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