More June 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 2 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Forest River and Tiffin Motorhomes.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Dynamax, 2014 Cardinal trailers, and 2015 Cedar Creek, Sierra and Sandpiper trailers. In the affected vehicles, a rivet for the quad entry steps may shear and fail, causing the steps to give when being used.

If the rivet shears causing the quad step to fail, the step user may fall, increasing the risk of personal injury.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will remove the rivets and the step sections will be bolted together, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 26, 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-389-4600. Forest River’s number for this recall is 15-05062015-0034.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Glaval Universal, Titan II, Titan II Low Floor, Legacy, Concorde II, and Entourage transit buses manufactured April 9, 2014, to October 6, 2014. During the alignment process, a tie rod jam nut may have been left loose.

A loose tie rod jam nut may result in a loss of control, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the tie rod end jam nut, tightening it as needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-445-2825 extension 138. Forest River’s number for this recall is 35-05262015-0038.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Vengeance trailers, model numbers VGF377V, VGF378V, VGF394V13, and VGF396V, manufactured August 7, 2014, to May 12, 2015. The affected trailers may be equipped with incorrect certification labels that state the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 18,500 pounds when the actual GVWR is 18,000 pounds. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations number 567, “Certification.”

The incorrect GVWR on the labels may result in the vehicle operator over loading the vehicle which could increase the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will install a new corrected label, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-260-593-4005. Forest River’s number for this recall is 17B-05132015-0036.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-River-logoForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Coachmen Shasta SHT27RL travel trailers manufactured May 7, 2013, to May 7, 2015. The affected trailers may have an incorrect gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) information stated on the Federal Weight Tags. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards No. 567, “Certification.”

Incorrect GVWR information on the label may lead the operator to load the trailer to an incorrect weight, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace the incorrect label with a corrected label, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8717. Forest River’s number for this recall is 53-05132015-0035.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc.

TiffinLogo-UnitTiffin Motorhomes, Inc. (Tiffin) is recalling certain model year 2015 Allegro Red 36 QSA, Allegro Red 38 QBA, Phaeton 40 QBH, and Phaeton 40 QKH motorhomes manufactured April 22, 2014, to May 8, 2015. In the affected vehicles, moisture may enter the slide-out controller and cause the “switch out” connection to short, and cause the motorhome slide-out section to extend while the motorhome is moving.

If the slide-out opens during transit, there is an increased risk of a vehicle crash.

Tiffin will notify owners, and dealers will install a relay to disconnect the power source of the slide-out, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact Tiffin customer service at 1-256-356-8661.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the 59th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.

—John Ruskin

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June 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 4 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Starcraft RV, Jayco, Thor Motor Coach, and MCI.

Starcraft RV

starcraftStarcraft RV (Starcraft) is recalling certain model year 2016 Launch and AR-One travel trailers manufactured March 31, 2015, to April 20, 2015. The affected vehicles may be equipped with Federal Certification Labels that incorrectly list the tire size as ST205/75R14C when the actual size is LT235/75R15C. As such, these labels fail to comply with Federal Regulation Part 567.

If the operator installs an incorrect tire due to the wrong label information, excessive tire wear may result and may cause instability during towing, increasing the risk of a crash.

Starcraft will notify owners, and dealers will install a new corrected label, free of charge. The recall began on May 28, 2015. Owners may contact Starcraft customer service at 1-800-945-4787. Starcraft’s number for this recall is 9902239.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Jayco

Jayco-Color-logo-birdJayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain model year 2016 Eagle FW WB trailers manufactured April 20, 2015, to April 21, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on June 15, 2015. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901238.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Jayco

Jayco-Color-logo-birdJayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Seismic Pinnacle and Eagle Premier recreational trailers manufactured April 3, 2013, to February 27, 2015. In the affected vehicles, a rivet for the quad entry steps may shear and fail, causing the steps to give when being used.

If the rivet shears under occupant load, the occupant may fall, increasing the risk of personal injury.

Jayco will notify owners, and dealers will replace the defective rivets with bolts, free of charge. The recall began on June 4, 2015. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Thor Motor Coach

Motorhome - Class A, Class C, Class B+ RV, Motorhome Manufactrurer, Gas, Diesel, Luxury Rear Diesel Motorhomes, New RVs, Four Winds, Damon
Motorhome – Class A, Class C, Class B+ RV, Motorhome Manufactrurer, Gas, Diesel, Luxury Rear Diesel Motorhomes, New RVs, Four Winds, Damon

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain model year 2016 Hurricane and Windsport motorhomes manufactured March 10, 2015, to March 24, 2015. In the affected motorhomes, the co-pilot seats may be attached to the floor of the motorhome in an area that is not properly reinforced.

If the floor at the attachment point is not properly reinforced, the seat base mounting may loosen over time, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a crash.

TMC will notify owners, and dealers will install a reinforcement plate at the co-pilot seat mounting bolt location, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2015. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-500-1020. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000101.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Motor Coach Industries (MCI)

logoMciMotor Coach Industries (MCI) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 D4000 motorcoaches manufactured November 12, 2011, to July 11, 2012, and 2014-2015 D4500 motorcoaches manufactured July 4, 2014, to April 30, 2015. Excessive engine crankcase pressures may cause the 90-degree elbow of the vent tube assembly to detach from the crankcase ventilation breather, possibly allowing engine oil to come into contact with hot surfaces.

If the engine oil comes into contact with a hot surface, it can increase the risk of a vehicle fire.

MCI will notify owners, and Cummins service centers will administer the repairs which include securing the ends of the 90-degree elbow and reprogramming the electronic control module (ECM) with software that can adjust the engine output under misfire conditions to limit crankcase pressures. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall began on June 18, 2015. Owners may contact MCI customer service at 1-800-241-2947 or Cummins Inc. at 1-800-343-7357. MCI’s number for this recall is SB 423.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the 58th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.

—Confucius

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Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

Where will you be when the dust settles?

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

That’s a question the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is asking motorists this year as another summer monsoon season begins.

Each year, a variety of weather related dangers affect Arizona, New Mexico, and southwest Texas, especially from late spring into early autumn. Through a collaborative effort between National Weather Service offices serving the states of Arizona and New Mexico, which includes offices located in Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, El Paso/Santa Teresa, and Midland/Odessa, the time period from June 15th through September 30th has been defined as “The Monsoon”.

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

For the fourth consecutive year, ADOT is rolling out its “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” dust storm public awareness campaign in an ongoing effort to educate drivers about the year-round threat of dust storms as monsoon season officially began in Arizona last week. Dust storms pose a serious public safety risk because they can strike out of nowhere. Motorists can protect themselves if they plan ahead and know the safe actions to take when the dust hits.

This year, ADOT has created new television and radio public-education announcements that ask drivers if they know what to do if they get caught in a sudden dust storm event. The new TV public service announcement depicts a young driver following all the safety recommendations when she sees a dust storm while driving along a highway.

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

ADOT’s mission is to provide useful and memorable safety information to drivers before they get caught in a low-visibility dust storm. This year, the agency’s top recommendation is to avoid driving into a wall of dust at all costs.

“As the monsoon arrives, this year we’re asking drivers to do the smart thing, the safe thing, and plan ahead for possible blowing dust and limited visibility along the highway,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski.

“It’s better to alter travel plans rather than attempting to drive through dust storms. It’s a risk you don’t have to take.”

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

Dust storms develop quickly and dust-related crashes can occur, particularly along the Interstate 10 corridor between Phoenix and Tucson. To advise drivers of approaching storms, ADOT employs a range of strategies—including electronic highway message boards, social and traditional media, communication with ADOT staff, and law enforcement officers in the field, television, and radio advertising, and close coordination with partnering agencies—to keep information flowing to motorists.

Please visit pullasidestayalive.org for the new public-education video, along with videos from past years. The website also includes a safety tip sheet.

Tips For Drivers Who Encounter a Dust Storm

Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!
Where Will You Be When The Dust Settles? Pull Aside, Stay Alive!

Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.

If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back, and to the side) and begin slowing down.

Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway—do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.

Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.

Stop your vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and away from where other vehicles may travel.

Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.

Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.

Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds in high wind.

A driver’s alertness and safe driving ability are always the top factors in preventing crashes. It is your responsibility to avoid distracted or impaired driving.

Worth Pondering…

Sand from the desert

An oppressive wind blowing

Good grief, pull aside

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Conduct a Pre-Trip Safety Check

Many accidents are caused by simple forgetfulness or inattention to detail: Leaving cabinet or cargo doors unlatched, TV antenna up, or steps extended.

RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RV Park at Rolling Hills Casino, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A pre-trip safety check and inspection is an essential step in preparing to exit your camping site. Unlike commercial drivers who can be fired for failure to perform a pre-trip safety check, many RV drivers fail to do so out of laziness.

That is the reason you may see RVers exit a campsite while still plugged into a power source or with their awnings fully extended.

Create a step-by-step pre-trip safety checklist, and like a pilot on a jet, conduct a final walk-around visual inspection before driving away from your camping site.

If you fail to perform a pre-trip safety check, you will have a problem. If not today or tomorrow, at some time in the future.

NEVER assume that everything is OK: ALWAYS do your SAFETY CHECKS to make sure that everything REALLY is OK!

Pre-Drive Safety Checklist: Interior

Long Point County Park, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Long Point County Park, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Secure all loose items: Toaster/toaster oven/coffee maker/dishes

Ensure stove burners and oven are in off position

Lower roof vents

Securely latch cabinet and closet doors

Close roof vents and windows

Turn OFF air conditioner/heat pump/furnace

Turn OFF refrigerator and securely latch doors

Turn OFF water pump

Laura S. Walker State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Laura S. Walker State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Turn OFF interior RV lights

Fully retract slides and secure

Fully retract TV antenna/roof-top satellite dish/exterior steps

Pre-Drive Safety Checklist: Exterior

Pack and secure all outside items: Mats/chairs/grills/bikes

Check oil/transmission/coolant levels and condition of belts/hoses

Check under the rig for signs of fluid leaks

Check tire inflation pressure and adjust as required; inspect tires for cracks/uneven tread wear

Check RV wheel lug nut torque

Retract and secure patio and window awnings

Check slide toppers for water and debris

Empty black/gray tanks and close valves

Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Disconnect and store power cord/cable TV cord/Satellite TV cord/water hose/sewer hose

Turn OFF propane at tank

Retract/remove stabilizer jacks

Store leveling blocks/boards

Close/latch/lock all doors/exterior bins

Tow bar and safety cables in place

Check head lights/fog lights/signal lights/4-way hazard lights/clearance lights/brake lights

Check surroundings for hazards before departure: Low branches/ground obstacles

Check campsite to ensure it’s clean and no items are left behind

Final 360-degree RV walk-around

NEVER assume that everything is OK: ALWAYS do your SAFETY CHECKS to make sure that everything REALLY is OK!

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…

Have you put…

Step up

Antenna down

Wife in?

—sign at a Dickson, Tennessee campground

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Why RV Tires Fail

Heading out with a recreational vehicle this summer? Check the condition of all tires before leaving home—and stay safe!

Take precautions against tire failure to avoid disastrous trip scenarios. Pictured above Newmar Essex diesel pusher traveling west Utah 12 Scenic Byway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Take precautions against tire failure to avoid disastrous trip scenarios. Pictured above Newmar Essex diesel pusher traveling west Utah 12 Scenic Byway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tires deteriorate as soon as they roll out of the factory. But as a responsible RV owner, you can extend the life of your tires, combat the deterioration process that’s been set in motion from the birth of a tire, and ensure your RV is safely ready to roll whenever you are.

It is impossible to predict when tires should be replaced based on their calendar age alone. However, the older a tire, the greater the chance that it will need to be replaced due to the service-related evolution or other conditions found upon inspection or detected during use.

The common causes behind tire failure are as varied as the experiences and scenery you encounter on an RV road trip.

Most RV owners can expect about five years from a new set of tires. Proper tire care, regular inspection, and periodic maintenance may eke another year or two of tire life. When a tire fails, it can not only cause extensive damage to the body of an RV, or shocks, etc., but it can also pose a life-threatening situation to you and your passengers if a blowout causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Additionally, bits of tire from a blowout create a hazard to other drivers who are sharing the road with you.

Check the condition of all tires before leaving home—and arrive safe at your destination. Pictured above Class C motorhome camped at Dead Horse Point State Park, near Moab, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Check the condition of all tires before leaving home—and arrive safe at your destination. Pictured above Class C motorhome camped at Dead Horse Point State Park, near Moab, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take precautions against tire failure to avoid disastrous trip scenarios.

There are four main offenders behind untimely tire failure.

Overheating Due To Under-inflated Tires

It’s a given that tires lose air over time. Temperature fluctuations and road use impact tire pressure, so it’s extremely important to check tire pressure regularly. Under-inflated tires generate a lot of heat while they’re rolling down the road. More rubber comes into contact with the road surface, causing excess friction and, therefore, overheating.

Overloading Your RV & Improper Weight Distribution

OOPS! Not a smart move! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
OOPS! Not a smart move! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An overloaded motorhome or other recreational vehicle leads to under-inflated tires. Too much stress on one or more tires can mean premature tire failure on the open road.

Dry Rot From Sun (UV) Damage

The sun is notorious for setting physical or chemical changes in motion. Your RV tires are no exception. Destructive UV rays affect a tire in such a way that damage to the integrity of the tire’s rubber may be nearly invisible. If you detect any cracking or splitting, especially on the tire’s sidewalls, the tire is unsafe.

Old Tires That Appear OK

A ten-year-old tire may have excellent tread, look good, and appear road-worthy. But tires are meant for rolling down the open road, not for standing still. Over time, the material that makes up a tire begins to deteriorate.

Preventive Measures

Following are a few tips that can prevent the potential tire problems listed above:

  • Check tire pressure with a trusted tire gauge every day you’re on the road, and every month when you’re not
  • Have your RV weighed to ensure proper weight distribution
  • Cover tires to protect against damaging UV rays
  • Examine tires for defects, cracks, uneven wear
  • Check the DOT’s sidewall information to determine tire age

Roadside Assistance Plan

Y'all Come back...safely! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Y’all Come back…safely! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Your personal safety and the safety of your passengers is priority number one. Ensure that you have a quality roadside assistance program in place before venturing out on the open road this summer.

In the event of a blowout, a quality roadside assistance program enables you to get back on the road by arranging to have a flat changed, providing you with a comparable new tire, or towing you to a repair facility.

Roadside assistance programs are available from a host of sources including Good Sam and AAA. For the past 17 years we have relied on Coach-Net’s RV Technical and Roadside Assistance Plan. Whether you own a Class A diesel pusher, a 5th wheel, toy hauler, pop up camper—or all of the above—Coach-Net has a membership plan suited to your needs.

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

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Dos & Don’ts of Towing a Travel Trailer

Don’t confuse towing a travel trailer with driving a car—they only look the same. If you’re preparing to tow a trailer, it’s time to brush up on the basics.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Small travel trailer camping at White Tank Mountain Regional Park Campground, Maricopa County, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Two of the most important things to have when you tow are basic common sense and the ability to adjust your driving. In other words, when towing, everything you do while driving needs to be done at a lesser speed when compared to driving without a trailer.

When you turn, go much slower. When you accelerate, do it much easier. When you brake, allow yourself considerably more space to stop. And when you change lanes, allow room for your vehicle and the trailer.

Towing a travel trailer requires regular inspection of the equipment, especially the hitch, brake lights, and signals.

Beginner drivers are advised to find an empty parking lot and get used to maneuvering the tow vehicle-trailer combination. Jackknifing happens to the best out there though, so don’t give up after your first try.

Regardless of the shape and size of your trailer, there are several dos and don’ts of towing a travel trailer.

Spare tire

Always travel with a fill-size spare tire for your trailer as well as your tow vehicle.

Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A flat trailer tire without a spare equates to a massive headache, especially in a remote area. Carry two spare tires: one for the tow vehicle and one for the trailer.

Check the tire pressure

Proper tire inflation is essential when towing a trailer. It optimizes handling, fuel economy, and safety. Check tire inflation and tread wear often. Inflate the tires to the trailer manufacturer’s maximum recommended cold pressure. Heat is the tires’ enemy, and a properly inflated tire will run cooler. Every morning, check the tow vehicle and trailer tire pressure, as well as the trailer lights and brakes.

Adjust the side mirrors

Available in a custom or universal fit, towing mirrors increase visibility. This makes backing up and passing other vehicles easier and safer. Adjust the side mirrors in a way that the rear of the trailer can be readily seen. That ensures a clear view of what’s behind and beside the trailer when changing lanes or turning a corner. The lower mirrors are there to help you with judging curbs.

Pictured below is the beauty of Valley of Fire at Atatl Rock Campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pictured below is the beauty of Valley of Fire at Atatl Rock Campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Load adjustments

Do not overload the rear of the trailer as this will lead to excessive swaying and general instability. Distributing the weight so that at least 10 percent is on the hitch.

Reversing

Position your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. As you begin looking over your shoulder, move the hand to the right to make the trailer turn right and left to make it go left. If the trailer jackknifes, straighten the trailer by pulling forward and start over again, at a slower speed.

90-degree corners

The extra length can also cause problems on turns. Because the trailer does not follow the exact path as the vehicle on turns, remember to swing out wider when traveling around bends and corners.

Braking

The addition of a trailer adds weight and length to the tow vehicle. More weight means more time to speed up and more importantly, slow down and stop. Allow for extra time when changing lanes, stopping, and passing other vehicles.

Highway driving

To conserve fuel when towing, travel at moderate speeds. Faster speeds increase wind resistance, reduce fuel mileage, and place added strain on the tow vehicle and trailer.

Do not overload the rear of the trailer
Do not overload the rear of the trailer

DO – Good Towing Practice

  • Gradually reduce speed
  • Steady the steering wheel—sudden turns can cause more sway

DO NOT – NOT Good Towing Practice

  • Do Not slam on the brake—jackknifing can occur
  • Do Not tow a trailer that continues to sway

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

Read More

More May 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 4 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Starcraft RV, Forest River, Cruiser RV, and Allied Recreation Group.

Starcraft RV0

Starcraft-RV-logoStarcraft RV (Starcraft) is recalling certain model year 2016 Autumn Ridge 284, 285, 288, 28D, and 28G trailers manufactured March 23, 2015, to April 2, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Starcraft will notify owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin May 18, 2015. Owners may contact Starcraft customer service at 1-800-945-4787. Starcraft’s numbers for this recall are 9902237 and 9902238.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-RiverForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2016 Amera-Lite ATTX and WATTX, Forest River Cherokee, Cherokee Grey Wolf, Cherokee Wolf Pup, Salem, Salem Laminated, Salem Limited Edition, Vengeance, Wildwood, Wildwood Laminated, and Wildwood Limited Edition, Cargo Mate Blazer, E Series, E Series Wedge, Eliminator, and Qualifier, Continental Cargo Auto Master, Elite Series, Tailwind and Value Hauler, Coachmen Catalina and Freedom Express, Palomino Puma and US Cargo Patriot X, Phantom, Trail & Sport and Trail Master trailers manufactured March 1, 2015, to March 31, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2015. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-800-453-6064. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-03312015-0025.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Forest River, Inc.

forest-RiverForest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Coachmen Freelander vehicles manufactured February 14, 2014, to April 1, 2015, and 2015 Coachmen Leprechaun vehicles manufactured on June 10, 2014. The affected vehicles, manufactured on a Ford 158″ wheelbase chassis with a 5.4L V-8 engine, may have a Federal Certification label that lists an incorrect gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross axle weight rating (GAWR) and wrong cargo carrying capacity information. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.”

With incorrect GVWR, GAWR, and cargo carrying capacity information, the operator may overload the trailer, increasing the risk of a crash.

Forest River will notify owners and will provide replacement labels with the corrected information, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2015. Owners may contact Coachmen customer service at 1-800-453-6064. Forest River’s number for this recall is 51-04172015-0031.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Cruiser RV

CruiserCruiser RV (Cruiser) is recalling certain model year 2015 Viewfinder recreational trailers manufactured September 4, 2014, to March 30, 2015. In the affected vehicles, the liquid propane (LP) compartment in the slide room is not properly sealed to the interior of the trailer. If a leak occurs in the LP compartment, propane gas could dissipate into the interior of the trailer.

A propane gas leak into the interior of the trailer increases the risk of a fire in the presence of an ignition source.

Cruiser will notify owners, and dealers will modify the recreational trailer so that the LP compartment is sealed from the passenger area, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2015. Owners may contact Cruiser customer service at 1-866-277-5630. Cruiser’s number for this recall is 11041R.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Allied Recreation Group, Inc.

holidayrambler_logoAllied Recreation Group, Inc. (ARG) is recalling certain 2014 Holiday Rambler Presidential fifth wheel trailers, model 363 RE, manufactured February 28, 2013, to November 1, 2013, 2014 Holiday Rambler Presidential fifth wheel trailers, model 363 RL, manufactured January 30, 2013, to June 21, 2013, 2015 Holiday Rambler Alumascape fifth wheel trailers, model 313 RL, manufactured January 30, 2013, to October 25, 2013, and 2015 Holiday Rambler Alumascape fifth wheel trailers, model 343 RE, manufactured October 15, 2013, to October 25, 2013. The affected trailers may be equipped with certain Frigidaire KG series Microwave model CFMV154CLS convection microwaves manufactured January 27, 2013, through April 10, 2013. These microwaves may start on their own and begin heating when unattended.

If the microwave starts on its own and there are contents inside, a fire could result.

ARG will notify owners, and ARG dealers will work in conjunction with Electrolux Home Products, Inc. Appliance service personnel to replace the membrane/keypad component, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2015. Owners may contact ARG customer service at 1-800-509-3417. ARG’s number for this recall is 150422ARG.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the 57th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.

—Confucius

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May 2015 RV Manufacturer Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced 5 recall notices involving 4 recreational vehicle/chassis manufacturers—Grand Design RV, Crossroads RV, Thor Motor Coach, and Highland Ridge RV.

Grand Design RV

Grand Design Corp-Logo-blackGrand Design RV, LLC (Grand Design) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Reflection 303RLS, 308BHTS and 313RLTS trailers manufactured March 12, 2015, to April 6, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Grand Design has notified owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall began on April 14, 2015. Owners may contact Grand Design customer service at 1-574-825-9679. Grand Design’s number for this recall is 910003.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov

Crossroads RV

CrossRoads logo3_smallDS Corp DBA Crossroads RV (Crossroads) is recalling certain model year 2016 Cruiser, Cruiser Aire, ReZerve, and Sunset Trail recreational trailers manufactured March 19, 2015, to April 6, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Crossroads has notified owners, and dealers will replace the defective hubs, free of charge. The recall began on April 14, 2015. Owners may contact Crossroads customer service at 1-855-226-7496. Crossroads number for this recall is 37.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach; North America's Best Selling Motorhome BrandThor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain model year 2016 Four Winds, Citation, Outlaw, Chateau, Siesta, and Freedom Elite motorhomes manufactured February 14, 2015, to April 6, 2015. The affected vehicles may be missing the water weight carrying capability information on the Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity (OCCC) label . As a result, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 120, “Tire Selection and Rims and Motor Home/Recreation Vehicle Trailer Load Carrying Capacity Information for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds).”

If the vehicle is loaded to its weight capacity without including the weight of the water carried onboard, the motorhome may be overloaded. This can cause a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

TMC will notify owners and will provide a new OCCC label with the correct information, free of charge. The recall began on May 1, 2015. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-500-1020. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000099.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Highland Ridge RV

Open_RangeHighland Ridge RV (Highland Ridge) is recalling certain model year 2015 Residential 417RS fifth wheel recreational trailers manufactured May 14, 2014, to June 10, 2014. The flexible gas line for the kitchen slideout section is too short.

When the kitchen area is expanded, the gas line may be pulled excessively, resulting in a gas leak, increasing the risk of a fire.

Highland Ridge will notify owners, and dealers will replace the existing gas line with a new longer gas line, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2015. Owners may contact Highland Ridge customer service at 1-260-768-7771. Highland Ridge’s number for this recall is 9904236. Note: This recall is an expansion of recall 14V254.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Highland Ridge RV

Open Range RV LogoHighland Ridge RV (Highland) is recalling certain model year 2016 Open Range Mesa Ridge, Light, and Roamer travel trailers and fifth wheels, models 16LF, 16MF, 16RF, 16LT, 16MR, and 16RT, manufactured March 18, 2015, to April 6, 2015. In the affected trailers, the studs that are used to attach the wheels to the axle hubs may break.

If the wheel studs break, the wheel could detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Highland will notify owners, and dealers will replace any affected wheel hub, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin May 29, 2015. Owners may contact Highland customer service at 1-260-768-7771. Highland’s numbers for this recall are 9904237 and 9904238.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Please Note: This is the 56th in a series of articles relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

Any powerful idea is absolutely fascinating and absolutely useless until we choose to use it.

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5 Essential RV Checks

Driving an RV is like driving a small house around the country—down highways, through back roads, and up and over mountain passes.

Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And as more people join the RV lifestyle, it becomes increasingly important that RVers have a basic understanding of common RV accidents and how best to avoid them.

Most of the common RV accidents can be avoided by preventative maintenance, proactive attentiveness, and not overlooking the obvious. The basics are essential, yet they are the checkpoints many RVers miss.

Whether you are a newcomer to the world of RVing or someone who has seen it all, there’s a lesson to be learned from the simple stuff.

1. Remember the Basics

RVing is so much more satisfying when you really get to know your rig. When you’re thoroughly familiar with your coach, it’s easier to notice when things aren’t quite right.

Your owner’s manual should be your starting point.

To ensure you’re covering the basics, include the following essential RV checks in your daily travel routine:

2. Know Your Height

Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip.

In order to keep your RV in one piece and avoid getting hung up—literally— consider the following guidelines:

  • Pay close attention to posted clearance measurements
  • Know the height of your RV and place a sticky note on the dashboard with your exact height remembering to include the A/C

“We’ll probably fit” does not cut it—don’t take the risk

3. Conduct a Pre-Drive Safety Check

Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many accidents are caused by simple forgetfulness: leaving doors unlatched, awnings up or steps extended. Use a step-by-step checklist and conduct a final walk-around visual inspection before driving away. A pre-departure checklist should include the following:

  • Check oil, transmission, and coolant levels
  • Check tire inflation pressure and adjust as required
  • Power cord, water and sewer hoses disconnected and stowed securely
  • Ensure all signal, four-way hazard, brake, running, and fog lights are operational
  • TV antenna, satellite dish, roof vents, jacks, steps, and awnings fully retracted
  • Turn propane off at the tank
  • Tow bar and safety cables in place
  • Check under the rig for signs of fluid leaks
  • Check your surroundings for hazards before departure, e.g. weather, low branches, and obstacles sticking out of the ground
  • Final 360-degree walk-around the RV before getting in the driver’s seat and leaving for your next destination

4. Connecting to City Water Hookups 

Be certain to ALWAYS use your water regulator when hooking up to city water. And make darn sure that the water regulator is on the end of the hose that hooks to city water. The regulator should be at the water-spigot end, not the RV end, between the city water faucet and your inlet connection.

Why? Pressure is regulated into your coach through the hose. An incorrect hookup won’t protect you from pressure spikes, especially when campground water pressure exceeds 100 psi. You do not want your water hose to burst.

If you’re staying at an RV park during extended periods of freezing temperatures, remember to wrap your water hose with insulation to protect against the elements.

Check your surroundings for hazards before departure, e.g. weather, low branches, and obstacles sticking out of the ground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Check your surroundings for hazards before departure, e.g. weather, low branches, and obstacles sticking out of the ground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Managing Waste Water Disposal 

Black tank management is part of the RV lifestyle. Some RVers think that by leaving the valves open, everything will run out and take care of itself. Not true! Liquid will run out of the black tank when you have the valves open, but solid waste often remains creating a most disagreeable situation. You need fluids to flush out the solids. It is important to keep the black tank valve closed until you are ready to dump. Dump the contents once the black tank is 3/4 full.

Worth Pondering…

Have you put…

Step up

Antenna down

Wife in?

—sign at a Dickson, Tennessee campground

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What to Do During a Wildlife Collision

In an earlier post on Vogel Talks RVing, I reviewed what drivers can do to reduce the chances of having a wildlife vehicle collision.

The elk or wapiti is one of the largest land mammals in North America © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The elk or wapiti is one of the largest land mammals in North America © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wild animals are a threat to motorists, but there are measures you can take to avoid hitting them.

Heed the warning signs and increase your roadside awareness. Reduce speed in wildlife zones. Drive defensibly and actively watch for wildlife, movement, or shining eyes on and beside the road. Actively scan the sides of the roads as you drive for any signs of wildlife.

One deer means more deer. Deer travel in herds and if you see one, slow right down as there will be many more. Moose are less gregarious, so one moose may simply mean one moose but it is still suggestive that more moose are in the area. And cows are frequently with a calf.

What if a Wildlife Collision is Inevitable?

In certain situations, there is no real choice except to hit the wild animal. Diminish the impact if it is inevitable. If an accident with a deer, elk, or moose is inevitable, consider the following suggestions for lessening the impact.

If it appears impossible to avoid the animal, aim for the spot the animal came from, not where it is going. This may take you away from it and the animal is more likely to keep moving forward rather than backtracking. This will only work if there is one animal.

Rocky Mountain Goats in the Canadian Rockies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Rocky Mountain Goats in the Canadian Rockies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shift your line of eyesight to where you want to go, not at the animal. You tend to drive where you look―if you are looking at the animal, that is where the vehicle tends to go.

Try to skim rather than fully impact the animal. If you must hit something, try for a glancing blow rather than a head-on hit.

Brake firmly and quickly, then look, and steer your vehicle to strike the animal at an angle.

Take your foot off the brake as you impact.

The release of the brake causes a slight lift of the front end of the vehicle and reduces the chances of the animal coming through your windshield if your vehicle is tall enough.

If you’re heading into a collision, lean toward the door pillar. In the Mythbusters where they tested this, the center of the car was completely crushed in every impact but the triangle by the door pillar was intact in each accident. No guarantees are offered; you are far better off avoiding the collision.

What to do Following a Wildlife Collision?

This depends on the type and condition of the road, the amount of traffic, the type of animal, and the condition of the driver.

Bison © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Bison © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take care after a collision with a deer, elk, or moose.

Check passengers for injuries and treat accordingly. Even if there are no injuries, shock may occur fairly quickly. Try to reassure one another and if it is cold, put on warmer clothing immediately as shock or fear increases the inability to ward off cold. If it is winter, stay in the car for warmth.

There are some important steps to take after assessing if everyone is relatively unharmed.

Pull off the road if possible.

Turn on hazard lights and if you can, illuminate the animal with your head lights.

Use road flares or triangles if you have them.

Warn other drivers if there is a carcass on the road which poses a hazard.

You may choose to carefully approach the animal to determine if it is dead or injured. If it is injured, back off. An injured animal can be very dangerous; it may kick or gore you from fear and pain.

The elk or wapiti is one of the largest land mammals in North America © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The elk or wapiti is one of the largest land mammals in North America © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You may choose to remove a dead animal from the road so that it does not present a hazard to other drivers. Quick removal prevents other animals from being attracted to the highway. Only attempt to remove the animal if you are 100 percent certain that it is dead, it is safe to do so, and you are physically capable of moving it.

Inspect your vehicle to see if it safe to continue driving.

Call the police immediately or flag down help. Remember that most insurance companies won’t pay for the damages you suffer from hitting a deer or a moose if you don’t file a police report.

Report vehicle damage to your insurance company.

Worth Pondering…

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast—you miss the sense of where you’re going and why.

—Eddie Cantor

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