers are the heaviest-duty trailer hitches that can be installed at the rear of a tow vehicle. A Class 4 hitch can carry 10,000 pounds and 1,000 pounds of tongue weight with a weight carrying hitch, or up to 12,000 and 1,200 pounds with a weight distributing hitch. Class 5 receivers can carry up to 14,000 pounds and 1,400 pounds tongue weight. Class 4 & 5 receivers use the same 2-inch receiver tube as a Class 3, but some Class 5 receivers use a 2 ½-inch receiver tube. To go beyond the capacity of a Class V receiver, you need to install a Gooseneck or Fifth Wheel design that places the trailer's tongue weight in front of a pickup truck's rear axle.

    Fifth Wheel Hitch

    5th Wheel Hitch
    These heavy-duty hitches mount in a pickup or commercial truck bed forward of the rear axle. Fifth wheel hitches are similar in design to those used by commercial 18-wheeler tractor-trailer rigs. Fifth wheel trailer capacities range from 16,000 to 30,000 pounds and up to 5,000 pounds of pin weight (tongue weight), depending on the design of the hitch, and the rating by the manufacturer. Fifth wheel hitches are commonly used in large campers, or travel trailers, and car haulers. Fifth wheel trailers are prized for their ease of maneuverability and stability, which is why they're a common choice for large campers. Most fifth wheel hitches have some "pivot" capabliltiy to absorb bumps and contours of the road. Fifth wheel hitches are the only type of hitch where the coupling device is part of the hitch and not the trailer.

    Gooseneck Hitch

    Gooseneck Hitch
    Like the fifth wheel, this hitch design moves the trailer's tongue weight forward of a pickup truck's rear axle. The Gooseneck ball mounts vertically on the truck bed. Some designs can be folded down or quickly removed to allow full access to the truck bed when the trailer is not hooked up. Only trailers designed for use with a Gooseneck hitch can connect to this style of hitch, and they cannot connect to any other style of hitch.

    Gooseneck Hitch
     Typical applications for a gooseneck include livestock trailers, car & toy haulers, and industrial/commercial trailers. Gooseneck hitches can haul up to about 30,000 pound trailers with 6,000 pounds of tongue weight. Goosenecks are typically installed on 1-ton trucks with dually (4 wheel) rear axles to handle that level of weight. Gooseneck hitches cannot be installed on passenger cars, SUVs, vans, or RVs, but are frequently installed on commercial truck conversions.

    Weight Carrying Hitch

    Weight Carrying Hitch
    Any ball mount inserted into a receiver of any class, or a ball installed on a bumper or bumper hitch is considered a weight carrying hitch. The name means that all of the trailer's tongue weight is being carried on the ball and receiver. Tongue weight is one of the key limits to any receiver's towing capability, so weight carrying hitches cannot pull as much trailer weight as a weight distributing hitch installed on the same receiver. Weight distributing hitches add stability and increase the towing capacity of most weight-bearing carrying hitches.

    To start looking for your perfect hitch use our hitch finder. If you need help, our online chat operator can assist you and as always, you can call or email the store. All of our contact information can be found by visiting the Contact Us page on our website.

    10/31/2014

    Understanding Towing

    Always review the vehicle owner's manual prior to purchasing a towing system. The owner's manual has helpful information about the vehicle's capabilities, capacities and limitations. It is also important to be aware of the different laws and restrictions between states. The State Patrol is a good resource for this information.

    Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)

    The gross trailer weight is the weight of the trailer and cargo. Measure this by putting the fully loaded trailer on a vehicle scale.

    Boat + Trailer + Cooler + Fishing Gear = Gross Trailer Weight







    Weight Carrying Capacity (WC)

    The measure of the total weight a trailer hitch can safely pull without adding a weight distribution system. Never exceed the weight capacity ratings of the tow vehicle or the trailer hitch, whichever is lower.






    Weight Distributing Capacity (WD)

    The measure of the total weight a trailer hitch can safely pull with a weight distribution system installed. The use of a weight distribution hitch and sway control balances the weight of the cargo throughout the trailer, allowing for better steering, braking and level towing. It acts like a wheel barrow, lifting the weight from the tongue and distributing it to the vehicle's front axle and the trailer's rear axle. Weight distribution can be used on hydraulic systems but require additional parts to allow the actuator to move freely. See Weight Distribution on our site for these products.















    Sway Control

    A device used to reduce the lateral movements of trailers, which are caused by the wind. These may be used with or without a weight distribution system. Do not use this on a trailer hitch with an 1-1/4" x 1-1/4" receiver tube opening or on trailers with surge brakes.







    CURT Weight Distribution System



    Equal-i-zer Hitch with 4-Point Sway Control

    10/09/2014

    How To Winterize Your Boat Yourself!

        It’s the end of the season and time to put away the Hawaiian shirts and water skis. The days are getting shorter. There’s a chill in the evening air. Days on the boat will soon be precious memories, it’s time to winterize your boat. Fall lay-up is quite possibly the single most important maintenance duty a boater will perform. Proper winterization will prevent costly damage that can result from freezing, dormancy, corrosion and moisture, and will allow for a smooth launch come springtime.

        Without fogging the cylinders with fogging oil, severe rust may occur. Without flushing the cooling system or draining the gear oil case, trapped water can freeze, expand and destroy the expensive housing. Three or four hours of work and some inexpensive maintenance materials and tools can get the job done right.

        Here is a fairly comprehensive list to guide you through the process. Depending on what type of boat you have, some of this may not apply, but for most boats, following these steps will provide safe haven for your boat and all of its parts throughout the winter. All of the materials are available at your local boating supply store.

    Clean

    • Clean your boat and apply a rust inhibitor on the metal hardware and on your steering and control cables.
    • Use "No Damp" or other mildew control bags or buckets throughout the cabin and any enclosed lockers or compartments

    Drain

    • Drain the fluid from your engine block and manifolds, water pumps and coolers. Consult your engine manual for the location of all of the drain plugs.
    • Drain and fill the gear case with gearcase lubricant.
    • Drain Porta-Potty and fresh water system. Add freshwater antifreeze to water tank and Porta-Potty

    Fill

    • Fill up the gas tank and stabilize with additives. Run the engine for approximately 15 minutes to ensure that the additive reaches the gasoline in your fuel lines.
    • Pump antifreeze into the supply lines that lead to the faucets and shower.
    • Fill block, manifold, and circulating pump with propylene glycol antifreeze (-200 antifreeze is best for engines).
    • Backwash the cooling system and lower unit of the sterndrive to get rid of salt, sediment and rust flakes, by using an earmuff style flushing kit that clamps onto the water intake. Use a winterization kit to pull antifreeze into the cooling system.

    Change

    • Replace the fuel-water separator.
    • Change oil and oil filters.
    • Inspect belts and hoses, replace if necessary.
    • Replace any sacrificial anodes (zincs in saltwater, magnesiums in fresh water) that are less than half of their original size.

    Lubricate

    • Grease the stern drive gimbal bearing and engine coupler.
    • Inspect and lubricate steering and trim.
    • Grease your trailer bearings.

    Fog

    • Test run the engine and spray fogging oil on the cylinders until the engine stalls. This protects the inside parts from corrosion.

    Paint

    • Sand down and repaint the lower unit to prevent rust.

    Take Home

    • Remove the battery and store it in a safe dry place. Check battery fluid levels.
    • Remove interior cushions and jump seats and store in a cool, dry place. Otherwise, place the cushions on ends to allow for maximum ventilation, thereby reducing mildew damage.
    • Be sure to remove any food or drink from the boat. Rodents cannot refuse that Snickers bar and love to rear their young in boats. Also remove any charts, linens, electronics that could be damaged by moisture.

    Also

    • Store boat in a garage or other temperature controlled facility if possible. If not, cover the boat with shrink-wrap or a large tarp.
    • If your boat is stored on a trailer, block the wheels so they are off the ground and loosen tie-down straps to reduce stress on the hull.
    • Store your inflatables away from rodents, who love to eat hypalon and PVC fabrics. Also, do not leave the inflatable exposed to the elements - clouds do not inhibit UV rays.

    Source: http://www.discoverboating.com/resources/article.aspx?id=93

    10/07/2014

    Winterizing Your RV!

    Draining the Water and Drying the Water Lines

    1. Allow all water to drain from the fresh water holding tank. To drain the water from your RV, you'll need to open what's called the "petcock."[1] Do not be tempted to drain the water heater yet -- that has to be done after you add antifreeze.[1]
    2. Drain the black and gray holding tanks. You should also flush both tanks at this time.
      • If your RV does not come equipped with a built-in system, you should clean the tanks out with a wand or a product designed to clean both of the tanks.
      • Take all the tanks' contents to your local dump station.
    3. Open any cold and hot water faucets in the RV. That includes those for the sinks, toilet and shower. If you don't, air can't come out the other end!
      • Flush your toilets a few times to make sure all the water's gone!
    4. Attach a compressed air adapter to the RV’s water lines. This is commonly known as a "blowout plug." It can be purchased at our store.
      • Technically, it's attached to the "Water Intake Fitting."
    5. Use a standard air compressor, such as one used to inflate tires, to blow air through the water lines. The air from the compressor will force any remaining water out of the lines. This isn't 100% necessary, but it helps to keep your antifreeze from becoming diluted.
      • Pressure should be 30 pounds per square inch (maximum of 50 psi).[2]
    6. Replace caps on all the drains, and close all the cold and hot water faucets. Re-close your petcock, too.
    7. Detach the compressed air adapter from the RV. And the compressor along with it! 

    Adding Antifreeze to the Plumbing System

    1. Choose your method of adding antifreeze. There are three ways to do this:
      • From the inside using a water pump conversion kit.
      • From the outside with a hand pump.
      • With or without a bypass.
          • We'll be addressing the water pump with a bypass method. The science behind the pumps is the same. However, without a bypass, you just have to add much, much more antifreeze. Regardless of whether or not you have a bypass, do not drain your water heater before adding the antifreeze.
      • Disconnect the water line that connects the fresh water tank to the fresh water pump. Attach the pump upstream of the water tank. That is, the antifreeze will go in before the tank.
      • If possible, bypass your water heater. This will save you gallons and gallons of antifreeze. You don't have to do it, but it makes everything much simpler. A few RVs have them built in, but most do not. To bypass your water heater:[1] 
          • Turn off the water heater.
          • Disconnect the water supply (the above step).
          • If installing for the first time, disconnect the hot and cold lines going in and out of the water heater.
          • Connect the bypass, following the instructions on the package.
          • Close off the same hot and cold lines and open the bypass.
      • Place the disconnected end of the water line in a jug of RV antifreeze. That's the pink kind, not the green kind. The pink kind is RV antifreeze, which is GRAS -- generally regarded as safe.[1] The green kind is toxic. Not that you'd be swallowing any, but, you know, just in case.
        • Approximately 2 to 3 gallons (7.6 to 11.4 liters) of antifreeze should be enough to fill the RV’s entire plumbing system, provided a bypass is installed. If you don't have one, you need as much antifreeze as the water heater can hold, usually 6 to 10 gallons.[2] 
      • Turn on the fresh water pump, and allow it to run as it pulls the antifreeze into the plumbing system of the RV. Alternatively, as discussed, use a hand pump connected to the city water hookup.
      • Start from the highest and work to the lowest point in the fresh water system. You'll probably start at the kitchen sink -- turn on the hot faucet and run it until it turns pink -- that is, filled with antifreeze. All the water has been flushed from the system! Then, run the cold faucet until it's pink, too.
        • The general order is kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, toilet, and outdoor shower. Run each of these until you see a strong shade of pink in each.
          • You may need to flush the toilet several times until the RV antifreeze comes out at a steady rate. 
      • Pour about 3 cups (.72 liters) of antifreeze into the toilet and in each drain. This includes the washing machine, ice maker, and outside shower! Don't forget about those. The specifics of your RV will need to be taken into account here. Refer to your manual for more specific guidelines.
      • Take the water line out of the antifreeze jug, and reconnect it to the fresh water tank.
      • Locate the water heater, remove the plug and drain it. This is always done last.[1][3] 

       Completing the Final Details


      1. Remove all food, laundry, and valuable items. Kind of a big duh, huh? The last thing you want is an exploded two-liter of orange soda all over your fridge. Not to mention mice and ants.
        • And as for valuable items, why would you leave them in an RV for six months? And the laundry, well, it's just best to leave everything clean so when you come back in the spring, there's a lot less work to do.
      2. Fix anything that's broken. Your RV is going to be sitting and stewing for a while -- not good for any machine (or human for that matter). To make sure it makes it through, fix everything now. You'll be glad you did.
      3. Cover all vents and holes. Hopefully you already have some type of mesh guard for your exhaust pipe and whatnot to protect against mice, but make sure all the vents and holes are covered now. You don't want birds (think of the roof), rodents (pipes), or bugs (seams) making your RV home.
        • Check the entire RV for places that bugs or animals may be able to get into. Just because you're not using it doesn't mean they should get to!
      4. Take the weight off the tires. If you leave that much weight on the one side of the tires, they could grow weak over time. So leave your RV on blocks, taking the pressure off the tires.
      5. Cover it with a breathable material. While you don't want snow and rodents getting into your RV, you also don't want mold and mildew to start growing underneath your tarp. So if you do cover it, cover it with a material that breathes.
        • You may want to put rags on top of the sharp corners of your RV so that breathable material doesn't rip. For good measure!

      Warnings


      • Be sure to open the pressure relief valve when draining the water heater. Allowing the water to drain while it is under pressure, or hot, can lead to injuries.
      • Never use automotive antifreeze in the lines of an RV, as this can cause damage to the plumbing system.

      Things You'll Need


      • Pump (water or hand)
      • Bypass kit (optional)
      • Antifreeze (minimum 3 gallons)
      • Tank-cleaning wand
      • Tarp of breathable material
      • Air compressor
      • Adapter ("blowout plug")


      Sources and Citations
      ↑ 1.01.11.21.31.4http://www.camco.net/assets/catalog/winterizeRV.pdf
      ↑ 2.02.1http://www.kinstler.com/how_to/winterize_an_rv/how_to_winterize_rv.html
      ↑ http://winterize.adventurerv.net/
      http://www.thecampingsource.com/item/RV__Winterizing_a_RV/id/561/category.aspx
      http://koa.com/familyzone/camping101/articles/rvmaintenance_506.htm
      http://www.fmca.com/polks-top-7/2807-top-7-steps-for-winterizing-your-rv-plumbing-system
      http://www.gonecamping.net/stories/winterize.html
      http://www.wikihow.com/Winterize-an-RV

      4/10/2014

      How to Torque!

      Improperly clamped wheels may loosen and come off unexpectedly while traveling, resulting in a dangerous situation. We recommend that wheel fasteners be checked frequently and re-torqued to proper specs. Also, be sure to torque in the proper sequence shown in the chart below.



      On-The-Road Checks

      When on a long trip with your trailer, it’s a good idea to pull off to the side of the road from time to time and take a walk around the trailer to look it over. Make sure that the safety chains are still in place, not dragging, and secure; check to ensure that there is nothing loose on the hitch or coupler; also ensure that the load has not shifted and all of the tie-downs are still tight.

      It is also a good idea to feel the wheel hubs to make sure that the bearings have not become excessively hot. Do so cautiously – they could be very hot and cause a burn. This could be a sign of potential failure due to improperly lubricated or worn bearings, or some problem with the brakes causing them to drag. Make sure to verify your brakes are working, any trailers that are 3,000 pounds or greater require brakes. Also, make sure that your tires are in good shape and there is no debris lodged in the tread of the tires which could later cause a flat.

      Finally, a quick look at the welds in the tongue attachment area could prevent a serious problem. Finding a cracked spring or loose suspension nut before they become trouble may make your quick check time worth its while.