Replacing a RV Ceiling Fan in your 5th wheel

Replacing an RV ceiling fan is not a difficult thing to do in a 5th wheel. When you have basement air like I do in my Alfa coach, the ceiling fan plays an important part in heating and cooling your RV. It is important for circulation as well as for general comfort that your RV ceiling fan work as well as possible. My old fan was no longer working as well as it used to so I decided it was time to go about replacing the RV ceiling fan to improve the circulation in my RV.

In my coach, my slide out covers the ceiling fan when the slideout is pulled into the coach for travel. Due to different coach construction and the available height in your RV for ceiling fan clearance,  research is needed to get the right fan unit for your particular RV. I purchased a low clearance fan off of the Internet. This RV ceiling fan works but the original fan which came with the unit had slightly better clearance. Watch the video and see the pictures below to learn more about how I replaced the old fan.

My replacement fan blades are a tight fit when I close the main slide in but it works.  That is what counts. The fan is much better than the old one and helps cool my coach much better than the old one. When I first put it in, I was worried about the clearance since it was tight but when I took the coach on the road, I found that there were no problems. The new fan worked well and was a huge improvement for circulation.

In addition to the fan that I ended up using, I also found several fans that would have worked nicely at Etrailer.com at reasonable prices. Be sure you check the clearance that will be needed before purchasing a new fan replacement so you have no problems closing any slides that may come in for travel.

5th Wheel Electric Slide Out Motor Repair

In April 2008, I began having living room slide problems with my 2000 Alfa Leisure fifth wheel. I have attempted to repair it on several occasions. In October 2010, the living room slide out finally quit working altogether. Since I like to go RVing and take my canine friends and sometimes even a grand kid with us,  I had to get this problem finally resolved.  I was rather surprised at the the RV shops in my area who were afraid to tackle this problem. I do realize that every fifth wheel manufacturer probably has a different way to get slide outs extended and retracted so maybe this is why they were reluctant.  I know that some are hydraulic and others use an electric motor. Alfa Leisure went out of business about the same time I started having trouble with my slide out. I have gotten a lot of incorrect information from a lot of different sources on slide outs. No one knows much about how Alfa slide outs work because Alfa Leisure is now defunct.  As such, they can no longer be contacted for information or assistance.

I bought this fifth wheel when it was brand-new so I do have the owner’s manual. Luckily, this manual gave me some key information. This helped me identify where you could buy a motor replacement for a slide out. I also learned that my 2000 Alfa fifth wheel doesn’t have a electronic brake nor does it have a limit switch. I have also learned that the slide out does not have to be removed from the fifth wheel in order to replace the motor. In order to replace the motor, it must be separated from the transmission first and then replaced. The slide out in the bedroom area is totally different and will be discussed in another post later on.

I found my slide out motor located very close to the port or the hole where you put your crank to manually to extend your slide out. I had to take out some of the sheet metal underbelly away to be able to expose this area. The RBW site may be able to provide more information and they can also provide the gears if you have a broken one in your transmission. I have noticed that if you have an older RV, especially a fifth wheel trailer, trying to get work performed on your rig it’s getting more difficult even for the repair shops who specialize in vehicles from your particular manufacturer. I guess this is understandable since parts eventually are no longer available for some coaches.  If you have a problem with your slide out, I would recommend that you do a lot of research on the internet about what repair shop might be the best for your particular brand of coach.  If you have an owners manual,  go through it with a fine tooth comb. If you can’t find one who specializes in your brand of coach, talk to several RV repair facilities in your area to find out who can repair your coach appropriately.  Remember that all RV’s may not be the same even if it the same make and model.

In my case, the motor and  in/out switch both were defective. I am also in the process of checking out the bedroom slide out. This slide is starting to hesitate a bit when I open and close it.  This is not a problem to have on the road for sure. A big thank you to RBW for all of their advice on how I could best solve this problem as well.

 

If there is any doubt about what motor goes in your coach, I suggest you call RBW at 800 451-7821  or e-mail techsupport@al-kousa.com to see if they can help you.
Remember that your own due diligence is always necessary in investigating your particular situation. I am not a technician, do not get compensation from any vendor and am not be responsible for any repairs you make to your own vehicle. I had good luck with seeking advice from RBW but your experience may differ so use your own best judgement before making repairs to your own slide-out units.

Changing an RV Skylight

My 5th Wheel has a skylight in the shower to make the bathroom bright and sunny. Unfortunately, Alfa did not design my 5th Wheel for the intense heat of places like Arizona. As it was originally designed, my skylight was a milky white color which let in a great amount of light but it also permitted intense heat to enter this area as well. As a result, the bathroom was a stuffy and warm place to be during the summer. To help reduce the heat, yet still keep the bathroom bright and pleasant, I replaced the existing skylight with a smoke colored skylight. Since the color was like dark sun glasses, this permitted the sun to come shining through yet lessened the heat significantly. I have been very happy with the results and my bathroom is no longer hot and stuffy under the Arizona sun.

Have you ever tried to replace a SKYLIGHT on your RV? When I began searching for a replacement, I wanted a smoke colored unit at a reasonable price. The skylight in my coach is over my shower compartment. It was originally a rectangular, white, plastic dome fastened to the roof with screws . The screws are covered with the white self-leveling caulk. In looking at my service manual, I found that the official size from manufacturer was 25.5in X 33.5in. I found several high price alternatives costing up to $600 which was outside of my budget. I called Alfa (unfortunately, Alfa is now out of business) who had a white replacement skylight for $120 which was just like the original part that was in my coach. I was able to locate another vendor: G S Plastics 25837 Borg Road Elkhart, IN 46514 Phone: 574 262-1527. At the time I last checked, they have 2 color choices: white and bronze white for under $100 including shipping. The vendor does not accept credit cards however, so you have to send a check for your purchase. I mailed the check to them for the purchase price and received the new skylight unit within 2 weeks.

Installation was easy and fast and the bronze white color that I had chosen significantly reduced the heat. The light was toned down a bit but still bright and acceptable. Although my coach is equipped with a pull-across blind in the top of the shower, I doubt many people would be able to see into the shower compartment from up above anyway. Since the skylight was darker, it also made it less obvious at night when someone was using the bathroom. I have been very happy with this change and would recommend it to anyone who spends a significant amount of time in parts of the country where the heat is strong and intense such as it is in Arizona.

Which is Better: A Gas or Diesel Tow Vehicle?

As an RV owner, I have used both gas and diesel tow vehicles. This experience has led me to the conclusion that diesel tow vehicles have more torque at lower RPM than do gas engines. What does this mean for you as an RV driver? It means that if you go up a steep grade, a diesel tow vehicle will pull your RV at Highway speeds while a gas engine will often bog down when climbing steep hills. This can mean that you are slowing to a crawl until you can reach the summit of the hill.

Here are the advantages that I have found to buying a diesel tow vehicle:
1. Better fuel economy. With my diesel truck I get double the mileage per gallon of fuel as compared to the fuel economy I got with my gas powered tow vehicle.
2. My diesel vehicle came equipped with air brakes. This making your truck brakes and tow vehicle braking system last longer and operate more safely.
3. The pulling power needed to get the job done.

Here are the disadvantages of purchasing a diesel tow vehicle: :
1. The overall cost of a truck with a diesel engine is higher. .
2. Getting diesel fuel takes a bit more effort than it does to find gasoline. I have found that in most places, diesel fuel is readily available at area gas stations.
3. Repairs should really be done by a diesel mechanic. This might be difficult since certified diesel mechanics require specialized training. Depending on where you live, local diesel mechanics may be in high demand so you may have to wait to get any needed repairs completed in a timely manner.
If you have a larger RV that has some significant weight to it, there is no question that diesel is the the best way to ensure that your rig tows easily and without bogging down on hills.

The size of the engine can also matter with respect to your towing power and the options that may be included with your standard vehicle purchase. I switched from a Ram 2500 to a Ram 3500 this past year. When buying my new vehicle, I found that getting the heavy duty options that suited my rig came standard on a 3500 while on the 2500 model, these features required additional costs. . The ease of pulling my 5th wheel with my 3500 is exceptional. I have the pulling power to easily pull my rig up hills and pass slow moving vehicles that I would never have been able to pass in my old gas engine Ram truck. Owning a diesel powered vehicle has definitely improved our RV experience and made our travel much less stressful for our whole family.

Replacing an RV Shower Fixture

When replacing my 16 year old RV shower faucet with a new fixture, I really didn’t know what to expect when I started the project. I was also not exactly sure how it came apart. So, to help me with this problem, I ordered a new one from Amazon so I could take a look at the part itself. When I looked at the new part, I noticed that it that it was fastened to the wall by two threaded pipes that went through the wall. Obviously, the pipe had to be fastened from the back side of the wall since there were nuts that fit onto the ends of these pipes. This would mean that I had to access the installation from the backside of the shower wall. The final question was how do I get to the backside of the shower so that I could fasten the faucet? When I looked at the wall on the outside of my shower compartment, the factory had mounted a large dressing mirror on that wall. Guessing that perhaps there was a scuttle behind the mirror; I removed the mirror and found an access panel to the back of the shower. I was quickly able to complete the repair and rehang the mirror. All in all, a fairly easy replacement to make the shower fixtures look like new again.

A Tour of Seligman, Arizona on Old US Route 66

The town of Seligman was founded back in 1895 when it served as a railroad camp town for the Santa Fe railroad being built in the Ashfork area. Originally called Prescott Junction, the tiny town became a railway stop in the 1920’s and a “hot spot” for travelers coming west on the new Route 66 highway to Golden California.  During this time frame, the town became known as Seligman and was a bustling and active town.

When Interstate 40 was built in the 1970’s, many small towns like Seligman that had been fed by the excitement and active traveling route of Highway 66 faded away and became ghost towns. When the Santa Fe stopped using Seligman as a stop in 1985, the town was further threatened into oblivion. The resourcefulness of the town’s people kept Seligman a town worthy of the small side-trip from the main road for a visit. The town became the “poster child” for Route 66 memorabilia with it’s unique gift shops, hotels and restaurants. Examples of fun and interesting places to visit in Seligman are the Snow Cap Drive In, the Copper Cart Restaurant and the Route 66 Road Kill Café and Steak House.  Have your picture taken with old time celebrities (just mannequins of course), enjoy the fun menus for lunch or dinner and pick up some of that old Route 66 fun in this small town.  Seligman is truly a “one of a kind” town and a fun place to spend a few hours prowling around in history.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVV0NKjq7kw

Laughlin – Casino Gaming Without the Crowds

Laughlin, Nevada, a thriving entertainment town located near the tip of Nevada, is a popular tourist destination along the banks of the Colorado River. Originally known as “South Pointe,” the area had only a small motel and bar in the 1940’s which primarily catered to local silver minors and construction workers for Davis Dam. After the completion of the dam, the area had little traffic on the Nevada side. Little by little the town of Bullhead City, located across the river on the Arizona side, began to grow. In 1964, Don Laughlin, owner of the Las Vegas 101 Club had just sold his property and was flying over the area in his plane. He saw the potential of the area and proceeded to buy land here. He built an 8 room motel and opened a small casino with 12 slot machines and two live gaming table. While the family lived in 4 of the motel rooms, the other 4 were rented to visitors who came to gamble at the new casino. The small community was re-named Laughlin after a few years to facilitate mail delivery to the area. In 1967, another casino, called the Bobcat opened and was followed by the Monte Carlo Casino in 1968. In 1972, Don Laughlin added 48 rooms to the Riverside Hotel and in 1986, added a 14 floor high rise to the Riverside Hotel. In the 80’s and 90’s more hotel-casinos were added to the area.  Today, there are 9 casinos and the area attracts several million visitors every year.

Originally, the hotels supplied ferries which took visitors from the Arizona side to the Laughlin casinos. In 1987, Don Laughlin built a bridge across the Colorado River at a cost of $3.5 million. He donated this bridge to the states of Arizona and Nevada to facilitate driving to the casino area. Today, the area has 11,000 room and over 60 restaurants, river boat cruises, a bowling alley, theaters, performance stages both inside and outside which feature Las Vegas caliber acts on a nightly basis. In addition to these amenities, the area has a small outlet mall, plenty of water sport activities and an RV park to accommodate local RVers.  Shuttles both bus and by boat take visitors from casino to casino. In addition, visitors can stroll along the River walk from casino to casino while enjoying the view.